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Fawsto
2008-06-22, 10:51 AM
IMO, what is wrong, at least what feels wrong is the following. (Ok, this thread has more than 10 pages, so I really did not read everything, so I will, without knowing, bring up some dead topics.)

First thing that bugs me

Directed function classes:

Ok, why I cannot play a decent Archer Paladin? Or a decent Wizard specialist? I can't do those properly in 4E. The classes are fundamentally directed to functions, and they are, more or less stricted to those. Trying to move out of your "square" would make your character instantly underpowered (ok, not so dramatically, I reiterate). At 3.5 all we had to do was to select the proper atribs, some feats and voila, you could have any concept of character you wanted, all you would need is a little multiclassing. Wich leads to my...

Second bug

Multiclassing by feat

... Jeez... This seems as an excuse to the statement above. Ok, you can "multiclass" freely to any other class by taking a feat, but you will forever be the same class you choose at level 1 (I am not starting into retraining here). In 3.5 you could customize your character at will. A Paladin/Ranger that hunts evil in the wilderness? It is still possible at 4E, but you will be the Ranger with some Paladin skills or the Paladin with some Ranger skills, depending on what class you choose for your level 1. But you cannot decide if one day the Ranger side will talk louder than the Paladin side, or vice-versa.

Third buggin

Powers...

I cannot help to feel inside a videogame, not a roleplaying game, when I keep spamming powers. You simply have no excuse to not spam at will powers when you are fighting. This makes the Magic Medieval thing less fantastic since everybody keeps exploding shinny stuff all around... This is not fine... A nice steel vs steel fight is much more medieval than Dragonball power spamming. IMO. Also, most of those Powers are combat oriented. This leads to the fact that mostly all a 4E character can do that is really impressive is to kill something. Kill. In a very shinny, energetic, fantastic way. But in the end, it is just a frag.

Fourth

Virtual versatility.

Yeah... You are not refrained anymore by most of the most buggin rules ever created. That I admit. This is the complement to my first bug. Your character has a tied function from wich he cannot escape. All he can do is to level up and become more and more specialized on doing the same old thing. Powers are in league to make you play more and more inside your "party role", discouraging you from trying to do something else. The skills also don't help, since they have been nerfed, playing a secondary role in your character creation.

Fifth

The skills.

Trained or not trained... Very well. They are not considering how much effort every character has put into a skill with that. Worse is the fact that they assume that when you level up, your charcater has trained all his skills, so they all benefit from his higher level. This simply does not makes sense.

There are other stuff... But I am too busy to post them all.

But wait, I am not saying that I hated 4E. No, no, no... I am saying that there are some stuffs that keep making me feel odd to the game. But there is also some very good and interesting changes in the rules. The simplicity they tried to achieve, the way they decided to turn saves into defenses, this all satisfied me and more. But I am still deciding wheter I stay on 3.5 (or create something like a 3.6, correcting some old bugs) or start 4E head on. Who knows?

Tehnar
2008-06-22, 11:25 AM
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.


More rules helps the players to decide their characters course of action. If the players know (ie it is within the rules) what action A will bring, then they will use that action when appropriate. However if action A is not covered by the rules, and the player(s) try action A and don't like your ad hoc ruling of it, then most likely action A will never be used again.

Being consistent is more then having more rules, its also in interpreting them the same way every time. Which is not always possible, and gods know I made a few mistakes. Clearer rules leave less room for interpretation, which leads to more consistent gameplay.

One of the arguments I have tried to make is that 3.x system is modular, and if you don't want to, you don't have to use certain rules. While 4e, from my perspective, while clearing up some rules, removed most of the modularity and with that removed options.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 11:32 AM
More rules helps the players to decide their characters course of action. If the players know (ie it is within the rules) what action A will bring, then they will use that action when appropriate. However if action A is not covered by the rules, and the player(s) try action A and don't like your ad hoc ruling of it, then most likely action A will never be used again.

Being consistent is more then having more rules, its also in interpreting them the same way every time. Which is not always possible, and gods know I made a few mistakes. Clearer rules leave less room for interpretation, which leads to more consistent gameplay.

One of the arguments I have tried to make is that 3.x system is modular, and if you don't want to, you don't have to use certain rules. While 4e, from my perspective, while clearing up some rules, removed most of the modularity and with that removed options.

I strongly disagree with this notion. Players should be free to try anything they like without worrying about the rules of the game. Deferring to a systemised rule set does not necessarily make a game more fair or consistant, it just makes it more rules bound and less subjective.

To put it another way, the rules should be your servant and I think they should always be open to interpretation. Hell, that's the purpose of rule 0.

THAC0
2008-06-22, 12:42 PM
This is entirely anecdotal, but in my experience gaming, the players who prefer a system with more rules for everything tend to have a higher concentration of Rules Lawyers, and waste more of my precious four hours a month gaming time with insisting that the rules does not work That Way and looking obscure things up in random books to try to prove that the rules say they Can Do This.

Apparently some people have never heard of Rule Number One: The DM is always right.

Which is unsurprising when playing a system that attempts to have rules for every possible situation.

Paragon Badger
2008-06-22, 01:31 PM
What's wrong with 4e?

Bangaa.

And Eladrin. Really? Do we honestly need 3 core elvey races? Can't they be a player subrace in the monster manual? Sure, gnomes were just halflings but whackier- but come on.. 4E should be making progress.

And the worst offender;


Play a tiefling if you want...
* to be a hero who has a dark side to overcome.
* to be good at tricking, intimidating, or persuading others to do your will.
* to be a member of a race that favors the warlock, warlord, and rogue classes.

Some young tieflings, striving to find a place in the world, choose a name that signifies a concept and then try to embody the concept. For some, the chosen name is a noble quest. For others, itís a grim destiny.

Modern Names: Art, Carrion, Chant, Despair, Fear, Gladness, Hope, Ideal, Music, Nowhere, Open, Poetry, Quest, Random, Reverence, Sorrow, Torment, Weary

I'm sorry, WOTC, but you erred somewhere down the line when I can't play anything BUT a subversion of the core races' typical kind.

My next tiefling is going to be;

Dumb, serene, un-intimidating, casual, shy, sycophantic, dependent, gentle, un-subtle, and conventional.

And he shall be named Barry.

Antacid
2008-06-22, 02:37 PM
And the worst offender;

Play a tiefling if you want...


Yeah. Tieflings suck. And Dragonborn suck as a player race for most campaign settings.

But they are seriously, seriously good target-marketing on WotC's part. I think everyone knows people who wouldn't normally want to play D&D, but if you tell them they can play a dragon... WITH AN AXE!! they'd suddenly be willing to give it a go. Ditto the satanic/goth/cheese race. All the focus-grouping paid off big time.

Thrud
2008-06-22, 03:04 PM
This is entirely anecdotal, but in my experience gaming, the players who prefer a system with more rules for everything tend to have a higher concentration of Rules Lawyers, and waste more of my precious four hours a month gaming time with insisting that the rules does not work That Way and looking obscure things up in random books to try to prove that the rules say they Can Do This.

Apparently some people have never heard of Rule Number One: The DM is always right.

Which is unsurprising when playing a system that attempts to have rules for every possible situation.


It is very easy to deal with rules lawyers. You take a rolled up newspaper and smack them smartly across the nose with a sharply stated 'no'. Then if they continue to offend you rub their noses in the top of page 4 of the PHB. (or whatever page rule 0 is on in the 3.5 PHB that I never bothered with.)

Killersquid
2008-06-22, 03:11 PM
What's wrong with 4e?

Bangaa.

And Eladrin. Really? Do we honestly need 3 core elvey races? Can't they be a player subrace in the monster manual? Sure, gnomes were just halflings but whackier- but come on.. 4E should be making progress.

And the worst offender;



I'm sorry, WOTC, but you erred somewhere down the line when I can't play anything BUT a subversion of the core races' typical kind.

My next tiefling is going to be;

Dumb, serene, un-intimidating, casual, shy, sycophantic, dependent, gentle, un-subtle, and conventional.

And he shall be named Barry.

Its like they WANT their players to make emos or mary sues.

Thrud
2008-06-22, 03:11 PM
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!

Yay, conjurations are fun! But did they really make SR not work against Acid Arrow and Glitterdust in 3.5? Once again that makes me glad not to have 'upgraded'. It used to just be evards black tentacles and grease. Ho hum.

Still, those other spells are great, but unfortunately against high level guys not that effective. As for the non core stuff, I honestly don't use much of that garbage. Never liked it. See little need for it. Most of the time when my players ask about it I say no, coz they don't seem to add anything to the game.

LurkerInPlayground
2008-06-22, 03:16 PM
Yeah. Tieflings suck. And Dragonborn suck as a player race for most campaign settings.

But they are seriously, seriously good target-marketing on WotC's part. I think everyone knows people who wouldn't normally want to play D&D, but if you tell them they can play a dragon... WITH AN AXE!! they'd suddenly be willing to give it a go. Ditto the satanic/goth/cheese race. All the focus-grouping paid off big time.
Ughhh, I hate that they are both descendants of dead half-breed empires. So lame. I liked it better when they were both obscure minorities.

THAC0
2008-06-22, 03:22 PM
It is very easy to deal with rules lawyers. You take a rolled up newspaper and smack them smartly across the nose with a sharply stated 'no'. Then if they continue to offend you rub their noses in the top of page 4 of the PHB. (or whatever page rule 0 is on in the 3.5 PHB that I never bothered with.)

Yes, wasting similar amounts of time, which eventually results in you kicking them out, and then you are groupless again.

I'm bitter. I miss my old gaming group. :smallwink:

Thrud
2008-06-22, 03:29 PM
Yes, wasting similar amounts of time, which eventually results in you kicking them out, and then you are groupless again.

I'm bitter. I miss my old gaming group. :smallwink:

Heh, I know the feeling. I got stuck in a group for years that couldn't roleplay their way out of a wet paper bag. Uggh, they were painful. And I may be in that boat again soon, as my current group (sob, we've been together 4 years. . .) are splitting up. There is a husband and wife who are moving to the other side of the country, another who just bought a house in texas. The other two live far enough away that they are probably not going to wind up coming back again after the other 3 leave. Only a couple more months before it is all over. Sigh. . .

JaxGaret
2008-06-22, 03:38 PM
Ughhh, I hate that they are both descendants of dead half-breed empires.

Just wanted to point out that neither Dragonborn nor Tieflings are half-breeds; Dragonborn are a race unto themselves, created to be servants to the Dragons millenia ago, and Tieflings are Humans who collectively signed a pact with fiends... also millenia ago.

And they fought a great war (yes, millenia ago) so now there's not so many of them.

Fawsto
2008-06-22, 03:53 PM
I strongly believe that it is much better to have a lot of rules for most situations than having few rules for generic situations.

Why? Because, as a DM I can always say "I am not using this rule in the game, ok?". But it gets a little more difficult to say "You do WHAT? Hell, I will have to devise a rule about this...", and actually creating the rule.

Rule lawyers are not a problem here in my group... If there was a rule lawyer, it would have been me. But no more. So we can actually respect rule 0 without any problems.

Simplicity to understand the rules is nice! Oversimplicity and lack of rules is not good.

edit: Regarding Tieflings and Dragonborns... Well they make me feel that I am playing some sort of Star Trek d20... I am still not comfortable with them... Also where the hell is the Aasimar? What is their excuse to not let him appear in PHB? IMO Wizards is trying to bring more atenction to the game making it look a lot more with the social expects. I mean, nowdays there are a lot of gothic, EMO (hell I am not syaing that they are the same, I am NOT!!!) and Heavy Metal fans playing D&D, so I guess the Tiefling and the Dragonborn are ways to bring those more "darkened" players to the game.

At least the Elves seem to have 2 balls this time. Do what? :smallcool:

JaxGaret
2008-06-22, 04:01 PM
Also where the hell is the Aasimar?

Aasimar as a playable 4e race:

Aasimar

Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Darkvision

Languages: Common, Celestial
Skill Bonuses: +2 Perception
Favor of the Heavens: You have Resist 5 Acid, Cold, and Lightning.

Daylight Aasimar Racial Power
You bring light to the darkness.
Daily
Minor Action Ranged 5
Effect: You cause the target to shed bright light. The light fills the targetís square and all squares within 12 squares of it. The light lasts for 5 minutes. Putting out the light is a free action. Creatures that take penalties in bright light also take them while within the radius of this magical light. Despite its name, this spell is not the equivalent of daylight for the purposes of creatures that are damaged or destroyed by bright light. If daylight is cast on a small object that is then placed inside or under a light-proof covering, the spellís effects are blocked until the covering is removed. Daylight brought into an area of magical darkness (or vice versa) is temporarily negated, so that the otherwise prevailing light conditions exist in the overlapping areas of effect. Daylight counters or dispels any darkness spell.

Killersquid
2008-06-22, 04:03 PM
I mean, nowdays there are a lot of gothic, EMO (hell I am not syaing that they are the same, I am NOT!!!) and Heavy Metal fans playing D&D, so I guess the Tiefling and the Dragonborn are ways to bring those more "darkened" players to the game.



Hey, us heavy metal fans have no relation with being "dark". NWOBHM was a very uplifting genre of music. I'm an Iron Maiden fan (along with other metal) and I HATE the new Tieflings and Dragonborn.

Fawsto
2008-06-22, 04:58 PM
When I said "darkened" I meant a very generic assortment of people... Jeez.. I am a Heavy Metal fan too, and I am not dark, as meant as darkling or some sort of stuff... I cannot explain this... s***.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-22, 05:09 PM
Ranged combat in D&D isn't abstracted - that's why each attack roll with a bow takes only one arrow.

However the damage is *extremely* abstracted. Taking damage from a crossbow bolt in no way *simulates* having a crossbow bolt stuck in your body.


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 other have pointed out, 4th Edition has very little default flavour text, and I feel it's the stronger for it.


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.

But now you're not talking about simulation, you're talking about challenge, and 4th edition already *has* challenge guidelines.


Yes, clearly the fault is with me, and my inability to understand your perfectly true and masterfully crafted points.

Sorry, that was unnecessarily snide of me. Apologies.


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.

This, I think, is the big point of disagreement.

Basically, the way I see it is this:

Ultimately, a mechanical system succeeds as a simulation only insofar as it provides an experience which is consistent with the players' ideas of what is plausible. The best a mechanical system can hope to do, in my opinion, is to produce the *same* results you would get from an intelligent observer looking at the situation and deciding on a plausible outcome.

The only way to get plausible results out of a mechanical system is for the GM to actively overrule the system when the results it gives are implausible. In such a situation, the GM is clearly *already* deciding what a plausible outcome should be, independently of the game rules. All the rules do is either conform to that idea, or not. They do not themselves contribute anything to the "simulation".

To take a concrete example, if you want to chop wood in D&D, you're better off using a Longspear than a handaxe (because the longspear does more damage, and therefore cuts the wood better). Now of course the DM is totally at liberty to override the rules, but the point is that the rules are useful only insofar as they produce the *same* results as you can get from the DM just making it up. Essentially mechanical "simulation" is just a poor approximation to freeform. The best system is one which gives you the answer you would have picked anyway.

Killersquid
2008-06-22, 05:19 PM
When I said "darkened" I meant a very generic assortment of people... Jeez.. I am a Heavy Metal fan too, and I am not dark, as meant as darkling or some sort of stuff... I cannot explain this... s***.

Oh ok. Also, I agree with your statements about the Tiefling as well (about them being too dark and emoish). Its like WotC wanted to make their game Darker and Edgier, but overdid it and now its just silly.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-22, 05:32 PM
Reserved, for when I have a time to explain what I mean by "Simulations aren't supposed to be random" without mangling the point.

If I may have a go, is what you mean something like:

There is a difference between a simulation which includes random elements as an essential part of the simulation (like simulations of weather patterns) and a simulation which includes random elements to either (a) abstract out gaps in the simulation or (b) to support some other, non-simulation design goal.

A simulation can, of course, include as much *necessary* randomness as is, well, necessary, but there has to come a point at which a simulation becomes abstract enough that it ceases to be a "simulation" in any real sense.

Essentially, for something to qualify as a "simulation" it needs to reproduce not only the *outcome* of the thing it simulates but also (on some level at least) the process leading to that outcome. The D&D "Diplomacy" skill, for example, reproduces the *effect* of a persuasive individual arguing another person around to their point of view by skillful argument, but it (arguably) does not actually *simulate* it, because it doesn't engage with the process. There's no requirement to actually identify what the other person wants, what sorts of arguments they would be susceptible to, there's not even any requirement for actual dialogue: it's just a skill check.

Again, flight simulators are a good example here. Not every game which involves flying an aeroplane is a "flight simulator", some of them are shooters or strategy games. A simulation has to make some effort to accurately recreate the experience and that's actually extremely rare in RPGs (in combat in particular, the only games I can think of that genuinely try to *simulate* combat - apart from LARPs - are Burning Wheel and Riddle of Steel).

Is that vaguely related to your point?

Antacid
2008-06-22, 05:43 PM
Hey, us heavy metal fans have no relation with being "dark". NWOBHM was a very uplifting genre of music. I'm an Iron Maiden fan (along with other metal) and I HATE the new Tieflings and Dragonborn.
Yeah, Heavy Metal is an inherantly high-energy form of music. You can't mope around while listening to Metallica, it doesn't work. (It's also a bad idea to operate heavy machinery... or so I'm told).

But in light of the Emo wish-fulfillment design of the Tieflings, the Aasimar are definitely going to be interesting...


Play an Aasimar if you want...

to be as beautiful outside as you already are inside.
to be edgy. And popular. And an outcast. Who everyone likes.
to be a member of a race that favors the classes which grownups just don't understand.

Modern Names: Awesome, Fantastic, Brilliant, Wonderful, Superb, Godly, Magnificent, Ronald.

Jerthanis
2008-06-22, 05:47 PM
Oh ok. Also, I agree with your statements about the Tiefling as well (about them being too dark and emoish). Its like WotC wanted to make their game Darker and Edgier, but overdid it and now its just silly.

I'm actually playing a Tiefling now, and personally I like the changes quite a bit. The old Tieflings were basically like roleplaying a normal human, but who had some great great grandparent who was Beelzebub's second cousin, and so you had red eyes, or smelled like sulfur or something. Now it's a matter of an infernal pact being visited upon each member of families, passed down the line endlessly. Now the badge of corruption is worn right on their faces. Every one can see them for what they are, but that doesn't mean people automatically hate them... it's just a cruel reminder of a long forgotten memory of a time when darkness ruled the land.

To me, conceptually, New Tieflings are more Hellboy than Mysterious Outsider or lame emo kid. They're smart and charismatic, and are big damn heroes despite looking like the bad guys.

nagora
2008-06-22, 05:50 PM
The old Tieflings were basically like roleplaying a normal human, but who had some great great grandparent who was Beelzebub's second cousin, and so you had red eyes, or smelled like sulfur or something.
So, they were basically normal roleplayers?

Thank you, I'll be here all night...

Matthew
2008-06-22, 05:58 PM
I strongly believe that it is much better to have a lot of rules for most situations than having few rules for generic situations.

Why? Because, as a DM I can always say "I am not using this rule in the game, ok?". But it gets a little more difficult to say "You do WHAT? Hell, I will have to devise a rule about this...", and actually creating the rule.

I have the complete opposite opinion and experience.



Ultimately, a mechanical system succeeds as a simulation only insofar as it provides an experience which is consistent with the players' ideas of what is plausible. The best a mechanical system can hope to do, in my opinion, is to produce the *same* results you would get from an intelligent observer looking at the situation and deciding on a plausible outcome.

The only way to get plausible results out of a mechanical system is for the GM to actively overrule the system when the results it gives are implausible. In such a situation, the GM is clearly *already* deciding what a plausible outcome should be, independently of the game rules. All the rules do is either conform to that idea, or not. They do not themselves contribute anything to the "simulation".

To take a concrete example, if you want to chop wood in D&D, you're better off using a Longspear than a handaxe (because the longspear does more damage, and therefore cuts the wood better). Now of course the DM is totally at liberty to override the rules, but the point is that the rules are useful only insofar as they produce the *same* results as you can get from the DM just making it up. Essentially mechanical "simulation" is just a poor approximation to freeform. The best system is one which gives you the answer you would have picked anyway.

Exactly.

ArmorArmadillo
2008-06-22, 06:13 PM
Trained or not trained... Very well. They are not considering how much effort every character has put into a skill with that. Worse is the fact that they assume that when you level up, your charcater has trained all his skills, so they all benefit from his higher level. This simply does not makes sense.

Which was problem with 3.5 as well, actually worse with 3.5. You walk into a dungeon, and can come out being better at Handling Animals and Profession (Sailing), even if he didn't do anything to either effect.
Moreover, it was much more arbitrary than 4e, because you're specifically training those skills as opposed to others.
In 4e, the increase represents general increase in capability/strength/cleverness, which is more believable in my opinion.

Moreover, people always forget Skill Focus, remember that you get more feats and they're generally smaller effects...skill focus is now an entirely valid option to specialize in a specific skill.

Also, your effectiveness at a skill shouldn't depend entirely on training and effort in the subject; is Tasselhoff, the hyperactive kender of Dragonlance fame, a great lockpicker because of his dedication and training? Or is because of his general "heroicness". This kind of 'mechanical heroism' may strain some disbelief, but I think it leads to a more enjoyable cinematic experience.


Also, on your point of liking more specific rules, I think that is perfectly fine for experienced players who become familiar with the large number of rules, but what about new players?
It's not a problem for some groups, but attracting players can be a very tough problem to overcome. In many 3.5 games, new players felt overwhelmed by the excess of complex rules, and the massive balance problems created when certain players knew how to minmax.

A streamlined, balance, simpler system allows for the better teaching and attracting of players; and without players it doesn't matter what system you're playing.


Originally Posted by Dan_Hemmens
To take a concrete example, if you want to chop wood in D&D, you're better off using a Longspear than a handaxe (because the longspear does more damage, and therefore cuts the wood better). Now of course the DM is totally at liberty to override the rules, but the point is that the rules are useful only insofar as they produce the *same* results as you can get from the DM just making it up. Essentially mechanical "simulation" is just a poor approximation to freeform. The best system is one which gives you the answer you would have picked anyway.
This situation doesn't actually work. "Block of Wood" isn't a monster. The weapon combat rules are for combat, not using weapons for mundane tasks.

The exception of course is sundering, but you're specifically not allowed to sunder with piercing weapons.

I'm sorry, this is me being snippy, there are definitely solid examples of what you're referring to. Such as being able to cleave with piercing weapons.


The idea that freeform provides better approximation is limited by the fact that having a DM decide everything limits the natural randomness of a realistic world. Having a system forces situations that are not pre-planned, which adds an important element of naturalism.

EvilElitest
2008-06-22, 07:27 PM
This is entirely anecdotal, but in my experience gaming, the players who prefer a system with more rules for everything tend to have a higher concentration of Rules Lawyers, and waste more of my precious four hours a month gaming time with insisting that the rules does not work That Way and looking obscure things up in random books to try to prove that the rules say they Can Do This.

Actually, 4E is geared toward min maxing your powers, so it is actually pro


Apparently some people have never heard of Rule Number One: The DM is always right.
4E again, because it is all about PC entitlement
from
EE

marjan
2008-06-22, 07:42 PM
Actually, 4E is geared toward min maxing your powers, so it is actually pro


Care to explain how do you min-max powers?



4E again, because it is all about PC entitlement


Which is rule number X, X > 1.

EvilElitest
2008-06-22, 07:50 PM
Care to explain how do you min-max powers?

The focus of the game's classes is taht you are suppose to make your characters in nigh unstoppable killing machines, which is the general goal of mini maxers. 4E just says that is a good thing. 3E left it up to you




There is a difference between player empowerment and player entitlement

Just to put this out there

[QUOTE]
Originally Posted by gamerkid View Post
My probleem with 4e is the fact it forces to us to roleplay and gets rid of the spells that made killing so easy .
This is an absurd statement. Taking a lack of fluff and clarification and claiming that lack of information "Forces you to roleplay" is absurd. Anyone can take a crappy system and make it good. That is like saying "3E is a great system because it forces us to balence the mechanics our selves"


from
EE

marjan
2008-06-22, 08:07 PM
The focus of the game's classes is taht you are suppose to make your characters in nigh unstoppable killing machines, which is the general goal of mini maxers. 4E just says that is a good thing. 3E left it up to you


What you see as call for min/maxing I see as discouragement for it. It doesn't matter weather your PC is god-like killing machine or incompetent peasant, if all the other characters are on about same level of optimization, despite trying to be better, then it's not very rewarding to min/max. If on the other hand you have possibility to fall in either of the categories, depending on how you build your character, then it is very strong motivation to min/max.



There is a difference between player empowerment and player entitlement


You missed the point. Rule number 1 is stronger than any other rule.



This is an absurd statement.

I think everyone agrees on that, except maybe the original author of the post.

Antacid
2008-06-22, 08:59 PM
Dan's already said most of what I wanted to say, I'll just heavily underline part of it.



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.

You can make a game that has a system allowing the DM to randomly determine whether there's a hurricane in the game, even how severe it is. It's not a simulation. Why?

Simulations that take statistical models of random events into account, aren't intended to model a fixed outcome. They predict the probabilities of various likely outcomes, but the instant you use the results to draw a conclusion about the actual outcome you're not simulating reality any more.

Weather reports are wrong all the time, despite using state-of-the-art simulation and models to predict the weather. Why? Because they're actually not predicting the weather; they're producing a range of possible weather conditions and simply reporting the most probable outcome according to the simulation. They're wrong, in other words, because they're not reporting what the simulation has actually predicted. In a game, we're in exactly the same position, because a game is about results, not a process producing a range of probable results.

If a man finds there's a 20% chance of a hurricane and reports that, he's a metereologist. But if he finds there's a 20% chance and then actually rolls a d100 to find out what's going to happen, he's playing a game; and it should be blindingly obvious that his dice roll has nothing to do with the reality of whether there's subsequently going to be a hurricane or not, or the statistical analysis-based simulation that outputted the probability of 20%. It's just a dice roll.

That's when a simulation uses models grounded in a statistical analysis of reality. Well, D&D's models are grounded in the statistical analysis of other models. Why does a longsword do d8 damage? The only answer is because players and monsters have a number of HP that d8 damage was balanced, given the average number of hits from a longsword the game designers wanted them to be able to take before dying. If everything in D&D had more HP, the longsword might need to do more damage. Or it might not, because the game designers might have changed how the modifier from Strength (another arbitrary number) is applied. Or they might have left longsword damage alone and given everyone more HP anyway so that fights last longer. And they can do that, because there is no means by which the accuracy of their model can be judged other than what feels appropriate in the game. So the fact that the longsword does d8 damage is as arbitrary as what number you roll when your player actually hits with it. It could just as easily do d100 damage. Or you could eliminate HP all together, and flip a coin every time your characters hits, and say a heads kills. It's equally invalid as a simulation, and no worse as a game mechanic as long as people enjoy using it for a game.



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 I can't say how well that works out.

Ah-ha! Yes, this version of 4e I would say qualifies as only a tactical combat simulation. Why? Because without other people, you're not playing a role, regardless of whether or not the game rules are the same.



Originally Posted by Antacid,
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).

Luckily, a single game system can have rules for more that one different thing. Which 4e does, as, of course, it does have rules for roleplaying. Just not as many.


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.

No, a roleplaying game is defined by providing you with i) a role to play, and ii) a game system to play the role within. Whether the rules cover the actual business of roleplaying itself is beside the point as long as the role is sufficiently defined by the rules.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-23, 05:37 AM
This situation doesn't actually work. "Block of Wood" isn't a monster. The weapon combat rules are for combat, not using weapons for mundane tasks.

Quite so. The rules for using weapons for mundane tasks are here (http://http://www.d20srd.org/srd/exploration.htm#smashinganObject). You roll the damage for the weapon, subtract the Hardness of the material, and a given number of HP damage represents a given amount of distance cut into the object.


The exception of course is sundering, but you're specifically not allowed to sunder with piercing weapons.

But you can try to break down doors by shooting arrows at them. The DM can *overrule* it, but that's sort of my point.


I'm sorry, this is me being snippy, there are definitely solid examples of what you're referring to. Such as being able to cleave with piercing weapons.


The idea that freeform provides better approximation is limited by the fact that having a DM decide everything limits the natural randomness of a realistic world. Having a system forces situations that are not pre-planned, which adds an important element of naturalism.

Not at all. It's perfectly reasonable for a DM to say "things could go either way" and roll some dice. I do it all the time. So in fact it's *mechanical* systems that limit the natural randomness of a realistic world, because they control *exactly* how and when things are random.

nagora
2008-06-23, 06:04 AM
More rules helps the players to decide their characters course of action.
Absolutely not. More rules restrict the players thinking to the same routes as the designers'. The player should be thinking about what the character wants to do and the DM's job is to worry about what rules apply if they try it and how to handle it if the player thinks of something the designer didn't. You essentially have the process reversed.

fleet
2008-06-24, 05:27 PM
I think i have found something very interesting.

You have 30 foot of rope, a hammer, 20 metal spikes, and your normal weapon.
You face a 40 foot sheer wall you must climb.

How does a cleric, climb
How does a fighter, climb it
how does a rouge, scale it.
And how does a mage transverse it?

in 3.5 you'll get 4 radically different answers. So tell me what do you get in 4e?

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-24, 05:43 PM
I think i have found something very interesting.

You have 30 foot of rope, a hammer, 20 metal spikes, and your normal weapon.
You face a 40 foot sheer wall you must climb.

How does a cleric, climb
How does a fighter, climb it
how does a rouge, scale it.
And how does a mage transverse it?

in 3.5 you'll get 4 radically different answers. So tell me what do you get in 4e?

The Cleric uses Cloud Chariot - it's a class utility power.
The Fighter uses his training in Ritual Magic to summon a phantom steed and flies up.
The Rogue uses his magic carpet.
The Wizard, who bought Skill Training: Athletics climbs.

Saph
2008-06-24, 06:14 PM
The Cleric uses Cloud Chariot - it's a class utility power.
The Fighter uses his training in Ritual Magic to summon a phantom steed and flies up.
The Rogue uses his magic carpet.
The Wizard, who bought Skill Training: Athletics climbs.

What? Where are you getting this from?

A Cleric isn't going to waste a high-powered high-level daily power on a wall, there's no particular reason a Rogue would have a massively expensive magic carpet, Fighters have lousy synergy with Ritual Magic, and Wizards have very little reason ever to take Skill Training: Athletics.

A realistic answer would be:

- The cleric climbs the wall using Athletics.
- The fighter climbs the wall using Athletics.
- The rogue climbs the wall using Athletics.
- The wizard thinks about using a daily power such as Levitate, realises that he can't afford to waste spells on something that simple, gets someone else to climb the wall and lower a rope, then climbs the wall using Athletics.

- Saph

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-24, 06:32 PM
What? Where are you getting this from?

From the fact that they're all perfectly *possible* reactions.


A Cleric isn't going to waste a high-powered high-level daily power on a wall, there's no particular reason a Rogue would have a massively expensive magic carpet, Fighters have lousy synergy with Ritual Magic, and Wizards have very little reason ever to take Skill Training: Athletics.

Other than, y'know, character.

[Edited to add]

Sorry, went to bed after posting this last night, needs clarification.

The criticism implicit in the "wall challenge" is that, outside of combat, 4E characters are all basically the same and this is a bad thing. I actually happen to think it's a good thing, because it means that my character isn't arbitrarily forced to be worse at - say - climbing than anybody else just because he has "Wizard" on his character sheet instead of "Ranger".

Hallavast
2008-06-24, 06:38 PM
Varying levels give varying answers for this challenge. What level is the party?

In 3.x, at level 3 or so, the party is pretty much going to climb the wall the way saph described. At high level a wall really isn't even an obstacle anymore.

So can we get a few more power level specifics for this exercise?

fleet
2008-06-26, 11:57 AM
Level 6 in 3.5
Level 9-10 in 4e.

Since those are roughly equivalent, and about when everyone starts getting powerful utility abilities.

And this challenge is actually quite difficult to beat in most cases. Since, you only have 30 foot of rope for a 40 foot sheer wall.

The point is supposed to be, that the wizard or cleric could probably transverse the wall with an expenditure of a suitably powerful spell. While a rouge is probably the only one with a high enough skill to climb the wall with out decent gear. The fighter is only getting up that wall, if his player is very cleaver, and builds a hook or something out of the rope and his sword, and then finds a way to climb 10 feet with out a rope. Maybe using the spikes?

In 4e though, the most efficient answer, is they all use athletics to climb the sheer wall, with out needing ropes.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-26, 12:44 PM
The point is supposed to be, that the wizard or cleric could probably transverse the wall with an expenditure of a suitably powerful spell. While a rouge is probably the only one with a high enough skill to climb the wall with out decent gear. The fighter is only getting up that wall, if his player is very cleaver, and builds a hook or something out of the rope and his sword, and then finds a way to climb 10 feet with out a rope. Maybe using the spikes?

In 4e though, the most efficient answer, is they all use athletics to climb the sheer wall, with out needing ropes.

Wait... in 3e Climb was a class skill for fighters, and strength to boot. Hell, if the fighter took off his armor, he probably would climb as well as the Rogue. Unless he decided to dump his lessons in Swim or Jump... which makes things better?

(Digression)
Actually, in 4e, even the first level wizard can use Mage Hand to move an end of the rope up the cliff. He won't be able to secure it or anything, but that's actually a nice use of an at-will power that the same wizard could not do in 3e.

Meanwhile the Rogue or the Fighter can probably make it up the wall, with difficulty, by using natural handholds... like you're supposed to, if you're climbing rock walls.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here, but it seems kind of silly to think that a system would be better because clerics and wizards have spells to get them over walls, while in 4e they don't. Is it that some classes are utterly screwed in 3e if they run into a wall, while others are not? Or that you can be screwed over by not putting skill points in Climb, or forgot to memorize your wall-beating spell for the day? If so, I much prefer 4e for cutting back on the "Unwinnable (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Unwinnable)" factor. If I wanted to run a game where the PCs would just die for making a single mistake, I'd play Hackmaster or Call of Cthulhu.

fleet
2008-06-27, 09:13 PM
None of the above. This is an exercise in differentiation between characters. Anyone, could once they get to the top lower a rope for the rest of the party. The problem is, in 4e, everyone could easily get to the top with out needing the aid of another party member. The tactical interdependence so many 4e players are so proud of, does not apply to the game outside of combat.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-27, 09:54 PM
None of the above. This is an exercise in differentiation between characters. Anyone, could once they get to the top lower a rope for the rest of the party. The problem is, in 4e, everyone could easily get to the top with out needing the aid of another party member. The tactical interdependence so many 4e players are so proud of, does not apply to the game outside of combat.

Certainly not the case. Not everyone is going to be trained in Athletics, nor have a high enough strength to scale the wall without hazard. A failure by five and you might be in for some fairly serious fall damage - unless you are trained in Acrobatics as well. There is likely to be one character who is best at climbing the cliff, and he'll do it first.

Additionally, I find it hard to fault a system which does not devote a class to the climbing of walls. Indeed, it is easier to praise a system that does not force a party without a thief to sit on its hands when faced with a simple wall, unless the Fighter happened to train in Climb, or the Wizard/Cleric had prepared a wall-climbing spell for that day.

Jayngfet
2008-06-27, 10:07 PM
Honestly there are two reasons I'm not converting.

1. I just finished my world, which is based on the old angels, tieflings, elves, gnomes, halflings and ironically everything else to a large extent.

2. Even if I make a new world, my laptop broke, so unless theres a 4e equivalent of the SRD I can't upgrade for a while.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-28, 06:00 AM
2. Even if I make a new world, my laptop broke, so unless theres a 4e equivalent of the SRD I can't upgrade for a while.

I'm confused by this statement. How does your laptop breaking stop you from upgrading without an SRD analogue?

(Not saying you don't have perfectly good reasons for not upgrading "my world is based on 3.X is perfectly sensible - I'm just confused by point 2)

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-28, 06:02 AM
None of the above. This is an exercise in differentiation between characters. Anyone, could once they get to the top lower a rope for the rest of the party. The problem is, in 4e, everyone could easily get to the top with out needing the aid of another party member. The tactical interdependence so many 4e players are so proud of, does not apply to the game outside of combat.

I'm with Oracle hunter on this: it's one of those bug/feature things. I don't see how it's an advantage to limit the out-of-combat abilities of classes (particularly not in a game which makes such a big thing out of flexibility). If I want my Wizard to be able to swim and climb why the hell shouldn't I.

fleet
2008-06-28, 01:59 PM
Well no, a wizard could have trained in swimming in 4e or 3.5. In 3.5 it would have been cost prohibitive but do able if you wanted to spend the effort on training to be a swimmer(skill points per level). But can you argue that a man who spends his entire life studying books, is just as likely to have trained in swimming, as any ranger? Or that a mage who has trained in swimming is as good as any pirate of the same level? Is it really sensible for Fighters to have as easy a time in gaining knowledge of the arcane as the aforementioned wizard?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-28, 02:54 PM
Well no, a wizard could have trained in swimming in 4e or 3.5. In 3.5 it would have been cost prohibitive but do able if you wanted to spend the effort on training to be a swimmer(skill points per level). But can you argue that a man who spends his entire life studying books, is just as likely to have trained in swimming, as any ranger? Or that a mage who has trained in swimming is as good as any pirate of the same level? Is it really sensible for Fighters to have as easy a time in gaining knowledge of the arcane as the aforementioned wizard?

You learn to swim, you learn to swim. That basic knowledge gives you +5 over the dude who flails and doggy paddles. But are you good at swimming? That depends on your strength, and unless the Fighter skimped on strength and the Wizard didn't, it looks like the Fighter is still better.

Does that make less sense than a wizard never being even half as good as the fighter in swimming? What is it about swinging swords that makes you a better swimmer?

Finally, the wizard needs to spend a feat to become trained in Athletics - it's not part of his normal routine. Is that less reasonable than for a wizard to just not be able to learn to swim very well, because he is a wizard, instead of a fighter? What does class have to do with your ability to swim?

Yeah, I don't buy it.

Swimming is no more part of being a fighter than climbing walls is. However, fighters may, since they have to do so much running and so forth, decide to have trained in Athletics since it involve skills that are complementary (but not essential) to their basic class. Wizards might be more likely to be trained in book-learny things, but I see no reason to arbitrarily penalize a wizard who wants to learn to swim (fluff wise) if he's willing to spend the extra effort (a Feat) to learn the basics.

But that's all fluff reasoning. In addition, there are sound, mechanical reasons to run a skill system this way (which I talked about in my last post).

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-28, 04:34 PM
Well no, a wizard could have trained in swimming in 4e or 3.5. In 3.5 it would have been cost prohibitive but do able if you wanted to spend the effort on training to be a swimmer(skill points per level). But can you argue that a man who spends his entire life studying books, is just as likely to have trained in swimming, as any ranger? Or that a mage who has trained in swimming is as good as any pirate of the same level? Is it really sensible for Fighters to have as easy a time in gaining knowledge of the arcane as the aforementioned wizard?

This is pretty much my issue with the vaunted "flexibility" of 3.X.

Should a mage who has trained in swimming be as good as any pirate of the same level. Yes, for one very important reason: the Wizard might actually be a pirate. He might really live in the woods. The assumption that everybody with a level in the "Wizard" class must have lived an effectively identical lifestyle was one of the things that really put me off 3.X.

Roderick_BR
2008-06-28, 06:01 PM
The criticism implicit in the "wall challenge" is that, outside of combat, 4E characters are all basically the same and this is a bad thing. I actually happen to think it's a good thing, because it means that my character isn't arbitrarily forced to be worse at - say - climbing than anybody else just because he has "Wizard" on his character sheet instead of "Ranger".
Hmm.... and is it so bad that everyone do mundane tasks the same way? Using the wall as an example, most everyone will climb. Whoever have some power to fly or teleport, as long as it's not expensive (like using a daily power, or an expensive ritual) may want to do it, but most people will just climb it.
Btw, how is it different from 3.5? I guess only the wizard will not use a skill to climb, since flight spells lasts a lot.
Basically, mundane tasks can be done the same way by everyone :smallconfused:

Hallavast
2008-06-28, 11:59 PM
I'm not sure what you're getting at here, but it seems kind of silly to think that a system would be better because clerics and wizards have spells to get them over walls, while in 4e they don't. Is it that some classes are utterly screwed in 3e if they run into a wall, while others are not? Or that you can be screwed over by not putting skill points in Climb, or forgot to memorize your wall-beating spell for the day? If so, I much prefer 4e for cutting back on the "Unwinnable (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Unwinnable)" factor. If I wanted to run a game where the PCs would just die for making a single mistake, I'd play Hackmaster or Call of Cthulhu.


It's also kind of silly to assume that any game with a human arbiter will have one of those "unwinable factors". I'm not saying 4ed is superior or inferior at eliminating said factors, but I do feel that this is a non-issue with Dungeons and Dragons as a whole.

Prophaniti
2008-06-29, 09:31 AM
On the Subject of Wizards and Swimming:

The problem here is a fundamental disagreement of what a wizard is. My opinion, and the reason I prefer 3.5 to fourth, is no, the wizard is not (on average) as good at swimming as the fighter, nor should he be. Of course, there should be a way for a wizard, suitably motivated, to learn how or get better at it. I think the skills system handles this pretty well. Yeah, it would be prohibitively expensive for a 3.5 wizard by RAW to buy ranks in Swim, this to me has always been the problem with the d20 skill system. The skills work fine, they just don't seem to be willing to give anyone enough skill points except the skill-monkey classes. I always houserule this, increasing the number of skill points that every class gains, but moving on.

A wizard, in my fundamental concept, is above all a knowledge-based class. In my world, a wizard must constantly study magic, because a moment of distraction or the forgetting of a single arcane gesture or sylable can be disastrous. This is the way it should be, IMO. The wizard exchanges his free-time, his social life and most other pursuits to gain access to the Awesome Power that is locked away in arcane secrets. The reason the classic wizard is depicted as scrawny and weak is because he is. A wizard does not have time to lift weights go jogging, and his daily activities do not lend toward physical fitness.

This is also the reason I never had a problem with a wizard's power level in 3.5, because
1) it's magic, it should be powerful, and should be able to do things that no one else can. and
2) he pays a price for it, most notably that without his magic, he's just a scrawny little weakling that knows a lot.

I don't say that 3.5 does a perfect (or even a great) job of applying this concept to gameplay, but it does it a lot better than 4E, where a wizard feels exactly the same as everyone else, he merely calls his powers by different names.

So, again, yes a wizard should certainly be able to learn to swim with the best of them, but it should cost him, and it should not be the norm for those who give their lives over to the study of the arcane. This is my view and opinion on the matter.

Oslecamo
2008-06-29, 09:53 AM
How to cross a wall in 3.5:

Fighter-Carve some stairs for youself by attacking the wall.

Rogue-Use search to find nearby stuff you can pile up and create an elevation to help you reach the top. This way you get an use to all those traps you disabled.

Cleric: copy the fighter.

Wizard:Spider climb, or reduce person+mage's hand, or have your familiar fly up there with a rope, etc, etc

MartinHarper
2008-06-29, 09:59 AM
In 4e though, the most efficient answer, is they all use athletics to climb the sheer wall, with out needing ropes.

Hmm. Sheer wall. From PHB pg182, it's DC25 for an unusually smooth brick wall, so I'd guess DC30 for an actual sheer wall, That's well out of range of a level 9-10 character. So that's why they'd burn encounter/daily powers to beat the challenge.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-06-29, 10:15 AM
I am a scholar. I have spent my life doing very well in school. I have learned many things other people never will. I devoted myself to psychology and sociology. I was the president of many clubs. I was a resident advisor. I graduated with honors.

And, here's the tricky part, I am also an excellent swimmer.

I'm a fan of 3.5, but it's hard to argue that if a wizard wants to spend a feat on it, he shouldn't be able to pick up an offhand skill or two.

And the general answer to that wall question would be that in 3.5, any non-spellcaster would climb, and any spellcaster would cast "fly" or "levitate." It doesn't seem terribly varied to me. And, again, I loved the 3.5 skill system as an advancement over 2.0, but it is true that cross-class skills were patently useless by the time a person reached mid-levels and faced equal level challenges (without houseruling).

Either way, Rule 0 (or a variation of it) makes most of this a moot point. A DM should not bring the PCs to a point they cannot either overcome or avoid in some way in either edition.

Oh, and about pirates and wizards: many pirates/sailors in the past refused to learn how to swim because it was seen as bad luck. Why do you need to know how to swim unless your ship wrecks? :-p

(oh, and after that bragfest above, I might say I am good at very little else, but it meets the requirements of the swimming wizard!)

Renegade Paladin
2008-06-29, 10:38 AM
I haven't played, but from reading the rules:


They achieved balance by making all the powers interchangeable; each class gets an at-will ranged attack at level X, etc. Balance through making all the options identical should have gone out the window with Warcraft II.
It is exceedingly difficult if not impossible to come up with a concept and then find rules to fit it; you must fit your concept to the rules. It doesn't even take much imagination to come up with a character concept that the rules cannot allow for.
Pursuant to the above, options are exceedingly limited. (Only TWF rangers may fight with two weapons? What is that? It is easy to come up with a concept for a two weapon fighter that isn't a ranger, but you can't do it!)
Damage has been made into the primary combat option for everybody, and damage sucks even more than it did in 3e, causing fights to essentially be padded sumo matches. (Meteor swarm, a 29th level power, deals 8d6+INT modifier; in the meantime, hit points are even higher than they were in previous editions.)
The artwork sucks. :smalltongue:


I'm sure I could come up with more if I put my mind to it; that's just off the top of my head.

marjan
2008-06-29, 10:48 AM
It is exceedingly difficult if not impossible to come up with a concept and then find rules to fit it; you must fit your concept to the rules. It doesn't even take much imagination to come up with a character concept that the rules cannot allow for.


I would have to disagree.



Pursuant to the above, options are exceedingly limited. (Only TWF rangers may fight with two weapons? What is that? It is easy to come up with a concept for a two weapon fighter that isn't a ranger, but you can't do it!)


No. Everyone can fight with two weapons. Rangers do it best.



Meteor swarm, a 29th level power, deals 8d6+INT modifier; in the meantime, hit points are even higher than they were in previous editions.


If you're looking for damage look at the striker classes.

Renegade Paladin
2008-06-29, 10:50 AM
I'm confused by this statement. How does your laptop breaking stop you from upgrading without an SRD analogue?

(Not saying you don't have perfectly good reasons for not upgrading "my world is based on 3.X is perfectly sensible - I'm just confused by point 2)
Presumably because buying a new laptop is expensive, thus making the purchase of a new set of gaming rulebooks fiscally irresponsible of him. :smalltongue:

The New Bruceski
2008-06-29, 12:09 PM
On the Subject of Wizards and Swimming:

The problem here is a fundamental disagreement of what a wizard is. My opinion, and the reason I prefer 3.5 to fourth, is no, the wizard is not (on average) as good at swimming as the fighter, nor should he be. Of course, there should be a way for a wizard, suitably motivated, to learn how or get better at it. I think the skills system handles this pretty well. Yeah, it would be prohibitively expensive for a 3.5 wizard by RAW to buy ranks in Swim, this to me has always been the problem with the d20 skill system. The skills work fine, they just don't seem to be willing to give anyone enough skill points except the skill-monkey classes. I always houserule this, increasing the number of skill points that every class gains, but moving on.



A 4e Wizard who does not spend a feat and has an average strength has a 45% greater chance of failing any swimming check than a fighter does (most of them are trained in Athletics and high strength, so +9 Athletics). That sounds like "not as good at swimming as the Fighter" to me. I think you're confusing "more difficult" and "impossible".

Prophaniti
2008-06-29, 12:14 PM
I'm a fan of 3.5, but it's hard to argue that if a wizard wants to spend a feat on it, he shouldn't be able to pick up an offhand skill or two.

And the general answer to that wall question would be that in 3.5, any non-spellcaster would climb, and any spellcaster would cast "fly" or "levitate." It doesn't seem terribly varied to me. And, again, I loved the 3.5 skill system as an advancement over 2.0, but it is true that cross-class skills were patently useless by the time a person reached mid-levels and faced equal level challenges (without houseruling).Well, I'm a 3.5 fan, too, and I do agree on the cross-class skills = useless thing, (houserules are not strictly necessary, but they can make a decent system a lot better) and that a wizard who really wants to should be able to learn to swim. I just don't think it should be common or easy, or without good reason.


Either way, Rule 0 (or a variation of it) makes most of this a moot point. A DM should not bring the PCs to a point they cannot either overcome or avoid in some way in either edition.
Completely agreed on this. I made the point in another thread, myself. A good DM knows his parties abilities and should provide an out for the party, in case this wall or swimming is too much for some of them. Doesn't have to be obvious, but it should be there.


(oh, and after that bragfest above, I might say I am good at very little else, but it meets the requirements of the swimming wizard!)
True, but our society is vastly different from most of the ones modeled in a D&D campaign. We have an emphasis on physical activity in our school systems that the game societies mostly wouldn't (either the emphasis or the school system in the first place). Also, we have indoor pools and such, so one can learn to swim even when far from a natural body of water.

Prophaniti
2008-06-29, 12:30 PM
A 4e Wizard who does not spend a feat and has an average strength has a 45% greater chance of failing any swimming check than a fighter does (most of them are trained in Athletics and high strength, so +9 Athletics). That sounds like "not as good at swimming as the Fighter" to me. I think you're confusing "more difficult" and "impossible".

And a wizard with no ranks in 3.5 still has a decent chance of passing most mundane swim checks as well, the ones that wouldn't require specialized training IRL (such as swimming very rough water, or saving someone from drowning). He'd actually have a better chance than an untrained fighter, since he's less likely to be encumbered. Btw, the only times I ever took ranks in swimming as any class were when skill at swimming was important to the character, ex: a Knight I ran who was going for that whole Lancelot thing, and actually needed to be able to swim and climb while in full plate and gear. Limited skill points (a weak point in the d20 system which I always houserule) never stopped me, if swimming was important enough to their character.

EDIT: Sorry for the double-post. I'm usually pretty slow at typing up responses and felt certain someone would post in between them.

The New Bruceski
2008-06-29, 12:33 PM
They achieved balance by making all the powers interchangeable; each class gets an at-will ranged attack at level X, etc. Balance through making all the options identical should have gone out the window with Warcraft II.
This is false. Show me where every class gets a ranged at-will power? Sure they all get a power of the same type (daily, encounter, utility) at level X etc, but the nature of those powers varies greatly between classes.


It is exceedingly difficult if not impossible to come up with a concept and then find rules to fit it; you must fit your concept to the rules. It doesn't even take much imagination to come up with a character concept that the rules cannot allow for.
In any system you need to work the character concept with the rules. 3.x? How do I make a skillmonkey Fighter? I'm also curious what character concept you're thinking about for 4e other than "Batman Wizard".


Pursuant to the above, options are exceedingly limited. (Only TWF rangers may fight with two weapons? What is that? It is easy to come up with a concept for a two weapon fighter that isn't a ranger, but you can't do it!)
Sure you can. If I remember right the second weapon gives a +1 damage and you get to pick which one you attack with. If you're complaining that you can't make a character whose concept is "a fighter who uses two weapons and gets to attack with both in a round" then you're involving rules in your concept which marry it to a system.


Damage has been made into the primary combat option for everybody, and damage sucks even more than it did in 3e, causing fights to essentially be padded sumo matches. (Meteor swarm, a 29th level power, deals 8d6+INT modifier; in the meantime, hit points are even higher than they were in previous editions.)
8d6+int to everything within 5 squares of the target point. If you're worried about single target damage you should roll a Warlock (Doom of Delban, 5d10+3d6+con, then 6d10+3d6+con, then 7d10+3d6+con and so on, though at the cost of damage to yourself as you channel the freezing blast.) As for hitpoints, you're not using that ability or fighting in a vacuum. Encounter Powers do no good saved for later so there's no reason one spell should be able to end the fight. For more on that see the end of the Wizards and Warlocks thread (though be warned, it got a bit argumentative, which is why a Mod had to pop in.)

Renegade Paladin
2008-06-29, 01:55 PM
TIn any system you need to work the character concept with the rules. 3.x? How do I make a skillmonkey Fighter? I'm also curious what character concept you're thinking about for 4e other than "Batman Wizard".
I hate the Batman wizard concept with a passion, as you'd know if you knew anything about my posting history on the subject. An effective quarterstaff fighter who isn't particularly a woodsman is one concept that's impossible under the 4e ruleset, due to there being no two-weapon fighting for those who are not rangers (see below).

Sure you can. If I remember right the second weapon gives a +1 damage and you get to pick which one you attack with. If you're complaining that you can't make a character whose concept is "a fighter who uses two weapons and gets to attack with both in a round" then you're involving rules in your concept which marry it to a system.
That's not fighting with two weapons; that's holding a weapon in your other hand and not doing anything with it. Wheeeee, you get to pick which one you want to use that round! Now there's a tremendous advantage, right there, and one that has everything to do with actually fighting with both of them.

Oh wait. No it isn't, and no it doesn't.

8d6+int to everything within 5 squares of the target point. If you're worried about single target damage you should roll a Warlock (Doom of Delban, 5d10+3d6+con, then 6d10+3d6+con, then 7d10+3d6+con and so on, though at the cost of damage to yourself as you channel the freezing blast.) As for hitpoints, you're not using that ability or fighting in a vacuum. Encounter Powers do no good saved for later so there's no reason one spell should be able to end the fight. For more on that see the end of the Wizards and Warlocks thread (though be warned, it got a bit argumentative, which is why a Mod had to pop in.)
Why does that merit warning me? Words on a screen are neither dangerous nor harmful, and I would wager that the mod didn't have to pop in, but did so because the rules like to prohibit things that aren't actually harmful for no discernible reason. Anyway, 5d10+3d6+CON isn't particularly impressive either at that level. Nerfing damage, boosting HP, and removing most non-damage ways to deal with the problem just slows down combat.

The New Bruceski
2008-06-29, 03:07 PM
An effective quarterstaff fighter who isn't particularly a woodsman is one concept that's impossible under the 4e ruleset, due to there being no two-weapon fighting for those who are not rangers (see below).
Actually, the Quarterstaff is now a 2-handed weapon, so a Fighter specializing in it would gain nothing were the two-weapon fighting rules changed. :smalltongue:

I think I have a different understanding of "concept". I see it as a character idea, rules coming second. In that sense, a two-weapon fighter concept picks up a second weapon and doesn't care what rules there are about it. Or he levels in ranger, calls himself a fighter and re-fluffs things where he can. From this perspective the main places I see holes are in the area of do-everything characters (hence my mentioning of Batman, not because of you personally but because I've seen that hauled out as a complaint a lot) or mechanics that simply don't exist yet (a shapeshifting druid for example).

I'm not sure how to describe your idea of "concept," but since mine allows for a two-weapon Fighter and yours apparently does not, they must be different definitions. I'm curious what you mean.



That's not fighting with two weapons; that's holding a weapon in your other hand and not doing anything with it. Wheeeee, you get to pick which one you want to use that round! Now there's a tremendous advantage, right there, and one that has everything to do with actually fighting with both of them.
This again seems to come under differing ideas of concepts. The way I see it, if you're holding two weapons and you're fighting, you're fighting with two weapons. In that sense the only way 4e wouldn't support it would be if they stated that a Fighter using a one-handed weapon could only use a shield in the other hand.



Why does that merit warning me? Words on a screen are neither dangerous nor harmful, and I would wager that the mod didn't have to pop in, but did so because the rules like to prohibit things that aren't actually harmful for no discernible reason.
*shrug* better to give an unneeded heads-up than blindly redirect people to a thread whose current tone is borderline. I don't have dossiers on everybody in the forum; I don't know what will or will not offend.

JaxGaret
2008-06-29, 03:10 PM
I hate the Batman wizard concept with a passion, as you'd know if you knew anything about my posting history on the subject.

I don't hate the Batman Wizard concept itself, I dislike its effect on 3e campaigns.


An effective quarterstaff fighter who isn't particularly a woodsman is one concept that's impossible under the 4e ruleset, due to there being no two-weapon fighting for those who are not rangers (see below).

That's not fighting with two weapons; that's holding a weapon in your other hand and not doing anything with it. Wheeeee, you get to pick which one you want to use that round! Now there's a tremendous advantage, right there, and one that has everything to do with actually fighting with both of them.

Oh wait. No it isn't, and no it doesn't.

First of all, the TWF feats in 4e model the vast majority of RL TWF styles better than actually attacking with two weapons at the same time does.

If you want to play a TWF who attacks with both at the same time, you play a Ranger. If you want to play a character that attacks with two weapons at the same time but is another class, you play a multiclass Ranger. In other words, the 4e model for actually learning to attack well with two weapons at the same time is more than simply a feat, it is a difficult to learn (read: takes up a lot of time) style of fighting that, if one is training in it, includes other facets of that type of fighter - that it is a mobile, offensive-based type of style. Hey, that sounds like a Striker to me.

It's not perfect, mind you, far from it; but I think it does a pretty good job. Better than 3e, at any rate.

Renegade Paladin
2008-06-29, 03:17 PM
First of all, the TWF feats in 4e model the vast majority of RL TWF styles better than actually attacking with two weapons at the same time does.

If you want to play a TWF who attacks with both at the same time, you play a Ranger. If you want to play a character that attacks with two weapons at the same time but is another class, you play a multiclass Ranger. In other words, the 4e model for actually learning to attack well with two weapons at the same time is more than simply a feat, it is a difficult to learn (read: takes up a lot of time) style of fighting that, if one is training in it, includes other facets of that type of fighter - that it is a mobile, offensive-based type of style. Hey, that sounds like a Striker to me.

It's not perfect, mind you, far from it; but I think it does a pretty good job. Better than 3e, at any rate.
I am aware of the limitations of fighting with two weapons in real life, thanks; that's why I specified the quarterstaff, which has no such problems. I'm quite aware that a shorter blade used in the off-hand while fighting is used for parrying rather than stabbing the opponent, unless the opponent leaves himself ridiculously wide open. (Speaking of which, if that's what you're looking to model, 4e also sucks at it; it should give a defensive bonus, not +1 damage.)

JaxGaret
2008-06-29, 03:26 PM
I am aware of the limitations of fighting with two weapons in real life, thanks; that's why I specified the quarterstaff, which has no such problems.

Well then feel free to develop specific feats for TWF with a Quarterstaff. It is rather unusual or even unique in that respect.


I'm quite aware that a shorter blade used in the off-hand while fighting is used for parrying rather than stabbing the opponent, unless the opponent leaves himself ridiculously wide open. (Speaking of which, if that's what you're looking to model, 4e also sucks at it; it should give a defensive bonus, not +1 damage.)

There is the TWF Defense feat which provides that. There has been suggestion that that feat should be the feat tree base, and that the one that provides a bonus to damage should be the next step on the tree (and should provide an attack bonus instead of a damage bonus, but that wouldn't be balanced with feats like WF) - except that the TWF Defense feat is better than normal feats, so it is more balanced to make it the back end of the tree rather than the front end, and 4e's design criteria look at balance first for the most part.

So yes, you are correct here, but I still think that it is a passable translation, and certainly better than 3e's.

fleet
2008-06-29, 03:35 PM
Come on show some more versatility in your ideas. A fighter could tie the rope to his arrow and launch it over the wall, except of course that most fighters won't use a bow in 4e.

Prophaniti
2008-06-29, 03:35 PM
This is false. Show me where every class gets a ranged at-will power? Sure they all get a power of the same type (daily, encounter, utility) at level X etc, but the nature of those powers varies greatly between classes.
They vary only in fluff, and occasionally in range or how many targets it hits. It's all xd6 damage, perhaps with a status effect. What happened to abilities that don't deal damage? What happened to ablities that disable opponents without dealing combat damage? Where's my Curse or Bane, or Tasha's Hideous Laughter? Yes, damn it, what happened to 'Save or Suck' abilities?! Why does everything deal damage now?!

And no, I don't buy the 'hp is an abstraction' line. That was a concept I always disliked and had to 'deal with' in 3.5. I am less than pleased with the furthering of this concept in 4E.


In any system you need to work the character concept with the rules. 3.x? How do I make a skillmonkey Fighter? I'm also curious what character concept you're thinking about for 4e other than "Batman Wizard".
There are a number of combat rogue builds just within Core 3.5 to fit the concept of a skill-monkey fighter. A rogue in 3.5 does not have to be a thief, and with more fighter-esque stats can be a pretty strong combat presence.

And how, pray tell, do I run a Monk in 4E, as in a student of mystisism, who uses untapped inner reserves to accomplish what seems impossible, and is more dangerous naked than most are in full gear? (yes, I know. The RAW 3.5 monk does not come close to this ideal, but I've seen some very simple and elegant houserule versions that do, while the ideal is flat out impossible in 4e, since monk is not one of their chosen and embraced achetypes.) Thing is, pretty much any character concept outside the archetypes for each class ranges from ill-fitting to ridiculous with 4E's extremely limited build options.

The New Bruceski
2008-06-29, 03:39 PM
And how, pray tell, do I run a Monk in 4E, as in a student of mystisism, who uses untapped inner reserves to accomplish what seems impossible, and is more dangerous naked than most are in full gear? (yes, I know. The RAW 3.5 monk does not come close to this ideal, but I've seen some very simple and elegant houserule versions that do, while the ideal is flat out impossible in 4e, since monk is not one of their chosen and embraced achetypes.) Thing is, pretty much any character concept outside the archetypes for each class ranges from ill-fitting to ridiculous with 4E's extremely limited build options.
Wizards' 3.5 conversion articles had some rather nice ideas on trading Ranger abilities for some of the integral Monk ones. Seems good to me.

nagora
2008-06-29, 04:17 PM
Actually, the Quarterstaff is now a 2-handed weapon,
A quarterstaff is now a two-handed weapon?! What else could it be? It's a quarterstaff! Of course it's a two-handed weapon.

Plus: any party that didn't come equipped to climb a wall isn't trying, frankly.

JaxGaret
2008-06-29, 04:27 PM
What happened to abilities that don't deal damage?

They exist.


What happened to ablities that disable opponents without dealing combat damage, or Tasha's Hideous Laughter?

SoLs are gone, for the most part.


Where's my Curse or Bane?

They exist, and I assume will exist in larger quantities with the release of the Shadow power source.


Yes, damn it, what happened to 'Save or Suck' abilities?!

SoSs still exist, in the form of status effects.


And no, I don't buy the 'hp is an abstraction' line. That was a concept I always disliked and had to 'deal with' in 3.5. I am less than pleased with the furthering of this concept in 4E.

That's nice, but it's only your opinion.


There are a number of combat rogue builds just within Core 3.5 to fit the concept of a skill-monkey fighter. A rogue in 3.5 does not have to be a thief, and with more fighter-esque stats can be a pretty strong combat presence.

What exactly do you think a Brutal Scoundrel is?

Also, any character in 4e can take Skill Training: Thievery, or the other "skillmonkey" skills.


And how, pray tell, do I run a Monk in 4E, as in a student of mystisism, who uses untapped inner reserves to accomplish what seems impossible, and is more dangerous naked than most are in full gear? (yes, I know. The RAW 3.5 monk does not come close to this ideal, but I've seen some very simple and elegant houserule versions that do, while the ideal is flat out impossible in 4e, since monk is not one of their chosen and embraced achetypes.) Thing is, pretty much any character concept outside the archetypes for each class ranges from ill-fitting to ridiculous with 4E's extremely limited build options.

Not only would any light-armored character that isn't overly weapon-dependent work fine using the outline you just provided, but also the Monk is going to be released in the next PHB.

nagora
2008-06-29, 04:33 PM
And no, I don't buy the 'hp is an abstraction' line. That was a concept I always disliked and had to 'deal with' in 3.5. I am less than pleased with the furthering of this concept in 4E.
You picked the wrong game, then. HP abstraction is a cornerstone of D&D and has been for decades.


And how, pray tell, do I run a Monk in 4E, as in a student of mystisism, who uses untapped inner reserves to accomplish what seems impossible, and is more dangerous naked than most are in full gear?
Take a fighter and add some special defensive options that only work in light clothing or less, and assign some stats to a "martial arts" weapon. Let him pick appropriate feats or powers or whatever it is you need in 4e to let him do "what seems impossible". Apart from anything else, you obviously have an image in your head as to how this class should work, so just do it yourself.

There you go. How hard is that?

Prophaniti
2008-06-29, 04:50 PM
You picked the wrong game, then. HP abstraction is a cornerstone of D&D and has been for decades.

Well, I didn't 'pick' D&D in the strictest sense. It's the game system that everyone I play with enjoys the most and is the most familiar with. I like the brand, too, but yes, I do enjoy some other systems more. But we keep coming back to D&D and I don't hate it, so I usually focus my energies on making D&D more palatable to me when its my turn to DM. I can deal with HP as an abstraction to a point, but it always seems to make situations come up that strain my credulity and immersion.


Take a fighter and add some special defensive options that only work in light clothing or less, and assign some stats to a "martial arts" weapon. Let him pick appropriate feats or powers or whatever it is you need in 4e to let him do "what seems impossible". Apart from anything else, you obviously have an image in your head as to how this class should work, so just do it yourself.

There you go. How hard is that?
So, in other words, you can't without houserules. Which is fine to me, like I said, I have nothing against houserules. I just thought the point of the discussion is what can and can't be done by RAW. I seem to recall someone else getting ripped at earlier for saying 'fix it with houserules', or am I mixing up my 4E threads? Lord knows there's enough of them, even just counting the ones I've participated in... Anyway, that was the question posed earlier, was what character concepts can 4E not do as written.

nagora
2008-06-29, 05:15 PM
Well, I didn't 'pick' D&D in the strictest sense. It's the game system that everyone I play with enjoys the most and is the most familiar with. I like the brand, too, but yes, I do enjoy some other systems more. But we keep coming back to D&D and I don't hate it, so I usually focus my energies on making D&D more palatable to me when its my turn to DM. I can deal with HP as an abstraction to a point, but it always seems to make situations come up that strain my credulity and immersion.
Well, as I said in the "4e and the Power of Hit Points" thread, they can be over generalised into areas where they no longer make sense and there should be rules to take over at that point, as there used to be.


So, in other words, you can't without houserules. Which is fine to me, like I said, I have nothing against houserules. I just thought the point of the discussion is what can and can't be done by RAW. I seem to recall someone else getting ripped at earlier for saying 'fix it with houserules', or am I mixing up my 4E threads? Lord knows there's enough of them, even just counting the ones I've participated in... Anyway, that was the question posed earlier, was what character concepts can 4E not do as written.
I think it's an interesting issue, though. If the game has classes, then surely they should actually mean something. That is, they should be archetypes we see in myth, movies, literature etc. upon which a player builds a character as a personality (how many classes would be needed to run The Magnificent Seven? How many of the seven were indistinguishable from each other?). I think 3e basically dropped the ball on this one big time and put mechanical building in place of personality building.

However, if you do make the classes a strong, central concept again then homebrewing becomes easier, or should. You have a clear idea of what you want a monk to be: so write it down! You don't need to wait for WotC to do it. Apart from anything else, they're not going to have the exact same idea in their heads as you do so you may have to houserule some stuff anyway. In the meantime, you want to play now, not when WotC finally decide to return to the financial well again.

Simplifying the build system should have made it easier to design your own classes, so give it a go. What's the worst that can happen?

JaxGaret
2008-06-29, 05:53 PM
Simplifying the build system should have made it easier to design your own classes, so give it a go. What's the worst that can happen?

That was a very good post, nagora, and this neatly summed it up.

Like Goober has started with his 4e Incarnum pdf (which looks awesome so far), it looks like it is pretty easy to update an existing class or create a new class to your specifications. The only time-consuming process is creating powers for every level, but it also lets you get really creative with it as you customize to your heart's content.

hrpatton
2008-06-30, 07:52 AM
What's wrong with 4E? It could be simpler.

Its design philosophy is abstraction and simplicity in the interest of game flow, but it's inconsistent in its implementation.

Why are Perception and Insight two different skills? Again, this is a distinction without a meaningful in-game difference. There's no reason for an abstract ruleset to distinguish between my character's ability to perceive something and his ability to understand what it is. If that distinction is important, the DM can use another appropriate skill. If your character has a chance to notice that something's an illusion, the DM should allow an Arcana, Dungeoneering or other check: "Your Perception check lets you detect a skeletal figure ... but your Arcana check tells you that it's a programmed illusion of the sort your wizardly master showed you once."

Hell, why have skills at all? Climbing can be a Strength check. Arcana can be a Wisdom or Intelligence check. Thievery can be a Dexterity check, and Dungeoneering can be a combination of all three in a skill (er, ability) challenge.

Why is there a Charisma ability? Isn't force of personality covered by Wisdom? Granted, there's a meaningful distinction between the words "wisdom" and "charisma" in the English language, but there's also a meaningful distinction between "athletics" and "climbing," and between "thievery" and "lockpicking."

For that matter, the game could have run nicely with Strength, Dexterity and Wisdom (or Intelligence) as its abilities. Those cover the bases of the common fantasy archetypes: Strong, Quick and Smart.

What's important in 4E is the character's role in a fantasy story. Its mechanics revolve heavily around combat because battles are a staple element of the kind of fantasy stories the devs were trying to emulate. Fighting requires resolution mechanics because the heroes in those stories sometimes get wounded, lose and even die. Out-of-combat activities require resolution only to the extent that a character in a fantasy adventure story might fail at them and take the story in a different direction.

Like the chicken in a ham-and-eggs breakfast, 4E is involved but not committed. It wants to be simple, abstract and streamlined, but it still thinks it's a simulation in ways it's not.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-30, 08:00 AM
Well, I didn't 'pick' D&D in the strictest sense. It's the game system that everyone I play with enjoys the most and is the most familiar with. I like the brand, too, but yes, I do enjoy some other systems more. But we keep coming back to D&D and I don't hate it, so I usually focus my energies on making D&D more palatable to me when its my turn to DM. I can deal with HP as an abstraction to a point, but it always seems to make situations come up that strain my credulity and immersion.

Just out of interest, what kinds of situations strain your credulity and immersion?

I ask because the way I get around most immersion breaking situations is to push the abstraction level *even further* - never to define what has actually happened until I've seen what the mechanics give me as consequences.

To take a concrete example, I'll never say "you fall off the cliff onto the sharp rocks below" and then roll damage. I'll say "you fall off the cliff" then roll damage, then say "onto the sharp rocks below" if I roll a lot of damage or "into a deep snow drift" if I don't.

hamishspence
2008-06-30, 08:00 AM
Doing the monk without houserules, until a monk class turns up.

First, remember they do not have to be weaponless. Shuriken, staffs, etc.

Second: unarmed strikes are one handed, and counted as weapons for the weapon keyword to work. So, you could make the case that fighting bare handed counts as "wielding two weapons" for the purposes of using ranger powers.

A fighter specialising in staff, a ranger using monk-ish weapons, a rogue using shuriken, all these partake, to a limited extent, of the monk signature traits.

fleet
2008-06-30, 08:26 AM
Well, i think what Prophati may have meant is the tendancy in 4e, for the situation to be.

Dm:(fail saving throw) You fall off the cliff, (roll damage), Whoa, into lots of sharp jagged rocks.

Player: oh that's alright, i stand up, take a big breath(second wind) and I'm ready to fight again.

tumble check
2008-06-30, 08:41 AM
Why does everything deal damage now?!




WotC balanced 4e mathematically. That's why everything deals damage, because now the wizard and the fighter and the rogue and the cleric are more or less equal, because at [x] level, they all deal [y(W) + ability mod] damage, with [z] minor effect, whether it's stunning, sliding, etc.

Save or sucks(more specifically, those that last much more than one round) were impossible to calculate into encounter CRs. Notice 4e's distinct lack of Enchantment or Abjuration, or at least as we know them in 3.5e. Depending on the encounter in 3.5e, a well-placed and poorly-saved Charm Monster could end an otherwise very difficult CR encounter. Now, CRs are easy to calculate because the amount of "power" that any given party has can be mathematically derived.

I don't really like any of this, but I at least see why they did it.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-30, 11:33 AM
Well, i think what Prophati may have meant is the tendancy in 4e, for the situation to be.

Dm:(fail saving throw) You fall off the cliff, (roll damage), Whoa, into lots of sharp jagged rocks.

Player: oh that's alright, i stand up, take a big breath(second wind) and I'm ready to fight again.

Then the DM's a fool for forgetting about the second wind.

Every time somebody comes up with an example like this, I'm always left thinking to myself "but why would you narrate something like that happening, if you found the consequences implausible".

If you think it makes no sense for a player to survive something then either (a) declare that it kills them outright or (b) don't have it happen to them. It feels like a no-brainer to me.

My attitude to fight scenes was shaped a lot by that section in Feng Shui entitled "The Map is Not Your Friend". If somebody falls off a cliff in one of my games, nine times out of ten they'll land in a river.

Starbuck_II
2008-06-30, 12:50 PM
Doing the monk without houserules, until a monk class turns up.

First, remember they do not have to be weaponless. Shuriken, staffs, etc.

Second: unarmed strikes are one handed, and counted as weapons for the weapon keyword to work. So, you could make the case that fighting bare handed counts as "wielding two weapons" for the purposes of using ranger powers.

A fighter specialising in staff, a ranger using monk-ish weapons, a rogue using shuriken, all these partake, to a limited extent, of the monk signature traits.

You do know that WotC already did a conversion guide for monk? And yes, a person with both hand unarmed can use twfing for ranger powers. In fact, the Ranger is the monk (for the Guide)!

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4dnd/20080613a

Prophaniti
2008-06-30, 01:02 PM
Then the DM's a fool for forgetting about the second wind.

Every time somebody comes up with an example like this, I'm always left thinking to myself "but why would you narrate something like that happening, if you found the consequences implausible".

If you think it makes no sense for a player to survive something then either (a) declare that it kills them outright or (b) don't have it happen to them. It feels like a no-brainer to me.

My attitude to fight scenes was shaped a lot by that section in Feng Shui entitled "The Map is Not Your Friend". If somebody falls off a cliff in one of my games, nine times out of ten they'll land in a river.
Forgetting Second Wind? Isn't that a player-used ability? Meaning the player has to choose to activate it? So, the actual outcome of the cliff-falling changes depending on whether the PC uses an ability and sharp rocks suddenly become a snow drift? Talk about breaking immersion...

In my campaigns, whether there is a snow drift or sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff has already been determined and will be taken into account on the damage roll for the fall. That's called a consistent game world. Things don't suddenly change when a character gets a bunch of hp back. HP coming back indicates a change with the character, not the environment.*

Will the character land in a river? Only if the cliff he fell over was already over a river, one's not going to appear to save him. That's totally ridiculous. If the party's fighting near a cliff, the DM should bloody well know what's at the bottom before hand, and anyone who tumbles over just gets to deal with it. That's called consistency, and immersion, where the rules (referring to the laws of the fictional universe, not the game rules) and features of the game world don't suddenly and inexplicably change to suit the story.

*This is why I find such things as Second Wind immersion-breaking in the first place, and why I don't like HP as an abstraction. I know, it's a major facet of the D&D system, but in 3.5 it sat quietly in the back, only speaking up during things like lava immersion and coup de grace's. It didn't keep slapping me in the face with characters self-healing left and right. 4E has taken the concept to an extreme and I can no longer work around it without drastically changing the basic rules of the system.

Indon
2008-06-30, 01:06 PM
Every time somebody comes up with an example like this, I'm always left thinking to myself "but why would you narrate something like that happening, if you found the consequences implausible".

Firstly, you don't need to narrate it - everyone's thinking it.

Secondly, humorous sessions can thrive off of this sort of mechanics-narrative disjoint.

Antacid
2008-06-30, 01:45 PM
Forgetting Second Wind? Isn't that a player-used ability? Meaning the player has to choose to activate it? So, the actual outcome of the cliff-falling changes depending on whether the PC uses an ability and sharp rocks suddenly become a snow drift? Talk about breaking immersion...
Second wind means spending a round "getting your breath back" by spending a healing surge. It's an action the player would use after hitting the rocks to get HP back, nothing to do with resolving the fall itself.


In my campaigns, whether there is a snow drift or sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff has already been determined and will be taken into account on the damage roll for the fall. That's called a consistent game world. Things don't suddenly change when a character gets a bunch of hp back. HP coming back indicates a change with the character, not the environment.

A detail like that is only inconsistent if it contradicts information you've already revealed to the players. It's their suspension of disbelief that matters, not yours. If your problem is that HP is an abstraction, then surely "you fall 60 feet but land in a snowdrift for only 12 damage" is better for consistency than "you fall 60 feet and land on sharp rocks for 12 damage".

Dausuul
2008-06-30, 03:10 PM
This is why I find such things as Second Wind immersion-breaking in the first place, and why I don't like HP as an abstraction. I know, it's a major facet of the D&D system, but in 3.5 it sat quietly in the back, only speaking up during things like lava immersion and coup de grace's. It didn't keep slapping me in the face with characters self-healing left and right. 4E has taken the concept to an extreme and I can no longer work around it without drastically changing the basic rules of the system.

I had major problems with this too, until I realized that 4E hit points are best explained as a spiritual rather than a physical attribute - will to live, inner fire, fighting spirit, divine favor, and all that. The way I look at it, things that take away hit points are eroding your fighting spirit. Sometimes that's because of physical injury, sometimes because of mental trauma (e.g., psychic damage). Things that give back hit points are restoring that spirit. Sometimes they're healing your body, other times they're renewing your will.

Typically, injuries are no more than cuts and bruises until you hit Bloodied. At that point, you take a more serious injury, though nothing life-threatening. Only when you get taken down to zero hit points or less have you taken a really severe wound.

A character who takes such an injury and gets no magical healing doesn't miraculously get better after a rest. She's still injured, but she's regained her will to go on. If she gets dropped to zero hit points again, she might have taken another injury, or she might just have succumbed to the existing one.

I do wish they'd written the fluff and chosen the names to reflect this. In particular, I wish they'd completely severed the conceptual link between "regaining hit points" and "healing." (Characters ought to have Heroic Surges, not Healing Surges.) For that matter, hit points themselves could do with being renamed, although I suppose that was a sacred cow the designers preferred not to mess with. But the system as written need not break verisimilitude. It's highly cinematic, but internally consistent.

nagora
2008-06-30, 04:57 PM
I had major problems with this too, until I realized that 4E hit points are best explained as a spiritual rather than a physical attribute - will to live, inner fire, fighting spirit, divine favor, and all that. The way I look at it, things that take away hit points are eroding your fighting spirit.

"I dunno, he hit me with his two handed sword and now I just want to watch some TV." :smallsmile:

JaxGaret
2008-06-30, 05:10 PM
Those are some great points, Dausuul. Thanks for that explanation, I'll definitely incorporate some of that.

One thing I'd like to mention is that the Bloodied demarcation really is significant in 4e - it is the point at which the character is recognizably hampered in physical fighting capability in some way that can be exploited by enemies and overcome by the character's own sheer determination not to lose.

Also of interest to myself is the fact that 4e HP seems to have three tiers - Healthy, Bloodied, and Dying, all of which occupy one-third of the spectrum. When you think of the HP spectrum that way, you see that it is arbitrary for it to start at negative HP; Death could just as easily occur at 0 HP, Dying at one-third HP, and Bloodied at two-thirds HP, with a character's total HP value being 1.5x as much as it is now.

Prophaniti
2008-06-30, 07:18 PM
I've realized the main reason I don't like 4E is pretty simple. I don't want to play heroic fantasy. I want to play simulation fantasy. I want the world to feel logical, consistent, and above all real. I want the possibility of my character biting it hard to be tangible and present, because I'm out there doing things that are bloody dangerous. I don't want to lose 'fighting spirit' when some monster slams me through a wall or smashes me with a big axe, I want to take real damage, and have to worry about how I'm gonna survive the next one, not just go 'Ok, caught my breath.' and be fine. I want a detailed skill system. I think the blatantly impossible should be the province of magic, not simply explained away as 'I'm just that heroic'. I want said magic to feel like magic, not just like everyone else's abilities by a different name with flashing lights. All of these are things that are more or less built into the 4e rules.

From everything I've found, D&D was originally geared toward such simulation fantasy. IMO, the change to heroic fantasy as the default rules happened with 3e, when WotC bought the name. Now, the 3.5 ruleset does have a lot of heroic fantasy elements, but most of these aren't too hard to work around, and I've run a lot of 3.5 games that are plenty gritty and visceral. 4e, though, takes the heroic elements a step further, sometimes a giant leap further, making it that much harder to incorporate the simulationist element I want from my games. I don't see this changing much in the future, and if my group ever wants to switch over to it on a more or less permanent basis, I've got my work cut out for me trying to run the kind of game I want with a ruleset that is pointed in the opposite direction.

Anyway, I guess the point is that I'm just not seeing 4e as a system I want to use. The more I participate in these threads or read through the manuals my friend left over, the clearer it becomes. I may still pop in now and then with an opinion or such (especially on days like today, when I'm stuck at my boring job for hours on end), but I'm gonna try to avoid 4e threads for a while. There are plenty of other things I should be using my time and energy on, like finishing my homebrew campaign setting.

Enjoy 4th edition, I'll be back here working with the system everyone I know uses, and can more easily be made to run my kind of game.

Dausuul
2008-06-30, 08:14 PM
From everything I've found, D&D was originally geared toward such simulation fantasy. IMO, the change to heroic fantasy as the default rules happened with 3e, when WotC bought the name.

Errr... what? 3E was the most "simulation fantasy" of any of the editions. Not that that was saying very much. Certainly it was the only edition to have a detailed skill system.

I'll also note that the possibility of your character biting it hard is very, very tangible in 4E. You're less likely to get whacked in the first round, but in just the month or two that my group has been playing, we've had one PC death and a couple of near TPKs - the most recent one averted by inches when the party wizard got lucky and knocked down most of the bad guys with a sleep spell.

I'm not saying you should switch to 4E. But I will say that 4E doesn't wreak the kind of havoc with verisimilitude that I was afraid it would.

Kompera
2008-06-30, 09:06 PM
In my campaigns, whether there is a snow drift or sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff has already been determined and will be taken into account on the damage roll for the fall. That's called a consistent game world. Things don't suddenly change when a character gets a bunch of hp back. HP coming back indicates a change with the character, not the environment.*

Will the character land in a river? Only if the cliff he fell over was already over a river, one's not going to appear to save him. That's totally ridiculous. If the party's fighting near a cliff, the DM should bloody well know what's at the bottom before hand, and anyone who tumbles over just gets to deal with it. That's called consistency, and immersion, where the rules (referring to the laws of the fictional universe, not the game rules) and features of the game world don't suddenly and inexplicably change to suit the story.
The best GMs avoid the whole issue you raise by not pre-narrating themselves into a corner. Only a poor GM would say "You fall 60' onto sharp rocks, lets roll the damage." Instead, the good GM says "You fall 60', lets roll the damage," and once that is determined then the narration can continue.

This is how my group has gamed for years, and it can not be unique to my group alone.

Mechanics: The 5th level, unwounded Fighter is hit for max damage by a long sword, 8 points.
Narration: Your shield is slammed with a mighty blow, your arm hurts. This guy is strong!

- later -

Mechanics: The same fighter is losing this fight, is at 7 HP and takes the exact same blow as he did at the start of the combat, 8 points.
Narration: His blade snakes under your shield, you are too tired to block it. You are skewered in the sweetbreads, and fall to the ground bleeding and unconscious.

For the fall, the same thing applies. It's fine to say that there are sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff. But the player who survives the fall obviously missed hitting them. You don't have to conjure a snowdrift which wasn't there before, you can describe it in any number of ways which use the terrain as previously described. Unless you box yourself into a corner with your descriptions, by adding unnecessary text such as "There are sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff. There is no way you could fall and not be impaled upon them," then you have plenty of options. How about "You fall, roll the damage," <roll: number which will hurt but not be fatal> "You grab a root on the way down, which gives way. You slide the rest of the way to the bottom, scraping and bouncing over sharp rocks" as a way to describe a non-fatal fall?

How hard is that? With HP as an abstraction this is how things must be presented, or immersion goes out the window because it is of course not logical for one 8 point blow to be trivial when you are uninjured and another 8 point blow to be the one which finishes the fight.

As for healing surges, they are plentiful in movies of all genres. Take John Mclean in Die Hard. In one scene he has run barefoot over broken glass, and has fallen, unable to run any further. He pulls a few shards out of his feet, pants a few moments, and when he sees that the bad guys have rolled a grenade at him he bursts up and runs out the door before it can explode. A perfect example of a healing surge represented in a non-D&D context. I'm sure if you think about it for a minute you can come up with similar examples from any action movie.

Love, like, or hate the abstraction of HP, it's still an easy concept to deal with it. If you are finding that your immersion is ruined by the numbers, then your GM is not presenting them in the correct narrative context.

Helgraf
2008-06-30, 10:45 PM
"I dunno, he hit me with his two handed sword and now I just want to watch some TV." :smallsmile:

More like -

"This maniac was swinging a gol-damned zweihander at me!! Soon as I could, I buggered the hell out of there and decided to do something safer."


Come on show some more versatility in your ideas. A fighter could tie the rope to his arrow and launch it over the wall, except of course that most fighters won't use a bow in 4e.

Any fighter, paladin or warlord who doesn't want to be twiddling his thumbs behind cover because the orcs are on a higher ledge across a chasm with bows is going to take a missile weapon of some sort, even if it's just a heavy thrown or a sling.

Especially once the first party member decides it's more efficent to climb up to the orcs and discovers they choose to concentrate their fire on the defenseless dimwit trying to get in their face.

Well, to be fair, some will change fire. Others will continue to try and pincushion the wizard, the archery ranger, the rogue and the warlock, since they can contribute via powers.


1 hp minions.....*blink* so any lvl 1 wizard with a dagger will kill the Orc or Legion devil every time he hits.....Why? How do these creatures survive? They would trip over a rock on day and die. I wouldn't be able to take a world in which orcs are supposed to be a menace but only have 1 hp very seriously.

And if you're throwing level 22 minions (Legion Devils) at a level 1 wizard, you're flat out _DOING IT WRONG_ - as is spelled out repeatedly in the DMG and MM regarding the use of minions. Even with the fact the wizard would need a nat 20 to hit, you're not supposed to throw minions of absurdly higher levels than the PCs at them precisely _because_ to characters of that level, the monster type isn't a minion that can be cut down with (relative to that point in the adventurer's life) minimal effort - it's a frikkin badass. Minions are _never_ the frikkin badasses of the combat. If they are, you are, once again, DOING IT WRONG.

Yeah, part of 4th ed is the DM has to think - but they make it a lot easier by giving you sensible guidelines about the stuff that you might do that will backfire in your face.

Note: I'm about 99.44% certain that every monster that has a minion type has a non-minion type. If you must have an overpowered villian thrashing the scenery for your needs, just use the non-minion version. Bingo, no loss of immersion.

Dausuul
2008-06-30, 11:49 PM
And if you're throwing level 22 minions (Legion Devils) at a level 1 wizard, you're flat out _DOING IT WRONG_ - as is spelled out repeatedly in the DMG and MM regarding the use of minions. Even with the fact the wizard would need a nat 20 to hit, you're not supposed to throw minions of absurdly higher levels than the PCs at them precisely _because_ to characters of that level, the monster type isn't a minion that can be cut down with (relative to that point in the adventurer's life) minimal effort - it's a frikkin badass. Minions are _never_ the frikkin badasses of the combat. If they are, you are, once again, DOING IT WRONG.

To add to the above: 4E rules are designed to provide a good approximation for the way PCs interact with the world. They aren't immutable laws of the universe the way they were in 3E. They're designed to work in actual play, not in hypotheticals.

Minions are designed to be relatively easy one-hit kills at whatever level you're supposed to face them. A legion devil has one hit point, not because it has a 1 in 20 chance of dying when attacked by a housecat - it doesn't - but because a hit from a player character of comparable level is enough to drop it, and it's not worth the DM's time to keep track of its exact hit point total.

If you somehow end up with a drastically lower-level party against a 22nd-level minion, then re-stat the minion to a 14th-level regular monster. Or a 10th-level elite, or a 5th-level solo. It's still the same monster, it's still equally tough (the XP value is the same for all of the above), but it's facing a different level of PC and so it uses different rules.

I've already done this a couple of times in my game. My 1st-level party just fought an angel. In order to keep the fight from being a tedious grind, I statted the angel out as a 1st-level solo instead of an 8th-level normal monster. It's still the right power level, but adjusted to work properly in combat against 1st-level characters.

fleet
2008-07-01, 01:07 AM
Kobolds, have more hp than characters. my level 1 party, just lost a straight fight with kobolds. A melee, With kobolds. no tricks, nada. I want to go back to 3.5 and kill these guys by the ton like I'm used to. yes, 1 on 1 kobold dueling. we lost.

Kompera
2008-07-01, 01:21 AM
Kobolds, have more hp than characters. my level 1 party, just lost a straight fight with kobolds. A melee, With kobolds. no tricks, nada. I want to go back to 3.5 and kill these guys by the ton like I'm used to. yes, 1 on 1 kobold dueling. we lost.
If you were actually doing one on one duels with the Kobolds, I suggest that you were doing it wrong. You've got a group for a reason, and that reason is to ensure that you have a mix of character types. Some to get beat on, some to heal, some to inflict massive damage. If you let a Kobold attack the Wizard and they just went at it mano a Koboldo while the rest of the group just lined up against their own Kobolds, when the group should be working together to make sure that the Fighter is the one the Kobold is beating on while the Wizard grouped the Kobolds together for a nice AOE spell, then this is why you lost.

It's also possible that your group is new to the rules and hasn't yet learned how to work best together. Give it another try, you'll catch on.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-07-01, 01:57 AM
If you let a Kobold attack the Wizard and they just went at it mano a Koboldo ...

That was funny.

@Minions: One of my favorite combat setups I've ever had in 3.5e - (3rd lvl encounter) An evil bard with a flute that had a daily use ability to raise dead greeted the PCs from the top of a gravestone on which he was perched. Witty banter ensued, as the bard got darker and meaner towards the PCs. Eventually, he just smiled them away and began playing his flute. As they turned to go, the dead townsfolk erupted from the ground and began grappling the PCs.

And then the combat lasted forever as the players hacked through the 2HD+Toughness worth of zombie each, and the bard hid from the archer behind tombstones, singing to bolster his 'minions'. The set-up was great, and the players were terrified, but by the middle of the combat, they realized that the zombies were rarely going to hit them, and were just kind of surrounding them for the occasional attack from the bard (who would become a recurring villain). Half-way through the combat, the players (and I) were clearly bored of the hack-n-slash rigamarole.

While I will miss my old do-everything wizard and spellsword builds, I don't think it can be understated how much a little imagination on the view of hit points, and the minion rule can be used to make this encounter (and many encounters like it) just balls to the wall more interesting.

The creatures burst from the ground, grabbing the PCs (also ensuring that will happen if they hit, so it doesn't get bogged down in grapple rolls), and the bard (now a 'monster' with a few leader/controller powers) laughs and dances around as his minions keep the PCs from coming after him. There would also be a few stronger zombies for meat (perhaps people the PCs used to know, who are always harder to kill), and the magic item's power would be changed to a Leader like ability of his where he can re-raise minions as an encounter power. The zombies would just be assumed a given. Now the PCs are crushing skulls as they lay about with their weapons, a few of them tied up with the meaner brutes, and the bard still bolts when things look sketchy.

With a minimal amount of monster creation, this, I think, would now be quite the suspenseful encounter.

FoE
2008-07-01, 02:03 AM
Sounds like a pretty neat encounter, OneFamiliarFace. :smallsmile:

nagora
2008-07-01, 02:33 AM
Kobolds, have more hp than characters. my level 1 party, just lost a straight fight with kobolds. A melee, With kobolds. no tricks, nada. I want to go back to 3.5 and kill these guys by the ton like I'm used to. yes, 1 on 1 kobold dueling. we lost.
Kobolds are not paper dollies. There's no rule that you have to be able to beat them. In fact, kobolds are the classic example in every editon of a monster that can really punish an over-confident party.

In 1ed a fighter can kill a number of kobolds every round equal to his level, if the DM lets the fighter get close to the kobolds. If 20 kobolds are run badly then they will basically evaporate; if played well against badly played PCs, then their numbers can overwhelm even a medium to high level party and will slaughter a lone fighter.

Sounds like you just got too cocky.

Gamebird
2008-07-01, 08:54 AM
I've realized the main reason I don't like 4E is pretty simple. I don't want to play heroic fantasy. I want to play simulation fantasy. I want the world to feel logical, consistent, and above all real. ... I think the blatantly impossible should be the province of magic, not simply explained away as 'I'm just that heroic'. I want said magic to feel like magic, not just like everyone else's abilities by a different name with flashing lights.

I agree. That's how I feel about it too.

As for healing surges, they are plentiful in movies of all genres. ... I'm sure if you think about it for a minute you can come up with similar examples from any action movie.

And although I enjoy watching action movies, I'm not interested in playing in or running a game based on that genre. Just like I'm not interested in playing in a high technology/space game, even though I love space opera, science fiction, Star Trek, etc.

4e creates a game reality I don't want to run or play in. 3e was bad enough. I think I'll go back to 2nd or maybe try out GURPS or HackMaster. They seem more in line with the kind of gaming experience I want.

jkdjr25
2008-07-01, 10:38 AM
My problem with 4e is really simple. I just don't like the changes that were made. I have no problem at all with the idea of 4e, I don't even have a problem with changing the things that really needed to be changed; but I don't like the direction of the changes that were made.

For example, rather than bring the Fighter up they chose to bring the spell casting classes down. I'm sorry but, as I've said previously, a person who spends their whole life training to alter the fabric of reality through arcane power should be more powerful, at higher levels, than the guy who trains his whole life to hit things with a sword. Any pretense to their being balance between the two concepts is just silly because they come from two very different mindsets. Both can be made effective, and in many cases a good DM will work with both players to make sure that people are having fun. You shouldn't have to neuter two or three classes to make the player who likes fighter types feel better. Again this is just my opinion, if you don't agree it's all good.

I think a lot of the constant debate I've heard about D&D is one of the reasons that Legend of the Five Rings is my favorite system. There's no real pretext of balance. A particular school is good at one thing and it does that one thing very very well. Taken out of their element they can still function but there's no way that a warrior type can out courtier a courtier. Just like a shugenja (spell caster) can't out warrior a warrior. There's no real party role to any particular school because you can have such varied characters that it becomes more about why certain clan characters are working together than who's in charge or who's doing what.

I get a similair feel from Shadowrun. There's no real pretext of balance because a guy with a gun can spoil just about anyone's day on a good role.

There's going to be a debate for a very long time about 3.5 vs 4e and that's a good thing really. It means that people are going to be thinking about what they like and what they don't and working to change the things that don't work for them. It means communication between the players and the DM and that can lead to some fantastic ideas.

Another thing that needs mentioning is that 4e, for all it's faults, is bringing new and old blood back to the game. And as much as I personally dislike the new system I can't say anything bad about that. If it's going to bring some of the old players back and has new people excited and ready to join us, isn't that a good thing?

Just my two copper. I could be totally off base, but I'd like to think that I'm not.

Deepblue706
2008-07-01, 11:47 AM
4e creates a game reality I don't want to run or play in. 3e was bad enough. I think I'll go back to 2nd or maybe try out GURPS or HackMaster. They seem more in line with the kind of gaming experience I want.

Oh man, I wanna go get some Hackmaster books and run a campaign now...or maybe I can convince someone else to run one so I can play my one-handed albino Gnome Titan Battlemage who suffers from nosebleeds and has psychotic aversion (halflings).

I love that game.

Gamebird
2008-07-01, 02:38 PM
...4e, for all it's faults, is bringing new and old blood back to the game. And as much as I personally dislike the new system I can't say anything bad about that. If it's going to bring some of the old players back and has new people excited and ready to join us, isn't that a good thing?

Maybe, but in the case of my entire gaming group, 4e is making "old blood" decide to try something else.

okpokalypse
2008-07-01, 05:30 PM
This is my 4E summary:

The alterations to the game mechanics and character foundation have so appalled me and my long-time gaming friends that a group of us have decided to go right where WotC went wrong. We're working on our own RPG based very loosely off the 3.5 Open Gaming License.

The basic concepts of Stats, Race and Class are there, but they're a bit more detailed - and yet simpler.

8 Stats. Strength, Fortitude, Agility and Accuracy are the 4 Physical Stats. Intellect, Intuition, Willpower and Charisma are the 4 Mental Stats.

8 Base Races (For now). Draconi, Dwarf, Elf, Fey, Gnome, Halfling, Human, Orc. These each have various Ability Modifiers, Sizes, Vision Types, Speeds and Racial Attributes. In addition, each race has a Sub-Race. We're going the sub-race route to flush out races without making it feel like we've created so many top-level races as to make character creation daunting. Each Race has up to 4 Sub-Race Options at the onset. For Example:

Draconi have 3 Sub-Race Options of S'sith (Black), Ashtari (Silver) and T'Lux (Topaz) which define their racial progressions. S'sith Draconi gain in Strength (Primary) and Fortitude (Secondary) as they increase in levels as well as gain Natural Armor, Acid Resistance and an innate ability or two. Ashtari Draconi gain Intuition (Primary) and Charisma (Secondary) as they increase in level as well as gain innate Mana (Spell Points) and Cold Resistance. T'Lux Draconi gain Intellect (Primary) and Willpower (Secondary) as they increase in level as well as gain Knowledge Feats and Sonic Resistance.

All Sub-Races will have Stat Progressions as they level, as well as other bonuses that relate to their heritage. Thus, while a S'sith Draconi and Ashtari Draconi both gain the +2 Strength, +2 Willpower, Dark Vision and Speed of the Draconi base, they become divergent as they rise in level.

Classes are Similar in that there are 5 basic "class" paths one takes (we want to use a different denotation than class - but haven't really found one we like yet). These are Ruffian, Vagabond, Acolyte, Adept and Mystic. After a short progression in one of these basic paths, advanced paths become available - and must be taken. Ruffians, for example, must become Gladiators, Berserkers or Warlords. Vagabonds must become Thieves, Scouts or Spies. Acolytes must become Priests, Inquisitors or Demon Binders. Adepts must become Wizards, Incantrixes or Elementalists. Lastly, Mystics become Psions, Seers or Neophytes.

We're currently working on the idea of hybrid classes that take parts of multiple base classes as pre-requisites - but we're not there yet. We're looking to invent a whole new (and simpler) way of multi-classing by the time we're done.

But lastly, and the biggest thing of all... All adventuring is event-based. This puts some effort into book-keeping, which we're minimalizing, but lends itself to a very smooth and realistic pattern of events as combats unfold. If anyone's interested, I'll open up a thread later on that lists what we've got and I'll be happy to hear any feedback.

So yes... That's how bad 4th Edition is - we're creating our own game.

MartinHarper
2008-07-01, 05:47 PM
Kobolds, have more hp than characters. my level 1 party, just lost a straight fight with kobolds. A melee, with kobolds. no tricks, nada. I want to go back to 3.5 and kill these guys by the ton like I'm used to. yes, 1 on 1 kobold dueling. we lost.

The kobolds you can kill by the ton in 4th edition are called kobold minions. Your DM gave probably gave you non-minion kobolds. They're kinda equivalent to kobolds with a class level (or five) in 3.5.

20 kobold minions is an appropriate challenge for a level 1 party.

Hallavast
2008-07-01, 08:15 PM
This is my 4E summary:



You didn't criticize the game at all. You just said you didn't like it without giving any specifics.


So yes... That's how bad 4th Edition is - we're creating our own game.

That's the only thing in your post that has anything to do with 4ed.

It's awesome that you and your friends have the initiative to develop your own game, and it sounds like you're really into the detail. But this thread is hardly the place for it.

Prophaniti
2008-07-01, 08:18 PM
His post, while perhaps a tad verbose, was not that bad. If it was, I'm sure a Mod would tell him so, or nudge him back on topic. It did a pretty good job of conveying his distaste for 4E, and if Mods don't care, why should I? It's not like I never wander off-topic myself, and I'd be skeptical if you claimed you don't occasionally. Don't worry about it.

TRM
2008-07-01, 08:38 PM
I suppose this isn't really a "problem," per se, but does anyone else think that 4e and ToB are very similar? To me it seems that 4e is basically ToB... for everyone; plus a few additional tune ups such as to the combat system and and races.

((If there's another thread that this would fit better in, please someone point it out and I'll delete this post and repost there; I looked on the first page for a thread that fit better, but didn't see one.))

Starbuck_II
2008-07-01, 08:41 PM
This is my 4E summary:

So yes... That's how good4th Edition is - we're creating our own game.

I fixed it for you.

Roderick_BR
2008-07-01, 08:53 PM
(...)I'm sorry but, as I've said previously, a person who spends their whole life training to alter the fabric of reality through arcane power should be more powerful, at higher levels, than the guy who trains his whole life to hit things with a sword. Any pretense to their being balance between the two concepts is just silly because they come from two very different mindsets. (...)
I have a different view: Magic should be awfully hard to master. In "only" 20 levels, a wizard/cleric/whatever receives more power than most epic non-casters. In 3.5, it's just too easy to gain power. Magic should be hard earned stuff, but in D&D, there's no limitation, other than some rare spells that require expensive components of XP costs. Really, casters gets too many thing practically for free everytime they level up. You just need 4 spells of every spell level to break a game. On the other hand, a fighter or others non-casters that reach 20 level, should become almost literally monsters in combat, something you DON'T want to get close to you, not something that'll just fail a will save and be defeated in 1 round. They should learn how to do phisical feats that no normal man can. not just "swing a weapon harder". I think something like the movie version of the 300, or even the guy from the videogame God of War as high level warriors.

Think about it: If magic is so powerful, then a 1st level wizard should be more powerful than a 20th level fighter. A level 20 wizard should be more powerful than anything on the planet. But how do you compare the power between a 1st and a 20th level wizard? In the same vein, a 20th level fighter should be able to do things a 1st level fighter can't, not only have a better base attack bonus and more HP.

I agree, though, that casters got TOO much nerfed in 4E. Due to how vulnerable casters are(or should be) compared to fighting types, they deserve a little power boost on their part, only not as much as in 3.5

Hallavast
2008-07-01, 09:02 PM
His post, while perhaps a tad verbose, was not that bad. If it was, I'm sure a Mod would tell him so, or nudge him back on topic. It did a pretty good job of conveying his distaste for 4E, and if Mods don't care, why should I? It's not like I never wander off-topic myself, and I'd be skeptical if you claimed you don't occasionally. Don't worry about it.

It rubs me the wrong way when people say " This is why I don't like x:" and then go off on a tangent that has almost nothing to do with x. I would have liked to hear reasons for his distaste. I wasn't saying his post was good or bad. It was simply placed in the wrong thread. I'm not modding or anything - simply voicing my distaste. That is all.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-01, 09:45 PM
I suppose this isn't really a "problem," per se, but does anyone else think that 4e and ToB are very similar? To me it seems that 4e is basically ToB... for everyone; plus a few additional tune ups such as to the combat system and and races.

((If there's another thread that this would fit better in, please someone point it out and I'll delete this post and repost there; I looked on the first page for a thread that fit better, but didn't see one.))

As in they both use the Encounter system instead of strictly daily (spells) or at-will (non-spells)? Yes.

Aside from that though, I don't really see it. ToB abilities were written like spells, in the old format. People don't have the ability to "recharge" their encounter powers (at least not as a rule, there are some exceptions) like the ToB classes did. ToB did not alter feats or enemies or anything in the way 4E did.

ToB was Wizards's first foray into trying out the encounter system, but that's about all. 3rd Edition is not basically Player's Option: Spells and Magic from 2nd Edition, just because the Sorcerer plays similarly to the Channeler from that book.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-07-01, 10:02 PM
There's going to be a debate for a very long time about 3.5 vs 4e and that's a good thing really. It means that people are going to be thinking about what they like and what they don't and working to change the things that don't work for them. It means communication between the players and the DM and that can lead to some fantastic ideas.

Another thing that needs mentioning is that 4e, for all it's faults, is bringing new and old blood back to the game. And as much as I personally dislike the new system I can't say anything bad about that. If it's going to bring some of the old players back and has new people excited and ready to join us, isn't that a good thing?

Just my two copper. I could be totally off base, but I'd like to think that I'm not.

Agreed! This is really a spot-on deal, and a good way to see the whole situation. Especially since until very recently, I had been dismayed over all the criticisms of both editions. I do hope eventually the arguments will settle down into calmer discussions about what can be changed or left the same. Anyway, I just thought your point needed further mentioning!

Crow
2008-07-01, 10:07 PM
Off-topic. We once tried using the experience tables (The ones where classes leveled up at different rates) from 2nd edition AD&D for 3.5, and it worked pretty well.

okpokalypse
2008-07-01, 10:19 PM
You didn't criticize the game at all. You just said you didn't like it without giving any specifics.

That's the only thing in your post that has anything to do with 4ed.

It's awesome that you and your friends have the initiative to develop your own game, and it sounds like you're really into the detail. But this thread is hardly the place for it.

I was reiterating a point at how poor I view 4E. For my rant see pages 5 and 6. Here's the link to my original post on the subject.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4448592#post4448592

Before critiqueing one's post for lack of content you should really see if they've already posted lengthy content in the thread prior to their last post.

okpokalypse
2008-07-01, 10:22 PM
I put in my lack of self-esteem masquerading as wit for you.

Right back at ya :)

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 01:53 AM
Before critiqueing one's post for lack of content you should really see if they've already posted lengthy content in the thread prior to their last post.

Since it's on page7 of a 29 page long thread. You're not that memorable; next time if you're going to refer to it, link to it.

Edit: In other words, critiquing one's post for lack of content is not the same as critiquing all of one's posts for lack of content. I do agree with Hallavast that you said "this is my 4e summary" and failed to summarize 4e. I have no qualms with the rest of the post, it's just that you had a poor introduction to it. I think deleting that line it would flow well (though personally I find "appalled" to be a rather strong word).

[/english major]

Edit2: I won't drag up a post from 22 pages ago, but I would like to point out one misreading: it's 2 at-wills, 4 encounter, 4 dailies and 7 utility powers at top level, not 2 utility powers like you stated. Also there's an encounter/daily/utility from paragon path, various abilities from Epic Destinies (looks like more Daily stuff in general), and 3 magic item powers/day (plus milestones). Since that's typo and not opinion I wanted to correct you. You're welcome to feel how you like on the other issues.

EndlessWrath
2008-07-02, 02:11 AM
CAUTION: The views of this post may disrupt anyones 1-track-mind of there only being HATERS OF 4E or FANBOYS of 4E. If You think that, be careful of reading this post as it may BLOW YOUR MIND!

For Clarification. I've played 3 games of 4e now. no not campaigns... its all from one campaign...but thats not important.
3 short adventures ranging from low level to paragon tier and such.

I see people having this low-grade and depressing opinion mentioned at the top... its really sad. I think 4E has its Cons AND Pros. Sure, its no 3.5, but it doesn't suck either. Many people view the system as a REPLACEMENT for d&d 3.5... I don't think so. I think its a new game altogether.

Pros:
-Fixed skills... thank god. Don't understand? either you didn't get into a 2 hour debate on how stupid 3.5 skills got at times, or you're just thickheaded... I'm hoping the former, not the ladder. Wanna argue whether they fixed it or not? 2 words...less complicated.

sure you can't max out skills now, but the skill in general are far better... perception, stealth, acrobatics, athletics.... it makes a lot more sense.

-New ideas on Powers...when to use them, and how they varied they get. Its a good idea, its not the only way I like to play, but its fun.

-1 word...simplified. Not always good, not always bad. Being simplified allows the game to have less arguments, makes battles go faster, and helps clarify a few problems 3.5 had.

-rituals... All people can use magic.. which makes more sense than being able to as soon as you take a class... *POOF* you have magic energy.

Cons:
-Due to the new power system, Many classes aren't available.
-restriction on monster races
-simplified. Being simplified makes things run smoother, but it doesn't give you as many options, which takes out fun.
-Alignment system. Completely stupid. LG, G, Unaligned, E, and CE? So Good people can't break the laws and evil people can't possibly enforce them? Thats stupid. I've house ruled this to Normal 3.5 alignments every game

There is many more on each list... but you'll find them on your own. I can only ask that you open your minds a bit more... I'm not asking you to love 4E... I'm just asking you to be open to new ideas. I'm making a new system, based on d&d 3.5 and D20 stuff... but a lot of 4E has helped me and influenced the work.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 02:56 AM
Cons:
-Due to the new power system, Many classes aren't available. yet. I can understand them breaking classes into chunks so they can make sure they all flow right. Still, 3E had 3 more classes at release, and "getting it right" is no consolation if you wanted to play a barbarian, bard, sorcerer, monk or druid. Especially if you refuse to use the conversions they have posted.
-restriction on monster racesI'm curious what you mean here, I've heard a few very different complaints that could be here
-simplified. Being simplified makes things run smoother, but it doesn't give you as many options, which takes out fun. I'd say they simplified casters, added options to non-casters. Pro/con depends on which you played :smallsmile: Skills-wise they cut down categories, but I don't believe they removed any options.
-Alignment system. Completely stupid. LG, G, Unaligned, E, and CE? So Good people can't break the laws and evil people can't possibly enforce them? Good people CAN break the laws. That's why they're not Lawful Good.Thats stupid. I've house ruled this to Normal 3.5 alignments every gameI have my own issues with the two-axis alignment system (can a truly Chaotic society still be called a society?). I think they should have done away with the Lawful and Chaotic terms in 4e and brought in Exalted and Vile, precisely because though the other personalities are kept (3e CG and NG got melded into G, LE and NE became E, and U is the standard neutral-with-many-flavors) it highlights the gaps.


Bold parts are my comments. Only commented on the Cons because I agree with the Pros, and they aren't nearly as interesting to discuss. Just in case it's not clear from the nature of the comments (post-midnight fatigue + internet makes me paranoid about interpretation) I'm not saying you're wrong to consider those cons. Just adding my thoughts.

Hallavast
2008-07-02, 05:58 AM
CAUTION: The views of this post may disrupt anyones 1-track-mind of there only being HATERS OF 4E or FANBOYS of 4E. If You think that, be careful of reading this post as it may BLOW YOUR MIND! Cute. A little uncalled for, IMO, but cute.




Many people view the system as a REPLACEMENT for d&d 3.5... I don't think so. I think its a new game altogether.
Well, it's a different game in the sense that it has different rules than 3.5, true, but consider this:

-the makers of the game are discontinuing 3.5 publications and are writing material for 4e instead.
-the game has the same name as the 3.5 one.
-When my D&D group get together, a choice must be made as to which D&D we will play (in other words, they compete for our interest.

That, to me, sounds very much like a replacement; just as 3.0 was a replacement for 2nd edition and so forth. The two games will perhaps have different places at the gaming table, but the intent of the designers was to replace and not "create an alternative".



Alignment system. Completely stupid. LG, G, Unaligned, E, and CE? So Good people can't break the laws and evil people can't possibly enforce them? Thats stupid. I've house ruled this to Normal 3.5 alignments every game



Alignment has always been a very silly thing with D&D. It only works when you don't think about it too much. While I think 4e's alignment system is indeed "stupid", I believe that of 3.5 to be equally so. I actually brought up a similar argument to yours in a discussion with a friend of mine the other day, and he helped me remember that it doesn't really matter, because alignment does very little to describe your character anyway. Such a system can model real world ethics or ideals any more than two words can sum up your own perspective of the world and morality. When I think about it, there is little difference whether I write "Chaotic Evil" or " Tattooed Yakuza Sniper Pig" in that little space reserved for "alignment". Neither 3e nor 4e alignment systems actually work, so I see little reason to scrap one in favor of the other.

nagora
2008-07-02, 06:09 AM
When I think about it, there is little difference whether I write "Chaotic Evil" or " Tattooed Yakuza Sniper Pig" in that little space reserved for "alignment".
Chaotic: won't be happy in a group unless s/he is in charge, perhaps not even then. Dislikes rules being "handed down" to him/her by others.

Evil: will enjoy dominating others and increasing his/her own position at the cost of others, probably will enjoy just making others' lifes worse especially if they appear to have more going for them than s/he does. In extreme cases, will kill/rape/torture/etc. for pleasure. A bad egg.

Tattooed Yakuza Sniper Pig: A pig with tattoos who is a sniper for an organised crime syndicate.

I dunno, I don't think that last one is as useful a guide for the DM as the other ones. And alignment is for DMs, really. It's a short hand of how NPCs play and how NPCs view PC actions, including how deities view their followers' and clerics actions. It works pretty well, in my view, so long as you don't try to make it more than that.

Oslecamo
2008-07-02, 06:28 AM
4e does something very well, and that something is explaining how the points of light manage to exist in a world filled with all kind of mighty monsters.

First,let's say you're the overlord of some evil legion. You've got thousands of minions at your comand, ready to crush the puny humans.

You prepare to march on the enemy, when you realize none in your ranks has rituals to quickly travel. Damn. Gotta go on foot.

As you advance, hail starts to rain. 5% of your minions are slaughtered mercilessly by the slightly damaging ice.

You step on a nest of rats, bees, hundreds more of your minions get slaughtered.

Someone among your rnaks sneezes, more a dozen minions bites the dust.

When you finnally reach the village, almost all of your minions have been mercilessly slaughtered to the simply hazards of nature, leaving you only around a hundred warriors and a couple dozen elites and solos

You charge at the farmers, and the farmers pull out their halberds/magic books/axes and smile evily. They unleash a volley of powers upon your force. Since there is no such thing as farmer stats, everybody in the puny human village is himself a monster ready for combat wich automatically becomes the level of your demonic army.

You try to retreat in terror as the scythe weaving mothers rip apart your personal bodyguards, but you realize you also don't have any powers to escape.

The evil foolish overlord is defeated. It's goods are plundered. The merchants will sell the magic items to whoever is willing to buy them and the farmers will use the gold to reward passing adventurers.

No, the whole minion and ecounter mechanincs explain everything perfectly. Minions may be countless, but they'll die with a sneeze. The farmers will become archmages and holy knights as soon as you try to attack them. You gotta be very well prepared to take down something as simple as a human village.

marjan
2008-07-02, 06:35 AM
4e does something very well, and that something is explaining how the points of light manage to exist in a world filled with all kind of mighty monsters.

First,let's say you're the overlord of some evil legion. You've got thousands of minions at your comand, ready to crush the puny humans.

You prepare to march on the enemy, when you realize none in your ranks has rituals to quickly travel. Damn. Gotta go on foot.

As you advance, hail starts to rain. 5% of your minions are slaughtered mercilessly by the slightly damaging ice.

You step on a nest of rats, bees, hundreds more of your minions get slaughtered.

Someone among your rnaks sneezes, more a dozen minions bites the dust.

When you finnally reach the village, almost all of your minions have been mercilessly slaughtered to the simply hazards of nature, leaving you only around a hundred warriors and a couple dozen elites and solos

You charge at the farmers, and the farmers pull out their halberds/magic books/axes and smile evily. They unleash a volley of powers upon your force. Since there is no such thing as farmer stats, everybody in the puny human village is himself a monster ready for combat wich automatically becomes the level of your demonic army.

You try to retreat in terror as the scythe weaving mothers rip apart your personal bodyguards, but you realize you also don't have any powers to escape.

The evil foolish overlord is defeated. It's goods are plundered. The merchants will sell the magic items to whoever is willing to buy them and the farmers will use the gold to reward passing adventurers.

No, the whole minion and ecounter mechanincs explain everything perfectly. Minions may be countless, but they'll die with a sneeze. The farmers will become archmages and holy knights as soon as you try to attack them. You gotta be very well prepared to take down something as simple as a human village.

Someone seems to not understand the concept of minions and stats of NPCs in 4e.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-02, 06:47 AM
Someone seems to not understand the concept of minions and stats of NPCs in 4e.

Someone seems to not understand the concept of satire and sarcasm of posters on GIRP.

Roderick_BR
2008-07-02, 06:56 AM
(...)
So yes... That's how bad 4th Edition is - we're creating our own game.
Technically, 3.5 is so bad, that many people are making new versions, or playing some other company's system.

@Oslecamo: Hah, funny. I'll have to force myself to sit down this weekend (finally got all the bathroom issues solved. No, it was not toiled issues, it was the house's power grid :smalltongue: ) and see where minions will die at the slightest impact, other than an high level hero's attack (I heard this one is true, though), and where the "enemies become the exact level" that everyone keeps saying. I should play a paladin and in my first session challenge an elder dragon to see if my level is automatically adjusted to level 30 or something.
Still back at 3.5, people complained that "monsters where the exact CR to fight the group". That's bad DMing. The CR system was just used to compare a monster's overal power to the PCs. Back in AD&D, the best we could do is compare HD, and even then it didn't work well, with DMs sometimes TPKing the group by accident, or the group finishing boss fights in 1 round, because the DM tought the monster was strong enough.
In my group, we used to throw lower and higher CR monsters according to situation and the history, not because I needed to keep the CR within the party's average level.

I read and read this thread and still doesn't see WHAT is wrong with 4E, other than a smaller skill selection (why no one said it was so bad, back when they were still developing it?) and "less options", even though most of the options in 3.5 sucked orange balls, forcing you to pick from a small selection anyway to be at least barely effective?

marjan
2008-07-02, 06:56 AM
Someone seems to not understand the concept of satire and sarcasm of posters on GIRP.

I am perfectly aware of his attempt at sarcasm: He/she speaks of minions and NPCs as if they are "good", but actually is saying that they are bad for reasons that hold no grounds. Am I clear enough now?

jkdjr25
2008-07-02, 07:23 AM
Technically, 3.5 is so bad, that many people are making new versions, or playing some other company's system.

@Oslecamo: Hah, funny. I'll have to force myself to sit down this weekend (finally got all the bathroom issues solved. No, it was not toiled issues, it was the house's power grid :smalltongue: ) and see where minions will die at the slightest impact, other than an high level hero's attack (I heard this one is true, though), and where the "enemies become the exact level" that everyone keeps saying. I should play a paladin and in my first session challenge an elder dragon to see if my level is automatically adjusted to level 30 or something.
Still back at 3.5, people complained that "monsters where the exact CR to fight the group". That's bad DMing. The CR system was just used to compare a monster's overal power to the PCs. Back in AD&D, the best we could do is compare HD, and even then it didn't work well, with DMs sometimes TPKing the group by accident, or the group finishing boss fights in 1 round, because the DM tought the monster was strong enough.
In my group, we used to throw lower and higher CR monsters according to situation and the history, not because I needed to keep the CR within the party's average level.

I read and read this thread and still doesn't see WHAT is wrong with 4E, other than a smaller skill selection (why no one said it was so bad, back when they were still developing it?) and "less options", even though most of the options in 3.5 sucked orange balls, forcing you to pick from a small selection anyway to be at least barely effective?

What's wrong with 4e is the way that WoTC presents the classes as having immutable roles within the party. The Cleric and the Warlord are leaders, that's their role and that's how they're presented. Fighters are defenders because that's what they do. Wizards are controlers and that's it. This isn't even less versatility, it's NO versatility.

What if no one wants to play the "leadership" role? I know I don't like playing it, yet if I play a Cleric in 4e then that's my clearly defined party role.

If I want to play a two weapon fighter I can't actually play a Fighter I have to play a ranger if I want to attack with both weapons. They took the choice of how to play a character class away from people, at least in my opinion. It's like they're telling me that I wasn't playing their game right and now I have to play it the way that they tell me to.

I'm not saying that 3.5 was a perfect system by any means, but it did allow me to create and play the kinds of characters that I like.

nagora
2008-07-02, 07:30 AM
Back in AD&D, the best we could do is compare HD, and even then it didn't work well, with DMs sometimes TPKing the group by accident, or the group finishing boss fights in 1 round, because the DM tought the monster was strong enough.
Firstly, you were doing it wrong. Secondly, there's no way to do it right.

Your group is your group. The exact same party of characters run as a well-oiled machine of cooperation will perform 10 or 20 times more effectively than the same group played in a confused way or as a group of individuals. The exact same monsters can be a walk over or a TPK simply due to the DM's ability to exploit their abilities well.

There is no system, and can not be any system, for judging CR accurately, especially for experienced players and DMs who have got the hang of how combat works. Newbies can use CR as a rough guide only because their combats are most likely to come down to simple Damage Vs Hit Points slugfests.

The minion rules are just a feeble patch from WotC to make up for their unrealistic and trite expectations of how a DM should go about making an interesting encounter mixed with their total lack of talent at designing combat systems that work. To be fair, though, they did admit that the minion rules were introduced because the combat system sucked. But a better idea would have been to fix the combat system instead.

tumble check
2008-07-02, 07:35 AM
Here is a fantastic post that I found on the WotC boards. I thought I would share it. It's from a poster named Seusomon, and can be found here (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1044595&page=80).

He more or less takes a skeptical (but practical) stance on 4e, but his post is remarkably thoughtful and makes some undeniable points, though he does make some exaggerated assertions. The emphasis below is mine.



I'm approaching 4e with an open mind. I've read all the books, and played a little, but will need to play a lot more before I can know whether it fits my own style well or not.

It occurs to me that a part of what is going on here is another step in the very long history of give-and-take between gamist and simulationist approaches to D&D. (If you're not quite sure about what these terms mean, the articles by Ron Edwards here (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/) are wonderful reading.) Although Gygax spilled a fair amount of ink in the early game books insisting that this was a game, not a simulation, it was quite clear that he, and other earlier creators of the game, had strong simulationist impulses. They reveled in creating a table for anything that might happen in the game world, often with little thought to how it would fit into the play experience. There was also a lot in in-world rationalization of aspects of the game system that were really there just to make the game work.

Simulationists like the sense of immersion in the game world, and the feeling that the rules act as the "laws of nature" in the world - it makes the experience seem real. An event transpires because it's an inevitable outcome of the set-up, not because the somebody outside the game decided it would be fun. This approach to play rests on the illusion of the DM and rules combining to serve as an objective outcome-generator for any conceivable PC choices. It can lead to a lot of rules complexity, and to games that are kept in balance by the social contract between DM and players to not "game" the system or exploit rule loopholes, of which there will be plenty.

Gamists, on the other hand, want to get on to the business of using their character's game abilities to optimize what they can accomplish in the game world. For a gamist group to have fun, everyone needs cool powers and the green light to use them to the limit of the rules. If I have a +3 to some skill, it had better be something that brings in a return in an obvious way, rather than just saying something about what my character is like in the game world. The gamist is less concerned with the verisimilitude of the world than he is with figuring out how to use the rules to succeed against the challenges that are provided.

The misgivings about 4e (which I share, to some degree) revolve around it being unabashedly gamist. The powers are tied to keywords and to the battle grid in a very unambiguous, programmed way; and they are designed to click together like pieces of a puzzle so that encounters run like clockwork and give each character an active role that contributes equally to the party's success. With the non-combat skill system streamlined and simplified, there is little opportunity to use the rules to make a character "feel special". People with more simulationist leanings read the 4e books and feel that the immersion experience has been compromised and replaced with a spiffy computer-ready tactical combat game.

Although I'm something of simulationist at heart myself, I think that simulationist design can really burden a game system and lead to problems. My hope is that the 4e rules will increase the ease and fun of those segments of the game where rules are most important (mainly combat encounters), and leave the creation of the immersion experience less encumbered by rules that are difficult to keep track of and require a lot of DM attention to fend off quirky outcomes.

At least this new system finally breaks the tension that has been lurking in the game all along. It comes flat out and says, "look, whatever else D&D may be to you, it is a game, and a game needs clear, manageable rules, and it needs to be fun for everyone playing. You are welcome (encouraged, even) to overlay the game with an experience of immersion in the game world, but that is an overlay, a separate layer that you, as a play group, have responsibility for crafting; it's not something the rules do for you to any significant degree.

Right now, my mind is taxed by learning all the new powers and combat rules and things, so it's not easy for me to judge how easy or difficult it will be to create that immersion experience I enjoy with the new system. I'm hopeful, though, that once the new rules become second nature, they will actually free up some "brain space" that I can use for enjoying the game world.

marjan
2008-07-02, 07:39 AM
The Cleric and the Warlord are leaders, that's their role and that's how they're presented. Fighters are defenders because that's what they do. Wizards are controlers and that's it. This isn't even less versatility, it's NO versatility.


Not entirely true. While fighters are best suited for defenders, clerics and warlords for leaders and wizards for controllers, they can fill other roles as well:

Fighter - striker
Cleric - controller
Warlord - defender
Wizard - striker
Warlock - controller
Paladin - leader

For Rangers and Rogues, I'm not sure what secondary role (if any) they can do, since I haven't read their entries.

Note that wizards, for example, aren't very effective strikers, but that is what happens when you try to do something that isn't your job.

Oslecamo
2008-07-02, 07:50 AM
If a game's worth is directly proportional to the amount of houseruling the players do to it, then 3.X is the unquestionable King, with 4e the prince.

I really don't understand that. When you houserule 3.X, it's because it sucks. When you houserule 4e, it's because it's awesome.

If you fudge monsters in 3.X, it's because they're awfully designed, if you fudge monsters in 4e, it's because they're so elegant and well done.

If people didn't like 3.X, they wouldn' bother to have done so many homebrewed versions and new rules and whatnot. You see a game's worth by the amount of effort the players are willing to put into it.

marjan
2008-07-02, 07:54 AM
If a game's worth is directly proportional to the amount of houseruling the players do to it, then 3.X is the unquestionable King, with 4e the prince.

I really don't understand that. When you houserule 3.X, it's because it sucks. When you houserule 4e, it's because it's awesome.

If you fudge monsters in 3.X, it's because they're awfully designed, if you fudge monsters in 4e, it's because they're so elegant and well done.


I'm not sure I have seen this said anywhere.



If people didn't like 3.X, they wouldn' bother to have done so many homebrewed versions and new rules and whatnot. You see a game's worth by the amount of effort the players are willing to put into it.

Some people like it, some people don't. But it doesn't mean that the game is good or bad. But it is obvious that there are faults within the system.

nagora
2008-07-02, 07:55 AM
look, whatever else D&D may be to you, it is a game, and a game needs clear, manageable rules, and it needs to be fun for everyone playing. You are welcome (encouraged, even) to overlay the game with an experience of immersion in the game world, but that is an overlay, a separate layer that you, as a play group, have responsibility for crafting; it's not something the rules do for you to any significant degree.
I think 1ed came much closer to this than any of the later rules-heavy over-abstracted systems, including 4th.

The problem is that 4e actively works agains those who want to "overlay" a roleplay. The skill challenge rules specifically work against the ability to overlay a game world, as do the encounter rules and the minion rules and the power rules and the healing rules and the reward guidelines. In fact, pretty well everything in 4e works against letting the players and DM roleplay characters in a world instead of moving pieces about on a cardboard board.

There's a difference between houserules which overrule and ones which add to the game to cope with a particular situation. The former are a sign that something is wrong (at least subjectively) and the latter are just a sign that the DM's doing his/her job. 4e would require a huge amount of houseruling for me to play it. Most of the combat system would have to go just for a start!

jkdjr25
2008-07-02, 08:04 AM
Not entirely true. While fighters are best suited for defenders, clerics and warlords for leaders and wizards for controllers, they can fill other roles as well:

Fighter - striker
Cleric - controller
Warlord - defender
Wizard - striker
Warlock - controller
Paladin - leader

For Rangers and Rogues, I'm not sure what secondary role (if any) they can do, since I haven't read their entries.

Note that wizards, for example, aren't very effective strikers, but that is what happens when you try to do something that isn't your job.

Which is precisely my point. A lot of the players in my group prefer to play casters and you can't have a group of casters in 4e because they designed the game so that you HAVE to have one person from each "party role" in order to progress. If no one wants to play a rogue then you need someone with the "Thievery" skill to progress because you sure can't use knock reliablly.

marjan
2008-07-02, 08:04 AM
The skill challenge rules specifically work against the ability to overlay a game world, as do the encounter rules and the minion rules and the power rules and the healing rules and the reward guidelines.

I can see how skill challenges might get in the way of role-playing, but I don't really see how this is the case with other things you mention.

SamTheCleric
2008-07-02, 08:05 AM
Which is precisely my point. A lot of the players in my group prefer to play casters and you can't have a group of casters in 4e because they designed the game so that you HAVE to have one person from each "party role" in order to progress. If no one wants to play a rogue then you need someone with the "Thievery" skill to progress because you sure can't use knock reliablly.

Warlocks get thievery as a possible class skill. :smallwink:

You -can- progress without the party role... it will just be more difficult. Just as in ANY rpg, its good to have a balanced party... the same holds true for 4e... its just easier to identify what that balance is (A defender, a striker, a leader, a controller, +1)

marjan
2008-07-02, 08:16 AM
Which is precisely my point. A lot of the players in my group prefer to play casters and you can't have a group of casters in 4e because they designed the game so that you HAVE to have one person from each "party role" in order to progress.

If you want to play all casters group you can go: Cleric as Defender (which can be accomplished with the right selection of feats), Cleric as Leader, Wizard as Controller and Warlock as Striker. All roles are filled and the only one that isn't exactly what is supposed to be is Cleric as Defender, which can be substituted with CHA-focused Paladin, which is caster.


If no one wants to play a rogue then you need someone with the "Thievery" skill to progress because you sure can't use knock reliablly.

I'd like explanation on why you need the thievery to progress and why exactly is knock not reliable.

nagora
2008-07-02, 08:19 AM
I can see how skill challenges might get in the way of role-playing, but I don't really see how this is the case with other things you mention.
They're very, very gamey. The all essentially make things happen "because it would be more fun" in game terms, instead of making internal sense from the characters' PoV.

Very like the multiclassing rules in 3e, which made no sense at all from a character's point of view but were loved by munchkins who wanted to bilk the system with no concern for the character's reality. If I were to pick one thing that killed 3e for me, it would be the awful multiclassing rules.

Gamebird
2008-07-02, 08:24 AM
It breaks my sense of immersion for the "powers" that exist to be universally dedicated to inflicting hit point damage on enemies. If there are powers that do that, then I would then that logically there must be powers that accomplish much more mundane and frequent feats. Like a power to wipe your butt without touching it or needing toilet paper, or a power to conjure enough light to see by in the dark, or the power to flavor a dish of food, or the power to locate pure water, or the power to glue together two disparate items.

None of these other powers exist. It would seem, by reading the books, that the game designers do not intend to include any powers of this sort. The only powers they will include are ones that inflict hit point damage or have some impact on direct combat. Everything else is left to DM fiat.

My interest in a game has a lot to do with how little I have to modify the rules to create the game style I want to play, which is heavily simulationist.

SamTheCleric
2008-07-02, 08:26 AM
or a power to conjure enough light to see by in the dark

.... You mean the Wizard Cantrip "Light" or the Level 6 Cleric Utility Power that conjures a lantern?


the power to flavor a dish of food


Like a power to wipe your butt without touching it

You mean the Wizard Cantrip "Prestidigitate"... in which flavoring food and cleaning an object are specifically mentioned?

:smalleek:

marjan
2008-07-02, 08:30 AM
They're very, very gamey. The all essentially make things happen "because it would be more fun" in game terms, instead of making internal sense from the characters' PoV.


Those things don't need to happen just because it is more fun in game terms. And even if they do, I don't see how that is any different than other systems.

marjan
2008-07-02, 08:35 AM
Like a power to wipe your butt without touching it or needing toilet paper

Would you like to point me to the system that has powers like this. I'd really like to read the rules. :smallbiggrin:



None of these other powers exist. It would seem, by reading the books, that the game designers do not intend to include any powers of this sort. The only powers they will include are ones that inflict hit point damage or have some impact on direct combat. Everything else is left to DM fiat.


There are powers that do mundane tasks (as SamTheCleric pointed out), but they are rare. But what you are looking for is in the mostly in the Ritual Section of 4e PHB (though it doesn't have all of the options you might want).


EDIT:



You mean the Wizard Cantrip "Prestidigitate"... in which flavoring food and cleaning an object are specifically mentioned?

:smalleek:

Hmm... Is butt considered an object in terms of 4e? :smallbiggrin:

Lapak
2008-07-02, 08:37 AM
What's wrong with 4e is the way that WoTC presents the classes as having immutable roles within the party. The Cleric and the Warlord are leaders, that's their role and that's how they're presented. Fighters are defenders because that's what they do. Wizards are controlers and that's it. This isn't even less versatility, it's NO versatility.

What if no one wants to play the "leadership" role? I know I don't like playing it, yet if I play a Cleric in 4e then that's my clearly defined party role.

If I want to play a two weapon fighter I can't actually play a Fighter I have to play a ranger if I want to attack with both weapons. They took the choice of how to play a character class away from people, at least in my opinion. It's like they're telling me that I wasn't playing their game right and now I have to play it the way that they tell me to.

I'm not saying that 3.5 was a perfect system by any means, but it did allow me to create and play the kinds of characters that I like.
The thing is, by tying role directly to class they've also divorced much of the fluff from it. You're right; Fighters are Defenders and Rangers can be two-weapon Strikers. But there's nothing in the game preventing the ranger from being a scale-armor-wearing battlefield-striding killer. If you want to play a warrior who deals a lot of damage wielding two weapons in 4e, you play a Ranger class and describe the character however you want. Not everyone with a Ranger class has to wear leather armor and sneak around in the woods.

You can't create every kind of character in 4e, but the one you seem to want is entirely possible.

ravenkith
2008-07-02, 08:38 AM
Problem #1: You have to roll to hit with Magic Missile. I don't care who you are, that's just plain wrong, somehow.

Problem #2: Basically, in order to make a good character, you need three high (14+) stats, and if you don't have at least one 18, you're going to be hurting.

Problem #3: While monster HP scales, At-wills do not, or if they do, are pathetically weak in comparison, IMHO. Some higher level at-will attacks would be a REALLY good idea.

Problem #4: After gameplay last night, I have concluded that giving a monster the ability to shift away as a reaction anyime someone closes to melee has GOT to fall under the heading of BAD IDEA. Kobolds are meant to be easy mobs, right?

Problem #5: PC saves seem very damn weak compared to monster saves of equivalent level....

/rant

Dausuul
2008-07-02, 08:50 AM
If a game's worth is directly proportional to the amount of houseruling the players do to it, then 3.X is the unquestionable King, with 4e the prince.

...Did you ever play anything prior to 3.X? Earlier editions required much more house ruling than 3.X ever did.


If I want to play a two weapon fighter I can't actually play a Fighter I have to play a ranger if I want to attack with both weapons. They took the choice of how to play a character class away from people, at least in my opinion. It's like they're telling me that I wasn't playing their game right and now I have to play it the way that they tell me to.

This is just... bizarre reasoning. Every class covers a certain amount of territory. If you want to play something outside that territory, don't play that class. This is and has always been the case. Why do you insist that dual wielders must be able to write "fighter" instead of "ranger" on their character sheets?

Now, if you want to play a dual-wielder who fights in a Defender role, you can do it - just pick up the Two-Weapon Fighting feat - but you'll be rather sub-optimal. You'd have been just as sub-optimal in 3.X, though. In core 3E, the only class that got any real mileage out of dual wielding was the rogue, thanks to dual sneak attacks. For everyone else, it was a mediocre option at best. Even rangers, the supposed masters of dual wielding, were better off with bows.

marjan
2008-07-02, 08:55 AM
Problem #2: Basically, in order to make a good character, you need three high (14+) stats, and if you don't have at least one 18, you're going to be hurting.

Not exactly. You can make every character to be a bit MAD, but you also have option for him to be SAD. And 18 isn't that big deal if you choose a race that gives bonus to the said stat. With their standard array (16,14,13,12,11,8) you can have following abilities 18, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 8.



Problem #3: While monster HP scales, At-wills do not, or if they do, are pathetically weak in comparison, IMHO. Some higher level at-will attacks would be a REALLY good idea.


At-wills do not scale, but you still get encounters and dailies, which tend to get better as you go up in level. The monsters might still have to many HP, though.



Problem #4: After gameplay last night, I have concluded that giving a monster the ability to shift away as a reaction anyime someone closes to melee has GOT to fall under the heading of BAD IDEA. Kobolds are meant to be easy mobs, right?


That is indeed bad idea for a monster that is supposed to be easy. Though, it's not clear if they wanted kobolds to be easy to kill.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 08:55 AM
If no one wants to play a rogue then you need someone with the "Thievery" skill to progress because you sure can't use knock reliablly.

Or you can bash the door down, or try another route, or use it untrained (it's only optional for Thievery to require being trained, and if the DM decrees it so knowing nobody has it and they'll need it, he's a jerk), or burn the door down with your casters and their at-will fire abilities, etc etc etc...

And in combat? Just having casters (they're adding more soon, including Druid (probably controller), Bard (leader), and Swordmage (defender)) may not be an ideal group, but that's why you play to your strengths. Suppose you're all not just interested in casters, but need to play Wizards; own the battlefield. Cold spells and map hazard spells keep the enemy from reaching you. Use terrain to aid your efforts, fighting in a hall for example to force the kobolds to hug the Burning Sphere. Your strengths are range and AoE, so use them. It won't be easy, but I wouldn't call it impossible.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 09:00 AM
It breaks my sense of immersion for the "powers" that exist to be universally dedicated to inflicting hit point damage on enemies. If there are powers that do that, then I would then that logically there must be powers that accomplish much more mundane and frequent feats. Like a power to wipe your butt without touching it or needing toilet paper, or a power to conjure enough light to see by in the dark, or the power to flavor a dish of food, or the power to locate pure water, or the power to glue together two disparate items.

Take a look at the Wizard's cantrips. Mage Hand alone is very handy when used cleverly.

And there are powers that aren't dedicated to doing damage. There's a Warlord one that knocks someone down, and lets anyone near you knock another guy down. Warlocks have some mind-control abilities; no damage, and you get a puppet for a round.

Dausuul
2008-07-02, 09:12 AM
Problem #4: After gameplay last night, I have concluded that giving a monster the ability to shift away as a reaction anyime someone closes to melee has GOT to fall under the heading of BAD IDEA. Kobolds are meant to be easy mobs, right?

This is a common misconception about kobolds (fuelled by the fact that they omitted a key element of the rules in the demo game). Kobolds can't use that ability to go "Neener neener, you can't hit me," unless the attacker is completely out of movement.

The ability triggers as soon as the attacker moves adjacent to the kobold, before the attacker's move action has officially concluded; the attacker can simply move one more square in order to counter it. The kobold ability is useful to set up or slip out of flanking, or in the rare event that an attacker exhausted all of his/her movement getting to the kobold. It doesn't make the kobold immune to attack.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-02, 09:29 AM
Would you like to point me to the system that has powers like this. I'd really like to read the rules. :smallbiggrin:
FATAL, most likely.


Hmm... Is butt considered an object in terms of 4e? :smallbiggrin:
And, do you need line of sight to it?


This is just... bizarre reasoning. Every class covers a certain amount of territory. If you want to play something outside that territory, don't play that class.
The point is that in earlier editions, classes started out as a personality archetype (e.g. woodsman) and were given abilities to go with that; in fourth edition, classes started out as a series of abilities (e.g. two-weapon user). It's a different philosophy.

Gamebird
2008-07-02, 10:27 AM
Take a look at the Wizard's cantrips. Mage Hand alone is very handy when used cleverly.

And there are powers that aren't dedicated to doing damage. There's a Warlord one that knocks someone down, and lets anyone near you knock another guy down. Warlocks have some mind-control abilities; no damage, and you get a puppet for a round.

I'll read up on that. I was under the impression they'd taken out all of that sort of spell. I don't give a flip about a warlock or whoever being able to knock someone down in combat. More important would be a power that allowed you to pull a wagon or apply a force to an object.

Being able to kill someone efficiently makes it easy for you to be an evil thug who takes whatever you want from anyone you come across. Being able to build things rather than destroy them is what's interesting to me. Powers like that allow me to build a game world that's something other than an impoverished killing field.

tumble check
2008-07-02, 10:30 AM
[Emphasis mine, below]




Being able to kill someone efficiently makes it easy for you to be an evil thug who takes whatever you want from anyone you come across. Being able to build things rather than destroy them is what's interesting to me. Powers like that allow me to build a game world that's something other than an impoverished killing field.

Don't you mean "the darkness surrounding the points of light"? :smallwink::smallamused:

AKA_Bait
2008-07-02, 10:39 AM
I'll read up on that. I was under the impression they'd taken out all of that sort of spell.

There are still a few. Ritiuals also usually have non-combat applications, and unlike 3.x, any class can use them with little trouble.


Being able to kill someone efficiently makes it easy for you to be an evil thug who takes whatever you want from anyone you come across. Being able to build things rather than destroy them is what's interesting to me. Powers like that allow me to build a game world that's something other than an impoverished killing field.

I guess my question here is, 'why do you need a mechanic for this?'

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-02, 10:46 AM
I'll read up on that. I was under the impression they'd taken out all of that sort of spell. I don't give a flip about a warlock or whoever being able to knock someone down in combat. More important would be a power that allowed you to pull a wagon or apply a force to an object.

Ah, you see to me a power that allowed you to pull a wagon or apply a force to an object would make me say "what the hell is going on with this world, if magic can do all this stuff so easily, why does it still look like medieval Europe plus monsters".


Being able to kill someone efficiently makes it easy for you to be an evil thug who takes whatever you want from anyone you come across. Being able to build things rather than destroy them is what's interesting to me.

Powers like that allow me to build a game world that's something other than an impoverished killing field.

Ah, whereas I like powers that allow me to build a gameworld that isn't (a) inconsistent and nonsensical or (b) a techno-magical utopia.

If you're really so interested in being able to "build things rather than destroy them" then shouldn't you be at least vaguely interested in building things through actual IC effort instead of just saying "I cast wall of Iron. Now I has iron."

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-02, 10:57 AM
What's wrong with 4e is the way that WoTC presents the classes as having immutable roles within the party. The Cleric and the Warlord are leaders, that's their role and that's how they're presented. Fighters are defenders because that's what they do. Wizards are controlers and that's it. This isn't even less versatility, it's NO versatility.

This, however, is a meaningless statement. You might as well claim that in 3.X "Fighters are a full BAB class because that's what they do. Wizards are arcane spellcasters and that's it". Terms like "striker" "controller" and "defender" are broad descriptions of the game mechanical abilities of the classes, that's all.


What if no one wants to play the "leadership" role? I know I don't like playing it, yet if I play a Cleric in 4e then that's my clearly defined party role.

Again, this is equivalent to complaining that in 3.X you don't like playing spellcasters, but if you play a Cleric you have to be one.


If I want to play a two weapon fighter I can't actually play a Fighter I have to play a ranger if I want to attack with both weapons. They took the choice of how to play a character class away from people, at least in my opinion. It's like they're telling me that I wasn't playing their game right and now I have to play it the way that they tell me to.

Again, what you seem to be saying here is that you want to have the game mechanical effects of class X without playing a member of class X. This is basically like saying you want to be able to cast spells without being a member of a class that has spellcasting, or to be able to play a skillmonkey without taking a high Int or any levels in a class with a lot of Skill Points.

Effectively you're asking to get a particular game mechanical effect without doing any of the things that allow you to get that particular mechanical effect.


I'm not saying that 3.5 was a perfect system by any means, but it did allow me to create and play the kinds of characters that I like.

But it didn't allow you to create them without taking levels in the appropriate classes. You couldn't play a spellcaster without taking levels in a spellcasting class, or sneak attack without taking levels in a class which had sneak attack as a class feature.

tumble check
2008-07-02, 10:57 AM
I guess my question here is, 'why do you need a mechanic for this?'


Simulationism, immersion. Otherwise, it's just "storytime".

AKA_Bait
2008-07-02, 11:03 AM
Simulationism, immersion. Otherwise, it's just "storytime".

Well, then 4e probably isn't for you. It is not a Simulationist system, and doesn't try to be. GURPS would be a better fit.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-02, 11:05 AM
Simulationism, immersion. Otherwise, it's just "storytime".

So if you walk into a quiet logging village, and there's a man chopping wood, that's "storytime" but if you walk into a quiet logging village and there's a man making rolls on the "wood chopping efficacy and output" table, that's immersion?

Dausuul
2008-07-02, 11:06 AM
You do get at-will non-combat powers. In fact, you get more of them than you do of at-will combat powers.

They're called skills.

LurkerInPlayground
2008-07-02, 11:30 AM
Simulationism, immersion. Otherwise, it's just "storytime".
It gets very tiresome when people argue about simulationism in games. I play FPS's quite a bit and it's really infuriating to hear it there as well about game mechanics. (i.e. "Health meters are less realistic than regenerative health!") The absurdity of it should be apparent when you're arguing what is supposed to be realistic or "true to literature" for magic.

Secondly, "storytime" is supposed to be immersive. That's kind of the whole point. Nor do I buy that it's easier for a 4e character to play a thug than a 3e one. 3e wizards got save-or-die spells and more besides.

Basically I just hear a lot of whining about how weak 4e magic is compared to 3e and that you don't get to powergame excessively because the rules in 4e don't allow for it.

tumble check
2008-07-02, 11:36 AM
Well, then 4e probably isn't for you.


I don't disagree.



So if you walk into a quiet logging village, and there's a man chopping wood, that's "storytime" but if you walk into a quiet logging village and there's a man making rolls on the "wood chopping efficacy and output" table, that's immersion?

In one word, yes. But, did you have to use an NPC as an example?


Does consistency mean nothing? I'm not playing because I want to do awesome things without hindrance, I'm playing because I want to interact with a DM's gameworld to the fullest and take advantage of all of the rich details that he/she may have perpared for me. Whether it's a dungeon, a kidnapping rescue, helping some travellers with a broken wagon on a road, or, hell yes, even helping an old farmer chop wood! The "why" involved in all of those are irrelevant, it's the very existence of the "how" that can awe me to appreciate the consistency and richness of a gameworld. THAT is immersion: Realizing that each action my character does has a logical and maybe even predictable reaction, one that is not simply the product of the DM saying "OK."

I don't think it's too much to ask to expect game mechanics for things like pulling carts, or crafting things, or making money, or chopping wood. Obviously the DM would have to create some mechanics for things like chopping wood... that's not in any recent PHB last time I checked. But professions are, crafts are, repairs are(disable device used be able to fill that role).

But having a consistent game world gives a certain kind of satisfaction when tasks are completed or actions are taken. For things like building a fire, retrieving water from a decrepit well, baking a cake, or talking up the innkeeper's daughter, I don't view "acting it out and having the DM say that you accomplished it" as a satisfying or even acceptable method. This is an example of the WotC forum post that I recently shared when the OP said "You are welcome (encouraged, even) to overlay the game with an experience of immersion in the game world, but that is an overlay, a separate layer that you, as a play group, have responsibility for crafting; it's not something the rules do for you to any significant degree."



And Dan, I now know that you have never looked to D&D for your simulationist urges, so perhaps my points are misdirected for you. I guess this is just adding to the discussion in general.


EDIT: For the above post.

I take simulationism to finite degree. Simulationist HP is something that I don't even try to deal with. I think healing and damage is something integral to any combat RPG, and it's really hard to replace it with something more "realistic".

Helgraf
2008-07-02, 11:56 AM
Problem #1: You have to roll to hit with Magic Missile. I don't care who you are, that's just plain wrong, somehow.

What, because wizards don't have an autohit anymore? Waaah.



Problem #2: Basically, in order to make a good character, you need three high (14+) stats, and if you don't have at least one 18, you're going to be hurting.


Ummm, no, you don't need "at least one 18". You can build a great many viable characters that don't even have "at least one 17". And between racial modifiers that are all positive and the point buy system as recommended, getting 3 14+ stats is a breeze.



Problem #3: While monster HP scales, At-wills do not, or if they do, are pathetically weak in comparison, IMHO. Some higher level at-will attacks would be a REALLY good idea.


Your longsword never scaled like that, and monster HP since 3.0 have always been scaleable. It's just in this edition (much like 3.0/3.5, I might add, but moreso in simplicity), it's spelled out exactly how to do it - and it's also clearly spelled out that you shouldn't scale a given monster more than 5 levels +/- from its baseline.



Problem #4: After gameplay last night, I have concluded that giving a monster the ability to shift away as a reaction anyime someone closes to melee has GOT to fall under the heading of BAD IDEA. Kobolds are meant to be easy mobs, right?


You do realize that most kobolds don't get that reaction, yes? Only the Dragonshields (who are _meant_ to be tougher, more durable kobolds; which is why they start at level 2 and in the soldier role.) get to shift anytime someone closes to melee.



Problem #5: PC saves seem very damn weak compared to monster saves of equivalent level....


I'll presume you mean defenses, not saves. In short, I disagree. For comparative purposes...

A sampling of level 1 monsters and their defenses
Halfling Slinger: AC 15, Fort 12, Reflex 15, Will 13 "Avg": 13 3/4
Kobold Minion: AC 15, Fort 11, Reflex 13, Will 11 "Avg": 12 1/2
Kobold Skirmisher: AC 15, Fort 11, Reflex 14, Will 13 "Avg": 13 1/4
Kobold Slinger: AC 13, Fort 12, Reflex 14, Will 12 "Avg": 12 3/4
Giant Rat: AC 15, Fort 13, Reflex 15, Will 12 "Avg": 13 3/4
Dire Rat: AC 15, Fort 15, Reflex 13, Will 11 "Avg": 13 1/2
Fire Beetle: AC 13, Fort 13, Reflex 12, Will 11 "Avg": 12 1/4
Riding Horse: AC 14, Fort 15, Reflex 13, Will 10 "Avg": 13
Goblin Cutter: AC 16, Fort 12, Reflex 14, Will 11 "Avg": 13 1/4
Goblin Blackblade: AC 16, Fort 12, Reflex 14, Will 11 "Avg": 13 1/4
Goblin Warrior AC 17, Fort 13, Reflex 15, Will 12 "Avg": 14 1/4
Stirge: AC 15, Fort 12, Reflex 13, Will 10 "Avg": 12 1/2
Decrepit Skeleton: AC 16, Fort 13, Reflex 14, Will 13 "Avg:" 14
Spiretop Drake: AC 16, Fort 11, Reflex 14, Will 13 "Avg:" 13 1/2
Stormclaw Scorpion: AC 16, Fort 14, Reflex 12, Will 11 "Avg": 13 1/4

So, AC 13-17 (13: 2, 14: 1, 15: 6 16:5 17: 1) Average: 227 / 15 = 15 2/15
Fortitude 11-15 (11: 3 12: 5 13: 4 14: 1 15: 2) Average: 189 / 15 = 12 3/5
Reflex 12-15 (12: 2, 13: 4, 14: 6, 15: 3) Average: 205 / 15 = 13 2/3
Will 10-13 (10: 2 11: 6 12: 3 13: 4) Average: 174 / 15 = 11 3/5
"Avg": 12 1/4 - 14 1/4 - Average: 198.75 / 15 = 13 2/5
Average of only F+R+W = (12 3/5 + 13 2/3 + 11 3/5)/3 = 12 28/45 (12.6222)
AC - Benefits from armor, shield, level, and dex or int if not heavy, possible miscellany (feats/class templates and such)
Fortitude - Benefits from level, con or str, possible misc
Reflex - Benefits from shield, level, dex or int, possible misc
Will - Benefits from level, wis or cha, possible misc

- An Armor Class of 13 to 17 is well within par for 1st level characters of pretty much any class.
- A Fortitude Defense of 11 to 15 is also within par; you may need a class with a Fortitude bump and a 16 Con to get a 15 if you're not human, but that's not hard to do, and a Fortitude defense of 11 is dirt easy.
- A Reflex Defense of 12 to 15 is even easier for classes that use a shield.
- A Will Defense of 10 to 13 is almost laughably easy to obtain for a 1st level build.
- A composite defense (avg AC, F, R, W) of 13.4 should also be almost laughably simple for most builds to manage; an average of only Fort, Will and Reflex of 12.62 or higher should be similiarly easy; base of 10 in each, class save mods generally add up to +2 or +3 points, giving 33 of the 37.86 points needed right there. As long as you have +5 in bonuses between (better of Str/Con) + (better of Dex/Int) + (better of Wis/Cha), you're already there ... this means, basically having 2 14s and 1 12 in nonoverlapping stats. That is so easy as to be practically effortless.

Conclusion: 1st level monster saves are not on average higher than PC saves, and any 1st level monster save can be matched by a 1st level PC without unneccesary skewing of stats.

LurkerInPlayground
2008-07-02, 11:56 AM
Why would you need a mechanic for chopping wood? Do you have a hatchet and some trees? You automatically succeed within a reasonable frame of time. It's a foregone conclusion that doesn't require game mechanics for arbitration.

And most of the time, when I hear the word "simulationism" it usually just means that the player wants a legitimate, mechanically-based reason to teleport away or throw out a save-or-die as a standard action.

Oh sure, they'll claim this higher mechanical resolution necessarily enriches the game world. It doesn't.

If rules create immersion, it only does so because it sets an upper-boundary on what players are allowed to do within the story, preventing players from simply declaring "I win!" But you don't need to catalog a book of laws that negatively states everything you *can't* do with mundane actions.

"Simulationism" is a pretty much a flag that only ever seems to be raised when somebody just wants to powergame.

FoE
2008-07-02, 11:58 AM
Does consistency mean nothing? I'm not playing because I want to do awesome things without hindrance, I'm playing because I want to interact with a DM's gameworld to the fullest and take advantage of all of the rich details that he/she may have perpared for me. Whether it's a dungeon, a kidnapping rescue, helping some travellers with a broken wagon on a road, or, hell yes, even helping an old farmer chop wood! The "why" involved in all of those are irrelevant, it's the very existence of the "how" that can awe me to appreciate the consistency and richness of a gameworld. THAT is immersion: Realizing that each action my character does has a logical and maybe even predictable reaction, one that is not simply the product of the DM saying "OK."

Hoo boy. You must realize that you're the exception amongst most gamers, Tumble Check. I honestly don't care about having to make rolls for activities that don't carry a certain amount of risk, be it physical, financial or otherwise. Unless the PC is in a wood-chopping competition, then he/she chops the firewood. End of story.

Absolute immersion is impossible, because no matter how complex a game environment is, you're still a group of guys and girls sitting around a dinner table rolling dice.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-02, 12:04 PM
It gets very tiresome when people argue about simulationism in games. I play FPS's quite a bit and it's really infuriating to hear it there as well about game mechanics. (i.e. "Health meters are less realistic than regenerative health!") The absurdity of it should be apparent when you're arguing what is supposed to be realistic or "true to literature" for magic.

Why is that absurd again? I want versimilitude in my games. For some players, having concrete mechanics for non-combat interactions and goals helps them feel like the world is alive and consistant. Other players don't care about that stuff and get just as immersed handwaving the mechanics of that stuff. To each their own man. Remember, just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it's absurd.


Does consistency mean nothing? I'm not playing because I want to do awesome things without hindrance, I'm playing because I want to interact with a DM's gameworld to the fullest and take advantage of all of the rich details that he/she may have perpared for me.

Well, all of that can happen with out without specific mechanics to back it up. It's a personal playstyle thing. Not every system is great for every type of player. GURPS gives me a headache for example.


THAT is immersion: Realizing that each action my character does has a logical and maybe even predictable reaction, one that is not simply the product of the DM saying "OK."

Again, this is a play choice. A DM saying 'ok' or 'no' consistantly with regard to such tasks (or making up some skill based DC's on the spot), doesn't universally limit immersion. Many players see that and having specific mechanics as essentially the same thing, it's just the DM being the arbiter rather than the specific rulebooks.


I don't think it's too much to ask to expect game mechanics for things like pulling carts, or crafting things, or making money, or chopping wood. Obviously the DM would have to create some mechanics for things like chopping wood... that's not in any recent PHB last time I checked. But professions are, crafts are, repairs are(disable device used be able to fill that role).

Actually, you could pretty well extrapolate chopping wood out of break DCs, HP and the like in 3.x. Looking through the DMG for 4e, it looks like it wouldn't be that hard there either.


But having a consistent game world gives a certain kind of satisfaction when tasks are completed or actions are taken. For things like building a fire, retrieving water from a decrepit well, baking a cake, or talking up the innkeeper's daughter, I don't view "acting it out and having the DM say that you accomplished it" as a satisfying or even acceptable method.

True enough for you. Remember that pretty much all those things can be handled in the skills system for 4e (talking up the innkeepers daughter might even be a full fledged skill challenge) and were pretty much handled by skills and some low level spells in 3.x too.

tumble check
2008-07-02, 12:12 PM
I agree that these mundane actions without time contraints do not need rolls. But for things that the character can't necessarily plausibly do (like a scrawny wizard chopping wood, or a stupid, clumsy barbarian knowing how to fix a wagon), then I think it makes sense.

Also, for things that mechanically help you in the game, I think rolls need to be involved to keep in check the "I win!" detail mentioned above. I can't remember if it was in this thread, but an example we talked about somewhere recently was a Cleric who could bake. If he wanted it for flavor, cool. If he wants to bake a cake for a friend as a neat gesture, cool. But if he wants to bake a cake to give to the gatehouse guard to bribe him, or to the King to improve his disposition to the party, I think that simple "roleplaying" and "flavor" does not suffice. Rolls need to enforce what is plausible. If it's not plausible, then it's not fulfilling for me.

But even with that, I know that I'm a rare sort of gamer in this respect. Regardless, 3.5e did a damn good job of satisfying me (its problems notwithstanding). Players who love gamism and 4e do not bother me. What bothers me is those that think roleplaying and self-created flavor can completely cover for simplified rules. In a really abstract sense, they can, but the end product is entirely different.


EDIT: To AKA Bait- all of your points are very fair.

Alchemistmerlin
2008-07-02, 12:33 PM
There are many good things about 4e.

On a personal level, however, I find that what is wrong with 4e is that I feel it is not "For" me. Not in the sense that I just do not have a taste for it, but in the sense that it simply was not written for me or my ilk.

My favorite 3 classes (outside of psionics, which I understand not being included) were Fighter, Bard, and Cleric(necromancy).

Fighter is still there, and I like the changes that have been made.

Bard is gone and supposedly will be back in a different book. I take issue with this because
A) It feels like nickel & diming
B) It suddenly becomes easier to argue that the bard is disallowed from a campaign because "It isn't in the Basic set."

Necromancer (cleric or wizard) is out of the question because the necromancer spells are flat out GONE. One of my favorite characters in 3.5 is my Necromancer who worshipped Vecna in secret while pretending to worship a goodly god (Fake holy symbol and all). He, in time, became a Lich, something no longer (really) poss

I've mentioned him in another thread. Due to these changes, with my group upgrading to 4.0, I have no way of converting that character and I'm going to need to reroll UNLESS I do extensive homebrewing which, as has been covered, does not redeem the system.

That is, for me, what is wrong with 4e.

Indon
2008-07-02, 12:42 PM
I guess my question here is, 'why do you need a mechanic for this?'

What do you get out of having detailed mechanics for combat?

AKA_Bait
2008-07-02, 12:42 PM
On a personal level, however, I find that what is wrong with 4e is that I feel it is not "For" me. Not in the sense that I just do not have a taste for it, but in the sense that it simply was not written for me or my ilk.

What makes you feel like it's not aimed at your ilk? Just the changes you outlined below?


Bard is gone and supposedly will be back in a different book. I take issue with this because
A) It feels like nickel & diming

Well, yeah. But if it had occured to WotC to do that in 3.x they would have then too.


B) It suddenly becomes easier to argue that the bard is disallowed from a campaign because "It isn't in the Basic set."

I think you aren't really going to run into that problem much unless the bard is totally overpowered. And then the 'not in the basic set' thing will just be an excuse to say no without needing to get into an argument about the game mechancis.



I've mentioned him in another thread. Due to these changes, with my group upgrading to 4.0, I have no way of converting that character and I'm going to need to reroll UNLESS I do extensive homebrewing which, as has been covered, does not redeem the system.

Again, you may find this in the splat books or DDI publications to come. I suspect the shadow power is going to have some necomantic feel to it. It also shouldn't be that hard to reflavor a warlock or wizard into necromancy even now. The main thing that's missing is the actual mechanic for creating and controlling undead.

Edit:


What do you get out of having detailed mechanics for combat?

A way to resolve arguments during the high stress aspects of the game at a minimum. An additional gameplay dimension in terms of precise tactics and movement in 4e, specifically.

I don't really see either of those two benifits coming out of a specifcally stated (rather than extrapolated from other rules) mechanic for chopping wood.

Roderick_BR
2008-07-02, 12:57 PM
What's wrong with 4e is the way that WoTC presents the classes as having immutable roles within the party. The Cleric and the Warlord are leaders, that's their role and that's how they're presented. Fighters are defenders because that's what they do. Wizards are controlers and that's it. This isn't even less versatility, it's NO versatility.

What if no one wants to play the "leadership" role? I know I don't like playing it, yet if I play a Cleric in 4e then that's my clearly defined party role.

If I want to play a two weapon fighter I can't actually play a Fighter I have to play a ranger if I want to attack with both weapons. They took the choice of how to play a character class away from people, at least in my opinion. It's like they're telling me that I wasn't playing their game right and now I have to play it the way that they tell me to.

I'm not saying that 3.5 was a perfect system by any means, but it did allow me to create and play the kinds of characters that I like.

I believe this is more a case of misconception. (warning, wall of text)
Yes, the WotC gives you some base roles and tell you what it is. Taking the classic 4:
The fighter is a defender (he dons an armor, picks a weapon, and endure hits while hitting the monster)
The cleric is a leader (he casts spells that heals allies, can enchance their powers, and remove effects that weakens then).
The rogue is a striker (his defenses are weaker than the fighter, but he get the ability to deal lots of damage over the course of a battle, plus utilitary abilities)
The wizard is a controller (his spells are used to control the battlefield, using effects that weaken enemies, and discourages some battle formations)

That is, pretty much, the same as 3.5 did. Fighter -> uses armor and weapons to fight; cleric -> uses divine magic to heal and buff; rogues -> skills and sneak attack; wizards -> nearly damn everything.
What 4E did was saying "here, your main ability is to stay between your ally and the monster" to the fighter, for example, something he's been wanting to do since 3.0. He is just effective now. He can still do what he did before in 3.5, that was... hitting over and over again (but now it works), block enemies (buw now it works better), charge (as powerful as was in 3.5), and so on.

If you read the classe's descriptions, it'll explain that a role is a class's main area, but he's not restricted to it. You can, for example, play a fighter good in battle field control, with his marking abilities, or deal massive damage, with his encounter/daily abilities. He'll just not be as effective as, say, wizards and rogues or ranges at these areas. If you could, then people would complain that "all the classes are too similar".

Yes, some roles were shifted around. You want to use two weapons, you are better playing a ranger than a fighter. Why? The concept of whirling two weapons around fits better the concept of a light armored guy, running around, sliping through enemie's defenses, and dealing massive damage with aimed and well placed hits. That's the ranger. You want a tough guy that can soak away attacks that would kill someone else? Use the fighter.
If we wanted classes to be able to do everything (like fighter dealing heavy damage all the time, wizards being able to everything, etc), we'd need only 3 or 4 base classes.
You are not forced to play an "immutable" role. You are just best in some areas than othes. But if you were completely free to do everything, why would we need different classes?

So, yes, the books show the BASIC concept to the players. If you want options, you need to read the books. Like in the older versions. You can even find some suggestions on secondary roles, showing the second thing they do fine. The rest you do to personalize your character and help others characters when the expert is not around.
Right now it's limited to only 3 basic books, as when you played 3.5, and had only the basic 3 to do. Most classes people really enjoy came later in splatbooks or new core books (PHB2, complete arcane, etc.)

Finally, using the cleric you mentioned as an example: You want to playa cleric. What you want to do with your cleric? Heal, buff, and remove status ailments? That is being a leader. You want to buff yourself and lay down the smack, like you did in 3.5? Use a paladin. Works better now. The paladin is the meeler version of the cleric, and the cleric is the caster version of the paladin. When they release the new books with new source/roles, then we'll have even more options, like, for example, divine controlers and divine strikers.


If a game's worth is directly proportional to the amount of houseruling the players do to it, then 3.X is the unquestionable King, with 4e the prince.

I really don't understand that. When you houserule 3.X, it's because it sucks. When you houserule 4e, it's because it's awesome.

If you fudge monsters in 3.X, it's because they're awfully designed, if you fudge monsters in 4e, it's because they're so elegant and well done.

If people didn't like 3.X, they wouldn' bother to have done so many homebrewed versions and new rules and whatnot. You see a game's worth by the amount of effort the players are willing to put into it.
That's actually the other way around. The 4E defenders are saying that 4E doesn't need as much houserulling as 3.5 needed. The ones that say that 4E needs hourserules are actually pointing out the flaws.
When you houserule 3.X, it's because it sucks. When you houserule 4e, it's because it still have flaws.
If you fudge monsters in 3.X, it's because they're awfully designed, if you fudge monsters in 4e, it's because they still have problems.
Yes, a game's worth is defined by the ammount of work a player puts into it... but after a point, how much is the original game, and how much was done from scratch by the players? I could very well make a system from scratch, and say it's based in AD&D (the attack base bonus concept was created for a module way before 3E was created) and say that 3.5 sucks.

Alchemistmerlin
2008-07-02, 01:00 PM
Well yes, AKA_bait, your statement that they just "didn't think of it" for 3.x nickel and diming is true, it doesn't actually counter my statement.

The simple fact of the matter is that they DIDN'T do that. They may have made up a lot of books, but it was mostly original content, not content that should have been included in the first place.

And, added to that, the PHB seems really "thin" on material as a result. The lack of Bard, Barbarian, and Druid really make it seem less substantial than the 3.x PHBs, and that bothers me.

Prophaniti
2008-07-02, 01:05 PM
"Simulationism" is a pretty much a flag that only ever seems to be raised when somebody just wants to powergame.

How is it that because I don't want to play in a system with easy healing and handwaved, abstracted damage, or that I don't care about 'balance' between the classes (pointing out that I mostly play melee characters, not casters), and that I find many mechanics of 4E immersion-breaking show that I just want to powergame?

I don't want detailed rules for Diplomacy so I can make a Diplomancer, I want detailed rules for diplomacy for precisely the opposite reason. The problem with diplomacy in 3.5, IMO, was that it was not detailed enough. I use the Giant's fix, a far more detailed method, and it works great. Powergaming, both in and out of combat, is slowed by more detailed rules, not less (Clarification: By rules that are individually more detailed, not by a larger number of rules).

Indon
2008-07-02, 01:06 PM
A way to resolve arguments during the high stress aspects of the game at a minimum. An additional gameplay dimension in terms of precise tactics and movement in 4e, specifically.

I don't really see either of those two benifits coming out of a specifcally stated (rather than extrapolated from other rules) mechanic for chopping wood.

But I know a few games in which chopping wood very much contributes to an additional gameplay dimension - in this case, a logistic gameplay, and in doing so can introduce high-stress situations.

Would you use the wood-chopping rules for some guy who's chopping wood that the PC's run into? No, just like you wouldn't use the combat rules for when the epic-level PC's run through a heroic-level kobold warren while traveling between places. Just as in that case you'd say, "You kill the kobolds," in the other you'd say, "The guy's chopping wood."

But if you're building siege engines because you need to break the defenses of the Lich's castle within two weeks, it suddenly becomes all kinds of potentially high-stress and additional gameplay to know how much wood your soldiers can gather for the work. Can you just write it off as unnecessary? Yeah. But you can do the same with a combat.

fleet
2008-07-02, 01:06 PM
Anyone here actually game in person, in real groups, with the real books? If you do, i think you'll agree, books not in the core set, are problematic. How often does the dm have whatever obscure errata piece you need to run the character you want?

I as a dm, am very unlikely to buy some $50 book just so one of my players can run a bard. WoTC's assumption that everything ought to be core, is just a feeble attempt to sell books that weakens the integrity of the game.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 01:21 PM
I as a dm, am very unlikely to buy some $50 book just so one of my players can run a bard. WoTC's assumption that everything ought to be core, is just a feeble attempt to sell books that weakens the integrity of the game.

I think they can be a problem, but I also believe in the rule: "you want to use it, you buy the book." Voila, goodbye to your complaint.

Jerthanis
2008-07-02, 01:34 PM
Anyone here actually game in person, in real groups, with the real books? If you do, i think you'll agree, books not in the core set, are problematic. How often does the dm have whatever obscure errata piece you need to run the character you want?

I as a dm, am very unlikely to buy some $50 book just so one of my players can run a bard. WoTC's assumption that everything ought to be core, is just a feeble attempt to sell books that weakens the integrity of the game.

However, you may be willing to pay $25-$50 for a book that includes Bards and three or four other classes you want to play, expanded feats ect. Once a group has access to a book, as long as a player lets the DM borrow it long enough to familiarize him or herself with the content, it tends to be available for the whole group afterwards.

I'm playing a Spirit Shaman currently, which is one of my favorite 3.5 classes, but I don't own Complete Divine. I stumbled on it while reading a copy of a friends' book. The DM doesn't own Complete Divine either, yet he's allowing it because he's also had a chance to borrow it. I've personally bought about three 3.5 splatbooks, but between the group, I have access to more than half of them.

potatocubed
2008-07-02, 01:42 PM
Again, what you seem to be saying here is that you want to have the game mechanical effects of class X without playing a member of class X. This is basically like saying you want to be able to cast spells without being a member of a class that has spellcasting, or to be able to play a skillmonkey without taking a high Int or any levels in a class with a lot of Skill Points.

Effectively you're asking to get a particular game mechanical effect without doing any of the things that allow you to get that particular mechanical effect.

This problem is more to do with how pointless rangers are - which is nothing new, since they've been woodsy fighters with arbitrary collections of abilities since AD&D 2nd Edition at least.

Look at it like this - spellcasting is the defining feature of, say, the wizard. If you want to cast spells, be a wizard. Other classes just don't have the innate magic, the necessary training, whatever.

The defining feature of being a ranger is dual wielding. Other classes just don't have the necessary... other hand.

Sure, maybe they need some TWF training, but the question then becomes 'why can't the fighter get this training?' The answer is 'because we need a distinguishing feature for the ranger', which isn't very satisfying because it doesn't translate at all into in-game logic.

It's even less satisfying when you consider that now fighters can get training in ritual magic, so it looks like learning to cast spells is now less complicated than learning to dual wield.

My advice: ditch the ranger as a class and fold it into fighter. If you want to be a light-armoured, woodsy, dual-wielder, play a fighter and select skills and powers to suit.

tumble check
2008-07-02, 01:55 PM
When you houserule 3.X, it's because it sucks. When you houserule 4e, it's because it still have flaws.
If you fudge monsters in 3.X, it's because they're awfully designed, if you fudge monsters in 4e, it's because they still have problems.


Are we supposed to take that as serious analysis?




My advice: ditch the ranger as a class and fold it into fighter. If you want to be a light-armoured, woodsy, dual-wielder, play a fighter and select skills and powers to suit.

I agree. They've de-flavored the Ranger beyond recognition now. It's too bad. They could have concentrated on woodsiness and bow-n-arrow, and it would have been great. Now they are just DPS.

Actually, the idea of a light "striker" fighter is one of the things that I thought and hoped they would implement as one of the fighter choices when WotC began saying a while back that "weapon choice will matter" when leaking stuff about 4e. What they ended up doing instead is a really really bland mechanic, in my opinion.

Dausuul
2008-07-02, 01:58 PM
This problem is more to do with how pointless rangers are - which is nothing new, since they've been woodsy fighters with arbitrary collections of abilities since AD&D 2nd Edition at least.

Look at it like this - spellcasting is the defining feature of, say, the wizard. If you want to cast spells, be a wizard. Other classes just don't have the innate magic, the necessary training, whatever.

The defining feature of being a ranger is dual wielding. Other classes just don't have the necessary... other hand.

Sure, maybe they need some TWF training, but the question then becomes 'why can't the fighter get this training?' The answer is 'because we need a distinguishing feature for the ranger', which isn't very satisfying because it doesn't translate at all into in-game logic.

So you would prefer that all non-caster classes be merged into a single Mundane class?

The in-game logic is that it takes years and years of training to learn how to dual-wield the way the ranger does it. You can't put in those years of training and train to be another class at the same time. And you can't just pick up ranger dual wielding after going on a few dungeon crawls. The best you can do is the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, which gives you the basics of fighting with two weapons but doesn't come anywhere near what the ranger knows.


I agree. They've de-flavored the Ranger beyond recognition now. It's too bad. They could have concentrated on woodsiness and bow-n-arrow, and it would have been great. Now they are just DPS.

Fine, so call them "Skirmishers" instead of "Rangers." And as for woodsiness - any character can be "woodsy" by picking up the Nature skill. Which is as it should be.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-02, 02:03 PM
Well yes, AKA_bait, your statement that they just "didn't think of it" for 3.x nickel and diming is true, it doesn't actually counter my statement.

Nope, was using it to respond to the 'aimed at' remark. Looks more like they hit you accidentally. :smallwink:


The simple fact of the matter is that they DIDN'T do that. They may have made up a lot of books, but it was mostly original content, not content that should have been included in the first place.

Where's the line on this? Barbarians, bards and druids weren't always core in earlier editions either.


And, added to that, the PHB seems really "thin" on material as a result. The lack of Bard, Barbarian, and Druid really make it seem less substantial than the 3.x PHBs, and that bothers me.

I take it the addtion of Warlord and Warlock didn't help any eh?


Anyone here actually game in person, in real groups, with the real books?

Yah.


If you do, i think you'll agree, books not in the core set, are problematic. How often does the dm have whatever obscure errata piece you need to run the character you want?

100% of the time. If I want to play something funky then the obligation is mine to buy the book and provide the DM access to it.


I as a dm, am very unlikely to buy some $50 book just so one of my players can run a bard. WoTC's assumption that everything ought to be core, is just a feeble attempt to sell books that weakens the integrity of the game.

Pardon me as I go laugh hysterically. Integrity of the game... whoo...


My advice: ditch the ranger as a class and fold it into fighter. If you want to be a light-armoured, woodsy, dual-wielder, play a fighter and select skills and powers to suit.

Frankly, this would probably have been a good idea. Rolling the ranger options into fighter and rogue and having 2 classes per role (instead of 3 strikers and 1 controller) would have been nice.

RebelRogue
2008-07-02, 02:08 PM
It's a question of leaving certain preconcieved ideas of what a class is and isn't at the door. Just like a wizard is no longer batman, a fighter is no longer a highly customizable catch-all combat character. He's a defender, specialized in wielding one melee weapon and "taking aggro" (I hate that term, but it's bascially what he is). The ranger takes over the dual wielding/archery specialist niche. In short, if you want to play a dual wielder, ranger is the appropriate choice.

Alchemistmerlin
2008-07-02, 02:14 PM
Nope, was using it to respond to the 'aimed at' remark. Looks more like they hit you accidentally. :smallwink:
*snip*
Where's the line on this? Barbarians, bards and druids weren't always core in earlier editions either.
*snip*
I take it the addtion of Warlord and Warlock didn't help any eh?


For the first part:
alrighty.

For the second part:
They weren't core, you are correct. However, the line, I would say, is that they were classes REMOVED from earlier editions with the intent of selling them later. Not because, like they sorceror, they were redundant. They were removed for the sake of profit in so far as I can see.

As for the third part:
No, because a 2 for 3 trade doesn't quite work out :smallwink: But also, I meant that as a general statement. The book seems less substantial than the 3.5 PHB. Some would argue that this makes less for you to "wade through" I would argue that it gives me fewer options.


And, as a note, the "Where is the line?" question is the exact defense that companies like EA are trying to use in the video game industry to justify charging extra for Guns and abilities in their games.

Dausuul
2008-07-02, 02:23 PM
For the first part:
alrighty.

For the second part:
They weren't core, you are correct. However, the line, I would say, is that they were classes REMOVED from earlier editions with the intent of selling them later. Not because, like they sorceror, they were redundant. They were removed for the sake of profit in so far as I can see.

So far as I can see, they were removed because there was only so much they could fit in the 4E Player's Handbook. The thing is that in 3E, most classes could fit in quite a small block of space - just a couple of pages - because any class that wasn't a spellcaster had very limited options (while spellcasters had options out the wazoo). In 4E, every class has a big array of powers to choose from, plus 3-4 paragon paths, which means that adding a new class means adding about 14 pages to the book.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-02, 02:37 PM
For the second part:
They weren't core, you are correct. However, the line, I would say, is that they were classes REMOVED from earlier editions with the intent of selling them later. Not because, like they sorceror, they were redundant. They were removed for the sake of profit in so far as I can see.

I believe one of the earlier editions released source books for barbarians after removing them as a playable class...


As for the third part:
No, because a 2 for 3 trade doesn't quite work out :smallwink: But also, I meant that as a general statement. The book seems less substantial than the 3.5 PHB. Some would argue that this makes less for you to "wade through" I would argue that it gives me fewer options.

Well, it does present fewer options, the trade off is that it's more streamlined. That said, I don't feel it presents that many fewer options overall, and for some classes it presents many more viable ones (melee classes). I think one of the issues is that a fair number of options that existed in the 3.x system using one mechanic are using a new mechanic in 4e, and have less time devoted to specifically how they work than they used to. The players are supposed to be able to figure more out on their own in 4e I think and extrapolate from one set of rules to another more often.


So far as I can see, they were removed because there was only so much they could fit in the 4E Player's Handbook. The thing is that in 3E, most classes could fit in quite a small block of space - just a couple of pages - because any class that wasn't a spellcaster had very limited options (while spellcasters had options out the wazoo). In 4E, every class has a big array of powers to choose from, plus 3-4 paragon paths, which means that adding a new class means adding about 14 pages to the book.

To be fair, it's a little of both. They could have squeezed another class or two in there if they wanted to. The 4e PHB is 40 pages shorter than the 3.x PHB after all.

Alchemistmerlin
2008-07-02, 02:42 PM
To be fair, it's a little of both. They could have squeezed another class or two in there if they wanted to. The 4e PHB is 40 pages shorter than the 3.x PHB after all.

Hey! Stop taking my arguments before the server lets me post them! :smalltongue:



Back-tracking a tad, no one actually addressed my complaint about my Necromancer character other than to say that "maybe there will be something in a book later" or to attack my person. I don't know about you but "maybe" isn't very satisfying, nor does it do much to placate my problem with the system.

Also: Personal attacks from 4e supporters don't really endear me to the system either :smallwink:

Although now I'm not quite sure if that was this thread or the other one...

SamTheCleric
2008-07-02, 02:44 PM
Hey! Stop taking my arguments before the server lets me post them! :smalltongue:



Back-tracking a tad, no one actually addressed my complaint about my Necromancer character other than to say that "maybe there will be something in a book later" or to attack my person. I don't know about you but "maybe" isn't very satisfying, nor does it do much to placate my problem with the system.

Also: Personal attacks from 4e supporters don't really endear me to the system either :smallwink:

Although now I'm not quite sure if that was this thread or the other one...

No one answered it because there isn't an answer for it yet. There is a confirmed power source of "Shadow" but thats the best I can offer you.

Alchemistmerlin
2008-07-02, 02:48 PM
No one answered it because there isn't an answer for it yet. There is a confirmed power source of "Shadow" but thats the best I can offer you.

Well, I'll just chalk that up to a point for me/3.5 then.

RebelRogue
2008-07-02, 03:00 PM
Back-tracking a tad, no one actually addressed my complaint about my Necromancer character other than to say that "maybe there will be something in a book later" or to attack my person. I don't know about you but "maybe" isn't very satisfying, nor does it do much to placate my problem with the system.
I'm recapping some opinions, but here goes:

1) The current PHB is primarily about heroes, not anti-heroes. A undead-raising necromancer is a decidedly evil anti-hero.
2) Space is limited now that powers take up such a large slab of pages. Providing special powers for all types of specialist would probably require a book of its own, like it or not.
3) Also, because of the same space issues, certain character options would necessarily be left out, and let's face it: the necromancer is not a classic choice in the same way a lot of the other presented classes are! It's pretty much a Diablo II thing, IMO!
4) Look at how the ranger's animal companion and the wizard's familiar have been removed. The new edition deliberately tries to avoid characters with sidekicks/minions in order to minimize bookkeeping and letting the character itself shine. "Your" type of necromancer is prohibited by this principle of simplicity!

tumble check
2008-07-02, 03:07 PM
Barbarians, Druids, Bards, and Monks were taken out of the new PHB for 2 big reasons, as far as I can see.

They either:

1) Didn't as easily fall into the 4 roles.

or

2) Are redundant with other core classes in filling a role.


WotC has already mentioned that Barbarians and Druids are forthcoming. However, they need to make sure that they don't step on the Fighters' and Wizards' toes. This goes for the rest of slashed classes. How they will do this with the new power system is not difficult to predict. They'll have a variety of Powers that will do certain abouts of [W] damage + stat mod, then with a minor effect.

Is anyone else disappointed that Warlords are basically reflavored Bards? Maybe it's the Bard-lover in me. I've looked into it, and it's almost completely possible to reflavor the Warlord with Bardy stuff, and it still makes perfect sense. This disappoints me because they did away with the silly and whimsical Bard and basically made it into a more badass warrior. I guess it fits more with the heroics and cinematics of 4e.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-02, 03:11 PM
There was less room in the 4E PHB because they wanted to fit paragon paths there, as well as magical items; whereas in 3.5 the prestige classes and magical items were in the DMG.

Now frankly it makes perfect sense for those things to be in the PHB, but there's simply not enough room in there for everything unless they hire Boccob to print the books.

RebelRogue
2008-07-02, 03:13 PM
Barbarians, Druids, Bards, and Monks were taken out of the new PHB for 2 big reasons, as far as I can see.

They either:

1) Didn't as easily fall into the 4 roles.

or

2) Are redundant with other core classes in filling a role.

Let me start by 2: The four party roles has always been there, but this time around the rules actually made a point of telling them to the players explicitly. It doesn't change the fact that they were always there. The Barbarian will step no more on the fighter's toes than he used to. The same thing with druid vs. cleric.

Regarding 1, I am quite curious, regarding bards: they could be both leaders and controllers.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-02, 03:18 PM
There was less room in the 4E PHB because they wanted to fit paragon paths there, as well as magical items; whereas in 3.5 the prestige classes and magical items were in the DMG.

And yet, they still had 40 pages left over. Imagine that.


Let me start by 2: The four party roles has always been there, but this time around the rules actually made a point of telling them to the players explicitly. It doesn't change the fact that they were always there. The Barbarian will step no more on the fighter's toes than he used to. The same thing with druid vs. cleric.

Right, no more than they used to... but the idea is to have them not do so at all, or far less than in previous editions.


Regarding 1, I am quite curious, regarding bards: they could be both leaders and controllers.

My money is on Arcane Leader.

jkdjr25
2008-07-02, 03:20 PM
I'm recapping some opinions, but here goes:

1) The current PHB is primarily about heroes, not anti-heroes. A undead-raising necromancer is a decidedly evil anti-hero.
2) Space is limited now that powers take up such a large slab of pages. Providing special powers for all types of specialist would probably require a book of its own, like it or not.
3) Also, because of the same space issues, certain character options would necessarily be left out, and let's face it: the necromancer is not a classic choice in the same way a lot of the other presented classes are! It's pretty much a Diablo II thing, IMO!
4) Look at how the ranger's animal companion and the wizard's familiar have been removed. The new edition deliberately tries to avoid characters with sidekicks/minions in order to minimize bookkeeping and letting the character itself shine. "Your" type of necromancer is prohibited by this principle of simplicity!

The problem here is that the anti-hero is just as much a part of the fantasy genre as the hero himself. Take the Elric cycle for example. Elric was very much the anti-hero from the word go. The same can be said of Raistlin, and several other characters from fantasy novels. That 4e ignores this completely is shunting out character concept for predefined character roles, and there in lies the problem I've mentioned repeatedly.

Having a character role isn't a problem, being forced into one is very much a problem, and again this is my opinion your mileage may vary.

Necromancers were an option from the beginning if you played a specialist wizard. It's always been an option, not a particularly happy and shiney option mind you, but an option none the less. Once again it seems to come down to WoTC telling the players that they weren't playing the game right.

I'm on the fence about removing familiars and animal companions. They're a classic staple of the Wizard and Ranger, but suddenly they're just too hard to keep track of, so out they go for no legitimate reason.

The best games have varying degrees of versatility and from everything I'm seeing 4e has little to no versatility or flexibility. At least not really.

If there's an optional rule that you can use "Thievery" then why even bother with a Rogue? If anyone can use the skill untrained to find traps and the like why bother with one? The only reason I can discern is because "that's how the game is designed". While that may be true it doesn't strike as making for a satisfying character. I want my character to be unique to my vision, and I can't do that with the current rules. I have to make my character as dictated by WoTC (with 4e anyway) and many of the very cool concepts and paths I would take in 3.5 are forbidden me in 4e. Things like that are precisely why I choose not to support the system. If other people enjoy then that's cool, but my opinion is just as valid even though it may differ from yours.

But this is all just my two copper.

Fhaolan
2008-07-02, 03:23 PM
4) Look at how the ranger's animal companion and the wizard's familiar have been removed. The new edition deliberately tries to avoid characters with sidekicks/minions in order to minimize bookkeeping and letting the character itself shine. "Your" type of necromancer is prohibited by this principle of simplicity!


Familiars, animal companions, and the like can still be added fairly easily to the system if you think about it. They're just ally NPCs, when you boil it all down. All the literary and film instances of familiars all portray the familiar as a character in it's own right. Perhaps not as effective as their master, but still a character.

I intended to actually houserule something along this lines for 3.x, with familiars as playable characters in their own right. I just never got around to it.

I have no doubt that 'official' rules for them will be added in some later suppliment.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-02, 03:30 PM
1) The current PHB is primarily about heroes, not anti-heroes. A undead-raising necromancer is a decidedly evil anti-hero.

Ah yes. It's not like there'll be a special race reserved for players who want a character with a darker side, then...

tumble check
2008-07-02, 03:31 PM
Let me start by 2: The four party roles has always been there, but this time around the rules actually made a point of telling them to the players explicitly. It doesn't change the fact that they were always there. The Barbarian will step no more on the fighter's toes than he used to. The same thing with druid vs. cleric.



Yeah yeah, the roles were always there, whatever. Regardless of how debatable that is in 3.5e, that's not what I'm talking about now.

What I'm saying is, if you want to boil down all the roles to meat shield, heal-monkey, sneak, and glass cannon, then it is my assertion that at the very least, bard and druid are classes that fit the least into any one of those four. I love Bards, but they were spread VERY thin in 3.5. They could fight, cast, be a skill monkey, AND use bardic music, although their flavor as translated into 4e would definitely be leader/controller.(even though the 3.5 bard had little to no damaging spells). The Druid was such an interesting class that I shudder to think they'd be reduced to a "mage" in 4e, but we'll see.

That is why I believe they were left out of the 4e PHB. They fit the least into the now-explicitly established paradigm, and they'll release them later.

As much as I liked the Barbarian, he really stepped on the fighter's toes, so I can see why they held off on him. The last thing a PHB needs is redundancy.

Alchemistmerlin
2008-07-02, 03:49 PM
Yeah yeah, the roles were always there, whatever. Regardless of how debatable that is in 3.5e, that's not what I'm talking about now.

What I'm saying is, if you want to boil down all the roles to meat shield, heal-monkey, sneak, and glass cannon, then it is my assertion that at the very least, bard and druid are classes that fit the least into any one of those four. I love Bards, but they were spread VERY thin in 3.5. They could fight, cast, be a skill monkey, AND use bardic music, although their flavor as translated into 4e would definitely be leader/controller.(even though the 3.5 bard had little to no damaging spells). The Druid was such an interesting class that I shudder to think they'd be reduced to a "mage" in 4e, but we'll see.

That is why I believe they were left out of the 4e PHB. They fit the least into the now-explicitly established paradigm, and they'll release them later.

As much as I liked the Barbarian, he really stepped on the fighter's toes, so I can see why they held off on him. The last thing a PHB needs is redundancy.


You know what's funny? That NEVER came up in a single gaming session I had. "Oh man, I wish the Barbarian wasn't here, he's really doing the same job as I am" - Fighter.

"Oh Man, that Druid is healing too."

It seems the sort of people who would worry about that are a little to competition/personally glory minded for D&D. Perhaps they should stick to EQ/WoW?

Blackfang108
2008-07-02, 03:50 PM
Ah yes. It's not like there'll be a special race reserved for players who want a character with a darker side, then...

If you need a specific race to have a dark side to your personality, you're doing it wrong.

I've got an unaligned, somewhat insane, Elandrin Warlord/lock who worships the Raven Queen and has a pact with a Feywild King. He definitely has a darker side.

RebelRogue
2008-07-02, 03:53 PM
Ah yes. It's not like there'll be a special race reserved for players who want a character with a darker side, then...
There's a huge difference between having a dark side and routinely using specifically evil rituals/spells!

Edit: looking back, perhaps "anti-heroes" was a bad wording. I was thinking of deliberately and wholly evil characters when I wrote that. Which a zombie-raising necromancer would be!

Alchemistmerlin
2008-07-02, 03:54 PM
If you need a specific race to have a dark side to your personality, you're doing it wrong.

I've got an unaligned, somewhat insane, Elandrin Warlord/lock who worships the Raven Queen and has a pact with a Feywild King. He definitely has a darker side.

I think, mostly, he was pointing out that the statement "This PHB is directed toward Heroes, not anti-heroes" is directly contradictory to the fluff/advice given in the Tiefling's section of the book.

RebelRogue
2008-07-02, 03:55 PM
Familiars, animal companions, and the like can still be added fairly easily to the system if you think about it. They're just ally NPCs, when you boil it all down. All the literary and film instances of familiars all portray the familiar as a character in it's own right. Perhaps not as effective as their master, but still a character.

I intended to actually houserule something along this lines for 3.x, with familiars as playable characters in their own right. I just never got around to it.

I have no doubt that 'official' rules for them will be added in some later suppliment.
Of course they're easy to put in by hand, but my point was, that they were removed as a part of the overall design strategy. They may come back as optional rules or as part of the druid class, but I doubt it.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-02, 03:57 PM
That is why I believe they were left out of the 4e PHB. They fit the least into the now-explicitly established paradigm, and they'll release them later.

As much as I liked the Barbarian, he really stepped on the fighter's toes, so I can see why they held off on him. The last thing a PHB needs is redundancy.

Indeed. The only ones of those classes I could have seen fitting neatly into the first PHB was the Druid and Bard, as either could be a controller (although I only expect the Druid to actually be one) and the system lacks a controller. The Barbarian frankly had to be some kind of Melee combatant but I have trouble seeing which one, leader and defender don't fit well with the 'rage' that is the defining feature of the class and striker just doesn't feel right (on top of the fact that for the PHB that would have made 4 strikers). The Monk I really also only see a striker, divine striker to be precise.


I was thinking of deliberately and wholly evil characters when I wrote that. Which a zombie-raising necromancer would be!

Says who! Zombies are people too.

Jayabalard
2008-07-02, 03:58 PM
If you need a specific race to have a dark side to your personality, you're doing it wrong.I think his point is that there IS such a race, so claiming that the PHB does not support anti-hero type characters is untrue.

MartinHarper
2008-07-02, 03:59 PM
If there's an optional rule that you can use "Thievery" then why even bother with a Rogue? If anyone can use the skill untrained to find traps and the like why bother with one?

Rogues and Warlocks are the only classes that can get training in Thievery without spending a feat. All rogues are trained in Thievery. The best way for other classes to get training in Thievery is to multi-class into Rogue.
Anyone can use Thievery untrained (although the PHB says the DM may decide that some uses of the skill require training). However, trained users get a +5 bonus to all checks.
Does that answer your questions?

Blackfang108
2008-07-02, 04:04 PM
OK, fine.

Here's my question.

Since when has Necromancer been a core class?

Yes, necromantic magic has been in the core book, but the specific class of necromancer hasn't.

I'm trying to see what the issue with this is.

RukiTanuki
2008-07-02, 04:08 PM
Speaking for myself, I always thought that many of the concepts not present in the 4e PHB1 would probably take me a bit longer to design than the ones already present, as I'd want to take the opportunity to recreate those iconic concepts in ways that meshed really well with the new ruleset.

Summons, in particular, probably need a close look. Is there a way to implement them without effectively giving the player twice as many actions, or dramatically increasing the time that player spends on their turn? The same goes for a lot of the characters that don't (or can't particularly) focus on dealing damage. Their mechanics deserve the same long, hard analysis and retooling that the iconic classes received. Personally, I wouldn't want to slap a coat of paint on the 3e rules and send them out.

Mind you, I don't mind 4e's design philosophy of "find the way to do things that's easy, fun, and effective at the table, no matter how previous editions did it." As such, I can see why others would have different preferences, or why there'd be a little frustration. I'm making it very clear to my players that they'll want to select mechanics that fit what they have in mind, and we'll alter the game-world explanation to fit. The nice side is that they're taking it to heart, and thinking of their characters as something other than their character classes.

Alchemistmerlin
2008-07-02, 04:11 PM
OK, fine.

Here's my question.

Since when has Necromancer been a core class?

Yes, necromantic magic has been in the core book, but the specific class of necromancer hasn't.

I'm trying to see what the issue with this is.

I'm sorry, I've been using "necromancer" to refer to "Clerics who cast primarily out of the Necromancy Domain or Wizards who specialize in Necromancy"

I have never played an actual necromancer "class".

Dausuul
2008-07-02, 04:14 PM
The necromancer is no longer an option in the core PHB because one of the design goals of 4E was to kill Batman and CoDzilla. Clerics are no longer the "anything you can do, I can do better" class, and wizards are no longer the "anything you can't do, I can" class.

Instead, each class has been given a distinct shtick. Clerics are healers and smiters, while wizards are blasters and battlefield controllers. Undead-raising does not fit with either of those shticks. Therefore, no necromancer-wizards. They could have made a distinct class for necromancers, and probably will soon enough, but they decided it was too much of a niche class to go in the PHB.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-02, 04:16 PM
In one word, yes. But, did you have to use an NPC as an example?


Since people talk about needing these rules for a "consistent world" then actually yes, I think it's important to use an NPC as an example.


Does consistency mean nothing? I'm not playing because I want to do awesome things without hindrance, I'm playing because I want to interact with a DM's gameworld to the fullest and take advantage of all of the rich details that he/she may have perpared for me. Whether it's a dungeon, a kidnapping rescue, helping some travellers with a broken wagon on a road, or, hell yes, even helping an old farmer chop wood! The "why" involved in all of those are irrelevant, it's the very existence of the "how" that can awe me to appreciate the consistency and richness of a gameworld. THAT is immersion: Realizing that each action my character does has a logical and maybe even predictable reaction, one that is not simply the product of the DM saying "OK."

I really, really hate it when people frame these kinds of issues in terms of "trust" but I think that seems to be what's causing the problem here.

I simply don't understand the mindset which says that for something to have a "logical and predictable reaction" it has to be based on hard-and-fast rules. Certainly such a system will be predictable but it will never be logical because mechanical systems always have the capacity to produce illogical results.


I don't think it's too much to ask to expect game mechanics for things like pulling carts, or crafting things, or making money, or chopping wood. Obviously the DM would have to create some mechanics for things like chopping wood... that's not in any recent PHB last time I checked. But professions are, crafts are, repairs are(disable device used be able to fill that role).

Except that's the thing, to me the rules for those sorts of things in 3.X were less logical and less predictable than just letting the DM make a call.

Why does it cost extra money to make a Masterwork Quarterstaff? What does a Masterwork Club even look like. If everybody can make 1D20 Gold Pieces a week with a Craft or Profession check, why does anybody work for 1sp a day as a laborer? Why are the performances given by professional players so wildly erratic?

[uote]But having a consistent game world gives a certain kind of satisfaction when tasks are completed or actions are taken. For things like building a fire, retrieving water from a decrepit well, baking a cake, or talking up the innkeeper's daughter, I don't view "acting it out and having the DM say that you accomplished it" as a satisfying or even acceptable method. This is an example of the WotC forum post that I recently shared when the OP said "You are welcome (encouraged, even) to overlay the game with an experience of immersion in the game world, but that is an overlay, a separate layer that you, as a play group, have responsibility for crafting; it's not something the rules do for you to any significant degree."[/quote]

That's fair, I (and others) have the exact opposite opinion, I view "roll this skill versus this preset difficulty" as an unacceptable way of simulating a consistent world.


And Dan, I now know that you have never looked to D&D for your simulationist urges, so perhaps my points are misdirected for you. I guess this is just adding to the discussion in general.

No, that's fair. Thing is, for simulation I favour really, really rules-light games. Nothing simulates a consistent world for me better than Over the Edge.

(and on to another post...)


I agree that these mundane actions without time contraints do not need rolls. But for things that the character can't necessarily plausibly do (like a scrawny wizard chopping wood, or a stupid, clumsy barbarian knowing how to fix a wagon), then I think it makes sense.

Thing is, I think those examples both defeat your argument.

I think I've made this argument before, but in situations like this the best that a formal system can do is reproduce your "expected" results. All I can see you getting from a mechanical system is a chance of getting an implausible result.


Also, for things that mechanically help you in the game, I think rolls need to be involved to keep in check the "I win!" detail mentioned above. I can't remember if it was in this thread, but an example we talked about somewhere recently was a Cleric who could bake. If he wanted it for flavor, cool. If he wants to bake a cake for a friend as a neat gesture, cool. But if he wants to bake a cake to give to the gatehouse guard to bribe him, or to the King to improve his disposition to the party, I think that simple "roleplaying" and "flavor" does not suffice. Rolls need to enforce what is plausible. If it's not plausible, then it's not fulfilling for me.

Okay, this is what I find confusing. If you already know what is plausible, why do you need rules to reinforce it?

I think, possibly, that this cuts into the Other Big RPG Dichotomy (which has been buried in recent years under the Game/Narrative/Simulation thing): Design at Start versus Develop In Play. I absolutely don't want to have to plop down a bunch of points in a skill I might never use just because I might decide somewhere down the line that it makes sense for my Cleric to be able to cook.


But even with that, I know that I'm a rare sort of gamer in this respect. Regardless, 3.5e did a damn good job of satisfying me (its problems notwithstanding). Players who love gamism and 4e do not bother me. What bothers me is those that think roleplaying and self-created flavor can completely cover for simplified rules. In a really abstract sense, they can, but the end product is entirely different.

The thing is, I don't think simplified rules need "covering for". As I say above, my #1 greatest "Simulationist" system is Over the Edge, where you create a character by writing down three things about your character. I genuinely don't feel that "has rules for it" is the same as "simulates it".

nonamearisto
2008-07-02, 04:20 PM
Well, I don't necessarily think that 4e is BAD, but it does tend to be a rather large shift...

If 3.5 was Dungeons and DRAGONS, 4e is DUNGEONS and Dragons... that is, the focus has been shifted away from creating a large world filled with fantastic elements, peoples, and civilizations, and shifted towards an emptier world with more monsters... If this was England, we would have gone backwards from the 1200's (Magna Carta, Parliament, written laws, single kingdom, relative order) back to the 400's (anarchy, multiple petty kingdoms, invasions, chaos)...

Gamebird
2008-07-02, 04:27 PM
There's a huge difference between having a dark side and routinely using specifically evil rituals/spells!

Unlike having abilities that draw power from the pain and suffering of others, like getting bonuses when others are bloodied... ?


Edit: looking back, perhaps "anti-heroes" was a bad wording. I was thinking of deliberately and wholly evil characters when I wrote that. Which a zombie-raising necromancer would be!

Are we sure? D&D has a long history of classifying undead and undead-related powers as evil, but then again they have a long history of classifying the infernal and infernally-related as evil. Yet there's the tiefling, right in the PHB as a suggested PC race.

If you can cast a demon-blooded as potentially good, yet striving to overcome his innate evil, then it's no stretch to cast a necromancer the same way. Maybe he's misunderstood, maybe he battles his inner evil regularly, succumbing only in the desperation of combat when his friend's lives are on the line...

FoE
2008-07-02, 04:36 PM
If you can cast a demon-blooded as potentially good, yet striving to overcome his innate evil, then it's no stretch to cast a necromancer the same way. Maybe he's misunderstood, maybe he battles his inner evil regularly, succumbing only in the desperation of combat when his friend's lives are on the line...

Hold it. Tieflings are born into an evil heritage; they have no choice in the matter. Becoming a necromancer is a matter of choice. You have to study that particular school of magic in order to use it. I might buy a reformed necromancer who refuses to raise undead, but not a 'good' necromancer relying on his ability to animate zombies when the chips are down.

LoopyZebra
2008-07-02, 04:46 PM
Well, I don't necessarily think that 4e is BAD, but it does tend to be a rather large shift...

If 3.5 was Dungeons and DRAGONS, 4e is DUNGEONS and Dragons... that is, the focus has been shifted away from creating a large world filled with fantastic elements, peoples, and civilizations, and shifted towards an emptier world with more monsters... If this was England, we would have gone backwards from the 1200's (Magna Carta, Parliament, written laws, single kingdom, relative order) back to the 400's (anarchy, multiple petty kingdoms, invasions, chaos)...

That's an interesting point of view, one with which I partially agree with. Admittedly, 4e's default setting is "points of light", implying a setting similar to the Dark Ages, as opposed to 3e, which assumed a setting closer to the High or Late Middles Ages.

However, there's still nothing stopping you from creating a game with great, powerful empires or entrenched nobility. In other words, political and economic structures aren't hard-wired into the system (with some exceptions. The game does assume a relatively free market, where players can buy and sell at will. Settings also typically have gender equality.).

Furthermore, I think it's hard to argue that settings before weren't Dark Ages -esque. Many had frequent invasions by orcs, gnolls, and the like, regular problems with bandits, and typically, the highest force in a given land would be the local noble (a Baron or somesuch). 3e Forgotten Realms, for example, had very few "nations"; most of the places players would visit (Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Baldur's Gate, the Western Heartlands in general) were small city-states or realms of nobles. Proper kingdoms were relatively rare (such as Cormyr or Thay), and mostly concentrated in the East. Most of the smaller governments (even the larger ones) had problems with various barbarians, orcs, etc. There were also large swaths of untamed lands with various mean critters (the Forest of Wyrms, for example).

So, while 4E might be more Dark Ages -esque, I think that's just a codification of a previous trend, much like the codification of roles. Strikers, Defenders, Leaders, and Controllers existed before, they're just acknowledged now. The same is true of a less civilized setting.

EDIT: Another point of comparison between points of light and standard 3e settings occurred to me. In 4e, it's assumed that the PCs are largely responsible for holding back the darkness. This was true in 3e too, whether it was the PCs or an important NPC (Elminster, Drizzt, or Khelben Blackstaff, for example). The orcs weren't defeated by the skill of the army fighting them, but by the adventurers who teleported behind their lines and killed the chieftain/dragon/demon leading them.

Jerthanis
2008-07-02, 04:50 PM
Well, I'll just chalk that up to a point for me/3.5 then.

You can chalk up the point however you like... I personally hate the fact that I'm supposed to accept practitioners of "Hard" Necromancy (raising the dead/devouring souls) in a party of adventurers. I don't see the appeal of playing an evil party though... the campaign world is messed up enough as it is without the players making it worse. "Soft" Necromancy (speaking with dead, preparing funeral rites) are still in, and still fine.

I still have to deal with Dragonborn who breathe poison and threaten every NPC's eyes with a spoon, so maybe you can appreciate how my group's cohesion can sometimes benefit from downright evil options being taken out.


Ah yes. It's not like there'll be a special race reserved for players who want a character with a darker side, then...

You'll note the Tiefling description says "to be a hero with a dark side to overcome"

The description you reference expressly indicates that even with such a dark side, you're assumed to play it as a hero.

Jayabalard
2008-07-02, 04:56 PM
Hold it. Tieflings are born into an evil heritage; they have no choice in the matter. Becoming a necromancer is a matter of choice. You have to study that particular school of magic in order to use it. I might buy a reformed necromancer who refuses to raise undead, but not a 'good' necromancer relying on his ability to animate zombies when the chips are down.Sure you can...

Someone can be animating zombies and then releasing them to their rest when they are no longer needed when they are trying to stop some greater evil. It's the same sort of character as a reformed super-soldier that falls back on his ability to kill people and break things in order to save people he cares about.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 05:00 PM
Do note that classes are qualified in terms of power source as well as type. All the PHB classes in currently are Martial, Divine and Arcane. I don't believe anything depends on those power sources (yet anyway) but again they cut things down where they didn't need to throw everything out at once.

Confirmed other power sources:
Primal -- Barbarian was specifically cited as an example, probably a Primal Striker, maybe Defender. Druid is confirmed as Primal as well. Being a separate power source would explain why out of all the classes to leave out, they picked those.
Shadow -- This will have the Shadowcaster, probably Assassin, and if a specific Necromancer shows up anywhere it will probably be here.
Ki -- Monks and such, again, a reason not to put them in yet.
Psionic -- ...duh.
Elemental -- Shaman and such probably. I would not be surprised to see Sorcerer in here, but that's pure speculation.

So the only classes that could be included if they wanted to limit power sources would be Bard (Arcane Whatever) and maybe Sorcerer (which if it's Arcane would be a second Arcane Striker, kind of odd but Ranger and Rogue are both Martial Strikers.)

Also note that the PHB II has been confirmed to have 8 new classes (initials B B D I S S T W if you like puzzles Good money's on Bard Barbarian Druid, probably Sorcerer. Spellmage (arcane defender) has leaked, but I don't know if that's going in the PHB II or a premade adventure (the leak was stats from a premade)). Whether you like the idea of a PHB II or not, the 3.5th edition one had half as many, as did most other splatbooks they released. If they ARE going to milk more money out of me, I appreciate them packing a lot of new stuff in there. 3.5's was rather a disappointment. "Have four classes! Now let's pack it with roleplay options for each and every class in case you're uncreative, and put a replacement skill in there so it looks like legit content. Have 30 pages of spells, and then MORE roleplay fluff. Now let's talk about character personalities in a PARTY!" And so on. Especially with their need to always have "Sample Blahblahblah" after anything, there's a lot of wasted space in the 3.5 PHB II.

tumble check
2008-07-02, 05:00 PM
You know what's funny? That NEVER came up in a single gaming session I had. "Oh man, I wish the Barbarian wasn't here, he's really doing the same job as I am" - Fighter.

"Oh Man, that Druid is healing too."

It seems the sort of people who would worry about that are a little to competition/personally glory minded for D&D. Perhaps they should stick to EQ/WoW?

lol hey man, I'm not bashing on those classes. The classes that they didn't put in the 4e PHB are easily my favorite ones in 3.5.

However, I am saying that in the context of a basic core rulebook, the only one that someone needs to play, anything in the book that is redundant can be seen as a waste of money, which is why I feel that they have provided a fairly diverse list of classes in 4e.

I don't think that anyone can honestly say that any of the classes in 4e are as similar to eachother as the fighter and barbarian were, or the sorceror and the wizard. The difference between a Fighter and Paladin in 4e is much bigger than the difference between a Fighter and a Barbarian in 3.5e.

WotC has tried to give a simple and broad range of classes in their core PHB, and I think it's a fine idea. Then, if people want a little more of the subtle variation they crave(like myself), then splat books will satisfy.


@DAN:

All of your points are good. I'm talking about simulationism as portrayed by 3.5e. I'm basically just lamenting the loss of a bit of it in 4e. This is the internet, after all.:smallwink:

Once again, many of your fine points are coming from the fact that much of your expertise lies in systems other than D20 D&D, and therefore are looking from outside the box inward. I, unfortunately, do not have that luxury, as you and I have discussed in other threads.:smallredface:

RebelRogue
2008-07-02, 05:06 PM
Well, personally I would have preferred Aasimar to Tiefling as a player race, and yes I can totally see that the Warlock class has a dark twist (which it had in 3.5 too BTW), and I agree: it is a little weird with the emphasis put on not playing evil characters! :smallconfused:

LoopyZebra
2008-07-02, 05:07 PM
The New Bruceski: I think Spellmage (or whatever its called), the arcane defender, was said to be in the 4E Forgotten Realms book. Which makes sense, there's a long tradition of character with spells and sword in Forgotten Realms.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 05:15 PM
The New Bruceski: I think Spellmage (or whatever its called), the arcane defender, was said to be in the 4E Forgotten Realms book. Which makes sense, there's a long tradition of character with spells and sword in Forgotten Realms.

Ok then. I haven't kept track of what's due out when, I just heard about it being leaked.

SamTheCleric
2008-07-02, 05:33 PM
Ok then. I haven't kept track of what's due out when, I just heard about it being leaked.

Its actually called the Swordmage, due out in the Forgotten Realms Players Handbook, to be released in September.

LurkerInPlayground
2008-07-02, 06:01 PM
How is it that because I don't want to play in a system with easy healing and handwaved, abstracted damage, or that I don't care about 'balance' between the classes (pointing out that I mostly play melee characters, not casters), and that I find many mechanics of 4E immersion-breaking show that I just want to powergame?

I don't want detailed rules for Diplomacy so I can make a Diplomancer, I want detailed rules for diplomacy for precisely the opposite reason. The problem with diplomacy in 3.5, IMO, was that it was not detailed enough. I use the Giant's fix, a far more detailed method, and it works great. Powergaming, both in and out of combat, is slowed by more detailed rules, not less (Clarification: By rules that are individually more detailed, not by a larger number of rules).
That's just the thing. The whole "more detailed rules" is an unsupported claim that 4e is somehow less "simulationist" or "real" than 3e. Even you can admit that 3e isn't perfect. Games are, by their nature, abstractions. 3e is no less guilty of having abstractions than 4e does. Immersion can occur with or without complex rules, it just requires a certain suspension of disbelief, with or without flawed rules.

I mean, come on, you're playing a game where you pretend to swing swords and fictional monsters and casting make-believe magic spells.

In other words, that's not even the core issue, "realism" is always given as a reason as to why Game A is better than Game B. If I were to take the first person shooter example, there are people who claim that regenerative health from Call of Duty 4 is more "realistic" than health meters. And almost never do I hear a reason as to why that's a serviceable mechanic or even a good design decision. This reason is really just a hollow echo of the emotion that says, "I like this game more." And in either case, you're still can recover from fatal wounds almost instantaneously, whether you wait or grab a medkit. Both rules are equally absurd and "non-simulationist."

And why do people like 3e? Because they'd rather spend hours piecing together a well-lubricated and highly-optimized machine and/or do cool things with a large compendium of highly powerful and versatile spells. And maybe they like some of the quirks as well from simple familiarity. Just looking at your sig about "flawed grandeur" says it all.

So let me take a familiar argument I keep hearing:
"All the classes are the same. The 3e wizard was more of a beautiful snowflake than the 4e wizard."
Translation:
"I like having uber-powerfuls spells. Don't take that away from me. So I'll make up some BS reason about 4e wizards being cookiecutter, regardless of whether or not they have a unique niche to fulfill."

And that's what it boils down to anytime somebody brings up "simulationism." It eventually warps back into why more powerful spells are more realistic or why skill points are more realistic. . .blah, blah, blah. In the end, it's just used to justify a subjective preference by veiling it with the veneer of a legitimate "intellectual argument."

Kurald Galain
2008-07-02, 06:04 PM
You'll note the Tiefling description says "to be a hero with a dark side to overcome"

Yeah, funny how that almost exactly matches the definition of anti-hero (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AntiHero)...

tumble check
2008-07-02, 06:19 PM
...



I think just about everything you just said is wrong. It's not that I simply disagree with it, it's that I actually believe that what you said is incorrect. Please be gentle, I'm not trying to flame you.

Let me simply respond with a few points.

1) You can't use the "this is a fantasy game with monsters and magic" as an argument to nullify all discussion of simulationism, or as you say "realism".

2) People don't argue that games which are more simulationist are better games. Instead, some people like certain games more because they suit their simulationist preferences.

3) Optimizers are not the only ones who like 3e. If you think that all criticisms of 4e are from optimizers, then you are ignorantly oversimplifying, and you should instead attempt to read some of the posts from people like myself, Prophaniti, and Serpentine, to mention a few.

Jerthanis
2008-07-02, 07:21 PM
Yeah, funny how that almost exactly matches the definition of anti-hero (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AntiHero)...

Yeah, but this is in context of arguing about whether a Necromancer would fit with the party in an average PHB party in 4th edition, and whether the act of raising the dead is primarily an NPC ability because of the focus on PCs as heros that 4th edition has, that perhaps 3rd edition didn't.

From where I stood, it sounded in your post like you thought Tieflings had been included because the designers wanted people to play them as evil characters, while I think it's because the Designers really really like Hellboy.

I suppose this could boil down into whether you consider the act of raising the dead to be an immoral act or not, and I don't think we want to go down that road, so I'll just say that personally I don't mind the fact that you can't raise the dead by strict RAW, because the idea of playing a character who does that or being involved in a party with someone who does that doesn't appeal to me as a player.

Paragon Badger
2008-07-02, 08:09 PM
The thing I've noticed is that 4e focuses much more on how the rules interact mechanically in a game, rather than say, how they interact with the setting.

The fighter's challenge ability works because it helps them tank. If you try to put a fluff-spin on it, then it doesn't make sense because it's pretty much the fighter saying to a bad guy, "You'll attack me or suffer penalties ...cause I say so." (even when the fighter is 8 squares away using a ranged weapon to challenge his foe ...Can the guy get a will save at least? What if I want to have a monster that's smart enough to try and attack the wizard? Nope, apparantly the moment the fighter attacks him, he'll be too distracted to fight anyone else with his full attack bonus.)

On that note, I greatly detest abilities (in any game) that so unsubtley force the bad guy to attack the tank, a strategically moronic tactic. Force the bad guy to attack the tank by virtue of tactics, not some arbitrary -2 penalty to attack.

Most characters in FFT had very small movement and a wide variety of terrain obstacles. A knight in the right place (between two boulders/on a bridge/ect.) could keep many enemies at bay while your archers shot them from afar. At the same time, Ninjas and thieves had sufficient move and jump that they could get around these obstacles. I never needed any cheap "Attack me!" command to get enemies to attack my tanks.

In short, I'd like monsters to function as if they were intelligent beings, attacking the weakest target. But the fighter's challenge hinders this, because intelligent strategy will only give you a -2 penalty to attack. :smallannoyed:

What I'm saying is; players should out-think their enemies with a strategy that uses the fighter's tank-like status to its maximum effect...rather than stamping some penalty on a monster if it acts like it wants to win.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 09:30 PM
complaints about marking, specifically for Fighters

I think an appropriate equivalent for marks from any defender class is covering fire. It's not that the guy wants you to pay attention to him, the guy is MAKING you pay attention to him. You can shoot at someone else, but you're not doing so freely; you have someone putting the pressure on you who is skilled at doing so.

Remember that battle is intense. Taking turns is a mechanical artifact that turns fractions of a second into full moves. When you get the pressure turned up by someone who is exceptionally good at doing so, you don't get fifteen seconds to breathe and remind yourself he's just a diversion. A fighter trains to ensure that his attacks get your attention -- even if it's a near miss instead of a hit (again, covering fire) -- and he learns to take advantage of that distraction, following it up with an actual strike should you ignore it. A paladin directs the force of his diety's divinity at you, daring you to stand up and defend yourself; should you refuse, you find a god's disapproval burns even if not one whom you revere. A Swordmage uses his free hand to dazzle you with magical light, but it's not just for show; he's focused on you, and takes advantage of diverted attention to weave arcane energies around your target, softening what should have been a killing stroke.

RoyaleWithCheez
2008-07-02, 09:32 PM
I think the game explains the idea behind marking well enough. If you're a fighter, and you attack and then mark a target, it's assumed that you continue attacking/harassing him until your next turn. The target would be unable to focus on anyone but the fighter, because the fighter is continuing to pose a threat, and is distracting him, either physically or mentally. The fighter is supposed to be dangerous and intimidating, so this is entirely plausible. I think it's a nice addition.

Another way to look at it is the ability to Aid Another as a free action. Giving -2 to an enemy's attack is essentially the same as giving +2 to an ally's defenses.

If roleplayed well, it all makes a lot of sense.

LoopyZebra
2008-07-02, 09:34 PM
I'm not sure why people think of the fighter's challenge ability as so stupid...

You could flavor it as something silly like a direct challenge, but I see it as the character using skill at arms to strike the enemy for doing something tactically unsound. If the enemy doesn't keep his guard up against the highly skilled combatant (the fighter), dropping it, to say, swing at another party member, the fighter will whack him. If he tries to move away (or shift), the fighter will whack him, because the fighter's darn good at swordmanship and/or because the enemy had to let their guard down a bit to retreat. Additionally, the enemy has to keep their guard up (representing the -2 to attacks). The only thing implying that Combat Challenge has to be a challenge is the title.

It's flavorless, aside from "it's dangerous to ignore a fighter". Why is it dangerous? Not because he issued a challenge, but because he'll whack you with his blade if you don't keep focused on him because he's that good of a swordsman.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-02, 11:01 PM
I'm not sure why people think of the fighter's challenge ability as so stupid...

The truth is, any of the abilities claimed in 4e can be fluffed by DMs easily. What has thrown many people (from what I've read) is that rather than establish a fluff setting and then make rules for it, WotC made a system of rules and is leaving the players to fluff it out for them.

This is, in fact, the core change in 4e from every D&D edition previous. I think that is where people are pulling the "simulationist" lines from - 4e doesn't try to simulate anything, it tries to make a game.

This does not mean you can't use it to simulate things - that's what DMG 42 is for. But this change in perspective is real and is disorienting for many people. But is it a bad thing?

No.

Previous editions of D&D tried to simulate fantasy settings, but did it badly. A detailed combat system was outside the scope of all but 3e's rules (and even there, it had problems), magic item creation rules either resulted in too little magic (2e - who'd lose a point of CON to make a +1 sword?) or too much (3e - magic markets), and social interactions rules were a joke (so you just talked, which is a fine way to do it, but not a "simulationist" rule). Were they fun to play? Sure, but not if you just played by RAW.

4e has decided to make a system first which can then be used in a setting of your choosing. They have given us the tools, but leave it to us to explain how they work.

I think this is a huge step forward. Clearly, many do not, but I believe this is the core bone of contention regarding the "simulationists."

LoopyZebra
2008-07-02, 11:09 PM
Wow. That explained the argument perfectly, I think. Atleast, I agree with your interpretation. I also agree it's a good thing (the change towards making your own fluff).

The New Bruceski
2008-07-02, 11:42 PM
That is a really good insight Oracle_Hunter.

There is a bit of fluff as far as the "points of light" world goes. I've just got the PHB so I'd appreciate other insights: does it look like this fluff was picked for how it fit with the rules, or this fluff influenced/defined some rules?

Also, am I the only one getting confused by references to "simulationist"? It started out with a meaning, and people use the term with an idea behind it, but I think things have bounced around so much it's lost perspective on what it means. For example, in computer games a better simulation requires more rules, because if the rules don't cover it, you can't do it (example: I cannot breed pets in Sim City, no matter how much I may want to for whatever reason). In a free-form game (I'm referring to anything not in an absolute fixed-rules system, not just the extreme) they tend to have guidelines for non-covered issues (in 4e it's skill challenges). A better simulation for those could refer to one with more rules (Repair: cart skill for example) or it could refer to one with faster adaptation (Skill challenge, Strength to lift the cart for someone else, Knowledge: Nature to find some wood that will work all right as a patch but isn't too hard to gather. That could lead to some Athletics for climbing, et cetera). In that example, the system with fewer hard rules makes one think about >how< they're fixing the cart.

Helgraf
2008-07-03, 12:12 AM
If there's an optional rule that you can use "Thievery" then why even bother with a Rogue? If anyone can use the skill untrained to find traps and the like why bother with one? The only reason I can discern is because "that's how the game is designed". While that may be true it doesn't strike as making for a satisfying character. I want my character to be unique to my vision, and I can't do that with the current rules. I have to make my character as dictated by WoTC (with 4e anyway) and many of the very cool concepts and paths I would take in 3.5 are forbidden me in 4e. Things like that are precisely why I choose not to support the system. If other people enjoy then that's cool, but my opinion is just as valid even though it may differ from yours.

But this is all just my two copper.

What the Rogue gets that no other class gets is a suite of utility powers that focus on getting more mileage out of skills such as Stealth, Thievery and Acrobatics - or, as you might consider them, the Rogue power-trio of skills. Yes, with Skill Training or as a Warlock, anyone can take the Thievery skill and open locks, pick pockets and finesse traps. But only a Rogue can get the power to steal in combat without a -10 penalty. Only Rogues get the powers that make staying hidden via Stealth far more feasable (or even possible, in some cases). If an enemy has LoS to you and you're not a rogue, you'll be seen. If you're a rogue there's some powers you can take to avoid this or at least give you one more turn to get to cover beforehand and maintain your unnoticed status.

The Rogue is also the only class that gets powers that can be used at-will above the level 1 attack powers every class gets.

In short, the Rogue still brings plenty to the table beyond "access to the Thievery skill".

OneFamiliarFace
2008-07-03, 12:48 AM
In short, the Rogue still brings plenty to the table beyond "access to the Thievery skill".

And, in fact, I would say more than he used to. The rogue is a more useful inclusion to a party than it used to be. Before, the only unique role a rogue had was to disarm traps. And most things a rogue could do were easily duplicated be relatively cheap magic items (boots of spiderclimbing, etc.). Unless you had a particularly forgiving DM (I did not), a rogue was also outclassed in damage by the wizard and sorceror, and very often, even by the barbarian, druid, and fighter, especially since a large number of classical monsters were simply immune to sneak attack (all undead, constructs, and elementals for starters; other rogues and barbarians to boot).

The rogue did lose something in the reduction and compaction of skills, but he also gained. For example, my rogue had only a moderate intelligence, so when I went to pick my skills, I ended up with all the physical ones and open locks (for character concept), and pick pockets. I missed out on spot, listen, and search. So I was basically a jumpy fighter. Now, I understand this is just how it works. But why would one, for example, ever want to play a character that could jump, tumble, climb, hide, move silently, etc, etc., but not balance? And the pure thick of it was that if you wanted a true physical, acrobatics rogue, you had to give up the one role that made you a viable party member: traprat.

Likewise, if you wanted to make a technically oriented rogue, what reasonable concept would keep you from wanting both open lock and disable device? Now you get sleight of hand as a bonus, but I don't see that as suddenly making my rogue any less of a cat burglar or tunnel rat.

I just remade my old favorite rogue into 4e, and he is looking better than ever! Still a mad skill monkey, but now there is a reason for him to roll initiative beyond trying to get the first turn! (Still can't disarm traps though :-p)

The Gryphon
2008-07-03, 04:07 AM
The truth is, any of the abilities claimed in 4e can be fluffed by DMs easily. What has thrown many people (from what I've read) is that rather than establish a fluff setting and then make rules for it, WotC made a system of rules and is leaving the players to fluff it out for them.


While I agree that this was probably part of the designers' intents, I don't really agree about the result. As a player/DM that prefers a "simulationist" approach, I can rationalise the Fighter's marking ability (the fighter is interfering with the enemy's ability to attack, attempting to parry or intercepting their movements or just generally making a nuisance of themselves), and I can craft an explanation as to why the debuff does not apply when the enemy attacks the fighter (because the fighter would be trying to foil the enemies attacks as a matter of course - the mark represents the fighter using those normal defensive tactics when they are not themselves under attack).

That's all well and good. However I cannot come up with any justification for why marks do not 'stack'.

Having more people providing "covering fire" (to borrow your example) makes the tactic more effective. There is no reason why lining up 3 fighters and having them all mark one opponent should not result in that enemy suffering -4 against any of the fighters and a -6 should he attempt to attack the flanking rogue or make a ranged attack against another party member.

Nor is there a sensible reason at all why a fighter's marking should not stack with a paladin's or any of the classes marking abilities. At least, none from a simulationist perspective. The 1 mark limit is there purely for a (meta)gamist reason. Because it would be too powerful and not "balanced". Especially against solo and elite targets, where such stacking would very effectively lock down threats that would otherwise be extremely deadly.

Other marks have other problems, due to fact that clarifying/correcting/houseruling the lack of description in relation to the mark will - or should - have mechanical effects. Is the mark a shouted command? Then it is negated by silence, or by loud noise. Is it line of sight? Darkness, whether natural or magical, or blinding your foe would negate the mark. Is it magical? Can it be dispelled or counterspelled, or resisted?

The problem is that the "gamist" approach leaves a lot of holes, which are annoying to a "simulationist". By and large, I thing that those of us on the "simulation" end of the spectrum prefer the rules to be the "laws of physics" in the game world. To be as consistent and as universal as possible. This is why things like the various marks or the exceptionalism of using different rules for PCs than for NPCs or "monsters", grate on our nerves, puncture our sense of immersion, and frustrate our efforts to suspend our disbelief.

The Gryphon

nagora
2008-07-03, 05:26 AM
By and large, I thing that those of us on the "simulation" end of the spectrum prefer the rules to be the "laws of physics" in the game world. To be as consistent and as universal as possible.

Speaking as someone who's probably classified as a simulationist, although I'm not sure exactly what it means, I feel the opposite: rules should be as specific as possible to their domain. General rules which try to be universal can't possibly work and trying to make them always results in the sort of mess that the d20 skill system is: generally applicable only in that it gives equaly stupid results no matter when you apply it.

This is similar to the hit point argument from 1e: hit points cover most combat situations well, but when they don't we have rules for ignoring them. Doing away with those "extra" rules, as 3e+ does, in the name of universality leads to situations where the players' disbelief breaks.

The DM is there to be "the laws of physics" in the general case, the rules are there to take that role in narrow, specific cases where it is more useful to have a clear, set system than to require constant adjudication by the DM. Typically, combat and magic are two examples of the latter.

potatocubed
2008-07-03, 07:06 AM
The truth is, any of the abilities claimed in 4e can be fluffed by DMs easily. What has thrown many people (from what I've read) is that rather than establish a fluff setting and then make rules for it, WotC made a system of rules and is leaving the players to fluff it out for them.

This is a good insight. However, I would say that some of the rules in 4e just don't fluff. Not so much the powers, but the core rules themselves. Here's an example: hit points are an abstraction of fatigue and light injuries rather than all-out stabbings, which is fine with me. Healing surges and second wind make sense in this light. But falling a great height does hit point damage - which you can recover by taking a break and getting your breath back. Which is... inexplicable. What game-world reason is there that this can happen? I could probably dig up more but I'm at work right now so my access to my books is limited.


So you would prefer that all non-caster classes be merged into a single Mundane class?

No... it's more that I would prefer that every class has its own unique schtick. Fighters and rogues, for example, are different enough that they can be separate classes. Likewise paladins. If there were monks, they could be done as their own class with various unarmed combat powers. Rangers just don't have that - have never had that.

A cynical part of me suspects that rangers only still exist because if they didn't Drizzt would have to go through the mother of all retcons. :smalltongue:

nagora
2008-07-03, 07:13 AM
T What game-world reason is there that this can happen?
"His head is made out of rubber, his bottom is made out of springs!"

A cynical part of me suspects that rangers only still exist because if they didn't Drizzt would have to go through the mother of all retcons. :smalltongue:
It's bizarre that Drizzt has influenced the rules to the point where everyone assumes that rangers should be good at TWF, when it makes no sense for them - Drizzt has gone from an example of bad play/design to an archetype!

Dausuul
2008-07-03, 07:25 AM
No... it's more that I would prefer that every class has its own unique schtick. Fighters and rogues, for example, are different enough that they can be separate classes. Likewise paladins. If there were monks, they could be done as their own class with various unarmed combat powers. Rangers just don't have that - have never had that.

The ranger's shtick in 4E is "skirmisher." A light, fast warrior who specializes in hitting the enemy hard (either with ranged attacks or with melee weapons) and dancing away.

Contrast that with the fighter's shtick, which is "heavy infantry." A guy in armor, with a shield or a big freakin' weapon, who wades in and slugs it out toe-to-toe with the bad guys.

marjan
2008-07-03, 07:29 AM
No... it's more that I would prefer that every class has its own unique schtick. Fighters and rogues, for example, are different enough that they can be separate classes. Likewise paladins. If there were monks, they could be done as their own class with various unarmed combat powers. Rangers just don't have that - have never had that.


What is exactly that makes Paladins and Rogues different from fighter, but not the ranger. Rogue could be easily "dirty" Fighter, while Paladin could be religious Fighter.

hamishspence
2008-07-03, 07:29 AM
rangers lost their magic: now they are more akin to the the 3.5 ed Scout. On the plus side, you can treat it as a "Specialist two-weapon fighter" or "specialist bow fighter" because the rules no longer make them visibly different.

Instead of saying "I can no longer make an X fighter" we say "I have an entire class devoted to two main fighter styles" Had the 4th ed fighter needed to cater to bow and twin sword as well, it would have gotten a bit diluted.

hamishspence
2008-07-03, 07:30 AM
paladin, less so: radiant damage. Rogue: more so: call him a "Stealth fighter"

Prophaniti
2008-07-03, 08:39 AM
That's just the thing. The whole "more detailed rules" is an unsupported claim that 4e is somehow less "simulationist" or "real" than 3e. Even you can admit that 3e isn't perfect. Games are, by their nature, abstractions. 3e is no less guilty of having abstractions than 4e does. Immersion can occur with or without complex rules, it just requires a certain suspension of disbelief, with or without flawed rules.

Are you actually going to try to claim 4e is anywhere near as 'simulationist' as 3e? Never seen anyone try that before, I'd love to see the reasoning. Yes, immersion or suspension fo disbelief can happen in any setting, in any game. It's a matter of how much we have to ignore, or how much suspension is required, to hold that immersion.


I mean, come on, you're playing a game where you pretend to swing swords and fictional monsters and casting make-believe magic spells.

For different people, different things will break that, will call too much attention to the fact that we're playing a game and prevent us from enjoying the fantasy to it's full potential. For me, particulary, there are simply too many rules in 4e that do this, making it very difficult for me to suspend my disbelief.


In other words, that's not even the core issue, "realism" is always given as a reason as to why Game A is better than Game B. If I were to take the first person shooter example, there are people who claim that regenerative health from Call of Duty 4 is more "realistic" than health meters. And almost never do I hear a reason as to why that's a serviceable mechanic or even a good design decision. This reason is really just a hollow echo of the emotion that says, "I like this game more." And in either case, you're still can recover from fatal wounds almost instantaneously, whether you wait or grab a medkit. Both rules are equally absurd and "non-simulationist."

I don't know why we're talking about FPS games, but... I actually think the regenerative health is less realistic than health meters, though only marginally so, since neither is very realistic to begin with. But, until we develop better VR technology, there's kind of a cap on how realistic FPS games will be. Not so with tabletop games, since the action takes place in my head.


And why do people like 3e? Because they'd rather spend hours piecing together a well-lubricated and highly-optimized machine and/or do cool things with a large compendium of highly powerful and versatile spells. And maybe they like some of the quirks as well from simple familiarity. Just looking at your sig about "flawed grandeur" says it all.

As I pointed out in my post, I generally do not play casters myself, and have taken steps with homebrew rules to eliminate the worst of the cheese possible in 3e. I actually don't like spending more than a few hours working on a character build, the reason I prefer 3E's class system to 4E's is greatly due to the cornacopia of options. I will often run what is considered an 'inferior' class, such as samurai or monk, because they fit my character concept more. Also, personally, I've never multi-classed or taken a PrC merely for an ability. To me, any such class changes have to make sense from an in-game perspective (such as a cleric going Warpriest, that's what I'd do if I were a cleric), or it bothers me.


So let me take a familiar argument I keep hearing:
"All the classes are the same. The 3e wizard was more of a beautiful snowflake than the 4e wizard."
Translation:
"I like having uber-powerfuls spells. Don't take that away from me. So I'll make up some BS reason about 4e wizards being cookiecutter, regardless of whether or not they have a unique niche to fulfill."

Saying 4E wizards are 'cookiecutter' has nothing to do with whether they have a niche to fulfill (though that nonsense about 'striker' and 'defender' niche system is purely meta-game, and thus bothers me). They are 'cookiecutter' because one person's wizard looks and feels (on paper) exactly the as another person's wizard. That's what 'cookiecutter' means, it means all wizards are the same. This is true of almost all the classes in 4E, as very limited power selection and build options means one player's rogue is largely like the next, with little to no mechanical variations. Sure, this is great for game balance, but makes little in-game sense, and I care far more about it making sense in-game than being balanced.


And that's what it boils down to anytime somebody brings up "simulationism." It eventually warps back into why more powerful spells are more realistic or why skill points are more realistic. . .blah, blah, blah. In the end, it's just used to justify a subjective preference by veiling it with the veneer of a legitimate "intellectual argument."

Looking past the fact that your doing pretty much what you're accusing others of doing, let me bottom line it for you.

As someone said earlier, regarding the fighter's marking abilities, too many rules in 4E are what they are purely for balance reasons, for meta-game reasons. Things don't stack, not because it wouldn't make sense for them to stack, but because if they did it would be exploitable and could (potentially) break the game.
Though his example of the fighter's mark debuff really seems like it should stack. Yes, fighters could then 'lock down' powerful threats with an accumulated minus to hit, but guess what? That makes sense. You ever try to fight multiple people at once when the script-writer isn't on your side? Given the fact that in this scenario they are trained fighters deliberately working together, it makes perfect sense that their target would have a really hard time with them.

Basically, I prefer a game where the rules are what they are because I'm trying to make them match the in-game world as much as possible. Sometimes this creates rules that are complex and confusing, such as grappling in 3.5, and sometimes it's simply impossible. That is the goal, however, the purpose of the rules to me. Not to create a balanced game, but to create one that feels as real as possible. And that is why I don't like 4e, because it takes the opposite approach, and sacrifices what I hold important (simulationism) for what I don't (balance).

Jayabalard
2008-07-03, 09:02 AM
It's bizarre that Drizzt has influenced the rules to the point where everyone assumes that rangers should be good at TWF, when it makes no sense for them - Drizzt has gone from an example of bad play/design to an archetype!I thought rangers as dual wielders long before Drizzt existed... probably due to a certain ranger dual wielding a sword and a torch

nagora
2008-07-03, 09:19 AM
I thought rangers as dual wielders long before Drizzt existed... probably due to a certain ranger dual wielding a sword and a torch

I doubt that sword and torch is a combat technique particularly associated with rangers, it more from the general "oh **** oh **** oh ****" school of combat.

SamTheCleric
2008-07-03, 09:23 AM
I doubt that sword and torch is a combat technique particularly associated with rangers, it more from the general "oh **** oh **** oh ****" school of combat.

That's generally the style of combat that -all- of my characters partake in.

Sebastian
2008-07-03, 09:32 AM
I thought rangers as dual wielders long before Drizzt existed... probably due to a certain ranger dual wielding a sword and a torch

Do you have a time machine? because that scene exist only in the movie (that are waaaay after Drittz) in the books at that point his sword is still broken.

I mean, if you are talking of Aragorn, of course.

robotrobot2
2008-07-03, 12:16 PM
My main problem with 4e is the difference in rules between characters and monsters. Its silly to say that just because a player controls a creature it is automatically better. Players should be able to play as orcs, demons or whatever they want!

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-03, 12:18 PM
My main problem with 4e is the difference in rules between characters and monsters. Its silly to say that just because a player controls a creature it is automatically better. Players should be able to play as orcs, demons or whatever they want!

The problem is that then you have to design your monsters so that every single monster is balanced as a playable race. Given a choice between a game which limits PCs and a game which limits everything else in the world, I'll pick the game which limits PCs.

Jayabalard
2008-07-03, 12:41 PM
Do you have a time machine? because that scene exist only in the movie (that are waaaay after Drittz) in the books at that point his sword is still broken.

I mean, if you are talking of Aragorn, of course.*blinks*
Drizzt first appeared in books in 1988 as far as I'm aware. The scene at weathertop that I'm referring to is in the animated Lord of the Rings (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077869/), which was released in 1978, 10 years earlier. I first saw it in the early 80s. No time machine was needed.

I'll doublecheck the books but I remember it there as well; I can't be sure, since I saw the animated before I read the books. Sure, Narsil is still broken, but he carried around another sword that he used in addition to the sword that was broken.


The problem is that then you have to design your monsters so that every single monster is balanced as a playable race. Given a choice between a game which limits PCs and a game which limits everything else in the world, I'll pick the game which limits PCs.That's a false dilemma; you can also design your monsters so that they aren't balanced and deal with the imbalance in some other way, either by counterbalancing things that are overpowered in some other way (eg: LA from 3.5), or not worrying about having things tightly balanced (eg: Rifts).

Indon
2008-07-03, 12:43 PM
The problem is that then you have to design your monsters so that every single monster is balanced as a playable race. Given a choice between a game which limits PCs and a game which limits everything else in the world, I'll pick the game which limits PCs.

Alternately, have a system with a streamlined way to compensate for that. Level Adjustment could potentially have done that - except classes scaled exponentially while LA scaled linearly.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-03, 12:56 PM
That's a false dilemma; you can also design your monsters so that they aren't balanced and deal with the imbalance in some other way, either by counterbalancing things that are overpowered in some other way (eg: LA from 3.5), or not worrying about having things tightly balanced (eg: Rifts).

Although this is true, WotC has included statistics for at least some other races in the back of the MM. I suspect that as more and more material is released, there will be more and more monster PC races available to be playable. Orcs are already playable. I'm not sure if demons ever will be. There was some good discussion on some other threads about backwards engineering base races for PC use off of the monster entries with the addition of monster race specific feats and powers.