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vutpakdi

D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?

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I dunno, I had a first level elf wizard, who was close to two hundred years old, get killed by a rat in 2nd edition. That doesn't make much sense to me either.

 

sounds as bad as a character I had in Ultima Online---he got killed by a deer, mean SoBs they were :blink:

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I personally don't mind the so-called "lack" of skillsets. Frankly, when I built characters, I always wondered why my sorceror was only good at concentration and knowledge:arcana. I couldn't even give her other, more relevant skills that fit into her background because my skill points were only at a 3 for each level, and I wasn't trained in much. Anytime the DM called for Spot, I wouldn't even bother to roll. Pretty much anything and everything in that 3.5 skill list, I couldn't be bothered to roll for because it was irrelevant. I would never be any value to the group in terms of skills. Hell, I couldn't even perform a basic Heal check most of the time. I couldn't be a jewellery maker, because I didn't have points in "craft", and I wasn't going to drop one of my precious three points into it.

 

For craft and professions in 4.0, I just said - look, if you want to be a blacksmith, be a blacksmith. You still need to buy the materials, have a forge, spend some time tinkering it all out, but you don't need to roll a random chance to see how you do. My craft in miniature painting doesn't bounce between a really crap job where I rolled a 1 and a superb job where I rolled a 20 the next time I paint, and then an average of 10. Crafting and profession shouldn't be left to random chance. I mean, really, you can take a 20 on it for the time you spend, and a 20 is all you need for a well-made item.

 

I'm with All-Terrain Monkey here - I don't really understand why the skills are being used as an argument. Seriously, who actually dropped points in appraise? Or even listen, when Spot was the main item to be used.

 

 

4.0 just seems to have codified rules for combat and for tough situations. I don't need a book to tell me how to role-play, that I have to roll a die to make sure I say "hi" to my friends in the right manner, or roll to ensure I sleep at night, or roll to have the DM make my decisions for me and tell me what I need to do, so I go do it. I use my imagination for that.

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3.5 could use a refining of the skills, but not such a drastic cut back as 4.0 gave it. IMO, a single skill feat in 3.5 should give a +4 bonus, and an additional little extra depending the the skill (example: Skill Craft Feat Leathersmith: +4 to the skill and you craft leather armor that it 10% lighter than normal). Also, every class should get at least 4 skill points per level, with an option to choose any one non-class skill as a class skill thus giving the players slightly more freedom in what skills a character might have.

 

I think the Take-10 mechanic in 3.5 might have been underused, at least in my area, and 4.0 seems to emphasize that a little more. That's one of the few things I like about 4.0: SOME slimming of the skill set. This is easy enough to house rule for 3.5. But in 4.0 EVERYONE gets the same skill bonuses in all skills just by gaining levels? What happened to individuality? Oh yeah, only in combat situations are classes unique. :rolleyes:

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I look at it from this perspective; people who have trained skills, and higher stat modifiers, are always going to be better than those without, especially if they take a feat to focus in it. It makes sense to me that, after adventuring together for twenty levels, the rogue with a ten wisdom and no ranks in Religion would eventually be able to identify all the major religious symbols and whatnot, while the Cleric or Warlord would know the deity's pantheon down to minute detail. If a surgeon, a lawyer, a cop, a programmer, and a guitarist hung out together for several years, they'd eventually pick up on some of the lingo the others use, have a general idea of what each other does, and how they go about their jobs. The guitarist wouldn't be able to take out a appendix, but he'd probably learn where it was, along with other general anatomy. The programmer would learn some cool takedowns from the cop, the lawyer would be able to know what a riff or "wailing" was, etc.

 

An adventuring party lives, eats, sleeps, and fights side by side for loooong periods of time. To me it's more unbelievable that they wouldn't all pick up on stuff and get better in general than if they remain completely ignorant in some basic skillsets throughout an entire career of adventuring. 4.0 wants characters to be Heroic right from the get go, and to me that goes a long way towards providing that flavor.

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I dunno, I had a first level elf wizard, who was close to two hundred years old, get killed by a rat in 2nd edition. That doesn't make much sense to me either.

 

I think it was the first or second time something like this happened to me that I started having Sam, son of Sam, son of Sam's son until they lived long enough.... heh heh

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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

 

You did STAT checks instead of Skill checks.

 

There were also optional / expanded rules for Non Weapon Proficiencies.

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But in 4.0 EVERYONE gets the same skill bonuses in all skills just by gaining levels? What happened to individuality? Oh yeah, only in combat situations are classes unique.

 

Not really. Everyone in my department at work have, essentially, the same skills. Our knowledge: oil industry is going to keep increasing as our time at the company increases, amongst others. However, each of us have "trained" skill proficiencies. I'm trained in "Retail" and "Analytics". The person beside me is trained in "IT". The one in front of me is trained in "Professionalism" or "Customer Skills" or even "Report Writing".

 

Does having everyone in the department having all a common knowledge in our work count as not being individual? I don't think so.

When something comes along that I am "trained" in, it's usually me that is relied upon to do the work. Ditto for the other skills. But it doesn't mean that, if I'm not "trained" in IT, I don't know jack about IT. There are just some people who are a lot more knowledgeable and specialised in IT than I am. I could choose to specialise in IT or even in Financials and Derivatives, something no-one in the department really knows about. All I do is take training in it and start applying my knowledge.

 

 

 

The same situation with a gaming group. I'm sure, over time, people are going to learn how to "Perceive", how to jump over boxes ("Acrobatics") or gain more information based on their travels (all knowledge-based skills). The Rogue is probably going to be a lot more adept at "Thievery" than the Wizard. That isn't to say that the Wizard can't pick up a Skill Specialisation feat to be just as good - maybe that goes with the character. What you choose to specialise/train in determines your role in the party. But it doesn't remove your individuality. Individuality has, from what I can tell, almost always stemmed from your character and personality, not by what you can and can't do.

 

Truly, a party can have two rangers in the group; both are ranged fighters with essentially the same feats, at-will, encounter and daily powers. It is how their personalities shine through that determines their individuality. One is content to wait until the enemy comes; the other is fool-hardy and ready to shoot anything that moves. One is more than willing to put away her bow to help fallen comrades; the other just wants to kill all the enemies and worry about the comrades later. One is more focused in her skills in determining the truth in people (Insight); the other just wants to be always aware of what is going on (Perception).

 

 

Frankly, in my opinion, if everything had a rule about everything you did, especially in Roleplay situations, as opposed to Rollplay, then it's nothing better than a computer game played on a tabletop. You can't work outside the parameters set forth by the game; it'd be against the rules. There's no flexibility, no way to create different interpretations other than what the rules gives you.

 

The essence of a character is not in the numbers generated; it's in his/her personality. the numbers are there to determine how well the character does in certain situations where it's necessary to have rules, like encounters. I have a Ranger character in mind right now; she resembles an Amazon, and will be played in a mix between a barbarian and a nun. Does being in a "Ranger" class tell me that I have to be a bow-wielding, forest-trekking creature? No, that's just the stereotype. Does being a Rogue mean you have to be a sneak thief? I have a dwarf rogue that is considered the fantasy equivalent of the SAS (Australian special forces) who has a high sense of morals.

 

I can throw out so many examples that run contrary to the stereotypes that are rampant in association with the classes. I could throw stuff out that run contrary to the race-based stereotypes that are around too.

 

Individuality isn't determined by numbers. You're making it sound like it is.

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Individuality isn't determined by numbers.

True, but individuality can be helped by numbers. Take two identically built characters in any system, and it's purely up to the players (and GM) to give them distinguishing personalities - take your Ranger example - if two rangers have the same set of stats as each other, it could be very easy for them to become 'twins' of each other.

 

Having more options for the numbers gives some players a better base to build with, and some people like/want/need that extra defining characteristic. Take two identically built druids - if one choose a cat as it's animal companion, and the other chooses a dog, that becomes a defining difference between them, even if they are otherwise identical. The more options to differentiate, the more likely they are to actually be different.

 

It's a grey area, and is going to vary a lot from group to group, GM to GM. Some people need it, others don't. Like I said before, most of the "problem" with it in 4e probably has more to do with there currently being less options in 4e than there was in 3/3.5. That will change over time as WotC releases more books.

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The numbers also allow you to deal with certain...abusive players. When the dweeb with the 18 strength and the 6 intelligence says that he wants to use a rope to swing from a window out of the castle to escape the guards - a quick intelligence check will determine that, nope...your character wouldn't have thought to do that. People who actually role play their character (and their characters stats) aren't problematic, and you can have fun with it. However sometimes you do need the numbers and the rules to deal with them.

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I tend to prefer more rules-intensive games (as long as they are basically sensible rules), but I can't blame 4E for what it is. It was designed to be simpler, easier to learn and keep track of. That inevitably means compromises, but that's life. Younger, or more inexperienced gamers, will certainly appreciate that more than many of the posters here.

 

Ishil

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I tend to prefer more rules-intensive games (as long as they are basically sensible rules), but I can't blame 4E for what it is. It was designed to be simpler, easier to learn and keep track of. That inevitably means compromises, but that's life. Younger, or more inexperienced gamers, will certainly appreciate that more than many of the posters here.

 

Ishil

 

I'd have to disagree with that, I know a lot of long-time roleplayers who are happy with a streamlined system.

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I'd have to disagree with that, I know a lot of long-time roleplayers who are happy with a streamlined system.

There are different ways of streamlining a system, too, which can affect tastes. Some prefer streamling that simplifies the rules as much as possible, others prefer streamlining by making similar mechanics work for everything. Systems can have both, but not all will.

 

Take some of the d100 systems out there - mechanics are often streamlined because the same dice are rolled for everything, and just compared to a stat - but everything and anything can have a stat.

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I tend to prefer more rules-intensive games (as long as they are basically sensible rules), but I can't blame 4E for what it is. It was designed to be simpler, easier to learn and keep track of. That inevitably means compromises, but that's life. Younger, or more inexperienced gamers, will certainly appreciate that more than many of the posters here.

 

Ishil

 

I'd have to disagree with that, I know a lot of long-time roleplayers who are happy with a streamlined system.

Well, I said many of the posters here, who are expressing their dislike of 4E's rules quite vocally.

 

Ishil

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And whenever someone tries defending the 4E rules, we get jumped on by the pack.

 

Mike

 

It goes both ways; you're not a victim =P

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