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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    New Article Up:

    Here's the text, for those who are blocked from the WotC site for whatever reason:

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    A caravanserai is an elaborate roadside inn that caters more to trade caravans than lone travelers. Such an establishment is typically a square structure with a wide entrance that permits the passage of wagons and beasts of burden into a large central courtyard. Within the walls are permanent rooms containing accommodations, a common room, food stores, and other comforts of the road. Caravanserais thus help support the flow of commerce, information, and people.

    What would the ramifications be if a group of vampire lords secretly controlled such a place? How might entangled adventurers deal with the situation, with words or weapons?

    For the DM....

    Delyth Caravanserai

    Delyth Caravanserai’s faded walls have greeted travelers for more then a century with flickering lanterns lit just after nightfall, snippets of exotic song, and the scent of the inn’s famous baths. Like typical caravanserais, Delyth is great walled square, and travelers must pay a fee based on party size to enter. The courtyard is open to the elements, and the inner wall is riddled with doors to stables, rooms for sleeping, and vaults for safeguarding valuable merchandise.

    The most prominent area of that wall is Road Spirits, the caravanserai’s common taproom. It is here that travelers find bedchambers for rent, hearty meals and refreshing drinks, and trips to the caravanserai’s baths.

    Otherwise, the courtyard encloses various merchant booths and a central well. Delyth merchants own many of the stalls and sell mainly travel supplies. Other booths come and go throughout the seasons.
    Adventure Hooks

    Characters can become entwined with the caravanserai in a variety of ways.

    1. Traveling PCs chance to meet up with a caravan heading the same direction on the road. Merchants in the caravan offer the characters food and shelter in exchange for companionship and a few extra eyes to keep watch. After making some friends, the PCs arrive with the caravan at Delyth Caravanserai. Soon after, one of their new pals goes missing.


    2. Mazh Frenkler, a wealthy cloth merchant, has a problem. His son, normally a responsible man, refuses to leave the Delyth Caravanserai. Now he seems to be “living like a wastrel,” asking his father for money and for a few servants to be sent to the caravanserai. Mazh instead sends the characters to investigate and bring back his son.


    3. A slaving ring has long vexed the PCs’ patron. The patron learns of disappearances at the Delyth Caravanserai and sends the characters to carefully scrutinize the possibility that slavers operate there.


    4. One of the PCs has an adventurous relative who takes rough jobs, such as caravan guard duty and the like. That relative is missing after traveling with a caravan that stopped over at the Delyth Caravanserai.

    Investigation

    PCs that have History might know about the caravanserai, and those with Streetwise can do a little legwork to find out similar information.

    DC 10: Reveals the basic information provided under Delyth Caravanserai.

    DC 15: Reveals names of important people working in the caravanserai. It also reveals that the caravanserai’s owners live under the place in a played-out opal mine.

    DC 20: Reveals names of important people known to be currently staying in the caravanserai. It also reveals that the owner has been known as “Savasti” for more than a hundred years.

    Stories circulate about how people staying at the caravanserai go missing, though most are roustabouts hired to work with or guard a caravan en-route. No one finds this particularly ominous—people go missing all the time. Hired hands have a way of drifting without notice from one job to another.

    DC 25: Rumors do circulate that the supernatural is involved, perhaps in the form of ghouls, ghosts, or even vampires.

    Vampires?

    A successful Religion check can tell PCs more about vampires, as detailed in the Vampire entry of the Monster Manual.
    Important People

    Once characters have exhausted their information resources, the only way they can find out more is to explore the caravanserai and meet with its principle inhabitants.

    Vernor Grimbold

    Anyone who walks into Road Spirits meets the dwarf billeter and barkeep, Vernor Grimbold. He’s talkative, sometimes annoyingly so, and sleeps only about 6 hours a night. Vernor isn’t a vampire, and he has no deep knowledge of what’s going on in the caravanserai.

    Social Encounter: Vernor responds favorably to Diplomacy, but he doesn’t take kindly to Intimidation. Those who successfully engage Vernor in a social encounter get an earful, including the fact that Blasius the Steward coordinates most day-to-day business of the caravanserai, and Vernor reports to him. Vernor also pokes fun at Jezlar Frenkler, a merchant’s son who has paid in advance for a room for the next several months. Jezlar seems to have become good friends with Bryn Delyth.

    To particularly charming PCs, the dwarf volunteers the fact that Savasti Delyth is the descendant of the original founder of the caravanserai. Vernor mentions that he only rarely sees Savasti emerge from her home, which has one entrance in the Road Spirits and another in the caravanserai courtyard. He knows Savasti is a magician of some sort, and he attributes her lack of aging to whatever magical talents she possesses.

    Vernor is quite proud that criminals and rowdies rarely stay long in the caravanserai. He claims that Savasti’s rules are strict, and that she sees to it that those who disturb the peace never come back again.

    Blasius the Steward

    Blasius is the senior servant of the caravanserai, in charge of supplies, the readiness of guest rooms, the quality of the baths, and every other element required to keep the caravanserai in business. He sees customers only by appointment, relying on others to take care of mundane dealings. Characters can get an audience with the busy butler if they’re clever enough to make their problems or requirements seem dire, or if they offer monetary inducement.

    Blasius is a refined, elderly human who is unfailingly polite. He isn’t a vampire, but he knows Savasti and her son are. He loves Savasti, and he hopes to become a vampire himself before death comes for him.

    Social Encounter: Blasius responds to Diplomacy and Intimidate. He won’t reveal the complete truth unless a sharp user of the Insight skill catches his half-truths and misleading statements. He knows the problems Savasti is having with her “son,” and he works to play the PCs against Bryn Delyth while securing his mistress’s safety and perhaps his own immortality.

    If the PCs ask the right questions or threaten Blasius with serious injury, the steward reveals that Bryn is a vampire. He gives up another half truth—that Savasti wishes to be rid of Bryn but can’t bring herself to slay her “son,” whether or not he is a monster.

    The steward has keys to all the caravanserai’s doors, and he’s willing to give the PCs those required to get into Bryn’s section of Savasti’s underground house. Explaining that Bryn gets up to some “unpleasantness” down there, he says the PCs should perhaps only descend by day. He also gives the PCs directions to Bryn’s burial chamber.

    Blasius would rather die than give up Savasti to the swords of so-called heroes. However, he is willing to admit she’s a warlock and that she has a policy of being judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to criminals in the caravanserai.

    Jezlar Frenkler

    Jezlar is the key to a plot to wrest control of the caravanserai from Savasti and place it squarely in Bryn’s decadent hands. He has, in fact, asked his father to send servants and money, but he intends to convert those servants to his aims. He and Bryn are also plotting how Jezlar can take control of his father’s business. Jezlar hopes also to become a vampire lord.

    A whip of a man, Jezlar is richly dressed and well armed. He’s a fair hand with a sword, but he’s not willing to die for anyone.

    Social Encounter: Jezlar knows that Bryn and Savasti are vampires. He also knows Blasius is loyal to Savasti and that the steward has control of keys that could get anyone into the old opal mine where Savasti and Bryn lair. The truth is, Jezlar knows too much for such a weak link, but Bryn didn’t expect outside influence or interference.

    Jezlar lies and demurs when confronted, and he tries to be clever in evading direct questions. Claiming he’s here trying to cement a business deal with Bryn (true enough), he staunchly refuses to leave. He’s quite savvy in negotiations and bluffing, but Intimidate can persuade him to give up information and possibly go back to his home, especially if he is threatened with bodily harm.

    If the PCs convince Jezlar to go home, Bryn and his spawn attack the PCs to keep Jezlar at the caravanserai.

    Bryn Delyth

    Most caravanserai employees think Bryn is Savasti Delyth’s oldest son. He doesn’t actually do much but take advantage of the baths, the liquor, and the company at the caravanserai. Most nights Bryn can be found in Road Spirits.

    Bryn is a vampire lord and a skilled rogue—Savasti turned him fifty years ago for companionship. Always a rake, Bryn chafes under his “mother’s” authority. He feeds on those he wants, keeps others as pets, and has, in Savasti’s eyes, become reckless.

    Despite Bryn’s apparent lack of morals and loyalty, for now he does plan to give Jezlar the gift of immortality. He feels he can handle any future treachery from the cloth merchant.

    Social Encounter: If the PCs confront Bryn, he laughs off their suggestions, offers to buy them drinks, and acts particularly friendly. However, if the characters make pointed accusations or ask informed questions, especially if they can show that Blasius or Savasti want him eliminated, Bryn willingly bargains.

    He reveals his “mother’s” nature and tries to convince the PCs to free him from her control. He might even expose the whereabouts of Savasti’s resting place, as well as how to steal Blasius’s keys from the steward’s chambers. If it comes to it, Bryn can even be intimidated into breaking ties with Jezlar Frenkler, or at least feigning his intent to do so.

    If the PCs attack Bryn inside Road Spirits, he calls for help—Jezlar, Vernor, and a few other bar patrons defend the vampire. Bryn then retreats, gathering his spawn to later murder the characters. Unlike Savasti, though, Bryn has no intention of honoring a peaceful arrangement. Even if the PCs slay Savasti and her loyalists, Bryn later attacks them to keep his plans with Jezlar alive and to protect the secret of the caravanserai.

    Savasti Delyth

    To most, Savasti is a descendent of the original founder of the caravanserai, operating it with her only son, Bryn. The truth is that Savasti Delyth is a vampire lord and a warlock of some power. She is the original founder of the caravanserai, so she is also a businesswoman.

    In fact, she is an entrepreneur first and bloodsucker second. Her policy of taking only the wicked to feed upon has kept the caravanserai free of thugs and criminals for many years. Bryn’s foolishness has changed all that. He no longer feeds only on the corrupt. Savasti believes that soon his actions will negatively impact business.

    It’s impossible to get a meeting with Savasti unless the PCs work through Blasius and suggest they know more than they should. Savasti has a regal air, and she is circumspect but polite. She seldom smiles.

    Social Encounter: If the characters manage to arrange a meeting with Delyth Caravanserai’s mysterious owner, they find a woman who’s ready to deal. If they break into her home, Savasti appears almost immediately to confront the interlopers, a few vampire spawn lurking behind her. If she’s attacked, she flees deeper into her mine-turned-mansion, and the PCs have to fight through her servants. They have to face Bryn as well, if he hasn’t already been eliminated.

    Savasti knows about Bryn’s exploits, but her lingering attachment to him has prevented her from acting until now. To her, the PCs’ inquiry is proof that Bryn’s actions are drawing attention. If the characters are successful in a social encounter with Savasti, she promises to “deal permanently” with Bryn, as well as to send Jezlar home if the characters care about that. The PCs needn’t do the deed, but she will allow them to if they wish. She and Blasius give the characters keys and directions to Bryn’s resting place. If this final deal is made and the bargain kept, the threat to innocent people presented by Delyth Caravanserai is resolved peaceably.

    Roleplaying Vampire Lords

    The transformation into a vampire lord doesn’t eliminate the goals and desires a creature had while living. Some aspirations are turned to darker purposes, while other wants are amplified into animalistic cravings. This means that in addition to an appetite for living blood, a vampire lord can be motivated by anything that moves a living creature of its kind. It merely has an eternity to bring its goals to fruition, though it might have no more patience than any living creature.

    When creating or running a vampire lord as a villain or NPC, the creature’s desires should form the basis for its behavior in the game. Bryn, for instance, is self-indulgent and greedy, and he is willing to eliminate Savasti so he can have his way. Savasti, on the other hand, is a calculating monster who wishes to simply continue her immortal existence hidden from the world. Bryn is expendable when compared with that goal, but Savasti’s soft spot for him prevents her from murdering him outright. That is until proof that Bryn has brought danger to their home shows up in the form of the PCs. These complications make several story outcomes possible.

    Such complications make vampire lords gripping villains, but they also make great monsters. The vampire lord the PCs mistakenly awaken deep within a dungeon doesn’t need much motivation beyond slaking its inhuman thirst. However, with a little planning, even this sort of vampire lord can be more fun and enduring as a threat. As you would for a more detailed vampire lord villain, plan escape routes, hidden allies, and even traps the vampire knows about. It might have additional burial sites it can retreat to if seriously wounded. From such an area it can plot its revenge or simply show up again to plague the living. Maybe someone even knows that the PCs are at fault for letting the vampire loose in the first place.

    As with any intelligent foe in the D&D game, vampire lords are more entertaining if they seem motivated in ways that make sense. If they have getaway plans, at the very least a thrilling chase can ensue. A little thought given to the actions of your vampire lord, whether mere monster or detailed NPC, can go a long way toward increasing everyone’s fun.

    For the PCs....

    vs. Vampires

    When dealing with vampire lords, planning is essential. Vampire lords are often entrenched among mortals, using society’s mores to cover their bloody habits. The clever among them leave few overt signs of their true nature, but a little work can uncover their dark secrets.

    Look to the Past

    Vampires live long, so rely on History to garner information. Give heed to legends where the same name frequently shows up. Look for relatives that seem to have similar looks, and pay attention to unusual deaths and disappearances. Suspect convenient heirs and generous patrons. If you don’t already know it, learn your enemy’s name so you can further your investigations using it.

    Examine the Present

    What you can’t discover from a library’s books and folktales, you might learn on the streets by asking the right people. If you know your quarry’s home, seek out those familiar with what goes on there. Ply old timers for stories surrounding the names you’ve discerned and share a drink with experts who are acquainted with your enemy’s businesses.

    Streetwise helps with all these tasks.

    Seek Spiritual Guidance
    Religion teaches about life, death, and the undead. If none in your party is educated about such matters, find a sage who is. Learn the difference between a vampire lord and its spawn. Use the knowledge you gain to select tactics, weapons, and defenses.

    Learn the Layout
    If at all possible, learn the layout of your enemy’s abode. The most important place to locate beforehand, if you can, is where the vampire lord reposes during the day.

    Find out Who’s Who
    Vampire lords often establish themselves among other humanoid creatures, so it’s important to figure out who the bad guys are. It’s likely that many of the people surrounding the vampire are innocents who don’t know of the creature’s true nature. A little time and talk might even gain you an ally or two in your fight. At the very least, you could uncover a bit of information that gives you a strategic edge.

    Put Word before Sword
    Vampire lords are terrible foes, and sometimes it’s better to just cut one down rather than give the creature a chance to gain the upper hand. But if the monster seems willing or eager to talk, indulging in conversation might grant you the benefit of the creature’s knowledge. After all, immortality gives one the opportunity to learn a great deal.

    Expect the Unexpected
    Vampire lords are elite creatures that often have powers similar to those of a heroic individual. Although it’s possible a vampire lord is merely a foppish merchant prince, it’s likely that he’s instead a warlock or rogue.

    Focus Fire
    When you’re facing a vampire lord, focus your attacks on the vampire, no matter what other sinister distractions or lesser creatures might arise. The creature most likely to bring you an untimely end is the vampire. Once the vampire lord is down, many of its effects and powers will end, and you can then mop up its lackeys without much trouble.


    The article mentions the following skill checks: Diplomacy, History, Intimidation, Insight, Streetwise, and Religion. Obviously, they're following through on their promises to consolidate/streamline Skills.

    Thoughts?

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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Hm. I don't think I like making Religion and History separate skills. What was wrong with Knowledge(Something)? Unless there's no change to that and they're presenting it like that just to simplify the article, in which case there's no problem.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Streetwise is an awesome skill, instead of Knowledge (Local) and Gather Information. The knowledges were weird.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Apparently they're taking a leaf out of White Wolf's skill system.

    Which is definitely an improvement over either 2E or 3E skills.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    This "Roll vs. Role" title makes me want to stab something. Fortunately, it's not about what I thought it was going to be about.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    I like the way they've broken down 'social combat', so to speak, so that certain approaches are more effective than others. It seems to make a great deal of sense, and it means that a character would have a reason to increase more than one social skill.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    FYI, WotC has essentially said that Star Wars Saga Edition Skills are a preview of how 4th Ed will work.

    The formula for Handling any Skill check will be:

    1/2 character level + relevant ability mod + 5 if trained + 5 if you take Skill Focus feat

    There will be very few Skill modifiers (such as synergy bonuses, magic item bonuses, or class based bonuses) to reduce paperwork and make being Trained and/or Focused in a Skill worth it. And they're going to consolidate thematically and/or mechanically similar Skills.

    Here's my wild guesses about how the Skills will end up looking, based on nothing but my reading all the different forums:

    Acrobatics: Balance, Escape Artist, Tumble. (FYI, they’ve stated that AoO will be much rarer).

    Climb: Climb.

    Deception: Bluff, Disguise, Forgery.

    Diplomacy: Diplomacy.

    Heal: Heal.

    Initiative: Now a Skill, so that Experienced PCs/enemies go before inexperienced ones, and you can boost it by being Trained and Focused in it.

    Insight: Appraise, Decipher Script, Sense Motive.

    Intimidate: Intimidate.

    History: Knowledge History and Nobility.

    Jump: Jump.

    Legerdemain: Sleight of Hand and Use Rope.

    Perception: Listen, Search, and Spot.

    Religion: Knowledge Religion and Planes.

    Ride: Ride and Handle Animal.

    Spellcraft: Spellcraft and Knowledge Arcana.

    Streetwise: Knowledge Local and Gather Information.

    Stealth: Move Silently and Hide.

    Survival: Survival and Knowledge Nature and Geography.

    Tinker: Disable Device and Open Lock.


    They’ve already said that they’re eliminating defensive casting (Concentration), because it’s a “required Skill sink” that really doesn’t add much to the crunch of combat. They’ve also said that they’re eliminating Craft and Profession, because “you can just write down Cook on your character sheet. They’ll probably get rid of Perform for the same reasons. I’m guessing they’ll eliminate UMD as well, since every class will have every Skill to some extent. Speak Language will probably be shifted back to Common + Int mod languages.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Initiative: Now a Skill, so that Experienced PCs/enemies go before inexperienced ones, and you can boost it by being Trained and Focused in it.
    How does a monster without class levels calculate initiative? Do they use hit dice? This could cause a problem, because most of the time monsters(and bad guys with class levels) have more hit dice than the PCs. If you've got a ginormous tank of a monster that has tons of hit dice, shouldn't it be slower than the little halfling rogue?

    Speak Language will probably be shifted back to Common + Int mod languages.
    Another jab at linguists if it comes to pass.

    All I see here(I know this isn't official, but I trust person_man to have done more research than he gives himself credit for), is more rogue-nerfing. I heard somewhere about getting rid of precision damage and making sure that "every class knows it's place on the battlefield"(that last one is a direct quote from some Wizards release around launch). Skill ranks are out, precision damage is going away, and now everyone can have most skills? What, precisely, is the rogue's place going to be on the battlefield? Has anyone considered that perhaps it's not the monk, but the rogue that may be going away?
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Initiative: Now a Skill, so that Experienced PCs/enemies go before inexperienced ones, and you can boost it by being Trained and Focused in it.
    Thank god.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Mort
    What was wrong with Knowledge(Something)?
    Well, History is shorter than Knowledge (History), and has less punctuation, which are both good things.

    Furthermore, removing the Knowledge() function call means that there isn't an artificial distinction between abstract learning and applied learning - for instance, Knowledge(arcana) lets you know stuff and Spellcraft lets you do stuff, but it's very reasonable to roll them into one skill.

    Generally, the skill name changes are shorter and punchier. Insight is better than Sense Motive, and Streetwise is better than Gather Information.

    The Spined Devil card does mention a +5 Spot bonus, I think, so it's possible that Spot and Perception are different skills. I hope this is not the case though.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Blunder View Post
    The Spined Devil card does mention a +5 Spot bonus, I think, so it's possible that Spot and Perception are different skills. I hope this is not the case though.
    Spot could be visual, while Perception is social, or it could be a carryover from prior to alterations.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    What about craft(stoneworking), or knowledge(architecture). Are we just going to assume that characters just kinda know that hey! That buidling is rigged to collapse if I enter it. That seems like the kinda thing that made 2E so weird.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    The fact that Feats still exist in 4th edition means that there will be absolutely no improvement in how any rolls are being handled.

    The fact they are following anything constructed by White Wolf means that nothing will be fixed concerning how 3rd edition absolutely destroyed both Planescape and Ravenloft game settings,

    I'm thuroughly disappointed in what I've seen concerning the prospect of 4th edition.
    Last edited by Dalboz of Gurth; 2007-11-05 at 05:20 PM.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Blunder View Post
    Well, History is shorter than Knowledge (History), and has less punctuation, which are both good things.
    :rolleyes: Oh, come on. Who cares about lenght and punctation? Besides, it looks like History is something different that Knowledge(History).

    Furthermore, removing the Knowledge() function call means that there isn't an artificial distinction between abstract learning and applied learning - for instance, Knowledge(arcana) lets you know stuff and Spellcraft lets you do stuff, but it's very reasonable to roll them into one skill.
    Why? It'd be more fitting to remove Spellcraft, and let all checks for knowledge about magic use Knowledge(Arcana).

    Generally, the skill name changes are shorter and punchier. Insight is better than Sense Motive, and Streetwise is better than Gather Information.
    I couldn't care less, really. Those are purely cosmetic changes.
    All in all, my Wizard/Loremaster doesn't look like he's going to fit in 4ed.
    Last edited by Morty; 2007-11-05 at 05:27 PM.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by mort
    I couldn't care less, really. Those are purely cosmetic changes.
    True. But you say these phrases a lot during game sessions, and I don't mind saying slightly less dorky things. I wish they had figured out a better name for "Attack of Opportunity", but, alas, that name is staying. But, as you say, all very minor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalboz
    The fact they are following anything constructed by White Wolf means that nothing will be fixed concerning how 3rd edition absolutely destroyed both Planescape and Ravenloft game settings,
    What does a skill mechanic have to do with campaign settings? Although I agree that 4e won't resurrect those campaign settings.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalboz of Gurth View Post
    The fact that Feats still exist in 4th edition means that there will be absolutely no improvement in how any rolls are being handled.
    What? How do you figure? Feats have nothing to do with skill checks, more than providing an occasional modifier. And articles linked above specifically state that those will be less prevalent.

    The fact they are following anything constructed by White Wolf means that nothing will be fixed concerning how 3rd edition absolutely destroyed both Planescape and Ravenloft game settings,
    Again, what? Planescape didn't get ported to 3.5, which I suppose would make it "destroyed", except for the fact that all the pieces are still there, just not easily pieced together for you. Ravenloft, on the other hand, never really was a very good setting.
    Last edited by Fax Celestis; 2007-11-05 at 05:38 PM.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    What? How do you figure? Feats have nothing to do with skill checks, more than providing an occasional modifier. And articles linked above specifically state that those will be less prevalent.
    Oh please, if you've been playing 3e and havent seen a know it all bard ace every skill check before the roll is being made, then you haven't seen 3e being played right.

    As long as Feats exist those kind of rolls will always be screwed. WoTC butchered the game by modeling the Feat System after the Player's Option books rather than updating the proficiencies, and refusing to eliminate that Feat system by preventing all these modifiers is not going to make the problem go away.

    Again, what? Planescape didn't get ported to 3.5, which I suppose would make it "destroyed", except for the fact that all the pieces are still there, just not easily pieced together for you. Ravenloft, on the other hand, never really was a very good setting.
    Sounds to me more like you never actually read what you can do in 3e if you keep asking what.

    The big problem with 3e is that it literally destroyed multiple game settings such as Planescape and that's why they didn't get ported, or in the case of Ravenloft, they were ported so poorly that they turned into nothing more than fodder for the recycle bin.

    Ravenloft was a perfected setting in 2nd edition. The only people who utterly failed at it were munchkin power gamers. There was nothing to power game in Ravenloft. It was low magic, low god interference with a detailed horror/fear tables.

    The creation of FEATS made the Domain Lords literally GODS (hence White Wolf's absolute butchering of the conversion, they had to try and justify why Lord Soth couldn't single handedly consume Krynn), and it practically abolished the Fear/Horror system entirely by putting it all in the GMs hands (resembling the abomination of the Story Teller attitude in all white wolf games).

    The fact that these two settings were ruined so utterly by the power gaming munchkin changes that pervaded 3rd edition is proof that WoTC doesn't know how to handle a Role Playing Game to save its life.

    I also had some choice words for how Oriental Adventures was ported into 3e, when I could remember what the handbook looked like (I blocked that horror out of my mind after I read it).

    The rules for AD&D are supposed to be flexible enough to allow these settings. Instead what we wound up with is munchkin's ruining the game for the save of having a first level monk, or ninja, or thief who could single handedly conquer a 5 HD monster without batting an eye. Completely imbalancing the class system.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalboz of Gurth View Post
    Oh please, if you've been playing 3e and havent seen a know it all bard ace every skill check before the roll is being made, then you haven't seen 3e being played right.
    You know, going around forums saying that people who disagree with you obviously have never "played the game right" is probably not such a good idea. Just a thought.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Blunder View Post
    What does a skill mechanic have to do with campaign settings? Although I agree that 4e won't resurrect those campaign settings.
    Many campaigns revolve around skill mechanics. Some aspects of Planescape's special races and classes relied heavily on who had what skills.

    Ravenloft relies heavily on what group you have, and what proficiencies are involved. By continuing the abuse of these skill mechanics that WoTC has generated in 3e, only shows that none of the people who design rules at WoTC have ever played anything other than an EverQuest or World of Warcraft type of "hack and slash whomever has the best equipment always wins" game.

    If they had, there would be a modicum of understanding on how a Bard having specific skills would make him more important than a Ninja with specific skills, but without overriding the Ninja's own social class and understanding of his homeland which would play a pivotal role in the next encounter set in oh what is it called, Kara'Tur (oriental adventures land right?).

    Instead we continue to get these rules which completely remove the precious balance of rolling character knowledge or character skill checks that DMs have to fight with, by allowing these Feat modifiers. It totally imbalances what each unique class and race was supposed to bring to the table. And that DOES affect campaign settings. Even existing ones!

    Because that's the entire purpose of campaign settings! To celebrate the uniqueness of each character's class, race, and knowledge.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    You know, going around forums saying that people who disagree with you obviously have never "played the game right" is probably not such a good idea. Just a thought.
    Let me put it this way, I was working at a very boring game store during the years of transition from 2e to 3e.

    With my past AD&D experience, it took nothing for me to create a level 1 god amongst men. It's not a matter of disagreement with me that's the issue, Kurald. It's a matter of "This game was practically destroyed with feats and any knowledgable player could do it with their hands tied behind their back".

    I will admit though that Feats certainly made Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms more interesting, and work very well with those, and only those campaign settings.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalboz of Gurth View Post
    Oh please, if you've been playing 3e and havent seen a know it all bard ace every skill check before the roll is being made, then you haven't seen 3e being played right.
    Actually, from what it sounds like, you haven't seen it correctly. Bards are not skill masters, their 6+Int per level aside. Fully half of those go into required skills for the bard class to function: perform, concentration, spellcraft.

    As long as Feats exist those kind of rolls will always be screwed. WoTC butchered the game by modeling the Feat System after the Player's Option books rather than updating the proficiencies, and refusing to eliminate that Feat system by preventing all these modifiers is not going to make the problem go away.
    I'm curious as to what you mean by 'feat system', since 3.x's feats don't really do what you're talking about. Feats, as written in 3.5, are designed to "[give] your character a new capability or [improve] one that he or she already has." (PHB 87) They don't, however, make one capable of breaking the skill system with minor feat expenditure. That's not to say that the skill system is a perfect one--far from it, and that's exactly what this article is delineating: a condensation and restructuring of the skill system itself.

    The big problem with 3e is that it literally destroyed multiple game settings such as Planescape and that's why they didn't get ported, or in the case of Ravenloft, they were ported so poorly that they turned into nothing more than fodder for the recycle bin.
    The Ravenloft Debacle was not the fault of WotC, in actuality: WotC handed the rights to Ravenloft to White Wolf--under their Sword & Sorcery label--who wasn't able to make anything even resembling the original.

    Ravenloft was a perfected setting in 2nd edition. The only people who utterly failed at it were munchkin power gamers. There was nothing to power game in Ravenloft. It was low magic, low god interference with a detailed horror/fear tables.
    TABLES! Don't get me started on tables, or on low magic. D&D is a heroic fantasy game, which involves heroism, magic, and supernatural powers. Ravenloft, which dampens two of these by its very existence, is not built for D&D, and fits much better under a White Wolf, Warhammer: Fantasy, or other ruleset.

    The creation of FEATS made the Domain Lords literally GODS (hence White Wolf's absolute butchering of the conversion, they had to try and justify why Lord Soth couldn't single handedly consume Krynn), and it practically abolished the Fear/Horror system entirely by putting it all in the GMs hands (resembling the abomination of the Story Teller attitude in all white wolf games).
    And the "abomination" of a Storyteller over a Gamemaster method is what, personal preference? Some people prefer it that way, you know. There's not One True Path to Gaming Nerdvana. As for feat-creation making the game unbalanced? That's pretty patently impossible: since everyone has feats, that would represent a global power increase. Everyone has feats, everyone enjoys their benefits, and everyone is summarily increased in strength.

    The fact that these two settings were ruined so utterly by the power gaming munchkin changes that pervaded 3rd edition is proof that WoTC doesn't know how to handle a Role Playing Game to save its life.
    Again, WotC didn't handle either of these games. Planescape wasn't ported, and Ravenloft was left in the (inept) hands of S&S.

    The rules for AD&D are supposed to be flexible enough to allow these settings. Instead what we wound up with is munchkin's ruining the game for the save of having a first level monk, or ninja, or thief who could single handedly conquer a 5 HD monster without batting an eye. Completely imbalancing the class system.
    I'm sorry, but that sounds like a personal problem. Maybe the group you played with was filled with "munchkin powergamers", but there's no reason one can't desire to be powerful--after all, the D&D universe is a very dangerous one, and if you suck, you're dead.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalboz of Gurth View Post
    Many campaigns revolve around skill mechanics. Some aspects of Planescape's special races and classes relied heavily on who had what skills.

    Ravenloft relies heavily on what group you have, and what proficiencies are involved. By continuing the abuse of these skill mechanics that WoTC has generated in 3e, only shows that none of the people who design rules at WoTC have ever played anything other than an EverQuest or World of Warcraft type of "hack and slash whomever has the best equipment always wins" game.

    If they had, there would be a modicum of understanding on how a Bard having specific skills would make him more important than a Ninja with specific skills, but without overriding the Ninja's own social class and understanding of his homeland which would play a pivotal role in the next encounter set in oh what is it called, Kara'Tur (oriental adventures land right?).

    Instead we continue to get these rules which completely remove the precious balance of rolling character knowledge or character skill checks that DMs have to fight with, by allowing these Feat modifiers. It totally imbalances what each unique class and race was supposed to bring to the table. And that DOES affect campaign settings. Even existing ones!
    You keep saying "feat modifiers". I do not think that means what you think it means. It is incredibly difficult to get a high modifier to a single skill without totally throwing everything else out the window--and most often, it is utterly not worth it to do so, since skills are actually rather easily circumvented.

    Because that's the entire purpose of campaign settings! To celebrate the uniqueness of each character's class, race, and knowledge.
    NO! Campaign settings are there to set a stage for a game in which the players and the DM create and portray a story.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    I think WotC have lost track of the needs of skills. In particular, archetypal niche protection. Everyone can lie but forgery is a rogue specialty. Everyone might be able to recognise potions and spells but only arcane casters recognise magical symbols. Restrictions have to be loose to allow, say, a son-of-a-noble fighter with court intrigue skills but not so loose that an invisible wizard with high Tinker makes the rogue redundant.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    You keep saying "feat modifiers". I do not think that means what you think it means. It is incredibly difficult to get a high modifier to a single skill without totally throwing everything else out the window--and most often, it is utterly not worth it to do so, since skills are actually rather easily circumvented.
    I know what it means, and I've seen what you've described done far more often than you claim it is, with far more munchkinning success.

    NO! Campaign settings are there to set a stage for a game in which the players and the DM create and portray a story.
    IF you say that's different than this:
    Because that's the entire purpose of campaign settings! To celebrate the uniqueness of each character's class, race, and knowledge.

    Then I'd hate to know what kind of bland stories you portray. Each campaign is supposed to offer a unique perspective and story to the table. That's why there were so many different campaign worlds in D&D, AD&D 1st and 2nd editions. The lack of the uniqueness presented and retained in 3e is what I find to be an abomination.
    Last edited by Dalboz of Gurth; 2007-11-05 at 06:29 PM.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by warmachine View Post
    I think WotC have lost track of the needs of skills. In particular, archetypal niche protection. Everyone can lie but forgery is a rogue specialty. Everyone might be able to recognise potions and spells but only arcane casters recognise magical symbols. Restrictions have to be loose to allow, say, a son-of-a-noble fighter with court intrigue skills but not so loose that an invisible wizard with high Tinker makes the rogue redundant.
    That's by and large how the 3.x skill system works. Classes have specific lists of skills relevant to their character archetype, such as a ranger getting survival and handle animal, a bard having perform and knowledge() checks, and a rogue having sleight of hand, disable device, and lock pick. And for further hard and fast distinction you have level based class abilities such as trapsense, bardic music, and wild empathy that give classes respective abilities that can't be replicated by any application of feats or skill points.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalboz of Gurth View Post
    I know what it means, and I've seen what you've described done far more often than you claim it is, with far more munchkinning success.
    Of all the things to gripe over in 3e, you chose feats? And Bards?

    Obviously your munchkin-fu is weak. Since when is a +2 untyped skill bonus somehow more powerful than, say, spellcasting? Since when is a Diplomancer cheesier than Polymorph, Gate, Shapechage, or Forcecage? If you think that feats are the problem with 3e, you're not looking high enough.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by skywalker View Post
    All I see here(I know this isn't official, but I trust person_man to have done more research than he gives himself credit for), is more rogue-nerfing. I heard somewhere about getting rid of precision damage and making sure that "every class knows it's place on the battlefield"(that last one is a direct quote from some Wizards release around launch). Skill ranks are out, precision damage is going away, and now everyone can have most skills? What, precisely, is the rogue's place going to be on the battlefield? Has anyone considered that perhaps it's not the monk, but the rogue that may be going away?
    Not to be on it.

    Their jobs include presetting the battlefield, poisoning enemy water supplies or such, performing pre-battle recon, and other, stealth-oriented skills. Once the fighting actually takes place, they shouldn't BE anywhere near the front line, instead performing, at best, hit-and-runs on enemy flanks.
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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalboz of Gurth View Post
    I know what it means, and I've seen what you've described done far more often than you claim it is, with far more munchkinning success.
    Then provide me an example of such, and we'll go from there.

    IF you say that's different than this:
    Because that's the entire purpose of campaign settings! To celebrate the uniqueness of each character's class, race, and knowledge.

    Then I'd hate to know what kind of bland stories you portray. Each campaign is supposed to offer a unique perspective and story to the table. That's why there were so many different campaign worlds in D&D, AD&D 1st and 2nd editions. The lack of the uniqueness presented and retained in 3e is what I find to be an abomination.
    I don't portray bland stories, I just don't anchor them into a specific setting. Sure, I make sure that when I do tell a story, it fits in with the surrounding world: after all, that's just how reality is. but I don't make it so that the setting is intrinsically part of the story, because the story takes precedence over the setting itself. Think of thus: Romeo and Juliet could have taken place in modern New York, in ancient Britain, or in any number of other places, with little more than a few name changes. The story, however, would have remained the same. And when you sit down a bunch of different people at the game table, all with their own ideas about who they're portraying and what they'll be doing there, you don't have "gamers", you have "story tellers". Each has a tale that they want to portray, and who am I to tell them that their story isn't good enough for my world? There's absolutely no reason I should ever do that, and my players thank me for it. The setting is malleable, the players are not.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalboz of Gurth View Post
    Then I'd hate to know what kind of bland stories you portray.
    Wow, you seriously need to cool it. You just joined this forum and you're already behaving incredibly discourteously towards the veteran posters, especially someone as venerated as Fax. That paragon pseudonatural damn crab in his avatar isn't just for show.

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    Default Re: 4th Ed: Roll vs. Role Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Tren View Post
    Wow, you seriously need to cool it. You just joined this forum and you're already behaving incredibly discourteously towards the veteran posters, especially someone as venerated as Fax. That paragon pseudonatural damn crab in his avatar isn't just for show.
    The fact that I'm a veteran doesn't matter, despite your vote of confidence. What does matter, however, is remaining courteous--something I'm attempting to do (and probably failing in points).

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