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Has the feel / style of your game changed since you started playing 4E?


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Zombieneighbours mentioned that she couldn't run the same type of games with 4E as 3rd ed.
Funny thing is I thought I'd find the same sort of problems with a 4E game as opposed to a 3rd ed game but I find the players are using the Skills available very intelligently and once they got the rules in their heads they also integrated the Powers abilities into the game more.

For example if a power allows a player to shift 4 squares ( 20 foot in 3rd ed) but their was a 10 foot chasm, they'd ask if they could jump the chasm.
Not a problem just an Athletics check for the jump with appropriate DC.
If just takes time.


I find with 4e I am making my own adventures up more often than in 3.x. As a husband and father to 2, my free time has dropped significantly to where I would run canned adventures to save time. Not really a bad thing, but differnt from 1e and 2e. With 4e I find it very easy to make my own adventures again. I can tailor them how I want and I don't forget the tiny details when I make it myself.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vaahama wrote:

No it did not change!

The groupe i'm running (some of them playing with me for the last 18 years!)with gave a fair try at 4ED but we did not even finish the first adventure!

Rule wise its solid and sharp but its not just D&D anymore. Everything is based on combat prowess and martial skills. For us who love roleplay and interaction, its sound more like a couple of D&D mini game connected together by some "random" roleplay instead of being the other way around.... lots of role play and intrigue spiced up with some well placed and exiting combat situations!

So no our gaming experience or playstyle had not changed because we simply went back to 3.5 and more recently to Pathfinder.

I know that some devs here simply turn allergic when they ear bad comment about 4ED but its our opinions and for me and my group 4ED was the worst thing that could have happend to D&D.

The last two game sessions in my current 4E game contained NO COMBAT. It was all roleplaying. Two 3 to 4 hour sessions. So, if you found 4E to be all combat, well, I hate to be blunt, but it was no fault of the system, that's for sure.

It could very well be the fault of the lame WotC adventures... Lame really doesn't do them justice. Terrible may be a better description.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
arkady_v wrote:


It could very well be the fault of the lame WotC adventures... Lame really doesn't do them justice. Terrible may be a better description.

Sort of with you on that. But in what little defense I can raise for the WotC's attempt at "adventures" - they were trying to introduce the mechanics - which effective means combat heavy adventures. They were sort of damned if they do and damned if they don't. Still they were not doing themselves any favours with the time D&D players.

S.


Another issue with WotC adventures is that they are trying to cram 3 experience levels worth into a single adventure, which equates to a lot of combat encounters. Furthermore, the adventures are essentially all traditional location based adventures, and such adventures don't normally have as strong of stories as event based adventures. However that isn't to say you can't make good location based adventures, clearly paizo has done many. I can't defend WotC too much on their adventure writing because I tend to agree that they aren't great, but now that I'm running a homebrew game I'm starting to find them useful for pulling encounter and terrain ideas from.

Stefan Hill wrote:
arkady_v wrote:


It could very well be the fault of the lame WotC adventures... Lame really doesn't do them justice. Terrible may be a better description.

Sort of with you on that. But in what little defense I can raise for the WotC's attempt at "adventures" - they were trying to introduce the mechanics - which effective means combat heavy adventures. They were sort of damned if they do and damned if they don't. Still they were not doing themselves any favours with the time D&D players.

S.


arkady_v wrote:
Vaahama wrote:

No it did not change!

The groupe i'm running (some of them playing with me for the last 18 years!)with gave a fair try at 4ED but we did not even finish the first adventure!

Rule wise its solid and sharp but its not just D&D anymore. Everything is based on combat prowess and martial skills. For us who love roleplay and interaction, its sound more like a couple of D&D mini game connected together by some "random" roleplay instead of being the other way around.... lots of role play and intrigue spiced up with some well placed and exiting combat situations!

So no our gaming experience or playstyle had not changed because we simply went back to 3.5 and more recently to Pathfinder.

I know that some devs here simply turn allergic when they ear bad comment about 4ED but its our opinions and for me and my group 4ED was the worst thing that could have happend to D&D.

The last two game sessions in my current 4E game contained NO COMBAT. It was all roleplaying. Two 3 to 4 hour sessions. So, if you found 4E to be all combat, well, I hate to be blunt, but it was no fault of the system, that's for sure.

It could very well be the fault of the lame WotC adventures... Lame really doesn't do them justice. Terrible may be a better description.

Bear in mind that this is a relative take on WotC's published adventures. Modules like Keep on the Shadowfell were never intended to serve as intense character interaction experiences. They were designed to provide DMs with the things DMs need most, and that are toughest for DMs new to the system to put together: encounters. Taken as a series of encounters strung together with hooks, the published H-P-E adventures are fantastic tools. The philosophy at WotC behind adventure design is that no one but the DM is really familiar with the roleplaying dynamic at your table. They are making adventures that can be used by just about anyone, so the assumption is that you, the DM, will provide a roleplaying experience that matches what your group is looking for.

I ran Keep on the Shadowfell for a group of friends right before 4e was released. It was a great way to get exposed to the system, and I consider it a solid success for what it was clearly trying to accomplish.


There's a lot more non-combat stuff because we've been able to do lots of interesting stuff with skill challenges which has tended to encourage me to build more not-hitting into the adventures.

Whereas my players tended to be fighters and fightery classes in previous editions who usually had fairly minimal skills and were basically only useful for stabbing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
Bear in mind that this is a relative take on WotC's published adventures. Modules like Keep on the Shadowfell were never intended to serve as intense character interaction experiences. They were designed to provide DMs with the things DMs need most, and that are toughest for DMs new to the system to put together: encounters. Taken as a series of encounters strung together with hooks, the published H-P-E adventures are fantastic tools. The philosophy at WotC behind adventure design is that no one but the DM is really familiar with the roleplaying dynamic at your table. They are making adventures that can be used by just about anyone, so the assumption is that you, the DM, will provide a roleplaying experience...

I'm kind of surprised to hear this, coming from the guy that is using a Paizo product for the story line and then converting it to 4E. :-)

I disagree that the things DM need most are encounters... What I need (and what I get from Paizo) are interesting story lines. I can make up encounters on the fly, ESPECIALLY in 4E. But an engaging story line with good plot hooks, I don't have the time to put that together. Which is why I'm running Crimson Throne in 4E.


agreed...

The only problem with story focused adventures is that its harder to take pieces of them and drop them into your home campaign. That's not to be said you can't do it.

However, my preference would be 4E adventures done paizo style. So sad for us.

I'm just about done my 4E adaptation of Second Darkness, and I decided to do a homebrew campaign next. I think that some of the wizards adventures will actually be pretty useful for some of this.

arkady_v wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Bear in mind that this is a relative take on WotC's published adventures. Modules like Keep on the Shadowfell were never intended to serve as intense character interaction experiences. They were designed to provide DMs with the things DMs need most, and that are toughest for DMs new to the system to put together: encounters. Taken as a series of encounters strung together with hooks, the published H-P-E adventures are fantastic tools. The philosophy at WotC behind adventure design is that no one but the DM is really familiar with the roleplaying dynamic at your table. They are making adventures that can be used by just about anyone, so the assumption is that you, the DM, will provide a roleplaying experience...

I'm kind of surprised to hear this, coming from the guy that is using a Paizo product for the story line and then converting it to 4E. :-)

I disagree that the things DM need most are encounters... What I need (and what I get from Paizo) are interesting story lines. I can make up encounters on the fly, ESPECIALLY in 4E. But an engaging story line with good plot hooks, I don't have the time to put that together. Which is why I'm running Crimson Throne in 4E.


I would have to agree one of the strengths of 4E that keeps me coming back is the ease of generating adventures with all the tools available. That is one of the criteria I use to go to a new game system. I used RPG Explorer under 3.5, but they haven't updated to Pathfinder. Call me lazy, but it sure helps. I also like GURPS 3rd and 4th, but once again the tools available are not to my tastes.

In addition, I have seen some of the other players step up and start to DM, and we are at the point of rotating the duty in one continous campaign. We all agreed on a general outline (using random encounter tables from oriental 1e and other sources) and then fill in the gaps.

Skill challenges are starting to encourage some of my players to roleplay some more, and besides the difficuly of tracking conditions mentioned earlier, I will incorporate rituals into my next sessions to add in some old school flavor.


arkady_v wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Bear in mind that this is a relative take on WotC's published adventures. Modules like Keep on the Shadowfell were never intended to serve as intense character interaction experiences. They were designed to provide DMs with the things DMs need most, and that are toughest for DMs new to the system to put together: encounters. Taken as a series of encounters strung together with hooks, the published H-P-E adventures are fantastic tools. The philosophy at WotC behind adventure design is that no one but the DM is really familiar with the roleplaying dynamic at your table. They are making adventures that can be used by just about anyone, so the assumption is that you, the DM, will provide a roleplaying experience...

I'm kind of surprised to hear this, coming from the guy that is using a Paizo product for the story line and then converting it to 4E. :-)

I disagree that the things DM need most are encounters... What I need (and what I get from Paizo) are interesting story lines. I can make up encounters on the fly, ESPECIALLY in 4E. But an engaging story line with good plot hooks, I don't have the time to put that together. Which is why I'm running Crimson Throne in 4E.

Well, keep in mind - there are a lot of DMs out there! There is room for both those that want the mechanical stuff taken care of, but can fill in the story, as well as those who want the foundations of an engaging plot that they can take to new heights.

I don't think the fundamental philosophy of what WotC is doing is flawed. I think there is room for it to be more than it is, certainly - but I ran Pyramid of Shadows for my group, which has gotten a lot of criticism for being the epitome of WotC's current format... and it was absolutely perfect for us, and for me as a DM. Having a solid structure to expand into the right adventure for my group - that was exactly what I wanted in an adventure, since my normal method has always been to simply write my own.

I wouldn't mind seeing some of the WotC adventures with a bit better organization, and more suggestions regarding plot, or simply leaving solid room for DMs to insert their own. But I think the core concept is strong, and there are plenty of DMs out there it is right for - along with plenty for whom it is not. There is no one solution that fits all gamers, and I think that can be important to remember.


arkady_v wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Bear in mind that this is a relative take on WotC's published adventures. Modules like Keep on the Shadowfell were never intended to serve as intense character interaction experiences. They were designed to provide DMs with the things DMs need most, and that are toughest for DMs new to the system to put together: encounters. Taken as a series of encounters strung together with hooks, the published H-P-E adventures are fantastic tools. The philosophy at WotC behind adventure design is that no one but the DM is really familiar with the roleplaying dynamic at your table. They are making adventures that can be used by just about anyone, so the assumption is that you, the DM, will provide a roleplaying experience...
I'm kind of surprised to hear this, coming from the guy that is using a Paizo product for the story line and then converting it to 4E. :-)

I like rich stories and don't like putting in the effort to conjure up my own. My experience with other DMs has usually been the opposite, though - they love setting the game in their own story world.

In addition, WotC regularly does lots of market research. They tailor their products to what that research tells them their audience wants. I could be absolutely wrong, of course, but I think the market for engaging, exciting, dynamic pre-fabricated encounters must be pretty significant - after all, they published an entire book (Dungeon Delve) containing nothing but encounters like that.

By the way, I may want to bounce some ideas off you regarding CotCT.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


Its probably worth pointing out that what most people are talking about when they say their games have not really changed is that they are still pretty much doing the same sorts of things that the did in 3.5 at the table.

While it is certainly true that many people here are doing as you suggest, the question that was asked was “Has the feel/style of your game changed since you started playing 4E?”

This means that elements such as theme and mood are part discussion as well.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


For example I have no doubt that if I played under Scott in 3.5 and he ran Rise of the Runelords I would be engaged in much the same activities as would be the case if I played under him in his conversion of Rise of the Rune Lords in 4E. There'd be changes in mechanics etc. but broadly speaking we'd do pretty much the same things in both editions - we'd tell the same story.

Well no you wouldn’t be. Scott has substancially changed many of the scenes within rise of the rune lords to make them enjoyable combat encounters within the rule set that he has chosen to use. The best example of this is the goblin under the floor boards, where he has increased the number of goblins. His change, drastically alters theme, mood and flow of the scene. No more is it a scene about a single staggler, starved and half mad, jumping out and shocking the PCs. The feel of the scene changes, it stops making sense because three goblins, driven mad with hunger but scared to death of a dog, are either going to eat each other long before risking going out to deal with the dog, or act much sooner because the numbers give them courage. And if there are tree, why would they retreat again, surely they would just kill every one in the house .

And what did scott have to say on the subject when it was raised?

Scott Betts wrote:


I'm not too concerned about the tone changing, here.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


How we specifically went about telling that story and how we got the tools to tell that story would be where the differences crop up.

You can change a socket with a hammer. Equally, you can’t tell a story about arcano-punk private eyes in a noir influenced setting with a system designed for dungeon bashing. You can certainly give it a try in both cases, but all your left with is a mess. The tools you have to hand, affect what you can do. 4e lacks a great many tools, which are part of my usual palette.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


So, in noting that character creation mechanics are different you've come upon one of the mechanical changes between the editions in terms of how we got the tools to tell the story.

Yes, and as I have already pointed out, if the tools are different, the characters you can make with them are different, that means that stories you can tell are different also.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


Fundamentally, if I know I'm playing an AP and I have a rough idea what an AP is then I'm likely to have a similar character in both editions of the game.

I am not. Both editions have things that I enjoy. My choice of character concept will be shaped by the setting, mechanical conceits I currently find interesting, what my fellow players are playing and the play style of the person running the game. That means that when playing through curse of the crimson throne in a 3.5, PRPG and 4E I will be playing difference characters in each. I have already played two different 3.5 characters through the first two books of curse of the crimson throne based on differences in the players I was playing alongside alone.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


Knowing what an AP is might well lead me to creating a Barbarian and my Barbarian would do roughly the same sorts of things in both editions. Probably be a somewhat under armoured damage dealer that can take a lot of punishment. Obviously how we derived these characters did change between the editions. 3.5 my class would be built around synergyzing my powerful feat options to work with my class abilities in order to create my build. I might well dip into fighter for a few levels as I'm going to get a lot of utility out of those extra feats and I won't loose a ton from my Barbarian - this is were the mixing and matching of classes and feats in 3.5 is most notable and I can use that, in 3.5, to create a large number of different options. 4E works more on a 'there is a class for that' principle. While there is a fair amount of different things one can do within a class most of the time if your aiming for some kind of archetype you start with a class and that class focuses on that archetype.

Which is all well and good, if you wish to play a simple concept, one based around one of the published class for 4th ed. However, it does limit the number of concepts that are available for play within 4e. Sure, there are hundreds of broad concepts associated with each class, same is true of 3.5, the problem is that each possible class combination within 3.5 also has hundreds of concepts, which are unique to that specific blend.

Your right when you later talk about versatility, that is one of the great advantages of 3.5 and PRPG, but what you neglect to mention, or fail to realise is the practical impact of that on the game. If you can’t play it, you cant tell a story about it. The removal of choice, represented by the tighter focus archetypes narrows the range of stories the system can tell. That means that for some one like me, who likes to explore those element as a player, the system does change the feel and style of the game.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


Unfortunately I'm unclear what a Supernatural Traceur is exactly though I think I have a very rough idea.

A Supernatural Traceur would be someone who uses magic or powers to enhance their performance as a Traceur. A Traceur is an individual who practices the discipline of Parkour, also known as free running.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


That said I have to really wonder if you could make this class effectively in 3.5. If you mix your rogue and your wizard together your going to be doing some serious damage to your wizard - furthermore your wizards spells are not exactly designed to really enhance your characters physical abilities - they can be used that way but only with some buffing to begin with.

Define ‘effective’. More over why does it matter, if it is ‘effective’ or not?

Certainly, the build is able make a character achieve the goal of the concept.
Rogue 4/wizard 3, either transmuter or diviner depending if you want to emphasis physical training or flow. Choose a bound object in the form of a ring. Good int, dex and strength, passible everything else. Take major magic and ledge runner as your rogue talents.
Cantrips: Detect Magic (and extention of flow, allowing him to perceive magical dangers), Open/Close ( open a door so your movement isn’t slowed as you run), Arcane Mark (arcane graphitti), Touch of Fatigue (slowing down would be persuers, or people trying to escape youi).
First level spells: Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Jump, True Strike (rogue talent) . Plus free choice from ring
Second level spells: cats grace and knock. Plus free choice from ring
What your left with is a character who is an near unparelled athlete. He does what he is ment to do.
Would I play him or her along side a righteous warrior priest(cleric 7), a powerful mage(wizard 7) and a northman barbarian(barbarian 7) as they delve into the dungeon of a powerful evil wizard? Hell no, but would I play him along side a drug addicted street mage with a love of gothic fashion(bard 2, wizard 5 ), a two fisted longshore man (barbarian 4, ranger 1, rogue 2 specialised in unarmed combat) out for revenge and Private investigator who drinks to drown out the voiced he has always heard (cleric 4, ranger 2, bard 1) in an urban adventure written for them as a party.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


4E would handle this class by making a class specific to this exact archtype and it would be very good at just this sort of thing. Whats really missing in this regards is the actual class and its possible that no such class will ever come to light. That said I think I tried making something like this myself in 3.5 - I tried using a Monk/psionic warrior multiclass and loaded up on psionic feats that would allow the class to run up walls and throw missile weapons back at opponents - it was a neat idea but if you mix monk and psionic warrior together you get a psionic warrior with low PSPs and a monk that never gets to all his cool later level abilities. Concept was cool but very underpowered for our game and I abandoned it. In 4E what will happen is either there just won't be a class that can do that in which case your SOL or a class will be made that focuses specifically on this archtype. I have a suspicion that the Monk in PHB3 will in fact be this archtype. If so it'll be very comparable in power to the rest of the characters at the table. Hence the weakness of this model is a favoured archtype may just not exist while the strength is that if such an archtype does exist it will also be a viable archtype.

‘Would’ being the operative term here. They haven’t made a archatype that fit. Until they do, it is a change to what I, or my players can play. That is a change to the style of story that can be run.

As you later point out it is in 3.5 possible to make a character that is a non-combatant. It is possible to run games that never touch upon combat and have those games still be fun thanks to a relatively rich magic and skill system.
While I suppose you could in theory run an 4E game with no combat, I really have to ask, what would be the point? The game is so overwhelmingly set up to deal with it, it would be like picking up an Axe to butter toast, when there is a perfectly good knife to butter the toast with(other systems to do games which are socially based) and a perfectly good pile of logs that need copping(really fun combat heavy no brainer dungeons to be killed through)


Zombieneighbours wrote:

Well no you wouldn’t be. Scott has substancially changed many of the scenes within rise of the rune lords to make them enjoyable combat encounters within the rule set that he has chosen to use. The best example of this is the goblin under the floor boards, where he has increased the number of goblins. His change, drastically alters theme, mood and flow of the scene. No more is it a scene about a single staggler, starved and half mad, jumping out and shocking the PCs. The feel of the scene changes, it stops making sense because three goblins, driven mad with hunger but scared to death of a dog, are either going to eat each other long before risking going out to deal with the dog, or act much sooner because the numbers give them courage. And if there are tree, why would they retreat again, surely they would just kill every one in the house .

And what did scott have to say on the subject when it was raised?

Scott Betts wrote:


I'm not too concerned about the tone changing, here.

Haha, wow. When you posted this criticism in full to the blog a year ago I decided to let it be rather than take exception to it, but now it looks like I probably should.

The scene makes perfect sense, in my mind, and not one of my players thought that it was very odd to find multiple goblins there as opposed to one.

First, how the heck do you know the goblins would turn cannibal before they take on a dog? The adventure explains pretty clearly that Gogmurt was able to subsist on worms and spiders for days before he got angry (not hungry!) enough to tackle Petal. He wasn't dying of starvation. He was probably really hungry, but the real motivator for attacking the dog was his anger toward it for posing a constant barrier. If you feel like you need to give your players an explanation as to how they survived, stick a few spider legs or bits of worm in their teeth. If this really is a sticking point for you, add a mostly-eaten goblin corpse at the back of the crawlspace - a fourth goblin they got sick of hearing whine all the time and decided would taste better than he sounds.

Second, how does adding more goblins ruin the suspension of disbelief in any way? You're already conjuring up a scene out of whole cloth for your players. It's easy to make it believable. Gogmurt was a commando, probably with some respect amongst the goblin raiders. It's no stretch to imagine that he led a small group of goblins up into the house during the raid, and that they, as a group, decided to cram themselves into the floorboard areas. Remember, goblins have a documented knack for getting into (and staying in) confined spaces.

Third, goblin numbers do give them courage, but we also know that goblin lackeys turn to commandos to handle bigger threats, cowering in the meantime. In the raid, goblins hid behind whatever they could find while the goblin dog-mounted commando fought Aldern's dog. The most likely situation is that the other goblins would still cower in the closet until Gogmurt had dealt with the dog outside the closet. In addition, if you do decide to throw that half-eaten goblin corpse into the closet as well, maybe one of the goblins did egg Gogmurt on - and Gogmurt was forced to choose between confronting a dog or murdering a bratty goblin (not a terribly tough choice).

The above is an example of how easy it is to justify something in a make-believe fantasy world you create in your heads. As easily as you can criticize something, you can make it seem plausible.

I am inclined to believe that my real "sin" here was not that I somehow ruined the suspension of disbelief in your make believe fantasy world, but instead that I made a minor alteration to the adventure. I make no apologies for that.

And beyond the details of this particular encounter, the fact that your "best example" of how the game needs to be changed for 4e was one of the most non-critical encounters in the adventure speaks for itself. Jeremy is absolutely right - if he played under me in 3.5 he would have a very similar experience to if he played under me in 4e, assuming we used the same adventure.

Zombieneighbours wrote:
Equally, you can’t tell a story about arcano-punk private eyes in a noir influenced setting with a system designed for dungeon bashing. You can certainly give it a try in both cases, but all your left with is a mess.

This is the other bit that bothers me. 4e is clearly designed with a focus on dungeon bashing, but saying that you can't tell a different story with it is patently false. Plenty of people are running pulp noir stories about arcano-punk private eyes in the Eberron campaign setting, using 4e. Are they somehow not telling a story? Are they only left with a mess? I'm sure they (and probably their players!) would disagree.

Is choosing to use 4e in such a setting sub-optimal? That's very arguable. Is it impossible because it automatically ruins the story? Absolutely not.

Silver Crusade

I think holding up "limited options" as a shortcoming of 4e is a bit unfair. 3.X has had years of splatbooks to give you every possible class, build, or combination, in full. I'm sure if you want to be a basketweaver, there is probably a class for it somewhere.

4e has fewer options at the moment because there are fewer books. I don't see how anyone could expect it could possibly be otherwise. That said, there's a ton out there, when you factor in the multiclassing possibilities, hybrid classes, skill powers, and so on. If you can't find a way to make your character concept with all of that, you're not trying.

But, if you're holding out for it, maybe there will be a Traceur class in PHB7 ;)


Celestial Healer wrote:

I think holding up "limited options" as a shortcoming of 4e is a bit unfair. 3.X has had years of splatbooks to give you every possible class, build, or combination, in full. I'm sure if you want to be a basketweaver, there is probably a class for it somewhere.

4e has fewer options at the moment because there are fewer books. I don't see how anyone could expect it could possibly be otherwise. That said, there's a ton out there, when you factor in the multiclassing possibilities, hybrid classes, skill powers, and so on. If you can't find a way to make your character concept with all of that, you're not trying.

But, if you're holding out for it, maybe there will be a Traceur class in PHB7 ;)

Given that everything from Dragon magazine is being included in the Character Builder and all, I'd be willing to bet that we start hitting 3.5 levels of character variety pretty quickly.


Celestial Healer wrote:

I think holding up "limited options" as a shortcoming of 4e is a bit unfair. 3.X has had years of splatbooks to give you every possible class, build, or combination, in full. I'm sure if you want to be a basketweaver, there is probably a class for it somewhere.

4e has fewer options at the moment because there are fewer books. I don't see how anyone could expect it could possibly be otherwise. That said, there's a ton out there, when you factor in the multiclassing possibilities, hybrid classes, skill powers, and so on. If you can't find a way to make your character concept with all of that, you're not trying.

But, if you're holding out for it, maybe there will be a Traceur class in PHB7 ;)

No, there are limited options like for like. When you compare just the the 3.5 core classes with their 4E equivilants, including those not found in the 4e PHB 1, there is a reduced number of character concept option, because of the way multi classing works.

Oh and the basket weaver joke stopped being funny when i listed five seige work applications where craft basket weaving could provide tangible benifits to either defenders or attackers. :P

In short, the difference in choice has nothing to do with the number of books, and everything to do with a systemic narrowing of focus, towards the game being a really awesome game about combat small unit fighting, themed around adventuring.


Scott Betts wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:

Well no you wouldn’t be. Scott has substancially changed many of the scenes within rise of the rune lords to make them enjoyable combat encounters within the rule set that he has chosen to use. The best example of this is the goblin under the floor boards, where he has increased the number of goblins. His change, drastically alters theme, mood and flow of the scene. No more is it a scene about a single staggler, starved and half mad, jumping out and shocking the PCs. The feel of the scene changes, it stops making sense because three goblins, driven mad with hunger but scared to death of a dog, are either going to eat each other long before risking going out to deal with the dog, or act much sooner because the numbers give them courage. And if there are tree, why would they retreat again, surely they would just kill every one in the house .

And what did scott have to say on the subject when it was raised?

Scott Betts wrote:


I'm not too concerned about the tone changing, here.

Haha, wow. When you posted this criticism in full to the blog a year ago I decided to let it be rather than take exception to it, but now it looks like I probably should.

The scene makes perfect sense, in my mind, and not one of my players thought that it was very odd to find multiple goblins there as opposed to one.

First, how the heck do you know the goblins would turn cannibal before they take on a dog? The adventure explains pretty clearly that Gogmurt was able to subsist on worms and spiders for days before he got angry (not hungry!) enough to tackle Petal. He wasn't dying of starvation. He was probably really hungry, but the real motivator for attacking the dog was his anger toward it for posing a constant barrier. If you feel like you need to give your players an explanation as to how they survived, stick a few spider legs or bits of worm in their teeth. If this really is a sticking point for you, add a mostly-eaten goblin corpse at the back of the...

Still it is still inconsistant.

Firstly we know that goblins fear of dogs is not so great that the wont attack them, given numbers or a mount.

Burnt Offerings wrote:
a goblin commando mounted on a goblin dog has breavely attacked a nobleman and his hunting dog.

Why exactly is it that being on a mount is enough to fight against a dog and a longshank, but outnumbering a smaller dog three to one isn’t enough.

Next;
We can fairly safely inferer that anger alone is not the driving concern of the goblin when then this is this next action…

Burnt Offerings wrote:
and in his nearly starved state tried to eat Aeren alive.
Given that…
Burnt Offerings wrote:
9. They're Voracious

…why is it that they merely subsisted , when they have movable feasts snuggled up next to them? If there where other goblins which have been eaten, why exactly are they still ravenous enough to try and eat the boy alive, when they could be making good their escape. Why exactly are there three goblins, who all found exactly the same place to hide? The sense makes sense with one goblin, it makes less with three.

But, all this is beside the point, it doesn’t matter if your choice is a good one or not, for the purpose of this thread, what matters is that the change, changes the feel of the scene, that it changes the themes and moods that the righter was conveying, that is changes the style of the scene.


Zombieneighbours wrote:
No, there are limited options like for like. When you compare just the the 3.5 core classes with their 4E equivilants, including those not found in the 4e PHB 1, there is a reduced number of character concept option, because of the way multi classing works.

I find that 4E offers me a significantly larger number of viable character options, along with allowing me to focus on more RP-relevant aspects of my character without being punished for it mechanically.

As far as viable character concepts, 4E can cover plenty. People complain that you can't be a Paladin/Wizard/Fighter/Druid/Rogue, but seriously - is that a real concept? Or just a bunch of mechanics lashed together for no real reason.

And guess what - you can pull it off anyway! A Druid|Wizard Hybrid character that Multiclasses Paladin and invests feats in rogue skills and fighter weapon/armor proficiencies... it is certainly a complicated build, but it exists, and gets the job done.

Seriously, the options aren't limited unless you genuinely aren't trying.

In terms of losing options because of the focus on combat... yeah, I also don't buy it. We've still got a skill system that sees plenty of use, and a lot of feats that build upon it. We've got more options for running non-combat encounters - and even guidelines on offering xp/treasure awards with them. We've got a ritual system that offers a ton of out of combat abilities, along with utility powers that can offer the same, and finally the ability to simply use creative thinking, various powers, and the stunt system to let PCs really push the limit on how they can solve any given dilemma.

In the end, I'll admit that 4E may not be the game for everyone, but I fundamentally disagree with your analysis of it, and feel that there are countless games of it being played right now that disprove almost every point you have made. It might not be a good fit for your group, but there are plenty of options, there is plenty of room - and support - for roleplaying, and the game is vastly far more than simply combat and 'small unit fighting'.


Zombieneighbours wrote:


Well no you wouldn’t be. Scott has substancially changed many of the scenes within rise of the rune lords to make them enjoyable combat encounters within the rule set that he has chosen to use. The best example of this is the goblin under the floor boards, where he has increased the number of goblins. His change, drastically alters theme, mood and flow of the scene. No more is it a scene about a single staggler, starved and half mad, jumping out and shocking the PCs. The feel of the scene changes, it stops making sense because three goblins, driven mad with hunger but scared to death of a dog, are either going to eat each other long before risking going out to deal with the dog, or act much sooner because the numbers give them courage. And if there are tree, why would they retreat again, surely they would just kill every one in the house .

And what did scott have to say on the subject when it was raised?

Scott Betts wrote:


I'm not too concerned about the tone changing, here.

And whats to say that Scott might not have changed the tone of this encounter in 3.5? Nothing inherent to 4E required the tone of that encounter to change. In fact I happen to disagree with Scott's call in this regard but its his conversion and he's put in the sweat and tears to do it so he gets to make the calls.

Zombieneighbours wrote:


Define ‘effective’. More over why does it matter, if it is ‘effective’ or not?
Certainly, the build is able make a character achieve the goal of the concept...

...Would I play him or her along side a righteous warrior priest(cleric 7), a powerful mage(wizard 7) and a northman barbarian(barbarian 7) as they delve into the dungeon of a powerful evil wizard? Hell no, but would I play him along side a drug addicted street mage with a love of gothic fashion(bard 2, wizard 5 ), a two fisted longshore man (barbarian 4, ranger 1, rogue 2 specialised in unarmed combat) out for revenge and Private investigator who drinks to drown out the voiced he has always heard (cleric 4, ranger 2, bard 1) in an urban adventure written for them as a party.

For me the key part of this point would come down to 'written for them as a party'. You can make these characters but they can't really use published material nor can they adventure alongside characters that have not been specifically designed to function together. They don't really play off the wealth by level tropes of 3.5 (and 4E) and are probably not well designed to handle the CR system etc.

I agree that if your going to abandon the archtype model 3.5 does that better then 4E but there are some excellent systems out there that do it better still by eschewing archtypes completely (and usually the level system as well).

Effectiveness matters, however, if I want to utilize published materials and it matters if I want to participate in any kind of classic style D&D campaign. Its in this context that 4E shines because it insures that if there is an archtype that deals with what I want to play then it will also be an archtype that can effectively adventure with the parties wizard.

Nonetheless if your part of the bracket of people that never ran published materials and whose characters would not function in such environments in any case then its quite possible that 4E won't be as good a system for telling such stories as 3.5. 4Es model very much focused on making all available archtypes playable together but they did that at the expense of the number of total options that were on the table. In truth what we are really focused on here is the change between the systems multi-class system and here there are some notable differences in the mechanics since 4E wants to avoid having it so that players can break the system, especially, by finding some mix thats always superior, mechanically, then the other options on the table though the fact that its also harder to make a character that looks good but is in fact not comparable to base classes is a side bonus.

Zombieneighbours wrote:


‘Would’ being the operative term here. They haven’t made a archatype that fit. Until they do, it is a change to what I, or my players can play. That is a change to the style of story that can be run.
As you later point out it is in 3.5 possible to make a character that is a non-combatant. It is possible to run games that never touch upon combat and have those games still be fun thanks to a relatively rich magic and skill system.
While I suppose you could in theory run an 4E game with no combat, I really have to ask, what would be the point? The game is so overwhelmingly set up to deal with it, it would be like picking up an Axe to butter toast, when there is a perfectly good knife to butter the toast with(other systems to do games which are socially based) and a perfectly good pile of logs that need copping(really fun combat heavy no brainer dungeons to be killed through)

I agree that I'd probably not use 4E to run a campaign with no combat - but then I don't think 3.5 is a particularly good system if thats my goal either. That said if I want to tell stories like Curse of the Crimson Throne I'm going to be able to tell that story in 4E and its going to be pretty much the same story as if I had told it in 3.5.


Zombieneighbours wrote:
But, all this is beside the point, it doesn’t matter if your choice is a good one or not, for the purpose of this thread, what matters is that the change, changes the feel of the scene, that it changes the themes and moods that the righter was conveying, that is changes the style of the scene.

I hold that the purpose of the scene is exactly what's outlined in Burnt Offerings:

"While the fate of the Baretts is grim and depressing, it serves an important role: putting some fear into the game. It establishes the goblins not only as dangerous creatures, but as remorselessly evil little bastards. As the adventure progresses, the PCs should come to think of goblins with equal parts dark humor and worry; sure, they’re comedic in some ways, but they also eat babies. They’re vile monsters, and it’s no good to have the primary villains of an adventure be nothing more than a laughing stock."

Adding two more goblins doesn't change this. They still remain evil. They still hid under a closet for days until they slaughtered the family dog, tried to eat a young boy, and then slit his enraged father's throat. The fact that there are two more of them don't make them any less evil. And, again, if you throw in the cannibalistic element it only serves to make them look more ruthless.

And, above all, you could easily not alter this encounter at all. You could stage a fight with a single elite goblin. It wouldn't be a challenging fight, but them's the breaks. It probably wasn't especially challenging in 3.5 either, unless Gresgurt somehow managed to get the rogue or wizard into melee from the get-go.

I think altering the encounter is a good idea, because it makes the encounter a legitimately challenging fight (which is fun), and because I remain convinced that the players' impression of goblins coming away from this encounter is going to be practically the same whether it includes one goblin or three. If you don't agree, that's fine. I do think that a charge of "that doesn't make sense!" is a little silly given that we play a game involving magical elves. I outlined a scenario in which the converted encounter is both plausible and as internally consistent as anything else in the adventure.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I agree that I'd probably not use 4E to run a campaign with no combat - but then I don't think 3.5 is a particularly good system if thats my goal either.

This is exactly it.

Yes, 4e is designed to provide an excellent encounter system. It does that well, and the rest is left to the DM and group (though supplements like the DMG2 certainly make that job easier).

3.5 had a different approach, I think 4e is as effective at incorporating non-encounter elements into the rules as 3.5 is (which is to say, fair). Both systems are solid for encounter-oriented gaming. But the fact of the matter is that if I'm looking for a combat-light or no-combat game that focuses very heavily on character interaction and development, I'm not going to look to any edition of D&D for my solution.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
That said if I want to tell stories like Curse of the Crimson Throne I'm going to be able to tell that story in 4E and its going to be pretty much the same story as if I had told it in 3.5.

Funny you should mention that...


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

For me the key part of this point would come down to 'written for them as a party'. You can make these characters but they can't really use published material nor can they adventure alongside characters that have not been specifically designed to function together. They don't really play off the wealth by level tropes of 3.5 (and 4E) and are probably not well designed to handle the CR system etc.

I agree that if your going to abandon the archtype model 3.5 does that better then 4E but there are some excellent systems out there that do it better still by eschewing archtypes completely (and usually the level system as well).

Effectiveness matters, however, if I want to utilize published materials and it matters if I want to participate in any kind of classic style D&D campaign. Its in this context that 4E shines because it insures that if there is an archtype that deals with what I want to play then it will also be an archtype that can effectively adventure with the parties wizard.

Nonetheless if your part of the bracket of people that never ran published materials and whose characters would not function in such environments in any case then its quite possible that 4E won't be as good a system for telling such stories as 3.5. 4Es model very much focused on making all available archtypes playable together but they did that at the expense of the number of total options that were on the table. In truth what we are really focused on here is the change between the systems multi-class system and here there are some notable differences in the mechanics since 4E wants to avoid having it so that players can break the system, especially, by finding some mix thats always superior, mechanically, then the other options on the table though the fact that its also harder to make a character that looks good but is in fact not comparable to base classes is a side bonus.

Almost every roleplaying game in existance works better, almost always considerably better, when players sit down and come up with characters that will work well together. Almost every roleplaying game has differences in power level between characters built to concept to the majority of the concepts played, and those extreme examples which are either built to highly specialist concepts or have been made without consern for concept, but rather with an aim such as being unkillable.

This is not a flaw, it is a by product of allowing players meaningful choices about their character. If I desire to sacrifice combat efficiancy in exchange for something else, most game trust me to do so. 4E's approach to dealing with the issue is to remove the option to make such meaningful choices. It provides 'balance' at the expence of making characters 'bland', removing a great many meaningful choices form players who are frankly smart enough and mature enough to make those choices.

There is a lot more i wanna say on the subject, but i have some other stuff too do.


Zombieneighbours wrote:
This is not a flaw, it is a by product of allowing players meaningful choices about their character. If I desire to sacrifice combat efficiancy in exchange for something else, most game trust me to do so. 4E's approach to dealing with the issue is to remove the option to make such meaningful choices. It provides 'balance' at the expence of making characters 'bland', removing a great many meaningful choices form players who are frankly smart enough and mature enough to make those choices.

I can't disagree enough with your assessment of the issue. What choices have been removed? How are characters not distinct from one another?

More importantly - a 4E character can absolutely make choices to focus on non-combat options. You don't take a huge hit to your combat ability to do so, but if being lousy as combat is core to your character, you can still play your character in that fashion. But you are no longer required to sacrifice combat effectiveness to gain non-combat capability. Why is having more options in terms of what your character do somehow a bad thing? I'd much prefer the game gave me freedom to build whatever fits my character, rather than forced me to make choices from elements that should never be set against each other in the first place. 3rd Edition, in many ways, limited your options by locking you into capability in one area or another - which reduced, rather than enhanced, the number of concepts you could play.

In any case, even the specific examples you toss out are just as viable in 4E as they were in 3rd Edition. There is nothing standing in the way of the drug-addicted street mage, the two-fisted longshore man, or the private investigater who drinks to escape the voices in his head. Not only that, but there are countless ways to design each of those characters. Claiming otherwise only comes from a willful refusal to acknowledge what the system is capable of.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, this thread really devolved.

Scott, any questions about 4E Crimson Throne, please email me at stevenankeny@yahoo.com.

Zombie guy... you remind me of the guy I have gamed with that just cannot let the game come to him, if his initial first impression does not immediately make sense to him, he cannot, for the life of him, suspend his disbelief and find another way around the situation, obstacle, whatever. He's a great guy and a long time friend, but I find myself in intractable arguments with him all the time because he just cannot let things lie and, when something doesn't seem "right", he just cannot be convinced to find alternative explanations for why things may happen. It always MUST be the way he originally perceived it, and there is no changing that perception.


Zombieneighbours wrote:
This is not a flaw, it is a by product of allowing players meaningful choices about their character. If I desire to sacrifice combat efficiancy in exchange for something else, most game trust me to do so. 4E's approach to dealing with the issue is to remove the option to make such meaningful choices. It provides 'balance' at the expence of making characters 'bland', removing a great many meaningful choices form players who are frankly smart enough and mature enough to make those choices.

No.

I've seen dozens of D&D players who, when making characters for past editions, get very easily caught up in "trap" choices built into the system to provide what you're talking about. They spend session after session regretting their character decisions, because while they built themselves to focus on X, the rest of the party built themselves to focus on Y. Or, even worse, one person's character focuses on A, one on B, one on C, and one on D, and suddenly the DM is running four separate games instead of one, and each player has three hours of downtime twiddling their thumbs for every one hour they actually get to play the game.

4th Edition eliminates that possibility. All characters can contribute meaningfully to combat, and all characters can contribute meaningfully to non-combat. I've never seen them as bland compared to any other edition of D&D.


In a lot of ways you have more choice. For instance a fighter in say 1st or 2nd edition would basically just have hp and THACO improve, whereas with a 4E fighter you get all these interesting attack and utility powers to choose from as you level up. Granted it's not as easy to make some of the really out there multiclass builds you could come up with in 3E, but as a dm I'm greatful for that.


Zombieneighbours wrote:

Almost every roleplaying game in existance works better, almost always considerably better, when players sit down and come up with characters that will work well together.

That'd be true of 4E as well, after all if three players are playing wizards its not going to be as good a game as it would be if there were more diverse class choices. Nonetheless its a very robust system - if some one suddenly gets it into their head to play character class X that'll work with the rest of the group whatever class X happens to be.

Zombieneighbours wrote:


Almost every roleplaying game has differences in power level between characters built to concept to the majority of the concepts played, and those extreme examples which are either built to highly specialist concepts or have been made without consern for concept, but rather with an aim such as being unkillable.

neither 1st nor 2nd took it too the extremes we got in 3rd where the imbalance between builds can be quite extensive and were there are often traps in the system that come back to bite the characters at later levels. Take a few levels of Psychic Warrior for your class at a low level and it will enhance the class at that time but, as sometimes happened in my campaign, you'll realize 6 levels later that the PSPs no longer mean much and the class has now fallen behind the general curve of other characters and needs to be retired.

Zombieneighbours wrote:


This is not a flaw, it is a by product of allowing players meaningful choices about their character. If I desire to sacrifice combat efficiancy in exchange for something else, most game trust me to do so. 4E's approach to dealing with the issue is to remove the option to make such meaningful choices. It provides 'balance' at the expence of making characters 'bland', removing a great many meaningful choices form players who are frankly smart enough and mature enough to make those choices.

I disagree that it provides balance by forcing characters to be bland. In most cases it simply provides balance and means characters can opperate outside of the element that they were specifically designed for if it comes to that.

You contend that this closes off story lines but I think it actually opens them up. In my last 3.5 campaign I wanted the players to go to the big city when they were 10th level and get involved in an intrigue orientated story with a real twist in that the Emperor's alignment was good but he was also simply incompetent and unfit to lead. Thus the players (also mostly good) would be dragged into trying to plot his downfall but would face interesting moral dilemma's along the way. Seemed like a good idea for an adventure and in line with characters reaching 'name level'. The adventure was a fiasco. What I had failed to recognize was that you can't have a change up in the story in 3.5. Once you embark down one direction the character designs become so focused on dealing with the challenges of that direction that they simply no longer effectively operate in any other. My adventure fell apart as it soon became apparent that the Paladin player, with his high charisma and great diplomacy skill, was really the only player that could actually participate in what was going on. The wizard could sort of play too (though not as well) and the fighters and even the skill monkey player (skills maxed out in trap finding and such plus to much multi-classing) simply became spectators.

Obviously here I screwed up - this kind of a change up adventure would have been normal in my 1st and 2nd edition campaigns and I failed to recognize that in 3.5 I was never allowed to change the style of the story once we had embarked down one style. After a few sessions I realized my error - had something kick in the door and then returned the players to exploring haunted manors or delving into the depths of Maure Castle where their character design functioned.

In fact its in the realm of change up adventures that really attracts me to 4E. My next campaign with the core group I want to start things off by adapting the Ebberon murder mystery adventures that appeared at the tail end of the print version of Dungeon to my campaign world and go through the first five levels or so of having the players do these murder mystery adventures. After that things shift and they'll get involved in the much larger world schemes and this will involve some adventures including going to a tropical island full of dinosaurs and an adventure on the Ice Wall (big Glacier) to defeat a minitour seafaring threat. I'll shift the focus again after this to following in the footsteps of the BBEG who did X, Y, and Z hundreds of years ago and now is the master mind to a threat against the whole Empire. This starts as more of a mystery (who is this guy and what did he do?) but becomes dungeon delves soon enough as they follow his path to power by retracing his steps through dangerous dungeons. I'll toss a change up in here to retry my 'Topple the Good Emperor who is incompetent' story (court intrigue) then its off to get the 'Widget of BBEG Defeating', also called 'Even deeper into Maure Castle'. finally for the finale they follow the BBEG to his place of power in Hell itself.

What I learned from 3.5 was that this story basically can't be told - there are to many changes of scenes which will trap a character designed to handle whatever they are currently facing. Build skill based characters to handle the mystery elements in a city and you'll be stymied by the wilderness. Build characters capable of beating the court intrigue and Maure Castle will eat you alive. 3.5 rewards planning of characters in advance - you need to know what your going to be far in advance so as to avoid making bad choices early on - so, unless I sit down with my players and tell them the whole story before hand they're screwed because I'm always giving them evidence that they should build one style of character when, in 4 levels, a different style will become the focus for a bit. In 4E the balance will save me - even if they made skill focused characters to deal with the mysteries they, automatically, where picking up combat abilities along the way, they just did not use them a great deal.

Essentially I want it all, Murder Mysteries, Hostile Wilderness Exploration, Court Intrigue and Dungeon Delves. This is a 3.5 trap waiting to happen. For example it would probably pay big dividends to pick up craft and profession skills during the murder mystery portion in 3.5 but these skills are not very useful in wilderness survival or dungeon delving and might not play much even in court intrigue. In 3.5 change is a trap that catches players (and DMs because their adventures fall apart). If your built for battle then your not built to solve a murder mystery - your probably not even very good a wilderness exploration.


I would say the feel/style of our game has definetly changed. It feels like the entire balance of the game mechanic is more fair for all the classes. I don't feel like any particular race or class is broken over any other. Spellcasters are no longer extremely fragile and vulnerable for the first several levels and then astronomically more powerful then warrior types at higher levels. Clerics are no longer only heal bots, using their actions every round to do nothing but heal the rest of the party, the invention of Minor Actions has been hugely benificial on several levels.

The only complaint I have as one of the DM's at my weekly group is that I have to work a lot harder to put the characters in jeaporady. Death is a lot more difficult, especially since my group excels at tactics.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zombieneighbours wrote:
towards the game being a really awesome game about combat small unit fighting, themed around adventuring.

Which is pretty much the design concept as developed originally by Mr Gary Gygax - 4e just refined the "game board" ideas of 3.5 in game play. More and more I see the parallels, not in rule implimentation, but general feel of 4th compared to 1st/2nd edition (A)D&D. 4e has classes that you pretty much (not always , but more likely I suggest) adhere too for your characters "life". If anything 3.5/3.p evolved away from this. By your own examples you show the strength of 3.5/3.p is the blurring of classes until they almost become like an extended skill set to mix and match to make a character concept. I think you make a valid point that the mechanics behind multiclassing in 3.5/3.p give an almost infinite number of possible characters. Admittedly at the expensive of getting the higher level powers of a class. Which bring me to to "feel".

With 4e it seems that due to the classes being more singular (for want of better word) that you make a character pretty much as you would have in the dim dark past. I want to be <insert class here> and I lived in the mountains and trained cats until the goblins attacked and... (continue background stuff). So my character is ready to go on with adventuring making me better at what I do (i.e. my choosen class). In 3.5/3.p my concept may not come about until I'm 6th, 8th, or 16th level? My character has to develop (in story) as I adventure.

In 4e I make a choice from those presented in the PHB's (or other source), it's not a bad thing. Making limited choices are part of life. In 3.5/3.p I can make a more varied character in terms of mechanical interactions which may appeal greatly but I also may have to wait a some considerable game time to actually end up playing what I envisioned at the rolling of the character (if starting from level 1). Neither wrong, just different.

This difference is at the heart of where I see the major difference between feel of 3.5/3.p and 4e.

S.

PS: Is a discussion on what imaginary creatures will or will not do little on the wierd side guys?


Kaoswzrd wrote:


The only complaint I have as one of the DM's at my weekly group is that I have to work a lot harder to put the characters in jeaporady. Death is a lot more difficult, especially since my group excels at tactics.

Get tips from Pop 'N Fresh - he's on his third near TPK and they're only a third of the way into the second adventure of Age of Worms. Living proof that 4E can be just as dangerous as 3.5.

On a more concrete level if the players go down have the monsters hit the bodies. Negative bloodied value is usually about 1 extra attack on the character bleeding out. In fact, because healing is more limited, I suspect that this would actually make the game more lethal then 3.5. You can also try splitting the difference - roll a die in front of your players 1-3 the baddie moves on, 4-6 it keeps at the corpse until its sure the downed character is actually dead.


The downside of 4E is that there is little that can be done to bring a dead character back to life during combat, other than a potion of Life, which is level 30 item, so If you do die you are probably out of the fight for good- no raise deal as a standard action. Therefore try not to kill your PCs too early in a battle.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Kaoswzrd wrote:


The only complaint I have as one of the DM's at my weekly group is that I have to work a lot harder to put the characters in jeaporady. Death is a lot more difficult, especially since my group excels at tactics.

Get tips from Pop 'N Fresh - he's on his third near TPK and they're only a third of the way into the second adventure of Age of Worms. Living proof that 4E can be just as dangerous as 3.5.

On a more concrete level if the players go down have the monsters hit the bodies. Negative bloodied value is usually about 1 extra attack on the character bleeding out. In fact, because healing is more limited, I suspect that this would actually make the game more lethal then 3.5. You can also try splitting the difference - roll a die in front of your players 1-3 the baddie moves on, 4-6 it keeps at the corpse until its sure the downed character is actually dead.


P.H. Dungeon wrote:
The downside of 4E is that there is little that can be done to bring a dead character back to life during combat, other than a potion of Life, which is level 30 item, so If you do die you are probably out of the fight for good- no raise deal as a standard action. Therefore try not to kill your PCs too early in a battle.

Well, the flipside is that by epic tier most characters can avoid death or resurrect themselves at least once per day. You couldn't really come back to life in previous editions until higher levels anyway. It's probably a wash.


P.H. Dungeon wrote:
The downside of 4E is that there is little that can be done to bring a dead character back to life during combat, other than a potion of Life, which is level 30 item, so If you do die you are probably out of the fight for good- no raise deal as a standard action. Therefore try not to kill your PCs too early in a battle.

Oh, to be clear I'm not advocating this style of play - I'm just pointing it out. I'm of the opinion that 3.5 was to lethal. Characters should be fairly hard to kill IMO as death of a PC is disruptive.

That said if you want to play the lethal version of 4E attacking down characters will take them out pretty quick. I suspect that throughout the Heroic Tier you can probably do it by simply hitting the downed character once with anything more potent then a minion. You can also go nuts with the Coup De Grace attack. Essentially its only that the DM plays nice and leaves downed characters alone that keeps players alive.

That said as a player I'm not usually feeling too comfortable. Healing is a b#$$@ to come by. The White Dragon in the intro module was mean. After that we rolled over Rivenroar like it was a joke but Bordin's Watch has had two encounters that really pushed us to our limits. No deaths but its been tough.

Another option might be to just pretend that the party has 1 more member then it actually has when designing encounters. 4E characters are pretty limited in terms of resources - that small tweak might be enough to have more encounters that push the PCs to their limits.

---> Beyond this point there be ramblings by Jeremy in regards to 4E adventure design...you've been warned. <---

Another facet in this regards is that the 4E attrition system means that the PCs are not usually really threatened by most encounters. If you want players saving their dailies for the BBEG fight at the end you can't really freak them out or they'll use them too early and will be clobbered in the end fight. The result is a lot of fights just meant to reduce the number of healing surges the players have down to the point where the last big fight turns into an 'edge of your seat' experience.

Hence, since 'we are all about to die' is comparatively rare in most encounters, there is a fair bit of onus on the DM to make the encounters fun outside of scaring the pants off the players. Humour, or answers to puzzles poised to the characters earlier in the adventure (or anything else you can think of along these lines) might go a long way to keeping things fun while your building up to that crescendo battle with the BBEG.

I think we've all gotten a little lazy after 3.5 in terms of designing encounters not meant to threaten your players miserable (and short) lives. Find the fun in something else in the encounter even as you drain your PCs of some of their healing surges and I expect you'll get a great (and varied) game. Best of all this play's into the classic story trope of building up to that final battle which really is meant to drive your players to the wall and juice them of every last trick they keep up their sleeve. If every fight is trying to be a crescendo it takes the bang out of the fights that really are. Find another focus for the fun besides the 'fear of imminent death' in some of the earlier encounters and you should get a better story overall.

Silver Crusade

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
That said as a player I'm not usually feeling too comfortable. Healing is a b**#~ to come by.

I was trying to figure out why this hasn't been my experience, and then it dawned on me...

I am a player in 4 4e campaigns right now (3 PbP and 1 tabletop), and in every one of those campaigns, the party has two leaders. Very curious coincidence, and it is probably skewing my perceptions on the availability of healing in the game. [/threadjack... carry on]

Osirion

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
Now there is more team min maxing- ie. figuring out how to combine powers in effective tactical ways, and a lot of this experimentation goes on during combat (though not in a slow down the game bad way), as opposed to during character creation. The PCs also don't spend time buffing and prepping for fights the way they did in 3E, and this is a change I really like.

For me, this is *incredibly* true. I run two games out here in Iraq, for the second tour in a row, and my players run the complete gamut of casual<--->min-maxer, and in 3rd edition with our erratic play schedule working around missions and the like, made it so that some players had a lot of fun and some... just didnt, because the min-maxers stole the spotlight rather often.

In 4E, this doesnt happen. Even the min-maxer (tricked out teleporting eladrin ranger/rogue) has his efforts curtailed by the inherent balance of the rules, but not so much that he feels stifled.

The *rest* of the party, now that they are not outshone so easily, have stepped up and suddenly the "emergent tactics" have become the players' favorite part-- mixing and matching abilities and powers to set each other up for some ridiculously complex but incredibly powerful combos (feats that allow extra uses of Hunter's Quarry and Sneak Attack and Warlock's Curse with an action point, when combined with TWO Warlords of different builds, are positively sick) is their favorite thing to do. And let me tell you-- a group of six soldiers (in real life) who are used to working together already can come up with some seriously amazing tactics.

And the best thing is-- EVERYBODY, even me as the GM, is LOVING the game. Every time.

I dont care what edition you play-- that's a win.


daysoftheking wrote:
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
Now there is more team min maxing- ie. figuring out how to combine powers in effective tactical ways, and a lot of this experimentation goes on during combat (though not in a slow down the game bad way), as opposed to during character creation. The PCs also don't spend time buffing and prepping for fights the way they did in 3E, and this is a change I really like.

For me, this is *incredibly* true. I run two games out here in Iraq, for the second tour in a row, and my players run the complete gamut of casual<--->min-maxer, and in 3rd edition with our erratic play schedule working around missions and the like, made it so that some players had a lot of fun and some... just didnt, because the min-maxers stole the spotlight rather often.

In 4E, this doesnt happen. Even the min-maxer (tricked out teleporting eladrin ranger/rogue) has his efforts curtailed by the inherent balance of the rules, but not so much that he feels stifled.

The *rest* of the party, now that they are not outshone so easily, have stepped up and suddenly the "emergent tactics" have become the players' favorite part-- mixing and matching abilities and powers to set each other up for some ridiculously complex but incredibly powerful combos (feats that allow extra uses of Hunter's Quarry and Sneak Attack and Warlock's Curse with an action point, when combined with TWO Warlords of different builds, are positively sick) is their favorite thing to do. And let me tell you-- a group of six soldiers (in real life) who are used to working together already can come up with some seriously amazing tactics.

And the best thing is-- EVERYBODY, even me as the GM, is LOVING the game. Every time.

I dont care what edition you play-- that's a win.

This post just made my day. Cheers.


The other DM and I have a standing policy against attacking down PCs unless the villian has a reasonable role playing reason to do so. Damaging Auras have been one of the most dangerous creature abilities we've found for downed player that really introduce a high level of threat for characters on the ground, I can think of at least 2 PC deaths I owe to damaging auras. The other DM at the table recently introduced his own new monsters, one of which was a creature with heavy stunning and dazing effects attached to their attacks. These really helped to put the PCs on their guard. Although I found that certain characters were effect worst then others. The Ranger was slightly hampered, but having attacks that also let him shift gave him a lot more options then my Avenger who had trouble justifying using his Oath power at any point thus neutering his "Striker" role. Sustain Minor powers also became useless (to late the Wizard realized this after using his Flaming Sphere).

Forced movement has been a huge style change in our 4e campaign. In the past we generally disdained feat selections that offered Bull Rush and Grab abilities over anything that would deal out more damage. However, we've really had a lot of fun, and the flavor of our sessions have changed as more and more people have had some kind of forced movement abilities built into their powers. Almost every front liner in the group invests in "boots of spider climb" as soon as they're available.


Stefan Hill wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:
towards the game being a really awesome game about combat small unit fighting, themed around adventuring.

Which is pretty much the design concept as developed originally by Mr Gary Gygax - 4e just refined the "game board" ideas of 3.5 in game play. More and more I see the parallels, not in rule implimentation, but general feel of 4th compared to 1st/2nd edition (A)D&D. 4e has classes that you pretty much (not always , but more likely I suggest) adhere too for your characters "life". If anything 3.5/3.p evolved away from this. By your own examples you show the strength of 3.5/3.p is the blurring of classes until they almost become like an extended skill set to mix and match to make a character concept. I think you make a valid point that the mechanics behind multiclassing in 3.5/3.p give an almost infinite number of possible characters. Admittedly at the expensive of getting the higher level powers of a class. Which bring me to to "feel".

With 4e it seems that due to the classes being more singular (for want of better word) that you make a character pretty much as you would have in the dim dark past. I want to be <insert class here> and I lived in the mountains and trained cats until the goblins attacked and... (continue background stuff). So my character is ready to go on with adventuring making me better at what I do (i.e. my choosen class). In 3.5/3.p my concept may not come about until I'm 6th, 8th, or 16th level? My character has to develop (in story) as I adventure.

In 4e I make a choice from those presented in the PHB's (or other source), it's not a bad thing. Making limited choices are part of life. In 3.5/3.p I can make a more varied character in terms of mechanical interactions which may appeal greatly but I also may have to wait a some considerable game time to actually end up playing what I envisioned at the rolling of the character (if starting from level 1). Neither wrong, just different.

I agree though I'd emphasize that the 1E/4E character does not just get better at whatever they do - usually they react to the reality as it is presented to them and gain features appropriate to that reality. In 3.5 if I plan on having a Dragon Riding Paladin then I need to be fairly careful with how I plot out my feats and chances are I know what each feat will be long before I take it for my build. If, partway there, my circumstances change and the chance to ride Dragons goes off the table (maybe it turns out that we're going to do the Descent to the Depth of the Earth series) I've got significant problems because my build just got busted.

In 4E your character design can well be something that reacts to circumstances in fact your usually best off if that is the case since you get so much less from a planned build in 4E then you got in 3.5 the best option is usually to wait and see what's likely to benefit the party when the choice actually comes up as opposed to making the choice in advance...though that can have some significant draw backs - twice now I've realized when its actually time to choose that my clerics optimal choice conflicts with the roleplaying aspects of the character I have actually made. For example I can't trade in my not very useful turn undead powers (they just don't come up much and I'm not very accurate in combat anyway) for a healing burst type power (which would come up nearly every fight and does not reference my lack of accuracy) because I've been earnestly roleplaying a cleric of the Raven Queen - She hates undead! It'd make no sense for me not to have powers that destroy such abominations.

I suppose the moral of the story is learn from the mistakes of an old timer - never role play your 'toons as it may cause you to damage the build,

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I agree though I'd emphasize that the 1E/4E character does not just get better at whatever they do - usually they react to the reality as it is presented to them and gain features appropriate to that reality. In 3.5 if I plan on having a Dragon Riding Paladin then I need to be fairly careful with how I plot out my feats and chances are I know what each feat will be long before I take it for my build. If, partway there, my circumstances change and the chance to ride Dragons goes off the table (maybe it turns out that we're going to do the Descent to the Depth of the Earth series) I've got significant problems because my build just got busted.

That's what I like about 4e as a player is it has some of the "organic" feel of 1e to the character development. Still lots of feat type options like 3e, but rules to change these as required. 3e does really feel like you should sit down with your DM and plan levels 1-20 before you even start roleplaying. Just not my cup of tea.

S.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
Now there is more team min maxing- ie. figuring out how to combine powers in effective tactical ways, and a lot of this experimentation goes on during combat (though not in a slow down the game bad way), as opposed to during character creation.

I really wish this had happened with my group, but its mostly just a race to see who can get at the monsters first - even in tough fights.


Carl Cramér wrote:
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
Now there is more team min maxing- ie. figuring out how to combine powers in effective tactical ways, and a lot of this experimentation goes on during combat (though not in a slow down the game bad way), as opposed to during character creation.
I really wish this had happened with my group, but its mostly just a race to see who can get at the monsters first - even in tough fights.

We were doing that for a bit but we'd come out pretty badly beat up and it was just so obvious that we were playing sub-optimally.

I think what causes us to think most about tactics is situations where there are fairly clearly different options available and our choices will make a difference. So, in a room full of a bunch of the same types of monsters there is little reason not to just close and kill.

On the other hand if the room has some bruisers - one really big nasty and a bunch of minion archers then things have become much more complex - taking out the minion archers before they concentrate on one target is a good plan but it needs to be mixed with dealing with the bruisers and we have to decide how to handle the big nasty.

Things get even more interesting if you face the PCs with a mixed combat and non combat challenges. Fighting our way up catwalks while trying to get to something that will block off the room from the arriving reinforcements of limitless minions created a situation - in one of our sessions, that meant that the players needed to work well and co-operate but also had to break up into different groups and figure out how to prioritize the situation.

For a group that is not emphasizing teamwork I recommend that when designing encounters you exaggerate the different components of the encounter. This is very easy to do with 4E as there are worlds of difference between minions clogging up the front line backed by guys that throw area effect bombs and a brute with reach that has obscene hps. Hopefully this sort of thing will cause them to work more like a tactical unit.


My group has stumbled upon a couple effective combos, typically by accident - my favorite being when my Shielding Swordmage marked an Earth Titan from across the field, while the Titan was corned by our druid (currently wild-shaped into a cat). The druid had a power up where any melee basic attack they hit with knocked the enemy prone. So she would knock the Titan down every turn, and he would stand up and flail at her without being able to hurt her due to my Aegis of Shielding. He couldn't even get away, since whenever he tried, he provoked and got knocked down again!

I'm shortly planning to bring in a new character, and this time I'm looking at a Bravura Warlord. I've tended to favor Strikers in 4E, so I'm looking forward to playing a leader completely built around team support, handing out free attacks and bonuses and basically making everyone else awesome. It will be a new style for me, but one I'm hoping I will enjoy (and am certain my friends will be delighted with!)

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
My group has stumbled upon a couple effective combos, typically by accident - my favorite being when my Shielding Swordmage marked an Earth Titan from across the field, while the Titan was corned by our druid (currently wild-shaped into a cat). The druid had a power up where any melee basic attack they hit with knocked the enemy prone. So she would knock the Titan down every turn, and he would stand up and flail at her without being able to hurt her due to my Aegis of Shielding. He couldn't even get away, since whenever he tried, he provoked and got knocked down again!

With my DM cap on. That sucks. Is that the way the rules play out?

S.


Stefan Hill wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
My group has stumbled upon a couple effective combos, typically by accident - my favorite being when my Shielding Swordmage marked an Earth Titan from across the field, while the Titan was corned by our druid (currently wild-shaped into a cat). The druid had a power up where any melee basic attack they hit with knocked the enemy prone. So she would knock the Titan down every turn, and he would stand up and flail at her without being able to hurt her due to my Aegis of Shielding. He couldn't even get away, since whenever he tried, he provoked and got knocked down again!
With my DM cap on. That sucks. Is that the way the rules play out?

Yeah, in general, though in large part because the dice helped - it would only have taken one miss from her for the Titan to get away, and once he stopped trying to run from the druid and started focusing on her, damage was getting through. Just, slowly, between my Aegis and the Titan's poor rolls. It also required the use of two of our strongest dailies, and wasn't a situation we were able to duplicate as effectively in any other combats. Like I mentioned, most of these combos tend to crop up by accident, and we usually just don't have the luck to repeat them later - but when things happen to sync up, it makes for a pretty entertaining sight.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
My group has stumbled upon a couple effective combos, typically by accident - my favorite being when my Shielding Swordmage marked an Earth Titan from across the field, while the Titan was corned by our druid (currently wild-shaped into a cat). The druid had a power up where any melee basic attack they hit with knocked the enemy prone. So she would knock the Titan down every turn, and he would stand up and flail at her without being able to hurt her due to my Aegis of Shielding. He couldn't even get away, since whenever he tried, he provoked and got knocked down again!
With my DM cap on. That sucks. Is that the way the rules play out?
Yeah, in general, though in large part because the dice helped - it would only have taken one miss from her for the Titan to get away, and once he stopped trying to run from the druid and started focusing on her, damage was getting through. Just, slowly, between my Aegis and the Titan's poor rolls. It also required the use of two of our strongest dailies, and wasn't a situation we were able to duplicate as effectively in any other combats. Like I mentioned, most of these combos tend to crop up by accident, and we usually just don't have the luck to repeat them later - but when things happen to sync up, it makes for a pretty entertaining sight.

That is cool. In fact some of the most memoriable gaming events happen just so. I was just checking this wasn't a "loop hole" that could be applied time after time.

Thanks for taking the time to reassure me.

Cheers,
S.


I don't if this has much to do with the game, per se, but it's somewhat on topic.

The last couple nights I've been converting Age of Worms to 4e. I do miss the days of nice glossy print magazines in my hands. I haven't really read a DDI Dungeon adventure in months, not because of the quality but because it is not in print. I just don't like reading online.

While that's not directly about the feel or style of my game, it is about my general experience of D&D. I like 4e, but I wish they'd bring back the print magazines.


Whimsy Chris wrote:


The last couple nights I've been converting Age of Worms to 4e. I do miss the days of nice glossy print magazines in my hands. I haven't really read a DDI Dungeon adventure in months, not because of the quality but because it is not in print. I just don't like reading online.

Please try and get in on the discussion on converting A0Ws to 4E in the Age of Worms section as I'm doing the same (as is Pop'n'Fresh) and I'm certainly interested in any ideas or inspirations you might add.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

I disagree that it provides balance by forcing characters to be bland. In most cases it simply provides balance and means characters can opperate outside of the element that they were specifically designed for if it comes to that.

You contend that this closes off story lines but I think it actually opens them up. In my last 3.5 campaign I wanted the players to go to the big city when they were 10th level and get involved in an intrigue orientated story with a real twist in that the Emperor's alignment was good but he was also simply incompetent and unfit to lead. Thus the players (also mostly good) would be dragged into trying to plot his downfall but would face interesting moral dilemma's along the way. Seemed like a good idea for an adventure and in line with characters reaching 'name level'. The adventure was a fiasco. What I had failed to recognize was that you can't have a change up in the story in 3.5. Once you embark down one direction the character designs become so focused on dealing with the challenges of that direction that they simply no longer effectively operate in any other. My adventure fell apart as it soon became apparent that the Paladin player, with his high charisma and great diplomacy skill, was really the only player that could actually participate in what was going on. The wizard could sort of play too (though not as well) and the fighters and even the skill monkey player (skills maxed out in trap finding and such plus to much multi-classing) simply became spectators.

I just wanted to address this point. That wasn't a fault of the system but the way you ran it. If you focus for 10 levels on the same thing of course players are going to hyper focus their characters in that direction. If you had mixed things up a lot at the beginning then the players would have took skills and feats to cover other things and it would have worked out just fine.

Yes 4e by default does this for everyone, but 3e works as well for it. Which is why all and all i think this is a loaded topic. Their is no right or wrong answer. Weather playing 4e effected your play style has a lot to do with.
1) What your play style was in the first place. (different games are better at different play styles. Thats not good or bad just the way it is)
2) How the GM ran the game and what they focused the game on. ((aka what play style they went with))

So in short me personally i think both editions can support all the same styles and feels of games. But 4e is better suited to some styles of play and 3e better to other styles, but both can do all the styles.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
I just wanted to address this point. That wasn't a fault of the system but the way you ran it. If you focus for 10 levels on the same thing of course players are going to hyper focus their characters in that direction. If you had mixed things up a lot at the beginning then the players would have took skills and feats to cover other things and it would have worked out just fine.

He acknowledged that it was his decision to change the campaign's direction that caused the fiasco. But he was also lamenting the fact that, under the system, PCs are hard-wired into the direction they take, and if the story does take a dramatic turn, their ability to adapt to that turn is very limited compared to 4e. That is an issue with the system, and I really have trouble seeing how easing up on that restriction could possibly be a bad thing.

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