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Wizards Watch: Bounded Accuracy & Risk versus Reward

I iz in yer face, totes killin yer DnD Next character!

I iz in yer face, totes killin yer DnD Next character!

Last Monday I wrote a fairly extensive blog on the troubling negativity toward 4E by D&D Next designers and proponents (Kicking 4E Under the Edition Bus).  I touched on WotC articles and blogs regarding Feats and Bounded Accuracy, and got some great responses from the community.  I really enjoyed the lively discussion in the blog comments, and want to thank everyone for keeping it on point (for the most part).

But this past weekend, I had a chat with one of the players in my D&D game about my recent blog.  And during the discussion, another issue came to light about Bounded Accuracy which makes it even less desirable of a mechanic, for both Dungeon Masters and Players.

Bounded Accuracy drastically skews the conventions of Risk versus Reward in D&D.

So as a follow-up to last week’s blog, I wanted to take a deeper look at the Bounded Accuracy mechanic as to how it will affect game play when it allows low-level monsters to be a constant threat to high level characters.

Historical Perspective

As I pointed out in last week’s blog, Bounded Accuracy really has never been a game mechanic in previous editions of D&D before, with the exception of Armor Class.  Prior to 4E, both monster and character attacks and saves increased by Hit Dice and Level.  The higher Level you were or the more Hit Dice you had, the more likely it was that a swing would land a damaging blow, and that one would resist against magical, poisonous, and other deadly effects.

On the other hand, Armor Class for characters was dependent solely upon gear, although Wizards and Clerics had some spells which could bolster AC on a short term basis.  Fighters and Clerics were expected to gravitate toward wearing plate mail armor and using shields until magic armor started dropping as treasure rewards.  Rogues and Wizards had to start looking for magic upgrades almost immediately, likely coming to blows over Rings of Protection and Bracers of Armor when they were found among the loot.  But even in an average AD&D campaign and Second Edition, most characters could expect to move to high ACs (AC 3 to AC 0) in a reasonable number of levels, and possibly moving into the vaunted “negative” AC range.  Of course, it was touch easier to increase character AC without resorting to magic items under the SRD rules, as there were quite a few feats which could grant additional AC under a variety of circumstances (Dodge, Combat Reflexes, etc.).

And in AD&D and 2nd Edition particularly, monsters had ACs which varied wildly, with some high level creatures having very poor ACs while some low level monsters had very high ACs.   For instance, if we look at high HD monsters like Giants in AD&D, they ranged from the “high” AC 0 Stone Giant (9 HD) down to the AC 4 Frost Giant (HD 10), the latter having only one AC better than a Gnoll (2 HD).  Of course, this changed quite a bit in 3.5, where higher HD monsters would typically have higher Armor Classes as well, but there were still some fairly “big” HD monsters out there with low ACs.  Then again, under SRD rules with a creature’s Armor Class “math” being part of the stat block, a DM could readily add real armor, protective magic items, and spell effects to a monster to boost its AC just like a player-character might have.

So what exactly does all this mean?  Well, in pre-4E editions, it means that characters constantly improve their combat attacks as they level, while Armor Class climbs at a slower rate, based upon available gear.  For monsters, it’s pretty much the same, except that their ACs might be low or high, depending on how the monster was designed, but is still modifiable by the Dungeon Master.  In 4E, monster and player attacks and defenses increase incrementally by level, but staying relatively close to 45% to 50% chances to hit regardless of which side of the screen you’re on.

Now under the Bounded Accuracy mechanic, per the Legend & Lore article, “…monsters don’t lose the ability to hit the player characters—instead they take out a smaller percentage chunk of the characters’ hit points.”  It would appear it is very difficult for characters to get much higher than a AC of 18 without spending serious amounts of gold on exceptional gear, like mithral mail, dragonscale, or adamantine armor, or gaining magic items.  Nearly all of the monsters in the Open Playtest have ACs of 15-17, with a few that reach up as high as 20.  This would seem to suggest that hitting AC 20 is a “big deal” under Bounded Accuracy, and going over that is quite hard to accomplish.

So I wanted to create some examples of combats under the various editions, using the monster presented in the L&L article – the humble goblin.  Here’s a creature which is the staple foe of low level adventurers, and rarely finds itself in high level adventures due to its rather wimpy nature.  For the examples, I’m going to use a Dwarven Fighter, like the one provided in the open playtest, but modified by edition.

AD&D: The Goblin has AC 6, 4 hit points, and does 1-6 damage.  It can hit a Fighter in chainmail (AC 5) 30% of the time.  Conversely, the 1st Level Dwarven Fighter with an 18 /76 can hit a goblin 45% of the time with his battleaxe for 1-8 + 4 damage.  Assuming maximum hit points for the Fighter (12 hp) and average damage, it takes 4 goblins about 4 rounds to drop the Fighter, while the Fighter can instantly kill a goblin every other round.  Assuming the Fighter has upgraded his armor to plate mail (AC 3) and his hit points to 48 by Level 5, the goblins now only hit him 15% of the time.  On the other hand, the Fighter hits puny goblins 65% of the time, and can swing at 5 of them per round, because they are less than a full hit dice – that’s an average of 3 goblins auto-killed per round!  It now takes about 40 goblins to seriously challenge the Fighter, and he’s likely to have finished the goblins off well before they can do substantial hit points.

SRD/3.5: Under these rules, a goblin has AC 15, 5hp, and does 1-6 damage.  The Level 1 Dwarven Fighter has AC 15 as well (Chain shirt + DEX) and a dwarven waraxe doing 1-10 + 4, and has a maximum of 12 HP.  The goblin can hit the Fighter 40% of the time, meaning it only takes about 3 goblins to seriously threaten him.  However, the Fighter hits a goblin 50% of the time for an autokill each swing, so it would probably take 4 goblins to assure his demise.  By 5th Level, the Fighter can easily afford to upgrade to full plate (AC 19), meaning that goblins can only hit him 20% of the time now, while he can clobber a goblin 75% of the time for an autokill.  Although situational modifiers like flanking might make a pack of goblins a greater threat, there are a number of feats available over 5 levels for the Fighter to make him more than a match for a pack of goblins.  It’s likely he can take on 30 goblins without being too overwhelmed, but 20 is a more likely fight.

D&D 4E: Based upon 4E rules, a lone Dwarven Fighter (Essentials Slayer) would be evenly matched by four Goblin minions or a single Goblin Warrior in a balanced encounter.  Assuming the single goblin, the Dwarf will be hit about 50% of the time for an average 6 hp damage, while he will strike back and hit the goblin 70% of the time (Poised Assault) for an average of 13 hp of damage.  This will kill the goblin in four rounds, while the dwarf will barely take less than half his hit points.  By Level 5, the Dwaven Fighter would have to take on 5 Level 1 Goblin Warriors for an even fight, but by this point they can only hit him 30% of the time for an average of 6 hp each.  The Fighter (Slayer) can hit them back 90% of the time for an average of 16 hit points damage per swing.  Assuming the Fighter can avoid them flanking him, he can kill them in ten rounds, suffering only around 50 total hit points of damage over the course of the fight.  He’ll probably have to blow a Second Wind here, but he’ll survive easily.

D&D Next: Under the proposed rules, goblins have AC 14 and 5hp, and are autokilled by the Level 1 Fighter as in previous examples.  They can hit the Fighter about 40% of the time, while the Fighter can strike back at them with a hit probability of 65%.  However, the goblins have a new power which allows them to do extra damage if they have advantage, and increased attack skill with ranged weapons (bow).  This cranks their ability to hit, from out of the darkness at 60’ range, up to 70% because of Advantage, and doing 1d6 + 1 plus a bonus 1d6 damage from “Dirty Ticks”.  An initial attack by 4 goblins at 60’ range in darkness leaves the Level 1 Dwarven Fighter dying on the ground, never knowing what hit him.  By Level 5, the Dwarven Fighter has 48 hp now just like the AD&D version), and has probably upgraded his AC to 17.  This changes the attack numbers of the goblins by only 10%, while his own ability to hit has not increased – at least as far as we know, although Level 4 and Level 5 might grant Theme bonuses.  Using the 12 goblin squad suggested by the L&L article, 7 of the goblins will hit the Level 5 Fighter out of the darkness, and he still drops to the ground and takes a dirt nap – probably to be later carted off and made into dwarven jerky for the goblin village.

So even for a Level 5 Fighter, a pack of just 4 goblins remains a threat under D&D Next Bounded Accuracy.  In previous editions, the goblins become merely a nuisance to the Fighter by Level 5, requiring a ton of them to put up a Fight.  In 4E, an even encounter is just that – an even encounter.  Five Level 1 Goblins is an even match and provides a decent challenge.

But most importantly, in 4E, they also provide a reasonable reward – not so in previous editions or in D&D Next!

Risk Versus Reward

One of the main issues I have with continuing to use low level monsters to challenge higher level characters is in the Risk (Death) versus the Reward (Experience Points/Treasure).   Low level monsters have not only small offerings of treasure, but offer a substantially tiny fraction of the experience points needed to advance a level.

D&D 4E solved this problem by balancing encounters based upon an experience point budget, and using treasure parcels.  Under the examples I gave, the Level 5 Lone Dwarven Slayer would advance to Level 6 after facing just four of those 5 Goblin encounters, because each one grants 500 experience points.  He would also get treasure based upon the Level 5 parcel table, so while the solo adventure might be a rough one, with every combat chancey, he would still gain decent rewards for the threats he took on.

Under AD&D, the 40 goblins only grant around 400 experience points, a mere drop in the bucket of the 17,000 XP needed for Level 6.  Then again, the AD&D Fighter could pound those packs of goblins for days before requiring a rest, although the treasure would be fairly small pickings.

SRD rules would have the L5 Lone Dwarf facing off against only two packs of 20 goblins to reach Level 6, and the treasure is considered to be Standard for that monster, which means fairly decent loot for his trouble.

But under D&D Next, assuming a miracle happens and a Level 5 Fighter coupld take out a pack of 12 goblins, the net gain is only 1200 experience points.  Per the character sheet so far, it takes 6000 XP to reach 3rd level Fighter, so if we extrapolate, we could guess that a Level 5 Fighter needs either a total of 30000 XP (linear progression) or 64000 XP (quadratic progression) to reach Level 6.  Assuming (and praying!) Next uses the linear progression, a Fighter would have to take on the Dirty Dozen Goblins around nine times in order to level up, and we’ve seen the chances of surviving even once is slim to none.  Of course, he might have a whole pack of buddies with him, including a cleric, wizard, rogue, and perhaps another Fighter.  Now the odds of survival go up substantially against the evil goblin squad, but now the heroes must face 45 encounters with a dozen goblins each – not exactly what most players want to hear when they are contemplating their next chance to Level Up.

So in essence, Bounded Accuracy skews the Risk versus Reward contract that DMs and Players have as an unspoken rule.  Literally, if D&D Next players see 12 goblins on the field, they should just run away and hope to find a better encounter down the road.  It is not worth their time or energy to take on these foes, given how much damage they can inflict, and how few experience points they offer.  Of course, we have no idea what the treasure is worth for a pack of goblins, but it would have to be a pretty huge pile to make it worth the characters’ time and effort facing them.

Not to mention, has it occurred to the WotC designers how it will make characters feel to be substantially beaten down by a pack of Level 1 monsters when they are Level 5 heroes?  Not exactly a great moment to be a player – and I imagine a bit embarrassing for the DM.

Conclusion

Bounded Accuracy is one of those mechanics that seems great when you’re cooking it up in a planning session, but which has serious problems when implemented in a real game.  Characters need to move beyond low level monsters, which should become trivial to encounter, and need only show up as cannon fodder for a big baddie to use.  I’ve done this plenty of times in past games in older editions, with an evil high priest or wizard using piles of orcs or goblins against the heroes to keep them at bay.  The real experience is in finally reaching the leader and defeating him, harried and distracted all the while by his low level minions.  The encounters tend to be actually worth something then, because that one leader type is likely to be notably higher level than the party, and worth about 80% of the entire experience points in the encounter.  But it’s still a lot of fun to have those weanie low level monsters running around the battlefield, because they really aren’t much of a threat, and they can be killed in in a wanton bloodfrenzy by the melee types, or blown to smithereens by the wizard.

But once you start making low level monsters too serious of a threat, as Bounded Accuracy does, I think all that fun is going to fly right out the window.

So until next blog… I wish you Happy Gaming!


About The Author

Editor-in-Chief
Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.

Comments

16 Responses to “Wizards Watch: Bounded Accuracy & Risk versus Reward

  1. Bremic_Aus says:

    Amazingly well thought out.

    I wish there was a way the ‘un’-designers of D&D would understand this,

  2. greywulf says:

    Excellent post. I can’t fault your conclusions, though I see change to Risk/Reward more as a feature than a bug. While we have already been told that monsters are going to be reworked (I’m sure this post will come up in discussions, and quite right too), I do hope they keep Bounded Accuracy as a core concept. I like that a group of Goblins can still be a challenge for a 5th level party, and would much rather that be the case than they just be a rollover encounter or (worse yet) all Goblins mysteriously disappear as the PCs rise in level.

    A 5th level Party should be able to take out said Goblins (especially if you take into account the Wizard & Clerics increased access to spells, the Fighter’s increased proficiency and abilities, etc), but not without risking losing some hit points during battle, and with poor dice rolls they could seriously be in trouble. To my mind, that’s as it should be. There’s no such thing as a certain win, ever.

    When it comes to reward, my own feeling as GM is that slaying the Goblins should reward the PCs with something which would benefit them in the current adventure. Perhaps they find a key around the Goblin Shaman’s neck, or one Goblin surrenders and offers to be their guide. Not all rewards are magic items or gold pieces, and nor should they be.

    Do the PCs choose to sneak past the Goblins instead? That’s a viable role-playing option certainly, but they risk running into the Goblins on their return then they are really low on hit points and spells. Being TPK’d by Goblins after the party has vanquished the Giants….. the GM is guaranteed to laugh about that for years to come.

    Better kill ‘em now and be done with it.

  3. Alan Skinner says:

    Given that XP and treasure rules for D&D Next are barely developed, and probably don’t look much like they will, I have a hard time agreeing with your theories. Fundamentally, I think that bounded accuracy implies a lower power curve between low and high levels, and that in turn means that risk vs. reward is actually less important.

    I get that you dislike the idea of bounded accuracy, but it feels to me like you are trying to find reasons to support your dislike for the mechanic rather than disliking the mechanic because of the implications for the game.

    To be fair, I could be doing the same thing in its favor, because I prefer games where there is less disparity between beginning and advanced characters. But bounded accuracy is one of the best things about D&D Next, IMO.

  4. callin says:

    You are also making an assumption (at least your theories do) that the DM, or even published adventures, are going to throw 12 goblins at a level 5 fighter each and every encounter. That will not be the case. Bounded Accuracy means that low level monsters can still challenge the characters, not that each encounter must be built with low level monsters.

    I see an encounter with low level monsters as a change of pace from whatever else the party may be doing in their adventure. Only now such an encounter will actually make the players pause instead of wondering why the DM is wasting their time with low level monsters. As for Rick vs Reward, there are other rewards than “kill xp”.

  5. Lizard says:

    Somewhere, somehow, Mike Mearls got the idea in his head that D&D players want one-hour game sessions where they mow down hundreds of identical, boring, monsters in 5 minute encounters. If people (wrongly, IMO) claimed that 4e was WoW, and 3e was Diablo, then 5e is shaping up to be Gauntlet.

    I’m worried that the 5e playtest is turning into an echo chamber filled with people who think game design stopped in 1980. I’ve seen several people on RPG.net say, basically, “I don’t like the look of this pre-alpha, so I won’t bother offering feedback on it.” This means that with each iteration, the game shifts more and more towards a playstyle preferred by a loud minority, and the designers will be caught flat-footed (no Dex bonus to AC) when their game to “unite all players” turns out to be of interest to only a few.

  6. @Alan – As a Open Playtester, and a Closed Playtester prior to that, I take it as my responsibility to point out flaws in the design of key game elements. And I’ve done that both in emails, in comments during the surveys, and on my blog. And you’re darn right about me not liking Bounded Accuracy, and I’m making it very clear to the design team why I think it doesn’t work. It is a convention that has never had a place in D&D, and I still believe it has no place there. Just because it’s a new innovation does not make it a good one. Heroes need to feel heroic, and to be ninja-ganked by a pack of monsters 4 levels lower than yourself is highly unheroic. I made it a point in my blog to illustrate that there is nothing wrong with using low level monsters in higher level encounters, but their impact on characters should be minimal, otherwise, the players never get to feel like heroes. Using MMO parlance, monsters need to “green out” and eventually become “gray” – a virtual non-threat. Heroes should be able to reach a point where they can chop them down like dandy-lions, and feel good about flexing their might. And as my examples showed, older editions of D&D provided for this. Think of it this way – in Tolkien’s LotR, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir hacked their way through an army of goblins in Moria with barely a scratch taken, because they were pathetic little creatures compared to the Heroes of the book. But when the sorcerously-mutated super-orcs, the Uruk-hai, showed up, Boromir cashed in his chips.

    @callin – I’d recommend that you read the article on Bounded Accuracy. My criteria for using 12 goblins against a 5th level party was taken directly from the article. It doesn’t change the fact that a pack of goblins hiding in darkness at 60′ will be undetectable by the party, will attack from surprise, have advantage, and deliver 8 (or more, if attacking lower AC characters) attacks of 2d6+1 damage each. The combination of mechanics and game elements starting with limiting AC under Bounded Accuracy, to how Advantage works, to monster design, to how the encounter was suggested in the L&L article, was all done by the designers of D&D Next. I just did the math and provided the results.

  7. @Lizard – Amen! If we were on google, I’d +1 this comment! Sadly, I fear you’re right, and it’s one of the reasons I am trying to be the “squeaky wheel” regarding the mechanics of Next. More and more, Next is moving toward a game system which has serious mechanical flaws because nay-sayers are being quickly shouted down as being “mean” and “critical” – what do people think you’re supposed to do during a playtest?

  8. Brendan says:

    That’s quite a lot of assumptions about what people want out of the game.

    Heroes need to feel heroic, and to be ninja-ganked by a pack of monsters 4 levels lower than yourself is highly unheroic.

    the players never get to feel like heroes

    In my campaigns, making the players feel heroic is not a goal. Nothing wrong with it, of course, but it’s not something that is important to me.

    Hopefully it should be possible to support both of our styles with 5E. If you want your players power levels to increase relative to lower level monsters, I would expect that you would be able to just award a bit more magical treasure, or run the lower level monsters with less sophisticated tactics (maybe goblins are not smart enough to use ambush tactics, for example). Dragons might not have the high defences of 4E monsters, but though could only attack when they are at an advantage, taking full advantage of tactics (flying and attacking from above with breath weapons) and waiting for minions to soften up PCs. There, you now have low level mooks and high level challenges within the bounded accuracy framework.

    Also, you wrote that players would feel bad about being killed by first level monsters. Why do you need to use the language of game mechanics when describing monsters? Why not just describe the monsters as they appear in the game world, and if they are a tough challenge the players will fear them. If they are pushovers, they won’t. They need never know they were fighting “first level” monsters.

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  10. Patrick says:

    I kind of like the idea that 5th Edition will change up the assumed risk-reward curve. No longer is an ocean of goblins a cakewalk because a gap of 5 levels is enough to render you unhittable to them and them unmissable to you. No longer is each species of evil humanoid just a stepping stone to the next one, because the metagame’s math requires a few more hit dice on an otherwise identical creature to stay fun.

    If my PC got beaten down by a dozen goblins, I wouldn’t feel depressed because they were four levels below me. For one, because creatures so far don’t have levels in 5e. But for another because I was outnumbered 12 to 1! Only in past editions of D&D would that have seemed like a fair fight. In reality, those goblins are cruel and vicious little blighters, and if any hero could slay twelve of them in lone combat he has just accomplished something heroic, though attempting it may be extremely unwise.

    But getting into mechanics, I think you’re missing a few things. For one, the designers have talked about how characters will grow as they level, but it will be outward rather than simply upward. Rather than just getting more accurate (they will get more accurate, just more slowly than before), they’ll be able to do more things. So expect that a level 5 fighter versus goblins to be cleaving through many enemies, throwing them around, and generally taking advantage of all the new tricks he’s learned, while they’re still weaklings.

    @Lizard: I don’t agree at all with your appraisal of the community attitude towards 5e. Most players I’ve talked to are at the very least interested in finding out more about it, and most of those are pleased with how it looks so far. Here’s something to keep in mind: The playtest that came out is meant to show off the CORE rules of the game. That is, advantage/disadvantage, ability scores, broad-strokes versions of the classes. The game is conceived as having tactical combat added if you want it, more contemporary magic systems if you want it, more customizable character classes if you want it, etc. So it’s not that 5e designers are abandoning post-1980 RPG design. It’s that fans of 3e and 4e will want to play with the rules that are coming down the pipe, and the playtest is a first stab at the underlying chassis of the game. So, the best way to think about it is that, if you’re a fan of later editions and you look at D&D Next now, you’re looking at the version that is going to be least appealing to you. Everything that happens after this point will probably make it closer to the experience you’re looking for.

  11. @Patrick – While I would not have a problem with Risk vs Reward of this type in another game, I do have a problem with it in D&D. The whole point of 5E, according to several interviews of and blogs by WotC staffers, is to “get back to basics” of what the D&D experience is all about. As I demonstrated in my article, rather thoroughly, is that older editions of D&D did not have characters which would be substantially threatened by goblins at 5th level. Redefining the RvR curve is but one of several mechanics which goes against the original design goals as suggested by Mearls himself. That seems like a fairly major problem to me.

    @Brendan – Oh, I don’t think it’s much of an assumption. I think there is a decently large percentage of the D&D community who play a heroic fantasy role-playing game to feel like larger-than-life heroes. The name of the genre says it all. Of course, you’re free to make your player-characters feel like average peasants, slaves, or weaklings, if that’s how you like your game, and your players are willing to tolerate it.

  12. Jester David says:

    I dunno…

    I like the idea of bounded accuracy, where you don’t increase your chances to hit that often and monsters seldom have higher AC.

    It means that any time you do increase your chances of hitting, such as through a stat boost or a magic item, or a feat, or some other baked in method, your chances of hitting actually increase. 3e and 4e are a “Red Queen’s Race” where you keep getting better and better and better at hitting but things get just as good at avoiding being hit. 4e essentially has bounded accuracy when facing same level threats. A level 5 hero fighting a level 5 skirmisher has the same chance of hitting as when they’re a level 25 hero fighting a level 25 skirmisher (as long as they took all the required options and taxes and have the right level of magic item).

    The risk vs. reward factor is skewed. But that’s why it’s a playtest. The math of how many goblins give out how much xp and how much xp is needed to level is likely unfinished. It’s hard to draw solid conclusions yet when the math might not be perfect. Hopefully, when the game is done, an appropriate level fight (be it 1 chull or 5 orcs or 10 goblins) all nets the same xp and risk.

  13. @Jester David – Well better late than never… thanks for commenting. I don’t think that Bounded Accuracy applies to 4E, merely the convention is that Even Levels vs. Even Levels clobber themselves equally well. Bounded Accuracy means that even at 5th Level, your ability to hit those 1st Level Goblins will not change. This is counter to the mechanics of all previous editions where heroes could scoff at low level monsters. And I’ve reviewed some of my old 3.5 characters and again, I don’t see the feat tax. Several of my characters don’t have weapon focus and power attack, yet manage to have survived and thrived for 10+ levels. And for Fighter classes, those can’t be counted as Feat Taxes, because it is a Class Feature to be offered extra feat slots. Making Weapon Focus and Power Attack class features would actually be limiting to character options, as some Fighter’s might be interested in trying a different build. The freebie martial feats is better than making those feats class features.

  14. Ryan says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to state I like the idea of bounded accuracy, though have yet to actually play with it.

    I disagree with your assumptions on D&DN experience points for 5E. I would assume it requires 21000 experience to level from 5 to 6, with the player already having achieved 15000 to get to level five. Therefore, you would only need to face 5 encounters of twelve goblins maximum to go from level 5 to 6. Not to mention you are making assumptions that they will not use the 4E method of treasure, or at least something similar.

    You are also forgetting that bounded accuracy applies to skills as well. One of the things I dislike most about 3.X is that the disparities in skills becomes substantial early on and only gets worse (not to mention magic users being able to make skills obsolete). When your fighter has a -4 (or less) to move silently and your halfling rogue has +16 to the same (easily doable at level 5), then your fighter more or less sits back and does nothing during the stealth encounter.

    Not to mention the ease this will be for DM’s creating challenging encounters for their players while continuing with a theme. If the major event of your campaign is a war between humans and orcs (or any two humanoids, really), then you do not have to keep making higher level variants as they advance in level to have the campaign stay believable. This is not to say you would use 12 goblins, but that you could easily use 4 goblins and a L5 shaman and have it be challenging for a party of L5 heroes.

    Of course, I would have to see how it is implemented before I make my final decision on it.

  15. Sandra says:

    I’m sorta drinking the kool-aid on bounded accuracy. I wish they would keep it even stricter than they do now.
    It’s very good that you’ve found a problem with it—but to me it seems like the fix should be in XP and leveling, not in removing bounded accuracy. If a bunch of goblins is a big risk then the reward should be appropriate—instead of the risk diminished.
    We’re all under NDA now but if you look at the last page at the Character Creation section in the playtest packet you’ll see how many XP it takes to reach level five.

    It is neither 64000 nor 21000.

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