That post about stealing the dice image is a laugh. Death throws I tell ya...
Had a bit of a giggle about protecting 3D rolling dice too. I mean its been branded as virtual table tops and you don't think anyone should have rolling dice on it.
I'm not sure about this balancing by math either. I just stick monsters in the areas I think they would be and if the PC's think that wading into the jaws of death is a good idea then I would hope they brought some blank character sheets. Problem solved - self balancing. Just give em plenty of opportunity not to fight and a way to back out of it.
Didn't you know that all the monsters have to do is mouseover the PCs to learn what level they are? If they're too low, the monsters won't bother with them; not enough treasure or xp. Unless they're griefing, of course.
Originally Posted by Redrobes
I agree completely. I don't want to gimp all the real dangers in the world just in case my players are too brave or stupid. Discretion and running away are formative experiences :).
I too fully agree that not every encounter a PC faces should be tailored to them. I certainly would not expect that after taking 3 months of Tae Kwan Do that every single person I meet on the street is going to be either a white belt or untrained. So I tell my players: "Beware, there is an Ancient Red Dragon dwelling in this cave" and they insist on going in, so be it.
But with the format of 3.5 and greatly improved in 4e is the ability to ensure that I can trust most encounters my PCs face will be a challenge for them; it won't outright kill them, but at the same time, it isn;t a push over either.
Update on the effect DDI is having on MapTool... We are starting to see new members coming over to start using MapTool because WoTC is missing its release dates... We even had our first new member tell us straight up that that is why they were there.
At the iCon2007 round table this was predicted - well predicted that GameTable would be tried, and discarded in favor of the existing VTT's - but people mentally groomed with oodles of marketing lolly to expect play over the net would eventally find the best resources to do that job. I have always maintained that WotC doing a VTT is good news. If it does indeed turn out to be absolutely brilliant then, well, thats great too - actually probably the best possible outcome. I just cant see a down side to them trying, other than if they balls it up so bad that it ruins the whole experience so much so, that the game dies with it, taking everyone down with it - and I think thats really unlikely.
Originally Posted by RPMiller
I've found that the real advantage of DM'ing 4E so far is that when you couple the XP budget method of encounter generation with the way they want you to quantize everything into "quests" you sort of innately get a feel for "pacing." It's a lot easier to realize "this dungeon is way too large" right off the bat.
Originally Posted by GlennZilla
High level encounters (only done one at 10th so far) are SSSSLLLLOOOWWWW if your players haven't figured out how to "optimize" their characters. What's odd is that I don't mean optimize in terms of character builds, I mean in terms of the actions they choose to take in combat.
It seemed like it was harder to do that in 3.5 for some reason.
Well, I've only built and run two adventures with 4e. I'm still wrestling the 3e rules out of my head. Like deciding ahead of time what a magic item is, since there's no random chart to consult mid-game. (I've since added an excell sheet to take care of that for now)
Originally Posted by helium3
I find that the pacing does work itself out quite nicely in 4e. And I have enjoyed the new thinking in encounter design. Not having to assemble a statblock for a monster also helps greatly. So far as a DM 4e is nice and in practice runs a lot closer to my usual style. So the adjustments are simply breaking old habits. Of course, YMMV
Well I am waiting until everyone has the difference between "Burst" and "Blast" down before I try running a higher level game.
Originally Posted by helium3
I have run a couple of encounters myself just to see how a level 19 Great Weapon Fighter goes against a Level 19 Umber Hulk I adjusted up. That was slow and cumbersome since I was trying to read every rules that came up to make sure I had it all figured out. I certianly hope things go faster when I get a chance to run that in the future.
All things considered, the only part I'm not enjoying about 4e is my inner grognard hates the simplification. I have a little masochistic voice in my head that feels that I should grab a pile of d8's when a random monster comes into play and roll his hit dice right there at the table with the players crossing thier fingers for bad rolls. But the rest of me enjoys simply grabbing a monster stat block from the MM and plunking a monster onto the table and proclaiming, "Roll initiative, he's here and he's attacking."
As some of you may know I've been ranting a bit about the changes to the OGL and the "selling out" of small third party publishers, many of whose ideas are now clearly printed in the 4e Players Handbook, and I'm still a bit bleak about that aspect, but I DMed my first game the other day and I think the game is fantastic.
When 3.5 was at its height the most commonly levelled criticism was that the game was so technical, particualrly at higher levels, that noone had time to roleplay. Now everyone's shouting thats it too simple and they feel like they are being babied. My experience has been that the simplifications do one thing and one thing alone. They increase the pace. The powers provide a quick "in" to the roleplaying aspect with their descrpitions and are simple to use and understand. Single mechanic is a godsend too.
The other complaint was that as your character got to higher levels s/he became defined by the magical items they carried. Now you can have a hugely powerful 30th level character without a single magical item. I think thats excellent as I have a penchant for gritty low-magic settings and games. The same people who are now complaining that the powers at high level are cartoonish felt there was nothing cartoonish about a +6 Defender weapon dancing in the air to protect its weilder.
I think if your game is defined by the Rules as written in the books, then your 4e game will be simpler. But if your game uses the rules as a starting point, this version gives you a far wider field for high octane adventure and deeper role-playing.
At the end of the day I have been amazed at the level and ferocity of some of the criticism I have read on the net about 4e. I believe that much of it comes from the simple fact that people fear change and fear that their monopoly on the knowledge and detail that they built up for 3.5 is being challenged. IMHO.
Originally Posted by Torq
I agree 100%. I have to say that I was highly reserved about moving to 4E. I have been playing since the mid-early 80's off and own, mostly as a DM, but recently as a player in a 3.5 game using spell points instead of traditional D&D magic rules . I LOVE our current magic system, but our battles (thanks to people not always paying attention or having to look stuff up all the time and some rules ambiguity) take way to long. Typically, one battle may last 3+ hours even with only 4 people, and much longer if all 7 show up.
Anyway, I got the PHB and had just glanced through it over past 3 weeks. Last weekend, I was over on the maptools forum and there was a post for a "pickup" game just to learn the rules so I signed up. There were only 3 "players" +GM but only one of the players had played before (and he had only GM'ed 4E once) and the GM was also trying it out for the first time also so it was a learning experience for all. We got some pregen characters and started playing (after learning a bit more about how to get maptool set up.)
I have to say it was LOADS of fun. The powers were varied and descriptive and the flavor text really added to the feel of the game play as you were playing. I am now at a point that I want to start a mini campaign once a week at work during lunch I enjoyed it so much.
As Torq said, in previous editions, a 20th level wizard would eat a 20th level fighter for lunch 99% of the time, especially if there were no magic items on either side (or even just the fighter had some). However, 4E now makes this combat SOOO much more interesting and balanced. The game mechanic is a lot more simplified, but now that hard choice is what race/class/power/feat do you choose as there are so many great choices. Likewise, I never played anything other than human characters as their "lame" racial abilities rarely made up for some of the extra stuff you get as a human. Now, that is no longer the case. I am keen to try each race at this point just because there are so many different cool things each race can do that is not tied directly to "you are a x, you get some minor ability and no matter what level you are as a x, nothing else changes but your class stuff" Now, you race can get race specific feats that make the choice of that race mean something as you get higher levels.
All in all, I had an awesome time and would suggest any "haters" to at least give it a try once.