My players love the Prestige Classes. That's one of the reasons that I don't like the ideas behind 4th edition.
I know that all of the options won't be available out of the gate but there will be a mechanism akin to prestige classes called Paragon Paths for 11-20 and Epic Destinies for 21-30.
You know, people keep listing the "sins" of 3E (and I have to agree with several of them) but leave out what, for me, may be the biggest - the game ASSUMES a certain level of magic, etc. is in the possession of the PCs at any given time, or the whole ECL/CL/CR system falls flat.
Sadly, from the few leaks they've released, it looks like 4E retains this flaw, so I guess mentioning it isn't relevant but still - that is probably the biggest thing I'd be looking to change if I were creating a new edition.
Maybe allow items to adjust the party's effective level, rather than assuming they're there already...
Yup, this is something they say they've fixed.
Only a few specific magic items add directly to important calculated numbers: Implement (weapon, wand - adds to attack bonus), Armor (adds to AC), neck/cloak slot (adds to "save" defenses), and I think that's it. No other magic items are allowed to give bonuses to these items, so there is no stacking of different-named effects.
Then, there's an expected value for each of these. For example, all 8th level characters might be expected to have a +2 armor item.
But if you want a low/no magic campaign, you can just give everyone that plus as a bonus at that level and not use magic armor (or whatever). And they've stated that if you don't stick to the "expected" curve for magic items, it makes far less difference to the overall power level of the PC than it did in 3.5, so low-magic campaigns are possible without major rebalancing of the rules.
It appears that high-magic campaigns might be more problematic. For example, if you let 5th level PCs have the expected items of 15th level characters, you'll probably be giving them access to spell effects and abilities that aren't expected by published adventures in that level range (flight at will, teleport, keep in mind I'm only guessing here). So if you go high-magic, it's still probably going to be advisable that you limit each individual magic item to approximately the expected power...
EXCEPT... The article they had about magic items... It SAID they'd removed reliance on them, then in another paragraph said, effectively, "This is the expected level of 'stuff' for a character of this level..."
So, either you give PCs "free" bonuses, you give magic based on an arbitrary baseline, or you gimp the PCs relative to other PCs of their level - AT LEAST based on the teasers they've leaked so far.
In other words, either they really don't know what they're doing, they've made the same idiotic decision the desingers of Villains and Vigilantes did back in the eighties (essentially saying: "Game Balance? Ah, that's for the DM/GM/Whatever to decide. Not our problem..."), or they've already gone against their stated purpose...
Either that or they figure magic items need to "do cool stuff" and "not give flat bonuses", and have everything balanced based on "cool stuff" instead of "raw numbers" - which somehow seems even worse to me...
I think a lot of us are pretty much aware of the fact that 5th edition will inevitably be here. If it's better than 4th edition, I'll buy into it. If 4th edition is better than 3rd edition, I'll buy into it.
I'm not really sure why this is such an offensive idea to people here. Third edition is great. I love it and I've played it since 2001. I'm going to check out 4th edition when it gets here and if it's awesome then I'm in. If it's not ... well, I've got tons of 3rd edition material that's still playable and I'll be happy to do so.
Why is keeping an open mind to 4th edition something that generates so much ridicule? I think that's a puzzling idea. People are attempting to make a hobby that you enjoy better. They may or may not succeed. But why would you want to avoid giving them the chance?
I'm not offering judgement for or against 4.0 edition. I see valid reasons for and against. My comment was merely that new editions, which are supposed to be "vast improvements over their broken forebearers", will be coming fast and furious. I don't know about you, but I don't just go out and buy a new car every 3-4 years, simply because Toyota would like me to, and has in all likeihood released a better model than what I'm currently driving. I like what I've got, and I appreciate CONTINUITY. It is my belief that WoTC could at least meet me half way. Quite reasonable I think.
This is not entirely surprising because, as the game grows older, WotC has to publish more and more overpowered feats/spells/Magic items to keep players interested…and buying.
To be honest, the last few games I've played in, I've restricted myself to PHB + DMG only for class/feats/etc. Kind of as a way to prove that there is still a lot of life in just that bit of game, and there is.
I am one of those idiots with $1,000 in books and more stuff than I can use in a lifetime. I am a fence-sitter but I really want the Digital Initiative. I also fear the repeat of power creep but I hope for more balanced feat/powers and magic. I hope they improve combat (quick but with choices) and improve on Vancian Magic.
If I can control myself, I think a solution is to wait for the second printing and just buy the PHBI, MMI and DMGI. Then don't buy anything for a year, except Pathfinder and the DI! If you can fake Illusions and Summoning from previous additons, don't even buy PHBII. Convert monsters, since it is 'so easy', and don't buy anymore MM's. Pathfinder probably will have what you need for monsters. And keep your own fluff/cosmology. How hard can it be to modify Halfings to make them Gnomes and ignore the Tieflings tail?
Don't a lot of us buy new game systems just to see the rules? The problem is not the new edition, it is my obsessive complusive need to have everthing and the chaos it causes. If I can control my spending, it might be fun to see the game evolve. (Except they killed my magazines.)
And if the 4.0 rules are not play tested well and create new problems, I have a bookshelf full of years of fun with 3.5. Just add the House Rules you like from 4.0.
I think a solution is to wait for the second printing and just buy the PHBI, MMI and DMGI.
If I buy into 4E, then this is the route I will go. No more "entire shelf filled with D&D books", since I never end up using most of them.
That shouldn't be to hard as far as campaign books go, since I don't really like the re-imagined Forgotten Realms, and I could only see them putting out a Greyhawk that would be unrecognizable as such.
|Tharen the Damned|
Well, in my campaign the PHB and DMG and the Book of Eldritch Might/Hallowed Might/Roguish Luck were "Core Rules" and players could choose them if they wanted to.
All other rules (Classes, PRCs, Feats, Spells) from other Books had to be approved by me.
It worked fine because in a campaign you have enough time to look at every PC sheet and see if the player wants to abuse a rule.
For one shot adventures this is not manageable and as DM I would restrict the Books to those I own and know well.
It seems that numerous people are trying to justify why the version they are unhappy with should be shunned.
In my case, Kruelaid, you are right. Not that I have been bashing 4e. But that has generally been my approach to trying to get people to play other systems. Thank you for putting it so clearly.
My strategy needs a new version.
Of course, according to the Mayan calendar, 2012 is the end of the world. So, if WotC wants to profit off 5e, the company had better push for a 2011 release.
December 2012 is the end of the world. We'd have a few months of playing 5e if they release at GenCon of that year.
If no one likes it, WotC doesn't have to worry about putting up with too many complaints.