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Thread: Miss 4e D&D

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    Default Re: Miss 4e D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeda View Post
    4e did have a problem with disociation between the fluff and the mechanics. Lancer fixes it by changing to a setting where the mechanics work better with the fluff (having limited ammunition or reload times fits into AEDU better). I think there are ways to reassociate 4+1e like making sure the fluff and effects of powers match better or having different power sources get AEDU-like effects in different ways (like having Martial heroes spend stamina like a 5e Battlemaster instead of literally having encounter powers).
    You know, having stamina costs might be interesting, and encourage people to keep lower-level powers.

    For example, let's say that you start with 3 stamina. 1st level Encounter powers cost 1 stamina, and 1st level Dailys cost 2. You get back a stamina with each short rest... but this might mean that you throw 3 encounter powers in a single fight, instead of saving for your daily. And as you level and get more Stamina, you might decide to KEEP your low-level encounter powers, rather than improve them... because, with 20 stamina, you can toss out 20 Encounter powers, rather than just a few.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    And to be fair, that wouldn't have much appeal either to non-4E fans.
    Yep. There's a reason they call them "fantasy heartbreakers."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Yep. There's a reason they call them "fantasy heartbreakers."
    I truly have never understood this term. Nor do I still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LibraryOgre View Post
    You know, having stamina costs might be interesting, and encourage people to keep lower-level powers.

    For example, let's say that you start with 3 stamina. 1st level Encounter powers cost 1 stamina, and 1st level Dailys cost 2. You get back a stamina with each short rest... but this might mean that you throw 3 encounter powers in a single fight, instead of saving for your daily. And as you level and get more Stamina, you might decide to KEEP your low-level encounter powers, rather than improve them... because, with 20 stamina, you can toss out 20 Encounter powers, rather than just a few.
    It's hard to see an implementation that doesn't end up being "find the strongest thing in your class list and spam it", which to me kills a huge part of the appeal of both character building and the combat system.


    About "inventive play", it is in fact explicitly allowed and encouraged. The game never says powers only do their described mechanics and have no further effects, and IIRC the specific example of fire powers setting fire to things is mentioned as up to what the DM thinks makes sense and wants for their game. It provides both mechanical guidelines and advice on what to consider when adjudicating actions beyond the character sheet specifics. I firmly believe the game is better when played this way, and I don't think that's an unusual opinion (or would be, if the matter was discussed more).
    Its flexibility and robustness are big parts of what's great about 4e. It allows for a wide range of interpretations, can handle inventiveness both before and during game time, and when you can't or don't want to improvise and invent for a while it just keeps trucking along being perfectly playable and enjoyable to just do what the book says until you feel like getting more mentally involved again. I think that's really cool. Of course, if you don't enjoy this kind of board game combat your mileage will vary.
    tl;dr: 4e is as open to imagination as any RPG, and when imagination dries up you still have a fun board game to fall back on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buufreak View Post
    I truly have never understood this term. Nor do I still.
    It comes from an essay by Ron Edwards in 2002:

    In the late 70s, this wasn't unreasonable. By the early 90s, though, things were considerably different. This essay is about some 1990s games I'm calling "fantasy heartbreakers," which are truly impressive in terms of the drive, commitment, and personal joy that's evident in both their existence and in their details - yet they are also teeth-grindingly frustrating, in that, like their counterparts from the late 70s, they represent but a single creative step from their source: old-style D&D. And unlike those other games, as such, they were doomed from the start. This essay is basically in their favor, in a kind of grief-stricken way.

    Quote Originally Posted by LibraryOgre View Post
    You know, having stamina costs might be interesting, and encourage people to keep lower-level powers.
    I'm with waddacku in being a little hesitant here. We see some precedent for this in PHB3 psionics, where the psion, battlemind, and ardent all get power points in place of encounter powers, and it leads to a term I've frequently referred to as "the psionic problem" where characters flog their best powers over and over until they're out of points.

    I would also add that getting strong powers is a big part of the fun of 4e. New encounter powers are basically all you get at levels 3, 7, etc. We should let the players play with their cool new toys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Waddacku View Post
    About "inventive play", it is in fact explicitly allowed and encouraged. The game never says powers only do their described mechanics and have no further effects, and IIRC the specific example of fire powers setting fire to things is mentioned as up to what the DM thinks makes sense and wants for their game. It provides both mechanical guidelines and advice on what to consider when adjudicating actions beyond the character sheet specifics. I firmly believe the game is better when played this way, and I don't think that's an unusual opinion (or would be, if the matter was discussed more).
    Its flexibility and robustness are big parts of what's great about 4e. It allows for a wide range of interpretations, can handle inventiveness both before and during game time, and when you can't or don't want to improvise and invent for a while it just keeps trucking along being perfectly playable and enjoyable to just do what the book says until you feel like getting more mentally involved again. I think that's really cool. Of course, if you don't enjoy this kind of board game combat your mileage will vary.
    I've seen very little of this in most 4e games & community discussion, which I think is because the game handles these scenarios pretty poorly. Of the fire-related DM adjudication scenarios, I remember two:
    • One is in the improvised attack rules, which are exclusively interested in determining damage by using a lookup table. You pick the level of the character doing the attack, determine if it's easy / medium / hard, and lookup the damage associated with that attack (this means, e.g. stumbling into a vat of acid hurts more when a 30th-level character pushes you in compared to when a 1st-level character does). It's worth noting that the numbers in this table aren't good, because they start too strong and scale horribly (like the low-end suggested damage starts at 20% SMHP, ends at 7% SMHP)
      • In the example, an 8th-level character pushes an enemy into a flaming brazier, dealing 2d8 + 5 fire damage.
    • The other is from a section that tells you that you will need to make snap decisions sometimes.
      • In the example, a character of indeterminate level turns a flaming brazier (yes, another flaming brazier) on an enemy, dealing 1d6 fire damage and imposing a -2 penalty on attack rolls for 1 round. It's worth noting that 1d6 damage isn't an option anywhere in the improvised damage table, and the 1-round attack penalty is similarly absent from the improvised attack guideliens.

    The 4e guidelines for nonstandard activities are a couple paragraphs of "idk make something up!" plus a table of poorly-benchmarked numeric treadmills. It's very anemic, which is why even highly-enfranchised 4e players will outright ignore the game's improvised attack rules.

    To LibraryOgre's example, there aren't any rules governing what the power budget is for editing an enemy statblock, and e.g. with fire, lot of 4e statblocks would play pretty badly with that. The Immolith, the Forgecaller, the Balor, they all have weapons that just deal fire damage. There's no underlying weapon damage to reference that can serve as a clear reward. That's probably why none of the smoldering/flaming/burning/etc monsters in 4e have ever implemented something like this, even in obscure Dragon & Dungeon articles. This inventive play isn't really something the game supports, at least not without a strong sense of system mastery and a lot of hacking.
    Last edited by Just to Browse; 2024-01-19 at 01:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LibraryOgre View Post
    For example, let's say that you start with 3 stamina. 1st level Encounter powers cost 1 stamina, and 1st level Dailys cost 2. You get back a stamina with each short rest... but this might mean that you throw 3 encounter powers in a single fight, instead of saving for your daily. And as you level and get more Stamina, you might decide to KEEP your low-level encounter powers, rather than improve them... because, with 20 stamina, you can toss out 20 Encounter powers, rather than just a few.
    That's interesting, but it risks having the same issue as psionic powers (i.e. that the best option is to spam a single low-level power all the time).

    Quote Originally Posted by Waddacku View Post
    About "inventive play", it is in fact explicitly allowed and encouraged. The game never says powers only do their described mechanics and have no further effects,
    It is interesting that you bring that up, because the prevalent opinion on this forum (and the WOTC forum, back when it existed) is that powers do exactly what their mechanics specify, no more, no less. This is also the opinion of pretty much every DM I've played with. For example, a Fireball spell works just fine in a heavy rainstorm, deals normal damage to fire elementals, will not set a forest on fire, and does not provide a bonus to Intimidate checks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Just to Browse View Post
    One is in the improvised attack rules, which are exclusively interested in determining damage by using a lookup table. You pick the level of the character doing the attack, determine if it's easy / medium / hard, and lookup the damage associated with that attack
    Note that 4E's rules on improvised attacks ensure that in almost every case, an improvised attack is less effective than an at-will power. Obviously, this is an incentive against using improvised attacks.
    Likewise, the DMG states that in a skill challenge, an original approach by a PC gets a higher DC than following the DM's suggestion. Although this was eventually errata'ed, it's also a clear incentive against improvising.
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; 2024-01-19 at 05:41 AM.
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    Is it inherently a problem? Sorcerer's in 3e and all casters in 5e as well as Battlemaster Fighters can do the same thing. IIRC, most of the Battlemaster's maneuvers are basically [W] + [SD] plus a rider effect, so their different maneuvers (essentially encounter powers) generally inflict the same damage, the difference being the extra effect that they cause. Do people complain about these also, or is it mostly a 4e thing? I could see this being a specific advantage for a power source (psionic in the original, martial here) to help with making each power source feel different.

    Arguably, Fireball working equally effectively in the rain against fire elementals is a problem with the latter two rather than the former. A rainstorm should weaken fire abilities and fire elementals should have fire resistance (rather than these discount elementals that Imix apparently bought). I do agree that some of the keywords need extra effects tied to it (like fire igniting flammable objects in the area), but overall they should be general rather than tied to specific powers.

    Improvised attacks are in kind of a weird spot. If you make them too powerful, then you run the risk of players doing nothing but that and ignoring their normal powers. If you make them too weak, then they'll never do anything like that, no matter how cool it would be. Something that you can only do once in this specific environment (like maybe drop a chandelier on someone) should be at least as strong as an encounter power, maybe about the strength of a daily (2d physical damage plus restrained and ongoing fire damage). Something that you can do all the time in many environments (like kick sand in their eyes) should be no stronger than an at-will or have additional downsides (blinds for one round in melee range [weaker than Eyebite], but no damage and they get a defense boost if you try it again). Having to expend a resource like an action point or encounter power might also be a reasonable tradeoff; it's more reasonable to have kicking someone into a brazier deal 2d damage and ongoing fire (which I think there is an encounter power that does that) if it is essentially replacing one of their encounter powers to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeda View Post
    Is it inherently a problem? Sorcerer's in 3e and all casters in 5e as well as Battlemaster Fighters can do the same thing. IIRC, most of the Battlemaster's maneuvers are basically [W] + [SD] plus a rider effect, so their different maneuvers (essentially encounter powers) generally inflict the same damage, the difference being the extra effect that they cause.
    I think the underlying issue is that 4E mostly shies away from situational powers, and this makes it easy for a class to have one singular power that is the best pick 99% of the time. For instance, Dishearten for psions, or Flame Spiral for sorcerers.
    You are quite right that numerous players don't mind "spam" builds (such as martials in any other edition), but usually these are classes that have only few abilities; not classes that have many abilities but only use one of them.

    A rainstorm should weaken fire abilities and fire elementals should have fire resistance
    I agree, and these are examples of 4E shying away from situational powers.

    Improvised attacks are in kind of a weird spot. If you make them too powerful, then you run the risk of players doing nothing but that and ignoring their normal powers. If you make them too weak, then they'll never do anything like that, no matter how cool it would be.
    That's precisely it. I like the idea of improvised attacks only working in a specific environment (because if they worked almost everywhere, they wouldn't be improvised).
    The brazier push doesn't require improvisation since the game has numerous push abilities already; the issue here is that the effect of a brazier (or lava, or whatnot) varies wildly between maps, and is too often just ignorable. What works much better is a controller's Zone powers plus pushing, but again that's not improvised.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    That's basically PF2 (which is also largely by the same designers), except that PF2 is much less tactical, and where 4E has a whole role dedicated to crowd control, PF2 doesn't have CC abilities. I'd say that PF2 is more balanced but less streamlined than 4E.
    I'm not sure I agree that PF2 is less tactical, although it certainly is differently tactical than 4E. But I definitely don't agree that PF2 lacks CC abilities. To just give one example from each of the first 5 spell ranks, Shockwave is a 15' cone of knocking people prone (stronger than 4E prone as you grant advantage to ranged as well as melee, and standing in PF2 provokes OAs), Entangling Flora is a 20' burst of difficult terrain + chance of -10' speed or even immobilize every turn, Upcast Fear hits 5 enemies with a -1 to -3 debuff to all attacks, saves, defenses, and skills (and each -1 in PF2 is closer to a -2 in 4E), Wall of Fire does the wall things of cutting a battlefield in half, and Synaptic Pulse is a 30' ally-friendly emanation (close burst) that applies rough equivalents of 4E Daze or Stun to all enemies in the area. Even martials can get crowd control--e.g. the 14th level Hammer Quake knocks everyone prone in (more or less) what 4E would call a close blast 3--though these abilities tend to be high level whereas martials have single target control from level 1.

    My read on PF2 is that it's a successful melding and evolution of 3E aesthetics and 4E design principles. It manages to balance martials using entirely at-will abilities with casters using traditional D&D style spellcasting (plus various other at-will/encounter/daily resource mixes), which frankly I used to think was an impossible goal. 4E remains my preferred D&D edition but PF2 is currently my favorite D&D-style RPG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiornys View Post
    I'm not sure I agree that PF2 is less tactical,
    Your post provides some great examples of how PF2 is much less tactical, because putting out effects like "chance of -10' speed" or "-1 to attacks" are not crowd control.

    Rather, that's throwing around little fiddly modifiers that in practice don't make a difference. Your choices (both in build and in gameplay) in 4E have a much greater impact than in PF2; and that's why the latter is much less tactical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    That's interesting, but it risks having the same issue as psionic powers (i.e. that the best option is to spam a single low-level power all the time).
    While I understand the balance concern, I suspect that making it too difficult to reuse powers had the side effect of limiting how impactful they are. If you're facing down a bunch of really heavily-armoured enemies, it should be a really big deal that your fighter knows adamantine strike. But in practice, they'll get one opportunity to use it, at best it'll take a few hit points from one target and debuff them for a short time, and unless they took the right paragon path or epic destiny, that's it.

    That said, it's possible that it could have worked if the general balancing of effects had been different. If adamantine strike had been a reliable power that just deletes the target's ability to have better AC than reflex for the rest of the encounter, I doubt I'd be making a comment like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfunion View Post
    If they kept their online support tools for 4e, than I知 sure there would still be a lot more players for the edition.
    Agreed. We played it up until online charbuild support went away. That was what killed it for us.

    Well, that and we didn't realize that 5e would be worse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Your post provides some great examples of how PF2 is much less tactical, because putting out effects like "chance of -10' speed" or "-1 to attacks" are not crowd control.

    Rather, that's throwing around little fiddly modifiers that in practice don't make a difference. Your choices (both in build and in gameplay) in 4E have a much greater impact than in PF2; and that's why the latter is much less tactical.
    They're crowd control at a power level that is appropriate to the system. But my main disagreement is with your second comment. I don't agree with the implied assumption that game options with higher impact inherently promote tactical play. The extremely high impact level of many 3.5 and 5e spells is a primary factor in making those editions less tactical--because in those cases the power level has been pushed to the point where a single spell can be an "I win this combat" button for most combats.

    Individual decision points (whether in build or in play) in PF2E tend to have less impact per decision than 4E's decision points, but PF2E also tends to have more opportunities for those decisions to meaningfully influence a combat. That's inherent to the core features of PF2E: the three action system evens out cost of various actions (which for example increases the inherent value of a decision of whether or not to move on any given turn because the opportunity cost of moving is higher vs. a system where movement is an assumed part of a standard turn) while limiting how much impact any given action can have (because other single actions need to have a value similar to that of moving in at least some situations, whereas standard actions in 4E can be much stronger than the value of 4E movement), the four degrees of success system increases the impact of small bonuses and penalties which keeps smaller decisions relevant, and the four degrees of proficiency system provides more granularity to character build decisions--e.g. 4E skills have 2 degrees of proficiency beyond untrained: trained (largely one set of decisions at character creation), and focused (a relatively low power option in the feat pool), and the gap between untrained and trained is quite large at +5. PF2E skills get a bunch of trained selections (+1 for level +2 for trained) at creation but then have up to three more proficiency increments that each add +2 more, with most characters getting to increment a skill at every odd level--and then the level of proficiency in a skill has further ramifications for which skill feats you might grab, which are a separate resource to class feats, and each feat pool has you picking new feats as often as 4E has you picking feats. Add in ancestry and general feats and you're picking roughly 3x as many feats per level in PF2E as in 4E while still gaining other class features. For martials those other features are fewer and of less impact than 4E powers so PF2E class feat selection and 4E power selection kind of overlap leaving PF2E martials making roughly 2x the number of build decisions as 4E characters. PF2E casters meanwhile are making well over 3x the build decisions since they're advancing spellcasting and new spell selection alongside their feats.

    If we made a 2 axis plot where one is the number of decisions/unit of game time and the other is the impact of each individual decision, I think we can agree that the "few decisions with low impact" quadrant is much less tactical than the "many decisions with high impact" quadrant. But the "fewer decisions with higher impact" and "more decisions with lower impact" quadrants are much harder to quantify--the extremes of each quadrant (very few decisions with extremely high impact, or very many decisions of very low impact) are not very tactical, but things definitely get more tactical as you start from one extreme and increase one parameter while lowering the other--until you pass a tipping point and start becoming less tactical as you head towards the other extreme. My play experience with both systems (referenced to my extensive gaming background) suggests to me that they are on roughly similar tier levels in terms of how tactical they are, but it's hard to draw that comparison since they reside in opposite quadrants of the decisions vs impact level plot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiornys View Post
    They're crowd control at a power level that is appropriate to the system.
    No, they are debuffs at a power level that is appropriate to the PF2 system (which is to say, very low). They're not crowd control; there is a difference there.

    The extremely high impact level of many 3.5 and 5e spells is a primary factor in making those editions less tactical
    Considering this is the 4E forum, I fail to see the relevance of this remark.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiornys View Post
    If we made a 2 axis plot where one is the number of decisions/unit of game time and the other is the impact of each individual decision, I think we can agree that the "few decisions with low impact" quadrant is much less tactical than the "many decisions with high impact" quadrant. But the "fewer decisions with higher impact" and "more decisions with lower impact" quadrants are much harder to quantify--the extremes of each quadrant (very few decisions with extremely high impact, or very many decisions of very low impact) are not very tactical, but things definitely get more tactical as you start from one extreme and increase one parameter while lowering the other--until you pass a tipping point and start becoming less tactical as you head towards the other extreme. My play experience with both systems (referenced to my extensive gaming background) suggests to me that they are on roughly similar tier levels in terms of how tactical they are, but it's hard to draw that comparison since they reside in opposite quadrants of the decisions vs impact level plot.
    The thing about PF2 is that it's few actual decisions with low impact. Because you have a few things you don't really think about doing. If you are built to do Power Attack, then every turn you're NOT doing Power Attack means you're contributing severely less than you should. If you're built to Demoralize, then you'd better do it at least once per turn until you can't. Spellcasters have several good options, but very few of them are gonna be simultaneously good inside a single combat.

    To my experience of two+ years playing PF2, it isn't really more tactical than any D&D edition but 5e - and even then only because 5e is so eager to let you win that you don't need tactics until the fight is well into Deadly x ? range.
    Last edited by Ignimortis; 2024-01-21 at 03:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    The thing about PF2 is that it's few actual decisions with low impact. Because you have a few things you don't really think about doing. If you are built to do Power Attack, then every turn you're NOT doing Power Attack means you're contributing severely less than you should. If you're built to Demoralize, then you'd better do it at least once per turn until you can't. Spellcasters have several good options, but very few of them are gonna be simultaneously good inside a single combat.
    In the "what makes a game tactical" thread, this was basically the point I was making.

    If you're optimized around a particular move, using it is almost always the right thing unless there's a hard reason why it's not (complete immunity, etc.). As a thought experiment, if you have ability A and B, and each is 100% effective in some scenarios, and 50% in others, there's a reason why you'd use one vs. the other. If you can make one of them three times as effective, then that one is 300% effective sometimes and 150% the rest of the time.... so there's no reason to ever use the other.

    And, at that point of optimization, that effectiveness often outweighs other tactical considerations.

    Which is, I mean, fine. It's a style of game, and one that focuses on an area (optimization) that a lot of people like. It's just one that bores me.
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    My friends and I recently decided to pick up 4e on a longer term basis than just an annual one-shot of just screwing around with a system we barely understood. Having actually gotten down to playing through a module? We actually enjoyed it immensely

    Combat is smooth, turns are quick, nobody is sitting around sorting through the utility belt of ways they want to try and kill something. Overall having a blast. Not a fan of needing to spend a feat to get some implements to work, but the retraining rules being in the core rulebook, as opposed to some other splatbook, doesn't make this as big a deal as I could be making it out to be.

    I do see what people mean when they say this game was entirely designed around playing on a table top with minis (or even better, a VTT). The idea of playing this game without Foundry makes me want to probably play almost anything else? But still, not a big deal.
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    I have to idly wonder if better VTT tools are helping people revisit 4E more recently (I've been seeing a fair few indie designs inspired by 4E).
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    I have to idly wonder if better VTT tools are helping people revisit 4E more recently (I've been seeing a fair few indie designs inspired by 4E).
    The thing that got my game off the ground, for the most part, was PF1E players lamenting that PF2E took all the traffic so the former is hard to find games for. They were starved of RPGs and the forever-DM didn't want to DM again. So along comes me, I say "I'll be GM'ing, but for 4e", and he says "better than nothing, better than 5e, and I kinda want to try it out". Another guy says "sure, that was a fun edition to play". Another person says "I've never played D&D, so this ought to be fun"... and the others came along through either curiosity or because they really love it. The Roll20 medium helps, but it's been around for years.

    It's the lack of 3.5/PF1E games that's helping 4e the most, I think.

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    Huh. I guess if I think about it, that's a niche that makes a lot of sense. Out of the three D&D's that saw play in that era, two have gotten "updates" (3.5 has 5E as a successor, PF1 to PF2) and have more recent versions, but 4E hasn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    Huh. I guess if I think about it, that's a niche that makes a lot of sense. Out of the three D&D's that saw play in that era, two have gotten "updates" (3.5 has 5E as a successor, PF1 to PF2) and have more recent versions, but 4E hasn't.
    That is not entirely true. There is no true successor to either 3.5 or PF1, unless you consider PF1 to be one to 3.5. 5e is not a 3.5 successor, it has a radically different design philosophy that takes only specific elements from 3e CRB, and also draws heavily on 2e "rose-tinted nostalgia glasses play experience" (but not actual design) and some 4e systems. PF2, in turn, is far more a 4e successor than a PF1 successor, because it is far closer to 4e than PF1 in design.

    Which is why I don't know how this should make sense. I still play 3.PF today simply because there is no other game like that and no game came even close to replicating the high points of the design.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    Huh. I guess if I think about it, that's a niche that makes a lot of sense. Out of the three D&D's that saw play in that era, two have gotten "updates" (3.5 has 5E as a successor, PF1 to PF2) and have more recent versions, but 4E hasn't.
    Successorship basically goes:
    • 2E => 5E (at least, it's marketed as such)
    • 3E => PF (it's explicitly backwards-compatible)
    • 4E => PF2 (they have the same designers)
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    PF2E was designed as an evolution of the 3E -> PF1 line. It landed on several similar design principles of 4E for the same reasons 4E went to them. That's a direct paraphrase from the PF2E designers. I presume most of those reasons are related to improving balance, and the solutions to various balance issues are probably similar to 4E's solutions because of the designer overlap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    The thing about PF2 is that it's few actual decisions with low impact. Because you have a few things you don't really think about doing. If you are built to do Power Attack, then every turn you're NOT doing Power Attack means you're contributing severely less than you should. If you're built to Demoralize, then you'd better do it at least once per turn until you can't. Spellcasters have several good options, but very few of them are gonna be simultaneously good inside a single combat.
    This will be my last post on this discussion in this thread; if you want to continue and have me respond further, fork the discussion into the Other Systems forum.

    I agree with you (and kyoryu) that the situation you describe is inherently less tactical. I disagree that this is something that is common in PF2E. Power Attack is a great example because it's not a very good core to build around. If you invest a lot of effort and several feats, you can get Power Attack to be about as effective on average as someone who just attacks twice with maybe a feat or two of investment. That's because Power Attack is designed as a situational tool: it's there primarily to help you overcome damage resistance, secondarily to be a good option when you're getting major benefits on only the next attack. In most scenarios where these don't apply, Power Attack is significantly weaker than just attacking twice.

    Similarly, it takes a small fraction of a (naturally high CHA) character's overall build resources for them to be "built to Demoralize". It's fine for such a character to choose to do other things, and there are a lot of reasons why other things might be tactically more important than throwing a Demoralize on every round. There's only a handful of builds in PF2E where sticking to a pre-planned action rotation for most fights can actually work as sound tactics. Basically, the system is designed to limit vertical progression (how strong can you make this one tool), while providing a lot of horizontal progression (how many tools are you competent with). You can't make your hammer strong enough that it's always going to be better than the screwdriver, wedge, or drill that you're also carrying around.

    To my experience of two+ years playing PF2, it isn't really more tactical than any D&D edition but 5e - and even then only because 5e is so eager to let you win that you don't need tactics until the fight is well into Deadly x ? range.
    Lol, that's a great description of 5e's difficulty level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiornys View Post
    In most scenarios where these don't apply, Power Attack is significantly weaker than just attacking twice.
    But that's a problem. You spend resources (like a feat) on gaining a new ability (like Power Attack) and then it turns out that this ability is actually weaker than what you could do without the feat.
    And it's not just this particular feat, either. Effectively, that means that the players spend a lot of effort (and the books, a lot of page count) on options that don't actually matter.

    Basically, the system is designed to limit vertical progression (how strong can you make this one tool), while providing a lot of horizontal progression (how many tools are you competent with).
    But PF2 clearly gives you much less horizontal progression than in 3E or PF1 or 4E. Compared to 5E it's debatable; I suppose PF2 is on-par with 5E's non-casters, while 5E's casters are well ahead.
    A simple example here is skills: unless you're a rogue, in PF2 you can only be good at two skills (three skills at high level, that's it); whereas every other D&D'esque system allows you a lot of broadness and versatility here. Growing from two skillls (at most levels) to a whopping three skills (at high level) is really not a lot of horizontal progression; and getting options that in practice aren't worth using (like the aforementioned Power Attack) is also not horizontal progression.
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; 2024-02-06 at 07:45 AM.
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    Something 4e did that I really appreciated was "Here's the DC to know different things about this monster."
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    Quote Originally Posted by LibraryOgre View Post
    Something 4e did that I really appreciated was "Here's the DC to know different things about this monster."
    Yeah, i definitely wish more editions and tabletops flatout added a "knowledge check and results per dc" section to the stat blocks. It's annoying always having to hunt that information down and search for the applicable dc's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartanmoon View Post
    Yeah, i definitely wish more editions and tabletops flatout added a "knowledge check and results per dc" section to the stat blocks. It's annoying always having to hunt that information down and search for the applicable dc's.
    Or just make them up! "Ok, you want to know what the orcs main god is? Yeah, that's easy. You want to know enough to sing one of his warsongs? Yeah... that's DC.... flumph."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Yep. There's a reason they call them "fantasy heartbreakers."
    Quote Originally Posted by Buufreak View Post
    I truly have never understood this term. Nor do I still.
    There was this thread a few years ago.

    Funny, I actually was the one to mention 4e.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    From what I've read, 4e was developed with the intent of making D&D work much more like a video game. At a given level, all characters had much the same capabilities, just in different wrapping.
    Then what you read is edition warring, and bore no resemblance to the actual edition as published and played.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garfunion View Post
    If they kept their online support tools for 4e, than I知 sure there would still be a lot more players for the edition.
    That was us - we stopped playing 4e when they turned off the tools which we had come to rely on. Although I would like to give Orcus a go one day.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Less streamlined than 4E...now there's a damning statement.
    It really isn't. 4e is absolutely more streamlined than the editions on either side of it. It had a lot of content, but the rules framework that all that content fitted into was highly consistent and straight forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by LibraryOgre View Post
    I mean, heck, look at the Playground. Right now, 4e has 3 posts, counting the stickied ones. The 3.5 board has four pages of posts. Now, some of that is Pathfinder, but even if it's 80-90% Pathfinder, 3.5 still has way more adherents than 4e.
    This forum is attached to a 3e-based webcomic; the relative popularity of 3e and 4e here can hardly be assumed to be representative.
    Last edited by glass; 2024-03-01 at 12:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by glass View Post
    4e is absolutely more streamlined than the editions on either side of it. It had a lot of content, but the rules framework that all that content fitted into was highly consistent and straight forward.
    Oh, it's pretty easy to find a lot of places where 4E is not streamlined at all.

    For instance, summons and figurines and animal companions all work subtly differently without rhyme or reason.
    Or, the fact that 90% or more of all items printed are vendor trash.
    Or, how exactly 3D combat is supposed to work (this is not consistent between books or between individual powers).
    Or, the oft-derided rules for rituals, and for that matter martial practices.
    Or, that there are at least ten different powers that are pretty much "Fireball" but with different damage values and different defenses.
    Or, how often skill challenges had to be errata'ed, and how often the "math fix" feats had to be (re)printed.

    Sure, 4E is more streamlined than 3E, but that's not exactly a high bar to clear. It's surprising, then, that PF2 (by the same designers who should have 10 extra years of experience now) manages to out-clunk the already-rather-clunky 4E.
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