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vutpakdi

D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?

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I didn't spend a whole lot of time in the book overall, nor that section, so I must have missed the Minions stuff. Care to elaborate on how they work?

 

They have similar defense and attack bonuses to their non-minion counterparts, but they don't do as much damage (typically doing damage as if they had rolled a 1, but it varies a bit), they don't have most of the special attacks, and they die in one hit (though they don't take half damage from miss effects to prevent exploiting AoE's).

 

As far as throwing minions at a party, they can basically take on 4 minions of their level per character. It is fairly common to design encounters where there are 8-12 minions, 1 or 2 brutes or skirmishers, and maybe an artillary and/or controller. Also adding more minions won't increase the difficulty of an encounter very much as long as there is a couple rounds delay, so you can have them attacking in waves, and maybe use minions that are souple levels below them. For instance you could have 10 minions and two brutes, followed two rounds later by another 8 minions, an artillary and a controller can provide a decent challenge.

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Happy to see such crowded encounters.

 

Low level minions are great, though I am not keen on high level minions.

 

Love that casters are no longer needed in a party. Of course this required gimping what they could do

 

Love the backstory {Most of it]

 

Monsters do what they do without being beholden to the math that makes PCs is a great thing.

 

Feats are LESSER abilities that reduce power gaming cherry picking since the juicy abilities are class exclusives.

 

Marking would have been fine if it required them to be within your reach to function or was a blatantly supernatural effect like the paladin’s version.

 

Artificially thin PHB and MM. Yes they would have had to charge more, but to me it is obvious wotc is just holding back content to pad other books.

 

They killed Dungeon and Dragon magazine because print magazines are not profitable enough to make Hasborg happy.

 

Cover and fighting defensively have been neutered to protect the brain-dead from having to use tactics. Typical cover is now only 2 point rather than four and your ranged attacks even pass trough allies as if they were not there.

 

If it ain’t magic, it should not be limited to once a day or once an encounter.

 

Artificially high HP all around means unless a lesser foe is a minion, it will be a chore to grind through it’s HP.

 

Solo monsters are too vulnerable to being stun locked.

 

Too much HP to track.

 

Way too odd to see lesser versions of monsters with abilities the greater versions do not have.

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In a nutshell.. meh, it's not for me. I'll stick to Runequest. If only I could get others to play it. ::(:

 

I dislike more than what I like..

 

...what I like:

 

- at-will/encounter/daily powers for spellcasters. Now mages won't run out of spells. I like this concept.

- no monk class. I've always hated the monk class. Of course they'll add the class later, to sell more books.

 

 

...mixed feelings on:

 

- switching from saving throws to being target numbers that attackers must meet.

- increased hit points (saw this coming from DDO).

- no half-orcs. Actually, this is good. IMO, Humans and orcs cannot interbreed (neither can humans and elves).

- gnomes. Really don't give a damn about gnomes. There's already enough short races. :lol:

 

 

...what I don't like:

 

- at-will powers for everyone else.

- dragonborn. If I ran a 4e campaign, this race won't exist. Can we say "munchkin race"? Yes we can.

- tiefling. (ditto)

- eladrin. If it looks like an elf, smells like an elf, barks like an elf, it must be an elf.

- MMO terms for roles: controller, leader, defender, striker. I hate those roles in MMOs, won't feel any different in a PnP game.

- decreasing skills, number and growth of. It is a good idea to merge some skills, and I do like the passive idea of perception skills, but 4e went too far.

- retraining. Munchkinism at it's finest. If I was to run a 4e campaign, I'd put limits on this if I allowed it at all (it might take a level or two to retrain).

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Thanks Mengu.

 

I've got to say that between your explaination and what I read in the DMG last night, I'm really frustrated over 4e. The tools they've put in place to help GMs design encounters seem pretty good, and I'm liking what I'm seeing/hearing on that regard. However, I still dislike the whole class/level system that is the basis of D&D and the changes they've made to that portion of the system only reinforce my dislike of it.

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This game has been a ton of fun. Most of the complaints are from people who have not played and want to hate the new system and have strong opinions. The good news is for the next two years you can keep playing 3.x with 10,000 feats and classes that were not at all tested for balance, can spend hours statting up NPCs and watching the high level magic users do everything in the game.

 

As if 4.0 won't have a cascade of splat books, supplementals, erratas, and "products" releaseing 10,000 feats, powers, rituals, spells, super elite magic stuff, and blah blah blah.... It's coming and I doubt any of it will be more tested than 3.5 products. This is WotC we are talking about here =)

I expect a lot of supplemental material to come out, because that's the business model WotC is using.

 

White Wolf, WotC, GW, and some others keep cranking out additional or revised material. The number of times I've been in a game store, and heard a customer bemoaning how few supplements a game has, it isn't surprising.

 

Those companies that tend toward fewer supplements also tend toward slower growth. Not that they are not successful, but that they don't aggressively grab for more market share.

 

Neither business model is inherently better, only different.

 

I don't care if they put out tons of supplements, because I'll only buy those I want to use. Nothing will force me to buy books I don't want.

 

For those that want books for everything, the option will be there. Buying all the supplements is not wrong, either, it is just another way to game.

 

Same here. Plus I have to wonder if 4e would be seeing the same amount of love it is if it were a system produced by someone else and/or not called D&D? I think a lot of the reactions on both sides are precisely because it's D&D.

Another game couldn't start this much hoopla, simply because D&D has the existing market penetration and has a large, established player base.

 

Another game going through a major revision can generate the same intensity, but it can only do so within its share of the market and player base. D&D is still the biggest game amongst RPG's, so it automatically comes with the biggest fan base to comment, both positively and negatively.

 

Shadowrun 4th was a significant change from 3rd. Among the fans of the game, there were divergent opinions on whether it was a good thing or trash. People joined the game, and people left the game. People still play both 3rd and 4th, and are sometimes very opinionated on which is better. They are two different mechanics used for a single game world.

 

It certainly sounds like the situation facing D&D 4th, and to those fans involved, it was every bit as passionate an argument.

 

D&D isn't any different. It's simply louder due to the sheer number of voices.

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So far, I like what they've done as a GM--the Minion rules, and the many variants on basic monster types, such as zombies. As a player, not quite so happy, especially with some of the stuff left out of the initial player's handbook (I want my monk and bard!).

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Another game going through a major revision can generate the same intensity, but it can only do so within its share of the market and player base. D&D is still the biggest game amongst RPG's, so it automatically comes with the biggest fan base to comment, both positively and negatively.

 

Shadowrun 4th was a significant change from 3rd. Among the fans of the game, there were divergent opinions on whether it was a good thing or trash. People joined the game, and people left the game. People still play both 3rd and 4th, and are sometimes very opinionated on which is better. They are two different mechanics used for a single game world.

WFRP 2e, OTH, seemed pretty much universally loved by most players of WFRP 1e. I heard a few disgruntled voices, but most WFRP players were simply happy it was back. 10+ years between editions helps a lot in that respect, particularly if there have been large lapses of virtually no support what-so-ever in that same time frame.

 

Traveller has a lot of the same issues Shadowrun does. There are now, what, 8 versions of Traveller? Two of those versions were just released (T5 and Mongoose Traveller), and a third version (GURPs Traveller) has been supported for quite a few years now. But I digress.

 

Overall, I think the timing of D&D 4e is poor from the standpoint of the hobby. Obviously, WotC doesn't think so from a business standpoint. Other than that, most objections I really have with it are the same objections I have with all versions of D&D, just in slightly different intensities for different things.

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Another game going through a major revision can generate the same intensity, but it can only do so within its share of the market and player base. D&D is still the biggest game amongst RPG's, so it automatically comes with the biggest fan base to comment, both positively and negatively.

 

Shadowrun 4th was a significant change from 3rd. Among the fans of the game, there were divergent opinions on whether it was a good thing or trash. People joined the game, and people left the game. People still play both 3rd and 4th, and are sometimes very opinionated on which is better. They are two different mechanics used for a single game world.

WFRP 2e, OTH, seemed pretty much universally loved by most players of WFRP 1e. I heard a few disgruntled voices, but most WFRP players were simply happy it was back. 10+ years between editions helps a lot in that respect, particularly if there have been large lapses of virtually no support what-so-ever in that same time frame.

 

Traveller has a lot of the same issues Shadowrun does. There are now, what, 8 versions of Traveller? Two of those versions were just released (T5 and Mongoose Traveller), and a third version (GURPs Traveller) has been supported for quite a few years now. But I digress.

 

Overall, I think the timing of D&D 4e is poor from the standpoint of the hobby. Obviously, WotC doesn't think so from a business standpoint. Other than that, most objections I really have with it are the same objections I have with all versions of D&D, just in slightly different intensities for different things.

WHFRP had another issue, in that the gaming world continued growing and developing, but the RPG remained static. Hogshead put out Realms of Sorcery in 2001 to add the colleges of magic, but the rules meant nothing until a character was extremely advanced, and so were of much less use.

 

The 2nd edition of WFRP brought the RPG back in line with the RPG world, cleaned up a lot of issues, gave people a lot more options for play, and has actually had better than intermittent and sporadic support. It wasn't simply the long span between editions, it was the fact that the game became a match for all the world sources people had had for years through WFB. The two finally meshed again.

 

D&D was the first public RPG. That's great, and it gave D&D a head start on gaining brand recognition. That also means that all the later companies have been able to learn from D&D's mistakes, and make changes they thought players would prefer. Brand name can only carry D&D so far, and there are a lot of quality products competing with it now.

 

4th changes things. It is up to the players to decide if they like those changes, or not. The only issue I see with WotC's timing is that the economy is currently down, so some players will be less inclined to change, even if they want to, because of the cost. Since WotC had to begin the expense of researching and implementing the change some time ago, they didn't have a lot of choice in that, either. They could eat the expense and sit it out, or release the new version and hope it was well enough recieved to make it worthwhile.

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The only issue I see with WotC's timing is that the economy is currently down, so some players will be less inclined to change, even if they want to, because of the cost. Since WotC had to begin the expense of researching and implementing the change some time ago, they didn't have a lot of choice in that, either. They could eat the expense and sit it out, or release the new version and hope it was well enough recieved to make it worthwhile.

The economy certainly plays into things, but I agree, that's not something that I can fault WotC for, as they certainly couldn't predict it. I simply feel that it's been too soon between editions. I've mentioned this over in another thread here that since 5 years is kind of the threshold as to whether someone becomes a gamer for life or not, a company should try and maximize the time between editions to give as many people as possible the chance to go five years. Ten years between core revisions seems like a pretty good number. Counting the switch from 3.0 to 3.5 puts us at 6 years, just barely over that magic five year number, and no where close to the ten year mark. Ignoring the 3.0 to 3.5 change (which I would), still means that I don't think 4e should have come out for another 2 years.

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Well everything I read leads me to the conclusion - it is a good game but it isn't really D&D any more. I think there is plenty of fun to be had with it for those who want to play it. When we changed from 2nd Ed D&D to 3.0 it was very seamless. Parties felt the same and so did the game. This I think would be a harder transition. But I like to torture myself so if I DM a fantasy RPG anytime soon it will be Earthdawn.

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Well everything I read leads me to the conclusion - it is a good game but it isn't really D&D any more. I think there is plenty of fun to be had with it for those who want to play it. When we changed from 2nd Ed D&D to 3.0 it was very seamless. Parties felt the same and so did the game. This I think would be a harder transition. But I like to torture myself so if I DM a fantasy RPG anytime soon it will be Earthdawn.

I've always enjoyed Earthdawn. I liked the traditional fantasy elements thrown with a very unique spin.

 

While D&D 4th is a significant change, I don't see it as that much different than the change from 2nd to 3rd. Both changes were rather drastic for established characters and groups.

 

The economy certainly plays into things, but I agree, that's not something that I can fault WotC for, as they certainly couldn't predict it. I simply feel that it's been too soon between editions. I've mentioned this over in another thread here that since 5 years is kind of the threshold as to whether someone becomes a gamer for life or not, a company should try and maximize the time between editions to give as many people as possible the chance to go five years. Ten years between core revisions seems like a pretty good number. Counting the switch from 3.0 to 3.5 puts us at 6 years, just barely over that magic five year number, and no where close to the ten year mark. Ignoring the 3.0 to 3.5 change (which I would), still means that I don't think 4e should have come out for another 2 years.

Ten years between editions sounds nice from a gamer perspective, but the long term games out there have not followed that rule. Even a five year wait between editions is long for some of them.

 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is one of the only constantly in print games I can think of that were available in the 80's and that is not on at least a fourth edition. Several from the 90's are on at least a third edition.

 

The level and visibility of change varies, but the frequency of change is not that different.

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Ten years between editions sounds nice from a gamer perspective, but the long term games out there have not followed that rule. Even a five year wait between editions is long for some of them.

 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is one of the only constantly in print games I can think of that were available in the 80's and that is not on at least a fourth edition. Several from the 90's are on at least a third edition.

 

The level and visibility of change varies, but the frequency of change is not that different.

 

Palladium Fantasy RPG - First Edition 1983, Second Edition 1996 (13 years and no indication of a third edition).

Rifts - First Edition 1990 (18 years and no indication of a second edition).

Deadlands - First Edition 1996, Revised (same as first with minor changes) in 1999, Reloaded in 2006. Deadlands is a bit of a convoluted development history getting to Reloaded. They went from Deadlands, to the Great Rail Wars, to Savage Worlds - Savage Worlds was used as the base mechanics for Reloaded.

GURPS - First Edition 1986, Second Edition 1987, Third Edition 1988, GURPS 3.5 1996, Fourth Edition 2004. Early GURPS editions didn't really change a whole heck of a lot (more like revised versions as opposed to new editions).

Traveller - First Edition 1977, Second Edition 1987, Third Edition 1993, Fourth Edition 1996, Fifth Edition 2008 (a variety of other additional versions based on the Traveller setting for GURPS, Hero and d20).

Vampire: The Masquerade - First Edition 1991, Second Edition 1992, Revised 1998. The system was officially discontinued in 2004.

 

Those are by and large the big RPGs over the past 30 some odd years. With the exception of Vampire, which has been retired - they are still all active. The average time between versions has been a little over 7 years...and that even includes all the short updates like Vampire and GURPS...which were more like the 3.5 version of WotC's D&D (playtest and similiar fixes...not large changes).

 

While there have been games which update more often - the ones which actually survive and thrive do not update very often.

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Let's spin the numbers a bit differently, and look at individual games.

 

Accept that Palladium is another example of a low revision game.

Rifts fits the category as well, though some players have talked about revisions and changes that were not spelled out as new editions.

Both Rifts and Palladium suffered from the embezzlement issues that limited company growth and expansion.

Deadlands is another odd point, as the company has gone through multiple incarnations, with the game not readily available at some points. Even accepting availability, you have three editions in 12 years.

GURPS has four editions in 22 years.

Traveller has five editions in 31 years, with numerous side editions for other engines.

Vampire had 3 editions in 7 years, and was retired after 13.

 

That gives us these individual averages for average edition lifespans:

Palladium evey 12.5 years

Rifts every 18 years

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay every 11 years

Deadlands every 4 years

GURPS every 5.5 years

Traveller every 6.2 years

Vampire, taken to its demise, every 4.3 years

 

That gives us three games using the over 10 year model, and five (including D&D) using a more frequent model,

D&D having four editions within 34 years (8.5 years), or even two editions within the WotC years (8 years), is not really that far out of line from other companies.

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or even two editions within the WotC years (8 years),

 

Not quite. WotC has had 3 in 8 years using the same designations as those in my list (I included revisions and x.5 versions as new versions). It is also important to remember the circumstances surrounding the first couple versions of Vampire and the first couple versions of GURPS. Both utilized new systems with new concepts that were not play tested fully. Once those initial growing pains were over come - they jumped up to 6-8 years or more.

 

TSR had a version cycle of 10+ years as well.

 

WotC...4 years ish.

 

Also keep in mind the question is the time between versions. Deadlands for example isn't 4 years it is 5 years (three versions spaced an average of 5 years; i.e. - 1st (1996)...5 years...Revised (2001 - actually 1999, but for terms of this illustration)...5 years...Reloaded (2006)...the important issue being that time between the versions).

 

My contention was with your 5 year comment - which almost all the games which have thrived keep a cycle over 5 years (and plays well into the idea that after 5 years a gamer is hooked for life).

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Our world is much more demanding and much less patient than in the past. I think we will continue to see shorter times between versions, probably around 5 years. In five years, publishers will aggressively publish everything conceivable and consumerrs, who have been trained to collect and horde will buy much of it. Companies will be designed to supporrt that sales volume. When things slow down, people lose their jobs, companies crash and people start to look for ways to make their profits. Since there are always ways to make improvements, especially after 5 years of playing, new versions are easy solutions that benefit the masses.

 

It is a fact of life and will happen with 4E as well. I don't have the numbers, but I imagine D&D is in a league of its own when compared financially to other RPGs, so it is unfair to compare business models. After all, there is little that an individually owned restaurant does the same as McDonalds.

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