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D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?

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So, how did GMs do handle these situations before D&D 3.0 and AD&D 2.0 (with the skill additions)? Most DMs seemed to handle things pretty well, even if they were "fudging" or determining things as they went. Seemed to be called role playing back then as well.

I handled it by moving to a different system, one that has a broad level of skills.

 

The real "problem" here may be that they added something into D&D with 3.0, then scaled it way back in 4e.

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I have played through the first dungeon almost twice now and it is safe to say that my View of fourth is a resounding MEH. Not really bad, not really that good. A couple things I have noticed.

Strikers seem to be the IT class with the ranger totally rocking in all things.

Clerics get shafted first level as some of their abilities have to hit the Kobolds highest save AC.

Tanks have been severely nerfed and there really is no point to be taking a great sword because your job is mainly as a defender and walking HP soak. So just sword and shield it for maximum AC

Character creation is actually pretty quick once you get down the basics. But there are some things that I still find wonkey.

The whole add ½ your level seems like a giant cop out just so they didn’t have to make advancement tables for all classes.

The skills I am ok with so far. They have really cut them back though and it seems that in the DMG dungeon being a sneak is pointless as they tell you your action and the Kobolds reaction (I.E. “The adventurers walk into the room, the Kobold yells for his comrades”).

 

You can definitely tell that 4thed pulls A LOT from WoW. But you do have to admit that the player base of WoW is what Wizard’s is going after right now. People under 18.

Granted my view is a little one sided as I have always thought that D20 was a weaker system. It has its strong points but also has some weaknesses, like all RPGs. I don’t regret getting 4thed for a discount. I mean if I end up hating the system then I still have a pretty fun little distraction for my friends that play my Shadowrun game.

 

All In all I would give it a B- right now. maybe it will get better when I play it some more.

 

Edit-hey what do you know, 100 posts.

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The real "problem" here may be that they added something into D&D with 3.0, then scaled it way back in 4e.

 

That's definitely part of it. I will say now (as I have said in the past) I am a HUGE fan of skill based games. I felt 3xe's greatest strength was its elegant, open ended skill system (i.e. there was no artifical ceiling like you'd get in closed skill systems like d100). Rather than assigning penalties to difficult actions, it just made the target score highter. I love to look at my character sheet and see exactly what my characters can do, and how good they are at it. In 3e EVERY character I made took ranks in either Profession or Craft...not just for RP purposes, but because it helped define what exactly my character can do. In 4e if I want to be a master smith, I can "say" I am one, but how does one RP it, other than DM fiat? I'd rather have that level of control over my character...I don't want to "feel" like I have no control over the direction of the story either. So yes I resent that 4e pared the skills back so severely, and watered them down. They feel like a return to NWP from 1e/2e (and to answer the previous question, neither 1e nor 2e did it well...we had to either adapt rules from other games or not bother with it).

 

Damon.

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As others have pointed out, it's your CHARACTER that interacts with NPCs in RP situations. So it should be your CHARACTER's capabilities, not you as the player, that has more influence on the outcome. You can direct your character's actions, but there might need to be some mechanic to finally resolve the situation.

 

How does the GM determine your character's success when you try to sneak past a guard?

So, how did GMs do handle these situations before D&D 3.0 and AD&D 2.0 (with the skill additions)? Most DMs seemed to handle things pretty well, even if they were "fudging" or determining things as they went. Seemed to be called role playing back then as well.

 

Ron

 

 

They all handled it differently. There were lots of pointless page flipping to find any rule to cover the current situation the characters found themselves in. And there were lots of arguments. Let me repeat: there were lots of arguments.

 

Sometimes situations were easy to resolve, a lot of times they were not. Codified rules help cover a lot more situations. Sometimes they can be restrictive, but at least there's more to base some skill learnings and resolving of situations if rules are available.

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They all handled it differently. There were lots of pointless page flipping to find any rule to cover the current situation the characters found themselves in. And there were lots of arguments. Let me repeat: there were lots of arguments.

 

As an example, in our 2e campaign, the creation of magic items by players came up very often. The rules governing item creation in 2e were almost non-existent (at least in the core books...I don't know what was in the later books). The result is that every magic item we needed turned into an epic quest, and getting others to agree in assisting in this quest is like herding cats (we definitely have a very high chaos factor). Lots of frustration and I felt a little railroading by the DM. You could say "well, maybe the DM should have handled it better," but that doesn't help because it was my gaming group and my DM.

 

With 3e's unified ruleset, no arguments. I don't need to go on epic quests to make a potion of Cure Light Wounds...

 

While 4e covers magic item creation too, it's almost ttransactional in feel. Expend the neccessary gold, spend an hour and Bam! you have a magic item of your level. Shift goes from the totally non-structure of 2e to a feelng of nothing special in 4e. the WoW allusions is very appropriate, since it feels more like that (though even WoW had a bit more to item creation than the basics of 4e)...

 

Damon.

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Some friends of mine I game with (experienced RPG'ers, not noobs) played a 4th ed. demo on the World D&D Day at the first of the month. They had five 1st level characters, and they told me how they got owned by 2 skeletons. This should never happen in D&D, even at 1st level, and has never happened in any other version of D&D (excepting cases of extreme bad luck or stupidity). They said turning undead was basically ineffective.

 

This is among the many reasons I refuse to drink the Kool-Aid.

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Some friends of mine I game with (experienced RPG'ers, not noobs) played a 4th ed. demo on the World D&D Day at the first of the month. They had five 1st level characters, and they told me how they got owned by 2 skeletons. This should never happen in D&D, even at 1st level, and has never happened in any other version of D&D (excepting cases of extreme bad luck or stupidity). They said turning undead was basically ineffective.

A couple game nights ago, one of our players showed up, complaining about a similar situation that happened to him when he and couple friends ran some "test' combats in 4e. Our GM, who's real gung ho about 4e (and will probably switch us over once our Pathfinder campaign is done), started asking him tons of questions, and finally figured out they had figured the starting hit points wrong.

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I'll be the first to admit the skill system is lacklustre, and while you shouldn't have to, it is easy to incoporate 3.5 skills into 4th if you want to, and I may do just that.

 

As for the skeletons, strangely skeletons and Zombies have had a bit of a role reversal in the game, with Zombies becoming more of the Dawn of the Dead meat puppet Zombies that are easy to kill and skeletons becoming hardier. The rules make it easy for the DM to quickly scale up a Zombie or skeleton that

can take on an entire party. Straight out of the books Skeletons are more of a challenge then they used to be.

 

Granted both of these creatures have minion versions that 1st level characters can easily wade through that DMs can use if they want weaker versions of these creatures that in numbers present the Players with a challenge, or that over multiple encounters slowly drain the parties resources. In any version of any game a GM has to be smart about setting up his encounters. You can't have a 3rd edition mentality and toss 8 non-minion skeletons up against your first level PCs and expect them to come out in ok shape, that would be an encounter possibly better for 3rd level characters. Still the tools exist in the form of minions for your 1st level party to fight in a battle against minion skeletons, their wizard master, and his Ghoul bodyguard at first level. Which seems pretty classic low-level D&D to me.

 

Low level characters have few hit points in 4th edition compared to many monsters, but they have a lot more opportunity to heal-up during gameplay and some substantially more powerful offensive abilities than most monsters.

 

Regarding Turning and Attacking undead as a cleric:

 

Turn Undead Creates a Burst of Radiant Energy around the cleric that does damage to Undead, pushes them away from the cleric, and immobilizes them until the end of your next turn. Not only this but each type of undead is Vulnerable to radiant damage so will take extra on top of what you roll based on their type. Even if you miss you still do half damage with your turning effort.

 

In addition 2 of the clerics 4 at-will powers do radiant damage that hurt undead more than normal attacks.

 

I simply can't see how a cleric can't be viewed as less than valuable against undead. And they certainly are more useful than they were in previous editions at low levels.

 

I still haven't passed my verdict on the game, I'm fairly partial to it in many ways, but everyone is entitled to their opinions. What I dislike is that there seems to be much information being propogated and opinions being formed that has been formed on misinterpretation or incorrect information. Everyone is entitled to Poo Poo the game, but I would suggest you do so based purely on its drawbacks and merits with book in hand having looked at the information first person.

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Even with books in hand, arguments will be based on opinions, because what makes an RPG good for any specific player is subjective.

 

Subjective considerations will vary as much as people do. Because of that, 4th will be excellent for some players, trash for others, and simply another option for yet more.

 

4th changes things significantly, just as 3rd did. Some people will see certain changes as significant advances, while others will see changes they feel reduces the game's appeal. Neither argument can be the only right one, because they are people's perceptions and opinions based on their desires in an RPG.

 

I'm not a huge fan of class/level systems, so D&D has been a minor system we only come around to sometimes, but I've been able to have fun with every edition of D&D that has come out. When we play, we play to have fun, and accept that different systems will appeal to each player to different degrees.

 

If someone wants to hate 4th, that's fine. They can hate it as much as they like. Insisting it is now a worse system, however, is a purely subjective consideration, and should be accepted as such.

 

If 4th doesn't work for your group any more, keep playing 3rd, or shift to a different system. There are plenty of games available, and plenty of 3rd material available, to make either option plausible. Nothing will bring 3rd back as a WotC product replacing 4th. A separate product perhaps, though outside licensing is more probable, but 3rd as it was is gone, regardless of player opinions.

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I agree totally, use whatever system suites you.

 

What I was trying to convey is that the game is currently in its infancy, there is alot of speculation without investigation going on, don't write it off unless you can verify something that you really dislike. People are learning the game, people are making mistakes, and in doing so they may be putting out a negative opinion regarding various elements of the game.

 

Like I said, I seem to be championing the game here, but I'm still unsure about it truthfully, there is much I like, and some things that peeve me quite a bit.

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If 4th doesn't work for your group any more, keep playing 3rd, or shift to a different system. There are plenty of games available, and plenty of 3rd material available, to make either option plausible. Nothing will bring 3rd back as a WotC product replacing 4th. A separate product perhaps, though outside licensing is more probable, but 3rd as it was is gone, regardless of player opinions.

 

Good news on that front, Paizo Publishing is continuing 3.5 support via their Pathfinder RPG.

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Good news on that front, Paizo Publishing is continuing 3.5 support via their Pathfinder RPG.

Pathfinder RPG does change some things from v3.5 so it isn't entirely the same game.

 

Ron

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Lots of OGL properties changed things to fit their writer's preferences, just as lots of groups changed WotC's 3.5 for their games.

 

There may be an official licensing of 3.5, or just a continuation of OGL properties by groups that want to continue to support it. Either option gives a group that doesn't want to change avenues for additional support if they want it.

 

3.5 drove D&D down on my preferred play list, and XCrawl brought it back up some. That's only my preferences. I continued to play D&D with 3.5, and will with 4th, because I can have fun with them. I have other games I like more, and some I like less.

 

So long as you can have fun with the game and group you play with, everything else is marginal. If the group or game don't work, let people play it that enjoy it, and find something else to play. We should be playing because it's fun.

 

4th is different. Try it if you want, and hopefully you can have fun.

 

If you don't want to try it, hate the idea of 3rd changing, are too set and comfortable in your ways, or anything else to keep you from 4th, rock on. Nobody will force you to play.

 

Arguing opinions will never be a great expenditure of energy unless those involved are willing to accept that their opinions are only fully valid for themselves, and other opinions are equally valid when discussing subjective enjoyment pastimes. 'One man's trash is another man's treasure.' What you like in a game is not likely to match what someone else likes.

 

Even comparisons to WoW and the like are of marginal impact, because they take subjective views of two separate entities to create the comparison. While I can see where some of the concepts come from, and understand that the two mediums have similar focus, and even some similarities in mechanics, my playing experience with RPG's is markedly different than anything a MMORPG can give me. Until they create a fully immersive virtual world MMORPG, they cannot be more than a pale mirror of a PnP RPG for me.

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Good news on that front, Paizo Publishing is continuing 3.5 support via their Pathfinder RPG.

Pathfinder RPG does change some things from v3.5 so it isn't entirely the same game.

 

Ron

 

Yes, you're right, I forgot to mention that. I'd rather play Paizo's version of 3.5 than 4.0 though.

 

Gimp - Your previous post is probably the best advice one could give (or receive) in this thread.

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