Fearless? Or Just Plain Dumb?


4th Edition

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ArchLich wrote:
As far as I can tell you would like death to come as a series of events that extend themselves over a number of rounds (or even minutes) not after a short time period. You would like death to be hard to achieve (PC and NPC).

Victory on both sides should be challenging and rely less on pure luck. The CR system promises balanced play, and that's what I'd like it to deliver.

Introducing ways to extend encounters does that, and I don't think it sacrifices verisimilitude or suspense to do it.

And ironically, I think it promotes smarter play. Any idiot can keep throwing bad guys at a party until someone fails a save.

In that respect, 3.5 is just plain dumb.


Takasi wrote:

And it's not just save or die. It's anything that can kill you in one round. There are accounts of many high level, supposedly 'balanced' villains who are taken out in one round. This is not balanced gamism.

Now I know this is going to sound like I'm trying to be a smart ass but I'm not.

Sometimes things are supposed to be too hard. Why doesn't anyone ever run away?

I have always wondered this. You encounter something you are pretty sure is going to kick your ass, well run. I have seen player after player death due to the fact that they know they they are in danger if they attack *blank* (passing evil lord and his army, Ancient red dragon, t-Rex, etc.) but they attack anyways because they think... what?
Can someone tell me?

No deaths in my game are arbitrary. There was always something the party could have done. Some clue they ignored, some (obviously) stupid idea they tried, some arrogant parting shot, etc.

Does everything have to be tailored to party survival? I could do so but it would be a boring story.


ArchLich wrote:
Sometimes things are supposed to be too hard. Why doesn't anyone ever run away?

Because they're dead and have no opportunity to do so. The more random death is the harder it is to run away or plan around it.

ArchLich wrote:
I have always wondered this. You encounter something you are pretty sure is going to kick your ass, well run.

That's the problem though. You're not 'pretty sure' it's going to kick your ass. In fact, the books tell the DM to be 'pretty sure' the party is going to kick its ass. Again, too much variance.

ArchLich wrote:
No deaths in my game are arbitrary. There was always something the party could have done. Some clue they ignored, some stupid idea they tried, some arrogant parting shot, etc.

Then you are fudging die rolls or not playing by RAW or not following EL. At high levels the probability of dying through no fault of your own increases significantly. It's also present to a lesser extent at the beginning of the game

ArchLich wrote:
Does everything have to be tailored to party survival? I could do so but it would be a boring story.

It doesn't have to be if you don't want it to be. You shouldn't be using the CR system if that's the case.

The Exchange

CharlieRock wrote:

Would you still remember this game as well if the failure wasn't so drastic?

Yep. Just getting a +52 to hit at like 9th or 10th will stick with me.


Benimoto wrote:
Players dying randomly isn't the only problem with save-or-die effects, though it is the main one.

I have yet to see a PLAYER die - or even become more than moderately inconvenienced - by a Save-Or-Die effect.

Now I've seen Characters go down to them, but never PLAYERS... :D

Quote:
What happens when the PCs are in a fight where there's only one, or mainly one bad guy and the PC wizard wins initiative and casts a save-or-die spell immediately?

Sucks for them.

Quote:
I think we can all agree that it's undesirable to have a whole combat decided by a single die roll, but that's what happens there

Nope - because:

1) Smart players prepare for this sort of thing - magic resting items, attacking in waves, sending the character with the best save/resistance to likely attacks in first, etc.
2) I've seen it work the other way - a single spell, critical hit, or use of an ability/item takes down the main villain (once, as a player, the main villain of the CAMPAIGN) in the first round of the the first fight.
Life works that way, why shouldn't the game?
Alexander the Great was most likely killed by a mosquito bite - not very heroic, true, but that's what most historians believe happened. Why should PCs be better than one of the greatest military minds of all time?

The Exchange

Benimoto wrote:
Players dying randomly isn't the only problem with save-or-die effects, though it is the main one. What happens when the PCs are in a fight where there's only one, or mainly one bad guy and the PC wizard wins initiative and casts a save-or-die spell immediately?

Yep - too often PCs can just break encounters.

PC Wizard - polymorhed into a choker.

Party gets a surprise round.

Wizard force cages big nasty dragon.

Wizard goes in the regular round before the bad guys.

Time stop followed by a bunch of spells since chokers get an extra standard action.

Time goes back to normal - between the sculpted and maximized fireballs and a few other nasty spells the high level evil wizard and assorted minions are all slaughtered.

BDF that is immune to fire goes up to force caged red and pokes him with a spear until it dies.

The wizard opted not to use save or die because this way was more fun.


Because D&D is a GAME and not a reality simulator.

The Exchange

CEBrown wrote:
Alexander the Great was most likely killed by a mosquito bite - not very heroic, true, but that's what most historians believe happened. Why should PCs be better than one of the greatest military minds of all time?

Heroes should be immune to mosquitoes. It's a flaw in previous editions. Thankfully 4E nerfs mosquitoes. Now your characters can wade through swarms of them with nary an effect or the slightest sense of danger!

Long live 4E!

</facetious>


At high enough level a character should be able to afford an amulet of Death Warding. (Death Ward as per the spell, continous; cost: 58,000 gp).

Spoiler:

Amulet of Death Warding

This bone white amulet protects a person from the harmful abilities of undead and from death's grim touch.

The subject is immune to all death spells, magical death effects, energy drain, and any negative energy effects.

This spell doesn’t remove negative levels that the subject has already gained, nor does it affect the saving throw necessary 24 hours after gaining a negative level.

Death ward does not protect against other sorts of attacks even if those attacks might be lethal.

Moderate Necromancy; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, death ward; Price 58,000 gp.


crosswiredmind wrote:
CharlieRock wrote:

Would you still remember this game as well if the failure wasn't so drastic?

Yep. Just getting a +52 to hit at like 9th or 10th will stick with me.

That is impressive.


I cant fathom a group of characters all sporting 58000 gp items "just in case". The fact is that D&D is a game, and an aspect of fun is removing random decisions that can bring about utter ruin. In D&D this is what save-or-die effects do: through random fate you can just die. There isnt a change to realize that maybe you should retreat, or even a chance to gauge the threat. Its instant.
Maybe as a player you know what a death slaad can do, but not your character, so attempt to fight it.
Maybe you were ambushed by, say, a cockatrice. You know what it can do, but dont have time to run. Maybe you figure, "I can take it", and then get a 1 on your Fort save on the first round of combat.

These things arent fun because you have no control over it. It removes all skill and tactics from the game, instead rewarding pure luck. This concept can be extended into things like doors, chests, or symbols with deadly traps on it. You dont know the CR of the trap.
Heck, maybe you just decided to examine the symbol and touch it to see how its written on (or maybe you just look at it and that also activates it, ala symbol spells).

Traps are another less severe example of save-or-die effects. Through random chance you can just get pegged for damage, and this is especially true if you dont have a rogue (or one of the other five or so classes from the Complete series that also have trapfinding, although even then you have to keep Disable Device and Search maxed out).
If you dont have the right class AND the right skills, your group can basically just get randomly hit and take damage, get poisoned, or maybe even die.


Takasi wrote:
ArchLich wrote:
Sometimes things are supposed to be too hard. Why doesn't anyone ever run away?

Because they're dead and have no opportunity to do so. The more random death is the harder it is to run away or plan around it.

ArchLich wrote:
I have always wondered this. You encounter something you are pretty sure is going to kick your ass, well run.

That's the problem though. You're not 'pretty sure' it's going to kick your ass. In fact, the books tell the DM to be 'pretty sure' the party is going to kick its ass. Again, too much variance.

ArchLich wrote:
No deaths in my game are arbitrary. There was always something the party could have done. Some clue they ignored, some stupid idea they tried, some arrogant parting shot, etc.

Then you are fudging die rolls or not playing by RAW or not following EL. At high levels the probability of dying through no fault of your own increases significantly. It's also present to a lesser extent at the beginning of the game

ArchLich wrote:
Does everything have to be tailored to party survival? I could do so but it would be a boring story.
It doesn't have to be if you don't want it to be. You shouldn't be using the CR system if that's the case.

Sounds like you have some bad experiences.

I'm sorry if that is the case.

But no, I have never had a random death at my game. Characters die? Oh yes. Die from a save or die effect? A few times. Die from their own stupidity? Pretty much the only times they die. Die at unexpected points? Yes.

I use the game to allow us all to tell a story. I allow them to shine, to get revenge and to have fun. But guess what? You want to make players really hate a villain and really cheer when the villain dies? You have to hurt the PC's and scare the players that their PC is going to die. You can trick them into that but they aren't stupid. They catch on.

Can they still have fun without the real danger? Of course. Is it as immersive and memorable? Not in my opinion.

I do not like player vs DM arms races. I do not use death effects unless the PCs do. I have a polite social contract where I play by gentleman rules.

The game is about fun. It is not about the players. It is not about the PC's staying alive. It is not about the DM.


Antioch wrote:
I cant fathom a group of characters all sporting 58000 gp items "just in case".

Maybe at 12 level no. But at 18th level? 20th level? 25th level?

And it is not "just in case" that is like saying "You spent how much on potions of fire resistance just in case?!?". Wealth is relative. If you have 5gp then an item costing 100 gp is a lot. If you have 3000 gp its nothing. If you have 15,000 gp that portable is darn expensive. If you have 150,000 gp the it is no big deal to get a portable hole. (And you did say the main problem with Save or Die effects was at high level so I assumed you meant at levels 15+.)

Antioch wrote:

The fact is that D&D is a game, and an aspect of fun is removing random decisions that can bring about utter ruin. In D&D this is what save-or-die effects do: through random fate you can just die. There isnt a change to realize that maybe you should retreat, or even a chance to gauge the threat. Its instant.

Maybe as a player you know what a death slaad can do, but not your character, so attempt to fight it.
Maybe you were ambushed by, say, a cockatrice. You know what it can do, but dont have time to run. Maybe you figure, "I can take it", and then get a 1 on your Fort save on the first round of combat.

These things arent fun because you have no control over it. It removes all skill and tactics from the game, instead rewarding pure luck. This concept can be extended into things like doors, chests, or symbols with deadly traps on it. You dont know the CR of the trap.
Heck, maybe you just decided to examine the symbol and touch it to see how its written on (or maybe you just look at it and that also activates it, ala symbol spells).

Traps are another less severe example of save-or-die effects. Through random chance you can just get pegged for damage, and this is especially true if you dont have a rogue (or one of the other five or so classes from the Complete series that also have trapfinding, although even then you have to keep Disable Device and Search maxed out).
If you dont have the right class AND the right skills, your group can basically just get randomly hit and take damage, get poisoned, or maybe even die.

*sigh*

As other people have said a new edition will not solve a bad or mediocre DM (or GM if you prefer) problem. Nothing can solve that except the DM getting better or a new DM.


ArchLich wrote:
At high enough level a character should be able to afford an amulet of Death Warding. (Death Ward as per the spell, continous; cost: 58,000 gp).

First of all that's a cop out. So every character should have this?

Second, it doesn't apply to many instanteous effects that kill you (but aren't considered death effects). The most common is disintegrate.


Takasi wrote:
ArchLich wrote:
At high enough level a character should be able to afford an amulet of Death Warding. (Death Ward as per the spell, continous; cost: 58,000 gp).

First of all that's a cop out. So every character should have this?

Second, it doesn't apply to many instanteous effects that kill you (but aren't considered death effects). The most common is disintegrate.

So what do you suggest? I could give you options on how to protect a character against disintegrate but you seem to have problems with large damage potential period.

Would you like to see it changed to:
Limit strength to maximum of 16? No two handed weapons? Lower criticals to all x2? No spell does over 5d6 damage? Saves for half not enough? Only use your best save for everything?

What are you looking for? I address one point and you tell me that isn't it. I address another and that isn't it.

You tell me how you want the game to run and then I will counter point.

PS. Any effect or sword can be an instaneous death depending on your level (and the person casting/swinging).


Chris Thomasson wrote:
Quite simply, the math behind the game is so rock solid that I've been encouraged to play my character as a genuine, action movie, one-liner quoting hero. I'm not rushing to open the door because I know I can survive the fireball trap on the door. It's that I know that the trap on the door isn't some ruthless save or die effect that will punish me for rolling a 1 on my save. I still don't shy away from danger, but I find myself taking even more risks with my 4th Edition character than I did before. I don't dread the finger of death, wail of the banshee, or worst of all, energy drain effects that so permeated previous editions.

So 4th Edition encourages the writer of the article to enjoy playing as if his character is in an action movie.

I don't know if that is fearless or plain dumb, but it does sound as if- finally- they're trying to explain what they (the Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro play-testers) have been so 'excited about' for the past umpteen months.
I don't know if that's what I would be expecting or looking for in a D & D game though. As Crosswiredmind mentioned, there are games already out there, such as 7th Sea, which do that.


Antioch wrote:

I cant fathom a group of characters all sporting 58000 gp items "just in case". The fact is that D&D is a game, and an aspect of fun is removing random decisions that can bring about utter ruin. In D&D this is what save-or-die effects do: through random fate you can just die. There isnt a change to realize that maybe you should retreat, or even a chance to gauge the threat. Its instant.

Maybe as a player you know what a death slaad can do, but not your character, so attempt to fight it.
Maybe you were ambushed by, say, a cockatrice. You know what it can do, but dont have time to run. Maybe you figure, "I can take it", and then get a 1 on your Fort save on the first round of combat.

While reading this, the adage "Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.", went through my mind. Parties in D&D go around slaughtering ancient evils, wiping out entire tribes of evil humanoids, crush fiends and abominations. The idea that they should be able to back out of a fight when they are over their head, well what about their foes? Why shouldn't the creatures be able to get away, to avoid death? Frankly it just seems a little hypocritical to complain that someone might die in the party when they are leaving a bloody path of destruction in their wake. You party with the minotaur, expect to get the horns.


pres man wrote:

While reading this, the adage "Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.", went through my mind. Parties in D&D go around slaughtering ancient evils, wiping out entire tribes of evil humanoids, crush fiends and abominations. The idea that they should be able to back out of a fight when they are over their head, well what about their foes? Why shouldn't the creatures be able to get away, to avoid death? Frankly it just seems a little hypocritical to complain that someone might die in the party when they are leaving a bloody path of destruction in their wake. You party with the minotaur, expect to get the horns.

:)

I especially liked this turn of phrase:

pres man wrote:
You party with the minotaur, expect to get the horns.


ArchLich wrote:
What are you looking for? I address one point and you tell me that isn't it. I address another and that isn't it. (You said there is no way to stop save or die effects.)

I complained that there is no way to avoid rolling a 1 on a save and dying at some point in a high level career.

You provided one method for one type of save. That does not address that the mechanic is still there, and that instantaneous death and rolling on a 1 will still happen. There is no long term strategy; you are going to roll a 1 at high level play.

I then talked about the benefits of the changes in 4th edition, and how they are smart for a gamist experience, and you replied with a straw man argument about nerfing ability scores. The goal is to improve balance when you're using the balanced mechanics provided.


pres man wrote:
While reading this, the adage "Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.", went through my mind. Parties in D&D go around slaughtering ancient evils, wiping out entire tribes of evil humanoids, crush fiends and abominations. The idea that they should be able to back out of a fight when they are over their head, well what about their foes? Why shouldn't the creatures be able to get away, to avoid death? Frankly it just seems a little hypocritical to complain that someone might die in the party when they are leaving a bloody path of destruction in their wake. You party with the minotaur, expect to get the horns.

No one is complaining about dying, it's the window of opportunity that simulates combat, provides players with options and redemption. Specifically, it's the means of death when the method of play is promoted as balanced and fair (using CR).

If you don't want a balanced, fair fight then use verisimiltude and create encounters that aren't tailored using the CR system.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Alex Draconis wrote:
Zynete wrote:

I have been de-synthesized to instantaneous character death. It isn't exciting any more. Hell, I've often come to the conclusion to have my character's act without fear (at least in 3.5) because I know the DM can and will kill me at any time no matter what I do and no matter how prepared I am. They are just as likely to kill me when I'm acting stupidly than when I'm acting intelligently.

I like my deaths when they are drawn out over the course of a battle because there is a chance I still might survive the battle and that very minor detail makes the encounter much more exciting for myself.

I'm not trying to pick on you but, you sir have a poor DM and no matter what edition you play will have issues. A DM should be impartial but also fair. Especially when it advances the story.

No, this in fact seems to be your very goal. There is risk and threat of death no matter how prepared you are and if someone in the party did anything stupid I can tell you they would be guaranteed death

Alex Draconis wrote:
I've run games where I've killed party members out of the blue (Tomb of horrors I'm looking at you), it's nice to remind people they're not strolling through the park there. But I don't have my players jumping at their own shadows and twitching uncontrollably like an ADD ferret on blow. No random save or die minefields. That would detract from the drama of character death. Hard to advance the plot when everyone keeps dying on you or there's a TPK.

Mistake. Killing any one's characters out of the blue doesn't really impress me. The other DMs were at least just trying to place reasonable threats to the party. If you were my DM and pulled some s@#+ like that I would not even bother getting attached to my next character (if there would be a next character) which is in fact the problem I had with the mentioned games!

Alex Draconis wrote:
It's really quite simple, if you're smart and take precautions you have greater than normal chance of survival. Still things could go against you and you could end up dead through no fault of your own. That's life. Big risks, big wins. If that's a problem then your character should have taken up the profession of baker or something.

1. If you're smart and take precautions you have greater than normal chance of survival.

I agree with this somewhat if the precautions you are referring to are appropriate marching order and working together when deciding which spells to prepare. If they also know that they are walking into a dungeon with undead I would expect them to prepare spells and get equipment to fight such.

If the precautions you mention are death ward, immunity to energy, contingency (break enchantment), ring of counterspell (greater dispel magic), and so on because we don't really know what we are going to fight today then I will completely disagree with you. That is less preparation than paranoia. If they know what they are fighting they should put up defenses appropriate to that and not be expected to be protected against anything the DM can possibly through at them.

2. Still things could go against you and you could end up dead through no fault of your own. That's life. Big risks, big wins. If that's a problem then your character should have taken up the profession of baker or something.

Funny, I that is something the bad DMs would say. What does that make you.

Getting killed by some random fluke was fine, getting killed twice just made me stop caring about the risk anymore. That is the problem you deal with when you have the constant threat of death through no fault of your own.

It happens. And with me, it happens several times.

Alex Draconis wrote:
If you're dumb and go around kicking in doors, poking, eating and trying on everything at random sooner or later they're going to be sweeping you up with a dustbroom. That's something we like to call consequences.

Sure, but:

1. At least I will have more fun along the way.
2. You were already going to kill me through no fault of my own, so why not live a little.
3. This way I'm taking a more active role in my characters death. I'm not shaking in fear hoping I am prepared enough for you next threat to kill me. I'm looking for it.

Then if I'm killed enough, I will leave the group, consequences and all that jazz.

Alex Draconis wrote:
I don't like a system that encourages this dumb kind of play or coddles players because sooner or later, system or not I'd have to wield that big ol club called logic and take your character out for some ridiculous behavior. And maybe, just maybe that player will learn something.

That you will kill them not only at random points, but whenever you feel like it as well?


ArchLich wrote:
You want to make players really hate a villain and really cheer when the villain dies? You have to hurt the PC's and scare the players that their PC is going to die. You can trick them into that but they aren't stupid. They catch on.

So how does instantaneous death from pure bad luck within the borders of CR help with that?


ArchLich wrote:
PS. Any effect or sword can be an instaneous death depending on your level (and the person casting/swinging).

That's not true.

At 8th level, it would be difficult for a non-power attacking, non-critting fighter to kill an appropriate CR 8 encounter in the first round when someone is flat-footed and has no chance to defend themselves. Not hit into negatives, but flat out raise or rebuild your character dead.

But throw in two handed power attack and a crit and it's death from a couple of lousy rolls.

And when those rolls come from the DM and a PC dies before he even gets to activate in the first round then I think that's "just plain dumb". 4th edition will address this and the game will be better as a result.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

I haven't been impressed by the 4E information that I've received, but I suspect that the author was just trying to say that 4E encourages DMs to reward PCs for acting heroic. We've all seen DMs who run their games in ways that discourage creative play:

DM: "The half-orc barbarians are punching and kicking the other patrons in the bar. What does your fighter do?"

Player: "Kozurg bellows the war cry of his people and upends his table onto them, then grabs the bench he's next to so he can use it as a weapon to beat the barbarians unconscious as they try to get out from the table next round."

DM: The table's an improvised weapon that can't be used to trip. You can only attack one barbarian that way (despite the miniatures' placement) and you can't pick up the bench in the same round. You have a -4 to hit for the improvised weapon, then another -4 because you wanted to do nonlethal damage. Additionally, the table gives them cover, so you wouldn't get an attack of opportunity when they move."

By the time that sort of DM is done, the player knows he shouldn't have bothered with creative bar-room brawling and should have just pulled his broadsword. It makes fights dull.

DMs need to reward creative play, not punish it. When a PC tries something creatively "cinematic" and heroic, he should get bonuses, not penalties. I don't mean that they should get away with BS, but they should be encouraged to try impressive stunts.


Takasi wrote:
Frank Trollman wrote:
That's not what they are getting across though. That tirade was pure narratavism through and through. He opens a scroll and gets what? A dangerous trap that is within his capabilities? A puzzle geared towards his proficiencies? A mini-game? A dice roll? Heck no! He gets an arbitrary alien intellect living in his brain that starts acting as a tour guide around the dungeon facility. There's no gamist elements there. There's no simulationist elements either. It's just yarn spinning.

That may be true (the adjudication methods weren't explained, and we're grasping at straws here), but I was referring specifically to save vs die effects and the level of 'fear'. There should be nothing to fear in a good gamist campaign; if you fail it will be because you made the wrong decision, but the challenge was presented in a rewarding and beatable manner. In a gamist campaign the challenge is the primary reason for play and should not be feared but welcomed!

With 3.5, many times the challenge is feared because in some cases what's labeled as balanced really isn't. The more random, unpredictable and more importantly uncontrollable death effects are the fewer the options available to the players. Gamists want strategy and tactics, and these things require options.

You know, it sounds to me like, for the Darkmantles, hitting the shields and going SPLAT *was* a "Save or Die" mechanic, and none saved...


Antioch wrote:

In D&D this is what save-or-die effects do: through random fate you can just die. There isnt a change to realize that maybe you should retreat, or even a chance to gauge the threat. Its instant.

That's great but I think the point here is that it shouldn't happen 5% of the time regardless of circumstances and irregardless of character level. And I would agree with that contention.

The problem with the article is that he is basing his contention that the math makes this all possible with 4th edition when in reality removing all things that are "save or die" is the main reason. And to then go on and make a case that you can truly have fun knowing that rolling a '1' will never ruin your day is simply a false assumption.

In the opening of the article he mentions that a 'cursed' item changed his character into a woman. As far as I know there is nothing in 4th edition that would make me believe that this couldn't still be the case and in the end wouldn't that ruin the fun for your 'hero' just as much as rolling a '1' and dying would?

The article is garbage and completely lacking in anything that would make me think 4th edition is good or bad.


Antioch wrote:
Because D&D is a GAME and not a reality simulator.

All the MORE reason to have arbitrary, random effects - it is JUST a game, not reality. Those aren't real people getting killed, after all...


Takasi wrote:

No one is complaining about dying, it's the window of opportunity that simulates combat, provides players with options and redemption. Specifically, it's the means of death when the method of play is promoted as balanced and fair (using CR).

If you don't want a balanced, fair fight then use verisimiltude and create encounters that aren't tailored using the CR system.

A "fair" system would mean that during each encounter there was as likely a chance for PC death as NPC death. The fact is nobody wants a "fair" fight.

Takasi wrote:

That's not true.

At 8th level, it would be difficult for a non-power attacking, non-critting fighter to kill an appropriate CR 8 encounter in the first round when someone is flat-footed and has no chance to defend themselves. Not hit into negatives, but flat out raise or rebuild your character dead.

But throw in two handed power attack and a crit and it's death from a couple of lousy rolls.

And when those rolls come from the DM and a PC dies before he even gets to activate in the first round then I think that's "just plain dumb". 4th edition will address this and the game will be better as a result.

And is it equally "just plain dumb" when it is the PC that is 2-handed power attacking and killing the NPC in one hit at the very beginning of the encounter? If not, if that is somehow more "dramatic" than the other way, then I call hypocracy.


Craig Clark wrote:
In the opening of the article he mentions that a 'cursed' item changed his character into a woman. As far as I know there is nothing in 4th edition that would make me believe that this couldn't still be the case and in the end wouldn't that ruin the fun for your 'hero' just as much as rolling a '1' and dying would?

As another poster put it, it's strategy vs paranoia.

If the player knows he's been cursed, but it will take him some time before he changes (his beard falls out, his breasts grow, etc) then maybe there's something he can do about it. Perhaps the rules allow for multiple saves, allowing someone to help him. Or maybe he can put the item back, or go on a quest to remove the curse.

What sucks is being penalized through one lousy die roll in a game that's supposed to be balanced. Again, you can run a game that isn't balanced using rules that are balanced, but vice versa is not true.

For example, let's go back to the 8th level fighter.

In 3.5, an 8th level orc barbarian is going to be hitting for 1d12+7 points using a greataxe. Now let's say he ambushes the party, wins init, charges and power attacks. He confirms a crit, something the party has no control over. He does 90 points of damage and instantly kills a character before the party has a chance for any type of tactic or strategy.

This is 'just plain dumb.' Too many rewards are given to the lucky, and any idiot can be lucky, so why strive to play smart?

There's a 1 in 400 chance that any attack will be a crit, and when you have 7 people at a table rolling dice every minute that's actually a frequent occurance.

Craig Clark wrote:
The article is garbage and completely lacking in anything that would make me think 4th edition is good or bad.

I agree that the article really doesn't offer much either way.


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Takasi wrote:


What are these options? Become a god so that 1's aren't automatic failures?

And it's not just save or die. It's anything that can kill you in one round. There are accounts of many high level, supposedly 'balanced' villains who are taken out in one round. This is not balanced gamism.

Take a look at all of the accounts for the APs of players biting it on a save or an enemy who fails one. Or someone who dies before the fight even really starts. It's WAY too common at low and high levels for a gamist experience.

3.5 fails to provide a quality tactical experience during that time, and I've yet to see anyone try to defend that it does. It can provide verisimiltude and story, but actual strategy has less importance when the chances are very high that you are going to die in combat through no fault of your own, whether it's PC or NPC.

And again, I say to you that whether this bothers you or not is entirely based on your play style.....maybe some of us don't want what you call a gamist experience, maybe some of us want a little more simulationism or whatever thrown in. Bottom line, sometimes you roll a one, sometimes the villain rolls a one....can it be anti-climactic or disappointing? Yup, but that's how the game plays sometimes, and it doesn't trouble me in the slightest.

You obviously think this is a bad thing, but I (and I'm sure I'm not completely alone) don't...or at the very least I sure don't think it's so big a deal that it needed to be changed ;-) One man's feature is another man's but :)

Gamist, narrativist, simulationist...whatever!

You obviously don't like it, yet others do.

You will no doubt enjoy 4E, I very much doubt I will.

Yet somehow the world will somehow continue to orbit the sun ;-) ;-)

Cheers,
Colin

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

pres man wrote:


And is it equally "just plain dumb" when it is the PC that is 2-handed power attacking and killing the NPC in one hit at the very beginning of the encounter? If not, if that is somehow more "dramatic" than the other way, then I call hypocracy.

Hell yeah! Equal rights for NPCs and PCs!!!

I for one, dream of a game where the chances of dying for the PCs are exactly equal to the chance of dying for NPCs. That would be so much fun!

Oh wait...no...that would suck...


Takasi wrote:
ArchLich wrote:
PS. Any effect or sword can be an instaneous death depending on your level (and the person casting/swinging).

That's not true.

At 8th level, it would be difficult for a non-power attacking, non-critting fighter to kill an appropriate CR 8 encounter in the first round when someone is flat-footed and has no chance to defend themselves. Not hit into negatives, but flat out raise or rebuild your character dead.

But throw in two handed power attack and a crit and it's death from a couple of lousy rolls.

And when those rolls come from the DM and a PC dies before he even gets to activate in the first round then I think that's "just plain dumb". 4th edition will address this and the game will be better as a result.

So you are saying that you want to see critical failures and critical successes gone from the game for both PCs and NPCs?

(By the way a stone giant [Greatclub +17 melee (2d8+12) & CR 8] could kill a 8th level mage in one round no problem. In one club hit the giant could take the mage to -2. Average damage 20 points. Mage's average HP 18. No criticals needed.)


pres man wrote:
A "fair" system would mean that during each encounter there was as likely a chance for PC death as NPC death. The fact is nobody wants a "fair" fight.

Fairness does not equal equality in his case. It means rewards for good strategy instead of dumb luck.

pres man wrote:
And is it equally "just plain dumb" when it is the PC that is 2-handed power attacking and killing the NPC in one hit at the very beginning of the encounter?

Yes.


ArchLich wrote:
So you are saying that you want to see critical failures and critical successes gone from the game for both PCs and NPCs?

I'm not sure if you're familiar with the changes to 4th edition criticals, but a crit in 4th edition is max damage rather than a multiplier. Multipliers allow for min-max abuse.

pres man wrote:
(By the way a stone giant [Greatclub +17 melee (2d8+12) & CR 8] could kill a 8th level mage in one round no problem. In one club hit the giant could take the mage to -2. Average damage 20 points. Mage's average HP 18.)

That's not dead.


Sebastian wrote:
pres man wrote:


And is it equally "just plain dumb" when it is the PC that is 2-handed power attacking and killing the NPC in one hit at the very beginning of the encounter? If not, if that is somehow more "dramatic" than the other way, then I call hypocracy.

Hell yeah! Equal rights for NPCs and PCs!!!

I for one, dream of a game where the chances of dying for the PCs are exactly equal to the chance of dying for NPCs. That would be so much fun!

Oh wait...no...that would suck...

If the chances were equal at all times that would suck. But if the rules are consistent for PCs and NPCs? I consider that an important part of the games immersiveness (is that a word?) and believability.


13garth13 wrote:
And again, I say to you that whether this bothers you or not is entirely based on your play style.....maybe some of us don't want what you call a gamist experience, maybe some of us want a little more simulationism or whatever thrown in.

And I too also enjoy simulationism.

But what does that have to do with fixing the CR system?

13garth13 wrote:
Bottom line, sometimes you roll a one, sometimes the villain rolls a one....can it be anti-climactic or disappointing? Yup, but that's how the game plays sometimes, and it doesn't trouble me in the slightest.

Simulationist play will introduce status quo encounters, where sometimes you die in an anti-climactic and disappointing way. I do not see how 4th edtion robs you of your experience, but I see how 3.5 robs me of mine.

13garth13 wrote:
You will no doubt enjoy 4E, I very much doubt I will.

Why wouldn't you enjoy it though? How does fine tuning the abstract d20 damage mechanic prevent simulationist play? How does something as microcosmic as changing from (CR to CR being equal, which I don't understand why a simulationist would care about that) a 6-18 second fight vs a 60-120 second fight possibly remove verisimilitude when looking at the rest of your world?

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

ArchLich wrote:


If the chances were equal at all times that would suck. But if the rules are consistent for PCs and NPCs? I consider that an important part of the games immersiveness (is that a word?) and believability.

Generally I can agree with that, but it depends on the rule. I don't have a problem with PCs having different death rules than NPCs. My players and I want the former to live; I'm the only one that cares about whether NPCs live. I also don't care if PCs have access to more complicated options than NPCs because they have the time to process all their options whereas I as DM do not. It's a balancing act; not rote symmetry. There are all sorts of instances where the needs of the game outweigh the needs of the simulation, and having slighlty different rules for PCs and NPCs is probably one of those instances.


ArchLich wrote:
If the chances were equal at all times that would suck. But if the rules are consistent for PCs and NPCs? I consider that an important part of the games immersiveness (is that a word?) and believability.

This is another great analogy for how 4e allows support for both types of play.

There is absolutely nothing revealed so far that says you can't use the same rules for PCs and NPCs. There is an ADDITIONAL system that builds NPCs in a different way, and that helps for narrative and gamist DMs.

Just like CR fixes, there is nothing stopping the simulationist from exploring internal consistency. In 3.5 there are no hard rules for supernatural abilities; they are a different set of rules than what PCs can have and improve, yet simulationists are still able to play.


Sebastian wrote:
ArchLich wrote:


If the chances were equal at all times that would suck. But if the rules are consistent for PCs and NPCs? I consider that an important part of the games immersiveness (is that a word?) and believability.
Generally I can agree with that, but it depends on the rule. I don't have a problem with PCs having different death rules than NPCs. My players and I want the former to live; I'm the only one that cares about whether NPCs live. I also don't care if PCs have access to more complicated options than NPCs because they have the time to process all their options whereas I as DM do not. It's a balancing act; not rote symmetry. There are all sorts of instances where the needs of the game outweigh the needs of the simulation, and having slighlty different rules for PCs and NPCs is probably one of those instances.

Very good way of putting it. Consistency is required (for me) but not necessarily symmetry.


Sebastian wrote:
I don't have a problem with PCs having different death rules than NPCs.

Another example of 4e's versatility and catering to many playstyles.

A simulationist can apply the PC death rules to NPCs with no problems.

A narrative or gamist DM, on the other hand, would have to houserule alternate death rules if they weren't developed for them.

Providing support for one playstyle does mean support is taken away from another playstyle.


One thing I would like to point out (at risk of having my gas soaked clothes lit... again).

In 4E you won't have to worry about a random 1 killing you. Now you get to worry if the dragon/evil mage/minotaur with a pick axe rolls a critical on their dragon breath/fireball/hit. 4e (from what they have said) hasn't stopped the problem you are referring to. It has just hidden it (maybe lessened it but I can't tell without stats and rules).

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

ArchLich wrote:

One thing I would like to point out (at risk of having my gas soaked clothes lit... again).

In 4E you won't have to worry about a random 1 killing you. Now you get to worry if the dragon/evil mage/minotaur with a pick axe rolls a critical on their dragon breath/fireball/hit. 4e (from what they have said) hasn't stopped the problem you are referring to. It has just hidden it (maybe lessened it but I can't tell without stats and rules).

Absolutely. If 4e's only change is to move the mechanic from the player to the DM but the end result is the same, there's really no difference. The previews have indicated that criticals operate differently, and we also know that the window of death is bigger, but it's hard to say w/o the rules what the net effect will be.


ArchLich wrote:
In 4E you won't have to worry about a random 1 killing you. Now you get to worry if the dragon/evil mage/minotaur with a pick axe rolls a critical on their dragon breath/fireball/hit. 4e (from what they have said) hasn't stopped the problem you are referring to. It has just hidden it (maybe lessened it but I can't tell without stats and rules).

That completely dismisses already confirmed changes to...

Crit Multipliers: Pick axes aren't going to have multipliers, they'll just do max damage.

Power Attack: In 3.5 the minotaur could just have easily tacked on an extra dozen points or so of damage with about the same chance of hitting on a charge.

Hit Point Improvements: Characters will have more hit points and heal easier, making combats last longer.

That's IN ADDITION to removing the "just plain dumb" luck of rolling a 1.

Liberty's Edge

Takasi wrote:

That completely dismisses already confirmed changes to...

Crit Multipliers: Pick axes aren't going to have multipliers, they'll just do max damage.

Power Attack: In 3.5 the minotaur could just have easily tacked on an extra dozen points or so of damage with about the same chance of hitting on a charge.

Hit Point Improvements: Characters will have more hit points and heal easier, making combats last longer.

That's IN ADDITION to removing the "just plain dumb" luck of rolling a 1.

In some ways it sounds like we'll be going back to the days of 1E where I thought combat seemed like old fashioned boxing matches. The ones where the fighters stood in a ring and hit each other over and over and over for round after round after round....

Which is interesting in that I remember reading information on ENWorld by a designer indicating most combats would last about 5 rounds. It seems fast combats and more combats per gaming session are given as big pluses for 4E. I'm not sure how they are going to make combat fast and streamlined while simultaneously making it less dangerous, which would tend to make them last longer as you point out.


Wasteland Knight wrote:
Takasi wrote:

That completely dismisses already confirmed changes to...

Crit Multipliers: Pick axes aren't going to have multipliers, they'll just do max damage.

Power Attack: In 3.5 the minotaur could just have easily tacked on an extra dozen points or so of damage with about the same chance of hitting on a charge.

Hit Point Improvements: Characters will have more hit points and heal easier, making combats last longer.

That's IN ADDITION to removing the "just plain dumb" luck of rolling a 1.

In some ways it sounds like we'll be going back to the days of 1E where I thought combat seemed like old fashioned boxing matches. The ones where the fighters stood in a ring and hit each other over and over and over for round after round after round....

Which is interesting in that I remember reading information on ENWorld by a designer indicating most combats would last about 5 rounds. It seems fast combats and more combats per gaming session are given as big pluses for 4E. I'm not sure how they are going to make combat fast and streamlined while simultaneously making it less dangerous, which would tend to make them last longer as you point out.

Simple. One plausible possibility:

# of PCs is equal to or greater then the # of Monsters

damage of PCs equal to or greater then Monsters damage

HPs of PCs is greater then monsters

PC healing is greater then or equal to monsters

PCs die at -50% HP and Monsters die at 0


Wasteland Knight wrote:
Which is interesting in that I remember reading information on ENWorld by a designer indicating most combats would last about 5 rounds. It seems fast combats and more combats per gaming session are given as big pluses for 4E. I'm not sure how they are going to make combat fast and streamlined while simultaneously making it less dangerous, which would tend to make them last longer as you point out.

I can be equally dangerous yet less random. There's a difference.

5 rounds is a long time. That's an improvement over 3.5. It's all about consistency.

I also think decreasing iterative attacks will go a long way in reducing combat time. It may not sound like much, but some of my tables are frequently slowed down by confirming each attack then rolling for damage individually (due to DR in many cases) and adding in special circumstances (like occasional crits or infusing spells).

Scarab Sages

crosswiredmind wrote:

Actually it always bugged me that critters would have a lair guarded by a trap at the entrance. Would you live at a place that had a minefield under the welcome mat?

Sentries make sense. Locks make sense. Alarm systems make sense. But pits that the kids could fall into?

Tarren Dei wrote:
Well, we really should get Kobold Cleaver in to explain but I figure the trap is (1) geared to someone heavy, (2) possible to avoid if you know it is there, (3) designed to get rid of the stupider children, or that (4) this is not the main entrance.

Well done, that man.

I had to leave for home, after my response got eaten, and you took my place beautifully.
You quoted the exact same four things I did!
Uncanny!

Scarab Sages

13garth13 wrote:
Damn, beaten to the punch by a mere second!

Welcome to the club!


ArchLich wrote:

Simple. One plausible possibility:

# of PCs is equal to or greater then the # of Monsters

damage of PCs equal to or greater then Monsters damage

HPs of PCs is greater then monsters

PC healing is greater then or equal to monsters

PCs die at -50% HP and Monsters die at 0

And again for verisimilitude, these things are very scalable. If it makes sense to the setting then add more NPCs, pick monsters that do more damage, increase the HP of monsters, give monsters the same healing and death penalty. The rules are already defined for PCs, so use them for monsters too.

It takes a little more work than running pregen gamist scenarios or freeform narrative play, but they're promising it will still be faster than 3.5 simulationist design.

And also remember that the PCs do not know that their damage is going to be greater, or their HPs are greater, or they have better healing. That alone goes a long way toward verisimilitude even if you do decide to go with the CR system.

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