zmod Balance and Difficulty modes

Discussion in 'General Modification' started by anatoliy, Jan 24, 2021.

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  1. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Hi

    I need some criticism, so please do! ))

    Balance Mode
    • Each surplus of strength modifier greater than 2 (3 for Half-orcs) will bonus monster's AC +x1 and HP +x1.5.
    • Each surplus of dexterity modifier greater than 3 (4 for Elves) will bonus monster's AC +x1 and spell DC +x1.
    • Bonuses do no not stack, greater is taken.
    • Each surplus of constitution modifier greater than 2 (3 for Dwarfs) will bonus monster's damage +x1 and spell DC +x1.
    • Each surplus of intellect modifier greater than 2 (3 for Elves) will bonus monster's spell DC +x1.
    • Each surplus of wisdom modifier greater than 2 will bonus monster's saving throws +x1 and spell DC +x1.
    • Each surplus of charisma modifier greater than 2 will bonus monster's spell DC +x1.
    • Each surplus of PC party number above 4 will grant monster x8 HP, +x1 attack bonus and spell DC +x1.


    Difficulty Mode
    Very easy
    No Balance Mode effect.

    Start package includes following unsellable items for each PC:

    • Gloves of Dexterity +2.
    • Gauntlets of Strength +2.
    • Amulet of Natural Armor +2.
    • Amulet of Health +2.
    • Amulet of Wisdom +2.
    • Headband of Intellect +2.
    • Cloak of Charisma +2.
    • Cloak of Resistance +1.
    Easy
    No Balance Mode effect.

    Normal
    No changes.

    Hard
    Each monster will have following abilities increased:
    • HP: +16.
    • Attack: +2.
    • Damage: +3.
    • Spell DC: +2.
    • AC: +2.
    • Saving Throws: +2.


    Very Hard
    Each monster will have following abilities increased:
    • HP: +32.
    • Attack: +4.
    • Bonus Attack: +1
    • Damage: +6.
    • Spell DC: +4.
    • AC: +4.
    • Saving Throws: +4.
     
  2. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    "Bonuses do no not stack, greater is taken."

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but this seems like a radical departure from the rules. Unless you mean that bonuses of the same type do not stack, i.e. without the exception given to types 0 and 8.

    The rest of the Balance Mode has a "level scaling" vibe, and I dare say this is universally hated. The stat adjustments seem plenty enough to me, at least in principle.

    Bonus points for difficulty adjustment is spawning extra critters with special abilities/spell casting, or perhaps prebuffing monsters with extra magical effects, but that's probably outside the scope of what you're going for here.
     
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  3. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    I meant Balance bullet point bonuses, e.g. - greater than strength surplus or dex surplus.

    I disagree regarding "level scaling" thing. It is monster scaling to initial abilities.

    The adventure is designed to be dealt with average Elite array PC. But, although I have no proof, most players would either set PB as 32 or click on random dices enough times to get decent build.

    If you think about - Players methods to get superhero builds are essentially choosing easy game mode.
     
  4. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    I understand your intentions. However from the player's POV scaling monsters to initial abilities invalidates their choices, much like level scaling invalidates their level ups. And if you say high ability scores are equivalent to a lower difficulty, why not let the player consciously make that decision. After all, easy/normal/hard etc are just labels on a knob, no? This one goes to 11...
     
  5. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    I think you're approaching this from the wrong angle, rather than arbitrarily applying a higher difficulty setting to groups with high stats and assuming it's ok for all players, allow players to set their own preferred difficulty setting and use whatever stats they want.

    People who want to play in hard mode can just select that option, if they want Ultra hard mode, they can play hard mode with bad stats as well.
     
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  6. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Dungeon and Dragons was created by statistician and is built on probability calculations. That is why we use dices obviously.

    Let's take and example. Goblin 1st-Level Warrior (mm 133) AC 15, Atk +2 (1d6), HP 5 vs PC.
    1. If PC has Elite Array (STR 15), plus Weapon Focus it will have Atk: +3 (1d8 +2). Hitting probability is 45%, killing: 75%.
    2. If PC (STR 16), plus Weapon Focus it will have Atk: +4 (1d8 +3). Hitting probability is 50%, killing: 87.5%.
    3. If PC (STR 18), plus Weapon Focus it will have Atk: +5 (1d8 +4). Hitting probability is 55%, killing: 100%.
    The hit difference between 45% and 55% is 10% which is one difficulty level above.

    Contr-argument: "The AC 15 of Goblin is due to his size, dex, leather armor and the shield, not because of some probability".
    Funny. Pathfinder's Goblin has 16 AC (+2 armor, +2 Dex, +1 shield, +1 size), because PC Elite Array abilities are bigger (16, 15, 14, 12, 10, 11).
    It is all about probability, which leads to subjective feel of "good game".

    Essentially PC with built above average will feel better if they'd fight monsters with statistics above average as well.

    So normal (average) PC build is Elite array, and adequate monster statistics for them are specified in Monster Manual. If PC have better abilities, then monsters should have better as well.
     
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  7. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    In any case a LOVED your answers guys!

    It lead me to conclusion, that outright manipulating "scaling" monster abilities will upset a Player. But if given a choice it will be appropriate.

    So perhaps ZMOD could determine how much above the average PC statistics are, and then propose to the Player - "You have above average PC, so recommended play difficulty is Above Average".
     
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  8. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    Checking the players PC's and suggesting a difficulty setting appropriate for the game is fine, as long as the player has the final decision about how hard they want the game to be. Not all players will have the same levels of skill and rules mastery.

    Automatically scaling difficulty to PC's chosen stats only ensures the game is always at the same level of difficulty regardless of stats, and only removes the option of adjusting the sliding scale of difficulty from the players.
     
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  9. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    +1 to letting players choose difficulty instead of auto-scaling.
     
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  10. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    Yeah, I also love the idea of recommending the difficulty level. The most natural way is to suggest it in the shopmap portal dialogue IMO. "Your party is stronger than average, perhaps you should use Hard Mode?"
     
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  11. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Global Moderator

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    I think you are spot on there.
    "Your party is stronger than average, we are restarting the game to allow you to properly roll characters".
     
  12. Daryk

    Daryk Veteran Member

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    My reaction to discovering how games scale difficulty? Set it to the easiest difficulty that doesn't introduce "artificial" scaling. And I strongly doubt Pathfinder "scaled up" monster stats due to PCs being tougher. They tweaked the baseline physics. That doesn't tell you why.
     
  13. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Sure. That would be "normal".

    If you, say, create at least one 18 STR PC (half-orc 20), then the game would suggest you to use "improved" (level 2) difficulty. Because if you'd choose "normal", then you would subjectively feel that this module has easy difficulty.

    In any case it is should be up to Player to decide that.

    As for the Pathfinder - what physics did they tweaked with regards to attack \ defense?
     
  14. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    You can find all the nitty gritty details for free on Archives of Nethys, but the basic gist of it is:
    Small Class hit dice got bumped up, Wizard/Sorcerer get D6, Rogue/Bard/Cleric/Druid/Monk get D8, Fighter/Ranger/Paladin get D10, Barbarians get D12.

    Characters start play with 2 traits (each about half as powerful as a feat).

    Every favoured class (1st level class) level taken allows an additional Hit Point or Skill Point.

    Feats are gained at every even character level (instead of every 3 levels).

    The main big thing Pathfinder did to differentiate itself from 3.5 is the addition of Archetypes, basically you can add an archetype to your class when you first take it to swap out parts of the class for parts of another class or new parts specific to that archetype to customize your character even further.

    Monsters also got bumped up in power by comparison to compensate for the higher ability of the PC's.
     
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  15. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    Pathfinder also nerfed some things - mostly Clerics and Druids. (These casters are less able to solo the game now, though still tier 1.)
     
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