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interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / Re: [Boing Boing] Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws in the game's Challenge Rating system

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* [Boing Boing] Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws in thekyonshi
`- Re: [Boing Boing] Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws inSpalls Hurgenson

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[Boing Boing] Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws in the game's Challenge Rating system

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From: gmke...@gmail.com (kyonshi)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: [Boing Boing] Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits
flaws in the game's Challenge Rating system
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2024 13:38:11 +0100
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 by: kyonshi - Tue, 6 Feb 2024 12:38 UTC

https://boingboing.net/2024/02/03/laid-off-dd-designer-mike-mearls-admits-flaws-in-the-games-challenge-rating-system.html

Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws in the
game's Challenge Rating system
Gareth Branwyn 2:38 am Sat Feb 3, 2024

In a candid admission on the RPG site EN World, Mike Mearls, former D&D
designer, confronts the flaws of the Challenge Rating (CR) system, a
tool meant to help Dungeon Masters balance encounters in the game.
Mearls, who had a significant role in developing 5th edition, expresses
his personal struggles with CR and announces his creation of a more
reliable point-based system inspired by Warhammer 40,000. This new
approach aims to even the playing field for encounters, ensuring a more
balanced experience for players.

From an article on Wargamer:

According to Mearls, while other designers "pushed to do something
else," he "locked us into CR because it fit with our timeline and was a
tool that our existing DM base already understood." Apparently, the work
was constrained by a "small budget" and "tiny team." Now Mearls argues
that the decision was correct from the POV of a producer in his position
at the time, but "it wasn't a great call from a design point of view."

Many DMs complain that CR is an unreliable yardstick for measuring
an encounter's difficulty, and ironically, it looks like Mearls is among
them. He's now come up with a new point-based tool that's apparently
inspired by Warhammer 40k. The system assigns point values to different
characters and monsters, and in a balanced encounter, the points will be
the same on either side. It's available on Github for free.

[…]

One of many Wizards of the Coast employees let go in the 1,000
Hasbro layoffs that took place in December, Mike Mearls had been at
Wizards since 2005 and was a prominent developer on both Fourth and
Fifth editions. Now, it seems he's continuing his DnD design work as a
third party creator.

"Work I did for WotC is owned by WotC, so I can't take it up and
expand on it," Mearls said in response to a question on the forums.
"However, there's tons of empty space beyond those bounds that I want to
explore."

Re: [Boing Boing] Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws in the game's Challenge Rating system

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From: spallshu...@gmail.com (Spalls Hurgenson)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: [Boing Boing] Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws in the game's Challenge Rating system
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2024 12:20:38 -0500
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 by: Spalls Hurgenson - Tue, 6 Feb 2024 17:20 UTC

On Tue, 6 Feb 2024 13:38:11 +0100, kyonshi <gmkeros@gmail.com> wrote:

>https://boingboing.net/2024/02/03/laid-off-dd-designer-mike-mearls-admits-flaws-in-the-games-challenge-rating-system.html
>
>Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws in the
>game's Challenge Rating system
>Gareth Branwyn 2:38 am Sat Feb 3, 2024
>
>In a candid admission on the RPG site EN World, Mike Mearls, former D&D
>designer, confronts the flaws of the Challenge Rating (CR) system, a
>tool meant to help Dungeon Masters balance encounters in the game.
>Mearls, who had a significant role in developing 5th edition, expresses
>his personal struggles with CR and announces his creation of a more
>reliable point-based system inspired by Warhammer 40,000. This new
>approach aims to even the playing field for encounters, ensuring a more
>balanced experience for players.
>
> From an article on Wargamer:
>
> According to Mearls, while other designers "pushed to do something
>else," he "locked us into CR because it fit with our timeline and was a
>tool that our existing DM base already understood." Apparently, the work
>was constrained by a "small budget" and "tiny team." Now Mearls argues
>that the decision was correct from the POV of a producer in his position
>at the time, but "it wasn't a great call from a design point of view."
>
> Many DMs complain that CR is an unreliable yardstick for measuring
>an encounter's difficulty, and ironically, it looks like Mearls is among
>them. He's now come up with a new point-based tool that's apparently
>inspired by Warhammer 40k. The system assigns point values to different
>characters and monsters, and in a balanced encounter, the points will be
>the same on either side. It's available on Github for free.

I have to admit, I never really 'got' the whole Challenge Rating
thing. Then again, I never really tried very hard to understand it. At
least for me, a monster's stats often had relatively little to do with
how difficult an encounter would be for a party. There's a famous
story about a bunch of high-level PCs getting spanked by kobolds;
while there was rarely quite so egregious an encounter in our
campaigns, still I could make even low HD monsters give players a run
for their money (the Overbearing rule is a DM's best friend ;-). I
rarely killed player characters, but even a small fight could leave
you mangled if you weren't cautious.

(it helped that our campaigns were fairly low magic. Not being able to
pull out a Wand of Fireballs or quaff a potion of healing, or trebel
up on 'buff' spells beforehand meant that the PCs didn't have a huge
mystical advantage of the monsters). It's not that such tools were
never available to them, but they were rare enough that the players
hoarded them to be used only in the biggest fights, and I was as quick
to remove them from players - taxes, thieves, breakage, accidental
loss, etc.) - that rare was the party that had a lot of superfluous
magic items at their beck and call).

So the Challenge System - or even a "this adventure intended for
parties of levels 3 through 6" - never really worked for me. Not every
monster was a nightmare to fight - especially if the players caught it
off guard - but the players could never take it for granted that
goblins or rats were quite as easy to dispatch as might first appear.


interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / Re: [Boing Boing] Former Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls admits flaws in the game's Challenge Rating system

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