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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    I know this is risking turning the thread into the next edition of "where did 4th ed go wrong", but I don't buy that there was anything fundamentally wrong with the rules on the base level.
    Well, that gets into the question of what "fundamentally wrong" and "base level" means. Certainly, there were problems with 4e as it was released, but do those problems count as "fundamental"? I would say that the problems with skill challenges are "fundamental" by a reasonable definition of the term, but I also don't think it really matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    But most of the issues with 4e had simpler solutions than 'Fighters are made redundant by the Druid's pet'. Most monsters needed +damage output -hit points, Skill Challenges needed to be operated two or three more times, and alternative resource systems probably needed to appear in the PhB2 rather than a year later (although psionics had their own issues). I also think Rituals needed to be a little bit more central, but that's personal taste.
    I don't see how "most monsters need their numbers retuned" could be a simpler fix than "some classes need their numbers retuned". I actually sort of disagree about the alternative resource management thing. I think 4e didn't go far enough with the unified resource management. If you're going to put everyone on one system, that's a great opportunity to break down the barriers between classes. The issue wasn't that Ranger and Wizard worked the same way, it was that Ranger and Wizard worked the same way but you still had to jump through hoops to have Ranger powers and Wizard powers on the same character.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    There's no inherent problem with archetype protection. Sure, there probably should have been easier access to other class's power lists, multiclassing should have let you get a power swap with one feat at the very least, but there's no inherent problem with not doing that.

    D&D 4e is not the game for you off you want to be able to grab whatever powers you want. There are definitely games that work like that, but it isn't one of them.

    It's like complaining that diplomacy acts before shooting in the Doctor Who RPG.

    Although admittedly, why was there only one Controller in the PhB? Also three Strikers despite the DMG arguing that you should double up on Defenders and Leaders first?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    There's no inherent problem with archetype protection. Sure, there probably should have been easier access to other class's power lists, multiclassing should have let you get a power swap with one feat at the very least, but there's no inherent problem with not doing that.
    It's an uncanny valley-ish issue. If you are going to strictly separate classes, that separation needs to get you something, and in 4e it doesn't. You can still protect archetypes while letting people pick from any list. Let people pick powers, then pick a class based on the powers they picked, and have the classes boost certain things. Same role protection, but infinitely more character customization.
    Last edited by RandomPeasant; 2021-09-07 at 10:53 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    So, it's probably fair to say that I hate both systems.

    Well, maybe not *hate*.

    If 4e had called itself "D&D Tactics", or hadn't called itself "D&D", hadn't tried to replace 3e? I'd still claim it wasn't an RPG, and I'd still mock it's defective implementation of skill challenges (and defective reimplantation, and defective re-reimplantation, and…), but I wouldn't hate it. 4th edition was "D&D, for people who hate D&D".

    From what I skimmed, 13th age had similarly bad implementation of skills to 5e. If you want to know the answer to a difficult math question, you don't ask the genius professor, oh no. You ask the high-level, dumb as a brick BDF. Because level counts for so much of the ability to make skill checks.

    OK, 13th age isn't as bad as 5e, but it still doesn't look *good*.

    So I'm not a fan of either. But 13th age certainly looks better than 4e or 5e from what little I've seen.

    I'm curious, though, how the system handles "one Unique Thing" choices like "pulled Excalibur from the stone, signifying I am the one true king", or hidden/unknown Unique Thing choices like, "only one who can safely wield / sync with artifact X", or characters generating a "Unique Thing" ("married Helen of Troy") during play, or character with more than one Unique Thing (five times winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award, famed for defeating the Banden Banshee, *and* this year's Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, or billionaire genius playboy philanthropist, head-of-family-business-X characters who are also tech-based, "my super power is that I'm rich" superhero Y). (I won't ask about characters with no unique thing, because, apparently, that *would* be their unique thing.)

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    I believe that the only limitation on the One Unique Thing is that it can't have any mechanical benefit. Although the Emperor might want a weird with you about that sword you pulled out from the stone...

    Actually, 'I am the legitimate heir to the previous Emperor, denied my position by the current one' would be a rather fun One Unique Thing to run with. Although as the class I'm most likely to want to play is the Occultist (and maybe the Demonologist once I pick up the Book of Demons) I'd be more likely to go for 'I am the last of the Cult of X' and get a negative reputation with the Crusader.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I'm curious, though, how the system handles "one Unique Thing" choices
    That's not even a correct question, as I see it. The game doesn't handle it, the people playing it do. 13th Age isn't a computer game any more than any other D&D game is.

    I wish our campaign had not folded, and I wish we'd gotten to levels 7 or 8 (or 10) so that I could have a better basis for discussing this; our connections to the various powers of the world - and that's another thing I like, how the game and the setting were deliberately connected which is something Empire of the Petal Throne also did - only got to impact play a bit before RL and scheduling killed that attempt.

    My 'one true thing' was that I was the only known (in our half of the world, which was the southern half if you look at the map) offspring of a dragon and a mortal (an elf had mated with a lady dragon who'd been hanging about court in human form a lot) (half elf was my chosen race for the bard) and that provided the DM with a number of hooks for me as I tried to find out where the heck Mom had gone off to, and why Dad had not come back from his tour (he was a musician).
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-09-07 at 03:49 PM.
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Also noncombat magic rules tend to be asking the lines of 'if you have the spell you pass the challenge', out of said spell just gives a big bonus 'if you have the spell you can attempt the challenge'.
    What its got a system to answer yes or no to a question and with supporting mechanics to increase the chance a character will get a yes. And that's about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    People say this, but it's just not true.
    I did say it felt like that in comparison, but no, I am not actually suggesting that D&D has no non-combat rules nor that combat is all a character can do. It is the primary force of the system and the secondary focus (dungeon crawling?) is very far behind it. And by system I mean the one before 4th that was apparently not combat focused making 4th a real break from the game line. And by apparently I mean you are going to need a lot of evidence if you want to try and claim that's true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    4th edition was "D&D, for people who hate D&D".
    I would actually describe Dungeon World as D&D for people who don't like D&D. 4th I would describe as too much D&D. For me it doubled down on all of D&D's mistakes. A fan of the other editions of D&D complaining about 4th is weirdly reminiscent of my complaints of D&D in general.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Edition wars are everywhere. Isn't Pathfinder going through one now because of how much 2e changed? I don't know, I don't own any Pathfinder books.

    While I think 13th Age is distinct enough from 4e that a hypothetical second edition won't have to change so much I'm sure sure that the eventual 14th Age will lead to an edition war. It seems to be a fact of the internet, when Werewolf: the Apocalypse 5e finally drops the arguments are going to be through the roof.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Edition wars are everywhere. Isn't Pathfinder going through one now because of how much 2e changed? I don't know, I don't own any Pathfinder books.
    From what I've read & played you can sort of feel a parallel between the WotC path of "3.5, then test some ideas & numbers with ToB, go overboard with balance & lose a bunch of stuff people liked in 4e" and the Pazio path of "PF1, then test some ideas & numbers with Starfinder, go overboard with balance & lose a bunch of stuff people liked in PF2". Mind I haven't done a deep dive into PF2, just some skimming & forum reading.

    Although Paz usually gets their numbers and %s right on the first go around as opposed to taking several tries or leaving stuff borked for DMs to fix.
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I would actually describe Dungeon World as D&D for people who don't like D&D. 4th I would describe as too much D&D. For me it doubled down on all of D&D's mistakes. A fan of the other editions of D&D complaining about 4th is weirdly reminiscent of my complaints of D&D in general.
    Yes, the "4E isn't D&D" claim isn't one I can take seriously. It's D&D to the bone and a direct result of the direction D&D had been going down for years. It just wasn't the direction most D&D fans wanted, as it turned out. Plus a pile of other things. And it does many things simply because D&D is meant to do them.

    To me, the thing that made 4E special was the idea that every character gets to be cool and spellcasting ones don't get preferential treatment. This hadn't been attempted in D&D before, except for ToB, and was completely dropped afterwards.
    Last edited by Morty; 2021-09-08 at 03:17 AM.
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Yes, the "4E isn't D&D" claim isn't one I can take seriously. It's D&D to the bone and a direct result of the direction D&D had been going down for years. It just wasn't the direction most D&D fans wanted, as it turned out. Plus a pile of other things. And it does many things simply because D&D is meant to do them.
    Yeah, 4e is as D&D as you could get at the time. To me it actually still feels more like what D&D should be than 5e does (and I'll extend that to 13th Age).

    To me, the thing that made 4E special was the idea that every character gets to be cool and spellcasting ones don't get preferential treatment. This hadn't been attempted in D&D before, except for ToB, and was completely dropped afterwards.
    I could forgive 'mundane' characters not getting as many cool abilities if they had broadly applicable skillsets. Sadly 5e returned to casters getting both the cool toys and the broad skillsets (even if they don't peak quite as high as a martial does in damage or skill scores). It can be cool to wave your magic wand and stone the issue, it can also be cool to be the one to rewire the panel and open the door before the monster eats you. Not everybody should be McGuyver, but a Fighter of average intelligence should have multiple skills outside of Athletics and Perception (and no, the two background skills in 5e don't count).

    My first Pathfinder character was a human fighter with 14/15 INT. I got six skill points, and could just about afford to know about history.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Yes, the "4E isn't D&D" claim isn't one I can take seriously. It's D&D to the bone and a direct result of the direction D&D had been going down for years.
    I've been walking on this mountain for years. It's been going downhill. Now I'm below sea level, in salt water. So, despite your claims that I'm in the ocean, I'm calling this "mountain", because that's the direction "mountain" had been going for years.

    I've been cooking these noodles for years. Everyone tells me it's just "char" now, but I know it's still noodles, because that's the direction noodles have been going.

    The local pool, they keep adding chlorine, but not water. Now, when you jump in, it's a few inches of pure acid. You break bones, and get badly burned. Some want to say that it's no longer a swimming pool, but I know better - that's the direction the pool has been headed for years.


    I don't think the logic necessarily follows.

    Not that I'm in the "4e isn't D&D" crowd*, mind you. Just I don't think you've made a valid argument against their stance.

    * I'm the founder, president, and sole member of the "4e isn't an RPG" club. Very different beast, that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Yeah, 4e is as D&D as you could get at the time. To me it actually still feels more like what D&D should be than 5e does (and I'll extend that to 13th Age).
    "At that time"? What made that time so limited that the most D&D you could get was "D&D, for people who hate D&D"?

    And what should D&D be?

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    In 4th Edition, you have a wide range of classes and monsters on a tactical grid, your powers are diverse for different situations (I did hold off opening on Encounters/Dailies before because I wanted to set up a better opportunity to use them) and there's a lot of counterplay and build options involved.

    13th Age has a static rest system and no decisions to be made in combat - well, you can, but there's one objectively correct choice (attack; if you're a spellcaster, cast what the escalation die tells you to) because martials don't get other options and spells are underpowered if they don't follow the Escalation Die. Attempting to fight defensively, fall back to a secure position or to stand your ground at such a place means your die won't advance and you don't get your enhanced offense.

    The One Unique Thing has no mechanical weight or ties to 13th Age's systems and therefore you could just use it in 4e if you like.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I don't think the logic necessarily follows.
    No the logic is, take the iconic structural components (importantly, I'm not as concerned about the more surface level things like how exactly spells work) of D&D and 4th has them all and leans into them even more:
    • Combat Focus: So much show even the D&D fans thought it was too much.
    • Zero-To-Hero: Explicitly added tiers of upgrades and went over 30 levels instead of 20.
    • Class Roles: It even tags them now as combat is built around them.
    On the other hand, what important/fundamental aspects of D&D did 4e leave out?

    Not that I'm in the "4e isn't D&D" crowd*, mind you. Just I don't think you've made a valid argument against their stance.

    * I'm the founder, president, and sole member of the "4e isn't an RPG" club. Very different beast, that.
    How?
    1. D&D is an RPG. (Premise)
    2. D&D 4e is D&D. (Premise)
    3. D&D 4e is not an RPG. (Conclusion by ???)
    Unless I made a mistake with premise 1, as you didn't actually say that, in which case I understand completely.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    How?
    1. D&D is an RPG. (Premise)
    2. D&D 4e is D&D. (Premise)
    3. D&D 4e is not an RPG. (Conclusion by ???)
    Unless I made a mistake with premise 1, as you didn't actually say that, in which case I understand completely.
    I'm not sure if "4E isn't an RPG" is a premise that's worth engaging with seriously.
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    It seems to be a fact of the internet, when Werewolf: the Apocalypse 5e finally drops the arguments are going to be through the roof.
    I'll bet a few centavos on you being right.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    * I'm the founder, president, and sole member of the "4e isn't an RPG" club. Very different beast, that.
    It took a portion of what D&D is and focused hard on optimizing that.
    [QUOTE=MeimuHakurei;25188617]
    13th Age has a static rest system and no decisions to be made in combat - well, you can, but there's one objectively correct choice (attack; if you're a spellcaster, cast what the escalation die tells you to)
    Not a bad point: once combat is joined, fighting to the end 'feels' like what you should try to do.

    The One Unique Thing has no mechanical weight or ties to 13th Age's systems and therefore you could just use it in 4e if you like.
    That turn of phrase tells me that the observer is missing the point of a role playing game. It isn't all about the numbers.
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    No the logic is, take the iconic structural components (importantly, I'm not as concerned about the more surface level things like how exactly spells work) of D&D and 4th has them all and leans into them even more:
    • Combat Focus: So much show even the D&D fans thought it was too much.
    • Zero-To-Hero: Explicitly added tiers of upgrades and went over 30 levels instead of 20.
    • Class Roles: It even tags them now as combat is built around them.
    On the other hand, what important/fundamental aspects of D&D did 4e leave out?

    How?
    1. D&D is an RPG. (Premise)
    2. D&D 4e is D&D. (Premise)
    3. D&D 4e is not an RPG. (Conclusion by ???)
    Unless I made a mistake with premise 1, as you didn't actually say that, in which case I understand completely.
    The form of your first augment I'll not argue with. Your second, though, is faulty: Star Wars is a movie, Knights of the Old Republic is Star Wars, therefore Knights of the Old Republic is a movie.

    Back when I was taught logic, I'd have called it the fallacy of four parts. Not sure what kids these days are calling it.

    Or, even closer, D&D is an RPG, the latest MtG set is D&D, the latest MtG set is an RPG.

    Anyway, in addition to the logic failing, the premise "D&D is an RPG" isn't really true. 2e, 3e, probably BECMI? Those are RPGs. D&D is a brand, with a number of associated elements. That brand could be applied to RPGs, CCGs, Saturday morning cartoons, toys/minis, or breakfast cereals - not all would be RPGs simply by being D&D.

    IMO, 4e is as much D&D as the new MtG set. And about as little an RPG as the new MtG set.

    I've only skimmed a little of 13th age, so I can't say much beyond, "skill checks look almost as logically bad as 5e (albeit in a different way)".

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    It took a portion of what D&D is and focused hard on optimizing that..
    That's also something I'll not argue with.

    But if I make poor gently "tongue-tongue", I can say that I focused hard on optimizing a portion of what being human entailed. But if I try to claim "humanity was headed in that direction anyway", there's some steps missing, some logic leaps that others would be right to call me on, and ask, "how did you come to that conclusion?".
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-09-08 at 10:08 AM.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    IMO, 4e is as much D&D as the new MtG set. And about as little an RPG as the new MtG set.
    While I agree that the "It's D&D so it's an RPG" premise is shaky, what is your definition of an RPG and how does 4e fail to meet it so completely?

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    I can sort of answer the "not a rpg thing", as it was explained to me 4e is neo-chess with skill challenges & rp on the side.

    To get neo-chess from chess you set up a regular chess board, one side removes all pawns and one each of bishop, rook, knight. That side now has 5 pieces. Replace taking turns with initative, replace capture rules with ac, nads, hp, & 4e powers. Players get the small side, DM gets the big side. Designate some board squares as "special terrain". Assuming you got the numbers right you still have a balanced chess-like-sort-of-maybe-similar-looking game. Neo-chess.
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Had anybody ever come up with a good definition of an RPG beyond 'it's a game that includes role-playing'? Almost every RPG includes a 'what is an RPG' section, but I can't describe it in a sentence like I can with board games or card games study from the above.

    Now 'a game which includes role-playing' is a fine definition, but it includes things far removed from D&D (remember playing Doctors and Nurses as kids?). So maybe we should strive for something a bit more narrow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Had anybody ever come up with a good definition of an RPG beyond 'it's a game that includes role-playing'? Almost every RPG includes a 'what is an RPG' section, but I can't describe it in a sentence like I can with board games or card games study from the above.

    Now 'a game which includes role-playing' is a fine definition, but it includes things far removed from D&D (remember playing Doctors and Nurses as kids?). So maybe we should strive for something a bit more narrow.
    Yeah, it's a tough one to define. I might add that it has to have some sort of rules (even freeform games typically have some rules, if only something like "don't god mod") to separate it from just playing pretend. Though I suppose that might be included in calling something a "game" so it might already be implied by your definition.
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2021-09-08 at 11:07 AM.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    I thing "4e is not an RPG" a bit silly.

    However, I wrote two extensive posts on a similar issue; the first I linked above (describing why 4e needs minis and uses square-shaped fireballs), and the second (" Crunch IS Fluff") describes what is unique about RPGs.

    https://methodsetmadness.blogspot.co...-is-fluff.html

    The post is illustrated with examples so there is no use reproducing it here, but this bit explains my point:

    ---

    What defines role-playing games is that the fluff is always important to the crunch, and vice-versa.

    Compare it to chess, for example.

    What if you role-play your bishop as he jumps the enemy's queen, loudly denouncing her sins in the name of Pelor? Is it a role-playing game now?

    No, because the fluff has no effect on the crunch.

    That is also why some people used to say 4e is "not D&D"*: sometimes, the crunch is ortogonal to the fluff and vice-versa, which is a bit antithetical to RPGs. Tripping oozes isn't a given for most RPGs.

    (*I do think D&D 4e is both D&D and an RPG, of course, but I dislike some of the ideas that 4e adopts, as the ones explained just above).

    ---

    In other words: some people denounce 4e as not being an RPG because it has rules (tripping oozes, square fireballs, counting "squares" instead of feet) that make you FEEL as if the crunch was separated from the fluff. However, this is not often the case, and 4e is still an RPG (say, 99% of the time).

    It's worth saying that some "dissociated mechanics", which were common and heavily criticized in 4e, were kept in 5e (for example, superiority dice which would make people ask "why can I only attempt to disarm a couple of times every day"). This is not good or bad, it is a matter of taste.
    Last edited by Eric Diaz; 2021-09-08 at 11:46 AM.
    Methods & Madness - my D&D 5e /OSR /game design blog.
    *5e: easy survival rules. Bringing balance to the Forge (yup!). Fort/Ref/Will.
    *OSR: One page hacks, my answer to retroclones. Would love to take ONE PAGE from YOUR book!
    *3e x 4e x 5e - Can you trip an ooze? Are miniatures required?

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    While I agree that 4e does qualify as D&D by my definition (roughly: levels, classes, uses a d20, epic fantasy, kitchen sink), it's hard for me to see how people can't comprehend the idea that someone could think it wasn't D&D in good faith. It's a radical departure from previous editions of D&D, both in mechanics and in the scope and expected playstyle of the game. The designers were very explicitly hyping up the anti-immersive aspects of the game prior to its release ("monsters don't exist outside combat"). I think the "4e is a videogame/boardgame" meme is wrong, but it's coming from a legitimate criticism of the system, just one that's been turned into a talking point optimized for virality rather than accuracy.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Star Wars is a movie, Knights of the Old Republic is Star Wars, therefore Knights of the Old Republic is a movie.
    Oh, I see, you were saying the franchise, I was thinking of the game line (not all games under the franchise) which I believe all are role-playing games. And you could get to by trying to work from common features are or...

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Had anybody ever come up with a good definition of an RPG beyond 'it's a game that includes role-playing'?
    Role-Playing Game: What people mean when they say role-playing game. See also: RPG.

    Yes its a stupid non-definition but that's actually how people's brain works (well, more like things people associate with the label of role-playing game, this is not actually about psychology). The point is more that a perfect definition may not actually exist because no strict and logical definition may ever make the loose and informal ways people use words. This is also why I will say that D&D is pretty much definitionally a role-playing game, because it's the strongest association with role-playing games society has, so if it drifts the definition of role-playing game could drift with it. Not that it has drifted in that way, and we can see it has by putting together a reasonable but imperfect formal definition. Starting with...

    (I like the blog name by the way.) That's a pretty good start. I have two issues with it, one is just I think you are using game pretty narrowly but the mechanical side is definitely important. The other is I think it is important for the players to have large open ended - which is not to say unconstrained - input in terms of the story/fluff/flavour/narrative. I actually haven't quite figured out how this is important but just being presented with choices on a list and walking through a preset web of options just feels like it is missing something.

    Again I don't actually expect to find a perfect definition. I've been working on this definition centered on the interaction between the fiction and mechanical layers of the game but not because I think that is the best way to define it, but because it is a useful way to look at it for a certain topic I've been thinking about (which might become a thread).

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Again I don't actually expect to find a perfect definition.
    There is no perfect definition because there are no perfect definitions because language is an imperfect form of communication. There's a game you can play, where you take a simple concept (like "sandwich" or "soup") and you try to provide a formal definition that matches all the things the term is used for colloquially and none of the things it isn't. It's good fun, but what it teaches you almost immediately is that it is effectively impossible to precisely define anything (consider: is a hot dog a sandwich? is a vanilla soy latte a three-bean soup?). "RPG" is a cluster, and you're never going to get a perfect definition, because people can't agree what's in the cluster. At some point, going from Clue to Arkham Horror to D&D takes you from "board game" to "RPG". But I guarantee that if you got that progression out to a dozen things, not only would everyone you asked give you a different answer for where the line was, most of them would tell you the order was wrong.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    (I like the blog name by the way.) That's a pretty good start. I have two issues with it, one is just I think you are using game pretty narrowly but the mechanical side is definitely important. The other is I think it is important for the players to have large open ended - which is not to say unconstrained - input in terms of the story/fluff/flavour/narrative. I actually haven't quite figured out how this is important but just being presented with choices on a list and walking through a preset web of options just feels like it is missing something.
    IMO what's missing in those cases is large open ended but not unconstrained ability to make decisions about what to do, at least in a strategic sense. Not input in terms of story/fluff/flavor/narrative.

    That's one of the things that generally separates RPGs from board games or computer games. I like to say that Roleplaying is making decisions for your character in the fantasy environment. But an underlying assumption is that you're not tightly constrained to only doing certain things by the rules, usually due to resolution ultimately being decided by a game master with some flexibility to improvise resolutions for unexpected decisions, and have the world react in unexpected ways to those decisions.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    While I agree that the "It's D&D so it's an RPG" premise is shaky, what is your definition of an RPG and how does 4e fail to meet it so completely?
    @Cluedrew asked me that question some time ago, and I could only respond, "it's complicated".

    But it looks like others have given a much better "80/20" version of my answer than I ever could. @Cluedrew, tell me you're seeing this.

    But, to actually contribute…

    Spoiler: my 80/20
    Show
    To start at the top, a role-playing game has to include both "role-playing" and "game".

    "Role-playing"… among many other things, involves thinking as the character / asking and being able to answer "WWQD?" / (or, as I would put it) running an emulator for their experiences & personality.

    Eric Diaz wrote it as, "the crunch must match the fluff" vs "disassociated mechanics". And that works, too.

    But… to perhaps misuse a common… uh… to misappropriate common symbolism? … these are all just small pieces of the puzzle, wise men feeling an elephant in a darkened cave.

    Sure, with enough skill and effort, you can often get to the right answer from some of these starts, but the full answer is much bigger than just any one of these ideas.

    Still, stating these various ideas all together (not that they're *all* the valid starting points, but they show that what we're looking at is bigger than "a snake" or "a rope") is a very good primer, to at least point in the direction of my definition of an RPG.

    -----

    To actually add something to the conversation… Angry recently wrote an article about "what is Role-playing?" (Senility willing, I'll add a link here). As always, he demonstrated having the sharpest mind on the topic by asking all the right questions… then demonstrated he hasn't been replaced with Folgers Crystals by still coming to the wrong conclusion. What Angry described as "role-playing"? Most of it is what I would call "character creation", not role-playing.

    ----

    And, to answer your question… how does 4e fail so completely? By failing enough.

    No, seriously - any other answer is… less correct.

    The extent to which it has disassociated mechanics, the extent to which the fluff and crunch and world-building don't hold together, the extent to which you have to turn off your brain like you're watching an episode of Dr. Who to not take sanity damage from staring into the abyss through the gaping holes, the extent to which you cannot build a background, a personality, a character overtop that foundation that makes sieves and screen doors look positively solid in comparison? That's part of how it fails.

    -----

    Let's hit this from a completely different PoV.

    (Warning: what follows is made with a high level of ignorance, of the type likely be seen at most of my tables. We're not all system and setting scholars. If that causes you sanity loss, ignore the rest of this post. You've been warned.)

    Let's say I wanted to make a new character… an Elf in the Forgotten Realms. (Now I'm switching to also referring to the character in the 1st person, so don't get confused)

    2e became 3e, what, 100-200 years ago? So my parents (let alone the elders) probably remember 2e, and even what came before. I grew up in 3e most of my life. That's par for the course - the Realms is a… volatile place. But recently, shortly before I began my adventuring days, reality really changed when 4e hit.

    My parents were both adventurers. Mom was an Arcane Archer, Dad was some Archmage / Druid thing. Or maybe Mom was a Druid Arcane Archer, Dad was a Gish. Whatever. Point is, they have a lot of classic stereotypical Elvenkind experience adventuring, and I don't know whose footsteps to follow, or whether to forge my own path, and become a Cleric.

    And Corellon Larethian isn't helping.

    The patriarch of our deities used to encourage us towards benevolence and individuality, caring about the individual, and nature, and Elves. Mostly elves.

    But the entire *concept* of "benevolence and individuality" recently died. Now "individuality" is only coupled with "self-serving" motivations. The clergy are mixed on how we the faithful should respond. Mom says most are probably Heretics of the Faith, whatever that means.

    So I don't think I want to risk breaking tradition *and* risk being labeled as a heretic by actually taking the leap and joining the clergy. But mom and dad both say that their abilities have been "hacked by Gruumsh" (their words (when they weren't using more "colorful" descriptions)) when magic and reality broke for the 3rd time in recent memory. Like, Mom and/or Dad have put a lot of effort into researching fertility magic (no, I never asked specifics - gross) - I'm living proof of their success. But they don't seem to have those abilities any more, and have upped their adoption game. I was hoping my adopted sister would some day join me (mom mumbled "Cohort"; Dad countered "replacement character", whatever that means), but, as an Avariel, I'm not sure if she even exists any more. So I'm left looking forward to my other new adopted siblings maybe someday joining me.

    But that's all just surface level stuff. Let's look at how I grew up thinking about basic tasks.

    IRL, I want to know something? I think about it, I do research, I ask someone smart / wise / knowledgeable. Students gather in classrooms to have a single expert dispense knowledge / explain thought patterns. Wisdom is passed down.

    5e reverses that. The Wiser gather large groups of idiots and ignoramuses in rooms to answer questions for them. It's a hilarious parody of a recognizable pattern.

    13th Age pushes for the "know-it-all". There one high-level guy in the village? He's the one you want to turn to for everything. A true… gentleman scholar(?).

    But 4e? You fail a skill challenge when you accumulate a certain number of failures. So you learn early on in life that nobody wants your help. They don't even want you thinking about their problems. Secrecy is the primary motivator of any functional society. Nobody asks aloud, "why is the sky blue", because, if they did, every motion would think about it, and accumulate enough failures that you were guaranteed to never know the answer.

    Knowledge is jealously hoarded, carefully passed down to a select few apprentices - and even they know when to *not* help, and how to turn their brains off so as not to interfere with the Master thinking.

    So it's kinda like a spoof on a not entirely anachronistic era, of everyone learning a trade, and masters being highly in demand, often passing along their trade through hereditary lines. Where Bob the Thatcher and his crew ("Can we thatch it? Yes we can!") are the only ones in town who are trained in the secret ninja art of thatching, and no-one else dare try ("Can you thatch it? No you can't!").

    But it's rife with oddities, like, "I was lying there, bleeding to death, and she didn't even lift a finger to help me, and that's when I knew, she's the one.". Or the question, "whatcha thinkin' about?" being one of the rudest questions ever. Or group projects being an exercise in keeping secrets. Or "too many cooks spoil the pot" being one of the most obvious truths in the world.

    Children aren't asked to help their patients with cooking or other tasks. "Can I help" is generally met with profanity, and killing people because they tried to help is almost certainly treated akin to self defense.

    Adventuring parties (or most any other group endeavor) need to find out whose job it is to do what. In fact, it's likely that, in some areas, there's licensing, and official grading. "Hi, I'm Bob the Thatcher, tier 2 Thatcher and Drunken Master grade handling my liquor. I'll do your thatching and your drinking for you." Or "Sally Archer, Olympic hopeful, and 5-times winner of Witch Weekly's most charming smile award."

    Good managers don't try to solve problems, they just grab their experts, and run down a list, asking, "can software help here", "can astronomy help here", "can underwater basket weaving help here", etc.

    Point is, it's really bloody hard (read "impossible") to think through all the societal changes necessary to generate a thought process that generates a heuristic that consistently hits the Venn diagram at the intersection of "playing a reasonable 4e character" and "role-playing".

    And that is why 4e is not an RPG.

    (Yes, there's lots of steps missing. But here, at least, is my addition to the "it's like a rope…" description of this elephant.)
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-09-09 at 11:37 AM.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Role-Playing Game: What people mean when they say role-playing game. See also: RPG.

    Yes its a stupid non-definition but that's actually how people's brain works (well, more like things people associate with the label of role-playing game, this is not actually about psychology). The point is more that a perfect definition may not actually exist because no strict and logical definition may ever make the loose and informal ways people use words. This is also why I will say that D&D is pretty much definitionally a role-playing game, because it's the strongest association with role-playing games society has, so if it drifts the definition of role-playing game could drift with it. Not that it has drifted in that way, and we can see it has by putting together a reasonable but imperfect formal definition. Starting with...
    Oh, any proper definition will probably go on for pages. But I suppose a simplified definition could serve I for now. For the moment:

    Role-playing: declaring your actions as if you were somebody else.

    Game: a competitive or collaborative activity where participants attempt to overcome a physical or mental challenge. (Yeah, this leaves out computer games. I didn't feel like adding asterisks.)

    If we assume that these two definitions are correct enough, can we define a role playing game as 'a physical or mental challenge where you act as if you were somebody else'? It might be as good a definition as any.

    We must also accept that a game can be written as an RPG and whether it can be played as one. I thereby suggest that our argument is not about how the game was played, as any game can be played as an RPG if you have the right intent and playstyle. Our questions then become 'is it possible for a game to include role-playing'as an inherent part of the times' and 'does D&D do this'.
    Last edited by Anonymouswizard; 2021-09-09 at 11:56 AM.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    To [BQuertus[/B]: Yes I see it and I read it. OK basically your argument is "I found that D&D 4e prohibited my role-playing instead of enabling it", is that right? In that case I see where you are coming from. Its kind of like how chess isn't a role-playing game even though you can try to get into the mind of your queen-side bishop. But still I see two problems with this:
    • I didn't have this problem (at least no more than other editions of D&D) and we could poll for more opinions what makes it more than a matter of taste? I know that skill challenges had problems, but for me its because it didn't represent the world, not that the world it represented was insane.
    • Wouldn't that just make it a bad role-playing game? I don't think quality should be part of the definition and while there exist comically bad games (two "Games that will be not be named" and the one from the SUE Files come to mind) I think those are still role-playing games without question.

    To Anonymouswizard: I'm out of time, but I'll try to come back to that.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quertus, you've got some basic misunderstandings of the 4e skill challenge system. But your combination of how you think it works with trying to treat the game mechanics as a physics engine for the in-universe world resulted in a truly entertaining little essay 😂👍

    Also, and I'm not sure on this, doesn't FR get retconned so it's always worked on the latest edition rules when the change occurs. The almost planetary disasters make for convenient breaks, but I though the underlying assumption was that the world didn't go *ping* and suddenly Bards could wear Chain Shirts.

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