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Naron
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Questions about D&D.

Post by Naron » October 16th, 2013, 1:44 pm

As mentioned in a thread on the forum, I started playing NWN and get familiar with the D&D system.
A problem with D&D is that it is hard to understand, at least for me.
In particular, I do not understand clearly what a dice means and how it work.
For example, 2d4 means any number between 1 and 8?
Or what exactly is d20?
I read articles about D&D, but I did not quite understand. Maybe someone on the forum could explain me better.
Of course, I hope I do not bother with my questions.

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Turuk
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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Turuk » October 16th, 2013, 3:03 pm

2d4 means that you need to roll a 4-sided dice twice to get the necessary value. You might also see 2d4 +2, which means you roll the 4-sided dice twice and then add 2 to get you value. It can be any number that is added, the 2 is an example.

A d20 is a 20 sided dice.
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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Dugi » October 16th, 2013, 3:20 pm

I have played NWN and NWN2 quite a lot, learned the mechanics and made a few power builds, so I guess I might be somebody capable to help you.

About the dice throws. 2d4 means two throws of a 4-faced dice, that is like random(from 1 to 4) + random(from 1 to 4). The result will be between 2 and 8, but the probability to get 2 or 8 is only 6%. The average damage from it is 5 (each 4-faced dice throw is 2.5 average, (1+2+3+4)/4=2.5). d20 means a random number from 1 to 20 (in the case of d20, 20 can mean some sort of lucky hit with some extra bonuses).

To briefly explain how does the combat go there:
When a unit attacks, it rolls a d20 (that is, a random number from 1 to 20), and if the result is higher than the enemy's AC (some sort of defence, usually calculated as 10 + bonuses, mostly from dexterity, armour and shield) or equal to 20, the unit hits and the enemy takes the damage. In later game, quite a lot of bonuses to AC can be collected, and the AC can get over 20, or even 40 with a good defensive build. To counter that, every unit gets a bonus to attack, that is 1 point per level if he is of a proper fighting class (fighter, paladin, ranger), 3/4 of point per level rounded down if he is from a partially fighting class (cleric, monk, bard) or 1/2 of point rounded down if he's from a class unsuitable for combat (sorcerer, wizard). Attack and defence are increased when the weapon or armour has a +1 or +2 or such enhancement bonus effect on it (on weapons, it also increases the damage). Damage and attack bonus are also increased by strength bonus (16 strength means 3 strength bonus, attribute bonus is always (attribute-10)/2).

So if we have a level paladin ranger with a +2 longsword and 14 strength (that is a +2 strength bonus to attack) who attacks a ranger with 18 dexterity (that means +4 dexterity bonus to defence) and hide armour + 2 (that is another +4 bonus to defence and a +2 bonus to defence):
Attack bonus is 12 from being a paladin on level 12 plus 2 from longsword enhancement bonus, plus 2 from strength bonus that is 16 total.
Defence is 10 (base) + 4 (dexterity bonus from 18 dexterity) + 4 (armour bonus from hide armour) + 2 (armour enhancement bonus) = 20.
Now the attacker rolls with a d20 dice. He needs to roll at least 4 to hit him, because 4 + 16 (his attack bonus) = 20 (opponent's defence). So, only numbers 1, 2 and 3 mean failure, so his chance to miss is only 3/20, resulting in a chance to hit equal to 85% (note: because rolling an attack of 20 means automatic hit, the minimal chance to hit is 5%).

Then the damage is calculated. The paladin has a +2 longsword and +2 strength bonus, that is 1d8 + 4 damage, meaning that first you get a random damage between 1 and 8 and then 4 is added, the resulting range is therefore 5-13. Let's say that you roll 6. The resulting damage is 6+4 = 10. The ranger will take 10 damage.

When the paladin has +12 attack bonus from the level in his class, he'll also gain extra attacks, ruled that each of them has 5 less attack than the previous attack and must be greater than 0, so 12 base attack bonus means he'll gain two other attacks, one with base bonus of 7 and one with base bonus of 2. Their damage will be then increased by bonuses, increasing them to 16/11/6 (he won't gain another attack with 1 attack bonus). These attacks have a much lower chance to hit, but have the same damage.
Dualwielding gives you extra attacks with the other weapon, that is normally one attack, for the cost of massive penalties to attack bonus (which can be reduced by feats), and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting adds a second attack with the other weapon (two attacks are maximum for the secondary weapon in NWN).

I hope my reply wasn't as unclear as the stuff you've read before :wink:

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Naron » October 16th, 2013, 3:49 pm

Turuk&Dugi: thank you for your answers.
Dugi, in your example, I understand better how the dice work.
But I still have to force myself to learn, because I was never good at math. :(
Another question: why do wizards suffer spell failure when wearing armor? If I understand correctly, the clerics (which are a kind of spellcasters) do not have this problem.
Complicated is D&D. :?

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Crow_T » October 16th, 2013, 9:23 pm

D&D is complicated! I am reading a book, Of Dice and Men, about the origins of D&D, its pretty interesting so far. A big part of the complexity comes from the freedom players have, so trying to cover all scenarios people come up with is a giant can of worms. I would say join a group and play in person if you can, especially one with an experienced DM.

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Dugi » October 16th, 2013, 9:52 pm

Naron wrote:I was never good at math.
Really? That sucks, maths are very important.
Naron wrote:Another question: why do wizards suffer spell failure when wearing armor? If I understand correctly, the clerics (which are a kind of spellcasters) do not have this problem.
Armour has a stat named Arcane Spell Failure, and wizards and sorcerers use arcane spells, so when a wizard or a sorcerer (or a bard) casts a spell, it is affected by the armour. Divine Spell failure exists, but it is not generated by armour, so druids, clerics, rangers and paladins can cast their spells in armour without problems. It is probably because sorcerers and wizards can cast spells that do 20d6 damage (possibly with +50% damage if using the Empower Spell arcane feat, or replaced by 20*6=120 damage with Maximize Spell), that is like twice as much as the maximal 10d6 clerics can deal, and they have to pay for this power with vulnerability (armour and would be for them like +11 free AC otherwise). Some arcane spells like Word of Power, Kill aren't subject to arcane spell failure, but neither of them is particularly useful. There is a metamagic feat named Still Spell (easy to get) that lets you cast spells freely in armour, but they occupy spell slots one level higher and can't be combined with damage boosts metamagic feats. There is also Automatic Still Spell, but that is seriously hard to get, only for near-maximum level characters.

@Crow_T Very interesting things you've said...

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Dixie » October 16th, 2013, 11:17 pm

I will be tangentially off-topic here, but so be it. I always thought D&D had too many rules, too many numbers, die rolls and complicated tables. In effect, it restricts more the players' freedom that it allows it because it tries to cover everything too much. I much prefer systems such as White Wolf's, where you have attributes (ex: strength, intelligence, etc.) ranging between 1 & 5 and skills (ex: melee, investigation, etc.). For any action, the GM (game master) uses his logic to determine which attribute+skill combination said action would be, adds both values (giving a result between 1 and 10) and rolls that many 10-sided die. Save for special circumstances, every die showing a 7 or more is considered a success. Having a success means you succeeded in the task. Having more and more successes means you kicked the task's ass so hard it sky rocketed to the moon and you look super bad ass (plus you can have appreciable side-effects, discretion of the GM).

Sure, it is not as specialized, but it is much more simple and doesn't get in the way of having fun. D&D's infinite numbers slow the game and tamper with the fun. IMHO, anyway...

Although playing on the computer alleviates this, because you don't have to constently remember the tables etc. and calculate, the engine does it for you. You only need to mostly understand the rules...
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Crow_T
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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Crow_T » October 16th, 2013, 11:54 pm

Yes Dixie, but the computer always cheats- in a dice roll you can blame your particular god :lol2:

Plus there might be girls there.

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by GunChleoc » October 17th, 2013, 8:50 am

Crow_T wrote:Plus there might be girls there.
There might be :P

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Naron » October 17th, 2013, 9:19 am

Dugi wrote:
Naron wrote:I was never good at math.
Really? That sucks, maths are very important.
I know. But math has never attracted me, I preferred to study it at a minimum, just enough to not remain corigent.
I guess now paying the price. :augh:
It means I can not play NWN? Or to understand D&D?
If I understand correctly, D&D is a paper and pencil game, which existed long before the electronic games. Frankly, this surprised me. I thought it was an electronic game. In my country there is no club dedicated to D&D, the only way in which it is known are computer games.
And much math is involved. :augh: But I do not quit, I'm trying to learn the system.
Crow_T wrote:Yes Dixie, but the computer always cheats- in a dice roll you can blame your particular god :lol2:

Plus there might be girls there.
Now I read something about D&D deities. Interestingly, it seems the gods have an overgod that govern them. Lord Ao, this is his name.

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Dugi » October 17th, 2013, 11:54 am

I know. But math has never attracted me, I preferred to study it at a minimum, just enough to not remain corigent.
I guess now paying the price.
It means I can not play NWN? Or to understand D&D?
It does not require a lot of maths knowledge to understand the rules of D&D, just knowing maths helps a lot. There are no implicitly declared functions, no analytical geometry, no probability function, no differential calculus, no recursive equations, no Fourier series, just elementary school level maths, but the ability to think mathematically will help you to plan character builds and prepare strategies properly. In fact, mathematical thinking helps a lot basically in all strategy and RPG games, not just D&D games. Maths rock.
Now I read something about D&D deities. Interestingly, it seems the gods have an overgod that govern them. Lord Ao, this is his name.
Yeah, but their gods seem to be similar to the Greek gods, who plotted against each other all the time. With the speciality that D&D gods sometimes kill each other, for example when Myrkul the god of the dead and former necromancer tried to take Ao's post and become the ruler of gods, failed and started a war between gods. The fact that their gods have power from being worshipped makes their gods somewhat mundane.

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Naron » October 17th, 2013, 3:18 pm

Dugi wrote: If you need some build suggestions, just ask.
I really wanted to ask you about that. I do not know what to choose. What build would you recommend to play NWN 1 as a beginner?
I'm not totally ignorant about RPGs (I played Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura before, but it was simple compared to NWN), and the D&D system is beyond me (yet).

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Dugi » October 17th, 2013, 5:15 pm

It's quite important whether you have the expansions or not, they add some prestige classes that can change a lot.

Probably the best class to start the default campaign is Paladin. It's relatively easy to play (just hacking up anything, occasionally casting some buffs), can use any weapon you want, can endure quite a lot of punishment and is good at persuading characters (which is very important). He has a few spells, but you don't rely on them, so in passages where characters are likely to run out of spells, it won't be your problem.

For lower levels (before 20), I'd build him like this:
Attributes:
Strength: 14
Dexterity: 12 (you will wear heavy armour that will make everything higher useless)
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 14 (this is enough to be able to get all spells, if you don't care about spells, leave it at 8 and put the rest into Strength, Constitution and Charisma)
Charisma: 15 (if you have the datadisks, put the attributes you get each level here, otherwise get it to 16 and put the rest into strength or constitution, don't leave odd numbers in any attributes unless necessary)

Race:
human (nothing else has useful bonuses)

Skills:
Discipline
Persuade
if you want, you can also put points into Heal, Lore, Intimidate or Appraise
leave the rest

Feats to take:
power attack
cleave
divine shield, divine might (if you have the datadisks, these are quite important, but need a lot of charisma to be good)
toughness
(at level 12, you should be able to make further choices, depends on how much you use turn undead or smite)

Gear:
Get the weapon with best damage (and usually also enhancement bonus)
With armour, normally focus on highest AC (unless you get Bracers of Armour with a good value and an armour that is good at something else, but don't wear light armours in any case and better avoid wearing medium armours)
With shield, go for as much AC as possible
With the rest, try to grab items that give AC, strength, constitution or charisma (beware, bracers of armour's magical AC bonus does not stack with the enhancement bonuses on armour, so you should rather get extra AC from rings and amulets, cloaks usually give charisma, bracers or boots give constitution, belts give strength, so choice will not be a problem)
Haste effect is extremely useful, try to get it if possible

Henchman:
Daelan Red-Tiger (from my experience, tough warriors are the most useful, and the game does not know to play well with spellcasters)
Grimgnaw (is a tank, a mage-killer, but heavy fighters are a problem for him)

Spells (if you care about them):
Go for heals and attribute increasing spells like Eagle's splendour for charisma, Bull's strength or Bear's endurance

Generally:
Cast Divine might and Divine shield if the battle doesn't seem to be easy. You can also cast some spells to be stronger (careful, Eagle's splendour must be before divine might and divine shield). In a battle, you can try to destroy undead without fight by casting Turn undead, possibly repeatedly. If you think your enemies are evil (they mostly are), use Smite from time to time.

If you don't want to play a Paladin, you can also try a sorcerer or a cleric, I find them useful and quite easy to play.
I can make also more experimental builds with potentially much greater damage or versatility, but they are usually really hard to play (or even 100% relying on henchmen) on certain level ranges, and that's not good when playing the game for the first time.

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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Naron » October 17th, 2013, 7:17 pm

Dugi wrote:It's quite important whether you have the expansions or not, they add some prestige classes that can change a lot.
I have NWN Diamond Edition, patch 1.69. Is that okay?
Otherwise, your suggestions seem to me excellent. Thank you.
I have to play a Paladin, and as I learn, I will try other classes.

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Dugi
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Re: Questions about D&D.

Post by Dugi » October 17th, 2013, 7:25 pm

Diamond edition should be enough, there are the two datadisks and also the latest update (although I personally didn't like when they added visual to cloaks, you could have wings if you had the Red Dragon Disciple prestige class and the cloak replaced their graphics).
And one more thing, don't pick any of the Paladin packages, hit customise, it frequently makes you choose lame skills and feats.

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