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Skyserpent
2008-06-14, 02:27 AM
Lol. Guess their "NO CONVERSION!" warning didn't get as far as they'd like, just as I'd guess that it royally TICKED PEOPLE OFF!

not really... I didn't hear that much complaining about it... I mean, some people were a bit miffed but I don't think it was anywhere near royal off-ticking....

turkishproverb
2008-06-14, 02:29 AM
not really... I didn't hear that much complaining about it... I mean, some people were a bit miffed but I don't think it was anywhere near royal off-ticking....

Yea, lets just say I hear different.


Everyone keeps saying that... and I'm not sure I agree... I mean, it is definitely very different from the systems of the past and is a significant departure from what we've already seen... it's like if a plane were flying up and up and up, and then suddenly banked a really heavy right. Now we're having trouble gauging how much altitude was gained or lost on it's path... I still think it could very well still be an ascent from the older systems, just a more difficult to see one... after all, despite all it's imperfections (Hell, for some people BECAUSE of them) 3.5 was pretty darn good... I'm giving 4e a shot and currently enjoy it a lot, let's see how long that lasts...



My point is it loses alot added in 3.5 and the stuff it adds is more an evolution of 2.

Skyserpent
2008-06-14, 02:39 AM
Yea, lets just say I hear different.





My point is it loses alot added in 3.5 and the stuff it adds is more an evolution of 2.

I suppose you do, man, I worry when people get this worked up over a tabletop game, but then I remember we're nerds and Han ****ing shot first, dammit. Eh, okay

I can't really argue against that... they toned down a lot of the additions in 3.5 that, while fun, took a lot of effort to make work properly and universally... But hey, now we have two game systems, one for our insipid door-kicking plebians who are willing to sacrifice a little reality so that we can enjoy our "fantasy" gaming more fully, and one for those among our lot who prefer to be crazy hardcore gamers with excel spreadsheets, a love for the word "verisimilitude" that borders on the fetishistic and spectacular world-ending physics applications. Who's to say we can't live together in harmony?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-14, 02:59 AM
Who's to say we can't live together in harmony?

Dozens of threads of varying length (seventeen pages on this one) beg to differ. :smallbiggrin:

Was the internet this riled when 3rd came out, 'cause 3rd really was a huge departure from 2nd. I mean, skill points, feats, detailed rules regarding special actions in combat (grappling!), and so on. Heck, prestige classes alone!

(Rant)
I really do find 4e as the culmination of WotC's design philosophy. Everyone is special now (feats in 3rd, powers here), nothing is without a rule to guide it (I dub page 42 of the DMG "Rule 42" BTW :smalltongue:), magic is commoditized (3rd brought us the magic market place, 4e has a reagents and the Enchant ritual), and there is a long-term plan for monetizing the crap out of the edition (3rd's splatbooks were endless compared to 2nd's "Complete Book of" series, and between the figurines, battle mats, and the new "Power Source" expansions, 4e is going to be insanely lucrative).

Does that bother me? Well, when I played 2nd it did, but Feats reflected the "heroic" nature of the game more than making stuff up (and failing miserably) all the time in 2nd. 4e takes that desire for "heroic" adventuring and makes it nice and easy to set up and run. 2nd was a bear of a system, and I never did play beyond Core 3.5 for fear of broken prestige classes and feats. 4e seems like it'll be hard to break, and that's good enough for me.

When I want "verisimilitude" in my game system, I play 3rd Edition Shadowrun (I'd play 2nd but I lost my book). Any system with a table for setting shotgun chokes and rebound effects for explosives in small spaces (not to mention the Organ Failure Table!) is more than gritty enough for me. And it doesn't even need miniatures and battlemats to play!

turkishproverb
2008-06-14, 04:24 AM
I suppose you do, man, I worry when people get this worked up over a tabletop game, but then I remember we're nerds and Han ****ing shot first, dammit. Eh, okay

I can't really argue against that... they toned down a lot of the additions in 3.5 that, while fun, took a lot of effort to make work properly and universally... But hey, now we have two game systems, one for our insipid door-kicking plebians who are willing to sacrifice a little reality so that we can enjoy our "fantasy" gaming more fully, and one for those among our lot who prefer to be crazy hardcore gamers with excel spreadsheets, a love for the word "verisimilitude" that borders on the fetishistic and spectacular world-ending physics applications. Who's to say we can't live together in harmony?

HAN DID SHOOT FIRST! HOW DARE YOU MAKE FUN OF....

*deep breathes*


anyway, I get passionate over everything.

Personally though, I do wish they would split it again, let the current 4th be D&D, and do an update of 3.5 as AD&D.

nagora
2008-06-14, 05:00 AM
I'd like to give a shout-out to polearms, which for the first edition of D&D ever are actually worth using.
They're worth using in 1ed too; so much so that the 1st level fighter with a halberd is a bit of a cliche in many groups. The downside of any polearm is that the amount of space needed to use, or even carry, it can be crippling in many underground situations.


Each type counts as one extra class of weapon, increasing the range of powers you can extra bonuses from as a fighter. You can mark enemies you're not adjacent to, improving battlefield control. Most importantly, you get reach 2. This is important because of the number of Large opponents with reach in 4e - unless you have a polearm or a spiked chain they all get an AoO on you before you get into an adjacent square. And in the same way, you get a free attack on anything without reach that tries to to charge you! What's not to like?
Well, any game that has "spiked chain" as a serious weapon has something not to like but, just to summarise polearms in a previous edition: they get first strike when closing as well as charging, they generally have superior armour penetration and high damage (especially against large opponents) and long reach so some can be used from a second rank in combat. They're also slow and can give an opponent with a fast weapon a bonus attack (or even two in some cases) and are harder to use effectively against a lightly armoured opponent who can dodge about combared to a sword. Naturally, they are two handed so prevent the use of a shield in normal melee.

If you do a lot of outdoor adventuring in 1e, polearms are really very useful but they do have some drawbacks that need to be considered.

So, I don't think 4e is the first edition to make polearms an interesting or useful option.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-14, 05:56 AM
Perhaps I should have prefaced my little story. The wizard has no non-combat related spells to use during a melee situation because every ritual takes 10 minutes or more to cast. If you want to play balance the wizard, you don't have to throw out the whole magic system. The bath water may have been dirty, but they threw out the baby too!

No they didn't, they put the baby somewhere different.


How come conjuring up a Ray of Frost or Magic Missile takes only 6 seconds, but unlocking a door take 100x that length of time?

How come stabbing somebody in the face with a dagger takes only six seconds, but picking a lock takes 100x that length of time?


There is no internal consistency to the way magic works. They just decided to nerf all the non-damage dealing spells giving a minimum of a 10 minute casting cost so they'd be completely useless in an encounter situation. LAME.

Newsflash: D&D magic has never been internally consistent.

Why can a first level spell conjure 40 square feet of mist, but only a 15 foot cone of fire? Why can wizards transform their bodies into other creatures, but not heal themselves? If a first level spell can manipulate a person's body enough to make it double in size, why can't they just rip it to shreds?

The answer is always "game balance".

As for ritual magic, why should the "magical" method of doing something always be instantaneous? Why does "magic" always have to mean "the wizard casts a spell and it happens"?


The wizard has turned into a small artillery character with no other depth in combat, and not much more depth outside of combat. You can't even build a non-combat wizard. It's impossible under the new rules.

You could *never* build a non-combat character in D&D. Even commoners get weapon proficiencies. A "non combat" wizard wouldn't be tramping around the countryside killing things. He'd be living in a tower studying.


People are beating the skills issue like a dead horse, so I won't go into it, but suffice it to say, I prefer more diverse skills, not fewer jack-of-all-trades combat and dungeon crawling related skills only. Determining the skill difficulty may be a better mechanic, but the skill list sucks. The 3.5 skill system wasn't perfect, but 4e took a huge backward step.

The 3.5 skill system wasn't "no perfect" it was bad. It was tacked on and nonsensical, a dysfunctional half-way house between skills-based and class-based character design.

Kizara
2008-06-14, 05:59 AM
They're worth using in 1ed too; so much so that the 1st level fighter with a halberd is a bit of a cliche in many groups. The downside of any polearm is that the amount of space needed to use, or even carry, it can be crippling in many underground situations.


Well, any game that has "spiked chain" as a serious weapon has something not to like but, just to summarise polearms in a previous edition: they get first strike when closing as well as charging, they generally have superior armour penetration and high damage (especially against large opponents) and long reach so some can be used from a second rank in combat. They're also slow and can give an opponent with a fast weapon a bonus attack (or even two in some cases) and are harder to use effectively against a lightly armoured opponent who can dodge about combared to a sword. Naturally, they are two handed so prevent the use of a shield in normal melee.

If you do a lot of outdoor adventuring in 1e, polearms are really very useful but they do have some drawbacks that need to be considered.

So, I don't think 4e is the first edition to make polearms an interesting or useful option.

Not to disagree with your 1E statement, as I have no knowledge of such, but I don't feel 3E polearms were useless.

Particularly said Halberd:

While not having the damage of the greatsword or the potential of the spiked chain, the Halbred doesn't require a feat to use and gives you quite alot of options:

1) Being a reach weapon, you have a marked advantage compared to the greatsword wielder against the immenerable amount of monsters with reach.

2) Can be set against a charge to deal double damage. Very tactically useful, especially with the power of some charge effects.

3) Can be used as a 'second line' weapon in some situations, although granted that doesn't come up too much as a PC fighter.

4) You can use it to make trip attacks, which combined with its reach is a nice combo.

5) It's still a 1d10 2H weapon, so you can do quite a bit with power attacking at your reach.

6) Feats such as Short Haft or things like armor spikes (although I always thought that was a bit stupid) help alieviate the problem of things closing. Although honestly most opponents are big with alot of reach and its not an issue.


Honestly, it might not be quite as good as the Spiked Chain, but its hardly garbage, and certinally a viable option if polearms are your thing.

Antacid
2008-06-14, 06:53 AM
I am not sure about Large opponents, and I haven't read the rules well enough to point you to it, but reach does not work that way in 4th edition. Normally, you don't threaten or make AoOs on people outside your reach.

Gah... you're right. It only works like that if the monster has the Threatening Reach ability, and players can't get it. I need better glasses.

nagora
2008-06-14, 06:56 AM
Honestly, it might not be quite as good as the Spiked Chain, but its hardly garbage, and certinally a viable option if polearms are your thing.
Player: [rolls d20] I hit with my spiked chain.
DM: roll 1d6. On a 1 you damaged your opponent; 1-5 yourself.

Spiked chains, indeed! :smallyuk:

qube
2008-06-14, 07:22 AM
Because you never get in a position where you might have to fix a wagon wheel before more Kobolds come to try and finish the job their fallen comrades started. :smallsigh:and miss precious loot and XP ?
The Snarks comment is discussing the roots of D&D. WotC read through a lot of fantasy, and realized that Wizards are much more powerful. They assumed that the Hero and Antagonist were of the same level, and gave the PC Wizards a power level comparable to the Wizards in literature.... I don't know what literature you're reading, but in my literature most magic is either dangerous, or almost never used (how many spells does Gandalf cast?) ...


I like that anyone can cast rituals with 2 feats: even your dragonborn warlord can "connect with the ancient arcane powers", or the elf fighter can "receive nature's blessing"

marjan
2008-06-14, 10:25 AM
1) Being a reach weapon, you have a marked advantage compared to the greatsword wielder against the immenerable amount of monsters with reach.


It doesn't have a reach. Though, I agree with the rest of your points (that don't require reach). Better example would be Guisarme except for dmg dice and ability to deal slashing dmg with it.

Marty
2008-06-14, 10:35 AM
I'd like to give a shout-out to polearms, which for the first edition of D&D ever are actually worth using. [...] What's not to like?

Well, here's the problem with polearms in melee combat. THEY DO SUCK. They're not meant for one on one hand-to-hand combat. Polearms were developed for the battle field to be used in a phalanx or to counter cavalry.

You're not supposed to wield a bardiche or pike as if it were a sword. It doesn't work that way. Polearms are long, often top-heavy and slow to swing, because that's not the way they were intended to be used.

Giving polearms new special powers just so they'll be "cool" again doesn't really do the game any justice.

Fhaolan
2008-06-14, 10:47 AM
Well, here's the problem with polearms in melee combat. THEY DO SUCK. They're not meant for one on one hand-to-hand combat. Polearms were developed for the battle field to be used in a phalanx or to counter cavalry.

You're not supposed to wield a bardiche or pike as if it were a sword. It doesn't work that way. Polearms are long, often top-heavy and slow to swing, because that's not the way they were intended to be used.

Giving polearms new special powers just so they'll be "cool" again doesn't really do the game any justice.

Depending. I generally break polearms into two groups, the really heavy/long/whatever's like the pike as you say, and then smaller and more personal ones like the short halberd, bec du corbin, etc. The smaller polearms were regularly used in heavy armor duels, according to surviving period fight manuals. Now, it is very true that they were used in a completely different way from swords. :)

It really depends on what you call a 'polearm'. Some people would consider the bec du corbin just a slightly larger footman's pick/hammer, while others put it into the polearm category. It becomes a matter of opinion quite rapidly.

tumble check
2008-06-14, 10:51 AM
I'm finishing an epic-level 3.5 campaign with a longspear fighter/weapon master. My 9-20 crit range and 4x multiplier notwithstanding, polearms in general do a great deal in adding flavor to a fighter.

Even though the "weapon specialist" Powers of the 4e fighter are pretty lame, I like the fact that they're trying to encourage multi-flavored fighters.

When it comes down to it, I'd rather die than play a heavy-armor-longsword-and-shield-or-greatsword fighter. The cliche is too painful to bear.

marjan
2008-06-14, 10:59 AM
I'm finishing an epic-level 3.5 campaign with a longspear fighter/weapon master. My 9-20 crit range and 4x multiplier notwithstanding, polearms in general do a great deal in adding flavor to a fighter.


Hmm. How exactly are you getting that 9-20 critical range using RAW? The best you can get in 3.5 is 10-20 with rapier and PrC from BoVD (Disciple of Something).



When it comes down to it, I'd rather die than play a heavy-armor-longsword-and-shield-or-greatsword fighter. The cliche is too painful to bear.

Breathing is also cliche. Everyone does it.

Matthew
2008-06-14, 11:02 AM
"What's Wrong with 4e?" (a loaded question, some might say); still, this discussion has taken an interesting turn, even if I find it somewhat odd.




Never, ever take away good features, in the process of an "upgrade." That's the problem with 4e...it's not an upgrade. 1e to 2e was an upgrade (perhaps a minor downgrade, but they didn't change much.) 2e to 3.x was an upgrade, although again, no huge changes. With 4e, they decided to rip everything apart, throw out everything, and start from scratch. That's not the same game anymore, at all. It's something new. I don't mind the new, but it's no longer D&D. I liked D&D. They didn't need to tear it all down and start over.



They didn't start out from scratch.

This is an excellent update to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.



Complexity isn't good in and of itself, either. Good design is not directly tied to complexity - the more complex it is, the more possibilities are explicitly covered, but the more opportunity for unexpected results to emergy that 'break' the ruleset.



I found 3.0e D&D and after some initial reservations I fell in love. I read the core books, all 3, cover to cover, at least once. I re-read the spell descriptions 3-4 times, memorizing them. I 'Groked' the system. Why did I love it? Because now my fantasy world made sense! Everything did! Monsters had HD that determined how powerful they were, spells had levels that were related to caster level, DCs that were based on character ability and spell level, etc etc. Everything had a rule! Even things I could barely wrap my head around (ariel combat) had rules, and the majority of them were good.

My world made sense. Commoners with poor stats and 2 skills rubbed noses with adventures that could throw fireballs and fly. Even things like LA and ECL (after a bit of thinking) made an amount of sense. (for the record, I like LA, I just don't care for how they balanced it: there needs to be more Goliaths and less Assimar)

My character was real! All my abilities and stats were well defined. Anything that was a bit more quirky that I wanted could be extrapolated from the extremely robust and deep system that already existed and precedent that it provided me.

In short, I play D&D to have a deep and through system to represent my fantasy in the most accurate way practical. I don't really want a 'gritty' game, but I do want a serious and complex one. I thrive on the complexity, as a DM I go out of my way to use spellcasting monsters or to give existing ones many more abilities. I also enjoy the optimization aspect from my competitive side. It's a fun little bonus to my great RPing system.



This thread also got me thinking about why I switched over to 3'rd edition from AD&D, when I realized that at the time 3'rd edition came out, I was largely not playing D&D anymore.

Instead, I was playing White Wolf games, particularly the World of Darkness games. The World of Darkness system came with more flavor and character options, a wealth of mechanical diversity, and relatively intuitive rules for both players and DM's. So when I had an idea, I wasn't looking to AD&D - I was looking to the system underlying the World of Darkness games.

3'rd edition pulled me back to D&D from that - 3'rd edition had wider character options and mechanical diversity, rules were simplified and improved (like standardized spell ranges), and ultimately the D20 system's Open Gaming Licence carried the promise of both convenient access to the core books, and a proliferation of third-party content.

Without support for 3'rd edition, though, the big advantage of prolific third-party content is gone - meanwhile, I haven't looked at the newest edition of World of Darkness very much but I can say the old system is no worse for time passing, and growing increasingly attractive by comparison.



Agreed. I'm glad someone could put it so elegantly. IT is a real step backward from 3rd



Actually, this is an impression a friend of mine and I both got when reading over the books. Both of us had a sense that it felt a lot like 2nd edition, but we couldn't put our finger on why that was. Are there any 1st or 2nd ed aficionados who might elucidate why we might have had this impression? It doesn't seem like it's a reaction unique to us.



There is an increased emphasis on the DM winging things, which is very good news. And there are some patches to combat that bring it back towards 1ed. That's about it, although that has been enough to make me feel that there was some attempt at genuine reform rather than continuing down the same slippery slope as 3ed. But the details are very different.

The robotic encounter schedule (ending with a boss level) and the mechanical combat are still boring distractions from the role-playing as well as making combat into a tedious mockery, and now the spell/powers system has gone the same way.

Character builds are still largely about finding some way to gimp the system in order to gain an advantage instead of being a way of expressing the character's history before play. If this is the best character generation system people can come up with in 25 years, then I think it's time to stop trying and go back to "roll 3d6 in order, pick a race, pick a class, start playing", which has the virtue of being quick at least.

Alignment is now broken completely. The economic system is even worse than any previous edition. The standard out-of-the-box assumptions include "Poochy"-style races which exist only to be trademarks and are just lame. Levelling up is still far too easy; the whole reward system is embarrassingly poorly written and over-complex for what little functionality it has and the continuing ability to simply purchase magic items will keep on demonstrating that "when everybody's special, nobody is".

There certainly are glimmers of hope: the (apparently) reduced role of templates is a big one. Someone said that monsters in 1ed couldn't have levels. In fact, they could (there is a section in the DMG about humanoid witch-doctors and shamen, for example); there just wasn't much in the way of restrictions about how the DM went about it. 1ed was very much about giving the DM and players a minimal framework and letting them fill in the details where they were wanted. Which, of course, is another way of saying that it allowed the DM and players to leave blank those parts they didn't need.

Templated monsters seemed to me to have a suffocating effect on creativity in 3ed, allowing the DM to just make up a monster off the cuff is a much more 1ed way, and a much better way too, IMO. I think that if 4ed encourages that sort of creativity then we'll see more DMs create interesting "one-shots" and fewer whining that because there's no rules for zombie dragons s/he can't put one into an encounter!

The other old-edition feature is the break with the notion of everyone in the world is a character with the same rules as the supposedly exceptional player character. Ordinary people are just that, ordinary. Giving them levels with hit dice and feats and all the rest was stupid and a waste of the DM's time; getting rid of that notion, even partly, is a Good Thing.

There seems to be much more of a role for the fighters too, which can only be an improvement.

But I think the skill system still breaks the class system, although other "old schoolers" like Matthew- wouldn't necessarily agree with that. And multi-classing is still "by munchkins, for munchkins(tm)". Again, if this is the best they could come up with then they should just have dropped multiclassing completely.

Was 1ed perfect? No. But if I were to pick a direction to go from it, I would probably pick less rules rather than more, but chiefly I would have liked a simple re-organisation of the rule books.



Funny, I thought the same thing. In AD&D, if you started as a fighter, it was almost impossible to be something else (you started as a fighter and now want to cast spells? Double class into wizard. You need Int 17 and Str 15. And don't even think about using your weapons proficiences, or you'll lose XP). In 4E, you still keep your base class for life, but now you can pick the abilities from the others classes as you want (you started as a fighter and now want to cast spells? Ok, take this feat to cast spells as a wizard, and this other feat to use rituals. done).



As a human, certainly. That was a strength, IMO. Races were different, humans had a limitation (not good at multi-classing) and a balancing advantage (great at specialising in one thing), and the other races were good at muti-classing and relatively weak (but still very very capable) at any one thing. Classes and races actually contributed something to the character's identity by giving a basic form upon which a good player could build.

The 3e+ system where everybody can do everything leads to blandness and boring characters who are little more than a paint job over the same old multi-classed tailor's dummy that you can see people discussing over and over again.

It's ironic, but sometimes customisation can rob something of its individuality.


Actually I thought the AD&D system led to bland, repetetive characters.



Only if you think "character" means the list of numbers on your sheet.



Character does mean the numbers on your sheet. That's why it's called a character sheet.

You can only attach roleplaying and personality to the same basic character so many times before it gets boring. Ok, you want to be a fighter: You're going to be heavily armored, and 90% of the time use a longsword and shield or a two-handed sword, so basically you can be a mercenary fighter or a knight. There's not that many other basic concepts to fit to.

The numbers on the character sheet should reflect the character you are trying to roleplay. Trying to roleplay abilities your character doesn't have is just like considering your characters nothing but sets of abilities: In either case the two things that should be complimentary are not meshing.



AD&D had it's flaws, but I did like the limitations and multi-classing limits. Humans could do something called "Dual Class" but even in 2nd Edition it was a bit byzantine in practice and most humans I've played stuck with whatever class they had.

Funny, but there were times I'd look at an aspect of 1st or 2nd Edition AD&D and wonder why things were structured a certain way. It actually took 3e for me to appreciate some of the limits and rules AD&D had back in the day.


By that logic, it would be impossible for fictional characters to exist in any medium except for roleplaying games. If a character has no meaning beyond his stats, then any characters that have no stats simply cannot exist.

About ten minutes ago, I finished watching an episode of the L-Word with my girlfriend.

It's not exactly a work of genius, it's a team-written TV soap about lesbians, but it manages to have several dozen distinct characters, all with their own personalities, all of them eminently distinguishable from each other.

Curiously, none of them have any particular special abilities or superpowers. None of them are unusually strong, or wise, or dexterous. They don't fight with a variety of weapons (indeed they don't fight at all). If you had to stat them up in an RPG, they would all have *nearly identical* stat lines.

Yet somehow they manage to be distinct characters.

If you want a more Fantasy-centric example, every single character in George R R Martin's Song of Ice and Fire is basically a Fighter. They wear armour, they kill people with swords. Again somehow they manage to be distinctive, almost as if their personality is unrelated to the weapons they use.

And again we see the circular logic come into play.

If an ability is not mechanically represented on your character sheet, your character does not possess that ability. Therefore it is not possible to model IC abilities through roleplaying, because all you will be doing is "roleplaying abilities your character does not have."

It doesn't matter how convincingly you argue your case in front of the King, if the game doesn't have a Diplomacy skill, you are not allowed to be diplomatic.

That's how roleplaying games work, y'all.



4th edition has gone with the philosophy "If it's not useful in combat, it's not useful." I really dislike the change in direction. As others have stated, 2nd edition fixed some things and improved on 1st edition. 3rd edition even more so than 2nd. Each new edition has added more depth to the game. 4th edition has taken a step backward by removing depth in a number of areas. This is a Bad Thing.



I disagree strongly with some of things spoilered above. In particular I see almost no correlation between 4e and AD&D with respect to "what 4e is like". Yet, this is not the only place I have heard such sentiments expressed. So, I want to take on a few points and try to find the 'common ground' in order to figure some of this out...

1) An Edition Change is an Upgrade

Such a subjective idea. In order for this to be shown to be true, you need to identify the failings of a previous edition and show how they were fixed in the subsequent one; you also need to demonstrate that in the process a whole new slew of things didn't get broken. Since the advantages and disadvantages of a system are subject to the desires and perceptions of the individual, the process would require 'absolute' definitions of good and bad.

2) Complexity is better than simplicity

There is no way to support this point of view beyond subjectively stating the preferences of individuals. I find the complexities of D20 to be mind numbingly boring, both in theory and practice, and unnecessarily restrictive. Other folk find great pleasure in negotiating the complexities and gaining mastery over the rules of the game. Indeed, from what I can tell from reading what Kizara has to say on the subject, some people consider a complex (or 'deep') system to be absolutely necessary in order to provide sufficient structure for their fantasy worlds.

3) Fourth Edition feels Like AD&D 1e/2e

I have to say, categorically, 4e feels nothing like AD&D to me. It is so aesthetically different in appearance and design approach that I almost cannot see to what people are referring. I think that Nagora has summed up well in what ways 4e harkens back to AD&D, and it is the destructuralistion of the rules and a partial return of power to the game master and players, rather than the system. The emphasis on story over system in the DMG is interesting, but not especially significant in my opinion.

4) Building a character

To my mind, this is the common ground that 3e and 4e most strongly share, and when people talk about complexities it is 'character creation' to which they are most often referring. AD&D also allowed for some degree of 'building'; certainly, there were ways to optimise a character (considerably moreso in the optional rules of 2e), but nothing like what has become so characteristic in D20. Many people clearly love this aspect of the game, and for some the idea that reducing the number of structured choices could be a good thing seems to be baffling. That is partly because the general trend of D&D has been 'more rules and more structure'. If you consider character building to be an important part of the game, then by comparison 4e will seem as though a 'step backwards', and AD&D will seem primitive (but since the latter was not designed to fulfil those criteria, this is hardly surprising).

5) Characters are best differentiated by their abilities

Frankly, the mind boggles at somebody making this argument, but I think it can best be seen as an extension of the importance given to "building a character". It's the same impulse writ large, as it completely ignores the value of archtypal play, demanding instead that every character of the same class be differentiated by the way in which they interact with the rules. It seems foreign to me that such diversity should be desirable when so many action heroes and fantasy figures are so very similar and differentiated by virtually nothing more than their appearance or choice of weapon. The dismissal of 'role-playing' as a valid form of differentiation on account of it being limited and potentially boring speaks to a prioritisation of game rules as the primary experience of play. It is, again, a subjective position to hold, since other folk can happily play ten virtually mechanically identical fighters without becoming bored or feeling limited. Indeed, these 'options' are often disguised limitations (for instance, once you introduce a ride skill, you are effectively saying "not everyone can ride").

6) Third Edition helped me to appreciate AD&D

I have found this to be very true. The more I look at the things I don't like about D20, the more I have come to appreciate the way things are handled in AD&D. I think that becoming familiar with 4e will have a similar effect for those who prefer 3e. By playing and learning about different games, you can refine your understanding of their predecessors and analogues. Learning about your own preferences, understanding them, and being able to articulate them in a reasonable manner is not at all as easy as it sounds.

7) It is all about combat

I find nothing more false than the accusation that, when it comes down to it, D&D is a wargame/tactical miniatures game. The rules of D&D are focused on combat, that is absolutely true, but the game itself is really about exploration, adventure, and, often as not, avoiding/running away from combat, or at least that is my subjective view. D20 actually made D&D into more of a tactical wargame and 4e is just continuing the trend, turning even the none combat elements into closer analogues to combat .

What's wrong with 4e?

Nothing really, except in the most subjective of ways. If you were expecting an 'update' of 3e, that's not what 4e is. Hardly surpring considering the number of 'sacred cows' driven to the slaughter. Neither is it an 'update' of AD&D, though it has rehabilitated a number of ideas that were lost during the reign of D20. Those ideas are not unique to AD&D, though, they are quite evident in games like [I]Savage Worlds or Castles & Crusades (much more fairly described as an 'update' of AD&D); indeed, they are not even new concepts.

nagora
2008-06-14, 11:23 AM
Well, here's the problem with polearms in melee combat. THEY DO SUCK. They're not meant for one on one hand-to-hand combat. Polearms were developed for the battle field to be used in a phalanx or to counter cavalry.
Some were. Duels could be and were fought using, for example, Lucern Hammers and full plate. Many weapons were more effective in formation than in general melee, but with the exception of the pike very few were useless in the latter.

In real life, a longsword is almost totally useless against heavy armour, which is why other weapons came into use over time. 1ed had optional rules to reflect this, so for example, a 1st level fighter would have to roll a 24 to hit armour class 0 (full plate and shield) with a longsword, while the same fighter would require only an 17 when using a footman's flail or pick.

Mjoellnir
2008-06-14, 11:51 AM
When it comes down to it, I'd rather die than play a heavy-armor-longsword-and-shield-or-greatsword fighter. The cliche is too painful to bear.

What about a light-armor-longsword-with-two-hands fighter? :smallbiggrin: I'm really thankful for the versatile Longsword and Eladrin Soldier which made that build possible.:smallamused:

XAnansiX
2008-06-14, 12:15 PM
I love a lot of the changes 4e brought but there are a few issues...
The skill system requires the dm to think on his feet when ever a skill check comes up due to the variation in difficulty stuff but it more or less works. If you've played a lot of 2nd-3.5 the changes in wizard might be hard to deal with (you're no longer deadweight at lvl 1 but you loose a lot of utility at higher lvls) and almost feels more like a sorcerer at times. Multi Classing i something i could see bugging a lot of 2nd-3.5 players too its not as open as it used to be but at the same time its a lot more useful for casters ect.

To all the people arguing over which system is better: Its a game not a religion...Theres no need to get "heretics" to play the one true version of dnd. Get over it. You don't like 4e skill system? Add 3.5 skill system to 4e. Problem solved. You don't want to play 4e at all? fine just stop whining and go play your version. My character from 3rd cant be directly translated? Thats what dms are for! House ruling pretty much fixes any system.

Cainen
2008-06-14, 12:34 PM
You don't want to play 4e at all? fine just stop whining and go play your version.

This doesn't always work because going back to a previous edition doesn't guarantee players, and it definitely means that it's going to be harder to find a game tailored to your tastes.


My character from 3rd cant be directly translated? Thats what dms are for! House ruling pretty much fixes any system.

And doesn't make it any more powerful by default. THAT is the problem. Most people playing 4E will expect to play 4E, not a hodgepodge of 4E and 3E.

tumble check
2008-06-14, 01:42 PM
Hmm. How exactly are you getting that 9-20 critical range using RAW? The best you can get in 3.5 is 10-20 with rapier and PrC from BoVD (Disciple of Something).

Actually, you are correct. My DM waived the rule where Improved Critical and Keen do not stack, for the sake of the lulz.(It's epic afterall, and silly as f**k to begin with). That, along with the Weapon Master abilities, and things get ridiculous.




Breathing is also cliche. Everyone does it.

I'm not sure what to say to that. I'm not a power gamer, I'll pick a less orthodox fighter over an optimized one any day. I'm not sure if the greatsword/longsword fighter is optimized, because I've never played one, but that's why I assume you're defending it. Anyway, I'm glad 4e has given incentive to play other weapons, especially flails and hammers, but the incentives are still quite weak.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-14, 02:36 PM
Nobody really cares, but I finally have the books. I'm reading them now.

Hooray for me!

There's things I'll miss, but I have to consider why I play AD&D. I've played plenty other systems, and there's a reason I come back to it. It's not the vancian casting or the monk or gnomes. AD&D is the only system that didn't require a player to use its setting in the game. My other favorite fantasy games, such as Warhammer FRP and Exalted, are great games, but they actively discourge using the ruleset to one's own setting.

Even though 3e seemed not to encourage world-building as much as other editions, it by no means discouraged it. Considering the number of settings produced under OGL, I'd say it was quite adaptable. 4e so far seems no different, even a little better, in this sense. I'm all for that.

I suppose this becomes a digression from the topic, as it's not what's wrong with 4e at this point, but what's right. Maybe that's what can help anyone get into the game. Don't look for what's wrong. Look for what's right.

tumble check
2008-06-14, 02:59 PM
It's the same impulse writ large, as it completely ignores the value of archtypal play, demanding instead that every character of the same class be differentiated by the way in which they interact with the rules.

DnD, to me, has never been about archetypal play. Sure, you have to actually pick a race and class to begin a game, but beyond that, I've never thought of the "roles" being enforced, because each edition of DnD has made it more possible to play any class as almost any role with increasing effectiveness.

Granted, 4e still gives a bit of leeway, but the fact that they even evoked the roles explicitly in the first chapter insults my creativity. I still have the ability to play some of the classes in a somewhat versatile or unorthodox way if I choose, but the amount of encouragement to do so is severely limited now. To say that there has historically been only those 4 roles in DnD is to wrongly oversimplify it.

Ultimately, I guess, in terms of Dungeons & Dragons, I strive to find as little value as possible in archetypal play.

I know that my whole post comes down to personal preference again, but hey, this is the internet, where everyone cares about my opinion. :smallcool:

Matthew
2008-06-14, 03:03 PM
DnD, to me, has never been about archetypal play.

Just out of interest, when did you start playing D&D (or more specifically, under the rules of which edition)? The way I see it, the only reason to have a class system is to provide archtypes; otherwise, you might as well use a point buy system.

tumble check
2008-06-14, 03:23 PM
Just out of interest, when did you start playing D&D (or more specifically, under the rules of which edition)? The way I see it, the only reason to have a class system is to provide archtypes; otherwise, you might as well use a point buy system.

I'm not saying that there aren't or weren't archetypes, but my feeling has been that each iteration of DnD has freed up options for transcending them more and more as time went on.

Clearly, WotC thought this trend was in the wrong direction, so they changed it. It's certainly within their right to do so.

Arioch
2008-06-14, 03:32 PM
Well, here's the problem with polearms in melee combat. THEY DO SUCK. They're not meant for one on one hand-to-hand combat. Polearms were developed for the battle field to be used in a phalanx or to counter cavalry.

Well, glaives can be pretty good. They look good, too. That's why women in the Japanese imperial court used to be trained in them for self-defence.


I don't really have any trouble with 4e, except with the Monster Manual. After getting to know the 3e monsters so well, it annoys me to see succubi as devils and so on. Same with the art changes. That's just dislike of change, though, so I'll get over it in time. I don't think I'll ever like the word "mezzodemon", though. :smallyuk:

Matthew
2008-06-14, 03:38 PM
I'm not saying that there aren't or weren't archetypes, but my feeling has been that each iteration of DnD has freed up options for transcending them more and more as time went on.

Clearly, WotC thought this trend was in the wrong direction, so they changed it. It's certainly within their right to do so.

Well that's good, because I'm not saying your not. :smallbiggrin:

Yes, you're exactly right, the tendency has been to expand, water down or otherwise diversify the archetypes (Fighter begets Ranger, Paladin, Barbarian, Cavalier, Swashbuckler, Knight, etc...). The point, though, was that D&D has strongly been about archetypes until very recently. With D&D it's taking a square and trying to force it into a round hole. You can cut the corners off and maybe even eventually turn it into a cylinder, but it won't be particularly recognisable as D&D anymore.

As you note, it is a preferential thing, but there is value in archtypal play and D&D is a game that strongly plays to archetypes. Turning it into a none archtypal game undermines one of its strongest appeals to the casual player.

marjan
2008-06-14, 03:54 PM
Actually, you are correct. My DM waived the rule where Improved Critical and Keen do not stack, for the sake of the lulz.(It's epic afterall, and silly as f**k to begin with). That, along with the Weapon Master abilities, and things get ridiculous.


Agreed on epic rules. Just sounded like you believe it's something common.



I'm not sure what to say to that. I'm not a power gamer, I'll pick a less orthodox fighter over an optimized one any day. I'm not sure if the greatsword/longsword fighter is optimized, because I've never played one, but that's why I assume you're defending it. Anyway, I'm glad 4e has given incentive to play other weapons, especially flails and hammers, but the incentives are still quite weak.

The point isn't that longsword fighters are optimized (they usually aren't). The point is that it isn't cliche.


A cliché (from French, pronounced [klɪ'ʃe]) is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel. The term is most likely to be used in a negative context.

Wren
2008-06-14, 04:03 PM
not a big fan of multiclassing requiring feats, then to continue getting abilities you need to forgo your paragon class.

also, no weapons for small creatures? there's weapons sized for large creatures, so why not small?

only ever knowing 4 encounter attacks at a time. to get a new one, you need to somehow forget how to perform an old one. sounds a lot like pokemon to me.

Mjoellnir
2008-06-14, 04:24 PM
also, no weapons for small creatures? there's weapons sized for large creatures, so why not small?

That (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0001.html)'s why.

And multiclassing isn't really that bad, because everybody can now train in any skill (after character creation) and things like Evasion, Uncanny Dodge and Ritual Casting are feats.

marjan
2008-06-14, 04:30 PM
also, no weapons for small creatures? there's weapons sized for large creatures, so why not small?


Yeah, the smaller/bigger rules are somewhat strange in 4e.



only ever knowing 4 encounter attacks at a time. to get a new one, you need to somehow forget how to perform an old one. sounds a lot like pokemon to me.

Problem is that they didn't put any reasoning behind that, but it makes sense, (maybe not for everything). If you want this to make more sense, try reading the 3.5e PHBII.

Wren
2008-06-14, 05:00 PM
Problem is that they didn't put any reasoning behind that, but it makes sense, (maybe not for everything). If you want this to make more sense, try reading the 3.5e PHBII.

its because they only want people to use 4 encounter attacks per encounter.

but why only a pool of 4 to choose from? why not just keep every power you learn, but you can still only use so many before you're out of breath or whatever the reasoning is.

as it is, somehow forgetting a technique to make room for something shinier is kinda stupid.

also are there any disarm powers? don't think I've seen any

Jerthanis
2008-06-14, 05:31 PM
only ever knowing 4 encounter attacks at a time. to get a new one, you need to somehow forget how to perform an old one. sounds a lot like pokemon to me.

I'm under the impression you're retraining your techniques into more powerful versions of themselves. Like retraining Passing Attack for Vorpal Tornado for Cruel Reaper... you're taking your knowledge of moving quickly from one target to another (Passing Attack) to learn how to attack everyone around you simultaneously (Vorpal Tornado)... then you combine that lesson with the ability to move while attacking multiple targets and you have Cruel Reaper.




also are there any disarm powers? don't think I've seen any

There's Exorcism of Steel, a sort-of high level fighter power. I'm pretty sure there aren't any rules for disarming without a power, so it can be ludicrously powerful to disarm someone if they don't have a lot of attacks that don't have the Weapon Keyword... like Death Knights.

Play keep-away and you've got one frustrated Death Knight on your hands. Be careful about him exploding though...

marjan
2008-06-14, 05:36 PM
its because they only want people to use 4 encounter attacks per encounter.


Well, this level system is designed by WotC, so they are the one who determines how much you can learn.



but why only a pool of 4 to choose from? why not just keep every power you learn, but you can still only use so many before you're out of breath or whatever the reasoning is.

as it is, somehow forgetting a technique to make room for something shinier is kinda stupid.


As I said: PHBII. It's not that stupid if you think about it. Learning requires time. And every minute you spend learning something new is a minute you spend neglecting practicing abilities you already know, thus resulting in forgetting bits about them, until you finally forget how to use effectively.
And how exactly do you know how hard is to learn using any of those powers? Try envisioning them as difficult as PhD and you'll see that 4 is quite a large number. If you think of them as difficult as learning how to add two numbers together of course it will look silly.

Wren
2008-06-14, 05:51 PM
I don't know about you, but even as an average statted commoner, I know how to do more than 4 things. boxers and martial artists know a ton of moves. etc.

I get the "out of practice" thing you're saying, but really, only remembering 4 things?

marjan
2008-06-14, 05:57 PM
I don't know about you, but even as an average statted commoner, I know how to do more than 4 things. boxers and martial artists know a ton of moves. etc.

I get the "out of practice" thing you're saying, but really, only remembering 4 things?

If those 4 things are something fairly simple, then yes it's idiotic to not be able to learn more. But, if those 4 things are something like knowing location of every single molecule in the universe then it would make you a genius to know 1/3 of the thing. Bit extreme examples, but the point is: we really don't know how hard it is to learn to cast Magic Missile.

Wren
2008-06-14, 06:16 PM
If those 4 things are something fairly simple, then yes it's idiotic to not be able to learn more. But, if those 4 things are something like knowing location of every single molecule in the universe then it would make you a genius to know 1/3 of the thing. Bit extreme examples, but the point is: we really don't know how hard it is to learn to cast Magic Missile.

not that hard since its an at-will ability. :smalltongue:

martial powers are easier to guesstimate though.

EvilElitest
2008-06-14, 06:49 PM
That's a great example, or perhaps not. How many times have you been in a D&D game where you asked the group "I sure hope someone took skill ranks in Profession: Wheelwright, because if not we're all going to die!"

6


Am i the only one who feels 4e is somewhat utilitarian in its attempt to obtain balence?
from
EE

Roderick_BR
2008-06-14, 07:23 PM
and miss precious loot and XP ? ... I don't know what literature you're reading, but in my literature most magic is either dangerous, or almost never used (how many spells does Gandalf cast?) ...
That's why they say Gandalf was 6th level compared to 3rd edition.
D&D casters were gaining much more power than they should per level, IMO.
There had a Sinbad series, where one of his companions were a sorceress. She usually needed time to prepare her tricks (she was usually the one that took their asses out of trouble), but she didn't get into battles defeating everyone in a few seconds. Then when they met the eventual wizard (with decades of experience, bordering the 60/80/100 years old), they were dangerous, but then you could say he was "higher level". And he would usually be spending days and weeks in complex rituals, instead of casting all his spells with a snap of a finger.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-14, 07:42 PM
Am i the only one who feels 4e is somewhat utilitarian in its attempt to obtain balence?
from
EE

Oh no, 4e is extremely utilitarian in order to achieve balance (and ease of play!).

That's what I like about it - it cut out all of the stuff that didn't really need to be "modeled" because it rarely came into "standard" D&D games. And then they gave us Rule 42 as guidelines for making custom rules in the event you have to deal with one of those rare circumstances. It's user friendly for the DM, and as compared to the calculations/prep time needed to play a Vancian caster in 3e, the "power card" system is oh-so-much easier.

:smallconfused: but you must have meant something bad when you said 4e is utilitarian. What's wrong with being easy to use?

EvilElitest
2008-06-14, 08:38 PM
It's a matter of frequency. Jumping is something that reasonably comes up in every adventurers career, relatively often. Carpentry? Shipbuilding? Cooking?

1) Yeah, nations uses fleets, shipbuilding would make a difference in terms of naval power. Any sailing adventure would need this skill
2) Adventures eat, cooking is extremly important
3) And they often use wagons. As for the use of the skill, nations use carpeting in order to build their houses, and house quality would make a difference in play


They only came up if your DM specifically put in "Oh, a wagon wheel needs to be fixed, somebody knows carpentry, right?" knowing full well you have the skill. Systems that encourage Eigan plots aren't good.

1) If you need to fix you broken wagon wheel. Roads can be dangerous, with traps, ditched, bad roads, bad terrain, stuff breaking ect.
2) the speed and quality of your wagon will effect travel
3) or if you use a chariot, or are involved in an Indiana Jones style chase scene with carroges, then the quality of the wheels would make a difference. The players might not use it, but they should have hte option


Too many arguments seem to revolve around "they should have changed things, but in a way that didn't change them."
Of course, because they aren't two extreme, 3E or 4E. A change was needed, just not the one we had. If you are poor, so you kill all the rich people to make money, that solves your problem but doesn't make it a right choice



Oh no, 4e is extremely utilitarian in order to achieve balance (and ease of play!).

That's what I like about it - it cut out all of the stuff that didn't really need to be "modeled" because it rarely came into "standard" D&D games. And then they gave us Rule 42 as guidelines for making custom rules in the event you have to deal with one of those rare circumstances. It's user friendly for the DM, and as compared to the calculations/prep time needed to play a Vancian caster in 3e, the "power card" system is oh-so-much easier.

but you must have meant something bad when you said 4e is utilitarian. What's wrong with being easy to use?
Because it suffers the flaws of real life utilitarian ideals. It focuses on efficiency, ease of use, balence, and university so much that it looses the actual spirit that made the game and becomes this empty creation. Assuming 4E is balanced perfectly (i doubt it, this is WotC after all) the way it is played is such a disgrace that it just makes you sick. I mean, look at the MM. It is like the monster guide in the back of a Final fantasy guide book. They monsters are nothing but combat blocks, with two or three sentences of description, and that is it. It is an abomination of the old versions. When 3E gives you more complex and interesting monsters, then you know your doing something wrong. Maybe i enjoy the goblins human rights sight to much, but these is just dead.

Like real utilitarian ideals, you get the pretense of efficiency (pretense i remind you, because in real life it tends to not work out, and i doubt 4E is as balanced as everybody thinks it is going to be), but you lose what makes it interesting, and worth commiting to. you know, for ages now i've been saying 4E resembles a video game. Well, not i've lowered my standards. It is designed to act like a video game, but plays like a wargame (a flashy one, without any worthwhile fluff but still). And while it might work as a good wargame on its own, (in fact, the current edition could act as the official rule book for D&D miniatures games, which would exist separately from the table top) it loses everything that made it interesting as a table top game

from
EE
edit
an interesting essays i've seen


“OK....... I really REALLY REALLY wanted to love this game. To be honest I've been a sucker for every incarnation of DnD that's come out. I liked all of em in their own way. I prebought this one and every 'pre-book' they've put out... We were all so eager for this new incarnation. It read so well. I can't believe this, but this game has actually managed to depress me!! I HAVE played it. Just spent three hours playing, in fact.

When we finished the party reported that they had the distinct feeling that we had just played a board game version of WOW. Now we all LOVE WOW in our gaming group.. but that's NOT what we sat down to play around a table. We saw nothing 'quick' or 'streamlined' about the gaming experience. We moved pieces around a board adhereing to movement rules and 'squares' for this and that in a fashion that reminded me way too much of the old 'Heroes Quest', albeit a complicated version! Were the game mechanics good? Yes. Why did I give it a 'one star'? Because whilst the game is a good miniature warfare game it seemed to rob the flavor of DnD. The character creation was extrememly confined and the selections were limited. Gone was the ability to customize your character to the point that you actually felt like you had something unique. You will feel as if WOC is controlling the direction your character takes. The game DEMANDED a board and game pieces.. I've always felt that DnD's flavor relied on the 'minds eye', which is so much more colorful in my head than staring at plastic pieces on a piece of cardboard. I do realize that the 'original' DnD was just that, a wargame with a fantasy element. But I feel it evolved into so much more... I guess we've 'returned to our roots'... so why do I feel like we climbed back into the primordial ooze?!

A great deal of the time the magic users felt like they were 'hitting the hot button key'. They had one or two actions that they relied on every round to cause the maximum amount of damage. No inovation or imagination. Everything was geared towards 'how does this directly effect combat'.

The DM's guide isn't that bad. Reminds me a LOT of the first edition book. Information on how to be an effective dm, traps, dungeons, and artifacts. Not what 'thirders' would expect, but not bad.

The Monster Manual is awful. A third of the pictures are just rehashed from all the previous Monster Manuals. The book is concerned with stats so you can play your miniature game effectively. Again.... great if your into miniature gaming. The ecology and culture information is virtually non-existant. Make all the arguments you want about this now being in the pervue of the DM.. the honest answer is that WOC is being lazy. You have a vast variety of stats to place against your carefully created stats, but very little flavor to guide you in roleplaying the encounters.

I have read that the streamlined combat will enhance the rolplaying as you'll have more time available.... that was really exciting.. too bad this wasn't the case. Going to miniatures and a combat board, whilst carefully figuring out where your party and the encounter is, everytime combat arose was time consuming. You'll also notice that you'll have to change the map everytime, of course, which is also time consuming.

If you LOVE miniature wargaming. If Warhammer is something you daydream about.... this is the game for you! As a miniature game experience it ranks a three or four...

If you love games that take place in your head fired by limitless imagination then your probably going to be disappointed.

I really feel like power gamers are going to LOVE this game and probably flame me for my remarks. The game is geared towards being 'godlike'. I'm not knocking this. If you love powergaming and twinking then this is DEFFINITLEY the game for you. To each his or her own. You should buy it immediately... and keep DnD fiscally sound enough to perhaps manage an inevitable rewrite that might restore my faith.

Ironically I'll be keeping my set... I think it'll make a great board game for those rare nights when I just wanna run through dungeons killings things and working off frustrations. According to the DMG I don't even need a DM to do this..... Sound like any RPG you ever heard of???? No story teller... no RPG. Just another board wargame.. albeit a pretty good one.

Good day!”



Sigh... where to begin?

First off, I should say that 4E does not appear to be on the surface a mechanically poor system. As far as it seems to go (having not read it cover to cover; I've only got it this morning and have only skimmed the classes and powers and concentrated on reading the bulk (hah) of the rest of the rules).

It is not, however, in my opinion, either particularly elegant not particularly good. It's functional. Unlike 3.x, there is nothing that I've looked at gone "wow, that's just...why did we never think of that before!" (E.g. 3.0 multiclassing, easily the finest idea of the edition in my opinion.) (Note: 3.5 is by no means without flaws. But I find despite those flaws - some of which can be fixed with light to moderate house-ruling or simply lived with - it's the most mechanically superior set of RPG rules I've encountered.)

Lest anyone misinterpret me before I go any further I should qualify my position by saying that D&D - any edition - has no nostalgic hold over me. I started playing with HeroQuest and gravitated to Rolemaster right away (talk about a step up!) No rules system, wargame or roleplaying, commands any degree of respect from me other than what it earns by it's purely mechanical elements. So, no nostalgic grognarding drives me, only what I percieve as mechanical inferiority.

Right, that said...

I dislike the design philosphy. I dislike the hero-centric mechanics and 'exception based design'. The greatest strength of 3.x for me was the standardisation of everything. I thought that the monsters and the PCs being on equal footing was an outstanding step foward.

I hate the skill system with a passion; coming from a background of skill-based RPGs, having skills as basically negligable I find an anthema. Despite the fact I've a pretty heavy optimiser when all's said and done, a look a the skills on any of my characters will show a smattering of skills outside the primaries. My current Necormancer/Pale Master, for example, has picked up new knowledge skills in the last few levels and has skill ranks in Profession (Undertaker) and (Herbalist).

(The concept of skill challenges is one of the better ideas and one I shall steal, however.)

I dislike the homogenising of the classes. While I grant you, 3.5's wide disparity in character class power levels was not good, homogenisation to this point was not the answer. After 3.x's superlative multiclassing, 4E's is laughable. I feel that the class roles are too restrictive and artificial for my tastes and I found the lack of permissibility and flexibility to be poor when compared to 3.x.

I personally find 4E to be littered with too much world-specific fluff. I really hate this because I do not play on existing campaign worlds if I can help it, as world building gives me as much joy as playing. I don't freakin' want shared fictional histories, renamed or otherwise, I want my world to be my world, not some broadly similar thing to what WotC considers ideal (this applies to 3.5 too; I tossed out the entire MM for my current campaign world).

Related to this, the MM is absolutely hands down the worst bestiary I have ever seen in any game, RPG or wargame, ever. I'm not happy, but don't regret buying the PHB and DMG; but I do the MM because it's just a collection of stat blocks. The mix of monsters and multiple levels of the same type remind me more or those found in Final Fantasy or Dungeon Siege. I've no problems with them in context but I want my table-top bestiary to include some of the normal, generic stuff like animals as well as the weird oddities. Now this would be forgivable, because reading bestiaries are usually a fun read for the sake of a read, except the MM has basically nothing to read. Most monsters get about what four-six lines of fluff. Call me nuts, but while I don't like too much fluff (or at least world-specific fluff) in my mechanics, I expect it my monster descriptions. A picture and a stat block are not inspiring me to use any of them. (Size of monsters, guys? Aside from the size stat, not heights or weights are listed; how do I describe them to the PCs? Plonk the minature down (assuming I was daft enough to buy trillions of D&D minis to have enough to do that)? Show them the picture - which doesn't help because I still don't know how big it is...)

I find the use of squares as a measurement risable, not only because it forces you to use a grid (I prefer the grid to be a rough guide not an absolute; I don't use a grid in wargames, I'm bloody well not playing a smaller-scale RPG under greater restrictions) but because I find it shatters immersion and forces you to convert back to feet anytime you deal with a described envrioment anyway (see Jump skill example. It tells you to work out your jump distance in squares and promptly has to convert it back to feet. Poor design, folks.)

The distance in squares is just one of the aspects of the rules that make me think it it too game-y for an RPG. The phrasing of the rules reminds me of a lot of (generally poor) wargames. I was particularly reminded of Warhammer Fantasy Battle (no, not even the RPG) in style - only without the strong Warhammer flavour that characterised the later stuff (not that I would want that anyway, but...)

Overall, the set-up reminded me forceably of a CRPG (not necessarily an MMORPG, because I've never played one) but more of Diablo, Dungeon Siege or JRPGs where the monsters are totally different from the players and everything has to have some combat use.

Finally, I found that it didn't have enough of a grounding in reality for me (two fantasy armour-types for every loosely historical one? No, I think not.) Now, I'd be the first to agree my games, containing as they do on occasion laser-breathing psionic crow-falcons or Pokemon (once) are not realisitic. They are however, very firmly grounded in reality (and where appropriate history - not just Medieval either), which I use as a springboard to do the crazies. 4E bears very little lip service (longbows have a range of 200' (40 squares)? Keh? That's not even a hundred yards.) to reality, sacrificing it for the game-y aspects, which as mentioned earlier, I don't like as I find them counter to immersion.



Frankly, WotC seem to me to have done a Games Workshop; a lot of heavy commercialisation (plugging D&D mini cards for random encounters but never suggesting random encounter tables? What?) and trying very hard to recruit new blood. (I could, with perhaps a touch of unfairness but a fair degree of justification, accuse them of dumbing it down.) I imagine it'll be great for newcomers or for DMs who just want to pull WotC monsters right out of the box. But for a mechanic-loving, wargaming, homebrewer like me, it's just not what I want from an RPG system. I may well play it (but I'll play pretty much anything if it eases my DMing duties a touch), but I'm certainly not going to DM it.



(And clerics with lasers? What?)




nicely summed up here as well

Abardam
2008-06-14, 08:57 PM
1) Yeah, nations uses fleets, shipbuilding would make a difference in terms of naval power. Any sailing adventure would need this skill
3) And they often use wagons. As for the use of the skill, nations use carpeting in order to build their houses, and house quality would make a difference in playYour adventurers are regularly hired to build ships and houses?


2) Adventures eat, cooking is extremly important Why would you need to determine how good someone's cooking is? "The chicken cordon bleu is delicious, you gain 5 hp."

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-14, 08:59 PM
Because it suffers the flaws of real life utilitarian ideals. It focuses on efficiency, ease of use, balence, and university so much that it looses the actual spirit that made the game and becomes this empty creation. Assuming 4E is balanced perfectly (i doubt it, this is WotC after all) the way it is played is such a disgrace that it just makes you sick. I mean, look at the MM. It is like the monster guide in the back of a Final fantasy guide book. They monsters are nothing but combat blocks, with two or three sentences of description, and that is it. It is an abomination of the old versions. When 3E gives you more complex and interesting monsters, then you know your doing something wrong. Maybe i enjoy the goblins human rights sight to much, but these is just dead.

:smallconfused: I thought players were supposed to add the spirit of a game?

4e stripped the fluff out because it got in the way of clarity and because it makes it much easier to customize the rules for the settings books that WotC plans to publish. Far easier to give the players and DM a hazy idea of how a monster/race generally works in the Core books rather than devoting time to re-writing the monster entry entirely every time you make a new splatbook.

Personally, the "Lore" sections in the MM give me just enough to flavor to see what WotC was thinking about when they invented the monster, while not giving me pages of orc dietary habits that take up the space potentially having another monster. If I decide that My Orcs are Different (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OurOrcsAreDifferent) then I can decide what they eat if it matters, after all.

Were you planning on writing your own setting, or using one from the splatbooks? If you don't like writing your own setting, I think that WotC has actually been producing some pretty good setting books as of late, so I don't think you'll be disappointed.

EvilElitest
2008-06-14, 11:04 PM
My answer to the question: Not much.

I think people who claim that it doesn't allow for flexibility are kidding themselves. One example I will cite: you can finally create viable characters of any class and any race. Remember when, say, a halfling fighter was at a pretty sizable disadvantage due to a Strength penalty? And forget about a half-orc wizard. The removal of penalties allows for greater role-playing possibility. Wanted a powerful Dwarven paladin? You've got it. They no longer take a hit to Charisma. An Elven fighter? Sure. No more sock to their Constitution. This, to me, is just one example of expansion of roleplaying possibilities, instead of ceaseless min/maxing just to make a character playable.

And yet, the classes are all streamlined inter a certain role. That is a huge step back in D&D. The idea of racial problems is that it made sense, certain races weren't suited to certain roles, but it was still possible. In this version, everything is streamlined and simplified


Another point- anytime something comes up that's new, there are going to be people who love it just because it's new, and there are going to be people who gripe about it just because it's new. Neither side has any real correctness whatsoever. Just because something is different from 3.5 doesn't mean it's bad (and conversely, doesn't mean it's good either).
I'm not being conservative here, i pleaded for a new edition way back when. I just don't like this one



Addendum: Personally, I love the action-oriented gameplay. I know, a lot of you will say that it focuses on combat and not on roleplaying. I think the burden of that falls on the players and whether or not the DM is competent, and not on the game setting.
Not when the world had no real fluff in it to roleplay way. That is a slanted argument, because the responsibility falls on both the player and the DM/Designers



Your adventurers are regularly hired to build ships and houses?
Not build, that would be Carpenter. Design. Ship building would ship disgin, concepts, and upgrades. My players do that yes. In a pirate game they redesigned their captured ships to be more suited to combat and raiding. In another they designed a new ship and were able to allow a small nation they repersent discover a new world. In anther instance, they invented the Roman thing that allowed the troops to walk onto their enemies ships (they used it against Crathag). Gods, to many examples


Why would you need to determine how good someone's cooking is? "The chicken cordon bleu is delicious, you gain 5 hp."
1) They threw a fancy party with a bunch of powerful nobles and politicians, you want to make an effect
2) Poisoning. Also once a halfling noted that a restraunt was cooking different than normally and investigated (turns out it was a Sweeny Todd sort of thing)
3) Quality food makes good impresions, and in order to get quality ingredients people do a lot of things. Same halfling was used to find quality spices to sell back home
personally i think food should make a difference on your stats actually, because in both 4E and 3E, you can eat marshmellows all day and nothing else and be fine


I thought players were supposed to add the spirit of a game?
Key word, add. They are suppose to add to the game, yes, but they are suppose to work with the spirit that is already there.


4e stripped the fluff out because it got in the way of clarity and because it makes it much easier to customize the rules for the settings books that WotC plans to publish. Far easier to give the players and DM a hazy idea of how a monster/race generally works in the Core books rather than devoting time to re-writing the monster entry entirely every time you make a new splatbook.
No, that is WotC being lazy. The DM should be able to make his own monsters, but the game should still provide quality fluff. Making the monsters literally just a paragraph of description (at best) and a few stat blocks is absurd. That is bad game design and awful monster design.


Personally, the "Lore" sections in the MM give me just enough to flavor to see what WotC was thinking about when they invented the monster, while not giving me pages of orc dietary habits that take up the space potentially having another monster. If I decide that My Orcs are Different then I can decide what they eat if it matters, after all.

1) actually if you look at the lore in the books, it doesn't really give anything. I mean look at Koa Tu
"Kua Toeas are Loathsome fish people who live in the black seas of the Underdark, building great temples to alien gods. They regard all other races as potential slaves or sacrifices"
Then stat blocks. This is so primative

If you want you want to make your own cool niffty orcs, cool I applauded you on that, go ahead. I do so myself. But just because you can do a lot with homebrewing doesn't mean WotC can simply make botched fluff


Were you planning on writing your own setting, or using one from the splatbooks? If you don't like writing your own setting, I think that WotC has actually been producing some pretty good setting books as of late, so I don't think you'll be disappointed.
No i just don't like lazy and bad monster design.


from
EE

fleet
2008-06-15, 01:27 AM
Alright, i may not be the best expert on this since i will admit up front that i only have access to the hand book for 4E and I've not had a chance to play test the game yet, but I'd like to take a stab at defending 3.x's skill system against all the players who argue it was nit picky.

I started playing dnd with 3.5, and my group was a very intellectual one. Outside of the game we had players who actually had degrees in physics, engineering, and medicine. The problem most players have with extra skills like craft, and knowledge (obscure subject), or profession, is that they don't really know as much as the character does. When you actually have the personal knowledge, and the in character justification to use it, those skills are incredibly important. For example, how do you justify a cleric who walks around with a large metal pole and a copper wire trailing to the ground. In 4E you can't really explain this easily. In 3.x we could just say, oh he has an 18 int, and high ranks in architecture and alchemy so he is a visionary genius who can invent a lightning rod.

Or for a more common example, proffesion locksmith, or craft locks is an incredibly powerful skill. In the hands of a player who actually knows what it means to have an understanding of the workings of a given set of locks. With a crowbar and a hammer a decent locksmith is as good as a low level rogue for opening simple locks. In 4E though, how am i supposed to play a smart fighter with an obsession with complex devices? At what point is my role playing his familiarity going to cross into the realm of meta gaming?

4E actually does move for a less well defined game environment, not because it takes away a useless mechanic, but because it takes a legitimately interesting way for a player justifying his involvement with his character, and replaces it with a broad vague set of "super" skills. Is my cleric's tendency to design cathedrals in his spare time, really a mechanic that can be explained as one half his level + int + 5(training). My cleric who actually builds cathedrals in his spare time has about a 25% better chance than a high int fighter who's never studied a blue print in his life. In fact by level 10 when everyone is becoming a well known hero my trained cleric is roughly twice as good at building a cathedral as a level 10 Sinbad the sailor. Sure it makes sense for someone to get better at common adventuring options like kicking down doors or tying a rope. Heck, he might even pick up a bit of lock picking and such, but how is sinbad the sailor supposed to know a load bearing truss from a flying buttress?

And yes having knowledge of architecture can be useful in an adventure. Want to bring down an evil temple? Feel like bringing down a siege tower in the middle of the night with out attracting attention? Well if you have the skill, you know that a few whacks to load bearing portions with a sledge hammer can bring the thing crashing down on you head. (few whacks, may mean magical explosives for larger structures). 4E's skill system though, really offers the player no real reason to handicap his character in favor of his own preferences. He could be roughly as good at the skill either way. This is just one example, but i'm sure i could point out a dozen more.

Profession cooking? need an excuse to get into a lord manor, how about "I'm the worlds greatest chef"

Carpentry? great excuse for a theif to get into a building. "I'm here to fix the cabinents" even better, if you actually use your skill (i.e to earn money) you may have a reputation in an area for being a carpenter

perform? good god don't even get me started. The fact that WoTC nixed the bard tells me more about this editions problem with being too combat focused. yes the bard tried to do everything and failed at it all. But his absence leaves a major hole in the flavor of the core classes. The bard was the quintessential adventurer, the guy who actually went out there and faced death, because he thought seeing new places and people was Fun. I dare you to find an archetype that is frivolous. 4E coddles the player by making him good at everything and Great at a few things. 3.x actually let you fail, utterly totaly, and Gloriously. 4E makes that much harder by forcing you into a practical path.((sorry got sidetracked there))




(not sure if i made my point very clearly it's kind of late I will elaborate if anyone has objections to my logic.)

Yahzi
2008-06-15, 01:43 AM
The standard out-of-the-box assumptions include "Poochy"-style races which exist only to be trademarks and are just lame.
Maybe I am showing my age, but I have no idea what a "Poochy"-style is. :smallredface:

Otherwise I totally loved your rant. :smallsmile:

Learnedguy
2008-06-15, 01:45 AM
Actually, I kinda like that the profession skills are meant to be RP:ed by now. It's so easy get into crafting this way:smallbiggrin:

For instance, crafting is rather easy to handle once you realize that:
1, To craft something you need the necessary materials
2, You need somewhere to work
3, To make a magical weapon you have to do the enchanting part with a ritual

So, if a PC says he's a former blacksmith, then I let him forge a weapon for himself as long as he got the necessary materials (those he have to buy) and a place to work with the necessary equipment. Necessary materials might be fuel for the forge, iron ingots and so on. Then, if you want a magical weapon, you enchant it through a ritual. Heck, maybe the ritual even is a part of the forging process? That would give a nice old-school myth feel to the whole thing.

Now, I'm not saying that a skills checks are completely worthless. For instance, a chef who used his nature skills to evaluate different ingredients will definitely make a tastier meal than someone who didn't.

fleet
2008-06-15, 02:42 AM
Yes, that's quite simple conceptually, the whole point of what i'm saying is that, for alot of players, especially older players who have a formal education, the professional skills of 3.5 were USEFUL. They gave a realistic in game reason to use outside knowledge that would otherwise be unbalancing. They allowed the player to put in mcgyver like solutions that worked around unworkable problems. In 4E i need to spend a feat to justify that same advantage. And if i do there is no degree of difference between the guy who has a hobby cooking and the master chef, who before he started adventuring was the finest chef in all the land.

Learnedguy
2008-06-15, 02:52 AM
Yes, that's quite simple conceptually, the whole point of what i'm saying is that, for alot of players, especially older players who have a formal education, the professional skills of 3.5 were USEFUL. They gave a realistic in game reason to use outside knowledge that would otherwise be unbalancing. They allowed the player to put in mcgyver like solutions that worked around unworkable problems. In 4E i need to spend a feat to justify that same advantage. And if i do there is no degree of difference between the guy who has a hobby cooking and the master chef, who before he started adventuring was the finest chef in all the land.

I agree, that is a good point. Now, in 4e, if the PC's wants to create something mechanical like a siege engine or something like that, I'd resolve it with a skill challenge (using ability checks, say intelligence and wisdom), but yes, I can certainly see what you're getting at there.

Abardam
2008-06-15, 02:57 AM
Not build, that would be Carpenter. Design. Ship building would ship disgin, concepts, and upgrades. My players do that yes. In a pirate game they redesigned their captured ships to be more suited to combat and raiding. In another they designed a new ship and were able to allow a small nation they repersent discover a new world. In anther instance, they invented the Roman thing that allowed the troops to walk onto their enemies ships (they used it against Crathag). Gods, to many examplesWell, alright. I personally wouldn't make this a skill, though. They wouldn't roll for it, but instead design the ship themselves (i.e., as players).


1) They threw a fancy party with a bunch of powerful nobles and politicians, you want to make an effect
2) Poisoning. Also once a halfling noted that a restraunt was cooking different than normally and investigated (turns out it was a Sweeny Todd sort of thing)
3) Quality food makes good impresions, and in order to get quality ingredients people do a lot of things. Same halfling was used to find quality spices to sell back home
personally i think food should make a difference on your stats actually, because in both 4E and 3E, you can eat marshmellows all day and nothing else and be fine1) If they say they're a good cook, they can be a good cook. If they'd be trying to impress the nobles, anyway, I don't think the quality of the food would have as big an effect as, say, diplomacy. (Unless they're really crappy cooks, and you don't need a skill to say if they are, anyway.)
2 and 3) Perception. In 4e, all the senses are rolled into perception, including smell and taste. I'd give them circumstance bonuses if they were chefs or whatever though
+) You could rule that they get scurvy?

nagora
2008-06-15, 06:06 AM
Maybe I am showing my age, but I have no idea what a "Poochy"-style is. :smallredface:

Otherwise I totally loved your rant. :smallsmile:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itchy_%26_Scratchy#Poochie

tumble check
2008-06-15, 07:16 AM
yes the bard tried to do everything and failed at it all. But his absence leaves a major hole in the flavor of the core classes. The bard was the quintessential adventurer, the guy who actually went out there and faced death, because he thought seeing new places and people was Fun. I dare you to find an archetype that is frivolous. 4E coddles the player by making him good at everything and Great at a few things. 3.x actually let you fail, utterly totaly, and Gloriously.

So eloquently put.

I can't tolerate the handholding in 4e, both mechanically and flavorfully. The entire air of the PHB on how "you're already heroes who have risen above the rest" and "hey look at the awesome s**t you can already do at level 1!" hugely gets on my nerves. I think I said it earlier in the thread, but I miss the crescendo of character development. WotC said that in 4e, they sought to take the sweet spot of 3.5's levels 8-14 or so and expand them to 30 levels. Well, they certainly have, but at the expense of the overall feel of the game.

I also lament the death of the Bard. Yeah yeah, I know, they'll release it in a supplement, but you know it's going to be completely different from the 3.5 bard. After all, the old Bard was more about adventure and exploration, and there's certainly not much room for that in 4e, is there?

Learnedguy
2008-06-15, 07:30 AM
So eloquently put.

I can't tolerate the handholding in 4e, both mechanically and flavorfully. The entire air of the PHB on how "you're already heroes who have risen above the rest" and "hey look at the awesome s**t you can already do at level 1!" hugely gets on my nerves. I think I said it earlier in the thread, but I miss the crescendo of character development. WotC said that in 4e, they sought to take the sweet spot of 3.5's levels 8-14 or so and expand them to 30 levels. Well, they certainly have, but at the expense of the overall feel of the game.

I also lament the death of the Bard. Yeah yeah, I know, they'll release it in a supplement, but you know it's going to be completely different from the 3.5 bard. After all, the old Bard was more about adventure and exploration, and there's certainly not much room for that in 4e, is there?

:smallconfused:

Antacid
2008-06-15, 08:47 AM
For example, how do you justify a cleric who walks around with a large metal pole and a copper wire trailing to the ground. In 4E you can't really explain this easily. In 3.x we could just say, oh he has an 18 int, and high ranks in architecture and alchemy so he is a visionary genius who can invent a lightning rod.

Uh-oh. This isn't going to be pretty.


Or for a more common example, proffesion locksmith, or craft locks is an incredibly powerful skill. In the hands of a player who actually knows what it means to have an understanding of the workings of a given set of locks. With a crowbar and a hammer a decent locksmith is as good as a low level rogue for opening simple locks.

Knock is a Ritual now, you know. And Rogues can still pick locks. And Fighters can always break a door down, with or without a crowbar.


In 4E though, how am i supposed to play a smart fighter with an obsession with complex devices?

Spend a feat for the Thievery skill? You don't have to use it to pick pockets if you don't want to.


Is my cleric's tendency to design cathedrals in his spare time, really a mechanic that can be explained as one half his level + int + 5(training). My cleric who actually builds cathedrals in his spare time has about a 25% better chance than a high int fighter who's never studied a blue print in his life.

The DM could always declare building cathedrals to be a Trained Only application of the Religion skill, and only let a character use it to build cathedrals if the player had provided justification in his backstory.


And yes having knowledge of architecture can be useful in an adventure. Want to bring down an evil temple? Feel like bringing down a siege tower in the middle of the night with out attracting attention? Well if you have the skill, you know that a few whacks to load bearing portions with a sledge hammer can bring the thing crashing down on you head. (few whacks, may mean magical explosives for larger structures).

Perception is the skill you're looking for - the same that's skill used to find secret doors and traps. The DM might give you a +2 bonus if you can convince him your knowledge of cathedral architecture is applicable to siege towers.


Profession cooking? need an excuse to get into a lord manor, how about "I'm the worlds greatest chef"

Bluff. If you're only trying to get in, what difference does it make if you're actually good at cooking? If you're planning to stay a while, player backstory is a much better way to go than having a whole separate skill for something that will only affect the game on very rare occasions.


Carpentry? great excuse for a theif to get into a building. "I'm here to fix the cabinents" even better, if you actually use your skill (i.e to earn money) you may have a reputation in an area for being a carpenter

When you can earn thousands of gold from a single adventure, and be the subject of ballads?


perform? good god don't even get me started.

Playing music doesn't have a mechanical effect on anything any more, at least until WotC put the Bard class back in. Until it does, there's no reason to have a mechanic for it.


4E's skill system though, really offers the player no real reason to handicap his character in favor of his own preferences. He could be roughly as good at the skill either way. This is just one example, but i'm sure i could point out a dozen more.

What it actually does is take the focus off mechanics and onto what actually happens at the gaming table: someone rolls a dice and succeeds or fails. That's all any every skill check has ever come down to: you roll a dice an see what happens. Whether a particular player can get a superior bonus by juggling skill points is an unnecessary complication, because the DM can always decide that, yes, a cleric will always have a better understanding of how to bring down an evil temple, even if there is another player in the party with Religion trained and a higher Wisdom; and for most people it it's better to have simple but flexible rules and apply common sense than make a new rule for every possible eventuality.

obliged_salmon
2008-06-15, 10:34 AM
what's wrong with 4e? two things, as far a I can tell.

power names: as a DM, having to stop and say "uhh, which one is that again?" every time a player says "I use Solar Wrath on the grimlock."

death of linear fighter: now, I'm all for death of quadratic wizard, but there are plenty of people I game with (myself included) who like to grab a cool weapon and just plain old bash bad guys with it, without having to keep track of things like powers and their effects, and marking. On the flip side, I'm much, much more likely to enjoy playing a caster in 4e, because I don't have to worry about fifty niggling spell details (range, duration, casting time, components, spell resistance, area of effect, school, save DC's, AND actual effects of the spell).

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-15, 11:41 AM
Key word, add. They are suppose to add to the game, yes, but they are suppose to work with the spirit that is already there.

Ah, I see what you want there. You want a system that is integrated with a campaign world. Use Shadowrun, White Wolf, or one of the many other systems where that is the case. Heck, wait a bit for the FR campaign setting and you'll be set.

Me? I rarely buy campaign books or modules, 'cause I'm cheap and I like worldbuilding. I use a gaming system for its rules, not for its fluff. Now, I know that's not for everyone, but I think WotC has a good track record for writing extensive settings books that detail things like orc tribes, monstrous societies, and so on. I'm sure you'll be happier once WotC starts churning out splatbooks.

Indon
2008-06-15, 11:54 AM
Why would you need to determine how good someone's cooking is? "The chicken cordon bleu is delicious, you gain 5 hp."

If you can gain hit points from being told you're doing a good job, or from just a bit of adrenaline, why not gain HP from a tasty morsel?

In fact, maybe that's all healing potions are in 4'th edition - ridiculously delicious mixed drinks.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-15, 11:58 AM
If you can gain hit points from being told you're doing a good job, or from just a bit of adrenaline, why not gain HP from a tasty morsel?

In fact, maybe that's all healing potions are in 4'th edition - ridiculously delicious mixed drinks.

My god, it all makes sense! I may decide to incorporate that for dwarven casters - the Rituals? It's because in order to capture the essence of flavor, they need to be magically delicious. :smallbiggrin:

Yahzi
2008-06-15, 12:48 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itchy_%26_Scratchy#Poochie
Oh, that Poochie. I get it.

Thanks! :smallbiggrin:

THAC0
2008-06-15, 01:12 PM
what's wrong with 4e? two things, as far a I can tell.

power names: as a DM, having to stop and say "uhh, which one is that again?" every time a player says "I use Solar Wrath on the grimlock."



Easiest problem to solve ever. Play more, then you grow more familiar with the names.

Vindaloo
2008-06-15, 02:39 PM
Hello everyone, this is my first post here, I am very glad to finally find a D&D forum that is intelligent and filled with interesting discussion.

My background: I have been roleplaying for over 20 years, I started with Basic D&D, moved on to AD&D, then 2nd Ed, 3rd Ed, and finally 3.5. Along the way I have also played Gurps, Rolemaster, Palladium, White Wolf, Heavy Gear, Shadowrun, Paranoia, Call of Cthulhu, Warhammer, and many many more. I've done every type of RP possible except LARPing, from pure dungeon crawls to epic storylines. This thread got my attention and I was hoping to share my opinion with you all.

So, I have finally read through the 4th edition rulebooks, and I did not especially like what I read. Of course part of this is because I am an old-style gamer and this new version is very razzle-dazzle, but I came away with the feeling that 4th edition was released because they realized that 3.5 does not make a good videogame (see DDO). In a videogame, especially a MMORPG, all characters must be equal; in 3.5 you had characters that were good in combat, others were terrible in combat yet great in RP situations, however RP in a videogame is a non-factor, so the less combat worthy were at a serious disadvantage. And then if you try to incorporate open-ended wizards like in 3.5, the videogame becomes very unbalanced very quickly. However 4th edition would make a great videogame, all characters are equally good in combat, it has steady and simple progression, and there are almost no RP abilities to speak of. For those players looking for a good balanced combat system, 4th edition is for you. For players, like myself, who enjoyed and made creative use of the inbalances, stick with 3.5.

For example: my group really likes the fact that Rogues in 3.5 are mostly non-combat characters yet essential to any group. The Rogue is such a versatile RP character, and no two rogues are alike, yet the Rogue was not very good in a straight-up fight unless the player used him wisely. In 4th ed. all rogues will essentially be identical yet their RP value is nil, or rather it is exactly the same as everyone elses.

One thing I do like about 4th edition is the revamp of the magic system, it's not prefect but it is a step-up from the old one in many respects. However I disagree that the old system was broken, which seems to be a recurring opinion in this discussion. The magic system in 3.5 was only unbalanced if the DM did nothing to contain it; there are many interesting and creative ways to keep it in check. In our campaigns wizards policed themselves, not everyone had teleport for the simple reason that teleport is very powerful, you cannot let just all wizards get this spell. Similarly a fireball happy wizard will most likely have to answer to someone much more powerful than him before long.

However I really dislike the new skill system in 4th edition, it shows that RP skills have no value. Yes you can add them in your house rule, but the core system is telling you that only your direct combat or "adventuring" skills are worth thinking about. It is true that in some instances the skill system in 3.5 was cumbersome, especially for classes like Fighters and Paladins who got very few skill points; this is why we had a few simple houserules for skills in our campaigns: all knowledge, craft, and profession skill points cost half the amount to purchase. Our campaigns relied on the characters being able to be useful outside of combat, many times we had new players join our games only to discover that their uber powergaming minmaxing character was rather useless for most of the adventure, they quickly learned the value of making sure to flesh out the non-combat aspect of their characters (at the cost of lowering their combat prowess). The difference has I see it is that 3.5 HAS a system for RP skills and 4th doesn't, this makes 4th edition very weak in my opinion.

I'll pipe in with some more thoughts on 4th edition when I get a chance to re-read it and maybe give it a spin.

-Vindaloo

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-15, 02:44 PM
Easiest problem to solve ever. Play more, then you grow more familiar with the names.

Actually, the easiest way to do this is to actually make those power cards WotC mentions. That way, if the DM asks, just hand him the card. Makes life much easier for the beginner players too.

Since you have a very limited number of powers to use, this is quite feasible in 4e. Making "power cards" in 3e was ridiculous since all the spells and so forth had several paragraphs of type.

Learnedguy
2008-06-15, 03:28 PM
Someone really have to explain to me what this RP-value is, and how 4e is capable of having a lower RP-value than 3.X.

I suppose I'm just being silly by not expecting the rules to tell me how to roleplay.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-15, 03:46 PM
Alright, i may not be the best expert on this since i will admit up front that i only have access to the hand book for 4E and I've not had a chance to play test the game yet, but I'd like to take a stab at defending 3.x's skill system against all the players who argue it was nit picky.

I started playing dnd with 3.5, and my group was a very intellectual one. Outside of the game we had players who actually had degrees in physics, engineering, and medicine. The problem most players have with extra skills like craft, and knowledge (obscure subject), or profession, is that they don't really know as much as the character does. When you actually have the personal knowledge, and the in character justification to use it, those skills are incredibly important. For example, how do you justify a cleric who walks around with a large metal pole and a copper wire trailing to the ground. In 4E you can't really explain this easily. In 3.x we could just say, oh he has an 18 int, and high ranks in architecture and alchemy so he is a visionary genius who can invent a lightning rod.

You realize that what you're saying here is that the Profession skills were good because they allowed your players to justify metagaming.

Trying to use an earthed copper rod as a lightning conductor isn't "intellectual", it's amazingly stupid. Not only because it presupposes that D&D's magical lightning obeys the same rules as real electricity (which it manifestly does not) but also because lightning conductors aren't supposed to be attached to your body.


Or for a more common example, proffesion locksmith, or craft locks is an incredibly powerful skill. In the hands of a player who actually knows what it means to have an understanding of the workings of a given set of locks. With a crowbar and a hammer a decent locksmith is as good as a low level rogue for opening simple locks. In 4E though, how am i supposed to play a smart fighter with an obsession with complex devices? At what point is my role playing his familiarity going to cross into the realm of meta gaming?

With a crowbar and a hammer *anybody* is as good as a decent rogue for opening locks.

If you want to play a smart fighter with an obsession with complex devices buy high Int and reasonable dex and say to your DM "I am obsessed with complex devices". Job done.


4E actually does move for a less well defined game environment, not because it takes away a useless mechanic, but because it takes a legitimately interesting way for a player justifying his involvement with his character, and replaces it with a broad vague set of "super" skills. Is my cleric's tendency to design cathedrals in his spare time, really a mechanic that can be explained as one half his level + int + 5(training). My cleric who actually builds cathedrals in his spare time has about a 25% better chance than a high int fighter who's never studied a blue print in his life. In fact by level 10 when everyone is becoming a well known hero my trained cleric is roughly twice as good at building a cathedral as a level 10 Sinbad the sailor. Sure it makes sense for someone to get better at common adventuring options like kicking down doors or tying a rope. Heck, he might even pick up a bit of lock picking and such, but how is sinbad the sailor supposed to know a load bearing truss from a flying buttress?

Firstly, how the hell do you "build cathedrals in your spare time"? Do you have a spare twenty-odd years between adventures?

At low levels, your 3.X Cleric is no better at building cathedrals than the fighter anyway (because you can only have so many ranks in the skill). Furthermore, your Cleric who "designs cathedrals in his spare time" (seriously, how the hell? Isn't that equivalent to saying your d20 modern character designs particle accelerators in his spare time?) then by the time your amateur architect has sunk enough points into the damned skill to actually reliably outdo the Fighter, who apparently gets to build cathedrals with an untrained Int check because your DM is a robot, you wind up being better than Christopher Wren, all from something you do "in your spare time".


And yes having knowledge of architecture can be useful in an adventure. Want to bring down an evil temple? Feel like bringing down a siege tower in the middle of the night with out attracting attention? Well if you have the skill, you know that a few whacks to load bearing portions with a sledge hammer can bring the thing crashing down on you head. (few whacks, may mean magical explosives for larger structures). 4E's skill system though, really offers the player no real reason to handicap his character in favor of his own preferences. He could be roughly as good at the skill either way. This is just one example, but i'm sure i could point out a dozen more.

So to summarize, the Profession skill is useful because it gives your players license to metagame, and a game mechanical mandate to force the DM to let them do stupid things like invent lightning rods and demolish buildings with impunity.

I'll stick with 4th edition, I think.


Profession cooking? need an excuse to get into a lord manor, how about "I'm the worlds greatest chef"

How about the words "really, how in the name of all the gods did you learn to be the world's greatest chef by cralwing around big holes in the ground stabbing monsters?"


Carpentry? great excuse for a theif to get into a building. "I'm here to fix the cabinents" even better, if you actually use your skill (i.e to earn money) you may have a reputation in an area for being a carpenter

Getting somebody to believe an outrageous lie like "I'm here to fix the cabinets" (just your regular bespoke cabinet fixer, y'know, like you got wandering around medieval city-states just fixing cabinets, oh yes) is the province of the Bluff skill which is, of course, still in the system.


perform? good god don't even get me started. The fact that WoTC nixed the bard tells me more about this editions problem with being too combat focused. yes the bard tried to do everything and failed at it all. But his absence leaves a major hole in the flavor of the core classes. The bard was the quintessential adventurer, the guy who actually went out there and faced death, because he thought seeing new places and people was Fun. I dare you to find an archetype that is frivolous. 4E coddles the player by making him good at everything and Great at a few things. 3.x actually let you fail, utterly totaly, and Gloriously. 4E makes that much harder by forcing you into a practical path.((sorry got sidetracked there))

No, 3.X let you fail totally, utterly, and *boringly*. Glorious failure is when you die fighting overwhelming odds for something you believe in. What 3.X lets you do is die fighting supposedly equal odds for no clear reason.

And why does "the guy who actually went out there and faced death, because he thought seeing new places and people was Fun" need a Class to back it up exactly? Again you seem to be making the baffling assumption that your character's personality should be defined by game mechanics.

epicsoul
2008-06-15, 04:58 PM
Long time lurker, but never bothered to register or post until today. However, I feel the need to engage in discourse about 4e, and this forum has seemed to be one of the few that I think I would actually like to. I have read the last 19 pages of info, and here's my two bits.

What is wrong with 4e?

The very fact It exists, AND is not an upgrade to existing 3.0/3.5.

How so? I hate that it exists on the grounds that, as someone who has been gaming for 25 years, any new players to D&D will view this as their first experience. Many arguments in other forums, and used earlier in here once or twice, is that if you don't like it, you can just keep playing 3x. However, the flaw in this argument is that the player community is divided - and so, many will convert, some won't. However, those that don't, will eventually become obsolete - they will join the dodo - if not now, then in a few years.

I know this, because I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into 3.0 (although 3.5 was no prob for me) from 2e. Having moved away from my old gaming group, and in a new town, I was unable to find a group willing to play 2e. In order to scratch my gaming itch, I had to either play 3x, or play different games. I did both. I gave in, and was assimilated.

Now, 4e is out. I face the same issue (I just moved - bad damn timing!). So - if I don't like 4e, I am stuck playing it - or hanging up the dice bag once and for all. If I hate dragonborn or warlords, I still have to play with a group that will probably run it, because that is part of core. Sure, once I am DM, THEN I can get rid of them, but not until then.

Of course, once you get to know a group, then you can mold them into what you desire - if you DM. However, with 3x no longer in print, and the games vastly different, the learning curve to teach 3x is going to be very difficult to overcome. I am not bashing 4e for this - but as has been pointed out multiple times, and to everyone's agreement, they are different games altogether from a mechanics perspective.

Okay. It's been argued previously in this thread that mechanics can, or can't, create the story/character. There's examples about an enchantress, for instance, and about plots that may revolve around specific powers. I think that some of the examples used are poor, sadly. I do believe that mechanics can help define the story and/or character.

To lead in to this: yes, this will involve magic. Everyone seems to agree also that magic has been heavily changed, and nerfed, for 4e.

Case in point:

Magic is, in many ways, what defines a fantasy world. Whether it is fantasy races, or spells, or mighty artifacts, or even the gods themselves.

... So, with the advent of 4e, the very concept of magic and the wizard/apprentice relationship is gone. Alternatively, the availability of magic universities, if such exist. Why? Because, as per the core game, there are no spells that are learnt through a teacher, or through arcane secrets from elder ages. All beginning casters have the same selection of a few spells. Admittedly, this list will be expanded through splats, no doubt. Still... a primary source of adventure in many old groups was getting new spells for the caster. The background that you can develop for a wizzie is actually changed. Thus, mechanics actually change character. Most agree that wizards in 4e are more akin to 3.5 sorcerors now.

This is replaced by rituals, of course, but all the basic powers of the wizard are now universal. Meanwhile, rituals are theoretically available to all pcs.

My second point for magic relates to rituals indirectly. The creation of magic items is now a 4th level ritual. In one hour, you can create any level appropriate magic item, if you have the funds.

What this directly means is, especially with teleport circles in most major cities, as per the rules, magic is inherently... not magical. It is commonplace. While the characters are heroes (and thus not common), yes, any character can take 2 feats and create new items.

This means that a low-magic setting, or a magic-rare setting (my favourite), contradicts the rules. Now, before anyone gets their feathers ruffled... I had the same problem with 3e too. The fact that the cr system, as well as levels, had a built-in assumption that you would have a certain amount of loot at certain levels didn't sit well with my play style, but the monsters that you would then fight required that in order to defeat them, or else the CR system lost its effectiveness. Again, even 1e and 2e had this problem (monsters requiring +2, or +3 weapons to hurt). However, the limitation on a wizard was that they could only cast a Vancian amount of spells a day.

Now, the party (or npc) wizard can blast bolts of power all day without any limit. Again... magic is actually easier. Admittedly, the utility spells are gone, but the blast spells are now oddly more common because of it.

This brings me to the game balancing aspect of 4e. Oddly, I always thought that D&D, in every edition, was balanced. Others may scoff. However, I always felt that each class, when given to shine in its particular environment, could defeat any other class. In 1 and 2e, especially, although I do feel that 3x was slightly better for casters.

How so? Well, the 18th level fighter, if he closed with the 18th level wizzie, could kill the wizzie in 1 round of close attack. Why? Because in 1 and 2e, that wizzie only had an average hp of 35. The fighter could deliver that damage in 2 attacks, or probably 3. A thief could backstab for 4x (or was it 5x?) damage at that level, also probably causing a kill. Even 2e clerics - I suppose they could have pulled something - Blade Barrier, perhaps. Meanwhile, the wizzie, if properly prepared, can mop the floor with them. It's the same in 3x, of course.

Furthermore, the balance was that wizzies sucked at low level, but became gods at high level - but the challenge was getting them there. A previous poster talked about having their intelligent monsters target the wizzie. Some of my smart monsters did do that when I DM'd, but I found it wasn't necessary. Why? Because when the 8th level wizzie only had 19 hp, I really found that it only took a stray arrow or two to take him down anyways... even in 3e.

There are several other things that are lacking in 4e for me, that I find wrong. The departure of alignment, the narrowness of powers, removal/addition of races and classes in core, the lack of a large skill list.

Lol. The skill thing is a big topic here. All the arguments for and against are already out there but this: I liked the larger skill list because, while yes, PCs didn't often use many of the skills like Craft or Profession, it was nice to have them there for variety, AND for NPCs. My games also often involve long periods of time passing between adventures - having a craft or profession to earn some extra income was good for the party, and also allowed the characters some downtime while the wizzie would do research. Also, I often drained party gold and items extensively (I once famously robbed an 18th level party of EVERYTHING in their belonging - even spellbooks). At that point, having those extra skills was essential for getting back on their feet.

Okay, so what is wrong for 4e is this: it does not meet my playing style. Again, the argument that has been used before this is "fine, create the rules to make it match."

Except one problem. What if I want to play, rather than DM? I don't get to write the rules then. Meanwhile, the fact that it is CORE means that it is the default setting and info. At least the other editions, the core concepts and mechanics fit with what I want in a fantasy world. This one doesn't. And that means that, unless I can find a group to run, I will have to suffer through something I don't like until I get to know the group well enough that I can run something I do like.

Note: I didn't include the things I like about 4e, because this thread is about what I find wrong in it. However, there are very few things that I do like about 4e - and all the things I do like are with the DM'ing side, not the player side.

marjan
2008-06-15, 04:59 PM
You realize that what you're saying here is that the Profession skills were good because they allowed your players to justify metagaming.


And here is the point of having rules that have description of what a skill can or cannot do is good thing. Imagine this: your DM doesn't know that it is possible to conduit lightning (let's just assume that D&D lightning works that way and that there are people not aware that it is possible to do such a thing). Does he need to read every science magazine before campaign just to know what your character background is capable of?

And how exactly do you know that D&D lightning doesn't work that way, BTW?



If you want to play a smart fighter with an obsession with complex devices buy high Int and reasonable dex and say to your DM "I am obsessed with complex devices". Job done.


Or just say that your fighter is smart and ha obsession with complex devices without putting any points in anything. Job done.

Why do you need any sort of rules exactly?



How about the words "really, how in the name of all the gods did you learn to be the world's greatest chef by cralwing around big holes in the ground stabbing monsters?"


You invalidated something by putting flawed reasoning behind it. Congratulations. Training is default method of gaining any additional ranks, feats, and other abilities. Experience is just there to put a cap on how much you get. Experience doesn't do this flawlessly, but that is just a problem with class-based systems.



Getting somebody to believe an outrageous lie like "I'm here to fix the cabinets" (just your regular bespoke cabinet fixer, y'know, like you got wandering around medieval city-states just fixing cabinets, oh yes) is the province of the Bluff skill which is, of course, still in the system.


I see. So you don't use circumstance penalties/bonuses. And in the case of lying it is actually easier if you know what you are speaking about.

Matthew
2008-06-15, 05:04 PM
Welcome to the battleground EpicSoul!



I know this, because I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into 3.0 (although 3.5 was no prob for me) from 2e. Having moved away from my old gaming group, and in a new town, I was unable to find a group willing to play 2e. In order to scratch my gaming itch, I had to either play 3x, or play different games. I did both. I gave in, and was assimilated.

Damn those D20 Borg!

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-15, 05:12 PM
And here is the point of having rules that have description of what a skill can or cannot do is good thing. Imagine this: your DM doesn't know that it is possible to conduit lightning (let's just assume that D&D lightning works that way and that there are people not aware that it is possible to do such a thing). Does he need to read every science magazine before campaign just to know what your character background is capable of?

But the Profession rules - and I'm really sorry to go all capslock here but people seem to be completely ignoring this point - DO NOT TELL YOU WHAT THE SKILL ACTUALLY DOES.

Nowhere in the 3.X rulebook does it say "a character can make a Knowledge: Alchemy roll against DC X in order to create a lightning rod which will have [Game mechanical effect Y]"


And how exactly do you know that D&D lightning doesn't work that way, BTW?

Because it doesn't earth through its caster.


Or just say that your fighter is smart and ha obsession with complex devices without putting any points in anything. Job done.

Yes, you could do that too. Cool, isn't it.


Why do you need any sort of rules exactly?

To adjudicate the outcome of PC actions, particularly in combat where the stakes are highest. I certainly *don't* need them to roleplay my character, although a great many people feel that they do.


You invalidated something by putting flawed reasoning behind it. Congratulations. Training is default method of gaining any additional ranks, feats, and other abilities. Experience is just there to put a cap on how much you get. Experience doesn't do this flawlessly, but that is just a problem with class-based systems.

And that's exactly my point. Like, seriously, it's exactly my point. The problem with class-based systems (and with level-based systems) is that they are not good at modeling real world skills. It therefore strikes me as totally obvious that the best way to model real world skills in such a system is by common sense and DM arbitration, instead of providing a rule which is stupid and unrealistic.

I don't care how much "training" you need to put points into a skill. A man who devotes his entire life to learning a skill should not wind up being worse than a guy that just does a bit of training every couple of months.


I see. So you don't use circumstance penalties/bonuses. And in the case of lying it is actually easier if you know what you are speaking about.

In the case of lying, it is actually easier when the lie is not stupid.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 05:44 PM
Well, sort of. But paragon paths are basically PrCs, and don't think for a minute that there won't be a glut of them with each new supplement.

Paragon paths are more like Kits at best, except the way they are presented they are even less interesting


Well, alright. I personally wouldn't make this a skill, though. They wouldn't roll for it, but instead design the ship themselves (i.e., as players).

No because there needs to be a basis. If they want to be able to design a better model of ship, fine, but they need to known how to work a ship. Like any other skill, they have to learn it

This applies to NPCs as well. If the PCs are being chased by a band of Ice goblins, and escape on a raft, logically could this small band have the capabilities to build a better ship. Considering they are arctic dwelling creatures, i the Dm will decide no they can't.

ect ect ect



1) If they say they're a good cook, they can be a good cook. If they'd be trying to impress the nobles, anyway, I don't think the quality of the food would have as big an effect as, say, diplomacy. (Unless they're really crappy cooks, and you don't need a skill to say if they are, anyway.)
2 and 3) Perception. In 4e, all the senses are rolled into perception, including smell and taste. I'd give them circumstance bonuses if they were chefs or whatever though
+) You could rule that they get scurvy?

1) Have you ever applied for a cooking job. they often require a sample. Also the PCs could use cooking to make an impression
2) that is the thing, i think the idea of Perception is too broad and not thought out. I would imagine perception would be able to notice odd details, or act as a last second chance for untrained people to notice something odd. But somebody who is an untrained cook will have trouble noticing the difference in ingredents
3) making good food wouldn't be an impression
4) Also the spice trade. Can't forget that
5) more like how conditioned men are for a fight, but yeah you have a point. I mean, the Roman army had a really good diet actually, while Alexander the Great Drank himself to death. I don't know how to implement it however. I do think a good cook can make a difference in terms of miltary power

Knock is a Ritual now, you know. And Rogues can still pick locks. And Fighters can always break a door down, with or without a crowbar.
however a lock smith can make locks, and also can undo locks. A cleric might take it for example if you lack a rogue



The DM could always declare building cathedrals to be a Trained Only application of the Religion skill, and only let a character use it to build cathedrals if the player had provided justification in his backstory.
Homebrewing does not fix a faulty system. Same goes for 3E actually


Ah, I see what you want there. You want a system that is integrated with a campaign world. Use Shadowrun, White Wolf, or one of the many other systems where that is the case. Heck, wait a bit for the FR campaign setting and you'll be set.
Not exactly. I don't mind one where it is integrated with a specific setting, but i do want a system that is very clear on its own fluff

Also the new FR is awful, not touching it


Me? I rarely buy campaign books or modules, 'cause I'm cheap and I like worldbuilding. I use a gaming system for its rules, not for its fluff. Now, I know that's not for everyone, but I think WotC has a good track record for writing extensive settings books that detail things like orc tribes, monstrous societies, and so on. I'm sure you'll be happier once WotC starts churning out splatbooks.

Which is great for you (no sarcasm, it really is) but it doesn't offer an excuse for WotC faulty fluff and descriptions. It makes the monsters seem like video game entities who exist to die and make the game flat and shallow.


My god, it all makes sense! I may decide to incorporate that for dwarven casters - the Rituals? It's because in order to capture the essence of flavor, they need to be magically delicious
but they only work for kids silly rabbit :smallbiggrin:

vindallo, it is weird, when i read the adds for 4E i felt the exact same thing, great minds think alike



Someone really have to explain to me what this RP-value is, and how 4e is capable of having a lower RP-value than 3.X.

I suppose I'm just being silly by not expecting the rules to tell me how to roleplay.
design phisosphy, complexity, consistently, verisimilitude ect



You realize that what you're saying here is that the Profession skills were good because they allowed your players to justify varation
fixed for you


Firstly, how the hell do you "build cathedrals in your spare time"? Do you have a spare twenty-odd years between adventures?

You can design one. Actually in one of my games a character invented the arch. Also castle design and miltary defensives do make a difference

from
EE

marjan
2008-06-15, 05:46 PM
But the Profession rules - and I'm really sorry to go all capslock here but people seem to be completely ignoring this point - DO NOT TELL YOU WHAT THE SKILL ACTUALLY DOES.

Nowhere in the 3.X rulebook does it say "a character can make a Knowledge: Alchemy roll against DC X in order to create a lightning rod which will have [Game mechanical effect Y]"


Well, it's not completely true. They tell you how much money you can earn. And the problem of the skill not describing it does can be solved by putting the description. And there are many other skills that did describe what you can do with it and have been removed.



Because it doesn't earth through its caster.


You see it as a proof of D&D lightning not working like real-world lightning. I see it as a proof of D&D casters not working like real-world casters.



Yes, you could do that too. Cool, isn't it.


Matter of preference. But if you do like why do you need rules anyway?



To adjudicate the outcome of PC actions, particularly in combat where the stakes are highest. I certainly *don't* need them to roleplay my character, although a great many people feel that they do.


Stakes can be as high in out-of-combat situations. And they can roleplay your character, but just because they can doesn't mean they have to.



And that's exactly my point. Like, seriously, it's exactly my point. The problem with class-based systems (and with level-based systems) is that they are not good at modeling real world skills. It therefore strikes me as totally obvious that the best way to model real world skills in such a system is by common sense and DM arbitration, instead of providing a rule which is stupid and unrealistic.


And then, I hate to say, class-based systems aren't for you. Many rules are unrealistic, but it is because a) they cannot be implemented realistically enough, or b) they are unnecessary complex if implemented in such way. You solve the problem with skills by removing them and keep everything else. Then your characters spend entire level playing social encounters and suddenly become better at hitting things. This is also highly unrealistic, so remove that also. And then, piece by piece, you remove every rule you had, or convert it to totally new system. Also, doing anything is skills, it's just that D&D terminology calls it different.



I don't care how much "training" you need to put points into a skill. A man who devotes his entire life to learning a skill should not wind up being worse than a guy that just does a bit of training every couple of months.
[/I]

Some people are more suited for learning certain things than others. And even if they are both equally suited for learning, there is finite number of things you can learn about a certain skill.

Matthew
2008-06-15, 05:54 PM
And then, I hate to say, class-based systems aren't for you. Many rules are unrealistic, but it is because a) they cannot be implemented realistically enough, or b) they are unnecessary complex if implemented in such way. You solve the problem with skills by removing them and keep everything else. Then your characters spend entire level playing social encounters and suddenly become better at hitting things. This is also highly unrealistic, so remove that also. And then, piece by piece, you remove every rule you had, or convert it to totally new system. Also, doing anything is skills, it's just that D&D terminology calls it different.

Hmmn. I think this is to misunderstand the limitations and advantages of class and level based systems. D&D is a game that uses class and level, but it by no means has to apply that logic to every aspect of the game, that was what D20 chose to do, and lots of people are happy with that approach, but it was a real break with the past.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-15, 05:58 PM
And then, I hate to say, class-based systems aren't for you. Many rules are unrealistic, but it is because a) they cannot be implemented realistically enough, or b) they are unnecessary complex if implemented in such way. You solve the problem with skills by removing them and keep everything else. Then your characters spend entire level playing social encounters and suddenly become better at hitting things. This is also highly unrealistic, so remove that also. And then, piece by piece, you remove every rule you had, or convert it to totally new system. Also, doing anything is skills, it's just that D&D terminology calls it different.

It's not that class based systems aren't for me, it's that I am aware of exactly what is and is not a sensible type of game to run with a class based system.

If I wanted a game with sensible rules for everyday activities, I would choose a skills based game with a simple task resolution mechanic. I would not choose a classes and levels based game based around dungeon adventuring and exploration.

Classes work great in D&D, they work great in Feng Shui and Star Wars and in any other strongly archetypal game in which you are not worried about the minutiae of everyday activites.

Trying to put rules for tradeskills into that kind of system is like trying to put rules for gunfights into Monopoly. It's just not what the damned game is about.

Jerthanis
2008-06-15, 06:19 PM
For example: my group really likes the fact that Rogues in 3.5 are mostly non-combat characters yet essential to any group. The Rogue is such a versatile RP character, and no two rogues are alike, yet the Rogue was not very good in a straight-up fight unless the player used him wisely. In 4th ed. all rogues will essentially be identical yet their RP value is nil, or rather it is exactly the same as everyone elses.

I take issue with this. If you believe the Rogue was better at RPing because of their stats, doesn't that mean that anyone in your group who didn't choose to play a Rogue was admitting they weren't there to RP as much as those who were? Am I a poorer RPer if I didn't choose Rogue in 3.5?

Similarly, what exactly is it about a Rogue that they get in 3.5 that they don't get in 4th edition? They still get the most skills, rely on charisma to a greater degree than before, and have access to several talking skills.

And what's the problem with every class being equal in terms of their ability to contribute to a roleplay situation? Isn't the game a roleplaying game? Shouldn't we all be able to roleplay equally well, regardless of class? If I wanted to play the no-nonsense fighter, does that mean I'll never talk my way out of any situation? That I shouldn't be able to appeal to reason and win allies, even if it's more difficult for me?

I'm going to leave the rest of your points alone, but "Only the rogues should be roleplaying" is, in my opinion, totally wrong on all levels.

Matthew
2008-06-15, 06:38 PM
He is very clearly confusing 'none combat task resolution' and 'role-playing', which is a common problem. The 'skill monkey' aspect of the Rogue is what is being supposedly de-emphasised in 4e.

Arlanthe
2008-06-15, 07:03 PM
I think the argument that skills have been de-emphasized, and therefore elements of roleplaying have suffered, is a valid one.

I will concede that professions, skills, and "taking 10" were underused in many circumstances. They certainly "weren't for everyone", but neither were they necessary in most respects. A DM and his or her gaming crew could easily default to hack and slash and non-skill focused gaming in any edition of D&D, or in most gaming systems.

However, in 3E, in my opinion, the option of weaving them into a campaign radically increased both roleplaying value and character utility- for creative DMs.

For instance-

I also saw a post somewhere that discussed a wagon wheel needing to be fixed between waves of kobolds. Wow, now that is a creative encounter skill! I have used this kind of thinking into encounters in my campaigns- fights where characters actually needed to climb during fights to shut valves off, or risk more steam damage (climb + disable device). I have had encounters that provided a benefit of Use Magic Device to reverse magic effects. I was rather fond of finding creative benefits for thing a like use rope in a fight scenario. Wow we had some great cinematic scraps! I have also created adventures where a scribe saved the day, etc, etc you get the idea.

As a DM, I will weave at least one unique opportunity to let a character "shine" with any skill. I once had a character take weaving as a skill. Seeing this, I had a particular tribe of goblins had developed a type of jagged sliver bolt that had a chance of embedding in a player. They had a cumulative negative effect on characters, and when removed, they could do additional damage. However, with a weaving check DC 10, they could be de-threaded from characters body with no ill effect. There is a use for any skill!

I just feel that in 4E, all of this cinematic skill based activity (in and out of combat) somewhat reduces the role-playing value of all characters, and definitely bleaches a lot of enriching possibilities from the game. It seems 4E stresses very basic combat mechanics over a diverse palatte of character encounter possibilities. It redeems itself in some ways- such as by formally introduced skill challenges. But then again, I have been doing this kind of thing in 3E for years now! The rules for this were already present, so we used it for exactly this kind of thing, and 4E just spelled this one possibility out for people who hadn't thoguht to use skills this way before.

Meh. 4E. :(

Matthew
2008-06-15, 07:12 PM
I think the argument that skills have been de-emphasized, and therefore elements of roleplaying have suffered, is a valid one.

*some interesting stuff*

I think this is again to somewhat conflate "task resolution" with "role-playing", but you are looking at a middle ground, which is "task resolution as an inspiration for role-playing" or "task resolution creating variety in your fluff" (because at the end of the day 1d20+X is still 1d20+X).

Still, I think you make a valid complaint, in that the structured mechanics could inspire game masters to get 'creative', but that is actually also true of absent mechanics, they just require you to think in a different way.

Vindaloo
2008-06-15, 07:42 PM
I take issue with this. If you believe the Rogue was better at RPing because of their stats, doesn't that mean that anyone in your group who didn't choose to play a Rogue was admitting they weren't there to RP as much as those who were? Am I a poorer RPer if I didn't choose Rogue in 3.5?

Similarly, what exactly is it about a Rogue that they get in 3.5 that they don't get in 4th edition? They still get the most skills, rely on charisma to a greater degree than before, and have access to several talking skills.

And what's the problem with every class being equal in terms of their ability to contribute to a roleplay situation? Isn't the game a roleplaying game? Shouldn't we all be able to roleplay equally well, regardless of class? If I wanted to play the no-nonsense fighter, does that mean I'll never talk my way out of any situation? That I shouldn't be able to appeal to reason and win allies, even if it's more difficult for me?

I'm going to leave the rest of your points alone, but "Only the rogues should be roleplaying" is, in my opinion, totally wrong on all levels.

I never said "Only the rogues should be roleplaying"; therefore I think you misunderstood me, let me try to clarify. All players can roleplay, however some characters have inherent advantages in certain situations because they chose to spend their skill points in more RP situational skills. Rogues, due to their high number of skill points and great number of class skills, are the easiest to do this with; however because of this ability Rogues took in a hit in their combat prowess. Now the great thing was if you wanted to play a fighter diplomat you could do this in many different ways and there was nothing to stop you from doing so, but you would sacrifice some combat prowess to do so - in other words you had to choose the right balance of combat vs RP prowess that was right for your character. In 4th ed. this choice doesn't exist, all characters are equally good in combat, and equally good in RP, everyone is equal - thus boring IMO. The spice of a good roleplaying game comes from trying to make the best of the party's strengths and weaknesses, adjusting them as you progressed through the campaign.

It's important to understand that when I refer to RP skills, I mean attributes that enhance or facilitate achieving a certain goal in non-combat encounters, be it haggling with a merchant or convincing the guards you are not the droid they are looking for. All characters can participate in RP equally, however the fighter who has zero points in Diplomacy will not do well when negotiating a treaty, but that doesn't mean he can't have fun trying. But guess what, if all the fighter ever does is put points into Ride and feats into Weapons then it makes a whole lot of sense that he is not good at the negotiating table.

fleet
2008-06-15, 08:15 PM
I agree with vindaloo. I think 4E is harming the realism of the role play environment by assuming unless otherwise stated in background, everyone is equally good at most things. And i find this to be absurd. I don't think rules are there to tell you what you can do, they should tell you what you can't do. The big improvement of a rules system is that it tells you that in a fight you can't just say "I dodge" and have it work. 4E just doesn't do that outside of combat. It gives a simple chance mechanic and tells you "here apply this to everything".

Jerthanis
2008-06-15, 10:06 PM
I never said "Only the rogues should be roleplaying"; therefore I think you misunderstood me, let me try to clarify. All players can roleplay, however some characters have inherent advantages in certain situations because they chose to spend their skill points in more RP situational skills. Rogues, due to their high number of skill points and great number of class skills, are the easiest to do this with; however because of this ability Rogues took in a hit in their combat prowess.

This is a ****y way to balance classes in a game. Worse than different XP scales by class, worse than having ethos based restrictions on a character's actions, worse than requiring high ability scores or substandard build choices* to qualify, and about the same as including arbitrary and frequent Anti-Magic fields to limit casters. You're saying that a game played among a group of people should involve people being forced to sit out and play second fiddle as much as half the time.

Do your players take Gameboys to your games to pass the time between participating? Because this has actually happened to our group in 3rd edition.

*:I'm referring here to qualifying for, say, the Paladin class in 2nd edition, where you may have an 18 and a 16 as your two highest stats, and you could plug the 18/16 into strength/constitution and play a powerful fighter, or into charisma/strength to play a Paladin who isn't quite as strong at fighting.



Now the great thing was if you wanted to play a fighter diplomat you could do this in many different ways and there was nothing to stop you from doing so, but you would sacrifice some combat prowess to do so - in other words you had to choose the right balance of combat vs RP prowess that was right for your character. In 4th ed. this choice doesn't exist, all characters are equally good in combat, and equally good in RP, everyone is equal - thus boring IMO. The spice of a good roleplaying game comes from trying to make the best of the party's strengths and weaknesses, adjusting them as you progressed through the campaign.

Except the system got in your way at every stage. You can't be good at diplomacy for your level no matter how much you try to be as a Fighter. You can only barely compensate for your weakness enough that by high level you could accomplish something that a low level character of a class good at diplomatic things could accomplish easily. An easier example to explain the problem here is the Spot/Listen impossibility. You could, as a Fighter, cross-class the Spot/Listen skills, but in exchange you get no other skills, and due to the half-rate of advancement, by midlevels you won't be able to spot or listen against any significant sneaking threat anyway. You are, by trying to be good at something against type throwing your points into a bin.

The best gaming, to me, is when everyone around the table is engaged seriously in whatever is going on, and this is 100% against the core design philosophy you describe here... that a person must give up an ability to contribute to one aspect of the game to contribute to another completely unrelated aspect of the game, which almost always occupies a different period of time in the game night.



It's important to understand that when I refer to RP skills, I mean attributes that enhance or facilitate achieving a certain goal in non-combat encounters, be it haggling with a merchant or convincing the guards you are not the droid they are looking for. All characters can participate in RP equally, however the fighter who has zero points in Diplomacy will not do well when negotiating a treaty, but that doesn't mean he can't have fun trying. But guess what, if all the fighter ever does is put points into Ride and feats into Weapons then it makes a whole lot of sense that he is not good at the negotiating table.

Which means the fighter can have fun trying, but he'll never succeed. I'm sure that's a very encouraging attitude to take, and I'm sure you feel that 3rd edition's system of tradeoffs in terms of skill points and feats evens out to mean that it makes sense that a Fighter will never speak to a king, but that Fighter may have sat quietly through dozens of negotiations masterminded by his friend the rogue or cleric, and learned nothing.

For another thing: How is it that a rogue being able to say, "I convince him we're telling the truth... 36 Diplomacy check" is any better roleplaying than a Fighter saying, "By the sword of my father, and the honor of my name, if you lend me your men, I will deliver the proof of the conspiracy in no longer than a fortnight."

Why should the Rogue's method always succeed and the Fighter always fail?

turkishproverb
2008-06-15, 11:34 PM
Which means the fighter can have fun trying, but he'll never succeed. I'm sure that's a very encouraging attitude to take, and I'm sure you feel that 3rd edition's system of tradeoffs in terms of skill points and feats evens out to mean that it makes sense that a Fighter will never speak to a king, but that Fighter may have sat quietly through dozens of negotiations masterminded by his friend the rogue or cleric, and learned nothing.


You know, 2 things come to mind

1. Unlike you, not every DM uses a MAX POSSIBLE DC REQUIREMENT as a CRUTCH while running a game.

2. Circumstance bonus.

Fhaolan
2008-06-16, 12:40 AM
You're saying that a game played among a group of people should involve people being forced to sit out and play second fiddle as much as half the time.


I may be misunderstanding here, so I'm just asking for clarification. The way I read this statement makes me think that in your games, the characters are in combat as much as half of the time?

If this reading is correct, I believe this might be the core of the disagreement. I know that in the games I DM, combat takes place possibly once every four or five sessions, and even then the players tend to complain if during that session the combat takes up more than half the time. My players positively enjoy evading combat using their wits and character skills, finding other ways of defeating the foe without drawing a weapon of any kind.

If, on the other hand, you are really spending at least half of each and every session in combat, or are having a full session of combat every other session, I can understand the attraction of a streamlined yet combat-focused system.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-16, 03:56 AM
I may be misunderstanding here, so I'm just asking for clarification. The way I read this statement makes me think that in your games, the characters are in combat as much as half of the time?

I can't speak for that poster, but the way it reads to me is that, because of the slightly crazy niche protection in 3.X, most *out of combat* situations only require one person to be active at once. It's far from inevitable, but the way the 3.X skill system works in practice, once one party member has (say) Diplomacy, it's not really worth anybody else getting it, so social situations boil down to the Rogue or Bard talking while everybody else plays on their DS.


If this reading is correct, I believe this might be the core of the disagreement. I know that in the games I DM, combat takes place possibly once every four or five sessions, and even then the players tend to complain if during that session the combat takes up more than half the time. My players positively enjoy evading combat using their wits and character skills, finding other ways of defeating the foe without drawing a weapon of any kind.

I like my players to avoid combat using their wits. I don't like my players avoiding combat using their character skills, particularly when (like another poster highlighted - but as an *advantage* peculiarly) those skills are essentially used to justify metagaming.


If, on the other hand, you are really spending at least half of each and every session in combat, or are having a full session of combat every other session, I can understand the attraction of a streamlined yet combat-focused system.

I like streamlined systems, period. I simply don't value the additional "choice" of being able to design a character who can Hide but not Move Silently.

nagora
2008-06-16, 04:51 AM
This is a ****y way to balance classes in a game. Worse than different XP scales by class,
Worse than the best way, in other words. Seriously, dropping differing xp scales was THE biggest blunder ever made in D&D; it's made balancing the classes far harder than it should be for everyone. Of course, the morass of skills and feats has also contributed to the problem by not having xp costs attached to them.

I think that the current design philosophy is actually incapable of producing a balanced game - I don't mean "has made it hard to" I mean "has made it impossible to" balance the characters.

Kizara
2008-06-16, 04:55 AM
Worse than the best way, in other words. Seriously, dropping differing xp scales was THE biggest blunder ever made in D&D; it's made balancing the classes far harder than it should be for everyone. Of course, the morass of skills and feats has also contributed to the problem by not having xp costs attached to them.

I think that the current design philosophy is actually incapable of producing a balanced game - I don't mean "has made it hard to" I mean "has made it impossible to" balance the characters.

I think skills and feats have XP costs in the sense that you need XP to level up in order to get them. It would be pretty silly and mechancially terrible if you had to pay for them again. I don't think it would do much towards 'balance' either.

You have something of a point with the XP scales thing; the problem is that conceptually it worked on a certain level, but it was horribly clunky and ackward.

nagora
2008-06-16, 05:01 AM
I think skills and feats have XP costs in the sense that you need XP to level up in order to get them. It would be pretty silly and mechancially terrible if you had to pay for them again. I don't think it would do much towards 'balance' either.
If certain feats were found to be too good, or underpowered, there would be a mechanism for doing errata to fix them without changing what they actually do.


You have something of a point with the XP scales thing; the problem is that conceptually it worked on a certain level, but it was horribly clunky and ackward.
In what way? You just looked at a table under the class listing and compared your xp to it. What's clunky or awkward about that? It even makes sense! Does a baker need the same xp to progress as a baker that a marine does to progress as a marine?

Kizara
2008-06-16, 05:34 AM
If certain feats were found to be too good, or underpowered, there would be a mechanism for doing errata to fix them without changing what they actually do.

Yea, I know where you were going with it, I just think it would muddy things needlessly. Just change/ban the few feats that need it, is much easier and cleaner.


In what way? You just looked at a table under the class listing and compared your xp to it. What's clunky or awkward about that? It even makes sense! Does a baker need the same xp to progress as a baker that a marine does to progress as a marine?

Honestly, I have never looked at a 2e book, I'm just going on heresay. I also am generally in favor of unified mechanics as opposed to ones with many exceptions and variables. I'd have to have a look at it myself tbh. It's a valid idea for achieving class balance without killing class identity, and it does work conceptually.

Starsinger
2008-06-16, 05:48 AM
It's far from inevitable, but the way the 3.X skill system works in practice, once one party member has (say) Diplomacy, it's not really worth anybody else getting it, so social situations boil down to the Rogue or Bard talking while everybody else plays on their DS.

I actually got yelled at once for that...

Abardam
2008-06-16, 07:17 AM
1) Have you ever applied for a cooking job. they often require a sample. Also the PCs could use cooking to make an impression You misunderstand. I meant, if the player says the character is a good cook (like say, in the backstory, or after a rigorous 3-month training montage with the greatest cook in the land) then bam, the character is a good cook.


If you can gain hit points from being told you're doing a good job, or from just a bit of adrenaline, why not gain HP from a tasty morsel?

In fact, maybe that's all healing potions are in 4'th edition - ridiculously delicious mixed drinks.You asked for this.

Culinary (Intelligence)
You know how to cook stuff.

Cook
Make a Culinary check to cook some food.

Cook: 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours.
DC: Base DC 15.
Success: You cook food enough for 5 characters. Each character regains one healing surge. For every 10 points by which you beat the DC, each character regains one more healing surge.
Failure: Your food tastes like crap.
Special: If you cook for 1 hour, you gain a +2 bonus to the check. If you cook for 2 hours, you gain a +4 bonus to the check. A character may only benefit (failed cooking counts) from Cook once per day.


Detect Ingredients
Make a Culinary check to be able to tell what ingredients are in some food.

Detect Ingredients: Standard action
DC: See table.
Success: You know what ingredients there are in food, or what type of potion it is, or if the food is poisoned.
Failure: No retries.

{table]Type of consumable|DC
Food|15
Potion|Level of potion
Poison|DM sets[/table]

----

Special Ingredients
Use these ingredients in conjunction with Cook to apply the listed benefit. Each ingredient increases the DC by a set amount.
{table]Ingredient|Effect|DC
Dragon eye|Characters gain +2 to Perception for the next five minutes|+2
Flame pepper|Characters gain resist fire 5 for the next five minutes|+4
A stone|Nothing|+0
Human skin|Characters gain +2 on their next save, for the next five minutes|+2
Worg tooth|Characters gain the Worg's Frightful Growl for the next five minutes|+4
Carrion crawler brain juice|That's toxic, you dumbass|-[/table]

----

Fat [Heroic]
Prerequisite: Con 13
Benefit: You can benefit from the Cook skill up to twice per day, and gain a +2 bonus to Endurance.

nagora
2008-06-16, 07:21 AM
Honestly, I have never looked at a 2e book, I'm just going on heresay. I also am generally in favor of unified mechanics as opposed to ones with many exceptions and variables. I'd have to have a look at it myself tbh. It's a valid idea for achieving class balance without killing class identity, and it does work conceptually.

Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. A unified xp chart is too simple, IMO.

Anyway, for your entertainment and consideration, here's the Thief and Magic User tables from 1ed (the magic user one is split over a page break which is why it goes a bit wonky):

http://www.tww.cx/downloads/thiefxp.png

http://www.tww.cx/downloads/muxp.png

By the time the magic user gets to 18th level, the thief is half way through 23rd.

tumble check
2008-06-16, 07:45 AM
Worse than the best way, in other words. Seriously, dropping differing xp scales was THE biggest blunder ever made in D&D; it's made balancing the classes far harder than it should be for everyone.

Yep, and the best solution WotC has come up with so far is "Everyone advances at essentially the same pace for skills and everyone's class abilities are now similarly damaging attacks with minor effects. Now, everything is mathematically balanced."

Yay.

Matthew
2008-06-16, 08:05 AM
Honestly, I have never looked at a 2e book, I'm just going on heresay. I also am generally in favor of unified mechanics as opposed to ones with many exceptions and variables. I'd have to have a look at it myself tbh. It's a valid idea for achieving class balance without killing class identity, and it does work conceptually.

Prepare for the glory:


Fighter, Cleric, Magician, and Thief

{table=head]
Experience|
Class|
Level|
Attacks|
THAC0|
Hit Dice|
Saving Throws|Abilities

0|
Thief|
1|
1|
20|
1D6 |13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 60, Back Stab x2

0|
Cleric|
1|
1|
20|
1D8|10/14/13/16/15|Spell Slots 1, Turn Undead 1

0|
Fighter|
1|
1|
20|
1D10|14/16/15/17/17|

0|
Magician|
1|
1|
20|
1D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 1

1,250|
Thief|
2|
1|
20|
2D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 90, Back Stab x2

1,500|
Cleric|
2|
1|
20|
2D8|10/14/13/16/15|Spell Slots 2, Turn Undead 2

2,000|
Fighter|
2|
1|
19|
2D10|14/16/15/17/17|

2,500|
Magician|
2|
1|
20|
2D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 2

2,500|
Thief|
3|
1|
19|
3D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 120, Back Stab x2

3,000|
Cleric|
3|
1|
19|
3D8|10/14/13/16/15|Spell Slots 2/1, Turn Undead 3

4,000|
Fighter|
3|
1|
18|
3D10|13/15/14/16/16|

5,000|
Magician|
3|
1|
20|
3D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 2/1

5,000|
Thief|
4|
1|
19|
4D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 150, Back Stab x2

6,000|
Cleric|
4|
1|
18|
4D8|9/13/12/15/14|Spell Slots 3/2, Turn Undead 4

8,000|
Fighter|
4|
1|
17|
4D10|13/15/14/16/16|

10,000|
Magician|
4|
1|
19|
4D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 3/2

10,000|
Thief|
5|
1|
18|
5D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 180, Back Stab x3

13,000|
Cleric|
5|
1|
18|
5D8|9/13/12/15/14|Spell Slots 3/3/1, Turn Undead 5

16,000|
Fighter|
5|
1|
16|
5D10|11/13/12/13/14|

20,000|
Magician|
5|
1|
19|
5D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 4/2/1

20,000|
Thief|
6|
1|
18|
6D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 210, Back Stab x3

27,500|
Cleric|
6|
1|
18|
6D8|9/13/12/15/14|Spell Slots 3/3/2, Turn Undead 6

32,000|
Fighter|
6|
1|
15|
6D10|11/13/12/13/14|

40,000|
Magician|
6|
1|
19|
6D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/2/2

40,000|
Thief|
7|
1|
17|
7D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 240, Back Stab x3

55,000|
Cleric|
7|
1|
16|
7D8|7/11/10/13/12|Spell Slots 3/3/2/1, Turn Undead 7

60,000|
Magician|
7|
1|
18|
7D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/2/1

64,000|
Fighter|
7|
3/2|
14|
7D10|10/12/11/12/13|

70,000|
Thief|
8|
1|
17|
8D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 270, Back Stab x3

90,000|
Magician|
8|
1|
18|
8D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/3/2

110,000|
Cleric|
8|
1|
16|
8D8|7/11/10/13/12|Spell Slots 3/3/3/2, Turn Undead 8

110,000|
Thief|
9|
1|
16|
9D6|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 300, Back Stab x4

125,000|
Fighter|
8|
3/2|
13|
8D10|11/13/12/13/14|

135,000|
Magician|
9|
1|
18|
9D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/3/2/1

160,000|
Thief|
10|
1|
16|
10D6|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 330, Back Stab x4

220,000|
Thief|
11|
1|
15|
10D6+2|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 360, Back Stab x4

225,000|
Cleric|
9|
1|
16|
9D8|7/11/10/13/12|Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/1, Turn Undead 9

250,000|
Fighter|
9|
3/2|
12|
9D10|8/10/9/9/11|

250,000|
Magician|
10|
1|
17|
10D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/2
[/table]

Magician versus Bard

{table=head]
Experience|
Class|
Level|
Attacks|
THAC0|
Hit Dice|
Saving Throws|Abilities

0|
Bard|
1|
1|
20|
1D6 |13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 20, Spell Slots 0,

0|
Magician|
1|
1|
20|
1D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 1

1,250|
Bard|
2|
1|
20|
2D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 35, Spell Slots 1

2,500|
Magician|
2|
1|
20|
2D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 2

2,500|
Bard|
3|
1|
19|
3D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 50, Spell Slots 2

5,000|
Magician|
3|
1|
20|
3D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 2/1

5,000|
Bard|
4|
1|
19|
4D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 65, Spell Slots 2/1

10,000|
Magician|
4|
1|
19|
4D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 3/2

10,000|
Bard|
5|
1|
18|
5D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 80, Spell Slots 3/1

20,000|
Magician|
5|
1|
19|
5D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 4/2/1

20,000|
Bard|
6|
1|
18|
6D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 95, Spell Slots 3/2

40,000|
Magician|
6|
1|
19|
6D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/2/2

40,000|
Bard|
7|
1|
17|
7D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 110, Spell Slots 3/2/1

60,000|
Magician|
7|
1|
18|
7D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/2/1

70,000|
Bard|
8|
1|
17|
8D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 125, Spell Slots 3/2/2

90,000|
Magician|
8|
1|
18|
8D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/3/2

110,000|
Bard|
9|
1|
16|
9D6|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 140, Spell Slots 3/3/2

135,000|
Magician|
9|
1|
18|
9D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/3/2/1

160,000|
Bard|
10|
1|
16|
10D6|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 155, Spell Slots 3/3/2/1

220,000|
Bard|
11|
1|
15|
10D6+2|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 170, Spell Slots 3/3/3/1

250,000|
Magician|
10|
1|
17|
10D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/2
[/table]

nagora
2008-06-16, 08:12 AM
Prepare for the glory:


Fighter, Cleric, Magician, Thief

{table=head]Experience|Class|Level|Attacks|THAC0|Hit Dice|Saving Throws|Abilities

0|
Thief|
1|
1|
20|
1D6 |13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 60, Back Stab x2

0|
Cleric|
1|
1|
20|
1D8|10/14/13/16/15|Spell Slots 1, Turn Undead 1

0|
Fighter|
1|
1|
20|
1D10|14/16/15/17/17|

0|
Magician|
1|
1|
20|
1D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 1

1,250|
Thief|
2|
1|
20|
2D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 90, Back Stab x2

1,500|
Cleric|
2|
1|
20|
2D8|10/14/13/16/15|Spell Slots 2, Turn Undead 2

2,000|
Fighter|
2|
1|
19|
2D10|14/16/15/17/17|

2,500|
Magician|
2|
1|
20|
2D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 2

2,500|
Thief|
3|
1|
19|
3D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 120, Back Stab x2

3,000|
Cleric|
3|
1|
19|
3D8|10/14/13/16/15|Spell Slots 2/1, Turn Undead 3

4,000|
Fighter|
3|
1|
18|
3D10|13/15/14/16/16|

5,000|
Magician|
3|
1|
20|
3D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 2/1

5,000|
Thief|
4|
1|
19|
4D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 150, Back Stab x2

6,000|
Cleric|
4|
1|
18|
4D8|9/13/12/15/14|Spell Slots 3/2, Turn Undead 4

8,000|
Fighter|
4|
1|
17|
4D10|13/15/14/16/16|

10,000|
Magician|
4|
1|
19|
4D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 3/2

10,000|
Thief|
5|
1|
18|
5D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 180, Back Stab x3

13,000|
Cleric|
5|
1|
18|
5D8|9/13/12/15/14|Spell Slots 3/3/1, Turn Undead 5

16,000|
Fighter|
5|
1|
16|
5D10|11/13/12/13/14|

20,000|
Magician|
5|
1|
19|
5D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 4/2/1

20,000|
Thief|
6|
1|
18|
6D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 210, Back Stab x3

27,500|
Cleric|
6|
1|
18|
6D8|9/13/12/15/14|Spell Slots 3/3/2, Turn Undead 6

32,000|
Fighter|
6|
1|
15|
6D10|11/13/12/13/14|

40,000|
Magician|
6|
1|
19|
6D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/2/2

40,000|
Thief|
7|
1|
17|
7D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 240, Back Stab x3

55,000|
Cleric|
7|
1|
16|
7D8|7/11/10/13/12|Spell Slots 3/3/2/1, Turn Undead 7

60,000|
Magician|
7|
1|
18|
7D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/2/1

64,000|
Fighter|
7|
3/2|
14|
7D10|10/12/11/12/13|

70,000|
Thief|
8|
1|
17|
8D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 270, Back Stab x3

90,000|
Magician|
8|
1|
18|
8D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/3/2

110,000|
Cleric|
8|
1|
16|
8D8|7/11/10/13/12|Spell Slots 3/3/3/2, Turn Undead 8

110,000|
Thief|
9|
1|
16|
9D6|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 300, Back Stab x4

125,000|
Fighter|
8|
3/2|
13|
8D10|11/13/12/13/14|

135,000|
Magician|
9|
1|
18|
9D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/3/2/1

160,000|
Thief|
10|
1|
16|
10D6|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 330, Back Stab x4

220,000|
Thief|
11|
1|
15|
10D6+2|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 360, Back Stab x4

225,000|
Cleric|
9|
1|
16|
9D8|7/11/10/13/12|Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/1, Turn Undead 9

250,000|
Fighter|
9|
3/2|
12|
9D10|8/10/9/9/11|

250,000|
Magician|
10|
1|
17|
10D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/2
[/table]

Magician versus Bard

{table=head]Experience|Class|Level|Attacks|THAC0|Hit Dice|Saving Throws|Abilities

0|
Bard|
1|
1|
20|
1D6 |13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 20, Spell Slots 0,

0|
Magician|
1|
1|
20|
1D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 1

1,250|
Bard|
2|
1|
20|
2D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 35, Spell Slots 1

2,500|
Magician|
2|
1|
20|
2D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 2

2,500|
Bard|
3|
1|
19|
3D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 50, Spell Slots 2

5,000|
Magician|
3|
1|
20|
3D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 2/1

5,000|
Bard|
4|
1|
19|
4D6|13/14/12/16/15|Thief Skill Points 65, Spell Slots 2/1

10,000|
Magician|
4|
1|
19|
4D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 3/2

10,000|
Bard|
5|
1|
18|
5D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 80, Spell Slots 3/1

20,000|
Magician|
5|
1|
19|
5D4|14/11/13/15/12|Spell Slots 4/2/1

20,000|
Bard|
6|
1|
18|
6D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 95, Spell Slots 3/2

40,000|
Magician|
6|
1|
19|
6D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/2/2

40,000|
Bard|
7|
1|
17|
7D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 110, Spell Slots 3/2/1

60,000|
Magician|
7|
1|
18|
7D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/2/1

70,000|
Bard|
8|
1|
17|
8D6|12/12/11/15/13|Thief Skill Points 125, Spell Slots 3/2/2

90,000|
Magician|
8|
1|
18|
8D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/3/2

110,000|
Bard|
9|
1|
16|
9D6|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 140, Spell Slots 3/3/2

135,000|
Magician|
9|
1|
18|
9D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/3/3/2/1

160,000|
Bard|
10|
1|
16|
10D6|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 155, Spell Slots 3/3/2/1

220,000|
Bard|
11|
1|
15|
10D6+2|11/10/10/14/11|Thief Skill Points 170, Spell Slots 3/3/3/1

250,000|
Magician|
10|
1|
17|
10D4|13/9/11/13/10|Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/2
[/table]



Yes, I can see why someone would find that confusing! Is that really how 2ed presented it?

Matthew
2008-06-16, 08:20 AM
Yes, I can see why someone would find that confusing! Is that really how 2ed presented it?

Nah, that's just me being a jerk, and blinding D20 folk with comparative tables. The 2e books present things in almost the same manner as the 1e books. I put those tables together to show how staggered level progression works (that is why they are in the D20 format). :smallbiggrin:

Hallavast
2008-06-16, 08:54 AM
He is very clearly confusing 'none combat task resolution' and 'role-playing', which is a common problem. The 'skill monkey' aspect of the Rogue is what is being supposedly de-emphasised in 4e.

Don't you mean "social task resolution"?

Matthew
2008-06-16, 09:00 AM
Don't you mean "social task resolution"?

Nope, since I am unfamiliar with the term, but I would imagine that to be a subset of "none combat task resolution" [i.e. any task that is resolved without recourse to combat]. To be clear, I consider combat to be a form of task resolution.

Fhaolan
2008-06-16, 09:05 AM
I can't speak for that poster, but the way it reads to me is that, because of the slightly crazy niche protection in 3.X, most *out of combat* situations only require one person to be active at once. It's far from inevitable, but the way the 3.X skill system works in practice, once one party member has (say) Diplomacy, it's not really worth anybody else getting it, so social situations boil down to the Rogue or Bard talking while everybody else plays on their DS.


Ah, okay. That makes sense, and I agree that the situation happens far more often than I would like. However, I see that happening in all game systems, not just 3e, and I haven't seen anything in 4e that actually helps that situation in truth. It just moves the emphasis from the *character* performing the time-monopolizing actions back to the *player*, as it was in previous editions. The actions still happen, they still take the amount of time they did before, it's just the player yammering on about doing the actions as he/she would do with or without mechanical support. It still doesn't make other players, who have decided that their characters have nothing to contribute to the scene, actively involved.

In other words, yes, I see this as a failing of 3.x, but to be more honest, I see this as a failing of RPGs in general, as I've only seen one or two systems that 'solved' the problem, and 4e is not one of them. And even then, my players didn't like the systems that did solve the problem for lots of other reasons.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-16, 09:21 AM
Ah, okay. That makes sense, and I agree that the situation happens far more often than I would like. However, I see that happening in all game systems, not just 3e, and I haven't seen anything in 4e that actually helps that situation in truth. It just moves the emphasis from the *character* performing the time-monopolizing actions back to the *player*, as it was in previous editions. The actions still happen, they still take the amount of time they did before, it's just the player yammering on about doing the actions as he/she would do with or without mechanical support. It still doesn't make other players, who have decided that their characters have nothing to contribute to the scene, actively involved.

In other words, yes, I see this as a failing of 3.x, but to be more honest, I see this as a failing of RPGs in general, as I've only seen one or two systems that 'solved' the problem, and 4e is not one of them. And even then, my players didn't like the systems that did solve the problem for lots of other reasons.

Oh ho, not so! Part of the beauty of Skill Challenges is that the DM is encouraged to get all members at the action involved. To quote:

In a skill challenge every player character must make skill checks to contribute to the success or failure of the encounter. Characters must make a check on their turn using one of the identified primary skills (usually with a moderate DC) or they must use a different skill, if they can come up with a way to use it to contribute to the challenge (with a hard DC).
A secondary skill can be used only once by a single character in any given skill challenge. They can also decide, if appropriate, to cooperate with another character (see “Group Skill Checks,” below)

You may initially rebel at this requirement, but in many ways it makes sense. If you are negotiating with someone, they will consider the demeanor of every person there before deciding to, say, trust the party with a large sum of gold. When negotiating a treacherous and patrolled stretch of land, you are going to have to keep an eye out for natural hazards and spot roving patrols even if you're not in the lead.

So here, you have everyone make checks. Additionally, Skill Challenges are designed to be broad enough that several skills can be used, meaning that everyone should have a decent score in at least one skill that is appropriate. This mechanic is great for solving the "DS Problem" and it forces the party to weigh the benefits of having some extra muscle around for negotiations with the costs of the CHA Dump Fighter flubbing important social checks. This is a true innovation in 4e, and an elegant one to boot!

Hallavast
2008-06-16, 09:26 AM
Nope, since I am unfamiliar with the term, but I would imagine that to be a subset of "none combat task resolution" [i.e. any task that is resolved without recourse to combat]. To be clear, I consider combat to be a form of task resolution.

Yes, it is a subset. But to be truly "clear", let's put this "resolution" in "HD". :smallsmile:

By "social task resolution" I refer to those tasks which are accomplished through the use of skills such as diplomacy, bluff, sense motive, and intimidate (i.e. speaking in a social scenario). The use of RP would suggest that these skills are the ones being used. Thus, by using the subset, "social task resolution" (a term I made up a few moments ago and explained above), we are able to more "Highly Define" the subject's desired meaning. This is verily a "clearer" distinction of the "resolution".

Any more bad puns using "dot pitch" would be more than welcome.

Matthew
2008-06-16, 09:36 AM
Any more bad puns using "dot pitch" would be more than welcome.

Right you are. Sadly, I cannot think of any off hand...

nagora
2008-06-16, 10:18 AM
So here, you have everyone make checks. Additionally, Skill Challenges are designed to be broad enough that several skills can be used, meaning that everyone should have a decent score in at least one skill that is appropriate. This mechanic is great for solving the "DS Problem" and it forces the party to weigh the benefits of having some extra muscle around for negotiations with the costs of the CHA Dump Fighter flubbing important social checks. This is a true innovation in 4e, and an elegant one to boot!

Well, what you're saying is that rather than one person making moronic rolls instead of roleplaying, everyone has to make moronic rolls instead of roleplaying. This reminds me of the minion rules: fixing a problem in 3ed not by removing it but by piling more complexity on top of it. Patching instead of repairing.

That quote from the DMG pretty well sums up how not to design a role-playing game in a nutshell.

What's next, rules for your character's chance to remember to search a room? Rules for whether your character manages to eat their food? Rules for which NPCs your character likes? Rules for how a PC reacts to bad news? Rules, in fact, to allow a computer to simply run your character for you?

This isn't innovation, it's The Sims.

Vortling
2008-06-16, 11:12 AM
Oh ho, not so! Part of the beauty of Skill Challenges is that the DM is encouraged to get all members at the action involved. This is a true innovation in 4e, and an elegant one to boot!

I disagree with both your enthusiasm and your assessment. While skill challenges are broader, they also increase the liability of non-skilled members with the forced interaction clause. It seems logical to simply tell the Charisma dumping fighter or the Strength dumping wizard to "sit this round out with the DS" and take on the skill challenge with the members of the party who are trained in the primary skills for the challenge rather than risk failures from people using non-primary skills against the hard DC or primary skills with only their untrained ranks and attribute bonus.

Encouraging everyone to participate is simply a difficult proposition when there's one person who has a clear advantage in a particular situation. Especially when the non-advantaged people will drag the advantaged on down with them.

Really, the whole out of combat side of a RPG is much more complicated than you're making it out to be and the discussion probably deserves its own thread.

Helgraf
2008-06-16, 12:17 PM
Skill Challenges - Doing it right. (http://gloomforge.livejournal.com/12135.html)

nagora
2008-06-16, 01:19 PM
Skill Challenges - Doing it right. (http://gloomforge.livejournal.com/12135.html)

Ohh, that really sucks. It really makes me wonder why people like Baker even bother to play an RPG if they are so lazy and unimaginative as to need to resort to this sort of stuff to tell them how to DM.

It reminds me of all those old Avalon Hill solo-games, and to that extent I can see that the system would be useful if you literally can't find anyone else to play with and want to do a random dungeon or something like that. But for general play this is simply broken beyond repair.


As a result, in designing a skill challenge, you need to give careful thought to the consequences of success and failure, and whether partial success is an option. You should never build a skill challenge into an adventure in such a way that failure brings the adventure to a halt....if the players HAVE to win, then you'd better just let them win.

No. If the players HAVE to win then your scenario needs to be rewritten because it sucks and blows at the same time.

If something has to happen in a scenario because you can't think of any other way of doing it and you don't have time to go and buy a module by someone who does know how to DM, then you need to pass over it quickly and hope that the players will forgive you or not notice. What you really, really, really don't want to do is waste everyone's time with a pile of die rolls which serve no purpose whatsoever.

marjan
2008-06-16, 02:00 PM
Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. A unified xp chart is too simple, IMO.

Anyway, for your entertainment and consideration, here's the Thief and Magic User tables from 1ed (the magic user one is split over a page break which is why it goes a bit wonky):

By the time the magic user gets to 18th level, the thief is half way through 23rd.

I don't really see how it is balanced to use different XP tables. For example everyone starts with 0XP and level1. Thief gets to level 2 before cleric, then cleric gets to level 2 before thief gets to level 3. So are cleric 1 and thief 2 balanced when compared to each other, or are cleric 2 or and thief 2 balanced? Whatever the case part of the time party is obviously imbalanced and it can be seen without any insight into the class abilities. So this system doesn't produce balanced parties and is complicated on top of that. Perfect reason to get rid of it if you are trying to balance classes.

nagora
2008-06-16, 02:16 PM
I don't really see how it is balanced to use different XP tables. For example everyone starts with 0XP and level1. Thief gets to level 2 before cleric, then cleric gets to level 2 before thief gets to level 3. So are cleric 1 and thief 2 balanced when compared to each other, or are cleric 2 or and thief 2 balanced? Whatever the case part of the time party is obviously imbalanced and it can be seen without any insight into the class abilities. So this system doesn't produce balanced parties and is complicated on top of that. Perfect reason to get rid of it if you are trying to balance classes.

Yes, well, since 3ed is unbalanced all the time it's not much of an argument for how fabulous the "simple" system is. 4ed will be worse due to the complexity of designing a balanced system with classes, powers, feats and skills.

And you have a very low bar for "complicated". Naturally, any system has a granularity but the aim is to balance out in the longer run, where imbalance is more of an issue, as everyone has seen with 3ed wizards.

If a class is not perfectly balanced then, with a set xp table, not only will it remain out of balance but the tendency is for it to become more unbalanced as the levels pile up and multiply the error.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-16, 02:46 PM
I disagree with both your enthusiasm and your assessment. While skill challenges are broader, they also increase the liability of non-skilled members with the forced interaction clause. It seems logical to simply tell the Charisma dumping fighter or the Strength dumping wizard to "sit this round out with the DS" and take on the skill challenge with the members of the party who are trained in the primary skills for the challenge rather than risk failures from people using non-primary skills against the hard DC or primary skills with only their untrained ranks and attribute bonus.

Encouraging everyone to participate is simply a difficult proposition when there's one person who has a clear advantage in a particular situation. Especially when the non-advantaged people will drag the advantaged on down with them.

But... sitting around and not contributing is boring. That has been the complaint of 2e low-level wizards in combat and 3e fighters in non-combat situations alike. Hell, Shadowrun had this in spades, and it was boring to wait for your Decker to hax0r the system so that you could enter the complex. Despite what the article said, a 1-3 level moderate DC is 15 according to DMG 42, which is well within reach of a non-"optimized" character. And even there, the gap between non-optimized and optimized characters is less than in 3e, so that even an untrained fighter with a CHA penalty has some chance of making a CHA roll, even at first level.

And what about my rationalization? If the party needs to get through a dangerous cliff climb, do they just tie the wizard to a fighter's back so that he doesn't have to do any climbing or dodging of rockslides? Or when your party is negotiating with the Duke, isn't he going to want to make sure that the rest of the guys standing around are OK too? Wouldn't you care?


Well, what you're saying is that rather than one person making moronic rolls instead of roleplaying, everyone has to make moronic rolls instead of roleplaying. This reminds me of the minion rules: fixing a problem in 3ed not by removing it but by piling more complexity on top of it. Patching instead of repairing.

That quote from the DMG pretty well sums up how not to design a role-playing game in a nutshell.

You missed the point.

If you're going to have social skills at all, you need a good system to model the results. If all you're going to do is have the PCs figure out how to convince you to accept their argument, then it doesn't matter if the Bard has 20 ranks in Diplomacy. Now, if you don't like social skills at all, then you must not have liked 3e either - it had terrible social rules.

So, assuming the necessary evil of giving PCs extra bonuses or penalties in social situations based on their character sheet rather than their personality, shouldn't you have a good system to figure out when the PCs have "convinced" someone? You could just make one roll, but that seems kind of simplistic, doesn't it? For things like lengthy negotiations, or bluffing your way out of getting thrown into a dungeon, you have to talk for awhile to work these things out. 3e had no such system, though you could cobble one together. 4e not only provides a system for extended non-combat situations, but it also cleanly shows success and failure, keeps the whole party involved (which is more fun than playing your DS), and is simple to administer.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-06-16, 03:05 PM
Well, what you're saying is that rather than one person making moronic rolls instead of roleplaying, everyone has to make moronic rolls instead of roleplaying. This reminds me of the minion rules: fixing a problem in 3ed not by removing it but by piling more complexity on top of it. Patching instead of repairing.
In my experience, it's people making "moronic rolls" AND roleplaying.
The reason that roll is there is that while on these forums you might be consummately polite, in real life you could just as easily be thoroughly incapable of being as charismatic as your swashbuckler character. Suddenly, you're limited to characters who are exactly as good at talking to people as, well, you are.

Isn't having *character* ability depend on *player* ability the worst kind of metagaming? To use an analogy I've seen here, it's like having players dodge arrows you shoot at them to see if their characters survive.

Most D&D players have no more chance of being smooth-tongued scoundrels than they do of being mighty-thewed warriors. And as long as their character's social abilities depend on their *own* social abilities, they'll be able to be mighty-thewed warriors--but not silver-tongued swashbucklers.


4ed will be worse due to the complexity of designing a balanced system with classes, powers, feats and skills.
Nagora, that's a pretty ridiculous assumption! It's all about the design approach. For example, in 4E, the designers had a sense of approximately how much a feat is "worth". In 3E, they didn't; Skill Focus and Natural Spell are both feats.
Similarily, classes are much easier to balance when they operate on similar principles, and powers are easier to balance than class features because you can compare them to other powers of the same level to see about how good they should be.

4E isn't *perfectly* balanced, but it does remarkably well.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-06-16, 03:14 PM
Ohh, that really sucks. It really makes me wonder why people like Baker even bother to play an RPG if they are so lazy and unimaginative as to need to resort to this sort of stuff to tell them how to DM.

You should know that this makes it nearly impossible to take anything you say seriously. Somehow, I think the guy who designed Eberron is fairly imaginative, and none too lazy, either. It amazes me that you think you're somehow superior to him just because you don't think characters should have any social mechanics whatsoever.

nagora
2008-06-16, 03:23 PM
You missed the point.
I didn't really.

If you're going to have social skills at all, you need a good system to model the results. If all you're going to do is have the PCs figure out how to convince you to accept their argument, then it doesn't matter if the Bard has 20 ranks in Diplomacy. Now, if you don't like social skills at all, then you must not have liked 3e either - it had terrible social rules.
I don't accept that there should be social skills and I also don't have the players figure out how to convince me to accept their argument.

I have this crazy system where the players play their character and make the arguments their characters would make, while I play the roles of the NPCs and react according to what they believe and want - which I know because I created the NPCs and understand them fully by definition. I'm sure there's a word for this sort of game...

If the characters involved have high or low Cha scores then I take that into consideration too - Cha is only a dump stat for total loners who never need aid or help.


So, assuming the necessary evil of giving PCs extra bonuses or penalties in social situations based on their character sheet rather than their personality, shouldn't you have a good system to figure out when the PCs have "convinced" someone?
There is no such system and can't be since the rule book can not ever know my NPCs better than me or the PCs better than the players. It's simply impossible to make a better system than playing the roles well.

The best system is the one were the people who know what's going on - the players and DM - are able to work out what happens based on the circumstances. No designer can ever match that and it's the core idea of role-playing, isn't it? That the players actually play the role and don't have it dictated to them by the DM or dice or plot or whatever - they are the characters and they make the choices.


You could just make one roll, but that seems kind of simplistic, doesn't it? For things like lengthy negotiations, or bluffing your way out of getting thrown into a dungeon, you have to talk for awhile to work these things out. 3e had no such system, though you could cobble one together. 4e not only provides a system for extended non-combat situations, but it also cleanly shows success and failure, keeps the whole party involved (which is more fun than playing your DS), and is simple to administer.
But it's madness. Bluffing, speaking tactfully, intimidation, fast talk and all the rest of it are things the player should be doing, not the dice.

This is a classic error in RPG design: attempting to legislate for bad players. This system will help poor player get a semblance of role-playing in but at the cost of encumbering everyone else with a system that is much worse than no system at all.

Gamerlord
2008-06-16, 03:32 PM
My probleem with 4e is the fact it forces to us to roleplay and gets rid of the spells that made killing so easy :smallannoyed: .

marjan
2008-06-16, 03:46 PM
If the characters involved have high or low Cha scores then I take that into consideration too - Cha is only a dump stat for total loners who never need aid or help.


So let's see.

If your players roleplay and then make a "moronic roll" (mechanic) than it is bad example of roleplay.

If your players roleplay and then you make a judgment based on some number (mechanic), then it is good example of roleplay.

This is ridicilous.



That the players actually play the role and don't have it dictated to them by the DM or dice or plot or whatever - they are the characters and they make the choices.


And somehow when you decide weather they succeed based on number isn't dictate by you.



But it's madness. Bluffing, speaking tactfully, intimidation, fast talk and all the rest of it are things the player should be doing, not the dice.


Yes, my 8 cha is really going to completely represent my smooth talking character.




This is a classic error in RPG design: attempting to legislate for bad players. This system will help poor player get a semblance of role-playing in but at the cost of encumbering everyone else with a system that is much worse than no system at all.

So anyone who isn't able to exceed their normal capabilities (or unwilling to do so all the time) is bad player.

Morty
2008-06-16, 03:48 PM
My probleem with 4e is the fact it forces to us to roleplay and gets rid of the spells that made killing so easy :smallannoyed: .

:smallconfused: I don't really know which of those two statements is more ridiculous.

nagora
2008-06-16, 03:48 PM
You should know that this makes it nearly impossible to take anything you say seriously. Somehow, I think the guy who designed Eberron is fairly imaginative, and none too lazy, either. It amazes me that you think you're somehow superior to him just because you don't think characters should have any social mechanics whatsoever.
Ah, Rachel, why do we always get on the opposite sides of the argument? Can't we just get along?

Anyway, What the guy has and hasn't written is no guide to how inciteful any piece of text in particular. I didn't recognise his name when I made that post but allowing who wrote something to colour you opinion is just a form of ad homonim: the words should stand for themselves, not rely on who said them for their weight. And these words described a game which was a lazy and unimaginative form of play.

Lazy because the DM did not bother to understand his NPCs and their drives and neither did the players their PCs. Unimaginative because everyone involved was being reactive - they looked at the dice and tried to rationalise them instead of actively thinking of things to do and try except in the most generalised of terms.

Effectively, the players are reduced to the level of a point and click adventure where they have a menu presented at each step of what to do. Indeed the whole process is very like an old computer puzzle adventure - "How about we try the diplomacy, then the intimidation, and then put the banana on the metronome? Do we get a bonus fo that?"

Layers and layers of complexity to achieve what people have been doing for decades: playing the characters' interactions, only now with dice and numbers instead of words and deeds!

Charisma is a character ability, just like wisdom or strength and the DM should take some notice of it, but still if a player says he's asking the Duchess of Soandso if she fancies a shag then he's going to get a slap. If he attempts to put it more subtly, has high Cha, and plays out making the effort then the DM should overlook the fact that the player's a 30 stone shut-in with breath that would strip wallpaper.

It's not metagaming, it's playing the role to the best of your abilities, not just pointing at the character sheet and saying "I'll use whatever it is I have the biggest number in; doe that work?" which is what bad players will do. Forget about the bad players and work on the assumption that the players and DM are going to be good and not need rules to tell them what their characters think and respond to.

turkishproverb
2008-06-16, 03:50 PM
I didn't really.

I don't accept that there should be social skills and I also don't have the players figure out how to convince me to accept their argument.

I have this crazy system where the players play their character and make the arguments their characters would make, while I play the roles of the NPCs and react according to what they believe and want - which I know because I created the NPCs and understand them fully by definition. I'm sure there's a word for this sort of game...

If the characters involved have high or low Cha scores then I take that into consideration too - Cha is only a dump stat for total loners who never need aid or help.


There is no such system and can't be since the rule book can not ever know my NPCs better than me or the PCs better than the players. It's simply impossible to make a better system than playing the roles well.

The best system is the one were the people who know what's going on - the players and DM - are able to work out what happens based on the circumstances. No designer can ever match that and it's the core idea of role-playing, isn't it? That the players actually play the role and don't have it dictated to them by the DM or dice or plot or whatever - they are the characters and they make the choices.


But it's madness. Bluffing, speaking tactfully, intimidation, fast talk and all the rest of it are things the player should be doing, not the dice.

This is a classic error in RPG design: attempting to legislate for bad players. This system will help poor player get a semblance of role-playing in but at the cost of encumbering everyone else with a system that is much worse than no system at all.


So, what your saying is if the guy with the stutter wants to play the smooth talking rogue or bard, he should just be screwed?

nagora
2008-06-16, 03:59 PM
So, what your saying is if the guy with the stutter wants to play the smooth talking rogue or bard, he should just be screwed?

Playing the character does not have to mean "always speak in character".

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-16, 04:12 PM
I don't accept that there should be social skills and I also don't have the players figure out how to convince me to accept their argument.

See? That's the core of the argument. You don't accept there should be social skills at all, so of course you wouldn't like any system that has it. I presume you play 2e? But rest assured, for people who do use skills like Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate, the 4e Skill Challenge system is mechanically much better than what they used in 3e.

I am curious though: how do you determine whether a character has convinced an NPC? Clearly you don't roll a dice, so I imagine you must decide, personally, whether or not the NPC has been convinced by a line of reasoning, or a particular lie. But if you don't determine whether the player has made a "convincing" argument or lie (or let that influence your decision) then what process do you use?

nagora
2008-06-16, 04:13 PM
So let's see.

If your players roleplay and then make a "moronic roll" (mechanic) than it is bad example of roleplay.

If your players roleplay and then you make a judgment based on some number (mechanic), then it is good example of roleplay.

Apart from the fact that I didn't say that, the point remains that if the players roleplay and I as DM then make an unfair ruling then I am a bad DM. That does not justifying throwing all good playing and all good DMing out and replacing it with a mechanical system.


This is ridicilous.

If you say so.


And somehow when you decide weather they succeed based on number isn't dictate by you.
It's not "dictated" by me, no, unless I'm a crap DM. If they have a good plan then it's a good plan. I know the NPCs, they know the PCs, there is very little reason to drag dice into this.


Yes, my 8 cha is really going to completely represent my smooth talking character.
Did I say you had to speak in character? I just want you to actually play the role you picked, not fob the job off onto the dice. So sue me!


So anyone who isn't able to exceed their normal capabilities (or unwilling to do so all the time) is bad player.

If you can't play the role you picked then why did you pick it? If you can't imagine what a sophisticated high-society dandy with a secret life as an assassin would be like as a person, why would you want to roll dice to watch someone else's paper system try to do it for you?

nagora
2008-06-16, 04:42 PM
See? That's the core of the argument. You don't accept there should be social skills at all, so of course you wouldn't like any system that has it. I presume you play 2e?
1ed, but lots of other systems and neither I nor anyone in our group who GM's use dice for social interactions unless someone is trying something borderline, in which case a coin may be flipped or a d2 rolled.


But rest assured, for people who do use skills like Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate, the 4e Skill Challenge system is mechanically much better than what they used in 3e.
That is clear, but it's early days yet and such systems often fall apart in "corner cases".


I am curious though: how do you determine whether a character has convinced an NPC? Clearly you don't roll a dice, so I imagine you must decide, personally, whether or not the NPC has been convinced by a line of reasoning, or a particular lie. But if you don't determine whether the player has made a "convincing" argument or lie (or let that influence your decision) then what process do you use?

Firstly, as DM I know why the NPC is there, what they want, what their opinion of the PCs is, what their alignment is, and just the general surface details of a person in a situation. For an important NPC I'll know things like specific personality traits and perhaps dark secrets and things like that too.

So, as DM I play that character for the duration of the interaction with the PCs (and sometimes other NPCs, which can be fun to watch). So, asking how I know whether an NPC is convinced by an argument or lie or whatever is like me asking you how you know that you've been convinced by an argument or lie presented to your character. You know the character, so you can judge whether, for example, an NPC has offered enough pay for you to do something or has offended you or has convinced you that you have the wrong guy or whatever. It's, presumably, something that you don't even think about - you're playing the character.

Now, I did mention Cha, and I do allow NPCs to be influenced by that but only in logical ways. If the player tries to intimidate Conan with a 12-stone weakling, it just ain't going to happen no matter what their Cha. There has to be some effort at relating to the NPC, and then Cha has something to work with.

Basically, I still imagine that I am the NPC, but also that the argument/intimidation or whatever is coming from someone with high or low charisma and not Pete or Micci who are sitting in front of me. I try to imagine the PC is in front of me and not the player, and in fact that does include things other than Cha: are they clean, are they in armour, are they covered in blood, are they obviously the same class (social or character class) as me, are they known or suspected of being responsible for things I approve or disapprove of, do they seem wise if they are giving me advice? And so on. It's subtle but it comes automatically with a bit of practice.

High charisma and I imagine Jeff Goldblum in front of me, low and I imagine Pete Lorre. Well, not specifically them, but you get the idea.

marjan
2008-06-16, 04:59 PM
Apart from the fact that I didn't say that

Then what exactly did you say?


That does not justifying throwing all good playing and all good DMing out and replacing it with a mechanical system.


And who said anything about throwing away playing and DMing. And, beside, what you are describing isn't necessarily good DMing. It's just a possible way of DMing.



If you say so.


Yes, I do. And I think many will agree.



It's not "dictated" by me, no, unless I'm a crap DM. If they have a good plan then it's a good plan. I know the NPCs, they know the PCs, there is very little reason to drag dice into this.


It's not dictated by you? First, even if a plan is good doesn't mean it will work. Second how is it less dictated when you decide based on what your player said and his charisma score what happens, than it is when you decide based on what your player said and his skill in diplomacy?



Did I say you had to speak in character? I just want you to actually play the role you picked, not fob the job off onto the dice. So sue me!


And having diplomacy as a skill makes this difficult. How?



If you can't play the role you picked then why did you pick it? If you can't imagine what a sophisticated high-society dandy with a secret life as an assassin would be like as a person, why would you want to roll dice to watch someone else's paper system try to do it for you?

The only role I can play based on my RL stats is ME. So why do I even bother playing the game. I could just live my life, you know and not bother with the game. I can play that role, but it won't be anywhere near what is supposed to be. It needs to be compensated somehow, and dice are just a "tools" to do that. And even if you use dice, they are not the only "tools".

Gamerlord
2008-06-16, 05:38 PM
:smallconfused: I don't really know which of those two statements is more ridiculous.
just how? :annoyed:

THAC0
2008-06-16, 05:48 PM
In some ways, I agree with Nagora.

In a perfect world, with perfect players and perfect DMs, a skill system wouldn't be needed.

But this isn't that world. If you've got a group that works with that, awesome! We had one for a while, but then moving interrupted things.

I find that I prefer playing with a skill system when I don't feel that the DM and other plays are all on the same page. You can still roleplay, but it reduces any... misunderstandings.

To that end, I find the 4e one much superior to 3.5.

Gamerlord
2008-06-16, 05:48 PM
:smallconfused: I don't really know which of those two statements is more ridiculous.
just how? :annoyed:

epicsoul
2008-06-16, 05:56 PM
My newest problem with what's wrong in 4e:

That a character with an 8 strength - an 8 strength, mind you, can wear the heaviest armour (plate), largest shield (heavy shield), and a hand weapon...

and not be encumbered.

In fact, they will still have a few lbs of weight to play with. Add on a bow or something to carry around...

and they still only have the heavy armour movement rules, but nothing else.

That's just... wrong.

THAC0
2008-06-16, 06:05 PM
My newest problem with what's wrong in 4e:

That a character with an 8 strength - an 8 strength, mind you, can wear the heaviest armour (plate), largest shield (heavy shield), and a hand weapon...

and not be encumbered.

In fact, they will still have a few lbs of weight to play with. Add on a bow or something to carry around...

and they still only have the heavy armour movement rules, but nothing else.

That's just... wrong.

Only if they're a paladin to start.

Since buying the armor proficiencies you need to meet stat requirements, and paladins are currently the only class that starts with plate proficiency.

And a paladin with eight strength has some other issues, I think!

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-16, 06:14 PM
In a perfect world, with perfect players and perfect DMs, a skill system wouldn't be needed.

Actually, I believe that "social" skills are an important part of non-storyteller systems, for the very reasons that Rich talked about in his Diplomacy Fix (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/jFppYwv7OUkegKhONNF.html). If you haven't read it, I'd recommend giving it a look.

(Aside on Storytelling Games)
BTW, the reason why I don't like "social" skills in storytelling systems (I'm talking like Bliss Stage (http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=7985) or Mountain Witch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mountain_Witch) is because the whole point of the system is to collectively write a narrative. Your characters are barely systematized at all, so almost all of your character's "effectiveness" comes from you, the player.

In a system like White Wolf or D&D, almost all of your character is defined by stats and skills you can level up. Here, the stuff on the sheet determines what you can do in game. In such a situation, I don't see why you would want to make a situation where the CHA 8 Fighter with a really witty player is going to be so much better at dealing with social situations than the CHA 18 Bard played by someone with a chronic case of foot-in-mouth.

Particularly in 1e and 2e, INT, WIS, and CHA has very few mechanical benefits , outside of their specialist classes. Heck, there wasn't much of a skill system to go with, so you pretty much had to just wing everything, or call for arbitrary ability checks. This made it very hard for someone to play a smart, wise, or influential character if they were not already smart, wise, or influential - which is kind of unfair since everyone can play strong, agile, and tough characters already.

Anyhoo, that's just something to chew on, if you like. I certainly don't advocate braindead playing ("I roll diplomacy") but I'm willing to let someone with a CHA 18 and trained Diplomacy convince a noble if they roll well, even if all they said is "I'd like to convince the noble to aid us. I'll talk about how we're on a great quest and it would be Right of him to help us." Likewise, I don't want the CHA 8 grunt with no training in Diplomacy to be able to get on as well with the Noble as the Bard, even if the grunt's player comes up with a flattering and truly convincing speech.

EDIT:

My newest problem with what's wrong in 4e:

That a character with an 8 strength - an 8 strength, mind you, can wear the heaviest armour (plate), largest shield (heavy shield), and a hand weapon...

and not be encumbered.

In fact, they will still have a few lbs of weight to play with. Add on a bow or something to carry around...

and they still only have the heavy armour movement rules, but nothing else.

That's just... wrong.

WotC just decided that since nobody liked keeping track of encumbrance anyhow, they'd just make it a token rule so that the halfling wasn't carrying around several tons of gear at a time. If you like the old encumbrance system, port it straight over from 3e - or make the weight you can carry be only 5x your STR instead of 10x. It's a simple fix that has more to do with flavor than important mechanics.

THAC0
2008-06-16, 06:28 PM
*good points made*


I think it pretty much boils down to a different way of looking at it, and a different method of rationalizing the situation. As far as not having a skill system at all, while I enjoy it, it's certainly not something that works for everyone and every group!

Matthew
2008-06-16, 06:31 PM
(Aside on Storytelling Games)
BTW, the reason why I don't like "social" skills in storytelling systems (I'm talking like Bliss Stage (http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=7985) or Mountain Witch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mountain_Witch) is because the whole point of the system is to collectively write a narrative. Your characters are barely systematized at all, so almost all of your character's "effectiveness" comes from you, the player.

In a system like White Wolf or D&D, almost all of your character is defined by stats and skills you can level up. Here, the stuff on the sheet determines what you can do in game. In such a situation, I don't see why you would want to make a situation where the CHA 8 Fighter with a really witty player is going to be so much better at dealing with social situations than the CHA 18 Bard played by someone with a chronic case of foot-in-mouth.

Particularly in 1e and 2e, INT, WIS, and CHA has very few mechanical benefits , outside of their specialist classes. Heck, there wasn't much of a skill system to go with, so you pretty much had to just wing everything, or call for arbitrary ability checks. This made it very hard for someone to play a smart, wise, or influential character if they were not already smart, wise, or influential - which is kind of unfair since everyone can play strong, agile, and tough characters already.

Anyhoo, that's just something to chew on, if you like. I certainly don't advocate braindead playing ("I roll diplomacy") but I'm willing to let someone with a CHA 18 and trained Diplomacy convince a noble if they roll well, even if all they said is "I'd like to convince the noble to aid us. I'll talk about how we're on a great quest and it would be Right of him to help us." Likewise, I don't want the CHA 8 grunt with no training in Diplomacy to be able to get on as well with the Noble as the Bard, even if the grunt's player comes up with a flattering and truly convincing speech.

This is a school of thought that has been very popular in the last decade or more, but it has an opposing school that absolutely rejects that characterisation presented here. D&D was originally never about 'levelling up' none combat skills. The things that got better were combat and spell casting orientated. You can see the gradual erosion of this even in AD&D 1e, especially in the changes made to the ranger's tracking ability in Unearthed Arcana.

D20 changed all that by adopting the 5% increment process from the combat system and applying it to 'everything'. Bad, bad use of a game that uses class and level to represent increasing combat power.

Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma get little use in combat situations, but that's not true of their potential within a module. That's part of the difference between traditional adventure role-playing games and more recent offerings. Rules were often in the adventure text and only intended to apply to that instance, and not apply generally.

The question of the "unskilled role-player" is not solved by deferring to the abilities of the character, the problem is entirely removed becoming a function of the dice and math, in the process losing one of the most potentially fun parts of the game. Okay, so Bob wants to play a Bard with Charisma 18, but he personaly is introverted and has a stammar. It's not actually better for him to defer to his character than it is for him to 'give it a go', it's just different. Personally, I wouldn't consider Bob to be role-playing if he defers to the dice for social interaction, he's abstractly resolving a task. Sure, you can use a mix of the two, but usually it becomes 'about the dice', with role-playing contributing very little (in D&D, anyway).

Antacid
2008-06-16, 07:50 PM
The problem with excluding the dice entirely from social encounters is that there’s going to be circumstances where DM arbitration and Player roleplaying isn’t enough to reflect what’s happening in the gameworld. Bluffing, for example, doesn’t just depend on what the player says, it depends on the character’s ability in-game to use convincing body language or tone of voice, which isn’t going to be represented round the gaming table any more than the Wizard’s ability to cast Disintegrate is.

The other question is, why not have an element of pure chance in a social challenge? I agree with nagora that DMs ought to be able to keep the adventure moving in an enjoyable regardless of the outcome of any single encounter – but that’s an argument for more unpredictability, not less. Playing an NPC well doesn’t just mean understanding how they will react to anything the players may do, it means being able to explain why they might take a variety of different actions independent of what the players do. That’s the difference between them being a character with their own motivations and goals v.s. a reactive plot point.



The question of the "unskilled role-player" is not solved by deferring to the abilities of the character, the problem is entirely removed becoming a function of the dice and math, in the process losing one of the most potentially fun parts of the game. Okay, so Bob wants to play a Bard with Charisma 18, but he personaly is introverted and has a stammar. It's not actually better for him to defer to his character than it is for him to 'give it a go', it's just different. Personally, I wouldn't consider Bob to be role-playing if he defers to the dice for social interaction, he's abstractly resolving a task. Sure, you can use a mix of the two, but usually it becomes 'about the dice', with role-playing contributing very little (in D&D, anyway).

My answer is not to exclude dice from roleplaying, but to require both. A player only gets to make a Diplomacy check if he’s done enough roleplaying and enough work making an argument to justfiy his making the check. So the 18 Charisma introverted Paladin character would still have his high modifier, but wouldn’t get to use add it to a dice roll unless his Player's participation justified it. And if a relatively low-Charisma character roleplays well, or comes up with a concrete argument that ought to lessen the importance of his character’s lack of Charisma in the NPCs decision, you let him use another relevant stat for the roll, or give him a circumstance bonus, and then ensure the credit and reward for success goes to that player instead.

(E.g. if a Charisma 8 Wizard makes a logical argument well enough in an encounter with an NPC who ought to be amenable to logic, you could justify letting him use his Intelligence bonus for a social skill check, because he’s made the encounter about impressing the NPC with his reasoning power instead of his social skill).

That way you encourage roleplaying without sacrificing the ability of the mechanics to reflect the gameworld - the Wizard is being rewarded for playing within his character’s role inside of the particular demands of the encounter, while the Paladin is being indirectly penalised for not playing his. And you limit the penalty to the player who isn't doing his job instead of inflicting his poor RP skills on the rest of the party.

FoE
2008-06-16, 08:00 PM
The problem with excluding the dice entirely from social encounters is that there’s going to be circumstances where DM arbitration and Player roleplaying isn’t enough to reflect what’s happening in the gameworld. Bluffing, for example, doesn’t just depend on what the player says, it depends on the character’s ability in-game to use convincing body language or tone of voice, which isn’t going to be represented round the gaming table any more than the Wizard’s ability to cast Disintegrate.

Well said, but here's another point. No matter what system you use, you typically have one player filling the role of all the NPCs: the DM. And the DM already knows you're not who you say you are when you try to Bluff your way past the orc guard by claiming to be a superior officer; after all, he's playing with you for week. So it's really an arbitrary decision on the DM's part whether or not you get past said orc. And what is his decision based on ... how well you roleplayed.? You might as well base it on whether or not the player brought chips to the gaming session.

On the other hand, you don't want everything to be a dice roll, which is dull. So like you said, Antacid, you really have to combine the two.

Matthew
2008-06-16, 08:04 PM
The problem with excluding the dice entirely from social encounters is that there’s going to be circumstances where DM arbitration and Player roleplaying isn’t enough to reflect what’s happening in the gameworld. Bluffing, for example, doesn’t just depend on what the player says, it depends on the character’s ability in-game to use convincing body language or tone of voice, which isn’t going to be represented round the gaming table any more than the Wizard’s ability to cast Disintegrate is.

Right, but I am not arguing for a complete removal of dice, but I am saying that there is no need for a skill system that gets better in 5% increments as a character advances by level. If you want to handle something by recourse to dice, just do so, the DM assigns a probability and the die is cast. Job done.



The other question is, why not have an element of chance in a social-challenge? I agree with nagora that DM ought to be able to keep the adventure moving in an enjoyable regardless of the outcome of any single encounter – but that’s an argument for more unpredictability, not less. Playing an NPC well doesn’t just mean understanding how they will react to anything the players may do, it means being able to explain why they might take a variety of different actions independent of what the players do. That’s the difference between them being a character with their own motivations and goals v.s. a reactive plot point.

The only grounds I would oppose it on are preferential, which is to say I think skill systems are an encumbrance that detracts from role-playing. Class, Attributes, Race, Level and Background are already there if you need them, there's no need to create a formal system (from my point of view).



My solution for this problem is not to exclude dice from roleplaying, but to require both. A player only gets to make a Diplomacy check if he’s done enough roleplaying and enough work making an argument to justfiy his making the check. So the 18 Charisma introverted Paladin character would still have his high modifier, but wouldn’t get to use add it to a dice roll unless his participation in the encounter justified it. And if a relatively low-Charisma character roleplays well, or comes up with a concrete argument that ought to lessen the importance of his character’s lack of Charisma in the NPCs decision, you let him use another relevant stat for the roll, or give him a circumstance bonus, and then ensure the credit and reward for success goes to that player instead.

E.g. if a Charisma 8 Wizard makes a logical argument well enough, you could justify letting him use his Intelligence bonus for a social skill check, because he’s made the encounter about impressing the NPC with his reasoning power instead of his likability.

That way you encourage roleplaying without sacrificing the ability of the mechanics to reflect the gameworld; because the Wizard is being rewarded for playing within his character’s role inside of the particular demands of the encounter, while the Paladin is being indirectly penalised for not doing his.
Sure, and that's a perfectly good way to handle it, but it's merits are also subjective. For me, a task resolution system needs to be more flexible than what you outline above.

Kompera
2008-06-16, 11:59 PM
Well, what you're saying is that rather than one person making moronic rolls instead of roleplaying, everyone has to make moronic rolls instead of roleplaying. This reminds me of the minion rules: fixing a problem in 3ed not by removing it but by piling more complexity on top of it. Patching instead of repairing.
Hmmm, I see the issue of minions in 3.x (failing to provide credible threats) as having been fixed by being removed, not patched. The problem is gone, removed utterly. In 4e Minions are very credible threats, and in my opinion at least have much less complexity in practice than running a pile of lower level monsters did in 3.x.

Kompera
2008-06-17, 12:35 AM
The problem with excluding the dice entirely from social encounters is that there’s going to be circumstances where DM arbitration and Player roleplaying isn’t enough to reflect what’s happening in the gameworld. Bluffing, for example, doesn’t just depend on what the player says, it depends on the character’s ability in-game to use convincing body language or tone of voice, which isn’t going to be represented round the gaming table any more than the Wizard’s ability to cast Disintegrate is.

The other question is, why not have an element of pure chance in a social challenge? I agree with nagora that DMs ought to be able to keep the adventure moving in an enjoyable regardless of the outcome of any single encounter – but that’s an argument for more unpredictability, not less. Playing an NPC well doesn’t just mean understanding how they will react to anything the players may do, it means being able to explain why they might take a variety of different actions independent of what the players do. That’s the difference between them being a character with their own motivations and goals v.s. a reactive plot point.



My answer is not to exclude dice from roleplaying, but to require both. A player only gets to make a Diplomacy check if he’s done enough roleplaying and enough work making an argument to justfiy his making the check. So the 18 Charisma introverted Paladin character would still have his high modifier, but wouldn’t get to use add it to a dice roll unless his Player's participation justified it. And if a relatively low-Charisma character roleplays well, or comes up with a concrete argument that ought to lessen the importance of his character’s lack of Charisma in the NPCs decision, you let him use another relevant stat for the roll, or give him a circumstance bonus, and then ensure the credit and reward for success goes to that player instead.

(E.g. if a Charisma 8 Wizard makes a logical argument well enough in an encounter with an NPC who ought to be amenable to logic, you could justify letting him use his Intelligence bonus for a social skill check, because he’s made the encounter about impressing the NPC with his reasoning power instead of his social skill).

That way you encourage roleplaying without sacrificing the ability of the mechanics to reflect the gameworld - the Wizard is being rewarded for playing within his character’s role inside of the particular demands of the encounter, while the Paladin is being indirectly penalised for not playing his. And you limit the penalty to the player who isn't doing his job instead of inflicting his poor RP skills on the rest of the party.

A wonderful solution. You are a wise, intelligent person of obvious wit and charm.


It's fully within RAW to do both. Role play the interaction between the player and the NPC, and then apply a Circumstance Modifier (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/theBasics.htm#circumstanceModifier) to the skill roll as already modified by the points the player spent on the skill and any applicable stat adjustment.
This is how my group handles things in most cases, and it has a very good 'feel' to it which surpasses either ignoring the skills or ignoring the role play. And it has the added benefit of helping to improve the role playing abilities of those players who are less adept at coming up with what to say to the city guard to convince him that the goods you have are clearly not smuggled, but that you were on your way, at this very moment, to the tariff office to pay the taxes.

:smallsmile::smallsmile::smallsmile:

turkishproverb
2008-06-17, 12:43 AM
Playing the character does not have to mean "always speak in character".

And yet you want them to roleplay Intimidation and bluffs and diplomacy and base it all off that, no thought for what the characters skills are.

No, your being foolish here. A player should be allowed to roleplay someone with abilities they don't have.

huttj509
2008-06-17, 01:30 AM
Example of character's charisma > players charisma:

We were trying to trick our way into a tower. Don't remember the details but we claimed to have a note to take to the bossman. Guard asks to see it.

"It's a verbal note"

Yeah, the guards didn't buy that. Not even a roll.

Kizara
2008-06-17, 01:35 AM
I would like to say that I also fully endorse Antacid's suggestion. It's how I've been running my games since the very begining.

Sometimes you don't need the dice, but whenever you aren't certain just how favorably they might take the PC's argument/actions, that's what the check is for.

DCs are also subjective and should be determined independantly for each situation according to the DM's judgement.


Honestly, from a simulationist's PoV, I don't find that trying to mechancialize social interaction to a high degree is productive. It is an inherently subjective, incredibly complex and delicate matter that something like a Skill Challange just doesn't really do it justice. (However, 4e's skill challange system is superior to the RAW 3e Diplomancy skill, no question. I feel both aren't acceptable used RAW.)

nagora
2008-06-17, 03:42 AM
And yet you want them to roleplay Intimidation and bluffs and diplomacy and base it all off that, no thought for what the characters skills are.
What's that got to do with speaking in character?

"I'll stand over the merchant and put my hand on the pomel of my sword while I haggle."

"Tell him we found it in a dragon horde and it must be a matching pair with the one someone stole off him."

"Blame the raid on whichever country my character thinks he's most likely to believe." (To which the DM can answer "Your character doesn't know; I'll roll randomly").

No need to speak in character in any of those.


A player should be allowed to roleplay someone with abilities they don't have.

Absolutely correct. And they should be able to roleplay their character the way they see the character, not as a set of explanations for random dice results.


Honestly, from a simulationist's PoV, I don't find that trying to mechancialize social interaction to a high degree is productive. It is an inherently subjective, incredibly complex and delicate matter that something like a Skill Challange just doesn't really do it justice. (However, 4e's skill challange system is superior to the RAW 3e Diplomancy skill, no question. I feel both aren't acceptable used RAW.)

I agree with this. Better, perhaps, and probably useful in non-social situations, but out of place in character-driven ones.

The issue isn't, in the end, about dice, it's about the role of the dice. They're being used to push the characterisation, in a social situation dice should only come into resolving the player's attampts, and rarely even then, IMO. The new challenge system puts too much power in the dice and not enough in the players and DMs who understand the characters and situation better than any third party ever can and want to play them out reasonably.

Mjoellnir
2008-06-17, 03:43 AM
To all who think they haven't enough options, here is the good old illusionist (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/files/dragon/364_ClassActs.pdf). As it seems the wizard really means it that the system should be expanded online through Dungeon and Dragon.

Neithan
2008-06-17, 03:50 AM
The only problem with 4th Edition is that it's called 4th Edition. Somehow sounds like it's a new editions of an older 3rd Edition, which it quite obviously isn't.

nagora
2008-06-17, 04:10 AM
This is a school of thought that has been very popular in the last decade or more, but it has an opposing school that absolutely rejects that characterisation presented here. D&D was originally never about 'levelling up' non-combat skills. The things that got better were combat and spell casting orientated. You can see the gradual erosion of this even in AD&D 1e, especially in the changes made to the ranger's tracking ability in Unearthed Arcana.


I think there's a more essential issue here and that's what the "roleplaying" part of the game actually is.

In D&D, is it the combat and the spell casting that make it a roleplaying game, or tracking rules if it comes to that? Clearly not - they are simply part of the genre being played and one can roleplay in a modern political setting where there is no, or very little combat, no tracking rules and no spell-casting.

What makes it a roleplaying game is the taking on of the character's part in the setting - playing the role. Putting a system in to control this paticular aspect is a break with the fundimental contcept of role-playing: the player's control of how a character acts. It is not the same as having rules for combat, tightrope walking or computer programming.

Sure, a player might act out of character, and they might act like someone who's more or less intelligent than their character or has more wisdom than their character or whatever. But I don't think it at all desireable for the system to assume that the players (and DM) are going to do that. I think the system must assume the best. Because bad players will find a way to abuse any system; there's simply no point in writing rules with them in mind. As they say in engineering: the problem with making something fool-proof is that fools are so damn ingenious.

The hard one is always intelligence. When the character has more of this than the player, it can seem unfair to require the player to act that role in the same style as someone playing an character with less intelligence. But really, players know so much more and have so much more time to plan and can of course ask the ultimate oracle for advice - the DM - that it's not that hard to play a super-genius, really. There are mechanical rules for certain aspects of high intelligence, such as research, but I don't think they're nearly as necessary for role-playing as people often think.

endoperez
2008-06-17, 07:16 AM
Re: Social skills and good roleplaying


4E skill challenges can require multiple successes. A very simple solution would be to use the dice, but when someone roleplays extremely well he gets a single automatic success. If it's 2 successes before getting 2 failures (or something), a good, logical argument may give you a success and that "it's a verbal note" will get you a failure, but dice can still be used to finish the challenge. That way, both player and character skill have an effect.

In 3.5, the same thing can be achieved as "good roleplaying gives +5 bonus, bad roleplaying gives -5 malus": player skill helps, but character skill is necessary nonetheless.

nagora
2008-06-17, 07:32 AM
Hmmm, I see the issue of minions in 3.x (failing to provide credible threats) as having been fixed by being removed, not patched. The problem is gone, removed utterly. In 4e Minions are very credible threats, and in my opinion at least have much less complexity in practice than running a pile of lower level monsters did in 3.x.

In fact the problem was that of defence inflation. Rather than fix that, and as a by-blow fix lots of other problems that stem from it, WotC added more rules and ones which distort the setting at that. A proper fix would have simplified the rules, not added more.

When a programmer writes software by simply patching in fixes for each bug on a case by case basis they are rightly derided for their lack of skill and I don't see any reason to be more lenient on game designers who do exactly the same thing.

Matthew
2008-06-17, 08:11 AM
I think there's a more essential issue here and that's what the "roleplaying" part of the game actually is.

I think so, though that has already been addressed to some degree.



In D&D, is it the combat and the spell casting that make it a roleplaying game, or tracking rules if it comes to that? Clearly not - they are simply part of the genre being played and one can roleplay in a modern political setting where there is no, or very little combat, no tracking rules and no spell-casting.

Agreed



What makes it a roleplaying game is the taking on of the character's part in the setting - playing the role. Putting a system in to control this paticular aspect is a break with the fundimental contcept of role-playing: the player's control of how a character acts. It is not the same as having rules for combat, tightrope walking or computer programming.

Also agreed



Sure, a player might act out of character, and they might act like someone who's more or less intelligent than their character or has more wisdom than their character or whatever. But I don't think it at all desireable for the system to assume that the players (and DM) are going to do that. I think the system must assume the best. Because bad players will find a way to abuse any system; there's simply no point in writing rules with them in mind. As they say in engineering: the problem with making something fool-proof is that fools are so damn ingenious.

I think that's a reasonable approach



The hard one is always intelligence. When the character has more of this than the player, it can seem unfair to require the player to act that role in the same style as someone playing an character with less intelligence. But really, players know so much more and have so much more time to plan and can of course ask the ultimate oracle for advice - the DM - that it's not that hard to play a super-genius, really. There are mechanical rules for certain aspects of high intelligence, such as research, but I don't think they're nearly as necessary for role-playing as people often think.

Well, I think that equally applies to charisma and wisdom. Even if the player isn't intelligent, wise and charismatic in real life, you don't need to rely on numbers and math to portray this element of his character.

nagora
2008-06-17, 08:30 AM
Well, I think that equally applies to charisma and wisdom. Even if the player isn't intelligent, wise and charismatic in real life, you don't need to rely on numbers and math to portray this element of his character.
I find that players handle wisdom much better than intelligence, the player's special "god's eye view" view of the world compared to the character's is very easy to translate into high wisdom; moreso than intelligence.

Charisma is more of a problem for the DM than players, I think. The DM only has to remember which of maybe half a dozen PCs are notably charismatic or uncharismatic, but the players meet and interact with a lot more NPCs - perhaps a score or more in a single session set in a town or city. They don't know which of these are slimy oddballs and which are magnetic and entrancing speakers unless the DM gets that across quite quickly. It can be hard work.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-17, 10:39 AM
Going through my books, the first thing I find that I really don't care for is the way Alignment has been changed. It seems a needless oversimplification of a system that wasn't particularly complex in the first place. I'd rather have seen them do one of two options: either keep the system as it has been in the past, or ditch it altogether.

Spasticteapot
2008-06-17, 11:13 AM
I finally got to try 4e.

Complaint #1: AAGH! An MMORPG!
The game is an MMORPG. It has a heavily simplified class system, a heavily simplified skill system, and a heavily simplified ability system. I find myself looking for the "F5" key every time I want to check whether I'm wearing anything flammable. And then there's the whole "self-heal" thing, which I just don't understand at all.

Complaint #2: They left out important content.
People moving from 3.5e want meat-and-potatoes characters, like half-orc barbarians. Zany races like tieflings (which create roleplaying headaches galore) and the DM-intensive demonic ties of the Warlock are the sort of thing that belong in an expansion. Of course, it's little surprise that Disney is trying to sell as many books as possible, but what they've done is just arbitrary.

Complaint #3: Repetitive combat.
While the ability system works very well for warriors, it makes magical combat - especially at low levels - very dull. After the useful spells are exhausted, combat simply becomes an issue of chucking magic missles until either you or your opponent Because your supply of interesting spells (like Sleep or Grease) is severely limited, that's all I was able to do.

nagora
2008-06-17, 12:25 PM
. And then there's the whole "self-heal" thing, which I just don't understand at all.
Ah, now that one's easy to explain: the WotC designers don't "do" long-term.

They don't do wilderness adventures where eeking out resources, spells and hit points is a key part of the game and the challenge (what's the fun in a challenge where you don't hit things or get to use your uber powers and feats?).

They don't do dungeon crawls where there's a time pressure that prevents the characters retiring to recover spells and equipment and so have to make do with camping out in chambers with nervous watches on the doors for wandering monsters and being careful not to break the healing potions in case anything happens to the cleric. They don't do having to protect the spell-casters while they try to get their spells back because they just recharge automatically. Only 6 hours - not even a full night's sleep - is better than an old-style heal spell.

They assume that anything that requires planning is booooring and something that your mum would force you to do as a punishment. So, being nice guys and not horrible old meanies like your mum, they don't make you do any of that unfun stuff at all. (They're a bit like the child-catcher in Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang at times).

In fact, they don't do anything which requires an attention span greater than one gaming session, forward or back. Worrying about tomorrow's encounters is something only sado grown ups do in between commuting to work and having meetings. WotC's players know that tomorrow is not just another day - it's a whole new reality where the problems you had today just fade away. Aaaah, isn't that nice and soothing? No more nasty wounds too punish mistakes.

The game is basically designed by people who find roleplaying a tiresome obstacle to combat. So much so, in fact, that they put a lot of effort into designing a subsystem that allows you to just plug in character stats and roll some dice to do the roleplaying bits for you.

The healing is the ultimate "video game" feature: if you screw up the assult on the bandit's fortress, you can put another coin in the slot just wait and have another go in six hours. You can keep on punching away at the scenario until you get it right. Infinite goes! Now no one has to loose. Because losing makes people cry and WotC don't want people to cry because sad people will go and play someone else's game. Someone nice Waaa!

I'm starting to become sarcastic now, so I'll stop.

THAC0
2008-06-17, 12:35 PM
I finally got to try 4e.

Complaint #1: AAGH! An MMORPG!
The game is an MMORPG. It has a heavily simplified class system, a heavily simplified skill system, and a heavily simplified ability system. I find myself looking for the "F5" key every time I want to check whether I'm wearing anything flammable. And then there's the whole "self-heal" thing, which I just don't understand at all.

The heal thing bugs me too. A lot. I'd like to ask what parts of the class system you find simplified? I certainly find the martial classes to be more complex than in previous editions. I can't comment on the MMORPG thing, having never played one.


Complaint #2: They left out important content.
People moving from 3.5e want meat-and-potatoes characters, like half-orc barbarians. Zany races like tieflings (which create roleplaying headaches galore) and the DM-intensive demonic ties of the Warlock are the sort of thing that belong in an expansion. Of course, it's little surprise that Disney is trying to sell as many books as possible, but what they've done is just arbitrary.

Tieflings and dragonborn make me cry.


Complaint #3: Repetitive combat.
While the ability system works very well for warriors, it makes magical combat - especially at low levels - very dull. After the useful spells are exhausted, combat simply becomes an issue of chucking magic missles until either you or your opponent Because your supply of interesting spells (like Sleep or Grease) is severely limited, that's all I was able to do.

Actually, I think it makes magical combat at lower levels MORE interesting. I'm not sure how the scenario you postulated is any different than a 1st level combat in 3.5 - and in 1e the wizard only had one spell a day so you better use it wisely!

Now at higher levels, it's comparatively less interesting, certainly. That was lost in favor of balance, for good or ill.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-17, 12:46 PM
I finally got to try 4e.

Complaint #1: AAGH! An MMORPG!
The game is an MMORPG. It has a heavily simplified class system, a heavily simplified skill system, and a heavily simplified ability system. I find myself looking for the "F5" key every time I want to check whether I'm wearing anything flammable. And then there's the whole "self-heal" thing, which I just don't understand at all.

When you compare 4E to an MMO, you lose.

When you compare 4E to an MMO with reference to features which were present in OD&D (seriously, dude, it had three classes) you lose twice.

As for the "self healing" thing. It's the designers *finally* getting their act together and realizing that Hit Points are an abstraction, not a concrete level of physical injury.


Complaint #2: They left out important content.
People moving from 3.5e want meat-and-potatoes characters, like half-orc barbarians. Zany races like tieflings (which create roleplaying headaches galore) and the DM-intensive demonic ties of the Warlock are the sort of thing that belong in an expansion. Of course, it's little surprise that Disney is trying to sell as many books as possible, but what they've done is just arbitrary.

People moving from 3.5 can ... oh I don't know ... go do something nebulously demeaning. "Half Orc Barbarian" is no more a "meat and potatoes" character than "Eldarin Warlock".


Complaint #3: Repetitive combat.
While the ability system works very well for warriors, it makes magical combat - especially at low levels - very dull. After the useful spells are exhausted, combat simply becomes an issue of chucking magic missles until either you or your opponent Because your supply of interesting spells (like Sleep or Grease) is severely limited, that's all I was able to do.

How exactly is that different to in 3.X when you run out of interesting spells and have to use your crossbow?

It's not the game's fault that you defaulted to Magic Missile, instead of using (say) Ray of Frost to slow your enemies, or Cloud of Daggers to block their path, or Thunderwave to push them into appropriate positions. Or Mage Hand to tie them up with ropes, or Ghost Sound to distract them.

marjan
2008-06-17, 01:18 PM
Complaint #1: AAGH! An MMORPG!


That's more matter of mentality, than it is problem with the system.



Complaint #2: They left out important content.
People moving from 3.5e want meat-and-potatoes characters, like half-orc barbarians. Zany races like tieflings (which create roleplaying headaches galore) and the DM-intensive demonic ties of the Warlock are the sort of thing that belong in an expansion. Of course, it's little surprise that Disney is trying to sell as many books as possible, but what they've done is just arbitrary.

I never made the said Half-Orc Barbarian, so I don't really consider them all that important. So what if they try to give people what they want?



Complaint #3: Repetitive combat.
While the ability system works very well for warriors, it makes magical combat - especially at low levels - very dull. After the useful spells are exhausted, combat simply becomes an issue of chucking magic missles until either you or your opponent Because your supply of interesting spells (like Sleep or Grease) is severely limited, that's all I was able to do.

Yes, casters are nerfed. Why are you surprised? Even nerfed they still have same number of options as non-casters. How is that bad?

tumble check
2008-06-17, 02:03 PM
The heal thing bugs me too.

I dislike 4e more than I like it, but do you not like how the healing surges eliminated the need for someone to play a Cleric in every campaign?

SamTheCleric
2008-06-17, 02:15 PM
What's wrong with 4e?

I'm not getting to play it enough! I've spent the majority of the time DMing it and have just now gotten a chance to get in on a game.

:smallbiggrin:

THAC0
2008-06-17, 02:16 PM
I dislike 4e more than I like it, but do you not like how the healing surges eliminated the need for someone to play a Cleric in every campaign?

In 1e a party needed a cleric. In 3.5, I've successfully played several campaigns cleric-less, so 3.5 already eliminated that need. I'm not yet convinced that 4e has.

The most frustrating part for me as a player is to see my character repeatedly going down - not because I am out of healing surges, but because I cannot activate them. We've played through several encounters with just a rogue and a paladin, and while the paladin can activate the rogues healing surges via lay on hands, the paladin is SOL once they've used their second wind and drunk the one healing potion they found last time.

Alternatively, it's equally frustrating when I have run out of healing surges at the end of the day - I could sit there and drink potion after potion after potion with no effect - which makes no sense to me!

After having one or the other of these be an issue in every single combat we've run so far, I'm not convinced that clerics are not necessary! And my frustration level with the mechanic is very high.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-17, 03:16 PM
I finally got to try 4e.

Complaint #1: AAGH! An MMORPG!
The game is an MMORPG. It has a heavily simplified class system, a heavily simplified skill system, and a heavily simplified ability system. I find myself looking for the "F5" key every time I want to check whether I'm wearing anything flammable. And then there's the whole "self-heal" thing, which I just don't understand at all.

I won't buy the MMORPG assertion, unless adventures proceed as follows:

DM: You walk into town, people stand in place not doing anything until out-of-town passers-by speak to them. A couple of townsfolk seem to be walking in circles, however. What do you do?

Player 1: At the top of my lungs, I shout, "LFG KEEP ON BORDERLANDS!! NEED HEALZ PLZ!!!1!11"

Jerthanis
2008-06-17, 04:09 PM
Sure, a player might act out of character, and they might act like someone who's more or less intelligent than their character or has more wisdom than their character or whatever. But I don't think it at all desireable for the system to assume that the players (and DM) are going to do that. I think the system must assume the best. Because bad players will find a way to abuse any system; there's simply no point in writing rules with them in mind. As they say in engineering: the problem with making something fool-proof is that fools are so damn ingenious.

This almost convinces me, but then I sort of think, "What if I'm playing with someone new to the hobby, or someone who needs aides and assistance getting into character? Someone who might not be entirely sure how their character might react to something, and may need cues and help on what the next step is to take in character? I'm always going to be playing with people who are less into it than me, so shouldn't people around me have the tools they need?"

For the record, I would totally play in a 1e game run by you, Nagora. I've long said that I'd happily play any system if I had reason to believe the DM was going to be good. Except Mummy: The Resurrection. We all have to have some standards.


I finally got to try 4e.

Complaint #1: AAGH! An MMORPG!
The game is an MMORPG. It has a heavily simplified class system, a heavily simplified skill system, and a heavily simplified ability system. I find myself looking for the "F5" key every time I want to check whether I'm wearing anything flammable. And then there's the whole "self-heal" thing, which I just don't understand at all.

You're right! It's a MOREPIG because of aspects shared by countless other P&P RPGs... aspects which MOREPIGs copied from D&D in the first place.

At the very least you could complain about Marking mechanics as a substitute for Aggro control, though I'd like to point out that in play, marking is significantly different in 4th ed than it is in any MMO I've played. (CoH, WoW, DDO, EQ2, RO) and is more of an aggressive-defense system than MMOs, which are basically, "Attack the least threatening, best defended members because of our AI." and more, "There's a huge obstacle in our way, and we can't get by him without getting smacked around, and he hits like a small truck, let's take care of him first."

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 04:15 PM
You're right! It's a MOREPIG because of aspects shared by countless other P&P RPGs... aspects which MOREPIGs copied from D&D in the first place.

At the very least you could complain about Marking mechanics as a substitute for Aggro control, though I'd like to point out that in play, marking is significantly different in 4th ed than it is in any MMO I've played. (CoH, WoW, DDO, EQ2, RO) and is more of an aggressive-defense system than MMOs, which are basically, "Attack the least threatening, best defended members because of our AI." and more, "There's a huge obstacle in our way, and we can't get by him without getting smacked around, and he hits like a small truck, let's take care of him first."
I don't think it is an MOREPIG but it does act a lot more like WoW, or really video games in general than the last edition, which seems to be the design philosophy

Ironically, gameinformer was praising it for being like WoW, but its Game informer
from
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Matthew
2008-06-17, 04:41 PM
In 1e a party needed a cleric. In 3.5, I've successfully played several campaigns cleric-less, so 3.5 already eliminated that need. I'm not yet convinced that 4e has.

I dunno, you don't need a cleric to play any version of D&D I have seen, but they're damn useful, just like magicians. The healing is okay, but the ability to turn undead is much more significant.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-17, 04:47 PM
You're right! It's a MOREPIG because of aspects shared by countless other P&P RPGs... aspects which MOREPIGs copied from D&D in the first place.

At the very least you could complain about Marking mechanics as a substitute for Aggro control, though I'd like to point out that in play, marking is significantly different in 4th ed than it is in any MMO I've played. (CoH, WoW, DDO, EQ2, RO) and is more of an aggressive-defense system than MMOs, which are basically, "Attack the least threatening, best defended members because of our AI." and more, "There's a huge obstacle in our way, and we can't get by him without getting smacked around, and he hits like a small truck, let's take care of him first."

One of the things I've noticed is that though there's some elements of MMORPG dynamics in the game, it's modified for 4e tabletop playing. For example, the Fighter and Paladin "taunt" abilities discourage a monster from attacking anyone else, but they do not completely disqualify that option. A clever DM will always be able to do nastier tricks than a computer. The dynamic of a tank in the computer game thus appears different than the dynamic of the tank in this game.

I would say games have come full circle. Computer games were inspired by AD&D and the like, and now it seems our tabletop games are getting inspiration from the computer games.

Now I shall sing. o/~ It's the ciiiiiiircle of gaaaaaaames! And it rolls the Diiii-ee-iiiiice! ... o/~

Fhaolan
2008-06-17, 04:50 PM
I won't buy the MMORPG assertion, unless adventures proceed as follows:

DM: You walk into town, people stand in place not doing anything until out-of-town passers-by speak to them. A couple of townsfolk seem to be walking in circles, however. What do you do?

Player 1: At the top of my lungs, I shout, "LFG KEEP ON BORDERLANDS!! NEED HEALZ PLZ!!!1!11"

Oh, lord, I've played in con-games like that. It was a few years ago, so not 4e, but still.

nagora
2008-06-17, 05:26 PM
In 1e a party needed a cleric.
A common belief, even amongst 1ed players. I've played in 1ed campaigns where there were no clerics in the party for five (real) years and more. You do have to be more cautious, though. And potions of healing can cause a certain amount of boisterous behaviour!

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-17, 05:43 PM
A common belief, even amongst 1ed players. I've played in 1ed campaigns where there were no clerics in the party for five (real) years and more. You do have to be more cautious, though. And potions of healing can cause a certain amount of boisterous behaviour!

In my years of playing, I and my friends have run Thieves, Fighters, Magic-Users, Fighter/Thieves, Figher/Magic-Users, Magic-User/Thieves, and Fighter/Magic-User/Thieves ...

I can't recall ever playing a 1ed Cleric.

THAC0
2008-06-17, 06:16 PM
Ok, I'm sure that you can play any edition without a cleric if you really want to. But it was a heck of a lot harder in 1e than in 3.5, since 3.5 made healing more readily available.

Out of curiosity, how many characters did y'all go through to get past first level without a cleric?

We tend to play a faster paced game, so clerics are necessary in between encounters to get everyone back into shape.

I can't imagine running, say, G-series or D-series with no cleric. :smalleek:

Back on track a little: I'm still not convinced that a cleric is easily done away with in 4e, at least with my experiences thus far.

fleet
2008-06-17, 10:52 PM
Ok, I've joined a game and built a character now, and i've found it's changed my view of 4e. I think i finally have after spending about 4 hours straight staring at the players hand book pinned down what has been bugging me all along about 4e.

3.x was a system. It gave you an immersive environment that looked like our own. The point was a high degree of realism in the rules set. The guy with the sword was somehow lamer than the guy who manipulated reality with his mind, because that's just the way things work. You measured things in feet and you had mechanics for just about every simple interaction between you and your world. Abilities and powers had more fluff than rules.

example
Evocation [Fire]
Level: Sor/Wiz 3
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Area: 20-ft.-radius spread
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes

A fireball spell is an explosion of flame that detonates with a low roar and deals 1d6 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 10d6) to every creature within the area. Unattended objects also take this damage. The explosion creates almost no pressure.

You point your finger and determine the range (distance and height) at which the fireball is to burst. A glowing, pea-sized bead streaks from the pointing digit and, unless it impacts upon a material body or solid barrier prior to attaining the prescribed range, blossoms into the fireball at that point. (An early impact results in an early detonation.) If you attempt to send the bead through a narrow passage, such as through an arrow slit, you must “hit” the opening with a ranged touch attack, or else the bead strikes the barrier and detonates prematurely.

The fireball sets fire to combustibles and damages objects in the area. It can melt metals with low melting points, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, and bronze. If the damage caused to an interposing barrier shatters or breaks through it, the fireball may continue beyond the barrier if the area permits; otherwise it stops at the barrier just as any other spell effect does.

Material Component

A tiny ball of bat guano and sulfur.




It may not have been perfect, but the philosophy behind it was, "Lets make this as close to our idea of what this world should work like as possible."


4e is a game. It gives guides lines on how you should play. You see a pervading philosophy throughout it. Movement is measured in squares, abilities are described in formula. Your expected to just work around anything not explicitly stated. Look at the skill rules, it's mostly a die roll that the dm interprets by shrugging and saying ok your good at this, you do it, or your unlucky, you fail. ((yes i know 3E did the same thing, but they were less blatant about it.)) in 4E, the game is more important than the atmosphere. You see this in everything, from the books, ((just hold a 3e hand book up next to the 4e one. 3e worked at making each page look like a piece of parchment, 4e is white)) from the books to the powers. Look at the powers and compare them to any description of anything other than core mechanics and you see what i mean.

example

Fire burst
A fiery red bead streaks from your finger to the spot you indicate, where it bursts into a great ball of magical flame.
Encounter *arcane, implement, fire
standard action Area burst 2 within 20 squares
Target: each creature in burst
Attack: int vrs reflex
Hit: 3d6 +int mod


See what i mean? It's like comparing a hamburger at McDonald's to prime rib steak at a high end restaurant. 3E had more flavor. 4e just has this jarring artificiality to it. You can ignore it and enjoy the game, but looking at the rules system it's annoying.

purepolarpanzer
2008-06-17, 11:44 PM
Ok, I've joined a game and built a character now, and i've found it's changed my view of 4e. I think i finally have after spending about 4 hours straight staring at the players hand book pinned down what has been bugging me all along about 4e.

3.x was a system. It gave you an immersive environment that looked like our own. The point was a high degree of realism in the rules set. The guy with the sword was somehow lamer than the guy who manipulated reality with his mind, because that's just the way things work. You measured things in feet and you had mechanics for just about every simple interaction between you and your world. Abilities and powers had more fluff than rules.

example
Evocation [Fire]
Level: Sor/Wiz 3
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Area: 20-ft.-radius spread
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes

A fireball spell is an explosion of flame that detonates with a low roar and deals 1d6 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 10d6) to every creature within the area. Unattended objects also take this damage. The explosion creates almost no pressure.

You point your finger and determine the range (distance and height) at which the fireball is to burst. A glowing, pea-sized bead streaks from the pointing digit and, unless it impacts upon a material body or solid barrier prior to attaining the prescribed range, blossoms into the fireball at that point. (An early impact results in an early detonation.) If you attempt to send the bead through a narrow passage, such as through an arrow slit, you must “hit” the opening with a ranged touch attack, or else the bead strikes the barrier and detonates prematurely.

The fireball sets fire to combustibles and damages objects in the area. It can melt metals with low melting points, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, and bronze. If the damage caused to an interposing barrier shatters or breaks through it, the fireball may continue beyond the barrier if the area permits; otherwise it stops at the barrier just as any other spell effect does.

Material Component

A tiny ball of bat guano and sulfur.




It may not have been perfect, but the philosophy behind it was, "Lets make this as close to our idea of what this world should work like as possible."


4e is a game. It gives guides lines on how you should play. You see a pervading philosophy throughout it. Movement is measured in squares, abilities are described in formula. Your expected to just work around anything not explicitly stated. Look at the skill rules, it's mostly a die roll that the dm interprets by shrugging and saying ok your good at this, you do it, or your unlucky, you fail. ((yes i know 3E did the same thing, but they were less blatant about it.)) in 4E, the game is more important than the atmosphere. You see this in everything, from the books, ((just hold a 3e hand book up next to the 4e one. 3e worked at making each page look like a piece of parchment, 4e is white)) from the books to the powers. Look at the powers and compare them to any description of anything other than core mechanics and you see what i mean.

example

Fire burst
A fiery red bead streaks from your finger to the spot you indicate, where it bursts into a great ball of magical flame.
Encounter *arcane, implement, fire
standard action Area burst 2 within 20 squares
Target: each creature in burst
Attack: int vrs reflex
Hit: 3d6 +int mod


See what i mean? It's like comparing a hamburger at McDonald's to prime rib steak at a high end restaurant. 3E had more flavor. 4e just has this jarring artificiality to it. You can ignore it and enjoy the game, but looking at the rules system it's annoying.

So 4E is worse... cause it's not an entertaining read? Pick up a novel. If anything, this discourages role playing, cause they tell you what happens. 4e let's you say what happens. (Really, they are equally good entrys, but your argument is wrong. Seriously though, you said it's a rulebook. Rulebooks don't need to have all the crap 3.x. had. They CAN be funny, entertaining, etc, but it sure as heck isnt a selling point. It also could be complex and annoying. VERY complex and annoying.

Vendor: HEY! Buy this new RPG! HAlf the choices are traps, and half the classes suck compared to the other half, penalizing you for your playstyle, but it's a great read! Take it on the airplane!

Starsinger
2008-06-18, 12:17 AM
See what i mean? It's like comparing a hamburger at McDonald's to prime rib steak at a high end restaurant. 3E had more flavor. 4e just has this jarring artificiality to it. You can ignore it and enjoy the game, but looking at the rules system it's annoying.

This one rather thinks that it's more like comparing a hamburger at a high end restaurant with a pound of hamburger in your refrigerator. Sure, the high end hamburger (3e) is nice and has a flowery description of it. But the pound of hamburger in your fridge is a blank canvas, for you to do with as you will, with as much flavor as you put into it. It's my opinion, that 3e is better for people who can't/don't want to come up with flavor on their own, whereas 4e favors the creative.

FoE
2008-06-18, 12:52 AM
OK, let's not go crazy with the food metaphors. Roy and Sabine can testify to how lame they get after a while.

You know, back in First Edition, the game didn't really possess "skills" and "feats." Although there were some extras, the mechanics were largely combat-structured. But that didn't stop people from creating characters with depth. I don't think 4E is keeping you from doing so either.

nagora
2008-06-18, 04:47 AM
Ok, I'm sure that you can play any edition without a cleric if you really want to. But it was a heck of a lot harder in 1e than in 3.5, since 3.5 made healing more readily available.

Out of curiosity, how many characters did y'all go through to get past first level without a cleric?
I think we started off with a cleric, but as time went by we just didn't like having one about and the player just started to take another character by about 4th level.


We tend to play a faster paced game, so clerics are necessary in between encounters to get everyone back into shape.

I can't imagine running, say, G-series or D-series with no cleric. :smalleek:

We did it. In the end Q1 was a stalemate with Loth trapped in some sort of circle, our one remaining character (a fighter/magic user human dual-class!) in a protective circle with hardly any spells, and a horde of demons who could not touch either Loth or the PC because of the circles. A truce was negotiated and we fled not only the abyss but Greyhawk.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-18, 05:54 AM
Fleet:

I think you're exactly right about 3.X having a different philosophy to 4E, it's just that it was that philosophy that always bugged me about the game. I remember picking it up when it first came out and saying "okay, they've added a skill system, they've made characters more customisable and ... kinda made the game more like Runequest or Rolemaster."

The thing is that pretty much *every* RPG on the market these days gives you a system that tries to simulate a world that's more or less like our own. 3.X, however, had to deal with all the baggage of levels and classes and spells-per-day, which made all that very difficult. If I wanted a game that simulated a fantasy world in a consistent manner, I'd play Runequest or Burning Wheel or Riddle of Steel or - for that matter - just homebrew something.

4E, I feel, got back to what was actually unique about D&D in the modern market, which was the idea of a game that was all about *adventure*. 3.X always struck me as a poor substitute for a non-D&D Fantasy game. 4E seems genuinely unique.

Antacid
2008-06-18, 07:24 AM
You measured things in feet and you had mechanics for just about every simple interaction between you and your world. Abilities and powers had more fluff than rules.

Which given the fact that all classes now have the same number of powers, would have led to a 4e PHB 500 pages long. Or multiple volumes, which everyone would be complaining about, and rightly.

You may have had multiple mechanics, but the game was NOT more simulationist as a result. Spot checks that prevented you from seeing monsters right in front of you, abusable Diplomacy, the Leadership feat - the exact opposite of simulation in every case. The reality is that simply because people were used to 3.5's eccentricities, they don't see the problems with it, or they believe that those systems should have been fixed individually.

Furthermore, the premise that a game is less simulationist because it has a smaller number of simpler, more broadly applicable mechanics just isn't valid. It's both logically flawed and misconceived. There's no reason why multiple mechanics should mean better simulation at the gaming table - all mechanics depend on statistics which are themselves abstractions, so all mechanics are based on abstractions. It's not a simulation just because it's more complicated. Sorry.

Thirdly: the problem with having every rule nailed down is, it strangles the spontaneity that can result in fun, creative solutions to problems. Why shouldn't my Wizard use Ice Storm to freeze a river and allow the party to escape across it? Because the fluff text in the Ice Storm spell description says the spell leaves no after-effects? And that's more immersive how?

nagora
2008-06-18, 10:20 AM
You may have had multiple mechanics, but the game was NOT more simulationist as a result. Spot checks that prevented you from seeing monsters right in front of you, abusable Diplomacy, the Leadership feat - the exact opposite of simulation in every case. The reality is that simply because people were used to 3.5's eccentricities, they don't see the problems with it, or they believe that those systems should have been fixed individually.

Furthermore, the premise that a game is less simulationist because it has a smaller number of simpler, more broadly applicable mechanics just isn't valid. It's both logically flawed and misconceived. There's no reason why multiple mechanics should mean better simulation at the gaming table - all mechanics depend on statistics which are themselves abstractions, so all mechanics are based on abstractions. It's not a simulation just because it's more complicated. Sorry.
This is exactly how I feel about the 4e social skills system: it isn't better, it's just more complicated and slower. It's like claiming that 3.8897178 is a better value for pi than 3.1 because it has more digits - you can be more precise without being any more accurate and that's what the skill challenge system does. It makes the resolution of social situations much more precise and detailed, but there is no reference as to whether the details are correct; the designers have simply judged that having the detail is "better". The correct system is to throw it ALL out and let the players and DM get one with playing the characters. Then the result will be as precise and detailed as your group wants and perfectly accurate by definition.

Daimbert
2008-06-18, 11:28 AM
You may have had multiple mechanics, but the game was NOT more simulationist as a result. Spot checks that prevented you from seeing monsters right in front of you, abusable Diplomacy, the Leadership feat - the exact opposite of simulation in every case. The reality is that simply because people were used to 3.5's eccentricities, they don't see the problems with it, or they believe that those systems should have been fixed individually.

Why is it wrong to suggest that it wasn't the system that was broken, but specific instances in it?


Thirdly: the problem with having every rule nailed down is, it strangles the spontaneity that can result in fun, creative solutions to problems. Why shouldn't my Wizard use Ice Storm to freeze a river and allow the party to escape across it? Because the fluff text in the Ice Storm spell description says the spell leaves no after-effects? And that's more immersive how?

Because it gives everyone involved a clear idea of what the spell is, does, and how it's supposed to work, allowing for creative applications of that spell in the manner you suggest.

Let's look in more detail at your example:

In 3.5e, we read the text and see what it does. Let's assume that the spell says that it doesn't leave any after-effects (like ice or snow). Someone says that they are going to use that spell to freeze the river. The DM replies that the spell doesn't work that way, as listed in the text. So either the player tries something else that's more creative, argues that the rest of the text implies his interpretation, or talks to the DM and convinces him that this way is better, and the DM house rules that effect in. But because everyone knows what the spell does there's far less discussion and guesswork going into these cases, and far less house rules as well; they are only for exceptionally good impacts.

Take 4e, now. Let's say that we have this spell described in a similar manner to what was described for the fireballish spells. There's really nothing to say about how that spell works in enough detail to decide if it SHOULD allow the player to do what you suggest. So if a player suggests it, the DM and all the players have to sit down and compare notes on how they think the spell should work and then come up with a ruling on if that's possible. That becomes a house rule, because it can only apply to that DM -- at least -- and probably that group. It will change from group to group because there's no independent fluff text that in any way states how things should work. And this would apply to any novel use of any interesting spell: whether it will work or not is entirey DM/group fiat. Or they can take the easy way out and insist that NONE of these creative options are allowed, and it only does the damage and/or status effect described in the rules. How is that good?

Basically, 3.5e gave more fluff and built a world and an idea of how everything worked. 4e, so far, is reducing the fluff. If one didn't want the fluff or wanted it different in 3.5e, one was free to house rule it out. If one wasn't GOOD at writing fluff, they could use the existing fluff in 3.5e and you'd have a decent game with a decent world. In 4e, it looks like the fluff is being left up to the DM, but if the DM isn't good at that sort of thing, what you are going to end up with is a game without fluff, and thus without a real and consistent world, and thus without serious roleplaying.

While that might have its own charms, it isn't a game I want to play.

Indon
2008-06-18, 11:31 AM
You may have had multiple mechanics, but the game was NOT more simulationist as a result. Spot checks that prevented you from seeing monsters right in front of you, abusable Diplomacy, the Leadership feat - the exact opposite of simulation in every case.
No.

Spot checks that gauged the difficulty of seeing something based on distance, and a mechanic to simulate cult or other small-group leadership, are obviously simulationist in nature (I'll not defend Diplomacy :P). Yes, they had inaccuracies - but they existed. Simulating something imperfectly is still much better than not simulating it at all.

4'th edition still has a trace or two of simulation left in its' bones, even. It tries to have something like an encumbrance system. Your athletics (or was it acrobatics?) checks still measure how far you can jump in feet, if I recall.


Furthermore, the premise that a game is less simulationist because it has a smaller number of simpler, more broadly applicable mechanics just isn't valid.
You are correct here, but I think the argument is just being communicated poorly for you to read it as such.

4'th edition isn't less simulationist because it has simpler rules. 4'th edition has simpler rules because it is less simulationist (among other things).


Thirdly: the problem with having every rule nailed down is, it strangles the spontaneity that can result in fun, creative solutions to problems. Why shouldn't my Wizard use Ice Storm to freeze a river and allow the party to escape across it? Because the fluff text in the Ice Storm spell description says the spell leaves no after-effects? And that's more immersive how?

Exalted has both more simulationist rules (albeit not a simulation of a mundane reality in some cases) and rules that lend more to 'spontanaeity that can result in fun, creative solutions to problems', than 4'th edition D&D. So I'm really not seeing your point here.

nagora
2008-06-18, 11:55 AM
This almost convinces me, but then I sort of think, "What if I'm playing with someone new to the hobby, or someone who needs aides and assistance getting into character? Someone who might not be entirely sure how their character might react to something, and may need cues and help on what the next step is to take in character? I'm always going to be playing with people who are less into it than me, so shouldn't people around me have the tools they need?"

If you can find someone who is bewildered by make-believe then I would suggest that they will be under two-years old and probably not able to stay up late enough to play anyway :smallsmile:

Pretending to be someone else is not something that needs game rules, even if some of the things they do (like casting spells or making pit traps) might. As such, these are not tools, they're restrictions.

marjan
2008-06-18, 02:08 PM
In 3.5e, we read the text and see what it does. Let's assume that the spell says that it doesn't leave any after-effects (like ice or snow). Someone says that they are going to use that spell to freeze the river. The DM replies that the spell doesn't work that way, as listed in the text. So either the player tries something else that's more creative, argues that the rest of the text implies his interpretation, or talks to the DM and convinces him that this way is better, and the DM house rules that effect in. But because everyone knows what the spell does there's far less discussion and guesswork going into these cases, and far less house rules as well; they are only for exceptionally good impacts.

Take 4e, now. Let's say that we have this spell described in a similar manner to what was described for the fireballish spells. There's really nothing to say about how that spell works in enough detail to decide if it SHOULD allow the player to do what you suggest. So if a player suggests it, the DM and all the players have to sit down and compare notes on how they think the spell should work and then come up with a ruling on if that's possible. That becomes a house rule, because it can only apply to that DM -- at least -- and probably that group. It will change from group to group because there's no independent fluff text that in any way states how things should work. And this would apply to any novel use of any interesting spell: whether it will work or not is entirey DM/group fiat. Or they can take the easy way out and insist that NONE of these creative options are allowed, and it only does the damage and/or status effect described in the rules.


So let's see. If rules say you can't do something you can house-rule it without any problems. But if on the other hand a spell doesn't specify weather it does it or not, then you can't. Makes no sense.

Try this. Default: It does what it says it does and nothing more. Everything else is house-rule.



How is that good?


It's good in that less fluff means less possibility of screwed up description of ability and thus clearer what it does. If you take a look at "fluff" of some spells you will see that it contradicts the description in the "mechanical" part of the spell. One sentence is usually enough for you to imagine how the ability works.

Daimbert
2008-06-18, 02:43 PM
So let's see. If rules say you can't do something you can house-rule it without any problems. But if on the other hand a spell doesn't specify weather it does it or not, then you can't. Makes no sense.

You can house-rule in a DIFFERENCE from what it says. You don't HAVE to house-rule what it ACTUALLY DOES.

In the former case, you house-rule cool exceptions. In the latter, you house-rule EVERY USE that isn't simply the rule of damage and/or status. And the latter are all house-rules because there are no consistent descriptions for how the spell actually works.

Think about it this way: if a spell says that it produces a storm of ice that produces an inch-thick later of ice over the effective area, if you want to freeze the river to cross it you can argue with ANY DM that that would be thick enough OR that it would freeze water to a much greater degree. If it simply says that it does cold damage, what objective thing to you point to to make your case? None, so it becomes DM/group whim, which makes any of these things a house rule.


Try this. Default: It does what it says it does and nothing more. Everything else is house-rule.

Thus impeding the "creative options" talked about earlier because, well, those have to be house-rules, are not consistent with what other groups will do -- and so differ from campaign to campaign -- and may not be allowed.

How is your default better with 4e descriptions that say less than the 3.5e descriptions that say more? You end up agreeing with me that more house-rules are REQUIRED in 4e.


It's good in that less fluff means less possibility of screwed up description of ability and thus clearer what it does. If you take a look at "fluff" of some spells you will see that it contradicts the description in the "mechanical" part of the spell. One sentence is usually enough for you to imagine how the ability works.

I don't disagree that it's easier to screw-up if you add more descriptions, but I fail to see why that's my -- as a player -- problem as opposed to a problem for the designers. If there are contradictions, they get resolved in the same way and with the same issues as having to invent the descriptions in the first place.

Antacid
2008-06-18, 03:11 PM
FYI, the limitation of Ice Storm wasn't made up; it's stated in the spell description.

Someone says that they are going to use that spell to freeze the river. The DM replies that the spell doesn't work that way, as listed in the text. So either the player tries something else that's more creative, argues that the rest of the text implies his interpretation, or talks to the DM and convinces him that this way is better, and the DM house rules that effect in. But because everyone knows what the spell does there's far less discussion and guesswork going into these cases, and far less house rules as well; they are only for exceptionally good impacts.

But everyone doesn't know what the spell does. No one knows what every spell in 3.5e does, there are a dozen splatbooks. So they have to look it up, which takes time. And when they discover it's not allowed, as you yourself say, they have to come up with something else and argue over the alternative solution.

Throughout this metagaming debate, the characters are suspended in space, fleeing towards a river with orcs in close pursuit. Any tension created by the chase scene dissipates. Players without a stake in the outcome of the discussion go get snacks.

Unless, of course, I also have Cone Of Cold memorised. Here's the entire fluff text for that spell:


Cone of cold creates an area of extreme cold, originating at your hand and extending outward in a cone. It drains heat, dealing 1d6 points of cold damage per caster level (maximum 15d6).

Now, if it "drains heat" sufficient to do damage, how could it not freeze water? How much water? How thick is the ice it creates? Can I ride a horse over it? How long does the ice last before melting? Can the ice be dispelled, or is it non-magical? This is a core spell, not taken from splatbook, many of which have even more carelessly written spell descriptions.


You can house-rule in a DIFFERENCE from what it says. You don't HAVE to house-rule what it ACTUALLY DOES.

If having to houserule in a special application of a spell is indicative of poor game design, isn’t having to houserule a change to what a fully-fluffed out spell does also poor game design? You still wind up adding rules!


Take 4e, now. Let's say that we have this spell described in a similar manner to what was described for the fireballish spells. There's really nothing to say about how that spell works in enough detail to decide if it SHOULD allow the player to do what you suggest. So if a player suggests it, the DM and all the players have to sit down and compare notes on how they think the spell should work and then come up with a ruling on if that's possible.

Without a rule prohibiting that particular use of a spell, nobody has any motivation for arguing about it. The PCs want to escape, the DM wants the PCs to have fun. Unless an action is going to derail the adventure in some way, why should the DM try to make it difficult for a PC to do something clever? He’s not trying to ‘beat’ the PCs. There’s no reason why the conversation couldn’t go like this:

Player: I use Ice Storm to freeze the river so we can escape over it. There's nothing in the spell description saying it can't do that.
DM: Okay. or No, I'm going to rule that the spell doesn't freeze water.

And the game proceeds.

Furthermore, if the DM secretly thinks the use of the spell is valid but doesn't want the players to use it this time, he can say something like "you can see that this river is flowing too quickly for the ice to remain in one piece long enough for you to get across". That way suspension of disbelief remains intact, and the practical result is exactly the same as if you'd brought the game to a halt looking up a rule.



That becomes a house rule, because it can only apply to that DM -- at least -- and probably that group. It will change from group to group because there's no independent fluff text that in any way states how things should work.

There's no independent fluff governing any houserules, by definition - and almost all DMs use them. If Players are expecting every campaign to use identical rules they have no choice but to stick with one DM. If an individual DM can't create a consistent world without rules telling him everything the player's aren't allowed to do, the problem is with him, IMHO.

nagora
2008-06-18, 03:38 PM
Given that I've seen people here claim that a fireball spell does not produce actualfire and that therefore the DM is "screwing over the players" if s/he extrapolates the slightest inference that is not in the book, I can see the 4e approach causing some friction.:smalleek:

Antacid
2008-06-18, 03:39 PM
No.

Spot checks that gauged the difficulty of seeing something based on distance, and a mechanic to simulate cult or other small-group leadership, are obviously simulationist in nature (I'll not defend Diplomacy :P). Yes, they had inaccuracies - but they existed.

The trouble is, both Spot and Leadership generate results based on the Player's ability scores. Spot uses a real property (distance) to generate a DC, but whether the player makes a check depends as much on his Wisdom and his ranks in the Spot skill as on the DC. Leadership gives followers based on Charisma and Level. But nobody in real life has a Wisdom or Charisma score, or a Level, so these mechanics don't 'simulate' anything except in terms of the game system itself.

That's without going into the inherent absurdity of claiming that a system where you roll a dice to determine results is simulating anything. The difference should be obvious. No flight sim uses random numbers to make the results more unpredictable, because unpredictability is not the purpose of simulation. An RPG just has to pretend to simulate a real environment well enough to suspend disbelief, which I would tentatively suggest is your real problem with 4e.

marjan
2008-06-18, 03:54 PM
You can house-rule in a DIFFERENCE from what it says. You don't HAVE to house-rule what it ACTUALLY DOES.


House-ruling is house-ruling.


if you want to freeze the river to cross it you can argue with ANY DM that that would be thick enough OR that it would freeze water to a much greater degree.

In other words, you can play a [email protected]@ with your DM just because the rules aren't clear. That's not good.



Thus impeding the "creative options" talked about earlier because, well, those have to be house-rules, are not consistent with what other groups will do -- and so differ from campaign to campaign -- and may not be allowed.


Different groups, different rules. It doesn't impede you using "creative solutions" because as soon as you using them more often, they stop being "creative".



How is your default better with 4e descriptions that say less than the 3.5e descriptions that say more?


It's not better. It's just clear as a day what it is supposed do. Ability is still the same it just doesn't lead to confusion.


You end up agreeing with me that more house-rules are REQUIRED in 4e.


No. I agree that house-rules are required if you want to do something that is not stated in the ability's description.



I don't disagree that it's easier to screw-up if you add more descriptions, but I fail to see why that's my -- as a player -- problem as opposed to a problem for the designers.

Until you come to the point where you don't know what the ability is supposed to do. Then it is your problem.

Indon
2008-06-18, 04:46 PM
The trouble is, both Spot and Leadership generate results based on the Player's ability scores. Spot uses a real property (distance) to generate a DC, but whether the player makes a check depends as much on his Wisdom and his ranks in the Spot skill as on the DC. Leadership gives followers based on Charisma and Level. But nobody in real life has a Wisdom or Charisma score, or a Level, so these mechanics don't 'simulate' anything except in terms of the game system itself.

Wisdom and Charisma scores are meant to model, or simulate attributes that a character has that is directly comparable (though not quantifiable) to real life.

Or would you not describe someone as being wise, or unwise, or charismatic or uncharismatic?

Though, the abstraction of Level exists far more for the sake of the game than for any simulation, certainly.


That's without going into the inherent absurdity of claiming that a system where you roll a dice to determine results is simulating anything. The difference should be obvious.

So if I make a simulation of a roulette wheel, I shouldn't include random factors?

When you simulate something where simple luck can play a significant part, you're going to want a mechanism to simulate that - thus, random number generation.


An RPG just has to pretend to simulate a real environment well enough to suspend disbelief, which I would tentatively suggest is your real problem with 4e.

That 4'th edition simulates extremely poorly? Well, yes. But you're only paying attention to the function of simulation on one extreme.

Unless you'd care to posit that increased focus on simulation would not increase immersion.

Antacid
2008-06-18, 07:09 PM
Wisdom and Charisma scores are meant to model, or simulate attributes that a character has that is directly comparable (though not quantifiable) to real life.

That's not what either 3.5e or 4e does. Both provide statistics which have a statistical impact on dice rolls that modify other statistics. There's no reality to simulate. You just happen to be used to the eccentricities of 3.5e and more willing to make excuses for It's non-simulation.

If Wisdom in 3.5e only represented how wise someone was, it wouldn't be used for Spot checks (making a PC's eyesight improve as he gets older). If Charisma only represented how charismatic someone was, it wouldn't give Sorcerers bonus spells to have a high value. Just because you've convinced yourself that the game design decisions behind making them represent other things doesn't damage 3.5e's 'simulation', while streamlined mechanics do make 4e less 'simulationist', doesn't mean you're arguing with any basis in logic. It just means you've decided words like 'simulate' mean something in the context of a fantasy tabletop RPG where people shoot fireballs at each other for abstract damage measured in Hit Points.


Unless you'd care to posit that increased focus on simulation would not increase immersion.
Yes. That's exactly what I would posit. For me that's very obvious.

Mechanics have very little to do with the immersiveness of D&D, or of any game, or of anything where the consumer is supposed to engage their imagination. A good movie doesn't have game mechanics: it's not even a game, but it achieves what D&D should achieve in transporting you someplace else.

For me, game mechanics only exist to referee gameplay. Because D&D is an adventure game, the mechanics need enough of an element of risk to make the game exciting (that's where the dice come in); there needs to be enough specialisation that the PCs have to work as a team; and if the game is to last more than a few sessions there needs to be a way for characters to grow over time.

D&D 4e has mechanics that meet all of these requirements. But outside of that, the less they get in the way, the better. Because as soon as a gaming session becomes about the rules of the game instead of the experience of playing, it becomes less engaging. As long as a streamlined system produces results that feel real, the only rule that should matter is "get on with it".

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2008-06-18, 09:11 PM
I don't like 4e because apart from the loss of spells/day everything that's changed from 3e seems to have been taken directly from 2e, most of which is asinine limitations. When considering your character's options, 3e was a game of "Wow, my character can do anything!" whereas 4e is a game of "Wow, my character can do anything on this list!"

Every class is pigeonholed into a single role just like in 2e. Once you pick your class every class feature your character has to look forward to has been pre-set. Abilities that any character should be able to learn are restricted to a single class (TWF). They've even brought back the idea of monsters-can-do-it-but-PCs-can't, and applied that to one of the most basic staples of a fantasy RPG (flying).

4e was designed for people who either never experienced how good 3e was and won't recognize that it's a step in the wrong direction, or people who weren't smart or creative enough to enjoy 3e. I am disgusted with what they've done with 4e, and I'll go back to 2e before I ever consider playing it.

fleet
2008-06-18, 11:29 PM
wow, sorry, i did not mean to start a new round of fighting with my comment.

I just wanted to highlight the departure. I don't want to go so far as to say that 4e as a rules system is bad. It's not, it works better than 3e did. The thing i find distasteful about it, is that it feels like the developers were not trying. 4e had more the largest development team, the most financial backing, and the most pre-release hype, of ANY dnd edition. and, the result does not live up to what was put in.

I mean, i can see where they cherry picked the best features of 3e and other d20 games and then put them in a blender and got 4e. That said, i feel jipped, when the design team seems to have put less effort into making the game books enjoyable than the marketing team put into explaining to us how awesome, self same books would be.

I know, i could go buy a novel if i wanted something entertaining to read, but I've gotten used to gaming companies trying to make everything about the game, even the flavor in the subscripts of the book, fun. I mean 3e, exalted, gurps, heck even jags, puts more effort into a fun book than 4e. Sure it's nice to have a thousand billion or whatever number of monsters 4e puts into it's MM, but come on, i don't need 190+ stat blocks. Am i the only one who bought dnd suplements because I enjoyed reading those descriptions.?. Seriously though, JAGS fantasy has more flavor than the new 4e series. Which is bad, since JAGS is a free rpg system that has better mechanics.
(if you don't mind incredible complexity)

Is it really so much to ask of WotC for them to put the same effort into dnd they put into Magic the gathering?

Matthew
2008-06-18, 11:41 PM
4e was designed for people who either never experienced how good 3e was and won't recognize that it's a step in the wrong direction, or people who weren't smart or creative enough to enjoy 3e.

This cuts both ways. In fact, the exact same thing could be said of AD&D to D20, and no doubt 4e to 3e. Likes and dislikes are subjective, it is unwise to brand somebody 'uncreative' or 'not smart' based on their preferred type of RPG (or, indeed, because they don't think D20 is all that good).

purepolarpanzer
2008-06-19, 12:41 AM
4e was designed for people who either never experienced how good 3e was and won't recognize that it's a step in the wrong direction, or people who weren't smart or creative enough to enjoy 3e. I am disgusted with what they've done with 4e, and I'll go back to 2e before I ever consider playing it.

Condescending much?

I could just as easily say that:

4e was designed for people who either experienced how bad 3e was and recognize that it was a step in the wrong direction, or people who weren't smug or stubborn enough to enjoy 3e. I am excited with what they've done with 4e, and I'll go back to 3e when pigs fly.

And that's with only a bit of rewording.

The real truth is, if you are creative, any game is great and fun. Maybe your not beign creative enough with 4th? YOU CAN DO ANYTHING IN D+D IF YOU SET YOUR MIND TO IT. Now, you can do anything and have your classes balanced, instead of your WIZARD doing everything and you retiring at lvl 8. If you want TWF, multiclass to ranger! Magic? Class to wizard or take ritual casting! The loss of spells per day made the game more interesting, more fun for every non-spell caster, and more run for low level spell casters. You weren't pigeonholed in 3e, you were screwed if you didn't take a few very specific tracks for non casters, or play a caster. Your fighter couldn't even use strength based skills better than the wizard, who could summon, buff, polymorph, or blast his way through your challenge.

In my opinion. The big thing here is everyone has an opinion. I'm perfectly happy to let you play 3e. But don't come on here and call people stupid. I had alot of fun with 3rd. I'm having alot of fun with 4th. I am creative. I am not stupid. I will still be playing both systems, but 4th will be played more. I simply find it more enjoyable.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-19, 04:11 AM
Why is it wrong to suggest that it wasn't the system that was broken, but specific instances in it?

"That window isn't broken: some *parts* of the window are broken".

Okay, I know there's a difference, games are modular and windows aren't, but the point is that the "specific instances" which everybody admits are broken are *also* the "specific instances" which the "simulationists" insist make the game a better simulation.

Again this comes down to a fundamental difference in philosophy. Some people are more comfortable (in the non-derogatory sense) with a rule which they can then ignore, others are more comfortable just winging it.

Take the "breaking solid objects" rule. 3.X offers rules for smashing through solid objects with ordinary weapons, which is great in a way, because it means that you can adjudicate exactly how long it takes the PCs to hack through a door. On the other hand, it also give the PCs a system mandate to do silly things like tunnel through any barrier with an Adamantine dagger.


Because it gives everyone involved a clear idea of what the spell is, does, and how it's supposed to work, allowing for creative applications of that spell in the manner you suggest.

This is another fundamental philosophical disagreement. For some of us the idea of how the spell is "supposed" to work doesn't mean jack. It's our game, not the designers'.


Let's look in more detail at your example:

In 3.5e, we read the text and see what it does. Let's assume that the spell says that it doesn't leave any after-effects (like ice or snow). Someone says that they are going to use that spell to freeze the river. The DM replies that the spell doesn't work that way, as listed in the text. So either the player tries something else that's more creative, argues that the rest of the text implies his interpretation, or talks to the DM and convinces him that this way is better, and the DM house rules that effect in. But because everyone knows what the spell does there's far less discussion and guesswork going into these cases, and far less house rules as well; they are only for exceptionally good impacts.

You're making an unstated assumption here, which is that the purpose of the discussion is to objectively interpret the intent of the designers.

I actually find it genuinely confusing that you're arguing that a situation in which the player is invited to "argue that the rest of the text implies his interpretation" is actually *beneficial* to the game.


Take 4e, now. Let's say that we have this spell described in a similar manner to what was described for the fireballish spells. There's really nothing to say about how that spell works in enough detail to decide if it SHOULD allow the player to do what you suggest. So if a player suggests it, the DM and all the players have to sit down and compare notes on how they think the spell should work and then come up with a ruling on if that's possible. That becomes a house rule, because it can only apply to that DM -- at least -- and probably that group. It will change from group to group because there's no independent fluff text that in any way states how things should work. And this would apply to any novel use of any interesting spell: whether it will work or not is entirey DM/group fiat. Or they can take the easy way out and insist that NONE of these creative options are allowed, and it only does the damage and/or status effect described in the rules. How is that good?

I am honestly shocked that you consider this to be a bad thing. You actually seem to be saying that 4E is bad because it does not place limits on your imagination.

Again you seem to be making a whole host of assumptions here. You seem to be assuming that for any given situation there must be a "right" answer which must have a "rule" (either House or Official) to support it, the DM can't just say "yes, you can use that spell to do that" on the fly, because that carries the Weight of Precedent and will have Irrevocable Consequences. This is so alien to my playstyle that I cannot begin to comprehend it.


Basically, 3.5e gave more fluff and built a world and an idea of how everything worked. 4e, so far, is reducing the fluff. If one didn't want the fluff or wanted it different in 3.5e, one was free to house rule it out. If one wasn't GOOD at writing fluff, they could use the existing fluff in 3.5e and you'd have a decent game with a decent world. In 4e, it looks like the fluff is being left up to the DM, but if the DM isn't good at that sort of thing, what you are going to end up with is a game without fluff, and thus without a real and consistent world, and thus without serious roleplaying.

While that might have its own charms, it isn't a game I want to play.

So what you're saying is if your DM is so bad that he is incapable of describing anything unless the rules tell him how to do it, you will have a game without a consistent world or any serious roleplaying.

Yeah, I guess I can agree with that. I don't think it's a flaw with the *game* however.

nagora
2008-06-19, 04:52 AM
The thing i find distasteful about it, is that it feels like the developers were not trying. 4e had more the largest development team
That might be your problem right there. One or two skilled designers is preferrable to one or two skilled designers who are constantly distracted from their work by working with a team of average designers.

This assumes that WotC have one or two skilled designers, which I personally doubt.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-19, 04:54 AM
Wisdom and Charisma scores are meant to model, or simulate attributes that a character has that is directly comparable (though not quantifiable) to real life.

Just because you put the word "simulate" in italics doesn't mean that it actually simulates anything.


Or would you not describe someone as being wise, or unwise, or charismatic or uncharismatic?

Which proves only that the game abstractions have the same name as qualities a real person might possess.

Nobody in real life possesses D&D "Charisma" - the peculiar quality that makes you scarier, more persuasive, a better liar, and better at playing musical instruments. *Certainly* nobody in real life possesses D&D "Wisdom" - the ability which makes you better at your job, more able to see and hear things, and gives you greater strength of will.


So if I make a simulation of a roulette wheel, I shouldn't include random factors?

No, you shouldn't. You should include one, specific random factor. If you tried to simulate a roulette wheel using a D20 it would be a crappy simulation.


When you simulate something where simple luck can play a significant part, you're going to want a mechanism to simulate that - thus, random number generation.

Because obviously the contribution of simple luck to a situation is always exactly the same regardless of the situation.


That 4'th edition simulates extremely poorly? Well, yes. But you're only paying attention to the function of simulation on one extreme.

Unless you'd care to posit that increased focus on simulation would not increase immersion.

That's exactly what I'm positing, because increased focus on simulation only highlights what a crappy simulation it is.

Most obvious example, the Hybrid RPG (http://philippe.tromeur.free.fr/hybrid.htm) provides rules to simulate *everything* (including "women" and "US cultural imperialism"). That doesn't make it a good game.

nagora
2008-06-19, 05:58 AM
Most obvious example, the Hybrid RPG (http://philippe.tromeur.free.fr/hybrid.htm) provides rules to simulate *everything* (including "women" and "US cultural imperialism"). That doesn't make it a good game.

My eyes! My EYES!

marjan
2008-06-19, 06:24 AM
My eyes! My EYES!

Your eyes? What about my brain? I tried to read that. :smalleek:

Dhavaer
2008-06-19, 06:40 AM
Your eyes? What about my brain? I tried to read that. :smalleek:

I have to admit, I'd never before heard of 'politically incorrect math'.

tumble check
2008-06-19, 07:58 AM
So 4E is worse... cause it's not an entertaining read? Pick up a novel. If anything, this discourages role playing, cause they tell you what happens. 4e let's you say what happens.




The real truth is, if you are creative, any game is great and fun. Maybe your not beign creative enough with 4th? YOU CAN DO ANYTHING IN D+D IF YOU SET YOUR MIND TO IT.



Do you REALLY think that having less description about... well, everything is an improvement? Did you sit reading the 3.5 books saying to yourself, "This is ok, but I wish these class and spell descriptions had less details so I could make my own!"? Do you really feel that rich description is a hindrance to roleplay?

It is hard to recognize this position as anything more than a reactionary rationalization to what 4e became.

However, you did have some wise words:

4e was designed for people who either experienced how bad 3e was and recognize that it was a step in the wrong direction, or people who weren't smug or stubborn enough to enjoy 3e.

It's becoming more clear to me that most of the people who REALLY liked 3.Xe are not taking well to 4e. Is this really what WotC wanted?

Stickforged
2008-06-19, 08:19 AM
Having finally read to the last page the three core books, i have to confirm my initial opinion on 4th edition.

The game is a good game... a bit too bland in fluffy descripion but solid in mechanics and balance.
The DM book is the best of the three, with concise and useful advice on dm'ing. Very good rules on skill challenge, puzzles and traps.
The other chapters are not so good, but this is not a problem for a core DM book (i see the future splatbooks coming).
The Monster manual is simply a collection of stat blocks, a reference book, with little or no fluff at all, but it does the job very well.
The new monster powers are nasty and cool, and the number and variety of monsters at all level is well balanced.

I think both manuals are a good choice even for a 3.5ed game master (with minor corrections to the monter stats).

The real shock is the player's handbook. It hasn't the minimal backward compatibility...

Casual players and groups that change setting and characters frequently will not have problems with that.

Unfortunately for me and my group, we play in two campaign worlds (eberron and an home made one) so far untraslatable in 4ed...

We have a lot of psionic use, home made prestige classes (especially in my home made campaign) and we use all crunch in all the eberron splatbooks...

Looking at the book i see no Bards (we have one) no Artificers (Another one) no Psions (two multiclass and one pure) no prestige classes (paragon paths not corresponding to these).

And all that in the Eberron campaign only... In my home made one, i banned clerics and created Prestige classes for all the gods. A character becomes a priest passing a test and taking the prestige class... There are not such things as 1st level clerics.

I use D20 modern base classes (tough hero, Fast hero etc) for all 1st level pc's... I cannot house rule all the material again (i worked on it in my long gone collage years) as i work a lot and have no time to do this. we have no desire to scrap the campaigns and restart.

So what use is 4th edition to me? As it is now is useless... Perhaps in 2-4 years, after a sizable collection of new splatbooks with the right manuals published... A pity, as i like some of the new material in the new phb... (i'll shamelessly borrow all i like, he he he)

So, imho, the real problem with 4ed is system incompatibility, especially with the multiclass and prestige class rules of 3.5. The new ones are not as flexible or customizable.

(To make a point, i had similar problems with 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd edition changes, but minor ones... not so crucial like from 3.5 to 4th.)

The New Bruceski
2008-06-19, 08:37 AM
It's becoming more clear to me that most of the people who REALLY liked 3.Xe are not taking well to 4e. Is this really what WotC wanted?

If you really like 3.5, why not keep playing that, and let them make a new version of the game for people who were unhappy?

Roderick_BR
2008-06-19, 08:51 AM
The guy with the sword was somehow lamer than the guy who manipulated reality with his mind, because that's just the way things work.
I disagree. Yes, "manipulating reality" SHOULD be powerful, but that much level of manipulation shouldn't be available for PCs SO EASILY.
As I said once, Bob and Jack fight the same batles, join the same missions, gains the same experience points, gains the same levels... and Jack has access to much more power because he's a wizard and Bob is a fighter? That's simply stupid. If using a sword is so simple, as people claim, then he should, besides swinging a sword, learn how to do a buckload of others things more. See Tome of Battle for an example on how the fighter should be from the beggining.


You measured things in feet and you had mechanics for just about every simple interaction between you and your world.
I prefer measures in meters, but that's just me :p
I thought that one of the bigger complains about 3E was that it has too many tables and rules for everything.


Look at the skill rules, it's mostly a die roll that the dm interprets by shrugging and saying ok your good at this, you do it, or your unlucky, you fail. ((yes i know 3E did the same thing, but they were less blatant about it.))
And being "less blatant about it" makes it better? No.

And yes, the fireball text is smaller.... this is bad how?




In 3.5e, we read the text and see what it does. Let's assume that the spell says that it doesn't leave any after-effects (like ice or snow). Someone says that they are going to use that spell to freeze the river. The DM replies that the spell doesn't work that way, as listed in the text. So either the player tries something else that's more creative, argues that the rest of the text implies his interpretation, or talks to the DM and convinces him that this way is better, and the DM house rules that effect in. But because everyone knows what the spell does there's far less discussion and guesswork going into these cases, and far less house rules as well; they are only for exceptionally good impacts.

Take 4e, now. Let's say that we have this spell described in a similar manner to what was described for the fireballish spells. There's really nothing to say about how that spell works in enough detail to decide if it SHOULD allow the player to do what you suggest. So if a player suggests it, the DM and all the players have to sit down and compare notes on how they think the spell should work and then come up with a ruling on if that's possible. That becomes a house rule, because it can only apply to that DM -- at least -- and probably that group. It will change from group to group because there's no independent fluff text that in any way states how things should work. And this would apply to any novel use of any interesting spell: whether it will work or not is entirey DM/group fiat. Or they can take the easy way out and insist that NONE of these creative options are allowed, and it only does the damage and/or status effect described in the rules.

And I ask: How are those two examples different? Yes, the first says it leaves no after-effect, and the second doesnt. Maybe you just assume it does? The same way that fire effects tends to ignite easily flamable substances?


So, people complain that too many rules telling everything you need to know is bad. I saw lots of complaints about it on 3.5. If anyone is interessed, I can look for actual quotes, no need to believe me on that.
But... a more flexible rule set is also bad.
And a simplified skill list is "castrating" the system, but more details on how skills works (mainly skill challenges, and social scenes) is bad.
Giving caster the flexibility everyone was crying for years (down with the anmynesic wizard) is bad, because everyone can do cool stuff now?
And D&D is becoming a MMORPG because it's simpler to play? Lolwut?

And if the new skill rules are so bad, why no one said anything when everyone knew they were going to use SW Saga's skill rules?
Guy1 "I heard they are going to use SWG's skill rules"
Guy2 "Really? Cool!
Guy1 "Look, they actually did it"
Guy2 "Ugh, they destroyed the skill rules"
Guy1 "... I thought you had said it was cool..."

Seriously, while there are nitpicks here and there I don't like on 4E (the same way 3E had MANY nitpics I didn't like), I don't see yet what is wrong with 4E. I didn't see anyone actually saying WHAT is wrong. No one said why yet. It's just saying that "it's bad", bot no one actually explained it. I saw comments like "too many to say". Well, I see none. Can anyone, in a civilized way, actually elaborate it?

Sigh.. this is "third editioin will ruin AD&D forevah!" All over again. Heck, I saw sites about 1st Edition players complaining that AD&D was going to ruin Dungeons & Dragons...

nagora
2008-06-19, 08:57 AM
Sigh.. this is "third editioin will ruin AD&D forevah!" All over again. Heck, I saw sites about 1st Edition players complaining that AD&D was going to ruin Dungeons & Dragons...

I cast doubt on that statement. Roll your saving throw...

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-19, 09:33 AM
Sigh.. this is "third editioin will ruin AD&D forevah!" All over again. Heck, I saw sites about 1st Edition players complaining that AD&D was going to ruin Dungeons & Dragons...

I roll to disbelieve!

Again, I must say that just because similar things have been stated in the past, it does not automatically invalidate such claims today.

Charity
2008-06-19, 09:40 AM
^ OK but tell me there was no hoohah over 2nd edition Nagora.:smalltongue:

The reason we see so much dissent is mainly because it is so easy to express it these days, forums were not common in the halcyon days of the transition from BD&D > AD&D.

The internet is no longer only for that one... other thing, now it is also for pissing and moaning as well.... you all have durty minds

Matthew
2008-06-19, 10:43 AM
I roll to disbelieve!

Again, I must say that just because similar things have been stated in the past, it does not automatically invalidate such claims today.

Very true.



^ OK but tell me there was no hoohah over 2nd edition Nagora.:smalltongue:

The reason we see so much dissent is mainly because it is so easy to express it these days, forums were not common in the halcyon days of the transition from BD&D > AD&D.

Apparently, there was plenty of it. David Cook has indicated that TSR got a number of letters complaining about how 2e was dumbing down 1e. To some extent that was true, but since one of the design goals of 2e was to make the game more accessible, it was hardly surprising [bearing in mind that another design goal was near perfect backwards compatability].

Indon
2008-06-19, 11:05 AM
Just because you put the word "simulate" in italics doesn't mean that it actually simulates anything.
Well, then, enlighten me. How does it not simulate something? Because generally, when you set up an in-game parameter to reflect something that one would describe in real-life, I would think that's meant to simulate that real-life thing.

But if that's not what simulation is, by all means, correct my thinking.


Nobody in real life possesses D&D "Charisma" - the peculiar quality that makes you scarier, more persuasive, a better liar, and better at playing musical instruments.
Never heard anyone described as having strong force of personality?

Though I see the point you're trying to make - if you take every single detail of a simulative aspect of the game, you're going to end up with some discrepancies between the game and reality - because reality is very detailed, and it's hard to simulate it perfectly.

That does not make all simulation bad. That does not make all simulation suck. That does not mean you give up on trying to simulate things better. It means that discrepancy will be inevitable.


No, you shouldn't. You should include one, specific random factor. If you tried to simulate a roulette wheel using a D20 it would be a crappy simulation.
Well, of course - there's more than 20 positions. You'd need to use other dice, too.


Because obviously the contribution of simple luck to a situation is always exactly the same regardless of the situation.
In almost every version of D&D, this has been incorrect. Bonuses and penalties can significantly change the ability of the dice to affect a situation - case in point, the 3'rd edition Fighter who is so ridiculously good that against most opponents, it's very unlikely he'll miss.

In 4'th edition (provided it's being played by RAW), this is far less true, because everything is normalized to party level such that you're always in the 'sweet spot' of not being able to make a significant dent on the random number generator.


That's exactly what I'm positing, because increased focus on simulation only highlights what a crappy simulation it is.

Most obvious example, the Hybrid RPG (http://philippe.tromeur.free.fr/hybrid.htm) provides rules to simulate *everything* (including "women" and "US cultural imperialism"). That doesn't make it a good game.

Ah, I see my error now. I failed to clarify that when I speak of a greater focus on simulation, I assume that competent game design leads to better simulation as a result of that focus.

Magic: The Gathering has a much more intricate game element than Chess does - that doesn't necessarily make Magic a better game than chess. There are things that make rules better when you focus on them, not just having more of them.

Similarly, increased focus on simulation is about not saying, "Well, we can't simulate perfectly - so we give up! Let's just let the simulation aspect of our game suck."

Rather, increased focus on simulation is about, for instance, having rules about how long someone can stay underwater before they drown, or how far a person can jump. As I noted earlier, 4th edition is not totally bereft of simulation elements.

Increasing the focus on simulation would, say, involve introducing guidelines on how powerful a village militia might be in case the DM needs to fabricate one on short notice. Or, perhaps, allowing a bonus to-hit with a crossbow when firing prone, to reflect steadiness of aim.

Increasing the focus on simulation is about giving the DM more tools to be prepared for players exploring their characters' environment. Those tools allow a DM to be better-prepared for contingencies, allowing the DM to react better, while spending less time. Games are disrupted less due to player creativity, and player actions for their characters recieve more believable responses.

A game with a better simulation aspect has fewer immersion-disrupting interruptions for a DM to improvise rules and create things for players to interact with. A better simulation aspect requires less railroading, because the DM is prepared for when the players behave unexpectedly. A better simulation aspect may even help people forget that ultimately, they're playing a game - and help them remember that they're playing make-believe.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-19, 11:45 AM
There are many days I am glad I don't click every link that I see.

Daimbert
2008-06-19, 12:26 PM
And I ask: How are those two examples different?

In the first case, it starts from the DM saying as per the text in the book that the spell says it doesn't work that way, forcing the player to have to claim that there's a contradiction or that this is really cool to have it introduced. In the second case, the two of them have to figure out how the spell actually works. In short, in the first case they start from a somewhat common and independent idea of how the spell works, and in the second they have no clue.


So, people complain that too many rules telling everything you need to know is bad. I saw lots of complaints about it on 3.5. If anyone is interessed, I can look for actual quotes, no need to believe me on that.
But... a more flexible rule set is also bad.

If you can find actual quotes from me complaining about that, then I'll be impressed and it might impact my thoughts on this. Otherwise, I'm obviously not particularly concerned [grin].

That being said, complaining about there being too many rules does not equate to wanting them all removed ...

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-19, 12:58 PM
In the first case, it starts from the DM saying as per the text in the book that the spell says it doesn't work that way, forcing the player to have to claim that there's a contradiction or that this is really cool to have it introduced. In the second case, the two of them have to figure out how the spell actually works. In short, in the first case they start from a somewhat common and independent idea of how the spell works, and in the second they have no clue.


Again, I just want to highlight the fact that you seem to be starting from the assumption that D&D spells somehow have a fixed, external reality, that "can an Ice Storm freeze a river?" is a question with a "correct" answer which must be "worked out" instead of just being something a group can decide on a case by case basis.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-19, 01:12 PM
Well, then, enlighten me. How does it not simulate something? Because generally, when you set up an in-game parameter to reflect something that one would describe in real-life, I would think that's meant to simulate that real-life thing.

And I would think that it's meant to provide a neutral reference point with which to discuss that real life thing as it pertains to the game world.

To put it another way, it depends on what you mean by "simulate".


But if that's not what simulation is, by all means, correct my thinking.

Your definition of "simulation" is so broad as to be meaningless. By that definition Levels are a simulation of the fact that some people are more powerful than others, Powers are a simulation of the fact that some people can do things that others can't, and magic is a simulation of a world in which magic is real.


Never heard anyone described as having strong force of personality?{/quote]

I have indeed, and I have always said to myself "gosh, the person who used that description is lazy and uncreative".


Though I see the point you're trying to make - if you take every single detail of a simulative aspect of the game, you're going to end up with some discrepancies between the game and reality - because reality is very detailed, and it's hard to simulate it perfectly.

It is *impossible* to simulate reality perfectly. It is *hard* to simulate reality well. D&D - in any edition - does not simulate reality at all.

[quite]That does not make all simulation bad. That does not make all simulation suck. That does not mean you give up on trying to simulate things better. It means that discrepancy will be inevitable.

I didn't say it made all simulation bad, I said it made D&D 3.X a bad simulation. 4E is, in fact, a much better simulation, chiefly because it knows what it is simulating.


Well, of course - there's more than 20 positions. You'd need to use other dice, too.

But there's no rules for that. You'd have to houserule it, or use common sense, both of which, according to you, are contrary to simulation and immersion.


In almost every version of D&D, this has been incorrect. Bonuses and penalties can significantly change the ability of the dice to affect a situation - case in point, the 3'rd edition Fighter who is so ridiculously good that against most opponents, it's very unlikely he'll miss.

But no matter how good he gets, he always has an *exactly* 5% chance of missing, even against a blind cripple with his back to him.


In 4'th edition (provided it's being played by RAW), this is far less true, because everything is normalized to party level such that you're always in the 'sweet spot' of not being able to make a significant dent on the random number generator.

Whereas, of course, the 3rd Edition concept of "challenge rating" was in no way meant to normalize encounters to party level.


Ah, I see my error now. I failed to clarify that when I speak of a greater focus on simulation, I assume that competent game design leads to better simulation as a result of that focus.

Magic: The Gathering has a much more intricate game element than Chess does - that doesn't necessarily make Magic a better game than chess. There are things that make rules better when you focus on them, not just having more of them.

Similarly, increased focus on simulation is about not saying, "Well, we can't simulate perfectly - so we give up! Let's just let the simulation aspect of our game suck."

Rather, increased focus on simulation is about, for instance, having rules about how long someone can stay underwater before they drown, or how far a person can jump. As I noted earlier, 4th edition is not totally bereft of simulation elements.

Increasing the focus on simulation would, say, involve introducing guidelines on how powerful a village militia might be in case the DM needs to fabricate one on short notice. Or, perhaps, allowing a bonus to-hit with a crossbow when firing prone, to reflect steadiness of aim.

One of which would almost certainly produce ludicrous and untransferrable results, the other of which would be manifestly stupid in a game with an abstract combat system.


Increasing the focus on simulation is about giving the DM more tools to be prepared for players exploring their characters' environment. Those tools allow a DM to be better-prepared for contingencies, allowing the DM to react better, while spending less time. Games are disrupted less due to player creativity, and player actions for their characters recieve more believable responses.

You know what gives me tools to prepare for the players exploring their environment? Not having rules for all of it. If the players go looking for a blacksmith, I want to be able to have them find a blacksmith, not worry about what level the guy would have to be in order to fix some full plate.


A game with a better simulation aspect has fewer immersion-disrupting interruptions for a DM to improvise rules and create things for players to interact with. A better simulation aspect requir\es less railroading, because the DM is prepared for when the players behave unexpectedly. A better simulation aspect may even help people forget that ultimately, they're playing a game - and help them remember that they're playing make-believe.

But, much as you claim otherwise, you're still confusing "more" with "better".

4E has better simulation than 3E. It no longer has stupid rules that allow you to conjure money from thin air with skill checks, or hack through solid stone with a greataxe, or which require people to be good at killing things in order to be good at their jobs. The only "simulation" aspects that 4E got rid of were the ones that were idiotic and immersion breaking.

Antacid
2008-06-19, 01:33 PM
Dan_Hemmens, do you realise that you totally jumped all over my replies to Daimbert and Indon, thereby allowing them ignore me and respond to your posts with arguments I'd already addressed? :smallannoyed: I'm just asking.

EDIT: Yeah, now you're getting bogged down in specifics and accepting Indon's questionable assertions without challenge ("A game with a better simulation aspect has fewer immersion-disrupting interruptions for a DM to improvise rules" - completely wrong). We're doomed! DOOOMED!!!

nagora
2008-06-19, 02:23 PM
One of which would almost certainly produce ludicrous and untransferrable results, the other of which would be manifestly stupid in a game with an abstract combat system.
Okay, Dan I think you're going to have to get a yellow card for that one: that's just plain nonsense. How does having an abstract combat system mean that people should not get bonuses for taking special care to aim their missile weapons? And why should guidelines about militia be "almost certainly" ludicrous? I can see "untransferrable", but beyond that I think you're just in knee-jerk mode, frankly.

Indon
2008-06-19, 03:11 PM
Again, I just want to highlight the fact that you seem to be starting from the assumption that D&D spells somehow have a fixed, external reality, that "can an Ice Storm freeze a river?" is a question with a "correct" answer which must be "worked out" instead of just being something a group can decide on a case by case basis.

Rules would exist for this sort of thing for:

-Convenience (so that you don't have to decide it on a case-by-case basis)

-Consistency (so that the players don't constantly Fridge Logic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeLogic) your campaign)

When your players see you obviously winging it, they remember they're playing a game and that you have to make stuff up. When your players notice you doing it inconsistently, they realize you're not doing it well.

And no, using a definition of simulation as meaning things that simulate is not meaningless, when you simply note that simulation is often not a binary facet. All of your attempts to describe things as simulative measures work - but some more than others. It fails to be absurd.


But there's no rules for that. You'd have to houserule it, or use common sense, both of which, according to you, are contrary to simulation and immersion.
Well, they're both obviously inferior to having rules onhand for it.

"But what if the rules suck?" you say. So? What if the houserule sucks? Or the DM doesn't have 'common sense'? You know what? The rule can be looked at and improved, before it even hits the streets even. The houserule and the common sense can not.

Edit: And ultimately, the absolute worst thing that a bad rule can do to your game is make you ignore it and use a houserule/common sense anyway. So the worst imaginable rule is still break-even with not having any (because it's effectively not having any), with one exception:

The advantage the freeform roleplay has over the established rule is that freeform doesn't cost any money.


But no matter how good he gets, he always has an *exactly* 5% chance of missing, even against a blind cripple with his back to him.
Nonetheless an improvement over the situation in 4'th edition.


Whereas, of course, the 3rd Edition concept of "challenge rating" was in no way meant to normalize encounters to party level.
And it failed, meaning we didn't have to deal with the downsides of it working.


4E has better simulation than 3E. It no longer has stupid rules that allow you to conjure money from thin air with skill checks, or hack through solid stone with a greataxe, or which require people to be good at killing things in order to be good at their jobs. The only "simulation" aspects that 4E got rid of were the ones that were idiotic and immersion breaking.

Let me ask you something:

What is the 4'th edition RAW for pushing people off of a cliff?

Jerthanis
2008-06-19, 03:34 PM
Let me ask you something:

What is the 4'th edition RAW for pushing people off of a cliff?

As I recall, if you use a power that would push, pull or slide an opponent off an edge of some kind, they roll a saving throw, and if they succeed, they fall prone in the square adjacent to the edge and stop. If they fail, they fall over the edge and take appropriate falling damage.

I'm reasonably sure that same rule applies to using the basic Grab to pull them over the edge as well.

Antacid
2008-06-19, 04:22 PM
Rules would exist for this sort of thing for:
When your players see you obviously winging it, they remember they're playing a game and that you have to make stuff up.
Which they also do when leafing through a rulebook to find the damage modifier for lying prone while firing a crossbow. (In 4e there isn't one, and that's a good thing, because then there'd have to be a modifier for steadying a crossbow on any other surface, such as battlements).


When your players notice you doing it inconsistently, they realize you're not doing it well.

That sounds like a good justification for DMing well. DMing, I find, is often better when done well. Bad DMs are markedly inferior to good DMs, or so I'm told.

And no, using a definition of simulation as meaning things that simulate is not meaningless, when you simply note that simulation is often not a binary facet. All of your attempts to describe things as simulative measures work - but some more than others. It fails to be absurd.

If you're going to defend 3.5 as being more simulationist than 4e, you need a better argument than "because there are more rules". Especially when you yourself admit that many of those rules are bad, and when your central premise, that the attributes and dice rolls are attempts to model real characteristics (e.g. Wisdom, which I pointed out also models physical characteristics like eyesight and hearing), is inherently flawed.


Edit: And ultimately, the absolute worst thing that a bad rule can do to your game is make you ignore it and use a houserule/common sense anyway. So the worst imaginable rule is still break-even with not having any (because it's effectively not having any), with one exception:

This is wrong. Openly throwing out a core rule is always going to cause more conflict, because of the players who wanted to do something that depended on a literal interpretation of the rule. Improvising only fails if the DM does it badly. In your case a DM is put in direct conflict with the rules and the players. In my case I can use a situational justification for disallowing something that isn't covered in the rules ("this particular river is flowing too fast for any ice to be stable" was the example I provided before) that will allow me or the players to use the same idea later for different results without being inconsistent.

The fewer rules, the more power the DM has. Some DMs will be bad, and screw up or abuse their power, but do you really want to play a system that holds your hand through every possible eventuality? Apparently.


The advantage the freeform roleplay has over the established rule is that freeform doesn't cost any money.

Red herring much?


(I realise now that this was about challenge ratings)

And it failed, meaning we didn't have to deal with the downsides of it working.

EDIT: You had to come up with an alternative way of gauging how difficult encounters would be for the players - hardly a risk-free undertaking. A TPK is a pretty significant downside to the Challenge Rating system not working. The 4e DMG specifically advises varying encounter difficulty, to avoid the problem of all the encounters seeming evenly balanced.


Let me ask you something:

What is the 4'th edition RAW for pushing people off of a cliff?
Now someone's answered that, can you tell me whether a 3.5 edition Cone Of Cold will freeze a river? I'm dying to know what rulebook the answer is in.

Or you can ignore me. :smalltongue:

Daimbert
2008-06-19, 04:29 PM
I saw your last post, BTW, and you just needed to give me a little more time [grin].



But everyone doesn't know what the spell does. No one knows what every spell in 3.5e does, there are a dozen splatbooks. So they have to look it up, which takes time. And when they discover it's not allowed, as you yourself say, they have to come up with something else and argue over the alternative solution.

But this would occur whether or not the spell had more or less descriptive text. The only way this wouldn't occur is if the DM and players were basically pulling everything out of their nether regions completely on the fly. Even with the 4e rules, are you telling me that if someone wants to cast a spell that's in a splatbook (which will happen with 4e, of course, eventually) the DM won't look it up to see what it is and what it does? Especially if they wanted to use it for a novel purpose?

Basically, if the DM is aiming for a consistent world and a world where anything that IS described by the books is used, this situation will occur. And 4e's less descriptive text doesn't help.


Throughout this metagaming debate, the characters are suspended in space, fleeing towards a river with orcs in close pursuit. Any tension created by the chase scene dissipates. Players without a stake in the outcome of the discussion go get snacks.

But this situation occurs more frequently and takes longer to resolve with 4e's lower amount of spell descriptions, because if the spell description says "It can't work" then a) it won't be brought up as often, b) it will end there more often (the text is more likely to be indicative of how it should work the better the description is) and c) there will be less things to consider. See, in a lot of the cases in 3e they'd go, look up the spell description and that would settle it. With less descriptive text, there's more interpretation on the part of everyone as to how they think the spell should work. That takes longer.

You will never get a perfect description that needs no interpretation for, well, anything actually, but less is not more in this case [grin].


Unless, of course, I also have Cone Of Cold memorised. Here's the entire fluff text for that spell:

Now, if it "drains heat" sufficient to do damage, how could it not freeze water? How much water? How thick is the ice it creates? Can I ride a horse over it? How long does the ice last before melting? Can the ice be dispelled, or is it non-magical? This is a core spell, not taken from splatbook, many of which have even more carelessly written spell descriptions.

And this seems to be a precise example of how less descriptive text raises all these questions, basically proving my point. No spell description will be perfect, but reducing it to even less or just a damage and/or status description doesn't make these problems any easier to resolve unless the DM simply allows any reasonable argument, such as "Cold freezes water". But then good luck balancing or building a consistent world ...


If having to houserule in a special application of a spell is indicative of poor game design, isn’t having to houserule a change to what a fully-fluffed out spell does also poor game design? You still wind up adding rules!

The trick is that we want to MINIMIZE the amount of house ruling that has to be done. With less spell descriptions, ANY novel application -- beyond "damage and/or status effect" becomes a house rule. Having to do them sometimes is just a fact of life; nothing's perfect. Having to do them to simply make your novel applications possible should not be simply a fact of life.


Without a rule prohibiting that particular use of a spell, nobody has any motivation for arguing about it. The PCs want to escape, the DM wants the PCs to have fun. Unless an action is going to derail the adventure in some way, why should the DM try to make it difficult for a PC to do something clever? He’s not trying to ‘beat’ the PCs.

Ah, I see, you want the DM to basically give in to players' whims whenever they make any sort of credible argument, without thought to whether or not that makes for a balanced world, or a consistent one, or even if that fits in with how they thought things work when they read the descriptions themselves or played the game themselves. Gotcha.

Okay, okay, that was a bit facetious, but the DM has to make a call on where to draw the line and what's reasonable in their world and what isn't. So there may be much arguments over whether or not that would be allowed, for good reasons.




There’s no reason why the conversation couldn’t go like this:

Player: I use Ice Storm to freeze the river so we can escape over it. There's nothing in the spell description saying it can't do that.
DM: Okay. or No, I'm going to rule that the spell doesn't freeze water.

And the game proceeds.

Do you really think that if a DM said the "No" line to a player without being able to point to the spell description and say "The spell doesn't work that way", that that would end it for most players? And if it would work, and the DM doesn't want to go through the hassle of figuring out if this would be unbalanced in other conditions, or if that use for Ice Storm would also mean that Cone of Cold and Ice Ball also allows it and what that would do to the game and the world, and then simply refuses ANY novel applications because of the work involved, how is that better? At least with more spell descriptions, the player may be able to say that that's just the way that particular spell works, allowing more freedom, even with less well described spells (the DM can draw the line with them without having to extend the thought to the first spell).


Furthermore, if the DM secretly thinks the use of the spell is valid but doesn't want the players to use it this time, he can say something like "you can see that this river is flowing too quickly for the ice to remain in one piece long enough for you to get across". That way suspension of disbelief remains intact, and the practical result is exactly the same as if you'd brought the game to a halt looking up a rule.

Assuming that he can think of something that doesn't also eliminate ANOTHER creative solution that he would have been happen to have the players use, or doesn't want to have to invent those situations if he really never wants them to be able to use it.


There's no independent fluff governing any houserules, by definition - and almost all DMs use them.

My comment was that instead OF having to invent a house rule to describe the fluff, they may be able to rely on the extra independent fluff added to the spell description, thus AVOIDING a house rule in those cases, and only having to add one if they really, really need or want to.


If Players are expecting every campaign to use identical rules they have no choice but to stick with one DM.

But the minimizing of the fluff text means that this distinction will be far more pronounced; BASIC abilities of spells and abilities may radically change from DM to DM, making this so much harder than now where there are differences that aren't as pronounced.


If an individual DM can't create a consistent world without rules telling him everything the player's aren't allowed to do, the problem is with him, IMHO.

But perhaps a DM doesn't want to have to invent EVERYTHING and remember all the rules associated with it. The descriptive text that was used as an example was quite lacking, and enough that the "freezing the river" had to be a house rule, whereas in the 3.5 version by your own admission it was fairly clear whether it would work or not. It's not an either/or here, but my view is simply that less descriptive text you have, the less common understanding there will be as to how the spell works, and thus the more debates and house rules you will have to have. Since you didn't want the debates, I fail to see why you think 4e is an improvement IN THIS AREA.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2008-06-19, 04:34 PM
Character design and game play in 3.x was like a game of Chess: there are a lot of different pieces you can use, and once you learn them you can figure out how they work together so you can develop combinations of moves for extremely advanced strategies. Some people won't take the time to fully learn how all the pieces work together, so their combinations of moves won't be as useful. Others will just look at the intricately shaped pieces and never even learn to play beyond a beginner level, preferring to just sit by and be entertained by the game.

Then the developers of Chess announced that they were making a new version of the game, something better that would attract new players. For years people waited for Chess II, and with all the hype everyone just had to have it.

4e has a streamlined rules system, one that's easy to follow and keeps the game moving. There's page after page of fluff, and then page after page of class features. But the characters in this game move like pieces in a game of Checkers. They just repeat the same thing over and over, and none of the classes has better moves than any of the other classes. The people who preferred to be merely entertained by Chess will find the fluff appealing and this version of the game easier to learn. The people who couldn't fully understand what they could accomplish in Chess will better grasp the simplified strategies in this game and be equal to the people who were inadvertently making them feel inferior at Chess. Those who excelled at Chess can see that 4e is only a simplified version of something truly great that was designed to appeal to a larger audience. WotC advertised a better and improved game but then pulled a bait-and-switch with 4e.

nagora
2008-06-19, 04:45 PM
The trick is that we want to MINIMIZE the amount of house ruling that has to be done.

Do we? I think it's more complex than that. I don't want to houserule much in some places, like combat damage and spell casting, because there's an issue of fairness and a generally poor return on the effort of houseruling. On the other hand, I want to maximise the houseruling on most other character actions, and especially social interactions, which I why I play 1ed which has no skills and almost nothing on social interactions beyond an initial reaction modifier and moral rules.

I want to houserule everything in those areas because no rule system which will fit into a book I can lift can do it justice and trying only makes limitations for the DM.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-19, 05:10 PM
Okay, Dan I think you're going to have to get a yellow card for that one: that's just plain nonsense. How does having an abstract combat system mean that people should not get bonuses for taking special care to aim their missile weapons? And why should guidelines about militia be "almost certainly" ludicrous? I can see "untransferrable", but beyond that I think you're just in knee-jerk mode, frankly.

To address each point individually.

The thing about abstract combat, is that the more you get into specifics the more you forget that it's supposed to be abstract, and the less sense the whole thing makes. An abstract combat system tends to assume that the combatants are *already* pretty much doing everything the best way they know how (it's why called shots don't work in D&D). I don't object to giving on the fly bonuses for clever ideas - that's rewarding creativity - it's specific, system mandated bonuses for micromanaging the minutiae of how a combat round is run that's the problem, not least because it slows things to a crawl while everybody whores for bonuses.

As for village militia guidelines: depending on the setting, a sensible village militia could be "ten guys with pitchforks" or "an eighty foot steel golem". The only answer you're going to get out of a codified system is "some guys with some weapons" and that's just not helpful.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-19, 05:19 PM
Dan_Hemmens, do you realise that you totally jumped all over my replies to Daimbert and Indon, thereby allowing them ignore me and respond to your posts with arguments I'd already addressed? :smallannoyed: I'm just asking.

Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt.

Of course, you realize that they're going to keep repeating the same arguments over and over again *anyway*.


EDIT: Yeah, now you're getting bogged down in specifics and accepting Indon's questionable assertions without challenge ("A game with a better simulation aspect has fewer immersion-disrupting interruptions for a DM to improvise rules" - completely wrong). We're doomed! DOOOMED!!!

Sometimes I think it's important to talk specifics.

And I thought the thing that needed challenging about Indon's assertion was that a "better simulation aspect" was automatically the more rules intensive. From a purely semantic standpoint he's otherwise entirely correct: better simulation is more immersive, it's just that to my mind the best way to get that "simulation" is to have an actual person with a brain do it, not to use dice and rulebooks.

Daimbert
2008-06-19, 05:19 PM
House-ruling is house-ruling.

The question is how much of it you have to do. And with less descriptions you have to do more of it.


In other words, you can play a [email protected]@ with your DM just because the rules aren't clear. That's not good.

But, of course, non-existent rules are less clear than existent ones.


Different groups, different rules. It doesn't impede you using "creative solutions" because as soon as you using them more often, they stop being "creative".

So a creative way out stops being creative if I want to use it in a different campaign and have only used it once before? And that means I shouldn't care if I can use it or not? And still, there's MORE of these differences if you have less written rules in the books, which this doesn't address. At all.


It's not better. It's just clear as a day what it is supposed do. Ability is still the same it just doesn't lead to confusion.

If you're saying that about 4e rules, that means that they have to do less than before, because they SAY less than before.


No. I agree that house-rules are required if you want to do something that is not stated in the ability's description.

And since if there is less description, there are more things not stated in it, that means that less description means more house rules. Guess what? You agree with me.


Until you come to the point where you don't know what the ability is supposed to do. Then it is your problem.

And then you resolve it then. I'm not going to advocate for less descriptions in text, however, because I might have to resolve problems in the writing.


"That window isn't broken: some *parts* of the window are broken".

Okay, I know there's a difference, games are modular and windows aren't, but the point is that the "specific instances" which everybody admits are broken are *also* the "specific instances" which the "simulationists" insist make the game a better simulation.

This is like someone complaining that the window creates too much of a draft and having someone remove it to fix the problem [grin].

The odd things in things like Spot or Diplomacy or Leadership are problems, but not so much so that they wanted those changed so radically.


Again this comes down to a fundamental difference in philosophy. Some people are more comfortable (in the non-derogatory sense) with a rule which they can then ignore, others are more comfortable just winging it.

And some people want something a bit in-between, that they can change when required but where they don't have to wing it all the time.

Right now, I think 4e when too far to "winging it" for my personal liking.


This is another fundamental philosophical disagreement. For some of us the idea of how the spell is "supposed" to work doesn't mean jack. It's our game, not the designers'.

I want to know how a spell works before I try to use it, because I want to have a world where I, the player, really do know or can look up to see how things work.

For example, right now I'm in a PBEM campaign. I LIKE being able to come home, grab my books, and have a VERY good idea what my spell, action, or ability will do, and what I can do. The less fluff there is, the less certain I am of that.

I also don't want to spend lots and lots of time arguing over what makes sense and what doesn't. I'd rather play and advance the plot.


You're making an unstated assumption here, which is that the purpose of the discussion is to objectively interpret the intent of the designers.

I actually find it genuinely confusing that you're arguing that a situation in which the player is invited to "argue that the rest of the text implies his interpretation" is actually *beneficial* to the game.

I'm not. My claim is that the purpose of the discussion is so that the players and the DM can all come to an agreement on how the spell works. Having a better spell description helps that because it gives a common starting point. Only ambiguities in that description or things it leaves unsaid foster any sort of discussion.

I'm also not inviting the player to argue with the DM. I'm claiming that with better descriptive text, most of the time the DM will point to the description, say "The spell doesn't work that way", and the player will choose something else. So in the case of the Ice Storm example, the player will ask, the DM will say "It doesn't leave after-effects, so no" and the player will move on. It's only if the player really feels strongly that it should work that way that there's any discussion at all, or if the player things that there's a contradiction. And those sorts of discussions aren't a bad thing, in my opinion, with a legitimate case.

With less descriptive text, it less often stops at "This is what the spell description says", because the spell description just says so much less.


I am honestly shocked that you consider this to be a bad thing. You actually seem to be saying that 4E is bad because it does not place limits on your imagination.

No, I'm saying it's worse (not bad, just a game that doesn't appeal to me) because with less fluff either the DM invents everything or the DM takes the easy route and uses the descriptions as is, limiting creative uses. I'm also saying it's worse because going into a campaign far more is left "up in the air", meaning that I don't know what I can and can't do before I do it. I don't want to have to discuss this all the time anyone wants to do something neat.


Again you seem to be making a whole host of assumptions here. You seem to be assuming that for any given situation there must be a "right" answer which must have a "rule" (either House or Official) to support it, the DM can't just say "yes, you can use that spell to do that" on the fly, because that carries the Weight of Precedent and will have Irrevocable Consequences. This is so alien to my playstyle that I cannot begin to comprehend it.

Are you seriously suggesting that if a DM says that, for example, Ice Storm can freeze water thick enough to cross that later in that campaign that player won't a) remember that and b) expect it to work again? If you're going to have a consistent and understandable world, a decision made earlier has to apply in similar enough circumstances later. I would not want to play a game where every single action not spelled out precisely in the description was totally at DM whim, and that DM wouldn't even need to add a reason to say why. Your mileage may vary, of course.


So what you're saying is if your DM is so bad that he is incapable of describing anything unless the rules tell him how to do it, you will have a game without a consistent world or any serious roleplaying.

Yeah, I guess I can agree with that. I don't think it's a flaw with the *game* however.

What I'm saying is that if a DM isn't good at spell descriptions and/or balancing, they will flesh out what they think is really important and not bother with anything else, and then the world will tend towards the inconsistent and less roleplaying.

A game with more fluff allows a DM to ignore fluff except for the things directly related to the plot, and to ignore the world except for what they really care about, and still create a wonderful story that is enjoyable because the books fill in the fluff so the DM doesn't have to. A DM who WANTS to write-up all the fluff is not forced to, but the DM who doesn't has a nice skeleton to fall back on.

Isn't 4e supposed to be LESS DM intensive than 3e? So why insist that the DM have to build the consistent world because it won't do it itself?

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-19, 05:54 PM
This is like someone complaining that the window creates too much of a draft and having someone remove it to fix the problem [grin].

The odd things in things like Spot or Diplomacy or Leadership are problems, but not so much so that they wanted those changed so radically.


It was more things like having three different skills to notice stuff, two different skills for stealth, and so on. It needed streamlining.


And some people want something a bit in-between, that they can change when required but where they don't have to wing it all the time.

Right now, I think 4e when too far to "winging it" for my personal liking.

That's fair. I'm a big fan of winging it, I think it depends on where you're coming from.


I want to know how a spell works before I try to use it, because I want to have a world where I, the player, really do know or can look up to see how things work.

For example, right now I'm in a PBEM campaign. I LIKE being able to come home, grab my books, and have a VERY good idea what my spell, action, or ability will do, and what I can do. The less fluff there is, the less certain I am of that.

Ah, I can see how things would be different in PBEM, because communication is going to be an order of magnitude slower. In tabletop, though, I'm far more inclined to go with talking to each other about how stuff works.

Part of the reason for this is because, when I DM, I rewrite half the fluff anyway (I'm currently putting together a quasi-Asian setting, so I've got to redo the Eladrin and Elves to be a bit less Celtic). When I hear "Ice Storm" I think "Ice dropping out the freakin' sky" and to be honest I won't read much flavour text beyond that because I already know I've got the gist.


I also don't want to spend lots and lots of time arguing over what makes sense and what doesn't. I'd rather play and advance the plot.

That's fair, I guess I'm lucky in that my players seldom argue. They *do* ask questions a lot, however.


I'm not. My claim is that the purpose of the discussion is so that the players and the DM can all come to an agreement on how the spell works. Having a better spell description helps that because it gives a common starting point. Only ambiguities in that description or things it leaves unsaid foster any sort of discussion.

I think it gives the *impression* of a common starting point, but I'm not sure that it's as strong as it seems.

For example, leaving aside nagora's earlier example of people who insist that a fireball does not create actual fire, people instinctively imagine things in their own way, and nothing's wrong with that.


I'm also not inviting the player to argue with the DM. I'm claiming that with better descriptive text, most of the time the DM will point to the description, say "The spell doesn't work that way", and the player will choose something else. So in the case of the Ice Storm example, the player will ask, the DM will say "It doesn't leave after-effects, so no" and the player will move on. It's only if the player really feels strongly that it should work that way that there's any discussion at all, or if the player things that there's a contradiction. And those sorts of discussions aren't a bad thing, in my opinion, with a legitimate case.

The thing is, I'd rather those sorts of discussions were grounded in what's best for the game, rather than what is says in the rules. I'd rather the discussion went like this:

Player: "Can I freeze the lake with an Ice Storm?"
DM: "I don't think so, I see it as literal chunks of ice falling out the sky."
Player: "Okay, can I jump across the lake on those chunks?"
DM: "Okay, that sounds reasonable"

Than like this:

Player: "Can I freeze the lake with an Ice Storm"
DM: "Sorry, the rules say you can't"

or

DM: "No, I don't think so"
Player: "But the *rules* say..."


With less descriptive text, it less often stops at "This is what the spell description says", because the spell description just says so much less.

Y'see, I think that's a good thing. I like things being up to me.


No, I'm saying it's worse (not bad, just a game that doesn't appeal to me) because with less fluff either the DM invents everything or the DM takes the easy route and uses the descriptions as is, limiting creative uses. I'm also saying it's worse because going into a campaign far more is left "up in the air", meaning that I don't know what I can and can't do before I do it. I don't want to have to discuss this all the time anyone wants to do something neat.

I think we come from two different schools of roleplaying. Where I come from, people doing "neat" things is a given.


Are you seriously suggesting that if a DM says that, for example, Ice Storm can freeze water thick enough to cross that later in that campaign that player won't a) remember that and b) expect it to work again? If you're going to have a consistent and understandable world, a decision made earlier has to apply in similar enough circumstances later. I would not want to play a game where every single action not spelled out precisely in the description was totally at DM whim, and that DM wouldn't even need to add a reason to say why. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Two answers here.

Firstly, if I'd ruled that an Ice storm froze water thick enough to walk across then I'd probably stick with that, as long as it was a similar type of water (a lake would freeze better than a river would freeze better than the sea). On the other hand, I'd probably go with the "clashing shards of jagged ice" interpretation, because it's cooler and has more potential for action.

Secondly, my players generally accept that things don't always work the same way twice, particularly where magic is concerned.


What I'm saying is that if a DM isn't good at spell descriptions and/or balancing, they will flesh out what they think is really important and not bother with anything else, and then the world will tend towards the inconsistent and less roleplaying.

A game with more fluff allows a DM to ignore fluff except for the things directly related to the plot, and to ignore the world except for what they really care about, and still create a wonderful story that is enjoyable because the books fill in the fluff so the DM doesn't have to. A DM who WANTS to write-up all the fluff is not forced to, but the DM who doesn't has a nice skeleton to fall back on.

Hmm ... I think we're using subtly different definitions of "fluff". As far as I'm concerned the fluff *is* the story. The story is what the players do and how they do it, and nothing is more important.

To put it another way, I think you and I view rivers differently. You, I think, would probably say that the river is important because the players have to find a way to get to the other side (correct me if I'm misrepresenting you). I, by contrast, feel the river is important because how the PCs approach the river is itself an opportunity for them to ... well ... roleplay. A wizard who crosses rivers by freezing them with destructive magic is a very particular kind of wizard, an I like to know that sort of thing about my PCs.

Does that make sense?


Isn't 4e supposed to be LESS DM intensive than 3e? So why insist that the DM have to build the consistent world because it won't do it itself?

Basically this all comes down to what different people find easy.

What I find easy is deciding, on the fly, how bits of a world fit together. I've been doing it for years, it's natural as breathing. I work best when I'm working outside the rules because there's just no rule in the PHB for "two priests, each possessed by their patron deities, dive into the river that birthed the god who ushered in the new age of this world".

What I find hard and boring is putting together NPCs following detailed rules, or designing encounters that have to deal with a hundred possible spellcasting possibilities.

LurkerInPlayground
2008-06-19, 06:23 PM
You know, earlier, I saw a conversation. (If you know who you are, chime in at any time to claim credit).

Simply, it dealt with a hypothetical corpse. How to get rid of it.

Person A complains that there isn't a spell to do this.

Persons B and C, simply pointed out that you could always burn the corpse or bury it.

Likewise, person A would say there is not magical way to delete a journal entry.

Persons B et. al. simply pointed out that you could spill ink on the entry or burn it.

To bring me to another point: Why would you waste an Ice Storm on a river when you're clearly powerful enough to wipe out the orcs? Or for that matter, use things like mass invisibility or confusion?

I'm sorry, all these complaints are about power, not "simulationism" or even "versatility." You can have problem-solving in a game that doesn't always rely upon magical solutions.

4e wizards aren't all-powerful genies. They're just exist on a power-scale more comparable to magicians from the John Constantine universe, Gandalf or your average user of the black arts from the Conan mythos. That is, you actually have to rely on something other than your all-sufficient powers to solve your problems.

You got cornered against the river by a blood-thirsty band of orcs? What are you doing there in the first place? Well, you die at any rate. The epic fail has occurred on *your* part. This isn't a fault with the system.

RukiTanuki
2008-06-19, 06:43 PM
Character design and game play in 3.x was like a game of Chess: there are a lot of different pieces you can use, and once you learn them you can figure out how they work together so you can develop combinations of moves for extremely advanced strategies.
[...]
4e has a streamlined rules system, one that's easy to follow and keeps the game moving. There's page after page of fluff, and then page after page of class features. But the characters in this game move like pieces in a game of Checkers. They just repeat the same thing over and over, and none of the classes has better moves than any of the other classes.

I'd consider it an equally (in)appropriate metaphor to say that 4th Edition is more like Magic the Gathering: players have a wide variety of effects (chosen from the class/deck color they select), assemble useful, complementary abilities, and face unforseen challenges with the resources they have on hand.

3e, then, is much the same, only Adam's using Magic cards, Betty's using a Pokemon deck, Charlie is just flipping a coin (poor 3e fighters), Danni has combined the Mouse Trap game with Risk, and Ed is arguing adjucation with Frank the DM over the effect of his rapid-fire crouching over the corpse of a Covenant grunt in in Halo.

:smallbiggrin:

Antacid
2008-06-19, 07:05 PM
I saw your last post, BTW, and you just needed to give me a little more time [grin].

Yeah, sorry. I'm going to try to stop frothing at the mouth so much, if it's any comfort. My connection has been playing up, so that kind of thing just happens.


The only way this wouldn't occur is if the DM and players were basically pulling everything out of their nether regions completely on the fly. Even with the 4e rules, are you telling me that if someone wants to cast a spell that's in a splatbook (which will happen with 4e, of course, eventually) the DM won't look it up to see what it is and what it does? Especially if they wanted to use it for a novel purpose?

Neither of these problems are likely any more because of the limitations of how many powers the PCs get. A small number of powers means they use the same ones frequently, so the DM has time to get familiar with the ordinary uses of a power some time before they try to do anything novel.


But this situation occurs more frequently and takes longer to resolve with 4e's lower amount of spell descriptions, because if the spell description says "It can't work" then a) it won't be brought up as often, b) it will end there more often (the text is more likely to be indicative of how it should work the better the description is) and c) there will be less things to consider. See, in a lot of the cases in 3e they'd go, look up the spell description and that would settle it. With less descriptive text, there's more interpretation on the part of everyone as to how they think the spell should work. That takes longer.

You're missing the point of why I brought up Cone of Cold.

The point is, if you rely on the rules to define limits on what a power can't do outside of its normal usages, the system is only ever as good as the crappiest rule. A player in the example who eliminates Ice Storm as an option for freezing the river can immediately suggest another alternative, so you wind up dealing with the problems of both the spell description with too much fluff and the one with too little. And because you've used the first block of fluff text as a justification for disallowing a questionable use of one spell, the fact that there is no exception in the fluff text for a different spell makes it more difficult to justify over-ruling the player a second time... right?

To clarify: I think the DM should be absolutely be willing to answer to answer questions like "How much ice does Cone of Cold create?" if it's absolutely necessary. But if a DM ordinarily relies on the fluff to clarify that sort of thing, it reduces the weight of his ruling, especially if his decision is to flat-out refuse to allow that use of the spell. If you're reliant on the rules to prevent abuses, it makes it more difficult to over-rule the players when the rules come up short because the DM has already ceded a large chunk of his AUTHORITAH.


But then good luck balancing or building a consistent world ...
Yeah. It's a risk. I'm being serious now. The Players might well decide to do something whimsical like start an ice-making business and screw with the socioeconomic assumptions or tone of your campaign, or something like that. But the answer to that is probably to be honest about why you're not happy with them abusing your ruling and why. The advantage is that they're less likely to think about the potential for a house-rule unbalancing the game until a moment of relative calm, when there's less to lose by discussing the metagame.


Do you really think that if a DM said the "No" line to a player without being able to point to the spell description and say "The spell doesn't work that way", that that would end it for most players?

This is a good point. Honestly, I think it depends on the relationship between the DM and the players. If the players are used to the DM letting them do things like this within reason, then when the DM over-rules them flat-out (which he absolutely should do if he wants to entirely prevent that use of a rule) the players ought to understand that he's not just doing it to be a killjoy. Also, "No" is the last option: don't underestimate the power of situational excuses like "the river is flowing too fast for ice to be stable". They are not the same as house-rules, because you don't drag the characters out of the game. It should also be an option to let the players try, but fail automatically, as long as the players understand they can always try something else. I really am suggesting improvising when the players come up with a solution you didn't expect - not trying to fill in the fluff text 4e left out.

Please remember: as long as Players in either edition can do a wide variety of different things, 3.5 only limits this problem so far as the rules that are properly fluffed out. If the player can think of a single rule or spell that's been left vague enough to allow for similar 'creativity', 3.5 is instantly rendered as mechanically open as 4e but with the DM having less authority to come up with a solution. That's not a net gain IMHO.


My comment was that instead OF having to invent a house rule to describe the fluff, they may be able to rely on the extra independent fluff added to the spell description, thus AVOIDING a house rule in those cases, and only having to add one if they really, really need or want to.

The trouble is that rules and exceptions to rules begin to multiply as soon as they start to interact with each other. It's a really, really difficult problem that I don't think 3.5e came close to solving using fluff text. The up-side is that most of the weird combinations of rules with only come up occasionally (cold spells v.s. water) or because the players are deliberately trying to break the system for their own benefit.

4e merely has a different philosophy, which demands a different approach from people playing it. Perhaps even (though I realise this sounds derogatory) more maturity from the players. You're really confronted with the fact that gaming the system is pointless. Re. house rules and inconsistencies, for example: if players aren't going to try to take advantage of every rule and expose every inconsistency, neither should be as much of a problem. I think I'm coming to feel like I understand why many people are horrified by the change in 4e's approach, anyway: if you play with different people a lot you're more likely to meet some who aren't going to put the shared experience above their own. If you can't whack them over the head with the rules, you're dependant on their better nature. And they might not have one.

marjan
2008-06-19, 07:11 PM
But, of course, non-existent rules are less clear than existent ones.


Depends on your philosophy. If you want a rule for every single thing you can or can't do then yes if there is no rule then it is unclear. I really don't want every ability to have a description of what it can't do. Add this to fireball description:

it doesn't grant free wishes.
it doesn't produce beer.
it doesn't make chickens fall from the sky.
...

Do you really want every single ability to have 50 page description to tell you what it isn't designed to do. Negative definitions are usually the worst kind. The only time the negative definition is allowed is when you want to prohibit certain use which would otherwise be allowed.



So a creative way out stops being creative if I want to use it in a different campaign and have only used it once before?


Yes, it stops being creative.



And that means I shouldn't care if I can use it or not?


No. Just don't call it creative.


And still, there's MORE of these differences if you have less written rules in the books, which this doesn't address. At all.


This is simply not true. If the rules are clear on what ability does then if your DM allows you to do other things with it, that's his interpretation. That doesn't mean that every DM will read that rules the same.



If you're saying that about 4e rules, that means that they have to do less than before, because they SAY less than before.


The 3e spells are different than 4e spells. What's wrong about that? They do less. Is that really that bad thing.



And since if there is less description, there are more things not stated in it, that means that less description means more house rules. Guess what? You agree with me.


No, I don't. It doesn't matter if you house-rule it because it isn't clear, or because it doesn't do what you want. That's still a house-rule.



And then you resolve it then. I'm not going to advocate for less descriptions in text, however, because I might have to resolve problems in the writing.


So, you're trying to tell me that it is OK to house-rule if you don't know what that rule is supposed to mean, but it isn't OK if you have to do the same thing if the rule doesn't allow for something to happen. When rules aren't clear, how do you know what they are supposed to do, anyway?

purepolarpanzer
2008-06-19, 11:00 PM
Character design and game play in 3.x was like a game of Chess: there are a lot of different pieces you can use, and once you learn them you can figure out how they work together so you can develop combinations of moves for extremely advanced strategies. Some people won't take the time to fully learn how all the pieces work together, so their combinations of moves won't be as useful. Others will just look at the intricately shaped pieces and never even learn to play beyond a beginner level, preferring to just sit by and be entertained by the game.

Then the developers of Chess announced that they were making a new version of the game, something better that would attract new players. For years people waited for Chess II, and with all the hype everyone just had to have it.

4e has a streamlined rules system, one that's easy to follow and keeps the game moving. There's page after page of fluff, and then page after page of class features. But the characters in this game move like pieces in a game of Checkers. They just repeat the same thing over and over, and none of the classes has better moves than any of the other classes. The people who preferred to be merely entertained by Chess will find the fluff appealing and this version of the game easier to learn. The people who couldn't fully understand what they could accomplish in Chess will better grasp the simplified strategies in this game and be equal to the people who were inadvertently making them feel inferior at Chess. Those who excelled at Chess can see that 4e is only a simplified version of something truly great that was designed to appeal to a larger audience. WotC advertised a better and improved game but then pulled a bait-and-switch with 4e.

There you go again with broad, false generalizations. I'm really good at chess- a few small tournies under my belt, and many 1-on-1's that were great battles of skill. AND I LIKE 4E BETTER. Can't you grasp the idea that intelligent, rational, skilled people can think 4e is better than 3.5? I think it is a better, improved game. You keep saying things that, one way or another, put down people who like 4E, saying that you somehow see things about the game we don't. This elitest point of view may be what is keeping you from enjoying 4E. If not, than atleast accept that people who like 4E are not somehow deficient.

fleet
2008-06-20, 01:34 AM
We keep getting side tracked here. THE POINT IS NOT THE MECHANICS! I liked the care and attention to detail that went into everything surrounding 3e. Sure the rules may not have actually worked, but they were presented in a manner that was amazing. Compare that too 4e's easy to use rules, that come packaged with extra blandness.

If you are obsessed with mages, how about I show you other powers that suck in conversion.

Can anyone here tell me what reaping strike or cleave look like in 4e?

In 3e, you get the impression of cleave being this amazing move where you swing your sword so hard it tears through one guy and hits another. In 4e the description is, "you hit one enemy and cleave into another". By the outer gods, that's bad English. You don't use the word in it's own description. Seriously, the description literally means that if some one asks you what cleave does, it makes you CLEAVE. The mechanic describing this action is simple and easy to understand sure, but the fluff description is stupid.

Next up, reaping strike.... "you punctuate your scything attacks with wicked jabs and small cutting blows that slip through your enemies defenses." The mechanic for this is simple enough, you do damage on a miss.. but the description is again an exercise in moronic writing. This attack has nothing to do with reaping and more importantly utterly ignores any kind of cinematic idea of a battle. I swing my great sword at the guy, and then get bored with that and try poking him with it? But somehow i associate my jab attack, with reaping... which is again SCYTHING, or slashing.

Or if those are not enough how about Sure strike? "You trade power for precision." THATS NOT A DESCRIPTION.


3 out of the 4 fighter starting at will exploits have lousy writing. I mean just about everyone who's posted on this thread could write better than that. I should know I've been reading your posts.

And it's not just fighters.

"You engulf your enemy in searing ribbons of radiance"... seriously, this just tells me your not even trying. radiance is a measure for light... you could say Searing radiant ribbons. of Burning ribbons of pure light. But no, the 4e designers jotted down the first thing they could think of.

This is not a matter of the usefulness of fluff, this a matter of being lazy and sloppy. Sure, some of the descriptions are functional, especially the ones for utility powers, but I don't want a utilitarian game... Would you buy a risk game, if instead of countries it gave you 96 squares of varying sizes arranged in an arbitrary mathematical sequence? Maybe, but would you buy that same game if all the squares were white on a white background, and half of them were inexplicably covered in barbecue sauce?

This kind of lame use of English is inexcusable when the game is being designed in English.

Just because i like making fun of 4e descriptions let's look at Here waits thy doom. A very cool paladin power, that is described as "You pull an enemy towards you, searing him with radient energy as he tries to ignore you." This is a range 5 attack, so i dare someone on this form to tell me what it looks like. Does the paladin form his aura into a lasso and drag his enemy to him, OR does he warp space with his shininess. I don't know, this attack has no real effect on the game outside of game mechanics. I glow, i get to move his piece.

Twin strike, "if the first attack doesn't kill it the second one might." I think this one takes the cake. It utterly fails to fit the flavor of the ranger. "Dur, i hope i hit." It's also an utter waste of text.

How about,

Crucial advice "you are wise in all things, the sooner your friends realize this, the safer and better off they'll be." When did rangers become lore masters. and more importantly, when did they become stuck up jerks?

The design team had how many years to build this game? At $34.95 a book, is it too much to ask for them to edit it for style?

Now that I've said this, if you'll excuse me i will begin running for the hills to avoid the avalanche of hate mail, and examples of poor writing from 3e that is no doubt coming my way.

tumble check
2008-06-20, 08:31 AM
There you go again with broad, false generalizations. I'm really good at chess- a few small tournies under my belt, and many 1-on-1's that were great battles of skill. AND I LIKE 4E BETTER. Can't you grasp the idea that intelligent, rational, skilled people can think 4e is better than 3.5? I think it is a better, improved game. You keep saying things that, one way or another, put down people who like 4E, saying that you somehow see things about the game we don't. This elitest point of view may be what is keeping you from enjoying 4E. If not, than atleast accept that people who like 4E are not somehow deficient.

Now that DnD is all about spatial tactics in battle, I can fully understand why a Chess player would like it.

Telok
2008-06-20, 02:30 PM
For the price of one feat and a skill pick a Fighter is just as good as a Cleric at raising the dead and curing disease.

Arcane mastery, saintly piety, the mystic power of nature. None of it counts for anything. For some ritual training, a few hours studying a book, and a modest amount of gold for incense or rare oils anyone can bring you back from the dead.

Between that and the fact that six hours of rest completely heals all physical damage for no well explained reason... Well, I'm pretty close to just ignoring the whole 4e thing. But I haven't given up on it yet, still need to see the stats for commoners and cats. Because the unaligned halfling paladin will, for no adequately explained reason, start a random bar fight and we will need stats for random commoners. Cats are just common pets, even if the wizard isn't a familiar-for-a-free-bonus player.

Jerthanis
2008-06-20, 02:53 PM
The design team had how many years to build this game? At $34.95 a book, is it too much to ask for them to edit it for style?


Style is a mostly subjective quibble though. I actually like the descriptions of several of the powers you cite as being examples of poor style. Cleave could have a better description, but the word "cleave" is pretty evocative of its purpose. To me, complaining about a power called cleave including its name in its description is like complaining about a power called Split shot including the word "split" in its description.

I've always felt that the fireball flavor description given in the 2nd and 3rd edition PHBs of a flaming "bead" streaking out and exploding was lame, so always imagined it as a Slayers-esque demonstrative, flashy pyrotechnic effect. Not to say, "You can fix it, therefore it isn't broken", I'm just saying that jumping on the one-sentence descriptors for being poorly written might be a bit over demanding of the book at fulfilling the style you specifically are looking for.

Indon
2008-06-20, 03:06 PM
Incoming: Disgustingly large post.


That's not what either 3.5e or 4e does. Both provide statistics which have a statistical impact on dice rolls that modify other statistics. There's no reality to simulate. You just happen to be used to the eccentricities of 3.5e and more willing to make excuses for It's non-simulation.

You're saying that something that reflects a real-life phenomenon is not simulation at all - presumably,


If Wisdom in 3.5e only represented how wise someone was, it wouldn't be used for Spot checks (making a PC's eyesight improve as he gets older).
Because the simulation isn't flawless. I've already addressed this.


while streamlined mechanics do make 4e less 'simulationist', doesn't mean you're arguing with any basis in logic.
How can you possibly agree with the first part of that statement while holding the second - without simulation, there's no such concept as a simulationist game.


A good movie doesn't have game mechanics: it's not even a game, but it achieves what D&D should achieve in transporting you someplace else.
Movies are non-interactive - it's somewhat inapplicable to use such a fundamentally different medium as an example for a tabletop game. You'd be far better off with even a video game.


Because D&D is an adventure game, the mechanics need enough of an element of risk to make the game exciting (that's where the dice come in); there needs to be enough specialisation that the PCs have to work as a team; and if the game is to last more than a few sessions there needs to be a way for characters to grow over time.

This is where we differ. I think D&D should be a roleplaying game, and I think 3'rd edition D&D tried to be a roleplaying game. But I'll agree that 4'th edition is an adventure game.


"That window isn't broken: some *parts* of the window are broken".

Okay, I know there's a difference, games are modular and windows aren't, but the point is that the "specific instances" which everybody admits are broken are *also* the "specific instances" which the "simulationists" insist make the game a better simulation.
Incorrect. The specific instances have broken aspects (such as the spot system scales by distance, but how it scales by distance could be improved), because they are, completely unsurprisingly, imperfect in design.

This does not mean they could not be done better. This does not mean you throw the window out and leave a hole in the house.


I am honestly shocked that you consider this to be a bad thing. You actually seem to be saying that 4E is bad because it does not place limits on your imagination.
You don't need a game to not have limits on your imagination. So if not having limits on your imagination is what you're gunning for, don't bother with a game at all.


As I recall, if you use a power that would push, pull or slide an opponent off an edge of some kind, they roll a saving throw, and if they succeed, they fall prone in the square adjacent to the edge and stop. If they fail, they fall over the edge and take appropriate falling damage.

Yeah. Actually, I'd mixed up some rules in my head when I posted that - it was a poor example considering the point I wanted to make. I'd have been better off drawing a Page 42 table example.


Which they also do when leafing through a rulebook to find the damage modifier for lying prone while firing a crossbow. (In 4e there isn't one, and that's a good thing, because then there'd have to be a modifier for steadying a crossbow on any other surface, such as battlements).

You wouldn't get a damage modifier for that - you'd get a to-hit modifier. And a general stabilization bonus to-hit for crossbows would have been a great idea in 4'th edition.

Stabilization
Weapons that can be stabilized recieve a +2 stabilization bonus when the user is firing at a target from solid cover or when prone.

There's a little bit of simulation right there - it'd be nice if I didn't have to do all the work to put it into a system.


That sounds like a good justification for DMing well. DMing, I find, is often better when done well. Bad DMs are markedly inferior to good DMs, or so I'm told.

Oh? I guess since we're assuming D&D is meant to be played by good DM's, I guess 3'rd edition's complete imbalance is absolutely no problem, right, because a good DM can just compensate for that.

Or maybe not.


If you're going to defend 3.5 as being more simulationist than 4e, you need a better argument than "because there are more rules".
No, you don't.

If you have a game without rules, you don't have a game. A non-game is not going to be better at being a game than a game is.

Not to say that you couldn't have decent simulationism with simple rules - but 4'th edition's "simple rules" are not oriented for simulation. They're oriented to create a balanced combat game, and they do what they're designed to quite well.


Especially when you yourself admit that many of those rules are bad,
Just because something is bad does not mean it can not be improved. Just because something is bad does not mean it should not be improved. Something being bad is not, in and of itself, an excuse for getting rid of it instead of improving it.


This is wrong. Openly throwing out a core rule is always going to cause more conflict, because of the players who wanted to do something that depended on a literal interpretation of the rule.
That sounds like a good justification for having better players. Playing D&D, I find, is often more peaceful when you have good players. Bad players are markedly inferior to good players, or so I suspect.


The fewer rules, the more power the DM has. Some DMs will be bad, and screw up or abuse their power, but do you really want to play a system that holds your hand through every possible eventuality? Apparently.
While we're talking about extremes, why don't I just recommend you not bother playing 4'th edition at all. You'll have so much more power, right? That's what you want, right?


The 4e DMG specifically advises varying encounter difficulty, to avoid the problem of all the encounters seeming evenly balanced.

"To keep players from figuring out you're dumbing down their players' universe at our recommendation, you should mix things up to keep them guessing."

Not to say the encounter system doesn't have great benefits to the game. But it has sacrifices, too.


Now someone's answered that, can you tell me whether a 3.5 edition Cone Of Cold will freeze a river? I'm dying to know what rulebook the answer is in.
Looks like someone's already addressed this.


Or you can ignore me. :smalltongue:
I judged Dan_Hemmens' points to be more comprehensive and better-formed than yours - so I responded to them. But here you go anyway.


The thing about abstract combat, is that the more you get into specifics the more you forget that it's supposed to be abstract, and the less sense the whole thing makes.
Ranged combat in D&D isn't abstracted - that's why each attack roll with a bow takes only one arrow.

In fact, in 4'th edition melee combat isn't generally abstracted anymore, either - melee powers are single attacks when they're flavored as single attacks, and multiple attacks when they're flavored as multiple attacks.


As for village militia guidelines: depending on the setting, a sensible village militia could be "ten guys with pitchforks" or "an eighty foot steel golem". The only answer you're going to get out of a codified system is "some guys with some weapons" and that's just not helpful.

Or maybe you could get an encounter CR or two. Would that not be helpful? Would that be hard for a system to generate, you think? Heck, if it was really good there might even be recommendations for distribution of monstrer roles, such as minion/mob/solo/elite ratios and level/quantity ratios.


Of course, you realize that they're going to keep repeating the same arguments over and over again *anyway*.
Yes, clearly the fault is with me, and my inability to understand your perfectly true and masterfully crafted points.


Of course, you realize that they're going to keep repeating the same arguments over and over again *anyway*.
Yes, clearly the fault is with me, and my inability to understand your perfectly true and masterfully crafted points.


From a purely semantic standpoint he's otherwise entirely correct: better simulation is more immersive, it's just that to my mind the best way to get that "simulation" is to have an actual person with a brain do it, not to use dice and rulebooks.

By your argument, the best simulation seems to be a free-form RPG. I'd like you to describe what aspect of such an RPG makes it a better simulation than a game with rules and guidelines to promote it.


It was more things like having three different skills to notice stuff, two different skills for stealth, and so on. It needed streamlining.
Well, the 3'rd edition skill system had problems, and streamlining was one of the possible ways to fix it - it didn't need streamlining, that was just the solution chosen (and an appropriate choice considering 4'th edition's simplification).


4e merely has a different philosophy, which demands a different approach from people playing it.
And that philosophy is to facilitate roleplaying much, much less than prior incarnations. A game which does nothing to facilitate roleplaying is simply not a roleplaying game - so it would stand to reason that a game that cares less about roleplaying is less of a roleplaying game, and more of a game that cares about what it's oriented for. 4'th edition is oriented for tactical combat, and it's a fine game for that.

Edit: And no, you can not just claim 3'rd edition's failures as proof that games should never try to facilitate immersion or other aspects of roleplaying. Plenty of other roleplaying games do it just fine and 4'th edition could have joined those ranks, but all evidence points to Wizards giving up on improving the roleplaying aspect of their game instead of trying.

So if you're going to make a counterargument that 4'th edition is somehow better for having lost all those rules instead of making them better, please do one that I can't just cite a well-made roleplaying system to disprove. Or else I'll never manage to understand your masterfully worded, perfectly logical and correct points, and we can't have that.


Perhaps even (though I realise this sounds derogatory) more maturity from the players.
You're talking about the game which took away much of the freedom from character building because players were expected to completely ruin the game if given half a chance. Yet, it's designed with an expectation that people be more mature? That seems an inconsistent design philosophy, at best.


There you go again with broad, false generalizations. I'm really good at chess- a few small tournies under my belt, and many 1-on-1's that were great battles of skill. AND I LIKE 4E BETTER. Can't you grasp the idea that intelligent, rational, skilled people can think 4e is better than 3.5? I think it is a better, improved game.

Not to mention, simpler doesn't necessarily mean easier - Go is simpler than Chess, in terms of its' basic rules (Not to say either game is better than the other - only that Go is not easier to master than Chess).

But that doesn't make Go or Chess good roleplaying games, and I would question anyone who would want to tell me that either was a good roleplaying game.

Titanium Dragon
2008-06-21, 02:08 AM
This is where we differ. I think D&D should be a roleplaying game, and I think 3'rd edition D&D tried to be a roleplaying game. But I'll agree that 4'th edition is an adventure game.

4e is as much of a roleplaying game as 3.x is, if not more so because combat is more immersive and interesting - 3.x was "roleplaying shuts off in combat" because there aren't real options. You can only say "I swing my sword" so many times for the same effect and have it remain interesting and immersive.


You wouldn't get a damage modifier for that - you'd get a to-hit modifier. And a general stabilization bonus to-hit for crossbows would have been a great idea in 4'th edition.

Stabilization
Weapons that can be stabilized recieve a +2 stabilization bonus when the user is firing at a target from solid cover or when prone.

There's a little bit of simulation right there - it'd be nice if I didn't have to do all the work to put it into a system.

Here's a hint: before you criticize a game, make sure that you aren't criticizing something which is in the game.

There's a feat which specifically applies to crossbows. If you take it, and you don't move, you get a bonus to your damage.

Now, if you say "why isn't this generalized", I'll tell you why:

Because weapon rules like this are garbage.

They don't add anything to the game in and of themselves, and actually subtract because you have to remember them all the time. If you spend a feat on it, you'll remember. How many people remember what every single weapon did in 3.x offhand? Not many.


Not to say that you couldn't have decent simulationism with simple rules - but 4'th edition's "simple rules" are not oriented for simulation. They're oriented to create a balanced combat game, and they do what they're designed to quite well.

But that says nothing about 3.x's rules. In fact, 3.x's rules were highly non-simulationist as well, arguably even more so than 4e's are, iterative attacks being a great example.


Just because something is bad does not mean it can not be improved. Just because something is bad does not mean it should not be improved. Something being bad is not, in and of itself, an excuse for getting rid of it instead of improving it.

But you should get rid of garbage, and a lot of 3.x was garbage. For instance, the vancian casting system, and grappling.


"To keep players from figuring out you're dumbing down their players' universe at our recommendation, you should mix things up to keep them guessing."

Not to say the encounter system doesn't have great benefits to the game. But it has sacrifices, too.

What sacrifices?


Or maybe you could get an encounter CR or two. Would that not be helpful? Would that be hard for a system to generate, you think? Heck, if it was really good there might even be recommendations for distribution of monstrer roles, such as minion/mob/solo/elite ratios and level/quantity ratios.

No, actually, it isn't helpful at all, because there isn't a general case.

Let's take a random human city. What's the average CR of the guards there?

Answer: There isn't one. The CR of the city guards is what it needs to be, no more and no less. There's no "set" CR because there's no "set" human city. A highly militaristic empire might have very high level guards, whereas the peaceful kingdom may have very low level ones. Or maybe the peaceful kingdom is peaceful because the guard is actually composed entirely of the elite soldiers of the last war, so they're actually all epic-level guards.

Oh, and there are recommendations for distribution of monster roles and level/quantity ratios compared to a party of level X and encounter difficulty for them. Good thing you actually read about 4e before criticizing it, huh?


Well, the 3'rd edition skill system had problems, and streamlining was one of the possible ways to fix it - it didn't need streamlining, that was just the solution chosen (and an appropriate choice considering 4'th edition's simplification).

3e needed streamlining badly. It was full of incoherent garbage. It wasn't one solution. It HAD to be part of what the next edition did.

3e ran extremely slowly and poorly because it was too clunky.


And that philosophy is to facilitate roleplaying much, much less than prior incarnations. A game which does nothing to facilitate roleplaying is simply not a roleplaying game - so it would stand to reason that a game that cares less about roleplaying is less of a roleplaying game, and more of a game that cares about what it's oriented for. 4'th edition is oriented for tactical combat, and it's a fine game for that.

No, actually, it isn't.

The philosophy is quite simple, really: games are meant to be fun, not work.

Roleplaying is fun. Indeed, the system encourages it far more than 3.x did, with skill challenges being set up the way they are and combat being much more immersive. Additionally, there are less random traps and they encourage the DM to emphasize what is fun, rather than slog through boring and force the players to search for the fun. The players shouldn't have to search for fun; they should be able to find it always. The game should minimize unfun situations.

The game doesn't care less about roleplaying. Nothing about it shows it cares less, and mostly, it cares more and encourages it more because of the better non-combat mechanics and the setup of the game itself.

What about 4e discourages roleplaying, or facilitates roleplaying less than 3.x did?

Indeed, it is very easy to argue that 3.x facilitated roleplaying a great deal less than either of the editions bracketing it did. I know this is hard for people to accept, but 2nd edition AD&D, for ALL its faults (and it had many), was very much about facilitating immersion. The whole "making magical items" thing and not being able to buy magic items made them important, made people think about them differently, and set up fun adventures for collecting all the random stuff the DM sent you on a quest to collect.

3.x got rid of all that and made the mage marts, a concept I absolutely loathe in my fantasy settings. Buying potions is okay, but being able to buy magical weapons is trite and makes them much less interesting. 3.x's magic items were boring. 4e's magic items are much a return to 2e's fun magic items, with far fewer static bonuses and far more interesting random daily powers which enhance your play experience in ways other than adding another +1 to your to-hit and damage rolls.


You're talking about the game which took away much of the freedom from character building because players were expected to completely ruin the game if given half a chance. Yet, it's designed with an expectation that people be more mature? That seems an inconsistent design philosophy, at best.

Took away what freedom, exactly? The freedom to be a cleric or a wizard or a druid, and not be anything else because they were so overpowered that they'd completely overshadow you?

Seriously, what decrease in freedom are we seeing here? I see an increase. All classes are interesting to play and combat is much more varied, interesting, intense, and interactive.

There wasn't a decrease in freedom, there was an increase in it.


Not to mention, simpler doesn't necessarily mean easier - Go is simpler than Chess, in terms of its' basic rules (Not to say either game is better than the other - only that Go is not easier to master than Chess).

Since when has go been simpler to master than chess? Both are incredibly complex games, but that's because of emergent complexity - the rules are quite simple for both. I'm completely unaware of any evidence which suggests one is easier to master than the other.

LurkerInPlayground
2008-06-21, 02:39 AM
For the price of one feat and a skill pick a Fighter is just as good as a Cleric at raising the dead and curing disease.

Arcane mastery, saintly piety, the mystic power of nature. None of it counts for anything. For some ritual training, a few hours studying a book, and a modest amount of gold for incense or rare oils anyone can bring you back from the dead.
Two feats actually. One for skill training. Wizards and Clerics don't need to spend even one feat. Spending one feat more allows them to get an edge in the relevant skill. Presumably they'll have the best stat scores invested for it as well.


Between that and the fact that six hours of rest completely heals all physical damage for no well explained reason... Well, I'm pretty close to just ignoring the whole 4e thing. But I haven't given up on it yet, still need to see the stats for commoners and cats. Because the unaligned halfling paladin will, for no adequately explained reason, start a random bar fight and we will need stats for random commoners. Cats are just common pets, even if the wizard isn't a familiar-for-a-free-bonus player.
Unaligned is the new True Neutral. Which as written, usually trends towards: "Probably not worth my time." Can we also assume that moral outlook isn't necessarily linked to mental illness?

Homebrew or roleplay familiars.

As for commoners needing stats, just how hard was it to stat a commoner in 3e? I don't see as how 4e would be much different.

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 02:45 AM
+1 on everything Titanium Dragon just said.


Just because i like making fun of 4e descriptions let's look at Here waits thy doom. A very cool paladin power, that is described as "You pull an enemy towards you, searing him with radient energy as he tries to ignore you." This is a range 5 attack, so i dare someone on this form to tell me what it looks like. Does the paladin form his aura into a lasso and drag his enemy to him, OR does he warp space with his shininess. I don't know, this attack has no real effect on the game outside of game mechanics. I glow, i get to move his piece.

You quoted it wrong. It states "You pull an enemy toward you, searing him with radiant energy as he tries to resist." You are using the energy of the gods to pull your enemy toward you, blasting them with it at the same time while they try futilely to resist your divine mandate. You're a Paladin, and you kick ass. What's so hard to understand about that? :smallsmile:

Now, the fluff part is left up to you. Your Paladin could be channeling divine energy directly themselves as a sort of damaging tractor beam, or you could be exhorting the gods to whack your enemy towards you with a radiant croquet mallet. Whatever floats your boat. I like that aspect of a lot of 4e powers.

Thrud
2008-06-21, 03:06 AM
4e is as much of a roleplaying game as 3.x is, if not more so because combat is more immersive and interesting - 3.x was "roleplaying shuts off in combat" because there aren't real options. You can only say "I swing my sword" so many times for the same effect and have it remain interesting and immersive.


NOt gonna quote the whole thing here, coz that is just a waste of space and makes the thread load more slowly, but I would like to address the basic idea that keeps cropping up over how 2nd and 4th ed are better for roleplaying than 3.x

I just have to say that I started with the little box set with its 3 little white booklets. It was a terrible roleplaying game, because it was really not much removed from a miniatures game. We had fun playing it, but there was never much of anything involved other than 'I kill the monster, then go looking for the next monster.) Then came basic D&D which didn't really do much for the roleplaying possibilities, but did make the rules slightly more comprehensible. THen they added in expert etc, etc, etc all the way through immortals, which would let you become a god. There was a chance to roleplay here, but there was never any sort of really defining mechanic for non combat situations. But hey, you could become a god. Then came AD&D. Honestly, not much of an improvement, but all the rules were more conveniently placed in hardcover books. Not much else going for it. 2nd ed started up with a much better defined mythos, and then Forgotten Realms was introduced and Toril blew poor old Oerth out of the water in terms of world detail. This started to make roleplaying MUCH easier, as there were predefined settings that you could use to get characters roleplaying in, becuase they could read well written novels set in the world, and find sourcebook material that didn't suck. (O.K. personal opinion there, but I never found anything Greyhawk that was even close to as detailed as FR)

Then came 3rd ed. 3rd ed seems to be universally derided by people who like 4th ed because it had so much stuff that DOESN'T pertain to combat. All those needlessly complex skills, all that other stuff, whilst not having enough rules for combat to make it 'fair and even'. I have just never found that to be the case. Perhaps it is because I did my time playing in the bad old days of D&D, Basic D&D and its spawn, AD&D, and 2nd ed, to want to go back to a system without all that 'needlessly complicated other stuff.'

I find it telling that every complaint I find about 3rd ed seems to be related to a total misunderstanding of the way magic works, and a desire for a more robust combat system. I have stated it in other threads, but I have basically had the last 4 gmaing sessions without any combat whatsoever (2 bar fights and a tournament. Total elapsed gaming time about half an hour). This is possible because of the skills system that was just thrown away in 4th ed. Now outside of combat, every char is basically the same, because the skills system is so incredibly streamlined.

So, the magic user can do anything that the thief can do, because he can just charm people? And what happens when the charm wears off and the person realizes what happened to him? "Wait, I was going to stop him, then he waved his hands and suddenly I was his best friend, and for the last 3 weeks it has been the same, but now, I realize what he did. Damn, I am going to report that bastard to the city guard!" Better not show your face in that town again. And the more you do it, the more likely it becomes. But that is the way a magic user thinks of things, because he HASN'T spent the time learning to do things the hard way, i.e. by NOT using magic. That is what the thief excells at.

'Well, the magic user can fly up 'there', which solves the whole problem of needing the thief to climb up." O.K. fine. And he can even open the locked shutter at the top. What about the fact that all the doors are locked in the mansion at night. That is a pretty simple thing that would be done at night to protect valubles if mages are around. So you knock the 1st door. And the 2nd. What about the 3rd-27th? And what other spells are you going to have memorized for when a guard finds you doing this. Probably not invisibility. That is 2nd level and those are all taken up by knocks. And what if all that takes longer than the duration of the fly spell and now you are stuck up there.

Magic users have VERY limited spells. Yes, at 20th level they can do a fair imitation of other character classes by duplicating abilities with spells. Only problem is that they can't do anything to directly hurt the main bad guys any more, coz they mostly have spell resistance. Which means that they are mostly in a support role. Hey, just like 4th ed. . . And they still can't really afford to frivolously duplicate their fellow party member's abilities, because there is no need to. That is what his fellow party members are for. But he CAN make their weapons more magical, teleport the group away if stuff gets too bad, create pits, turn the stone under enemies feet to mud, create grasping tentacles, etc, all of which SLOW DOWN the enemy and let, GASP, the FIGHTER kill the bad guys. But wait, that might mean using that teamwork stuff that didn't exist in 3rd ed. . .

Then there is the poor fighter. 'all he can do is hit stuff'. Then don't play one. Hire an NPC. Let the DM run one. Whatever. Problem solved. Personally I like players who like the challenge, especially since dedicated fighters in my world get some tweaks from good backgrounds that give them extra skill points (the last player to join my game wrote me a character background that was 20 typed pages long, and we roleplayed out a lot of his history together.)

Every time I hear all this stuff about how overpowered magic users are I have honestly never understood it. 3rd ed to me was far more about team building because it took a combination of abilities to do stuff OUTSIDE of combat. Everyone who is pro 4th ed touts how it is all about team play now, but it is not. It is about team FIGHTING and that is different.

All my players have now bought their 4th ed books, looked them over, and decided that as a tabletop battle game it looks like a lot of fun, and might be something entertaining to do on a lazy sunday some day. Create a couple of parties of varying levels and square them off in battle games against monsters or each other. Because honestly, I think that is what it will be best at. For myself, and from all my players, we will be sticking with 3rd ed. Every one of my players who read the rules decided that it looked too much like stepping back to 2nd or 1st ed, only with a much better combat system.

Just my .25c worth again. (since this thread is still going.)

Titanium Dragon
2008-06-21, 04:07 AM
Then came 3rd ed. 3rd ed seems to be universally derided by people who like 4th ed because it had so much stuff that DOESN'T pertain to combat. All those needlessly complex skills, all that other stuff, whilst not having enough rules for combat to make it 'fair and even'. I have just never found that to be the case. Perhaps it is because I did my time playing in the bad old days of D&D, Basic D&D and its spawn, AD&D, and 2nd ed, to want to go back to a system without all that 'needlessly complicated other stuff.'

This is unfortunately a very common mindset among the people who want to believe they are True Roleplayers (TM) and convince themselves that people like 4e because it discourages roleplay. Sadly it means replying to you is likely pointless, as you made this up in your head as I have never once seen this argument presented by anyone who enjoys 4e. It is a very common straw man, and I think it may well be because the people who are making this argument don't even realize it is a strawman and simply haven't actually read any of the posts and believe that this MUST be true because they don't want to have to question their assumptions.

However, I will try and convince you anyway.

First off, 3.x's noncombat stuff is, by and large, complete garbage. They range from broken to completely useless, but nothing actually works WELL. Diplomacy, at least, adds something to the game, but Craft doesn't, nor does Perform. Climb, Jump, Swim, and Balance were all pretty much useless.

Performing and earning some money is pointless - it has to be such a small amount of money that it is meaningless, as otherwise it would unbalance the game via violation of WBL. Same goes for crafting. If this is the case, then why do they need to cost characters anything at all?

The answer is, of course, that it shouldn't cost the characters anything. The point is characterization. Just say that they're a blacksmith, or a fisherman, or a sailor, or know how to play the lute. You don't need to have a number on the sheet for it because it gives no mechanical benefit to the character. It shouldn't cost them anything because it ultimately doesn't advantage them.

Now, a common complaint is "What if I try and use my music to influence people?" The answer, of course, is "Take Diplomacy (or Bluff, depending on how you see it)." In this case, you are trying to gain mechanical benefit, but what you're doing falls under the purview of another skill which IS generally useful. As it doesn't do anything different from that skill, there is no reason for it to be anything BUT that skill.

For a skill to exist, it must be mechanically distinct from other skills, and it must give the player some benefit consistantly - skills should come in handy at least once every session, on average. If they aren't useful at least that option, consider collapsing it into similar skills and broadening them to the point where they are useful in enough situations to be worthwhile.

They need to be balanced because everyone can take them and they need to compare well with one another. It needs to be a meaningful choice and people who choose skills to characterize their characters should not be penalized for it, as that discourages roleplaying. And yes, 3.x did discourage roleplaying in this very way - by making it so if you characterized your character you were penalizing yourself by spending a useful resource (skills and potentially feats) on useless stuff. This doesn't make you a better roleplayer.

What 4e did to fix this issue was to jettison many of the useless skills, and collapse other skills down into more condensed and more consistantly useful skills. They also toned down or removed a lot of spells which duplicated skill functionalties. Knock now takes ages to make work, while flying has been greatly limited so that running around, being able to jump long distances, and balancing on narrow ledges remain meaningful skills.

By doing this they encouraged roleplaying by allowing characters to say "I'm a blacksmith" without penalizing themselves, while simultaneously encouraging people to take character-appropriate skills (such as making their fighter athletic) and not hurt themselves either.


I find it telling that every complaint I find about 3rd ed seems to be related to a total misunderstanding of the way magic works, and a desire for a more robust combat system. I have stated it in other threads, but I have basically had the last 4 gmaing sessions without any combat whatsoever (2 bar fights and a tournament. Total elapsed gaming time about half an hour). This is possible because of the skills system that was just thrown away in 4th ed. Now outside of combat, every char is basically the same, because the skills system is so incredibly streamlined.

I find it telling that people have no idea what they're talking about yet whine about 4th edition anyway. Everyone is the same out of combat? No they aren't. Obviously you haven't actually looked at 4th edition at all. I'm sorry, but that has no basis in reality. You're looking at a +10 skill check difference between characters of a given level; that's a huge range of variation, but not an unreasonable one. Eventually it can get bigger, but a range of more than +13 or so is unusual unless you've got magical items or feats focused on enhancing that skill. This is a good thing - it means that I do not have no hope at all of succeeding at something, but it makes my chances of success small enough that the guy who bothered to train themselves in the skill feels like they gained a real benefit by doing so.


'Well, the magic user can fly up 'there', which solves the whole problem of needing the thief to climb up." O.K. fine. And he can even open the locked shutter at the top. What about the fact that all the doors are locked in the mansion at night. That is a pretty simple thing that would be done at night to protect valubles if mages are around. So you knock the 1st door. And the 2nd. What about the 3rd-27th? And what other spells are you going to have memorized for when a guard finds you doing this. Probably not invisibility. That is 2nd level and those are all taken up by knocks. And what if all that takes longer than the duration of the fly spell and now you are stuck up there.

Wizards have spells that allow them to teleport or walk through walls. Or they can simply disguise themselves with a perfect disguise, kill everyone (because magic users are broken), and take what they want anyway.

Or they could just turn into a dire badger, burrow under the mansion, then burrow up into the appropriate room. Or polymorph into a bug and fly through the cracks in the walls. Or a rat or similar.


Magic users have VERY limited spells. Yes, at 20th level they can do a fair imitation of other character classes by duplicating abilities with spells. Only problem is that they can't do anything to directly hurt the main bad guys any more, coz they mostly have spell resistance. Which means that they are mostly in a support role. Hey, just like 4th ed. . . And they still can't really afford to frivolously duplicate their fellow party member's abilities, because there is no need to. That is what his fellow party members are for. But he CAN make their weapons more magical, teleport the group away if stuff gets too bad, create pits, turn the stone under enemies feet to mud, create grasping tentacles, etc, all of which SLOW DOWN the enemy and let, GASP, the FIGHTER kill the bad guys. But wait, that might mean using that teamwork stuff that didn't exist in 3rd ed. . .

You have no idea what you're talking about.

Magic users have unlimited spells once they gain access to teleportation, as they can simply go away and come back later. They can even go and plane shift to some place where time runs far slower so as to evade time constraints. And this is assuming they run out of spells, which they often do not.

Spell resistance is completely meaningless. Beyond the fact that it is generally pretty beatable by appropriately leveled characters, the reality is that wizards and other spellcasters have absolute piles of spells which don't allow spell resistance to apply at all. When they completely ignore spell resistance, the game completely breaks down. And spells that do so are in the core game.

You don't really know anything about magic in 3.x if you think spell resistance is really a problem. Many of the best wizard spells don't allow SR, either because they're self-buffs or because they simply ignore it for arbitrary reasons or because they create a physical object or what have you.

You're simply wrong about what wizards can do. They can solve literally any situation by themselves at high levels, barring arguably another spellcaster, who, if they can beat the wizard, TPKs the party anyway. Clerics and other spellusers are much the same, and druids can use their powers to often subvert adventures entirely.


Then there is the poor fighter. 'all he can do is hit stuff'. Then don't play one. Hire an NPC. Let the DM run one. Whatever. Problem solved. Personally I like players who like the challenge, especially since dedicated fighters in my world get some tweaks from good backgrounds that give them extra skill points (the last player to join my game wrote me a character background that was 20 typed pages long, and we roleplayed out a lot of his history together.)

Your combat options are still limited to "move and hit stuff" and "hit stuff multiple times". That is garbage. Skill points don't fix the fighter at all. The fighter sucks because it is boring as nails and has nothing interesting to do.

This is another good example of 3.x's inferiority when it comes to roleplay as compared to 2e and 4e. In 2e, there weren't really strong rules about what was going on, and combat was quite fast, so it wasn't a problem. In 4e, you know what you're doing because your powers all do interesting and rather specific things. In 3.x, you know how high you rolled to hit and how much damage you did, but combat lasts forever and what you do essentially breaks down to "I did some damage". 2e was the same way, but because combat was so much faster it wasn't an issue - it didn't last long enough for it to really grate. In 3.x, it is horrid because it is grating; combat lasts forever (despite being very few rounds in actual length) and you don't really have interesting options as a fighter.


Every time I hear all this stuff about how overpowered magic users are I have honestly never understood it.

This is probably the source of your problem. You haven't actually bothered to think about or look into the system, or do research on it.

Look at the spell Forcecage. Now look at the spell Cloudkill. Notice how those two spells, by themselves, are capable of killing any creature which cannot teleport, is not immune to ability damage, or is not huge or larger (though you can use Wall of Force or similar versus larger creatures, or create a barred cage, or do something else similar in order to trap the creature in with the cloud with no hope for escape and no save). Evard's Black Tentacles is a 4th level spell which accomplishes much of what forcecage does as well, immobilizing and essentially incapacitating enemies, again without allowing SR or saves.

Flying makes you invincible to any creature lacking ranged attacks, and you can fly all day. Polymorph allows you access to all sorts of abilities you weren't meant to have access to, including the ability to burrow; druids can do the same, and completely evade entire adventures.

None of this is even clever; its all right there in the manual, pretty obvious, and completely broken. There are far more abusive things, but these are bad enough to give you a taste.


3rd ed to me was far more about team building because it took a combination of abilities to do stuff OUTSIDE of combat. Everyone who is pro 4th ed touts how it is all about team play now, but it is not. It is about team FIGHTING and that is different.

No it didn't. It never took team building. It didn't take a combination of abilities. It took a magic user or two. They could do everything better than anyone else. Or you could allow diplomacy cheese and every single encounter ever ends instantly because they can't fail to make monsters indifferent to them. Ever. And they can do this at pretty low levels without too much difficulty, and by mid levels it completely doesn't work at all because it is trivial to never fail, even on a one.

3rd edition encouraged one character to always be the face. It encouraged the team not to work together but to have one character with the highest score in whatever to do that, and no one else would get to act at all because they'd mess them up with their lower score.

3.x basically forced people to take turns to have fun, which is poor design. Everyone should always be having fun and no one should be forced to sit out.

turkishproverb
2008-06-21, 04:39 AM
Diplomacy, at least, adds something to the game, but Craft doesn't, nor does Perform. Climb, Jump, Swim, and Balance were all pretty much useless.

Craft: Very useful, especially in noncombat terms, or personal RP.
Perform: Very useful for negotiation, getting into places.
Climb: YOur kidding, right?
Jump: Again, ever have a chasm? Or a pit?
Swim: You have GOT to be kidding. You've never had standing water?
Balance: Tiny catwalk along the edge of a pit?


The fact that character background wasn't covered well in your opinion does not make skill useless, much les the large list you commented on.

Ok, so influencing should be Diplomacy? What if you're trying to use the fact he likes music? You'd darned well better not dissapoint him when he asks you to play something.


3.x basically forced people to take turns to have fun, which is poor design. Everyone should always be having fun and no one should be forced to sit out.

So does 4th. Its a turn based system.


3rd edition encouraged one character to always be the face. It encouraged the team not to work together but to have one character with the highest score in whatever to do that, and no one else would get to act at all because they'd mess them up with their lower score.

No it didn't it had rules (however bad) for pooling talents, and any DM worth his salt could easily make sure there was more than the one thing going on at a time. And not every DM uses the max skill check a player can get as a crutch, or has NPC's/ sututations that don't cause the occasional penalty to a player that should be good at something. Its an organic world in 3E if done well, not filled with people who die from being knicked (4th)

Thrud
2008-06-21, 02:05 PM
Ah, pardon me, I was simply basing that on the fact that I have been DMing D&D for 30 years. Pardon me. Obviously I have no idea what I was talking about. Sorry.

O.K. and I am not going to bother with a point by point rebuttal as most of your statements were actually straw man fallacies that did not actually read my posts. Still, I will do a few.

/sarcasm

So, for the record, what I hate about 4th ed, and what I think is totally boneheaded about the skills system is how they apply to every character class equally for all OUT OF COMBAT APPLICATIONS. So the fact that the thief has spent his whole life learning to sneak around, pick locks, etc, is completely unimportant in 4th ed cause everyone can do it to at least some respect. And all of skills have been so massively simplified and generalized that that is the case. Things that should be the purview of a single class, because that is what they spent their life working at pre 1st level can now be done by everyone, just less well. It means that, as I stated above, character differentiation is now mainly the purview of their in combat abilities. I have played D&D like that before. I didn't like it then, but I didn't have a better system. Now I do. I didn't actually attack anyone in my first post. I simply stated the views that myself and my group have come to. But apparently I have no idea what I am talking about, still, in the interests of stumbling around in the dark uselessly I will attempt to offer a little explanation.

Hmm, my sarcasm tags seem to have broken. Damn. Let's try that again.

/sarcasm again

Craft, perform, climb, jump, balance, swim are all useless? Umm, you just named a few of the most used skills in my game. Especially craft. Nothing gets you respect from villagers like showing you know something about their lives by having some points of their craft. Balance is great for running along rooftops whilst you are scouting places and finding info by spying on people (combined with hide, of course). Just because you never use the skills does not, in fact, make them useless. Diplomacy is the only useful skill? So, every time you play you are in a social situation with someone who massively outranks you? Because, honesly, if you read the skill that is pretty much what it is for. You broker deals between kingdoms. You talk to the king without making an ass of yourself and getting your head cut off, that sort of thing. It just doesn't crop up much in general game play. When you use it for every social situation, you are not roleplaying, you are just rolling the dice and asking the DM to tell you what happens. As for the craft skills, well, in my game, the fighter is a blacksmith and a weaponsmith, pretty useful skills to have if you are out adventuring for long periods of time. He is also a member of several guilds which give him LOTS of contacts around town, because he is a skilled craftsman. All of them use perform a lot, because when they move around in the kingdom and don't want to be noticed, they pretend to be a travelling group of minstrels, but yes, otherwise those skills are all worthless.

All the game play, time spent learning cross class skills to flesh out the character, making hard choices with learning class skills, will be flushed away, because they can all do it anyway, without having to do anything. In fact everyone in the world can do every skill, it just matters how high your attributes are, and whether or not you 'leaned' the skill. Once. That is it. That is not roleplaying. That is the ESSENCE of minmaxing. All I ever had to do is make a single seclection. I don't have to stick with it. Make hard choices multiple times over multiple levels. Maybe GASP NOT have the maximum points possible in a skill.

So, yes, pardon me, I think that that detracts a hell of a lot from roleplaying potential. My players have spent the last 4 years (real time) picking and choosing their skills carefully so that they can operate in the world they learn about from me every week. But that is not going to happen in 4th ed. But according to you the skills are either worthless or overpowered. Or perhaps the DM just glossed over that bit so that they could get to some good fighting. And you say that didn't make them better roleplayers? Because they DIDN'T min/max their characters? Sorry, you have a very different concept of roleplaying from me.

I will only rebutt a few points about magic, because they will get a little same/ish here, but here we go.

Spell resistance is worthless. Umm, no. If you think it is, you aren't using it right. Almost every spell in the game that directly affects a player is affected by spell resistence. You are left with such devastatingly powerful spells as grease and Evards black tentacles. Otherwise it is a d20+your level. Oh and the massively powerful spell penetration feat gives you an extra +2. That means in a standard party of 5, at 10th lvl the glabrezu at challenge rating 15 is supposed to be a roughly even match. It has a spell resistance of 21. That means that a 10th level M.U. WITH spell penetration must roll a 10 or better to have any chance of affecting it. That is a 45% chance of failure. Go up to Marileth, challenge rating 17, thus set for a party of 12th levels, and the S.R. goes up to 25. That means now it takes a 12 rolled to affect it directly. So only a 40% chance of success. Balor, one challence rating higher, and the S.R has gone up to 28. Yeah, totally wussy. Most of the critters at that end of the challenge rating scale are around that sort of level of spell resistence. Yes, there are spells that don't allow S.R. but none of them do direct massive damage. At high levels Wizards are glorified artillery fire. They can take out hordes of low level grunts. And they can buff their companions, but there is simply too much chance of their spells simply not working for them to be of much use against critters with S.R. Are there high CR monsters without SR? Of course there are. All I am saying is that it is not always a cakewalk with M.U.s at high level.

Now on to more stuff I know nothing about.

Teleport. Ohh, devastating. And completely blockable with a 5th level spell called Hallow, with a dimensional anchor tied into it. Teleport in, then get hit by the anchor, and you woun't be getting out again because although spell resistance applies, saving throws do not And Hallow lasts for a whole year. That makes it pretty damn risky to teleport back into some place you left precipitously. Then there is Forbiddence, only one level higher, that stops you getting in at all. And it is PERMANENT. Those are both spells most wealthy types (whom you might want to steal from) or evil types (whom you might want to kill) will have the resources to use. Yeah, teleport away once. Come back, and find things are not so easy the next time. Unless the game is set up like a computer game and no NPC can ever learn from their mistakes. And as for the teleport itself, I hope you had time to really memorize the location, otherwise who knows where you might end up. And unless you are going alone, until you get to be REALLY high level you are probably going to have to cast it three times, once in, once back out, and in again with the rest of the party. After all, the average guy, with adventuring equipment, etc, probably has a weight of over 250 pounds. Telport through a wall? Not unless you have seen what is on the other side. Yeah, there are other spells, passwall, etc, high level spells, but there is always something that can be done. Hell, since those are both clerical spells, after a while I simply created a spell called 'telport ward' that is an arcanne spell and that can cover an area for a set amount of time and prevent teleports in or out, like forbiddence only without the alignment blocker. One level less. Making it the same level as teleport.

How about a Guards and Wards. No save against that one. Again, something you can have ready if someone teleports out and then tries to come back. Makes it much harder to find what exactly you are looking for. That's just two tricks. That doesn't even bring into play fun stuff like Permanent and programmed illusions.

Just because the players have access to magic, doesn't mean their opponents can't use it effectively too. Or have to money to hire someone to use it effectively.

re your nothing interesting to do as a fighter but hit stuff. Umm, did you read the part where I said it had been 4 gaming sessions since we actually had a combat. And yet the fighter is one of the most involved. As for there being nothing for him to do but swing, nope, not true at all. There are LOTS of other options. Grappling, disarming, hell using his tumbling to swing from the chandelier and land on someone from above with his sword point first (just a modified charge). Add in feats and there are tons of other things to do. And somehow he manages to do the more interesting ones more than once before he becomes so tired that he can't do them again, or simply forgets about them until the next fight. Or whatever the explanation is. And he is free to be creative, because he is not constrained to just a few combat options.

Every one of your magic user 'cheats' is simply the result of a DM being stupid. And the whole stuff about diplomacy, sheesh, any DM stupid enough to interpret the skill that way shouldn't be DMing.

Flying makes you invinceable and you can fly all day? Umm, sure. Or at least for 10 minutes per caster level before you have to cast it again. And whilst you are up there, what are you going to be doing? Because a couple guys with Longbows are going to have you well in range before you can get into range with most of your spells. And against enemies without bows, umm, are you only meeting one enemy a day? Sure, in a random wilderness encounter you might be able to do that. But what if you meet another one. Do you only have fly spells memorized? This is exactly as much sloppy thinking as you are accusing me of making. But on your end it is all directly attributable to the DM being stupid, and if that is the case, then I can understand why you are wanting to switch games to a bland system with every possible outcome completely balanced by the rules. Your DM has created a static world where no one ever actually learns from past mistakes. In a world where magic scrying, magical message carrying, etc, exists, there will necessarily be a much freer exchange of information. So yes, the first time the players come up with something amazing to get past your carefully laid traps, you reward them with XP. They were clever. Then you don't let them get away with it again, unless they go far far away. That is simply good DMing. It doesn't require stripping away all the complexities that made the game interesting to me.

As I said before, I am sure we will use 4e as a beer and pretzels game, for tabletop miniatures battles it looks like a lot of fun. But I'm a good enough DM that I don't need all the rules hampering my DMing style. That is just my personal preference, which my players have agreed with. I just posted my thoughts on the matter, since that is what the thread was about. But pardon me if I take it slightly personally when someone tells me I have no idea what I am talking about when it is pretty unlikely that the person doing the talking has much more experience than me at the game we are talking about. Seeing as how I bought the very first ever edition of D&D. You may have AS much experience as me, but it simply isn't possible to have more experience than me unless you are one of Gygax's kids.

Does that make me a 'better' player, or any such similar nonsense?

No. But it DOES mean that I do actually know 'what I am talking about'.

Starbuck_II
2008-06-21, 02:29 PM
Spell resistance is worthless. Umm, no. If you think it is, you aren't using it right. Almost every spell in the game that directly affects a player is affected by spell resistence.

You are left with such devastatingly powerful spells as grease and Evards black tentacles.


Otherwise it is a d20+your level. Oh and the massively powerful spell penetration feat gives you an extra +2. That means in a standard party of 5, at 10th lvl the glabrezu at challenge rating 15 is supposed to be a roughly even match. It has a spell resistance of 21. That means that a 10th level M.U. WITH spell penetration must roll a 10 or better to have any chance of affecting it. That is a 45% chance of failure. Go up to Marileth, challenge rating 17, thus set for a party of 12th levels, and the S.R. goes up to 25. That means now it takes a 12 rolled to affect it directly. So only a 40% chance of success. Balor, one challence rating higher, and the S.R has gone up to 28. Yeah, totally wussy.

Most of the critters at that end of the challenge rating scale are around that sort of level of spell resistence. Yes, there are spells that don't allow S.R. but none of them do direct massive damage. At high levels Wizards are glorified artillery fire. They can take out hordes of low level grunts. And they can buff their companions, but there is simply too much chance of their spells simply not working for them to be of much use against critters with S.R. Are there high CR monsters without SR? Of course there are. All I am saying is that it is not always a cakewalk with M.U.s at high level.


SR monsters:
Hmm, I could use a conjuration spell like Evard Black Tentacles, Grease, Glitterdust, Sleet Storm, Acid Arrow.

Add Non-Core: We get Complete Arcanes Bands of Steel ( if fail save helpless or succeed on save be entangled) spell;
Or the Orb spells.

Or Array Resistance: lowering SR blocking my spells.

Really, if you didn't know how powerful Conjuration was in Core and non-core: I'm surprised.

A neat fact: Skeletons and Golems can be blinded. Glitterdust for the win!

Innis Cabal
2008-06-21, 02:35 PM
the players

turkishproverb
2008-06-21, 03:14 PM
Ah, pardon me, I was simply basing that on the fact that I have been DMing D&D for 30 years. Pardon me. Obviously I have no idea what I was talking about. Sorry.

O.K. and I am not going to bother with a point by point rebuttal as most of your statements were actually straw man fallacies that did not actually read my posts. Still, I will do a few.

/sarcasm

So, for the record, what I hate about 4th ed, and what I think is totally boneheaded about the skills system is how they apply to every character class equally for all OUT OF COMBAT APPLICATIONS. So the fact that the thief has spent his whole life learning to sneak around, pick locks, etc, is completely unimportant in 4th ed cause everyone can do it to at least some respect. And all of skills have been so massively simplified and generalized that that is the case. Things that should be the purview of a single class, because that is what they spent their life working at pre 1st level can now be done by everyone, just less well. It means that, as I stated above, character differentiation is now mainly the purview of their in combat abilities. I have played D&D like that before. I didn't like it then, but I didn't have a better system. Now I do. I didn't actually attack anyone in my first post. I simply stated the views that myself and my group have come to. But apparently I have no idea what I am talking about, still, in the interests of stumbling around in the dark uselessly I will attempt to offer a little explanation.

Hmm, my sarcasm tags seem to have broken. Damn. Let's try that again.

/sarcasm again

Craft, perform, climb, jump, balance, swim are all useless? Umm, you just named a few of the most used skills in my game. Especially craft. Nothing gets you respect from villagers like showing you know something about their lives by having some points of their craft. Balance is great for running along rooftops whilst you are scouting places and finding info by spying on people (combined with hide, of course). Just because you never use the skills does not, in fact, make them useless. Diplomacy is the only useful skill? So, every time you play you are in a social situation with someone who massively outranks you? Because, honesly, if you read the skill that is pretty much what it is for. You broker deals between kingdoms. You talk to the king without making an ass of yourself and getting your head cut off, that sort of thing. It just doesn't crop up much in general game play. When you use it for every social situation, you are not roleplaying, you are just rolling the dice and asking the DM to tell you what happens. As for the craft skills, well, in my game, the fighter is a blacksmith and a weaponsmith, pretty useful skills to have if you are out adventuring for long periods of time. He is also a member of several guilds which give him LOTS of contacts around town, because he is a skilled craftsman. All of them use perform a lot, because when they move around in the kingdom and don't want to be noticed, they pretend to be a travelling group of minstrels, but yes, otherwise those skills are all worthless.

All the game play, time spent learning cross class skills to flesh out the character, making hard choices with learning class skills, will be flushed away, because they can all do it anyway, without having to do anything. In fact everyone in the world can do every skill, it just matters how high your attributes are, and whether or not you 'leaned' the skill. Once. That is it. That is not roleplaying. That is the ESSENCE of minmaxing. All I ever had to do is make a single seclection. I don't have to stick with it. Make hard choices multiple times over multiple levels. Maybe GASP NOT have the maximum points possible in a skill.

So, yes, pardon me, I think that that detracts a hell of a lot from roleplaying potential. My players have spent the last 4 years (real time) picking and choosing their skills carefully so that they can operate in the world they learn about from me every week. But that is not going to happen in 4th ed. But according to you the skills are either worthless or overpowered. Or perhaps the DM just glossed over that bit so that they could get to some good fighting. And you say that didn't make them better roleplayers? Because they DIDN'T min/max their characters? Sorry, you have a very different concept of roleplaying from me.

I will only rebutt a few points about magic, because they will get a little same/ish here, but here we go.

Spell resistance is worthless. Umm, no. If you think it is, you aren't using it right. Almost every spell in the game that directly affects a player is affected by spell resistence. You are left with such devastatingly powerful spells as grease and Evards black tentacles. Otherwise it is a d20+your level. Oh and the massively powerful spell penetration feat gives you an extra +2. That means in a standard party of 5, at 10th lvl the glabrezu at challenge rating 15 is supposed to be a roughly even match. It has a spell resistance of 21. That means that a 10th level M.U. WITH spell penetration must roll a 10 or better to have any chance of affecting it. That is a 45% chance of failure. Go up to Marileth, challenge rating 17, thus set for a party of 12th levels, and the S.R. goes up to 25. That means now it takes a 12 rolled to affect it directly. So only a 40% chance of success. Balor, one challence rating higher, and the S.R has gone up to 28. Yeah, totally wussy. Most of the critters at that end of the challenge rating scale are around that sort of level of spell resistence. Yes, there are spells that don't allow S.R. but none of them do direct massive damage. At high levels Wizards are glorified artillery fire. They can take out hordes of low level grunts. And they can buff their companions, but there is simply too much chance of their spells simply not working for them to be of much use against critters with S.R. Are there high CR monsters without SR? Of course there are. All I am saying is that it is not always a cakewalk with M.U.s at high level.

Now on to more stuff I know nothing about.

Teleport. Ohh, devastating. And completely blockable with a 5th level spell called Hallow, with a dimensional anchor tied into it. Teleport in, then get hit by the anchor, and you woun't be getting out again because although spell resistance applies, saving throws do not And Hallow lasts for a whole year. That makes it pretty damn risky to teleport back into some place you left precipitously. Then there is Forbiddence, only one level higher, that stops you getting in at all. And it is PERMANENT. Those are both spells most wealthy types (whom you might want to steal from) or evil types (whom you might want to kill) will have the resources to use. Yeah, teleport away once. Come back, and find things are not so easy the next time. Unless the game is set up like a computer game and no NPC can ever learn from their mistakes. And as for the teleport itself, I hope you had time to really memorize the location, otherwise who knows where you might end up. And unless you are going alone, until you get to be REALLY high level you are probably going to have to cast it three times, once in, once back out, and in again with the rest of the party. After all, the average guy, with adventuring equipment, etc, probably has a weight of over 250 pounds. Telport through a wall? Not unless you have seen what is on the other side. Yeah, there are other spells, passwall, etc, high level spells, but there is always something that can be done. Hell, since those are both clerical spells, after a while I simply created a spell called 'telport ward' that is an arcanne spell and that can cover an area for a set amount of time and prevent teleports in or out, like forbiddence only without the alignment blocker. One level less. Making it the same level as teleport.

How about a Guards and Wards. No save against that one. Again, something you can have ready if someone teleports out and then tries to come back. Makes it much harder to find what exactly you are looking for. That's just two tricks. That doesn't even bring into play fun stuff like Permanent and programmed illusions.

Just because the players have access to magic, doesn't mean their opponents can't use it effectively too. Or have to money to hire someone to use it effectively.

re your nothing interesting to do as a fighter but hit stuff. Umm, did you read the part where I said it had been 4 gaming sessions since we actually had a combat. And yet the fighter is one of the most involved. As for there being nothing for him to do but swing, nope, not true at all. There are LOTS of other options. Grappling, disarming, hell using his tumbling to swing from the chandelier and land on someone from above with his sword point first (just a modified charge). Add in feats and there are tons of other things to do. And somehow he manages to do the more interesting ones more than once before he becomes so tired that he can't do them again, or simply forgets about them until the next fight. Or whatever the explanation is. And he is free to be creative, because he is not constrained to just a few combat options.

Every one of your magic user 'cheats' is simply the result of a DM being stupid. And the whole stuff about diplomacy, sheesh, any DM stupid enough to interpret the skill that way shouldn't be DMing.

Flying makes you invinceable and you can fly all day? Umm, sure. Or at least for 10 minutes per caster level before you have to cast it again. And whilst you are up there, what are you going to be doing? Because a couple guys with Longbows are going to have you well in range before you can get into range with most of your spells. And against enemies without bows, umm, are you only meeting one enemy a day? Sure, in a random wilderness encounter you might be able to do that. But what if you meet another one. Do you only have fly spells memorized? This is exactly as much sloppy thinking as you are accusing me of making. But on your end it is all directly attributable to the DM being stupid, and if that is the case, then I can understand why you are wanting to switch games to a bland system with every possible outcome completely balanced by the rules. Your DM has created a static world where no one ever actually learns from past mistakes. In a world where magic scrying, magical message carrying, etc, exists, there will necessarily be a much freer exchange of information. So yes, the first time the players come up with something amazing to get past your carefully laid traps, you reward them with XP. They were clever. Then you don't let them get away with it again, unless they go far far away. That is simply good DMing. It doesn't require stripping away all the complexities that made the game interesting to me.

As I said before, I am sure we will use 4e as a beer and pretzels game, for tabletop miniatures battles it looks like a lot of fun. But I'm a good enough DM that I don't need all the rules hampering my DMing style. That is just my personal preference, which my players have agreed with. I just posted my thoughts on the matter, since that is what the thread was about. But pardon me if I take it slightly personally when someone tells me I have no idea what I am talking about when it is pretty unlikely that the person doing the talking has much more experience than me at the game we are talking about. Seeing as how I bought the very first ever edition of D&D. You may have AS much experience as me, but it simply isn't possible to have more experience than me unless you are one of Gygax's kids.

Does that make me a 'better' player, or any such similar nonsense?

No. But it DOES mean that I do actually know 'what I am talking about'.

You. Are. GOD! :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:


the players


It's online supporters.:smalltongue:

The New Bruceski
2008-06-21, 03:50 PM
the players
The people who don't play.

Myatar_Panwar
2008-06-21, 03:52 PM
Yes, I would aggree that the 4e books definatly took a step towards fun encounters and game balance, and a step away from roleplaying. But seriously, why is this such a horrible thing? Sure, the book doesnt talk about roleplaying skills and such as often as combat, but Jesus, who the hell is stopping you?

It is MUCH easier to tell your DM "Hey, my character is an apprentice blacksmith, ok?" than to say "My character will now lunge foward with his sword, piercing through one man and into the other, for lets say 2d10+6 damage each?" (not sure if thats an actual 4e power, but you get my drift). Ok, now your going to tell me that any good DM can come up with a balanced system to allow for extra dice damage for stuff like that? NEWS FLASH! ITS CALLED FOURTH EDITION! Heck, if theres anything you should be making up yourself, it should be the roleplaying. If you make up the roleplaying, then youve got yourself an interesting character not restrained by whats on his character sheet, great fun for everybody. If your making up damage and combat flow, then your probally upseting the other players who are no longer able to keep up.

People talk like the trade-off 4e made had to be an equal trade-off, and that combat should of course be second to a good story. Which combat should be. But in my opinion it was not an equal trade-off. 4e came out ahead, able to have a consistant/ balanced/ fun combat style which your players will not doubt, and a roleplaying system not constrained by the rules, free for the players to mold to their liking.

Cainen
2008-06-21, 04:05 PM
Succeeding on a roll of 10 or better is a 55% chance of success using a d20. That's pretty much the only problem I found with your post.

turkishproverb
2008-06-21, 11:02 PM
Succeeding on a roll of 10 or better is a 55% chance of success using a d20. That's pretty much the only problem I found with your post.

but he said a 45 percent chance of failure the first time, not success.

marjan
2008-06-21, 11:52 PM
So, yes, pardon me, I think that that detracts a hell of a lot from roleplaying potential. My players have spent the last 4 years (real time) picking and choosing their skills carefully so that they can operate in the world they learn about from me every week. But that is not going to happen in 4th ed. But according to you the skills are either worthless or overpowered. Or perhaps the DM just glossed over that bit so that they could get to some good fighting. And you say that didn't make them better roleplayers? Because they DIDN'T min/max their characters? Sorry, you have a very different concept of roleplaying from me.


This is a matter of opinion, but I just don't see how any of these options make you better at role-playing.



Spell resistance is worthless. Umm, no. If you think it is, you aren't using it right. Almost every spell in the game that directly affects a player is affected by spell resistence. You are left with such devastatingly powerful spells as grease and Evards black tentacles. Otherwise it is a d20+your level. Oh and the massively powerful spell penetration feat gives you an extra +2. That means in a standard party of 5, at 10th lvl the glabrezu at challenge rating 15 is supposed to be a roughly even match. It has a spell resistance of 21. That means that a 10th level M.U. WITH spell penetration must roll a 10 or better to have any chance of affecting it. That is a 45% chance of failure. Go up to Marileth, challenge rating 17, thus set for a party of 12th levels, and the S.R. goes up to 25. That means now it takes a 12 rolled to affect it directly. So only a 40% chance of success. Balor, one challence rating higher, and the S.R has gone up to 28. Yeah, totally wussy. Most of the critters at that end of the challenge rating scale are around that sort of level of spell resistence. Yes, there are spells that don't allow S.R. but none of them do direct massive damage. At high levels Wizards are glorified artillery fire. They can take out hordes of low level grunts. And they can buff their companions, but there is simply too much chance of their spells simply not working for them to be of much use against critters with S.R. Are there high CR monsters without SR? Of course there are. All I am saying is that it is not always a cakewalk with M.U.s at high level.


Spells that affect players - how many players have SR?

Against glabrezu (which in this case would be boss-like fight), you have 45% chance of failure, until you take a look at Assay Resistance (swift action spell) and Arcane Matery(feat), bot of which say "screw SR". Using both you can penetrate Balor's SR at level 9 (level 8, but Arcane Mastery is accessible from level 7+). And that's ignoring the fact that some of the best spells out there ignore SR.

Standard party is 4, BTW.





Just because the players have access to magic, doesn't mean their opponents can't use it effectively too. Or have to money to hire someone to use it effectively.


The problem people have with magic is that without it you are screwed. And I'm not talking about NPCs here, I'm talking about fighters, barbarians, etc. And for every thing you do to protect yourself against magic, you can find a few ways to protects against things non-casters can do.




re your nothing interesting to do as a fighter but hit stuff. Umm, did you read the part where I said it had been 4 gaming sessions since we actually had a combat. And yet the fighter is one of the most involved. As for there being nothing for him to do but swing, nope, not true at all. There are LOTS of other options. Grappling, disarming, hell using his tumbling to swing from the chandelier and land on someone from above with his sword point first (just a modified charge). Add in feats and there are tons of other things to do. And somehow he manages to do the more interesting ones more than once before he becomes so tired that he can't do them again, or simply forgets about them until the next fight. Or whatever the explanation is. And he is free to be creative, because he is not constrained to just a few combat options.


Aside from the fact that all you listed there are either stuff you do in combat (grappling, disarming) or tumble which has nothing to do with being fighter you didn't provide any proof that fighter has something unique to do. Problem is that everyone else, outside of combat, has the same options as fighter, plus a few more.



Flying makes you invinceable and you can fly all day? Umm, sure. Or at least for 10 minutes per caster level before you have to cast it again. And whilst you are up there, what are you going to be doing? Because a couple guys with Longbows are going to have you well in range before you can get into range with most of your spells. And against enemies without bows, umm, are you only meeting one enemy a day? Sure, in a random wilderness encounter you might be able to do that. But what if you meet another one. Do you only have fly spells memorized? This is exactly as much sloppy thinking as you are accusing me of making. But on your end it is all directly attributable to the DM being stupid, and if that is the case, then I can understand why you are wanting to switch games to a bland system with every possible outcome completely balanced by the rules. Your DM has created a static world where no one ever actually learns from past mistakes. In a world where magic scrying, magical message carrying, etc, exists, there will necessarily be a much freer exchange of information. So yes, the first time the players come up with something amazing to get past your carefully laid traps, you reward them with XP. They were clever. Then you don't let them get away with it again, unless they go far far away. That is simply good DMing. It doesn't require stripping away all the complexities that made the game interesting to me.


For all day flight, you have overland flight. For arrows you have Wind Wall.

fleet
2008-06-22, 12:54 AM
Supplements are optional. The DM should be deciding if a given supplement belongs in a game. As far more threads than i care to credit, point out, many of the supplements can be used to create incredibly cheap tricks. I know someone who used bloodstorm blade and complete warriors master of throwing, to create a str based throwing character that gave him infinite trip attacks on all opponents in range. (he used other stuff, but you get the idea) That character never saw the light of day, because no dm in his right mind would allow it. Similarly no DM i know of has ever allowed Pun pun or the ominesicer to be created in their campaign setting. Therefore, arguing that assay spell resistance broke the wizard, is like saying that Incarnum broke crafting. It's purposely pointing out an irrelevant instance and saying it negates another persons argument. The only reason 4E lacks massive gapping loopholes you can drive a titan through, is that 4e lacks splat. Since all we have is core, we should stick to comparing it to 3e core. Core vrs Core, 3e had a system that allowed you to create a character with far more depth, and utility out of combat.

I can't help but agree with Thrud, if you found the 3e skill system to be debilitating, and you found your wizard doing all the work, someone was not doing their job.

marjan
2008-06-22, 01:30 AM
Supplements are optional. The DM should be deciding if a given supplement belongs in a game. As far more threads than i care to credit, point out, many of the supplements can be used to create incredibly cheap tricks. I know someone who used bloodstorm blade and complete warriors master of throwing, to create a str based throwing character that gave him infinite trip attacks on all opponents in range. (he used other stuff, but you get the idea) That character never saw the light of day, because no dm in his right mind would allow it. Similarly no DM i know of has ever allowed Pun pun or the ominesicer to be created in their campaign setting. Therefore, arguing that assay spell resistance broke the wizard, is like saying that Incarnum broke crafting. It's purposely pointing out an irrelevant instance and saying it negates another persons argument. The only reason 4E lacks massive gapping loopholes you can drive a titan through, is that 4e lacks splat. Since all we have is core, we should stick to comparing it to 3e core. Core vrs Core, 3e had a system that allowed you to create a character with far more depth, and utility out of combat.


If you want Core vs. Core then take Spell Penetration, Greater Spell Penetration, Prayer Beads of Karma and Orange Ioun Stone. That's +9 to your CL to overcome SR, meaning you automatically succeed against creatures with SR your level + 10 or lower. With splat-books it's just easier.



I can't help but agree with Thrud, if you found the 3e skill system to be debilitating, and you found your wizard doing all the work, someone was not doing their job.

And I have to conclude that the wizards you have seen haven't been played to their potential.

Antacid
2008-06-22, 05:20 AM
Originally Posted by Innis Cabal View Post
The playersThe people who don't play.
The players who aren't people. AH-HA! I WIN!!! :smallbiggrin:

Thrud, a few things.

You don't understand how the 4e skill system works. There are tasks that require skill training for a player to attempt them, so not everyone can try to do everything. DCs are all scalable by level so it's never possible for a player without training to succeed automatically.

It's apparent that because you've been playing with the same people for the last 4 years, they're not going to actively try to break the system, or step on each others toes when it comes to filling roles in the party. Titanium Dragon's point was that Climb, Swim, Hide, etc are all useless because magic does all of them much better. Spell resistance that has a 55% chance of failure is useless, because the wizard can cast a spell every round. He doesn't have to cast spells that deal damage if he can end an encounter with one spell if the monster fails it's SR and saves. Your whole post is a list of ways you found to compensate for the brokeness of magic.

If a Wizard makes the decision to not use magic to screw with the system and do the rest of the party's jobs for them, the problem can be ignored up to a point. But it doesn't mean the system isn't broken. I'd rather have a system with fewer holes, so I can spend more time working on the meat of encounter design, roleplaying and story.

Tehnar
2008-06-22, 06:46 AM
It seems several points are running around this thread, so I shall try to give my opinion on a few:

I'd just like to say I am not a fan of 4e and played a few session (played a cleric). So I have some experience with the system.

Rules, less or more: In my experience as a DM, having more rules is better then having fewer. Why? Consistency! Ill quote Ray Winniger here:


It is precisely because the rules are so helpful in resolving actions that a good working knowledge of the rules is a minimum requirement for any DM. Generally, each of the game rules exists because the specific situation it handles is particularly hard to resolve credibly without assistance. Take the earlier example of the thief falling off the wall. Does she die from the fall? Break a leg? Survive completely unscathed? Any ruling you might make based solely upon your own whim is bound to seem totally arbitrary to the players, risking your credibility. An arbitrary decision here or there is relatively easy to accept, but long strings of arbitrary decisions tend to make the players start to doubt the impact of their own actions. After a while, they'll find it hard to make intelligent decisions because they have no idea how you'll rule.

Using the rules whenever possible makes it easy to make some tough calls because the rules leave little for you to decide. The rules also provide a reliable mechanism by which the players can predict the outcome of some simple actions while still leaving a great deal to chance. It's this fact that allows the players to make informed, intelligent decisions. A party of 3rd-level adventurers usually knows that they shouldn't mess with an ancient red dragon because even a cursory knowledge of the game rules reveals that the dragon will soon be picking bits of adventurer out of its teeth. Without consistent rules, there would be no way for the players to decide when a monster is worth fighting.

This was written for 2nd edition, in a series of articles in the Dungeon magazine. Its worth a read from anyone, and the whole set of article's are by far the best advice you could get on DMing.

Another thing where rules help you. When I DM I there are some choices I don't want to make. Ill take a example from another post (thread). Lets say you fight some kobolds, knock one unconcious, tie him up and question him. And lets say you dont murder the kobold in cold blood but leave him tied there in the room. As the DM you know that kobold know of a secret tunnel from which he will be able to warn the rest of his tribe if he can get free. In 4e since the escape artist check to get free from being tied up is fixed, the DM in essence makes the decision if the said kobold escapes or not (either by setting a DC so high that the kobold cannot hope to escape, or setting a DC that the kobold given time can escape). I, as a DM, don't want to make such decisions, ie if some nameless kobold will escape. Much easier for me to tell the players, make a use rope check (or I make it for them), which will determine the DC for the kobolds escape (ie possible or impossible). This is good because it is not a arbitrary decision on my part, and I dont feel I cheated the players.

Also I would add a point of mine: It is far easier to change or modify a existing rule then it is to make a new one. It is far easier to say: my game doesn't use crafting and profession, than it is to create a new rule for crafting and profession skills in a system which does not have any. Which brings me to my next point:


Skills and ability checks: If you think about it, the way 4e is
made untrained skills are ability checks, and trained just get a +5 bonus. Clearly this leads to all sort of inconsistencies. First ability checks:

The 1/2 your level + abi modifier gets in the way of logic, when you point out the fact that a level 10 anybody with 8 strength, that has trouble pushing a cart (due to his max load limit), can in fact break the same cart better then the lvl 1 guy with 16 strength (who pushes the cart without a problem). To me thats not really logical, because anyhow you break it down,(pun intended) breaking a cart takes more strength then experience.

Then you go to skill checks and it keeps boggling the mind: Lets say you play Salik, hailing from the deep desert, and never having seen a body of water he could not step across. Now lets say Salik is lvl 20, and for the first time in his life he ventures outside his desert and after some traveling comes to the ocean. Seeing his first large body of water, he jumps in and can swim better then 99% of the population. And if he is trained in the skills of jumping and climbing (ie trained in athletics), he swims just as well as someone who lived on the coast for his entire life and swam a lot.

Fighter (non caster) vs Wizard (caster) One of the arguments from many pro 4e posters has been, 3.x is bad because the poor fighter can just watch as the wizard as he does his stuff. And on paper it looks like indeed the wizard is uber. In my experience while the wizard can "own" an encounter when he knows exactly whats coming that day, that usually is not true in 95% of the time. The only time I noticed that a wizard is somewhat stronger then the fighter is on levels 6-9, but in the same proportion that the fighter was stronger then the wizard on levels 1-4. And by stronger I mean in terms of contribution to the party, not duels.

Now, some of you must be saying, that I imply that at levels 10+ at the very least the fighter and the wizard contribute about the same, but how could that be when wizards get cool spell X and Y. In my experience 2 things happen:

1) Magic items. The fighter can gets his hands on some sweet sweet magic items, that greatly help him overcome some of his weaknesses. On the other hand wizards, while they benefit from magic items as well, not in the same proportion as a fighter.

2) Spell like ability: dispell magic and greater dispell magic (and the quickend variant). A lot of monsters at CRs 8+ come with those, or at least with spell like abilites (meaning you can substitute some lvl 3/6 spell likes with dispell). Also outsiders, dragons and such come up more often, and they also have good saves and spell resistance (sure you can go against SR, but it takes feats, spellslots (assay resistance is only one creature 1 rnd per level)).
At the same time the monsters AC doesn't rise in the same proportion as the creatures other (magical) defences.

However, I would like to add that as a DM you are in effect playing monsters. As such, review them carefully, think (in according to their mental scores) what would they do, and how would they protect themselves (within their abilities). A few barricades, illusions and traps go a long way to defeating batman, while posing a negligent threat to the fighter (dispelling screen trap for example). And as Thrud said, make monster dynamic, not static.

In conclusion, arguing pro or contra 4e, is like arguing apples and oranges. If some of my friends agree to DM a game using 4e, I will gladly play and have fun playing, but as a DM I have absolutely no inclination of running a game using 4e (though I might swipe some ideas from it).

Antacid
2008-06-22, 06:57 AM
You're saying that something that reflects a real-life phenomenon is not simulation at all - presumably,

To be a simulation, a system has to do more than model something. That model has to reflect an empirical view of reality with a passable degree of consistency. A good flight sim does that, but nothing in 3e does: it's all abstraction. There's no randomness in an actual simulation: you're supposed to get the same results from the same variables. The d20s in D&D are there because they make the game more unpredictable and hence more exciting. That's not a merely a "flaw" in the "simulation", it's antithetical to the whole definition of the word.


Because the simulation isn't flawless. I've already addressed this.

You've admitted that many of the rules in 3e are bad. You addressed that by saying you could fix them. That doesn't have anything to do with whether 3e simulates anything.


Oh? I guess since we're assuming D&D is meant to be played by good DM's, I guess 3'rd edition's complete imbalance is absolutely no problem, right, because a good DM can just compensate for that.

Or maybe not.

I agree. It's a serious problem with 3.5. You have to do a lot of work to compensate for flaws in the magic system and the skill system (see Thrud's post), and it often degenerates into a contest between the players and the DM to see who can do the best job of exploiting v.s. patching up the rules.



If you're going to defend 3.5 as being more simulationist than 4e, you need a better argument than "because there are more rules".

No, you don't.

So, you're literally saying that more rules = better simulation, regardless of whether the rules work properly? That really does seem to be what you're arguing.


If you have a game without rules, you don't have a game. A non-game is not going to be better at being a game than a game is.

This is the same red herring you employed earlier. I'm not proposing a game without rules. Wanting fewer, better rules that cover the parts of the game that are best suited to being covered by rules is not equivalent to such a proposition.


That sounds like a good justification for having better players. Playing D&D, I find, is often more peaceful when you have good players. Bad players are markedly inferior to good players, or so I suspect.

That's not a legitimate use of my syntax. The DM is more important to the functioning of the game than the players. He must be at least passably competent for D&D to work at all as a game, because he decides what the game consists of. But players can be engaged with differing degrees of seriousness and rules-mastery with everyone still having a good time.

3.5 punishes the DM the more the players understand and actively employ the rules. He's forced to 'improve' the game by compensating for technically legitimate strategies if he wants his adventures to provide a real challenge. Why should he have to?


"To keep players from figuring out you're dumbing down their players' universe at our recommendation, you should mix things up to keep them guessing."

Not to say the encounter system doesn't have great benefits to the game. But it has sacrifices, too.

Only if the players are approaching the game by looking for things to destroy their suspension of disbelief.


Looks like someone's already addressed this.

No, they missed my point, which was that 3e was unsuccessful in consistently preventing solutions that exploit holes in the rules. You've semi-conceded that by saying that although it's true, it isn't really a problem because the DM can always improve the system.


I judged Dan_Hemmens' points to be more comprehensive and better-formed than yours - so I responded to them. But here you go anyway.

The difference is that Dan has the courtesy to accept your framing and argue on your terms. I don't. :smallamused:



4e merely has a different philosophy, which demands a different approach from people playing it.

And that philosophy is to facilitate roleplaying much, much less than prior incarnations. SNIP 4'th edition is oriented for tactical combat, and it's a fine game for that.

We have a fundamental disagreement over whether rules facilitate roleplaying. The way I see 4e: it has better tactical combat, streamlined rules that cover situations outside combat, AND ALSO, keeps the rules system away from the roleplaying aspect of the game as much as possible. The whole idea that you need permission from the rules to roleplay is not something I accept.


You're talking about the game which took away much of the freedom from character building because players were expected to completely ruin the game if given half a chance. Yet, it's designed with an expectation that people be more mature? That seems an inconsistent design philosophy, at best.
There's a popular fallacy on these boards that because 3.5 let you make a Rogue 3/Shadowdancer 1/Whatever 3, it allowed you to make more interesting characters. It actually just meant that you could make characters with a wider variety of mechanical capabilities. Their uniqueness was purely mechanical and had nothing to do with their roleplay value in-game.

BTW, it's true that mechanics are necessary for D&D to be a game and not free-form roleplay. So it follows that they're necessary for a roleplaying game. But it does not follow that mechanics are necessary for roleplaying itself.

nagora
2008-06-22, 09:26 AM
There's no randomness in an actual simulation
That's not a reasonable position. Many, many, many useful simulations include - or are - statistical models of random factors. Beyond that there is the basic issue of quantum mechanics - the whole universe appears to have a random factor built into it and this is not simply a point of academic interest: it genuinely does matter at a large scale.


There's a popular fallacy on these boards that because 3.5 let you make a Rogue 3/Shadowdancer 1/Whatever 3, it allowed you to make more interesting characters. It actually just meant that you could make characters with a wider variety of mechanical capabilities. Their uniqueness was purely mechanical and had nothing to do with their roleplay value in-game.

BTW, it's true that mechanics are necessary for D&D to be a game and not free-form roleplay. So it follows that they're necessary for a roleplaying game. But it does not follow that mechanics are necessary for roleplaying itself.
Well, I agree with all of that. The character building in 3ed seems, to me, to result in stultifying dull lists of numbers masquerading as characters. And, as to roleplaying, the only thing needed is that the characters are free from narrative control - which is not the same, of course, as being free from plot influences.

Dice, character sheets, rules and the rest of it are totally optional but very useful in running a fair game. I would, however, say that without a random factor of some sort there is a serious issue with calling the result either a simulation or a roleplay - real life has random factors and real people have to deal with them. Without that random factor in some form, can you really say you're simulating anything or representing a real character?

hamishspence
2008-06-22, 09:37 AM
You don't need mechanics to roleplay: you need plumbers to roleplay :)

All joking aside, the random factor is built into very many games. It helps prevent things from becoming a foregone conclusion, or Who Makes the First Mistake.

Is 4th ed MORE random than previous editions? Not as far as I can see.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 09:53 AM
Rules, less or more: In my experience as a DM, having more rules is better then having fewer. Why? Consistency! Ill quote Ray Winniger here:

This was written for 2nd edition, in a series of articles in the Dungeon magazine. Its worth a read from anyone, and the whole set of article's are by far the best advice you could get on DMing.

That series was published in 1997-1999, so it's none too surprising to find it foreshadowing D20. I strongly disagree with the idea that it is better to have more rules, it is just different. Consistant GMing is not a result of having more rules.

Indon
2008-06-22, 10:32 AM
4e is as much of a roleplaying game as 3.x is, if not more so because combat is more immersive and interesting - 3.x was "roleplaying shuts off in combat" because there aren't real options. You can only say "I swing my sword" so many times for the same effect and have it remain interesting and immersive.

And the tactical combat aspect of 4'th edition doesn't do the same thing, for the same reason? I should imagine not.


Here's a hint: before you criticize a game, make sure that you aren't criticizing something which is in the game.
Except it isn't in the game. Admittedly, feats aren't exactly a powerful currency, but you don't need any kind of special training to benefit from steadying a crossbow (assuming a crossbow works anything like a firearm - I might be wrong in that regard).

And for me, a person who knows this, this rule is immersion-breaking. "Wait, why do I need a feat for this? Not to mention it doesn't work the same. Hey, DM, can we houserule this?"


Because weapon rules like this are garbage.
I think it's clear that you don't like having a game with more complex rules. That's ok. But that doesn't make the game bad just because you personally don't like that.

The nifty thing about having a game with complex rules is that when you don't want to work with weapon rules in a game that has them, you could say, "No weapon rules." If I want to work with weapon rules in a game that doesn't have them, I have to make them all up.


They don't add anything to the game in and of themselves, and actually subtract because you have to remember them all the time. If you spend a feat on it, you'll remember. How many people remember what every single weapon did in 3.x offhand? Not many.
No, you don't have to remember it. If you don't want it in your game don't use it. This isn't a video game, you are not obliged to use everything in the book - the rules are tools, not a straitjacket.


But that says nothing about 3.x's rules.

3e needed streamlining badly. It was full of incoherent garbage.

Why did you apparently skim over the few paragraphs I devoted to this exact argument? Why? (I can repost it in a new post on request if you like)


No, actually, it isn't helpful at all, because there isn't a general case.
Here. I'll make the rules for you in the framework of 4'th edition. Very bare-bones, of course, because I'd rather not spend too much of my time on making it.

Step 1: Name a level of general power for the city to reflect its' degree of strength - if a party begins a conflict with guards in a city completely out of their power range (over 5 levels over or below), you might want to consider not bothering with combat unless your players specifically ask.

Step 2: If the party is in range, use a standard encounter as the baseline and modify as follows-

City has no standing military or police force: -1 EL
City has a barracks: +1 EL
City is a capitol city or independent city-state: +1 EL


The philosophy is quite simple, really: games are meant to be fun, not work.

Then why should I have to extensively work on the game to bring it up to par?


Roleplaying is fun. Indeed, the system encourages it far more than 3.x did, with skill challenges being set up the way they are and combat being much more immersive.

Do the reports from people playing 4'th edition posted on this very board even remotely support this stance? I should say not - people are even now having to houserule the system just to try to get what you claim 4'th edition can do here, both in and out of combat (but more out of combat than in it, at least, another sign 4'th edition is doing its' job).


What about 4e discourages roleplaying, or facilitates roleplaying less than 3.x did?

It's very difficult indeed for a game to discourage roleplaying. But not facilitating it is easy - it just requires removal of features that might facilitate it.

A 'hands-off' approach to roleplaying is not facilitating in nature - by definition, in fact. Games that absolutely are not roleplaying games are non-facilitating of roleplaying (and even then, I can think of few boardgames that discourage it).

4'th edition still facilitates roleplaying to a degree. You're given a single character to play, for instance, rather than a full team of characters (like you might see in Battletech or Warhammer). Abilities and class features have flavor attached to them.


I know this is hard for people to accept, but 2nd edition AD&D, for ALL its faults (and it had many), was very much about facilitating immersion.
No, it wasn't. 2'nd edition was about a hands-off approach to roleplaying, and mechanically, was little more than a boardgame. The major difference (which is the same for 4'th edition) is that the book tells you you're supposed to be roleplaying.


The whole "making magical items" thing and not being able to buy magic items made them important, made people think about them differently, and set up fun adventures for collecting all the random stuff the DM sent you on a quest to collect.
While I do agree with your personal taste in this regard, it's just your personal taste. You can roleplay immersively in high-magic worlds just fine.


Took away what freedom, exactly?
The ability to gain the equivalent of powers from feats, as an offhand example. But thanks for echoing 4'th edition's design paradigm by immediately equating character build freedom with breaking the game.


Since when has go been simpler to master than chess? Both are incredibly complex games, but that's because of emergent complexity - the rules are quite simple for both. I'm completely unaware of any evidence which suggests one is easier to master than the other.

This seems to imply that you aren't making a significant effort to even understand my posts, because apparently you failed to notice I was agreeing with that position.


Not to mention, simpler doesn't necessarily mean easier - Go is simpler than Chess, in terms of its' basic rules (Not to say either game is better than the other - only that Go is not easier to master than Chess).

Go's rules are simpler because there are less of them, yet it has a stronger emergent complexity element (which is why it's easier to design a strong chess AI than it is to design a strong go AI).


Supplements are optional.

More than that - any given rule is optional (though some may be harder to exclude than others).

It's silly to feel obliged to play a rule just because it's written in a book - that's how computers play games, you aren't a computer, you're a person.


The players who aren't people. AH-HA! I WIN!!! :smallbiggrin:

People who play as players (http://www.xkcd.com/244/).


The d20s in D&D are there because they make the game more unpredictable and hence more exciting.
Or because it would take too much time to accurately model the combined effect of multiple minor variables affecting actions.

And no, that does not make simulationism impossible. Just because I don't want to spend my time modeling the impact of butterflies in hurricane creation doesn't mean I can't make a game that at one point simulates hurricane creation.


That doesn't have anything to do with whether 3e simulates anything.
But it has everything to do with the edition of the game made after it.


I agree.
Good, then we can't count on people's "common sense", then, because we're making a game for people who can't do this sort of thing.


So, you're literally saying that more rules = better simulation, regardless of whether the rules work properly?
The only thing a rule can do is improve your game because you don't need to use them. Nothing about the system obliges you. Nothing.


This is the same red herring you employed earlier. I'm not proposing a game without rules. Wanting fewer, better rules that cover the parts of the game that are best suited to being covered by rules is not equivalent to such a proposition.
If it's not covered by rules, it's not part of the game. It's something you're house-playing in.

The only reason to play the game is for the rules - because you don't need a lack of rules, you start out with that.


That's not a legitimate use of my syntax. The DM is more important to the functioning of the game than the players. He must be at least passably competent for D&D to work at all as a game, because he decides what the game consists of.
Not in 4'th edition, which you can play without a Dungeon Master, with no houseruling or effort required. At least, according to the books. Having not had the infinitely sad experience of playing a solo 4th edition game (no, not saying 4th edition is sad, I'm saying playing what's at least purportedly an RPG alone is sad), I can't say how well that works out.

And it is untrue in 3'rd edition too, because the players have just as much power to make the game bad as the DM, and each needs to be passably competent for the game to work, especially in the realm of common sense. As bad players increase in mechanical skill with the game, the game becomes more difficult precisely because players actually have the power to affect the game by being bad players.


Only if the players are approaching the game by looking for things to destroy their suspension of disbelief.
Do you know what Fridge Logic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeLogic) is (Warning, going in to read that will cause you to lose over an hour wiki-hopping)? You can't exactly shut off your brain from analyzing things.


No, they missed my point, which was that 3e was unsuccessful in consistently preventing solutions that exploit holes in the rules. You've semi-conceded that by saying that although it's true, it isn't really a problem because the DM can always improve the system.
And my point is that 4th edition is a woefully incomplete roleplaying game, and you've conceded it by saying though it's true, it isn't really a problem because players are expected to be "more mature" and have "common sense", which is really silly considering that you're just assuming that D&D players should blatantly break the game once they learn how (otherwise, why would it become harder to DM D&D as players learned more?).


We have a fundamental disagreement over whether rules facilitate roleplaying. The way I see 4e: it has better tactical combat, streamlined rules that cover situations outside combat, AND ALSO, keeps the rules system away from the roleplaying aspect of the game as much as possible.

This part makes 4th edition no more a roleplaying game than Scrabble is. A game without rules for roleplaying is not a roleplaying game (Just like a game without rules for tactical combat is not a tactical combat game, a game without rules run by a computer isn't a computer game, and so on). I can not make Scrabble a roleplaying game by telling people that they should roleplay when they're playing it, and Wizards can not make 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons a roleplaying game by telling me that I should roleplay while I'm playing their tactical boardgame.


There's a popular fallacy on these boards that because 3.5 let you make a Rogue 3/Shadowdancer 1/Whatever 3, it allowed you to make more interesting characters. It actually just meant that you could make characters with a wider variety of mechanical capabilities. Their uniqueness was purely mechanical and had nothing to do with their roleplay value in-game.
While I rather agree with you, you should review precisely what you're saying here. Since the game runs parallel to the mechanics, you're pretty much stating the exact opposite of what you mean here.

I should think what you mean to say is, "you can roleplay just fine while not being able to do as much in-game", and I agree. You could roleplay a 3'rd edition Fighter just fine despite only being able to do like 2 things in combat and 2 things outside of combat.

But having more mechanical variety can give you more roleplaying variety because it gives you more mechanics to roleplay. Variety just isn't necessarily the same as quality.


But it does not follow that mechanics are necessary for roleplaying itself.

A fair point - which is where my no-game argument comes into play. If you don't need rules about roleplaying to have a roleplaying game, then a game without rules, a literal non-game, is as much a roleplaying game as any game without such rules.

Since it's absurd to say that a non-game is a kind of game, therefore clearly any kind of game must have corresponding rules to demonstrate that it is that kind of game. Therefore, roleplaying games must have roleplaying rules. Proof of my point by contradiction.