PDA

View Full Version : [4e] Clarifying Misconceptions About D&D 4e...



Pages : 1 [2]

tcrudisi
2009-11-12, 07:36 PM
Even better: Do trains exist in D&D? Why not? In fact, I'd go as far to say 3.5's inclusion of trains is a defining feature of the game.
Of course, they have nothing on 4e's rocket ships.

Okay -- I'm skeptical that 3.5's inclusion of trains is a defining feature. Yeah, it's nice to travel around in, but a defining feature? No way. Eberron was a cool setting ... but trains aren't what define the setting. ( http://eberron.wikia.com/wiki/Lightning_Rail )

But where do you get that 4e has rocket ships? I consider myself very knowledgable about the 4e setting and I haven't heard anything about rocket ships in 4e prior to this. Can you enlighten me, please?

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-12, 07:39 PM
But where do you get that 4e has rocket ships? I consider myself very knowledgable about the 4e setting and I haven't heard anything about rocket ships in 4e prior to this. Can you enlighten me, please?

Manual of the Planes.

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 07:41 PM
Yes, D&D is an RPG and like every single RPG with a GM, the referee is the final arbiter of the game world and is given free reign to ad-hoc numbers. The DMG even contain DCs based on level and difficulty. A DC 27 gate might not be 'official' but a DC 30 gate certainly is (DCs increment in fives) because the rules say it's an appropriate challenge for higher level characters.
So, are you agreeing with me or disagreeing with me? A DC 27 gate is not RAW- therefore a person should not judge the RAW on the basis that it includes DC 27 gates.


Okay -- I'm skeptical that 3.5's inclusion of trains is a defining feature. Yeah, it's nice to travel around in, but a defining feature? No way. Eberron was a cool setting ... but trains aren't what define the setting. ( http://eberron.wikia.com/wiki/Lightning_Rail )

But where do you get that 4e has rocket ships? I consider myself very knowledgable about the 4e setting and I haven't heard anything about rocket ships in 4e prior to this. Can you enlighten me, please?
It was sarcasm. He's saying, things that exist in real life shouldn't be omitted from discussions about an RPG, because it's "common sense" that they would be included.
My point is that common sense houserules are irrelevant to discussions about the quality of the rules of an RPG.

Asbestos
2009-11-12, 07:42 PM
The same logic applies to any edition of D&D and houserules. I can't judge D&D 3.5 because it has armor as DR, or because monks have 1/1 base attack bonus progression. Those are optional elements that have nothing to do with the standard.


That's right, Unearthed Arcana doesn't belong in D&D games because it isn't a part of D&D.
By this whole logic about options... you can only look at the 3 core books in either edition, everything else is an 'option'.


Anyway, the misconception here seems to be that: 4e does not support the sort of out-of-combat interactions that are part of the genre of adventure fantasy. Please, give examples.

Also, which edition makes it easier for DMs to create situationally specific houserules with the least amount of rules mastery/familiarity with the system? This is actually a seriously important question because it can not always be counted on that every DM is a master of the rules and can eye-ball the correct CR for every monster or the correct DC for every off-the-cuff use of a skill.
I think that this CAN be used as a something to judge a system on. The system that actually goes out of its way to provide options and rules for creating options not accounted and does this in a fashion better than another system is the superior system in terms of flexibility.

Hashmir
2009-11-12, 07:43 PM
No, a DC 27 gate would not be official. Houserules should not be included in a normative statement about a game, since they aren't officially part of the game.

Look at it this way: I plan to buy a car. I retain the option of including a CD player and surround sound with the purchase of the car. It would be invalid for me to give a good review about the car model on the basis that it has a CD player and surround sound since the standard model doesn't include it.
The same logic applies to any edition of D&D and houserules. I can't judge D&D 3.5 because it has armor as DR, or because monks have 1/1 base attack bonus progression. Those are optional elements that have nothing to do with the standard.
Using houserules to solve problems with 4e, still means the problems exist in the first place.

That's true, but you also cannot judge it based on the assumption that the car cannot have a CD player and surround sound, because those are options specifically presented by the seller.


And to head off the inevitable "you're playing it incorrectly argument"- D&D is an RPG. 4e's being incapable of fulfilling a role that is part of the genre of adventure fantasy is a problem.

See, here's the thing. I don't disagree with you one bit about what 4e does and does not describe, nor that it takes a certain amount of a certain type of effort for DMs to implement mechanics that are not defined in the books. And I'm certainly not claiming that 4e is superior to 3.5e, nor that 3.5e is bad.

My problem with what you say is simply that you insist on finding things that you want to do, and that are either disallowed or unmentioned by 4e rules, and declaring them to be objective flaws. These are not flaws, they are preferences. The distinction here is critical.

Vampire: the Requiem is a game about vampires. As such, players are vampires from the beginning, there are many rules concerning vampire abilities, and there are no rules for making a pact to gain arcane power. 3.5e, by contrast, has obscure rules concerning vampire PCs, and low-level characters cannot be vampires. However, it is a very high-magic setting (usually), and thus has many different rules concerning warlocks and other classes that wield magical power from an arcane pact.

Now, many people want to play vampires in an RPG. But 3.5e is not equipped to handle low-level vampire characters. This is not a failing on 3.5e's part, because it is not a vampire rules system. You could use it for a vampire game, but it might require houseruling and arbitration to be effective if you feel that many unaddressed aspects of being a vampire demand a proper mechanic.

I could make the mirror argument for warlocks in V:tA, but you get the idea. The point is that different systems have rules for different things, based on what the world described by that system is like, and based on what the players of that game like to emphasize.

Therefore, if want to be a vampire, you should probably play V:tA. If you want to play a game where most of the defined rules pertain to combat, and the other stuff is more abstract, then you should play 4e. And if you want to play a game where there are plenty of defined rules for out-of-combat magic, and crafting, and riding, and playing instruments, then you should be playing 3.5e.

tcrudisi
2009-11-12, 07:43 PM
Whether it's an acceptable shortfalling depends on the players/DM, and the assumptions they make about play. Which is the problem 4e has- it makes very clear, concrete assumptions about play, the narrative of action, and the focus of the rules.
3.5 has support for everything, but doesn't try to push a playstyle (such as... hack and slash dungeon delving) on the player or DM, like 4e does.

4e can't support many of the non-combat oriented character concepts that a player can envision. At least, not without houserules.

I strongly disagree with this statement. With the various DM's I have played under, the only ones that run hack and slash dungeon delving with 4e are the same ones that ran hack and slash dungeon delving with 3.5. The DM's that ran social or investigation type games still run those in 4e -- and I enjoy them better. I love what skill challenges have done for the game.

Just because at most every level you pick a new combat power doesn't mean that you have to do a lick of combat. Heck, in 3.5 your combat stats went up every level too (BAB, defenses, etc). They are identical in that regard.

3.5 and 4e both have character concepts that the other system cannot handle. I can make characters in 4e that cannot be made in 3.5. Likewise, I can make characters in 3.5 that I cannot make in 4e. The difference is that I like how 4e handles combat and out-of-combat much better than 3.5, so I play 4e.

Asbestos
2009-11-12, 07:49 PM
S
It was sarcasm. He's saying, things that exist in real life shouldn't be omitted from discussions about an RPG, because it's "common sense" that they would be included.
My point is that common sense houserules are irrelevant to discussions about the quality of the rules of an RPG.

But a lot of out-of-combat interaction IS COMMON SENSE! Does the lack of a skill called Perform mean that my character can't dance? Does no Profession skill mean that there are no bakers?

This current discussion doesn't so much seem to be about a misconception about 4e... as it is a misconception about every single RPG in existence, ever.

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 07:50 PM
I strongly disagree with this statement. With the various DM's I have played under, the only ones that run hack and slash dungeon delving with 4e are the same ones that ran hack and slash dungeon delving with 3.5. The DM's that ran social or investigation type games still run those in 4e -- and I enjoy them better. I love what skill challenges have done for the game.

Just because at most every level you pick a new combat power doesn't mean that you have to do a lick of combat. Heck, in 3.5 your combat stats went up every level too (BAB, defenses, etc). They are identical in that regard.

3.5 and 4e both have character concepts that the other system cannot handle. I can make characters in 4e that cannot be made in 3.5.
The bolded portion is impossible.
You can roleplay chess, and you can roleplay it well. It doesn't interfere with how you portray your character. But that doesn't make chess a better role playing game. It makes you a good roleplayer.

Likewise, I can make characters in 3.5 that I cannot make in 4e. The difference is that I like how 4e handles combat and out-of-combat much better than 3.5, so I play 4e.
Please, describe just what 4e does differently that makes you enjoy out-of-combat actions better. I really want to hear this.

jseah
2009-11-12, 07:51 PM
And what part is that? What part of adventure fantasy is 4e unable to fulfill that 3.5 can? And why can it not fulfill that part? And is that an acceptable shortfalling? Is it unique in that shortfalling?
Take this scenario.

It's in spoilers as it's very long:
I, as a player, and the rest of the party are presented with a strategic situation. Two countries are at "war" for no good reason (it's more of a Cold War than actual outright conflict); I, as a Good-Aligned character, have the objective of ending this war peacefully.

Unfortunately, I have made a pact with my god to not harm any living thing except in self-defence. (constructs and undead are fine, it's a less harsh analogue of Vow of Peace, no lethal/non-lethal damage allowed)
Therefore, I seek to find another way to end this conflict speedily without having to assassinate anyone.

The party bard is off on a diplomatic mission of peace and the rest of us (wizard, rogue, fighter, cleric) have to back him up by gathering intel and doing covert missions.
In particular, our home country (could be either) has a good intel network and most mundane intelligence activities can be done by NPCs. NPCs have Class Levels and are comparable in power to the PCs (although generally lower level) We need to contribute something special that only we can do.


We're at the planning stage. The DM has given us free-reign to plan our actions. Where to go, who to talk to, is not scripted, the NPCs have their own agendas and it runs from there.

In this planning stage, we want to consider what we can do, potential paths to explore and such. Knowing our own abilities is crucial.

DM has warned us that he will not go easy if we make mistakes. Jump into something you have no information of is gambling your life.
Summary of the scenario I claim 4E cannot fufill:
- Non-railroad campaign, players pick their path
- Need peaceful solution to a war between two countries
- Diplomatic route is being tried. It's going ok, but not fast enough.
- Direct assassination not allowed.
- Things that anyone can do, NPCs are doing. Need something from the PCs.
- PCs need to know what they can do beforehand.

---------------------------------------------------

Why I think 4E cannot handle this type of game:
- Strategic emphasis makes combat power less important
- Rushing around killing everything won't work on multiple levels (goes against character, will get you killed, will make situation worse)
- Rituals, various skills and mundane scouting is being done by NPCs
- PCs need to step outside the rules to use powers that only PCs have the expertise to wield (ie. need houserules, like using Arcana for utility magic)
- PCs need to know what they can do and what they can't. Making stepping outside the rules turn into a quagmire of asking your DM if something could be allowed a hundred times over. (ie. cannot need houserules, hmm... oops do I see a problem =P)

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying this absolutely cannot be run. With a good DM, this scenario could be very fun.
But it's certainly a lot harder to work in 4E than in 3.5E.

Matthew
2009-11-12, 07:51 PM
This was always the destiny of this thread; I think it has actually managed to further obscure any conception of the relationship between D20/3e and D20/4e I previously had. These nonsense arguments about what is and is not explicitly included in the rules especially, no way that will facilitate the clarification of misconceptions.

I would like to see a list of "common misconceptions" about D20/4e, so we can actually have them clarified. I can think of a few:

1) It is bad that combat in D20/4e takes longer than in D20/3e.
2) It is bad that D20/4e has less tactical depth than D20/3e.
3) It is bad that characters in D20/4e are less diverse than those in D20/3e.
4) It is bad that D20/4e is less of a world simulation than D20/3e.

Personally, I found D20/4e a bit boring to play, too much emphasis on "powers" and decision making about which one to use in a given combat. The rest of the game was pretty much like every other D&D type role-playing game I have participated in. Skill challenges were interesting, but seemed to slow down play and detract from immersion.

jmbrown
2009-11-12, 07:52 PM
Whether it's an acceptable shortfalling depends on the players/DM, and the assumptions they make about play. Which is the problem 4e has- it makes very clear, concrete assumptions about play, the narrative of action, and the focus of the rules.
3.5 has support for everything, but doesn't try to push a playstyle (such as... hack and slash dungeon delving) on the player or DM, like 4e does.

4e can't support many of the non-combat oriented character concepts that a player can envision. At least, not without houserules.

3.5 very much supports team based combat just like every single version of D&D before it. There are non-combat feats and options but if you ever go by the standard CR system for determining encounters you ultimately overpower a part whose feats include investigator and skill focus over and over.

4E eliminates the need for specialists in every single thing. Because skills are universal (with the +5 for training being useful mostly during the heroic tier only), you don't need to carry along a skill monkey to do simple things like appraising the value of a gem or trying to spot an orc standing 10' in front of your face who has partial concealment by the shadows. The DM can say "You study the longsword carefully and take note of the runes which ignite in blue fire when you speak the words of eldritch power" instead of "You hand the faceless merchant 100 gold, it's a +1 flaming longsword."

Majority of the rules are focused on combat. Majority of the rules for every D&D edition is focused on combat. Every single D&D iteration, including 4E, includes the section on "what is a roleplaying game" in the very first chapter.

Asbestos
2009-11-12, 07:52 PM
The bolded portion is impossible.

????????????????????????????????????????????????


I'm spent, I'm going to lurk elsewhere while I get the SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET! out of my system.

jseah's post is making me twitchy...

Mando Knight
2009-11-12, 07:56 PM
Which is the problem 4e has- it makes very clear, concrete assumptions about play, the narrative of action, and the focus of the rules.
Is your problem that it makes assumptions, or that it makes them clear? As written, that's what your statement implies...

Without assumptions, a system can't begin to define what it can cover with the rules. Without making those assumptions clear, the intentions and meaning of the rules become unclear.

3.5 has support for everything, but doesn't try to push a playstyle (such as... hack and slash dungeon delving) on the player or DM, like 4e does.
No, it doesn't, and yes, it does. It doesn't have support for everything (but it does, as of now due to volume of published material, have support for more than 4e), and it pushes a playstyle, by intention or not, that states that spellcasters have definite advantages that no one who trains for combat can overcome.

4e can't support many of the non-combat oriented character concepts that a player can envision. At least, not without houserules.
Is that a problem for a game system that from the start makes its money on options for people to build characters that kill monsters and take their stuff? Is this a problem that other contemporary game systems focused on killing monsters and taking their stuff have?

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-12, 07:57 PM
this entire post

Basically, 4e can't do campaigns where they're essentially not allowed to do anything becuase all of the NPCs are doing it for them and every other option they can try is thrown out the window or is rendered impossible by in-story methods. Right.

Hashmir
2009-11-12, 08:00 PM
It was sarcasm. He's saying, things that exist in real life shouldn't be omitted from discussions about an RPG, because it's "common sense" that they would be included.
My point is that common sense houserules are irrelevant to discussions about the quality of the rules of an RPG.

We agree with you there, but we disagree on what constitutes a "houserule." We consider a houserule to be an invented mechanic, or an added/removed/altered rule. (I think -- don't hold Mando to this.) You seem to consider anything that is not spelled out and given a number by the developers themselves to be a houserule.

I can see where you're coming from, but I think that you take it too far, and that you consider certain differences to be objective failings. I would like to know what you think about the skill description for Perform (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/perform.htm). The text lists some suggestions for perform skills, such as "fiddle, harp, lute, mandolin."

However, it does not list clarinets, or guitars, or violins. Would you say that this means 3.5e has no skill system for playing the above, and any instances of Perform (violin) are houserules? Would you go so far as to say that 3.5e does not allow violin-playing by RAW?

jseah
2009-11-12, 08:01 PM
Basically, 4e can't do campaigns where they're essentially not allowed to do anything becuase all of the NPCs are doing it for them and every other option they can try is thrown out the window or is rendered impossible by in-story methods. Right.
It's a realistic situation. One that can come up in a fantasy campaign.
If your country has NPCs that can do things, it makes sense to use them.
And it's not too much of a stretch for a player to want a solution to the situation that isn't "bash someone's head in".

The contradiction in options with the houserule/no houserule thing is not a hard and fast one.
Just that if you allow player options that are houserules, you get bogged down really fast by players going, "Can we do X? No? Ok, back to the drawing board. "

Mando Knight
2009-11-12, 08:08 PM
- Non-railroad campaign, players pick their pathAnd where is the rule in 4e that states "The DM must pick the path for the players to follow, and there is to be no means of thinking outside the box?" And have the pages the DMG spends on exhaustively defining how to reward your players for problem-solving skills been errataed out?

- Need peaceful solution to a war between two countriesDiplomacy-based skill challenge? But then...

- Diplomatic route is being tried. It's going ok, but not fast enough....Or not. Alright. What can be done to get the diplomatic solution done faster? Why is there a war between the countries?

- Direct assassination not allowed.OK, fine. Not a problem with the system, just a boundary condition.

- Things that anyone can do, NPCs are doing. Need something from the PCs.Can they lead an expeditionary force to recover an artifact to help one side win? Can they offer to champion one country in a trial by combat?

- PCs need to know what they can do beforehand.Alright, DM. What's going on so far? Are there any dens of thieves that you can get an informant from? What do they know about the things around them? Do they have any rituals or skills that can help them (streetwise, bluff, history, insight, some kind of divination ritual, etc.)?

This isn't a 4e problem, this is looking more and more like a Standard Exercise In Teaching A DM About Plot Hooks And The Players About Thinking problem.

Just that if you allow player options that are houserules, you get bogged down really fast by players going, "Can we do X? No? Ok, back to the drawing board. "So the bottom of the right column of Page 28 of the DMG is completely useless, because the rules intend for the players to never know what they can do.

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 08:11 PM
Is that a problem for a game system that from the start makes its money on options for people to build characters that kill monsters and take their stuff? Is this a problem that other contemporary game systems focused on killing monsters and taking their stuff have?
Not if the game system is a miniature skirmish game.
If it's an RPG, then yes it's a problem. Reinforcing a certain playstyle by making the alternatives nonviable or prohibitively expensive, actively limits what players can accomplish within the confines of the rules.
Good example: rituals can't be passive defenses, quick, or inexpensive because of the assumptions that are made in 4e.

Mando Knight
2009-11-12, 08:13 PM
Not if the game system is a miniature skirmish game.
If it's an RPG, then yes it's a problem.

So World of Warcraft, Baldur's Gate, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, and dozens of other role-playing games are bad.

Oh, and so is early OD&D, which was basically a game where you got to play as your favorite soldier instead of commanding an army.

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 08:19 PM
So World of Warcraft, Baldur's Gate, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, and dozens of other role-playing games are bad.
I guess I wasn't specific enough. I'm talking about pen and paper/face to face/person to person RPGs. Not electronic ones.
The imaginations of the players and DM, and the open endedness of PnP RPGs are what makes them unique among RPGs. The better a PnP RPG is at facilitating the DMs and players imaginations, preferences, and playstyles, the better a PnP RPG it will be- according to those standards that make PnP RPGs unique in the first place.
So, yeah, I'd say all those games listed would make pretty crappy PnP RPGs.

tcrudisi
2009-11-12, 08:25 PM
The bolded portion is impossible.
You can roleplay chess, and you can roleplay it well. It doesn't interfere with how you portray your character. But that doesn't make chess a better role playing game. It makes you a good roleplayer.

An example level 1 character that I can build in 4e that can't be done in 3.5:
Elven Primal Guardian Druid. I have a base movement of 40' and can shift into bear form an unlimited number of times a day. Furthermore, I get my Wisdom score to my hit points instead of Constitution. I am trained in Nature, Perception (Spot, Search, and Listen), Insight (Sense Motive), and Diplomacy ... making me a very good "party face" for both animals and people. I'm a trained Combat Medic, so I can reach over and stabilize any dying ally with but a minor action (a swift action). When it comes to combat, I'm no slouch: my basic melee attack slows enemies movement speed down greatly, and at range I can push them away or pull them closer, depending on where they don't want to be.... including off cliffs (Chill Wind, which even hits up to 9 targets, Thorn Whip, and Pounce). Once a day I can summon Kermit, my pet frog. I flick my tongue out for a moment to summon my ancient ally... seconds later Kermit appears to flick his own tongue and pluck a meal from the ranks of my enemies. First, Kermit actually gets more powerful as I do, and second, as he lashes his tongue out at my foes, he pulls them closer to himself... both keeping them away from me, hurting them, and just being really cool. Ya know: a frog as big as me! At level one! HECK YES! First order of business -- getting my hands on several Salves of Power so that I can summon Kermit every time I want.


Please, describe just what 4e does differently that makes you enjoy out-of-combat actions better. I really want to hear this.

Skill challenges. I absolutely love them (when done properly, but that goes without saying with any system). As an example: my party had to gain some intelligence from some middle managers... err, nobles. Due to the party that was being held, their attention was impossible to get on their own. However, each was an expert at something and holding a contest in the Duke's honor. The person who won the contest would get a few minutes of the noble's time. We needed to speak to several noble's. What did this mean? Archery contest, foot race, cooking contest, drinking contest, magic contest, etc. It was handled so easily and effortlessly in 4e. Could this be handled in 3.5? Absolutely. But in 4e I could do something like "make a nature check to find the best route our runner should take, thus giving him a +2 on his next roll." That sort of thing is just intuitive in 4e, while I do not find it to be nearly as intuitive in 3.5 (note: that last sentence is personal opinion with no evidence to support it. Your mileage may vary).

Mando Knight
2009-11-12, 08:30 PM
I guess I wasn't specific enough. I'm talking about pen and paper/face to face/person to person RPGs. Not electronic ones.
The imaginations of the players amd DM, and the open endedness of PnP RPGs are what makes them unique among RPGs. The better a PnP RPG is at facilitating the DMs and players imaginations, preferences, and playstyles, the better a PnP RPG it will be- according to those standards that make PnP RPGs unique in the first place.
So, yeah, I'd say all those games listed would make pretty crappy PnP RPGs.

So if a game presents itself as a "Kill Monster And Take Their Stuff" style of pen & paper game, it's bad because it's not a "Do Everything Under The Sun" style of game? :smallconfused: If you want to play a Call of Cthulhu style game, do you purchase Exalted? Should you purchase Mouseguard if you want to play a Star Wars RPG?

D&D 4e hasn't presented itself as anything other than a game in which you play high-fantasy monster-killing heroes. In fact, the game itself could be summed up in two words: Dungeons, meaning a fantastic-type cavernous series of rooms with strange items, and Dragons, meaning big, ferocious monsters that haunt myths and do crazy-fantastic things. And whaddya know, those two words are the main bits of the game's name.

If you want a different kind of game, then pick a different system, since you and D&D 4e aren't even reading the same book.

Katana_Geldar
2009-11-12, 08:34 PM
I beg to differ, from where I have played 4e online and at the table it's just seen as a medium for what the DM wants for the game, which is really as it should be for a system, problems aside.

Why should you let the rules hinder your creativity? If you are, maybe it says something about you as a gamer. The DMG2 talks a lot about collective storytelling.

Hashmir
2009-11-12, 08:39 PM
I guess I wasn't specific enough. I'm talking about pen and paper/face to face/person to person RPGs. Not electronic ones.
The imaginations of the players and DM, and the open endedness of PnP RPGs are what makes them unique among RPGs. The better a PnP RPG is at facilitating the DMs and players imaginations, preferences, and playstyles, the better a PnP RPG it will be- according to those standards that make PnP RPGs unique in the first place.
So, yeah, I'd say all those games listed would make pretty crappy PnP RPGs.

This is a wonderful statement. At least the bolded part. Let me repeat that for emphasis.

The better a game is at facilitating its users' imaginations, preferences, and playstyles, the better a game it will be.

And this exactly why I like 4e. Because it is better at facilitating my imagination, preferences, and playstyle than anything else I've ever played. This means that 4e is an objectively better system for me to play. It does not mean that it is objectively better than 3.5e.

Now, reread the above paragraph, but swap "I" for "you," and "4e" for "3.5e." Do you begin to see my point?

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 08:40 PM
An example level 1 character that I can build in 4e that can't be done in 3.5:
Elven Primal Guardian Druid. I have a base movement of 40' and can shift into bear form an unlimited number of times a day. Furthermore, I get my Wisdom score to my hit points instead of Constitution. I am trained in Nature, Perception (Spot, Search, and Listen), Insight (Sense Motive), and Diplomacy ... making me a very good "party face" for both animals and people. I'm a trained Combat Medic, so I can reach over and stabilize any dying ally with but a minor action (a swift action). When it comes to combat, I'm no slouch: my basic melee attack slows enemies movement speed down greatly, and at range I can push them away or pull them closer, depending on where they don't want to be.... including off cliffs (Chill Wind, which even hits up to 9 targets, Thorn Whip, and Pounce). Once a day I can summon Kermit, my pet frog. I flick my tongue out for a moment to summon my ancient ally... seconds later Kermit appears to flick his own tongue and pluck a meal from the ranks of my enemies. First, Kermit actually gets more powerful as I do, and second, as he lashes his tongue out at my foes, he pulls them closer to himself... both keeping them away from me, hurting them, and just being really cool. Ya know: a frog as big as me! At level one! HECK YES! First order of business -- getting my hands on several Salves of Power so that I can summon Kermit every time I want.
There are more shades of elf in 3.5 than flavors of icecream. I'm sure you can find one that will fit the concept.
Level 1 Druid w/PHB 2 shapechange varient (bear form).
Take the sudden metamagic feat, and you can CLW allies as a swift action multiple times per day.
Dire toad animal companion (stays around all day long). He gets more powerful as you do.
If you want to slow down enemies' movement speeds, you can use Entangle or tripping. If you want to push enemies, you can bull rush them. If you want to pull them, you can use diplomacy to goad them.
You can acquire search and sense motive as class skills with the right feat. I believe it was in complete scoundrel, the name eludes me at the moment. You have more class skills as a 3.5 druid, even accounting for skill consolidations.
Summoning your animal companion becomes a non-issue, since he can be with you all day.
Applying your wisdom to hp should be a small hurdle. I don't play druids often enough to recall the specific feat, but I'm sure one exists to allow it.

Your mileage may vary.
This seems to be a running theme with skill challenges. Maybe it's because the situations where they work are overly specific/arbitrary?

Katana_Geldar
2009-11-12, 08:42 PM
Or overly contrived to seem artificial. Like the DM telling you just to roll five times in a row and calling for others to assist.

But this is a play issue, not a rules issue.

Kylarra
2009-11-12, 08:42 PM
I think we should avoid devolving into the "I can build X in 3.x and not in 4e" and vice versa stuff, if possible. I realize it's probably already too late, but still.

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 08:43 PM
If you want a different kind of game, then pick a different system, since you and D&D 4e aren't even reading the same book.
Then why claim 4e can do anything 3.5 can? It's obviously not true, since it wasn't designed to.
But then again, all 3.5 aspires to be is an RPG. So maybe playing 4e as an RPG is the problem.

Katana_Geldar
2009-11-12, 08:46 PM
All right, you've lost me. How else can you play 4e then if not as an RPG?

Kylarra
2009-11-12, 08:48 PM
all 3.5 aspires to be is an RPG. So maybe playing 4e as an RPG is the problem.False dichotomy.

There are a crapload of things I can play in 3.X that I can't play in Call of Cthulhu. Clearly CoC is not an RPG by this logic.

tcrudisi
2009-11-12, 08:48 PM
Nah -- it wasn't overly contrived at all. How many nobles go around and associate with lesser people, especially when they can spend all day talking to other nobles? There was no reason for us to gain an audience with them. Instead, we had to earn it. So we did. The contests fit in perfectly with the party, since it was all ending the next day in a jousting tournament (which we did end up having to compete in and happened to be another skill challenge -- but I digress).

But that's what I'm trying to say -- when used properly, a skill challenge feels natural, it fits in perfectly, and it adds to the story. I realize I should not be quoting others, but my fiancée and I played at a convention and played in something like 15 modules over the weekend. If you ask her which module was her favorite, it was definitely the one I just mentioned. Why? She says it is because of that skill challenge. It was memorable and fun. 3.5 has nothing like it (that I am aware of).

Like others have said -- this doesn't mean that 4e is better than 3.5. They are different systems. But I enjoy 4e more because to me it is more fun in (balance) and out (skill challenges) of combat.

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 09:17 PM
False dichotomy.

There are a crapload of things I can play in 3.X that I can't play in Call of Cthulhu. Clearly CoC is not an RPG by this logic.
Clearly it isn't a fantasy adventure RPG, and all the luggage that entails.

4e is supposed to be a fantasy adventure RPG. It should, by deign of the style that "fantasy adventure" encompasses, be able to encompass/support the character concepts that fit into the genre. It can't do so. At least, not without heavy fiat and houseruling.
For some people, simply ignoring the rules while you roleplay can be a solution. But that doesn't mean the rules support roleplaying.

Kylarra
2009-11-12, 09:18 PM
Clearly it isn't a fantasy adventure RPG, and all the luggage that entails.

4e is supposed to be a fantasy adventure RPG. It should, by deign of the style that "fantasy adventure" encompasses, be able to encompass/support the character concepts that fit into the genre. It can't do so. At least, not without heavy fiat and houseruling.
For some people, simply ignoring the rules while you roleplay can be a solution. But that doesn't mean the rules support roleplaying.
Sigh~ fine.

Exalted then. :p

I'd also like to point out that in the criteria you're judging 4e in, 2e and 1e are not "fantasy adventure RPG"s either.

Vic_Sage
2009-11-12, 09:30 PM
Clearly it isn't a fantasy adventure RPG, and all the luggage that entails.

4e is supposed to be a fantasy adventure RPG. It should, by deign of the style that "fantasy adventure" encompasses, be able to encompass/support the character concepts that fit into the genre. It can't do so. At least, not without heavy fiat and houseruling.
For some people, simply ignoring the rules while you roleplay can be a solution. But that doesn't mean the rules support roleplaying.
You have got to be freaking kidding me.

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 09:32 PM
Sigh~ fine.

Exalted then. :p
I don't know exalted. I do know that at the extreme end of 3.5, a person can accomplish nearly anything that's conceivable via rules exploits/game logic.
Except for getting dex bonus to damage with a melee weapon.

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 09:41 PM
Sigh~ fine.

Exalted then. :p

I'd also like to point out that in the criteria you're judging 4e in, 2e and 1e are not "fantasy adventure RPG"s either.
I can forgive them because they came first. They improved, learned from their mistakes, and got better at doing what PnP RPGs are supposed to do.
4e is one step sideways and one step back. It's overemphasized the game-y aspects of D&D over the parts that are unique to PnP RPGs.
In other words, it is a PnP RPG that is trying to be WoW.

Vic_Sage
2009-11-12, 09:52 PM
I can forgive them because they came first. They improved, learned from their mistakes, and got better at doing what PnP RPGs are supposed to do.
4e is one step sideways and one step back. It's overemphasized the game-y aspects of D&D over the parts that are unique to PnP RPGs.
In other words, it is a PnP RPG that is trying to be WoW.
Except it's nothing like WoW.

Hashmir
2009-11-12, 09:54 PM
I can forgive them because they came first. They improved, learned from their mistakes, and got better at doing what PnP RPGs are supposed to do.
4e is one step sideways and one step back. It's overemphasized the game-y aspects of D&D over the parts that are unique to PnP RPGs.
In other words, it is a PnP RPG that is trying to be WoW.

:smallsigh: How about this. Before we continue, can we at least agree that 4e is better for some people than 3.5e, and that this in no way reflects poorly on those people either as gamers or as humans?

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 09:57 PM
Except it's nothing like WoW.
Actually, there are many similarities. Some of them are overt, such as including the tiefling as a core race, or the cover and interior art style.
Other similarities are less obvious, such as aura powers, recharge mechanics, or some specific powers.

:smallsigh: How about this. Before we continue, can we at least agree that 4e is better for some people than 3.5e, and that this in no way reflects poorly on those people either as gamers or as humans?
What species play DnD is none of my business. I don't see how your worries are justified- I've never claimed 4e proponents are subhuman. I just think they have some misconceptions about previous editions.
Or in the case of Mando, their positions are logically untenable.

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-12, 10:07 PM
Actually, there are many similarities. Some of them are overt, such as including the tiefling as a core race, or the cover and interior art style.
Other similarities are less obvious, such as aura powers, recharge mechanics, or some specific powers.
Tieflings have nothing to do with WoW, the art has nothing to do with WoW besides the fact that there are men and women with weapons, WoW did not invent auras, recharge mechanics, or the ideas of certain powers.

Seriously, I have no idea where you're going with this, besides the old,tired joke that 4e is WoW. 4e might have garnered some inspiration from WoW, but at this point in time it's just the circle of borrowing stuff from other things completing itself.

Asbestos
2009-11-12, 10:09 PM
Actually, there are many similarities. Some of them are overt, such as including the tiefling as a core race, or the cover and interior art style.
Other similarities are less obvious, such as aura powers, recharge mechanics, or some specific powers.


Auras: In 3.x
Recharge Mechanics: In 3.x, per encounter and per day and thinks that take X rounds and things like ToB.
Art: Who gives a $#^&
Tielfing as a core race: Tieflings are a core race in WoW? Say whaaaaa?

Chrono22
2009-11-12, 10:17 PM
Look, the similarities are there, and they are deliberate. The designers of the game have admitted as much.
Deny it all you want, 4e was made in an attempt to bridge the gap between D&D and WoW- to gain WoW players and to expand the brand.
But in doing so, 4e D&D is less like a PnP RPG than any edition that came before it. The assumptions about play that make PnP RPGs unique, are either downplayed in 4e or outright rejected on the alters of "balance" and "cool".

Yes, 4e has a different playstyle and yes it's streamlined and yes it's balanced. But if I wanted what 4e was providing, I'd be playing WoW online with my friends, I wouldn't be doing it with paper and math.

Asbestos
2009-11-12, 10:23 PM
But in doing so, 4e D&D is less like a PnP RPG than any edition that came before it. The assumptions about play that make PnP RPGs unique, are either downplayed in 4e or outright rejected on the alters of "balance" and "cool".

Wait, wait... what makes PnP RPGs unique?

Draxar
2009-11-12, 10:23 PM
That's not the definition given there. The fallacy, as given in the quote, states that broken or problematic rules are not a problem due to Rule 0. In this case, there aren't rules written down specifically governing the action, so the action lies outside of the realm of the rules themselves.

The problem is not that the rules governing the action are bad, it's that the rules as written are not defined in the region of the action given. In this case, the rule, as written, is "Arbitrate fairly as you will, since we can't reasonably write rules that will fairly cover every situation." There is still a problem (that not every DM can or will arbitrate these rules fairly and consistently), but it's a guideline for a patch to make the game enjoyable.

The question is though, should the rules cover such situations? Yes, the rules cannot cover every situation. But the rules should cover most situations you're going to come across most of the time. Thus, it is still a valid question/criticism to say that 'page 42 it' is not the be all and end all.


That's a perfectly valid reason to prefer another system, but it doesn't make 4e objectively inferior.

And I've never said it is. I've said I find the ease of magic in combat and difficulty of it out of combat to be a disparity that messes with my suspension of disbelief, but that's the main actual "I think it's silly" rather than "I think it's not for me" that I have.


3.5e has rules for falling damage. The rules max out at 20d6 -- which is to say, they do not account for the massive damage an orbital drop would cause.

Terminal velocity means that you fairly quickly (Wikipedia sayeth: 50% of terminal velocity is reached after only about 3 seconds, while it takes 8 seconds to reach 90%, 15 to reach 99%) max out your speed.


Now, 4e takes this a bit farther. Some of the most notable examples are the elimination of Craft and Profession, and the inability to put points in Hide but not Move Silently. The reasoning behind this is perfectly sound: 4e players, by and large, do not want to bother with these things.

And I do, which is what makes me not-a-4E player.


D&D 4e isn't a bad system because it lacks rules for performing magic tricks that aren't related directly to adventuring or combat, because the system's rules aren't for those situations. It doesn't have a total lack of rules for those situations, either, since page 42 of the DMG (and elsewhere, where appropriate in the book) has a table (with numbers!) giving suggested fair DCs for actions, and resulting damage if the action is expected to harm someone/something. If the game presented itself as a fantasy world simulator, and failed to present the rules for such situations, then it would be a bad system. However, what it does present itself as is a system for fighting fantastic beings in a fantastic setting. It will have its shortcomings when it's not used as it's meant to be used, but the system is a good system if it does its intended job well.

I think you may be extending Page 42 a little far, as it talks about using that for swashbuckling, not minor illusions.

There is nothing in the books that I'm aware of to suggest that 'naked' Arcana (i.e. without the time and resources of ritual use) can produce magical effects.

But I'm not saying 4E is a bad system.


And thus those actions aren't covered by the rules, since they're covered by rules you make up in Actions the Rules Don't Cover. Because of that, you cannot judge the value of the system based on those actions unless those actions are a criteria for your use of the system.

No, I'm saying it's not a fallacy until you show, with clear reason, that it is.

Page 42 is given, in the rules, as a part of the rules, as a means of patching over situations not covered explicitly by other rules until such a time that a more formal solution can be given. If it is not thus a valid solution to overcoming the limitations the system has imposed on itself, then the criteria for finding a solution is flawed.

And I want the rules to cover those situations.


Anyway, the misconception here seems to be that: 4e does not support the sort of out-of-combat interactions that are part of the genre of adventure fantasy. Please, give examples.

In my case I'm not bothering with 'in the genre of adventure fantasy'. I say "4E does not support the sort of out-of-combat interactions that I want to have"

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-12, 10:24 PM
Look, the similarities are there, and they are deliberate. The designers of the game have admitted as much.
Deny it all you want, 4e was made in an attempt to bridge the gap between D&D and WoW- to gain WoW players and to expand the brand.
But in doing so, 4e D&D is less like a PnP RPG than any edition that came before it. The assumptions about play that make PnP RPGs unique, are either downplayed in 4e or outright rejected on the alters of "balance" and "cool".

Yes, 4e has a different playstyle and yes it's streamlined and yes it's balanced. But if I wanted what 4e was providing, I'd be playing WoW online with my friends, I wouldn't be doing it with paper and math.

No, the game devs admitted to taking inspiration from WoW for making 4e and trying to broaden their target audience to attract more people into PnP gaming. This is a subtle difference from making a WoW PnP. I deny nothing, because this is a good move as it brings new blood to the PnP hobby, which is never a bad thing.

It's still an RPG since there's still roleplaying in it, and roleplaying is still encouraged by the book.

Asbestos
2009-11-12, 10:25 PM
In my case I'm not bothering with 'in the genre of adventure fantasy'. I say "4E does not support the sort of out-of-combat interactions that I want to have"

Yes, but Chrono specifically said 'genre of adventure fantasy'. Yours is a specific case.

Kylarra
2009-11-12, 10:30 PM
I don't know exalted. I do know that at the extreme end of 3.5, a person can accomplish nearly anything that's conceivable via rules exploits/game logic.
Except for getting dex bonus to damage with a melee weapon.Exalted is a fantasy genre RPG. There are many things in 3.x that cannot be replicated in Exalted and vice versa without heavy modification. Exalted is still an RPG, therefore your premise that fantasy RPGs must support every possible interaction available in 3.X is a false one.




I say "4E does not support the sort of out-of-combat interactions that I want to have"Which is a perfectly fair stance to take.

We all get too fired up when SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNETS.

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-12, 10:42 PM
We all get too fired up when SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNETS.

Watching people arguing on the internet is fun. It's even more fun to participate.

tcrudisi
2009-11-12, 10:46 PM
I think you may be extending Page 42 a little far, as it talks about using that for swashbuckling, not minor illusions.

There is nothing in the books that I'm aware of to suggest that 'naked' Arcana (i.e. without the time and resources of ritual use) can produce magical effects.

And I want the rules to cover those situations.

Hm... in CORM 1-5: In the Bleak Midwinter has a skill challenge where you use Arcana to manipulate a magical ball of energy. In it, you also use Arcana to change the colors of magical energy.

It's not in the core books, but it is in a WotC-produced module.

However, has no one mentioned Prestidigation? It's a power that can be used up to 14,401 times in a day (higher than that, I'm just taking the baseline) that can make small illusions.

*edit* Anyone can take Prestidigation if they wish. There's a level 4 magic item which gives it to you just like a Wizard. Also, since they are gloves and it's primary use is out-of-combat related things, it is easy to put them on when you aren't in combat. I also think there's a feat which gives it to you, but I could be mistaken (I'm not in the habit of taking a feat which can be duplicated with a level 4 magical item unless they stack).

Hashmir
2009-11-12, 10:50 PM
And I've never said it is. I've said I find the ease of magic in combat and difficulty of it out of combat to be a disparity that messes with my suspension of disbelief, but that's the main actual "I think it's silly" rather than "I think it's not for me" that I have.

My apologies; I believe I was conflating your statements and Chrono's.


There is nothing in the books that I'm aware of to suggest that 'naked' Arcana (i.e. without the time and resources of ritual use) can produce magical effects.

Well, I think that for, say, an arcane caster, eliciting magical effects from an arcana check isn't entirely beyond the realms of credulity. It's certainly not the intended application, of course, and I suspect that there are more elegant ways to mimic the at-will use of minor magic outside of combat (other than cantrips).

On the other hand, I can see this fitting in beautifully with certain skill challenges. For instance, a wizard could make an arcana check to suddenly darken the room and boost an ally's intimidate check, or make someone glow to boost their bluff/diplomacy check in an attempt to convince some villagers you are sent by the gods themselves.

Mando Knight
2009-11-12, 11:11 PM
Or in the case of Mando, their positions are logically untenable.

Hier stehe ich.

Unless you show me clearly by plain reason and the rules as written that I have erred in my logic, I cannot and will not betray my conscience by condoning this blatant libel or by recanting a correct position.

Tiki Snakes
2009-11-13, 01:45 AM
Misconception; You can discuss editions and versions of a game without them devolving.

I think I rather like the idea of Arcana and Religion being used for sub-cantrip level 'magic', actually. Simple tricks and so on for arcana, perhaps, and general religiousy stuff for the other, like consecrating (in a general sense) a location, and so on.

Might make that part of my little list of additions, actually. :)

Now, if only I could come up with more decent uses for streetwise, I'd be away! ^_^

Hashmir
2009-11-13, 02:00 AM
Misconception; You can discuss editions and versions of a game without them devolving.

I think I rather like the idea of Arcana and Religion being used for sub-cantrip level 'magic', actually. Simple tricks and so on for arcana, perhaps, and general religiousy stuff for the other, like consecrating (in a general sense) a location, and so on.

Might make that part of my little list of additions, actually. :)

Now, if only I could come up with more decent uses for streetwise, I'd be away! ^_^

I've heard of people using it to boost others' skill checks with a "knowledge" roll. I could see general application as a CHA-based knowledge skill, like a cross between Knowledge (nobility) and bardic knowledge.

For instance, let's say the party stumbles across a strange symbol in the woods. Arcana might tell you it's part of a massive spell circle that surrounds the forest. Religion might tell you it's the mark of an ancient cult thought long gone. Streetwise might tell you some shady characters were passing letters marked with symbol at the local pub.

In a sense, it's just an extension of the current definition. Streetwise already exists to let you go find useful information; these would just be rolls to see whether you already had information that is only now useful.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 02:01 AM
Wait, you are blaming the system because YOU can't be bothered to actually pay attention?

No, he quite clearly said that he found combat unengaging. Blaming the system because it's not interesting to you is quite reasonable.

It's a game, not a job. If it's not interesting and fun, it IS a problem with the system.

Kylarra
2009-11-13, 02:06 AM
No, he quite clearly said that he found combat unengaging. Blaming the system because it's not interesting to you is quite reasonable.

It's a game, not a job. If it's not interesting and fun, it IS a problem with the system.In my experience though, I've found that it depends a lot on the GM and the group more than the system. Options do help, and 4e does a pretty decent job, imo, of balancing out number of options vs tedium, particularly with power cards. [In 3.x] I've also seen the basic fighter get more engaged in combat than the wizard who can do a dozen different things.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 02:06 AM
....It's partially a matter of expense, but I've read the 4E rules, and it's just not D&D to me. Hasbro (oops, I mean WotC) should have named it something else... it's just too dissimilar to previous editions for my taste, even moreso than 3rd Edition was to 1st or 2nd Edition. I still think 3.5 is the pinnacle of development for the game.

That being said, I realize that my attitiude toward 4E may well be driven by my age and experience with previous editions D&D. I'm curious as to the percentage of players on this forum that share my perspective, and the effect that it has on this type of thread. I know there are plenty of posters who never played D&D prior to 3rd Edition, and some who never played prior to 4th... that's got to color their perspective.

I started playing on 2nd Ed, and plenty of those here have started before me. I find that 4e seems to be more popular among those who are newer(not surprising...it's whats on the store shelves at the moment, and older players are more likely to already have a good sourcebook collection).

Also, this is purely anecdotal, but every single person who has told me that 4e is "more oldschool" hasn't actually played anything prior to 3. Still, I've been told this many times, and it makes little sense to me. 3.5 is my favorite, but I've played a variety of older versions, and 4e feels less like them than any other version to date.

Gametime
2009-11-13, 02:10 AM
I suppose I like 4th edition because 3.5's "rules" governing out-of-combat interaction felt like it arbitrarily limited the interaction rather than enhancing it. I really enjoy 4th edition's approach of "rolls are for combat, roles are for out-of-combat."

But this is nothing more than a personal preference and shouldn't be taken as a sweeping indictment of everything 3.5 stands for.

As far as the WoW comparison goes, I play both and I'll be the first to admit there are more similarities in 4th than there were in any earlier editions. The introduction of concrete roles is perhaps the most obvious - the idea having roles in an adventuring party is as old as the genre itself, but it's never been quite so explicitly spelled out. The power system definitely also draws on video-game influences.

That said, while the structure of the game resembles video-games more than earlier editions, the play of the game is still nothing like them. It still feels like a tabletop RPG - or at least, it does to me.

Kylarra
2009-11-13, 02:16 AM
I started playing on 2nd Ed, and plenty of those here have started before me. I find that 4e seems to be more popular among those who are newer(not surprising...it's whats on the store shelves at the moment, and older players are more likely to already have a good sourcebook collection).

Also, this is purely anecdotal, but every single person who has told me that 4e is "more oldschool" hasn't actually played anything prior to 3. Still, I've been told this many times, and it makes little sense to me. 3.5 is my favorite, but I've played a variety of older versions, and 4e feels less like them than any other version to date.Personally I feel there are definitely areas where 4e is less oldschool than 3.X, such as instant mortality rate being far lower to the point of near nonexistance. In general, I prefer this change as a player, because I've never been a fan of rocket tag at low levels. Of course, I did enjoy the chance to start a dozen new concepts due to character death, but that's neither here nor there.

On the other hand, from an "oldschool" perspective, we've returned to the idea that you're not a completely modular character. You've got "kits" (power selection) and various "proficiencies (feat)" to vary your character within a set class. We even have pseudo-2e multiclassing in the form of hybrids where you get partial powers from each side. It's not quite the same, but it's pretty close given the way powers scale and such.

Tiki Snakes
2009-11-13, 02:17 AM
I've heard of people using it to boost others' skill checks with a "knowledge" roll. I could see general application as a CHA-based knowledge skill, like a cross between Knowledge (nobility) and bardic knowledge.

For instance, let's say the party stumbles across a strange symbol in the woods. Arcana might tell you it's part of a massive spell circle that surrounds the forest. Religion might tell you it's the mark of an ancient cult thought long gone. Streetwise might tell you some shady characters were passing letters marked with symbol at the local pub.

In a sense, it's just an extension of the current definition. Streetwise already exists to let you go find useful information; these would just be rolls to see whether you already had information that is only now useful.

I'm considering making it part of the whole, well, 'streetwise' thing, myself. For example, it would be of great use in a market, allowing you to spot hucksters and shysters, generally evaluate the feel of the place and the worth of goods in a generally urban enviroment. Things like that. As it is, given that streetwise is pretty much just Gather-Information, it just feels a bit sparse for my own tastes, otherwise.

Maybe roll in some kind of social naviational side? I don't know. It's a thinker.

Katana_Geldar
2009-11-13, 02:33 AM
Streetwise also comes into a little bit of Appraise, though more in the Haley side and less the Vaarsuvius, for V's Appraise you need Arcana.

jseah
2009-11-13, 03:42 AM
And where is the rule in 4e that states "The DM must pick the path for the players to follow, and there is to be no means of thinking outside the box?" And have the pages the DMG spends on exhaustively defining how to reward your players for problem-solving skills been errataed out?
The no-railroading wasn't meant to be a point 4E fails at. It was meant to be a point that set piece battles and pre-planned adventure paths is not a solution in this case.

I meant to say that it's a dynamic world the DM's running. See below.


Diplomacy-based skill challenge? But then...
...Or not. Alright. What can be done to get the diplomatic solution done faster? Why is there a war between the countries?
There's a bard player doing this. (it's more of 1 party + a solo campaign)

He's doing as best as he can. The rest of the party is backing him up with other activities. What those other activities are is up to them.


OK, fine. Not a problem with the system, just a boundary condition.
Can they lead an expeditionary force to recover an artifact to help one side win? Can they offer to champion one country in a trial by combat?
You can go looking for an artifact if you want. Do you even know it's there for you to find?
Artifacts probably aren't known by the countries since if one of them had such a weapon, the war would be over.
There could be one hidden away. But you don't know that unless the DM drops a hint.

This ties in to the dynamic world thing. The DM has set down what is in the world before the campaign started. If there's an artifact, then you can find one. If he didn't put one, you'll be searching forever.

The trial sounds all fine and well, until you consider how to make the loser accept the result. Of course, that could turn into a considerable sub-plot by itself.


Alright, DM. What's going on so far? Are there any dens of thieves that you can get an informant from? What do they know about the things around them? Do they have any rituals or skills that can help them (streetwise, bluff, history, insight, some kind of divination ritual, etc.)?

This isn't a 4e problem, this is looking more and more like a Standard Exercise In Teaching A DM About Plot Hooks And The Players About Thinking problem.
The thing about using plot hooks is that the scenario is approached more from a wargame perspective, not a story-telling one. Think erfworld-like without the craziness.
The element of player initiative is crucial for this scenario. The players are meant to come up with their own plan and work with it.
Sure, you can do grunt work that NPCs can do if you like, it's just an inefficient method of ending the war. Or it might not at all.
The freedom of choice for the player, and the corresponding uncertainty, is the key features of this scenario.

I used the situation of an open setup so that there is no one obvious right answer. IE. there isn't going to be an intended plot path, device or any such aid from your DM.
If I sat down with most modules and looked through them, I can usually spot a "right" method of doing things, the one that the designers intended.
In this scenario, there are no such clues nor has the DM planned one. The players are expected to make a smart decision given the information they have.
I'm not saying the decision won't exist. There's always something to try since the scenario is so flexible.


All right, let's go with your den of theives thing. The players are going to try infiltrating the den of theives and they have access to the what the intel network knows about them.

4E's rules does not cover such situations. The players don't know what they can or cannot acheive.
They can estimate that there's going to be hard skill challenge here, an easy one there, a ritual over there behind the wall.
"Can we perform X particular action" (eg. charm a guard) is on a whole different level of uncertainty.

And if the plan has a few crucial points where it can go wrong, then knowing what can go wrong and planning for it is crucial. That sort of infomation is difficult to come by in 4E even though it should be available.


So the bottom of the right column of Page 28 of the DMG is completely useless, because the rules intend for the players to never know what they can do.
If you have to resort to "DM adjudication", the players do not know what they can do.

How does a player know if "I'd like to use a minor illusion with Arcana" will work?
It might be ok with some DMs, it might not with others.

Hashmir
2009-11-13, 03:58 AM
If you have to resort to "DM adjudication", the players do not know what they can do.

How does a player know if "I'd like to use a minor illusion with Arcana" will work?
It might be ok with some DMs, it might not with others.

Question: When you play D&D, do you ever talk to anyone else at the table? Because you appear to have just claimed that the players are not allowed to find out what the rules of the world are, or what variant mechanics are in play. "How does a player know?" They ask the DM if that's how the rules work.

(Side note: This particular discussion of houserules has nothing to do with the merits of 4e; it is simply acknowledging the fact that pretty much every DM in existence has at least one houserule, and that they generally share these rules with their players.)

jseah
2009-11-13, 04:17 AM
To Hashmir:

It's not so important for simple things. Like if I need to bash down a door, I can ask if X method will work.

If I'm planning for the long term, in a game requiring houserules for situations I find myself in, then it becomes a problem. "Can we do X? No? Back to the drawing board. "

Telok
2009-11-13, 04:21 AM
...and 4e does a pretty decent job, imo, of balancing out number of options vs tedium...

Well that depends on your character, and how well your character is modeled by the 4e rules.

The guy I'm trying to kill off now (no luck yet) is Bob "the Paladin". He originally started as a thought exercise to see how mean and nasty a character could be and still stay a LG paladin in 3e. The character was to be a strong, loyal, drunk, aggressive, dim witted, and gullable human paladin who was a pawn in church politics and took his frustrations out by smiting alot (starting at 6th level every feat was to be Extra Smiting). Under 3e rules he worked, a little fighter variant, alot of Shadowbane Inquisitor, and he worked.

Under 4e he dosen't work. Our group only has the basic 3 core and the AV, so a human paladin with a low Chr bonus is rather gimped in heroic tier. I have an at-will attack that I can't use, multiclassing with fighter is a must in order to have a real selection of Str based powers and utilities, and he lacks any real ability to defend anybody. His combat has devolved to moving to a target and beating it until it stops moving. He simply can't do anything else. And don't bring up Divine Challenge or Lay on Hands, 3 radiant damage and a once a day surge use isn't exactly alot of 'options'.

Now if I'd made the most effective character I could and then applied as much of the character as I could then he'd be fine. But I've been reduced to 5' steps and attacks most of the fights. Out of combat I have a great character, some inapproprate skill choices forced on me but nothing I can't ignore. In combat it's boring.

tcrudisi
2009-11-13, 04:31 AM
It's not so important for simple things. Like if I need to bash down a door, I can ask if X method will work.

I realize that there will be misunderstandings, confusions, and biases when it comes to the new edition of a game, but are you seriously implying that there are not rules for bashing down a door in 4e?


All right, let's go with your den of theives thing. The players are going to try infiltrating the den of theives and they have access to the what the intel network knows about them.

4E's rules does not cover such situations. The players don't know what they can or cannot acheive.
They can estimate that there's going to be hard skill challenge here, an easy one there, a ritual over there behind the wall.
"Can we perform X particular action" (eg. charm a guard) is on a whole different level of uncertainty.

Yes, 4e's rules DO cover these situations. In fact, 4e's skills and 3.5's are almost identical! Why do I say "almost"? A few of the useless ones were gotten rid of, and the others were combined. I fail to see how "Diplomacy or Intimidate against a DC based on your level" is on a whole different level of uncertainty as "Charm Person against a DC based on their level." I would go into that situation feeling just as confident in 4e as I would with 3.5.

I'm just aghast. Can you honestly say that you played 4e with an open mind and under a decent DM? Gah. Now I'm coming across as snarky.

I enjoyed 3.5. I enjoyed 1st and 2nd editions too. I made the change from each because the next edition was fun. I'm sure that when 5e comes out, I'll be in love with that edition. I understand why some people prefer to stick with 3.5, but to say that something like infiltrating a den of thieves is easier in 3.5 than 4e is the exact sort of misconception that this thread was designed to clarify. I really hope that someone with a clearer head and better writing skills than I comes and does it. I'm going back to watching Monk now.

tcrudisi
2009-11-13, 04:48 AM
Under 3e rules he worked, a little fighter variant, alot of Shadowbane Inquisitor, and he worked.

I'm just pointing out that you are using material from outside the basic 3 core with Shadowbane Inquisitor, but limiting yourself to core with 4e.


Under 4e he dosen't work. Our group only has the basic 3 core and the AV, so a human paladin with a low Chr bonus is rather gimped in heroic tier. I have an at-will attack that I can't use, multiclassing with fighter is a must in order to have a real selection of Str based powers and utilities, and he lacks any real ability to defend anybody. His combat has devolved to moving to a target and beating it until it stops moving. He simply can't do anything else. And don't bring up Divine Challenge or Lay on Hands, 3 radiant damage and a once a day surge use isn't exactly alot of 'options'.

Now if I'd made the most effective character I could and then applied as much of the character as I could then he'd be fine. But I've been reduced to 5' steps and attacks most of the fights. Out of combat I have a great character, some inapproprate skill choices forced on me but nothing I can't ignore. In combat it's boring.

First, of the 8 at-wills available to Paladins, 5 of them use Str as their primary attack stat. Second, the feat Mighty Challenge would allow you to use Cha + Str as damage on your Divine Challenge, making a high Str Paladin a perfectly viable defender. Third, gimping Wisdom does have the drawback of only getting Lay on Hands once a day. However, in 3.5 it had the drawback of not getting you any spells at all. In both editions, a Paladin with a low Wisdom score is a bad idea.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 04:50 AM
Also, this is purely anecdotal, but every single person who has told me that 4e is "more oldschool" hasn't actually played anything prior to 3.
The only reason why people think 4E is oldschool is marketing hype. "Some aspects of 4E might be argued to be similar to those in 1E" isn't oldschool, only sophistry. Mind you, this is not a criticism of 4E; if it were oldschool, it would have the numerous problems associated with "oldschool".


The guy I'm trying to kill off now (no luck yet) is Bob "the Paladin" ... Under 4e he dosen't work.
He could easily work under 4E. The point is that being "drunk, aggressive, dim witted, and gullable" doesn't say anything about his cha score. So you give him a cha score of 20, and play him as drunk and aggressive, problem solved. He would be an effective character (although to be an active defender he would still need Divine Power).

Chrono22
2009-11-13, 06:52 AM
Wait, wait... what makes PnP RPGs unique?
A PnP RPG is different from other kinds of RPGs in a fundamental way. Unlike its electronic counterparts, it is played by combining (and facilitating) the imaginations, interests, and preferences of the players and GM. Until we get vastly more sophisticated AI, computers and consoles can't imitate that kind of cohesion.
The biggest problem (as I've stated before) with 4e DnD is how it frames the players in the context of the game reality, how it prioritizes particular playstyles over others, and how it suggests the narrative be constructed.

Players & Game Reality:
Players in 4e are Big Damn Heroes, always. Even the puny wizard can fight through a swarm of minions by backhanding them. Unless you are an incompetent tactician, have terrible luck, and are suicidal, you won't be in much danger of death. 4e level-appropriate encounters are weighted heavily in favor of the PCs.
On top of that, the assumptions that are made about the PCs- even before character creation- make some plausible character concepts impossible. Want to play a recruit on a special mission from the military? No, sorry, as a heroic™ PC, you are a master of (swordsmanship/healing/arcane magic/thievery) automatically at level 1. Want to play a character who values freedom and good equally? Sorry, a two axis system was too complicated, so now Chaotic Good characters don't exist.
On the game reality: 4e presents it as little more than a stage for PC exploits. If an exotic plane exists, the PCs should be able to explore it- with little danger of being killed by the extreme nature of the plane. To make this possible "dangerous locations" have been watered down severely. What might have been an exotic and exciting trek to lands beyond imagination, is now just another backdrop for 4e combats.
It gets even worse when you start popping open the MMs and DMG for fluff material. It's a bunch of dry, uninteresting and nondescript trivia. Which leads me into my next point.
A running theme in the MMs and DMGs, is that if the PCs aren't going to fight it, it doesn't need combat statistics. Likewise, the game reality as a whole is seen from the context that it's just a break between the action of combat.

On Playstyles & the Narrative:
4e outright throws realism out of the window in favor of the rule of cool. Which would be ok except, you know, roleplaying a believable character becomes much harder when the rules keep throwing that fact back in my face. In previous editions (and most other RPGs) realism is seen as a tool for making informed assumptions about how things work, and for making mechanics that mimic reality. In 4e, the fluff justifies the mechanics. Realism is never even a consideration.
Which is totally backasswards. How we perceive our characters will always be intrinsically linked to how we perceive reality. From reality, we infer and make assumptions about the consequences of our actions in the game. How we phrase our actions, should be in the context of how we perceive our characters- we shouldn't have to constantly change our perception of our characters to validate a quirky power or strange combination of rules. That's immersion breaking.
Anyway... combat is the primary focus of 4e. All of the of powers/rituals/skills have very limited application outside of combat. The thing is- combat isn't something unique to D&D. Online RPGs do it better. By throwing realism out of the window, and by slaving the narrative to the rules, the designers of 4e have made it absolutely certain that combat is the primary focus/purpose of play.

To conclude: RPGs are a niche product. In an attempt to increase profits by broadening the customer base of the D&D brand (a cashgrab), the designers of 4e released a system that mimics WoW. An excessive emphasis on tactical combat. Low or no consequences for failure- employing a bad tactic in the course of combat is statistically irrelevant. Player options are consigned by the rule of balance... it's only in competitive games that balance is considered a requirement.
Not that I'm saying that those are bad things... but they aren't things I think should be a defining feature of a cooperative roleplaying game. A tactical skirmish game, perhaps, but not a roleplaying game.


Hier stehe ich.
This is commendable, considering you don't have a leg to stand on.

The New Bruceski
2009-11-13, 07:19 AM
I seem to be missing the point. I get together with friends, and we play 4e. We roleplay, we create, we explore, we have fun. We've found that the non-combat situations flow a lot more smoothly when we don't need to look up every piddling little rule on how much gold this town's supposed to have. Skills are broad enough that everyone's at least halfway competent at *something* to contribute to challenges.

So we have fun, roleplay, and don't get bogged down by the rules. I guess we're doing something wrong, because 4e isn't supposed to let us do any of that.

Disclaimer: I started back in AD&D playing happily (but clumsily, we were teenagers after all), and in 3.5 had a bad encounter that spoiled the system for me. Munchkins running unchecked combined with hardcore rules-lawyers, that kind of thing. While I don't blame the system, it did lay its flaws bare and make it impossible for me to judge it fairly.

Chrono22
2009-11-13, 07:25 AM
So, what you're saying is that you aren't bogged down by the rules, because you disregard them when you roleplay. Ok, I think we have your answer then.

But, seriously? You said it yourself. You had some bad experiences with previous editions, that have colored your perceptions of them. Early editions don't require looking up "every piddly rule" anymore than 4e does. To put it another way- the first three have their own versions of page 42. It's called rule 0...

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 07:31 AM
I started back in AD&D playing happily (but clumsily, we were teenagers after all), and in 3.5 had a bad encounter that spoiled the system for me. Munchkins running unchecked combined with hardcore rules-lawyers, that kind of thing.
Munchkins and rules laywers appear in any rules-heavy system, including 4E. Yes, they're annoying, and no, this doesn't say anything about the system.

And yup, the WOTC charop board still exists for 4E. Presently a popular topic is a build that teleports the Big Bad into outer space... :smallbiggrin: It's funny to read, but also heavy on the munchkinry and rules lawyering, and anyone trying it in an actual game ought to be pelted with pretzels.

Telok
2009-11-13, 07:54 AM
He could easily work under 4E. The point is that being "drunk, aggressive, dim witted, and gullable" doesn't say anything about his cha score. So you give him a cha score of 20, and play him as drunk and aggressive, problem solved. He would be an effective character (although to be an active defender he would still need Divine Power).

Bingo, that's exactly it. Because I came up with the concept before making the character he's gimp and fights are boring. If I had made the character and then fluffed him around the stats he'd be fine.

Plus, wheter or not we have the books in a matter of economy. Over a period of about 7 years we sank... mabey $500 into 3.5 books? I know we got about 30% of our books used. We did end up with almost all of them though. With 4e the cost to own all books is already over the $250 mark (prices in AK tend to be a little more due to shipping), and most useful electronic information is going to require $120 per year per person. My group still isn't sure we will keep playing 4e in the long term. So yeah, basic 3 core plus AV is what we get to work with and only 1/3 of the core paladin powers are Str based. Although I did realize that the fighter multiclass is right up his alley since he needed a touch of that in his 3e version.

I really miss the smites though. I guess I'll have to fluff his dailies that way instead.

Kylarra
2009-11-13, 09:30 AM
Well that depends on your character, and how well your character is modeled by the 4e rules.

The guy I'm trying to kill off now (no luck yet) is Bob "the Paladin". He originally started as a thought exercise to see how mean and nasty a character could be and still stay a LG paladin in 3e. The character was to be a strong, loyal, drunk, aggressive, dim witted, and gullable human paladin who was a pawn in church politics and took his frustrations out by smiting alot (starting at 6th level every feat was to be Extra Smiting). Under 3e rules he worked, a little fighter variant, alot of Shadowbane Inquisitor, and he worked.

Under 4e he dosen't work.
I know it's already been pointed out, but in 4e with DP it does work, just fine even (eg Mighty Challenge adds STR mod to your Divine Challenge damage). That's a whole one additional book. Maybe inside core he's not as great, but hell, a low CHA Paladin inside core 3.X is mainly a fighter without feats anyway...

Of course, your thought experiment is worthless in 4e given that alignment no longer matters for paladins there, but I suppose that's not the point unless you wanted to play the game of "let's see how far I can push before the DM tells me I break the envelope".

I've no doubt that there are cases of things with arbitrary restrictions that are not modeled well in 4e, my statement was not meant to be all encompassing over every single possibility ever, in short "all generalizations are false", but in general you'll always have at least 2 (or 3) options (at-wills) to do, with a slowly decrementing list of dailies and encounters.

Interestingly enough, you talk about cost, but $10 for one month of the DDI subscription gets you the character builder with every book up until that point loaded onto it as well as dragon mags.

Jayabalard
2009-11-13, 09:36 AM
So we have fun, roleplay, and don't get bogged down by the rules. I guess we're doing something wrong, because 4e isn't supposed to let us do any of that.I think that your opponents are claiming something more like "4e, as a system, does not enable you to do those things; you're doing them by ignoring parts of the system that get in your way."

Personally, I'm all for using that approach in gaming, but you have to realize that there are a lot of people who aren't.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 09:45 AM
I think that your opponents are claiming something more like "4e, as a system, does not enable you to do those things; you're doing them by ignoring parts of the system that get in your way."

Personally, I'm all for using that approach in gaming, but you have to realize that there are a lot of people who aren't.

It's not just that. It's that a system exists to make doing things easier, not more difficult. The more parts of the system you have to ignore because they get in your way, the more you start thinking "Why are we bothering with this system?"

Matthew
2009-11-13, 09:57 AM
It's not just that. It's that a system exists to make doing things easier, not more difficult. The more parts of the system you have to ignore because they get in your way, the more you start thinking "Why are we bothering with this system?"

Exactly so; over-systematisation is probably the principle reason I do not favour D20/3e, and was what I expected to see reversed in D20/4e.

Yarrula
2009-11-13, 10:18 AM
Long time lurker, first time poster forced to register so that I can chime in on this discussion..

I'm going to have to disagree with previous comments on having to ignore parts of the 4e system to roleplay. I'm currently running a 4e game for 5 players. We started at level one and we're just about to hit the paragon tier.

At no time have we had to ignore rules to roleplay, in fact, it's been the opposite. In my experience, the skill lists etc reinforce good play. I'll give an example: my elven ranger says things like "I set up snares in the brush around our camp to see if I can catch some dinner" rather then the 3e equivalent "I make a survival check. Do we eat?"

My players are describing skill use, rather than using descriptive skills. I feel that this can only be a good thing, using the rules as written to reinforce good play.

I describe 4e to people who ask me questions about it as an Action Movie. The focus of the game is on high fantasy action, with robust heroes overcoming incredible odds. An action movie with nothing but action scenes would be lousy though, so the designers have thoughtfully included enough other rules to play through non-action sequences without being overwhelmingly complicated or too sparse to work with.

This is a perfectly legitimate approach for a fantasy RPG to take. Sure, 4e is not going to replicate high magic intrigue as well as the 3e game can, but if I want to do that, I'll play 3e. Which I do as well. 4e is an excellent RPG, it just has a different stylistic flair that its predecessor.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 10:21 AM
At no time have we had to ignore rules to roleplay, in fact, it's been the opposite. In my experience, the skill lists etc reinforce good play. I'll give an example: my elven ranger says things like "I set up snares in the brush around our camp to see if I can catch some dinner" rather then the 3e equivalent "I make a survival check. Do we eat?"
On the other hand, there are also players in 3E who say "I set up snares in the brush around our camp to see if I can catch some dinner", and there are also players in 4E who say "I make a survival check. Do we eat?"

Essentially, you're describing that you have good players. Which is nice, but doesn't say anything about either system.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 10:23 AM
Long time lurker, first time poster forced to register so that I can chime in on this discussion..

I'm going to have to disagree with previous comments on having to ignore parts of the 4e system to roleplay. I'm currently running a 4e game for 5 players. We started at level one and we're just about to hit the paragon tier.

At no time have we had to ignore rules to roleplay, in fact, it's been the opposite. In my experience, the skill lists etc reinforce good play. I'll give an example: my elven ranger says things like "I set up snares in the brush around our camp to see if I can catch some dinner" rather then the 3e equivalent "I make a survival check. Do we eat?"

Uh, how you describe your use of skills is irrelevant to the version. There is no particular reason you couldn't do the exact same description in 3e. The skills work differently in 4e yes, but the list of skills is not all that different. Thus, crediting the skill lists for reinforcing good play seems odd.

Yarrula
2009-11-13, 10:29 AM
Allow me to clarify then. In no way do the rules of 4e prevent or hinder roleplaying. I have found that the simplification of the non-combat rules to be easier to work with, and to roleplay with, than the 3e equivalent for high fantasy action movie style campaigns.

For campaigns where combat is not going to be a primary part of the adventure, I prefer to use 3e, for the greater control it gives me over those non-combat areas.

Guinea Anubis
2009-11-13, 10:52 AM
I will say right up front that I did not read all of the pages of the thread, but it sounds like a big complaint with 4e is that there is a mind set of if theres not a rule for it you can not do it. To me this is silly, when I DM my 4e game and the players want to try to do something that there is not a rule for I have found that the skill sets we have been given has been more then enought for me to come up something to let my players have there fun.

Like something that came up in my last game. A player wanted to climb up on to a roof, sneek over to the edge and then jump down and take out the guard at the door. Sure climbing up the side of a two story building is an easy call, its just an athletics check, sneaking across the roof another easy call, its just a stealth check. But the jumping down on to someone as far as I can tell is not in the rules. So what I did was make it a DC 15 acrobatics check since hitting a non-moving target is not that hard. And since the player wanted to just knock the guard out I counted any fall damage the player would have taken for non-leathal damage to the guard.

I really do feel like 4e is a lot more fun when you have a DM who is willing to think a little outside of the rules box. They gave you the tools to do what you want but you have to be willing to work with the tools to make something with them.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 10:58 AM
I will say right up front that I did not read all of the pages of the thread, but it sounds like a big complaint with 4e is that there is a mind set of if theres not a rule for it you can not do it. To me this is silly, when I DM my 4e game and the players want to try to do something that there is not a rule for I have found that the skill sets we have been given has been more then enought for me to come up something to let my players have there fun.

If you had read all of the thread, you would see that this has been discussed to death. See the fallacy bit.

In short, when comparing systems, your homebrewed stuff does not count and is not relevant.

jseah
2009-11-13, 11:00 AM
I realize that there will be misunderstandings, confusions, and biases when it comes to the new edition of a game, but are you seriously implying that there are not rules for bashing down a door in 4e?
I did not imply there were no rules for bashing down a door. My intention was that if a player wanted to use a method that was not in the rules to bypass an immediate obstacle, there would be no problem in houseruling it on the fly.

It's simple. "My Master's Wand of Magic Missile pushes people back when Magic Missile hits them. Can I use that to aid another for the barbarian's strength check by shooting the door?"

It's an immediate situation, which can be adjudicated easily, and without hitches. A simple yes or no.


Yes, 4e's rules DO cover these situations. In fact, 4e's skills and 3.5's are almost identical! Why do I say "almost"? A few of the useless ones were gotten rid of, and the others were combined. I fail to see how "Diplomacy or Intimidate against a DC based on your level" is on a whole different level of uncertainty as "Charm Person against a DC based on their level." I would go into that situation feeling just as confident in 4e as I would with 3.5.
Because NPCs can use skills as well. And if NPCs exist in large numbers, then it's more prudent to use them for skills. And if NPCs couldn't do it (or why are you targeting that particular guild?) then the players must be significantly BETTER than the NPCs to have a chance.

Fine, I admit that the scenario I gave is constructed to find a situation that takes 4E outside it's rules. It's a realistic situation players may find themselves in however, so don't discount it.

The scenario essentially called for the players to be skill and utility magic specialists. Emphasis on specialist. They not only have to be able to use them, they have to be significantly better at using them than others of their level.
By significant, I'm thinking around +10 higher checks, or simply able to do things others cannot, like turn incorporeal and possess someone.

So yes, it was stacked. But I was to give a realistic scenario that 4E can't be used well for, so no surprise it can't be.


I'm just aghast. Can you honestly say that you played 4e with an open mind and under a decent DM? Gah. Now I'm coming across as snarky.
No offense taken. I did enter 4E "just to try it", and played through one campaign entirely under a GM that I would consider, while not perfect, pretty good.

I liked the powers system, the way the combat was run was very smooth and interesting. I did chafe at the lack of strategic options however.
Our GM wasn't trying to railroad us, we did sidetrack more than a few times. But there was essentially only 1 true way to complete the campaign no matter our characters. And most of the encounters could be foreseen 3 sessions in advance.

I have a strong dislike for systems where "destiny" seems to play a very large hand. A fixed storyline, not matter how interesting, is not something I come to an RPG table for.


I understand why some people prefer to stick with 3.5, but to say that something like infiltrating a den of thieves is easier in 3.5 than 4e is the exact sort of misconception that this thread was designed to clarify.
It's easier for the players to plan and the DM to adjudicate in 3.5 than 4E. At least in the situation I gave.

I'm not talking about how easy it is for the characters to achieve.

jseah
2009-11-13, 11:16 AM
I will say right up front that I did not read all of the pages of the thread, but it sounds like a big complaint with 4e is that there is a mind set of if theres not a rule for it you can not do it. To me this is silly, when I DM my 4e game and the players want to try to do something that there is not a rule for I have found that the skill sets we have been given has been more then enought for me to come up something to let my players have there fun.
Which makes player planning a headache. Because you're always unsure if you/enemies could do a skill check and pull off something weird.


I really do feel like 4e is a lot more fun when you have a DM who is willing to think a little outside of the rules box. They gave you the tools to do what you want but you have to be willing to work with the tools to make something with them.
But what you can make with the tools are not clear at all.

I'd be perfectly happy if they had laid down a bunch of central rules and then said, "anything you can make from this is fine. "
Like Epic Magic and multiclassing in 3.5, however broken that was.

There's freedom to make up what you like, but I need the boundaries of what's possible to be defined.
Simply handwaving it and saying, "oh, a wizard did it", is NEVER going to cut it, in my book.

One moment, I could be doing a drop-attack like you metioned, and the next moment, it could be ruled out because I can't make the check anymore. (say if the situation changed and the target is moving)
But I'm already on the roof... telling me now that the DC is too high is too late.

Another one is the wizard making minor illusions with an Arcana check. If I found out halfway through a campaign that I could have done that all along, and an important plot point might have been different because of it... I'd be pretty annoyed.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

All in all, I'm getting the feeling that 4E caters better to the freeform crowd than 3.5.

I've never liked freeform because of the very reasons I outlined above.
I like 3.5 because it had defined boundaries and a large enough space to play in.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 11:20 AM
I will say right up front that I did not read all of the pages of the thread, but it sounds like a big complaint with 4e is that there is a mind set of if theres not a rule for it you can not do it.
In combat, this is mostly true.

Consider the following: when it's my turn in combat, I can either use One Of My Powers, or I can do something unusual that is not, strictly speaking, covered in the rules.

At this point, the DM has the choice of either disallowing it, or making up a ruling. Disallowing it entirely is not exactly good DM'ing, but this approach obviously exists. So let's suppose the DM allows it. Then there are essentially three options. Note that an inexperienced DM may be unable to distinguish between the three, and may get one that he wasn't aiming for.

(A) The DM allows it, but makes it very hard to succeed at, for instance requiring multiple attack rolls and/or giving saving throws. This does mean that "there is no rule so you cannot do it" (you can try it but you can't plausibly succeed at it). Note that the DMG as printed suggested this approach for skill use (although this was errata'ed).

(B) The DM allows it, but makes it have little effect. For instance, the unusual approach might be an attack with one target, small damage, and no effect, whereas using One Of Your Powers would have resulted in multiple targets, better damage, and a rider effect. This means that "there is no rule so you shouldn't do it", because it's simply not useful. Note that alchemical items tend to work like this: almost without exception, they are inferior to using One Of Your Powers.

(C) The DM allows it, and gives it a good effect with a decent chance of success. This is nice for the players. However, it does beg the question why on earth I have so many powers written out on my character sheet, when I could instead be using unusual effects instead.

Corollary #1: many DMs reflexively lean towards (A) or (B) out of caution, because they do not want to break the game. Judging by the forums (especially the WOTC forums) people are far too quick in crying "overpowered" when they see new stuff (e.g. Dragon magazine articles).

Corollary #2: many people who like (C) will (eventually) gravitate towards more rules-light systems than D&D. This is, of course, not what WOTC wants since it doesn't sell books.

Corollary #3: the most fun way to play 4E is by a DM who does (C), and a group of players who doesn't abuse that. However, it takes a skilled DM to reliably do that.

Reverent-One
2009-11-13, 11:50 AM
Because NPCs can use skills as well. And if NPCs exist in large numbers, then it's more prudent to use them for skills. And if NPCs couldn't do it (or why are you targeting that particular guild?) then the players must be significantly BETTER than the NPCs to have a chance.

Fine, I admit that the scenario I gave is constructed to find a situation that takes 4E outside it's rules. It's a realistic situation players may find themselves in however, so don't discount it.

The scenario essentially called for the players to be skill and utility magic specialists. Emphasis on specialist. They not only have to be able to use them, they have to be significantly better at using them than others of their level.
By significant, I'm thinking around +10 higher checks, or simply able to do things others cannot, like turn incorporeal and possess someone.

So yes, it was stacked. But I was to give a realistic scenario that 4E can't be used well for, so no surprise it can't be.

Except you haven't shown that 4e can't be used well for it. If you're willing to assume that in this scenario in 3.5 there are no NPCs around that can do the job, either from a mechanical or story perspective, then to not make that assumption for the scenario in 4e is a double standard.


No offense taken. I did enter 4E "just to try it", and played through one campaign entirely under a GM that I would consider, while not perfect, pretty good.

I liked the powers system, the way the combat was run was very smooth and interesting. I did chafe at the lack of strategic options however.
Our GM wasn't trying to railroad us, we did sidetrack more than a few times. But there was essentially only 1 true way to complete the campaign no matter our characters. And most of the encounters could be foreseen 3 sessions in advance.

I have a strong dislike for systems where "destiny" seems to play a very large hand. A fixed storyline, not matter how interesting, is not something I come to an RPG table for.

And the "destiny" in this storyline you played had nothing to do with the system, but with the story the DM had. It could happen just as easily in 3.5, or WoD, or any other RPG.

jseah
2009-11-13, 12:06 PM
Except you haven't shown that 4e can't be used well for it. If you're willing to assume that in this scenario in 3.5 there are no NPCs around that can do the job, either from a mechanical or story perspective, then to not make that assumption for the scenario in 4e is a double standard.
I never made the double standard. The assumption is the same, that NPCs could do what a normal person could.
If it's talking to people, casting a few spells, using a few skills at level + 6 + ability mod check, yes, I'm assuming NPCs can do it.
- 4E is, they have utility powers, rituals and components, skill training and talking to people.

The problem is still there.

In 3.5, you can specialize in out of combat utility and/or skills.
You can be so good at them that no normal progression for the next 10 levels can reach anywhere even near the check you get. Or do the things you pull off with less effort.
I'm not assuming that NPCs aren't around to do the job. Sure, NPCs can do the same things too. They're not going to be as good as you are if you specialize.
EDIT: Therefore, players can build a niche where they can apply their skills meaningfully, doing something that no one else can.

In 4E, specialization is cut far far more than in 3.5. The thing that I most hate about 4E is the 1/2 level to just about everything. =P
Anyone of the same or +- 1 level of you performs to within 20-30% of your range.
In the hypothetical scenario, differentiating players from NPCs of the same level is more difficult. Players have very little to do that NPCs cannot do unless they're of significantly higher level.


And the "destiny" in this storyline you played had nothing to do with the system, but with the story the DM had. It could happen just as easily in 3.5, or WoD, or any other RPG.
Hmmm... true enough. I suppose it was just an observation that storylines have less possible paths in 4e compared to 3.5.

It's like having an erfworld-like setting, and having the world run in 4E and 3.5. I would think that 3.5 would have a more diverse and unpredictable battlespace.

Mando Knight
2009-11-13, 12:17 PM
I really miss the smites though

*CoughPaladinEncounterPowersCough*

Sorry, allergies.:smallwink:

Unless you are an incompetent tactician, have terrible luck, and are suicidal, you won't be in much danger of death. 4e level-appropriate encounters are weighted heavily in favor of the PCs.This is usually true. That's because of what 4e assumes a level-appropriate encounter is: an encounter that will probably require some effort or thought to get out of alive. A level 1 party is expected to be able to handle a level 1 encounter, but not a level 10 encounter. Is that wrong? It's like homework: the teacher expects you to be able to complete it. If the teacher wants you to fail, he'll give you a test over material you've never covered before.

Want to play a recruit on a special mission from the military? No, sorry, as a heroic™ PC, you are a master of (swordsmanship/healing/arcane magic/thievery) automatically at level 1.Depends on the campaign. You could very well be a rookie fresh out of the academy, since at level 1 you don't have as many tricks or are as good as at, say, level 10. Saying that a level 1 is a recruit/rookie just means that tougher people are more common than if a level 1 is a veteran, or that veterans are ridiculously rare in the campaign. If you were level 11 or 21? Yeah, you're no rookie there, just like a level 11 Wizard isn't some mere parlor magician in 3.X unless you're in a place like Tippyverse.
Want to play a character who values freedom and good equally? Sorry, a two axis system was too complicated, so now Chaotic Good characters don't exist.Chaotic Good characters, as they were in 3.X, still exist. They're just either Good or Unaligned, depending on whether they were more Chaotic or Good. Just because 4e states that characters that were Neutral Good or Chaotic Good in the previous edition are now defined as "Good" doesn't mean that they're not the same kind of character they were before. It just means that they're Good without being the Stick-To-The-Law Oldschool-Paladin type. With the same argument used here, I could state that Roy could not be played in any edition, since he's mentally different in his pursuit for Good and Law from Hinjo or Miko, who are (or were) both Paladins, and since they don't have a mechanic for differentiating between "Lawful Good Without Thinking Of The Consequences," "Tries To Be Lawful Good, But Messes Up When His Annoying Bard And Insane Ranger Speak Up," and "Pragmatic Lawful Good Leader Of A Nation," so I definitely can't play any of them.

On the game reality: 4e presents it as little more than a stage for PC exploits. If an exotic plane exists, the PCs should be able to explore it- with little danger of being killed by the extreme nature of the plane.If the PCs are of an experience level where they can be expected to survive, yes. Herakles can face down a god, so why can't a party of near-god-level 4e players try to take one down?

However, if they're a bunch of punks who haven't made a name for themselves yet, and they decide to travel unwarded to the depths of the Abyss, the denizens there can pick their teeth with the characters' bones without wasting an encounter power. Likewise, a party of adventurers who expect to travel into a lake of fire on the plains of the Elemental Chaos and are expected to do so by the DM should have the means of keeping themselves alive through that area. If they don't have any means of surviving 3 or 5 fire damage every round while crossing a 1500 foot diameter lake of brimstone and sulfur that likely has fire-born beasts within, then they should expect to die.
To make this possible "dangerous locations" have been watered down severely. What might have been an exotic and exciting trek to lands beyond imagination, is now just another backdrop for 4e combats.If you want to play 4e as only a series of combat encounters, then yes. That's what they will be. If you don't want that, then both DMGs and the Manual of the Planes devote quite a few pages towards the flavor and dangers of locales outside of the Prime Material.

It gets even worse when you start popping open the MMs and DMG for fluff material. It's a bunch of dry, uninteresting and nondescript trivia. Which leads me into my next point.The MM is mostly a listing of monsters. The more interesting kinds get fleshed out in books like the Draconomicons, Open Grave, or The Planes Below. The DMG is a guide to the DM, and as such gives mostly only basic examples for the DM to play off of in terms of flavor. However, whereas they could have left all of the fluff to books like the Manual of the Planes, WotC spends 2 entire chapters on ideas for flavor and the basics of the flavor that they came up with when they were making the default "points of light" setting for 4e. And then each of the Campaign Guides for the official settings are almost entirely books of fluff, with only the first and last twenty pages or so out of a two, three hundred page book being dedicated to mechanics.

A running theme in the MMs and DMGs, is that if the PCs aren't going to fight it, it doesn't need combat statistics.And why should it need combat statistics if you're not going to fight it? Does it need a FIDE ranking if it never plays chess?

4e outright throws realism out of the window in favor of the rule of cool. Which would be ok except, you know, roleplaying a believable character becomes much harder when the rules keep throwing that fact back in my face. In previous editions (and most other RPGs) realism is seen as a tool for making informed assumptions about how things work, and for making mechanics that mimic reality.What is realism, as you want it? Is it simulating a world like our own? If so, then D&D has done a very bad job of it from the start, what with all these mages and dragons flying around with demonic invasions and elementals and deities...

In 4e, the fluff justifies the mechanics. Realism is never even a consideration.
Which is totally backasswards. How we perceive our characters will always be intrinsically linked to how we perceive reality. From reality, we infer and make assumptions about the consequences of our actions in the game. How we phrase our actions, should be in the context of how we perceive our characters- we shouldn't have to constantly change our perception of our characters to validate a quirky power or strange combination of rules. That's immersion breaking.You're the one building the character. Why does he have that power? Why is he able to fling a bunch of darts into a small crowd's faces once a day, or why can he ignite the opponents right next to him with a swing of his sword? Why is he called a "Rogue" or a "Swordmage" or a "Bard" and not a "Fighter" or "Paladin" or "Cleric?"

Not trying to figure out what your character's actions look like based on the options you've chosen is what is breaking the immersion, since then you're thinking of the character as a series of strings and numerical values. You can do that the same way in any other edition of D&D. What is the story behind that Binder/Warlock/Sorcerer/PrC/PrC/PrC? Why is he a member of each of those classes? Is it just because you want the numbers they give you? That's breaking my immersion.

The thing is- combat isn't something unique to D&D. Online RPGs do it better.Well, then. If you want to make the best RPG around, then you should build off of the ideas that your competitors get right, right?

By throwing realism out of the window, and by slaving the narrative to the rules, the designers of 4e have made it absolutely certain that combat is the primary focus/purpose of play.
Hm. Interesting... For a counter point, let's ask you.
In 4e, the fluff justifies the mechanics.
So, which one is it? Is the fluff a slave to the rules, or are the rules justified by the fluff?

Player options are consigned by the rule of balance...So the fluff doesn't justify the mechanics. Alright.

it's only in competitive games that balance is considered a requirement.While this is true, the imbalance was also one of the major complaints that WotC heard when in the process of developing 4e. If people didn't complain about the balance in 3.X, they probably wouldn't have bothered as much with balance in 4e.

However, while on the subject of balance: it's a level 1 Fighter and a level 1 Wizard, and the levels are defined by a constant value of experience and a relative measure of power. Why shouldn't a Level 1 character be about as powerful as any other Level 1 character? Isn't the "Level" bit a measure of relative power? If a "Level" is a measure of power with respect to a "measuring stick" (such as the encounter levels or something similar), shouldn't characters with the same Level value be roughly as powerful?

This is commendable, considering you don't have a leg to stand on.:smallconfused: You have not proven that I was unreasonable, or that my claims followed a logical fallacy, nor that my initial conditions were incorrect. I contend that I am standing on solid ground until you prove otherwise.

So, what you're saying is that you aren't bogged down by the rules, because you disregard them when you roleplay.Which rules? Can you point me to the ones that are specifically restricting roleplay unless we disregard them? Is the 4e DMG lying when it says right on page 22 in bold text "Your Only Limit Is Your Imagination" or does it really mean what it says two paragraphs down? ("Instead, use such statistics, along with your knowledge of the scene, to help your narration.") Is the DMG no longer part of the rules?

jseah
2009-11-13, 12:50 PM
If the PCs are of an experience level where they can be expected to survive, yes. Herakles can face down a god, so why can't a party of near-god-level 4e players try to take one down?
Because it's a god? The very idea that you can kill a god by hitting it really hard kinda makes things... not mesh with the idea of godhood.

Mando Knight
2009-11-13, 12:55 PM
Because it's a god? The very idea that you can kill a god by hitting it really hard kinda makes things... not mesh with the idea of godhood.

Yes, but at the point where you can survive against a god in D&D 4e, probably at least one of your party members is on the cusp of achieving full godhood himself. Why shouldn't a party of fledgling gods, exalted archangels, and Sorcerers Supreme be able to try to challenge a god? (They're still going to get their rear handed to them unless they're a bunch of Revenants against Vecna, or have somehow otherwise stacked the deck against the god they're challenging)

And even then, by default, unless you manage to get a Plot Item Of Extreme Significance (with suggestions detailed in the text accompanying the god's statblock), the god can just leave when it gets hurt enough (Divine Discorporation: When it's bloodied, it vanishes and reappears somewhere else a while later), so you need to make it stay and fight.

hamishspence
2009-11-13, 12:57 PM
Making a god run away through it being hurt a lot is mentioned in the Iliad- I think one of the heroes (Diomedes) drives both Aphrodite and Ares into flight.

jseah
2009-11-13, 12:59 PM
It's acheivable by a party of non-magic users.
I don't want to bring magic into this because magic can explain anything, but...
A party of a Fighter, Warlord, Ranger and Rogue, should not even be able to find and kill a god. It's a freaking god, are you seriously saying that a god should be able to be killed by a piece of metal hitting it really fast?

Divine Discorporation just means that they need to one-round it from bloodied. Not easy, but possible if you have enough people.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 01:03 PM
It's acheivable by a party of non-magic users.
I don't want to bring magic into this because magic can explain anything, but...
A party of a Fighter, Warlord, Ranger and Rogue, should not even be able to find and kill a god. It's a freaking god, are you seriously saying that a god should be able to be killed by a piece of metal hitting it really fast?


When it's wield by a being who's also approaching godhood, sure.

Isn't this just another case of non-casters shouldn't get to do cool things?

Aron Times
2009-11-13, 01:07 PM
The all-martial party you mentioned are epic characters. There is a vast power difference between a heroic fighter and an epic fighter, or ranger, or rogue, or warlord. All four of them could be level 30 demigods.

Are you saying that a four demigods should automatically fail in a fight against a single god?

Again, this goes back to character level as a measure of power. If you want wizards in your campaign to be generally more powerful than fighters, simply make your wizards start out at a higher level than fighters. In the Wheel of Time, for example, Rand would've started out as a paragon tier channeler, while most nonchannelers would start out at the heroic tier.

jseah
2009-11-13, 01:14 PM
When it's wield by a being who's also approaching godhood, sure.

Isn't this just another case of non-casters shouldn't get to do cool things?
The point is that there's nothing SPECIAL about the piece of metal.

You can be the strongest, fastest and the most powerful fighter in the world (read: level 30) but you, not being magical, are still bound by the rules of the universe.

And a normal piece of metal, wielded by an ultimately normal, if far stronger and more skilled than any other, guy, can kill a god by being very very fast... =(
Sure the sword is probably magical. The rules don't stop you from doing the same with a chair leg (improvised weapon).

Sorry, I'm still not getting it.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 01:25 PM
Except you haven't shown that 4e can't be used well for it. If you're willing to assume that in this scenario in 3.5 there are no NPCs around that can do the job, either from a mechanical or story perspective, then to not make that assumption for the scenario in 4e is a double standard.

Not really. See, in 4e, there is very little variation in skills between characters of a given level. This is definitely not the case in 3.5, where even at a moderate level, a party may have players that cannot possibly make a given skill check that another player will automatically pass.

Thus, in 4e, it is somewhat harder to explain why you would be sought out for your skills.


And the "destiny" in this storyline you played had nothing to do with the system, but with the story the DM had. It could happen just as easily in 3.5, or WoD, or any other RPG.

Um, 4E has this entire destiny path when you get to higher levels. It's part of the system. Yes, how *much* of the adventure it takes up is tied to DM, but it's blatantly untrue to say that it's purely the DMs fault when it's pushed by the system itself.

Mando Knight
2009-11-13, 01:29 PM
Divine Discorporation just means that they need to one-round it from bloodied. Not easy, but possible if you have enough people.
Divine Discorporation is a non-action that happens as soon as a god gets bloodied. That, and they're far tougher than any other monster released so far.

You can be the strongest, fastest and the most powerful fighter in the world (read: level 30) but you, not being magical, are still bound by the rules of the universe.
You trained hard enough (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharlesAtlasSuperpower). That's what the Martial Power Source means: You trained so hard that you're like the Greek heroes or Beowulf. You can't fly, or teleport, or turn invisible, but you're able to fight hand-to-hand with anyone who can, and force them to fight on your terms. You've got black belts in twenty-seven different martial arts.

Your Mythic Sovereign Fighter is Beowulf, the Demigod Fighter might be Herakles. A Legendary General Tactical Warlord is the goddamn Batman. Maybe you rely on special gadgets in order to fight your enemies. Maybe. But by the time you're level 30 character, you're among the best of the best in using your gadgets to solve the problem.

Not really. See, in 4e, there is very little variation in skills between characters of a given level. This is definitely not the case in 3.5, where even at a moderate level, a party may have players that cannot possibly make a given skill check that another player will automatically pass.

Thus, in 4e, it is somewhat harder to explain why you would be sought out for your skills.For a skill check? That's a +5 modifier with training, besides the ability modifier, any racial or background bonuses, or such. At level 1, it's the similar to the difference between asking a Diplomancer Bard or an Orc Barbarian to persuade someone in 3.X.

In 4e, a guy with training in a skill and a given ability modifier is just as good at that skill as someone who's ten levels higher and has the same ability modifier, but no training. And even then, there are still skills that have uses marked "Trained Only."

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 01:36 PM
The point is that there's nothing SPECIAL about the piece of metal.

You can be the strongest, fastest and the most powerful fighter in the world (read: level 30) but you, not being magical, are still bound by the rules of the universe.

And a normal piece of metal, wielded by an ultimately normal, if far stronger and more skilled than any other, guy, can kill a god by being very very fast... =(
Sure the sword is probably magical. The rules don't stop you from doing the same with a chair leg (improvised weapon).

Sorry, I'm still not getting it.

Herakles, the strongest man in Greek mythology uses a plain old club. Not a club +6, just a club. With it, he beats down on monsters, gods, and enemies even other gods can't handle.

Again with the artifical divide between magical and non-magical. When you're an epic demigod, the rules of the universe are mere guidelines.


edit: You know what I hate about D&D. It's created the perception that magical = casters, non-magical = non-casters and magical = special. And the only way for a D&D character to be magical is to be a caster. If you go back to mythology, magic is just a description given to any ability beyond that of a normal human. Or more accurately, there is no clear line between magic and mundane. Epic heroes like Cu Chulainn, Achilles, Herakles etc. could all be defined as magical within their own mythological traditions.

tcrudisi
2009-11-13, 01:42 PM
Um, 4E has this entire destiny path when you get to higher levels. It's part of the system. Yes, how *much* of the adventure it takes up is tied to DM, but it's blatantly untrue to say that it's purely the DMs fault when it's pushed by the system itself.

Yep. Let's see what an epic destiny in 4e is supposed to be, shall we?

After twenty levels of adventure, what trials could be left to challenge you? You have conquered countless foes and become a hero to common folk everywhere. Deadly dragons and powerful mages alike have fallen to your might. Your gaze has begun to turn to the planes beyond the world, and even to the gods themselves. Finally, you realize there are no heights you cannot achieve. It's time for you to assume your epic destiny and shape your legend in the universe forevermore.

It is sounding pretty epic right about now. But hey -- it better be! I've just attained epic levels! The "epic destiny" to which you refer does not occur before level 21. Before then, the characters have no "destiny" per se, unless the DM says so (which is the same in every RPG).

But why is the epic destiny there?

Your epic destiny describes the mythic archetype you aspire to achieve. Your epic destiny defines your lasting impact on the world or even the universe: how people forever afterward remember and talk about you. Your epic destiny ensures that your name and exploits live on forever. Perhaps most important, your epic destiny describes your character's exit from the world at large (and more specifically, from the game) once you've completed your final adventure. It lays out why, after so many adventures, you finally take your leave of the mortal realm -- and where you go next.

It then goes on to talk about the Destiny Quest. Basically, you get together with all the players and the DM and say, "How do we want to go out?" Then, the DM sets up that quest and that's how your characters go out. Are all epic level characters automatically successful at it? No. But it is a goal that all the players wish to achieve. Heck, I can do the same thing in 3.5. "I want my Wizard to become the most powerful Wizard of all time." Bam. The DM will probably work with me on that, especially once I hit epic levels (the same thing that happens in 4e).

Wait wait wait -- the DM might actually work with me when I hit epic levels about a self-prescribed destiny that I set out for myself? That's blasphemy! The DM should do no such thing! /sarcasm off

And if my Wizard dies when he's level 24? Oh darn. He failed at his self-prescribed destiny. It happens. Either I get a resurrection or he permanently dies, just like in 4e. Eventually, if I play long enough, I'll either suceed or not.

There's nothing that says you will succeed at your destiny. You can fail... but the point is that the DM is supposed to work with you, the player, in designing a story that lets you retire your character the way you want him retired. If anything, that is a great thing to work towards.

tcrudisi
2009-11-13, 01:44 PM
edit: You know what I hate about D&D. It's created the perception that magical = casters, non-magical = non-casters and magical = special. If you go back to mythology, magic is just a description given to any ability beyond that of a normal human.

Touche. Odysseus fought off the magic of the Sirens using a non-magical rope. His men fought off the magic of the sirens using non-magic wax to clog their ears. The Sirens are also considered to be demi-gods.

Reverent-One
2009-11-13, 01:48 PM
Not really. See, in 4e, there is very little variation in skills between characters of a given level. This is definitely not the case in 3.5, where even at a moderate level, a party may have players that cannot possibly make a given skill check that another player will automatically pass.

Thus, in 4e, it is somewhat harder to explain why you would be sought out for your skills.

Don't adventurer's get rarer as you go up in level? That's a basic concept that seems standard for 3.5 and 4e, making you more special and skilled then more and more NPCs as you level. Also, whoever is employing you doesn't see your stats in character. If you've worked for the king/general/whoever before, and he's liked your work, he's more likely to hire you again. Or maybe there is, in fact, no special reason why you particularly were chosen for this job, they needed 4 people for a task, and you were the four they picked.


Um, 4E has this entire destiny path when you get to higher levels. It's part of the system. Yes, how *much* of the adventure it takes up is tied to DM, but it's blatantly untrue to say that it's purely the DMs fault when it's pushed by the system itself.

I was referring to how jseah said the adventure plotline was destined, or planned, to play out how it did, not an individual character's "epic destiny", which is dependent on the player's choices. Same word, different usages. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0012.html)

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 01:51 PM
Yep. Let's see what an epic destiny in 4e is supposed to be, shall we?

....lots of stuff....

There's nothing that says you will succeed at your destiny. You can fail... but the point is that the DM is supposed to work with you, the player, in designing a story that lets you retire your character the way you want him retired. If anything, that is a great thing to work towards.

Lets summarize:

Him: I don't like that 4e has more destiny stuff in it than 3.5.

You: There is no difference in destiny-related stuff between 4e and 3.5

Me: Actually, at high levels, destiny related stuff is a standard part of the 4e system.

You: But that doesn't count, cause ITS FREAKING AWESOME.


You missed the point. It's all tied up with destiny, and it's part of the system. Of *course* someone who hates the idea of a destiny is going to hate it.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 01:53 PM
I was referring to how jseah said the adventure plotline was destined, or planned, to play out how it did, not an individual character's "epic destiny", which is dependent on the player's choices. Same word, different usages. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0012.html)

How can a party full of people on "destiny quests" not affect the plotline?

If the players are on rails, the plot is also on rails.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 01:53 PM
I was referring to how jseah said the adventure plotline was destined, or planned, to play out how it did, not an individual character's "epic destiny", which is dependent on the player's choices. Same word, different usages. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0012.html)

In previous editions, we just call that railroading, or following a module, or playing according to the DM's storyline. How is this even a 4e problem?

BTW: Epic Destiny is just a name. They could've called it Epic Powaazz and it'd still be the same thing. It has fluff suggestions (just like paragon paths) that you could use or ignore depending on your campaign.

Theodoric
2009-11-13, 01:55 PM
How can a party full of people on "destiny quests" not affect the plotline?

If the players are on rails, the plot is also on rails.
Personal quests needn't completely rule the plot, though. And they're not nessecarily rules, even.

Reverent-One
2009-11-13, 01:57 PM
How can a party full of people on "destiny quests" not affect the plotline?

If the players are on rails, the plot is also on rails.

And where did jseah say it was an epic level adventure?

Jayabalard
2009-11-13, 01:58 PM
Yes, but at the point where you can survive against a god in D&D 4e, probably at least one of your party members is on the cusp of achieving full godhood himself.Some people don't particlarily care for that idea in general, and think that it doesn't mesh with the very idea of godhood, and it sounds like you're arguing against someone who feels that way. It seems really clear to me at least.


Why shouldn't a party of fledgling gods, exalted archangels, and Sorcerers Supreme be able to try to challenge a god?Because they aren't; they just really talented humans... not gods.

tcrudisi
2009-11-13, 02:01 PM
Some people don't particlarily care for that idea in general, and think that it doesn't mesh with the very idea of godhood, and it sounds like you're arguing against someone who feels that way. It seems really clear to me at least.

Because they aren't; they just really talented humans... not gods.

Right -- but gods can be killed in 3.5 as well by "really talented humans".

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 02:04 PM
Some people don't particlarily care for that idea in general, and think that it doesn't mesh with the very idea of godhood, and it sounds like you're arguing against someone who feels that way. It seems really clear to me at least.

Because they aren't; they just really talented humans... not gods.

Hey, Buffy beat a god. What is a god anyways if you get away from the Judeo-Christian omnipotent, omniscient G_d tradition? It's just a really powerful, immortal being.

In any case, if you don't want to fight gods/demons lords/devil archdukes, don't play the epic levels. 4e has rather good guidelines on what levels are appropriate for what type of adventures.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 02:06 PM
Right -- but gods can be killed in 3.5 as well by "really talented humans".

Don't you need to first pick up a divine rank to kill them?

HamHam
2009-11-13, 02:07 PM
A fantasy world is basically reality+. I don't really need rules to tell me about the reality part in most cases, basic common sense can tell me if climbing a rope, talking, tying a knot, etc are options available to me. You might need a skill system to determine how good the character is at doing these things and thus what his odds of success are, but it's easy to improvise because we all understand Newtonian physics and how things work in real life on some level.

I do need rules to tell me what I can and can't do when it comes to the + part. I can't use magic. I don't know how magic is supposed to work. The rules need to tell me what magic can and can't do, and this is true in combat and out. Saying "well you can use the Arcana skill to do... things" is not telling me what I can or can't do. As it stands, my impression is that what 4e actually tells you you can use magic for out of combat is rituals which are of highly limited use. And what it tells you magic can be used for in combat just does what it does and can't really be used creatively.

All of this I find to be highly lacking and not at all interesting.

Daimbert
2009-11-13, 02:08 PM
But a lot of out-of-combat interaction IS COMMON SENSE! Does the lack of a skill called Perform mean that my character can't dance?

If my character doesn't have a Perform (Dance) skill, can the character dance? How well can the character dance? It's not clear from any other skill that the character can or can't dance. Is the character an average dancer? A good one? Is there another character in the party that's a better dancer?

This, surely, isn't common sense. Either my background has to include it, or I'll have to make it up as I go along.


Does no Profession skill mean that there are no bakers?


If my character worked as a baker for a while before becoming an adventurer, how do I reflect that? Was my character a decent baker, a crappy baker (which is why they quit), or were they the best baker in the world?

No game can represent everything, of course, and 3.5's system had its own flaws (such as being forced to leave common skills like swimming and climbing untrained because of point restrictions). But at least I was able to represent my character using them.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 02:15 PM
And where did jseah say it was an epic level adventure?

He didn't say what the campaign was. I didn't make the assumption about what level it was. The statement in which the assumption was made is as follows:


And the "destiny" in this storyline you played had nothing to do with the system, but with the story the DM had. It could happen just as easily in 3.5, or WoD, or any other RPG.

Thus, your statement that the destiny HAD to be the fault of the DM is clearly making an assumption about...something, given the fact that 4e does include destiny stuff that 3.5 or "any other RPG" does not.

Reverent-One
2009-11-13, 02:32 PM
He didn't say what the campaign was. I didn't make the assumption about what level it was. The statement in which the assumption was made is as follows:

Thus, your statement that the destiny HAD to be the fault of the DM is clearly making an assumption about...something, given the fact that 4e does include destiny stuff that 3.5 or "any other RPG" does not.

No, it doesn't. As I said, same words, different meanings (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0012.html). An optional way for a player to work with the DM to give their character a crowning moment of glory before they retire the character is not analogous to a predictible storyline the DM makes up that the players can see coming several hundred yards away. The first is (possibly) 4e specific, the second is common to many, if not all, RPGs.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 03:08 PM
Yes, bad DMs are common. This does not address the fact that destiny is part of the 4e system. You can, obviously, ignore it, like you can ignore any component of the rules, but that's merely dodging the point.

It's also ludicrous to pretend that having everyone in the party engaged on a destiny quest has no effect on the plot. Particularily in areas such as "seeing encounters coming three sessions in advance", which was brought up as a complaint. After all, the entire point about destiny is that there is foreknowledge. Clearly, he just didn't like destiny, and 4e has it. If all the players have a destiny to fulfill, obviously...your plot is going to be a wee bit more predictable.

Reverent-One
2009-11-13, 03:13 PM
Yes, bad DMs are common. This does not address the fact that destiny is part of the 4e system. You can, obviously, ignore it, like you can ignore any component of the rules, but that's merely dodging the point.

It's also ludicrous to pretend that having everyone in the party engaged on a destiny quest has no effect on the plot. Particularily in areas such as "seeing encounters coming three sessions in advance", which was brought up as a complaint. After all, the entire point about destiny is that there is foreknowledge. Clearly, he just didn't like destiny, and 4e has it. If all the players have a destiny to fulfill, obviously...your plot is going to be a wee bit more predictable.

He made no mention of epic destiny stuff being the cause of the predicabilty in the story. Why you choose to assume that people pursuing epic destinies must be the reason why, as opposed to general plot railroading, is beyond me. In fact, he says there was "only 1 true way to complete the campaign no matter our characters", which means epic destinies had nothing to do with it.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 03:17 PM
He complained about the destiny involved in 4th ed. He did not state what level his campaign was at, but gave the impression that it lasted a while. His complaint was regarding how the campaign was completed. How do you know that he couldn't possibly have been referring to epic destinies?

More to the point, how do you justify your claim that 4e has no more destiny involved than "any other RPG", given that it actually has a destiny quest system?

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 03:21 PM
He complained about the destiny involved in 4th ed. He did not state what level his campaign was at, but gave the impression that it lasted a while. His complaint was regarding how the campaign was completed. How do you know that he couldn't possibly have been referring to epic destinies?

More to the point, how do you justify your claim that 4e has no more destiny involved than "any other RPG", given that it actually has a destiny quest system?

The fluff of Epic destinies have never been "complete quest A, B and C then you ascend to godhood." They're always, "when you've completed your ultimate quest, you ascend to godhood."

It makes no stipulation on what that quest has to be. That ultimate quest thing can be anything the DM makes up, or just whatever adventure the PCs happen to be on at lv 30.

Reverent-One
2009-11-13, 03:21 PM
He complained about the destiny involved in 4th ed. He did not state what level his campaign was at, but gave the impression that it lasted a while. His complaint was regarding how the campaign was completed. How do you know that he couldn't possibly have been referring to epic destinies?


In fact, he says there was "only 1 true way to complete the campaign no matter our characters", which means epic destinies had nothing to do with it.


More to the point, how do you justify your claim that 4e has no more destiny involved than "any other RPG", given that it actually has a destiny quest system?

Destiny != Predictable storylines.

tcrudisi
2009-11-13, 03:22 PM
Yes, bad DMs are common. This does not address the fact that destiny is part of the 4e system. You can, obviously, ignore it, like you can ignore any component of the rules, but that's merely dodging the point.

It's also ludicrous to pretend that having everyone in the party engaged on a destiny quest has no effect on the plot. Particularily in areas such as "seeing encounters coming three sessions in advance", which was brought up as a complaint. After all, the entire point about destiny is that there is foreknowledge. Clearly, he just didn't like destiny, and 4e has it. If all the players have a destiny to fulfill, obviously...your plot is going to be a wee bit more predictable.

My wizards epic destiny is to become a demigod of magic.

Uh-oh. I now know that if my character manages to survive until level 30, he will not stop adventuring until he has become a demigod of magic. This could take decades (read as: 100 campaigns) or he might get lucky and complete his quest with the first adventure upon hitting level 30.

Now, what do I know? I know that, once again if he survives, he will eventually become a demigod of magic. But ... how?

Maybe...
1) I end up impressing the god of magic so thoroughly that the god decides to grant upon me demigod status due to my epic acccomplishments.
2) I find an artifact that gives me powers beyond comprehension.
3) I find the corpse of an ancient god and manage to cannibalize just enough of his powers
4) I found my own "cult" and achieve such a following that I ascend to demigod
5) I find a ritual that does it
6) I force a god, through mine and my allies powers and abilities, to grant me a small spark of divinity
7) A god comes to me and offers to make me a demigod in exchange for some service
8) I find a place of such power that I am able to channel its power into me. I then claim this spot as my first holy ground and use its energy to ascend.
... and so on.

There are a near infinite amount of ways to accomplish this. With many of them, I won't even know that my character is about to fulfill his own epic destiny. And I use "destiny" in the loosest term since the definition of destiny actually means "predetermined to happen" and with epic destinies, they are not predetermined. They will happen, if and only if, the character manages to survive long enough... else he won't fulfill the destiny.

There is nothing predictable about it unless the DM telegraphs it to the players somehow or gives the players a plot that obviously leads to their destiny, which does not have to be the case at all.

Shazbot79
2009-11-13, 03:22 PM
It's acheivable by a party of non-magic users.
I don't want to bring magic into this because magic can explain anything, but...
A party of a Fighter, Warlord, Ranger and Rogue, should not even be able to find and kill a god. It's a freaking god, are you seriously saying that a god should be able to be killed by a piece of metal hitting it really fast?

Divine Discorporation just means that they need to one-round it from bloodied. Not easy, but possible if you have enough people.

Refresh my memory...anyone remember a specific instance of Captain America beating Thor in a fight?

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 03:27 PM
I did chafe at the lack of strategic options however.
Our GM wasn't trying to railroad us, we did sidetrack more than a few times. But there was essentially only 1 true way to complete the campaign no matter our characters. And most of the encounters could be foreseen 3 sessions in advance.

I have a strong dislike for systems where "destiny" seems to play a very large hand. A fixed storyline, not matter how interesting, is not something I come to an RPG table for.


What he actually said, instead of taking one sentence out of context. He's clearly not just talking about his DM, but his larger impression of the system as a whole. You'll also note that his mention of destiny is not exclusive to the campaign completion issue(though Im sure it played a role).

It's pretty clear that to such a player, the destiny quest system is not a positive factor. This isn't rocket science here. He dislikes a strong element of destiny, 4e includes a strong element of destiny, thus, he's not terribly fond of 4e. Perhaps you love destiny, and thus, consider it awesome. Great. However, not relevant to his concerns.

Reverent-One
2009-11-13, 03:31 PM
What he actually said, instead of taking one sentence out of context. He's clearly not just talking about his DM, but his larger impression of the system as a whole. You'll also note that his mention of destiny is not exclusive to the campaign completion issue(though Im sure it played a role).

It's pretty clear that to such a player, the destiny quest system is not a positive factor. This isn't rocket science here. He dislikes a strong element of destiny, 4e includes a strong element of destiny, thus, he's not terribly fond of 4e. Perhaps you love destiny, and thus, consider it awesome. Great. However, not relevant to his concerns.

Actually, his whole first paragraph does seem to be referring to the actions of the DM in that campaign. And when he later uses the word destiny, he uses it in terms of a fixed storyline, which, as tcrudisi showed, the 4e specific "epic destiny" system doesn't require at all.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 03:38 PM
It's pretty clear that to such a player, the destiny quest system is not a positive factor. This isn't rocket science here. He dislikes a strong element of destiny, 4e includes a strong element of destiny, thus, he's not terribly fond of 4e. Perhaps you love destiny, and thus, consider it awesome. Great. However, not relevant to his concerns.

Saying 4e includes a strong element of destiny due to epic destinies is like saying 3.5 includes a strong element of world design restriction due to some prestige classes refering to certain elements that may or may not exist in your world.

Which is to say, there's a ton of fluff that people may or may not choose ignore in their character building.

tcrudisi
2009-11-13, 03:38 PM
It's pretty clear that to such a player, the destiny quest system is not a positive factor. This isn't rocket science here. He dislikes a strong element of destiny, 4e includes a strong element of destiny, thus, he's not terribly fond of 4e. Perhaps you love destiny, and thus, consider it awesome. Great. However, not relevant to his concerns.

Someone doesn't like destiny? That's good -- 4e doesn't have a strong element of destiny in it. In 3.5 you keep playing until you hit level 100,000+. In 4e, you play until level 30. However, just like in 3.5, you don't have to stop. You can keep going. In fact, it's not even a rule that you must complete your epic destiny... it's only a goal for your character. What does your character aspire to be and how does he want to be remembered? That's exactly what an epic destiny is. There's nothing that says you must do that.

Here is the definition of destiny: the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events.
The power or agency that determines the course of events.

Using the definition of destiny, I understand that an epic destiny is not either of those. It is not predetermined, inevitable or irrestible, nor is there a power or agency that determines the course of events for my character (except me).

If you want to read the words "epic destiny" and think that it means "destiny", that's fine. You would be incorrect, but if that's how you want to play it, that's fine. Just like the word Athletics means "running, jumping, and throwing" to the British, but in 4e it also incorporates other sports like climbing and swimming. Look past what the word means in typical culture and look at what the books defined it as.

Mando Knight
2009-11-13, 03:40 PM
My wizards epic destiny is to become a demigod of magic.

Uh-oh. I now know that if my character manages to survive until level 30, he will not stop adventuring until he has become a demigod of magic. This could take decades (read as: 100 campaigns) or he might get lucky and complete his quest with the first adventure upon hitting level 30.

The Demigod Epic Destiny means that you are a demigod, and want to achieve full divinity, perhaps as a lesser deity beneath a greater one like Ioun or Corellon.

The Mythic Sovereign destiny states that you are a king, and when you have completed your ultimate quest, you will sit on your throne and be a king whose reign will be remembered forever. Divine characters with the Exalted Angel destiny are part of their god's angelic host, and will become one of your god's foremost agents in the mortal world upon achieving your destiny.

Refresh my memory...anyone remember a specific instance of Captain America beating Thor in a fight?A specific time Cap beat Thor? No, I don't remember him defeating Thor off the top of my head, but I'm sure they've gone head-to-head before, and Iron Man, whose entire skill set is based on some close-combat training and a whole lot of specialized gadgets, can fight nearly any character in 616 on even terms.

Batman beats Superman all the time, even though Supes has nearly divine powers and Batman is just a smart guy with gadgets and muscles. The heroes of the Iliad weren't powered by the gods or ancient knowledge or Gaia, but they were able to threaten the gods themselves.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 04:02 PM
Uh, people are acting as if epic destinies are something entirely player driven, and filled with lovely, lovely choices.

Destinies are a little like epic classes in 3.5. You start them at level 21, and they go till level 30(ish). You select an appropriate one from the list, and your goals are listed for you. Yes, there are different paths to take along the way there, but this does involve the traditional use of the word destiny, and it is exactly the sort of thing that would lead to 4e being a little more predictable in certain campaigns.

Reverent-One
2009-11-13, 04:07 PM
Uh, people are acting as if epic destinies are something entirely player driven, and filled with lovely, lovely choices.

Destinies are a little like epic classes in 3.5. You start them at level 21, and they go till level 30(ish). You select an appropriate one from the list, and your goals are listed for you. Yes, there are different paths to take along the way there, but this does involve the traditional use of the word destiny, and it is exactly the sort of thing that would lead to 4e being a little more predictable in certain campaigns.

No, it isn't, at least not if you don't already have a predictable DM. Even if the player has no say in how their "destiny" is completed, there are so many, perhaps infinite, ways for it to be completed that it does not mean that the story must get predictable. And the destinies are by no means inevitable, you could very well get your character killed, permanately, prior to fulfilling your "destiny".

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 04:07 PM
Uh, people are acting as if epic destinies are something entirely player driven, and filled with lovely, lovely choices.

Destinies are a little like epic classes in 3.5. You start them at level 21, and they go till level 30(ish). You select an appropriate one from the list, and your goals are listed for you. Yes, there are different paths to take along the way there, but this does involve the traditional use of the word destiny, and it is exactly the sort of thing that would lead to 4e being a little more predictable in certain campaigns.

You could play them that way. Or you could play them the same way a lot of people play PrCs in 3.5, as prepackaged sets of abilities with no effect on your character's storyline development. I'm not even talking about EDs being character driven plots, I'm saying that your ED can be completely plot unrelated.

Shazbot79
2009-11-13, 04:10 PM
A specific time Cap beat Thor? No, I don't remember him defeating Thor off the top of my head, but I'm sure they've gone head-to-head before, and Iron Man, whose entire skill set is based on some close-combat training and a whole lot of specialized gadgets, can fight nearly any character in 616 on even terms.

Batman beats Superman all the time, even though Supes has nearly divine powers and Batman is just a smart guy with gadgets and muscles. The heroes of the Iliad weren't powered by the gods or ancient knowledge or Gaia, but they were able to threaten the gods themselves.

My stance has always been that the goal of D&D isn't to simulate reality...but to simulate fiction.

Since there is a precedent for "martial characters" defeating gods in fiction, then there is nothing inherently wrong with this happening in a D&D game.

I think that the idea that this isn't something that martial characters should be able to accomplish is part of the larger problem of the idea that Wizards and Sorcerers get to be super special for no good reason, other than the fact that they are Wizards and Sorcerers.

I, for one, am glad that the game remedied this.

jmbrown
2009-11-13, 04:17 PM
If my character doesn't have a Perform (Dance) skill, can the character dance? How well can the character dance? It's not clear from any other skill that the character can or can't dance. Is the character an average dancer? A good one? Is there another character in the party that's a better dancer?

This, surely, isn't common sense. Either my background has to include it, or I'll have to make it up as I go along.



If my character worked as a baker for a while before becoming an adventurer, how do I reflect that? Was my character a decent baker, a crappy baker (which is why they quit), or were they the best baker in the world?

No game can represent everything, of course, and 3.5's system had its own flaws (such as being forced to leave common skills like swimming and climbing untrained because of point restrictions). But at least I was able to represent my character using them.

Ugh, this is everything wrong with late TSR/early WotC game development. There shouldn't be mechanics to roleplay. This is, instead, rollplay.

D&D is and has always been a combat centric game. The inclusion of rules for arbitrary, non-combat elements are unnecessary because it's the DM's job to rule how they work. D&D has always been based around the d20 mechanic. Deciding whether or not your character is a good baker is a matter of rolling d20 and adding modifiers based on equipment and experience.

What 'experience' equates is up to the DM. He should put a stop to potential Mary Sue characters who say "I do everything he does... but better." He should reward players who actually roleplay their cooking profession outside of combat.

But there should not, under any circumstances, be a mechanic for arbitrary abilities in a game that's 99% about supernatural abilities! 1E and 2E let you learn non-combat skills with no penalty to learning combat skills. 3E introduced the skill system and lumped non-combat skills/feats (profession, investigator) with combat skills/feats (spellcraft, meta magic). Unless the DM states he's creating a non-combat game, people will choose the combat feats because that's what D&D is based around.

There's nothing wrong with non-combat mechanics as long as the system supports them. You can't lump the two together with a clear "you have to pick this or this, not both" and expect people to choose a smattering of everything when the monster's you fight simply aren't built that way.

To reiterate, I don't care how many points you have in bakery because to me it doesn't matter. If you say your character is a baker and you roleplay him as baking exotic stuff every time the party camps, I'll treat him as a great baker. If you battle a rival baker of the same skill, I'll roll a flat d20 and compare the results.

I don't want a billion charts and stats for things for features that go against what the game is about and D&D has never pretended to be about realism or mundane PCs.

Shazbot79
2009-11-13, 04:32 PM
More to the point, how do you justify your claim that 4e has no more destiny involved than "any other RPG", given that it actually has a destiny quest system?

There is no "destiny quest system" in 4e. Destiny quests are pure fluff with no mechanics attached whatsoever. As this has been pointed out numerous times.

This is like me deriding 3rd Edition because I don't like the "bloodwar system."

Your arguments here are based on semantics. "Epic Destinies" are just a more flavorful way of saying "epic level class feature packages." If the authors had called them something like "Final Rewards" and changed nothing else, then we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Chrono22
2009-11-13, 04:42 PM
I don't want a billion charts and stats for things for features that go against what the game is about and D&D has never pretended to be about realism or mundane PCs.

Let's see... starting with the earliest edition I own and forward.
My inserts in red.

2ed: The point of playing is not to win but to have fun and socialize. (So go outside.)

3ed: The D&D game is a fantasy game of your imagination. It's part acting, part storytelling, part social interaction, part war game, and part dice rolling.
...
The Dungeons and Dragons game is a game of imagination, but it is also a game of tactics and strategy.
(Very descriptive, not prescriptive)

4ed: D&D is a fantasy-adventure game. You create a character, team up with other characters (your friends), explore a world, and battle monsters. While the D&D game uses dice and miniatures, the action takes place in your imagination (which kind of makes the miniatures redundant then I guess). There, you have the freedom to create anything you can imagine, with an unlimited special effects budget and the technology to make anythng happen.
...
D&D is a cooperative game in which you and your friends work together to complete each adventure and have fun.

So, to reiterate
2ed: have fun and socialize.
3ed: a mix of everything.
4ed: adventures and killing monsters.

2ed & 3ed never exclude playing mundane pcs from being included in "fun, socializing, dice rolling, war gaming, story telling, or acting".

4ed has an overly specific end goal- combat.

Asbestos
2009-11-13, 05:09 PM
4ed:
D&D is a cooperative game in which you and your friends work together to complete each adventure and have fun.


I'm sorry, but how is that not "have fun and socialize (with your friends)"? This seems to be the exact same thing that 2ed was saying.

Gametime
2009-11-13, 05:11 PM
Let's see... starting with the earliest edition I own and forward.
My inserts in red.

2ed: The point of playing is not to win but to have fun and socialize. (So go outside.)

3ed: The D&D game is a fantasy game of your imagination. It's part acting, part storytelling, part social interaction, part war game, and part dice rolling.
...
The Dungeons and Dragons game is a game of imagination, but it is also a game of tactics and strategy.
(Very descriptive, not prescriptive)

4ed: D&D is a fantasy-adventure game. You create a character, team up with other characters (your friends), explore a world, and battle monsters. While the D&D game uses dice and miniatures, the action takes place in your imagination (which kind of makes the miniatures redundant then I guess). There, you have the freedom to create anything you can imagine, with an unlimited special effects budget and the technology to make anythng happen.
...
D&D is a cooperative game in which you and your friends work together to complete each adventure and have fun.

So, to reiterate
2ed: have fun and socialize.
3ed: a mix of everything.
4ed: adventures and killing monsters.

2ed & 3ed never exclude playing mundane pcs from being included in "fun, socializing, dice rolling, war gaming, story telling, or acting".

4ed has an overly specific end goal- combat.

It's disingenuous at best to suggest that the vast majority of D&D adventures in every edition weren't combat-oriented, even if the possibility of other orientations existed.

D&D started out as a game that was focused around fantasy combat. It has never strayed from that path. The closest it has come to doing so is with an increased focus on skills in 3.5, which if anything 4th has continued and improved upon.

If you want to run a campaign focused around anything other than combat in 4e, you can. You can, I would wager, focus on anything you could have in 3.5. But most people won't do that. Most people play, at least in part, for the fantastical combat. Wizards realized this and planned their game accordingly.

If you don't like that, don't play 4e. Don't pretend it makes 4e worse than 3.5, don't pretend it makes it an objectively worse product, don't pretend it represents a step backwards. Realize that it is not the game you want to play, and stop trying to convince all of us of the righteous truth of your argument.

Mando Knight
2009-11-13, 05:14 PM
4ed has an overly specific end goal- combat.
Eh? Let's look at this again.

4ed: D&D is a fantasy-adventure game.Alright, so we know what kind of game it is: some kind of fantastic adventure game.
You create a character, team up with other characters (your friends), explore a world, and battle monsters.Alright. How many editions of D&D have you team up with your friends?
Explore worlds?
Battle monsters?
Isn't it all of them?
While the D&D game uses dice and miniatures, the action takes place in your imagination (which kind of makes the miniatures redundant then I guess).Miniatures and maps are a visualization aid, and because the official WotC D&D Minis are the official product for this visualization aid, everything that needs or benefits from that visualization aid is optimized for that product. They don't replace the imagination, they supplement it, like an artist's sketch of a scene from a book.

D&D is a cooperative game in which you and your friends work together to complete each adventure and have fun.Now, which edition did that come from? "Fun and Socialize" 2e? "Everything Under the Sun" 3.X? Or "BATTLES ONLY RAWR" 4e? It could fit in the previous two quite well, correct? Then what's it doing at the end of a quote from a 4e book? Might this indicate that there's more to 4e than what you contend there is? Does adventure only mean "travel around in a dark pit and kill things" now? Let's ask Mr. 4eDMG:


An adventure is just a series of encounters.
Hm. You have a point... or would, except that's not the end of the paragraph.

How and why these encounters fit together--from the simplest to the most complex--is the framework for any adventure.
So, an adventure is, at its most basic, a group of battles strung together in order.
Orc has a pie, you want the pie, kill the orc to get a pie. There. Short adventure. But now, there's this "framework" deal, something about how the encounters fit together. Let's see what it says in the next paragraph about that:

An adventure revolves around a particular expedition, mission, or series of tasks in which the PCs are the heroes. Think of it as a distinct story in which all the elements are tied together.
Sounds like a summary of a stand-alone episode in a TV series, or a short story... or a chapter from a book. Y'know, a story. So, this kind of thing isn't so much "WARGAME RAWR" after all.

jmbrown
2009-11-13, 05:19 PM
2ed & 3ed never exclude playing mundane pcs from being included in "fun, socializing, dice rolling, war gaming, story telling, or acting".

4ed has an overly specific end goal- combat.

And neither does 4E.

NPCs don't have powers in 4E so if you want to play a mundane character simple roll/point buy your stats, give them hp equal to their constitution, calculate their base defenses, and give them basic attacks.

I guarantee they'll survive just as long as level 0 characters in 2E and level 1 NPC classes in 3E if you follow CR and encounter creation by the rules.

Fun, socializing, story telling, and acting have nothing to do with dice.

Chrono22
2009-11-13, 05:23 PM
This is something I take issue with in every edition of D&D- it uses incorrect definitions to describe elements/rules of the game.
The real definition of adventure (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/adventure) is not limited to "a string of combats".
This point of view limits the D&D experience.
Previous editions don't have this view- combat is optional, and there are many other ways the players can engage in "adventure" (as per the correct definition of adventure).

Jayabalard
2009-11-13, 05:36 PM
I'm sorry, but how is that not "have fun and socialize (with your friends)"? This seems to be the exact same thing that 2ed was saying.They seem quite different to me: one describes the game strictly as a social activity, the other is a goal-orientated statement of purpose.

Mando Knight
2009-11-13, 05:49 PM
Previous editions don't have this view- combat is optional, and there are many other ways the players can engage in "adventure" (as per the correct definition of adventure).

"An undertaking or enterprise of a hazardous nature?" In the terms of defining an adventure for the purpose of designing a game, "a series of encounters" seems to be just as adequate a definition, especially since, last I checked, Chapter 5 of the 4e DMG was titled "Non-Combat Encounters" and that "Encounter" is the game's term for "A challenge posed to the Player Characters" and should be at least moderately hazardous as a whole.

Chrono22
2009-11-13, 06:14 PM
"An undertaking or enterprise of a hazardous nature?" In the terms of defining an adventure for the purpose of designing a game, "a series of encounters" seems to be just as adequate a definition,
The two concepts aren't the same. A series of encounters might be an adventure, but an adventure need not be a series of encounters.

especially since, last I checked, Chapter 5 of the 4e DMG was titled "Non-Combat Encounters" and that "Encounter" is the game's term for "A challenge posed to the Player Characters" and should be at least moderately hazardous as a whole.
Source?

jseah
2009-11-13, 06:14 PM
Sorry to have spawned such a large number of posts about Destiny.

Let me clarify. I was not referring to the Epic Destiny. The Epic Destiny from 4E does not bother me, I view it as a prestige class of some sort.

I was referring to the lack of strategic options in the campaign that I played in. Which was entirely in Herioc Tier, by the way.

Tyndmyr is right in that I strongly dislike elements of Fate in my games. If it's "destined" that X will happen, it's the easiest way to get me to drop a game.

My point was that the 4E campaign was effectively on rails even though neither us, the players, nor the GM were actively trying to stay on it.
We weren't trying to get off it either, if there's only 1 feasible path to explore, I will take that path IC, however much I may wail and gnash my teeth OOC.
It simply was the "normal" path, find the artifact(s), find the location of the BBEG, kill it. There could have been other paths, side plots or alternate solutions, but 4E character creation isn't flexible enough to do it.

How that relates to this, is that 4E did not have the same freedom of choice.
No specializing, no mundane options that mundane people cannot do (if they have a high enough skill check).

Essentially my gripe out 4E boils down to:
1) No specializing (ie. able to do something that other people cannot do without almost copying me)
2) Lack of feasible out of combat options (magic or otherwise)
3) Dependence on houserules to adjudicate strange actions
4) Overuse of Rule of cool.
- Related to 3&4, players cannot tell what is allowed or not without asking the GM.
It's that simple. I like flexibility to do what I want. I also want a limit to be placed. A boundary that says, "you need X to pass".


You know what I hate about D&D. It's created the perception that magical = casters, non-magical = non-casters and magical = special.
Let's define magical and special.

I'd say, if it doesn't have an obvious analogue to something in RL, then it's magic. Simple?

Falling objects may not fall like in RL, but they don't count as magical in 4E since they have a RL analogue.
A fireball from nothing does not have an RL analogue. Thus it's magic.

Ok, now tell me, how is a completely MUNDANE fighter, however high level, with NO MAGIC, able to kill a god, who should not even be subject to something as simple as being squashed by a stick.

He can't.

Therefore, high level fighters have a magic of some sort. The martial power source, to be exact.
If high level fighters have magic, then why are they called non-magical classes and have the flavour of hitting something really hard? or being able to do tricks with a sword?

Why not just give them magic instead of pretending they don't have it?
Ignoring attacks that could rock a skyscraper, stopping an avalanche with a finger, shielding the party from a fire hot enough melt iron...
I can see those on a Defender.


Right -- but gods can be killed in 3.5 as well by "really talented humans".
Haha, but no. A lot of the Divine Salient Abilities are essentially "you die, no save".
Or "I hit you on a 1, you die, no save. All your friend also die, no save. "
And "I go first. Screw your initiative check. "
Or some variation. And they have their own demiplane, able to warp it's reality at will. Oops, there go your weapons. And you can walk forever and still be 100ft away from me, or a mile, depending on how dangerous I feel you are.
Even casters have trouble. The WotC forum had a "how to kill a god" thread for a while. They had to pull a pile of cheese to kill one. An easy one. With a wizard and a cohort artificer.

No, it's not possible for a mundane, highly trained, team of characters to take down any god that isn't stupid.
They generally aren't.

Point taken on the non-action Discorporation. So you need to one-shot it now. Fine, it's going to be really difficult then.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the subject of campaign that 4E does not run well, here's one I ran but didn't finish.

It's a strange setting. Everything happens on one large continent which has only 1 country occupying all of it. Noble and merchant Houses control all power in the country, there is a parliment that convenes to discuss issues every day. Police power is high, PCs cannot go up against even the smallest House and expect to win, there are NPCs that are higher level than the PCs.
The Industrial Revolution is happening. The gnome tinker guild has successfuly made a magic steam engine that drives cloth weaving machines. They're trying to scale it up while keeping the thing secret but they can't smith well enough.

In the center is 1 character, a talented human smith who helps the dwarven guild make the series of strange orders that come from the tinker's guild. As accidents and political intrigue gather around the key components for the machine, the young smith has to choose between loyalty to his contract with the dwarven guild, bribes from the human Noble House, concern for the massive unemployment from the Weaver's Guild. At the same time, the friction between the Houses are rising, and this could be last straw resulting in an all-out civil war.

I let his actions dictate what was happening to the setting. Quite literally, the direction the setting was going to develop in depended on him.
Obviously, 4E has a major problem with this. The smith's skill in smithing is plot-critical to this campaign. Without a way to adjudicate whether he succeeds making a particular piece or not, the campaign could not have worked.

So you see, it is possible to have a campaign that literally hinges on a random profession or craft skill.

Gametime
2009-11-13, 06:24 PM
Ok, now tell me, how is a completely MUNDANE fighter, however high level, with NO MAGIC, able to kill a god, who should not even be subject to something as simple as being squashed by a stick.

He can't.



So your viewpoint is that fighters should be, always and forever, outclassed by other things in the gameworld.

That's fine. There's nothing wrong with that viewpoint. Hell, it dominated 3.0 and 3.5 - if you don't have magic, you can't stand up to classes that CAN reshape reality on a whim.

But that's not how the designers of 4ed feel. They don't feel there's anything wrong with the greatest swordsman in the entire world being able to fight demon princes and archdevils. They don't feel that Musashi and King Arthur and Conan the Barbarian should be left out of high-level adventures just because they aren't wizards. If you DO, fine, don't play 4e. It isn't a system for people who believe in enforcing power level segregation between wizards and fighters, that's for certain.

Further, your argument basically stems down to "mundane things shouldn't kill gods." People pointed out that they CAN'T in 4th edition, that some kind of immensely powerful magical artifact or quest or ritual or ancient eldritch weakness or SOMETHING needs to be used first. You responded with "okay but MUNDANE THINGS SHOULDN'T KILL GODS!"

Again, they can't. No one can kill a god with hit point damage alone. Even reducing them to 0 in one hit doesn't actually WORK - as soon as the deity's hit points fall below the bloodied value, they cease to have physical form. It doesn't matter HOW far below the bloodied value they fall, since you explicitly CAN'T kill a god without turning in the correct plot coupon.

jseah
2009-11-13, 06:39 PM
So your viewpoint is that fighters should be, always and forever, outclassed by other things in the gameworld.
I apologize for not being clear.

My viewpoint is, you want balance? Give everyone magic.
As simple as that.

Magic is a part of the world. You cannot get away with ignoring a good half of reality. (IC reality, not RL reality)


Further, your argument basically stems down to "mundane things shouldn't kill gods." People pointed out that they CAN'T in 4th edition, that some kind of immensely powerful magical artifact or quest or ritual or ancient eldritch weakness or SOMETHING needs to be used first. You responded with "okay but MUNDANE THINGS SHOULDN'T KILL GODS!"

Again, they can't. No one can kill a god with hit point damage alone. Even reducing them to 0 in one hit doesn't actually WORK - as soon as the deity's hit points fall below the bloodied value, they cease to have physical form. It doesn't matter HOW far below the bloodied value they fall, since you explicitly CAN'T kill a god without turning in the correct plot coupon.
Ok, so you need a plot coupon.

So if you have a plot coupon, you can kill a god with pointy things.

How does that help in any way? It's a freaking stick. Can't the god... you know, just wave his hand and make the stick go away, or something.

Or does the plot coupon make the god powerless? Surely that can't apply to every single one of them.

It implies that everyone has a plot coupon that disables you so completely that a lower entity can defeat you.
The god could find YOUR plot coupon. And should have by now.

jmbrown
2009-11-13, 06:56 PM
Obviously, 4E has a major problem with this. The smith's skill in smithing is plot-critical to this campaign. Without a way to adjudicate whether he succeeds making a particular piece or not, the campaign could not have worked.

So you see, it is possible to have a campaign that literally hinges on a random profession or craft skill.

Like I said earlier, you're relying too heavily on mechanics that aren't necessary.

This is an NPC. NPCs should not be the focus of D&D. The PCs are, without exception, the most important aspect. The PCs decide the adventure. You, the DM, should then adjudicate the turn of the adventure based on good sense and what makes for the most fun and dramatic result.

It sounds to me that you're just a bad DM. An NPC should never dictate world shattering events. That just pisses every PC off and leads to railroading. You're creating a situation where the PCs are sitting on the sideline which is completely against the spirit of D&D.

And even if you wanted craft mechanics, just roll d20 and add half his level. That's how all things are handled in 4E. If he's the best smith in the land like you said he is then he should be fairly high level (let's say 8), have 16 or so intelligence, and be "trained" which is an instant +5. Roll d20+12 and compare it to DC by level in the DMG. That's his craft check.

That took me about 5 minutes and does the exact same thing a useless skill writeup would have AND I have extra time preparing an adventure for the players which is what D&D is about.

edit: I interpreted your writeup as being that this 1 character was an NPC. Excuse me if he isn't. Still, if the character is a PC and he roleplays a smith just assume he's "trained" in smithing (+5) then add half his level plus intelligence and roll a d20 then compare it against DC by level. The higher he rolls, the better the item he crafts.

Mando Knight
2009-11-13, 07:06 PM
On the subject of campaign that 4E does not run well, here's one I ran but didn't finish.

It's a strange setting. Everything happens on one large continent which has only 1 country occupying all of it. Noble and merchant Houses control all power in the country, there is a parliment that convenes to discuss issues every day. Police power is high, PCs cannot go up against even the smallest House and expect to win, there are NPCs that are higher level than the PCs.
The Industrial Revolution is happening. The gnome tinker guild has successfuly made a magic steam engine that drives cloth weaving machines. They're trying to scale it up while keeping the thing secret but they can't smith well enough.

In the center is 1 character, a talented human smith who helps the dwarven guild make the series of strange orders that come from the tinker's guild. As accidents and political intrigue gather around the key components for the machine, the young smith has to choose between loyalty to his contract with the dwarven guild, bribes from the human Noble House, concern for the massive unemployment from the Weaver's Guild. At the same time, the friction between the Houses are rising, and this could be last straw resulting in an all-out civil war.

I let his actions dictate what was happening to the setting. Quite literally, the direction the setting was going to develop in depended on him.
Obviously, 4E has a major problem with this. The smith's skill in smithing is plot-critical to this campaign. Without a way to adjudicate whether he succeeds making a particular piece or not, the campaign could not have worked.

So you see, it is possible to have a campaign that literally hinges on a random profession or craft skill.

And if you want to run a campaign based on that feature, you can. In 4e, I could run a campaign with a slightly different take on the idea:
Same basic idea as yours, except that the only thing that he can make that's special are alchemical and magical items. The guy's probably an Artificer, as well. The plot would hinge around his being able to find the parts to recipes for alchemical items, or a tome of lore describing the exact variation of the Enchant Item ritual needed to create a particular device. If there's only one PC, the combat part is going to be played down quite a bit, and the game will mostly be trying to influence the other people in the campaign to give you the resources you need to make your stuff. The actual ability to roll a successful crafting check in this case isn't the point of the campaign, it's getting the items to make the stuff in the first place.
My viewpoint is, you want balance? Give everyone magic.
As simple as that.
The Fighter's "magic" is the ability to fight better than anyone else. The Taclord can make up crazy-insane plans to bring down the gods and have them work. That is their "internal magic," the "magic" that's independent of their items. It's magic in the sense that they're so powerful they break the rules of normal "reality." They pick up buses, fall a hundred meters without a parachute and survive, or leap across the continent in a single bound. Their "magic" is "magic" and "supernatural" in the same way the Hulk is supernatural: he's just some guy who happens to be so ridiculously strong and tough that he can do those kinds of things. They're Batman or Captain America: able to fight alongside guys like Thor or Doctor Strange or Superman even though they don't have the same kind of superpower that the other supers do.

If you need magic, then remember that the Fighter's got a magic sword and shield, and the Ranger has a legendary bow wielded by the gods or something. Those items are the other kind of magic that Batman-type characters use: the Batarang and the Utility Belt. Those "wonderful toys" that they even use against guys like Darkseid.

jseah
2009-11-13, 07:15 PM
edit: I interpreted your writeup as being that this 1 character was an NPC. Excuse me if he isn't. Still, if the character is a PC and he roleplays a smith just assume he's "trained" in smithing (+5) then add half his level plus intelligence and roll a d20 then compare it against DC by level. The higher he rolls, the better the item he crafts.
Yes, you guess right, it's a PC. I wouldn't place an NPC in such a critical role...

That one was just an example of something requiring a houserule like that.

Of course, smithing wasn't all there was to the campaign. It played a key role but certainly wasn't the be all and end all about it.

The thing is, the campaign would have gone differently if he wasn't good in smithing. If he was good in... say, charm person and such mole activities, he could be on a different side trying to steal the plans.
Or if he was a merchant, he could be a side observer riding the cloth prices to snag a profit while managing his band of mercenaries forged from ex-weavers looking for work.

How is the player, at character creation, to know how I will rule about any number of weird things?
What does 1/2 level + int + 5 trained mean for smithing? Can he make an adamantine gear that will withstand a strain enough to topple houses?
What if my decisions make him think smithing is not worth it and do something else? We just wasted time asking questions that shouldn't be needed.

The number of loose variables is far far too many to leave to DM fiat. I'm not even sure how well he should succeed without a guideline to follow.
I also dislike making his success at smithing follow the "pace of plot". I'm going to the effort of running the NPCs as individuals with an agenda, I'm not about to ruin the scenario by putting a "plot" in.

EDIT: as a matter of fact, the merchant and a smuggler rogue were also in the campaign. I ran it as 3 solo games with crosslinking of events.

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-13, 07:21 PM
So if you have a plot coupon, you can kill a god with pointy things.

How does that help in any way? It's a freaking stick. Can't the god... you know, just wave his hand and make the stick go away, or something.
In case you were wondering, we're talking about D&D gods where they're simply beings who have ascended in divinity to be beings that simply subsist on faith and composed of the stuff of the Astra Sea, not the omnipotent omnieverything god who could detonate the entire world by dickslapping it.


Or does the plot coupon make the god powerless? Surely that can't apply to every single one of them.
The plot coupon takes away the god's ability to say "You know what? Forget this, bye-bye chumps" to the PCs. And yes, it does apply to every god. Mainly because gods don't simply ignore all rules wholesale, they simply follow different ones.


It implies that everyone has a plot coupon that disables you so completely that a lower entity can defeat you.
No, the plot coupons in this case are incredibly roundabout and difficult to acquire, as they should be. The books provide examples, and says the DM is free to make up his own deal.


The god could find YOUR plot coupon. And should have by now.
You know what the PC Demigod's plot coupon is? Getting knocked down to negative bloodied or failing three death saving throws. Or any other method of killing them.

Aron Times
2009-11-13, 07:26 PM
Let me get this straight. You base your entire campaign on an offscreen NPC's skill check? If it's a roll done behind the scenes (which your post implies), what difference does that make from the players' perspective? You might as well toss a coin to figure out whether he succeeds or not, since the end result is exactly the same.

jseah
2009-11-13, 07:28 PM
And if you want to run a campaign based on that feature, you can. In 4e, I could run a campaign with a slightly different take on the idea:
This is handled in the above post.


The Fighter's "magic" is the ability to fight better than anyone else. The Taclord can make up crazy-insane plans to bring down the gods and have them work. That is their "internal magic," the "magic" that's independent of their items. It's magic in the sense that they're so powerful they break the rules of normal "reality."

They pick up buses, fall a hundred meters without a parachute and survive, or leap across the continent in a single bound.
And I don't see them doing that. Ok, maybe the pick up buses bit.
Not literally of course, I doubt a high level anything could pick up two or three tons of steel with sheer strength. But they can certainly lift more than any human could.

No one jumps more than 10 squares that I've seen. Movement probably doesn't get much further than 20 squares a round.

In what way are they "fantastic"? Well, the warlord can mysteriously heal someone by shouting at them. That's a nice touch.
They can also apparently kill gods with nothing more than their bare hands or a normal piece of metal. Plus a macguffin.

Why not just give them overtly fantastic powers? Let them jump skyscrapers, swing a sword hard enough to split a building that's falling on you, hold a burning roof up with bare hands and come away nothing more than a light burn.

Why not? I don't see it happening. If the only way to balance something is by giving it supernatural powers, then just go ahead and give everything supernatural powers instead of pretending you aren't.

"He's so awesome that he can do X" translates to "he can do magic". Then let him do magic!

The fighter should really have been a magic knight class.

jseah
2009-11-13, 07:31 PM
Let me get this straight. You base your entire campaign on an offscreen NPC's skill check? If it's a roll done behind the scenes (which your post implies), what difference does that make from the players' perspective? You might as well toss a coin to figure out whether he succeeds or not, since the end result is exactly the same.
It's not. It's a PC doing the check.


In case you were wondering, we're talking about D&D gods where they're simply beings who have ascended in divinity to be beings that simply subsist on faith and composed of the stuff of the Astra Sea, not the omnipotent omnieverything god who could detonate the entire world by dickslapping it.
Not implying so. But the god could quite easily deprive someone of his weapon, no?

Especially if the target was a puny mortal that isn't magical.

Oh well, since we're probably going to conclude that all classes are supernatural, we don't even need to be having this discussion. If fighters have magic as well, then yes, yes they can kill gods. I've no problem with that then.

A god made of belief and manifested from the Astral Sea is even MORE reason why the god shouldn't be killed by mundane means.

EDIT: Signing off to sleep for now.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 07:35 PM
Let me get this straight. You base your entire campaign on an offscreen NPC's skill check? If it's a roll done behind the scenes (which your post implies), what difference does that make from the players' perspective? You might as well toss a coin to figure out whether he succeeds or not, since the end result is exactly the same.

This is the "fully automated mathematical world" ideal that many people have taken away from D20/3e. Basically, the game master sets everything up and then the dice and rules run the game world to as large an extent as possible. It is important to know in this scenario how farmers gain experience points and what it means for the economy as their profession skill checks rise and so on. I find it mind boggling, but basically the rules of the game define the physics of the world and to a large extent what can happen in it and for what reasons.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 07:49 PM
This is the "fully automated mathematical world" ideal that many people have taken away from D20/3e. Basically, the game master sets everything up and then the dice and rules run the game world to as large an extent as possible. It is important to know in this scenario how farmers gain experience points and what it means for the economy as their profession skill checks rise and so on. I find it mind boggling, but basically the rules of the game define the physics of the world and to a large extent what can happen in it and for what reasons.

As someone who does modelling for a living, I find this view to be completely non-sensical. Models (and let's face it, that's what all RPGs are - models) are always, always incomplete approximations to the thing being modelled. They only operate under certain assumptions and are invalid outside of those assumptions.

To base reality (or it's fantasy counterpart) on a model's rules is utterly backwards. If at any point there is a difference between model prediction and reality, you fix the model. You don't alter reality to fit the model.

Gametime
2009-11-13, 08:16 PM
It's not. It's a PC doing the check.


Not implying so. But the god could quite easily deprive someone of his weapon, no?

Especially if the target was a puny mortal that isn't magical.

Oh well, since we're probably going to conclude that all classes are supernatural, we don't even need to be having this discussion. If fighters have magic as well, then yes, yes they can kill gods. I've no problem with that then.

A god made of belief and manifested from the Astral Sea is even MORE reason why the god shouldn't be killed by mundane means.

EDIT: Signing off to sleep for now.

I'm starting to think you don't even know what you're arguing for. Are you saying the Fighter is magical, despite evidence to the contrary, or complaining that a non-magical class can do things that you, personally, object to being possible without magic?

Either viewpoint is absurd, of course, but I'd like to get an idea of what you're talking about. My response is the same, either way: This is what the game system is. If you don't like it, fine, but stop trying to argue that it's somehow a failure of the system that it has people who wield swords. It's part of the game. You don't have to like it.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 08:29 PM
As someone who does modelling for a living, I find this view to be completely nonsensical. Models (and let's face it, that's what all RPGs are - models) are always, always incomplete approximations to the thing being modelled. They only operate under certain assumptions and are invalid outside of those assumptions.

To base reality (or it's fantasy counterpart) on a model's rules is utterly backwards. If at any point there is a difference between model prediction and reality, you fix the model. You don't alter reality to fit the model.

I agree with you completely, but have had to get used to the idea that some people really do aspire towards this mode of play. It reminds me somewhat of what you might expect in a Massive Online Multi Player RPG, where the economy really is a product of what the players are doing (no black clothes left, or else cost 100 times more than any other colour) and everything runs according to knowable code. This also somewhat explains the emphasis on the "rules as written" as non-malleable, since knowing all of the rules of the world is possible, and even desirable, to optimise performance in the game.

Kesnit
2009-11-14, 12:34 AM
In what way are they "fantastic"? Well, the warlord can mysteriously heal someone by shouting at them. That's a nice touch.

No, by yelling encouragement, the Warlord gives the other PC the internal fortitude to get back into the fight and keep going. Because that's all HP are, after all - a measure of how long the character can stay up and swinging.


They can also apparently kill gods with nothing more than their bare hands or a normal piece of metal. Plus a macguffin.

As has been pointed out before, it isn't a "normal piece of metal." By the time a party is taking on a god, they are going to be decked out in enchanted gear. Same as a party would be in 3.5 if they were taking on a god.


Why not? I don't see it happening. If the only way to balance something is by giving it supernatural powers, then just go ahead and give everything supernatural powers instead of pretending you aren't.

Who says we're pretending we aren't? 4ED PC's are superhuman. They can do things normal members of their race cannot. That is what makes them PC's.


"He's so awesome that he can do X" translates to "he can do magic". Then let him do magic!

Except magic has a specific meaning, and not all PCs are doing what they do through magic.

Tough_Tonka
2009-11-14, 03:09 AM
Well that depends on your character, and how well your character is modeled by the 4e rules.

The guy I'm trying to kill off now (no luck yet) is Bob "the Paladin". He originally started as a thought exercise to see how mean and nasty a character could be and still stay a LG paladin in 3e. The character was to be a strong, loyal, drunk, aggressive, dim witted, and gullable human paladin who was a pawn in church politics and took his frustrations out by smiting alot (starting at 6th level every feat was to be Extra Smiting). Under 3e rules he worked, a little fighter variant, alot of Shadowbane Inquisitor, and he worked.

Under 4e he dosen't work. Our group only has the basic 3 core and the AV, so a human paladin with a low Chr bonus is rather gimped in heroic tier. I have an at-will attack that I can't use, multiclassing with fighter is a must in order to have a real selection of Str based powers and utilities, and he lacks any real ability to defend anybody. His combat has devolved to moving to a target and beating it until it stops moving. He simply can't do anything else. And don't bring up Divine Challenge or Lay on Hands, 3 radiant damage and a once a day surge use isn't exactly alot of 'options'.


It's funny because you're saying that you can't do this in 4e because you only have the core books, but the 3.5 build for this character requires prestige classes and extra rules from splatbooks I've barely heard of before. I'm currently playing a similar themed Str based low Cha palidin in 4e with only Divine Powers for some extra attacks and the ardent vow option. He's almost a second striker with how much damage he does. It's almost as if it was easier to make such a character in 4e.

jseah
2009-11-14, 03:12 AM
I'm starting to think you don't even know what you're arguing for. Are you saying the Fighter is magical, despite evidence to the contrary, or complaining that a non-magical class can do things that you, personally, object to being possible without magic?
I'm doing two or three points at the same time.
One is the subject of campaigns that don't work in 4E.
The other is the concept of non-magical fighters being able to kill gods.
- For them to be able to kill gods, there is something special about them. No?
- If they are special, and able to do something that is normally impossible, isn't that magical?
- If fighters are magical, then they should have overtly magical powers.

For the fighter:

Who says we're pretending we aren't? 4ED PC's are superhuman. They can do things normal members of their race cannot. That is what makes them PC's.
I think this is pretty clear that fighters aren't normal members of their race. They can do things that is plainly not possible to do.

Therefore, they can do feats of supernatural power? no? Or how else do you define supernatural?


No, by yelling encouragement, the Warlord gives the other PC the internal fortitude to get back into the fight and keep going. Because that's all HP are, after all - a measure of how long the character can stay up and swinging.
And you see? People justify non-magical classes' powers strictly without resort to the supernatural or magic.

The point is simple. If fighters/warlords are not magical, are still bound by the physical laws of reality, then why are they able to do such absurd things that are obviously supernatural?
eg. kill a god with non-magical pointy sticks

If fighters/warlords have supernatural powers, then do please give them powers that look supernatural. Instead of pretending they can do supernatural things using mundane actions.


Either viewpoint is absurd, of course, but I'd like to get an idea of what you're talking about. My response is the same, either way: This is what the game system is. If you don't like it, fine, but stop trying to argue that it's somehow a failure of the system that it has people who wield swords. It's part of the game. You don't have to like it.
Eh... Well, I suppose I did imply that it was a failure of 4E that it has fighters.

No. I do not consider the presence of fighters in 4E to be a point that 4E fails on.
I consider the pretense of "fighters = non-magical" while giving them supernatural powers to be strange.

I still don't consider that to be a failure, it's just... strange.


This is the "fully automated mathematical world" ideal that many people have taken away from D20/3e. Basically, the game master sets everything up and then the dice and rules run the game world to as large an extent as possible.
It's close, but not quite. Obviously I cannot model everything, but I try to be reasonable.
"What level characters would be reasonably available to this organization?"
"Will they have X spell?"
"Will they have used it to ward this important location?"
"Then the player should meet these defences. Or encounter mercenaries with this ability. "

I try not to let my knowledge of the players' characters and their intentions affect my judgement. After all, I want a plausible world in which the players can judge their actions appropriately.

Tough_Tonka
2009-11-14, 03:27 AM
Honestly all these people claiming that 4e's power system made every class the same made me really disappointed when I started playing it.

I mean I have the Players handbook and Martial Powers and yet I can't seem to find a single Fighter, Ranger, Rogue or Warlord power that lets them fly, turn insubstantial, or even teleport.

When I heard that Wizards play like magic archers I was looking forward to making area attacks with my ranger but for some reason the ranger don't seem to have any area attacks that aren't melee. It's not all bad for the martial class though. It seems Figher's get these cool attacks that don't get expended if they miss, but I can't find a wizard power with the reliable keyword for some reason even though I keep hearing ever class is the same. It's as if there are things that certain classes can do that other ones can't.

Tough_Tonka
2009-11-14, 03:34 AM
For the fighter:

I think this is pretty clear that fighters aren't normal members of their race. They can do things that is plainly not possible to do.

Therefore, they can do feats of supernatural power? no? Or how else do you define supernatural?


And you see? People justify non-magical classes' powers strictly without resort to the supernatural or magic.

The point is simple. If fighters/warlords are not magical, are still bound by the physical laws of reality, then why are they able to do such absurd things that are obviously supernatural?
eg. kill a god with non-magical pointy sticks

If fighters/warlords have supernatural powers, then do please give them powers that look supernatural. Instead of pretending they can do supernatural things using mundane actions.


So your saying that Bruce Willis from any Die Hard movie, all the spartans from 300. master chief from Halo and half the characters from Sin City had supernatural powers, because they was able to do a lot of things there were quite frankly impossible in the real world. Its as if they were in a movie or a game or something.

The thing is I don't recall any of those movies claiming those characters had magical powers, maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention.

Shazbot79
2009-11-14, 03:47 AM
In the center is 1 character, a talented human smith who helps the dwarven guild make the series of strange orders that come from the tinker's guild. As accidents and political intrigue gather around the key components for the machine, the young smith has to choose between loyalty to his contract with the dwarven guild, bribes from the human Noble House, concern for the massive unemployment from the Weaver's Guild. At the same time, the friction between the Houses are rising, and this could be last straw resulting in an all-out civil war.


I will admit that my core assumption of D&D is that the game is essentially about kicking in doors and fireballing nurseries full of Kobold hatchlings for the 37 copper pieces and half eaten Gnome jerky they are guarding, and whatever plot, roleplaying and world building sophistry you choose to pour over it is really just gravy.

So basically, my view of skills like Craft: Whatever, is this:

DM: Oh no! The evil Wizard, Lord Baddington plans on detonating a bomb made from a sphere of annihilation, destroying the mythal barrier that protects the elves from people with body hair! What will you do?

Wizard: I'll pour through the libraries magical texts, using my knowledge: Arcana skill to see if I can determine how Baddington might accomplish this feat!

Rogue: I'll hit the streets and see if anyone in the underworld has noticed any strange goings-on or taken any mysterious smuggling jobs!

Cleric: I'll commune with extraplanar beings to find answers to this conundrum!

Fighter: That's great guys! While you're all taking part in the actual story, I'll be at the forge hammering out dents in my breastplate!

But I have to say, you actually managed to center an actual campaign on the Craft skill. Bravo.

That being said, if your contention is that this style of play is impossible in 4th edition, then I have to disagree. Granted, the game accomplishes this in a different way than 3rd Edition does, but it can be accomplished nonetheless.

The fourth edition way, would be to center the campaign around the undertaking of gathering the material or tools necessary to make the items for these contracts, rather than centering around the actual minutiae of Craft checks. in fact, I believe that the DMG2 touches on this idea.

Also, this can be accomplished with the use of skills, rituals and out of combat utilities without so much as a sword drawn, for those of you who prefer your gaming in the Dogme 95 stryle.

All of this, and nary a houserule.

lord_khaine
2009-11-14, 04:49 AM
Honestly all these people claiming that 4e's power system made every class the same made me really disappointed when I started playing it.

I mean I have the Players handbook and Martial Powers and yet I can't seem to find a single Fighter, Ranger, Rogue or Warlord power that lets them fly, turn insubstantial, or even teleport.


But as i remember this isnt the case, for some strange reason Wizards cant fly, or teleport outside combat.


When I heard that Wizards play like magic archers I was looking forward to making area attacks with my ranger but for some reason the ranger don't seem to have any area attacks that aren't melee. It's not all bad for the martial class though.

There is a slight (pretty large actualy) error in your argument, a Ranger isnt a "magic archer".


It's not all bad for the martial class though. It seems Figher's get these cool attacks that don't get expended if they miss, but I can't find a wizard power with the reliable keyword for some reason even though I keep hearing ever class is the same. It's as if there are things that certain classes can do that other ones can't.

This sounds pretty irelevant, 1 singel keyword is not nearly enough to compensate for using the same system.

And anyway, so far it seems my misconceptions about 4E is true after all, mainly that they sacrificed internal consistency in return for balance and stuff, as well as they streached the play experience of level 8-12 out over 30 levels.

tcrudisi
2009-11-14, 05:15 AM
But as i remember this isnt the case, for some strange reason Wizards cant fly, or teleport outside combat.

Except they can.

Fly: level 16 Utility power: You gain a fly speed of 8 until the end of your next turn. Sustain Minor: You can sustain this power until the end of the encounter or for five minutes.

Mass Fly: level 22 Utility power: Same as Fly, except for you and all allies within 25 feet of you.

Summon Diamond Falcon: level 16 Utility power: allows you to summon a Diamond Falcon which has Fly 8 (hover). It can carry you or an ally.

Also, as I had a player sneakily do, anyone can Fly at level 1. Yeah, it's cheesy, but it works:

Tenser's Floating Disk (level 1 ritual): You create a circular plane of force that floats a foot off the ground and can carry what you lay upon it. You can command the disk to move up to your speed as a move action.

Technically, that is flying, with a 24 hour duration and the cost of 10 minutes and 10gp a day. It's certainly not RAI, but it is RAW.

Also, if you are looking for pure flying, I would like to point you to Scion of Arkhosia, a paragon path. At level 12, you gain the at-will ability as a move action to "fly a number of squares equal to your speed." At level 16 you gain overland flight with a speed of 12.


There are lots of ways to fly in 4e.

As for teleport? Of course there are ways:

Dimension Door, level 6 utility power: Teleport 10 squares.

Arcane Gate, level 10 utility power: You create a dimensional rift between two squares that any creature can enter to move to the other square.

Wizard's Escape, level 6 utility power: It allows you to teleport 5 squares out of the way of an attack before it can hit you.

Clever Escape, level 16 utility power: You become invisible and teleport 6 squares. You leave behind an illusory image of yourself in the space you occupied.

Globe of Invulnerability, level 22 utility power: Whenever you move (including teleportation), the globe moves with you... now why would they give this power to wizards if wizards weren't supposed to teleport?

Staffstrike Shock, level 23 encounter attack power: ... enemy takes damage and you teleport 5 squares as a free action.

In fact, there's a Wizard only paragon path that deals exclusively with teleportation: Arcane Wayfarer. It focuses completely on allowing you to teleport... even giving it to you at-will at level 16.


I also ignored every power that lets you teleport the enemy around, instead just writing down some of the powers that lets you teleport yourself.

Leolo
2009-11-14, 05:16 AM
But as i remember this isnt the case, for some strange reason Wizards cant fly, or teleport outside combat.

Of course they can. There are even special rules for this outside the combat to improve this. To teleport not only short distances but far away. To fly hours instead of minutes.

tcrudisi
2009-11-14, 05:23 AM
This sounds pretty irelevant, 1 singel keyword is not nearly enough to compensate for using the same system.

Except it's not one single keyword. Their powers are nothing alike. If you want to break it down to it's core, ignoring all fluff and just looking at mechanically what they do, then here's what you get:

They both do damage and impose status effects. Sure, the Fighter tends to do more damage and less status effects and the Wizard does less damage and more status effects... but overall they both do damage and impose status effects.

Now, what about 3.5? They both do damage and impose status effects. Sure, the Fighter tends to do more damage and less status effects and the Wizard does less damage and more status effects... but overall they both do damage and impose status effects.

Yes, you can argue about Evokers in 3.5... but Evocation is generally accepted as being the weakest school of magic. And in 4e? You can do a blaster Wizard, but it's generally accepted as being the weakest of the types of Wizards.

Or you can argue that Fighters don't do very good damage in 3.5... but if the Fighter isn't doing damage, then what the heck IS he doing? At the very least he took Power Attack. And thank the heavens that 4e fixed Fighters -- now they can actually do pretty good damage and keep the enemy focused on them, instead of the DM just pretending that there is a reason to attack the Fighter instead of everyone else in 3.5.


There is a slight (pretty large actualy) error in your argument, a Ranger isnt a "magic archer".

He never said that Rangers were "magic archers." He said that Wizards play like magic archers. He then went on to say that the "magic archers" (or Wizards) play nothing like the real archers (Rangers) by pointing out that one does area attacks and the other does single-target focus-fire.

jseah
2009-11-14, 06:39 AM
The thing is I don't recall any of those movies claiming those characters had magical powers, maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention.
I'm not entirely sure what your point is, but I'll take a guess.

You are saying that fighters can do things that can't normally be done, and yet that they are non-magical?

Ok, we seem to have miscommunication somewhere. Most likely, what we understand as "magical" is different.

So, what do you think magic means?

To me, "able to use magic" means being able to do things that are simply not possible by how we normally understand the universe works.
The examples that you gave all register as "magical" to me.


But I have to say, you actually managed to center an actual campaign on the Craft skill. Bravo.

That being said, if your contention is that this style of play is impossible in 4th edition, then I have to disagree. Granted, the game accomplishes this in a different way than 3rd Edition does, but it can be accomplished nonetheless.

The fourth edition way, would be to center the campaign around the undertaking of gathering the material or tools necessary to make the items for these contracts, rather than centering around the actual minutiae of Craft checks. in fact, I believe that the DMG2 touches on this idea.
The craft skill was used to determine how fast he made the pieces and how well the machine worked and thus how fast the gnome guild developed.
I needed the craft skill mutinae.
Besides, all the materials used was one bar of adamantine and a boatload of iron. He was making non-magical gears and drive-shafts, nothing weird needed.

Also, it's not impossible in 4E. It's just hard, and requires far better DM-player cooperation. The players need to know how far they can step out of the rules, and how the DM might adjudicate things.
I think I can safely say that most games I've seen do not have that level of communication.

Tough_Tonka
2009-11-14, 10:47 AM
But as i remember this isnt the case, for some strange reason Wizards cant fly, or teleport outside combat.


Actually I'm almost certain they can. I've used such powers out of combat plenty of times. I could be misunderstanding the rules, but I remember when I called the wizards of the coast promotional hotline last month and ask them for help on how to handle skill challenges the game designer I talked to recommended let the characters use their attack and utility powers for bonus and possibly automatic successes.

Now I might not have read this supposed 4e rule that says wizards can't use their powers out of combat, but I'd be surprised if a game designer did.

Hey I just answered a misconception about 4e maybe this threads going to finally get on topic. :smallsmile:

Chrono22
2009-11-14, 10:53 AM
Here's a big one: If you dislike 4e, parts of 4e, or think it should be different, you must have misconceptions about it.

Matthew
2009-11-14, 10:58 AM
Here's a big one: If you dislike 4e, parts of 4e, or think it should be different, you must have misconceptions about it.

That is the usual stance taken in these discussions for any system, with one side attacking and the other defending. Eventually, if the discussion can stay on topic and reasonable, one set of participants will discover that the things they like about X are disliked by the other set of participants for the very same reasons, which is to say preference on the level of "I don't like the taste of Fanta".

The Glyphstone
2009-11-14, 11:01 AM
I don't like the commercials for Fanta, does that count?

Matthew
2009-11-14, 11:08 AM
I don't like the commercials for Fanta, does that count?

Depends on whether other people have legitimate reasons for liking them that simply do not appeal to you. :smallwink:

Gametime
2009-11-14, 11:33 AM
Here's a big one: If you dislike 4e, parts of 4e, or think it should be different, you must have misconceptions about it.

Or, more accurately, if you present things you don't like about 4e as a fundamental truth of failure in design.

Wasn't it on the very first page suggested that we not bring declarations of "Well this sucks and I hate this and blahblahblah" into this thread? You know, so it can actually be used for clearing up misconceptions, instead of attacking a game system that you are under no obligation to like?

Daimbert
2009-11-14, 03:36 PM
Ugh, this is everything wrong with late TSR/early WotC game development. There shouldn't be mechanics to roleplay. This is, instead, rollplay.

I disagree. Like combat or anything else in an RPG, the mechanics should be there to support and develop the roleplaying. Having defined skills and levels, to me, can help with that. You can make a system without them, but it doesn't necessarily make the roleplaying any better.


D&D is and has always been a combat centric game. The inclusion of rules for arbitrary, non-combat elements are unnecessary because it's the DM's job to rule how they work.

I'm not sure you want to base any part of your argument on "We don't need non-combat skill levels because D&D is about combat", since one of the main complaints is that 4e is too focused on combat [grin].


D&D has always been based around the d20 mechanic. Deciding whether or not your character is a good baker is a matter of rolling d20 and adding modifiers based on equipment and experience.

No. Not at all. That's how you decide if that character trying to bake something SUCCEEDS. Being a better baker should make you more likely to succeed, but you should be able to fail any actions. A series of bad die rolls would not and should not mean that you are a bad baker, but should mean precisely what it is: in those attempts, some factor beyond the control of your skill made you fail. And a bad or even totally untrained baker might be able to come up with something good, mostly by luck.

I could be reading you wrong, but that mechanic is certainly not how I'd classify my character as being good at baking.


What 'experience' equates is up to the DM. He should put a stop to potential Mary Sue characters who say "I do everything he does... but better." He should reward players who actually roleplay their cooking profession outside of combat.

The more serious concern is this: a situation comes up, and the players come up with a novel, non-combat approach to a situation. It was not mentioned in their background whether or not they were good at it. So, do you allow them to say "My character actually has skill in that" or do you deny it? Do the former, and you've got revisionist skill sets every time someone thinks up something creative. Do the latter, and you punish people for not thinking of everything their character is good at at character creation.

It's not all that big a deal for professions, since we'd expect that if a character had a previous profession before becoming an adventurer that it would be in their backstory. But perform skills, knowledge skills, and a host of other skills are not something that everyone's going to remember to list. And unless you are driving the plot very precisely or are very combat oriented, party members will come up with unique, non-combat solutions that you'll need to rule on. That's a pain.


But there should not, under any circumstances, be a mechanic for arbitrary abilities in a game that's 99% about supernatural abilities! 1E and 2E let you learn non-combat skills with no penalty to learning combat skills. 3E introduced the skill system and lumped non-combat skills/feats (profession, investigator) with combat skills/feats (spellcraft, meta magic).

Wait, why is spellcraft necessarily a combat skill?

At any rate, I've already agreed that 3.5e had problems with this, as mentioned when I talked about not being able to take swimming. But I don't think the fix for those problems is to eliminate them entirely and leave it up to the DM and players to figure out who can do what.


Unless the DM states he's creating a non-combat game, people will choose the combat feats because that's what D&D is based around.

There's nothing wrong with non-combat mechanics as long as the system supports them. You can't lump the two together with a clear "you have to pick this or this, not both" and expect people to choose a smattering of everything when the monster's you fight simply aren't built that way.

Actually, I tend to do just that. It does depend on your game and DM, though, and here's where the DM should point out that in the game they're running, too many non-combat skills will be a problem. But this seems to be drifting a bit away from the actual objection or comment here.


To reiterate, I don't care how many points you have in bakery because to me it doesn't matter. If you say your character is a baker and you roleplay him as baking exotic stuff every time the party camps, I'll treat him as a great baker.

But why would even a great baker do that? Why would someone who used to be a great baker and who is now an adventurer back at a camp in the middle of the woods? Or if you're staying at an inn? Forcing displays of a skill just to have a reference to say that it's there, or forcing it to be in the back story is a really terrible way to replace putting a number of ranks into a skill that says "Great baker". I'll admit that there are issues with doing this in the 3.5e system as well, but it's significantly better than what you're suggesting, in my opinion.


If you battle a rival baker of the same skill, I'll roll a flat d20 and compare the results.

And how do we determine that they are of the same skill? The player has to be able to determine this before they make the decision, because in any reasonably open campaign players are going to have different ways -- out of combat -- to approach problems. Do you send your baker in to make an amazing cake that you drug so that you can get into the noble's room? Do you send out a PC to dance in hopes of getting a reward? Which PC has the best chance of succeeding at the task? You suggest we make it up as we go along. I preferred the skill system that let you translate that from the mechanics.


I don't want a billion charts and stats for things for features that go against what the game is about and D&D has never pretended to be about realism or mundane PCs.

You're making assertions about what D&D should be about, which isn't going to be true for everyone, and in a comparison of systems people that want to focus on out of combat will find 4e less than satisfying.

But to return to the first point that you mentioned and then never really addressed again: roleplaying. In one recent PbF game I was in (see the char sheet at the bottom, actually) one character -- independently of mine -- had a high Charisma and focused on bluffing people. My character -- without knowing how that character was going to work -- ended up with a hugely high Sense Motive. In the social interaction of the party, the other character kept trying to bluff people, and my character kept sensing the motive and not believing him. This, of course, frustrated the character's attempts to do certain things. With the personalities of the characters added in, this led to some very interesting interaction (until the game went belly-up). How do you do that without numbers? Yeah, it's possible, but it becomes totally arbitrary. While in the 3.5e case, it was just the result of the numbers. And I didn't have to write out in my back story that my character was great at sensing motive or had focused on it. And, in fact, the one +2 was the result of my taking a feat to increase Diplomacy.

Now, yes, there are still problems with the system in 3.5e. But it's a lot better than not having them as skills with ranks at all.

Cybren
2009-11-14, 03:48 PM
The "d20 mechanic" didn't show up until 3rd edition. You know, the "d20 system".

Before that different things had different rolls. d20 for attack rolls showed up but i'm pretty sure it was originally a matrix using 2d6

Matthew
2009-11-14, 03:54 PM
D20 for attack rolls showed up but I'm pretty sure it was originally a matrix using 2d6.

Yes, the Chain Mail "Man to Man Melee" and "Fantasy Combat" tables used 2d6, using a D20 was known as the "Alternative Combat System".

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-14, 04:05 PM
Here's a big one: If you dislike 4e, parts of 4e, or think it should be different, you must have misconceptions about it.

This totally doesn't sound bitter in any way, nope.