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Blaidd Drwg
04-26-2009, 07:17 AM
So a lot of us are rpg-ers, the latest edition of D&D has been out for a while now and everyone (ie. those of us willing to try it) has had time to get to know it from personal experience. I was wondering what you think of it now. Has anyone changed his/her mind about it? And if so, is it better than you expected or is it a (major) disappointment?

I wouldn't be surprised if there's already a thread like this one somewhere in the unfathomable depths of the forum, but I haven't been able to find it. So there ;)

NeonKnight
04-26-2009, 07:36 AM
Myself, I love it! I find it WAY more fun than previous editions, and being a DM, find it way easier to tailor encounters based on how much of my party shows up to play, be it only 3 of them or the full group of 7 players!

A previous discussion of the 4e rules can be found here:

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2135

Midgardsormr
04-26-2009, 12:07 PM
I have also been enjoying it. It's far less Byzantine than older rules, thanks to Wizards' superior templating process. I feel like I can run a D&D game under 4e without having to worry about strange character builds that warp the power level of the game.

D&D isn't my preferred gaming mode, though. I'm much more narrativist than gamist, so I get along better with less crunchy systems.

loydb
04-26-2009, 01:14 PM
My group loves it.

NymTevlyn
04-26-2009, 01:44 PM
I'd like to play more often, but finding competent DM's that aren't idiots is a little hard.

deanatglobe
04-26-2009, 01:45 PM
It is a pretty big shift for my wife and I who have been playing Rolemaster 2nd Ed. for the past 15 years. Some friends from work decided we wanted to try DnD 4e so I am running a campaign. It has been a blast so far, everyone is really having fun with their characters. I'll be posting some maps soon, as now that I am running a campaign for others I actually have to finish my maps ;).

Dean

Gamerprinter
04-26-2009, 03:41 PM
I have no problem with 4e, though I don't play it and don't plan to either.

Truthfully, most of my books are still 2e, though I have PH, DMG, Lords of Madness, and couple other 3e books. Between different players in my gaming group, we have about 30 3e books, so we are very much invested in 3e still.

Because I am actually working on a game setting and adventure arc for publication, and since I am doing a collaborative publication with an existing publishing house that has not signed the GSL, I'll be publishing OGL, with the intent of going Pathfinder RPG when that is official in August 2009.

Since I am designing for 3e, I certainly don't want to accidently mix rules from a different version, so I don't see learning 4e to help my publishing efforts at this time. Besides, I like the OGL concept and GSL is far too restrictive for 3rd party publishers so for that reason most of all, I won't get involved with 4e.

As a game system 4e might be great, but I don't think I will ever find out.

GP

Sigurd
04-26-2009, 04:39 PM
Meh! I've played it but I don't really like it.

I am the first to admit that 3.5 has problems (especially for the DM). I find 4e feels more like a game and less like a simulation, if that makes sense. The cards, powers, etc... make the characters feel more two dimensional to me.

I can see its appeal though.

I've come to the opinion that the game system is tertiary to the story line. Really, I like the OGL. I like a framework for collaboration and open(ish) publishing.

If Wizards OGLd 4e (or a subset) I'd probably follow or work in multiple game systems. As it is, I feel like the OGL was a really good moment in game publishing and I want to stay with its rules.

I'm sorting through some free systems. I'd like the game to be more about story than product - more like folksong and less like Barbie.

NymTevlyn
04-26-2009, 04:58 PM
Play 4e using maptool with a full set of pre-scripted powers and focus on playing the role of your character (not striker, defender, but their personality etc).

matholwch
04-27-2009, 04:47 AM
For me 4E marks the final slippery slope down which the elephant in the room (Wizards) has taken with the D&D licence.

I have been playing D&D since 1976 (yes I am that old) and DM'ing it al that time through its various incarnations. Although I grew tired of the endless drive to improve it through complication, my players did not, so I dutifully shelled out the cash for each new edition.

This latest incarnation though is a step too far. It panders to the online rpg WoW crowd, reduces the whole experience to a colourful skirmish game and leaves little for the avid roleplayer.

This is why I have begun publishing my own (free) rules on my blog and running them for my friends.

I am also aghast at Wizards recent money-grabbing head turns such as making it more difficult for all the independent D20 producers that once again made D&D the market leader to get involved in 4E and the short-sighted withdrawal of online pdf publication out of fear of 'pirates'.

The latter may cost them more than the former. There is piracy online, but nowhere as much as is advertised. Products where the publisher tries to claw back as much cash as for a print edition are the rules those that suffer most. Wizards would be better slashing their prices for pdf editions and getting their profit from the sheer volume of sales they would generate. I rarely see pdf products that sell for under ten bucks on the various scan and publish sites (not that I ever visit them of course...).

On the bright side we have Paizo with Pathfinder. Still free to download in its beta edition, it looks to mend all the absurdties in 3.5. Whether it will succeed is still to be seen, but at leat they are trying.

Craig.

dormouse
04-27-2009, 08:23 AM
I/we still play 1e. Saw no advantages to 2e. 3e & 3.5e too complex/fiddly and part of a process where more stuff was moving from DMs control to the printed rulebooks (and there were enough of them in 1e). 4e seems to be an acceptance of the over-complexity of 3.5 but keeps the rulebook control and has removed a lot of interest as well as the complexity. 1e for all its faults was a good enough basis for DMs' creativeness and group RPGing and without lots of time being taken up with combat; a lot of interest was in the group and in the campaign. It may well be that 4e is the last throw of WotC's dice; too many previous versions, books, modules still being used; too many alternative Games/Rules for those who like their RPG differently biased.

Redrobes
04-27-2009, 08:56 AM
My issue with 4e is that no matter what random page I open the PH you end up staring into a large tabulated table of figures. It reads like a program requirements specification and has no mystique, flavor, or style to it. I guess your supposed to add that yourself and use this as the rules to frame that in but it still does not seem like as much fun as it used to be.

NeonKnight
04-27-2009, 09:08 AM
My issue with 4e is that no matter what random page I open the PH you end up staring into a large tabulated table of figures. It reads like a program requirements specification and has no mystique, flavor, or style to it. I guess your supposed to add that yourself and use this as the rules to frame that in but it still does not seem like as much fun as it used to be.

But that is really not that different from previous versions with regards to the spell lists taking up the majority of the books really.

At the moment, for the biggest thing is that a character regardless what class is useful in every fight. Something previous editions (especially with regards to wizards) sorely lacked.

matholwch
04-27-2009, 10:06 AM
At the moment, for the biggest thing is that a character regardless what class is useful in every fight.

And therein lies the nubbin - useful in every fight. 4E has reduced D&D to a fantasy skirmish system. Methinks they should take the term 'roleplaying' out of the game altogether for fear of running foul of Trading Standards.

Craig.

NeonKnight
04-27-2009, 11:14 AM
And therein lies the nubbin - useful in every fight. 4E has reduced D&D to a fantasy skirmish system. Methinks they should take the term 'roleplaying' out of the game altogether for fear of running foul of Trading Standards.

Craig.

Well, see, here is where I must deign to disagree ;)

While I will agree the current rules are more combat oriented, the old rules were as well. Movement was measured in Inches, Spell Area's and ranges were listed as inches, and looking at original modules like Keep on the Borderlands, while there was Roleplay in the Keep, the Caves of Chaos were combat after combat as you cleared the caves. In fact, as an adventure for first level characters, a level 1 wizard was a server handicap. You could maybe cast a single sleep spell once per day, so to be of use to your party, you could only do a single room per day before returning to the safety of the keep.

The current game system is no different. Movement, spell ranges, etc are listed as squares instead of inches, but, roleplay still exists, and I personally do not think any set of rules can set out how exactly one is supposed to Roleplay

Karro
04-27-2009, 12:58 PM
Sadly, I have yet to even have an opportunity to try 4th Ed., as yet. Some of what I've heard about it sounds intriguing. But I don't have a current game group, nor the free time to game if I had one :( (poor me hasn't played in something like 4 years.)


And therein lies the nubbin - useful in every fight. 4E has reduced D&D to a fantasy skirmish system. Methinks they should take the term 'roleplaying' out of the game altogether for fear of running foul of Trading Standards.

Craig.

Not to be too snarky, but does 1st Ed. D&D have a lot of rules for non-combat situations? I'm afraid I didn't get on the D&D bandwagon until 2nd ed, so I'm not so sure about 1st Ed, but as I recall 2nd really didn't have much in the way of non-combat rules. What did exist was tacked on and clunky.

The point I'm trying to make: AFAIK, D&D has always been a fantasy combat simulation with role-playing tacked on and thrown in the mix because it sounded fun! Non-combat rules have always been few and far between, and rarely fully functional (at least until 3rd Ed. standardized it), and it's always been up to us to to provide the roleplaying color. So, insofar as 4th Ed provides a clear and cleaner and fairer set of rules for combat (not saying it does, as I haven't had the opportunity to evaluate that), then that makes this a superior edition of D&D. If, OTOH, you want your RPG ruleset to be more robust in the non-combat department, there are numerous games, both paid and free, that do just this (I myself was working on one, at one point, before other larger life-issues sucked time away from that project).

To mollify my tone a bit, though: if you like 1st Ed. D&D fine, then I, personally, think that's great. Though I've never played it, I would hope you continue to get years of joy out of it. I just think that knocking 4E for being too combat-centric is an invalid criticism of a game that, ultimately, evolved from fantasy wargame ruleset. (Or rather, it's not a valid criticism when comparing editions of D&D; it's perfectly valid when comparing two very different RPGs.)

Pilias
04-27-2009, 01:29 PM
So a lot of us are rpg-ers, the latest edition of D&D has been out for a while now and everyone (ie. those of us willing to try it) has had time to get to know it from personal experience. I was wondering what you think of it now. Has anyone changed his/her mind about it? And if so, is it better than you expected or is it a (major) disappointment?

I wouldn't be surprised if there's already a thread like this one somewhere in the unfathomable depths of the forum, but I haven't been able to find it. So there ;)

Overall I like 4th edition, its much less intimidating for newbies to pick up and get into the game (like certain wives of people in the group).

I love the fixes to the skill system, it is much more balanced and I also like that as a DM I can use poison and diseases without the players just shrugging them off after 6th level.

I also like the skill challenges and the way they do traps now, and the rewards for accomplishing quests.

My only gripe with 4th ed is you don't have the same amount of choice in how to build your character. With the expansion books it's gotten a little better but it's much more focused than 3rd ed was, but I've found that it helps with unit cohesion a bit so even that is only a minor gripe. Overall.

Gamerprinter
04-27-2009, 02:24 PM
I can probably agree, that for newbies to the game, learning 4th edition is probably easier than 3.5 (I haven't played 4e, but from those who have, this seems to be a consistent point they bring up.)

Its like Checkers and Chess. Checkers is much easier for a newbie to learn, where as Chess is far more complex and strategy based. Both games can be fun, but if you're familiar with the rules of chess and like the game, chances are that checkers doesn't do anything for you. As a choice between the two, chess players prefer chess over checkers.

I have been playing D&D since 1977. All the players in my group had started about the time, if not earlier. We are familiar with the rules and the idea of a game friendlier to noobs, doesn't mean anything to us. We do have a couple of new people, though they are thoroughly indoctrinated to 3e, moreso than myself, even - so they aren't excited about moving to 4e either.

We don't need a more new user-friendly system, so 4e offers little to invite us to play. We are more like chess players, and don't believe moving to checkers is going to be better or more fun to our gaming needs.

As an aside, the whole Fighters and Rogues have "powers" too - in my mind is completely not D&D, so there are many more reasons that I won't play 4e. Its just that that its more friendly to noobs, by itself is no incentive to play it, by my gaming group anyway.

Nothing wrong with 4e in of itself. I just don't want to play "checkers."

GP

dormouse
04-27-2009, 02:29 PM
Not to be too snarky, but does 1st Ed. D&D have a lot of rules for non-combat situations? I'm afraid I didn't get on the D&D bandwagon until 2nd ed, so I'm not so sure about 1st Ed, but as I recall 2nd really didn't have much in the way of non-combat rules. What did exist was tacked on and clunky.

The point I'm trying to make: AFAIK, D&D has always been a fantasy combat simulation with role-playing tacked on and thrown in the mix because it sounded fun! Non-combat rules have always been few and far between, and rarely fully functional (at least until 3rd Ed. standardized it), and it's always been up to us to to provide the roleplaying color. So, insofar as 4th Ed provides a clear and cleaner and fairer set of rules for combat (not saying it does, as I haven't had the opportunity to evaluate that), then that makes this a superior edition of D&D. If, OTOH, you want your RPG ruleset to be more robust in the non-combat department, there are numerous games, both paid and free, that do just this (I myself was working on one, at one point, before other larger life-issues sucked time away from that project).

To mollify my tone a bit, though: if you like 1st Ed. D&D fine, then I, personally, think that's great. Though I've never played it, I would hope you continue to get years of joy out of it. I just think that knocking 4E for being too combat-centric is an invalid criticism of a game that, ultimately, evolved from fantasy wargame ruleset. (Or rather, it's not a valid criticism when comparing editions of D&D; it's perfectly valid when comparing two very different RPGs.)

The whole point was that it wasn't swamped with rules. It wasn't a wargame (which needs to be entirely rule based) it was a RPG. The rules for combat were very simple (and were criticised for being unrealistic - leading to the development of various systems for more 'realistic' combat, all of which took a lot more time and produced (in my own view) the gradual decline to 3.5); for those primarily interested in combat, D&D never did it well. If you look at the 1e DMG, then a relatively small proportion of the pages were aimed at combat. The DM was expected to provide the imagination and not just implement a set of pre-defined rules and very few of the DMs I knew/know ever used the published modules (though they read them with interest). The rules that did exist were designed to achieve balance (admittedly never doing it for low level Magic Users - though players still wanted them because of their power higher up) and make the game work. If you read Gary Gygax (extensive quantities of posts available on the net) you will see that his approach was the antithesis of wargaming or only doing combat.

While you can see how D&D, Basic D&D, AD&D 1, 2 & 3 were all versions of the same game, 4e is radically different in many ways. Much less emphasis on different professions and roles (everyone can develop skills in everything), and more emphasis on combat and the rule of the Rules. There were always players and DMs (frequently at the younger end of the D&D players) who preferred hack and slash, fast promotions to high level characters, and masses of magic booty and 4e seems more designed for this group than any other.

deanatglobe
04-27-2009, 03:55 PM
We roleplay pretty heavily in my group in 4e, as a DM I make judgement calls just about the same as most other systems I have played. When not in combat my players are generally wanting to do things not explicitly spelled out in the rule system, which is fine, that is my job to figure out how to referee in those situations. The DC system works pretty well with some interpretation and for any situation I can assign a DC and the players have a pretty good idea what to expect.

So outside of combat I do not find 4e any more or less able to handle things than any of the other systems I have played. In combat, I have a fairly easy time managing complex combats and can move them along fairly quickly. My players seem to enjoy all the different powers and feats and it seems to add a fair bit of fun and flavor the the combat.

I am disappointed that they moved away from a more open licensing system. But since I create my worlds, adventures etc. myself, it is more of an academic disappointment than practical.

Dean

PS. I use this combat tracker and it has worked pretty well. It tracks effects, their duration and who placed them. It is java based and once you get used to it really made managing things as a DM pretty easy.

http://www.exnebula.org/en/vcc

NymTevlyn
04-27-2009, 04:15 PM
I can probably agree, that for newbies to the game, learning 4th edition is probably easier than 3.5 (I haven't played 4e, but from those who have, this seems to be a consistent point they bring up.)

Its like Checkers and Chess. Checkers is much easier for a newbie to learn, where as Chess is far more complex and strategy based. Both games can be fun, but if you're familiar with the rules of chess and like the game, chances are that checkers doesn't do anything for you. As a choice between the two, chess players prefer chess over checkers.

I have been playing D&D since 1977. All the players in my group had started about the time, if not earlier. We are familiar with the rules and the idea of a game friendlier to noobs, doesn't mean anything to us. We do have a couple of new people, though they are thoroughly indoctrinated to 3e, moreso than myself, even - so they aren't excited about moving to 4e either.

We don't need a more new user-friendly system, so 4e offers little to invite us to play. We are more like chess players, and don't believe moving to checkers is going to be better or more fun to our gaming needs.

As an aside, the whole Fighters and Rogues have "powers" too - in my mind is completely not D&D, so there are many more reasons that I won't play 4e. Its just that that its more friendly to noobs, by itself is no incentive to play it, by my gaming group anyway.

Nothing wrong with 4e in of itself. I just don't want to play "checkers."

GP
Easier to learn doesn't mean less complex. As for rogues and other martial classes having "powers", it's not that far fetched. It's more like a maneuver or technique. Something they've trained to do. Encounter and daily powers can be fluffed away by saying that they're more powerful techniques that can only be used in certain situations when the opportunity presents itself. The difference is, that instead of waiting for it, the player decides when that opportunity happens for their character.

rlucci
04-27-2009, 06:59 PM
See, this is why I love Cartographers' Guild. I've seen this topic discussed on various other boards with with the usual flame-war results. Nowhere can you get such a thoughtfully and civil discussion. You guys are the best.

I've been playing D&D from THE beginning (Dave Arneson was my neighbor for a while there). My current group tried the system for a few months but eventually abandoned it. It just wasn't our cup of tea...

NeonKnight
04-27-2009, 08:15 PM
Yeah, see, I just don't buy the argument that in 4e it is harder to have unique characters. I look at 2nd edition, and 1rst editiona, and even worse (to me BASIC D&D), was there was NO difference between characters.

1st & Second D&D: A 7th level Dwarf Fighter was the same as the next 7th level dwarf fighter. not accounting for stats had the exact same abilites as the next guy. And for some bizarre reason, was incapabale of sneakng quietly down a dark hallway and climbing over the 10 loose rock wall.

Look at Basic D&D and it was worse. ALL Dwarves were fighters. Not a single cleric, rogue or anything else in the group. All Elves were Fighter/Magic users (but dad, I don't want to learn magic! Too bad son, it's the way of our people!)

Now, now there is some variance. Again, people being people, and gamers being gamers, they will look to 'tweak' their characters the best they can to eek out as much of an advantage as they can. They did it in First edition (how many fighters all had 18's for strength, how many wizards 18 Ints, and Rogues with an 18 Dex?) It is the nature of the game, and off ALL games for that matter.

Greason Wolfe
04-27-2009, 08:49 PM
I've been reading this thread with a bit of interest, and it's good to see everyone discussing things civilly. For my part, I left DnD behind when 3e came out. I had a great time playing in Basic, 1e and 2e, but as 2e started pushing out more and more "Complete Handbooks," I started to get a bit disgusted with the whole thing and made the shift to Hero Systems (Champions, Fantasy Hero, Horror Hero etc.) and never really looked back.

While the "rules" of Hero Systems were a bit more complicated, they were more "generic" in the sense that they could be applied to any genre of play, and the character builds were completely open ended with archetype suggestions rather than set classes. I was fortunate enough, as well, to play with a group that really went after the story with combat taking a second place role in overall play.

Still, for those that like the latest DnD publications, I suppose it can't be an all bad thing. I don't personally know anyone playing in that system as it stands right now and I, for that matter, haven't actually played in years other than chat-based freeform which is a whole 'nother beast.

As a side comment, I never found that Wizards were terribly lame, particularly in 2e. In my game I made the shift from the Spells/Level system to a Spell Points system that allowed the wizards to contribute a bit more freely. By the same token, I always recommended to my players that they take secondary skills that could be useful on a regular basis. It didn't always work, but it did give everyone a chance to contribute in some way.

GW

Ascension
04-27-2009, 10:56 PM
Rules schmules...I just make things up as I go. I don't want a dice roll determining how my story goes. If I want the trap to snag someone then I roll the dice (for the player's benefit) and no matter what the dice says, I SAY it snags them. I roll a dice to determine hits 1-3 is a miss and 4-6 is a hit, damage is my discretion. I'm not going to go over a bunch of tables and dice rolls...it makes it too boring and slows things down. I want things to move along with excitement and fun and be fast as well. So for me, rules, tables, and numbers are clunky and they get in the way of a good story...I'm an artist not an accountant.

Gamerprinter
04-27-2009, 10:58 PM
Yeah, the whole chess vs. checkers comparison was only loose analogy. I know of nothing I can compare similarly to a difference between RPG rules sets, as everything is "apples and oranges" in comparison - I didn't mean to imply the 4e was not complex. Its that 4e and 3e are "apples and oranges", and I prefer oranges, nuff said.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm exploring the world of being a 3pp. In trying to create cohesive adventures and settings that are balanced and make sense, yet still someplace to have fun, I want to work with a system I am already comfortable with. I know 3e.

I even looked at Rolemaster or HARP, since I won their contest and obtained books from those rules sets. In the end, they are different games and without experience using them, I don't know the nuance required to create modules that work well.

Since my gaming group is firmly set in 3e, I have no reason to look at 4e. And since the publisher I am doing a collaborative publication with, hasn't signed the GSL, but has been approved for Pathfinder RPG compatibility. My best course is publishing OGL, then republishing Pathfinder RPG in August 2009 when that becomes official.

Its not an "end all be all" commitment, just the most logical direction for me at this time. So nothing against 4e or 4e gamers, 3e just works for me right now.

GP

NeonKnight
04-27-2009, 11:25 PM
And I agree, Gameprinter has the best argument: I Prefer 3e!

I feel the same. I can say I have played OD&D, 1e, 2e, 2e Skills & Powers, 3e, 3.5e, and 4e. Of them all I prefer 4e. That is not say 4e is the best, but that for ME 4e is the best

Karro
04-28-2009, 09:58 AM
And I agree, Gameprinter has the best argument: I Prefer 3e!

I feel the same. I can say I have played OD&D, 1e, 2e, 2e Skills & Powers, 3e, 3.5e, and 4e. Of them all I prefer 4e. That is not say 4e is the best, but that for ME 4e is the best

I agree with that sentiment: "I just like it better" is probably the best argument. I've only played 2nd and 3rd (but not 3.5), and of those I like 3rd best, but I've never played 4th, so I have yet to pass my personal judgment, and I refuse to until and unless I get the chance to play it and try it out.

Midgardsormr
04-28-2009, 11:11 AM
I do have one issue with 4e, and that's the lack of secondary skills. There is no room in the rules for a character who was an apprentice cooper before running off to become an adventurer, and the thousands of farmers' sons on a path to glory know nothing about farming. I'm thinking I'll tack on a portion of the secondary skills system from Rolemaster.

NymTevlyn
04-28-2009, 11:39 AM
I do have one issue with 4e, and that's the lack of secondary skills. There is no room in the rules for a character who was an apprentice cooper before running off to become an adventurer, and the thousands of farmers' sons on a path to glory know nothing about farming. I'm thinking I'll tack on a portion of the secondary skills system from Rolemaster.

What purpose would that serve? It's a background skill that you can write into your characters history. Only ****ty dm's ignore simple points of a background like that.

Pilias
04-28-2009, 02:02 PM
Yeah, see, I just don't buy the argument that in 4e it is harder to have unique characters. I look at 2nd edition, and 1rst editiona, and even worse (to me BASIC D&D), was there was NO difference between characters.

1st & Second D&D: A 7th level Dwarf Fighter was the same as the next 7th level dwarf fighter. not accounting for stats had the exact same abilites as the next guy. And for some bizarre reason, was incapabale of sneakng quietly down a dark hallway and climbing over the 10 loose rock wall.

Look at Basic D&D and it was worse. ALL Dwarves were fighters. Not a single cleric, rogue or anything else in the group. All Elves were Fighter/Magic users (but dad, I don't want to learn magic! Too bad son, it's the way of our people!)

Now, now there is some variance. Again, people being people, and gamers being gamers, they will look to 'tweak' their characters the best they can to eek out as much of an advantage as they can. They did it in First edition (how many fighters all had 18's for strength, how many wizards 18 Ints, and Rogues with an 18 Dex?) It is the nature of the game, and off ALL games for that matter.

Compared to 3rd ed there is less choice by far.

Pilias
04-28-2009, 02:05 PM
I do have one issue with 4e, and that's the lack of secondary skills. There is no room in the rules for a character who was an apprentice cooper before running off to become an adventurer, and the thousands of farmers' sons on a path to glory know nothing about farming. I'm thinking I'll tack on a portion of the secondary skills system from Rolemaster.


Actually with the PHB2 and backgrounds you can work in those kinds of things

nolgroth
04-28-2009, 04:31 PM
Looked at the initial release of D&D 4th. Was not overly impressed, but I also did not have the negative response like I did with 3rd Edition. I think the whole skirmish thing is about right and it would be fun for the occasional evening worth of entertainment. For role-playing I'll stick to my old standby; HERO.

megahunter
04-28-2009, 07:32 PM
I haven't bought the books so I could only flip through the books at a friend's house.
The core rules didn't shock me, but I prefer the overly complex system there is with 3.5 (yeah, I'm strange) which I have changed slightly thanks to the OGL.

What really put me off is the new Forgotten Realms. Wizards has made so much change that I think they have lost their personality pretty much.

Midgardsormr
04-28-2009, 08:27 PM
What purpose would that serve? It's a background skill that you can write into your characters history. Only ****ty dm's ignore simple points of a background like that.

Because sometimes my players like to actually use the skills in their background descriptions, and it's handy to have some kind of system in place for adjudicating whether or not they can manage to keep their sloop from capsizing in the storm.

And I would thank you to keep a civil tongue with me, please.

Greason Wolfe
04-28-2009, 08:39 PM
Have to say that I am in agreement with Midgardsormr on this one. Some of the best times I've ever had at the table back when I played, were based on those background skills and having a way to adjudicate them. Admittedly, they don't all have to be based on dice rolling, but there have been plenty of times when some, seemingly useless skill has turned the tide in an adventure.

Of course such things shouldn't be ignored by DM/GMs, but without some way to define and/or adjudicate them, things can get bogged down. Any such skills need to make sense for the character as well and be a reasonable part of their background.

I can recall one particular instance where the other players and myself were all starting with "new" characters that had never "adventured" before. My character was a farm boy that had spent his youth slaughtering livestock for meals and wrestling with his older siblings. When we hit the first battle, that wrestling experience came in handy and, after the bloodshed, my character, along with one other, were the only ones that didn't get "sick" from seeing all the dead bodies and flowing blood. It made for a really good RP session as everyone actually got into their characters from a background point of view rather than a "mechanical" point of view. From there on, everyone developed their characters based on that background rather than "min/maxing" for optimal character effectiveness.

GW

Rogueleader89
04-28-2009, 09:14 PM
My group tried 4e for a couple of months, then went back to 3.5. I like how they have simplified some portions of the game in 4e (such as some parts of combat), but I think they carried that simplification a bit too far. Skills were done well in 3.5, they really didn't need to be changed for 4. I have far too much to say about my belief that 4e ruined the (admittedly flawed in some areas) 3.5 magic system to go much into it. The lack of ability to create items in 4e is very disappointing as well. In my opinion, 4e has simplified things to the point of restricting players who so choose to follow all of its rules (and not create homebrew rules), we did not need restrictions, we needed some limited simplification, minor rule fixes, and creative new mechanics that made the game more fun.


In short: I prefer 3.5 over 4e

Gamerprinter
04-28-2009, 10:07 PM
In my opinion, 4e has simplified things to the point of restricting players who so choose to follow all of its rules (and not create homebrew rules), we did not need restrictions, we needed some limited simplification, minor rule fixes, and creative new mechanics that made the game more fun.

And this is why I am hopeful in the upcoming Pathfinder RPG and 3pp books that will support that system. It has been mentioned that not everything in the Beta version of Pathfinder will stay, some things will revert more to 3.5 than they currently stand. However, combat has been simplified somewhat. Grapple is a single d20 roll, that and other combat issue things such as Trip, Bull Rush are under the combined mechanic of CMB, or Combat Maneuverability Base. The five foot step is gone as well.

One of the third party publishers in support of Pathfinder, is one I've been reading about on the ENWorld forums, Bad Axe Games, Trailblazer. Among the many ideas brought up with that add-on system is a simplified encounter creation that is somewhat based on 4e ideas. It works especially well for a party of mixed level adventurers fighting mixed level opponents in a 3 step process, an idea that I really like.

The goal with Pathfinder is to maintain the viability of 3.5 with fixes to that system while basically remaining backwards compatible to it. I can agree that parts of 3.5 need fixed or simplified and that is what Paizo's rules set is supposed to do.

I can't wait until August 2009 when Pathfinder is officially released.

GP

NeonKnight
04-29-2009, 03:22 AM
Because sometimes my players like to actually use the skills in their background descriptions, and it's handy to have some kind of system in place for adjudicating whether or not they can manage to keep their sloop from capsizing in the storm.

And I would thank you to keep a civil tongue with me, please.

Actually 4e would make this really simple. Just give your player a 'freebie' skill in whatever, and then give them a +5 bonus for being trained in that skill.

NymTevlyn
04-29-2009, 04:38 AM
Because sometimes my players like to actually use the skills in their background descriptions, and it's handy to have some kind of system in place for adjudicating whether or not they can manage to keep their sloop from capsizing in the storm.
Yeah... it's soooo hard for the player to roll a d20 and soooo hard for the DM to make up a target number on the spot. I guess there are crappy DM's everywhere that can't handle anything unexpected that isn't covered by the rules anywhere. I guess we should add every single tiny rule that could possibly come up at any point in time in any campaign just to make sure every DM knows exactly what to do.


Looked at the initial release of D&D 4th. Was not overly impressed, but I also did not have the negative response like I did with 3rd Edition. I think the whole skirmish thing is about right and it would be fun for the occasional evening worth of entertainment. For role-playing I'll stick to my old standby; HERO.
There's nothing in the rules that prevents you from roleplaying.

Gamerprinter
04-29-2009, 04:50 AM
Yeah... it's soooo hard for the player to roll a d20 and soooo hard for the DM to make up a target number on the spot. I guess there are crappy DM's everywhere that can't handle anything unexpected that isn't covered by the rules anywhere. I guess we should add every single tiny rule that could possibly come up at any point in time in any campaign just to make sure every DM knows exactly what to do.


There's nothing in the rules that prevents you from roleplaying.

Hey there, lighten up! You're not everybody's DM, you got your style and they've got theres. Perhaps its easier for them to work from a table, its not your position to tell them they are wrong or crappy - that's your opinion and keep it to yourself.

This is supposed to be a friendly board - you're not being very friendly.

You obviously prefer 4e, and like to defend from any criticism, there's nothing wrong with your opinion, but there's nothing wrong with Midgard's or Nolgroth's opinion either. Disagree fine, but stop being so condescending, there's no need for that.

If this thread turns into a flame war, I'll recommend that it closes now or be removed altogether. You want to get nasty about it, go to EnWorld or Gleemax. Your attitude doesn't belong here.

Just lighten up a bit. We can discuss issues without getting heated.

GP

NymTevlyn
04-29-2009, 06:37 AM
It has nothing to do with 4e itself, but people that whine about any rules system because it supposedly limits roleplaying. I heard it about 3e when it was released and now people are whining about 4e. It's just stupid.

NeonKnight
04-29-2009, 08:03 AM
WOW!

I'd hate to put my MODERATOR (TM) hat on and lock this thread, and have this be the FIRST thread in the history of this forum to get this treatment. but lets play nice and AGREE to DISAGREE!

Ok?

Ascension
04-29-2009, 09:28 AM
I'm with Neon...you've said your piece Nym, now let it go. We're not here to determine who the superior DM is, we're here to discuss what we like and don't like about the 4e system.

Midgardsormr
04-29-2009, 10:58 AM
It has nothing to do with 4e itself, but people that whine about any rules system because it supposedly limits roleplaying. I heard it about 3e when it was released and now people are whining about 4e. It's just stupid.

I'd like to point out that I currently do play 4e, I like 4e, and I am enjoying 4e. There's no whining coming from my corner. No system is completely perfect, though, and I simply offered up what I am going to do to make it better for my group.

I do not appreciate your condescension, nor the implication that you know anything about how good a GM I am having never sat at my table.

If you wish to disagree with my opinion, feel free, but do not reduce the discussion to the level of insults and name calling.

Now, why add system from another game? I won't be adding the die roll mechanics—there's no sense in diluting the elegant d20 rule already in place, but there's also little sense in my writing a skill list and attendant descriptions from scratch. I reviewed the RM rules yesterday, and it looks like that's really the only thing I'll be able to use, anyway: the list and descriptions.

NymTevlyn
04-29-2009, 01:30 PM
It's not an opinion. It's a statement of fact. A GM that can't handle the unexpected shouldn't be GM'ing. That is the point of having a GM at the table. To handle the unexpected when the rules don't apply. If the only things you're allowed to do are what the rules say you can, you have a board game with no room for creativity, not an rpg.

Here's the only rule you'll ever need for when the actual rules don't cover something.

When in doubt, roll a die. Odd, they fail. Even, they succeed.

There. Now anyone can GM and "handle" the unexpected with a simple rule.

Korash
04-29-2009, 01:32 PM
Okay, time to chime in with my two cents (plus tax) worth...

To begin with, I must mention that I have read through some of the rules for 4E but have only played in 1 demo session (played a Worlock). I did find that there were a few things that I liked about it (character creation was fast, combat smooth, minions) but that there were quite a few things that bothered me about it (spells/lack of, EVERYone being able to heal themselves/force opponents to attack them/have powers, character developement options, +++). Like I said I am not too familiar with the rules, and so might have missed some finer points to what I see as problems with the system. I will say that I did enjoy the demo, and might play more one-offs in 4E, but I see it more of a combat simulator than a roleplaying system.

Having said all that, I beleive that the two are not mutually exclusive. Roleplaying does not depend on combat mechanics to work (Amber and LRP proved that), but is more often overlayed on a system of rules that allows for comparison of character bilities. Some RPGs put more emphasis on RP and others put it on dice rolling (Rolemaster anyone?). Which is better? "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". To each his/her own. I prefer to create a character background, THEN use whatever rules we are going to be using to flesh the stats out to what ever extent the rules allow. If the rules are more combat heavy/skills light (like 4E) I can still play according to the background, it will just take a bit more effort/communication from me and the GM, and the other players if they are also up to doing some RP.

okay....soooo.....maybe a nickle worth...

Gamerprinter
04-29-2009, 02:09 PM
There are more differences in style in playing D&D.

Though this doesn't describe me, you have to allow that D&D can be played as a combat simulationist game, especially if you rely on mechanics more than fluff. Nothing wrong with that, but that means if a given mechanic has been removed from the game moving from one edition to another, how does the simulationist DM deal with what they were already comfortable using. This is hypothetical, as I am sure Midgardsormr injects plenty of RP in his games.

What I am saying, is D&D doesn't have to be Roleplaying at all. So to argue just roleplay it in, might apply to a given DMs style of play but might not be the best solution for everyone.

Regarding the fact the skills have been pulled from 4e. 3.5e has many faults and broken mechanics. The question is for me, was the skill mechanic broken? What reasonable reason did WotC choose to remove skills from play. Its their product and if they just wanted to create a different game, so they removed, that's fine. However, my hope was that 4e was intended to fix a broken 3.5e.
Skills weren't broken, so removing that mechanic offers no benefit to those who were already using it.

To argue, make up a house rule or roleplay out, while a viable solution, might not be the only solution or the best one for a given DM. Besides, if you have to start "house ruling" a new game - to those concerned gamers, wouldn't that indicate that the new is game is just as broken?

Besides, unless you completely understand the new edition, having to create a house rule right off the bat, may make the overall game unbalanced. I'd rather play an entire campaign to understand the continuity of the entire ruleset. Once I understand fairly well, house rules can start to enter play in a responsible manner, not to destroy the balance in the game.

I say, don't fix it, if its not broken - of course D&D is not my IP, and I have no control on what the publisher wants to do with their game.

I know DMs that roleplay everything, with hardly a die being cast at all. It works for those DMs, but I personally don't like. I don't want a DM to dictate how a game is played with no rules to refer in understanding their game method.

That's my dimes worth.

GP

Greason Wolfe
04-29-2009, 02:20 PM
It seems to me that a point is being missed here.

In all that I've read so far, nobody has "whined" about anything. They've stated their opinions and feelings about 4e based on their experience. The whole thing about whether the DM/GM being able to handle the unexpected was never the issue.

The fact that a GM likes to have such "rules" available doesn't make them good or bad, top-notch or bottom of the barrel. It's all about personal tastes. Not just the GM's tastes, but the tastes of the players as well. What makes a good GM, IMHO, is one that does what it takes to keep his/her players involved and attentive to the game. If you have a group of players that prefer to have such "rules" in place and a clear way to determine success or failure, chances are they won't stay in a game under a GM that constantly wings such things. The opposite is true as well, players who prefer to play such "rules" off the cuff aren't likely to stay with a GM who constantly rolls dice to determine success or failure.

The simple fact of the matter is, everyone has different ideas about how such things should be handled. It should be about the story and how you get from page 1 to the final chapter is up to you and your players as long as everyone is happy in the end.

EDIT : Oh, would you look at that, GP pretty much beat me to my point. :lol:

GW

deanatglobe
04-29-2009, 02:24 PM
Tabletop RPG's are in some way or fashion an exercise in creativity. Because of this one will rarely find two groups that play exactly the same way. I have Gm'd for groups using the same system, where half the players were the same and had fairly different interpretations of the rules and play styles.

I love that it is a pasttime where there are people embracing 4e and adopting wholeheartedly and others who never understood why people moved on to 2e. I think that is fun.

Gandwarf
04-29-2009, 02:40 PM
You D&D guys should just all go play Descent. I love being the GM/evil overlord ;)

Midgardsormr
04-29-2009, 03:07 PM
Thanks to both Greason Wolf and GamerPrinter, who both illustrated that I am, indeed, speaking English. I've said all I mean to say on this subject for the time being.

Talroth
04-29-2009, 04:02 PM
I've played 4th edition many times with a few different groups. Both in person with one group, and online with a few others.

My personal issue with it is that all characters tend to be TOO useful in all situations. When playing a character if feels far too easy to pull one character out and replace him with a completely random one. I don't have to think too hard about what classes other players have, I don't have to worry about finding ways to play to their strengths and weaknesses.

In some ways this is a good thing, but from a few years of playing D&D 3.5 I've found the most memorable events from them stemmed from someone being very ill suited to something and then being at the mercy of other player's to make up for the character's short falls. Sure this can be purely RP based, but I find it adds to the RP to force someone to have flaws and issues that another player isn't going to have.

Things are over balanced throughout the game. I think from the RP view varied power curves are a good thing. A warrior having to haul a weak wizard though the first few character levels then has some interesting issues to deal with as that wizard he laughed at and tormented for being so useless quickly builds up to be far more powerful and important than he can ever hope to be.

NymTevlyn
04-29-2009, 05:00 PM
The even/odd universal rule works regardless of edition, game, or anything.

EldritchNumen
04-29-2009, 10:27 PM
Using the even/odd rule does not make someone a good GM. As has been said above, the playing style of a particular group is what matters. Some groups might like everything to be decided by dice roll, even in absurd circumstances in which a 50-50 chance lacks conformity with reality (e.g. applying such a coarse probability to, for example, a check regarding knowing an extremely rare morsel of information). My group, for example, would hate if I decided a "grey area" by such a dice roll; they'd rather that I, as GM, simply decide whether the task succeeds or not, given my familiarity with the character's background and so forth.

What I'm saying is that there is no "magic bullet" to being a good GM. As said above, working together with the personal preferences of your playing group to create and interesting and engaging story/gaming experience is all that matters. If one facilitates this, then he or she is a good GM.

So, if the even/odd rule works for you, then by all means continue using it! But be cautious about pronouncing universal truths based upon entirely subjective issues such as the dynamic and preferences of a particular roleplaying group.

Gamerprinter
04-30-2009, 12:00 AM
Using the even/odd rule does not make someone a good GM. As has been said above, the playing style of a particular group is what matters. Some groups might like everything to be decided by dice roll, even in absurd circumstances in which a 50-50 chance lacks conformity with reality (e.g. applying such a coarse probability to, for example, a check regarding knowing an extremely rare morsel of information). My group, for example, would hate if I decided a "grey area" by such a dice roll; they'd rather that I, as GM, simply decide whether the task succeeds or not, given my familiarity with the character's background and so forth.

What I'm saying is that there is no "magic bullet" to being a good GM. As said above, working together with the personal preferences of your playing group to create and interesting and engaging story/gaming experience is all that matters. If one facilitates this, then he or she is a good GM.

So, if the even/odd rule works for you, then by all means continue using it! But be cautious about pronouncing universal truths based upon entirely subjective issues such as the dynamic and preferences of a particular roleplaying group.

Exactly!

And welcome to the guild, introduce yourself in the intro forum and show us a map!

Edit: have some REP for such a well spoken answer!

GP

NymTevlyn
04-30-2009, 04:24 AM
Using the even/odd rule does not make someone a good GM. As has been said above, the playing style of a particular group is what matters. Some groups might like everything to be decided by dice roll, even in absurd circumstances in which a 50-50 chance lacks conformity with reality (e.g. applying such a coarse probability to, for example, a check regarding knowing an extremely rare morsel of information). My group, for example, would hate if I decided a "grey area" by such a dice roll; they'd rather that I, as GM, simply decide whether the task succeeds or not, given my familiarity with the character's background and so forth.

What I'm saying is that there is no "magic bullet" to being a good GM. As said above, working together with the personal preferences of your playing group to create and interesting and engaging story/gaming experience is all that matters. If one facilitates this, then he or she is a good GM.

So, if the even/odd rule works for you, then by all means continue using it! But be cautious about pronouncing universal truths based upon entirely subjective issues such as the dynamic and preferences of a particular roleplaying group.
Ok, sure... whatever.

http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/dnd/dungeoncraft/

Read those and then tell me the even/odd rule doesn't work.

Gamerprinter
04-30-2009, 11:22 AM
Who is Ray Winninger and why is his word important in understanding RPGs. If they were written by Gary E. Gygax or any one else of major import to the industry I might be interested.

If a Magic 8 ball works for you use it. If even/odd works for you use it. If winging it, especially the oddball issues that come up like I do, use it. If a table from another RPG works for your group use it.

I can't see any one way of arbitration as the only way for anybody. I've been playing D&D for over 25 years, as well other RPGs and never heard of the even/odd roll rule.

There's nothing wrong with the idea in of itself. But different strokes for different folks. Why can't you accept that Nym?

The DMG says the rules are up to the GM, not the Law of the Core. How is it that even/odd defies that? It doesn't. But you can believe whatever you want, just don't think to convince anybody of anything. You ain't selling nothing to me. I don't use even/odd, and I don't plan to start.

For instance, I consider what G. Gygax have said, as carry much more weight than anyone else's work in RPGs, yet, I don't necessarily believe everything he said, either. Its all opinion and indvidual choice, not "law" based on anyone else's ideas or believes.

GP

NymTevlyn
04-30-2009, 02:26 PM
"The following is a 29-part series of articles which appeared in Dragon magazine from 1997 to 1999. It was a comprehensive look at the process of traditional dungeon-based game-mastering."

DungeonMasterGaz
05-05-2009, 12:25 PM
I’ve played Fighting Fantasy, Tunnels & Trolls, Traveller, Star Trek RP, Star Wars RP, Warhammer Fantasy RP, Warhammer 40k RP, Rolemaster, Spacemaster, Alternity, D20 Modern, Twilight 2000, Spymaster, Boot Hill, Call of Cthulu, TMNT, Paranoia, Toon, MERP, Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, GURPS, Rifts, Gamma World, Torg and Stormbringer, but my favourite roleplaying game has always been D&D.

D&D is great. It doesn’t matter what version you play. I’ve had immense fun playing every version that’s been released. So have all my friends. Now we play 4th Edition and love that too.

I own and have read every 4E book released to date, and I’m also a D&Di subscriber, so I’ve read all the Dungeon and Dragon magazines too. I can’t think of anything I can’t do with 4E that I could with any other version. In fact, I’m sure I can do more. There’s just so much choice. My players have access to 19 races and 18 classes with, currently, 48 builds between the classes, and when you add all the feats, multiclass, hybrid and racial options, you couldn’t get further from the limited choices of Basic D&D. Already, WotC have released playtests of new races and classes to be added in Player’s Handbook 3 which, along with the upcoming releases of the Divine Power and Primal Power sourcebooks, will give even more options for your characters. In fact, personally I feel the game is expanding faster than I can keep up with it!

Roleplaying in 4E is just that. It doesn’t matter what system you use to determine success and failure none of them can give you rules for roleplaying. Advice on how to roleplay better, on the other hand, is in abundance with all RPGs, but nobody needs rules for this part of the game. For combat and other complex activities, you do need rules and boundaries to prevent disagreements and confusion, and preferably these rules should be as simple as possible in order to be able to focus more on the fun and less on the minutae. This keeps the game moving, and in my experience I think 4E has really achieved this. From my point of view, 4E is easier to learn and play than any previous edition of D&D but is far more complex in playability and options.

How many of you guys have played a CCG like Yu-Gi-Oh, or Pokemon? If you have, you’ll immediately recognise the concept – an extremely simple baseline rules system that is supplemented, changed, and augmented in almost limitless ways depending on how you build your deck. Well, that’s all 4E is. IMHO, Hasbro have amalgamated their 3 best-selling game systems – D&D, Magic the Gathering and D&D/Star Wars/Axis & Allies Minature Skirmish Systems, thrown them together and, hey presto! 4E.

I loved playing pre-4E D&D. I loved playing Magic. I liked Minatures skirmishes. DMing is a breeze, and still just as rewarding. I can still express my imagination through the game, and my player’s disbelief is still suspended, so I’m happy with 4E.

Does this mean D&D is no longer a roleplaying game, and just a set of power card driven skirmish rules? Of course not. None of the roleplaying aspects have been taken away from D&D. The stories are just as exciting; the dungeon crawls just as thrilling; the evil wizard just as stereotypical.

The ONLY reason that this wouldn’t be the case is if YOU choose to make it different, but that’s the beauty of it all. It’s YOUR game. YOU play it how YOU want to. Just have great fun and a memorable experience.

My verdict: I’d happily recommend 4E to new players and veterans alike.

DMG

Korash
05-05-2009, 01:25 PM
DMG - I gotta rep you for this post (if I can) for a couple of reasons. ;)

First off, that list brought back a HUGE flood of great moments in my RPG life. Esp. Boothill (my first) and Toon (teaching my kids RPG).

Second, this post is very well written and speaks so well of my views on Roleplaying in general.

thanks for stating it a lot better than I did.

msa
05-05-2009, 05:17 PM
DMG - I gotta rep you for this post (if I can) for a couple of reasons. ;)

I agree... great post by DMG.

D&D version discussions, from my experience, quickly degrade into flame wars. Most people's feelings on the matter end up being little more than nostalgia that is mostly devoid of reason or logic. This one was little different. Glad DMG stepped in and shed a little light on the discussion.

I, of course, am not a great poster... I'm more a half-witted opinion kind of guy. So:

I like 4e quite a bit, and I think it is a great piece of RPG work that brings some innovative stuff to RPGs. But it's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It fixed some things I hated about D&D 3e (spells, complication), got rid of some things I loved (skills, complication--lol), and tried some things that are nice ideas that still need a lot more work (skill challenges!), and brought in some good ideas from other games (minions, focus on at-will powers).

Next time I try to teach some new people D&D I will use 4e, but with my long time gaming buddies I will stick with 3.5. I'd happily recommend 4e to anyone who asked about it, but I find it hard to fault people that dislike it because there are plenty of good reasons to. Unless they like Rolemaster (tablemaster) or 1e... bleach!

DungeonMasterGaz
05-06-2009, 06:29 AM
Thanks for the very kind responses, guys. I really didn’t expect to get rep for my post, so I was quite taken aback when I read your replies.

I believe the whole 4E vs 3.5 debate is moot. They’re both great games. They both have pros and cons – but if your having a blast, who cares? After all, weren’t all 4E players 3.5 players before 4E was released? I certainly was. I played it for many years and have nothing bad to say about the system or the folks who prefer it to 4E. I mean, what kind of hypocrite would I be if I did?

I’ve already given my verdict on 4E, and now I hope to illustrate why D&D is such a great game.

Question: Does the following dialogue describe a scene in 3.5 or 4E D&D?

DM: You reach the base of the exposed continental shelf. A towering wall of rock soars into the sky before you. The only way left is up.
Nimble Rogue: Looks like we have a long climb ahead. Let’s get started. I’ll use my Climb skill.
DM: Ok, it is a long way up. It’ll take the best part of a day to climb and it’s a bit tricky. You’ll need 8 successes before 3 failures, and each check represents an hour of climbing.
Heavily-Armoured Fighter: I’m not so good at climbing. Can I use my Endurance to hold ropes, give people a lift or hold them steady if they’re slipping.
DM: Sure. What about you, wizard?
Wizard: I have Feather Fall.
DM: Ok, you can use that to negate one failure. Anything else?
Wizard: Yeah. I’ll use my knowledge of Nature to try and predict strong winds that could be dangerous to the climb, and to identify if any protruding vines or branches are strong enough to be used as hand or footholds.
DM: Good idea. Ranger?
Cunning Ranger: Yeah, I’ll scan the cliff for ledges and clefts that could make the climb easier, and I’ll try to determine the easiest route.
DM: Great stuff. I think a success there will give the rogue a +2 to his climb check as well as counting as a success for the climb.
Nimble Rogue: Ok. No time to waste. I start climbing…

Answer: Both, because the concept of Skill Challenges works in 3.5 too.

How many times has anyone stolen an idea they liked from a film, book, FR adventure? How many people have styled their character on Conan, Aragorn or Elminster even? If you like an idea, use it, adapt it, whatever RP system you play.

Personally, I see the chapter introducing Skill Challenges in the 4E DM’s Guide as an attempt to convey a new concept developed to promote teamwork, ideas and to encourage everyone to participate by drawing on their strengths in imaginative ways rather than being forced to engage in something they know their character is terrible at. I don’t see it as hard rules that must be adhered to. Skill Challenges seem broken because the concept is so open to individual interpretation, but every SC I’ve designed and played was enjoyed by my players, so much so that they now actively seek Skill Challenges to work together to overcome all kinds of situations.

Is my interpretation wrong? Of course not. It’s my game. It works with my players, and I wish I’d thought of the idea when I was playing 3.5. Will it work in your game? Only you can answer that.

Have fun and make the game yours.

DMG

NeonKnight
05-06-2009, 06:55 AM
In my home games I have introdcued the concept of Critical Failures (Nat 1), and Critical Success (Nat 20) into Skill Challenges. In an adventure I wrote, I had certain skills where a Critical Failure in the Skill Challenge could 'END' the entire skill challnege as a failure.

In this particular Skill Challenge, the players had found an Arcane Engine on some railway tracks. Skills like Strength, Arcana or History were useful in repairing the engine/clearing the tracks etc, but 2 failed Arcana Checks or a single critical Failure on the Arcana Check would mean the players somehow destroyed the arcane seals keeping a Fire Elemental trapped in the engine as a power source.

Of course, the players did roll a Natural 1 on the Arcana check, blowing the engine up, freeing the elemental, and resulting in them needing to walk to the next location instead of riding in comfort.

As a result, the joke in the group is the character made a comment of "Hmmm, this rune is all wrong," and then rubbed it out. :D

DungeonMasterGaz
05-06-2009, 07:16 AM
Of course, the players did roll a Natural 1 on the Arcana check, blowing the engine up, freeing the elemental, and resulting in them needing to walk to the next location instead of riding in comfort.

As a result, the joke in the group is the character made a comment of "Hmmm, this rune is all wrong," and then rubbed it out. :D

Classic moments never forgotten!

One of my players had just rolled up a character for d20 Star Wars. The party needed to defuse a bomb on their ship, and this guy was the technically skilled PC. The 1 he rolled when attempting to defuse the bomb wasn't so funny, but the subsequent 1 he rolled for his saving throw and the third successive 1 he rolled in a last ditch attempt to prevent the already detonating bomb from blowing up the PCs ship was hilarious!! The looks on their faces!

Great gaming!

DMG

msa
05-06-2009, 11:20 AM
After all, weren’t all 4E players 3.5 players before 4E was released?

I hope not! LOL!

Actually, I think the best thing about 4e is how easy they made it for new players. For those of us who are long time, highly technical players, I think 3.5 is a better game. We are going to use our skills and feats regularly and creatively, multiclass effectively, keep apprised of target prestige classes, keep on top of spells, etc. But for new players its just too much.

So hopefully there are MORE people playing 4e that never caught on to 3.5. At least thats my hope...

Me: This is your first D&D game, newblet... what do you want to be?
Newblet: A wizard!
Me: Hmm... have you considered a fighter?

Midgardsormr
05-06-2009, 12:21 PM
In my home games I have introdcued the concept of Critical Failures (Nat 1), and Critical Success (Nat 20) into Skill Challenges.

I've never liked critical failure rules in a d20-based system. A 5% chance of disastrous failure seems a little too high for my tastes. I was playing in an Alternity game recently in which my technical expert character was attempting to hack a computer system that contained important storyline information. I botched the hacking roll and corrupted the data. The very next time we came across a computer with important storyline information, I did the very same thing. Then I wrecked our spaceship.

I roll a lot of 1's.

Of course, I also roll a lot of 20's, but usually only when my character is doing something he's not supposed to be good at. I put down more bad guys with my stun pistol than one of our combat specialists did with his big plasma gun.

The other problem with a critical failure rule is that when I GM with such a rule in place, my villains have a tendency to commit suicide in creative ways during the climactic battles. Nothing is worse than building up the threat of an NPC in the players' minds to the point where they're almost afraid to engage him, only to have him fall off a balcony and break his neck during the first round of combat. I suppose that's what I get for rolling in the open.

dormouse
05-06-2009, 01:21 PM
A 5% chance of disastrous failure seems a little too high for my tastes.

Yes, far too high for most things; and far too automatic. Maybe 1% for some actions, and .01% for others. And sometimes it will be much higher - eg the novice attempting a difficult climb. The actual odds should be decided by the DM and the players should make their choice about the action by thinking about it and not knowing what odds the DM will deem appropriate in advance of the choice. Ditto for successes.

Blaidd Drwg
05-06-2009, 01:53 PM
We always resolve critical failures in the same way as critical hits in combat. If you roll a natural 1, roll again. If the second check is a success, you just fail, nothing disastrous happens. If the seconds check fails, it's a critical failure and whatever it is you we're trying to do goes horribly wrong. That way the odds are lower than 5% and also reflect a characters skill level.

Sigurd
05-06-2009, 02:44 PM
Most DM's have developed a sense of fairness and player challenge\support that is far more important than their game system. I have walked into DMing games I've never read and relied on players to interpret the world reaction into the current rules. It worked surprisingly well.

My favourite system I think has been the Cthulu BRP system. I'm thinking of returning to it in the face of the 4e\3.5e schism.

I don't think its a rules problem but a publishing one. A lot of people I encounter with the latest D&D are unhappy and I find it rubs off.

I'm not criticizing 4e beyond saying I don't find it as much fun.

I do think that 3.5 becomes phenomenally difficult to maintain an alternate reality in as a DM. As the players become super heroes they sort of pull your world setting apart. I imagine this is the same problem in 4e.


Is anyone waiting for the Dresden Files Game from Evil Hat?

Blaidd Drwg
05-06-2009, 03:56 PM
I don't think its a rules problem but a publishing one. A lot of people I encounter with the latest D&D are unhappy and I find it rubs off.

I'm not criticizing 4e beyond saying I don't find it as much fun.
That's really all I can say about it myself.
I like what 4E does with combat. I like it much better than 3.5-combat. But somehow it all just feels different. I have no idea why that is... O_o

What I really do hate about 4E is what they've done with multi-classing and the whole policy of spreading core content over multiple books. I own the PHB, DMG and MM and I really feel like I've bought half the game (or less).
Grmbl <_<

torstan
05-06-2009, 04:46 PM
Interesting discussion. I'm a D&D gamer and I have been playing 3.5 with one group of friends and 4th with another over the last year. I've a few thoughts about the way this has gone. I'm leaning towards 3.5 now but that's as much to do with the fact that my 4e crowd is having a hard time finding time to get together.

I like the 4e streamlining and I think the rulings of minions and cinematic combats are great. I love the way these flow, though they do tend to go on too long. This has caused me to think about how enemies handle encounters when it becomes clear they are going to lose - frequently the case for high hp enemies in 4e. This has actually lead to more roleplaying rather than less. It's also encouraged me to add mid-point complications to combats that make them more interesting. It's a very big change from 3.5 (my 3.5 party is 14th level and if a combat goes on beyond 2-3 rounds something very strange has happened!).

On the other hand I dislike the pure combat focus of the powers in 4e. In 3.5 I loved it when players used weird spells and magic items in the middle of combat. The casting times of rituals mean that non-combat spells will never come up during combat. I'm sure that as my players get more used to the rules they'll start to think a bit more laterally about their options, but right now they're still at the stage of looking at their at will and encounter powers and thinking that they are their only options in combat.

3.5 is getting tough to run at 14th level, but it's still good fun. I just have to make sure that there's only 1 real combat planned for any playing session because these slow things down remarkably. I'll certainly be looking over the Pathfinder rules to see if we should adapt our 3.5 game. I'll also continue to play 4e and I look forward to how the style of play changes as the group get more used to the rules.

I also find that roleplaying picks up as people get more familiar with the rules. FLicking through rulebooks kills the mood a little. I think we're getting back to it now, but there was certainly a dip when we picked up the new rulebooks.

Novarri
05-06-2009, 05:37 PM
I can't resist contributing. I like the look of 4e, but though I've had the core books since they were released I've never gotten to play. It is, however, not an evolution from 3.5 but rather an entirely new game built around the same core idea. Still, I love any and all RPG systems just for the idea of them, so I'm not going to just toss one out the window in favor of the other.

In terms of all the combat/RP/etc. arguments, I have to say that for those who favor rules, I'd probably guess GURPS would be up your alley. For RPing or for simple, fluid combat I personally prefer White Wolf's Storyteller system (World of Darkness, Vampire: The Requiem, etc). But neither GURPS nor Storyteller feels just like D&D, and there's something about the way D&D feels to me that makes me love it.

The one complaint I have about D&D, and I have it for both 3.5 and 4e, is that it's not lethal enough. I've never been able to make a campaign where the characters truly worried about dying (but then again, I'm a bad DM and terrible at scaling monster encounters; hopefully 4e's system fixes that a bit, but again, I have yet to try).

So, I can't say I really have a verdict on 4e, except that in theory, I like it. But I also like 3.5, the Storyteller system, GURPS, and other D20 systems in general. It depends on what you're looking for in the game more than whether one is objectively "better" than another.

Greason Wolfe
05-06-2009, 05:45 PM
I’ve played Fighting Fantasy, Tunnels & Trolls, Traveller, Star Trek RP, Star Wars RP, Warhammer Fantasy RP, Warhammer 40k RP, Rolemaster, Spacemaster, Alternity, D20 Modern, Twilight 2000, Spymaster, Boot Hill, Call of Cthulu, TMNT, Paranoia, Toon, MERP, Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, GURPS, Rifts, Gamma World, Torg and Stormbringer, but my favourite roleplaying game has always been D&D.

. . . snip . . .

DMG

Holy Possibility Wars . . . I think that's the first mention of that game I've seen in years. It was such an interesting approach, especially with their idea of sending them (the publishers) results from games with the idea of having an effect on other games. Didn't spend a lot of time playing it. The players in my group couldn't quite wrap their heads around the whole concept at the time, but some really great source material.

GW

Gamerprinter
05-06-2009, 08:01 PM
My group has always been more old school than being eager for the next edition of the game. We were late in moving from 2e to 3e. We've been playing 3.5e for the last 3 years only. A friend's daughter has recently joined the group and she owns over 100 3.5 books - all the core, and mountains of splat books. Another recent player who joined the group has 50 of his own core and splat, some different the girl's collection. Thus a serious investment in 3.5 books.

None of us are eager to starting a brand new collection of 4e, besides the mixed reviews everywhere is cementing our position with 3.5 indoctrination.

Now that Pathfinder is coming into play, a new direction working with 3.5 is on the horizon, I excited though the rest of my group is apathetic, we'll just have to see when it happens. I've been told I will be getting a pre-release Pathfinder Handbook to assist my development of Kaidan as a publication.

Plus, I've been getting lots of map commission work lately from small publishers developing Pathfinder Compatible settings and game systems, so I'm very much comfortable sticking with 3.5 thinking altogether.

I'm not knocking any edition, just 3.5 is comfortable for me now.

GP

NeonKnight
05-06-2009, 11:34 PM
Yeah, I hear a lot of you on the Nat 1/Nat 20 thing, but for my group it's fine.

I just didn't like the 3.5 Skills (as written) where for some characters by 3rd level they would Auto-Succeed in most areas with their skills (Tumble for Rogues, Diplomacy for Bards, Spellcraft for wizards). I wrote a few adventures for 3.0 & 3.5 for the RPGA and found the AUTO-succeeding Character meant I either had to write things in that would penalize one character, and spell certain failure for someone else.

Thus, for me the 1 Always Fails and the 20 always succeeds is a simple rule.

YMMV

Notsonoble
05-06-2009, 11:36 PM
The one complaint I have about D&D, and I have it for both 3.5 and 4e, is that it's not lethal enough. I've never been able to make a campaign where the characters truly worried about dying (but then again, I'm a bad DM and terrible at scaling monster encounters; hopefully 4e's system fixes that a bit, but again, I have yet to try).


I have a hard time not killing my characters in 3.5...:?:

Midgardsormr
05-06-2009, 11:40 PM
Yeah, if I had that kind of investment in a system, I wouldn't switch either. The only systems I have more than five books for are Rifts and Rolemaster. I ran a five-year-long PBeM game in Rifts at a time when I had way too much disposable income, and Rolemaster was my first RPG. Beyond those, I usually only buy the core books of a given game, so I don't have a huge attachment to any particular system.

Anyway, as long as what you have works and you're having fun, I think you should stick with it. This coming from a guy who finally upgraded from Windows 2000 about six months ago.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 01:48 PM
My group tried 4e for a couple of months, then went back to 3.5. I like how they have simplified some portions of the game in 4e (such as some parts of combat), but I think they carried that simplification a bit too far. Skills were done well in 3.5, they really didn't need to be changed for 4. I have far too much to say about my belief that 4e ruined the (admittedly flawed in some areas) 3.5 magic system to go much into it. The lack of ability to create items in 4e is very disappointing as well. In my opinion, 4e has simplified things to the point of restricting players who so choose to follow all of its rules (and not create homebrew rules), we did not need restrictions, we needed some limited simplification, minor rule fixes, and creative new mechanics that made the game more fun.


In short: I prefer 3.5 over 4e

I have to completely disagree with you about the skill system in 3.5, it was completely broken once you got past about level 5. I also like how in 4th edition they have consolidated many skills into a package, in 3.5 there are skills that are obviously of greater value because they are so useful while there are others that only get used once in a blue moon. Some of this may change from DM to DM but overall there are certain skills in the 3.5 system that are extremely useful in almost all games and others that are only useful sometimes. The skill system is one place that 4th ed shines IMO.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 01:52 PM
Have to say that I am in agreement with Midgardsormr on this one. Some of the best times I've ever had at the table back when I played, were based on those background skills and having a way to adjudicate them. Admittedly, they don't all have to be based on dice rolling, but there have been plenty of times when some, seemingly useless skill has turned the tide in an adventure.

Of course such things shouldn't be ignored by DM/GMs, but without some way to define and/or adjudicate them, things can get bogged down. Any such skills need to make sense for the character as well and be a reasonable part of their background.

I can recall one particular instance where the other players and myself were all starting with "new" characters that had never "adventured" before. My character was a farm boy that had spent his youth slaughtering livestock for meals and wrestling with his older siblings. When we hit the first battle, that wrestling experience came in handy and, after the bloodshed, my character, along with one other, were the only ones that didn't get "sick" from seeing all the dead bodies and flowing blood. It made for a really good RP session as everyone actually got into their characters from a background point of view rather than a "mechanical" point of view. From there on, everyone developed their characters based on that background rather than "min/maxing" for optimal character effectiveness.

GW

I will state again, they added on rules for backgrounds in the PHB2, one of the big differences in 4th ed is the core books are just that, core books, the basics on what you need to run a game, if you want expansions to the system you buy expansion books, like the PHB2 for Backgrounds and new character options, or the Draconomicon if you want to give out cool treasure ect ect.

Its not that the rules aren't there, its just that they have repackaged them and spread them out in a more modular way.

On top of that another great thing about 4th ed is the tables provided in the DMG for DMs to provide good DCs for anything not covered by the rules, that table is one of the most useful things in the world for me because I don't have to cross reference anything when I'm throwing out DCs for things not covered by the rules.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 01:59 PM
There are more differences in style in playing D&D.

Though this doesn't describe me, you have to allow that D&D can be played as a combat simulationist game, especially if you rely on mechanics more than fluff. Nothing wrong with that, but that means if a given mechanic has been removed from the game moving from one edition to another, how does the simulationist DM deal with what they were already comfortable using. This is hypothetical, as I am sure Midgardsormr injects plenty of RP in his games.

What I am saying, is D&D doesn't have to be Roleplaying at all. So to argue just roleplay it in, might apply to a given DMs style of play but might not be the best solution for everyone.

Regarding the fact the skills have been pulled from 4e. 3.5e has many faults and broken mechanics. The question is for me, was the skill mechanic broken? What reasonable reason did WotC choose to remove skills from play. Its their product and if they just wanted to create a different game, so they removed, that's fine. However, my hope was that 4e was intended to fix a broken 3.5e.
Skills weren't broken, so removing that mechanic offers no benefit to those who were already using it.

To argue, make up a house rule or roleplay out, while a viable solution, might not be the only solution or the best one for a given DM. Besides, if you have to start "house ruling" a new game - to those concerned gamers, wouldn't that indicate that the new is game is just as broken?

Besides, unless you completely understand the new edition, having to create a house rule right off the bat, may make the overall game unbalanced. I'd rather play an entire campaign to understand the continuity of the entire ruleset. Once I understand fairly well, house rules can start to enter play in a responsible manner, not to destroy the balance in the game.

I say, don't fix it, if its not broken - of course D&D is not my IP, and I have no control on what the publisher wants to do with their game.

I know DMs that roleplay everything, with hardly a die being cast at all. It works for those DMs, but I personally don't like. I don't want a DM to dictate how a game is played with no rules to refer in understanding their game method.

That's my dimes worth.

GP

I have to strongly disagree with your statement that the skill system was not broken, it was so unbalanced in later levels that you basically had to set up seperate DCs for skill specialists and another for everyone else, and after about level 5 you either do the same thing with poisons/traps/diseases ect or you just don't use them at all because the DCs provided for all of these things just didn't work as real obsticles to a Rogue after that point. It wasn't unreasonable to expect a level 12 Rogue to be able to run up a flat wall (DC30) as just one example of how the system didn't work well.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 02:15 PM
I've played 4th edition many times with a few different groups. Both in person with one group, and online with a few others.

My personal issue with it is that all characters tend to be TOO useful in all situations. When playing a character if feels far too easy to pull one character out and replace him with a completely random one. I don't have to think too hard about what classes other players have, I don't have to worry about finding ways to play to their strengths and weaknesses.

In some ways this is a good thing, but from a few years of playing D&D 3.5 I've found the most memorable events from them stemmed from someone being very ill suited to something and then being at the mercy of other player's to make up for the character's short falls. Sure this can be purely RP based, but I find it adds to the RP to force someone to have flaws and issues that another player isn't going to have.

Things are over balanced throughout the game. I think from the RP view varied power curves are a good thing. A warrior having to haul a weak wizard though the first few character levels then has some interesting issues to deal with as that wizard he laughed at and tormented for being so useless quickly builds up to be far more powerful and important than he can ever hope to be.

I think this is true to a certain extent, you do notice when a particular role is missing from the group, especially Defenders and Controllers, but beyond that with a good party balance between the roles or switching from one class to another within the same role doesn't massively affect the game, but from a gameplay perspective I think that's actually a good thing, the focus becomes less on the stats and more on working together as a team, which is especially useful for new players to the group, who now know exactly what they are supposed to be doing in the game.

It also seems to encourage more experimentation with other classes than I've seen in previous editions, before people would tend to stick with a single archetype, IE ranger, the maybe dabble with rogues or fighter characters or maybe try out a druid or bard, but they wouldn't stray too far from what they were experienced with (again this is in general terms having watched hundreds of gamers over the years in both 2nd ed and 3rd ed).

Gamerprinter
05-07-2009, 02:16 PM
No one plays or rogues or other skill-based classes in my group ever.

GP

msa
05-07-2009, 02:20 PM
I have to strongly disagree with your statement that the skill system was not broken, it was so unbalanced in later levels that you basically had to set up seperate DCs for skill specialists and another for everyone else, and after about level 5 you either do the same thing with poisons/traps/diseases ect or you just don't use them at all because the DCs provided for all of these things just didn't work as real obsticles to a Rogue after that point. It wasn't unreasonable to expect a level 12 Rogue to be able to run up a flat wall (DC30) as just one example of how the system didn't work well.

Two people have mentioned this, and I'll make a third. I agree with the sentiment "it was nice to have a wide range of skills and rules, as well as flexibility in how you train skills, in 3.5"... its one of the reasons I prefer 3.5. But it is, unfortunately, a tragically broken system (just one that I like).

A search for "diplomancer" will show you just how broken the system could be--some super-munchkin made a 6th level character with a +94 to diplomacy. Even without using a host of supplemental rules diplomacy was particularly abusable, and my new rogue 2/fighter 1 has a +20 diplomacy (7 ranks +5 feats (skill focus, negotiator) +6 sync bonuses (bluff, sense motive, knowledge: nobility) +2 charisma).

Like everyone said, it is very hard to set DCs because they are either easy for a specialist or impossible for everyone else. This is especially problematic when there is some sort of game mechanic or attack tied up in a skill (like diplomacy). I probably only like 3.5 better because in my group we are happy to discard rules in favor of story so these things don't get out of hand, but that's only an option for mature groups.

Overall, I'd say 4e is much more balanced, and does a much better job keeping the entire party relevant in non-combat encounters. There are great ideas on teh internets for 'secondary skills' for players to fill in the story-based gaps that 4e does leave (which are huge).

msa
05-07-2009, 02:21 PM
No one plays or rogues or other skill-based classes in my group ever.

That's all I EVER play! LOL!

PS. I meant to add... GP. I wouldn't switch if I had invested that much either. Hell, I haven't switched, and I think I own more books than anyone in my 7 person group (which I play in... not the DM). And I only own 7: the three core books + the 4 complete XXX books.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 02:32 PM
I've never liked critical failure rules in a d20-based system. A 5% chance of disastrous failure seems a little too high for my tastes. I was playing in an Alternity game recently in which my technical expert character was attempting to hack a computer system that contained important storyline information. I botched the hacking roll and corrupted the data. The very next time we came across a computer with important storyline information, I did the very same thing. Then I wrecked our spaceship.

I roll a lot of 1's.

Of course, I also roll a lot of 20's, but usually only when my character is doing something he's not supposed to be good at. I put down more bad guys with my stun pistol than one of our combat specialists did with his big plasma gun.

The other problem with a critical failure rule is that when I GM with such a rule in place, my villains have a tendency to commit suicide in creative ways during the climactic battles. Nothing is worse than building up the threat of an NPC in the players' minds to the point where they're almost afraid to engage him, only to have him fall off a balcony and break his neck during the first round of combat. I suppose that's what I get for rolling in the open.

lol, I'm just the opposite, I tend to roll 20s often and hardly ever roll 1's.

In my games I tend to invent reason why characters/NPCs/Monsters keep rolling in specific ways, in fact their current arch villain is a returning menace who was a lucky goblin back when the party was level 1 who rolled 3 20's on attacks in a row and managed to get away from the party because they were locked down fighting the other characters.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 02:36 PM
Most DM's have developed a sense of fairness and player challenge\support that is far more important than their game system. I have walked into DMing games I've never read and relied on players to interpret the world reaction into the current rules. It worked surprisingly well.

My favourite system I think has been the Cthulu BRP system. I'm thinking of returning to it in the face of the 4e\3.5e schism.

I don't think its a rules problem but a publishing one. A lot of people I encounter with the latest D&D are unhappy and I find it rubs off.

I'm not criticizing 4e beyond saying I don't find it as much fun.

I do think that 3.5 becomes phenomenally difficult to maintain an alternate reality in as a DM. As the players become super heroes they sort of pull your world setting apart. I imagine this is the same problem in 4e.


Is anyone waiting for the Dresden Files Game from Evil Hat?

I've only gotten to the low Epic levels in 4th ed but I can tell you that thus far I haven't experienced anywhere near the same difficulty I had in 3rd ed with high level characters in giving them appropriate challenges outside of combat, mostly due to the fixes with the skill system which created massive differences between those who chose to put their skill points into skills every level and those who only got 1 or 2 points/level and didn't tend to lump them all in one place (ie the classic Rogue vs Fighter example).

Also the classes are more balanced all the way through, no longer does the wizard hide behind everyone until level 5 then suddenly begin to dominate combat, no longer do you see the fighter fade into the shadows after level 10.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 02:40 PM
Interesting discussion. I'm a D&D gamer and I have been playing 3.5 with one group of friends and 4th with another over the last year. I've a few thoughts about the way this has gone. I'm leaning towards 3.5 now but that's as much to do with the fact that my 4e crowd is having a hard time finding time to get together.

I like the 4e streamlining and I think the rulings of minions and cinematic combats are great. I love the way these flow, though they do tend to go on too long. This has caused me to think about how enemies handle encounters when it becomes clear they are going to lose - frequently the case for high hp enemies in 4e. This has actually lead to more roleplaying rather than less. It's also encouraged me to add mid-point complications to combats that make them more interesting. It's a very big change from 3.5 (my 3.5 party is 14th level and if a combat goes on beyond 2-3 rounds something very strange has happened!).

On the other hand I dislike the pure combat focus of the powers in 4e. In 3.5 I loved it when players used weird spells and magic items in the middle of combat. The casting times of rituals mean that non-combat spells will never come up during combat. I'm sure that as my players get more used to the rules they'll start to think a bit more laterally about their options, but right now they're still at the stage of looking at their at will and encounter powers and thinking that they are their only options in combat.

3.5 is getting tough to run at 14th level, but it's still good fun. I just have to make sure that there's only 1 real combat planned for any playing session because these slow things down remarkably. I'll certainly be looking over the Pathfinder rules to see if we should adapt our 3.5 game. I'll also continue to play 4e and I look forward to how the style of play changes as the group get more used to the rules.

I also find that roleplaying picks up as people get more familiar with the rules. FLicking through rulebooks kills the mood a little. I think we're getting back to it now, but there was certainly a dip when we picked up the new rulebooks.

This touches on another thing about 4th edition that I really like.

in 3rd ed I tended to use PC classes with Monster races for challenges rather than monsters of the appropriate level because it was much easier to create a balanced encounter that way, the way the MM in 4th ed is set up allows you do effectively do the same thing using the monsters in the book, some are soldiers, others are artillery, and others are controllers ect instead of using a pack of goblins with levels in fighter, ranger, or wizard/cleric.

It makes my job as a DM much easier because its less work to make a single encounter.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 02:43 PM
I can't resist contributing. I like the look of 4e, but though I've had the core books since they were released I've never gotten to play. It is, however, not an evolution from 3.5 but rather an entirely new game built around the same core idea. Still, I love any and all RPG systems just for the idea of them, so I'm not going to just toss one out the window in favor of the other.

In terms of all the combat/RP/etc. arguments, I have to say that for those who favor rules, I'd probably guess GURPS would be up your alley. For RPing or for simple, fluid combat I personally prefer White Wolf's Storyteller system (World of Darkness, Vampire: The Requiem, etc). But neither GURPS nor Storyteller feels just like D&D, and there's something about the way D&D feels to me that makes me love it.

The one complaint I have about D&D, and I have it for both 3.5 and 4e, is that it's not lethal enough. I've never been able to make a campaign where the characters truly worried about dying (but then again, I'm a bad DM and terrible at scaling monster encounters; hopefully 4e's system fixes that a bit, but again, I have yet to try).

So, I can't say I really have a verdict on 4e, except that in theory, I like it. But I also like 3.5, the Storyteller system, GURPS, and other D20 systems in general. It depends on what you're looking for in the game more than whether one is objectively "better" than another.

4th ed fixed the encounter level issues 3rd ed had, you now have a pool of XP and you "spend" it on traps, monsters, and hazards in the encounter and then when they overcome it you divide the XP by the number of PCs and give it out. Theres a nice table with advice on how much XP to put into an encounter.

msa
05-07-2009, 02:52 PM
in 3rd ed I tended to use PC classes with Monster races for challenges rather than monsters of the appropriate level because it was much easier to create a balanced encounter that way, the way the MM in 4th ed is set up allows you do effectively do the same thing using the monsters in the book, some are soldiers, others are artillery, and others are controllers ect instead of using a pack of goblins with levels in fighter, ranger, or

Wow, are you going to respond to every post in this thread? LOL!

I actually disagree with this one, although I agree with most of what you said.

I really liked the monster template + classes system in 3.5. The 4e version is fine and good, but it is a little trickier to get the balance right if you are trying to add classes to a monster. IMO, the monsters lose a little bit of their personality when they aren't fully formed classes like the PCs.

I do agree that the 4e version is easier, but I think you could have done the same thing in 3.5 without much difficulty if you wanted to. There was nothing stopping you from just creating 3 different types of goblins with different feats and BaB's.

But that's just me.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 02:55 PM
My group has always been more old school than being eager for the next edition of the game. We were late in moving from 2e to 3e. We've been playing 3.5e for the last 3 years only. A friend's daughter has recently joined the group and she owns over 100 3.5 books - all the core, and mountains of splat books. Another recent player who joined the group has 50 of his own core and splat, some different the girl's collection. Thus a serious investment in 3.5 books.

None of us are eager to starting a brand new collection of 4e, besides the mixed reviews everywhere is cementing our position with 3.5 indoctrination.

Now that Pathfinder is coming into play, a new direction working with 3.5 is on the horizon, I excited though the rest of my group is apathetic, we'll just have to see when it happens. I've been told I will be getting a pre-release Pathfinder Handbook to assist my development of Kaidan as a publication.

Plus, I've been getting lots of map commission work lately from small publishers developing Pathfinder Compatible settings and game systems, so I'm very much comfortable sticking with 3.5 thinking altogether.

I'm not knocking any edition, just 3.5 is comfortable for me now.

GP

I can certainly agree with not wanting to box up all of the old 3.5 material. I personally bought almost every 3.5 book that came out until about 2 years ago or so. Now all those books collect dust in my basement next to my 2nd ed books.

I think that it takes a few years for a new edition to really hit it's stride, due simply to the fact that it takes a while for enough books to be released to really give you all the options you want from a system, this has been true of not just D&D but other systems as well.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 02:59 PM
No one plays or rogues or other skill-based classes in my group ever.

GP

Thats probably why you didn't notice how broken the system is then.

I personally play a Rogue as my main class when I PC, which isn't often these days, so I noticed it right off the bat. It was almost a joke to put traps in the game after about level 7 and you don't bother with hidden doors either with Elves in the party so it really takes away from some of the tricks you can do as a DM, from a strictly rules based perspective, forcing DMs of 3.5 to adapt the system to overcome these challenges in various ways. Much like in 4th ed you need fluff (often I borrow fluff from 3rd ed books) to fill out the areas that were glossed over (a great example is the complete lack of a decent list of adventuring equipment (partially fixed with the Draconomicon))

Pilias
05-07-2009, 03:04 PM
Two people have mentioned this, and I'll make a third. I agree with the sentiment "it was nice to have a wide range of skills and rules, as well as flexibility in how you train skills, in 3.5"... its one of the reasons I prefer 3.5. But it is, unfortunately, a tragically broken system (just one that I like).

A search for "diplomancer" will show you just how broken the system could be--some super-munchkin made a 6th level character with a +94 to diplomacy. Even without using a host of supplemental rules diplomacy was particularly abusable, and my new rogue 2/fighter 1 has a +20 diplomacy (7 ranks +5 feats (skill focus, negotiator) +6 sync bonuses (bluff, sense motive, knowledge: nobility) +2 charisma).

Like everyone said, it is very hard to set DCs because they are either easy for a specialist or impossible for everyone else. This is especially problematic when there is some sort of game mechanic or attack tied up in a skill (like diplomacy). I probably only like 3.5 better because in my group we are happy to discard rules in favor of story so these things don't get out of hand, but that's only an option for mature groups.

Overall, I'd say 4e is much more balanced, and does a much better job keeping the entire party relevant in non-combat encounters. There are great ideas on teh internets for 'secondary skills' for players to fill in the story-based gaps that 4e does leave (which are huge).

Not just on the internet, there are backgrounds provided in Dragon Magazine, the FRPHB and the PHB2 which provide a way to give your characters backgrounds. It even advises you to give circumstance bonus' when those backgrounds come into play meaning that even an inexperienced 4th ed DM will have an idea of how to incorporate backgrounds into the game.

Like all of D&D though the non-combat side of the game is lacking compared to some other systems, but that has it's roots in the origins of the system and would only be relevant in a discussion of say White Wolf's system vs WotC's system, not in a discussion comparing 3rd to 4th ed.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 03:09 PM
That's all I EVER play! LOL!

PS. I meant to add... GP. I wouldn't switch if I had invested that much either. Hell, I haven't switched, and I think I own more books than anyone in my 7 person group (which I play in... not the DM). And I only own 7: the three core books + the 4 complete XXX books.

there were more than 4 complete books, they went back and did another set (IE complete Arcane and then later complete mage), ect ect.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 03:16 PM
Wow, are you going to respond to every post in this thread? LOL!

I actually disagree with this one, although I agree with most of what you said.

I really liked the monster template + classes system in 3.5. The 4e version is fine and good, but it is a little trickier to get the balance right if you are trying to add classes to a monster. IMO, the monsters lose a little bit of their personality when they aren't fully formed classes like the PCs.

I do agree that the 4e version is easier, but I think you could have done the same thing in 3.5 without much difficulty if you wanted to. There was nothing stopping you from just creating 3 different types of goblins with different feats and BaB's.

But that's just me.

LOL, been out for a week and there's a ton of good stuff to respond to, much easier to reply to a post then make one novel of a post that addresses everything IMO.

There was nothing stopping you but it was difficult to make a balanced encounter in 3.5 than it is with 4th ed while using different monsters in the encounter. The monsters in general do lose a bit of personality when going from having PC classes to just generic monster types but most of what I was using them for was to give some variation in the combat encounter, IE instead of just sending goblins I would send some goblin warriors with a cleric as backup and a couple goblin rangers to snipe the party from behind cover, now all those roles are filled by the MM without applying the template.

I actually would argue that its about the same difficulty to make a monster PC as it was in 3rd ed, because most of the main races you would do this with are provided in the back of the MM and race doesn't have quite as much of an impact as it did in 3rd ed. The big factor in what makes up your character is your class.

msa
05-07-2009, 04:03 PM
There was nothing stopping you but it was difficult to make a balanced encounter in 3.5 than it is with 4th ed while using different monsters in the encounter. The monsters in general do lose a bit of personality when going from having PC classes to just generic monster types but most of what I was using them for was to give some variation in the combat encounter, IE instead of just sending goblins I would send some goblin warriors with a cleric as backup and a couple goblin rangers to snipe the party from behind cover, now all those roles are filled by the MM without applying the template.

Its probably also the case that I just don't have much experience with 4e yet. Its hard for me to differentiate how easy it is to do certain things in 3.5e now vs. when I just started with the game. I expect with time I'll be able to balance 4e just as well without losing much of the versatility.

I think what I liked most about 3.5e was how much was possible with only the core books. I'm not, in case it wasn't obvious, much of a source book guy. Its been over a decade since I even played with a source book junkie. IMO, even without prestige classes 3.5 was incredibly customizable. Unlike 2 and 4 you don't have to have a large library to have almost infinite character and monster options.

I still think 4e is sweet though. I can't wait to teach new players D&D with it one day.

Pilias
05-07-2009, 04:19 PM
Its probably also the case that I just don't have much experience with 4e yet. Its hard for me to differentiate how easy it is to do certain things in 3.5e now vs. when I just started with the game. I expect with time I'll be able to balance 4e just as well without losing much of the versatility.

I think what I liked most about 3.5e was how much was possible with only the core books. I'm not, in case it wasn't obvious, much of a source book guy. Its been over a decade since I even played with a source book junkie. IMO, even without prestige classes 3.5 was incredibly customizable. Unlike 2 and 4 you don't have to have a large library to have almost infinite character and monster options.

I still think 4e is sweet though. I can't wait to teach new players D&D with it one day.

The PHB of 3rd ed was definitely more "complete" than those of 4th ed, especially in certain aspects (lack of equipment, ritual selection, and Heroic Tier feats). I have found both the MM and the DMG to be more useful as a standalone resource than the 3rd ed books, despite having fewer monsters in it the MM of 4th ed gives you more options for brings out a balanced encounter at any given level than 3rd ed MM1 did. I remember specifically at some of the mid level encounters in 3.5 that there were some gaps in the types of encounters you could do without resorting to Monsters with PC classes.

cyfir
05-07-2009, 04:31 PM
I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned what (from my experiences with it,) has got to be the most significant factor in the changes in 4e - World of Warcraft.

I've been playing D&D since just before 2e dropped, and MMOs since Ulitma Online came out. MMO's started out, by and large, as a computerized RPG - largely due to the influence of the MUDs, etc. that preceeded them. They've taken on their own life, however, with their own strengths in comparison to paper-and-dice RPGs. WoW really ended up being the pinnacle of that (if you've ever been on a good 10- or 25-man raid, you know what I'm talking about.) And WoW's success speaks for itself - 10+ million players worldwide who are willing to shell out $15/month for the priveledge is nothing to sneeze at.
I don't know how common my experience is, but when I started getting into WoW's raiding scene, I stopped playing RPGs almost entirely. I think WotC is trying to win back that crowd (and a fair bit besides,) by making an RPG that's familiar to the MMO gamer. Look at how 4e plays - you have tanks, healers, and DPS (with CC/DPS as a subset, natch.) Combat is spiced up by replacing the "auto attack" with Powers, much like a class's abilities in a modern MMO. Game creation is built around creating modular encounters (trash pulls, suppression rooms, boss fights, the Chess fight in Karazhan, etc.) The PHB even explicitly spells out that the reward of adventuring is largely measured by the acquisition of magic items (phat lewtz!)

All that having been said - I don't think it's a bad thing. 4e is infinitely easier for DMs to design quality adventures. Roleplaying is only gone from the game if you let it - in fact, there's a significant part of both PHB and DMG devoted to creating and running "skill challenges," which are roleplaying events that do not involve any combat. When you do have combat, it's a *ton* less boring, and people have clearly identified roles that make combat more of a team event and less of a (pardon the MMO slang) zergfest. WoW isn't just successful randomly - it's because the system is genuinely fun. Porting it to the tabletop has been really promising for me thus far.

msa
05-07-2009, 05:55 PM
I think WotC is trying to win back that crowd (and a fair bit besides,) by making an RPG that's familiar to the MMO gamer.

I sort of agree with what you are saying... except the part I quoted. I think they wanted to make a better game and MMOs are doing a lot of things right. Saying that WotC did it because they specifically wanted to steal or specifically target MMO players has a number of problems:

First, it's basically an exercise in trying to guess someone's intentions, which is silly. Do you work at WotC? Do you know anyone that does? What indication is there that this is *why* they did it? Just looking sort of the same is not enough.

Second, I'm not sure its realistic. I'm not sure players are any more likely to move from an MMO to tabletop than they are from final fantasy or pools of radiance to tabletop. I only know a *very* small number of people that, like you, stopped playing tabletop to play MMOs. I know a lot that play both, and some with no time for tabletops that MMO, but MMOs never even came close to scrtacing the same itch as tabletop just like pools of radiance never did. Its only the same if all you care about is no-personality encounters (scripted) and number crunching, and most people that were OK with that left tabletop for video game RPGs a long ago.

Finally, whats the difference between coping something and being influenced by it? MMOs allows for an unprecedented level of playtesting on game systems. There also have been a large number of games employing different systems for their games. And because there is far more money in MMOs than there ever were for muds or other video game RPGs, the work has been focused and good. There is just more thinking about RPG gaming systems to draw on today than there was 10 years ago, and certainly more than 20.

4e is simple and its rules are very consistent. Unlike any other D&D version, there is little difference between casting spells and being a fighter. The mechanics are identical, which makes it much easier to learn and play. A lot of this came from MMOs, but it also came from world of darkness, l5r, and a host of other games that did the same thing.

I just don't buy that they were targeting MMOs. I think they were trying to make the game easier to pick up to get *more* players, which I'm sure includes MMO players. But I don't buy that they did anything more than leverage contemporary knowledge of game development to make a new RPG system.

NymTevlyn
05-07-2009, 06:14 PM
They were targeting MMO's. You're blind if you can't see that.

Blaidd Drwg
05-07-2009, 06:46 PM
Please, a little less insults, a little more arguments. If it's so obvious, it shouldn't be too hard to come up with some.

msa
05-07-2009, 06:48 PM
They were targeting MMO's. You're blind if you can't see that.

Great reply. Makes you look brilliant. Totally not the half-witted trolling we've come to expect from you.

NymTevlyn
05-07-2009, 07:00 PM
It's the simple truth. D&D 4th edition borrowed many ideas and mechanics from MMO's. Deal with it. Would you rather I called you ignorant instead of blind?

msa
05-07-2009, 07:06 PM
It's the simple truth. D&D 4th edition borrowed many ideas and mechanics from MMO's. Deal with it. Would you rather I called you ignorant instead of blind?

I was totally being genuine... don't be so insecure. Great points! I can see since you are repeating what I said that you are great at reading too. Check out the big brain on Nym!

NeonKnight
05-07-2009, 07:08 PM
I sort of agree with what you are saying... except the part I quoted. Saying that WotC did it because they specifically wanted to target MMOs has a number of problems:

First, it's basically an exercise in trying to guess someone's intentions, which is silly. Do you work at WotC? Do you know anyone that does? What indication is there that this is *why* they did it? Just looking sort of the same is not enough.


Hoho!!!!!!!!!

Finally a Question that YES, YES I CAN ANSWER!

Yes, WotC DID do this to compete with the WoW type games, etc.

And how do I know this? While I won't say I have played at their house or we go to movies together, or anything of that kind, I CAN say I have sat and chatted with people like Rob Heinsoo and Andy Collins personally at events like Gen Con and D&D XP (Their personal we are gonna do nothing but play D&D ALL DAMN WEEKEND! con in February). Both are listed on the credits page as the design team along with James Wyatt, and I cannot remeber if I talked with him

So WotC looked at things in the WoW (and similar things like Everquest and Guildwars and other MMOs) and said what works there that we can represent on the tabletop?

Again, from personal conversations with them.

Redrobes
05-07-2009, 07:10 PM
Hey guys I have found this great site I thought id just share it with you in case you wern't aware of it. Its called EnWorld and it has some great forums where you can discuss this type of thing with similar people. Link below you should use it.

http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/General/Misc/EnWorld.jpg (http://www.enworld.org/forum/)

Steel General
05-07-2009, 07:10 PM
Let's keep this civil here people... :(

msa
05-07-2009, 07:18 PM
So WotC looked at things in the WoW (and similar things like Everquest and Guildwars and other MMOs) and said what works there that we can represent on the tabletop?

Again, from personal conversations with them.

Oops, I see I was a little unclear.

I am sure they used MMO techniques and learned from MMOs. I thought my post made that clear. I just am not sure I buy the "they are trying to steal MMO *players*" conspiracy theory. I think they are just trying to make quality RPG based on the MMO research.

But thanks for the post!

Gandwarf
05-07-2009, 07:19 PM
Yes, WotC DID do this to compete with the WoW type games, etc.

It seems logical. I also find it a bit funny. A lot of computer games were once based on D&D rules. Now they are looking at computer games for inspiration :)

NeonKnight
05-07-2009, 07:23 PM
Oops, I see I was a little unclear.

I am sure they used MMO techniques and learned from MMOs. I thought my post made that clear. I just am not sure I buy the "they are trying to steal MMO *players*" conspiracy theory. I think they are just trying to make quality RPG based on the MMO research.

But thanks for the post!

Ahhhh...Then the answer to that would be "in a sense".

See, the Gaming industry is a little different from say the Coke/Pepsi wars and it's version of Brand Loyalty.

WotC is not trying to steal players. They know those players will continue to spend time/money playing WoW. What they DO want to do though is to steal some of THAT money and time.

Much like I play D&D (4e obviously), but I also play Warhammer Fantasy (Lizardmen and Tomb Kings), AND I play computer games (Left 4Dead and Battlefield 2).

msa
05-07-2009, 07:31 PM
WotC is not trying to steal players. They know those players will continue to spend time/money playing WoW. What they DO want to do though is to steal some of THAT money and time.

Yeah, that's a statement I find much more agreeable. I'm sure they also learned a lot about developing a good game through their DDO experience.

IMO, 4e is just so much easier to learn, largely because its so much more consistent. No more special rules for every situation. Every version has done this. Reading 1st edition you see crazy rules about how to keep from drowning, bargaining for goods, etc. 2nd didn't do much to improve this, and also continued to use awful systems like the thieving skills. 3e went a long way to improve the inconsistency problem.

I feel like in 4e, MMOs finally seriously asked the question "why can't you use the same rules for *everything*". It makes the game so much easier to grasp and makes all classes much more accessible. And now that I see what that looks like, I'm glad they did.

NeonKnight
05-08-2009, 10:21 AM
Unfortunately. some people have chosen not to play nice and keep the discussion civil. As a result, I have the unfortunate task of performing a first in the Cartographer's Guild and close a thread due to inflammatory and baiting comments.

I do hope I never have to perform this task again :(

RPMiller
05-13-2009, 04:42 PM
I am reopening this thread as the initial reason for locking it has been resolved. We do not wish to use a heavy hand when it comes to content on the Guild, but unfortunately a need to step in for the sake of our members may happen. We would like for this thread to return to the previous non-confrontational tone it had and look forward to the continued conversation.

As a reminder to everyone, the Guilds posting guidelines are clearly stated in the FAQ, and we would ask that if you have not yet read them that you do so and any questions can be posted in a separate thread, or PM'd to the CLs.

Thank you for your understading and let the conversation resume. :)

wormspeaker
05-13-2009, 07:05 PM
I've played all versions of D&D except 3.5 (having played 3.0 and seeing no reason to re-buy the books) and including basic D&D. I would have to say that 4th is probably the best one from a mechanical stand point. I don't like all the rules (skill challenges and saving throws for example) but they are balanced. Perhaps maybe too balanced, but I'll take that over the alternative.

I will say that the published adventures I have bought are very combat oriented. They are for the most part a series of combat encounters and while there is some bare minimum flavor text and NPC background, they are built around a series of skirmishes rather than what I would normally equate with a role play centric adventure. That does not mean that 4th edition is more combat oriented than previous versions, but you certainly need to bring the role play yourself.

I like 4th edition D&D because it is very accessible and has the D&D ability to pull in players to form a group. But now that I have one, I'm going to finish this campaign up sometime late this year and start something different. Probably something that is character driven instead of encounter driven with a modern setting.

Nexis
05-13-2009, 07:19 PM
I'm very happy to see this re opened. I am still debating ither to get 3.5 or go to 4. As I have only run up to 2nd. When they came out with d20 I didn't understand the system. Well that was 10 or so years and I have got the itch back to re enter the gaming world so I realy appreciate this chat. What I need to find is a good tutorial showing the mechanics at work to see if it's what I want to run. I don't mind simplified rules as long as it opens it up to more complex gameing. I need to know BEFORE I shell out the $$$$ and then find I don't like it. And its very hard to find 3.5. No one is parting with their books. :D

Gamerprinter
05-13-2009, 07:35 PM
So I learned a bunch about 4e this week, only because I participated in hot-headed discussion regarding the idea of the 4e monk having psionics as a power source instead of Ki.

I tried to defend the idea of Ki, and lost.

I've always felt psionics were broken in every edition from 1e to 3.5. When I learned 4e was making the monk powered by psionics instead of Ki - I went nuts. Even though I shouldn't because I don't even play 4e.

Their defense proved insurmountable and I had to give in at the end.

Basically this whole, all classes get "powers" thing, and that all "powers" need to have at least 4 classes assigned to it, to be considered a usable "power". I don't get the necessity for that. What's wrong with a power having only 1 or 2 classes assigned to it?

Anyway, under their powers system, psionics works completely different and may actually be unbroken and work in that game. I can see how a monk could be seen as psionic, if working in the same sense as KI.

However, the more I learned, the less I cared for the system. So this week's worth of conflagration has taught me, that this is definitely not for me, the game that is. I'm dead set on 3.5 compatability and Pathfinder, as my only solution.

At least I can say I understand the 4e system better than I had, for what that's worth.

GP

Gamerprinter
05-13-2009, 07:43 PM
I'm very happy to see this re opened. I am still debating ither to get 3.5 or go to 4. As I have only run up to 2nd. When they came out with d20 I didn't understand the system. Well that was 10 or so years and I have got the itch back to re enter the gaming world so I realy appreciate this chat. What I need to find is a good tutorial showing the mechanics at work to see if it's what I want to run. I don't mind simplified rules as long as it opens it up to more complex gameing. I need to know BEFORE I shell out the $$$$ and then find I don't like it. And its very hard to find 3.5. No one is parting with their books. :D

Just for something different, download the Paizo Pathfinder Beta rules. Even though their will be some changes from it to the final format of Pathfinder, it might be a great way to check this new version of 3.5.

Go to the Paizo.com site, the download is accsesable from the home page, download it, and read. It will at least give you a good idea on how 3.5 is different the 3.0, as well as a few fixes that Pathfinder does to that system.

I can't help you with 4e though.

GP

Midgardsormr
05-13-2009, 08:30 PM
What I need to find is a good tutorial showing the mechanics at work to see if it's what I want to run.

The Keep on the Shadowfell adventure module has a distilled rule book and pregen characters. It's still a bit pricey at a suggested retail of US$30, but if you can find another GM in your area who's already run it, they might be willing to loan you the materials or sell it to you at a discount.


Concerning GP's comments about psionics and power sources, I think the reason they dictate a minimum of four classes supported by a power source is so they can publish more easily. I'd imagine they want to spread the support fairly evenly across all the classes, and having too many or too few classes using a given power source means lop-sided coverage as they continue to release splat books. Wizards R&D is very good about keeping things symmetrical; if they break that symmetry, it usually is quite deliberate, and there is a reason for it.

If you're at all interested in the inner workings of Wizards' R&D, I recommend reading Mark Rosewater's column at magicthegathering.com. Actually, here's a link to the archive: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Archive.aspx?author=Mark%20Rosewater

Of course, it's specific to Magic design, but he occasionally talks about more general game design topics. I don't have the time to pick out the gems at the moment, unfortunately.

Nexis
05-13-2009, 08:36 PM
Just for something different, download the Paizo Pathfinder Beta rules. Even though their will be some changes from it to the final format of Pathfinder, it might be a great way to check this new version of 3.5.

Go to the Paizo.com site, the download is accsesable from the home page, download it, and read. It will at least give you a good idea on how 3.5 is different the 3.0, as well as a few fixes that Pathfinder does to that system.

I can't help you with 4e though.

GP

Thank's I'll do that.

Nexis
05-13-2009, 08:37 PM
The Keep on the Shadowfell adventure module has a distilled rule book and pregen characters.

I'm gona look that up and see. Thanks

msa
05-13-2009, 10:09 PM
@wormspeaker:

You might search around teh internets for some of the skill challenge brainstorming. A lot of people have come up with great ways to turn them into a more structured RP venue with XP awards, which I think is the real strength of these constructs. I agree that these are a new idea and are very rough, but I think its been a neat effort to get DMs thinking about how to structure and reward RP encounters. Try here:

http://www.critical-hits.com/features/skill-challenges/

@nexis:

I would probably recommend 4.

The advantage of 3.5 is it is a very flexible and open-ended system even if you buy only the core 3 books. The main reason is that you can very freely pick and choose between the classes easily, which gives you a huge number of options for character types. The downside is it can get very complicated, particularly once you start dealing with skill heavy classes and higher levels.

The advantage of 4 is its very easy to learn, the rules are consistent between classes (no separate rules for caster or skills frankly), and the monster templating is easy. The downside it is far less flexible, but only because it is a lot more like 2e in that the classes are well defined and you are pretty much stuck with what you pick (at least with PHB 1 + 2).

Also, you can find (almost) complete 3.5 rules anywhere... search for d20 SRD. Here is one:

http://www.d20srd.org/

@GP:

As far as I can tell, the power sources are purely flavor... they have no impact on the rules, and you can easily and effectively change the style of a class only by changing the power source and reword and slightly rework the skills. Like changing a barbarian into a swashbuckler or a ranger into an archery soldier.

Gamerprinter
05-13-2009, 10:51 PM
@wormspeaker:I would probably recommend 4.

The advantage of 3.5 is it is a very flexible and open-ended system even if you buy only the core 3 books. The main reason is that you can very freely pick and choose between the classes easily, which gives you a huge number of options for character types. The downside is it can get very complicated, particularly once you start dealing with skill heavy classes and higher levels.

The advantage of 4 is its very easy to learn, the rules are consistent between classes (no separate rules for caster or skills frankly), and the monster templating is easy. The downside it is far less flexible, but only because it is a lot more like 2e in that the classes are well defined and you are pretty much stuck with what you pick (at least with PHB 1 + 2).

Also, you can find (almost) complete 3.5 rules anywhere... search for d20 SRD. Here is one:

http://www.d20srd.org/

@GP:

As far as I can tell, the power sources are purely flavor... they have no impact on the rules, and you can easily and effectively change the style of a class only by changing the power source and reword and slightly rework the skills. Like changing a barbarian into a swashbuckler or a ranger into an archery soldier.

Now I can agree that 4e might be easiest for Wormspeaker, especially since he's been out of the game for a decade, and 4e is certainly easier to learn.

I also see that lack of game flexibility makes DMing far easier to handle especially at high level play.

For a new player, having never played an RPG before, the inflexibility makes it much easier to grasp the game, this too I agree with, so 4e does have its positive points in my book.

All this argues that 4e is more balanced, but IMO, its almost too balanced.

However, I disagree that 4e is like 2e, perhaps on some philosophical level, but to me, 4e is a completely different game. There are many similarities between 1e to 3e, at least you can see the progression of the game as expansions of itself, each more complex than the previous. If one only played 2e and looks at 3e, sure its more complex, but saves and AC (for example) are positive d20 instead THACO, which is much easier to grasp. It looks different, but much the same.

In 4e, saves have all but disappeared, spellcasting are really different than any previous edition, all classes having "powers" though can be "thought of" as "techniques of a class" they seem to come off as all classes having spell powers (which I have real problems with), though nothing wrong with a publisher going a different way, to say 4e is like 2e makes no sense. It doesn't look anything like the D&D I've played for 30 years.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, you just can't claim 4e as looking like any previous edition. It doesn't.

Final point, though as you say, powers is really fluff and no mechanics - I argue that the decision to have Monks be psionic powered instead of Ki, implies that the "mechanics" of Ki was somehow in conflict to the balance of the game, or allowance for more classes with Ki powers. If its all fluff, why would it matter if the Monk was Ki powered, Psionic powered or Peanut Butter powered - if the powers are only fluff it shouldn't matter, so there shouldn't have been this need to "dump Ki" from the powers list.

Though I'd have to think about it some, I'm sure I could come up with 4 classes using Ki power and not all of them as "Asian" only types, so if the decision to drop Ki, was due to lack of 4 classes to use, the developers just weren't creative enough.

Or, as I really see it they concerned themselves as Ki as the Monk overmuch, and should have looked at Monk as part of Ki, and Ki having a much wider influence beyond just the Monk.

Obviously, I'm still not over the Monk psionics thing... :?

GP

PS: I'm not trying to have an edition war, these are just my concerns regarding why I am uncomfortable with 4e, and why I'd rather stay with 3.5+ with Pathfinder. All editions are good for someone, so they are all worthwhile.

overlordchuck
05-13-2009, 11:42 PM
Final point, though as you say, powers is really fluff and no mechanics - I argue that the decision to have Monks be psionic powered instead of Ki, implies that the "mechanics" of Ki was somehow in conflict to the balance of the game, or allowance for more classes with Ki powers. If its all fluff, why would it matter if the Monk was Ki powered, Psionic powered or Peanut Butter powered - if the powers are only fluff it shouldn't matter, so there shouldn't have been this need to "dump Ki" from the powers list.

Because then they'd have to find three or four other classes powered by Peanut Butter for the Peanut Butter Power Compendium :D

Ascension
05-14-2009, 12:19 AM
I'm saving my money for the caffeine and nicotine compendium...probably should be a co-author for that one :)

Gamerprinter
05-14-2009, 12:25 AM
Hah! I knew that line would get a response! :P

GP

Valarian
05-14-2009, 04:28 AM
PS: I'm not trying to have an edition war, these are just my concerns regarding why I am uncomfortable with 4e, and why I'd rather stay with 3.5+ with Pathfinder. All editions are good for someone, so they are all worthwhile.
I found I've gone backwards in a search for simplicity and speed, first using Savage Worlds (which I've never quite liked) and now I've recently got back in to Dragon Warriors after a long gap. Plus, someone's just introduced me to Castles and Crusades, which has (IMO) a combination of the best of the Basic D&D and D&D3e rules. C&C has cut away all the skills, feats and powers - it's taken things back to basics.

pickaboo
05-14-2009, 08:44 AM
For my part I'll say that the 4th ed is probably too balanced and too much miniature-game for my taste. Also I think everyone having spellcasting is not very good.

msa
05-14-2009, 09:12 AM
However, I disagree that 4e is like 2e, perhaps on some philosophical level, but to me, 4e is a completely different game.

Sure, I accept that's true at many (probably most) levels. I was mostly referring to the limiting class structure in 1+2e, which I feel like 4e returned to.

Although for the record, saves are still there, they are just called defenses and the attacker rolls against them. That was a great mechanical change in line with the standardization of saves, ability checks, and ability checks in 3e. Now, almost all mechanics follow the rule that the person taking the action rolls to see if it succeeds.

The great thing, IMO, about 4e is that it carries along the trend of making all mechanics more consistent. I like this. When 3e scraped that awful thief skill percentage system, that was pure gold. And for 20 years I have hated spellcasters and have avoided them like the plague because the spell system gets under my skin (pure personal opinion). But in standardizing, they have removed many of the iconic mechanics of D&D.


Final point, though as you say, powers is really fluff and no mechanics - I argue that the decision to have Monks be psionic powered instead of Ki, implies that the "mechanics" of Ki was somehow in conflict to the balance of the game, or allowance for more classes with Ki powers.

I would suggest that you are possibly more attached to 'ki' than might be reasonable ;) I always sort of assumed it was just an asian flavor of psionics too. I think they were just looking to remove terms for the core book, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see an asian flavored supplement with ki powered classes. I also think it could have been powered by peanut butter with virtually no effect on the game.


I'm not trying to have an edition war, these are just my concerns regarding why I am uncomfortable with 4e, and why I'd rather stay with 3.5+ with Pathfinder.

Yar! I don't think I'm going to stop playing 3e either. I don't need simplicity... I prefer flexibility. If I play 4e, it'll be with noobs, where I think the game really shines (not saying only noobs like 4e, I just think it was brilliantly simplified and made more consistent).

Nexis
05-14-2009, 09:57 AM
Yar! I don't think I'm going to stop playing 3e either. I don't need simplicity... I prefer flexibility. If I play 4e, it'll be with noobs, where I think the game really shines (not saying only noobs like 4e, I just think it was brilliantly simplified and made more consistent).

That is exactly what I look for in the game. After looking at 4th I think I will stick with 3.5.

In what I found about 4 is what most here were saying. A good system for beginers and very streamlined for players or DMs who want to get into the game and not take hours making up a characters or adventures.
I have always been in to max detail in my games so I think I'll give 4 a pass.
But after seeing the Pathfinder beta I am now debating over getting the 3.5 books this weekend at CanGames (Ottawa's annual Gaming Convention) or cooling it till August with the release of Pathfinder.

pickaboo
05-14-2009, 11:25 AM
Now that I had a chance to read those 4ed books a bit, I noticed that they have a few nice modifications to the rules. Mainly ones that lead to increased damage compared to earlier editions but I'm not the one to adopt changes that nerf stuff. The game is not about balance, it's about beating up monsters :D

jfrazierjr
05-14-2009, 11:36 AM
That does not mean that 4th edition is more combat oriented than previous versions, but you certainly need to bring the role play yourself.

I would argue that there is nothing new under the sun here... To me, role playing is something that is personal to each and every player, NOT inherent in a game system. Some people complain about D&D not having much role playing fluff and say they prefer other systems because they provide much more. But at the same time, many of the other systems touted have little to no published adventures revolving around them while D&D does and it does have some of said fluff. In aggregate, I would argue that D&D has far more RPing fluff than many systems out there, it's called novels.

jfrazierjr
05-14-2009, 11:41 AM
I'm very happy to see this re opened. I am still debating ither to get 3.5 or go to 4. As I have only run up to 2nd. When they came out with d20 I didn't understand the system. Well that was 10 or so years and I have got the itch back to re enter the gaming world so I realy appreciate this chat. What I need to find is a good tutorial showing the mechanics at work to see if it's what I want to run. I don't mind simplified rules as long as it opens it up to more complex gameing. I need to know BEFORE I shell out the $$$$ and then find I don't like it. And its very hard to find 3.5. No one is parting with their books. :D


The Keep on the Shadowfell adventure module has a distilled rule book and pregen characters. It's still a bit pricey at a suggested retail of US$30, but if you can find another GM in your area who's already run it, they might be willing to loan you the materials or sell it to you at a discount.

I "BELIEVE" WotC has posted up a link to their quickstart rules as well as a downloadable copy of Keep on the Shadowfell.

Yep: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20090428 Basically, you can get a really good feel for playing 4E with no up front investment other than a few downloads and some time.

Midgardsormr
05-14-2009, 11:44 AM
Even better! Thanks for that link, Joe.

Gamerprinter
05-14-2009, 11:46 AM
I would suggest that you are possibly more attached to 'ki' than might be reasonable ;)

Well I'm in the middle of developing a feudal Japan based setting, intended for publication in June 2009 under OGL with the intent to republish in August with the Pathfinder Compatibility logo. Ki is important to my setting, so its heavy on my mind.

With the announcement regarding the 4e monk, it was very much counter to my development - thus I am quite attached to Ki, because of this.

GP

jfrazierjr
05-14-2009, 11:59 AM
That is exactly what I look for in the game. After looking at 4th I think I will stick with 3.5.

In what I found about 4 is what most here were saying. A good system for beginers and very streamlined for players or DMs who want to get into the game and not take hours making up a characters or adventures.

I can say, that after playing since the eary 80s, and every edition in some way, shape or form, I much prefer 4E for many of the changes it made. Just as we moved away from 5 saving throws (which were limited and narrowly defined (should my save against x be a save against breath weapon or spell???)) to a system where the attacker targets a single defense, this makes the system streamlined and faster be cause there is no opposed roll (well.. there are some in 4E, but very rare). Just as someone else noted the change from Thaco to 20+mods vs target is much easier.

As others have also noted, 4E finally FIXED the one thing that other editions have as broken as well as PF, which is mainly the Vancian spell system. My brother started a 3.5 campaign 4 years ago and we used the Elements of Magic rules, which "feels" much more right to me as it give players the power to shape magic to get specific effects once they have learned a specific discipline of magic and allows you to save your energy and do tons of low level spells during a day or a few really powerful ones and your done.





I have always been in to max detail in my games so I think I'll give 4 a pass. Then what your looking for is in the Rolemaster family...

Midgardsormr
05-14-2009, 12:14 PM
Or Mythworld, an even more detailed variant of RuneQuest. I'm not sure if that one's available anywhere right now or not, but you could inquire with Paul Cardwell on the GMMastery Yahoogroup. He certainly talks it up enough that he'd probably be willing to print on demand if there are no books available right now.

msa
05-14-2009, 01:03 PM
Then what your looking for is in the Rolemaster family...

Well....

You have to like detail and *really love* table lookup ;)

NeonKnight
05-14-2009, 01:33 PM
I've played all versions of D&D except 3.5 (having played 3.0 and seeing no reason to re-buy the books) and including basic D&D. I would have to say that 4th is probably the best one from a mechanical stand point. I don't like all the rules (skill challenges and saving throws for example) but they are balanced. Perhaps maybe too balanced, but I'll take that over the alternative.

Just a clarification for some folks who may not know.

One of the main concepts behind 4e from previous editions was to change some of the rules to the concept of the attacker rolls the dice, from the defender 'sometimes' rolls the dice. What this means is, anytime a player attacks someone THEY are the one that rolls against a defense, so a physical attack is against Armor Class (which is the same as previous editions), but when a wizard casts a spell (fireball for example), Instead of previous editions where the PC hit with the fireball would roll a saving throw to resist the spell, in the new game the WIZARD'S PLAYER rolls an attack against the target's Reflex defense.

The New Saving Throw Mechanic represents ongoing effects (gone is the old SAVE-OR-DIE mechanic) like bleeding to death, suffering the effects of poisons/disease/magically held or compelled. Further, being magically held in place only means being held in place. Unless your character is lying unconcious on the ground and bleeding out, a player is never stuck with sitting there 'twiddling their thumbs' because they rolled a 1 on their saving throw in the first round of the fight. ;)

Torius
05-14-2009, 01:43 PM
Having played D&D since the early 80's my group switched to 4E when it came out and we've loved the new ruleset.

I remember a YouTube video presentation before 4E came out and they showed a scene where someone asked about grappling. Then all the players began flipping through the books to find the information they needed for the rule. By their own admission 3.5 had become too cumbersome in an effort to provide robust systems to use.

I'm not in seventh grade anymore so don't have the time to memorize every rule. The nice thing with 4e is how streamlined the ruleset is. Basic rules with many exceptions.

I also really love how all classes act the same now...meaning you get the same # of choices for your character. Unlike older versions where Wizards had a different spell chart than Clerics and Rogues got more skill pionts...just because.

We used to have many "discussions" about the rules as we tried to interpret them in earlier versions. 4e to me seems very well thought out and easy to play. Print your power cards, sit at the table and instead of having to concentrate on the rules now you can put your effort into the Role Playing....which is what it all is about anyways.

So for me a big Thumbs Up for 4E

Gamerprinter
05-14-2009, 01:46 PM
NK, this is a question not a critique - so if an attacker is trying to get around an opponents defense, and the "save or die" mechanic is gone, what if the attacker rolls a 20 or whatever maximum roll to enable that mechanic. In the opposite way, isn't that the same the thing, rather, "I maxed my roll against my opponents defense - and now that defender dies."

Instead of Save or Die, its Succeed and Kill - which in my thinking is kind of the same thing.

If a monster maxes its attack roll against my defense, I'm just as dead, I just don't get a "save" to oppose the roll.

Or do I have this idea completely mixed up - explain please?

GP

msa
05-14-2009, 01:58 PM
Instead of Save or Die, its Succeed and Kill - which in my thinking is kind of the same thing.

If a monster maxes its attack roll against my defense, I'm just as dead, I just don't get a "save" to oppose the roll.

Or do I have this idea completely mixed up - explain please?

GP

I believe those two discussions were unrelated...

The first point is that the onus of determining if a spell works is on the caster now instead of the target. They are functionally equivalent, its just that they are not consistent with most other challenges in the game.

The second paragraph, I think, makes separate points. First, there is still a saving through in 4e, but it is now exclusively a duration tracker. Very few effects have durations... they last until the target saves (I'm not sure why they did this considering). Second, I think, is an independent statement about them getting rid of 'save or die' or more accurately 'instant kill' effects.

Am I right?

wormspeaker
05-14-2009, 01:59 PM
I would argue that there is nothing new under the sun here... To me, role playing is something that is personal to each and every player, NOT inherent in a game system. Some people complain about D&D not having much role playing fluff and say they prefer other systems because they provide much more. But at the same time, many of the other systems touted have little to no published adventures revolving around them while D&D does and it does have some of said fluff. In aggregate, I would argue that D&D has far more RPing fluff than many systems out there, it's called novels.

I would certainly agree that there is nothing inherently more or less RP about D&D 4th Edition. There might even be more in there than the first edition books. I don't remember the 1st edition books going into much detail about how to role play, but I could just pull the PHB off the shelf at home and take a look to refresh my memory.

I will say that D&D (in general) has less of an RP bent than many other systems out there. Pendragon, the World of Darkeness books, and most of the rules light systems (such as BESM) all have a much larger focus on RP than D&D does. Nothing wrong with that of course (and some of those games might not be the kind of RP you like anyway) but they certainly put greater emphasis on it than D&D does.

However, there is nothing in D&D that says you can't focus on RP, it's just that the mechanics and source material do not support your efforts as much as other systems do. So it then falls on the GM/DM and players to promote it. Which I think is actually a good thing, because I know a lot of people who would have been turned off by the RP expectations of say, WoD if they had not been eased into the hobby with D&D.

Now of course I have had the rust blown off with a few months of running a D&D4e campaign and I'm ready to move back into a character driven rules light or rules medium game, and I think so are my players. I've been getting some complaints about the endless hack and slash progression of the current module we are running, so I am starting to take liberties with the module in order to juice up the RP a little. (I’d advise against buying the “Scepter Tower of Spellguard” module, it’s just a series of hack and slash encounters once the players get underground. While they’re above ground there are some RP opportunities, but the module provides little support in that regard. My players are thoroughly sick of it and we aren’t more than half way through with it.)

dormouse
05-14-2009, 02:21 PM
I see the loss of the saving throw as a major hit at the feel of the game, though I can understand that it streamlines it.

Taking damage in an encounter is expected and, most of the time, it is not going to be fatal. The impact of spells, poison etc is frequently much greater. So the attacker has a throw - "Hit." :D :D ; defender feels oh no, :( , what am I saving against, oh dear my saving throw is not too good; throws, succeeds :D - relief on the one side and pleasure and anticipation frustrated on the other. Without saves, there is none of the to and fro of the tension.

Gamerprinter
05-14-2009, 02:24 PM
One more point. I already understand that the onus is on the caster not the defender regarding success in a magic attack. However, even though my save or die roll is gone. Its been replaced by max roll by caster against my defense. In kind of sort of way, he blows my save for me, rathering than me doing it to myself.

Again I don't quite grasp the concept. But it doesn't seem to gone at all, just switched around as to who gets to roll my save. Its the opponent, not me, but the result is exactly the same.

I can't get my head around that, to see the difference.

GP

NeonKnight
05-14-2009, 02:30 PM
NK, this is a question not a critique - so if an attacker is trying to get around an opponents defense, and the "save or die" mechanic is gone, what if the attacker rolls a 20 or whatever maximum roll to enable that mechanic. In the opposite way, isn't that the same the thing, rather, "I maxed my roll against my opponents defense - and now that defender dies."

Instead of Save or Die, its Succeed and Kill - which in my thinking is kind of the same thing.

If a monster maxes its attack roll against my defense, I'm just as dead, I just don't get a "save" to oppose the roll.

Or do I have this idea completely mixed up - explain please?

GP


In 3.5 weapons had these huge Critical Hits (Example a Great Axe was a d12, if it critted it did 3x damage. That was EVERYTHING x3, so in the hands of someone wielding it two handed (which it had to be) with a 20 Strength (most Orcs), with a +4 Strength Modifier they got an additional 1.5 added to the strength modifier. So a normal attack was 1d12 + 6 (strength mod x1.5). When they critted this would be 3x 1d12 + 3x6 or 3d12 +18.

So the damage would then be between 21 (3 1's +18 ) to 54 (3x12 +18 ). And this was against a party of first level characters :(

In 4e rolling a crit is never so swingy. Rolling a crit simply means Maximum Damage, No die roll necessary. Wielding a weapon that does 1d8 +3 (Strength Modifier for example), means a Critical Hit deals 8+3 or 11 damage. Should one be weilding a High Critical weapon (Like a Great Axe) then they roll an additional d6 to add to the damage. Magic weapons add additional d6s to the damage, on the order of 1d6 per ‘plus’ of the weapon, so a +3 weapon adds 3d6 to the damage dealt.

That is how crits work. Same for Spells, If I attack the Goblin horde with a fireball, her is the ‘Power’ writeup for Fireball :

Fireball Wizard Attack 5
A globe of orange flame coalesces in your hand. You hurl it at
your enemies, and it explodes on impact.
Daily ✦ Arcane, Fire, Implement
Standard Action Area burst 3 within 20 squares
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex
Hit: 3d6 + Intelligence modifier fire damage.
Miss: Half damage.

So a fireball is always 3d6 + my intelligence modifier, half damage on a miss. Pretty similar to previous editions. If I score a hit with my fireball (succeed my attack roll against your Reflex score, getting a bonus on my attack roll with my Intelligence Modifier, much Like Strength Vs AC of fighters), you take 3d6+Modifier. If I miss, you take half. If I crit then you take 18+modifier (3 6’s + Modifier).

Save-Or-Die effects in previous editions were spells like Disintigrate, or Phantasmal Killer, or even god Forbid the 2nd Level Spell of Hold Person, or even 1st level Sleep at low levels. These were ‘Save-or-Die’. If you were hit with a Disintegrate spell and failed your saving throw you were dead. No if’s, and’s or but’s.

Hold Person and Sleep, while not killing you outright meant close to the same thing. Hit with one of those and you were out of the fight, and an easy target for a coup-des-grac.

So, now, (using Hold Person as an example), lets say you are hit with the 4e equivalent. You are now ‘restrained’. Restrained means you cannot move, but you can still attack, and do other actions, you just can’t move from that spot (unless you have abilities like teleport that allow ‘movement’ without ‘moving’). Then at the end of your turn you make a saving throw versus the restrained condition. You roll a d20, if it comes up 1-9 you continue to be restrained (held), if you roll 10-20, then you shake the effect.

This is not to say that the ‘really, really bad things’ are gone from the game, Some of them are still there, example being Petrification (Basilisks, medusa, etc). But they are not the ‘quickie’ they are currently.

So, here is an example of a medusa gaze attack:
C Petrifying Gaze (Standard, at-will) F Gaze, Petrification
Close blast 5; blind creatures are immune; +16 vs Fortitude; the target is slowed (save ends). First Failed Save: The target is immobilized instead of slowed (save ends). Second Failed Save: The target is petrified (no save).

First, the attack needs to hit you (so the medusa needs to succeed with the gaze attack, and that has a very short range (I think 3 squares), then you need to fail 2 saves (each with a 55% chance of success), before you ‘expire’. Even then there are lots of abilities to assist you in making those saves with a better chance of success (example make the save with a roll of 8+ or even 6+ or 4+.

Does this answer your question?

torstan
05-14-2009, 02:33 PM
Well there are two points here. First of all, there are no instant kill effects. It's now 'succeed and damage' rather than 'succeed and kill' to steal your terminology. This is a big change and makes high level play reasonable. Otherwise in a 4 person party someone was going to die on average 1 in every 5 encounters because someone would cast finger of death and those are the odds that someone rolls a one. That's not a reasonable system for high level combats unless you really are all happy with everyone being resurrected every now and again.

As for the difference between a saving throw I make and an attack someone else makes, there really is very little to it. Essentially the mechanic of the 3.5 save is roll a d20 and add your bonus - if this hits the AC (the save DC) then you win! Now 4e just looked at that and figured out it was the same mechanic as an attack roll, so why should the defender be rolling the save? So they decided to lump all the mechanics together, got rid of saving throws as we knew them and made the attacker roll the random chance as a to hit. The odds shouldn't have changed much (other than being a little more balanced) but you know have one less mechanic - and wizards roll to hit with fireballs just like a fighter rolls to hit with a sword. And they can critical too - which is very cool.

To answer Doormouse, I agree that the moment of terror you get when you ask a player to make a will save isn't there any more. But you still get a similar degree of terror by describing the arcane chanting of the enemy and then asking what their will defence is. Your players will be holding your breath when you roll the dice.

The 4e saving throw is something entirely different and really shouldn't be compared in any way to the 3.5 saving throw. They are fundamentally different and address different things.

Edit: Beaten to this by Neonknight!

msa
05-14-2009, 02:42 PM
Again I don't quite grasp the concept. But it doesn't seem to gone at all, just switched around as to who gets to roll my save. Its the opponent, not me, but the result is exactly the same.

Torst said this too, but yeah... this is right. There is no difference mathematically.

3.5: target rolls d20 + level modifier + stat modifier vs. (caster's) 10 + level modifier + stat modifier
4e: caster rolls d20 + level modifier + stat modifier vs. (target's) 10 + level modifier + stat modifier

There are some differences... in 3.5 'level' modifier was based on class for the saver and spell level for the caster, and now its just level for both. But otherwise... same roll.

The only difference is now the mechanics for determining if a spell has full effect are consistent with the mechanics for determining if a skill is successful or an attacks hits.

NeonKnight
05-14-2009, 02:54 PM
The other concept I LOVE, absolutely LOVE in 4e is the concept of Minions. The Rank-n-File GOONS. A Movie Equivalent is the 'Unamed Badguy #1, etc. These are characters who are present to 'fill out the ranks' are a threat but are simple to dispose of, again, like in James Bond movies the rank-n-file soldiers of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. James takes out with a single punch or a single shot from his Walther PPK.

Previous editions had a very hard time representing these characters.

So, in 4e, these are represent as Monsters with a Single hit point. So, hit them with an attack, and down they go, if the attack misses, they live. This includes the aforementioned in another thread FIREBALL. If that attack roll misses, the minion lives. The do moderate damage (nothing random about them, the roll attacks but not damage, they just do X damage, nothing more, nothing less).

Now, before you think a Minion is a push over and useless after low level play, Nope. The following is the stats for a 21 level Monster:


Legion Devil Legionnaire Level 21 Minion
Medium immortal humanoid (devil) XP 800
Initiative +11 Senses Perception +11; darkvision
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 37; Fortitude 33, Reflex 32, Will 32; see also squad defense
Resist 15 fire
Speed 7, teleport 3
Longsword (standard; at-will) ✦ Weapon
+26 vs. AC; 8 damage.
Squad Defense
The legion devil legionnaire gains a +2 bonus to its defenses
when adjacent to at least one other legion devil.
Alignment Evil Languages Supernal
Str 14 (+12) Dex 12 (+11) Wis 12 (+11)
Con 14 (+12) Int 10 (+10) Cha 12 (+11)
Equipment plate armor, heavy shield, longsword

So, I like Minions, and they see use regardless of the level of play I play at.
As you can see, a very tough opponent for most characters lower than 15th level, even though it has a single hit point.

msa
05-14-2009, 03:01 PM
The other concept I LOVE, absolutely LOVE in 4e is the concept of Minions.

Minions were an awesome addition. I played a few RPGs that had them over the years and I was super happy they made it into D&D.

torstan
05-14-2009, 03:11 PM
Yep, minions are a straightforward win for 4e. I am adapting them into my 3.5 campaign to allow my high level characters some proper mass battles without the whole game grinding to a halt.

Nexis
05-14-2009, 03:44 PM
As I read the posts I have come to a realization. I now know what it is that is making me shy away from 4e. Its NOT the mechanics. As a mater of fact I realy like what I'm reading here of the new rules. What I realised is it the way they presented the game.
They came out saying things like "a fair and ballenced party", "a more ballenced combat". THAT is what rubbed me the wrong way. Now I know it's a wrong idea from what I have seen but when I read that I see in my mind an image of a race for children. They all run but only one crosses the line but all get trophies and ice cream.
To me it destroyed the notion of Dare to Be Grate! No guts no Glory! If I run a bad guy I think like a bad guy. Being fair and ballenced to the enemy? *&^$&$! to THAT! I WANT TO WIN!!
As I said I realise how wrong that image is now.

Any way. One other thing. Is anyone interested in opening a thread on talking about Pathfinder compared to 3.5? Just asking! :)

NeonKnight
05-14-2009, 03:46 PM
If people can keep it civil, Sure, Why Not?

torstan
05-14-2009, 03:50 PM
Actually I'd love to hear a good discussion of pathfinder vs 3.5. I haven't taken the time to read through the beta rules yet, so I'd love an edited highlights run down of the changes that have been made. Given the size of the book they're bringing out I'm guessing there are a lot!

And just because a game is balanced it doesn't mean you can't dare to be great. There will still be losers in 4e - and if my players screw up I will kill them. It's just that the mechanics make that a little less random than in 3.5 (though I have to say the funniest thing is still to take Malebranches at their face CR and throw them against a party. That is just hilarious. Yes being unbalanced can be a lot of fun sometimes.).

Steel General
05-14-2009, 03:54 PM
As NeonKnight said, just keep it civil.

I know absolutely nothing about Pathfinder but it still might interest me.

cyfir
05-14-2009, 04:09 PM
So, I'm happy to see the thread unlocked. I cringed a little when my innocent third-post-on-the-forum question turned into a flamewar of doom... sorry.

That having been said, I absolutely love 4e for a few reasons. First, the powers system. While a lot of people are a little tore up about the loss of spell variety, as someone who played a fighter more often than not, the grass is a little greener on this side of the fence. It's nice to be able to do something more useful than provide additional damage to my sorc's battle strategy. ^_^ Caster classes have had their overall utility vastly reduced, but the end result was to spread that utility across all the class archetypes.

The second thing I really like about 4e is how simple the combat system is. I don't like when combat bogs the game down, which happens far too often in my experience. Since trying out 4e, combat just flows better.

I was a little daunted by creating skill challenges at first, but I ended up cribbing from Shadowrun and just mapped them out into a story matrix. Basically, you create a flowchart that ensures you're prepared for whatever outcome a given roll yields, and that you give the players plenty of decision points throughout so they can tailor the challenge to their strengths and give them a measure of control over their characters' choices. It takes a while to make a really good one, and like any "battle plan," requires flexibility, but so far, its made for some really fun encounters for my players.

wormspeaker
05-14-2009, 04:36 PM
I like minions, but 1hp is too little for my taste. I make them 1hp per level instead and make them take damage on a miss if the ability calls for it. They still usually drop on a single hit, but sometimes it takes two. (This makes them more susceptible to area effect dailys that do damage on a miss, but the players really like seeing a load of minions drop regardless of the roll.)

As for the saving throw vs. defenses, one thing that hasn't been mentioned so far, is that it allows the DM to fudge the roll.

Originally the player would roll the save and while it could be quite dramatic, sometimes they would fail when you really needed them to succeed and would succeed when you really needed them to fail. Now, I can fudge it if I need to. So that's really nice, and I do fudge them when needed. It's worked out well so far.

Gamerprinter
05-14-2009, 04:49 PM
Skill challenges, or at least an early version of it existed in Eberron 3.5, so skill challenges are actually a part of 3.5 SRD, it is not an invention of 4e, though they emphasize its use more than general 3.5.

GP

overlordchuck
05-14-2009, 11:24 PM
Yar! I don't think I'm going to stop playing 3e either. I don't need simplicity... I prefer flexibility. If I play 4e, it'll be with noobs, where I think the game really shines (not saying only noobs like 4e, I just think it was brilliantly simplified and made more consistent).

I guess this is a bit late, and has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion at hand, but I had to mention this. I was listening to Alestorm's newest album, and just as I read "Yar!" in the post, the singer said the same thing. Twas weird to say the least. And then the song shifted into the Pirates of the Caribbean theme. The whole thing just took me by surprise.

Okay. Resume discussion.

jfrazierjr
05-15-2009, 12:12 AM
I would certainly agree that there is nothing inherently more or less RP about D&D 4th Edition. There might even be more in there than the first edition books. I don't remember the 1st edition books going into much detail about how to role play, but I could just pull the PHB off the shelf at home and take a look to refresh my memory.

I will say that D&D (in general) has less of an RP bent than many other systems out there. Pendragon, the World of Darkeness books, and most of the rules light systems (such as BESM) all have a much larger focus on RP than D&D does. Nothing wrong with that of course (and some of those games might not be the kind of RP you like anyway) but they certainly put greater emphasis on it than D&D does.

However, there is nothing in D&D that says you can't focus on RP, it's just that the mechanics and source material do not support your efforts as much as other systems do. So it then falls on the GM/DM and players to promote it. Which I think is actually a good thing, because I know a lot of people who would have been turned off by the RP expectations of say, WoD if they had not been eased into the hobby with D&D.


I can say that yes, some of the premade stuff could do a better job,(but again, at least there is tons of material available as a launch point, unlike many game systems where you get the rule book and have to make up all your campaign), but at the same time, I rarely buy a module and don't make some changes to it.


Now of course I have had the rust blown off with a few months of running a D&D4e campaign and I'm ready to move back into a character driven rules light or rules medium game, and I think so are my players. I've been getting some complaints about the endless hack and slash progression of the current module we are running, so I am starting to take liberties with the module in order to juice up the RP a little. (I’d advise against buying the “Scepter Tower of Spellguard” module, it’s just a series of hack and slash encounters once the players get underground. While they’re above ground there are some RP opportunities, but the module provides little support in that regard. My players are thoroughly sick of it and we aren’t more than half way through with it.)

Please don't take this the wrong way, but, I think this approach is exactly what makes a good GM (unfortunately, I don't always have enough time to do what I would really like in this regard as the GM:(()

I have played with some exceptional guys at times, and as the GM, I have (in the late 80's) had a players who RP'ed with a Red dragon and found out that the dragon was not inherently evil and became a friend and ally (set up for a HUGE battlesystem battle with the dragon on the good guys side). Likewise, I have had more than a few "monsters" that I RPed because the players took the time and in most cases, the players made allies(as well as a few friends, and one or two traiters!!!) that lasted for years in the campaign.

Alfar
06-24-2009, 07:00 AM
I think a lot of people interpret things differently from what I do... here some thoughts:

When they say that 4E is more balanced, I think they mean that the group dynamics are more balanced - everyone has something to bring into an encounter. Back in the day, when I was actively playing, I was always the cleric. While I did have a few tricks up my sleeve, most of the time I was a heal-bot, which, while important, wasn't all that exciting. The thief would be hiding in shadows until the battle was over, and the mage... well, one-hit wonders. In 4E, you always have some powers available, and you always have an option that does damage to your enemies. I think it still tips the balance in favour of the PC's, but you don't get people whining "I don't want to be the cleric" as much.

There's a LOT of complaints about characters being unbalanced. It usually boils down to "My character doesn't get as much spotlight as that other guy's" - they tried to solve this.

Also, I think there's a reason for wanting (more than needing) four classes for each power source. It's about the balance again. Power source has at least one meaning to crunch - it applies a keyword to the related powers. Monsters can have immunities to powers with certain keywords. If you have only one class with a Ki power source, you'll have a lot of people wanting to play that class because there'll be few monsters immune to Ki. So you'll have a whole team of... strikers? If there was a leader, defender and controller class for Ki, you'd get the diversity that is useful, as well as a bunch of monsters immune to Ki.

Ramble end ;)

beltaurb
06-26-2009, 06:19 PM
This is my first time chiming in on anything so first things first I will try not to offend anyone.

Second I admit I didn't read all the post on the subject so if anything is repeated sorry.

Here goes. I played the original D&D and AD&D, liked them very much. Why because of ease of use as a DM.

I've played 3.0 and 3.5 but didn't like them not so much as for the rules but because of what was always an overstated theme. As a Dm the designers always stated that your dungeons should make sense for the area, the monsters etc.... With the 1st two versions who cared how the Dragon got into the underground lair he was there and the players needed to get through him. With version 3 you had to figure out how he got his food, how he came and went and probably where he could go to the bathroom. It felt constricted.

Now with 4th edition it is somewhat similar but I now learned to ignore that. Third edition was a nightmare for DM's to make any NPC or Monster encounter with the endless info, now it is somewhat streamlined but still it can be a drag to make your own encounters. With fourth we have no problem in role playing, to use the rules are for combat and the occasional Skill Challenge (not good at this part as player or Dm). Combat takes forever but its tolerable. We seem to like it but we also are just really starting out after we just finished making our own Character program and as DM I have been mapping a heck of a lot.

maxnichols
07-01-2009, 07:54 PM
Beltaurb: I find it curious that you found that theme in 3 and 3.5 to be such a burden. It is not reflected in the rules or the systems in any way; it's purely something that comes through in the writing and tidbits of DMing philosophy in the books. And I'd say that even those tidbits don't go nearly as far as you're describing. As long as your group doesn't demand such details, they can be completely ignored.

And if you have the sort of group that would demand such detail, they'll likely do it regardless of which system you're using.

pickaboo
07-02-2009, 03:50 AM
Beltaurb: I find it curious that you found that theme in 3 and 3.5 to be such a burden. It is not reflected in the rules or the systems in any way; it's purely something that comes through in the writing and tidbits of DMing philosophy in the books. And I'd say that even those tidbits don't go nearly as far as you're describing. As long as your group doesn't demand such details, they can be completely ignored.

And if you have the sort of group that would demand such detail, they'll likely do it regardless of which system you're using.

I think the rules specifically say that the DM is free to omit any rule that he/she sees unnecessary. I like to use the detailed information to create a spirit of non-randomness in the world so that the game is not just an infinite gauntlet of monsters.. we tried that once and it wasn't very fun.

beltaurb
07-03-2009, 07:33 PM
I agree with both of you but I guess I didn't convey totally what I was referring too. With dungeon and dragon magazines they stated quite often that your dungeons etc... should make a logical sense and what I meant was that every time I read that it stayed locked into my mind and psionically handcuffed me.

It's true that it always stated that you could ignore any rule you wanted and I have but what I meant in the above statement was that it creatively locked my brain from being (creative).

I agree that you can ignore anything in the books but then how come you see so many people complaining about 4th edition that it makes it hard to role play and it is too confining. The rules in the books are combat, pure, simple! The roleplaying comes from you and your DM.

Redrobes
07-03-2009, 08:40 PM
I think I would disagree here. I havent played any 4e yet but this week I (a few of us here) have been rolling up some chars and gone with 4th ed. So I thought about my character and come up with a background and what he was going to look like, wear, what weapons he would choose and so on - THEN I got out the 4e PHB and started to roll up. And here's the thing - it basically would not allow me that character.

I went for a Dwarf rogue and he was going to use a big crossbow and you could have this character in the game but it is utterly mullered from the stats point of view. For a start theres no point in having a crossbow at all now - not that a thief can even use a normal one anyway in 4e. If you compare a long bow to a crossbow then its worse on every stat except that the cross bow is cheaper. A cross bow is cheaper than a long bow. C'mon.

You also have to choose between the prototype class of Artful Dodger or Brutal Scoundrel which has Charisma or Strength as the major stats. All the thieves skills use Dex or charisma and a bit of wisdom for perception but basically theres no point in having intelligence at all which my character background was dependent on.

Anyway - all this is not why I am finding it a bit odd. The things that are getting at me is a more fundamental one. In basic thru Ad&D 2ed the rules were strictly about handling events in the role playing with some balance. They were guidance on running a simulation. 3rd ed did not deviate from this very much either. It changed the way you did it but essentially it was a more simplified but range expanded way of running a fantasy simulation. 4th ed is distinctly different where you are most definitely playing a game and your options for the world are restricted and some of these rules are out and out bizarre from a simulation point of view. They make sense only from a game mechanic. Take healing surges. Its quite obvious that these are a mechanism to fix up the play rather than whats happening in the world. If my character can do a healing surge at one point in the day why not 100 times per day. What is a healing surge ? Its a fudge to make the game run better and thats why I think it detracts from the roleplaying. How as a DM am I supposed to say that your character grits his teeth, grimaces and forces a surge of mneh through him and some of his wounds non magically heal up. And its not just this one instance, its all over the place. Take light for example. I am a dwarf with low light ability and I took some torches because I have a lot of carrying capacity and the party might need it. If I light one up it sheds 5 squares of bright light... and how many more of dim light ? None I think. A candle has a 2 square dim light range. Non low light vision dudes cant see well in low light so for them firing up a candle is pointless and for me firing up a torch has no benefit to me. All light sources should have had a bright radius and a dim radius like ranged weapons. Here's another. Lantern burns 8hrs / pint of oil. How much is a pint of oil then ? Its not in the gear table. How much damage does lit oil do now ? Maybe I haven't found it yet but oil, hurled items, grenades are all not listed in the index. And some of the prices are bizarre. You can buy a whole wagon or 4 bottles of wine for the same money. Alternatively you can stay in an inn for a week and a half or buy that single bottle of wine. That's some vintage wine going there. Clearly the food and lodging prices have been fixed up. All the rules seem like a fudge to make a game play rather than as a simulation of whats going on. There were odd rules in every edition but 4e designers seem to have dropped all pretense of making a simulation now. So its down to the DM. Run it by the book and it could get pretty stale. Walk off the straight and narrow and its no different to previous editions in that respect. But unless you deviate wildly from the core in 4e and want to have characters that are designed by roleplay then your going to be at a bigger stat disadvantage for it than in previous editions.

EDIT - Tip to all medium level 4e characters with a by the book DM. Tell him your gonna hire some low level druids and set up a large vinyard and check out his reaction.

Talroth
07-03-2009, 09:32 PM
The Character Builder lists oil as 1sp, and weighs 1lb for a pint. And lists it as coming from the player's handbook.

My books are away in storage, can anyone with a book handy check that?

Greason Wolfe
07-04-2009, 12:11 AM
It's good to see this thread open and civil once more. Good conversation and expression is always a plus, even if we all don't particularly agree about some things.

In relation to a couple of posts . . .



I've played 3.0 and 3.5 but didn't like them not so much as for the rules but because of what was always an overstated theme. As a Dm the designers always stated that your dungeons should make sense for the area, the monsters etc.... With the 1st two versions who cared how the Dragon got into the underground lair he was there and the players needed to get through him. With version 3 you had to figure out how he got his food, how he came and went and probably where he could go to the bathroom. It felt constricted.

This is, of course, a thing of personal preference. Back when I first started playing, we were pretty much a hack-n-slash group with little to no concern about where the dungeon came from or who lived there as long as we got experience and treasure from the play. Then we (well, more like I) started to take things in a different direction and explored a more "logical" approach to things. Dungeons didn't exist in a void, and the monsters populating those dungeons were more than just a set of numbers to be defeated. In a nutshell, we started focusing on the story rather than the combat.

As for RedRobes' comments, I find myself agreeing with him. Although I haven't even taken a look at any of the 4E books, I've felt, since the release of 3E, that the whole system was shifting away from being a pen and paper attempt to tell a story to, in effect, a number crunching process. This was never more evident to me than when I purchased the Icewind Dale computer games. It was all about number crunching (as most computer based RPGs are), but IWD2 pretty much pushed it over the edge for me.

Again, though, such things are a matter of personal taste and preference. I rarely play table-top or computerized RPGs anymore and tend towards chat-based freeform play with friends. It's not about numbers, stats, hit points and the like. It's about the story. Not that numbers, stats, hit points and the like are bad things, they just aren't my cup of tea anymore.

GW

Midgardsormr
07-04-2009, 02:11 AM
The Character Builder lists oil as 1sp, and weighs 1lb for a pint. And lists it as coming from the player's handbook.

My books are away in storage, can anyone with a book handy check that?

Since my PHB is within an arm's reach... No, oil is not listed on the adventuring equipment table.

NeonKnight
07-04-2009, 03:55 AM
Redrobes, to address your issues of Light, Yeah, read over that part, and it makes no mention of dimlight. But, being a DM myself, I would 'house rule it' and say the dim light is half the same distance beyond, rounded down. In other words, if a Torch provides 5 squares of bright light, if it is necessary to know, then it provides an additional 2 squares of dim light.

I think on the whole most of this was 'skipped over' because if you are outside with a Torch, most times outdoors is DIM LIGHT at. Perfect? No, but then no game system attempts to detail every nuance of everything.

loogie
07-04-2009, 01:45 PM
well... to many posts here to read em all, so I'll sum up my experiences and beliefs of DnD

In my experience (I KNOW that it has a lot to do with the DM, players etc) I've played 1st ed dnd (i'll admit i wasn't even in my teens) with my brother and his friends a lot and I loved it... then I used to play DND 2nd ed for a long time, but upon the release of 3rd I held back, mainly because I didn't have the cash to sink into new books. When I was still playing 2nd ed games I stumbled upon some friends, who ended up becoming my main in person roleplaying group, who loved rping as much as I did... They had a series of books, called middle earth role playing made by Iron Crown Enterprises... and I haven't looked back since...

I've played 3rd ed, and 4th ed enough to know that I prefer other systems better... I find that DND is extremely easy to pick up... and when you play with people who know the rules, is quick to play... but i find it closes doors for creative rpers unless you have a DM who is comfortable enough with bending the rules for specific things... dnd in itself is a very cookiecutter oriented game, and every group ends up having similar characters... To me dnd is something I would willingly suggest for beginners, because I think its something that is easy enough to pick up, and fast-paced enough to keep you excited... It benefits from being the game that EVERYONE has heard of, and therefore the game that people are most willing to play.
In the end the success of the game stems from the skill of the DM, which can easily be said about any gaming system... and not every system is so expensive to purchase the required texts... is it worth the money in the end?

Redrobes
07-04-2009, 02:16 PM
I played MERP once but err prob 20 + something years ago... I played Traveller just a couple of times, Paranoia (hah nuff said...), a little shadowrun but its been mainly D&D and I did like it when I used to hit it hard with 2nd ed.

Thanks guys. I will treat oil as stated then not that I need it right now but its odd that it was not listed. And I agree with you Neon in that your house rule sounds great. Id also always treat the square your standing on with a candle as bright in case theres some problem reading books / texts. I know a candle light drops off real quick but its the sillyness of not being able to use one at all without low light ability which is odd. Again with a GM thats prepared to deviate and go with some house ruling its all fine.

I am sat here looking to see whether I should go Artful Dodger (All Cha stat) or Brutal Soundrel (All Str stat) and all I can think of is changing my second higher stat to either Str or Cha... and just roleplaying all the stuff and not worrying that my stats don't quite match up with the character that he is supposed to be...

Gamerprinter
07-04-2009, 03:38 PM
More thoughts regarding 4e.

I know its not quite true, but it almost seems that 4e is nolonger about classes and individual players, but its "team concept" that only matters. Almost as if the only true mechanic is "defender, striker, leader, controller" and that classes are just fluff for those team positions.

How would one even play a solo mission? (Albeight a solo mission is rare and a bit clunky in any edition) in 4e, how does one play with only one character on the team? Can that character only be a striker?

When I try to discover the differences in "powers" in 4e on Gleemax, everyone tells me, that's just fluff. Huh?? As if everything is fluff except as it applies to team positions.

Unfortunately, to me D&D is more than just team dynamics, while certainly an important part, its just a part. In 4e, it seems to be all that matters.

Again, perhaps just a misunderstanding on my part, but from dialogue with those who know, this seems to be the answer they are providing me.

GP

Alecthar
07-04-2009, 04:28 PM
Gamerprinter,

I'm not sure what they mean by the power differences being "only fluff." I'm going to respond, but read this knowing that I wasn't entirely certain or your intent.

The core mechanic of class roles is slightly restrictive, because not everyone can be a wizard or such like, but it does fit with the more tactical nature of the combat, and it's not as MMO-like as some people like to say. Every character can make a direct contribution to damage-dealing in combat, some just do it better, or in a wider area, or they heal while they damage, etc.

But the difference between, say, a Paladin and a Fighter, in terms of powers and class, is more than just "Paladins are fighters that worship a god." The manner in which a Paladin fulfills the Defender role is significantly different than the way a Fighter does. This is a general truism for 4e. Bards and Warlords and Clerics are all Leader classes, and they share a similar mechanic (the "Word" type powers for healing) but their other functions are very different.

The roles were designed to encourage players to field a balanced party, in the sense that you possess characters able to handle various threats and situations. And the design of the game encourages filling all the roles (well, maybe not Controller) but the choice of class within those roles is still significant. Certain classes have capabilities or vulnerabilities that others do not possess.

As for solo missions, you could probably make encounters for a single PC with some experience in the system without too much difficulty. Most Defenders could probably manage a single PC encounter (low accuracy compensated for by being harder to hit) some Strikers could do it (Ranger, Barbarian, probably Avenger, maybe Rogue) though some probably couldn't do it (Sorcerer). I don't know that any Controllers could accomplish it, though Druids could maybe, Wizards and Invokers probably not. For leaders I'd say a Warlord could do it, as well as certain kinds of Clerics and Bards. If you think about all that, though, I wouldn't say that's a significant departure from previous versions of the game. I mean, I wouldn't walk my fragile guys into combat alone in AD&D or 3.5 either.

Gamerprinter
07-04-2009, 05:04 PM
Not to worry, I would never compare 4e or anything to an MMO, in that I have never and will never play an online game, period. So what an MMO is like is beyond my understanding or caring.

I only play tabletop games. And while I'm firmly in the 3e or Pathfinder camp, I'm not anti-4e, as I've made several dialogue attempts to understand on forums where people know about it, I just don't plan to buy the books as a means of learning it. My funds are too limited to wildly experiment by buying something just to figure out what it is.

So I don't mean to come off as a 4e hater. Just call me 4e stupid, and without investing in it, I'm trying to learn more about.

Because I don't know the "whole story" the tidbits I do hear, only seem to confuse more, and not educate at all.

This is where I am coming from in my questions about 4e.

I do see where lots of references involve roles in combat, and while core to the game, combat isn't the defacto end all be all of the game. Roleplaying involves much more than just combat. So how do these roles reflect non-combat parts to the game?

GP

PS: I have never owned a console game either, I don't have nor have ever played Nintendo, XBox, Playstation, whatever - digital games are not my thing.

Notsonoble
07-04-2009, 06:02 PM
How would one even play a solo mission? (Albeight a solo mission is rare and a bit clunky in any edition) in 4e, how does one play with only one character on the team? Can that character only be a striker?

GP

See this is actually rather important to me...because my "groups" are almost always on the small side (3 players a session is a big thing here)... so solo and duo play is big on my list...

And everybody I've talked to about 4th says you simply can't do it that way...

While even I find that a bit hard to chew on... I still find it disturbing that anyone's saying it in the first place... I get a lot of "I'd never run 4th with less than three players, and even then I'd probably have a party-tied NPC" and that just won't fly...

Also, I'm not sure I'd call 3.5/Pathfinder all that clunky on solo games...

msa
07-04-2009, 07:01 PM
I'm not sure what they mean by the power differences being "only fluff." I'm going to respond, but read this knowing that I wasn't entirely certain or your intent.

Well, you sort of said youself what it would mean. I agree with GP, and it seems from my research that a lot of other far more serious 4e players do as well. What really matters in 4e is your class role, but class is really just flavor. Like you say, the difference between a pally and fighter is that each has slightly different mechanics for playing the defender role. Slight is the key word here: there difference between two classes with the same role is marginal at best.

Whether you like this or not is personal choice. In 3.5 and before, every class was basically a damage dealer or a healer. Those were the only two roles, and the only difference between classes was flavor. The control abilities were extremely limited, often restricted only to casters, and were poorly balanced. To me, this was one of the major weaknesses of pre-4e, and one of the most interesting things about 4e. Yes, the game is, by default, balanced around having a group more than before. But anyone who has every played in a group with no healers in 3.5 knows that's not new. DMs will need to tailor games to their groups makeup, and although this process is now more challenging, it is still completely possible.

As for the role-play argument, I've got to be honest: I don't get it. My best RP experiences come from games with very few rules, and even very few dice. Rules are, in my experience, unrelated to role-playing, and are often a trap that allows you to avoid role-playing through dice. In 3.5, there was nothing preventing this exchange:

DM: you encounter a kobold. He is hostile.
Rogue: I roll diplomacy.... ummm... 13 + 8 = 21.
DM: ok, he is unfriendly now.
Rogue: I ask him to let us pass.
DM: he says 'no'. roll initiative.

That's not role playing. Enforcing role playing has always been up to the players and the DM, and often too many rules get in the way. The simplified skill rules in 4e don't really take much away, and there are ample house rules and PHB2 rules that allow for things like backgrounds and professions to add flavor and unusual skills to a character. You also are no longer forced to divert points away from skills with a defined combat role (tumble, bluff, etc) to take skills with little use outside RP (profession, perform).

The difference between the two versions breaks down as such in my mind. In 3.5, you have maximum flexibility, lots of special rules systems, and limited tactical interest in combat. In 4e, you have highly constrained combat roles, consistent rules for most everything, and highly tactical combat. Do you want a game where the rules will not get in the way of your imagination? Play 3.5. Do you want a game where the rules will not get in the way of gameplay? Then 4e.

I want to be clear again: I am a 3.5 player, and with my serious group always will be. I prefer flexibility, and the cumbersome rules and poor balance are not concerns given the way we play and our level of knowledge. So I'm not advocating for 4e by any means, I just don't necessarily agree with the problems many people state with it.

Greason Wolfe
07-04-2009, 07:32 PM
As for the role-play argument, I've got to be honest: I don't get it. My best RP experiences come from games with very few rules, and even very few dice. Rules are, in my experience, unrelated to role-playing, and are often a trap that allows you to avoid role-playing through dice. In 3.5, there was nothing preventing this exchange:

DM: you encounter a kobold. He is hostile.
Rogue: I roll diplomacy.... ummm... 13 + 8 = 21.
DM: ok, he is unfriendly now.
Rogue: I ask him to let us pass.
DM: he says 'no'. roll initiative.

That's not role playing. Enforcing role playing has always been up to the players and the DM, and often too many rules get in the way. The simplified skill rules in 4e don't really take much away, and there are ample house rules and PHB2 rules that allow for things like backgrounds and professions to add flavor and unusual skills to a character. You also are no longer forced to divert points away from skills with a defined combat role (tumble, bluff, etc) to take skills with little use outside RP (profession, perform).



Here, here. That, I think said it very well. I don't know that I would have said that too many rules get in the way. Instead, perhaps, I'd have said that too many "rules lawyers" get in the way. Still, my sentiments almost exactly. Role playing isn't about rolling dice (or roll playing as me and a few others like to call it), it's about letting your imagination loose. I've always likened it to the art of acting, myself.

GW

beltaurb
07-04-2009, 08:23 PM
I totally agree with Greason Wolfe, that rules lawyers get in the way. My post up 1 page said that in my own opinion the rule books are great for the combat and skill challenge parts. But as I stated, It takes Players and DM's to Roleplay and not role and play. We seldom use dice except in combat. The books are good for fluff and my comment about them being for combat only was meant to mean that they help best in combat, and that books cannot fully teach one how to roleplay, that takes imagination and a good teacher (DM).

All in all I like 4th edition and it's the only one we use.

Thanks all for allowing me to give my opinion without really attacking. If you've read my Greeting on the Introduction page you would see I said I'm shy so it doesn't take much for me to feel attacked. So going back to lurking, have fun.

Talroth
07-04-2009, 08:40 PM
Here, here. That, I think said it very well. I don't know that I would have said that too many rules get in the way. Instead, perhaps, I'd have said that too many "rules lawyers" get in the way. Still, my sentiments almost exactly. Role playing isn't about rolling dice (or roll playing as me and a few others like to call it), it's about letting your imagination loose. I've always likened it to the art of acting, myself.

GW

True, but without the dice you're not really playing anything. Now I'm not saying it is all about the dice, but the dice are still very important in my mind. Without it, how does your character ever fail? I can't see many players going "Oh, well, I've been kicking butt all session, so I think I'm randomly going to take a dive here and let that goblin shank me."

I find the dice forces you to think on your feet far more. It isn't "And I slash the first goblin, then I move and chop the head off the second one. The third I'll kick down that mine shaft, and the forth I'll throw my offhand sword into. The fifth I'll punch out with my free hand while cutting the sixth to ribbons with my sword", you might want to do that, but what if you miss your first goblin? Then you have to think "Well, what does my character do now?"

But of course it is all about proper balance, as doing nothing but dice and having your character as an avatar of stats isn't all that fun either.

Greason Wolfe
07-04-2009, 08:57 PM
True, but without the dice you're not really playing anything. Now I'm not saying it is all about the dice, but the dice are still very important in my mind. Without it, how does your character ever fail? I can't see many players going "Oh, well, I've been kicking butt all session, so I think I'm randomly going to take a dive here and let that goblin shank me."

I find the dice forces you to think on your feet far more. It isn't "And I slash the first goblin, then I move and chop the head off the second one. The third I'll kick down that mine shaft, and the forth I'll throw my offhand sword into. The fifth I'll punch out with my free hand while cutting the sixth to ribbons with my sword", you might want to do that, but what if you miss your first goblin? Then you have to think "Well, what does my character do now?"

But of course it is all about proper balance, as doing nothing but dice and having your character as an avatar of stats isn't all that fun either.

Oh, unquestionably. I'm not saying the dice should be thrown out at all. It is just as you said, they force one to think on their feet, so to speak. Admittedly, there are times when it might do well to forget about the dice (say an uber-fighter type against a small group of goblins) or make a single roll to determine the final outcome, but, by the same token, occasional failure (even at uber-levels) can always happen ("Hey, who put that sheet of ice on the floor that I wanted to run across?") All in all, it is most definitely about balance between "role" and "roll" play, and getting a group of players together that understand that balance is, I think, where the foundation of a good session begins.

GW

msa
07-04-2009, 09:26 PM
True, but without the dice you're not really playing anything. Now I'm not saying it is all about the dice, but the dice are still very important in my mind.

I don't know... I've had a very good time in the past with diceless games like Amber. Its definitely not for everyone, but you can do very interesting things without dice. It becomes more about storytelling, elaborate descriptions, and creativity when you remove them. Dice add elements of unpredictability, suspense, and damage control, but considering many games only go right because the DM fudges the roles, are often as much a problem for the story than an indispensable part of tabletop gaming.

Of course... mostly, I play with dice! Yay tactics!

Alecthar
07-04-2009, 09:38 PM
Well, you sort of said youself what it would mean. I agree with GP, and it seems from my research that a lot of other far more serious 4e players do as well. What really matters in 4e is your class role, but class is really just flavor. Like you say, the difference between a pally and fighter is that each has slightly different mechanics for playing the defender role. Slight is the key word here: there difference between two classes with the same role is marginal at best.

I think that it's a good idea for me to clarify the way I think about "fluff" or "flavor." I play Magic: the Gathering, and on the cards there is text in italics. It's often a quote or something that's cool or makes reference to the story at play in the set of cards, but regardless of its content it has no mechanical significance whatsoever. So when I'm hearing about "flavor" being the difference between classes, I'm hearing that the only distinguishing characteristics between classes in a role are ones that have no mechanical implications, which is not accurate. Your choice between Fighter and Swordmage, or Paladin and Warden, or any other permutation you care to name about Defenders (in this case) is a mechanically significant one. The way they function, the powers they possess, and the differing options (particularly during character creation) can have effects in both combat situations and other areas of the game. Your choosing to play a Charisma Paladin over, say, a Fighter means you'll deal automatic damage to marked enemies that flee you, and you'll have some ranged powers at your disposal that might aid you, something a fighter lacks (unless he spends a lot of time throwing Javelins). Aside from that, your Chaladin will probably be the "face" of your party, managing Diplomatic interactions, or attempting to Bluff or Intimidate enemies. On the other hand, a Fighter would have more powerful Opportunity Attacks, as well as additional attacks on marked targets. He might not be able to do so repeatedly, but at times the Fighter can mark multiple targets, depending on what powers he is using. A Fighter will never be the face of your party, but he will be at home with Endurance or Athletics checks.

Now, I can't argue that when you choose a role, that locks you into a certain kind of play-style. If you roll a Striker, it doesn't matter if you go melee Rogue, charging Sorc, or archery Ranger, your primary mission as a party member in combat is to make sure things get super-duper dead. But how you accomplish that will vary, and I (at least) have found that the variance is significant.

One thing about 4e that does bother me slightly, though, is the fact that the powers system, which I generally like, essentially eliminates the differences that defined the Sorcerer and Wizard classes in 3.5

Talroth
07-04-2009, 09:43 PM
I don't know... I've had a very good time in the past with diceless games like Amber. Its definitely not for everyone, but you can do very interesting things without dice. It becomes more about storytelling, elaborate descriptions, and creativity when you remove them. Dice add elements of unpredictability, suspense, and damage control, but considering many games only go right because the DM fudges the roles, are often as much a problem for the story than an indispensable part of tabletop gaming.

Of course... mostly, I play with dice! Yay tactics!

Honestly, I think if the DM has to fudge the rolls much, then he isn't doing that great of a job. Parties should have the chance to fail, I'm a strong fan of having backup characters in mind while playing. One group I played with had a player go through five or six characters before the end of the campaign. Of course he pushed the dice to the edge every chance he could, and we had an amazing time with it.

Example. One character he had was a halfling, who was overly proud of his iron gut. When bet that he couldn't drink a shot of a magic potion that would turn a weak man into a demon skeleton,... He downed five shots before he failed his save,...

The story teller has to be as flexible as the players after all.

NeonKnight
07-05-2009, 03:28 AM
For, regardless of System, sometimes a DM MUST Fudge the Dice. And sometimes I do...BLATANTLY. I like to run combats for my players (and we have a group that is sometimes 7 players!) that have feelings of Tension and at least one moment of "OH MY GOD! Are we gonna LIVE!). Now, sometimes that may not happen, and sometimes I will fudge the dice a little (tell the PCs they miss when they should have hit, tell the PCs they are hit when they were really missed) to give the fight a little more tension.

On the flip side, if a fight is going good and suddenly 50% or more of the party is restrained, taking ongoing damage they fail to negate, etc., then I will fudge the combat the other way (Monsters Miss when they should have hit, PCs hit when they should have missed etc). I find players are attached to characters. That's fine. My group is mature enough to handle a PC death or two but to kill 60% or more of the party in a single combat, is not fun.

Gamerprinter
07-05-2009, 04:54 AM
As for the role-play argument, I've got to be honest: I don't get it. My best RP experiences come from games with very few rules, and even very few dice. Rules are, in my experience, unrelated to role-playing, and are often a trap that allows you to avoid role-playing through dice. In 3.5, there was nothing preventing this exchange:

DM: you encounter a kobold. He is hostile.
Rogue: I roll diplomacy.... ummm... 13 + 8 = 21.
DM: ok, he is unfriendly now.
Rogue: I ask him to let us pass.
DM: he says 'no'. roll initiative.

That's not role playing. Enforcing role playing has always been up to the players and the DM, and often too many rules get in the way. The simplified skill rules in 4e don't really take much away, and there are ample house rules and PHB2 rules that allow for things like backgrounds and professions to add flavor and unusual skills to a character. You also are no longer forced to divert points away from skills with a defined combat role (tumble, bluff, etc) to take skills with little use outside RP (profession, perform).

The difference between the two versions breaks down as such in my mind. In 3.5, you have maximum flexibility, lots of special rules systems, and limited tactical interest in combat. In 4e, you have highly constrained combat roles, consistent rules for most everything, and highly tactical combat. Do you want a game where the rules will not get in the way of your imagination? Play 3.5. Do you want a game where the rules will not get in the way of gameplay? Then 4e.

I want to be clear again: I am a 3.5 player, and with my serious group always will be. I prefer flexibility, and the cumbersome rules and poor balance are not concerns given the way we play and our level of knowledge. So I'm not advocating for 4e by any means, I just don't necessarily agree with the problems many people state with it.

In our games roleplaying is on the average 75% of the game, with combat and situation specific actions that require dice rolling as the remainder. When a PC requires a DC on a skill, its always on the higher end of difficulty, because I don't even request skill checks unless the situation deems difficulty necessary. If my PC's eyes are open and not concerned with the party, but traveling forward, I tell one PC with the higher Spot/Perception check that he notices some movement on the forested hill to the south they are passing, and blend it into a story like fashion.

If a camoflaged trap or entrance to an underground warren meant to hide its existence is encountered, then I insist on a Perception check - for example.

I don't require a roll for every nuance of the game.

My games focus on a player's creative ideas on overcoming obstacles in game within the restrictions of what their character knows based on class and background, more so than specifc "powers", feats or skills. Only when an obstacle is more challenging and would require the use of special powers is when the dice hit the table. Or in the case of combat as well.

I didn't mean to imply that my view of roleplaying was meant as "roll playing".

So, MSA, I perfectly agree with you on not being rules-centric for much of the game, only when a situation applies. I don't need a rules lite game for playing RPGs - as roleplaying is at the heart of the D&D games our group plays.

GP

NeonKnight
07-05-2009, 05:34 AM
What it's sounding like is everyone has a style of play that has 'evolved' to fit their group.

msa
07-05-2009, 08:40 AM
So, MSA, I perfectly agree with you on not being rules-centric for much of the game, only when a situation applies. I don't need a rules lite game for playing RPGs - as roleplaying is at the heart of the D&D games our group plays.

Oops... I hope I didn't suggest that I thought you were "roll playing" as it were. I was just saying that I don't think 4e hurts or helps role playing particularly compared to other versions. Mostly on account of I don't think that having lots of crunchy rules for every possible action adds "role" and removes "roll".

As for DMs being bad if they fudges rolls? I don't agree. I'd say that, in general, very few players are ok with their characters dying... its not fun for them. And playing a game first and foremost is about fun. So mostly the dice are there to create the illusion of tension and threat. I happen to be that guy that is ok with losing a characters, and as a result I've been killed for dramatic effect a few times. But I am definitely not in the majority, and for most people it seems to be a serious problem.

pickaboo
07-05-2009, 11:38 AM
Oops... I hope I didn't suggest that I thought you were "roll playing" as it were. I was just saying that I don't think 4e hurts or helps role playing particularly compared to other versions. Mostly on account of I don't think that having lots of crunchy rules for every possible action adds "role" and removes "roll".

As for DMs being bad if they fudges rolls? I don't agree. I'd say that, in general, very few players are ok with their characters dying... its not fun for them. And playing a game first and foremost is about fun. So mostly the dice are there to create the illusion of tension and threat. I happen to be that guy that is ok with losing a characters, and as a result I've been killed for dramatic effect a few times. But I am definitely not in the majority, and for most people it seems to be a serious problem.

When need be, I usually fudge the rolls in a way that makes the player think the character had a near death experience as I often know their hit points and so on. The excitement thus comes from the possibility of dying though I prevent it when i can :)

Greason Wolfe
07-06-2009, 01:00 AM
There is a time and place for fudging the rolls. In my experience, it doesn't happen often, but I can say that I've had characters saved by fudged rolls just as much as I've lost characters from rolls that weren't fudged. All in all, about the only times I ever fudged rolls was at critical moments that could make or break a campaign or gaming session.

And you can count me in that group with msa. There's always a bit of an attachment to well crafted characters, but losing them isn't the end of the world. I think, at least for me, some of my best (most creative?) moments in RP have come when I lose a character. As a point in case, I lost an earth mage in a Fantasy Hero campaign to a critical head shot. As it so happened, I had also rolled a critical success on a spell. As a result, I lost the character, but the energies released by the spell (which technically failed) I managed create an escape route for the rest of the party and even had the chance for a few "last words." It was, for everyone involved, one of the best sessions we had in that campaign. In the end, it was a combination of dice and creativity that allowed us to role play at our finest.

GW

maxnichols
07-12-2009, 09:02 PM
For most players in my experience, it's not a question of whether or not they live or die; it's the manner of that death, if it comes about. If by some off-chance reason my player's mighty, elite character is in danger of getting offed by a minor kobold at the beginning of the playing session, then I will fudge to try and ensure his survival. Sometimes even if it means resorting to blatant deus ex machina.

On the flip side, if we're in an important battle with a real sense of tension and gravitas, preferably at the end of a session, then it's very rare for me to hold back; most players don't mind losing a character if it's done in a suitably spectacular, well-told, or otherwise impressive fashion.

One of my favorite moments in a campaign I'm playing was when my wizard got absorbed by some sort of swamp beast and things were going badly for my party. When my turn came up, I cast grease, and since I was inside this creature the DM allowed my plan to work, and the innards of this thing got saturated with grease. I then spent an action point and cast scorching burst inside it's body. The result? The swamp beast exploded from the inside, caught on fire, and quickly died, turning the battle in our favor. My character, of course, died with it. Bam. A character I was attached to died, and it was awesome.

Exceptions exist for every rule, of course. There are always going to be some players who just do not want their character to die, in any situation, and the DM should always carefully consider what sort of impact it would have on said player to kill it off.

sarandosil
07-16-2009, 05:50 PM
What it's sounding like is everyone has a style of play that has 'evolved' to fit their group.


I have a playing style that's evolved to fit my preferences. Whether or not they fit my group is another matter :D