This is what the Realms have sunk to...


4th Edition

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Misery wrote:
CourtFool wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
I really think people may be overreacting just a tad, perhaps to further justify any hatred of WotC and painting them as big bad villains.
Agreed.

Agreed a second time.

And to go a bit further on the matter

** spoiler omitted **

Well, therte is one little problem with this. Where do you want to find the old materials, especially 3E stuff if you want to buy it legally? Like PDFs for example...

The Exchange

I found my 3E at a secondhand bookstore. likely i will find my 4E there as well.

Grand Lodge

Zmar wrote:
Well, therte is one little problem with this. Where do you want to find the old materials, especially 3E stuff if you want to buy it legally? Like PDFs for example...

It seems to me that a good majority of those gamers that have a problem with the "new" FR, are already well versed in the setting. Which is to say; they have all or most of those older books already...

Plus, while those older books may be OOP, they are readily available for sale used (and at fairly reasonable prices)...

Just my thoughts...

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-

Liberty's Edge

Digitalelf wrote:
Zmar wrote:
Well, therte is one little problem with this. Where do you want to find the old materials, especially 3E stuff if you want to buy it legally? Like PDFs for example...

It seems to me that a good majority of those gamers that have a problem with the "new" FR, are already well versed in the setting. Which is to say; they have all or most of those older books already...

Plus, while those older books may be OOP, they are readily available for sale used (and at fairly reasonable prices)...

Just my thoughts...

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-

What this guy and Yellowdingo said. Quite cheap items you can buy. Heck, I bought a bunch of my 3rd edition FR books when the game was still 4th edition for 10 bucks (and they were 30+ dollar books) used and in awesome condition.

Heck with that in mind, 4th edition is a good thing cost wise for 3rd edition FR players.


Well, you can speak about the situation in the states. I had problems obtaining the books when they were available officially where I live, now I can try my luck with the Amazon, but that's about it (don't even want to say how battered the Core book Pathfinder arrived when a friend of mine tried to purchase new ones).


As much as people dislike the Spellplague, it was necessary to free the developers from all the material surrounding FR from the previous eras, much of which simply would not have worked well in 4e mechanics, and the destruction of some of the old areas was needed to make room for new 4e races. I don't think that overall they did a bad job with what they did; the problem was that they stayed with FR, which even in the 3.5 era tended to elicit either strong hate or strong like. They would have been better off starting with a completely clean setting. Instead, trying to preserve as much already written material as possible, they ended up, probably unintentionally, pissing off fans while giving those who already disliked it nothing substantial to change their minds.


I've gotta agree. They had such luck with Ebberon it was agreeable to everything they wanted. FR was born more of classic fantasy from a whole different era (was it the blessed 80's?). Modern gamming has gone a different direction. When I get a craving for classic, that's the world I went to. But now I just don't know. The spell plauge could have had a much better outcome though.


Zmar wrote:
Well, you can speak about the situation in the states. I had problems obtaining the books when they were available officially where I live, now I can try my luck with the Amazon, but that's about it (don't even want to say how battered the Core book Pathfinder arrived when a friend of mine tried to purchase new ones).

For anyone with a decent net connection, a dearth of legal pdfs of an out-of-print book is a rather nitpicky complaint. Yeah, piracy should always be plan B but if a company stops printing the books you want and then stops selling pdfs of those books...well, that company is intentionally limiting your options.

Maybe it's just me, but there's only so far I'm willing to bend over backward to accommodate a company that doesn't want to sell me what I want. I'd rather have a book than a pdf, but if the material is more important than the medium, I wouldn't lose sleep over settling for the latter. :)

sunshadow21 wrote:
As much as people dislike the Spellplague, it was necessary to free the developers from all the material surrounding FR from the previous eras, much of which simply would not have worked well in 4e mechanics, and the destruction of some of the old areas was needed to make room for new 4e races. I don't think that overall they did a bad job with what they did; the problem was that they stayed with FR, which even in the 3.5 era tended to elicit either strong hate or strong like. They would have been better off starting with a completely clean setting. Instead, trying to preserve as much already written material as possible, they ended up, probably unintentionally, pissing off fans while giving those who already disliked it nothing substantial to change their minds.

Agreed.

Campaign settings, like TV dramas, have expiration dates even if writers are financially motivated to drag them through change after straining change. After a certain point, it's best to just let a setting live on as part of previous editions with no official changes.


Realms would have worked as they were with smaller change than this. Casting could have been shifted as a decree from Azuth after some magical dolt tried to overthrow Mystra once again (someone like Versharoon) with other gods quickly seizing the chance to secure their own positions. The Dragonborn were already implemented in late 3E and didn't really need that world connecting. Additional infernals didn't really help anything Nar was just an excuse to bring them in in numbers. Other changes do look more like an attempt to make the spellplague look bad enough.


4th Ed Realms could have been handle a 1000 times better. It is a mess that is not even internaly consistent.

This whole tweeter contest and a non-cannon encounter where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight continue to prove that 4th Ed or D&D:The Gathering( with the new collectable cards ) is becoming less and less a RPG and more and more a board game.

Though in the novel Mr. Greenwood did something I find curious...he opened the door for Mystra to come back...something WotC has said will not happen...

As to Ed's real views on 4th ed Realms I suggwest reading a book he wrote called Dark Lord...which is about a fantasy author who gets sucked into his own world and must battle a brooding cabal of evil for control of his world...says alot doers it not?


I'm not freaking out about the changes, as I will simply not use them, however I do have a hard time breaking the ethereal concept that "I'm not really using the FR RAW"

They took away two of my favorite deities as well as my favorite faction :( but then again 4E took away a lot of things I loved lol


well, I should probably rear what have they done with the Eberron :D


I'm going to create an NPC named Alfred Finster.
He's a really high level wizard that's semi retired to the upper planes. Then I'm goung to start creating spells with his name in them.

I might create a really old city that arrived in a game world with the first humans. It's called Rook Cliff after the landmass it brought with it.

The Exchange

Goth Guru wrote:

I'm going to create an NPC named Alfred Finster.

He's a really high level wizard that's semi retired to the upper planes. Then I'm goung to start creating spells with his name in them.

I might create a really old city that arrived in a game world with the first humans. It's called Rook Cliff after the landmass it brought with it.

I prefer the NPC example from the 1981? AD&D NPC Character Sheet tome.

Athelstan the White. A Powerful wizard whose Apprentice turns out to be a Doppleganger (a sort of Reverse Vecna with a Kas who betrays his teacher and makes off with powerful Magic).


Zmar wrote:
Realms would have worked as they were with smaller change than this. Casting could have been shifted as a decree from Azuth after some magical dolt tried to overthrow Mystra once again (someone like Versharoon) with other gods quickly seizing the chance to secure their own positions. The Dragonborn were already implemented in late 3E and didn't really need that world connecting. Additional infernals didn't really help anything Nar was just an excuse to bring them in in numbers. Other changes do look more like an attempt to make the spellplague look bad enough.

I think the Weave could easily support the 4E magic system, as it's really just an advanced form of the Vancian system. Wizards still need to gain their spells from spellbooks. Lore and Setting Canon is thus supported.

And I can agree that Dragonborn did exist pre-Spellplague as did Dragon-Kin, which one can easily argue are a different form of Dragonborn. A little make up here, some Lore there and bam, Dragonborn have been in Faerûn a long time.

I don't think the Spellplague was really meant to bring these aspect of the 4E mechanics on-board with the setting. It was basically a re-set button for the game designers to florusih more with the setting and NOT have to back-track all their "new canon" material to make sure they weren't stepping on someones toes from some age-gone-by. This is the main reason for the 100+ Time jump. It makes things simple.

John Kretzer wrote:

4th Ed Realms could have been handle a 1000 times better. It is a mess that is not even internaly consistent.

This whole tweeter contest and a non-cannon encounter where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight continue to prove that 4th Ed or D&D:The Gathering( with the new collectable cards ) is becoming less and less a RPG and more and more a board game.

It is what you make it John. I'm quite certain some magical force isn't compelling you to buy all that hoop-la. The cards aren't "required" for play except in some RPGA events but on the grand scale of things, big whoop. I've been having a blast with 4E and it's not because I feel required to buy Ravenloft the board game or the Fortune Cards (whatever their called) or even the Miniatures, in fact I've done little of that and just went with my imagination and the game mechanics. That's all, and it doesn't seem like I'm playing some MMORPG or computer game or some hack'n'slash Roll-Play. It's as basic D&D as you can get. No rules mucking up the flavor of my character. No restrictions on role-play. Smoother contrast between levels of play. No feeling of being "bogged" down by the rules of archaic v3.5.

And as for Elminster's "stats", people have been complaining for almost 2 years now why we've not seen them (and Drizzt's to boot) and now some designer put together a quick intro for those characters and of course there's more nerd rage at how they were statted and so forth. This mostly coming from people who actually have no idea what their stat block even means, lol.

John Kretzer wrote:


Though in the novel Mr. Greenwood did something I find curious...he opened the door for Mystra to come back...something WotC has said will not happen...

The Realms's deities are really an ever-shifting soap opera. How many times has Mystra died now, 3-4? Thing is, she always comes back. Why people were so UP-IN-ARMS about her recent tragedy is something I'll never understand. Of course they'll bring her back, like they've always done. Same story, different book. Moving on.

John Kretzer wrote:


As to Ed's real views on 4th ed Realms I suggwest reading a book he wrote called Dark Lord...which is about a fantasy author who gets sucked into his own world and must battle a brooding cabal of evil for control of his world...says alot doers it not?

Hmmm..I didn't know he actually said this novel is designed to show his views on 4E's turn of the Realms. Can you show some citation for this please?


@Diffan: are you the same Diffan from the WotC message boards?

Anyway to answear your points....

1) Sure I can take Monoply...or Chess...or whatever and I can play it as a the best Role-playing game ever...does not mean it is good. You don't use fortune cards...awesome for you...alot of people do(well as far as I can tell as 4th ed players are dwindling in this area...most of them moving on to Pathfinder)...and the type of players who love them...this silly tweet contests...and all that are the people WotC is catering too.

Also it is funny I can say the exact same thing that you said about 4th...and 3.5 and just switch those things and it would be true to me. But I am always of the opinion of each to their own.

2) Except WotC in response to the novel has said Mystra is not coming back...that indicates a very strong contrast. Hopefuly a miracle will happen and there is a secret clause to revert FR back to Ed Greenwood.

3) Um Mr. Greenwood is under a contract where he can not say publicaly what he feels about the FR. This novel was a very interesting way around it I believe...maybe not....but I find it funny it was released almost exactly when the FR Campaign book came out. But you are right that is speculation on my part.


John Kretzer wrote:


1) Sure I can take Monoply...or Chess...or whatever and I can play it as a the best Role-playing game ever...does not mean it is good. You don't use fortune cards...awesome for you...alot of people do(well as far as I can tell as 4th ed players are dwindling in this area...most of them moving on to Pathfinder)...and the type of players who love them...this silly tweet contests...and all that are the people WotC is catering too.

Yeah but Monopoly is not an RPG with so many options that it practicably requires a computer program (The Character Builder) to keep track of them all.

While varous advantage cards are not really my thing in D&D (They are pretty good in Gamma World) I don't really see how they are all that different then something like a Critical hit or Critical fumble deck. One more little addition meant to provide variety and excitement in the game.

That said one of the major reasons I don't use them is the mechanics of the 4E power system already represent a major plethora of fairly unique interactions during any given combat, so much so, that added more feels like piling on complexity. The kind of thing that feels fine when characters are reasonably low level like 1st to 5th but an addition that is not really wanted for characters hitting Paragon.

This is actually why such cards work fairly well in Gamma World. In Gamma World you always just have a few basic abilities so the addition of cards that expand out on that feels like its adding options, in 4E it feels like its adding yet another layer of complexity. Outside of the somewhat competitive environment of the RPGA I doubt actually they'll catch on in any major way.


Diffan wrote:
The Realms's deities are really an ever-shifting soap opera. How many times has Mystra died now, 3-4? Thing is, she always comes back. Why people were so UP-IN-ARMS about her recent tragedy is something I'll never understand. Of course they'll bring her back, like they've always done. Same story, different book. Moving on.

One of the issues was that the very last campaign released by Wizards before the release of 4E was a Forgotten Realms campaign were one of the major goals was to prevent Shar from assassinating Mystra.

For Wizards to tell gamers that had invested considerable time in playing through the three volume campaign that just ten years after their efforts Shar was going to succeed in assassinating Mystra anyway was somewhat annoying.


Diffan wrote:
Zmar wrote:
Realms would have worked as they were with smaller change than this. Casting could have been shifted as a decree from Azuth after some magical dolt tried to overthrow Mystra once again (someone like Versharoon) with other gods quickly seizing the chance to secure their own positions. The Dragonborn were already implemented in late 3E and didn't really need that world connecting. Additional infernals didn't really help anything Nar was just an excuse to bring them in in numbers. Other changes do look more like an attempt to make the spellplague look bad enough.

I think the Weave could easily support the 4E magic system, as it's really just an advanced form of the Vancian system. Wizards still need to gain their spells from spellbooks. Lore and Setting Canon is thus supported.

And I can agree that Dragonborn did exist pre-Spellplague as did Dragon-Kin, which one can easily argue are a different form of Dragonborn. A little make up here, some Lore there and bam, Dragonborn have been in Faerûn a long time.

Agreed, I'll just add that from the late FR books they've recently appeared in the Realms as creations of Bahamut to offset Tiamat's dragonspawn armies, which she began to breed in cooperation with the Cult of the Dragon which in turn was a plot to finally win over Bahamut (about whom hardly anyone cared before IMO ;) ) that appeared to justify a lot of pages spent on weird chromatic wanabe monster army in MM4 and MM5. I think that the Daces of the Dragon offered some kind of ritual that allowed you to change from any race into Dragonborn and thus take the mantle of Bahamut's champion in war against his nemesis' plots.

Diffan wrote:


I don't think the Spellplague was really meant to bring these aspect of the 4E mechanics on-board with the setting. It was basically a re-set button for the game designers to florusih more with the setting and NOT have to back-track all their "new canon" material to make sure they weren't stepping on someones toes from some age-gone-by. This is the main reason for the 100+ Time jump. It makes things simple.
...

Well, a lot of it was blamed on it. Mystra died, the magic went wild creating those blue flames and burning weave and shadow weave, tuning part of the cosmology upside down and changing th way the magic works. The Spellplagues is the thing that put the setting in 4E. 100 years are a sure way to erase the NPC board and bring in a few new things like that kightly order in Vaasa, but that yould have been done without spellplague and deaths of thousands.

BTW anyone understood that plot with Szass' failed ascension? Szass attempts to be a god (once again, nothing new) and the other Zulkir's try to stop him... why? As with Versharoon Szass the Unholy would have found himself buried under new responsibilities thrown at him by Ao and thus the Zulkirs would have finally got rid of him :D Ah yes, they failed to invest the ranks in know(religion) and that's the reason for 4E to make it rise automatically so this doesn't happen to the high level mages ever again :o)


Firest wrote:
Diffan wrote:
The Realms's deities are really an ever-shifting soap opera. How many times has Mystra died now, 3-4? Thing is, she always comes back. Why people were so UP-IN-ARMS about her recent tragedy is something I'll never understand. Of course they'll bring her back, like they've always done. Same story, different book. Moving on.

One of the issues was that the very last campaign released by Wizards before the release of 4E was a Forgotten Realms campaign were one of the major goals was to prevent Shar from assassinating Mystra.

For Wizards to tell gamers that had invested considerable time in playing through the three volume campaign that just ten years after their efforts Shar was going to succeed in assassinating Mystra anyway was somewhat annoying.

This is a very legitimite point. I bought all 3 hardcovers and never had a chance to run them. On the other hand, by this point Paizo was kicking ass with adventure paths so from quality perspective I was content to run my Grewhawk campaign and not worry about FR.


@ John: Yea, same old Diffan from over there and Candlekeep. Hey buddy! I think I re-did the Whip-Fighter class for ya. How's that going by the way?

On the point about Mystra, they might have said they weren't bring her back and at the time they probably didn't plan to. But there's still some milk in that old cow so why not make some of the old Realms fans happy and have her come back to God-hood? Same reason I feel Helm will probably come back too. Tyr, OTOH, is probably gone for good and I'm OK with that, lol.

Firest wrote:


One of the issues was that the very last campaign released by Wizards before the release of 4E was a Forgotten Realms campaign were one of the major goals was to prevent Shar from assassinating Mystra.

For Wizards to tell gamers that had invested considerable time in playing through the three volume campaign that just ten years after their efforts Shar was going to succeed in assassinating Mystra anyway was somewhat annoying.

Suprisingly enough, my group is just about finished with Shadowdale: Scouring of the Land adventure and it's been a whole lotta fun, lol. But I don't feel that my efforts are in vain, espically knowning that she dies a few years later. For me it's about the story and getting there and not about the final resolution of the Plot. My character's making a name for himself in that adventure that will have ripples in the future and I think that's pretty cool.


Tequila Sunrise wrote:


For anyone with a decent net connection, a dearth of legal pdfs of an out-of-print book is a rather nitpicky complaint. Yeah, piracy should always be plan B but if a company stops printing the books you want and then stops selling pdfs of those books...well, that company is intentionally limiting your options.

Maybe it's just me, but there's only so far I'm willing to bend over backward to accommodate a company that doesn't want to sell me what I want. I'd rather have a book than a pdf, but if the material is more important than the medium, I wouldn't lose sleep over settling for the latter. :)

So if I really, really want pdfs of stuff I can't afford then its OK to pirate it too? Afterall the company doesn't want to sell me what I want at the price I want. They are intentionally limiting my options.

You're on an awfully slippery slope there friend.


Okay... I think THIS is the source I've been looking for.

Liberty's Edge

CourtFool wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
I really think people may be overreacting just a tad, perhaps to further justify any hatred of WotC and painting them as big bad villains.
Agreed.

Seconded.

I was glad they killed off most of the gods. Too many gods with too many similar portfilios and imo not enough population to really suport that many. Overpowered NPCs that seemed to be gimped in novels yet outside of the novels did nothing really. Do i like every change to 4E FR not at all. Am i glad they did it yes very much.

The Exchange

Thats what I like about the Mystara setting. There are no upper and lower planes - they are the OUTER PLANES. Immortals mix freely in godly violence and contemplation as they fend off superplanar entities that could rip an Immortal a new rectum.


PsychoticWarrior wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:


For anyone with a decent net connection, a dearth of legal pdfs of an out-of-print book is a rather nitpicky complaint. Yeah, piracy should always be plan B but if a company stops printing the books you want and then stops selling pdfs of those books...well, that company is intentionally limiting your options.

Maybe it's just me, but there's only so far I'm willing to bend over backward to accommodate a company that doesn't want to sell me what I want. I'd rather have a book than a pdf, but if the material is more important than the medium, I wouldn't lose sleep over settling for the latter. :)

So if I really, really want pdfs of stuff I can't afford then its OK to pirate it too? Afterall the company doesn't want to sell me what I want at the price I want. They are intentionally limiting my options.

You're on an awfully slippery slope there friend.

Not really. I could steal other luxury goods, like say in-print books that I don't have the loose cash for. But I don't.

For most people, there's a rather clear difference between 'stuff nobody is selling' and 'stuff I have to save money to buy.'


memorax wrote:
CourtFool wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
I really think people may be overreacting just a tad, perhaps to further justify any hatred of WotC and painting them as big bad villains.
Agreed.

Seconded.

I was glad they killed off most of the gods. Too many gods with too many similar portfilios and imo not enough population to really suport that many. Overpowered NPCs that seemed to be gimped in novels yet outside of the novels did nothing really. Do i like every change to 4E FR not at all. Am i glad they did it yes very much.

Many of the lesser gods were purely regional (Finder Wyvernspur in the Dales) and intermediate gods used to be reckognized as more specific parts of the pantheon not really widely known with the exception of certain corners of the world, where they were a bit more known. They were't overlaping that much at all.

Liberty's Edge

As far as the deities go, I've never liked many of the Forgotten Realms ones. If I could have the Pathfinder Deities for the Forgotten Realms world, it would be the best.

... oh wait ... I can :D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
John Kretzer wrote:
This whole tweeter contest and a non-cannon encounter where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight continue to prove that 4th Ed or D&D:The Gathering( with the new collectable cards ) is becoming less and less a RPG and more and more a board game.

How does a twitter competition tied in with a novel release make 4e more and more a board game? Seriously, this whole "4e is just a board game" thing is really quite tired now.

And personally I find it ironic because when looking at the whole range of RPGs out there including FATE, Don't Rest Your Head and Inspectres, Pathfinder contains as many board game elements as 4e; seriously I haven't witnessed one Pathfinder game (PFS or otherwise) that didn't use battle maps and miniatures.

As for non-cannon encounters where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight - I am not familiar with what you are referring to, but stats for Elminster were given in the 3.0 FR campaign book so presumably he could be used as an NPC, and any such uses of Elminster in home games would be non-canon, so again I am at loss as to how this makes 4e more of a board game.

If you'd care to elaborate I would very much be interested to hear your reasoning behind your statement.


DigitalMage wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
This whole tweeter contest and a non-cannon encounter where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight continue to prove that 4th Ed or D&D:The Gathering( with the new collectable cards ) is becoming less and less a RPG and more and more a board game.

How does a twitter competition tied in with a novel release make 4e more and more a board game? Seriously, this whole "4e is just a board game" thing is really quite tired now.

And personally I find it ironic because when looking at the whole range of RPGs out there including FATE, Don't Rest Your Head and Inspectres, Pathfinder contains as many board game elements as 4e; seriously I haven't witnessed one Pathfinder game (PFS or otherwise) that didn't use battle maps and miniatures.

As for non-cannon encounters where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight - I am not familiar with what you are referring to, but stats for Elminster were given in the 3.0 FR campaign book so presumably he could be used as an NPC, and any such uses of Elminster in home games would be non-canon, so again I am at loss as to how this makes 4e more of a board game.

If you'd care to elaborate I would very much be interested to hear your reasoning behind your statement.

Off the top of my head, probably the complete lack of pretty much anything outside of tactical miniature combat in the core rulebooks. I say this as someone who happily purchased all three of the books, and played with them for a while, before shelving them and returning to 3.x and then Pathfinder, because I wanted to play an RPG.


DigitalMage wrote:


As for non-cannon encounters where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight - I am not familiar with what you are referring to, but stats for Elminster were given in the 3.0 FR campaign book so presumably he could be used as an NPC, and any such uses of Elminster in home games would be non-canon, so again I am at loss as to how this makes 4e more of a board game.

John is referring to the Hero Battle: Drizzt and Hero Battle: Elminster Dungeon articles where they give you a tactical encounter to battle one of the heroes from Forgotten Realms. It's designed for the purposes to 1). Introduce these iconic character with a 4E statblock to make it "official" and 2). Give DMs a reason or easy-access to incorporate these characters into your campaign. Nothing more, nothing less. These encounters aren't canon and any backstory written with them is purely from a game standpoint.

Ashiel wrote:


Off the top of my head, probably the complete lack of pretty much anything outside of tactical miniature combat in the core rulebooks. I say this as someone who happily purchased all three of the books, and played with them for a while, before shelving them and returning to 3.x and then Pathfinder, because I wanted to play an RPG.

That's because you don't need rules to roleplay. Last I checked I didn't need game mechanics (key term there) to express that my character used to work at the forge, or can play a wind instrument, or sing well. Those are things that I actually roleplay and NOT for mechanical benefits such as crafting a kewl sword or Ohh, Ahh a bar full of people for gold. These are aspects I illustrate in my backround and character mannerisms, appearance, and the like. The big question I have is "If 4E took out the roleplaying aspects, where were they hidden?" Because I can't seem to determine why I've just as much fun roleplaying v3.5/Pathfinder as I do 4E?


memorax wrote:
CourtFool wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
I really think people may be overreacting just a tad, perhaps to further justify any hatred of WotC and painting them as big bad villains.
Agreed.

Seconded.

I was glad they killed off most of the gods. Too many gods with too many similar portfilios and imo not enough population to really suport that many. Overpowered NPCs that seemed to be gimped in novels yet outside of the novels did nothing really. Do i like every change to 4E FR not at all. Am i glad they did it yes very much.

WoTC, or any company, should never be immune to criticism, even if it is heated. You are welcome to your opinion, however, consider that it may be a more than a standard deviation or two away from the mean.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
yellowdingo wrote:
I found my 3E at a secondhand bookstore. likely i will find my 4E there as well.

Picked up $150 worth of books i missed for under $30 Sunday.

The Exchange

Ashiel wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
This whole tweeter contest and a non-cannon encounter where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight continue to prove that 4th Ed or D&D:The Gathering( with the new collectable cards ) is becoming less and less a RPG and more and more a board game.

How does a twitter competition tied in with a novel release make 4e more and more a board game? Seriously, this whole "4e is just a board game" thing is really quite tired now.

And personally I find it ironic because when looking at the whole range of RPGs out there including FATE, Don't Rest Your Head and Inspectres, Pathfinder contains as many board game elements as 4e; seriously I haven't witnessed one Pathfinder game (PFS or otherwise) that didn't use battle maps and miniatures.

As for non-cannon encounters where Elminster becomes one of many card board 'monsters' for the PCs to fight - I am not familiar with what you are referring to, but stats for Elminster were given in the 3.0 FR campaign book so presumably he could be used as an NPC, and any such uses of Elminster in home games would be non-canon, so again I am at loss as to how this makes 4e more of a board game.

If you'd care to elaborate I would very much be interested to hear your reasoning behind your statement.

Off the top of my head, probably the complete lack of pretty much anything outside of tactical miniature combat in the core rulebooks. I say this as someone who happily purchased all three of the books, and played with them for a while, before shelving them and returning to 3.x and then Pathfinder, because I wanted to play an RPG.

I'm sorry, but that is rubbish. The 4e DMG has more stuff on running campaigns than the 3e version, and more than the Pathfinder rulebook. And previous editions had very little anyway other than rules. The 4e PHB is rules-heavy, but is a one-stop shop for the rules, including stuff (like magic item rules) you would have found in the earlier DMG. I'm amazed this s%#& is still being said years after the fact.


Freehold DM wrote:


WoTC, or any company, should never be immune to criticism, even if it is heated. You are welcome to your opinion, however, consider that it may be a more than a standard deviation or two away from the mean.

I totally agree, as constructive criticism can help a company produce a better quality product that the fanbase likes and wants. It's when the criticism isn't constructive and sounds like a near constant stream of epithets and useless rhetoric that they turn a deaf ear. The changes to the game are permanent, thats the way it is, but as a consumer you can voice your opinion on how to make said changes and game better.

If WotC didnt do this, we wouldn't have Essentials or constant Errata that keeps things on a more balanced level. But shouting to them that this isn't D&D, it's just a board-game MMO, or 4E is for toddlers doesn't inspire them to do something about it, it just further's the gap between designer and consumer.

Criticism is an important tool to make good products, but that needs to be tempered with an open mind and non-judgemental attitudes.


Diffan wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:


WoTC, or any company, should never be immune to criticism, even if it is heated. You are welcome to your opinion, however, consider that it may be a more than a standard deviation or two away from the mean.

I totally agree, as constructive criticism can help a company produce a better quality product that the fanbase likes and wants. It's when the criticism isn't constructive and sounds like a near constant stream of epithets and useless rhetoric that they turn a deaf ear. The changes to the game are permanent, thats the way it is, but as a consumer you can voice your opinion on how to make said changes and game better.

If WotC didnt do this, we wouldn't have Essentials or constant Errata that keeps things on a more balanced level. But shouting to them that this isn't D&D, it's just a board-game MMO, or 4E is for toddlers doesn't inspire them to do something about it, it just further's the gap between designer and consumer.

Criticism is an important tool to make good products, but that needs to be tempered with an open mind and non-judgemental attitudes.

I would counter that criticism does not need to be constructive in the slightest, especially once the critiqued party stops listening. WoTC pissed off people with what they did, myself included, and after a few half-hearted attempts to win back some acclaim from the offended, they preferred to focus on the new fans they created and those old fans that they did not lose. I have no problem with this. I can(and will) continue to decry their actions until judgement day and beyond, and it really does nothing to affect WoTC's bottom line as they stopped listening to me a long time ago.


Freehold DM wrote:


I would counter that criticism does not need to be constructive in the slightest, especially once the critiqued party stops listening. WoTC pissed off people with what they did, myself included, and after a few half-hearted attempts to win back some acclaim from the offended, they preferred to focus on the new fans they created and those old fans that they did not lose. I have no problem with this. I can(and will) continue to decry their actions until judgement day and beyond, and it really does nothing to affect WoTC's bottom line as they stopped listening to me a long time ago.

Correction on my part, criticism is a good tool if said person actually wants something changed about that which they are criticizing against. This begs the question, Why bother criticizing in the first place with the full knowledge that such remarks will be ignored? Does the griping make said person feel better about the circumstances they feel can never be changed and "preaching to the choir" emboldens them in their beliefs and ideals?

I've been there, believe me. I used to be such a SUPER DIEHARD Seahawks fan for 25 years. Then I watched the debacle that was Superbowl XL (40). I was so enraged at what I saw transpire that I fumed, vented, and spat whenever the subject was brought up. Then I realized that this pattern wasn't healthy. Being so engrossed with something I had little control over and then criticizing it over and over accomplished nothing. The game wasn't going to be re-done. They weren't going to review tapes. As the saying goes "This one is in the books." So I took a step back, became what I like to call a "casual observer with mild interests".

So I'd emplore people with all that pent up anger against something they don't feel they have control over to sit back and take a break. The world hasn't ended, the sky is still there. Criticizing for the point of just criticizing only creates more dissent between the community of ALL RPGers, not just one side or another.


Diffan wrote:
So I'd emplore people with all that pent up anger against something they don't feel they have control over to sit back and take a break. The world hasn't ended, the sky is still there. Criticizing for the point of just criticizing only creates more dissent between the community of ALL RPGers, not just one side or another.

I completely agree with this. People have very different play styles. Some like Diffan is ok with just saying his character sings well and express it though RPing and let the DM fiat rule what happens there and decide how to incorporate. I like to say my character sings well and express it though RPing and have tangable mechanics to back it up and show how exactly important it is to the character concept.

I realize that I and Diffan could sit down at the same table and enjoy the game even if it is 4th edition(shudder ;) ). The people you play with is about 100% more important than what system you play...of course who you play with can dicate what you play. For instance 4th ed is taking a large hit in my area and the only people who play it are people I would not plan any edition of the game with.

But anyway...of course Diffan does not like it if Tyr came back...were you not the one WotC took the suggestion of placing Torm in his spot?

But I still don't like the direction WotC is going...even more so than back when 4th ed was annouced...it just seems to me with anything going on they are catering more and more to gamers notr like me...which I see as a graster threat to that community of all RPGers than people venting on the boards. I think WotC created alot of this...dissention by the way they market...how they word things and silly ideas like the Tweeter contest and thos non-canon encounters. So I will continue to critize them on that front as it is something I would like to change.


Diffan wrote:


Ashiel wrote:


Off the top of my head, probably the complete lack of pretty much anything outside of tactical miniature combat in the core rulebooks. I say this as someone who happily purchased all three of the books, and played with them for a while, before shelving them and returning to 3.x and then Pathfinder, because I wanted to play an RPG.
That's because you don't need rules to roleplay. Last I checked I didn't need game mechanics (key term there) to express that my character used to work at the forge, or can play a wind instrument, or sing well. Those are things that I actually roleplay and NOT for mechanical benefits such as crafting a kewl sword or Ohh, Ahh a bar full of people for gold. These are aspects I illustrate in my backround and character mannerisms, appearance, and the like. The big question I have is "If 4E took out the roleplaying aspects, where were they hidden?" Because I can't seem to determine why I've just as much fun roleplaying v3.5/Pathfinder as I do 4E?

People have said as much, and that's pretty much why I don't like it. You see, I can totally roleplay in a game of monopoly, or chess, or even checkers, or a tactical miniatures game; but those things are not RPGs to me, just because someone can roleplay them.

I pretty much disagree on the statement that the 4E DMG is the bag of chips Aubrey describes. The 3.x DMGs have an incredible amount of information on world building, setting the pace for your game, detailing NPCs, suggestions for different time periods, ecological information (IE - how to keep your dungeons making sense), suggestions on how to set the kind of adventures you're looking for (differences between episodic, continuous), and giving amazingly practical advice on things like Deus Ex Machina, Railroading, and things like fighting against your party (and by practical, I mean it details them and then tells you don't do this). It gives information different social structures to base your own on (such as mageocracies, theocracies, etc). And amongst all this amazingly good fluff, it also has a crapload of amazingly useful mechanical material.

I didn't find that in the 4E book. It has some good information, but not enough outside of combat (remember, tactical miniatures game). The only thing about out of combat encounters it gives is skill challenges, which is pretty much useless as written in the DMG, and traps which are pretty bland - essentially just attacks that deal damage. Even the sphere of annihilation is just something that moves into your square and attacks your fortitude defense and deals an average of 43 damage and 15 damage each round until you make your 55% chance saving throw; and that's a level 29 trap (the highest listed in the book).

The mechanical information that it does have, I wouldn't want to use. I'm really not into the idea of arbitrarily increasing the DCs to do something at higher levels when you could have done the same thing at a lower level with a lower DC. It doesn't really help the DM gauge how hard something actually is, just "how hard at this level", which statistically presses emphasis on higher and higher ability scores, as you will literally get worse at doing things as you gain levels if you're not on the cutting edge. This is my only real complain with World of Warcraft as well, since armor provides less and less damage resistance as your level rises, and the same spell you were casting a minute ago costs more 'cause you just leveled.

That being said, I'm not suggesting that 4E=WoW. I wouldn't. WoW has at least 3 different ways to build each of their classes, whereas core 4E only has 2; so I don't think that it's fair to compare the two, because WoW has been giving more roleplaying options for a lot longer than 4E has, and gives more options for building your characters. So as someone who likes WoW, I gotta stick up for it here.

I'm not claiming that 4E makes people incapable of roleplaying, but I do not think it's a game that really facilitates roleplaying or the kind of interesting adventures, scenarios, and fantasies I want from an roleplaying game. As for a tactical miniatures game, it's a lot of fun. My group and I had a ton of fun stomping through a few dungeons and what not, but quickly became disenchanted with it as it continually fell short of things we wanted; and many of those things were way too basic for a roleplaying game. I mean, having to be a ranger to fight with two weapons? I'll admit that is like WoW, 'cept WoW gives dual wielding to 3 classes instead of 1; but I see the similarity there.

It's true that most of the rules are in the PHB, but there's a lot of mechanical problems within those rules that aren't solely "balance" problems (don't get me wrong, there are definitely balance issues, but that's not what I mean right now), such as lacking any sort of reasonable definitions for GMs when it comes to the world, such damaging objects. As far as 4E is concerned, objects just have hit points, so in the time that a wizard could throw away a few hundred gold in a 10 minute ritual to open an adamantine door, she could really have just saved herself some money by punching the door 100 times for 1d4+0 damage and broke the thing down. Yes, that's silly, and that's how it's written; and a GM could easily say "No you can't punch down the adamantine door by whacking with your hand over 'cause that's stupid" but if you're not going to use the rules, then what good are they to you?

Why should I want an "RPG" that I have to patch up the core fundamentals of it (two weapon fighting, skills, environment, environmental effects, multiclassing, conditions and threats other than HP damage, etc) when I could just play an RPG that has all of those things and everything that 4E has (an RPG like 3.x/Pathfinder). I mean, I've been running interesting encounters, using piddly monsters (that CAN hurt the PCs), with great GMing advice, in a system that is internally consistent. I see no reason to play 4E further; as I gave it a shot over a few months and then my entire group was like "Yeah, we wanna go back to 3E"; because no one felt like they were playing D&D, or even a tabletop RPG for that matter.

It felt more like a Warhammer campaign. Not the Warhammer RPG, but the miniature game + plot, where you have various continuing stories, battles, advancing plotlines and so forth; but such warhammer games are kind of a hybrid variant, and not what most would call and RPG. But that just goes to show that you can roleplay anything; some just prefer a better chassis.

Quote:
That's because you don't need rules to roleplay. Last I checked I didn't need game mechanics (key term there) to express that my character used to work at the forge, or can play a wind instrument, or sing well.

Also, I figured I'd come touch on this one before I was done. I like RPGs where game mechanics can facilitate that roleplaying. You want to be the best singer in the land? Well we can see how you rank compared to others; which would be ideal if you have an encounter where you have a contest with another singer (actually, this very event has happened during one of my games, where the party decided to try to gain access somewhere by forming a band). Also, expressing you used to work a forge is nice, but if you actually wanted to forge something, good luck to you. Admittedly, I house ruled that crafting totals would be tallied in GP in my games instead of SP (effectively speeding up crafting times by about 10x), but I did so because of the desire to craft stuff. I find "Craft(*)" to be an incredibly popular skill among the people I've played with. We're talking Craft (Alchemy/Poison), (Weaponsmithing), (Bowyer/Fletcher), (Jewelrycrafting), (Painting), (Sculpting), and they use these skills and they use them hard.

Otherwise, sure "I sing like the voices of thousand seraphims across the moonlit eaves breezes" sounds really cool; now get in line an give me a Diplomacy check to get the ogre to release your friend, and the dragon's seen a hundred people who also said they were good singers too. :P

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
I'm sorry, but that is rubbish. The 4e DMG has more stuff on running campaigns than the 3e version, and more than the Pathfinder rulebook. And previous editions had very little anyway other than rules. The 4e PHB is rules-heavy, but is a one-stop shop for the rules, including stuff (like magic item rules) you would have found in the earlier DMG. I'm amazed this s*%% is still being said years after the fact.

Hahahahahahaha. Ok, yeah, I own both of the 3E versions of the DMG and the 4E version, and you're not peddling that here, at least not to me. The Pathfinder rulebook isn't even a DMG, it's pretty much just the whole game minus monsters. Their version of the DMG is the Gamemastery Guide, and y'know, it's not half bad (got it for Christmas). And nope again, the PHB in 4E is not your one stop shop for rules; unless that one stop shop was recently robbed while it was already low on stock.

And one might wonder why this "s*%%" is still being said years after 4E was released. Almost like some of these people have actually played the game, own the books, and legitimately dislike it for the reasons that are still being listed after the fact. Funny that. Must be a coincidence.

And yes, I'm being sarcastic, but I gave an honest answer, and you said rubbish and comic-book razz, so yeah, we'll call it even. ;)


The original FR box was great fodder for the imagination.

2E FR came along with a weak rehash based on the Mesopotamian Tablet of Destinies and Enlil. Cyric became god of everything for no reason. Less information was published in the hardback campaign book.

4E has just butchered the Realms.

Thankfully there is Golarion.

Liberty's Edge

Ashiel wrote:
Not the Warhammer RPG, but the miniature game + plot

Interesting you should say this. I have found ever since 3.5e this has been the case. I have thought that having a supply of darts that I could throw at the "square counters" was a new requirement for a DM. We went back to playing 3.0e not because we on the whole weren't happy with 3.5e mechanically, just it became impossible to use the rules 'as is', with the mini-wargame that combat in D&D (3.5e/PF/4e) had become. More recently we discovered "A Game of Thrones" RPG, which has no magic, which sucks, but has the best implementation of the d20 rules I have seen (my opinion of course) - miniatures 100% optional, refreshing.

Back the Realms...

The source material from 1e/2e/3e is still available and as it's a setting the mechanics aren't that important. Hit eBay and 1e Realms under 4e rules shouldn't be much of an issue. WotC had to present something different else why would people just re-buy stuff they already 80% owned? I can see WotC were damned if they do and damned if they don't when touch the 'icons' of D&D.

S.


Elminster didn't die, s/he's in the 4E faerun players guide ;)


Ashiel wrote:
The mechanical information that it does have, I wouldn't want to use. I'm really not into the idea of arbitrarily increasing the DCs to do something at higher levels when you could have done the same thing at a lower level with a lower DC. It doesn't really help the DM gauge how hard something actually is, just "how hard at this level", which statistically presses emphasis on higher and higher ability scores, as you will literally get worse at doing things as you gain levels if you're not on the cutting edge. This is my only real complain with World of Warcraft as well, since armor provides less and less damage resistance as your level rises, and the same spell you were casting a minute ago costs more 'cause you just leveled.

Does this come from the unfortunate (placed in skill challenge rules and without any explanation or real connection to anything) table of DC on levels? I think that table is widely misinterpreted by many. It technically says that on level X to have a challenging task for your heroes you should give them DC Y. Individual DCs for various skill chcecks and objects are then individually listed elsewhere (bad layout, but it works this way. You'll probably be better off with the DM screen, which has a table of common skill DCs). Check difficulty easy/normal/hard is rather misnamed as it is meant to mean that the check will be challenging for untrained/trained/trained character with help (bard, aid another, ...). This is explained in the Essentials DM book, which is a shame that it took them so long. I think that whole thing should be derived from the encounter building mechanism, where you, as a DM set the for yourself level on which you design the adventure and if the PCs manage to level up, you should keep the DC, so that the skill increases matter. Furthemore the orientational tables in PHB and DMG tell you what sort of deed does demand DC Y, so you can look on swim to tell if the PCs, if the task is to be challenging have to swim through calm water, or they can handle the rapids. This increase of difficulty of the tasks will also show the players that they can handle progressively difficult (in reality difficult, like climbing slick brick wall as opposed to steep rocky hillside) task as their characters advance.

I know, it's kind of different when you're just improvising, but if you do some preparation, then this should work.


Stefan Hill wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Not the Warhammer RPG, but the miniature game + plot

Interesting you should say this. I have found ever since 3.5e this has been the case. I have thought that having a supply of darts that I could throw at the "square counters" was a new requirement for a DM. We went back to playing 3.0e not because we on the whole weren't happy with 3.5e mechanically, just it became impossible to use the rules 'as is', with the mini-wargame that combat in D&D (3.5e/PF/4e) had become. More recently we discovered "A Game of Thrones" RPG, which has no magic, which sucks, but has the best implementation of the d20 rules I have seen (my opinion of course) - miniatures 100% optional, refreshing.

Back the Realms...

The source material from 1e/2e/3e is still available and as it's a setting the mechanics aren't that important. Hit eBay and 1e Realms under 4e rules shouldn't be much of an issue. WotC had to present something different else why would people just re-buy stuff they already 80% owned? I can see WotC were damned if they do and damned if they don't when touch the 'icons' of D&D.

S.

Understandable. Actually, I only recently started using miniatures in the past few years, 'cause my little brother really likes them and a friend of mine brings a battle mat. Most of the minis are actually old warhammer figurines I had in a little box (I liked warhammer but it was too expensive for me to play much) and a smattering of miniatures I purchased for D&D Chainmail minis when they launched (to see what they were all about, and they came with little NPC cards which was kinda cool).

My group used to use pretty much only used paper and pencils for resolving a few of the trickier things, and often would guesstimate the ranges on stuff based on the size of the dots on the paper ("Well, this looks to be about this far, so can I cast grease from here? Yeah, awesome, I do that").

The part I meant about it being more like a wargame is that's pretty much all there is compared to 3E. Most of the classes in 3.x/PF have some stuff that's great utility outside of combat, and we've had entire sessions go by without combat at all. Also the system feels more complete to me, since you can actually read out a story through 3E's mechanics. I mean, when you realize that lava deals 20d6 damage per round of exposure (instant death for normal people!) and then realize the oldest of red dragons have breath weapons that look more like 32d10, you literally can see that these dragons are like living hellfire, a single breath could reduce an room full of plate-mail suites to slag in three seconds.

As Smog said, "My breath, death". These kinds of interactions between the rules makes me really appreciate the depth and value of the 3E system, and I really appreciate the freedom that the 3E system provides over 1-2E and 4E, since neither of those really have much in the way of options for your characters (multiclassing pretty much doesn't exist in 4E, and dual classing required metagaming since playing your character like he would act means you get no XP).

I don't have a whole lot of experience with 1E and 2E except for a smattering of knowledge as to how some things worked back then, compared to today, but I know it's not my 3E where the mechanics can reflect the world.

4E was just missing too much on its foundation for me to really put any stock into it. Everyone I know that's tried 4E has either returned to playing 3.x/PF games or has abandoned it for another RPG completely (one friend of mine who heralded 4E as being awesome was sick of it within 6 months and now plays Fantasycraft, which is another 3.x derivative system).

Zmar wrote:

Does this come from the unfortunate (placed in skill challenge rules and without any explanation or real connection to anything) table of DC on levels? I think that table is widely misinterpreted by many. It technically says that on level X to have a challenging task for your heroes you should give them DC Y. Individual DCs for various skill chcecks and objects are then individually listed elsewhere (bad layout, but it works this way. You'll probably be better off with the DM screen, which has a table of common skill DCs). Check difficulty easy/normal/hard is rather misnamed as it is meant to mean that the check will be challenging for untrained/trained/trained character with help (bard, aid another, ...).

This is explained in the Essentials DM book, which is a shame that it took them so long. I think that whole thing should be derived from the encounter building mechanism, where you, as a DM set the for yourself level on which you design the adventure and if the PCs manage to level up, you should keep the DC, so that the skill increases matter. Furthemore the orientational tables in PHB and DMG tell you what sort of deed does demand DC Y, so you can look on swim to tell if the PCs, if the task is to be challenging have to swim through calm water, or they can handle the rapids. This increase of difficulty of the tasks will also show the players that they can handle progressively difficult (in reality difficult, like climbing slick brick wall as opposed to steep rocky hillside) task as their characters advance.

I know, it's kind of different when you're just improvising, but if you do some preparation, then this should work.

Actually, no. Yes, that's a very bad layout and no real description (really, I was very disappointed with the 4E DMG and reading it) but I was actually speaking in terms of the very similar rules for unusual actions found on page 42; which essentially say to use a DC and damaging effect based on the level of the character.

So if I want to swing on a rope an push a kobold into a fire at 1st level, the DC might be 15 and deal 2d6+3 fire damage, but if I'm level 8 it'll be DC 20 and 2d8+5 fire damage, and if I'm pushing Orcus into the fire at 30th level, it's DC 30 for 4d8+10 fire damage.

It lacks anything resembling internal consistency. It doesn't have to be a fire either. I could be kicking them into spikes, or dropping a chandalier on their heads, or any number of things; but it gets progressively harder as you gain levels, where it should get progressively easier. If I throw a molotov cocktail on you at 1st level in D&D/PF it might deal 1d6 damage and set you on fire for 1d6 damage per round until you douse yourself, but it's not going to suddenly deal lava damage. Why is swinging from a Chandalier DC 15 at 1st level, but DC 20 at 8th?

And I never picked up the shiny newer DMG book, or any other book, 'cause I lost interest from the core. With 3E, I was happy with the core and each new book was like an expansion pack, not a bugfix/patch, and that's pretty much how I see 4E.

3E + New Book = Baldur's Gate + Tales of the Sword Coast.
4E + New Splat Book = X-Box game with downloadable updates to patch the game crashes, missing sprites, items not in the game, that weird bug with the dialog in chapter 3, the save-game glitch, and you gotta pay $30 to download it.


Ashiel wrote:


Off the top of my head, probably the complete lack of pretty much anything outside of tactical miniature combat in the core rulebooks. I say this as someone who happily purchased all three of the books, and played with them for a while, before shelving them and returning to 3.x and then Pathfinder, because I wanted to play an RPG.

I'd argue that your missing the forest for the trees here.

4E is an excellent tool for designing non-combat adventures. I've been stuffing non combat elements into my Age of Worms campaign left and right and with good results (if I have one complaint with that campaign its to much of a slaughter fest).

It starts with the skill system, this well balanced set of rules is really the heart of any non-combat adventure as they generally consist of pure role playing encounters and obstacles to overcome (or not) with the use of characters skills - thus its critical that the skill system remain usable in the game for as long as possible and that generally means balancing things while considering that the d20 is the die used to adjudicate success and failure. 4E comes with an excellent skill system that holds up extremely well until around 20th level when it finally begins to fall apart. By which I mean that the differences between the worst character in the party in a given skill and the best starts to get so extreme that if character X has any chance of doing something character Y does so automatically. Once that starts happening the choices that the players have start to become essentially illusionary, character X does what character X does and character Y does what character Y does and we all already new that so where is the excitement?

As a rule encounters using skills should allow some chance of everyone accomplishing the task but should be weighted in favor of characters that are actually good with specific skills, this helps to allow everyone to participate in such encounters and makes non-combat parts of the game a fun interlude for the entire party. This is why 4E does not have focused 'face' characters - if one wants to have the option of having adventures, especially adventures that might take up multiple sessions, that do not feature combat its important that such an adventure not just be about a single character while the rest of the party cools their heels and waits for the battle to start up.

Another element of particular importance here is the duality of 4E characters into a combat role and a non-combat role. By their nature 4E characters are always both, and while its possible to lean them more in one direction or the other via feats they remain fundamentally capable in or out of combat. This is important because it actually sets the stage for running non-combat adventures alongside combat focused ones. In effect you can drop your 7th level party into the non-combat political intrigue adventure, even if they have been clearing out dungeons up until this point and they'll have the skill system available and will be able to function just fine. Alternatively you can do those murder mysteries up until 5th and then change the campaign to be about looting crypts and the characters will have their combat powers (they just did not use them much in the murder mysteries). The important point here is that the DM is not 'tricking' the players by using one style of gaming for a period of time before switching to another style.

Another critical element in designing non-combat adventures is insuring that players don't have easy access to 'plot breakers'. Generally you want to keep PCs away from magic that can easily answer questions, since they are usually after something, for example they might be trying to figure out who wrote a letter or drank from a mug or what have you. What you don't want to happen here is for the whole plot device to be circumvented by a character casting a spell and asking a God or some such who the culprit is. Obviously its possible to get around this in older editions (the God does not know, the magic fails) but that requires that the plot in question must include powerful magic available to the opposition in order to thwart the PCs 'plot breaker' and shield the goings on from Gods and such. It severely constrains the plot if more mundane answers like 'the butler did it' are off the table. Most mystery's are really about ambition, jilted love or other elements of personality and requiring that every time the players interact with such mysteries their opposition can hide from the Gods is very constraining.

Other important elements to keep out of the players hands are mind control, mind reading, personality control (ala charm person) and personality reading (ala detect alignment in previous editions). This is really just another variant on 'don't let the players ask the Gods what the answer is' - i.e. a plot breaker. If your doing Murder on the Eberron Express having the mage just cycle through all eight people that are on the train to find out who is mind shielded and immune to magic and to ferret out everything of interest from the rest of the NPCs this is both boring for the rest of the players and not really all that engaging as an adventure. You really want this to be about talking with the NPCs and and snooping through their luggage - like a good adventure game such as Syberia.

In conclusion the mechanics that underlay 4E are actually a fairly strong non-combat adventure RPG. The base here is in the excellent skill system and it will be the skill system that the players use to interact with your non-combat adventure far more often then any other system in the game and this is true at least until they are 20th level. The Skill System is well supported by both the dualistic nature of the PCs themselves and the fact that the players don't have a lot of plot breaking powers at their disposal. Combined these elements allow you, as the DM, to design a complex non combat adventure even for fairly high level group.

The elegance of this system can be hard to see because a lot of what makes the system so robust is actually in whats not there (plot breakers) or is disguised by the fact that all characters have combat powers, true - but that does not force the DM to make combat part of the adventure.

Even the skill system is deceptive - if you look closely you realize that is a somewhat more complex system then 3.5 (mainly skill challenges) but its designed to make it so that characters, in 4E, actually mimic the range of skills one pretty much found in low level 3.5. That is intentional because it was at low level 3.5 that the skill system really worked - it was from about 1st to 5th that adventures could really revolve around the skill system and all players could participate without checks either being automatic successes or failures (depending on whether or not the skill was left untouched or maxed out). If you look at Dungeon Magazine you'd note that there where some absolutely excellent combat light adventures, but pretty much without fail, they where for low levels - before the skill system fell apart and the players had ready access to magic that trumped everything. Fundamentally 4Es design is meant to allow these types of adventures to work even at much higher levels.


Ever tried to use the p. 42 table based upon the level of the task? Thus pushing a great dragon being lvl 30 task and so on? The same could be for the 'level' of the terrain feature. Thus torch being something like levl 1-5 would cause that measly low fire damage and a reasonably sized bonfire would be tad more effective...

EDIT: I think the basic misconception about 4E rules is that the challenge/task/whatever level is based upon the party (not that the books really help in this matter). That thing is set separately in the challenge design process and the rules just suggest the difficulty (easy 1 level below party, normal equal to the party, 1-3 difficult, more = either impassable or deadly). Lava still does horrendous damage, but it should be appropriately high level. The table on p. 42 just shows what are roughly reasonable numbers for characters on level X, but that doesn't mean that the characters can't encounter something that is widely off. That table helps to set difficulties, but by no means it should be used ALWAYS.

The Exchange

Ashiel wrote:
And one might wonder why this "s*%%" is still being said years after 4E was released. Almost like some of these people have actually played the game, own the books, and legitimately dislike it for the reasons that are still being listed after the fact. Funny that. Must be a coincidence.

I feel rather sorry for you then. I play PF, I play 4e. There is absolutely no difference in the roleplaying aspect between the two. Saying otherwise is childish and plain wrong - which is presumably why you retract it subsequently. And so very, very old. The differences are mechanical and it is legitimate to not like those (like the loss of Craft and Profession skills, the changes to the Vancian magic system and so on). What isn't legitimate is to say it isn't a roleplaying game, because clearly it is - you create a character and you roleplay it through the scenarios. And since when did ranks in Performance facilitate roleplaying, in the example you give? You could flip it over and say that it takes away the need for roleplaying and could easily reduce it to a die roll. This is what can happen in social encounters, where you just roll Diplomacy or Bluff and move on. What makes a roleplaying game is the DM and players, not the rules. Again, you don't like the rules, that's fine - but don't tell me I haven't been playing a roleplaying game for the last two years when I know that I am.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
And one might wonder why this "s*%%" is still being said years after 4E was released. Almost like some of these people have actually played the game, own the books, and legitimately dislike it for the reasons that are still being listed after the fact. Funny that. Must be a coincidence.
I feel rather sorry for you then. I play PF, I play 4e. There is absolutely no difference in the roleplaying aspect between the two. Saying otherwise is childish and plain wrong - which is presumably why you retract it subsequently. And so very, very old. The differences are mechanical and it is legitimate to not like those (like the loss of Craft and Profession skills, the changes to the Vancian magic system and so on). What isn't legitimate is to say it isn't a roleplaying game, because clearly it is - you create a character and you roleplay it through the scenarios. And since when did ranks in Performance facilitate roleplaying, in the example you give? You could flip it over and say that it takes away the need for roleplaying and could easily reduce it to a die roll. This is what can happen in social encounters, where you just roll Diplomacy or Bluff and move on. What makes a roleplaying game is the DM and players, not the rules. Again, you don't like the rules, that's fine - but don't tell me I haven't been playing a roleplaying game for the last two years when I know that I am.

Since I didn't tell you that, then I guess you don't have to worry, huh?


Zmar wrote:

Ever tried to use the p. 42 table based upon the level of the task? Thus pushing a great dragon being lvl 30 task and so on? The same could be for the 'level' of the terrain feature. Thus torch being something like levl 1-5 would cause that measly low fire damage and a reasonably sized bonfire would be tad more effective...

EDIT: I think the basic misconception about 4E rules is that the challenge/task/whatever level is based upon the party (not that the books really help in this matter). That thing is set separately in the challenge design process and the rules just suggest the difficulty (easy 1 level below party, normal equal to the party, 1-3 difficult, more = either impassable or deadly). Lava still does horrendous damage, but it should be appropriately high level. The table on p. 42 just shows what are roughly reasonable numbers for characters on level X, but that doesn't mean that the characters can't encounter something that is widely off. That table helps to set difficulties, but by no means it should be used ALWAYS.

Ok, so if I'm running a game, I should not use lava as a consideration until higher levels when the damage fits with the effects? What if I wanted to run a game where the party is fighting orcs during a point where a nearby volcano has erupted, and lava is sliding down through the battlefield? I've ran a game much like this (it was, however, gnolls instead of orcs).

Also, dungeons with lava or molten metal in giant forges and such. How about these? How much damage should these do if someone lands in them at 3rd level? How much at 30th? What if they have a ring of fire resistance? How hot is this compared to a dragon's breath or a torch, or a wizard's fireball?

The Exchange

Ashiel wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
And one might wonder why this "s*%%" is still being said years after 4E was released. Almost like some of these people have actually played the game, own the books, and legitimately dislike it for the reasons that are still being listed after the fact. Funny that. Must be a coincidence.
I feel rather sorry for you then. I play PF, I play 4e. There is absolutely no difference in the roleplaying aspect between the two. Saying otherwise is childish and plain wrong - which is presumably why you retract it subsequently. And so very, very old. The differences are mechanical and it is legitimate to not like those (like the loss of Craft and Profession skills, the changes to the Vancian magic system and so on). What isn't legitimate is to say it isn't a roleplaying game, because clearly it is - you create a character and you roleplay it through the scenarios. And since when did ranks in Performance facilitate roleplaying, in the example you give? You could flip it over and say that it takes away the need for roleplaying and could easily reduce it to a die roll. This is what can happen in social encounters, where you just roll Diplomacy or Bluff and move on. What makes a roleplaying game is the DM and players, not the rules. Again, you don't like the rules, that's fine - but don't tell me I haven't been playing a roleplaying game for the last two years when I know that I am.
Since I didn't tell you that, then I guess you don't have to worry, huh?

Yeah, I came off a bit intemperate, so sorry. But since you said 4e isn't a roleplaying game, you did actually say that. It's not really your fault (it would have been nice if this thread hadn't been put into the 4e forum) but we actually come to this section of the board to talk about 4e as it is played i.e. people who play it, not people who want to slag it off. We stopped having the "4e is crap!" "No it isn't!" conversations a while back. Nothing is achieved by it - you either like it or you don't. But it's frankly annoying to have this all over again. You probably weren't there last time, but nothing you have said, and nothing being said to you, hasn't been thrashed out here a million times before.

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