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D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?

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I hope the switch works for your group and you have fun. We're just getting into our first campaign with SW, but with the hardcore 3.5 players in our group poring over the new 4.0 books, they don't see anything in there we can't do with SW.

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Anyone peer into the "future" of the 4e line? Wizards isn't wasting anytime. Let the leeching of $$$$ begin!

 

(I say this from a person that bought most of the WOTC 3.0 & 3.5 rulebooks (- 1 or 2 of them))

 

Wizards is a business, yes, but you'd think they'd at least wait 3 or more month before releasing the splat books. With so much content in the core books, you'd think that would occupy new players or people use to the old systems.

 

Probably my final say in this, as I've made my decsion on what rpg I'll be playing in the future already.

 

I play LOTRo, I pay 9.99 a month to do that (thou that lifetime offer is very tempting...). I play because I like the game. It has great visuals. (as in overall graphics, not things like my power strike or whatever it is called combat move graphic) I like LoTR. I also spend probably 2-3 hours in the morning play said MMO & not every day either.

 

Now I'm also a gamer. I've been a gamer since I was 11 years old, that was 24 years ago. I was a WOTC 3.5 fan, more then anything I liked reading the books, one reason why I bought most of them. It was when I heard 4.0 was coming is when I stopped getting WOTC books (thou for some reason I bought that Player's Guide to Eberron book, ummmm yah.). That was also around the time that Paizo started doing Pathfinder & when Scott "the brainiac" Rouse from Wiz announced that gamers rely on the web for gaming these days. Wiz left a bad taste in my mouth when they did that. So I naturally migrated away from them.

 

Now is 4e targeted toward me or some kid who plays MMOs all day or me? Does Wiz think 4e without the fancy graphics or being able to whop up on some newbie gamer with your uber-character that you spend the daylight & probably the night hours playing & buying stuff on in house auctions?(btw I don't play mmos for the pvp factor of them, I usually avoid it).It's a different generation now.

 

When I started playing, I had a copy of the Player's Guide with the infamous red statue on it. I made a Neutral druid that wore chainmail. I didn't know what I was really doing, but hey it was fun. I like it so much I bought the red box Basic D&D set & really learned the rules. While my friends were DMing AD&D I was DMing D&D, why cause I love the system. It was simple, it what I thought a rpg was suppose to be. Plus, it helped that my favorite campaign was Mystara (basic version with the Gazetteers supplementals, not the funky CD AD&D oddball products). Anyways I do see how both systems can exsist. As one poster here said, no one is forcing you to change. Not seeing new stuff for that system from the same company is a bummer, but they have to do what they think will make them money to survive as a company (Are WOTC & Microsoft the same company? hmmmm :huh: ).

 

Anyways, what I'm saying is both systems can co-exist, as there is gonna be fans on both sides of the line. I've chosen mine.

 

 

(Really little good that'll do since I really don't have a gaming group anymore, what "tabletop" gaming I do is here on the boards. For that I've very thankful to Reaper for allowing my games to go on)

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We aren't talking about content here. We are talking about game mechanics that support more than combat!

I've heard that they're coming out with game mechanics similar to the combat mechanics for rolling out social interaction.

 

I don't know how true that is, but if it is, then they really have converted to Roll-playing.

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That's a turnoff for me. Rolling dice for social interaction. What happened to talking? The persuasion and streetwise skills in Savage Worlds are more than enough to let a group roll out what roleplay should be; it's just a guide more than a rule.

 

I have been soured by D&D for a multitude of reasons, but having a player throw a d20 for a "Gather Information" check and expect everything handed to them is ludicrous, especially given the age of the players involved!!

 

Dice and rules are wonderful, and make a game, but when they become clumsy, generate more bookkeeping, lead to obvious paths of character creation and build, and slow combat to a crawl, then I'll find another system.

 

4.0 seems like a drag to me. Hit points!! They were invented last century, when I was about 4 years old. Powers usable per day/per encounter/whenever, seems clumsy and boring. Removal of Half Orcs and Gnomes? What were they thinking?

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and slow combat to a crawl,

That's one area that I've seen pretty much universal agreement on, that 4e combat is definitely faster than previous editions.

 

BTW, are the Savage Worlds folks paying you a commission? ::D:

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I find it interesting that a lot of the defenders keep mentioning how easily you will be able to expand on what they presented...but are missing the current marketing scheme that WotC is using this time around. This is the first set of books - they are intentionally empty. Next spring you will be able to purchase the PHB2, DMG2 and MM2...and the year after that a third set of books...and the year after that, I'll put $50 to any takers that you will be able to buy either D&D 4.5 or 5.0 (or whatever they might be selling it as). If they provided a complete set of books right away...they would miss out on those additional core rules sales in the following couple years. In the end, it isn't $70-100 for the core books - it is $200-300 for the core books.

 

I find it interesting that a lot of the defenders keep mentioning how easily you will be able to expand on what they presented...but are missing the current marketing scheme that TSR is using this time around. This is the first set of books - they are intentionally empty. You'll have to wait until next spring to purchase D&D 2.0: Greyhawk just so you can play a Thief -- and Druids won't be available until D&D 4.0: Eldritch Wizardry. If you want to play a Bard, you have to subscribe to some magazine called Strategic Review. (If they provided a complete set of books right away...they would miss out on those additional core rules sales in the following couple years.)

 

The money-grubbing barstidges.

 

:rolleyes:

 

As I've noted before, I have no desire to play D&D 4. The more I read about the system, the less interested I am in it. It doesn't provide much support for the kind of gaming I want to do.

 

But that doesn't make it some sort of confidence game on WotC's part. They're providing a product that doesn't interest me, just like TY (the Beanie Baby folks). For those who are buying in to D&D 4, I hope you get the experience you are looking for. For those of you who (like me) aren't, I hope the same. I just don't see that having different criteria than other people make either of us dishonorable, stupid, or worthy of ridicule.

 

ps. I've deleted the name of the person quoted above, because I'm not trying to respond only to this particular expression of the point and I'm trying to avoid personalizing the argument. If that's objectionable, let me know and I'll restore the name.

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We aren't talking about content here. We are talking about game mechanics that support more than combat!

 

See, this is the clincher for me. A lot of people go "well you can just put it in your background" or "well the DM can just rule it", but my response is along the lines of people wouldn't like it if the GM just went "ok, you hit your opponent and kill them". Some people use words and other skills for weapons, rather than beating someone to death with their fists or zapping them with their pew pew magic lasers of death.

 

As I said, 4e is great for dungeoneering (they even have a skill for it!), but it's not so great elsewhere. For a dungeon bash type game, it's really quite good, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it with my group I'm playing with as one. For a campaign that spends most of it's time outside of a dungeon, in social environments, heavily involved in intrigue, investigation, uncovering various plots, it's not so great, because there aren't enough options. These social interactions often involve a lot of competativeness, as deep as any combat encounter, and a few rules do actually serve to make them more fun IMO (L5R has them, and they work very well, though I've run that game for years, so perhaps this is why I have a bias in this area).

 

Another advantage 3.5 has (from my perspective at least) is that it's more "modular". The mechanics are easier to change and alter without affecting lots of other things. And being able to freely multiclass gives characters a lot of options for where they want to take their characters. Skills (and skill ranks) as well as feats allow characters to specialize in specific areas, and slotting in new skills is pretty easy, while adding new pretty outlandish (compared to the core) feats is also not a problem.

On the otherhand, all the things that seperate characters in 4e is power related, while everything else is the same across all classes and characters. 4e powers replace many feats (most 4e feats generally serve to boost an existing ability), taking new skills requires burning a feat in 4e, and there is no degree of skill in 4e either (because there are no skill ranks), which means level is the sole judge of ability generally.

Race makes a difference in the bonuses you get and your racial feat, though there are no drawbacks anymore for picking a certain race (I mean even goblins and hobgoblins get +2 charisma now, wtf?).

 

In summary, 4e doesn't do what I want it to do, so I'm unlikely to play it as more than a one off during the downtown between major campaigns in our group.

I'm also not going to adapt it to my own campaign setting, because it's wildly different from a generic d&d style setting and 3.5 is a far more adaptable system for that in my opinion.

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Please don't presume to know what I do and don't do just because some other people choose to *use* ripped off copies of gaming materials. Once again, I suggest reading my post for comprehension rather than making assumptions.

@Shakandara, Glad to hear the clarification. Please understand, I wasn't trying to offend, but I have family and friends that deal with IP infringement. Obtaining an illegal pdf copy of a book, even a copy of a purchased pdf, is commonplace, but no more legal that running a stop sign, whether for simple perusal or continued use. While it's not something that's usually prosecuted, the laws are there. I'm not trying to argue the legality, however, only caution the impression your post gave. I don't try and stop friends that run stop signs, I simply don't ride with them.

Your comment on the economy at the time of 3rd vs now is a very solid one people should think about.

 

For those worried about fanboy support, or anything else that presumes acceptance of 4th is inherently wrong, consider this;

I am not a major supporter of D&D. I've played it through the years as part of a cycle of games we go through, but it's not one of our primary games. It was my first RPG, because it was the only RPG locally available at the time.

I have purchased the 3rd edition core books only, and use them mostly for an occasional foray into X-Crawl. I never bothered with using 3.5 except when helping with game days at a FLGS. We've been able to play quite well without all the supplements, though I see nothing wrong with people buying and using those supplements.

I like things that I see with 4th, but also see things I'm not impressed with. As a gamer, I can pick and choose whichever I like, and add or delete other material.

While I understand the business concept of new core books, followed by lots of supplements, all pretty and shiny; I prefer GURPS method of new editions, where all the conversion data, and even the core game engine, is available free. SJ Games has always kept a lower profile, and thrived with a different and lower key business concept. Both are valid business models that were chosen by the companies involved, whichever I prefer.

 

WotC is not a power mad, greedy megacorporation, any more than any other company is. They are in this to make money, just as any company has to be if they wish to survive and thrive. They are a business. While there are prophecies of doom for WotC because of 4th, consider those same prophecies have been made about GW for well over a decade, yet GW continues at the top of the pile for TTG companies. Even with the reverses they have had due to their choices and the variety of good competition now available, they're still going strong. If you don't like WotC's business practices, don't buy their product, or buy their product and grumble. So long as their business model makes them a functional company, they will continue. If they lose too much business, they will either fold or change to survive.

 

There are a lot of good RPG's out there now, and WotC has to make D&D competitive with those other options, not just for current customers, but also for new customers entering the gaming community. I don't have to agree with their decisions to understand some of the rationales behind them. The MMORPG vs PnP argument can easily be only ancillary to the actual reasons. Considering studies were done long ago that showed marginal crossover, I doubt it was a major component of their decision. The two products are similar, because the MMORPG grew out of the PnP RPG, and both continue to draw from each other, but they have always had a different audience appeal.

 

If their product is worthwhile for you, purchase however much of it you deem worthwhile, and have fun, because this is a game. There are plenty of other good RPG's out there if D&D does not appeal to you any longer. Those options range from other supplement heavy games, to simpler entries that appeal through mechanics and design. Savage Worlds is getting a lot of comments here, and while that is also not amongst my favorites from our library, it works great for some people. GURPS is at the opposite end of the rules scale, but there are plenty of others in between.

 

3rd edition will not disappear. I can consistently find 2nd edition books, and occasionally AD&D books, at the used stores. All a group needs are the core books. Everything else is just icing that can be redesigned as the group sees fit. There are also still all the OGL properties, and that can allow both adventures and new source material without player effort. With 4th not being part of 3rd's OGL model, all those companies have to stay with 3.5 for d20 gaming. WotC's shift to 4th does not invalidate the OGL products other companies produce.

 

Play what you like, and make it fun. This is, after all, playing a game. The fun should be the most important part.

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No commission, but yeah, my enthusiasm for this system is reminiscent of the experience I had playing D&D as a teenager, before pursuing other things.

 

We play every Sunday, real life allowing, and I can't remember having this much fun roleplaying since I was a kid. It is a combination of the group, the GM, and the system. I'm spoiled rotten in this way. No rules arguments. No long interruptions looking up rules. Lightning fast combat with initiative just like Reaper's Warlord!!

 

The combats combine the best aspects of a tabletop and roleplaying game. My friend and GM says it's not the perfect game, as what game really is, but it's 92% of what makes a great system.

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pew pew magic lasers of death.

 

Sorry to off-topic this for a moment but that description almost made me fall off my chair laughing. Thanks!

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Well anyway. The thread started wanted thoughts, I gave mine.

 

I have always wanted a system to deal with the one area of the game that needs fairly good rules so that everyone is on the same page, etc., and that's combat. Why? Because that's the one area where character death is the MOST likely and most people, if they're going to get gibbed, want to at least have it been according to some set of agreed upon rules.

 

4E does that.

 

Everything else, all the roleplay, social interaction, etc. is all subjective. You could flip a coin and it would work just as well. It breaks down to 1) either the GM wants the party to succeed and the story to continue or 2) he/she doesn't. Everything else is just the dice-based ritual we use to give the illusion of random-ness or the risk of possible failure. 4E focuses on the combat rules to keep them fun and flowing, and keeps everything else light and simple so we the group can decide how much or how little we use. And frankly, that's exactly what I want. If I never roll a die in between "combat" encounters, great. If the entire Adventure (as was often the case with Ravenloft) is resolved without even picking up the dice once... even better.

 

So, if you're in a gaming group that prefers to roleplay non-combat scenes anyway... and you're worried about the way 4E handles non-combat rolls (roll-play as we like to call it)... Who cares how 4E resolves it? You're not going to use it anyway. Heck, chances are you probably don't even use your current system the way it was intended.

 

--------

 

If you tried it and didn't like it. Fair play to you. I wish you the best of luck and loads of fun with the system you like best. Wish me the same, and we'll both enjoy or hobby together, expressed in different ways.

 

As for yall grousing about the system without playing it yet or whatever. Well... frankly.... you're one of the demographics file-sharing was created for. You're currently unlikely to ever buy the product, so just go download the torrent (or get it from the person in your group of friends that already did, and I'm certain most of you know at least one). Try it. If you buy it later, the torrent helped make the sale. If you don't, delete it, no money is lost or gained for the company because you were never a sale to begin with. If you have a moment, read Eric Flint's opinions of how to use online distribution to promote sales at the Baen Free Library. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's horrible that people do stuff like this... but that's the world we live in. That's another reason why WotC is trying what they're trying (with the online monthly stuff).

 

--------

 

One last and then I'm out.....regarding WotC --- guys, when I worked for Reaper I spent days, weeks, even months trying to figure out ways to take YOUR money. I assure you Reaper, WotC, White Wolf, (you name it) literally tries to figure out every way possible to take as much of your paycheck as you're willing to part with. It's called capitalism, and I love it. WotC/Hasbro is NO different from Reaper in that regard. Ultimately, you're the one that forks the cash or not. If the company does a good job, you do so (I bought their core books in the slip case). If they don't, then you don't (I'm not buying their online subscription or supplements). But loathing them for trying to make money off you is just a bit silly. Buzzwords like "target audience" or "new editions" or "new supplements" anything else like that is just more of the same old game. They want a paycheck so they can buy stuff, same as you, and you're the source of that paycheck. ... and, to be blunt.... "gamers" are just about the worst customer market that exists. It's small, niche, usually broke, and is always wanting to spend the least possible and hang on to it for the longest time possible, without ever spending any new funds. ... cheers to WotC for trying a new tack with it (the "monthly fee"), it just didn't work with me, but I can't fault them for trying it.

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and, to be blunt.... "gamers" are just about the worst customer market that exists. It's small, niche, usually broke, and is always wanting to spend the least possible and hang on to it for the longest time possible, without ever spending any new funds. ... cheers to WotC for trying a new tack with it (the "monthly fee"), it just didn't work with me, but I can't fault them for trying it.

Gotta disagree with you here. I see the exact same behaviour among my customers regarding car wash equipment. And a lot of the gamers I know spend as much, if not more on their hobbies than a lot of other hobbies do. I do see that gamers are a bit more concerned with getting something for their money, however. Take golf for example - I kind of like golf, but I can't bring myself to pay a $35 green fee when I can buy a game book for that same $35.00. This is a common attitude among my gaming friends.

 

Because of that value conciousness, I think that most gamers resent buying essentially the same thing over and over. They don't resent spending the money in the first place, and most are happy to spend what money thay can, even when they are broke. In a marketplace that is fractured because it is full of a lot of different games, every new edition of a game fractures the marketplace further. Don't forget that RPGs are for the most part a social hobby. Take computer games/software and compare them to gaming, then add in the social aspect.

 

Software vendors have many of the same issues when they come out with a new version. If I don't like a new software version, I can happily go on using my older software until it either doesn't meet my needs anymore, or I decide I want the new bells and whistles. i only have to concern myself with what version of software I'm using when I need to interact with others - swapping files, etc. In a business environment, that can mean upgrading faster than an individual would

 

In a gaming environment, it doesn't matter what version of a game I want to use if I can't find like minded people. It's bad enough trying to sort out players between D&D, Gurps, WFRP, Savage Worlds, etc, etc. Now the whole D&D camp has to sort out between 3.5 and 4.0. In order to play a game, you have to find people willing to play it with you. It's no wonder people get fussy about game editions.

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The initial three 4th edition books are pretty much what I've always wanted from D&D books. 2 books on combat resolution, and one book on DM advice. This is all I need for a D&D game. All the roleplaying encounters, the story, and the adventure, I can deal with. I don't need a book telling me any of that.

 

What I like about D&D 4.0:

 

* Easy to teach - I've been involved with 3 demos, it was a breeze for most players to learn the rules.

 

* Easy to teach - did I say this already? After 8 years, I still have people who have the nerve to tell me they don't know how to play a wizard because they've never played one. Gone are those days. Good riddance. The core mechanics for each class work the same, so switching from playing a fighter to playing a wizard takes very little re-learning.

 

* Character balance - this has always been a big issue. This system achieves it best.

 

* Math model - first time the combat system for an rpg has had a math model. As a math geek, this to me is a big bonus.

 

* Min-max nightmares - these are just about gone. It is assumed everyone will try to make effective characters, and these effective characters are well balanced against each other.

 

* Encounter/Monster design - Significantly better than any previous edition.

 

* Powers - Resource management is now a part of every character, not just the wizard and cleric.

 

* At-will powers - Wizards actually feel like wizards now instead of back field crossbowmen.

 

* Encounter powers - Something interesting for everyone to do every encounter.

 

* Daily powers - these turn the most challenging encounters to epic and memorable fights, which makes them another great design feature.

 

* Racial powers - I love that your race now means significantly more than just a stat bonus/penalty.

 

* Power curve - Comparing it to 3.x, the power curve of the old level 5-15 has been stretched out 1-20. This gets rid of the not so fun incompetance levels, and evens out character development over levels so there aren't huge jumps in power every 2 levels. The huge jumps happen every 10 levels instead.

 

* Healing - Clerics can actually get more involved in combat now, thanks to minor actions. Also very glad to be rid of the must have Cure X Wounds wands.

 

* Standard/Move/Minor actions - In 3.x I was getting tired of people trying to do too much on their turns, now, what they can do is very clearly spelled out, and it is very satisfactory.

 

* Action points - Everyone needs a moment to shine here and there. Action points provide that stage time.

 

* Multiclassing - it's gone. Yes there is unfortunately a feat that mis-uses the old terminology (it should have been named "dabbler"), but I'm very glad to be rid of true multiclassing, which used to be the minmaxer's dream. There will be a lot of people disappointed with this, but I'm quite glad with the change.

 

* Something for every level - There are no more boring level ups where you get nothing. There is something to be excited about for every level.

 

* Rituals - while the number of rituals presented is a bit disappointing, it opens doors for excellent adventure hooks, and they are a great addition for allowing non-magic types to use rituals in order to help (or hinder) characters.

 

* Cinematics - I love the visual nature of a lot of the powers. It creates a much more dynamic and movie-like experience overall. Two nights ago, my halfling rogue did a feigning maneuver throwing a Kobold Skirmisher off balance, slashed him across the side forcing him to double over, and gave him a good kick in the rear, sending him 15 feet toward our fighter, who promptly ended his misery with a reaping blow.

 

What I don't like about D&D 4.0:

 

* I wanted to see more classes, races, feats, etc. Instead of providin levels 1-30, I wish they had provided levels 1-10, with more classes, powers, and feats, and made the second book Paragon levels (11-20), and third book Epic levels (21-30).

 

* Some of the last minute rules changes before the books went to print weren't tested as well as they should have been, and break a few design features, but these are minor, and I think I know how to fix them as the issues come up.

 

* Again with the Monster Manual, I wish there were more lower level creatures (maybe levels 1-15), the second book could have more 11-25, and the third book coud have more 20-35.

 

* Feat selection is rather limited. Once you choose your class, race, and stats, there are very few meaningful feats you can actually qualify for. I think a lot more feats are needed. The design process seems simple enough. Feats typically provide some sort of bonus that comes into play about once every 2 encounters.

 

* For certain race/class combinations, there are a few "no brainer" options, which don't make for a very flexible system. I am still pondering what a good fix would be for these.

 

* Because of the way high end characters are balanced, bad character builds are possible. When a player is making poor choices, it will be up to the DM and other players to at least warn them, if not to point out some better options. This really is nothing new, just something that people need to be aware of because of the design model.

 

* Rituals - I think the usefulness of some rituals is rather limited compared to others. Fortunately players can pick and choose which ones they want and NPC's can use whatever fits the need.

 

* Cinematics - Yes a lot of the powers have some great desriptions, and even when they don't I can come up with something good, but there are a few which leave me stomped., or leave my imagination stretched a bit too thin.

 

Overall, the benefits far outweight the downfalls for me and my group. Starting with AD&D 2nd edition (I have not played anything earlier), our group has gladly moved from version to version. We like the fresh feel of a new system. After five years, even the best system can begin to feel stagnant. I honestly couldn't care less if it borrows elements from online games, other rpg's, board games, miniature games, etc. It is a well designed combat resolution engine, one I will happily use in my games.

 

And I honestly don't understand why people think this is not a roleplaying game any more. It's just a more streamlined combat resolution system. Everything else is business as usual. The style of game is still determined by the DM and players. You're still in an adventure, roleplaying, interacting with the world and the NPC's, solving puzzles, facing moral dilemmas, and defeating evil. Nothing should change there.

 

I do understand some people attached to sacred cows can be thrown off by the new system, but I wish people would look at it with a more open mind. It is not a new edition of an old system. It is a brand new system, and one that's designed by some smart and experienced people, and a system that's been playtested more heavily than any others in the past.

 

I'm not sure if this will sway anyone's opinions, it is teh internets after all, but if you like any version of D&D, I would strongly suggest at least trying it out with a group who does use 4.0 (none of the demo rubbish), maybe ask to play an NPC for a session or two, and see what you think.

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We aren't talking about content here. We are talking about game mechanics that support more than combat!

I've heard that they're coming out with game mechanics similar to the combat mechanics for rolling out social interaction.

 

I don't know how true that is, but if it is, then they really have converted to Roll-playing.

It annoys me when people say in shocked tones, "They have rules for social interaction?" as though that was utterly sacrosanct and impossible to represent with rules. You have rules for combat, because some characters are better than others at combat, there is a random factor, and the guy who has played LARPs or has read about medieval combat shouldn't be able to 'win' the combat simply by providing a superficially more convincing description of his actions.

 

The same is equally true of social interaction: persuading, fast talking, bluffing, etc. I have seen too many times a player with better communication skills get the result he wanted simply because he could talk the GM into it. No matter what his PC was like, how uncharismatic or unsuited, his ability translated into in-game ability.

 

This is *wrong*. The smooth-talking bard PC, even if played by a socially-awkward geek, has a much better chance of talking people into things than, say, a thuggish wilderness barbarian played by an articulate player. The PC's ability to lift a heavy rock isn't determined by how strong the player is.

 

That's the point of the skill check for interaction - success should be largely due to the PC's abilities, not the player's. By all means describe the approach you will use, use a bit of thought - which you should be doing just as much for combat. But that should be a lesser, not a greater, part of the chance for success.

 

Ishil

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We aren't talking about content here. We are talking about game mechanics that support more than combat!

I've heard that they're coming out with game mechanics similar to the combat mechanics for rolling out social interaction.

 

I don't know how true that is, but if it is, then they really have converted to Roll-playing.

It annoys me when people say in shocked tones, "They have rules for social interaction?" as though that was utterly sacrosanct and impossible to represent with rules. You have rules for combat, because some characters are better than others at combat, there is a random factor, and the guy who has played LARPs or has read about medieval combat shouldn't be able to 'win' the combat simply by providing a superficially more convincing description of his actions.

I've got nothing against rules for social interaction. That's why skills such as bluff and diplomacy exist. I just can't imagine making them similar to combat mechanics - IE, rounds, turns, etc.

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