Friday, August 31, 2007

Some people like to buff?

This morning, I read the D&D article on PC Roles. It looked at a Fighter 4/Bard 7 under running under 3.5... and how the PC was relatively ineffective. The character, Nils, could increase his party's effectiveness though bardic music and spells, but that took actions in which he wasn't actively accomplishing anything on his own.

The 4e solution to this seems to be that buffing will largely be free actions.

I have another, radical, solution: get rid of it.

It might be possible that some people like to buff. I suppose. Personally, I don't get a whole lot of satisfaction from giving the rest of my party a minor bonus that they may never actually benefit from. Moreover, as a player with a buffer in my party, it seems like half the time it is more trouble than it is worth to keep track of the temporary bonuses.

Why not just build the assumption of buffing into the base character rather than requiring another character to accomplish it?

Alternatively, each character could have a normal state and a buffed (inspired?) state - and these latter states could vary by class (for example, a barbarian's inspired state would include rage). A 'leader' type could just toggle other PCs between the two states (reducing the tracking of a bunch of bonuses).


Jeff Rients said...

I'm okay with very short-term buffs. I'd remember the bonus if the party buffer handed me a True Strike for my next attack.

szilard said...

That is easy enough - a single-use buff isn't a problem. It is the random +whatever to stuff for a chunk of rounds (that you then need to count) that gets to me.

Altalazar said...

Buffing can be fun - they can make the whole party effective where otherwise they just stand around and hope to roll '20s' to hit.

I made a cohort who was a mystic theurge and specialized in buffing - between him and my main character (a psion) the buffs were incredible - remember, not every combat is sudden or unexpected. If you know there's something really bad just down the hall, you can pause, and buff, then go in. Seven rounds of buffing boosted ACs for everyone into the 40s and 50s (from the 20s), added 7 to 11 hit, 9 or 10 to saves, extra attacks (haste), immunity to fear, boosted stats, etc. It was truly awe-inspiring.

It took a lot of spells/points, but the combat was a cake-walk. Nothing could hit anyone, and we sliced and diced 'em. The resource usage and time to set it up (and limited duration) meant that we could not do it all the time, but it was fun when we could.

Sometimes a Buff (or anti-buff against monsters) is the only way some PCs can even participate - if the ACs, for instance, are high enough to challenge the fighter, that means no one else can hit at all. Unless you Buff... Then everyone can participate.

szilard said...

I often like being able to figure out a cool set of buffs outside of game... figuring out the math behind the interactions can lead to some cool results. It is largely that neither bestowing nor receiving minor buffs are in themselves particularly exciting to me.

Infamous Jum said...

My beef with buffs, Buff Beef if you will, is the general lowness of said buffs. +1 really isn't that great to me. Keeping track of that isn't much of a problem for me, however the irritation that follows is. Every game of D&D I have ever played in features this dialog at least once, usually several times, during an evening.
"Aw, I miss!"
"Wait, did you add in the +1 from Bless?"
"I don't think you did! Let me see your character sheet!"
And then the fisticuffs roll out...