Has 4E grown in playability?


4th Edition


I'm sure this is going to receive a little flaming but I lurk these boards almost exclusively and am just trying to get a few opinions.

I tried 4e when it first launched playing in about a 3 month campaign. The general impression we had was eh. Didn't hate but we weren't too excited either. Some of the complaints we had were the way that there seemed very little separation between the powers and honestly the big change to spellcasters. With all the splat books (and holy s@+% there are a lot of splat books) I'm wondering if this has changed?

Are there enough powers that you can choose from to make them feel different?

More importantly, have the rituals that I'm assuming they've released brought back any of the feeling of tradition spell casting?

I'm interested to know. I have a few new players interested in trying 4e but I'm not sure if I want to bother. I of course don't plan on abandoning my PF.


Unfortunately, rituals have not changed much, but this does not prevent you from using rituals to directly translate some of the previous edition spells over. As to classes and powers, that remains the same, except there are more choices in regards to what you may choose - introduction of skill powers, themes, etc. However, you will never recapture the spell casting feel from previous editions, because the mechanics have changed. So it really depends on your motivation. If you are happy with 3.5 or Pathfinder, then I doubt 4E will be for you, unless you like playing different systems, so you don't become bored with one. I tend to be in the later camp, and would even advise trying other systems that do not use a D20 like GURPS.

You will have to accept 4E as distinct and seperate.


Seeker of skybreak wrote:

I'm sure this is going to receive a little flaming but I lurk these boards almost exclusively and am just trying to get a few opinions.

I tried 4e when it first launched playing in about a 3 month campaign. The general impression we had was eh. Didn't hate but we weren't too excited either. Some of the complaints we had were the way that there seemed very little separation between the powers and honestly the big change to spellcasters. With all the splat books (and holy s@#~ there are a lot of splat books) I'm wondering if this has changed?

Are there enough powers that you can choose from to make them feel different?

More importantly, have the rituals that I'm assuming they've released brought back any of the feeling of tradition spell casting?

I'm interested to know. I have a few new players interested in trying 4e but I'm not sure if I want to bother. I of course don't plan on abandoning my PF.

The recent thread comparing 3.x/PF to 4E does a pretty good job of highlighting some of the differences.

As to Rituals - there are a few more of them but they remain much as they where in the beginning of the edition. Slow spells mainly used outside of combat to accomplish some tasks via magic.

There are a lot more options in character design but I'm not sure if your issue is particularly addressed. Thing is in 4E character differentiation is at its minimum at 1st level and grows with each passing level. Some classes feel further from the norm then others and the new books tend to emphasize this more then the base classes, where strength based cleric, strength based fighter and a martial striker could feel like close cousins much of the time, but even in the case of the classes that feel closer, and all classes in general, you start to get a real feeling of differentiation at about 7th level. After this point even close cousin type characters will start to feel very different.

The biggest improvement, IMO, has come with the monsters which have been revamped to play a lot better since MM1.

Liberty's Edge

I haven't played or GMed enough 4e to have tried creating multiple examples of the same class, but I do know that further supplements have added new powers and I believe class features that would theoretically allow greater choice in creating characters that use the same class.

So yes, "playability", if defined by having a certain level of options, has increased with the extra books. However, I feel that the original core books had enough playability in them anyway :)


Thanks for the replies. I know spellcasting will never be like 3.x or any other system. I really like the idea of rituals so I'm ok with this. I'm hoping that the inclusion of more rituals brings back some of the fluff of prior edition casting. Less worried about the mechanics of it. It's nice to know the monsters are better. I think the object here is to just play a different game for a bit.

I have the core 3 books. If I were to say pick up 3-5 more what would be the ones you think will give me the most of what I'm looking for?


If your just adding two books then Adventurers Vault and PHB2 actually make a pretty good 4E core along with DMG1 and PHB1.

After that I'd pick up Monster Vault next - good monster design that includes all the iconic monsters. Once you have this default to it for the monsters. There are some OK ones in MM1 but you'll need to adjust damage output and really using it almost becomes 'advanced DMing' so many bad monster designs means that only experience allows you to pick out the ones that are going to actually be good.

The next two I'd add would be Martial Power and Arcane Power - this will expand your character options and include the rules for familiars and animal companions.

After that I would go DMG2 for the expanded rules for the DM, though this is fluff heavy.

The Rules Compendium is the hardest one for me to evaluate. If you have everything above you don't exactly need it (but make notes on at least a few of the key errata) but it is a good book with all the material for running the game in one place. I've read it but have been running without it - but I have the DDI and tend to default to that for checking up on rules.

Liberty's Edge

Seeker of skybreak wrote:
I have the core 3 books. If I were to say pick up 3-5 more what would be the ones you think will give me the most of what I'm looking for?

I can't probably give you the best advice as my collection of 4e stuff is fairly modest (I only bought the books I felt I needed to support the Eberron setting).

In addition to the core 3 books I have picked up:

PHB2 provides the Bard and Druid classes and the Gnome & Shifter race, if you want those back in the mix

PHB3 provides the Monk and psionics.

DMG2 provides rules for Companions and advice for collaborative campaigns, along with more advice on skill challenges.

Eberron Players Guide and Campaign Guide - Warforged race and Artificer class and obviously the setting information.

The above has allowed me to run my first Eberron campaign which will soon be wrapping up - its been epic and great and I have had fun. Other than those I only have scenarios including Dungeon Delves, Village of Hommlet and Seekers of the Ashen Crown.

Liberty's Edge

I have all the 4e books, but we play exclusively 4e Essentials. If you want to cut down on books Essentials is what I would recommend. That and they are a hand-dandy size to carry around. I challenge anyone with an imagination not to be able to make any sort of fantasy character using the Essential rules.

Essentials sold me on 4e, the Core products I was luke-warm at best about.

2 cents,
S.


Of course, the DDI gives you access to pretty much all the books via the compendium and the character builder. I'd highly recommend at least one member in the group getting a subscription if you are going to play a 4E campaign. You don't get much of the fluff with the DDI, but if you have played D&D for a long time then you are pretty familiar with most of the fluff anyhow, so you can almost avoid buying books with DDI access. Otherwise I'd consider picking up the essentials products, especially if you want the classes to seem to be built differently (as they were in 3E), though personally I tend to prefer the non essentials 4E classes. The essentials books are also a nicer read than the early core 4E books.

That being said my favorite books are: phb, dmg, phb II, and the monster vault + DDI.

Liberty's Edge

I almost posted a new topic to just address this after our game the other night but I figured this was a good place to put it.

Still new to 4th edition (after having abandoned it when it first came out) and I have to tout some of the great things we've noticed so far after the few times played.

Character creation is BETTER.

This is something people I think pay too little attention to but I noticed it starkly in a different in the Pathfinder section. Someone was wanting to play an elven paladin and then it goes into optimizing. In 4th edition, with every class focusing on ONE with a secondary stat for help, this is a lot better. Plus there are no minuses and only pluses. THEN you add in the awesomeness that is 2 stats for every one thing (Dex or Int for AC/Reflex, Wis or Cha for Will, ETC ETC). Plus if you want to do decent in combat, you pickup Martial Training (I think?) from the phb 2 and you pick your stat you want to replace strength for basic attacks and damage.

Basically, you get to really do the combo you want EASIER than you could in 3rd (emphasis on EASIER as I know it's still doable). Of course you might have ones that go better but it seems less noticable now than before.

Something else that makes it better (to us) is all the options it has now compared to launch (which only makes sense). The Avenger is far and away my favorite class so far but everything has it's neatness niche.

I haven't really seen anything that makes me think the classes are any less diverse than their 3rd edition counterparts. By now the wizards have a lot more powers to choose from then they did at launch, though admittedly not as many as 3rd. The counter to the spellcasters getting less spells is that the other non-caster classes are given lots of cool stuff too. I know there's the argument that the abilities all work the same for the most part but I don't see this as much different from 3rd where a fighter attacked, did damage. A rogue attack (flank/sneak) did damage ... etc etc.

I haven't sunk too deep into the PHB3 yet but I'm curious how the multi-classing thing works now. Also been meaning to check out Essentials. Here almost nothing but good things.


Misery wrote:

I almost posted a new topic to just address this after our game the other night but I figured this was a good place to put it.

Still new to 4th edition (after having abandoned it when it first came out) and I have to tout some of the great things we've noticed so far after the few times played.

Character creation is BETTER.

This is something people I think pay too little attention to but I noticed it starkly in a different in the Pathfinder section. Someone was wanting to play an elven paladin and then it goes into optimizing. In 4th edition, with every class focusing on ONE with a secondary stat for help, this is a lot better. Plus there are no minuses and only pluses. THEN you add in the awesomeness that is 2 stats for every one thing (Dex or Int for AC/Reflex, Wis or Cha for Will, ETC ETC). Plus if you want to do decent in combat, you pickup Martial Training (I think?) from the phb 2 and you pick your stat you want to replace strength for basic attacks and damage.

I ran through character creation in person with a couple of my players over the last few days, using the online Character Builder. One of them has been playing a lot of Pathfinder. His reaction? "Man, Pathfinder could really use something this nice."


Scott Betts wrote:
I ran through character creation in person with a couple of my players over the last few days, using the online Character Builder. One of them has been playing a lot of Pathfinder. His reaction? "Man, Pathfinder could really use something this nice."

They already do - it's called Hero Lab. =]


Power Word Unzip wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
I ran through character creation in person with a couple of my players over the last few days, using the online Character Builder. One of them has been playing a lot of Pathfinder. His reaction? "Man, Pathfinder could really use something this nice."
They already do - it's called Hero Lab. =]

Hero Lab is definitely nice!

-The Gneech


Power Word Unzip wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
I ran through character creation in person with a couple of my players over the last few days, using the online Character Builder. One of them has been playing a lot of Pathfinder. His reaction? "Man, Pathfinder could really use something this nice."
They already do - it's called Hero Lab. =]

+1

Brilliant piece of software. Worth every penny.


Eric Levanduski wrote:
"Brilliant piece of software. Worth every penny."

I have a player in my Pathfinder campaign who uses Hero Lab and it is great.

That being said the online character builder from wizards is also extremely useful and cheap (free if you care about the other stuff that comes with their subscription). I haven't used it sense 4th came out.

I'm thinking the essentials might be worth looking into. Can anyone answer if the fights have gotten to be less of a grind. I remember combat grinding the game to a halt when I played for those few months. I know minions are keys to faster combat but still those few non-minions could definitely slow the game. Was this addressed in the monster vault? I've read that there was significant improvement over mm1 as Jeremy even pointed out in this thread.


Seeker of skybreak wrote:
Eric Levanduski wrote:
"Brilliant piece of software. Worth every penny."

I have a player in my Pathfinder campaign who uses Hero Lab and it is great.

That being said the online character builder from wizards is also extremely useful and cheap (free if you care about the other stuff that comes with their subscription). I haven't used it sense 4th came out.

I'm thinking the essentials might be worth looking into. Can anyone answer if the fights have gotten to be less of a grind. I remember combat grinding the game to a halt when I played for those few months. I know minions are keys to faster combat but still those few non-minions could definitely slow the game. Was this addressed in the monster vault? I've read that there was significant improvement over mm1 as Jeremy even pointed out in this thread.

Yep with the release of MM3 reduced HPs for monsters and upped the attack damage. Combat flows faster and is more deadly because of it.


Combat is often grounded to a halt when there are so many more factors involved with combat. In PF/v3.5 a fighter moved, attacked, done. Next turn Full-attack (maybe use Power Attack or Improved Trip). Rinse, recycle, repeat. The spellcaster is often the one taking up time to figure out what spells to cast on who.

In 4E, EVERYONE has a dozen of choices to choose from beginning at 1st level and moving up-ward. This tends to slow combat when someone is looking through the book or their Power Cards to choose the best course of action or attack. I've found that once a group really understands not only the mechanics of the game but their characters better, combat moves quickly.

Essentials does, however, simplify things a bit for those that just want to swing away. My Knight character just Melee Basic Attacks the entire time, dishing out a few extra damage with Power Strike and that's it. It's simple, the knight is effective, and I can concentrate on other aspects of my character.

Also, I feel character options are far superior than that of the launch. We now have 3 different classes that can dual-wield weapons (Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger). We have other Controller characters besides the wizard. Races have seen an upgrade with Flex-Stats which make them far more versatile than the Races at launch.

Just a better game IMO now than it was 2 years ago.


I found 4E was a simplified version of Champions/Heroes. The simplification is that the bundles are already prepared and, unlike 3rd ed Champions, you don't have to have mathematic formulas memorized for character creation. I'm just upset with them because they said that they were not going to do a gazillion supplements. And here we are....


Diffan wrote:
In 4E, EVERYONE has a dozen of choices to choose from beginning at 1st level and moving up-ward.

Er, at 1st level most characters have exactly 4 choices of what to do with their attacks each round, and that drops to 3 or 2 depending on whether they've already used up their daily and encounter powers. Hardly overwhelming, and hardly game-halting.

And contrary to what is implied here, power cards drastically reduce the amount of time spent on each player's turn.

Liberty's Edge

Scott Betts wrote:
Diffan wrote:
In 4E, EVERYONE has a dozen of choices to choose from beginning at 1st level and moving up-ward.

Er, at 1st level most characters have exactly 4 choices of what to do with their attacks each round, and that drops to 3 or 2 depending on whether they've already used up their daily and encounter powers. Hardly overwhelming, and hardly game-halting.

And contrary to what is implied here, power cards drastically reduce the amount of time spent on each player's turn.

I can vouch for this. I haven't seen it seem anymore slow than 3.X at lower levels. Tried some sampling high level play as well and it seems faster too. Still dying to try out the Essentials.


Brini wrote:
I found 4E was a simplified version of Champions/Heroes. The simplification is that the bundles are already prepared and, unlike 3rd ed Champions, you don't have to have mathematic formulas memorized for character creation. I'm just upset with them because they said that they were not going to do a gazillion supplements. And here we are....

I'm seriously doubtful they ever said such a thing. I do recall a lot of early 4E converts saying essentially this but never WotC. The minute I recognized how modular the games design was I new we would see a absolute ton of supplements. WotC emphasizing 'everything will be core' and there will eventually be a Players Handbook 6* and a DMG 6 kind of sealed the deal for me.

*it no longer looks like there will be books like a Players Handbook 6 - at least not anytime all that soon (no PHB 4 has been announced this year) but their was some indication that this was the original plan.


Misery wrote:


Someone was wanting to play an elven paladin and then it goes into optimizing.

Big selling point for me as well - highlighted by the fact that we basically don't even do optimization on the 4E section of the boards. Just not that significant part of the game really, though it is still possible to some extent (especially with Essentials).

Misery wrote:


The Avenger is far and away my favorite class so far but everything has it's neatness niche.

A fun class - notice how its role interacts with the rest of the party in particular. When we had one in our group he was the go to guy for any task that required some one to be at a specific point on the battlefield. When the character was replaced by another I missed that though the new character was a zone based mage and we eventually re-adjusted our tactics to highlight that element. 4E groups are about the players learning to emphasize what their group does well while trying to figure out how to cope with what it does badly. One of the reasons one sees a bit less optimization - often the most optimized choice for an individual character is not actually what the party really needs and identifying what the party really needs is the best way to make a stronger party overall.

Misery wrote:


Plus if you want to do decent in combat, you pickup Martial Training (I think?) from the phb 2 and you pick your stat you want to replace strength for basic attacks and damage.

I don't really think its this simple. Once you are out of low levels the encounter powers increasingly dominate the combat. A feat like this should usually be taken with a bit of care. My cleric has it but that is mainly because he's constantly being forced into melee far longer then he really ought to be.


Scott Betts wrote:
Diffan wrote:
In 4E, EVERYONE has a dozen of choices to choose from beginning at 1st level and moving up-ward.

Er, at 1st level most characters have exactly 4 choices of what to do with their attacks each round, and that drops to 3 or 2 depending on whether they've already used up their daily and encounter powers. Hardly overwhelming, and hardly game-halting.

And contrary to what is implied here, power cards drastically reduce the amount of time spent on each player's turn.

True, I was exaggerating on the extent of options at low level, heck even medium levels but even with a few powers available the time takes longer than in previous editions of move, swing, repeat. In addition, there are quite a few more fluxuation buffs to take into effect such as Powers of other player's that give you benefits, powers from the previous round, item abilities that might give you a boost. Those are a round-by-round basis instead of the duration of the encounter like with v3.5 spells.

Power cards do make things go faster, often having all the stats written down for you for easy reach. They also have the current, up to date version of the rules.


4e combat can be slow depending on how your dm and players play. If the dm allows the plays to hum and hah about their moves each turn it slows down and starts to play more like a board game. If the players make an effort to be ready with their action when their turn comes up and the dm enforces quick, decisive action in combat it will move reasonably fast. 3E can be equally slow, particularly at high levels. The problem with 3E is that a lot of the slow down can happen before the fight even starts. For instance, before a big fight (at higher levels) the players will spend a half hour deciding what buffs to cast on their characters and adjusting their stats. You don't get any of that pre combat buffing syndrome happening in 4e even at high level, which is one of the things I really like about the game.

As a dm there are four things that I do to make combat run at a reasonable speed (even with six players). Any of these tips can work equally well with pathfinder.

- make the players use average damage. All the players have their average damage calculated for their attacks and written on their sheets with each power. The only die they need is the d20. I do the same thing with the monsters. This speeds up play enormously at paragon tier, but is probably not necessary in heroic.

- Try to encourage fast action. I'll do a count down if a player is taking too long to decide on what to do, and they can lose their turn if they are too slow. This virtually never happens since my players make sure to know their characters well and pay attention, so that they are ready on their turn.

- Use initiative cards and remind players who is coming up next so that they can get their move ready. I'll also start posting monster defenses on the cards as the fight goes and they get an idea of what they are.

- Have an "out" for my monsters. Monsters will often retreat or surrender when it becomes clear that they are losing. This is both realistic from an rp perspective and speeds up the fight.

The players at my table or also good about making sure they know their characters well, so they can run that character effectively without having to spend much time at the table dithering about their actions.

One problem with 4E is that there can be a lot of little circumstance bonuses to track that can slow a turn down. For instance, a player might be getting a +3 to damage from a warlord and a another +2 because the target is bloodied and then a +5 because it is prone etc... factoring in all these extras can slow the game down, but it tends to get better as the players get used to it and become more experienced.

There are also a lot of actions that take place outside a player's turn. The fighter might get to make an attack on the warlord's turn or when an enemy shifts. The ranger might take a swing when an enemy attacks him. This makes for interesting and dynamic combat, but sometimes you lose track of where you are in the initiative order.


There are plenty more options, and a number of "fixes", but the guts of 4e is exactly the same as it was when first launched. After all, a character still has to chose the same number of feats, powers, etc - just from an expanded list. The basic parameters of 4e are still essentially the same as they always were. So if it didn't float your boat earlier, it's quite possible it still won't now...

Thing is, you can't really compare 3.x with 4e until you actually play 4e for a while. A number of my players were quite scheptical about 4e on paper, but once we played it for a while the benefits became clear and a lot of the drawbacks were not as bad as feared. That said, a few of us still play in a 3.5 game which is also fun (and quite different, especially at higher levels).

I've been DMing a 4e group since the early-ish days, so over 2 years now, from 6th level to 25th level now. The changes we've experienced have as much, if not more, to do with the PC's being higher level, than any changes or additions to the rules. Also my ongoing tweaking of the rules to ensure any glaring problems we see are ironed out.

All the PC's are still pretty much "core" classes, i.e. those released in the first couple of books (Wizard, Swordmage, Cleric/Barbarian, and Cleric/Ranger). As most of them are DDI subscribers, we just pick out little bits of new stuff as it comes along, without even thinking about it really. From a players perspecitive, they probably get as much if not more out of Dragon magazine as they do the books, at least recently (although AV2 and the Power books are "old" now, they certainly did flesh things out nicely in terms of providing lots of options - arguably, too many!)

If we didn't have all that flash new stuff from DDI, I actually think our game wouldn't be that much different... The players would have less options to chose from, and be a bit less 'optimised', but they would essentially be quite similar and the experience at the table would be the same. As a DM I'd have more work to do finessing creatures because I wouldn't have as many pre-made monsters from all the monster books to choose from, and I might have more custom treasure, but generally I've tweaked a lot of things from time to time to get a good balance and good play experience anyway, so really the diffence is minimal.

The biggest difference, over time, is simply from the PC's leveling up. As they gain levels, the players gain experience in managing a 4e character, and I learn how to DM at different levels of power, we all learn a lot about what works best in actual play. And that changes quite a bit as you go from Heroic to Paragon to Epic...

At Heroic, things start off super simple (too simple for some), then towards the end a PC is getting "nearly complete" i.e. they have a full compliment of encounter and daily powers (i.e. higher levels just start swapping them out). It's pretty much the entry level experience for 4e, and potentially a bit simple for players who like things just that bit more complex to keep it interesting (that's why we started our campaign at 6th level instead of 1st).

At Paragon tier, the paragon path really kicks things up a notch. Everyone's PC is somewhat super-charged with some cool new stuff, and it's all quite different and fun, e.g. this is where your players really start to love their action points. This is often when the DM first starts to experience just how much more powerful the PC's are compared to the monsters (that's why the monsters have so many more hp!)

By Epic tier, the epic destiny adds more cool flavour, and helps drive story, but doesn't add as much mechanical benefit. In fact, levels 21 and 22 are pretty flat, and my players found themselves using their newly beefed up at-wills more often than not because they still had low-level encounters and dailies that didn't do as much damage (that's a flaw I wish could be corrected in the official rules). Anyway, at Epic tier the lessons you learn from Paragon need to be ramped up even more, as the PC's are by now fully kitted out with gear, powers and feats that let them kick in with all sorts of triggered effects. So instead of everyone attacking once per round, it's very common for everyone to be attacking 2-3 times per round, more if they drop an action point. Most standard monsters just don't cut the mustard, so your DM skills need to ramp up to keep it interesting, e.g. make all monsters more like in Monster Vault, damaging / hindering terrain, things in combos, auras and terrain that make it harder for the PC's to just hide away and snipe - you need to turn your encounter design up to 11 in order to lay even a bit of smack on your PC's before they wipe the floor clean of your monsters. Also, the craziness of the 4e economy really kicks in, where a ritual that used to be expensive at a few thousand gp is now chump-change - anything less than a million gp is basically insignificant, so the players can easily go to town (so to speak) and spend on anything they want (items, rituals etc) unless it's trully "epic". This is actually quite fun - playing through epic tier is becoming more and more fun, and truly of Epic proportions, rather than a quick level or two before wrapping up the campaign like it has often been in 3.x (if you ever got that far).

I think that the experience we've had wouldn't have been all that different if we'd started only now - sure, creating a character now gives you a heap more options and so takes a bit longer (but is still much quicker than 3.x), but generally once you've got a character to play, the experience at the table is pretty much the same no matter what. You still find that things play out differently than you expected, and fine-tune it all as you go along.

In reference to Rituals and Powers, I'd say:

Rituals take a bit of adjusting to from everyone's perspective. They are designed quite differently from old D&D spells, so you can't compare them. They are designed to be used outside combat, as often as you can afford to use them. Personally, I've finally house-ruled something I should have a lot earlier: casting a ritual from a scroll is now always a standard action. That soves a problem we had earlier, where the wizard wanted to use a simple ritual during combat but it took way way too long, e.g. he wanted to use Silence to stop a sonic environmental effect, but the rules didn't really allow it (he tried anyway, and failed, which was a downer). I like rituals - they get a lot of use in our game, still pretty much outside of combat, mostly for scouting, intelligence gathering, etc, occasionally for "buffing" e.g. sneaking into an area and setting up an ambush. It's great that a caster can easily access whatever ritual they know without having to rest and change their spell list, it makes the game flow better.

The "differences" between powers, or more specifically classes, does indeed get greater as you go up levels. I don't think the new books have changed that much. Yes, the new books have filled a number of glaring gaps, as well as created a number of new things where arguably there were no big gaps to start with. But it's more to do with the paragon paths, higher level powers, and simply the number of powers a higher level PC gets. An 11th level rogue/daggermaster is a vastly different beast from an 11th level fighter/whatever, wizard/, warlord/ etc. The good old PHB still covers a lot of useful ground, especially in my group. So by this stage (paragon), each character has a well defined "niche" they fill, and combos between PC's really start to kick in. Good players get a kick out of working out not just how to optimise their own PC, but optimise their effectiveness in combo with the other PC's. That's a great feature of 4e that's sadly lacking in earlier editions, and its not so evident until you play for a while, especially at Paragon and/or Epic.

The only thing 4e is, perhaps, a bit "lacking on", is the extreme lack of anyone's ability to neutralise someone in a single round. This "feature" of 3.x ("save or die", "hit and neuter", and similar things) is something that was quite deliberately taken out of 4e. Overall, that's a good thing, but especially at Epic tier I've found that the PC's have so many "get out of jail free" cards, it's actually very difficult to put a creadible threat on them without going nuts. A lot of fights only go a couple of rounds, and a really tough fight might drop one PC for half a round and severely bloody 1-2 others, but by now they have powers that can even cheat death. And I've majourly increased the threat level of my monsters and encounter designs. It's a tough one to explain, and harder to get the right balance on, because the nature of 3.x, especially at higher levels, is one of the major problems I always saw of it (too easy to kill things with the right spells, and as a DM you either fight fire with fire and kill PC's really easily, or you dumb-down your monsters and tactics, fudge it etc, to avoid one bad roll de-railing your campaign). Anyway, like everything in D&D, as a DM you just need to keep fine-tuning your designs to hit the sweet-spot where things flow nicely and everyone's having a fun time.

As has been said already, I'd say a DDI subscription is a far better "bang for buck" than buying the new books. Our group almost never uses a single book at the gaming table, and the same goes for outside the table. Sure, we read the new Dragon/Dungeon articles sometimes, and flick through a new book from time to time, but our primary resourse is always the Char Builder, Monster Builder, and/or online Compendium; the books are secondary to look up more "fluff" etc that's not in the DDI tools.

Liberty's Edge

Hastur wrote:
stuff

Well said Sir!


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
*it no longer looks like there will be books like a Players Handbook 6 - at least not anytime all that soon (no PHB 4 has been announced this year) but their was some indication that this was the original plan.

The actual reason for this is because shopkeepers were stocking only the PHB3, thinking that because it was the latest PHB, it was the one players would start with and thus the only one they'd need!

Oops!

Cheers,
Merric

The Exchange

I won't speak for anyone else, but I agree with (person whom I can't remember) who said with PHB3 that all the "low hanging fruit had already been picked". In other words, we're looking pretty good in regards to options, Essentials line not included.

Future expansion product may look more like the forthcoming Heroes of Shadow book, which provides options for Essentials and PHB-style characters both. (I'd grab the WotC link discussing this but I just walked the wild dog and am a bit huffy-puffy right now).


Hastur wrote:
An excellent post.

I really enjoyed reading your post.


Thanks Jeremy and Stefan, I don't hang out here as much as I used to, but I've enjoyed a lot of your contributions over time too, so it's good to share when I can find a bit of time!

Community / Forums / Gamer Life / Gaming / D&D / 4th Edition / Has 4E grown in playability? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in 4th Edition