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TOPIC: Build Diversity

Build Diversity 11 months 2 weeks ago #37

Cliff wrote: I really believe that much of what has already been discussed here related to having competing tokens for particular slots help to diversify the builds somewhat - so there is no distinct BiS at whatever level the player is playing at. I think this should extend to legendaries as well - when I need to fill a particular slot it would be good for my class to have more than one option. This would help make different builds of the same class look different throughout the difficulty range. This would also help to curtail power creep somewhat - meaning new tokens do not need to add more power, but rather can add alternatives.

I also like the idea Brad brought up relating to the "Tattoo" token idea where the base class is branched in some fundamental way. This is simple, but would create great diverse builds and would make it easier to create competing BiS tokens for a given class. I also feel that this provides a reason for a player to work towards a more diverse build. With a single class - particularly the ones that are single threaded (fighters, Monk, etc) - everything tends towards the same end point. This changes that.

There have been some other discussions on the forums of late - power creep for one - that have started me thinking a little more on some of the issues people associate with TD. One thought I had relates to many of these facets of the game - including diversity. One thing that I find missing from TD that was part of the D&D experience is that of a backstory. I realize that this is not always easy to fill - and for some players / groups they do have their own backstory - however these do not impact the gameplay much.

What if there were a set of tokens that described a backstory in some way. So there may be some sibling tokens like "Sibling of Wizard" useable by Paladin and "Sibling of Paladin" useable by Wizards - when both tokens are equipped bu both characters, the paladin automatically guards the wizard and the wizard can cast a retribution spell when the Paladin is directly attacked. In this case two of the party are bound to each other by the backstory.

I am sure that there could be many other backstory ideas that could change the nature of the base class. However, the idea of siblings first occurred to me as a way to possibly balance the differences we see in PUGs where experienced players and newbies play in the same run - something like a "Big Brother"/"Little Brother" (or sister) scenario where some of the big brother's stats gets redirected to the little brother.

Just some thoughts to throw in there...


Hmm... Backstory tokens... I kinda like this, especially as it gives a plausible reason for some of the effects I've been thinking of. I'd go a bit stronger though (and also potentially open up additional build variations).

Failed Wizard - Max 13 INT - May cast Magic Missile for 8 points of Force damage at 1 target (1/combat). May use up to 2 equipped Wizard tokens

Run-away Acolyte - Max 13 WIS - May cast Cure Minor to Heal target 1 HP (1/combat). May use up to 2 equipped Cleric tokens

Failed Fighter - Max 13 STR - Get +2 to Hit in melee. May use up to 2 equipped Fighter tokens

Scorned Squire - Max 13 CHA - May Guard (1/game). May use up to 2 equipped Paladin tokens

Refined Barbarian - Max 13 STR - Get +2 damage with 2-handed weapons. May use up to 2 equipped Barbarian tokens

and so on...


Specific abilities, frequency of use, etc listed above should be considered as idea generators only. I'm not claiming they are balanced as-is. And if we went this route, attempting to try to balance would wind up coming after we update the character cards and know what changes there may be to INT/WIS.

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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #38

You’re thinking in a vacuum.

Say our builds are identical, except for hands and one Ioun Stone.

I have Brute and use a Quicksilver Cube to make up for the lost DEX
Say you have Mithral and an Onyx Sphere to get to an odd STR.

Different tokens, but we both end up at +5 STR. What’s diverse about that?

(Half-baked example) Now let’s say we create a new path, beyond “bash them with brute strength.” Someone suggested a finesse weapon awhile back. DEX bonus to hit and damage, but in melee. First, it would need some balance, like no torso armor or shield (too restrictive for fencing) and new weapons like rapiers (maybe those have the armor restriction baked into them), and more ways to get DEX bonuses. None of the current melee gloves support that path, and the tokens that would make it possible don’t exist. People might ask for a Gloves of Dexterity reprint instead of Mithral Gauntlets... and we don’t have to change a thing on the character cards.

But debating which +STR gloves to reprint gets us no closer to it.

That’s what I mean by diversity.
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Last edit: by Brad Mortensen.

Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #39

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Fiddy wrote:

Cliff wrote: I really believe that much of what has already been discussed here related to having competing tokens for particular slots help to diversify the builds somewhat - so there is no distinct BiS at whatever level the player is playing at. I think this should extend to legendaries as well - when I need to fill a particular slot it would be good for my class to have more than one option. This would help make different builds of the same class look different throughout the difficulty range. This would also help to curtail power creep somewhat - meaning new tokens do not need to add more power, but rather can add alternatives.

I also like the idea Brad brought up relating to the "Tattoo" token idea where the base class is branched in some fundamental way. This is simple, but would create great diverse builds and would make it easier to create competing BiS tokens for a given class. I also feel that this provides a reason for a player to work towards a more diverse build. With a single class - particularly the ones that are single threaded (fighters, Monk, etc) - everything tends towards the same end point. This changes that.

There have been some other discussions on the forums of late - power creep for one - that have started me thinking a little more on some of the issues people associate with TD. One thought I had relates to many of these facets of the game - including diversity. One thing that I find missing from TD that was part of the D&D experience is that of a backstory. I realize that this is not always easy to fill - and for some players / groups they do have their own backstory - however these do not impact the gameplay much.

What if there were a set of tokens that described a backstory in some way. So there may be some sibling tokens like "Sibling of Wizard" useable by Paladin and "Sibling of Paladin" useable by Wizards - when both tokens are equipped bu both characters, the paladin automatically guards the wizard and the wizard can cast a retribution spell when the Paladin is directly attacked. In this case two of the party are bound to each other by the backstory.

I am sure that there could be many other backstory ideas that could change the nature of the base class. However, the idea of siblings first occurred to me as a way to possibly balance the differences we see in PUGs where experienced players and newbies play in the same run - something like a "Big Brother"/"Little Brother" (or sister) scenario where some of the big brother's stats gets redirected to the little brother.

Just some thoughts to throw in there...


Hmm... Backstory tokens... I kinda like this, especially as it gives a plausible reason for some of the effects I've been thinking of. I'd go a bit stronger though (and also potentially open up additional build variations).

Failed Wizard - Max 13 INT - May cast Magic Missile for 8 points of Force damage at 1 target (1/combat). May use up to 2 equipped Wizard tokens

Run-away Acolyte - Max 13 WIS - May cast Cure Minor to Heal target 1 HP (1/combat). May use up to 2 equipped Cleric tokens

Failed Fighter - Max 13 STR - Get +2 to Hit in melee. May use up to 2 equipped Fighter tokens

Scorned Squire - Max 13 CHA - May Guard (1/game). May use up to 2 equipped Paladin tokens

Refined Barbarian - Max 13 STR - Get +2 damage with 2-handed weapons. May use up to 2 equipped Barbarian tokens

and so on...


Specific abilities, frequency of use, etc listed above should be considered as idea generators only. I'm not claiming they are balanced as-is. And if we went this route, attempting to try to balance would wind up coming after we update the character cards and know what changes there may be to INT/WIS.


This almost makes me want to bring up the latest iteration of a 'Feat' token idea I had (feat tokens would replace feats on the character card) again. But I am too tired right now.
Applications programming is a race between software engineers, who strive to produce idiot-proof programs, and the Universe, which strives to produce bigger idiots.  <br /><br />So far, the Universe is winning.

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Last edit: by Xavon.

Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #40

Brad Mortensen wrote: You’re thinking in a vacuum.

Say our builds are identical, except for hands and one Ioun Stone.

I have Brute and use a Quicksilver Cube to make up for the lost DEX
Say you have Mithral and an Onyx Sphere to get to an odd STR.

Different tokens, but we both end up at +5 STR. What’s diverse about that?

(Half-baked example) Now let’s say we create a new path, beyond “bash them with brute strength.” Someone suggested a finesse weapon awhile back. DEX bonus to hit and damage, but in melee. First, it would need some balance, like no torso armor or shield (too restrictive for fencing) and new weapons like rapiers (maybe those have the armor restriction baked into them), and more ways to get DEX bonuses. People might ask for a Gloves of Dexterity reprint instead of Mithral Gauntlets... and we don’t have to change a thing on the character cards.

That’s what I mean by diversity.

This is still just tweaking +hit / + damage/ +AC / +Saves.

So my Fighter uses a Dex based Rapier and ends up at +20 hit and +25 damage.
Alternatively, my Fighter uses a conventional STR approach to obtain the same +20 hit and +25 damage.

In either case we landed on the same values, and we used different tokens to get there. Whether its gloves of dexterity with a Rapier, or Mithral Gauntlets with an Axe, or a Mace + Gloves of Glory to insert a + damage ring.

As long as the tokens are different, its variety, even if we land at the same values.

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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #41

This blog post about Yu-Gi-Oh vs magic and the different philosophies in the two systems about card retirements reminds me of this discussion: www.d20alameda.com/2018/06/19/so-why-is-yugioh-banned-at-d20-games-anway/ . What does a reprint really mean? The main premise is that it is necessary to retire things to really have a stable system.

Also, I love the backstory token idea.

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Last edit: by Josh EC.

Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #42

Josh EC wrote: This blog post about Yu-Gi-Oh vs magic and the different philosophies in the two systems about card retirements reminds me of this discussion: www.d20alameda.com/2018/06/19/so-why-is-yugioh-banned-at-d20-games-anway/ . What does a reprint really mean? The main premise is that it is necessary to retire things to really have a stable system.

Also, I love the backstory token idea.

Chess is >500 years old, and has not retired anything in that time, and is pretty stable. Just staying

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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #43

Brad Mortensen wrote: Dropping token prices doesn’t hurt vets. Not at all. They got them cheap, so if they drop back to PYP price they’re just back where they started. It punishes the newbies who see the Mighty Longbow at $300 and buy one, only to have it drop to $100 with the reprint within a couple months.


This is a great point, and I had almost precisely this experience with the first UR I ever purchased (Lenses of Divine Sight for $250, shortly before GenCon last year). However, the only reason I willingly paid that price in the first place is that I didn't anticipate ever/soon having the opportunity to get one for significantly less. The lesson from that story that I think applies here is: if there were a general expectation in TD that most really good tokens everybody still wants *will* get reprinted from time to time, then (a) maybe I would have waited and/or (b) maybe UR prices would be more likely to stay below $200 in the first place.

I, in turn, don’t see how reprinting old tokens does anything to promote alternative build directions, it simply cements the current direction more firmly in place. Then, when a real alternative does come along, everyone says nah, I’m too invested in this one path.


Reprinting a clear BIS token doesn't increase build diversity. But suppose a particular class/style has three comparably good choices (A,B,C) for a slot, and nobody can get their hands on A or B without paying exorbitant prices. All newer players are forced to choose C. In that scenario, reprinting A or B does increase the build diversity available to newer players.

Of course, printing a well-balanced D increases build diversity for everyone, and in the ideal case also convinces some long-time players to part with their OOP A and B so newer players can have a chance at those choices too. But if that doesn't work out, either because we can't seem to come up with a compelling D that isn't just a superficial retouching, or because even after releasing D there still aren't enough A and B out there for sale/trade, then I'm strongly in favor of doing the reprint. Build diversity should be available to everyone.

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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #44

Endgame wrote:

Brad Mortensen wrote: You’re thinking in a vacuum.

Say our builds are identical, except for hands and one Ioun Stone.

I have Brute and use a Quicksilver Cube to make up for the lost DEX
Say you have Mithral and an Onyx Sphere to get to an odd STR.

Different tokens, but we both end up at +5 STR. What’s diverse about that?

(Half-baked example) Now let’s say we create a new path, beyond “bash them with brute strength.” Someone suggested a finesse weapon awhile back. DEX bonus to hit and damage, but in melee. First, it would need some balance, like no torso armor or shield (too restrictive for fencing) and new weapons like rapiers (maybe those have the armor restriction baked into them), and more ways to get DEX bonuses. People might ask for a Gloves of Dexterity reprint instead of Mithral Gauntlets... and we don’t have to change a thing on the character cards.

That’s what I mean by diversity.

This is still just tweaking +hit / + damage/ +AC / +Saves.

So my Fighter uses a Dex based Rapier and ends up at +20 hit and +25 damage.
Alternatively, my Fighter uses a conventional STR approach to obtain the same +20 hit and +25 damage.

In either case we landed on the same values, and we used different tokens to get there. Whether its gloves of dexterity with a Rapier, or Mithral Gauntlets with an Axe, or a Mace + Gloves of Glory to insert a + damage ring.

As long as the tokens are different, its variety, even if we land at the same values.


I agree, if all you do is replace one stat for another it doesn’t do much. You can’t stop there.

Fencing is different from bashing. You can add more things to round it out and make it different, like:

Charm of Disarm - on 19+, opponent loses one attack next round

Rapier of Bleeding - a finesse version of Rapier of Piercing

This was just an example on how you can start a new build path, and how reprinting current BiS only gets in the way and slows this down.

Maybe someone can start a thread about some specific alternative builds. Let’s not derail Raven’s topic hammering out one idea.
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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #45

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Brad Mortensen wrote: Maybe someone can start a thread about some specific alternative builds. Let’s not derail Raven’s topic hammering out one idea.


I dunno... Alternative Builds sounds like it's part of Diversity.
I don't (strenuously) object ; )

And honestly, I really like your ideas about Charm of Disarm or Rapier of Bleeding.
But I can also see people trying to min-max those into existing builds for power creep levels of damage.
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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #46

Raven wrote:

Brad Mortensen wrote: Maybe someone can start a thread about some specific alternative builds. Let’s not derail Raven’s topic hammering out one idea.


I dunno... Alternative Builds sounds like it's part of Diversity.
I don't (strenuously) object ; )

And honestly, I really like your ideas about Charm of Disarm or Rapier of Bleeding.
But I can also see people trying to min-max those into existing builds for power creep levels of damage.


Agreed. Needs lots of tweaking. CoD can only work with Finesse, only can use Finesse with STR < 15, or a tattoo that allows finesse but caps AC at 18, etc. But we’d end up with a totally different type of Fighter, which I think could be entertaining
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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #47

Endgame wrote:

Josh EC wrote: This blog post about Yu-Gi-Oh vs magic and the different philosophies in the two systems about card retirements reminds me of this discussion: www.d20alameda.com/2018/06/19/so-why-is-yugioh-banned-at-d20-games-anway/ . What does a reprint really mean? The main premise is that it is necessary to retire things to really have a stable system.

Also, I love the backstory token idea.

Chess is >500 years old, and has not retired anything in that time, and is pretty stable. Just staying


The article is contemplating the dynamics of a collectible game system which release many new game pieces and rules on a regular basis.

It's not saying you have to obsolete pieces in hopscotch.

Exercise for the reader: is TD closer to chess or Magic in terms of the principles that may apply?

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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #48

Raven wrote:

Brad Mortensen wrote: Maybe someone can start a thread about some specific alternative builds. Let’s not derail Raven’s topic hammering out one idea.


I dunno... Alternative Builds sounds like it's part of Diversity.
I don't (strenuously) object ; )

And honestly, I really like your ideas about Charm of Disarm or Rapier of Bleeding.
But I can also see people trying to min-max those into existing builds for power creep levels of damage.


I think part of this approach is to start with the end in mind. MMOs do this with some defined roles:

DPS - non-resilient characters that deal high damage
Tank - highly resilient characters with party buffs that absorb damage for the party
Support - Cleric / bard like

If TD were to define say 5 such roles, then associate 2 roles with each class, then support those roles with tokens, diversity might emerge.

Diversity doesn't emerge today because most classes are trying to deal as much damage as they can quickly, which leads to one kind of build when most STR/melee boosters are usable by all. Even if there were bunches of ranged boosters that were competitive (we're getting there), I don't really consider "high DPS in melee" and "equivalent high DPS at range" to be "diversity."

This might be inevitable, given the fact that you get basically 3 rounds of combat per encounter.

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