Dungeon 157's Editorial Hubris


4th Edition

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Before anyone else gets it into their head to impugn my "intent" with this post, I feel I ought to actually get to speak in my own defense.

My intent with this post was to point out that despite the obvious backlash that the 4e marketing campaign of impugning the previous edition gained when it first was used, they're still apparently encouraging it in the WotC workrooms. Really, there's a difference between saying "We've improved on what didn't work and made it better" and saying "It's a miracle you could have any fun at all with that game" which is what this article implies, in my opinion (take with salt, two asprin and calm down if you disagree rabidly.)

I play 4e. I am in the midst of designing a rather involved one shot at the moment. I find 4e fun. But, gasp! I also play 3.5 and enjoy it as well, warts and all. I see no reason not to enjoy whichever game I choose to play or to impugn those who choose differently.

However, credit where credit is due is a point of fairness. Yes, it's a throwaway line in a throwaway article, but giving credit to the 4e designers for an adventure path written by others months before is a silly and obnoxious thing to do. And disrespectful. WotC today stands on the shoulders of giants and ought to at least pay them a little respect.

So, feel free to troll about whining and overreactions and nonsense. I for one am actually enjoying the real discussion which has sprang from my post. Thank those of you who actually responded with rational intent and reason. And to the rest of you, isn't Gleemax still up for a few more months? Go back, they need you there.


Tatterdemalion wrote:

OK, fine. You win.

BTW, I have a closed portcullis through which four orcish archers are firing at my party. Can you check your 4e DMG and tell me how it modifies the level of the encounter?

I'd suggest taking a look at Thunderspire Labyrinth. This very encounter can be found there.


What I took from that article was not overwhelming hubris. I took an attitude of "we liked what we saw from the Adventure Path format and we moved in that direction. We didn't come up with this idea, we're just going to apply it as the de facto standard for 3e campaigns.

If you liked Shackled City, you're probably going to like what we're doing now."

That was my reading. Then again, I wasn't looking to be offended.

I'll give you that WotC's marketing has taken an overall aggressive tone towards 3.5, but I'll also give you that it's deserved in many respects. As fun as it's been for the past 8 years, 3rd edition isn't perfect.


I think there might be some disconnect involving the focus, emphasis and specialties of these two separate companies.

Wizards of the Coast designed D&D. They have a talented group of game designers who strive to produce interesting, flexible mechanical systems. They are very good at this, perhaps better than any other role-playing game publisher at present. They give us the framework to run adventures in, and produce adventures that utilize this framework on the side.

Paizo primarily writes adventures, with a smattering of campaign material (to feed the adventures) and now a rule set modification (3.P). Paizo has gotten very, very good at writing adventures that are memorable and engaging. Do they have as much expertise focused on encounter design philosophy as WotC? Probably not. But they're excellent at what they focus on - producing adventures that are fun to play. They create a framework to support these adventures on the side.

It pains me to see these two companies unable to produce products that are compatible with each other, since it means that in the short run we won't see adventures with quite the level of combined quality as if we had WotC's mechanical expertise and Paizo's storytelling chops. But if both companies hold out they'll each become more proficient at filling in the gaps, and this will drive innovation down the line.


Tatterdemalion wrote:
BTW, I have a closed portcullis through which four orcish archers are firing at my party. Can you check your 4e DMG and tell me how it modifies the level of the encounter?
Riley wrote:
I'd suggest taking a look at Thunderspire Labyrinth. This very encounter can be found there.

Thanks, but that's not my point. The claim is being forcefully made that 4e has a design system that fully integrates terrain considerations, and that an inability to account for such considerations led to overly-difficult SCAP encounters. Further, the implication made by the editorial is that such miscalculations are a thing of the past, now that 4e's enlightened design philosophies are at hand.

I think that's an exaggeration. I think 4e admirably encourages adding interesting terrain into an encounter, and provides great rules doing so, but is in no way immune to the failures of which SCAP is accused.

So I'm asking, what is the effect of that portcullis? And what page in the DMG gives me that information?

Regards :)


Tatterdemalion wrote:
Tatterdemalion wrote:
BTW, I have a closed portcullis through which four orcish archers are firing at my party. Can you check your 4e DMG and tell me how it modifies the level of the encounter?
Riley wrote:
I'd suggest taking a look at Thunderspire Labyrinth. This very encounter can be found there.

Thanks, but that's not my point. The claim is being forcefully made that 4e has a design system that fully integrates terrain considerations, and that an inability to account for such considerations led to overly-difficult SCAP encounters. Further, the implication made by the editorial is that such miscalculations are a thing of the past, now that 4e's enlightened design philosophies are at hand.

I think that's an exaggeration. I think 4e admirably encourages adding interesting terrain into an encounter, and provides great rules doing so, but is in no way immune to the failures of which SCAP is accused.

So I'm asking, what is the effect of that portcullis? And what page in the DMG gives me that information?

Regards :)

Actually, this could go one of two ways.

If the portcullis is only (or even mostly) available to the monsters, it should probably be considered a hazard (of the obstacle variety) and incorporated into the encounter appropriately (with its own level and associated experience value). If, on the other hand, the portcullis provides benefits to the monsters but can, later in the fight, be used to equal or greater effect by the PCs, it is simply interesting tactical terrain and should not affect the experience value of the encounter, nor should it have a significant impact on the difficulty of the encounter (assuming the PCs are intelligent enough to try and utilize it).


Scott Betts wrote:
If the portcullis is only (or even mostly) available to the monsters, it should probably be considered a hazard (of the obstacle variety) and incorporated into the encounter appropriately (with its own level and associated experience value). If, on the other hand, the portcullis provides benefits to the monsters but can, later in the fight, be used to equal or greater effect by the PCs, it is simply interesting tactical terrain and should not affect the experience value of the encounter, nor should it have a significant impact on the difficulty of the encounter (assuming the PCs are intelligent enough to try and utilize it).

Thanks for the response.

I think it's great that I can now accurately account for a lot of these factors.

But in this case my concern is the tactical advantage it provides the orcs, and how that measurably increases the difficulty for the players. It's been implied that 4e can not only account for the difficulty of terrain, but how it alters the overall difficulty of an integrated encounter. I just want some evidence.


Whimsy Chris wrote:

I may be wrong, but I believe SCAP was Chris Young's baby. And Chris Perkins (one of the major designers of 4e) wrote about a third of the adventures.

If this is the case, I think they can say whatever they want about SCAP.

Pardon the interruption.

Looking at the lineup of adventures in SCAP, looks like most of the writers had plenty of influence on 4e encounter design. If anything it suggests that creative encounter design was carried over to 4e.

Life's Bazaar By Christopher Perkins, Dungeon #97
Drakthar's Way By Christopher Perkins, added for the hardcover collection.
Flood Season By James Jacobs, Dungeon #98.
Zenith Trajectory By David Noonan, Dungeon #102.
The Demonskar Legacy By Tito Leati, Dungeon #104.
Test of the Smoking Eye By David Noonan, Dungeon #107.
Secrets of the Soul Pillars By Jesse Decker, Dungeon #109.
Lords of Oblivion By Christopher Perkins, Dungeon #111.
Foundation of Flame By Chris Thomasson, Dungeon #113.
Thirteen Cages By Chris Thomasson, Dungeon #114.
Strike on Shatterhorn By Christopher Perkins, Dungeon #115.
Asylum By Christopher Perkins, Dungeon #116.
*Please note: Chris Young is the former Chris Thomasson

9 of 12 adventures were written by people responsible for 4e.

Thank you, please continue.


Tatterdemalion wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
If the portcullis is only (or even mostly) available to the monsters, it should probably be considered a hazard (of the obstacle variety) and incorporated into the encounter appropriately (with its own level and associated experience value). If, on the other hand, the portcullis provides benefits to the monsters but can, later in the fight, be used to equal or greater effect by the PCs, it is simply interesting tactical terrain and should not affect the experience value of the encounter, nor should it have a significant impact on the difficulty of the encounter (assuming the PCs are intelligent enough to try and utilize it).

Thanks for the response.

I think it's great that I can now accurately account for a lot of these factors.

But in this case my concern is the tactical advantage it provides the orcs, and how that measurably increases the difficulty for the players. It's been implied that 4e can not only account for the difficulty of terrain, but how it alters the overall difficulty of an integrated encounter. I just want some evidence.

Haha, now you've gone and made me dig out my DMG. For reference, here's the section on the Obstacle role for traps and hazards:

4th Edition DMG wrote:

Obstacle

As the name implies, an obstacle trap or hazard impedes movement, and it might stun or daze creatures to further slow them down. Obstacles are barriers and perils that characters can get past, but they have to spend some effort or take some damage, or both, to do so. Electrified squares on a floor that demand puzzle-solving to get around, magical glyphs that require Arcana to decipher and avoid, or falling portcullises that channel movement through a maze of corridors are a few examples of interesting obstacle traps.

Obstacles complement brutes and skirmishers. Carefully placed obstacles offer the brute an amount of battlefield control and allow the skirmisher’s expanded movement options to shine. These perils can be extremely powerful when used in concert with soldiers and controllers, since their very presence can bolster the battlefield control that marks those two roles.

As you can see, a portcullis is an example of something considered an obstacle. Outside of combat it probably doesn't account for much. But in combat it can be a real threat if your enemies are behind it poking you with arrows. Determining the level of the hazard is going to require some thinking, like any situation in D&D where you're designing something new. To be fair, there are no codified rules for incorporating new hazards that don't themselves attack PCs but simply encourage the monsters' chances. Here's an idea, though.

Defensively, the portcullis provides the monsters with immunity to melee attacks. On the other hand, the PCs also receive that same immunity to melee attacks. If the monsters' ranged attacks are significantly more powerful than the PCs' ranged attacks, this is a clear advantage for them. If you really want to get precise, you can figure out the aggregate attack and damage difference between a typical party's ranged attacks and the monsters' ranged attacks and find a trap or hazard with offensive capabilities similar to that disparity. That would be the effect that the portcullis might have on the fight, so you can reasonably assign it the same level and experience value (which adjusts the encounter's level, reflecting an increase in difficulty).


P1NBACK wrote:
I think it is ENTIRELY fair to criticise a game system that doesn't take into account factors such as terrain and traps when creating a compelling encounter that is also balanced.

Indeed, if that were true. The 3.x DMG clearly notes that terrain and situation be taken into account when designing encounters and assigning ELs. In fact, as already noted in this thread, that's the whole point of ELs.


Scott Betts wrote:
To be fair, there are no codified rules for incorporating new hazards that don't themselves attack PCs but simply encourage the monsters' chances.

Thanks, Scott. I'm actually asking a previous poster to be fair and admit (or, perhaps more accurately, recognize) this fact. That is probably optimistic to the point of foolishness, though.

On a more positive note, you've got me looking more closely at that part of the rules. Despite my ongoing reservations and some disappointments about 4e (some of which may never go away), I am repeatedly awed by how strong and versatile the rules are.

I don't like everything, but WotC has done an amazing job.


Jal Dorak wrote:
"Look at Henry Ford! He dedicated himself to building a cheaper, more standardized automobile to maximize production! It's like he was doing the Toyota design philosophy before Toyota was a glimmer in anyone's eye!"

Heh. Yes, indeed.

In any case, is this enough to get offended over? Certainly not. Is it worth mocking? Hell, yes.


Arnwyn wrote:
P1NBACK wrote:
I think it is ENTIRELY fair to criticise a game system that doesn't take into account factors such as terrain and traps when creating a compelling encounter that is also balanced.
Indeed, if that were true. The 3.x DMG clearly notes that terrain and situation be taken into account when designing encounters and assigning ELs. In fact, as already noted in this thread, that's the whole point of ELs.

ELs... CRs... so on and so forth. It's not as intuitive as the 4th Edition design philosophy which takes into account such things in the basic design principle.


Tatterdemalion wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
To be fair, there are no codified rules for incorporating new hazards that don't themselves attack PCs but simply encourage the monsters' chances.
Thanks, Scott. I'm actually asking a previous poster to be fair and admit (or, perhaps more accurately, recognize) this fact. That is probably optimistic to the point of foolishness, though.

But, 4th Edition DOES have codified rules for such things - From the DMG:

"Placing Traps and Hazards
Traps and hazards fit into an encounter much like an
additional monster. Every trap or hazard has a level
(and an appropriate XP value for that level), so you
can figure it in as part of an encounter that includes
monsters to determine the appropriate reward for
defeating it. For example, an encounter for five 10thlevel
PCs might include four 10th-level monsters and
Traps and Hazards
86
Chapter 5 | Noncombat Encount e r s
one 10th-level trap. Defeating the trap, just like defeating
the monster, earns the party 500 XP."

Tatterdemalion wrote:

On a more positive note, you've got me looking more closely at that part of the rules. Despite my ongoing reservations and some disappointments about 4e (some of which may never go away), I am repeatedly awed by how strong and versatile the rules are.

I don't like everything, but WotC has done an amazing job.

I agree.


Arnwyn wrote:
Jal Dorak wrote:
"Look at Henry Ford! He dedicated himself to building a cheaper, more standardized automobile to maximize production! It's like he was doing the Toyota design philosophy before Toyota was a glimmer in anyone's eye!"
Heh. Yes, indeed.

Absolutely. If Henry Ford were the CEO of Toyota.


P1NBACK wrote:
Tatterdemalion wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
To be fair, there are no codified rules for incorporating new hazards that don't themselves attack PCs but simply encourage the monsters' chances.
Thanks, Scott. I'm actually asking a previous poster to be fair and admit (or, perhaps more accurately, recognize) this fact. That is probably optimistic to the point of foolishness, though.

But, 4th Edition DOES have codified rules for such things - From the DMG:

"Placing Traps and Hazards
Traps and hazards fit into an encounter much like an
additional monster. Every trap or hazard has a level
(and an appropriate XP value for that level), so you
can figure it in as part of an encounter that includes
monsters to determine the appropriate reward for
defeating it. For example, an encounter for five 10thlevel
PCs might include four 10th-level monsters and
Traps and Hazards
86
Chapter 5 | Noncombat Encount e r s
one 10th-level trap. Defeating the trap, just like defeating
the monster, earns the party 500 XP."

They have rules for determining how much XP a trap or hazard of a given level should give, and guidelines for what levels traps and hazards should be that are capable of making some form of attack, but there aren't any guidelines available for determining the level of a hazard that simply encourages the chances of the monsters involved without itself doing anything to the PCs. This has a lot to do with its placement in the encounter and the types of monsters involved, and really isn't something that can be given guidelines, as those guidelines would be inaccurate much of the time.

In cases like these, it's best to simply have the DM estimate an appropriate level for the trap or hazard (as a rule of thumb, if you think it will have a significant impact on the combat, you really can't go too wrong just making it the same level as the party). This is a very good argument for DMs sitting down and really getting familiar with the rules and with the design philosophy. 4th Edition is one of the first role-playing games that has really put this level of effort into creating a coherent encounter design philosophy - not just a system, but a way of thinking about approaching design.


Tatterdemalion wrote:
I'm actually asking a previous poster to be fair and admit (or, perhaps more accurately, recognize) this fact. That is probably optimistic to the point of foolishness, though.
P1NBACK wrote:
But, 4th Edition DOES have codified rules for such things - From the DMG: "Placing Traps and Hazards Traps and hazards fit into an encounter much like an additional monster...

What about terrain effects? What is the encounter level of a hobgoblin archer (level 3 artillery, MM 139) if he fires from cover atop a 15-foot column the PCs cannot easily scale? And how does it affect the xp he is worth?

Chris Youngs claimed this was a specific failure of 3e and SCAP, one that 4e can deal with. Is his accusation and claim true? You have repeatedly defended this claim.

So -- what's the encounter worth?


Tatterdemalion wrote:
Tatterdemalion wrote:
I'm actually asking a previous poster to be fair and admit (or, perhaps more accurately, recognize) this fact. That is probably optimistic to the point of foolishness, though.
P1NBACK wrote:
But, 4th Edition DOES have codified rules for such things - From the DMG: "Placing Traps and Hazards Traps and hazards fit into an encounter much like an additional monster...

What about terrain effects? What is the encounter level of a hobgoblin archer (level 3 artillery, MM 139) if he fires from cover atop a 15-foot column the PCs cannot easily scale? And how does it affect the xp he is worth?

Chris Youngs claimed this was a specific failure of 3e and SCAP, one that 4e can deal with. Is his accusation and claim true? You have repeatedly defended this claim.

So -- what's the encounter worth?

Woah, okay, now you've actually given us something we can work with. A 15-foot column is scalable with Athletics checks, and we are given rules for incorporating skill challenges into combat encounters. This would be a fantastic opportunity to do so.


Scott Betts wrote:
...but there aren't any guidelines available for determining the level of a hazard that simply encourages the chances of the monsters involved without itself doing anything to the PCs. This has a lot to do with its placement in the encounter and the types of monsters involved, and really isn't something that can be given guidelines, as those guidelines would be inaccurate much of the time.

For the record, I agree with you completely.

But I think Chris Youngs made a specious claim (or implication, to be accurate) to the contrary, and others have defended it, with false claims of their own about the differencesw between 3e and 4e.


Tatterdemalion wrote:

What about terrain effects? What is the encounter level of a hobgoblin archer (level 3 artillery, MM 139) if he fires from cover atop a 15-foot column the PCs cannot easily scale? And how does it affect the xp he is worth?

Chris Youngs claimed this was a specific failure of 3e and SCAP, one that 4e can deal with. Is his accusation and claim true? You have repeatedly defended this claim.

So -- what's the encounter worth?

Well, first I'd look at the monster in particular. He's a Hobgoblin Archer worth 150 XP normally.

According to the DMG - page 86:

"Obstacles complement brutes and skirmishers. Carefully placed obstacles offer the brute an amount of battlefield control and allow the skirmisher’s expanded movement options to shine. These perils can be extremely powerful when used in concert with soldiers and controllers, since their very presence can bolster the battlefield control that marks those two roles."

So, I would treat this as a Level 1 or 2, depending on the nature of material the column is made out of, obstacle - valued at 100 XP.

I wouldn't give this extra XP if the PCs had adequate ranged weapons - because it wouldn't be an obstacle would it? - and I would determine several methods for overcoming the obstacle, such as knocking it down, swinging onto the top of it, etc... That way PCs could use skill checks to overcome the obstacle.

So, the total encounter would be 250 XP.


Tatterdemalion wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
...but there aren't any guidelines available for determining the level of a hazard that simply encourages the chances of the monsters involved without itself doing anything to the PCs. This has a lot to do with its placement in the encounter and the types of monsters involved, and really isn't something that can be given guidelines, as those guidelines would be inaccurate much of the time.

For the record, I agree with you completely.

But I think Chris Youngs made a specious claim (or implication, to be accurate) to the contrary, and others have defended it, with false claims of their own about the differencesw between 3e and 4e.

To be fair, there are cases where 4th Edition does present guidelines for incorporating terrain. Most terrain doesn't affect the difficulty of an encounter. Some of it affects it very marginally. The significant terrain changes, nine times out of ten, can be abstracted into traps, hazards and skill challenges. Your portcullis example is a little difficult to work with as we don't know what it would require for the PCs to overcome it (can they scale the walls? can the rogue mess with the locking mechanism? is there a door further down?). There is no question, though, that 4th Edition makes a lot more effort to describe how terrain and combat encounters interact (even including points on which monster roles interact the strongest with which trap and hazard roles). It's not an exact science, but - thanks to the information the DMG gives you - neither is it very hard at all.


P1NBACK wrote:
ELs... CRs... so on and so forth. It's not as intuitive as the 4th Edition design philosophy which takes into account such things in the basic design principle.

*shrug* ELs and CRs are clear and intuitive to me, and my readings of 4e haven't given me any additional insight, so at this point all I can do with any claims that something is supposedly more/less "intuitive" is give a blank look.


Arnwyn wrote:
P1NBACK wrote:
ELs... CRs... so on and so forth. It's not as intuitive as the 4th Edition design philosophy which takes into account such things in the basic design principle.
*shrug* ELs and CRs are clear and intuitive to me, and my readings of 4e haven't given me any additional insight, so at this point all I can do with any claims that something is supposedly more/less "intuitive" is give a blank look.

What ever happened to actually using a bit of mental exercise to figure out things? Why do people *need* "intuitive" or "simple"? Wouldn't we all become better if we actually took the time and challenged ourselves?

and ... right there shrugging with you Arnwyn. ;-)

The Exchange

In Core non-splatbook 3.0/3.5, CRs and Els are much easier to clacualte and much more accurate. On the front end of the power curve inthe game i had no probelm working with CRs. By the time we were about four years into new Monster Manuals and spltbooks, the CR/EL: system of 3.5 was beginiing to so friction and heat. Much ot my great shame I cooked some crazy combinartions into some of the stuff I wrote for LG. Living Spells FTW!

4.0 is at the same point right now. It's new. It hasn't "broken itself" yet with supplemental rules. It's CR systems works right now.

The cynic in me says, give it time.

Monster design in 4.0 is VERY subjective and will lend itself to the arms war and destabilized balance.


Scott Betts wrote:
....it means that in the short run we won't see adventures with quite the level of combined quality as if we had WotC's mechanical expertise and Paizo's storytelling chops. But if both companies hold out they'll each become more proficient at filling in the gaps, and this will drive innovation down the line.

This is the probably the smartest thing you or anyone else has said in regards to the license dispute. Very rational. And I think what this industry needs is variety in not only flavor, (which we all have been getting) but mechanics, too. One person's Wii to another's PS3/XBox preference.

Shadow Lodge

I think trying to quantify the benefit granted from terrain features to be somewhat pointless given that 1) we don't consider the benefits that one monster grants to an another in calculating xp totals .2 Level 3 artillery kobolds are worth the same an Level 3 artillery kobold and a level 3 Soldier Kobold even though the second pair should be much more effective a pairly than the first. 2) the terrian puts limitations on how the encounter is resolved but given the palete of powers available to a balanced party it should not present an unsurmountable challenge. I mean by this that those two kobolds hiding behind a portcullis would be immune to melee attacks but would be open game for ranged attacks, arcane powers and the various controlling powers doled out to various classes.

The point I making here is the tools have been given to players to handle the challenge of the terrain as presented even though they my have to be innovative with their approach.


So I take it other's ahven't had problems with core CR system? Hows them trolls running for you? Liches and Mindflayers also come to mind? Have i mentioned Dragons? The Cr system (not considering the later el business with monster levels, templates and all that ) has a fair ammount of wonkiness and just plain wrongness (And I'm not even talking about the edges of the system, One Troll CR 5 vsa pretty well rounded level 5 party, tpk, One Mummy CR vs anothe rwell rounded level 5 party another tpk, one mindflayer vs another well reounded appropiate level party with recommended wealth TPK.

Also if your worried about the porticulus the way i would do it is as follows.

Can the PC's change it (ie open it)
=>No and its a Terrain Obstacle that hinders both ways (regardless of whether their are orcs using it) No xp
==>No and its a terrain Obstacle that hinders one way (against the pc's something like pc vision obscuring mist ) throw xp on it as a single creature of the same level as that what is using it.
==>Yes, treat it like a skill challenge, decide on Dc's, Skills, and Number of checks, Award xp based on its level (determined by dc's) and its complexity. done.

L


tadkil wrote:

In Core non-splatbook 3.0/3.5, CRs and Els are much easier to clacualte and much more accurate. On the front end of the power curve inthe game i had no probelm working with CRs. By the time we were about four years into new Monster Manuals and spltbooks, the CR/EL: system of 3.5 was beginiing to so friction and heat. Much ot my great shame I cooked some crazy combinartions into some of the stuff I wrote for LG. Living Spells FTW!

4.0 is at the same point right now. It's new. It hasn't "broken itself" yet with supplemental rules. It's CR systems works right now.

The cynic in me says, give it time.

Monster design in 4.0 is VERY subjective and will lend itself to the arms war and destabilized balance.

This could be entirely true. I'm not denying that with time 4th Edition COULD become bogged down like 3.5 was.

But, for right now, encounter design is much more intuitive. Ask any 4th Edition, former 3.5, DM who builds encounters for his weekly campaign.


steelwhisper wrote:


The point I making here is the tools have been given to players to handle the challenge of the terrain as presented even though they my have to be innovative with their approach.

Of course, because they need those tools because in 4th Edition it is assumed a good encounter will have a combination of monsters, terrain elements, and obstacles.

But, with that said, the rules specifically state that you should give XP for traps and hazards. I think this would be similar to "bumping up the CR of a 3.5 monster who had significant advantage".

If the terrain doesn't give any side an advantage, as in my example - if the party had significant ranged weapons, the column wouldn't pose as an obstacle, then it's not factored into the overall challenge of an encounter.


Logos wrote:

So I take it other's ahven't had problems with core CR system? Hows them trolls running for you? Liches and Mindflayers also come to mind? Have i mentioned Dragons? The Cr system (not considering the later el business with monster levels, templates and all that ) has a fair ammount of wonkiness and just plain wrongness (And I'm not even talking about the edges of the system, One Troll CR 5 vsa pretty well rounded level 5 party, tpk, One Mummy CR vs anothe rwell rounded level 5 party another tpk, one mindflayer vs another well reounded appropiate level party with recommended wealth TPK.

Also if your worried about the porticulus the way i would do it is as follows.

Can the PC's change it (ie open it)
=>No and its a Terrain Obstacle that hinders both ways (regardless of whether their are orcs using it) No xp
==>No and its a terrain Obstacle that hinders one way (against the pc's something like pc vision obscuring mist ) throw xp on it as a single creature of the same level as that what is using it.
==>Yes, treat it like a skill challenge, decide on Dc's, Skills, and Number of checks, Award xp based on its level (determined by dc's) and its complexity. done.

L

Amen. Finally some sense in this thread.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Logos wrote:
One Troll CR 5 vsa pretty well rounded level 5 party, tpk,

OK, I guess you're assuming that the "well rounded" level 5 party has no access to alchemist fire, flame arrow, flaming sphere, Melf's acid arrow, scorching ray, etc. and are forced into melee where it can utilize full attacks. Whatever...

Logos wrote:
One Mummy CR vs anothe rwell rounded level 5 party another tpk, one mindflayer vs another well reounded appropiate level party with recommended wealth TPK.

[sarcasm]Yep, only fully munchkinized PCs stand a chance with those encounters...[/sarcasm]


Logos wrote:
So I take it other's ahven't had problems with core CR system? Hows them trolls running for you? Liches and Mindflayers also come to mind? Have i mentioned Dragons?

You take correctly.

I am very glad I have not had your experiences.

Scarab Sages

Logos wrote:
So I take it other's ahven't had problems with core CR system? Hows them trolls running for you? Liches and Mindflayers also come to mind? Have i mentioned Dragons?

No, I have not had any problems with any of the topics you mentioned. And I've been running 3E since 2000, over the course of several campaigns and multiple one-shots, like many others. With trolls, with liches, mindflayers, dragons and yes, you bet, using the CR/EL system.


Ahh I see Your Anecdotal evidence is clearly superior to my anecdotal evidence. I have also been running several campeigns since 2000 and more one shots than i can count on all my fingers.

Obviously I am the problem here, I somehow got threw 8 years of DnD3.x without learning how to run the damn system. My Bad, oh wait....

Logos
Edit=> And Having Access to is a large sight different than having prepared and on hand, just for the record. I mean well equiped and balanced when i say it, but thanks for your snide replies.

Scarab Sages

Logos wrote:

Ahh I see Your Anecdotal evidence is clearly superior to my anecdotal evidence. I have also been running several campeigns since 2000 and more one shots than i can count on all my fingers.

Obviously I am the problem here, I somehow got threw 8 years of DnD3.x without learning how to run the damn system. My Bad, oh wait....

Logos

No. This just means that my experience is not based on theory or one game run here and there. Stop being paranoid. Stop looking for insults.


Logos wrote:

Ahh I see Your Anecdotal evidence is clearly superior to my anecdotal evidence. I have also been running several campeigns since 2000 and more one shots than i can count on all my fingers.

Obviously I am the problem here, I somehow got threw 8 years of DnD3.x without learning how to run the damn system. My Bad, oh wait....

Logos

Red Death didn't say his anecdotal evidence was in any way superior to yours. He didn't imply you haven't encountered these problems. He simply said it hasn't been a factor for him.

There could be all sorts of reasons for this from how he does encounters to how his players approach the game, but to be fair he didn't impugn or criticise you at all, he just said it hasn't been a factor for him.

Dark Archive

Anaxxius wrote:
James Martin wrote:


Yes, that's it. Your keen powers of observation are truly dizzying to behold. Seriously, if you're not even going to be at all useful to the discussion, why even post?
Because it's very obvious you're just looking for something to complain about.

And it quite obvious that your trolling for non 4e players and dumping gasoline as you go. But it's pretty much what I've come to expect.

I think what the authors were doing were using a system that was already in place in 3.5 to write some exciting and dangerous encounters. This idea that until 4.0 came along it was IMPOSSIBLE to even imagine putting together such encounters using a combination of different monsters, traps etc. is just silly. It's always been there. Some writers just have a better grasp of what you can actually do with the system. I'll be the first to say that even today I don't quite have a handle on it. I'm getting better at it though. Probably due to running pre-gen modules in combination with my own adventures.

As far as an apology. Eh...It's probably not really worth getting that worked up and flamed over. Many of the folks over there have shown this kind of holier than thou attitude. I bet the authors couldn't care less. They know they did an awesome job using a design philosophy that was already present in 3.5.


BigDaddyG wrote:
Anaxxius wrote:
James Martin wrote:


Yes, that's it. Your keen powers of observation are truly dizzying to behold. Seriously, if you're not even going to be at all useful to the discussion, why even post?
Because it's very obvious you're just looking for something to complain about.

And it quite obvious that your trolling for non 4e players and dumping gasoline as you go. But it's pretty much what I've come to expect.

I think what the authors were doing were using a system that was already in place in 3.5 to write some exciting and dangerous encounters. This idea that until 4.0 came along it was IMPOSSIBLE to even imagine putting together such encounters using a combination of different monsters, traps etc. is just silly. It's always been there. Some writers just have a better grasp of what you can actually do with the system. I'll be the first to say that even today I don't quite have a handle on it. I'm getting better at it though. Probably due to running pre-gen modules in combination with my own adventures.

That's what the article said. He acknowledged that people were doing it before 4th Edition was even conceived, with 3.5. That was what he was saying.


Scott Betts wrote:
That's what the article said. He acknowledged that people were doing it before 4th Edition was even conceived, with 3.5. That was what he was saying.

I don't get it Betts. Some people are just dense.

Scarab Sages

Tatterdemalion wrote:
Tatterdemalion wrote:
BTW, I have a closed portcullis through which four orcish archers are firing at my party. Can you check your 4e DMG and tell me how it modifies the level of the encounter?
Riley wrote:
I'd suggest taking a look at Thunderspire Labyrinth. This very encounter can be found there.

Thanks, but that's not my point. The claim is being forcefully made that 4e has a design system that fully integrates terrain considerations, and that an inability to account for such considerations led to overly-difficult SCAP encounters. Further, the implication made by the editorial is that such miscalculations are a thing of the past, now that 4e's enlightened design philosophies are at hand.

I think that's an exaggeration. I think 4e admirably encourages adding interesting terrain into an encounter, and provides great rules doing so, but is in no way immune to the failures of which SCAP is accused.

So I'm asking, what is the effect of that portcullis? And what page in the DMG gives me that information?

Regards :)

Exactly, I can point out that the Grell encounter in Monte Cook's Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (waaay back in 2001) recognizes the added difficulty of terrain and recommends a percentage XP bonus for the encounter (there are other examples from this adventure as well). Given that Monte was one of the original authors of 3rd Edition, it is arguable they considered the "4th Edition philosophy" as well.

I point out that p. 50 in the 3.5 DMG illustrates how to make encounters more interesting, easier, or more challenging. It doesn't provide numerical formulae (the difference with 4th Edition) but does recognize the impact of external factors on CR and EL. So the argument from Chris that 3rd Edition did not recognize this is false - it did, it just didn't have hard and fast rules for it, because the amount of space required for every variable would be massive, it is best to estimate that any given condition can only modify the EL/CR by so much or else it becomes its own encounter.


Jal Dorak wrote:
... So the argument from Chris that 3rd Edition did not recognize this is false - it did, it just didn't have hard and fast rules for it...

I don't think anyone is trying to argue that you couldn't have interesting encounters that utilize terrain, monsters and obstacles in 3rd Edition. As Betts has pointed out, the author said you could do that in 3rd Edition.

The difference being argued is that in 3rd Edition that wasn't the standard - NOW it is.

Dark Archive

P1NBACK wrote:
Jal Dorak wrote:
... So the argument from Chris that 3rd Edition did not recognize this is false - it did, it just didn't have hard and fast rules for it...

I don't think anyone is trying to argue that you couldn't have interesting encounters that utilize terrain, monsters and obstacles in 3rd Edition. As Betts has pointed out, the author said you could do that in 3rd Edition.

The difference being argued is that in 3rd Edition that wasn't the standard - NOW it is.

Well obviously for some it WAS a standard in 3rd edition. Perhaps some had lower standards. I don't know.

My only gripe is the insinuations from some here that it was never possible until 4.0 came out thus making 4.0 some kind of "Holly Grail" of RPGs. And YES the insinuations are there. Maybe not from you or Betts but still. Oh and being called "Dense".

Now perhaps It's just my interpretion of what he wrote. To me it reads..."See! We told you so." Tone to it. Yes he thanked the authors but it seemed more like "Thank you for supporting our argument that 3rd edition was terrible and way to limiting." It's an RPG. Your only limited by your imagination. If people weren't taking advantage of what was there then that's their problem. Maybe they too were too "Dense" to figure it out.


Matthew Morris wrote:


"Look at the Wright Brothers! Putting wings on an engine and flying away! It's like they were doing the Boening Design method before Boeing was a glimmer in anyone's eye!"

Lol. ROFL. That really made my day. Thanks - it was so funny that I stopped reading the thread, cuz I'm pretty sure the rest isn't really read-worthy after an analogy like that.

Dark Archive

Kruelaid wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:


"Look at the Wright Brothers! Putting wings on an engine and flying away! It's like they were doing the Boening Design method before Boeing was a glimmer in anyone's eye!"
Lol. ROFL. That really made my day. Thanks - it was so funny that I stopped reading the thread, cuz I'm pretty sure the rest isn't really read-worthy after an analogy like that.

How did I miss that post! LoL!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Logos wrote:
Edit=> And Having Access to is a large sight different than having prepared and on hand, just for the record. I mean well equiped and balanced when i say it, but thanks for your snide replies.

So the problem is with improperly prepared characters who fight anyway instead of retreating, rather than the CR system...

The CR system was never designed to say "this is an appropriate encounter in all circumstances." Attempts to paint it in that light are just more of the "3.x is broken" trope.

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