An interesting post I read at Wondrous Imaginings got me to thinking that maybe I have been mistaken in what I understand game balance to mean in the mind of the old-school gamer. I always thought of game balance to be an approximate leveling of the field in terms of overall effectiveness of each character class. In my younger days, we often argued one class was better than another. I remember when the original Unearthed Arcana was released, everyone pretty much assumed the fighter class was irrelevent now that the new barbarian class was so obviously superior. That was our idea of a lack of game balance. However, game balance apparently means something different to JoetheLawyer, since his criticism stems from balancing encounters. He argues that new school D&D lacks realism since high-level parties never encounter weak opponents. This is, of course, not true. It happens all the time, but why waste valuable playing time dealing with such minor inconveniences. We don't play out every encounter with a particularly bothersome mosquito, so why should a group of 12th level characters bother to play out the one round of combat it takes to stomp out a small band of normal orcs. We just assume a few such encounters took place and were dealt with appropriately.
Another awesome Guardians poster design
2 days ago