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View Full Version : 4e merely trades Player optimization for Party optimization (LONG).



Antacid
2008-06-04, 05:59 PM
So, one of the big criticisms of 4e is that the classes are not varied, balance has removed any space for optimization, and that the options which are available arenít as cool as being able to Wild Shape into a dragon and fly above the clouds playing with faeries. Itís true, up to a point. Itís like that for a reason. But Iím just going to take a moment to explain why the ďthere isnít any space for optimizationĒ argument is a total fallacy.

In short. Batman is still here. But now heís the entire party.

Characters in 4e arenít designed to be able to do all the cool stuff by themselves, because D&D is a team game. It's by banding together, and by coordinating with your group that variations emerge, and really cool tactics are possible. This happened to a degree in 3.5, but mostly just because the DM agreed with an improvisation the players came up with - now it's actually modelled in the combat system. That makes the whole process of character generation a team effort too, and to give an example of why, I'll show how it applies to choosing a first-level wizard's spell powers.

Level 1 Wizards get two of these ďAt WillĒ powers (all +Int modifier to damage):


Cloud of daggers (1d6 force damage effect in single square, sustained for a turn)
Magic missile (2d4 range 20 force bolt)
Ray of frost (1d6 range 10; reduce movement to 2 for a turn)
Scorching burst (1d6 burst 1, 10 range)
Thunder Wave (1d6 blast 3; pushes your Wisdom modifier)

What a wizard picks out of these five has at least as much effect on the 'flavour' of the character as school specialization did in 3.5, if not a whole lot more. At low levels, unless your DM allows camping after every battle, youíre not going to be able to burn a Daily spell every encounter. Youíre going to be using At-Will powers a lot. And no matter how high a level you attain you never get any more At-Will powers or change the ones you started with, so these are your backups for the rest of the campaign.

Cloud of daggers is A TRAP. Its one-square area of effect makes the fact that it lasts until the end of your next turn useless unless you want to block a doorway or narrow corridor. You canít even sustain it, and entering the square doesnít do full damage, but damage equal to your Wisdom modifier, making it useful only for blocking minions.

At first glance, all the other options seem equally good, but how useful they really are depends on who else is in your party.

Magic missile seems better than Ray of Frost, doing more average average with twice the range. But if your party includes a Ranger with a longbow, he can fire two arrows a turn with a maximum range of 40, each of which packs a d10. Whatís the point in getting a spell that does the same thing as someone else, but half as often, slightly less effectively and with a shorter range? With Ray of Frost you can reduce the speed of that charging Elite Brute to 2. As long as you keep hitting, you and the Ranger can pelt it to death without it ever even getting closer than the spells 10 maximum range.

The way to approach making a character in 4e is to think of how youíre going to fit in with the group. If there are no other players with serious ranged attacks, absolutely get Magic Missile. Get Thunder Wave if you like following close behind the fighter and stopping him from being flanked, or Scorching Burst if you're not confident your team can handle hordes of minions.

Example 1: My party has a Rogue, so I took:


Chill Strike: Level 1 Encounter Power (range 10, 2d8 damage and dazes the monster).


If an enemy is Ďdazedí they grant combat advantage and can be sneak attacked, which is 2d6 damage of top of everything else. 2d8 + Int + [W] + Dex + 2d6 damage in one round? Thatís an average of 28 damage for two first-level characters, and to put that in perspective, Spectral Ram is a seventh-level spell that does only 16 average damage with the same Intelligence bonus.

If you look at the system like this, it casts serious doubt on the talk of how the multi-class feats are so much better than any of the others. Yes, I can get Sneak of Shadows and do Sneak Attack as an Encounter Power and 5 bonus skill points. But whatís the point when my partyís Rogue can Sneak Attack every round heís adjacent to a monster he has combat advantage over? I donít have to go anywhere near the monster then, or worry about hitting in melee with my mediocre Dex bonus. Why spend a feat doing that when you can get one which will add a damage bonus to a class of spells that you use all the time, and scales up when you reach the next tier?

Example 2: Wall of Fire is a ninth level Daily, that fills eight squares and does 3d6 + Int damage to any monster whoís caught in it when you cast the spell. It burns until the end of the encounter, so your partyís Fighter can get an At-Will ability called Tide of Iron to push an enemy back a square, straight back into the flames after they jump out Ė or you can use Thunder Wave to do the same thing.

Example 3: Mordenkainen's Sword and Flaming Sphere are both great daily spells, but cast together they practically amount to cheese. Both either automatically attack or deal automatic damage on adjacent monsters, with only a minor action needed to sustain them. That means that if you cast either of them directly behind monsters who are already in combat with your Fighter, the monster has either keep attacking the fighter and take damage every round (and in the case of Mordenkainen's sword, be flanked), use a move action and suffer an AoO, or try to shift around the fighter and get flanked by someone else in your party. Both Sword and Sphere can be cast on different parts of the battlefield next to groups of critters already engaged in combat, or within 2 squares of each other (to further limit where the enemy can escape to) and you can sustain both and still have a Standard Action left over to move or cast normal attack spells at the same time!

The core principle is that although bonuses donít stack, effects like immobilisation, combat advantage and the layout of the battlefield can all be played off one another by the party as a whole, so every power and party member works more effectively than they would alone. With 4e, optimization is incorporated into the social part of the game rather than being something you do alone with splatbooks. Variety over a whole adventure is created by variety in encounters and the terrain, instead of by seven different individual spells or feats that bypass any given problem with no risk of failure.

Thatís why the miniatures element of 4e is so crucial Ė the representation of the battlefield needs to show the relative positions of the players and monsters. Without that, WotC couldnít have designed a rules system that would have allowed the same cooperation, because whether or not an idea like ďI throw the Orc back into Daveís Wall Of FireĒ works mostly depends on what the DM decides on the spur of the moment, not the rules. And if the rules don't model cooperation, the closest alternative is to find a ridiculous combination of buffs and save-or-suck effects so your Clericzilla can do 100 points of damage in a single hit / your Wizard can stop time and end the encounter before it begins. Thatís the problem WotC have solved, and from my single experience playing I really think it works.

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-04, 06:17 PM
So, one of the big criticisms of 4e is that the classes are not varied, balance has removed any space for optimization, and that the options which are available arenít as cool as being able to Wild Shape into a dragon and fly above the clouds playing with faeries. Itís true, up to a point. Itís like that for a reason. But Iím just going to take a moment to explain why the ďthere isnít any space for optimizationĒ argument is a total fallacy.


No. That's not the major criticism. The major criticism is that it doesn't allow enough choice. Stop confusing the ability to choose to do interesting things with 'wanting to optimise'. Also, you're looking for the word 'fallacious', not fallacy.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-04, 06:19 PM
Yes. This is not a surprise.

So, what's the point of this? Unlike Batman combos, it's patently obvious after a read through that Thunderwave chains well with a fighter, particularly a Heavy Blade Opportunist.

Same with ray of frost.

You also missed the point of cloud of daggers. It kills minions, no questions asked, because that Wisdom damage you are so disdainful of is unavoidable. It's a combo spell, as you use Thunderwave to push enemies through and try to get many times the bonus.


In fact, a wizard isn't THAT good a teamplayer, now that we're at it. No, it's much better to, for example, combine a rogue and a ranger, or a rogue and fighter, as the ranger and fighter have attacks that can completely demolish enemies (Blade Cascade, Storm of destruction), and the rogue has ways to make them hit (A Brutal scoundrel using Imperiling strike).

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-04, 06:29 PM
In fact, a wizard isn't THAT good a teamplayer, now that we're at it. No, it's much better to, for example, combine a rogue and a ranger, or a rogue and fighter, as the ranger and fighter have attacks that can completely demolish enemies (Blade Cascade, Storm of destruction), and the rogue has ways to make them hit (A Brutal scoundrel using Imperiling strike).

http://images.encyclopediadramatica.com/images/thumb/f/f0/Awesomeweb20.png/120px-Awesomeweb20.png

Ya know what? I think I remember someone writing a guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18500) about how to be a good wizard in a team, and to help others ...

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-04, 06:31 PM
http://images.encyclopediadramatica.com/images/thumb/f/f0/Awesomeweb20.png/120px-Awesomeweb20.png

Ya know what? I think I remember someone writing a guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18500) about how to be a good wizard in a team, and to help others ...

Dem tings change, grasshopper. Now, you're not almighty. Now, a simple ranger can down beings that would rip you to shreds, without a sweat.

Yeah, things are wierd like that.

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-04, 06:33 PM
Chalk up one for 3.5 over 4.0, then.

Antacid
2008-06-04, 06:42 PM
No. That's not the major criticism. The major criticism is that it doesn't allow enough choice.

The choices are just defined differently, IMHO. They're about different combinations of tactics in combat. What isn't possible to do in combat is covered pretty well by having to choose from different combinations of rituals and magical items. And what isn't covered by that is covered by the "we only have 3 books so far" defence.

Me, I used to play Basic Set D&D. A wizard only got one spell at first level. THAT'S legitimate grounds to complain about lack of choice. I think a lot of the choice complaints are because people are used to rolling up characters at high level with a shelf of splatbooks and having 100s of things to choose from immediately. 4e seems to be built around characters growing into their roles.



You also missed the point of cloud of daggers. It kills minions, no questions asked, because that Wisdom damage you are so disdainful of is unavoidable. It's a combo spell, as you use Thunderwave to push enemies through and try to get many times the bonus.

Thunderwave and Scorching Blast have the same area of effect, but SB has a range of 10. You still have to hit a monster with Thunderwave to get the push effect, which kills a minion anyway, and you also give the DM a turn to move the monsters away from the affected square. Why not just take SB and cast it twice? Then you don't use up both At-Will slots on a single combo.

Moff Chumley
2008-06-04, 06:44 PM
The question that requires serious contemplation is: is this bad?

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-04, 06:44 PM
The choices are just defined differently, IMHO. They're about different combinations of tactics in combat. What isn't possible to do in combat is covered pretty well by having to choose from different combinations of rituals and magical items. And what isn't covered by that is covered by the "it's just the core rulebooks" defense.

Me, I used to play Basic Set D&D. A wizard only got one spell at first level. THAT'S legitimate grounds to complain about lack of choice.

It's just the core rulebooks. (http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/spells.htm)

It's just the core rulebooks. (http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/skills.htm)

It's just the core rulebooks. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goodsAndServices.htm)

Also, just because in the past one had little choice, does not mean that it's a good idea for them to reduce it now.

Saph
2008-06-04, 06:56 PM
Some good points here, but you're a bit off in others.


Characters in 4e arenít designed to be able to do all the cool stuff by themselves, because D&D is a team game. It's by banding together, and by coordinating with your group that variations emerge, and really cool tactics are possible.

Well, that's neat and all, but I'd like to be able to do cool stuff on my own too, if it's not too much trouble. :P


If you look at the system like this, it casts serious doubt on the talk of how the multi-class feats are so much better than any of the others. Yes, I can get Sneak of Shadows and do Sneak Attack as an Encounter Power and 5 bonus skill points. But whatís the point when my partyís Rogue can Sneak Attack every round heís adjacent to a monster he has combat advantage over?

Why sneak attack a monster once when you can sneak attack it twice? :P

That's the short answer. The long one is that you have to compare multiclass feats against non-multiclass feats, and most non-multiclass feats are about half as good as the multiclass ones.

For an example, I'll look at my 4e 1st-level ranger (which I was just playing this evening). At level 2 he'll get another feat. Now, I could take Lethal Hunter, which adds +1 average damage to my Hunter's Quarry class feature, or I could take Sneak of Shadows.

Sneak of Shadows adds +7 average damage on one attack per encounter against something you have combat advantage against. Assuming you can get CA once per encounter (which should be doable) that's probably going to mean slightly more damage dealt in the long run - which, as a striker, is your job. But Sneak of Shadows also gives you the Thievery skill, which makes you just as good as a Rogue in dealing with traps and locks - and getting another skill any other way costs you a feat, via Skill Training.

So Sneak of Shadows is two feats rolled into one. Assuming you'll get even moderate use out of both of them, the only reason not to take it is because you've got your eye on a better multiclass feat to snag instead.

- Saph

Antacid
2008-06-04, 07:04 PM
It's just the core rulebooks. (http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/spells.htm)

It's just the core rulebooks. (http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/skills.htm)

It's just the core rulebooks. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goodsAndServices.htm)

Also, just because in the past one had little choice, does not mean that it's a good idea for them to reduce it now.

You know very well that two thirds of those Skills, Feats and Spells would never be used by someone who understands how the game works. Lots of rubbish options and broken gameplay < a smaller number of interesting options and a layered combat system that rewards cooperation.

But you've obviously missed my point that the options come not from what each individual player can pick (woooo hooge listz of spellxs) but from what everyone in the party can pick and how the choices influence how the team works.

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-04, 07:10 PM
http://images.encyclopediadramatica.com/images/thumb/f/f0/Awesomeweb20.png/120px-Awesomeweb20.png

Ya know what? I think I remember someone writing a guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18500) about how to be a good wizard in a team, and to help others ...


Hate to wander off topic but that smiley looks familiar. Did you get it from ZM?

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-04, 07:13 PM
So, then, say that I want to mix up some alchemical compounds.

Will I hit them with my daily power, for 3d6 damage?

Will I use a meteor storm on the ingredients?

Ah no, that's not fair. I should really be using a utility power on them.

Like ... displacement. Right.

What I'm saying is, they've sacrificed vast swathes of interesting options for a slightly dubious balance.


Hate to wander off topic but that smiley looks familiar. Did you get it from ZM?

It's :awesome:.

Prophaniti
2008-06-04, 07:17 PM
Seems to me like they've replaced the vast torrent of 3.x options with fetters for everyone, so that no one can cheese the place up and make everyone else bored/miserable. I truly feel sorry for the group that needs these limitations to stop game abuse, though I know it happens.

Hopefully you'll find a group of decent, polite people one day, and no longer need these RAW limitations to stop powergaming from ruining the day.

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 07:25 PM
That's the short answer. The long one is that you have to compare multiclass feats against non-multiclass feats, and most non-multiclass feats are about half as good as the multiclass ones.

For an example, I'll look at my 4e 1st-level ranger (which I was just playing this evening). At level 2 he'll get another feat. Now, I could take Lethal Hunter, which adds +1 average damage to my Hunter's Quarry class feature, or I could take Sneak of Shadows.

Sneak of Shadows adds +7 average damage on one attack per encounter against something you have combat advantage against. Assuming you can get CA once per encounter (which should be doable) that's probably going to mean slightly more damage dealt in the long run - which, as a striker, is your job. But Sneak of Shadows also gives you the Thievery skill, which makes you just as good as a Rogue in dealing with traps and locks - and getting another skill any other way costs you a feat, via Skill Training.

So Sneak of Shadows is two feats rolled into one. Assuming you'll get even moderate use out of both of them, the only reason not to take it is because you've got your eye on a better multiclass feat to snag instead.

- Saph

While what you state here is technically true, what you left out is that Lethal Hunter is one of the least powerful feats in the PHB. Of course any feat that you compare to one of the weakest feats is going to look good.

I think that one of the better feats to compare any feat to is Toughness. It is, overall, a useful, balanced, well-designed feat in 4e. That 5 HP that you get scales in the Paragon and Epic tiers; also, because of how Healing Surges work, the feat adds 1.25 on average to your Healing Surge value as well.

So, which is better for the TWF Ranger - getting SA 1/encounter and Thievery, or an extra 5 HP and +1 (or 2) to Healing Surges?

It could go either way.

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-04, 07:27 PM
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Wizards of the Coast dream.

I have a dream that one day these forums will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all classes and class roles are created equal in their stature."

I have a dream that one day on the Gaming (d20 and General RPG) sub-board, the sons of psions and the sons of warblades will be able to sit down together at the table of gaming.

I have a dream that one day even the books of 4e, a release sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of imbalance, will be transformed into an oasis of choice and fun for all.

I have a dream that my four little class roles will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their mechanical functions but by their skill and creativity in roleplaying.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down at Gleemax, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Enworld little divine casters and arcane casters will be able to join hands with little skill monkeys and fightan types as sisters and brothers.

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the boards with.

Apologies to a great man for butchering a great speech.

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 07:29 PM
I have a dream that one day even the books of 4e, sweltering with the heat of imbalance, will be transformed into an oasis of choice and fun for all.

Imbalance? I think you meant balance.

Those days are ahead... just have to wait for the number of splatbooks to reach critical mass. :smallsmile:

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-04, 07:29 PM
http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w215/DirkGently12/1173034116967.jpg


Says it all, IS.

Saph
2008-06-04, 07:30 PM
While what you state here is technically true, what you left out is that Lethal Hunter is one of the least powerful feats in the PHB. Of course any feat that you compare to one of the weakest feats is going to look good.

It's better than the other Hunter feats. And there are lots of feats that add +1 average damage, so if you think LH is weak, the same applies to Weapon Focus, Raging Storm, Two-Weapon Fighting . . .


I think that one of the better feats to compare any feat to is Toughness. It is, overall, a useful, balanced, well-designed feat in 4e. That 5 HP that you get scales in the Paragon and Epic tiers; also, because of how Healing Surges work, the feat adds 1.25 on average to your Healing Surge value as well.

So, which is better for the TWF Ranger - getting SA 1/encounter and Thievery, or an extra 5 HP and +1 (or 2) to Healing Surges?

Your argument is slightly hampered by the fact that TWF Rangers get Toughness as a bonus feat. :P

- Saph

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-04, 07:33 PM
Well, Solo has his Optimisationale, so can we not have a dream of a new era of peace and harmony?

Also, Jaxgaret - be-pimp car'd lazer clerics, cascade o'bladers. (http://www.big-metto.net/RP_Wiki/index.php?title=Kenshiro_Cascadero_%22Rattata%22_O rcuslayer%2C_Level_30) 'nuff said.

Reel On, Love
2008-06-04, 07:41 PM
Lethal Hunter? Is that the one that gives a minor bonus when you crit? Hell, no, I'm not defending that.

Scribe, come on, I expect better. The worst 4E has is Cascade of Blades abuse and Blood Pulse + Harrowstorm. Considering that the worst 3E has is infinite power at level 1, and the worst 3E core has is [I]infinite Wishes[I] as soon as your party scrapes 9,000 GP together, I'd say that's an enormous step up.

4E's got a couple of bugs. They are really, really easy to fix. future bugs will be easy to fix, too, because of the way powers work. Compare that with the 3E core spell list, which has like a dozen totally broken things, and fifty more seriously overpowered ones.

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-04, 07:46 PM
I'd take 3.5's flawed grandeur over 4e's insipid mediocrity any day, RoL.

Saph
2008-06-04, 07:48 PM
Lethal Hunter? Is that the one that gives a minor bonus when you crit? Hell, no, I'm not defending that.

No, that's Agile Hunter, which is melee, and Precise Hunter, which is ranged. Lethal Hunter makes your Hunter's Quarry d8 instead of d6.

Honestly, those names are totally different, how could you possibly get them mixed up? :P

- Saph

Prophaniti
2008-06-04, 07:53 PM
Personal nitpick: 3E does not have 'infinite wishes' no matter how much gold the party scrapes together because

Wish Spells Do Not Work That Way!

Seriously, there's a very specific list of what it can do, anything beyond that is entirely, by RAW, up to the DM. /rant


I'd take 3.5's flawed grandeur over 4e's insipid mediocrity any dayQFT. Mind if I sig that?

Reel On, Love
2008-06-04, 07:54 PM
I'd take 3.5's flawed grandeur over 4e's insipid mediocrity any day, RoL.

That's pretty bloody different from saying that 4E is seriously imbalanced.

You seem to be having fun with the whole Lazer Cleric thing. Rogues are frankly just plain awesome. Warlocks are majorly stylish. Fighters are badass. I think 4E has some grandeur of its own.

Meanwhile, if I want to run 3E, I have to come up with a list of house rules as long as my leg, and it'll still be difficult to have a balanced party.

If I'm running a social-heavy game and I want the players to have lots of magic that helps them with that, I'll run 3.5. I've got a fun idea for a group of con artists--a Beguiler, a Factotum, an Unseen Seer, etc having escapades. But for most things I'd want to use D&D for, I'd rather have 4th.

Antacid
2008-06-04, 07:54 PM
Some good points here, but you're a bit off in others.
Well, that's neat and all, but I'd like to be able to do cool stuff on my own too, if it's not too much trouble. :P

Well, see my dribbling over Mordenkainen's sword + Flaming Sphere combo. Being able to attack three times per round is cool, I think :smallbiggrin:.

But cool is subjective. I've only played the game once, and never actually done that combo. For coolness, you could always try to find a group willing to start out with Epic-Tier characters.



Why sneak attack a monster once when you can sneak attack it twice? :P

<snip argument>

Re. your ranger: Sneak Of Shadows, both in it's prerequisites and the ability it depends on for its effects, happens to work great with a Ranger, because Rogues and Rangers are both Strikers that use Dex as a primary ability score.

If my character took the Warlock MC feat I'd get Eldritch blast which does d10 damage, but because that uses Con or Cha as a damage bonus it's actually worse than a 20 Int magic missile. And then there's the likes of Initiate of the Faith (heal 1d6 per day and spend a heal surge that you could have spent using second wind!) or Student of Battle (heals 1d6 until it starts to scale up) which are difficult to imagine people taking unless their party has no Leader.

So, yes, for your character it's the best option. My attitude to Multi-class feats might be because the Wizard is currently the only Controller, and there's no MC feat that complements his existing abilities. Maybe we're both generalising: you've found a really good class / MC feat combination, but that doesn't mean MC feats are better than other feats in general.

Reel On, Love
2008-06-04, 08:00 PM
No, that's Agile Hunter, which is melee, and Precise Hunter, which is ranged. Lethal Hunter makes your Hunter's Quarry d8 instead of d6.

Honestly, those names are totally different, how could you possibly get them mixed up? :P

- Saph
Hunter's Quarry being d8 instead of d6 is OK. It's on par with Two-Weapon Fighting, Astral Fire, etc.



Personal nitpick: 3E does not have 'infinite wishes' no matter how much gold the party scrapes together because
Wish Spells Do Not Work That Way![/SIZE]

Seriously, there's a very specific list of what it can do, anything beyond that is entirely, by RAW, up to the DM. /rant

QFT. Mind if I sig that?
I'm going to lay this out simply instead of being snarky, here, as difficult as you're making it. Please try to assume I know what I'm talking about. I know 3E very well.

Creating a magic item--any magic item--is on the list of very specific things Wish can do. There is NO price cap (that was 3.0). This is because twice the normal XP cost of creating the item is added to the XP cost of Wish.

When you use a Spell-Like Ability, you do not pay its XP cost (unless explicitly stated, like by the Archmage ability).

An Efreeti you Gate in can grant you Wishes as an SLA. It pays no price for doing so. Therefore, it can Wish up a Ring of Infinite Wishes, which casts Wish at will. If you have to use existing items, you get three Rings of Three Wishes, and use the last Wish to call in another Efreeti.

A Candle of Invocation lets you use Gate and costs 9,000 gp.

Get it?

Prophaniti
2008-06-04, 08:17 PM
Possible you're right RoL, I just have issues with all the stupid crap people claim they can do with Wish, most of which is complete garbage. I'll check back with you when I have a chance to go over the relevant spells again, at work right now. Can't even access the SRD from here, sadly (but I can access the message boards... quirky world, ain't it?).

Irreverent Fool
2008-06-04, 08:17 PM
I have a dream...

*clap clap clap*

Well played, sir! Well played!

Reel On, Love
2008-06-04, 08:20 PM
Possible you're right RoL, I just have issues with all the stupid crap people claim they can do with Wish, most of which is complete garbage. I'll check back with you when I have a chance to go over the relevant spells again, at work right now. Can't even access the SRD from here, sadly (but I can access the message boards... quirky world, ain't it?).

Look, just freaking trust me. This isn't some new invention, it's been public knowledge for many years.

From the SRD:

"A wish can produce any one of the following effects.
...
# Create a nonmagical item of up to 25,000 gp in value.
# Create a magic item, or add to the powers of an existing magic item. (Note the lack of GP limit.)
...
XP Cost

The minimum XP cost for casting wish is 5,000 XP. When a wish duplicates a spell that has an XP cost, you must pay 5,000 XP or that cost, whichever is more. When a wish creates or improves a magic item, you must pay twice the normal XP cost for crafting or improving the item, plus an additional 5,000 XP."

When you cast Wish as an SLA, you don't pay the XP cost, no matter how high it is.

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 08:20 PM
It's better than the other Hunter feats. And there are lots of feats that add +1 average damage, so if you think LH is weak, the same applies to Weapon Focus, Raging Storm, Two-Weapon Fighting . . .

All of the "you do +1 damage" feats are underpowered, but Lethal Hunter is by far the worst, since, by definition, it can only add the +1 damage once per round. Weapon Focus can apply on every one of the Ranger's damage rolls, and the energy-type ones can be used with AoEs to maximize their damage output.

In other words, Weapon Focus is somewhat weak itself, and Lethal Hunter is a fair bit worse than WF.


Your argument is slightly hampered by the fact that TWF Rangers get Toughness as a bonus feat. :P

- Saph

That completely slipped my mind :smallsmile:

Though I am seriously contemplating allowing Toughness as one of the feats that can be taken multiple times, like in 3e. Do you see any balance problems with allowing that?

SamTheCleric
2008-06-04, 08:22 PM
All of the "you do +1 damage" feats are underpowered, but Lethal Hunter is by far the worst, since, by definition, it can only add the +1 damage once per round. Weapon Focus can apply on every one of the Ranger's damage rolls, and the energy-type ones can be used with AoEs to maximize their damage output.

In other words, Weapon Focus is weak, and Lethal Hunter is even worse than it is.



That completely slipped my mind :smallsmile:

Though I am seriously contemplating allowing Toughness as one of the feats that can be taken multiple times, like in 3e. Do you see any balance problems with allowing that?

Take it 18 times... and that means 270 hp at the highest level. That seems like it'd be way too much, considering how the damage has been lowered overall.

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 08:25 PM
Take it 18 times... and that means 270 hp at the highest level. That seems like it'd be way too much, considering how the damage has been lowered overall.

Yeah, could be. Maybe it is best as a one-off feat.

Perhaps I could introduce a homebrew reduced version of the feat, that is stackable: +2 or +3 to HP per tier?

Or I could make it add a bit of HP and another benefit.

Saph
2008-06-04, 08:29 PM
All of the "you do +1 damage" feats are underpowered, but Lethal Hunter is by far the worst, since, by definition, it can only add the +1 damage once per round. Weapon Focus can apply on every one of the Ranger's damage rolls, and the energy-type ones can be used with AoEs to maximize their damage output.

In other words, Weapon Focus is somewhat weak itself, and Lethal Hunter is a fair bit worse than WF.

Could be. At the moment, the non-multiclass feats that look best to me are the general ones that apply to all classes, like Toughness, Durable, Improved Initiative, and Quick Draw, and the +2 damage racial feats.

- Saph

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 08:30 PM
Could be. At the moment, the non-multiclass feats that look best to me are the general ones that apply to all classes, like Toughness, Durable, Improved Initiative, and Quick Draw, and the +2 damage racial feats.

- Saph

You left out the Human racials. +1 to all saves is pretty good, and getting an extra save roll on every condition when you use an AP is also quite good.

The Wizard's Spell Focus is likewise awesome. The requirement is annoying, though. Actually, there are a fair number of Paragon feats that are very good: Twofold Curse, Solid Sound, Secret Stride, Running Shot, Lasting Frost, Heavy Blade Opportunity, Improved Second Wind, Combat Anticipation, Dwarven Durability, Arcane Reach.

There are others I missed as well.

fleet
2008-06-05, 01:38 PM
I just got ahold of 4E so my opinion might be a tad off, but so far from what i've seen all i have to say is
IF I WANTED TO PLAY WoW I'D PLAY WoW

Seriously, can anyone here tell me why non-combat magic is so utterly ruined? The ritual system, is moronic. Seriously, it takes ten minutes for a wizard to open a door with out blowing it to small pieces? ((see knock ritual))

Raise dead is now easier to cast than cure disease?
((500 gold ritual with no fail probability, and costs 1 stat, vrs 250 gold ritual that can kill if cleric fails check))

I can accept that all of the oracle and scrying spells are high level and involved rituals, but as far as i can tell half of the detect spells are gone, and apparently detect lies is no longer a simple standard action, it's a ritual that takes ten minutes to prep before going in for a five minute conversation.


Finally the craft and profession skills seem to have shriveled up and died along with the druid, Oh, and I almost forgot the new magic items list reminds me of something from runescape.

So, overall, what do my pc's do between combats? Look for more fights?

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-05, 01:47 PM
I just got ahold of 4E so my opinion might be a tad off, but so far from what i've seen all i have to say is
IF I WANTED TO PLAY WoW I'D PLAY WoW

Seriously, can anyone here tell me why non-combat magic is so utterly ruined? The ritual system, is moronic. Seriously, it takes ten minutes for a wizard to open a door with out blowing it to small pieces? ((see knock ritual))

Raise dead is now easier to cast than cure disease?
((500 gold ritual with no fail probability, and costs 1 stat, vrs 250 gold ritual that can kill if cleric fails check))

I can accept that all of the oracle and scrying spells are high level and involved rituals, but as far as i can tell half of the detect spells are gone, and apparently detect lies is no longer a simple standard action, it's a ritual that takes ten minutes to prep before going in for a five minute conversation.


Finally the craft and profession skills seem to have shriveled up and died along with the druid, Oh, and I almost forgot the new magic items list reminds me of something from runescape.

So, overall, what do my pc's do between combats? Look for more fights?

...Oh, I dunno...Maybe roleplay?

And yes, knock takes 10 minutes. Why d'you think you have Rogues?

And detect lies was incredibly strong. It was a plot killer. If you like plot killers, fine, but I prefer that the Epic liar CAN lie and remain undetected. And who uses craft and profession, aside of RP purposes?


Seriously, if this was a trolling attempt, it was poorly done. If it wasn't one, it shows you didn't look up WHY the changes happened.

Indon
2008-06-05, 02:03 PM
The worst 4E has is Cascade of Blades abuse and Blood Pulse + Harrowstorm.

So far. Though, arguably, the game is simple enough that it might not take much longer before it's been optimized to perfection.


...Oh, I dunno...Maybe roleplay?

I roleplayed frequently when I played World of Warcraft. The game's really not that bad for RP, despite the stigma that 90% of the playerbase gives it in that regard.

That said, yeah, the system is heavily reminiscent of WoW and other group-over-solo-dynamic games. As such, groups probably are pretty interesting to engage in, and optimizable if everyone decides to all go in with such a group.

But individual characters in WoW were pretty boring, and once everyone established the awesome little optimization-machine where everyone has their role and such, it would often become just that - a machine, where each of the players is just a cog or a widget, turning a gear or something to make everything work.

Of course, that's not what it feels like at first. At first, it's novel, and absolutely awesome. But the system is easy for an individual to grasp and once you're at the top of the learning curve, there's nowhere to go but naptime. Ultimately, that's why I stopped playing World of Warcraft - the game itself I no longer found interesting.

Yakk
2008-06-05, 02:29 PM
Cloud of Daggers is indeed a trap. It can be used to change the topology of the battlefield.

It does do 3.5+Int+Wis to your target, and Wis on a miss.

Miss damage is worth about as much as hit damage (really -- you should be missing as often as you hit), totalling (3.5+Int+2*Wis)/2 average damage per action.

The Wis damage is at least one -- so it does at least (5.5+Int)/2 damage per action (50-50 hit chance). If you have 16 Wisdom, you are doing (9.5+Int)/2 damage per action.

Compared to the ranger double-arrow, which with a 50-50 hit chance does 8.125 average damage (counting Hunter's Quarry), you'll note that you are outdamaging the Ranger...

Oh, and you are targetting Reflex, which is nice.

On the other hand, the Ranger who burns feats for +damage and has a +1+level/5 bow will be able to apply these bonuses to each shot...

You can also use Cloud of Daggers to cause serious damage against tiny creatures pushed into the same square.


But if your party includes a Ranger with a longbow, he can fire two arrows a turn with a maximum range of 40, each of which packs a d10.

First, you do 2d4+Int Bonus against Reflex. The Ranger does 2d10 against AC.

Attacking Reflex is pretty damn good. AC tends to be higher -- 3 to 5 points higher -- than Reflex is.

With 20 int, you are doing 10 damage per attack, and the Ranger is doing 11.

Now, the Ranger can Hunter's Quarry the target (if they are the closest hostile to the Ranger, and the Ranger isn't keeping another target locked) to boost the average damage up.


Whatís the point in getting a spell that does the same thing as someone else, but half as often, slightly less effectively and with a shorter range?

Because damage adds up? :-) And some Warlord powers grant free Basic Ranged attacks!

Ray of Frost is a good ability, I'll admit. Reducing speed to 2 means that the target is easy to kite, flee from, or chase down the like.


Yes, I can get Sneak of Shadows and do Sneak Attack as an Encounter Power and 5 bonus skill points. But whatís the point when my partyís Rogue can Sneak Attack every round heís adjacent to a monster he has combat advantage over?

Because player A doing damage doesn't make player B doing damage less important?

If you are dazing opponents with your spells on round 1, being able to follow up with an extra 2d6 damage on round 2 seems like a pretty good deal.

Similarly, both Scorching Burst and Thunderweave can be used to deal damage to large number of opponents. Thunderweave has bonus crowd control -- but as noted, you have to be at point-blank range. There are abilities that let you locate close blasts up to 2 squares away from you, however. :)

Note that Icy Terrain also knocks creatures prone (which grants combat advantage, and I think OA when they stand up)

Note:

If an enemy is Ďdazedí they grant combat advantage and can be sneak attacked, which is 2d6 damage of top of everything else. 2d8 + Int + [W] + Dex + 2d6 damage in one round? Thatís an average of 28 damage for two first-level characters, and to put that in perspective, Spectral Ram is a seventh-level spell that does only 16 average damage with the same Intelligence bonus.

You are only responsible for the sneak attack damage, and the +2 chance to hit, of the Rogues damage. The other damage could have happened without you.

I presume you'll use it when the Rogue otherwise couldn't have gotten Combat Advantage. :)

Second, Spectral Ram ... pushes the target and knocks it prone. :p That also allows Combat Advantage.


If my character took the Warlock MC feat I'd get Eldritch blast which does d10 damage, but because that uses Con or Cha as a damage bonus it's actually worse than a 20 Int magic missile.

No, that's the table entry. You actually get the pact-based one.


And then there's the likes of Initiate of the Faith (heal 1d6 per day and spend a heal surge that you could have spent using second wind!)

Second Wind is once per encounter standard action. Initiate of the Faith is a minor action that works not just on you, but on any friendly nearby.

Leaders don't have unlimited means to activate healing surges in other players.

MC Ranger is a no-brainer for any class if you aren't doing another class. Pick the nearest target, do +1d6 damage every time you damage them for the rest of the encounter as a minor action -- sweetness, nearly regardless of class.

You do need 13 dex/str. But you'll get that eventually!

Roderick_BR
2008-06-05, 02:42 PM
Seems to me like they've replaced the vast torrent of 3.x options with fetters for everyone, so that no one can cheese the place up and make everyone else bored/miserable. I truly feel sorry for the group that needs these limitations to stop game abuse, though I know it happens.

Hopefully you'll find a group of decent, polite people one day, and no longer need these RAW limitations to stop powergaming from ruining the day.

The problem was not so much the abuse. A simple "no" from the DM would be enough. What bothers is the fact that the options *are* there. Others day someone asked why bother picking more than 5 levels of wizard instead of taking a PrC to get all the spells, PLUS a lot of new stuff. It's like a light socket. You know that sticking your finger in there is bad, but nothing is keeping you from doing it, specially if you are a kid. What WotC did was to put one of those socket protections, to force players to not do bad choices (and by bad I mean try to hog everyone's spotlight).

JaxGaret
2008-06-06, 12:54 AM
Of course, that's not what it feels like at first. At first, it's novel, and absolutely awesome. But the system is easy for an individual to grasp and once you're at the top of the learning curve, there's nowhere to go but naptime. Ultimately, that's why I stopped playing World of Warcraft - the game itself I no longer found interesting.

You're leaving out two elements in the difference between 4e and WoW.

1) Roleplaying itself, which is really much harder to do in a real-time game like WoW.

2) Splatbooks. WoW can't churn out new materials and new options month after month. This obviously makes a big difference.

Variety is the spice of life, after all.


@Yakk: Nice Wizard love there :smallsmile: They certainly do live up to the Controller title, don't they?


MC Ranger is a no-brainer for any class if you aren't doing another class. Pick the nearest target, do +1d6 damage every time you damage them for the rest of the encounter as a minor action -- sweetness, nearly regardless of class.

You do need 13 dex/str. But you'll get that eventually!

Like I've said a few time before, I find the multiclass feats to be pretty well balanced, and elegantly designed.

Getting +1d6 against a single enemy each round you damage them (it's only once per round, remember) is nice for a boss fight, yes. But in most fights, it's only going to work a paltry number of times, and something like Weapon Focus might even outperform it. The +2 damage feats are certainly better.

ArmorArmadillo
2008-06-06, 01:24 AM
Finally the craft and profession skills seem to have shriveled up and died along with the druid, Oh, and I almost forgot the new magic items list reminds me of something from runescape.

Um....spit take?

Craft and Profession were horribly designed in 3.5, both were totally useless unless an arbitrary extra use was assigned (like using Profession (Sailor) to load a cannon)
Crafting anything was absolutely unpractical, and became irrelevant after about level 3.

The only real point of either skill was to qualify for PrCs, or as Roleplaying background...which is stupid as you shouldn't have to sacrifice your scarce skillpoints just to establish your character. (And yes, I realize that roleplaying is important, but if you want your character to be a cook, you should just be able say so, and not have to waste skill points)



As for the issue of choice...there was not choice for all classes in 3.5. There was choice for spellcasters and psionic clases, and eventually that choice was spread to melee classes through an increasing number of feats and ToB.
Just in core, your options were pretty much nothing...some feats like Power Attack and Combat Expertise were useful, most were just kind of empty space.


People are complaining about a lack of options when you have nothing but the 4e core books, but the 3.5 SRD only gave options to casters, and a lot of options to druids.


P.S. The Guide to Being Batman solidifies what's so wrong with the 3.5 Wizard...he filled way to many roles in the group. Teamwork is about having everyone need everyone else, not about everyone needing the wizard.

Jarlax
2008-06-06, 01:42 AM
That said, yeah, the system is heavily reminiscent of WoW and other group-over-solo-dynamic games. As such, groups probably are pretty interesting to engage in, and optimizable if everyone decides to all go in with such a group.

are you in fact stating that 4e is ripping off MMOs because its mechanics are based on working as a group? because D&D did it first, i can assure you.


But individual characters in WoW were pretty boring, and once everyone established the awesome little optimization-machine where everyone has their role and such, it would often become just that - a machine, where each of the players is just a cog or a widget, turning a gear or something to make everything work.

this is only the case in end game raiding where you are one of 4 people all performing the same role within a group of 10-40 people, it lacks the social element core to D&D.

i have always found 5man dungeons in WOW with my friends to be far more reminiscent of playing D&D in real time (something we have done back in the days of persistant NWN servers). headsets on and grouped together we chat and banter in what would equate to table talk in D&D. boss time is serious time and then its back to screwing around and calling each other out when we make mistakes.

JanusKain
2008-06-06, 02:22 AM
Craft and Profession were horribly designed in 3.5, both were totally useless unless an arbitrary extra use was assigned (like using Profession (Sailor) to load a cannon)
Crafting anything was absolutely unpractical, and became irrelevant after about level 3.

The only real point of either skill was to qualify for PrCs, or as Roleplaying background...which is stupid as you shouldn't have to sacrifice your scarce skillpoints just to establish your character. (And yes, I realize that roleplaying is important, but if you want your character to be a cook, you should just be able say so, and not have to waste skill points)


This pretty much sums up my reasons for liking 4th (Yes, I have read the books). I always hated the idea that any of my players would have to sacrifice combat effectiveness to play the characters they want to. If someone writes up a background saying they are a cook, then if for some reason there is ever a cook off: I just say they have training in it.

I should also like to say that I enjoy the idea of saves being related to more than one skill. I've always had a player that enjoys playing a smart, charasmatic fighter. Now he has a chance to play that character without the game rules telling him he's going to suck in combat. Kinda nice.

TempusCCK
2008-06-06, 02:48 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again.

D&D was never meant to be played in a vaccuum.

Sure, by RAW in 3.5 you can have infinite wishes at level 1, but the idea is that there is a DM there going "No, stop being a jerk." Not going "Well, if it's in the rules I'll let you be a giant A-hole!"

Seriously, in real play, RAW is as good as U.S Confederate currency, sure it's pretty nifty, and it's probably worth something in some fashion, but in and of itself it's obsolete.

JaxGaret
2008-06-06, 03:36 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again.

D&D was never meant to be played in a vaccuum.

Sure, by RAW in 3.5 you can have infinite wishes at level 1, but the idea is that there is a DM there going "No, stop being a jerk." Not going "Well, if it's in the rules I'll let you be a giant A-hole!"

Seriously, in real play, RAW is as good as U.S Confederate currency, sure it's pretty nifty, and it's probably worth something in some fashion, but in and of itself it's obsolete.

Yes, but where is the line? And who decides where the line is?

The Vancian casters can, on any given day, decide "you know what? Screw this, I am going to lay waste to mine enemies today" and simply alter their spell list to exponentially increase their power level.

Now, since you say that everyone will agree not to do that, exactly how much power should a caster prepare? 50%? 25%? What if they drop down to 25%, and then bemoan the fact that they didn't have their "good spells" that day, because they were trying to not make the Fighter look bad?

Or what if they let their friends die, all in the name of trying to be balanced? It's tough to roleplay a character who intentionally gimps themselves.

Balancing the classes avoids these and other problems.

Learnedguy
2008-06-06, 04:08 AM
Yes, but where is the line? And who decides where the line is?

Where the DM tells you it is. It's that easy.

Anyway...

I'm gonna be a bad sport now by instead of participating in the argument just voice my support of this new system.

I like it, it sounds funnier that just blasting of simple buffs or save-or-dies.


And in the end, my own entertainment is all that matters:smallamused:

GlordFunkelhand
2008-06-06, 04:33 AM
I really liked the streamlined system (only read the books, didn't play 4e yet) - but reading that "kiting" is now considered a valid tactic in D&D somehow felt off.

Rockphed
2008-06-06, 04:51 AM
I really liked the streamlined system (only read the books, didn't play 4e yet) - but reading that "kiting" is now considered a valid tactic in D&D somehow felt off.

Is this guy (http://http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0216.html)'s strategy Kiting? Or are you talking about the illicit use of bad checks to increase your bank balance?

Paragon Badger
2008-06-06, 05:41 AM
As many have said; the Wizards have taken a preference of balance and party coordinization over choice.

As if the two things were mutually exclusive. They are not.

At least, not if you can design the system well enough.

A class should be able to fill 2 or 3 niches if they wish... even more. but not at the same time. And if they can, then not preform as well as the specialists of those areas.

That is balance, whilst allowing choice.

WoTC is trying to turn D&D into Final Fantasy Tactics and they have failed.

Look at all the physical classes of that game- and each one has a distinct flavor. (Squires = Self-Buffing & Enemy debuffer, Knights = Tank, Lancers = Long Range, Ninjas = Fast but frail, Samurai = Battlefield control, Monk = Heavy-hitter & support, Geomancer = save-or-sucks) You can even multi-class with a secondary ability set, and few characters ever outshined eachother when you didn't purposely neglect them.

Except maybe the Calculator... But they're almost a hidden class. :smalltongue: ..And remarkably similiar to 3.5's wizard.. Except harder to use once you attain real ultimate power.

Level.. divisible by 4... Holy! Hahaha, take tha-oh crap my ally is level 28.

Back to D&D- what becomes of the solo adventurer or the smaller-than-average party? Are they suddenly useless without everyone else?

Le. sigh.

Rutee
2008-06-06, 05:47 AM
Would a 3rd ed party die hideously without a Druid, cleric or wizard? Those are the only really, truly role-versatile classes in 3rd ed. I think you're also overstating the idea of turning it into FFT, but, eh.

Ozzy_G
2008-06-06, 07:18 AM
Since the books were only released today, and the PDFs have only been floating around the net for a week, I doubt many, or possibly any, of us have seriously played 4th edition yet, even though we may have read all the books. I don't think we can really say for sure how it differs until we've tried it. But these are my initial thoughts:
It's far more balanced
There's far less room to break the game
It's more streamlined
The magic system is much better, more streamlined, and more balanced (more powerful at low levels, less at high levels)
High level games will be much easier to run
All the martial classes will be much more interesting to play
Leveling up will be more interesting, as you get something interesting every level
Non-spellcasting classes will get much more choices
If you want to solve an encounter without violence, then you've got skill checks and nothing else. No multiple sleep, no charm, no multiple invisibility to sneak past, very little in the way of teleport or fly. Good for a DM, if you can't skip fights and traps, but in a Role-Playing game, not every encounter is supposed to be about violence.
If you like spells that are open-ended and allow you to do interesting things to solve problems, don't play this game, you'll be bored as hell. Go and play 3.5 instead (or Mage: the Ascension). Spellcaster options got raped, especially clerics. If you want to buff and blast, you're fine, if you want to do anything else, tough ****.
Are you the sort of person who, when the magic items are handed out, hopes for Murlynd's spoon, the robe of bones, an elemental gem, or a ring of X-ray vision, rather than the +blah sword of I'm good at hit-ness? Sucks to be you in 4th ed, because you're getting boring statistical bonuses.
Basically, except for combat, it's really a much lower-magic system.
For simple character roleplaying, there's no real difference at all. Unless you like to have games that explore the law/chaos spectrum, in which case again, tough ****.

One of my friends described 4th edition as "the best dungeon-hack version ever", and I think he's right. For a high-fantasy role-playing game with many interesting options of magic, I think I'll probably play DnD 3.5 or Exalted.
I'm going to try and run a 4th edition game that's high on Role-Playing and magical options, but I'm really not sure how it will work out.

Roderick_BR
2008-06-06, 08:02 AM
I just got ahold of 4E so my opinion might be a tad off, but so far from what i've seen all i have to say is
IF I WANTED TO PLAY WoW I'D PLAY WoW

Seriously, can anyone here tell me why non-combat magic is so utterly ruined? The ritual system, is moronic. Seriously, it takes ten minutes for a wizard to open a door with out blowing it to small pieces? ((see knock ritual))

Raise dead is now easier to cast than cure disease?
((500 gold ritual with no fail probability, and costs 1 stat, vrs 250 gold ritual that can kill if cleric fails check))

I can accept that all of the oracle and scrying spells are high level and involved rituals, but as far as i can tell half of the detect spells are gone, and apparently detect lies is no longer a simple standard action, it's a ritual that takes ten minutes to prep before going in for a five minute conversation.


Finally the craft and profession skills seem to have shriveled up and died along with the druid, Oh, and I almost forgot the new magic items list reminds me of something from runescape.

So, overall, what do my pc's do between combats? Look for more fights?
They decided to tone down the power of spells, to fit more the classic stories. Wizards were powerful because they could use power magic rituals, not because they could bend the fabric of reality in less than 6 seconds (or even twice).
I keep seeing people complaining "waah, my wizard was nerfed and can't be better than everyone else together at the same time anymore" while failing to see that what made them cool in the first time is still there.

Ozzy_G
2008-06-06, 08:14 AM
I agree, powerful effects are much more evocative done as long, tortuous rituals, done using expensive and rare materials, than cast in 6 seconds. I think having seperate powers and rituals is an excellent system, that gives both combat powers and cool stuff to do outside. However, I don't think there's anywhere near enough rituals. And I agree that Cure Disease is far too hard, while Raise Dead on a low-level adventurer is far too easy, though that's only two rituals. The system itself is an excellent idea, even though it's less expansive than it could be. But to be fair, that's something that they can (and I'm sure will) expand in supplements. I'm sure the Divine and Arcane power source books, not to mention the Psionic and Shadow ones when they do those, will be chock-full of rituals.
Right now it feels a bit sparse though.

SamTheCleric
2008-06-06, 08:18 AM
The Ritual for creating a lich can be found in the MM... I don't see why a player couldn't cast it themself and get the Lich template...

Its expensive though.

:)

Kurald Galain
2008-06-06, 09:33 AM
I keep seeing people complaining "waah, my wizard was nerfed and can't be better than everyone else together at the same time anymore" while failing to see that what made them cool in the first time is still there.

That's just the Fallacy of the Month, just like last month any and all criticism of 4E was handwaved away with the Morepig Fallacy. In other words, read what people write :roy:, not simply only the bits that confirm your :miko: preconceptions.

Saph
2008-06-06, 09:49 AM
One of my friends described 4th edition as "the best dungeon-hack version ever", and I think he's right. For a high-fantasy role-playing game with many interesting options of magic, I think I'll probably play DnD 3.5 or Exalted.

That's the impression I'm getting so far as well. 4e is a very fun squad-level tactical wargame. It feels like a halfway point between 3.5 and Descent. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (I actually really like Descent) but it definitely doesn't do a lot of things that 3.5 players have gotten used to over the past few years.

I think I'm going to switch to 4e for one-offs, combat games, and games with lots of newbies, and stick with 3.5 for long-running campaigns and anything where I don't want my character concept to focus around combat.

- Saph

AKA_Bait
2008-06-06, 09:55 AM
Take it 18 times... and that means 270 hp at the highest level. That seems like it'd be way too much, considering how the damage has been lowered overall.

You know, at level 30, I'm not sure that an extra 270 HP in exchange for all your feats is really that unbalanced. Sure, it's a lot of HP, but you also lose a lot of options.

On that note, I don't have it open in front of me, does the feat specifiy the HP as a 'feat' bonus? It might stack per RAW if it doesn't (I know other feats do specifiy 'feat bonus', like improved init and quickdraw)

Charity
2008-06-06, 09:57 AM
That's just the Fallacy of the Month, just like last month any and all criticism of 4E was handwaved away with the Morepig Fallacy. In other words, read what people write :roy:, not simply only the bits that confirm your :miko: preconceptions.

I agree. We have all been guilty of this to some degree I'm sure, but lets not go getting to entrenched.

[quote=Paragon badger]Back to D&D- what becomes of the solo adventurer or the smaller-than-average party? Are they suddenly useless without everyone else?[/url]

Have you had a chance to check out the rules yet PB?I am not trying to discredit you I'm just curious. I don't think this will be the case, what with everyone having the capacity to heal themselves and all classes being broadly similar in effectiveness i think 4e will offer new vistas to the small party. Now you won't have to play a Batman or CoDzilla to survive alone.

wodan46
2008-06-06, 10:42 AM
The surges alone mean that heals are not needed for a party, Warlords and Clerics simply give you the option of surges during combat, often with extra HP. Furthermore, most classes have a secondary role they can fulfill in addition to their primary role.

In 4e, a sole heroic level adventurer is more capable of handling themselves than a sole 3.5e heroic level adventurer. It is also true that for both PCs and monsters, working in numbers will give greater effectiveness than working alone, even if alone you have a higher lvl/exp value than the group. The Defender's Mark, the Leader's boosts, the Striker's need for someone to help them flank, and the Controllers need for cover in order to alter the battlefield for the rest, all give a party greater effectiveness. However, in turn the mob of monsters will also be working better as they have more guys to surround you with.

Warlords and Rogues are the most limited as solo heroes. Warlord at-wills are near exclusively reliant on there being someone to buff, while melee Rogues rely on flanking to sneak attack normally. Rogues should rely on stealth checks to gain combat advantage instead, and be better off with a crossbow. Warlords should not go solo at all. It goes against their nature entirely.

Indon
2008-06-06, 11:05 AM
1) Roleplaying itself, which is really much harder to do in a real-time game like WoW.

That's true, but it's not that crippling a barrier. If you can RP well in a MUD-style game, you can RP well in most MMO's (and having Teamspeak really fixes most of the problem).


2) Splatbooks. WoW can't churn out new materials and new options month after month. This obviously makes a big difference.

Variety is the spice of life, after all.

WoW produces much larger system additions called "Expansions" instead.


Craft and Profession were horribly designed in 3.5, both were totally useless unless an arbitrary extra use was assigned (like using Profession (Sailor) to load a cannon)
Crafting anything was absolutely unpractical, and became irrelevant after about level 3.

The only real point of either skill was to qualify for PrCs, or as Roleplaying background...which is stupid as you shouldn't have to sacrifice your scarce skillpoints just to establish your character. (And yes, I realize that roleplaying is important, but if you want your character to be a cook, you should just be able say so, and not have to waste skill points)

I've said this before, but it deserves repeating. If something is implemented badly, that's not a reason to get rid of it. It's a reason to improve it. Getting rid of it is an admission of failure.

Craft/Profession type skills that don't frequently have direct impacts on adventuring could have stood to get the same upgrades that other skills in 4'th edition recieved - consolidation, and application.

Consolidation to bring the skills into more general skill groupings: So instead of Craft(Weapon) and Craft(Armor), you could have Metalsmithing, or instead of Profession(Sailor), you could have Sailing.

Application is more or less handled automatically as part of 4'th edition's elegant skill challenge system. If you can describe a way your sailing experience could apply to a skill challenge (for instance, tying a good rope), you could apply it to gain successes. It not only makes the non-adventuring skills useful for adventuring, but it encourages creativity.


are you in fact stating that 4e is ripping off MMOs because its mechanics are based on working as a group?

No, I'm describing dynamics that result due to less complex single mechanics and more complex group mechanics. WoW is an example.


this is only the case in end game raiding where you are one of 4 people all performing the same role within a group of 10-40 people, it lacks the social element core to D&D.

But it isn't just raiding. It's all grouping. Many WoW players find themselves wanting to group less and less the more often they group. The first stage is to restrict oneself to only grouping with a small group of people (such as a guild, or RL friends). As the mechanics contribute successively less to the enjoyment of the event, individuals would seek more enjoyable events.

Or, in short, why would I want to play WoW for its' "social element core", when I can get the exact same thing playing D&D and then some? Or why would I want to play D&D for it, when I could play Trivial Pursuit and get the same thing and then some?

You can get your socialization regardless of if you're playing a tabletop game or not - so the socialization is not a reason to play the game. So when selecting a social activity, you don't have to pick a mechanically uninteresting one like WoW - or a game with a similar dynamic.


The Ritual for creating a lich can be found in the MM... I don't see why a player couldn't cast it themself and get the Lich template...

Its expensive though.

:)

Hmm. That's interesting.

wodan46
2008-06-06, 11:11 AM
I think having a party of 2 players is the minimum needed for most classes to work effectively to the full degree. Your ally buffs have a target, you are able to flank enemies, and falling unconscious does not mean certain doom.

JaxGaret
2008-06-06, 07:00 PM
As many have said; the Wizards have taken a preference of balance and party coordinization over choice.

As if the two things were mutually exclusive. They are not.

At least, not if you can design the system well enough.

A class should be able to fill 2 or 3 niches if they wish... even more. but not at the same time. And if they can, then not preform as well as the specialists of those areas.

That is balance, whilst allowing choice.

You do realize that each class has a secondary role, right? It's been recognized as such, primary/secondary:

Cleric: Leader/Controller
Fighter: Defender/Striker
Paladin: Defender/Leader
Archery Ranger: Striker/Controller
TWF Ranger: Striker/Controller (but mostly Striker)
Rogue: Striker/Controller + Skillmonkey
Warlock: Striker/Controller + Face
Warlord: Leader/Defender
Wizard: Controller/Striker

There is also an excellent multiclassing system in 4e, which I have stated many times before I find to be well balanced and elegantly designed, and with which you can easily broaden your character's role.

In short, according to your premise, 4e is well designed.


Back to D&D- what becomes of the solo adventurer or the smaller-than-average party? Are they suddenly useless without everyone else?

Solo adventurers were well advised to be built as gestalt characters in 3e, unless they were uber casters.

Smaller than average parties have the same drawbacks in both 3e and 4e; economy of actions. The more actions, the better.

I am running a two-man party through KotS (Wizard + Cleric) that seems to be working pretty well.

FdL
2008-06-06, 07:36 PM
I agree with the OP. I especially liked how he mentioned that optimization through splatbook assembly is gone.

On an unrelated note, I'm tired of the Batman mention. It wasn't a good comparison in the first place, but even then, I don't care for Batman and I sure don't have him in my D&D games.

ArmorArmadillo
2008-06-06, 07:38 PM
I've said this before, but it deserves repeating. If something is implemented badly, that's not a reason to get rid of it. It's a reason to improve it. Getting rid of it is an admission of failure.

Craft/Profession type skills that don't frequently have direct impacts on adventuring could have stood to get the same upgrades that other skills in 4'th edition recieved - consolidation, and application.

Consolidation to bring the skills into more general skill groupings: So instead of Craft(Weapon) and Craft(Armor), you could have Metalsmithing, or instead of Profession(Sailor), you could have Sailing.

Application is more or less handled automatically as part of 4'th edition's elegant skill challenge system. If you can describe a way your sailing experience could apply to a skill challenge (for instance, tying a good rope), you could apply it to gain successes. It not only makes the non-adventuring skills useful for adventuring, but it encourages creativity.

First, design should never be done based on whether or not it's an admission of failure. What's important is what is good design...and 3.x Craft and Profession were failures, that should be admitted.

Second, you should improve and reimplement a system if it's necessary. Craft and Profession rules were not only badly implemented, but they weren't really necessary. The Craft skill was redundant with the Magic Item Crafting rules, which filled that niche much better.
Profession was intrinsically useless...

In 4e, which uses the better Saga rules system involves an even larger investment to take a skill, and therefore there really shouldn't be skills that only offer RP purpose, and a skill just to establish that your character can cook is just that.

Indon
2008-06-06, 07:51 PM
First, design should never be done based on whether or not it's an admission of failure. What's important is what is good design...and 3.x Craft and Profession were failures, that should be admitted.

They accomplished what they were set out to do - provide flavor and mechanical impact to flavor. They could potentially have been improved greatly, but the feature by no means failed.


Second, you should improve and reimplement a system if it's necessary. Craft and Profession rules were not only badly implemented, but they weren't really necessary. The Craft skill was redundant with the Magic Item Crafting rules, which filled that niche much better.
Profession was intrinsically useless...

You realize that absolutely no aspect of a roleplaying system is necessary to roleplay and have fun. Everything is optional. Everything is to improve on the default of not having a system.

By having a system for non-adventuring skills, you allow for a characters' flavor to have a direct impact upon their adventuring, which is fun. More fun than otherwise.

And when the only reason you're using the system is to make the experience better, if you can do something to make it better, you should do it.


In 4e, which uses the better Saga rules system involves an even larger investment to take a skill, and therefore there really shouldn't be skills that only offer RP purpose, and a skill just to establish that your character can cook is just that.

Or, alternately, you could allow for a secondary trained skill or two in a certain list of additional skills (which is a houserule that I've seen people do for 3'rd edition, in fact). Not actually that hard, but pretty good at accomplishing the objective. Kind of time-consuming in that if I wanted it for 4'th edition I would have to singlehandedly design those skills from scratch when perhaps a professional could have done it, though.

Paragon Badger
2008-06-06, 10:59 PM
I have yet to read the rules myself, other than testimonials here and the official statements of the developers.

So, take what I say with a grain of salt. :smalltongue:

I'm not saying that 3.5 was any better than 4.0 in these areas. The fighter is probably the most railroaded class in 3.5. Your options outside of combat are sharply limited (Then again..it is called 'The Fighter.')

True, the healing surges allow a party to exist without the cleric for a time; but that's more a self-sufficiency thing than a 'more options' thing.

Personally, I am not fond of the class system to begin with. I would like to think of characters as starting at a central point, and the path they take distances them from other paths- though they can still move around or take two paths. They could take every path, though slower than specialists would.

By design, classes are inherently rather limiting.

Rutee
2008-06-06, 11:03 PM
They accomplished what they were set out to do - provide flavor and mechanical impact to flavor. They could potentially have been improved greatly, but the feature by no means failed.

Then why was it presented as a valid skill to keep maxed out, pray tell? Or a more-then-character-building-skill?

ArmorArmadillo
2008-06-06, 11:51 PM
You realize that absolutely no aspect of a roleplaying system is necessary to roleplay and have fun. Everything is optional. Everything is to improve on the default of not having a system.

By having a system for non-adventuring skills, you allow for a characters' flavor to have a direct impact upon their adventuring, which is fun. More fun than otherwise.

And when the only reason you're using the system is to make the experience better, if you can do something to make it better, you should do it.
Of course it's not necessary to have a skill to roleplay, but they should help you roleplay by removing the streamlining your play so you can focus your attention on roleplaying.

Also, your argument runs heavily on the assumption that adding these rules can have only positive effect on the gameplay experience.

Having a profession skill that allows your character to cook is all well and good, but having a skill that says you can do something is to say that without that skill you can't do something.

What if you're a low int sorcerer, you need your skill points for Concentration and spellcraft, but you want to cook. Sorry, unless you sacrifice your playability you can't, at least not according to the rules.


The rules add a barrier to roleplaying that you really don't need.


Or, alternately, you could allow for a secondary trained skill or two in a certain list of additional skills (which is a houserule that I've seen people do for 3'rd edition, in fact). Not actually that hard, but pretty good at accomplishing the objective. Kind of time-consuming in that if I wanted it for 4'th edition I would have to singlehandedly design those skills from scratch when perhaps a professional could have done it, though.

Woah, woah, woah, "It's fine if you apply houserules" means that it's not fine. We're talking about the system, not "what the system can be made into".

Also, not everything has to be hardwritten in the rules. As you said, you don't need the rules to roleplay. If your character wants to cook, have him cook, you don't need to make a skill check to do that.

I'll admit, craft is a little more potentially important, but the problem with 3.x craft was not only that it was poorly implemented, but there was a better variant already in the ruleset. We should improve on that, rather than trying to keep it as a skill.