PDA

View Full Version : History of D&D and Differences of 3.5 and 4th ed?



iamstillwater
2010-04-15, 03:12 PM
Hello again,

It's 4:20am of Friday here in the Philippines, and while looking for some stuff to read, I kind of realized that while I'm slowly getting into the world of D&D little by little, I don't know much about the meta-history of it.

Basically, I was wondering if someone could come up with a detailed history of what happened when Dungeons and Dragons 4.0 came out. Did people revolt against 4.0 because of their heavy investment into 3.5? Did people embrace 4.0 as a good game in its own right?

That said, as someone who hasn't really gone super deeply into 3.5, I was wondering if I should invest in 4.0 books as well as looking for 3.5 material. I've heard that 4.0 is supposedly more user-friendly than 3.5, and if that's the case, I was wondering if it was newb-friendly to the point that I could read the base books and DM easily as well.

My friend, AslanCross, is a 3.5 Eberron guy, so I talk to him about that and learn how to DM from him, but it's the possibilities that exist outside 3.5 that I'm interested in exploring in addition to learning about 3.5.

Thank you for your time. :)

-Victor

Prime32
2010-04-15, 03:16 PM
3.5 and 4.0 are quite different mechanically.

The best comparison I can come up with is Worms 2 versus Worms Armageddon.

Basically, 4.0 is more unified in its mechanics than 3.5 (everyone has ten levels of powers, etc.), but that also means there's less customisation. No multiclassing for instance. 4e has one way to do something where 3.5 had a dozen, though in 3.5 some of the ways were really bad.

Wizards don't print 3.5e material any more, so 4e stuff is easier to get.


Basically, I was wondering if someone could come up with a detailed history of what happened when Dungeons and Dragons 4.0 came out. Did people revolt against 4.0 because of their heavy investment into 3.5? Did people embrace 4.0 as a good game in its own right?There were flame wars alright. It didn't help that Wizard's Customer Service department had apparently lost their minds and tore apart the organisation of their own community (mostly the fault of a guy called Gamer_Zero they put in charge) turning it into Gleemax. It got so bad that some people believed they were driving the veterans away on purpose so that they wouldn't scare off newcomers. One of the Wizard boards' old mods who was kicked out in the process invited the CharOp community over to the boards of her podcast Brilliant Gameologists (http://brilliantgameologists.com/), which remains a thriving 3.5e community (though few actually listen to the podcast :smalltongue:).

A lot of the other complaints were stuff like "It's too much like World of Warcraft!" (well, I saw some similarity in naming schemes...) Sadly, amid mindless shouting I think a lot of intelligent complaints were ignored. It took a while to calm down - I think a lot of people were giving 4e time to mature and build up some more material before they plunged in, while others were actually saying that the lack of a material was a plus, even though it's not like there was anyone forcing you to use every 3.5e book ever printed.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-04-15, 03:36 PM
Wikipedia actually has a fairly extensive compilation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_and_dragons) of all things D&D.

If you're interested in edition history specifically - here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editions_of_Dungeons_%26_Dragons)

Long story short - Edition Warz never change.

Some people tear their clothes and beat their breasts and swear that Everything Is Ruined Forever (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuinedFOREVER).

Other people ditch the old for the new, and refer to those of insufficient zeal as ignorant cretins.

A third group tries the new game, and while they don't like it enough to switch over completely, they'll play it from time to time.

I call this third group "sissies" :smalltongue:

Akal Saris
2010-04-15, 03:37 PM
Alternatively, Warcraft II vs Warcraft III.

Warcraft II is like 4E - it has a unified system with very small differences between the limited choices, but the choices are generally very closely balanced. There is multiclassing, but it's even more limited than in 3.5 or 2E.

Warcraft III is like 3.5 - the mechanics are similar between the slightly larger choices, but each race plays differently, and the balance between each of the race is not as clear - maybe humans and undead are balanced well against each other, but it's hard to win as orcs vs. undead. There is a lot of room for customization, more than any other edition of D&D.

I'd say go ahead and get the 4E PHB, maybe join an RPGA or local game, and see if you "get" how the mechanics work after skimming the book and playing a session or two. I find it to be more intuitive than 3.5 mechanics, though I personally prefer 3.5 (and prefer Pathfinder's "3.75" to 3.5 actually).

And yes, there was a lot of heartburn over the release of 4E - many players felt "betrayed" by Wizards, since they saw 4E as a money-grabbing excuse to force everyone to buy new books and play a "dumbed-down" version of D&D for the masses. Kind of elitist, frankly. Much more grief than I remember from the announcement of 3.0, when I remember a lot of the local players were excited that D&D's long, slow death was being reversed.

Even now, my 3 main gaming groups are quite polarized - the PathFinder group hisses and spits at any mention of 4E and feels sorry for the chumps still playing 3.5, the 3.5 group also despises 4E, and most of the 4E group can't understand why anyone would ever want to play such an unbalanced and poorly organized system as 3.5, and are too comfortable with 4E rules to try the older versions anyhow.

Kamai
2010-04-15, 03:38 PM
When 4.0 came out, it got a lot of criticism. 3.5's systems led credence to a highly simulationist world, and when 4.0 took those subsystems out (Craft, profession, and the like), and collapsed many more of the subsystems, people were angry about the system. When this combined with some of 4.0's own subsystems (at-will powers, healing surges, minions), people were truly unhappy.

Given all of this, for about the first year of 4.0s existence, many groups wouldn't touch it, many arguments went back and forth on whether 4.0 was better than 3.5 and vice versa. The creation of 4.0 even led to more 3.5-like remakes (like Pathfinder). Finally, though, the arguments calmed down as it occurred to people that these two systems played for really different style games.

In this, the question is what kind of game are you more interested in running. In my opinion, a 4.0 game is going to take less prep for dealing with the most complex creatures and situations, and a 3.5 game allows for more character concepts to be portrayed mechanically (even comparing core 3.5 to 4.0 PHB1 & MM1), but it's still about the style. Low-level 3.5 plays very well playing off off a realistic-feeling world, and it's obvious mechanically how to adjudicate most situations (even if the rules for some, like grappling, are unnecessarily complex), while even low-level 4.0 will play much more like an action movie. Players, from the start, will have abilities that do interesting things, and healing surges play well into a scene-based paradigm.

In short, 4.0 is easier on the DM, for the most part, while 3.5 will let you express so much more as a DM or player, so go with whatever style seems more interesting, because it does take a chunk of time to feel truly comfortable with either set of rules.

Prime32
2010-04-15, 03:42 PM
And yes, there was a lot of heartburn over the release of 4E - many players felt "betrayed" by Wizards, since they saw 4E as a money-grabbing excuse to force everyone to buy new books and play a "dumbed-down" version of D&D for the masses. Kind of elitist, frankly. Much more grief than I remember from the announcement of 3.0, when I remember a lot of the local players were excited that D&D's long, slow death was being reversed.Rather than feeling betrayed, I felt annoyed that they were misrepresenting a step sideways as a step forward. 4e is a fine game in its own right, but it's not some kind of upgrade to 3.5e. And even if it wasn't somehow based on WoW, the emphasis on online content made it seem like Wizards was trying to directly compete with it, and for a product which is based mostly on your imagination that's suicide.

Pathfinder was already mentioned - it's essentially a modified version of 3.5e created by Paizo (who formerly published the second-party magazines Dungeon and Dragon). Pathfinder material is intended to be compatible with 3.5 - the point was really to make something just different enough that they could continue publishing for it. Whether or not Pathfinder is more balanced than 3.5e is... controversial. You'll probably enjoy the changes most in a group which doesn't optimise heavily.

Yora
2010-04-15, 03:49 PM
Some people tear their clothes and beat their breasts and swear that Everything Is Ruined Forever (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuinedFOREVER).

Other people ditch the old for the new, and refer to those of insufficient zeal as ignorant cretins.

A third group tries the new game, and while they don't like it enough to switch over completely, they'll play it from time to time.

You forgot a very important fourth group, which I think is very active in this forum. The people who looked at 4th Edition, said "Eh... I don't think I like this game", and continued playing 3rd Edition as they had before.

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-15, 03:59 PM
Rather than feeling betrayed, I felt annoyed that they were misrepresenting a step sideways as a step forward. 4e is a fine game in it's own right, but it's not some kind of upgrade to 3.5e.


This is entirely true.

arguskos
2010-04-15, 04:04 PM
This is entirely true.
What he said. 4e, while fine, was not a move forward, it was changing tracks entirely. Not a bad thing, but the destination is totally different now, which drove away many people.

Endarire
2010-04-15, 04:13 PM
3.5 tries to be a simulation. 4e is a game that admits it's a game.

As a well-versed 3.5 DM, I enjoyed being able to do amazing and epic things within the rules. (Alien invasions, future technology, a final battle inside a continual time stop, and summoned genies who pilot fighter planes, for example.)

I watched and briefly played 4e. I read much of the PHB and skimmed the core rules and some supplements. It's a radically different feel. Its power is much stabler than 3.5. All classes can do things reliably, but once a class, always a class. It's more akin to a video game where abilities have cooldowns and many rely on a creature (not) being 'bloodied,' a metagame term for a creature with half or less HP.

I've played Pathfinder as well. It's 3.5 with some obvious as well as subtle changes. Fewer immunities, weaker form changes (polymorph and Wild Shape got gutted), more reliance on feats for physical characters, and more options for core classes. I'd still rather play Tome of Battle classes most the time I'm not playing casters.

Swordgleam
2010-04-15, 04:25 PM
What everyone has said so far has been mostly true, but I want to clear something up a little - there is multiclassing in 4e, but it's more like dabbling and only bards can multi into more than one other class. This is a very stable system, but not incredibly flexible.

However, with the PHB3 there are now also rules for building a hybrid character, which is more like the 3.5 version of multiclassing. Prior to this it was pretty impossible to build an incompetent 4e character without actively trying to - now it is, but you get a lot more flexibility.

I've found 4e to be a very easy system to DM and an easy system to teach people. I like 3.5, but it's definitely not as newbie-friendly.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-15, 04:31 PM
I've found 4e to be a very easy system to DM and an easy system to teach people. I like 3.5, but it's definitely not as newbie-friendly.

I disagree.

I've seen clueless 3E players who just told the DM whatever they wanted to try, and the DM would figure out some way of letting them. And I've seen novice 4E players starie in bewilderment at the dozen-or-so power cards they're supposed to use, and forgetting what exactly they say, and having to re-read them every time when their turn comes up. 4E is far from easy on the non-gamer.

Prime32
2010-04-15, 04:32 PM
What everyone has said so far has been mostly true, but I want to clear something up a little - there is multiclassing in 4e, but it's more like dabbling and only bards can multi into more than one other class. This is a very stable system, but not incredibly flexible.

However, with the PHB3 there are now also rules for building a hybrid character, which is more like the 3.5 version of multiclassing. Prior to this it was pretty impossible to build an incompetent 4e character without actively trying to - now it is, but you get a lot more flexibility.
I'm not familiar with "hybrid characters", but standard 4e multiclassing consists of taking a feat which lets you learn some powers from other classes' lists. This is still more significant than it might seem to a 3.5e player, since power lists are the biggest difference between classes in 4e.

One of the criticisms of 4e was "padded sumo" combat - you are encouraged to use all your most powerful abilities quickly, then you're down to hammering at each other with basic attacks for the rest of the fight (and 4e combat has more rounds than 3e).

Aron Times
2010-04-15, 04:40 PM
3.5 tries to be "realistic" in the context of a fantasy world, while 4e functions on the Rule of Cool. One nice thing about 4e is that your character feels like a hero starting at level 1. You don't have to go through several levels of lethal, luck-based combat to be a hero.

Geiger Counter
2010-04-15, 04:42 PM
I really don't like 4e, 4e is a little fairer with regards to wizards being more equal to fighters however the game has lost the whole interdependence thing 3.5 had. Also to mostly fix the weakness of melee classes for 3.5 all you need is tomb of battle.

AslanCross
2010-04-15, 04:45 PM
You forgot a very important fourth group, which I think is very active in this forum. The people who looked at 4th Edition, said "Eh... I don't think I like this game", and continued playing 3rd Edition as they had before.

And this is the group I belong to. Stillwater, after our classes today I'd be happy to discuss the history with you in person.

Prime32
2010-04-15, 04:45 PM
3.5 tries to be "realistic" in the context of a fantasy world, while 4e functions on the Rule of Cool. One nice thing about 4e is that your character feels like a hero starting at level 1. You don't have to go through several levels of lethal, luck-based combat to be a hero.This is an interesting article on that in 3.5e (http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/misc/d&d-calibrating.html). You can input real-world physics into 3.5 and get reasonable answers.

3.5 is interesting in that it can model such a wide range of power levels - most systems can only handle a specific level like "superhero".

Kurald Galain
2010-04-15, 04:48 PM
You don't have to go through several levels of lethal, luck-based combat to be a hero.

...there are ways other than combat to gain XP, you know.

Swordgleam
2010-04-15, 04:50 PM
I disagree.

I've seen clueless 3E players who just told the DM whatever they wanted to try, and the DM would figure out some way of letting them. And I've seen novice 4E players starie in bewilderment at the dozen-or-so power cards they're supposed to use, and forgetting what exactly they say, and having to re-read them every time when their turn comes up. 4E is far from easy on the non-gamer.

I suppose it depends on how you do it. I taught a bunch of total newbie non-gamers how to play 4e a couple weeks back, and by the second combat they were doing fine on their own. We didn't use power cards, just simple character sheets.

"Tell the DM and let them figure it out" works in any system, but in my own experience, new players start being able to take actions independently earlier in 4e than in 3.5.

JonestheSpy
2010-04-15, 04:56 PM
I must admit first off that I'm familiar with 4th ed mostly from discussion and some observation, but this is my general impression:

The early editions of DnD were inspired by heroic fantasy novels, and tried to simulate them via gameplay with a system based on wargaming. Gygax first dipped his toes in those waters by adding optional fantasy (mostly directly Tolkien-inspired) rules for his wargame Chainmail. Then Dave Arneson came up with the idea of directly controlling individual instead of army units, and it all flowed from there.

Everything I'm given to understand about 4th Ed points to being inspired by movies and video games, and rules that try and simulate them, not books.

Agrippa
2010-04-15, 05:00 PM
...there are ways other than combat to gain XP, you know.

Exactly, like discovering new and previously uncharted lands, uncovering lost secrets and visiting strange and exotic new locales. Of course those were mostly ad-hoc experience awards. But you did get 1 experience point for every gold piece the party managed to steal and smuggle out of the dungeon.

Squider
2010-04-15, 05:08 PM
First off, congratulations, everyone's acting pretty mature about this, it's yet to develop into a firebomb.

And I agree with the "step sideways" although perhaps that wasn't quite explicit enough.

0ed -> 1st Ed -> AD&D -> 3.0 -> 3.5 and all the in betweens

These were steps forward

4ed is sort of like re-evolving legs into a different primary transport method.

Not that this is a criticism, 4th is a very good, highly structured tactical combat system, but it doesn't "feel" D&D. And Personally, me and my friends would rather play D&D.


EDIT


Oh boy. You can't say "good thing this isn't a flamewar" and then "4e isn't D&D" in the same post. :smallyuk:

Ick. I meant "And Personally, me and my friends would rather play 3.5 D&D." that's but a typo. unless your contesting that it doesn't feel like D&D, I'll stand by that.

Knaight
2010-04-15, 05:11 PM
This is an interesting article on that in 3.5e (http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/misc/d&d-calibrating.html). You can input real-world physics into 3.5 and get reasonable answers.

3.5 is interesting in that it can model such a wide range of power levels - most systems can only handle a specific level like "superhero".


Interesting and self contradictory with a side of confirmation bias. While "the average array is the statistically typical results of a 3d6 roll." "It means that the vast majority of people you meet will be lucky to have a single +1 bonus in any of their ability scores. Most of them will, in fact, have straight 10ís and 11ís across the board." Uh-huh. Furthermore, he tries to "fit" the values for the realism. Nowhere does it say that a good door is like a front door, a bad one interior, and a superior exterior armored, but that argument is made. Furthermore, the breaking and entering mentioned that show these doors are easy to get through ignore windows, doors with big windows, etc.

Later we see a critique of a critique "And he was also carrying the weight in the worst way possible Ė as an off-center load. D&D doesnít try to model how youíre carrying a load, but itís reasonable to assume that the rules are designed with the assumption that characters are carrying their gear in a way which minimizes the inconvenience." was made as a comment against a load being heavy, after some interesting calculations getting to 35 pounds, with this being a mitigating factor. It hardly assumes that, the carrying items are a sack and a backpack, and while backpacks are nice they are unbalanced.

"Of course, most soldiers arenít of average strength. Boot camp is specifically designed to build strength (among other things). It wouldnít be unreasonable to expect an average infantrymanís highest ability score (13) to be in Strength. And with a Strength of 13, anything up to 50 pounds is considered a light load (with no penalties to action)." justifies military loads. Note that we are back to the elite array, despite most people apparently having all 10s and 11s, and assuming that most soldiers have 13s is ludicrous. Modern soldiers vary in size, and boot camp builds all sorts of stuff, with strength relatively low priority, mostly its psychological stuff. That isn't a safe assumption at all.

After this there are some fair points, weapon weights and such do not need to be higher in D&D. Many should probably be lower, and that is fair. However, just a bit later.

"Our Olympianís jumps will range from 9 feet (stumbling all the way on a roll of natural 1) to 28 feet. But a typical Olympic event involves three jumps in which the best distance is recorded. That means that roughly 80% of the time, our long jumper will be jumping between 20 feet and 28 feet in competition." Yes, probably. Though this overlooks such minor, minor issues as distribution. Most jumps from one person are within under a foot of each other, variation among professional track athletes is minimal. Look at individuals race times for instance, if you can't find jumping data.

In general distribution of statistics, both in rolls and normal stats is ignored (statistical average is one thing, but scores from 6-15 show up fairly frequently on 3d6), and the facts are played with fast and loose. Fair points are made, and its good reading (I like The Alexandrian personally), but it is far from conclusive, and there is a lot of confirmation bias and selective sources. Plus, it is hugely pro e6 in the concluding thoughts, and e6 is awesome. Though it does have this quote "But compared to virtually every other RPG ever designed, D&Dís performance across that wide range of powers is still amazing. Nothing else can really compare.", which is ludicrous. Plenty of games can do that easily and with minimal difficulty, though if you demand exacting measurements for everything it gets harder.

Evard
2010-04-15, 05:12 PM
I like the idea of At-Wills and the idea of Encounter powers but not the idea of Daily powers especially when I can't use 2 encounter powers but I can use a Daily and an Encounter power (dailies are meant to be more difficult to pull off and require more energy....)

The power point system is a nice way of doing things tho :p

Hybrids are awesome but I hate how you can only take hybrid talent once :( (there might be a way with a paragon path?)

Oddly enough if 4e was put on the X-box all the people who hate it would be glued to the screen :p

Swordgleam
2010-04-15, 05:12 PM
Oh boy. You can't say "good thing this isn't a flamewar" and then "4e isn't D&D" in the same post. :smallyuk:

Prime32
2010-04-15, 05:18 PM
Oddly enough if 4e was put on the X-box all the people who hate it would be glued to the screen :pDon't be silly. How would you brag about how advanced the graphics technology is? :smallwink:

Evard
2010-04-15, 05:22 PM
I'm actually waiting for FF and DnD mating again to make a video game.... WoW is the bastard son of them already but we need a real heir!

That will be the next generation of dnd ... maybe something like .hack and people getting killed off in the real world >.<

Prime32
2010-04-15, 05:27 PM
That will be the next generation of dnd ... maybe something like .hack and people getting killed off in the real world >.<I think you're looking for this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Yureka). :smalltongue:

It's like .hack and Slayers had a child, and Slayers is based on D&D anyway (players goofing off and all (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QdtEXexKns)). You even get references to multiclassing penalties and lines like "They're throwing everything in the Monster Manual at us!" The fireball, chain lightning and magic missile spells work the same way as D&D, and there are probably others.

Kaun
2010-04-15, 05:31 PM
Peoples complaints about 4e always baffle me and before i go any further let me say i dont really like either ed and would always choose playing non DnD rp's.

4e Has less customization: That was true, when it came out the levels of customization with only the 3 core books was minimal compared to 3.5 and its mountain of splat books. This point becomes less and less true however with ever book thats released.

I havn't noticed the usual complaints about skill chalenges that come up are yet to surface here which is nice. Yes a lot of people dont like these which is fine so just dont use them. The game wont fall apart with out them and in all honesty there is a laundrey list of things that need house ruleing in 3.5

One thing that does put me off 4e which has been mentioned here is magic is no longer magical. Its just another source of damage out put in alot of case's which can be on par with a sword or a bow most of the time.
But in saying this in 3.5 the melee class's where often just there to watch the people playing casters doing awesome stuff, so unfortunatly something had to be sacrificed in the name of balance.

iamstillwater
2010-04-16, 04:13 AM
HI again,

Just got back from grad school, and I was intrigued by your answers. :) I only realized after posting it and arriving at school that my post was potential flamebait after AslanCross told me about how divisive this past time of role-playing can be.

As it stands, it would seem that according to you folks, D&D 3.5 and 4.0 are different beasts rather than an evolution of the same beast. I can understand that sentiment.

The thing I'm mostly wondering about now is which of the people on the boards have played 4.0 relatively extensively and which have not. There are indications here that a or player might choose a game depending on its accesssibility (both in terms of finding the actual books and in learning the content involved), or in terms of how they want to experience the story (more open-ended as opposed to better direction towards the end resolution).

Now, I've played neither, so I'm relatively open to learning both, though the investment is rather high. As such, my current concern would be not only finding the core books for either set, but also their prices. I can find 4.0 Core in the local hobby store (with some searching across the various cities in the Philippines... thank goodness we're a small country) but the price is rather restrictive, and only really starts getting good once you buy beyond core. On the other hand, they're selling the 3.5 books for 60% off here, but finding the core books is a mighty pain in the buttocks unless I follow a less lawful route to acquire them (and by that, I do not mean shanking the nearest gamer and rifling through his belongings).

In any event, you folks have given me much to think about. :) I have this idea I'd like to turn into a campaign, so I'm debating which ruleset to try and learn to DM fully so I can adapt what I've written.

Thank you very much, and I hope I didn't aggravate any of you with my question.

Cheers,
Victor Stillwater

Shpadoinkle
2010-04-16, 05:09 AM
There are three axes that a game can measured on: gamist, simulationist, and narrativist.

3.5e tries to strike a rather even balance on all three of these. Granted, by ignoring or changing some rules you can shift where it lies on the scale, but the default rules include roughly equal amounts of support for all three.

4e veered away from the simulationist axis and focused more on the other two, especially the gamist axis. The simluation part of the game is still present, of course, but there's a lot less emphasis on it.

The differences between 3e and 4e are like the differences between Chess and Backgammon. There's simply no way to list them all (or even most of them) coherantly or concisely.

The short, short version is more or less this:
-3.5e: Past level 5, full casters rule everything if played intelligently, everyone else is just tagging along for the hell of it.
-4e: Everybody's pretty much the same.

Eldan
2010-04-16, 05:28 AM
To explain the expressions used above for those unfamiliar with them:

A simulationist game tries to accurately model a world with coherent physics, geography, economy and other such issues. 3.5 had quite some aspects in this regard, such as the skill check DCs, which were apparently balanced in a way that real life humans are about level 1-5, and the less often used rules such as encumbrance.

A gamist game tries to be a game foremost (what a stupid sentence). The rules aim at enabling fluid gameplay with task resolution and clearly defined obstacles for the players to overcome. Some say that 4.0 really shines here compared to 3.5, I can't really say, I was never much interested in this part of the game anyway.

Finally, a narrativist game is one which tries to structure it's rules in a way that they serve the story. The players are acting parties in an unfolding epic. The DM presents a world and a story, and the players act it out together with him. In this part, it's most likely that rules will be bent or even moved aside to allow a scene to be resolved in a certain way, even if the rules don't cover or even forbid it: 3.5 may not have rules for swinging across a room on a rope and crashing through a window, but do we really need more than "okay, dexterity check"?

Yora
2010-04-16, 05:35 AM
There are also a number of people who think that GSN is just a huge pile of ...nonsense.

Taelas
2010-04-16, 05:45 AM
GSN nonsense? What?

It is a descriptive system developed to classify games. How is it nonsense?

That's like saying the color "green" is nonsense.

Yora
2010-04-16, 05:57 AM
At a very basic level, there probably is some truth that within an RPG, you chose your characters action because it is logical from a realistic point of view, the most effective thing to do by the game mechanics, or what makes the story the most exciting. That's hard to deny.
But it's quite often inflated to absurd claims that a game has to be designed a certain way, because players have to fall into one of three very tightly defined types, or the game will be a complete failure.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5396899
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123278
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6938183


Quote: GNS theory essentially states that these three modes of play do not easily mix.
And my experience of 10 years gaming is that they almost always mix very well, and even have to be mixed for the game to by any fun for anyone involved.

Prime32
2010-04-16, 06:10 AM
or in terms of how they want to experience the story (more open-ended as opposed to better direction towards the end resolution).The rules you use have nothing to do with the story. :smallconfused:

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 06:14 AM
GSN nonsense? What?

It is a descriptive system developed to classify games. How is it nonsense
It can be "nonsense" if it fails to accurately classify games. For instance, I could classify games in whether the box they come in is (1) rectangular, (2) triangluar, (3) circular, or (4) other; I shall call this the RTCO system. It is a descriptive system that I'm sure most people will agree is nonsensical. Opinions vary in how much GSN succeeds or fails in actually classifying games.


But related to 3E and 4E, the point is valid that 3E works from verisimilitude, whereas 4E works from balance. For instance, consider a spell that creates fire and deals 3d6 points of damage.

In 3E, the important point here is that it creates fire, and consistently works the way you would expect fire to act, e.g. it is more effective against trees, can scare away animals, and doesn't work underwater. The 3d6 damage is a guideline that can be deviated from.
In 4E, the important point here is that it deals 3d6 damage, and does this consistently against any creature regardless of circumstances (taking explicit fire resistance into account). That it is fluffed as fire is a guideline that can be deviated from: it should be expected to work underwater, and not to set fire to a library, because it would not be balanced otherwise.
And certain other RPGs work on the Rule Of Cool instead. This means that the result of the power is whatever is the most awesome, or whatever works best for the story. Neither version of D&D qualifies for this, but Exalted is a good example of a Rule Of Cool game, as is Paranoia (with the caveat that "blowing yourself up" is considered cool by Paranoia standards).


This isn't really what the author of GSN meant. Nevertheless, some RPGs work primarily on versimilitude, others primarily on what the rules say, and yet others primarily on what works best for the story.

It is important to note that none of these three approaches is "better" than the others (this is a matter of personal taste) and also that individual DMs can (obviously) influence the way their game works.

iamstillwater
2010-04-16, 06:14 AM
@Prime32

I was thinking more along the lines of how the characters could affect the flow of the game with their actions. My understanding was that in 4.0, there was less of a capability to affect the game and therefore allow for a tighter narrative, so to speak. :)

AslanCross
2010-04-16, 06:21 AM
@Prime32

I was thinking more along the lines of how the characters could affect the flow of the game with their actions. My understanding was that in 4.0, there was less of a capability to affect the game and therefore allow for a tighter narrative, so to speak. :)

Not necessarily. As I've mentioned earlier, mechanics do not have an iron grip on narrative. In fact it could be argued that in 4E, players of different roles can affect the game world more effectively due to the classes being more similar. In 3.5 it is likely that some classes will eventually start feeling useless at higher levels (though from experience this is not as inevitable as people claim).

Taelas
2010-04-16, 06:23 AM
And my experience of 10 years gaming is that they almost always mix very well, and even have to be mixed for the game to by any fun for anyone involved.

Any time you mix them, you sacrifice aspects of them to accommodate the others. They do not mix well.

Yora
2010-04-16, 06:23 AM
Your oppinion. Another oppinion is that any game that a game must mix all three to be playable at all. Which is the reason there's no universal consent that GNS is a viable theory. If you're interested in the arguments people have for it, please take a look at the three threads linked above.

People who spend 5 days a week on RPG forums are usually not regular players, but rather people who know all the rules inside out and spend lots of their free time looking for new ways to exploit the rules.
In that regard, RPG-Forums are hugely biased. :smallwink:

Taelas
2010-04-16, 06:25 AM
The rules you use have nothing to do with the story. :smallconfused:

The rules limit the story by the very act of imposing rules, so yes, they do. The goal for most rule sets is to do so as little as possible, of course (while also fulfilling the rules' actual purpose, such as simulating an environment).

Taelas
2010-04-16, 06:30 AM
It can be "nonsense" if it fails to accurately classify games. For instance, I could classify games in whether the box they come in is (1) rectangular, (2) triangluar, (3) circular, or (4) other; I shall call this the RTCO system. It is a descriptive system that I'm sure most people will agree is nonsensical. Opinions vary in how much GSN succeeds or fails in actually classifying games.

Yes, but that simply assumes it fails in its designed purpose, which is not what I believe was meant.

Taelas
2010-04-16, 06:31 AM
Your oppinion. Another oppinion is that any game that a game must mix all three to be playable at all. Which is the reason there's no universal consent that GNS is a viable theory. If you're interested in the arguments people have for it, please take a look at the three threads linked above.

They do not MIX well. A game must have aspects of all three to be playable at all, yes, I fully agree. But that does not change the fact that you cannot MIX them very well. By including one, you exclude aspects of the others. That is not mixing!

Amphetryon
2010-04-16, 06:53 AM
People who spend 5 days a week on RPG forums are usually not regular players, but rather people who know all the rules inside out and spend lots of their free time looking for new ways to exploit the rules.I'd love to know where you came across this tidbit of information.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 06:59 AM
The rules you use have nothing to do with the story. :smallconfused:

Of course they do. Any action that is not allowed by the rules, is thereby not possible in the story. Conversely, any action that is highly effective by the rules, will usually feature in the story.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 07:23 AM
I can find 4.0 Core in the local hobby store (with some searching across the various cities in the Philippines... thank goodness we're a small country) but the price is rather restrictive, and only really starts getting good once you buy beyond core. On the other hand, they're selling the 3.5 books for 60% off here, but finding the core books is a mighty pain in the buttocks
No, it's not. Finding the 3.5 core books can be done for free, for instance at http://d20srd.org and at http://paizo.com (note that Pathfinder is fundamentally the same as 3.5).

And, your post begs the question: why do you want D&D? There are dozens or hundreds of other RPGs out there that may be worth considering, many of which are free and many of which are decidedly easier to learn than any edition of D&D. In other words, tell us what you want out of an RPG system, and we can suggest which system would work best for that. And people will likely suggest Whitewolf and GURPS regardless of what you want, because of how flexible the two are. $.2

iamstillwater
2010-04-16, 07:58 AM
No, it's not. Finding the 3.5 core books can be done for free, for instance at http://d20srd.org and at http://paizo.com (note that Pathfinder is fundamentally the same as 3.5).

And, your post begs the question: why do you want D&D? There are dozens or hundreds of other RPGs out there that may be worth considering, many of which are free and many of which are decidedly easier to learn than any edition of D&D. In other words, tell us what you want out of an RPG system, and we can suggest which system would work best for that. And people will likely suggest Whitewolf and GURPS regardless of what you want, because of how flexible the two are. $.2

Hi Kurald,

D&D is essentially the game I've wanted to play ever since I found out it existed. No offense to other RPGs out there, but for me, being able to be in the same general universe or ruleset I've been reading up on for years through fantasy novels is the big draw for me personally.

On a more practical note, it's easier to find D&D players in the Philippines than it is to find people who play specific other games, though I do know someone who plays using White Wolf World of Darkness setting. Again, it's a preference for something I've yearned for that makes me want to explore D&D despite the difficulty curve of knowing the game intimately. :)

That said, learning about D&D is like entering a relationship: you find someone you have feelings for, and as you get to know them, your feelings will develop for them in various ways, either positive or negative or something in between.

My apologies if my post has offended though. It was not my intention to put people on edge with my questioning, but mostly to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of 3.5 and 4.0 and learn more about the historical timeline that occurred as a result of 4.0's release.

Prime32
2010-04-16, 08:13 AM
Well, http://d20srd.org/ has the contents of the Core rulebooks, the Expanded Psionics Handbook, the Epic Level Handbook, Deities and Demigods, and Unearthed Arcana (not to be confused with Arcana Unearthed, which is an unrelated third-party product). It also has the razor boar (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/razorBoar.htm).

It does not have information on certain things like levelling up or wealth by level. The stats of certain "iconic" monsters like the mind flayer and beholder are not in the SRD. And it's just the rules, with none of the advice and fluff text you'd find in the physical books.

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-16, 08:32 AM
The short, short version is more or less this:
-3.5e: Past level 5, full casters rule everything if played intelligently, everyone else is just tagging along for the hell of it.
-4e: Everybody's pretty much the same.

You should add "in core only", because non-core, everyone can contribute to the party pretty easily. Parties made up of entirely tier 3 that cover every base are definitely possible.

Kesnit
2010-04-16, 09:01 AM
-3.5e: Past level 5, full casters rule everything if played intelligently, everyone else is just tagging along for the hell of it.
-4e: Everybody's pretty much the same.

Tinydwarfman addressed a little of this, but I want to add a little more.

How much certain classes overshadow others can be based on how the player plays them. Clerics are widely accepted to be much more powerful than Rogues, but that assumes Clerics are buffing themselves and running into combat, not that the Cleric is standing back throwing buffs, debuffs, and healing around.

In the first case, the Cleric is going to overshadow the Rogue. In the second, the Cleric is still using their class abilities, but in a way that allows the Rogue to contribute.

Basically, it comes down to the players can self-regulate. "Yes, I know I can chain-Gate Solars, but I'm not going to because that is too cheesy."

Prime32
2010-04-16, 09:20 AM
Basically, it comes down to the players can self-regulate. "Yes, I know I can chain-Gate Solars, but I'm not going to because that is too cheesy."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFuMpYTyRjw

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 09:27 AM
Basically, it comes down to the players can self-regulate. "Yes, I know I can chain-Gate Solars, but I'm not going to because that is too cheesy."If this forum has taught me anything, it is to not assume what people will consider "too cheesy".

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-16, 09:34 AM
If this forum has taught me anything, it is to not assume what people will consider "too cheesy".

But if they don't think that it is too cheesy, chances are the class imbalances are not a problem.

Yora
2010-04-16, 09:36 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFuMpYTyRjw

Oh yeah, I loved this one. I always wondered if this was written by a D&D player. :smallbiggrin:

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 09:44 AM
But if they don't think that it is too cheesy, chances are the class imbalances are not a problem.Well yes for this particular example, chain-gating solars is an obvious offender, but the line between "oh I just buff my allies" to "oh I want to play a wiz3/MS2/Incan10/Arch5" isn't so cut and dry. :smalltongue: (And yes I realize that's not horribly optimized inherently by any stretch of the imagination.)

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-16, 09:51 AM
Well yes for this particular example, chain-gating solars is an obvious offender, but the line between "oh I just buff my allies" to "oh I want to play a wiz3/MS2/Incan10/Arch5" isn't so cut and dry. :smalltongue: (And yes I realize that's not horribly optimized inherently by any stretch of the imagination.)

Note that you used incantatrix. One the most powerful prestige classes in the game. I think allowing in a group with reasonably good optimizers is a pretty clear line.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-04-16, 09:56 AM
Your oppinion. Another oppinion is that any game that a game must mix all three to be playable at all. Which is the reason there's no universal consent that GNS is a viable theory. If you're interested in the arguments people have for it, please take a look at the three threads linked above.

People who spend 5 days a week on RPG forums are usually not regular players, but rather people who know all the rules inside out and spend lots of their free time looking for new ways to exploit the rules.
In that regard, RPG-Forums are hugely biased. :smallwink:

Being a huge fan of GSN. I'd like to see a system that mixes all three aspects perfectly. As in all my searching i have not found one.

The closest thing i have found IMO was 2nd ed though it leaned heavenly tword S or N.

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 09:59 AM
Note that you used incantatrix. One the most powerful prestige classes in the game. I think allowing in a group with reasonably good optimizers is a pretty clear line.We can just move down the line of good fullcaster PrCs. Shall I suggest Wiz3/MS X/IoSV7 next?
The point isn't that I can cite these things or that you can say "yes, in a game with 'reasonably good optimizers' it could work", but rather that everyone's optimization level, in a vacuum, will be different and that you shouldn't make assumptions about what a player will consider cheesy.

tl;dr- talk to your players.

MCerberus
2010-04-16, 10:09 AM
It should be noted that, for the rogue example, there are a lot of mechanical hurdles the hinder the rogue, not just what his party is doing. Precision damage isn't fun against creatures immune to criticals.


Then there's Knock (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/knock.htm), a 2nd level spell, and getting rid of traps by just having a cute celestial woodland creature trip them for you.

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-16, 10:09 AM
We can just move down the line of good fullcaster PrCs. Shall I suggest Wiz3/MS X/IoSV7 next?
The point isn't that I can cite these things or that you can say "yes, in a game with 'reasonably good optimizers' it could work", but rather that everyone's optimization level, in a vacuum, will be different and that you shouldn't make assumptions about what a player will consider cheesy.

tl;dr- talk to your players.

obviously it varies, but I think the +2 tier line for casting PrC's is a good cut off. There is a loose standard there.

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 10:12 AM
obviously it varies, but I think the +2 tier line for casting PrC's is a good cut off. There is a loose standard there.
You might think so, but the fact of the matter is, as is commonly cited, any of the tier 1 classes can still break the game without using PrCs so... yeah. Still no assumptions can be made.

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-16, 10:14 AM
I should point out, I don't view these PrCs as cheesy, just overpowered. To me, cheese is abusing RAW when by RAI it is clearly impossible.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 10:16 AM
It strikes me that, while message boards are quick to point out how playing in an overly optimized fashion breaks 3E in half, they overestimate how many people actually play that way. Furthermore, playing in an overly optimized fashion also breaks 4E in half, and would do the same to pretty much every other rules-heavy RPG anyway.

Yes, in any RPG you can build characters that make the game Not Fun. No, this is not how most people play RPGs, and not necessarily something your DM will allow.

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 10:19 AM
I should point out, I don't view these PrCs as cheesy, just overpowered. To me, cheese is abusing RAW when by RAI it is clearly impossible.I'd like to point out that you've just made yourself a shining example of my point. I, personally, don't see either of those PrCs as cheesy in the proper game either, however, I've played with people that do.

Kesnit
2010-04-16, 10:37 AM
Well yes for this particular example, chain-gating solars is an obvious offender, but the line between "oh I just buff my allies" to "oh I want to play a wiz3/MS2/Incan10/Arch5" isn't so cut and dry. :smalltongue: (And yes I realize that's not horribly optimized inherently by any stretch of the imagination.)

I guess I didn't make myself clear. (I originally had more, but cut it because I was afraid it would sound redundant.) :smallredface:

I did not mean to infer everyone has the same opinion regarding what is "too cheesy." All I meant is that players (and groups) can determine for themselves. Just because a class CAN do something does not mean the player WILL do that.

The post I responded to said above LVL 5 in 3.5, casters do everything and non-casters count their toes. I only pointed out it is possible to play in a group with PCs on various tiers and allow everyone to have fun. (Note: I know "have fun" is also subjective.) However, it requires the players to talk to each other OOC and address issues, and could mean Tier 1 classes play at less than full capacity.


It strikes me that, while message boards are quick to point out how playing in an overly optimized fashion breaks 3E in half, they overestimate how many people actually play that way.

This. Which goes along with what I was trying to say. Very few groups play TO.

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 10:49 AM
It strikes me that, while message boards are quick to point out how playing in an overly optimized fashion breaks 3E in half, they overestimate how many people actually play that way. Furthermore, playing in an overly optimized fashion also breaks 4E in half, and would do the same to pretty much every other rules-heavy RPG anyway.

Yes, in any RPG you can build characters that make the game Not Fun. No, this is not how most people play RPGs, and not necessarily something your DM will allow.Yes, I am commonly an advocate of the fact that the tier system, and respective class power potential, is, in practice, less important than people make it out to be and that class power only matters insofar as it needs to match the overall powerlevel of the group, which is easily modified by individual optimization levels and houserules if necessary.

HenryHankovitch
2010-04-16, 11:30 AM
First off, congratulations, everyone's acting pretty mature about this, it's yet to develop into a firebomb.

And I agree with the "step sideways" although perhaps that wasn't quite explicit enough.

0ed -> 1st Ed -> AD&D -> 3.0 -> 3.5 and all the in betweens

These were steps forward

4ed is sort of like re-evolving legs into a different primary transport method.

Not that this is a criticism, 4th is a very good, highly structured tactical combat system, but it doesn't "feel" D&D. And Personally, me and my friends would rather play D&D.


The mechanical changes from 3E to 4E are not objectively more drastic or game-changing than those from 2E to 3E (which added skills, feats, unrestricted multiclassing, and so forth).

3.5 was not the One True Edition.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 11:43 AM
The mechanical changes from 3E to 4E are not objectively more drastic or game-changing than those from 2E to 3E (which added skills, feats, unrestricted multiclassing, and so forth).

Actually, 2E had both skills and feats (although they were called non-weapon proficiencies and weapon proficiencies, respectively), and unrestricted multiclassing was one of the most common houserules. Removing an exception is not a fundamental change.

NEO|Phyte
2010-04-16, 11:46 AM
Actually, 2E had both skills and feats (although they were called non-weapon proficiencies and weapon proficiencies, respectively), and unrestricted multiclassing was one of the most common houserules. Removing an exception is not a fundamental change.
Still leaves the changes to AC, saves, the magic system, and whatever else.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 11:51 AM
Still leaves the changes to AC, saves, the magic system, and whatever else.
AC is not a fundamental change either, just swapping a minus sign for a plus sign.

Saves are not a fundamental change either, just replacing five categories with three better-defined categories.

"The magic system", I don't see what you mean. But overall there are way less drastic or fundamental changes between 2E and 3E than some people claim: It strikes me that 2E, 3E, 3.5 and Pathfinder are, at their core, modifications of the previous edition in an attempt to improve it; whereas 4E is, at its core, rewritten from scratch.

Telonius
2010-04-16, 11:52 AM
One other issue about the switch from 3rd to 4th that's been a bit more difficult to overcome: they released 4th edition pretty much in the middle of one of the worst economic recessions in decades. When they released it, a lot of players (including me) found it a lot harder to justify spending $90 for a new set of three core books, plus another $30 for each new book that came out. Because, let's be honest, if I make that kind of a gaming commitment I'm going to want all the source books - just like I did when put upwards of $800 into my 3.0/3.5 books over the course of a few years.

Prime32
2010-04-16, 11:53 AM
This. Which goes along with what I was trying to say. Very few groups play TO.By definition, no group plays TO. It stands for theoretical optimisation.

Kaiser Omnik
2010-04-16, 11:54 AM
The mechanical changes from 3E to 4E are not objectively more drastic or game-changing than those from 2E to 3E (which added skills, feats, unrestricted multiclassing, and so forth).

3.5 was not the One True Edition.

Exactly.

IMO, the edition wars that have happened when 4e was announced aren't that interesting. I would suggest reading about the entire history of D&D, via Wikipedia or sites dealing specifically with this topic. Asking on the forums will mostly lead to clashes between very different opinions on what is gaming, or what is D&D...even if people remain civil around here, compared to the Wizards boards or elsewhere. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but it's not really useful to know the "objective history" of D&D.

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 11:55 AM
One other issue about the switch from 3rd to 4th that's been a bit more difficult to overcome: they released 4th edition pretty much in the middle of one of the worst economic recessions in decades. When they released it, a lot of players (including me) found it a lot harder to justify spending $90 for a new set of three core books, plus another $30 for each new book that came out. Because, let's be honest, if I make that kind of a gaming commitment I'm going to want all the source books - just like I did when put upwards of $800 into my 3.0/3.5 books over the course of a few years.Actually, with judicious application of DDI, you're pretty set for updates for maybe $10 a year, more if you want your new content sooner.

Tura
2010-04-16, 11:57 AM
I read the 4E books, but never switched to it. The reason is that, to my understanding (again, simply from reading, not actually playing), it would be very difficult to represent several of my favorite concepts with 4E.

I often like humble origins games, grim and gritty settings, characters who are NOT automatically adventurers and heroes, but instead struggle like everyone else.

3.5 is not tailored for this sort of games either, mind you, but a workaround is possible and easy, if you get the hang of it. I wouldn't know how to do that in 4E (though maybe it can be done after all).

Because 3.5 still feels like a simulation game. Find what world and what character you want to play, and if it's fantasy in the broad sense of the word, you can do it. Low magic, high magic, grim, silly, medieval, renaissance, iron age, whatever. It's not as customizable as GURPS, but still.

If there's a way to simulate in 4E, say, a grim setting in the Iron Age where magic is rare, life is cheap and winter can kill you, I have no idea what it is, and I was never intrigued enough to find out.


In short, 4E seemed entirely PC-centric to me, while 3.5 lets you build a world and proceed from there.

Naturally, if this sort of thing doesn't bother you, then you have no reason whatsoever to stick to 3.5. :smallsmile:

Indon
2010-04-16, 11:59 AM
Your oppinion. Another oppinion is that any game that a game must mix all three to be playable at all.

I would note that there are a lot of people who play games that contain little to no consideration for either simulation or narration - board games!

Similarly, interactive storytelling is an activity which focuses on narration to almost complete exclusion of simulation and gamism, and... I guess Dwarf Fortress would be a simulation without too much consideration for gamism or narration, can't think of any better example.

The important part of the theory is that, for a game designer, different systems present tradeoffs in regards to emphasis between the three. The three are indeed meant to integrate together - the important part is considering the give-and-take.

4th edition is designed with a different intent than 3.5. It fully embraces balanced game mechanics as a design principle and sacrifices other things, such as setting consistency (ex: a rust monster poops differently based on if a PC wants their magic item back or not) or versimilitude (ex: throwing dirt in someone's eyes to blind them is only possible if you're a rogue).

Not to say it's not a good RPG. 4E D&D is a fine RPG.


Furthermore, playing in an overly optimized fashion also breaks 4E in half, and would do the same to pretty much every other rules-heavy RPG anyway.

You can't break 4E that much though, really. I mean, what would the "Tier 1" party look like - an orbizard, a Twin Strike-spamming Ranger... a Fighter that does a lot of damage and a Tactical Warlord who makes the Fighter and Ranger attack extra, with skills chosen so that they cover the gamut of all trained skills?

Compared to a really weak 4E party - say all poorly-made hybrid classes. What's the effective character level difference between these parties - two? Maybe three?

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 12:08 PM
I would note that there are a lot of people who play games that contain little to no consideration for either simulation or narration - board games!
Yes, but a recent thread had several people here pointing out that 4E plays like a board game.



You can't break 4E that much though, really. I mean, what would the "Tier 1" party look like - an orbizard, a Twin Strike-spamming Ranger... a Fighter that does a lot of damage and a Tactical Warlord who makes the Fighter and Ranger attack extra, with skills chosen so that they cover the gamut of all trained skills?
How about a ranger and companion in an infinite-protection loop, a warlock that teleports his enemies into orbit, a 500-dpr feycharger or arcane slasher, and a psion that to makes his allies hit on a 2+?

Admittedly, it's less insane than the King Of Smack, the Jumplomancer, the Omnicaster, or Pun-Pun. But a very real problem seems to be popping up in RPGA: at paragon tier, it appears to be very hard or impossible to write modules that are not either a pushover for strong characters, or a TPK for weak characters, despite RPGA already having "easy mode" and "hard mode".

Akal Saris
2010-04-16, 12:46 PM
There's another advantage to learning 3.5, which is that you can learn a number of subsystems based on the d20 system very easily.

Horror: d20 Cthulhu
Current day: d20 Modern
SciFi: d20 Star Wars (SAGA edition), d20 Future
Anime: BESM d20, Naruto d20, probably a Slayers d20
Video Games: Warcraft d20, World of Warcraft d20
Alternative fantasy/medieval: Pathfinder, Iron Heroes

Those are just the games I know about. So really, learning 3.5 gets you much closer to learning several related systems, whereas 4E doesn't seem to have spawned the same legion of RPGs based on its system. Which is also d20 based, but far more different from 3.5 than any of those above (alright, BESM is pretty out there too).


Well, http://d20srd.org/ has the contents of the Core rulebooks, the Expanded Psionics Handbook, the Epic Level Handbook, Deities and Demigods, and Unearthed Arcana (not to be confused with Arcana Unearthed, which is an unrelated third-party product). It also has the razor boar (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/razorBoar.htm).

Huh. I never knew that it had the Razor Boar.

Edit: Hey! It also has Scorpionfolk (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/scorpionfolk.htm)!

The New Bruceski
2010-04-16, 12:59 PM
I'm actually waiting for FF and DnD mating again to make a video game.... WoW is the bastard son of them already but we need a real heir!

That will be the next generation of dnd ... maybe something like .hack and people getting killed off in the real world >.<

Nah, WoW is the offspring of Warhammer (already epic fantasy without FF getting involved).

eepop
2010-04-16, 01:00 PM
I have spent a great deal of time playing both 3.5 and 4E, and they are both great games. They both have their strengths and weaknesses.

I think several people have done very well describing the benefits of 3.5. There are a few benefits of 4E that have not really been mentioned.

1) DDi is just plain awesome. It got off to a rough start, but as of now it is an amazing suite of tools, for a ridiculously low price. The character builder is awesome, the compendium is awesome, the monster builder is awesome.

2) DM combat preparation time is DRASTICALLY less in 4E at all but the lowest levels. You can take advantage of this by just being more able to fit preparation into a busy schedule, or to use the excess time you would have spent preparing combats on working out the non-combat details of your game.

Those two things pretty much cinch for me 4E as the game I want to DM. As a player, I don't really have a big preference as long as we're playing a game and the DM is well prepared.

Indon
2010-04-16, 01:02 PM
How about a ranger and companion in an infinite-protection loop, a warlock that teleports his enemies into orbit, a 500-dpr feycharger or arcane slasher, and a psion that to makes his allies hit on a 2+?
I thought it was policy to errata-balance that sort of thing?


Admittedly, it's less insane than the King Of Smack, the Jumplomancer, the Omnicaster, or Pun-Pun. But a very real problem seems to be popping up in RPGA: at paragon tier, it appears to be very hard or impossible to write modules that are not either a pushover for strong characters, or a TPK for weak characters, despite RPGA already having "easy mode" and "hard mode".

Well, that's because modules consist of multiple encounters that are supposed to, all together, draw parties to their limits. They're trying to calibrate to a very strict specification and they can't access any of the tools DMs can use to actually meet that specification by tailoring their groups.

Prime32
2010-04-16, 01:30 PM
You can't break 4E that much though, really. I mean, what would the "Tier 1" party look like - an orbizard, a Twin Strike-spamming Ranger... a Fighter that does a lot of damage and a Tactical Warlord who makes the Fighter and Ranger attack extra, with skills chosen so that they cover the gamut of all trained skills?

Compared to a really weak 4E party - say all poorly-made hybrid classes. What's the effective character level difference between these parties - two? Maybe three?If a 30th-level 4e wizard fought a 20th-level 3e wizard he'd get slaughtered. :smalltongue:

4e took out a lot of the "interesting" abilities, like the ones which lets you unlock doors, or walk through the wall next to the door, or teleport out of danger, or send expendable copies of yourself to adventure for you, or kill people by scrying on them. Interesting for players I mean. :smallamused: Challenging high-level parties in 3.5 can be a nightmare.

HenryHankovitch
2010-04-16, 01:45 PM
I would note that there are a lot of people who play games that contain little to no consideration for either simulation or narration - board games!

Similarly, interactive storytelling is an activity which focuses on narration to almost complete exclusion of simulation and gamism, and... I guess Dwarf Fortress would be a simulation without too much consideration for gamism or narration, can't think of any better example.
That's actually a rather amusing example, inasmuch as Dwarf Fortress' fundamental design goals are all based around inserting game-generated narrative into [what started as] a roguelike. World generation involves creating landscape, cities, wars, heroes, and so on. And your dorfs do things based on likes and dislikes, emotional states, personal needs and other such narrative influences, instead of acting as mindless, anonymous automatons as in most worldbuilder/strategy games.

Which underscores the point that the GNS theory can describe facets of gameplay or game design, but the three elements can't actually be separated without jumping entire genres or media (going from video games to playing checkers, or reading a book).


The important part of the theory is that, for a game designer, different systems present tradeoffs in regards to emphasis between the three. The three are indeed meant to integrate together - the important part is considering the give-and-take.That's the important--and only useful part. The idea that gamism/narrativism/simulationism somehow embody conflicting ideals, and that people adhere to one "camp" or another, is transparent bulls**t. One might as well try to argue that among architects there are Roofists, Wallists, and Flooritarians...


versimilitude (ex: throwing dirt in someone's eyes to blind them is only possible if you're a rogue).
As opposed to 3.5, where it's not [mechanically] "possible" for anyone?

The handwavium required to explain why one class has a combat ability for doing so, and another doesn't, isn't any more strenuous or disingenuous than thousands of other little details of both 3E and 4E. It's a cheap troll's argument.

Nero24200
2010-04-16, 02:07 PM
4E is far from easy on the non-gamer.

I'd have to disagree here I'm afraid.

4th Edition is far from my favourite game (in fact, amoungst people I have spoken to RL, I've done my fair share of complaining about it), but one of the very few advantages I feel it has over other games is the simplicity.

I've personally tried to teach newbies cerain RP games and I've found certain things tend to be constant.

The skill system in Iron Heroes is a headache to any newbie. The magic in Ars Magica is hard to grasp at first (probably why 4/5 of the book is dedicated to explaining it). 3.5 Doesn't nessicerily have one particular rule that seems to throw off newbies, but theres alot of little things. Every now and then I'll be playing with a group and some random 3.5 rule will come up which we have actually interrpted wrong, or failed to take another part of the rules into account etc.

I was able to teach 4th Edition toa newbie though...we picked up on the rules very quickly. In fact, the only incident involving the rules was an NPC using a power as a standard action when it was only a minor action....that was it, and even then it was spotted quickly.

Kaiyanwang
2010-04-16, 02:16 PM
As opposed to 3.5, where it's not [mechanically] "possible" for anyone?


Two ways to do it in 3.5:

1) Feint in Combat

2) Archives, suggested houserules, CD or blind.

I stated it in another thread, recently.. Getting old, I tend to repeat myself.

NEO|Phyte
2010-04-16, 02:20 PM
Two ways to do it in 3.5:

1) Feint in Combat


4e has feinting in combat too, you know.

Indon
2010-04-16, 02:29 PM
4e has feinting in combat too, you know.

If you reflavor it in a system where some people can throw dirt in someone's eyes to do something else, then you instead run into the versimilitude hit that different people are getting different results when they do the same thing under the same circumstances.

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 02:31 PM
If you reflavor it in a system where some people can throw dirt in someone's eyes to do something else, then you instead run into the versimilitude hit that different people are getting different results when they do the same thing under the same circumstances.I swing my sword and hit. 6 seconds later I swing my sword and miss.

Kaiyanwang
2010-04-16, 02:32 PM
4e has feinting in combat too, you know.

Did I say 4th edition does not manage it? I only answered to the statement "As opposed to 3.5, where it's not [mechanically] "possible" for anyone"

Fullstop.

NEO|Phyte
2010-04-16, 02:37 PM
If you reflavor it in a system where some people can throw dirt in someone's eyes to do something else, then you instead run into the versimilitude hit that different people are getting different results when they do the same thing under the same circumstances.I fail to see how one power that lets you 'feint' while attacking in the same action means you can never ever feint in the same way as the default fluff for that power does.

:edit: actually, looking at the actual power, it seems more a case of using the weapon blow as a 'feint' to make sure you can get your sand properly in their eyes, rather than the other way around.

Gametime
2010-04-16, 02:43 PM
If you reflavor it in a system where some people can throw dirt in someone's eyes to do something else, then you instead run into the versimilitude hit that different people are getting different results when they do the same thing under the same circumstances.

Maybe rogues are just really good dirt-throwers. :smalltongue:

4th edition definitely has verisimilitude problems. So does 3.5, but I think the problems tend to arise in different places. 4th editions tend to lead to "Wait, why can't I do this?" 3.5 leads to "Wait, why haven't wizards conquered all the planes and established a universe-spanning utopia yet?"

Zeful
2010-04-16, 02:46 PM
I really don't like 4e, 4e is a little fairer with regards to wizards being more equal to fighters however the game has lost the whole interdependence thing 3.5 had. Also to mostly fix the weakness of melee classes for 3.5 all you need is tomb of battle.

Ahahahahahahaha.:smallbiggrin:

That was a good joke.


Rather than feeling betrayed, I felt annoyed that they were misrepresenting a step sideways as a step forward. 4e is a fine game in its own right, but it's not some kind of upgrade to 3.5e.
The only real upgrade for 3.5 is to throw it out the window and start over using the same overall architecture (3.5 is stupendously broken over nearly every facet of the game, trying to fix it is pretty much impossible with out throwing a large majority away and rebuilding it yourself). While 4e is not this, the end result would be as different from 3.5 as 4e is. So I don't actually understand that complaint.

Also 3.x wasn't an upgrade to 2e, it did fix some weird problems due to it's design (+1 sword: Penalty or bonus?). However doing so created far more problems (see: Casters).

dota600
2010-04-16, 03:15 PM
Ahoy from a fellow filipino stillwater

I've played both 3.5 and 4th ed and both are completely different from one another though in my opinion it is better to stick to 3.5 if you want to immerse to roleplaying better because like many had said in here, 3.5 is incredibly easy to customize and to cater for people of different taste.

I do not want to be somekind of badguy(I am just stating my opinion) but for me, 4th edition is just to restricting to... everyone. Its like a cramped up room in where everyone is fitted in for the sake that everyone can be monitored and everyone can be balanced and fair.

3.5 if you get the hang of it is more open and nonrestrictive and has more roleplaying opportunities than 4thed, that is so far what I experienced when I played the systems that is. Just like I said, all you got to do is get a hang of it.

If ever wizard somehow wizened up, they should have made a 4.5 edition in where both 3.5 and 4th ed rules are somehow combined since both systems have interesting things up their sleeves but are not used to its full potential since both are quite different and split apart.

Btw, ingat dyan pare and God bless

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 04:41 PM
I thought it was policy to errata-balance that sort of thing?
So did I. These are some of the examples prominent on the forums that they haven't errata'ed yet. Of course, it took them a year and a half to fix Blood Mage, which was the broken build from day one...


Well, that's because modules consist of multiple encounters that are supposed to, all together, draw parties to their limits.
Yes, and of course DMs will calibrate for this. But my point is that at paragon level, there's a wide difference between an optimized group and a non-optimized group.


I'd have to disagree here I'm afraid.

4th Edition is far from my favourite game (in fact, amoungst people I have spoken to RL, I've done my fair share of complaining about it), but one of the very few advantages I feel it has over other games is the simplicity.
It seems you're comparing it to other rules-heavy games. See, there are numerous RPGs that have ten, twelve pages of rules total. 4E clocks in at a 310-page PHB full of rules, and goes on from there. Rules-light RPGs are, as a rule, much easier to explain to non-gamers than rules-heavy RPGs.

Aron Times
2010-04-16, 05:16 PM
Ahoy from a fellow filipino stillwater

I've played both 3.5 and 4th ed and both are completely different from one another though in my opinion it is better to stick to 3.5 if you want to immerse to roleplaying better because like many had said in here, 3.5 is incredibly easy to customize and to cater for people of different taste.

I do not want to be somekind of badguy(I am just stating my opinion) but for me, 4th edition is just to restricting to... everyone. Its like a cramped up room in where everyone is fitted in for the sake that everyone can be monitored and everyone can be balanced and fair.

3.5 if you get the hang of it is more open and nonrestrictive and has more roleplaying opportunities than 4thed, that is so far what I experienced when I played the systems that is. Just like I said, all you got to do is get a hang of it.

If ever wizard somehow wizened up, they should have made a 4.5 edition in where both 3.5 and 4th ed rules are somehow combined since both systems have interesting things up their sleeves but are not used to its full potential since both are quite different and split apart.

Btw, ingat dyan pare and God bless

If you value the word of a fellow Filipino, then let me say the opposite thing. Switching to 4e is worth it, since it's a lot simpler than 3.5 and the rules do not get in the way of roleplaying. Basically, 4e characters are assumed to be able to do anything as long as it doesn't go against the rules. On the other hand, 3.5 characters are assumed to only be able to do things specifically outlined in the rules. This small change in the game's core assumptions results in radically different gameplay between two d20 game systems.

I'm Cebuano, by the way, in case you were wondering.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 05:18 PM
On the other hand, 3.5 characters are assumed to only be able to do things specifically outlined in the rules.

Whatever gives you that idea?

Yora
2010-04-16, 05:23 PM
Basically, I was wondering if someone could come up with a detailed history of what happened when Dungeons and Dragons 4.0 came out. Did people revolt against 4.0 because of their heavy investment into 3.5? Did people embrace 4.0 as a good game in its own right?
And now you got 3 pages that should give you a pretty good impression of what happened when 4th Edition was released.
Except that people here are really trying hard to not start flaming. :smallbiggrin:

Arcane-surge
2010-04-16, 05:34 PM
If you value the word of a fellow Filipino, then let me say the opposite thing. Switching to 4e is worth it, since it's a lot simpler than 3.5 and the rules do not get in the way of roleplaying. Basically, 4e characters are assumed to be able to do anything as long as it doesn't go against the rules. On the other hand, 3.5 characters are assumed to only be able to do things specifically outlined in the rules. This small change in the game's core assumptions results in radically different gameplay between two d20 game systems.

I'm Cebuano, by the way, in case you were wondering.


Oh my god, you are so right. 4th edition is a game where, if I want to knock someone down, shove them into a wall, or grab them in a hammerlock, I don't need some kind of special power that lets me do it. I just roll up my sleeves and do it.

Wait, that's 3.5. Sometimes I get those confused. I'm not going to tout 3.5 as the alpha and omega of roleplaying games, or even say that it's better than 4e, but it does do certain things in a better way. Want to have a fighter who's a master smith? 3.5. A bard (or any other character) who plays an instrument well? 3.5.

You're right about one thing though, in 4e, the rules don't get in the way of roleplaying. Except for skill challenges (in the DMG, negotiating with an NPC and haggling with a merchant are both examples of skill challenges). Of course, the rules don't enable or encourage roleplaying either, not that they do in 3.5. One of the larger disappointments in 4e was that they didn't include better social mechanics, (which do exist in games like Burning Wheel and Spirit of the Century). The natural response to this is, "You don't need rules to roleplay," or to paraphrase Bill Slaviscek in an interview he did with G4, "The limits of the game are decided only by your imagination." But if you don't need rules to roleplay, then you don't need 3.5 OR 4e, leaving you with more money to spend on important things, like hookers or rent.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 05:38 PM
Ah, speaking of a bit of history of the release of 4E, here's some trivia.

(1) WOTC is quite good at giving sneak previews of everything to raise interest. I suppose they learned this from their MTG team. So there was a lot of debate on several forums in advance, and many people who claimed to love or hate it before the release. A signficant part of marketing of WOTC consisted of pointing out exactly what was wrong and bad about 3E.

(2) One infamous preview was one that divided the wizard classes into several subschools, with names like Beige Dragon, Crimson Fury, or Purple Tornado. Or whatever, I'm quoting this from memory. Several wizard feats (that are known as e.g. Spell Focus) were previewed with non-descriptive names like Beige Dragon Mastery. There was a fan outcry about this, and hence they were removed from the final draft of the PHB, except for Spiral Tower.

(3) Third edition is licensed under the SRD, which allows such things as the d20srd site, and much third-party material. Months before the release, a contract was leaked that showed what (according to WOTC) was their new but identical license. Infamously, this would give WOTC the right to have the complete stock of any third-party D&D sourcebooks banned and destroyed, and then to print the same material in their own splats. Needless to say this was not popular, and this was one of the reasons why Paizo decided to do Pathfinder instead of switching to 4E.

(4) Info from the PHB was known over the internet before it was officially released (I believe stores get books in advance, with the express order not to sell them before day X). Hilariously, a broken combo that allowed a level-15 character to one-shot-kill the toughest (level 30+) enemy in the monster manual was found before the actual release date.

(5) Immediately after the release, there was an analysis on the forums proving that the math used for skill challenges was completely wrong, possibly because the book was rushed to release. An errata was issued swiftly. However, most issues found a few weeks later (notably the Blood Mage) were not to be errata'ed for the next year-and-a-half.

Kaiyanwang
2010-04-16, 05:39 PM
Whatever gives you that idea?

This seems a really common conception (see my previous posts in this thread).

Yora
2010-04-16, 05:44 PM
At least common among the people who drown to regain hit points and allow chain-gating. :smallwink:

Kylarra
2010-04-16, 05:47 PM
Oh my god, you are so right. 4th edition is a game where, if I want to knock someone down, shove them into a wall, or grab them in a hammerlock, I don't need some kind of special power that lets me do it. I just roll up my sleeves and do it. Bullrush and grapple exist in 4th too, so you can do that there as long as you have decent strength. :smallwink:


Wait, that's 3.5. Sometimes I get those confused. I'm not going to tout 3.5 as the alpha and omega of roleplaying games, or even say that it's better than 4e, but it does do certain things in a better way. Want to have a fighter who's a master smith? 3.5. You mean the fighter with 2+int skillpoints? Whereas in 4e he can make his own magic weapons/armor with the investment of a feat and gold?


A bard (or any other character) who plays an instrument well? 3.5. Depending on what you're trying to do with the instrument, I'm fairly positive you'd just fold that effect into diplomacy, bluff or streetwise. :smalltongue:

4e has a fair number of issues, but the ones you're citing aren't them.

Eldan
2010-04-16, 05:48 PM
Hey, don't say drowning doesn't work! I drowned my cat, now it's more alive than ever!

Remember, kids: if you feel bad, I'll drown you for just 29.95!

Kaiyanwang
2010-04-16, 05:52 PM
Hey, don't say drowning doesn't work! I drowned my cat, now it's more alive than ever!


Did you buried it in a certain pet sematary cemetery? In this case, sniff your cat. If it starts to stink, be really careful.

HenryHankovitch
2010-04-16, 05:59 PM
I often like humble origins games, grim and gritty settings, characters who are NOT automatically adventurers and heroes, but instead struggle like everyone else.

...

If there's a way to simulate in 4E, say, a grim setting in the Iron Age where magic is rare, life is cheap and winter can kill you, I have no idea what it is, and I was never intrigued enough to find out.

It shouldn't be that hard, and the process isn't really any different than how you'd do the same thing with 3E.

Low magic? Okay, don't hand out magic items, and disallow the various blasty arcane/divine casters.

Survival-focused? Again, same thing. 3.5 might have a few more rules in terms of "you can go N days before making a DC X skill check to find food," but not by much. In both cases, the general method for judging adventuring tasks is the same. Saving throws for hunger/hypothermia/heatstroke/whatever, skill checks for swimming/climbing/spelunking/etc.

Combat-wise, it would function much better; your remaining classes aren't suffering so much from the WHERE HATH MY HEALBOT GONE problem, and can still do interesting, heroic things in combat.

Arcane-surge
2010-04-16, 06:00 PM
After some checking, you're right, Kylarra. I retract those criticisms. I guess I'll have to settle for math that isn't totally meaningless (adding half your level is certainly easier, but if everything you fight is equal level to you and also adds half its level, those pluses don't mean squat, and don't even get me started on skill challenges), and combats that don't result in at-will spamming (that's one thing that ToB DID manage to fix about melee), four different Evil Eye abilities, and mysterious monsters that, although they look just as strong as their compatriots, die in one hit.

What it seems to boil down to is that if you want the characters to be people in a world, you play 3.5 (actually, you play Burning Wheel). If you want them to be the protagonists of a movie, you play 4e (if you're committed to D&D. Otherwise you play Spirit of the Century).

HenryHankovitch
2010-04-16, 06:02 PM
Depending on what you're trying to do with the instrument, I'm fairly positive you'd just fold that effect into diplomacy, bluff or streetwise. :smalltongue:


What this unintentionally highlights is the possibility of making a (3E) Bard who can't any musical Performing. I suppose that's roleplaying variety, of a sort.

Lord Raziere
2010-04-16, 06:13 PM
just play what you want to play, I'll play 4E, you play 3.5, that guy play 2E, some guy somewhere is probably playing 0E, just stick to what you want to play and don't bother anyone else about it.

its common sense.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-16, 06:14 PM
What this unintentionally highlights is the possibility of making a (3E) Bard who can't any musical Performing. I suppose that's roleplaying variety, of a sort.

In the same way that you can make a (4E) Bard with 8 charisma, yes.

iamstillwater
2010-04-16, 06:44 PM
Wow. This thread has really become lively. :)

Glad everyone is playing nice and talking about things in a rational manner and accepting each other's points in a positive light.

I also want to thank Kurald for posing some intriguing tidbits into the workings of Wizards of the Coast, as the impression I got from them was that they completely abandoned 3.5 to further the potential of 4.0, and it seems that the idea was not without merit.

For the Filipinos on the board, I just want to let you know that while I value your opinion, I won't place it on a pedestal above anyone else's in the interest of fairness. That said, you made excellent points.

As for me, I've resolved to take 3.5 on with the possibility of investing money into 4.0 at a later date once I finish grad school and get a job again. Practical concerns, in my opinion, trump concerns over which is the more advantageous route to take.

Of course, it doesn't make the discussion a moot point. The free-flowing exchange of ideas here made me see the merits in exploring both and trying to master both rulesets eventually. I only hope I have the time later on to invest in this endeavor.

In any event, I'll keep reading your thoughts on the matters here in order to inform myself better about the nuances of both systems. :)

Thank you for your time,
Victor Stillwater

Oracle_Hunter
2010-04-16, 07:28 PM
As for me, I've resolved to take 3.5 on with the possibility of investing money into 4.0 at a later date once I finish grad school and get a job again. Practical concerns, in my opinion, trump concerns over which is the more advantageous route to take.
I'm not sure if it is different outside of the US, but you can get permanent use of the Character Builder & Monster Builder and 1 month access to the base ruleset for $10 (US) (http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Subscription.aspx)

The Character Builder has everything you need to make a character from level 1 to 30 and all character-related rules/feats/etc. from every WotC book released for 4e.

The Monster Builder does the same thing, but for monsters.

If money is really all that's keeping you from trying out 4e then that should set you concerns at ease.

Also: You can provide full versions of the Character Builder to a few other computers with your 1 month license. This lets you give some of your players independent access to everything they need to roll up a character for your game.

iamstillwater
2010-04-16, 08:02 PM
Thanks Oracle_hunter. I'll look into it. :D

What happens after the month is done? Do I lose all the data or something, or do I not download anything at all?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-04-16, 08:10 PM
Thanks Oracle_hunter. I'll look into it. :D

What happens after the month is done? Do I lose all the data or something, or do I not download anything at all?
You keep the Character Builder and Monster Builder permanently - you just can't update them unless you have an active subscription.

The rules cyclopedia, unfortunately, is Internet-only and requires an active subscription. But you really only need to buy the PHB I and DMG I to get all the rules you'll need (and read the Errata (http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/updates)) so that's not a huge outlay.

Plus, you only need to buy those books after your month is up.

Tura
2010-04-16, 08:14 PM
It shouldn't be that hard, and the process isn't really any different than how you'd do the same thing with 3E.

Low magic? Okay, don't hand out magic items, and disallow the various blasty arcane/divine casters.

Survival-focused? Again, same thing. 3.5 might have a few more rules in terms of "you can go N days before making a DC X skill check to find food," but not by much. In both cases, the general method for judging adventuring tasks is the same. Saving throws for hunger/hypothermia/heatstroke/whatever, skill checks for swimming/climbing/spelunking/etc.

Combat-wise, it would function much better; your remaining classes aren't suffering so much from the WHERE HATH MY HEALBOT GONE problem, and can still do interesting, heroic things in combat.
Heh, you just nailed my two biggest pet peeves about 3.5 (I never said it was a perfect system, did I? :smalltongue:) : dependence on magic items and dependence on clerics.

Dependence on magic items in 3.5 means that if you veer off the stated WBL, if you give less money or if there aren't items to buy, the CR system falls apart. It isn't a big deal when the DM has experience in calculating CR by himself depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the party. But it's a horrible mess otherwise. I don't know how 4E handles that, but it can't possibly be worse than 3.5.:smalltongue:

Dependence on clerics is something we circumvent with refluffling and homebrewing stuff, so it's quite fair to say that the system itself (3.5) doesn't support it at all. However, the 4E solution (everyone can heal himself! wee!!!) doesn't sit well with me, because it necessarily brings to the game a flavor that doesn't fit with our settings: it doesn't make a lick of sense if you want to simulate a setting where some of the people DON'T have supernatural abilities. And that's quite a big deal for us.

I can of course accept that, if you're not above refluffing and homebrewing and improvising, you can fit 4E to your heart's desire, or any system for that matter. So in the end, it boils down to a very simple choice for me:

Since I'm gonna mess with the system's rules anyway, why not do it with the edition I know and can modify accordingly? Why bother with a new one, which seems even more incompatible with my concepts? And why buy it?

If I was introduced to D&D now and was aware of the conceptual differences, I think I would pick 3.5. However, if my friends were starting on 4E, I would pick 4E too and proceed having the time of my life, since this "collective imagination" thingy is what makes role-playing games tick in the first place, and not the ruleset. :smallsmile:

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-16, 09:29 PM
I'm not sure if it is different outside of the US, but you can get permanent use of the Character Builder & Monster Builder and 1 month access to the base ruleset for $10 (US) (http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Subscription.aspx)

The Character Builder has everything you need to make a character from level 1 to 30 and all character-related rules/feats/etc. from every WotC book released for 4e.

The Monster Builder does the same thing, but for monsters.

If money is really all that's keeping you from trying out 4e then that should set you concerns at ease.

Also: You can provide full versions of the Character Builder to a few other computers with your 1 month license. This lets you give some of your players independent access to everything they need to roll up a character for your game.

The 3.5 equivalent to these is the SRD (core books for free online), and stuff like heroforge, which can build characters from 1-60, with gestalt, custom classes, and other variant rules, and incorporates almost every book in 3.5.
And it's also free.

So the online support is actually pretty similar. 3.5 is actually better since you get all of that for free always, instead of a subscription for the rules.

erikun
2010-04-16, 11:56 PM
I feel compelled to point out that not everyone considers 3rd edition to be an improvement from 2nd edition.

Beyond that, I think most of the highlights have been hit in the 3e vs. 4e discussion. A 4e game is a lot easier to put together, especially for the DM, making it easier to create characters, monsters, or a campaign. 3e is available for free, and character creation can be fun to play around with all the options.

From the sounds of things, you're looking at 3e because you can find the rules online. That sounds like an excellent idea, expecially if you're working on a budget. If nobody in the group is familiar with D&D, then just try putting a game together as well as you can. If you get stuck with a confusing or missing rule, I would recommend either bypassing the problem (through an original player suggestion) or simply rolling something similar to resolve it - generally an attack roll or a skill roll.

Other than that, best of luck. I've played both 3e and 4e for quite a bit, so if you have any specific questions about the two, feel free to ask.

Roderick_BR
2010-04-17, 12:39 AM
Wikipedia actually has a fairly extensive compilation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_and_dragons) of all things D&D.

If you're interested in edition history specifically - here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editions_of_Dungeons_%26_Dragons)

Long story short - Edition Warz never change.

Some people tear their clothes and beat their breasts and swear that Everything Is Ruined Forever (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuinedFOREVER).

Other people ditch the old for the new, and refer to those of insufficient zeal as ignorant cretins.

A third group tries the new game, and while they don't like it enough to switch over completely, they'll play it from time to time.

I call this third group "sissies" :smalltongue:
I call this third group "people with common sense that just want to have fun playing and not caring for edition warz" :smalltongue:

Thurbane
2010-04-17, 02:28 AM
Rather than feeling betrayed, I felt annoyed that they were misrepresenting a step sideways as a step forward. 4e is a fine game in its own right, but it's not some kind of upgrade to 3.5e.
I agree with this 110%. IMHO, it's not better or worse, it's just different. Too different for me to enjoy, personally. For all of it's flaws, I really like what you can do with 3.5

(1) WOTC is quite good at giving sneak previews of everything to raise interest. I suppose they learned this from their MTG team. So there was a lot of debate on several forums in advance, and many people who claimed to love or hate it before the release. A signficant part of marketing of WOTC consisted of pointing out exactly what was wrong and bad about 3E.
Indeed.

"New WotC brand washing powder!!! Stop washing your clothes in that substandard stuff we used to make, new and updated formula will get your clothes whiter than white!"

Eldan
2010-04-17, 03:16 AM
What most annoyed me, of course was:

"Remember the game you played for the last five years? It's boring! And too complicated! No one really liked it! The Great Wheel was a stupid setting full of unnecessary places! We're doing a much better one, but we're keeping all the bits and gluing them to the new setting!"

DeltaEmil
2010-04-17, 03:22 AM
However, the 4E solution (everyone can heal himself! wee!!!) doesn't sit well with me, because it necessarily brings to the game a flavor that doesn't fit with our settings: it doesn't make a lick of sense if you want to simulate a setting where some of the people DON'T have supernatural abilities. And that's quite a big deal for us.You do hopefully know that hit points do not represent your amount of blood and muscle tissue, but luck, ability to dodge or parry in the very last second, tenacity, moral, and perhaps also small divine favors.
Or, for a better picture:
Two identical characters who lost 109 hit points out of 120.
One looks like his head is nearly falling from his neck, his flesh is burned, he's been bleeding 10 liters per second since half an hour like in a Shonen Manga, his arms crushed, his legs shattered and his chest full of arrows that pierced his lungs and heart. He can only stand because he clings to life desperately.
The other just looks tired, has a little ouchie in his left pinky, a few of his hairs are singed, and is thankful to the gods that he managed to duck the fireball, parry the swordblow, blocked all those arrows and that the crushing ceiling had this small hole where he was capable to squeeze in before becoming flat as a disc. He doesn't want to continue until he's rested enough.

These two examples are absolutely valid interpretation of how YOU, the player want your character to look after such an ordeal. All D&D-editions since the day when Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson created them have treated hit points as an amalgam of luck, endurance, abilities to turn fatal blows into near-misses, willpower, and only then a really small bit of blood and flesh.

Healing hit points with means other than magical or divine is absolutely nothing supernatural, because hit points have always been abstract. A warlord telling somebody that it's only a flesh wound, or a rogue taking a second wind emphasize the willpower, moral, dodging and parrying abilities as well as the luck part of the hit points.

Never make the mistake to believe otherwise.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-17, 04:34 AM
What most annoyed me, of course was:

"Remember the game you played for the last five years? It's boring! And too complicated! No one really liked it! The Great Wheel was a stupid setting full of unnecessary places! We're doing a much better one, but we're keeping all the bits and gluing them to the new setting!"

The parts I liked were,

"We're going to reduce reliance on magical items! Characters will no longer be christmas trees! Everyone can only use twelve magical items at the time, not counting wondrous items, tattoos, or backup weapons!"

"Critical hits used to do too much damage, and rolling too many dice is annoying anyway. So from now on, a crit will only do the regular maximum damage, it's only fair. Oh yeah, and everybody gets to add bonus damage dice to their critical hits!"



You do hopefully know that hit points do not represent your amount of blood and muscle tissue, but luck, ability to dodge or parry in the very last second, tenacity, moral, and perhaps also small divine favors.
The difference is that 4E warlords change the description and meaning of your wounds after the fact. Once you have decided that (e.g.) your character is suffering from certain gory effects and about to fall over, your warlord will tell you that no, you were wrong to describe your character that way. In acting, this is what's known as "blocking" people.

DeltaEmil
2010-04-17, 04:48 AM
The same goes for the cleric, who's healing is magical in nature, and blocks the way how the player wants to describe the wounds of his character.
It's up to the player to decide if he wants to be a jerk and to not accept the healing from another player who uses his warlord/cleric/bard/munchkin ability to heal him.
Of course, the healing done by a warlord is less problematic than that of a cleric, as it's only a moral boost, and if a player wants to keep his image of a totally gored character who's organs are all falling out of his body, he can do that more easily with that kind of healing in mind.

So yeah, score for the 'mundane' healing.

Theodoric
2010-04-17, 04:58 AM
The difference is that 4E warlords change the description and meaning of your wounds after the fact. Once you have decided that (e.g.) your character is suffering from certain gory effects and about to fall over, your warlord will tell you that no, you were wrong to describe your character that way. In acting, this is what's known as "blocking" people.
Well, it's by no means exclusive. There are tons of media works in which badly mauled people can still get up and fight their opponent after a short word of inspiration. You know, the whole 'unlock and maximise inner strengths' thing the martial power source is all about.

Tura
2010-04-17, 05:01 AM
Healing hit points with means other than magical or divine is absolutely nothing supernatural, because hit points have always been abstract.
Entirely valid point. In fact, the concept of hit points is exactly where D&D stops being a simulation game and becomes a wargame (from whence it came), and very rightly so. It would be impossible to play otherwise.

That said, I've never met a D&D player who didn't act wounded when his or her character would lose hit points in battle. "AARG! yells Tordek as the blade cuts through his abdomen." Does that make sense mechanically? None whatsoever. Why are they acting, then? For immersion, plain and simple. Because when I play a character in combat, I find it exciting to imagine injuries - as well as dodging and parrying.

It may be not exciting for everyone, and it certainly isn't important for everyone. But it is for me, and the way 4E handles healing fails to satisfy me. If it satisfies others, well good for them. I'm not saying that they're making a "mistake", because there isn't "right" and "wrong" here, there is simply preference.


Never make the mistake to believe otherwise.
...So no need to be so condescending, eh?

Kurald Galain
2010-04-17, 05:16 AM
Well, it's by no means exclusive. There are tons of media works in which badly mauled people can still get up and fight their opponent after a short word of inspiration. You know, the whole 'unlock and maximise inner strengths' thing the martial power source is all about.
Yes, I understand that's the trope they're aiming for, and it's a valid one, but this is one of those cases where the rules don't actually match up with what the fluff says.

For instance, inspiring someone to take a last stand makes sense. Inspiring someone to be no longer poisoned really doesn't, and inspiring someone to be at full health instantly doesn't either. This relies heavily on the MST3K mantra.

DeltaEmil
2010-04-17, 07:05 AM
For instance, inspiring someone to take a last stand makes sense. Inspiring someone to be no longer poisoned really doesn't, and inspiring someone to be at full health instantly doesn't either. This relies heavily on the MST3K mantra.What? Telling the other to hold on and to shake it off or to give your maximum is a standard in heroic stories. Pure willpower, determination, fighting spirit, heroic resolve, etc. Being cheered on does have an effect on how people perform.

It may be not exciting for everyone, and it certainly isn't important for everyone. But it is for me, and the way 4E handles healing fails to satisfy me. If it satisfies others, well good for them. I'm not saying that they're making a "mistake", because there isn't "right" and "wrong" here, there is simply preference.There is right and wrong concerning what hit points are, and saying that 'mundane' healing in D&D all edition is supernatural and shouldn't be possible is wrong, because the mistake is to handle hit points as being something else than written in every rulebook to date.

NEO|Phyte
2010-04-17, 08:57 AM
For instance, inspiring someone to take a last stand makes sense. Inspiring someone to be no longer poisoned really doesn't, and inspiring someone to be at full health instantly doesn't either. This relies heavily on the MST3K mantra.

They AREN'T no longer poisoned, they've just been inspired to the point of ignoring the mechanical penalties of being poisoned. Still rather out there, but hey.

For your other point, full HP != full health, as you're still down healing surges, unless they can give you those too.

Kaiyanwang
2010-04-17, 09:20 AM
They AREN'T no longer poisoned, they've just been inspired to the point of ignoring the mechanical penalties of being poisoned. Still rather out there, but hey.


When you have to think so much to fit your imagination of what's going on to the ruleset, it's IMHO a symptom that the rules are not so good. A matter of tastes, of course.

BTW, Say I want to create a campaing, low level (1-6) no magic, players only rogues, fighters, swashbucklers, and similar mundane PCs.

Gritty, and RPG heavy. You had to think twice before draw a sword, you keep wounds for days.

Helaing Surges completely devastate this concept. A party with a warlord would recover more or less like a party with a cleric.

4th edition is great - for ONE kind of game. Once you start to think out of stereotypes, and start to understand how many WORLDS you can built adding this and banning that, because of thir mechanical diversity, you can understand how 3.5 can be great.

3.5 Unearther Arcana taught me a lot about this.

Kesnit
2010-04-17, 09:35 AM
You're right about one thing though, in 4e, the rules don't get in the way of roleplaying. Except for skill challenges (in the DMG, negotiating with an NPC and haggling with a merchant are both examples of skill challenges).

Which they are in 3.5 as well. They aren't called skill challenges, but you still have to have the right attribute and skill.


After some checking, you're right, Kylarra. I retract those criticisms. I guess I'll have to settle for math that isn't totally meaningless (adding half your level is certainly easier, but if everything you fight is equal level to you and also adds half its level, those pluses don't mean squat,

The plusses didn't mean squat in 3.5 either. As full BAB leveled, so did AC. And classes without full BAB often had other ways to hit - or didn't need hits at all.


and combats that don't result in at-will spamming

This is one of my biggest pet peeves about 4e - people who think combat HAS to be "fire off all encounters and then switch to at-wills." If players are habitually falling back to just at-wills, maybe they should think about what they are doing. Hold onto encounter powers until later in the battle and use them tactically.


four different Evil Eye abilities, and mysterious monsters that, although they look just as strong as their compatriots, die in one hit.

This is one thing I like. You can't just gang up on the one that looks the most powerful and ignore everyone else. At first glance, you can't always tell who is the most powerful.

NEO|Phyte
2010-04-17, 09:36 AM
When you have to think so much to fit your imagination of what's going on to the ruleset, it's IMHO a symptom that the rules are not so good. A matter of tastes, of course.
You only have to think so much to fit it if you insist on Martial characters being bound by the mundaneness of reality. :smalltongue: I've got no problem with them doing less than possible things just because they're that awesome. They're awesome, after all. Low on the grit, certainly, but not everyone's after that. Exclusively, anyway. Who knows, maybe WotC will pull through with Dark Sun and manage to keep its lethalness and stuff while still being 4e. Slim odds, but miracles can happen if you bug enough high level clerics.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-17, 09:39 AM
When you have to think so much to fit your imagination of what's going on to the ruleset, it's IMHO a symptom that the rules are not so good.
Precisely.

It's not about binding martial characters to mundanity, either. It's about internal consistency (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicAIsMagicA), or in this case lack thereof.

Yora
2010-04-17, 09:47 AM
It doesn't even have to indicate that the system isn't so good. More like that it isn't so good for certain groups that expect certain things from their games.

Kaiyanwang
2010-04-17, 10:28 AM
You only have to think so much to fit it if you insist on Martial characters being bound by the mundaneness of reality. :smalltongue: I've got no problem with them doing less than possible things just because they're that awesome.

As said above, this should not undermine internal consistency. Morevoer, yeah, I think that mundane should trascend more at high levels, like I think and powerful magic should have drawbacks.

Did 4th edition managed it? No. As I always say, 4th is a remedy to 3.5 problems like beheading is for headache.


They're awesome, after all. Low on the grit, certainly, but not everyone's after that. Exclusively, anyway. Who knows, maybe WotC will pull through with Dark Sun and manage to keep its lethalness and stuff while still being 4e. Slim odds, but miracles can happen if you bug enough high level clerics.

Maybe you are right -who knows? But reading "races and classes", it seems to me that designers made the decision to remain stuck with a certain gamestyle (presented as the "right one").

BTW, the mere existence of "races and classes" really, really makes me concerns me about the whole "WOtC good at advertising" thing.

Tura
2010-04-17, 01:44 PM
There is right and wrong concerning what hit points are, and saying that 'mundane' healing in D&D all edition is supernatural and shouldn't be possible is wrong, because the mistake is to handle hit points as being something else than written in every rulebook to date.
What? First of all, you were the first to mention "mundane healing", I don't know where you got that. If it was something I said, sorry, but you misinterpreted it. I never said anything of the sort.

And second, I have to repeat myself here. No, there is no "right" and "wrong", there is only preference. You prefer to rationalize those abstract Hit Points (and Healing them) in a way that fits with 4E. I prefer to rationalize them in a way that simply isn't compatible with 4E. I'm not trying to convince you to switch to 3.5 or even that 3.5 does it "better", so why on earth are you trying to convince me that I'm wrong??

EDIT: Oh, and since we're talking RAW, here it is.

What Hit Points Represent
Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.
See? No dodging and parrying in the rules. Is it wrong for you to imagine it like that, regardless? No, it's interpretation. Imagination. Immersion. Whatever works.

Is it wrong for me to imagine injuries then? Of course not. It's interpretation, imagination, immersion AND the rules as written.

Coidzor
2010-04-17, 01:50 PM
Did 4th edition managed it? No. As I always say, 4th is a remedy to 3.5 problems like beheading is for headache.

Did the official sources make that claim, actually?

Because I just don't see any basis for it so far. It definitely seems to just be a completely different game.

Thajocoth
2010-04-17, 02:39 PM
4e took out a lot of the "interesting" abilities, like the ones which lets you unlock doors, or walk through the wall next to the door, or teleport out of danger, or send expendable copies of yourself to adventure for you, or kill people by scrying on them. Interesting for players I mean. :smallamused: Challenging high-level parties in 3.5 can be a nightmare.

Take a look at the rituals. These things are almost all there.

Anyone can throw sand. There's a chart in the DMG to handle anything the players decide to do that's not one of their powers. Powers are the easier things you can do... The things you've practiced.

HP represents, in part, will to fight. Second Wind is not you mending your wounds, but you gathering up your strength to keep on going. This is something that happens in the real world, and is no way supernatural. Ever get really tired, then suddenly you're wide awake? That, in real life, is called a "Second Wind". Most people have experienced this.

I have never played in a 4e game where everyone shot off everything interesting and had to resort to spamming at-wills. If this is happening, you need to complain to the party's Controller for not setting things up well enough, or to the party's Striker for not doing enough damage, letting the combats last far longer than they should. 4e is a game of party teamwork. If the party members set things up well, you chain off of one another to maximize one another's potential. "Alright, and this power also reduced his Will by 2 until the end of my next turn." "Alright, well, I'll use my Daily that targets Will then, thanks! And it also slides him over to the Fighter..." "Now that's he's near the Fighter, I'll move over and flank him..." In 3.5, it's too easy for one party member to overshadow another, making the game no longer fun for that person. In 4e, it's very difficult to overshadow one another. In each battle, it's likely that several players will do memorable things that really help the player's side.

A specific example: In one game, we encountered a bunch of rats. I, the Wizard, tried to calm them (Nature check). The party's Ranger helped. I managed to get them all within a 5x5 square area. The party's Warlord was a Dragonborn with Enlarged Dragon Breath. He could hit all the rats. He killed 23 of them, missing 2. We combined our abilities for maximum effect. This was the 3rd session I've ever played of any D&D... In the Keep on the Shadowfel (module).

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-17, 03:12 PM
I have never played in a 4e game where everyone shot off everything interesting and had to resort to spamming at-wills. If this is happening, you need to complain to the party's Controller for not setting things up well enough, or to the party's Striker for not doing enough damage, letting the combats last far longer than they should. 4e is a game of party teamwork. If the party members set things up well, you chain off of one another to maximize one another's potential. "Alright, and this power also reduced his Will by 2 until the end of my next turn." "Alright, well, I'll use my Daily that targets Will then, thanks! And it also slides him over to the Fighter..." "Now that's he's near the Fighter, I'll move over and flank him..." In 3.5, it's too easy for one party member to overshadow another, making the game no longer fun for that person. In 4e, it's very difficult to overshadow one another. In each battle, it's likely that several players will do memorable things that really help the player's side.

A specific example: In one game, we encountered a bunch of rats. I, the Wizard, tried to calm them (Nature check). The party's Ranger helped. I managed to get them all within a 5x5 square area. The party's Warlord was a Dragonborn with Enlarged Dragon Breath. He could hit all the rats. He killed 23 of them, missing 2. We combined our abilities for maximum effect. This was the 3rd session I've ever played of any D&D... In the Keep on the Shadowfel (module).

You do realize that is present in both 3.5 and 4th right? When I was reading this at first I thought you were talking about a 3.5 fight. From my experience, 4e has about the same amount of teamwork focus as 3.5.

Illithid Savant
2010-04-17, 03:20 PM
Precisely.

It's not about binding martial characters to mundanity, either. It's about internal consistency (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicAIsMagicA), or in this case lack thereof.

You're comparing inspiring people to forget their ailments with a game where you can have Silent Power Word, Kill and Still Burning Hands.

Thajocoth
2010-04-17, 04:16 PM
You do realize that is present in both 3.5 and 4th right? When I was reading this at first I thought you were talking about a 3.5 fight. From my experience, 4e has about the same amount of teamwork focus as 3.5.

From what I've seen, teamwork isn't really necessary in 3.5. It's useful if you don't have a powerful caster or something, otherwise there's no reason to keep half the party around. The entire "Tier" thing hints at this. If you have a top tier character and a bottom tier character, how much fun is that second character going to have while doing absolutely nothing and watching their party member do everything and get constant glory? Obviously you can work to prevent this problem, but it takes a LOT of work (and oftentimes houserules) to do so, whereas this problem is almost impossible to achieve in 4e.

The game I played of 3.5 had 3 Rogues, a Fighter (me), a Theurge (Druid/Wizard), and 2 DMPCs (Cleric & Wizard). Of all of us, only the DMPCs and one of the Rogues were really needed to do anything we ever did... The party was more in a constant state of IC bickering than anything else, and any suggestions that anyone co-operate with anyone else (with the exception of me, I like cooperation) were shot down. This did not prevent the party from being capable of completing whatever they wanted to complete at all. I did not enjoy it, but to each their own.

I don't want to have to think too much. I don't want to have to deal with houserules to have fun. I want balance. And I don't want my options to be limited to "Attack or Charge" So 4e is better for me.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-04-17, 05:41 PM
The 3.5 equivalent to these is the SRD (core books for free online), and stuff like heroforge, which can build characters from 1-60, with gestalt, custom classes, and other variant rules, and incorporates almost every book in 3.5.
And it's also free.

So the online support is actually pretty similar. 3.5 is actually better since you get all of that for free always, instead of a subscription for the rules.
Is Heroforge legal? :smallconfused:

Anyhoo, it's nice that WotC regularly updates its programs with both new books (and Dragon magazine articles) and with any and all Errata.

AslanCross
2010-04-17, 05:47 PM
Anyhoo, it's nice that WotC regularly updates its programs with both new books (and Dragon magazine articles) and with any and all Errata.

I will never let WOTC live down the train wreck that is the Tome of Battle Complete Mage errata. :smallfurious:

Oracle_Hunter
2010-04-17, 06:11 PM
I will never let WOTC live down the train wreck that is the Tome of Battle Complete Mage errata. :smallfurious:


:confused:

I mean, I'll admit I never bought more than Core 3.5, but I haven't even heard of "Complete Mage."

Anyhoo, the 4e Errata seems to be pretty good so far. A bit on the conservative side (and sometimes slow to come out) but I've seen no real complaints thus far.

Kaiyanwang
2010-04-17, 07:37 PM
Did the official sources make that claim, actually?

Because I just don't see any basis for it so far. It definitely seems to just be a completely different game.

If you advertise your product as the "zomg new rocking D&D" and sell me a book that compare all the time 3.5 with your new toy highlighting how well made is your work (as an example, read the cleric session, in the beginning)... I could come to that conclusion.

Moreover, is quite annoying showing the old product as flawed. It makes me concerned about how could the company be honest, seeing

1) Episodes like the one Aslan Cross cited for ToB: a mocking errata, correction for a book put in another one, never fixed

2) The new, shining version with online material I have to pay for.

This let me think that more fixes could have been made, but someone decided to make 3.5 rot to present is as flawed. Just a thought, of course.