Old School vs. Modern Gaming (Swords & Wizardry vs. Pathfinder)


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New School - meeting every hour to argue on the internet over which edition of D&D best represents the true spirit of what it means to play make believe

Old School - meeting once a week to argue in person over which girl is hotter, Ginger or Marry Ann


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Mary Ann

And before you ask:

Samantha of Bewitched (vs Jeannie of I Dream of Jeannie)
Bailey Quarters of WKRP in Cincinnati
Janet of Three's Company
Kelly of Charlie's Angels


I've been gaming since the B/X box and personally I think Pathfinder kicks the crap out of everything else that's come along before and since. It's D&D as it was meant to be played - where anything is possible.


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Brother Fen wrote:
...where anything is possible.

As long as you have the appropriate feat. :P

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Norman Osborne wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:
...where anything is possible.
As long as you have the appropriate feat. :P

and are willing to spend 20 minutes working out how to use it.


Irontruth wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

People say that, but 4e and 5e are really from the same school of thought. The biggest difference between the two (which people seem to have simply accepted without either fully knowing how similar 4e is to 5e at it's basic core) is the marketing that went into 4e, vs. the marketing that went into 5e. 4e outside of combat was probably MORE old School overall than 5e (which isn't saying much as I consider 4e new school). However, they marketed it as an "old school" type game that also was new school, and a bunch of people bought into that hype (and still do).

No. 4E is actually the most radically designed off all the D&D's. It's the most controversial of the editions (it's the only edition that elevated a competitor to a superior sales edition, because it split the customer base) and that is primarily due to it's design, not the marketing.

4E actually has the fewest sacred cows, other than in name. Classic and adored things like various spells appear in name, but function fundamentally differently than in other editions. The core design philosophy around classes is entirely different from any other edition. The codification and principles of combat are more closely related to D&D Mini's than to any edition of D&D rpg.

I've never met anyone who thinks the largest difference in 4E was marketing, and I...

And you have bought the marketing.

4e and 5e, except for saves, have the same basic core with their bounded accuracy (albeit, 5e has it as a far lower number, which almost was the same as 4e GSL reduced, but with their 2 year playtest, that changed from a +1 at lower levels to +2). In fact, all 5e is, is the adaptation of the entire 4e Reduced gameplay, wrapping it up and calling it 5e.

The only things that really changed were the saves.

What 4e did differently was marketing. It Upset (upset is too mild, but to say how people REALLY felt about that marketing would basically use a bunch of cuss words and other things) people a heck of a LOT.

It also prepared people to accept just about anything that came after, even if it was basically the same 4e core system but without the added item that classes each had special (at-will, encounter, daily, utility) powers with that.

This shift started with Essentials (and seeing how they had classes that did NOT USE POWERS, but once again had abilities that went with classes like 5e has with their classes and archetypes (and in fact, much of essentials basically had archetypes as well, with things such as a Cavalier being an archetype of the Paladin class, with special abilities that the Cavalier got).

Everything in 5e inside of combat is a direct descendant from 4e, but using the minimal system (which made those who liked having classes with Powers pretty upset). Outside of combat, it actually has MORE rules than 4e did (which some like rather than having people say...page 42).

The biggest difference I see is the marketing. I played 4e for most of it's duration, and switched between love and hate, but did get a good grasp of it's evolution and it's changes. At the end of it's lifespan, 4e was trying to change desperately to attract other game players...and became something very close to 5e in the books it was coming out.

In fact, I'd say the jump between a 4e GSL game (had reduced rules, basically no power system at all included, as that was a WotC only, though 3rd party was not restricted from making their own classes with powers, it was NOT included in the GSL reductions) is just about seamless if one wants to.

The difference is basically like the differences between AD&D 1e core, and AD&D 2e core. Are there differences...yes...

But they are FAR closer than 2e to 3e, and most would say that 1e and 2e were the same system overall.

What I see with those who like 5e but didn't like 4e is that they are BIG into buying the marketing. Most have NO idea about the different GSL games released under 4e, didn't play any third party games, didn't see a LOT of the end releases at the end of 4e's lifespan, and don't connect the dots between those releases and what 5e looks like today, or more especially, didn't see the 4e GSL reduced games that 5e was ripped from and hence can't see how the basics of 5e came to be (though as I said, some of it was modified by the playtest, a prime example of that is the proficiency bonus which originally was simply a +1, but during the playtest got changed to a +2 at lower levels for the final release).

Basically, the only difference that REALLY is between them is the marketing...either that or for some reason they love the differences between 4e and editions that came before, but it still wasn't extreme enough for them (which I personally think would be ridiculous, but hey, maybe that is true for someone). Hence, when they made those differences even greater...they love it (yeah...right...but there maybe someone out there like that).

For those who don't like 5e but liked 4e I see several groups, but many I know would fall into two groups. Some who really liked the powers system that was added onto the 4e core for the original PHB I, II, and III releases, and the tactical combat that was associated...and dislike having that lost...

And those like me that are sick and tired of having WotC basically jerk us around time after time, and/or didn't like some of the changes they made with 4e (bounded accuracy is the killer for me), and saw them double down on those changes with 5e (if I disliked it in 4e...and seeing how they doubled down and made it even MORE integrated and limiting in 5e...yeah...doubling down on the exact things I hated about 4e is NOT a way to win me over to 5e).


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So those who tried 4E when it came out and weren't thrilled and therefore never followed all the variants and stripped down versions and 3rd party products, but who find 5th more interesting and very different from the 4E they played are being fooled by the marketing?

Not really sure how that works. I'm sure there's some core similarity, but the experience of the core systems was very different.


thejeff wrote:

So those who tried 4E when it came out and weren't thrilled and therefore never followed all the variants and stripped down versions and 3rd party products, but who find 5th more interesting and very different from the 4E they played are being fooled by the marketing?

Not really sure how that works. I'm sure there's some core similarity, but the experience of the core systems was very different.

I liked both - i agree they play quite differently but one of 5E's strengths was trying to take the the good bits from all earlier systems. Consequently, I think if you want to make an argument that 5E is like any earlier edition you'll be able to find something.

Grand Lodge

Steve Geddes wrote:
new-fangled 2E - which still isn't on my radar when I think "old school". :)

2nd Edition "New Fangled"? That's funny, because unless you ignored everything past Unearthed Arcana, 2nd edition added very little in terms of new rules to the game...

Proficiencies? Nope, sorry, proficiencies are a 1st edition concept, introduced first in Oriental Adventures and a bit later in Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (as well as Wilderness Survival Guide).

THAC0? Oh, again, sorry, but that too is a 1st edition concept, going all the way back to the 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide, and introduced as an actual usable game mechanic first through the pages of White Dwarf Magazine in the UK and then in the module UK2 Sentinel (as well as every additional module in the UK line), and then finally in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (and again in Wilderness Survival Guide).

Even Specialist Wizards were introduced in 1st edition in the Forgotten Realms supplement FR6 Dreams of the Red Wizards


Sure, I never actually read it.

Although, for the record I did ignore everything other than the three core books of AD&D (including unearthed arcana). It's not really relevant to my perspective though, since I think OS/NS is a distinction in playstyle, not a trait of a rule set.

Grand Lodge

Steve Geddes wrote:
I think OS/NS is a distinction in playstyle, not a trait of a rule set.

I agree with that up to a point. I mean, yes, one can run a PF game in the same style as one would run, say, a 1st edition game, and so too one can run a 1st edition game in the style they would normally run a PF game.

However...

The rules of both new and old school editions are written with a certain "style" in mind; with the whole player vs. character point of view being the most obvious.


So you are saying that 5th edition is exactly 4th edition, because they both have bounded accuracy?

There are similarities between 4th and 5th editions. There are no skill points, there's ritual casting, and spellcasting foci (holy symbols, arcane staff, and such). You could argue that the hit dice healing on a "short rest" is a highly watered down version of the "healing surge". That's about all I see. I guess there's bounded accuracy in 4th edition, but I couldn't tell you as there are no real class write-ups (such as class tables that every single edition used except 4th).

And I have no clue what you talk about when you say "4e Reduced". Are those someone's house rules or 3rd party products? Or do you mean "Essentials", which I have no experience with?


Digitalelf wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I think OS/NS is a distinction in playstyle, not a trait of a rule set.

I agree with that up to a point. I mean, yes, one can run a PF game in the same style as one would run, say, a 1st edition game, and so too one can run a 1st edition game in the style they would normally run a PF game.

However...

The rules of both new and old school editions are written with a certain "style" in mind; with the whole player vs. character point of view being the most obvious.

I'm leery of following that path - because we end up arguing about what was in the mind of designers thirty years ago and ultimately I don't find it terribly useful (I pretty much agree with Irontruth on that point, I think. It's a pretty narrowly focussed 'scale' which attempts to shoehorn a plethora of options into one, linear ranking).

I think it's best used as a kind of shorthand for how you plan on running an upcoming D&Dish style game. It will only be the start of the conversation, but I think it's a useful shorthand for a whole bunch of related assumptions. Especially if it's in the context of a group that knows one another - if I was just meeting someone who said they were going to run an "old school game of Pathfinder" I'd have some questions about what that meant. Not if a guy I've been playing with for thirtysomething years said it though.


Adjule wrote:

So you are saying that 5th edition is exactly 4th edition, because they both have bounded accuracy?

There are similarities between 4th and 5th editions. There are no skill points, there's ritual casting, and spellcasting foci (holy symbols, arcane staff, and such). You could argue that the hit dice healing on a "short rest" is a highly watered down version of the "healing surge". That's about all I see. I guess there's bounded accuracy in 4th edition, but I couldn't tell you as there are no real class write-ups (such as class tables that every single edition used except 4th).

And I have no clue what you talk about when you say "4e Reduced". Are those someone's house rules or 3rd party products? Or do you mean "Essentials", which I have no experience with?

I think he was referring to essentials. It was basically a stripped down version of 4E, where some power-choices had been made for you - so you picked a class and it came with some pre-selected features rather than choosing powers as you levelled up (they were just reflavored powers though 'behind the curtain').

I don't think 4E had bounded accuracy anyway - it's not just about bonus progression, it's about the distinction between low level and high level characters and challenges. A horde of low level guards in 5E can present a challenge to a tenth level PC, in 4E those same guards would be presented as minions against paragon tier characters - annoying but not dangerous in any real sense.

If you interpret 'bounded accuracy' as just being a limit on progression, then everything is bounded - PF just has a 0-50 scale* instead of the 2-6 scale in 5E. The whole point about bounded accuracy is that the dice remains relevant throughout a PC's career - low level PCs have (negligible but existent) chances of passing high level challenges and high level PCs have (negligible but existent) chances of being defeated by low level challenges. It's not as simple as "total bonuses on any check are limited to less than 20" that's part of a much more complicated design structure.

For me, the main difference in play between 5E and 4E/PF is speed of combat resolution. That's my main beef with both 4E and PF - we have very limited game time and I hate spending half a session on one combat.

*:
50 being indicative, not accurately calculated.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
...and I hate spending half a session on one combat.

Agreed. I enjoy the exploration part of the game more than anything else. And it grinds to a halt when you spend 2-3 hours in the battle arena fighting. :(

Grand Lodge

Depends on how you build your encounters. Speed bumps don't slow the game down much.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
marketing...

You keep using this word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Please identify the actual marketing you're claiming influenced me. Mind you, I have no clue how you're going to actually prove that it influence ME specifically.

edit: btw, I'm not asking for examples of what you claim the marketing said, I'm asking for examples of the actual marketing (like an ad, provably sponsored social media campaign, etc) and for it to make the same claims that I'm making.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Depends on how you build your encounters. Speed bumps don't slow the game down much.

How long does it take you to play through a simple encounter? We find that even fights which we expect to win comfortably take us a couple of hours. Especially at high levels -

CotCT Book 5:
like say the fight with the orcs outside scarwall in CotCt, for example. How long would you expect that to take to play out, if you're familiar?
Grand Lodge

Steve Geddes wrote:
How long does it take you to play through a simple encounter?

30 minutes. Some fights are over faster than initiative is worked out. Higher levels do increase this, but the abundance of 'cast one spell, fight over' at those levels averages things out.


I run 6 hour sessions of Pathfinder. Last session we had 3 combats, in total the combats took about 2 hours of the session, with at least half of that on the last fight of the night. The other 4 hours was RP and the players planning how to approach the fight (they had to trap a demon that was using suggestion/domination to get a knightly do various horrors).


Maybe it's the difference in player skill. We can't get through a simple fight in less than an hour, pretty much ever. (Maybe half an hour sometimes but those are the 'foregone conclusion' encounters). Climactic battles near the end of modules/AP instalments nearly always take the entirety of our three hour sessions and reasonably often spill across two sessions.

We're not terribly good at making characters in PF though and we generally run modules as written, so maybe we're just continually outclassed.

Grand Lodge

I doubt it. Most of our players only have a year or two experience.


Combat can take forever in my group, but I blame that on some of my group being very easily distracted and prone to forgetting basic mechanics ("which one do I roll?"..."uh...the d20"..."oh yeah"). There's nothing like a 5 minute discussion about some irrelevant topic to kill combat pacing. When that doesn't happen, then even big APL+3 brawls involving friendly NPCs and piles of minions don't take much more than an hour

@Steve, do you know what your group spends most of their time on? If a single straightforward 2-3 round fight takes an hour, then each player is spending around 5 minutes per turn. I find it difficult to believe that most of that time is spent on...well...Pathfinder.


That's what I mean by player skill. We don't have 2-3 round fights. Even easy fights generally take us half a dozen rounds, I'd guess. Fights near the end of the modules generally take ten rounds or more (or end up with all of us dead - that happens a fair bit once we get up to levels 8 or so).

Having said that, we have one or two players for whom 'option paralysis' is a thing, so that's another reason games with lots of mechanical gadgets to choose from are not ideal for us.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Maybe it's the difference in player skill. We can't get through a simple fight in less than an hour, pretty much ever. (Maybe half an hour sometimes but those are the 'foregone conclusion' encounters). Climactic battles near the end of modules/AP instalments nearly always take the entirety of our three hour sessions and reasonably often spill across two sessions.

We're not terribly good at making characters in PF though and we generally run modules as written, so maybe we're just continually outclassed.

PF combat can be really slow. If speed is the number one issue for you and your group, I recommend loosening your fidelity to the rules.

Minor fix: toss out initiative (kinda). In essence, I use initiative on round 1, after that I kind of stop caring. In a complex fight, I might break up players with different groups of enemies, but if it's just against a small group of enemies who are all on the same initiative, the specific order doesn't really matter. So, instead of worrying about which player's turn it is, I just lump all the players together.

When a player knows what they're going to do, they take their turn. Players who don't know can wait and look at their options, but if they take too long (I give about 15-20 seconds silence), I move to the monsters and they lose their turn. As long as at least ONE player is doing something though, I don't start that internal timer.

Major Fix: get rid of the tactical grid. I usually keep it around, but if I want something to go fast, I disregard it completely. Once the grid is gone, actions take massively less time to finish. With the grid, a player might take a good 30-40 seconds just counting squares on different options to see what is available and what is optimal. That time adds up more than you think.

GM proficiency: I completely throw out monster building rules. I don't care for them and they don't suit my style. I build enemies that I need based on the stats I want them to have. For example, I build enemies that can actually threaten damage, but are easy to kill (IE, have significantly higher chances of landing attacks). I can also build a single enemy who has enough HP to survive 3-4 rounds of combat and be a threat to kill 1-2 PC's if the players are unlucky or make bad decisions.

Of course, this also works cause we use our own XP rules.


I think one of the subsystems of 3.X/PFRPG that slows down combat the most is the damnable attack of opportunity. It seems like almost any action that anyone would want to take in combat triggers a chain reaction of AoOs. Like feats, it was a good idea that was taken way too far in the initial rules, and then further mutated by the bloat that followed.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Norman Osborne wrote:
I think one of the subsystems of 3.X/PFRPG that slows down combat the most is the damnable attack of opportunity. It seems like almost any action that anyone would want to take in combat triggers a chain reaction of AoOs. Like feats, it was a good idea that was taken way too far in the initial rules, and then further mutated by the bloat that followed.

It's not the AoO itself that slows things down as extra attacks can actually speed things up, it's the indecision that stems from it that causes the problem. Then there's looking up the concentration rules for casting on the defensive and time taken to consider the risk of trying it. Or the time taken to count steps to avoid AoOs, failing to get in one way so trying another and then forgetting where you started from. Followed by indecision.

It's a great idea that's simple to implement, but turns the game into a chess-like experience. A six second clock to make a decision (and a gaming culture where mistakes are considered part of combat) would be ideal, but that's a bit brutal for inexperienced players.


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Norman Osborne wrote:
I think one of the subsystems of 3.X/PFRPG that slows down combat the most is the damnable attack of opportunity. It seems like almost any action that anyone would want to take in combat triggers a chain reaction of AoOs. Like feats, it was a good idea that was taken way too far in the initial rules, and then further mutated by the bloat that followed.

Going to agree with Stormfriend, it's not the attack itself. In essence, combat always takes X attacks from one side to win, AoO just shifts when those attacks happen. The problem is people counting squares to figure out ways to avoid the AoO.

I would agree that the AoO is overall a clunky system that kind of just looms over the rest of combat menacingly, while not actually being that big of a deal.


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What really slowed things down when I was playing PF, was the attempts to avoid AoOs, remembering all the various +1s and +2s (both attack and damage) and then adding them all up. Then there were the spellcasters trying to figure out what they wanted to cast (and then reading off what the spell does). It got so bad that if you were a martial, all you really did was just swing your weapon or fire your bow, because doing anything else just took up too much time.

5th edition simplified the AoO, to where you only provoked one if you moved out of a creature's reach. There also isn't the myriad of various +1s and +2s, which helps to reduce the time taken in combat. The spellcasters still end up taking up the most time figuring out what to do (unless they just go with a damaging cantrip).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I played a very interesting game of PFS yesterday. It was an unusual scenario that uses 7th level pre-gens only and it started out old-school and ended up new-school.

In part 1 the characters all have solo missions and mine was to assassinate someone and assume their identity (I did say it was unusual for PFS). We did this old school and I spent a bit of time scouting areas and looking for an opportunity to quietly take out the target, then stealthed past the guards, used character options to become a grapple specialist and knocked on the targets door. My surprise knockout attack missed so then we went into initiative, but this was still theatre of the mind stuff with no grid. I won initiative and managed to grapple and pin the opponent in the first round (using Greater Grapple). The GM then called the fight, assuming I'd just step into the room, shut the door with my foot and finish the target off. That was fine with me and then it was all about deciding where to hide the body.

The only thing that let this part down was my silent wondering what sort of grapple check it was to close a door with my foot whilst maintaining the pin. That's new-school thinking, which the GM thankfully ignored and moved things on. It was fun, briefly worrying when the surprise attack missed and things could have goine pear-shaped very fast, followed by the satisfaction of a plan well done. If it had failed I would have been running for cover and trying to disappear, as I was completely outgunned if the guards turned up.

The others completed their solo missions and we regrouped. At this point we were back into new-school combat and proceeded to slug-a-thon our way past DR, hardness, stoneskin, mirror images, invisibility and various other debuffs. At one point I was able to do 6 attacks per round for three rounds, hit on most of them, but did nothing except reduce the enemies defences. Yes, we won and the enemy fled, but there's something frustrating about making 18 attacks and doing no real damage.

The other thing was that we played the game in a supposed four hour slot but it took closer to six hours and went well past midnight, by which time the constant grind was getting boring. I like tactical combat, but do we need APL+4 combats? I know they're challenging, but the quick and dirty assassination attempt in part 1 was so much more satisfying. This for me sums up the differences perfectly. Both had risk, both involved tactical decisions, but the first fight took about 5 minutes from when I knocked on the door. The other fights must have averaged an hour or more each and yet the extra time didn't really add anything to the game.

Liberty's Edge

D&D Rules Cyclopedia. I don't feel I need to say anything else ;)


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Adjule wrote:

So you are saying that 5th edition is exactly 4th edition, because they both have bounded accuracy?

There are similarities between 4th and 5th editions. There are no skill points, there's ritual casting, and spellcasting foci (holy symbols, arcane staff, and such). You could argue that the hit dice healing on a "short rest" is a highly watered down version of the "healing surge". That's about all I see. I guess there's bounded accuracy in 4th edition, but I couldn't tell you as there are no real class write-ups (such as class tables that every single edition used except 4th).

And I have no clue what you talk about when you say "4e Reduced". Are those someone's house rules or 3rd party products? Or do you mean "Essentials", which I have no experience with?

I think he was referring to essentials. It was basically a stripped down version of 4E, where some power-choices had been made for you - so you picked a class and it came with some pre-selected features rather than choosing powers as you levelled up (they were just reflavored powers though 'behind the curtain').

I don't think 4E had bounded accuracy anyway - it's not just about bonus progression, it's about the distinction between low level and high level characters and challenges. A horde of low level guards in 5E can present a challenge to a tenth level PC, in 4E those same guards would be presented as minions against paragon tier characters - annoying but not dangerous in any real sense.

If you interpret 'bounded accuracy' as just being a limit on progression, then everything is bounded - PF just has a 0-50 scale* instead of the 2-6 scale in 5E. The whole point about bounded accuracy is that the dice remains relevant throughout a PC's career - low level PCs have (negligible but existent) chances of passing high level challenges and high level PCs have (negligible but existent) chances of being defeated by low level challenges. It's not as simple as "total bonuses on any check are limited to less than 20" that's...

There were actually multiple systems put out regarding 4e (Amethyst, Blackmoor, etc) all based on the 4e GSL which was basically the core rules of 4e. That GSL didn't include the powers system of 4e. One of those offshoot creations was basically sort of like someone's e6 and basically if you look at it they are the 5e rules, like someone copied that idea and tweaked it a little, like changing the saves system).

Irontruth wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
marketing...

You keep using this word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Please identify the actual marketing you're claiming influenced me. Mind you, I have no clue how you're going to actually prove that it influence ME specifically.

edit: btw, I'm not asking for examples of what you claim the marketing said, I'm asking for examples of the actual marketing (like an ad, provably sponsored social media campaign, etc) and for it to make the same claims that I'm making.

4e marketing - 3e was old antiquated and imbalanced. So were the other systems before it. You should hate all the older systems and love 4e because we've fixed it.

This is a prime example of their marketing of 4e and how it turned many off

4e ad

(core 4e was actually closer to 3.5 than 5e is to 3e or any system prior to it).

5e - We've gotten everything from every older system and managed to make them compatible

(at least that was the tagline at first) so you can play the game like any of the older D&D games you want. (which actually is not true. It has nothing in common with pre-2000 D&D, and not that much in relation to 3e or 3.5).

Later it was they respected the older editions so much that players could play it just like any older D&D they wanted as they got bits of it from every edition.

(In truth, they just wanted your money. 5e really has NOTHING from anything pre-2000, the 4e players in the playtest basically got the 4e idea in there, ironically without the powers system added on many of those same 4e players hated 5e).

This is a common example of 5e advertising

5e ad written as article

Bits to pay attention to

Quote:

Is edition unification even possible? A trip through the convoluted history of D&D's editions will show us how we got here, and if there's a way out.
......
seems like Wizards is aiming for a thematic unification, One System to Rule Them All, a version of D&D so perfect, so adaptable and so in tune with the game's ideals that it will win over every gamer.

Bounded Accuracy - 4e had this, and I would imagine most who played 4e could recognize it. 5e is +1 to your proficiency bonus for skills, attack, and otherwise every 4 levels. It is exactly 1/2 the advancement of 4e which was a +1 to your attacks, and other items every 2 levels.

I find it absolutely amazing how people who hated 4e absolutely claim to love 5e. It is the greatest marketing I've seen regarding RPGs. It's even more amazing when those who claim to be old school players state they love 5e because it is old school. They must have played a VERY DIFFERENT game than I did.

Even better is when they claim it is just like AD&D...I start wondering which AD&D game they ever played.

When I point out there isn't a rule system that really comes from AD&D found in 5e anywhere...they then say it's the spirit of the rules rather than the rules themselves.

At which point one would wonder, if a game can have NOTHING IN COMMMON with another like 5e has in relation to pre-2000 D&D and they say that, it obviously means something like Warhammer Rogue Trader, or Eclipse Phase, or FATE must be exactly like it as well because the same logic could apply overall.

5e is built with New School ideas...the marketing doesn't fool most of the old school gamers that I know (though I do know a LOT of 3e players that started either late in the 2e era, or with 3e that love 5e and consider it "Old School.")

I suppose that may be why they aren't getting those 20 million former D&D players back. The appeal to nostalgia normally means you must have SOMETHING that actually appeals to people's nostalgia (note transformer movies marketing and actual movies with Optimus Prime and Megatron...or the Force Awakens which probably went a little overboard with a very similar plot to two OT movies...or myriad OTHER items which appeal to the nostalgia of the viewer/player). Most successful marketing campaigns that base it on nostalgia get back a LOT of the old timers that were excited about the originals (for example, Force Awakens got a LOT of the Former Star Wars fans of the OT, not just those who were current fans of Star Wars)

With 5e's appeal to nostalgia, They got a LOT of the people that were currently playing RPGs, but they really didn't recapture the magic that made AD&D a fad in the early 80s, or made it almost a 100 million dollar company in the late 80s and early 90s. A lot of that is because 5e is NOTHING like the AD&D from before, or even the D&D of that same era. Some MIGHT make a case for similarities between it and 3e/D20...but much of that is simply due to how similar the core rules of 4e were to 3e and how they got passed onto 5e.

5e is NEW SCHOOL through and through in how it is designed. I played 4e and it was fun, but when it came out I was pretty peeved off at how they were trying to release a new system and call it D&D. I saw the same thing with 5e (or at least a tweaked 4e GSL) and, yeah...I'm done with WotC D&D if I have to choose (unfortunately I play with some that seem to absolutely love it, which means I'm actually in a 5e campaign right now). I'll stick with PF all the way now if I had my choice of games these days.


for completion...Essentials probably was where they changed their marketing scheme to try to appeal to the nostalgia of older gamers.

This ad shows their complete change of direction.

Worlds of Adventure offtake

Which, while perhaps my favorite D&D ad later, didn't really fool anyone. 4e had too much baggage behind it for dissing older editions.

However, change it up with a multi-year campaign and utilize the same idea to appeal to nostalgia won over a LOT of gamers with 5e...even if it didn't work for 4e.

As a note...I love the ad, I believe it was taken from a winning video for a D&D contest and is found here.

worlds of adventure


Which of these things are you claiming I've seen prior to your linking them?

Cause, for them to have influenced my opinion, I would have had to have seen them prior to my posts where I talk about 4E and 5E. Would you like me to PM someone the answer before you guess?

Sovereign Court

GreyWolfLord wrote:

4e marketing - 3e was old antiquated and imbalanced. So were the other systems before it. You should hate all the older systems and love 4e because we've fixed it.

This is a prime example of their marketing of 4e and how it turned many off

If it was the marketing that turned people off, why were the initial 4e sales numbers so good? Heck - they sold out of the first print run during the pre-orders alone. It was only after people had tried the system that sales started to slide.


Also, GWL still hasn't mentioned what I would consider the major points about either system for looking at their contributions to game design or what I consider important aspects to critique them on for their design. I'd like to make sure he's done "reading my mind" though.

Grand Lodge

Irontruth wrote:
I'd like to make sure he's done "reading my mind" though.

While I obviously can't speak for GWL, don't you think it's possible (if not highly probable) that GWL was speaking with a broad brush concerning WotC's marketing of 4th and 5th edition?

I mean not to be snarky, but just because YOU personally were not effected or influenced by WotC's marketing strategy concerning those editions, well, there are pages and pages of evidence on these very message boards that many gamers were.

There are times when using a broad brush to paint something is appropriate.

Just sayin'!


Honestly, 4th and 5th are the same? Really, now?

Yes, both have bounded accuracy.

They also have rituals.

Whoop de do.

5th edition tossed out the pattern that everything needed to be at-will/encounter/daily powers and went back to class abilities and vancian spellcasting.

5th edition has dumped the bizarre idea of skill challenges (finally, thank god, who designed that crap???), going back to what seems to me to be a return to 2nd/3rd edition skills (loosely defined), only with a different method of getting them that is more like 4th.

5th edition went back to 2nd edition for magic items, where you weren't supposed to buy them, no WBL guidelines, and with generally static and powerful effects.

5th edition finally dumped the baggage of dragonborns.

5th edition Forgotten Realms seems to me to be very much an apology for what was done in 4th, with not even a mention of the Spellplague and the OMGSOEDGYOMGOMGOMG stuff they sprayed over it in 4th. As read, the books could easily be said to ignore the entire debacle and play out a year or two after 3rd edition ended.

5th edition returned monsters to not have ten times the number of hit points to make fights last longer seen in 4th. Monsters have also gone back to being "gnoll", "beholder", and "ancient green dragon" instead of "brutal murdergnoll (tm)", "horrordeath eyebarrage (tm)" and "poisongaschokedeathmurder dragon (tm)" (you know the type of green dragon that is a bit more powerful than the "poisondeathgaschokemurder dragon (tm)").


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Digitalelf wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I'd like to make sure he's done "reading my mind" though.

While I obviously can't speak for GWL, don't you think it's possible (if not highly probable) that GWL was speaking with a broad brush concerning WotC's marketing of 4th and 5th edition?

I mean not to be snarky, but just because YOU personally were not effected or influenced by WotC's marketing strategy concerning those editions, well, there are pages and pages of evidence on these very message boards that many gamers were.

There are times when using a broad brush to paint something is appropriate.

Just sayin'!

It's one thing to say "4E put many people off with it's marketing and 5E has been much more successful at avoiding that problem" and another to say "anyone who has a different opinion than I do about the pedigree of 5E has been fooled by the marketing".


Digitalelf wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I'd like to make sure he's done "reading my mind" though.

While I obviously can't speak for GWL, don't you think it's possible (if not highly probable) that GWL was speaking with a broad brush concerning WotC's marketing of 4th and 5th edition?

I mean not to be snarky, but just because YOU personally were not effected or influenced by WotC's marketing strategy concerning those editions, well, there are pages and pages of evidence on these very message boards that many gamers were.

There are times when using a broad brush to paint something is appropriate.

Just sayin'!

No, he's quoted me and said I bought into the marketing, because I disagreed with him.

He made the claim it was all marketing.
I disagreed and said that 4E was actually the most radically different version of D&D out of all the editions.
He then replied to me and said none of what I said was true, it was just marketing.
When I challenged him for specific marketing ads, he included those as well.

He's claiming to know why I think 4E is radically different from other editions of D&D, except he hasn't actually mentioned it yet, so I'm doubtful of this claim.


Digitalelf wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I'd like to make sure he's done "reading my mind" though.

While I obviously can't speak for GWL, don't you think it's possible (if not highly probable) that GWL was speaking with a broad brush concerning WotC's marketing of 4th and 5th edition?

I mean not to be snarky, but just because YOU personally were not effected or influenced by WotC's marketing strategy concerning those editions, well, there are pages and pages of evidence on these very message boards that many gamers were.

There are times when using a broad brush to paint something is appropriate.

Just sayin'!

You are right...the evidence of the marketing IS out there (it took me all of 2 seconds on google to find the stuff I did...and in fact it is found in a majority of the pre-alpha/beta playtest of 5e, as well as myriads of different things for 4e...so...yeah...

You'd have to NOT be on the internet (and NOT on paizo itself as these very forums have several threads in regards to this stuff) to say you didn't see it...but hey...everyone claims something...

Irontruth wrote:

No, he's quoted me and said I bought into the marketing, because I disagreed with him.

He made the claim it was all marketing.
I disagreed and said that 4E was actually the most radically different version of D&D out of all the editions.
He then replied to me and said none of what I said was true, it was just marketing.
When I challenged him for specific marketing ads, he included those as well.

He's claiming to know why I think 4E is radically different from other editions of D&D, except he hasn't actually mentioned it yet, so I'm doubtful of this claim.

You are absolutely right.

There is NOTHING about 5e that is like pre-2000 AD&D that isn't found in some other non-D&D system (and as I said, palladium at this point is closer to AD&D than 4e or 5e EVER WERE).

What does 4e without the powers system (which as I said, is NOT GSL and was NOT included in the core rules of 4e) is radically different than 3e?

Powers is NOT fundamental...but I know that many who try to defend their love of 5e but say they hate 4e (when in truth, out of 4e and 5e, outside of combat 4e is actually a LOT more like OD&D and 1e in it's approach than 5e is...at least once you drop the ridiculous group skill challenges that were dropped by 95% of the groups by the second year it was out). 4e has MORE similarities between 3e and 3.5 than 5e has. However, the same changes in 4e were incorporated into 5e and made even MORE radical and different.

If you don't claim 5e is old school, and you don't claim 5e is anything like pre-2000 D&D/AD&D...you are right...you absolutely MIGHT not have been affected by marketing...and I would actually believe you (because it's that obvious...on many other forums if not these...and even more so...as per the 20 million gamers they did NOT win back or even tempt which is the failure of correctly applying nostalgia like the successful nostalgia efforts have done (like the Force Awakens).

I will admit, I could be wrong about some out there. There could be some that just play 5e because they like it and marketing had NO effect on them.

So, you are right...you CAN LIKE 5e and hate 4e, BUT if you are one that tries to claim that it is like the older Old School systems and such...yeah...that's the entire bogus picture painted by the marketing. Then yes, you bought the marketing hook, line and sinker. There is really NO other explanation too it as 5e has NOTHING in common with the old game systems, and in reality has less in common with the pre-2000 AD&D than MANY OTHER SYSTEMS THAT ARE NOT EVEN UNDER THE D&D FAMILY by WOTC. Those who say it did...yeah...that is total marketing that they bought and are under the group think that WotC has tried to spread about it.

They flooded the market with that marketing idea on the internet around 2012 and doubled down in the months right before and following the release.

The pudding on the cake...when compared to the 4e GSL, or even more to a powers less system based on the 4e GSL...well...that's 5e (with a different save system). If you liked 5e and having few rules outside of combat...you should have LOVED the 4e GSL lite. 5e marketing wouldn't have you think or even realize that 5e in many ways was a repackage of the 4e GSL (doubled down on certain changes they made in 4e from earlier editions though, like Bounded accuracy).

MANY on other forums saw right through it. Paizo puts up with it...

but think...this is a PATHFINDER FORUM...(yes, this is the 4e and beyond forum...but look up at the Dungeon and Dragon transition forums still there...what is the post that has remained visible for the past few years...

Yep...it's still there...

That in mind, do you REALLY think I'm all that odd for thinking the way I do, or being disgusted at WotC's marketing tactics and think they are deceptive (remember WotC claiming 4e sold far more than 3e or 3.5...and it had sold out so many print runs really quick...yeah...sounds familiar when he says the same thing about 5e), much less how they do the edition churn?

You could call me one of the disenfranchised fans (that's just the tip of the iceberg on their marketing...you want to know REAL disgenius...to discount 3.5 edition and it's influence because they rereleased the core books "for the fans" a few years ago between 4e and 5e at prices above the going market price of the current books. The poor sales is one factor they can use to justify why a rerelease of "3.5 wouldn't work.").

4e started the crumble for me, 5e basically is what made it so that I'm a Pathfinder fan far more than a D&D fan these days...and I'm pretty sure that if you look at 4e and 5e responses...I'm definitely not the only one.

You are right, up until 4e came out, 4e was probably the most radical departure of rules up until then...it changed the entire foundation of the system...5e simply was a continuation of the same. 4e killed it for many players...for me, it was just the bullet to the heart (you can live with an artificial heart and even enjoy life sometimes)...but then 5e was the follow up that was the bullet to the head for me.

I'm done with WotC D&D if I had a choice...right now it's all Pathfinder for me when I can choose the game.

5e itself isn't a BAD game per se (though I'd say it's more meh...than anything else)...it's just not D&D in any way shape or form...other than I am the Leader of the Free world (sure, I can call myself that, I might even copyright it...but that doesn't make it any more true than 5e or 4e being D&D as most of the rest of everyone sees it anymore). I call Pathfinder it's own game (and I truly believe that these days, it's come into it's own and stands on it's own)...but I feel it is FAR more D&D than either 4e OR 5e.


You have a weird idea of 4E. Maybe, technically a better one than I do. You're certainly more familiar with it in all of its forms and evolution.

But to bluntly dismiss powers as not part of Core 4E and chastise anyone who thinks so? I'm not sure how you're defining "Core", but they certainly were a featured part of the original Core Rule books for 4e. They pretty much defined how the classes worked back when I tried the system out. They were also a large part of why I thought it didn't feel much like D&D.

But I gave up on the system. So maybe there was some later iteration or hypothetical version cobbled together out of the GSL & 3pp that would worked more like you say. It wasn't the 4E I played with the original set of Core Rules.

5E, to me, the little I've played it did seem to get that feel back. That's purely subjective, but it's enough to have me interested in trying a longer game. It's certainly got some features from 4E. It's also got some approaches that harken back to older versions.


thejeff wrote:

You have a weird idea of 4E. Maybe, technically a better one than I do. You're certainly more familiar with it in all of its forms and evolution.

But to bluntly dismiss powers as not part of Core 4E and chastise anyone who thinks so? I'm not sure how you're defining "Core", but they certainly were a featured part of the original Core Rule books for 4e. They pretty much defined how the classes worked back when I tried the system out. They were also a large part of why I thought it didn't feel much like D&D.

But I gave up on the system. So maybe there was some later iteration or hypothetical version cobbled together out of the GSL & 3pp that would worked more like you say. It wasn't the 4E I played with the original set of Core Rules.

5E, to me, the little I've played it did seem to get that feel back. That's purely subjective, but it's enough to have me interested in trying a longer game. It's certainly got some features from 4E. It's also got some approaches that harken back to older versions.

It's a tricky thing. Powers were a very intricate thing with 4e when it was originally released. I can't debate that.

However, it really wasn't included as a plausible item in the GSL. It had a brief description, but all the powers were Copyrighted by WotC and protected from being reprinted by anyone else. In that light, even upon the GSL release, it really only include the core ideas and rules for 4e (which ironically was ONE of MANY major complaints about the GSL).

This led to some VERY odd ducks out there in regards to offshoots of that GSL (some underground, some published and sold in bookstores). Some created their own powers and system for their character classes (like Blackmoor which tried to adhere closely, or amethyst which was more exploratory in some ways), while others simply did without the powers and utilized the 4e GSL that they could find on their own ways (similar to the E6 attempts for a 4e fashion).

WotC finally even started buying into this idea where they abandoned the powers system for several classes upon their release (what some would call the 4.5 edition) of Essentials. In Essentials you see the start of many of the 5e isms that are present today (much like some say the bo9S was the start of 4e in 3.5e). It didn't take it to the extreme that WotC did (in fact, the skill system 5e uses...I'm still wondering how WotC got away with that without being sued...but then, it's very similar to the 4e system as well which some would say was taken almost wholesale from C&C...soooo...maybe something let them copy the ideas from other systems due to clauses in the OGL or GSL).

4e already included the idea of different paths (or Archetypes in 5e) with different abilities and powers...which became far more defined in the Essentials series...as well as introducing themes (which became backgrounds in 5e...and more fleshed out then that themes had been in 4e).

I played 4e for quite a while (didn't even start into Pathfinder until I actually gave the BB a try...then found I loved PF and what it had done for 3.5). It's actually funny to see people say they love certain things about 5e which many of those very same people say they supposedly hated about 4e (though if they say they hated the saves in 3e or in the 4e system, as that was one of the big changes in 5e...that's actually very plausible).

I don't have a problem with people liking 5e...but it does annoy me when people simply repeat the 5e marketing mantra's put out by WotC.

When they do that, it just convinces me they bought into the massive internet marketing WotC put out (and come on...RPG Pundit is some of their excuses of why it's OSR...I mean...come ON, don't make me say what I really think!).

But, if they play 5e because that's what they like...I actually don't have a problem with them or that they play it and wish them more power for it(though currently I'm stuck playing it with a group that WANTS to play 5e instead of PF...maybe that's another reason I'm disgruntled at 5e).

In the OSR I see several different ways of thinking about it. I would boil it down to two main areas...that of style of play, and that of rules design.

I'm of the mind that it's possible to play Old School for any of the D&D systems (and yes, that includes 4e)...and if that style of play defines Old School, that it's possible to play Old School with 4e or 5e, and even pathfinder (which is my PREFERRED fashion of playing Pathfinder).

In that fashion, people may play AD&D in one style and Pathfinder or 4e or 5e in a different, but to say one is OSR type play and the other isn't...to me is sort of disgenius.

However, if one wants to define how something was designed...there is a distinct difference between how many modern games that are mainstream were designed, and how the old AD&D and D&D of the past were designed. Those are palpable differences.

5e, when looking at it, really had nothing from the Older editions included FOR A REASON...and that's due to the modern design philosophy of class vs. class in power and ability. It's not a bad thing...it's just a different approach.

However, to be clear, my dislike of 5e isn't really due to it being a bad system (it's not). It probably has more to do with the bad taste in my mouth I got when 4e was announced and released and though based on 3.5, in many ways was rebuilt to be nothing like I expected of D&D...and when I saw how close 5e was to 4e's base ideas and rules instead of returning more to how AD&D and other games of that era were...yeah...

Considering their market strategy at the time...I felt lied to...and the entire thing they did with 4e combined with that...bad taste expands to outright upset stomach and wishing they hadn't hijacked the D&D name for some other system...

That probably has FAR more to do with my dislike of 5e than 5e itself to be honest.


GreyWolfLord wrote:
Digitalelf wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I'd like to make sure he's done "reading my mind" though.

While I obviously can't speak for GWL, don't you think it's possible (if not highly probable) that GWL was speaking with a broad brush concerning WotC's marketing of 4th and 5th edition?

I mean not to be snarky, but just because YOU personally were not effected or influenced by WotC's marketing strategy concerning those editions, well, there are pages and pages of evidence on these very message boards that many gamers were.

There are times when using a broad brush to paint something is appropriate.

Just sayin'!

You are right...the evidence of the marketing IS out there (it took me all of 2 seconds on google to find the stuff I did...and in fact it is found in a majority of the pre-alpha/beta playtest of 5e, as well as myriads of different things for 4e...so...yeah...

You'd have to NOT be on the internet (and NOT on paizo itself as these very forums have several threads in regards to this stuff) to say you didn't see it...but hey...everyone claims something...

Irontruth wrote:

No, he's quoted me and said I bought into the marketing, because I disagreed with him.

He made the claim it was all marketing.
I disagreed and said that 4E was actually the most radically different version of D&D out of all the editions.
He then replied to me and said none of what I said was true, it was just marketing.
When I challenged him for specific marketing ads, he included those as well.

He's claiming to know why I think 4E is radically different from other editions of D&D, except he hasn't actually mentioned it yet, so I'm doubtful of this claim.

You are absolutely right.

There is NOTHING about 5e that is like pre-2000 AD&D that isn't found in some other non-D&D system (and as I said, palladium at this point is closer to AD&D than 4e or 5e EVER WERE).

What does 4e without the powers system (which as I said, is NOT GSL and was NOT included in the core rules...

At this point, I'm curious how many words you can type debating me without me having to say anything. Everything you're writing seems like it's from a debate you had with someone else. It's not a debate with me.

You keep asserting to what my views on 4E and 5E are, without paying attention to what I've said, but instead ASSUME that I'm making boiler plate claims.

I never saw a single thing of marketing that you've linked so far. None of it.

Let me know when you're done making assumptions about my views on 4e and 5e.


Irontruth...maybe you should read what I actually wrote there. Or at least, that's what I would think...I could be wrong.

Paraphrasing what is relavant towards you in the my last reply to you...

I admitted, it's possible that you like 5e and don't repeat the views of the marketing hype (I didn't go over all your posts to see if you actually were simply repeating the mantra that WotC had been stating for years or not in all honesty, and take it for granted that your profusion of dissent means that you did not). In fact, I think I pointed that out at the beginning of my last response that it was actually possible that you weren't exposed to the marketing hype and simply like 5e for 5e.

Of course, if you repeat the same items the marketing hype repeated...and has been found even on these forums...that pretty much is self explanatory.

Your post above this seems to indicate that you disagree with my thoughts that you may be right in what you stated. Are you saying I'm wrong to say you might be right in regards to you?

Does that sound a little confusing?

It does to me...because that's what your post above makes it seem to me.

That's a little confusing.

But, if you read my actual posts...and then perhaps respond to them (yes, at this point I'm assuming you didn't read...because your above post didn't really seem all that clear to me, I could be wrong and your typing didn't mean what you meant them to mean) maybe you're last comment would make a little more sense to me?


I said this on the last page:

Quote:
I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

You then went into several long rants about how I was wrong with this statement.

From my perspective, you've said some things that are definitely true about WOTC and each game system, but you haven't actually addressed several of the central concepts that I think makes my statements trues. Instead of asking me, you went deeper and deeper into your assumptions and assertions of how I arrived at them.

You tend to be pretty willing to keep going down whatever rabbit hole you find, and regardless of what I say, you usually just keep going down it. So, I'm partially just waiting to see if/when you'll stop.


Irontruth wrote:

I said this on the last page:

Quote:
I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

You then went into several long rants about how I was wrong with this statement.

From my perspective, you've said some things that are definitely true about WOTC and each game system, but you haven't actually addressed several of the central concepts that I think makes my statements trues. Instead of asking me, you went deeper and deeper into your assumptions and assertions of how I arrived at them.

You tend to be pretty willing to keep going down whatever rabbit hole you find, and regardless of what I say, you usually just keep going down it. So, I'm partially just waiting to see if/when you'll stop.

You're right, I jumped to a conclusion regarding your statements originally.

I realized that with my response to you later and hence included the caveats that it was possible for someone to have liked 5e and hated 4e and not have it due to marketing...or simply like 5e.

I just got sick of all the lies and deceit from WotC in regards to their D&D that...I probably over react when others (not aimed at you specifically, this is a general statement) simply repeat the marketing statements and ideas over and over again.


What is or isn't included in the GSL for 4e doesn't mean squat. What does is what is included in the 4th Edition PHB (1, 2, and 3). Even looking at just the PHB 1 for both 4e and 5e, 5e shows more similarity to pre-4e than 4e does. Oh wow, 4e has Fortitude, Reflex, and Will while 5e has the 6 ability scores for saves.

Looking at the classes, I see more in common with 3rd edition than 4th edition when it comes to 5th edition.

4th edition Essentials still had powers, but they were "class features and powers". WotC failed badly with 4th edition. Even the Essentials failed to get people interested.

As for that ad? I don't know what to say to that, other than I had never seen it before just now. Hell, I even said 5th edition was going to be complete crap when I looked at the playtest, and didn't give it a shot until they released the Basic Rules just before the Starter Set Adventure was released (there is concrete evidence of this in my post history around 2013-14. I can't remember if there was in 2013 or not). So I never "bought into the advertising".

If my last Pathfinder group wasn't such a s~##show, I probably never would have touched 5th edition. But they soured me on Pathfinder, so I sucked up my dislike of the playtest and gave 5e a shot. The only 4e-isms I see are bounded accuracy (I assume, as I never saw any write-up for any sort of attack bonus, so I will give you that one for free), no skill ranks, "healing surges" in the form of hit dice healing (which I think is stretching it), and the class archetypes (though that's a bit of a stretch as well, as those were chosen 1/2 way through your level progression). Oh, and races not having negative stat mods.

I play 5e instead of Pathfinder because there aren't so many +2s that I need to keep track of and remember if they stack, not because of some nebulous "return to old school feel!" that you say the advertising spewed (which I never bought into because I never saw it, and thought 5e was going to be complete crap). Your hatred of 5e encases everything you say about it (and a lot of things you reply to people who say they like it). We get it, you absolutely hate it. But there is no need to put words in other people's mouths (or thread replies, as it is) about why they like it.

I know my reasons for liking it, and it had nothing to do with advertising, and everything to do with previous experiences with 4th edition and Pathfinder. 4e's crapping on 3e didn't influence my dislike of 4e, but the design of everything about it. There were some things I liked (no negative mods to races... mostly the races as a whole, really), but as a whole, 4e was crap.


"The only 4e-isms I see are bounded accuracy (I assume, as I never saw any write-up for any sort of attack bonus, so I will give you that one for free).."

From past discussion, I believe the thing they have in common that GreyWolfLord considers "bounded accuracy" is a universal level-tied progression (+2 to +6 over twenty levels in 5E +0 to +15 over thirty levels in 4E). However, it's broader than that. It means that the bonuses remain limited so that the d20 is always relevant (preventing the issue of some PCs autosucceeding whilst everyone else autofails). It means a score of goblins can challenge a level 10 PC and that a low level PC has a slim but non-zero chance of overcoming challenges appropriate to high level PCs.

There is a pronounced difference in power progression between the two systems and it all ultimately comes back to bounded accuracy which was embraced in 5E but not followed in 4E (they focussed more on discrete differences between the tiers).


Adjule wrote:
If my last Pathfinder group wasn't such a s&@*show, I probably never would have touched 5th edition. But they soured me on Pathfinder, so I sucked up my dislike of the playtest and gave 5e a shot. The only 4e-isms I see are bounded accuracy (I assume, as I never saw any write-up for any sort of attack bonus, so I will give you that one for free), no skill ranks, "healing surges" in the form of hit dice healing (which I think is stretching it), and the class archetypes (though that's a bit of a stretch as well, as those were chosen 1/2 way through your level progression). Oh, and races not having negative stat mods.

Don't forget backgrounds (formerly known as themes, at the time they were more setting specific, first started during the Dark Sun Campaign release and continued on releases after that), but overall, you covered most of the main concepts core system of 4e.

The bounded accuracy wasn't just for attack bonuses overall, it was also for defense, saves, and skills. The difference in 4e and 5e was that everyone got to add that bonus to their skills in 4e but if trained also got to add a +5 to their roll (or maybe you take a feat and get a +6 training).

However, it seems you covered most of what the 4e core rules covered. When you didn't include powers, it was actually pretty sparse, in fact it was probably one of the more sparse rules sets out of there.

4e to 5e evolution can be an interesting thing to discuss (as can also the 2e to 3e and the 3e to 4e. I don't find the 3e to 3.5 evolution as interesting to discuss because it's far more abrupt and clear cut than the others). Some observations in the evolution of 5e from 4e can be seen as follows...

Healing surges was dropped in 5e overall, though it can be an option I suppose.

Battlemaster was supposed to be the 5e salve for those 4e gamers that hated that the powers system was dropped in 5e (many loved the powers system in 4e, it wasn't an "essential" but it was loved by many of those who played it). Overall, many try to assume that the powers system was 4e and vice versa...which actually wasn't true...but many like to try to make others believe it was.

If anything, that was a problem with 4e in that with the added powers system to the core rules, most of them were only used in combat (which was another reason many said 4e was all about combat and ignored the 50-90% of the game that wasn't if it was played in an old school style)...which meant that out of combat, there wasn't that much really defined. It was open season on roleplaying with the typical answer when someone asked a question about it...turn to DMG page 42...the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

The skill challenges as opposed to simple skill tests (which most people resorted too after awhile as skill challenges were convulted unless houseruled) were presented but almost no one really understood them and they were almost always presented poorly in adventures creating havoc and dislike.

This sparsity of rules is probably one of the most overlooked items about 4e (and something they cleaned up a little bit with 5e). At it's core, 4e was a very simple system without the powers ideas added on.

In fact, without the powers system, many could be infuriated about how sparse 4e was and how little it actually defined or rules outside those small borders.

On it's design itself...

One reason behind the 4e bounded accuracy was the idea that the sweet spot was at lower levels, or anything below level 10. Hence, they wanted to keep things below epic adventures (so everything between 1-20) within the same ranges as one would find within a 3e game from 1-10. When playing 4e, then, the idea was that the actual in game bonus would be between +1 to +10. Unfortunately, they didn't balance the math exactly right at first which meant monsters that had inflated stats in certain areas and underflated stats in others and other problems which turned fights into hours long slogfests instead of quicker, faster, combats. It wasn't until MM3 and essentials that you started seeing them trying to repair this.

Gamma world is a prime example of them creating a different type of powers system, but keeping the core rules of 4e. (they still tried to keep the +1 - +10 bonus of levels 1-10...but actually kept it as maximum 10th level instead of going to 20th). The actual rules are extremely sparse and show how lite the core rules of 4e actually are. They also used it as an experiment...part of the idea with Gamma World was to create a hybrid powers system, one that could attract Magic the Gathering players. In that light, they had it different than the 4e powers system. They included a minimal amount of powers to the character race/class itself...but then had it so people would collect cards which would give them special abilities. They would build these card decks before and after sessions, with the ability to buy MORE cards and add on packs.

I assume this idea for a powers system did not work too well...as I didn't see a ton of turn over for those cards from my own personal observations (I could be wrong...this is only a personal observation).

3.5 UA was where they first experimented with CR's being a set number rather than a mobile number as per the original 3e and 3.5 idea. This was fleshed out far more in 4e and Gamma World (interestingly enough, a LOT of the GSL games didn't actually touch this much) and the ideas continued to 5e (though personally, I think PF has handled set numbers in CR far better than any of them...personal opinion).

Around that time some were also hypothesizing that 10 levels was too broad, and that the key levels were actually far smaller (something perhaps between levels 3 and 8 maybe). Some of this was probably from them seeing that many preferred to stick with 4e games from levels 1-10 and not go far above that (I think that most ended before level 12). That led to another idea of the level range being even lower in what people preferred with the bonuses actually being something between +0 and +6. That combined with the 4e GSL lite games probably was where you start seeing the inception of a very low bounded accuracy (though my personal opinion of why people preferred playing levels 1-10 with 12 -14 being the maximum was that with the powers system it got FAR too much for some to keep track of if they went that much into the higher levels of play).

Of course, they still stuck with the +0 and +1 proficiency bonuses at first level when they started, but over time I guess playtesters also felt a higher starting proficiency bonus and other items were needed (though they did away with the kicker HP at first level also...or what first started in hackmaster as a kicker to characters so they survived longer, got transferred over to 4e, and then was in the 5e playtest but died a miserable death).

I think a LOT of 4e players were FAR too attached to the powers system, in all honesty. I think that 5e tried too hard to appeal to the 4e base and that is why we see so much of 5e evolved from 4e. That's why, though it lists what you can roll for HP, it also lists set HP if you want to do it that way, monsters you can roll or have set damage, and other 4e isms that are blatantly obvious to 4e players.

However, many 4e players who LOVED the powers system, absolutely hated that it wasn't in 5e, and felt the battlemaster didn't do enough to sate them. I think that's the most common complaint I see from 4e players that dislike 5e these days. It's not the only reason I've seen, just the most common.

4e evolution to 5e is actually pretty interesting to discuss...even if I prefer Pathfinder over 5e these days.

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