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TOPIC: Build Diversity

Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #73

Bob Chasan wrote:

Wade Schwendemann wrote: Is diversity in builds actually all that important in a team game where each class is only represented once?

If every monk or barbarian is the same at the highest levels, does that matter? Let those players play however they want.

I guess I'm not sure I understand that this is a problem at all.

If you want build diversity *and* equivalency, that will be tough. If you just want diversity, you can certainly have it. I cant wait to play my retribution builds. They aren't the "best," but I enjoy the DMs faces when they hit me for 30 and get hit back for 25.


Just going through this thread, I’m not sure why there has to be build diversity? In each rn there’s only 1 wizard and 1 Elf Wizard so it’s not as if there are 8 wizards with overlapping responsibilities and capabilities.


My opinion? The reasons are metagame. A big piece is economic. When there’s only one viable approach to build a class, then everyone is competing for this same BiS OOP tokens, making them hard to find. This creates pressure that jacks up prices and has a lot of people calling for reprints.

If there was more than one way to build a character, then there would be multiple BiS to choose from. That would make it easier and cheaper for people to climb the power ladder.

And maybe part of it is boredom. After your 100th adventure as a 2H-headbanger, people want to try something a little different, like Wade’s retribution build, or the various de-ranged characters.
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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #74

Brad Mortensen wrote:

Bob Chasan wrote:

Wade Schwendemann wrote: Is diversity in builds actually all that important in a team game where each class is only represented once?

If every monk or barbarian is the same at the highest levels, does that matter? Let those players play however they want.

I guess I'm not sure I understand that this is a problem at all.

If you want build diversity *and* equivalency, that will be tough. If you just want diversity, you can certainly have it. I cant wait to play my retribution builds. They aren't the "best," but I enjoy the DMs faces when they hit me for 30 and get hit back for 25.


Just going through this thread, I’m not sure why there has to be build diversity? In each rn there’s only 1 wizard and 1 Elf Wizard so it’s not as if there are 8 wizards with overlapping responsibilities and capabilities.


My opinion? The reasons are metagame. A big piece is economic. When there’s only one viable approach to build a class, then everyone is competing for this same BiS OOP tokens, making them hard to find. This creates pressure that jacks up prices and has a lot of people calling for reprints.

If there was more than one way to build a character, then there would be multiple BiS to choose from. That would make it easier and cheaper for people to climb the power ladder.

And maybe part of it is boredom. After your 100th adventure as a 2H-headbanger, people want to try something a little different, like Wade’s retribution build, or the various de-ranged characters.


Brad, thanks for being kind and explaining the excitement. In this case I’m FOR build diversity but acknowledge how difficult that will actually be to accomplish. I look forward to seeing the solution. I wish I had a viable solution to suggest.
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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #75

As both a player and a DM I am unhappy in either of these cases:
  • Every player with class XYZ has pretty much the same build.
  • Even worse, if more or less the same build is optimum for many classes

Effectively I want different flavors between and even within classes. It makes the game more interesting.
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Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #76

Matthew Hayward wrote: Got it - interesting - well thanks for teasing out the play diversity / build diversity difference. I'm thinking more about play diversity.

One problem I see with build diversity is that, at least for melee, there is so much stackable strength and to-damage mods that seem unbeatable (e.g. Ioun Stone Onyx Cube, Surtr's +7 Girdle, Dungeonbane +4 STR, +5 Eldritch Boots, +3 Ring of the Eel), that the small differences in the gloves slot end up not really mattering.

For example, most UR melee builds can get to 30 STR easy, a +2 UR weapon, and at least +5 melee damage in their build.

That gives, say: +12 to hit / +15 to damage.

If you then fiddle around with the hands slot you get:

Mithral Gauntlets: +14 / +17, mithral set
Weapon Finesse: +15 / +15
Brute: +14.5 / +17.5, -2 DEX
Linked Fury: +12 / +20, class limits and must use 2 handed weapons

To me the differences between these are small enough that they don't count for much. Linked Fury seems to actually offer some kind of choice, but I don't see the difference between the others to be substantial enough to fit the description of offering build diversity.

As the builds get higher and higher the differences are minimized further - a BiS melee build can be fielding something like +24 to STR, an additional +6 to hit, an additional +14 to damage before the gloves slot. Here you're looking at like:

+21 to hit and +29 to damage before gloves. The ~2 point to hit or damage differences between different gloves seem irrelevant to me at this point.


We have several different levels of tokens that are part of the discussion here that should be broken out.

1) Common / Uncommon / Rare.
There is a lot of variety here, as tokens tend to be focused and have some pros and cons. For example. the Defenders set really only focuses on AC. There are other armors available that can do other things (add Con / Str / Damage / Saves) but they do not match the AC of Defenders. Additionally, even older tokens at this level tend to be available. If I want some 2012 token, like helm of the Eagle, all I have to do is check the regular token sites and generally I'll find what I'm looking for, for <$10.

2) UR and under.
Variety starts to shrink here as we have less tokens available, start to see more tokens that "do it all", and supply is so limited that some options can't even be bought. The Redoubt set tries to "do it all" by having the highest AC, and a STR boost, and a HP boost. It does have a - to saves, which is the only thing that keeps it from completely obsoleting the Templar set. The gloves discussed earlier have some variety, but good luck finding most of them on the token sites. We also start to see some best in slot items at this level, such as slot expander / slot traders.

3) Relic / Premium / Volunteer
We again see a decrease in token quantity, more tendency to add "do it all" by consolidating multiple tokens into a single token (charm of awakened synergy), and less competition (ex: only 1 choice for relic armor), and more BiS items. Since there are fewer tokens here, if you've reached this level builds start to looking more and more the same, unless there is a strictly better token available at the next tier up.

4) Legendary / Multi Year Set (Eldrich)
The smallest token base, and essentially 0 competition between slots outside of weapons. Anyone playing at this level is likely use the same tokens as everyone else, because there are no alternatives. Additionally, the numbers are so large that differences made in other pieces of the build start to become a small percentage. Ex, adding a +7 str belt means that the difference between swapping out +2 hit / +2 damage gloves for +3 hit +0 damage gloves is generally meaningless.

I'd like to leave tier 3 and 4 out of the discussion for now as the limited number of tokens, and small increase per year means these two levels are unlikely to change build wise anytime soon.

At Tier 2, I'd like to show how focusing on the differences in the gloves can greatly change the builds. Unfortunately, due to slot expanders and minimum slot competition, charm and ioun stones tend to be similar across the build, but otherwise there is quite a bit of variation. Additionally, these builds may not be fully optimized as once I realized how difficult it is to get to some of these tokens, I stopped playing with builds using them.

1H Fighter build that neglects range (+19 hit / +21 Damage / 70hp / 28 AC / + 21 fort / +11 Ref / +9 will)
tdcharactercreator.com/#/character/edit/53834f7f-6aa5-415a-b24b-fa2e692929e1

2H Fighter build that neglects range (+18 hit / +31 Damage / 45hp / 15 AC / +15 fort / +16 Ref / +17 will)
tdcharactercreator.com/#/character/edit/a6993cd6-a26d-4117-be92-051f6f4bda1b

1H Fighter Build that tries to be competent at range (Melee +16 hit / +15 Damage / Range +10 hit / +15 Damage / 44hp / 20 AC / +15 fort / +17 Ref / +18 will)
tdcharactercreator.com/#/character/edit/bf8ae7ae-ba4c-4570-9b8e-4b50c3607a52

1H Fighter Build that mains range, but can still hit in melee if necessary. Uses a relic bow, because its the only way you would go with this build.
(Melee +15 hit / +8 Damage / Range +14 hit / +9 Damage / 52hp / 21 AC / +17 fort / +16 Ref / +12 will)
tdcharactercreator.com/#/character/edit/be0e042f-e60f-42a0-baa1-147d9d49c3a6


*Edit*
I also left out all of the slotless items. Either you have them, or you don't. Any build can use the same slotless tokens as any other build, so it was faster to fill out the website without them.

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Last edit: by Endgame.

Build Diversity 11 months 1 week ago #77

Kirk Bauer wrote: As both a player and a DM I am unhappy in either of these cases:

  • Every player with class XYZ has pretty much the same build.
  • Even worse, if more or less the same build is optimum for many classes

Effectively I want different flavors between and even within classes. It makes the game more interesting.


I agree that #2 is a problem. I'm actually ok with #1.

I think there are a lot of ways to keep the game fresh and new. Trying different builds, even if they aren't "optimized" does allow for some changing things up.

I definitely think that the current NM level allows for a lot of experimentation if one has Epic level gear. I would like to see more ways to be effective in combat (Psychic for example)
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Build Diversity 7 months 1 week ago #78

Personally, I think we miss a huge opportunity by having 95% of the gear only really matter in 50% of the rooms. Everyone min-maxing for combat because we get 2, maybe 3, rounds of combat and then we're out of time (the real enemy is the clock). So even in the realm of diversity where in D&D you might see Fighters who build for high AC and HP to serve as Tanks, and Wizards who focus on supplemental spells for battlefield control, in the interest of time, so much of it becomes this alpha strike mentality: getting the to-hit numbers high enough to consistently hit with your slides, and then maxing out the damage you deal with the attack.

I've got a pretty good kit built as a healer cleric, and the longer I play, the more I see that most groups view me as a liability and want the healing done between combats, with me needing more ability to dish out damage during the actual fight.

Keeping in mind the idea that the real enemy is the clock and so most builds that would be designed for a slower, safer battle will generally get shunted aside, there is a different way to address build diversity. Literally half of the rooms are not combat; they are puzzles. And in puzzle rooms, our gear doesn't really seem to matter at all.

What if there was gear that was going to help out in puzzle rooms? What if a high enough Intelligence score transitioned into the D&D equivalent of a Search check, so there was a certain threshold where the volunteer would point out something you might not otherwise have seen. What if a high enough Wisdom score transitioned into us learning the Puzzle Hint regardless of if the Rogue has taken the treasure. These scores could either be set at thresholds (if somebody has an Int 22+ in this room, they get X additional hint), or they could be based on times (Wis 30 gets the hint immediately, Wis 28 gets it at 3 minutes, 26 gets it at 6 minutes, 24 gets it at 9 minutes).

Obviously the extreme min-maxers will already have run the dungeon and know the puzzle solutions, but those are the same people who actually enjoy the min-maxing and I am not suggesting that that be removed as an option. Instead, I'm thinking as an appeal to players who perhaps only make a con once a year and do each dungeon a single time, for them, a smidgeon more help in the puzzle rooms could be something they end up valuing even more than a bit more extra damage in the combats, particularly those who play on lower difficulties.

(Yes, on lower difficulties they can survive the push damage for puzzle failure, but lower difficulties make the combats easier without necessarily making the puzzles easier, and the experience of failing half the rooms as a less experienced player has got to be frustrating)

At least, in my opinion, the best place to start with build diversity would be not just making less effective combat builds that only more laid back players want; we already have those handful of melee wizards and bow fighters. Instead, it's about focusing on things that would open opportunities in the dungeon aside from combat.

Imagine "Gatecrasher's Boots" that allow the Barbarian or Fighter to take a significant chunk of voluntary damage once per dungeon to "smash" the chest and draw a treasure like the rogue. Or a "Crystal Ball of Future Sight" that can be used once per game after completing a room challenge which reveals to the party if the next room is a Combat or a Puzzle, giving you a chance to prepare. Imagine a "Scout's Spyglass" that allows the ranger to "scout ahead" on the next room after successfully completing one; not physically walking forward into the next group obviously, but getting to deal a bit of free damage to the next enemy or set up an ambush so you get a surprise round based on how much time you had leftover in the previous room. Imagine a "Token of Loyalty" that lets the Bard perform a charisma test to prevent NPCs from betraying us.

There are options that do not have to be mods for a slide board that could still be really fun and useful, especially for less experienced teams. Items that would fit very well in some of those Uncommon/Rare slots as neat pieces for the more casual players.

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Build Diversity 7 months 1 week ago #79

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Build Diversity 7 months 1 week ago #80

I think you have some really interesting ideas here.

Classes are supposed to be redesigned soon, and I would strongly suggest bringing some of these back up at that time, as well as during 2021 token discussion.

I love the idea of gear to help in puzzle rooms. I would probably make it only 1 or 2 years (like many of the current uncommons, that boost a class's powers against certain enemies, or in a certain plane of existence). Some gear (Ray's ring) has been created, but there is definitely room for more.

Also, be careful not to blur the lines between classes too much. I think "we" want different classes to be able to shine at different times. One of the strangest tokens to me is the bowl of spirit sight. Allowing the druid a power to get either the rogue clue or the bardic monster lore once per game always seemed odd to me.
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Build Diversity 7 months 1 week ago #81

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I actually don’t like the idea of tokens that help with puzzles. Hear me out.

Big and badder tokens are what has driven the increase in difficulty levels and the divergence of token levels. Puzzle based tokens I fear would do the same thing. Puzzles would need to be balanced to make so that these new tokens have value in a build. If they don’t provide anything to a player that equips them on a puzzle they will feel wasted. That seems to mean puzzles get more difficult for those that don’t have them leading to more divergence in token levels.

Generally I don’t care about someone else’s build. Really if you start talking to me about your build in the dungeon I try my hardest not to roll my eyes because I don’t care about your +hit or how much extra damage ypu do. However if I am on a pug run and someone uses tokens to solve a puzzle I would be very disappointed. The group experience of solving a puzzle together is my number one favorite thing about TD. That is why generally I would rather play in a pug with first time through folks than equipped out vets going through the dungeon on their X time.
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Last edit: by jedibcg.

Build Diversity 7 months 1 week ago #82

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Kirk Bauer wrote: As both a player and a DM I am unhappy in either of these cases:

  • Every player with class XYZ has pretty much the same build.
  • Even worse, if more or less the same build is optimum for many classes

Effectively I want different flavors between and even within classes. It makes the game more interesting.


That's in a perfect world. But when TD Tickets are as expensive as they are (even at smaller Cons) then trying to convince yourself to create a few character builds that you will only get to play once, if that, is so hard.
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Build Diversity 7 months 1 week ago #83

I wouldn’t mind gear that helped with a puzzle as long as it didn’t break or auto-solve it.

e.g. in the skull pillar room - I use a piece of chalk to mark the colors of the skulls before the magic fades, so
A. The DM leaves on the black light for the rest of the room = very bad
B. The players get one more use of the light to simulate seeing the marks to give an extra chance before all the handling rubs them off = not so bad
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Last edit: by Brad Mortensen.

Build Diversity 7 months 6 days ago #84

Caleb M Davis wrote: Personally, I think we miss a huge opportunity by having 95% of the gear only really matter in 50% of the rooms. Everyone min-maxing for combat because we get 2, maybe 3, rounds of combat and then we're out of time (the real enemy is the clock). So even in the realm of diversity where in D&D you might see Fighters who build for high AC and HP to serve as Tanks, and Wizards who focus on supplemental spells for battlefield control, in the interest of time, so much of it becomes this alpha strike mentality: getting the to-hit numbers high enough to consistently hit with your slides, and then maxing out the damage you deal with the attack.

I've got a pretty good kit built as a healer cleric, and the longer I play, the more I see that most groups view me as a liability and want the healing done between combats, with me needing more ability to dish out damage during the actual fight.

Keeping in mind the idea that the real enemy is the clock and so most builds that would be designed for a slower, safer battle will generally get shunted aside, there is a different way to address build diversity. Literally half of the rooms are not combat; they are puzzles. And in puzzle rooms, our gear doesn't really seem to matter at all.

What if there was gear that was going to help out in puzzle rooms? What if a high enough Intelligence score transitioned into the D&D equivalent of a Search check, so there was a certain threshold where the volunteer would point out something you might not otherwise have seen. What if a high enough Wisdom score transitioned into us learning the Puzzle Hint regardless of if the Rogue has taken the treasure. These scores could either be set at thresholds (if somebody has an Int 22+ in this room, they get X additional hint), or they could be based on times (Wis 30 gets the hint immediately, Wis 28 gets it at 3 minutes, 26 gets it at 6 minutes, 24 gets it at 9 minutes).

Obviously the extreme min-maxers will already have run the dungeon and know the puzzle solutions, but those are the same people who actually enjoy the min-maxing and I am not suggesting that that be removed as an option. Instead, I'm thinking as an appeal to players who perhaps only make a con once a year and do each dungeon a single time, for them, a smidgeon more help in the puzzle rooms could be something they end up valuing even more than a bit more extra damage in the combats, particularly those who play on lower difficulties.

(Yes, on lower difficulties they can survive the push damage for puzzle failure, but lower difficulties make the combats easier without necessarily making the puzzles easier, and the experience of failing half the rooms as a less experienced player has got to be frustrating)

At least, in my opinion, the best place to start with build diversity would be not just making less effective combat builds that only more laid back players want; we already have those handful of melee wizards and bow fighters. Instead, it's about focusing on things that would open opportunities in the dungeon aside from combat.

Imagine "Gatecrasher's Boots" that allow the Barbarian or Fighter to take a significant chunk of voluntary damage once per dungeon to "smash" the chest and draw a treasure like the rogue. Or a "Crystal Ball of Future Sight" that can be used once per game after completing a room challenge which reveals to the party if the next room is a Combat or a Puzzle, giving you a chance to prepare. Imagine a "Scout's Spyglass" that allows the ranger to "scout ahead" on the next room after successfully completing one; not physically walking forward into the next group obviously, but getting to deal a bit of free damage to the next enemy or set up an ambush so you get a surprise round based on how much time you had leftover in the previous room. Imagine a "Token of Loyalty" that lets the Bard perform a charisma test to prevent NPCs from betraying us.

There are options that do not have to be mods for a slide board that could still be really fun and useful, especially for less experienced teams. Items that would fit very well in some of those Uncommon/Rare slots as neat pieces for the more casual players.


There are a handful of tokens that help in puzzle rooms.
Rogue-centered items that either automatically allow for the clue (crowbar) or make it easier (Edktar's/ masterwork theives' tools). The Libram is also in the boat since it allows the rogue to get both the clue and the treasure so there doesn't have to be a choice.
The bowl of spirit sight allows a druid to get a rogue or bardic clue
Hourglass of Answers (very old and rare woodie) - consumable - helps with a puzzle once
Ray's Ring of Rememberance (cuts puzzle damage by half) - along with about a dozen other items that reduce damage from puzzles/traps
Loki's scroll of blessing (group healing after solving a puzzle)

-Beyond that, I can't think of many items explicitly designed to help with puzzle rooms. As another poster mentioned, there are quite a few pieces of gear that you could use to help if the DM allowed it.

I agree that these would be good but shouldn't be "I have token X so the room is solved."
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