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D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?

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When looking at rules revisions/new editions, you also have to compare how compatible two versions are when making the time assessments.

 

And while I agree that our world is growing much more impatient, that doesn't change the data that shows people who play games for 5+ years are more likely to become lifelong gamers than those who don't. IMO, reducing the time between editions helps to side track that process, which results in fewer gamers overall. In the long run, getting 10,000 new customers a year with a 25% retention rate at 5 years is better than getting 20,000 new customers per year at a 10% retention rate at five years.

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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.

 

Well our gnome character sees a big difference. But I know that can be gotten around. But my point was more about feel. From 2nd to 3rd it felt the same (remember I am from an RPG group that has never used figures), but as we look into 4th edition it seems like a very different game. Our Cleric felt he was much the same, so did our paladin etc. Now they look at their classes and to a degree they see things they don't quite recognize.

 

I can't imagine us converting any existing campaign to 4th edition, but we may well start a separate one to try it out.

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I can't imagine us converting any existing campaign to 4th edition, but we may well start a separate one to try it out.

 

That is my issue as well. I have a home brew world that I've been developing for almost 30 years, through 3 editions of the game. Going to 3e sucked because it was so hard to fit existing structures into the new edition, but we made it work. From what I have seen of 4e, I'm not certain that I will be able to convert my world into the new rules. At the very least, it will take a lot of time and energy to do so.

 

My problem is that my kids are just now starting to play. They want their own books and such, and as 3e dies off, that will become difficult. It will also become diffucult for my son to talk his friends into playing an out-of-date edition as well when he gets to that stage in a few years. I will likely have to find a way to adapt my world to 4e eventually as I am sure not going to start fresh as WotC is suggesting we do (though if I wait long enough, maybe 5e will be out :rolleyes: ).

 

That said, our two gaming groups intend to stick with 3.Xe for at least another year, maybe more, since it seems that the first release of the core rules is incomplete, and we are happy with our current campaigns.

 

TS

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TS,

 

What is it about 4E that does not fit your campaign world and how major is it? These statements always confuse me. I visualize a campaign world as a concept and the rules are how things are applied. There is still magic, and the rituals, and monsters just as always. How they apply their trade is mechanically different, but besides that it is all the same. There will still be death cults, smugglers, corrupt rulers, over powering religions, political strife, ruins needing a good cleaning, undiscovered dungeons etc.

 

I love the Ptolus setting, the city has a ton of flavor and detail (that I don't have to create). Sure I will have to restat NPCs and make a few tweaks, but it is still a city with a dark history lurking with tons of danger and opportunity.

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I have disposed of all of my 3.0++++ books. I love the 4E rules. Combat is so much more interesting for all of the characters. It is important to let go of some of the definitions of our traditional D&D terms. For instance, there was a complaint about fighters not being uber archers. If you want a fighter focused in archery you go with the Ranger, multiclass a few feats to get better martial skills. Heavily armored archers don't make sense anyhow, so using a Ranger template works very well.

 

There are more things in heaven and earth, Digital M, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. You might want to take a look at O Yoroi armor, which was quite explicitly intended for archers, and would be considered heavy armor in any reasonable scheme.

 

I can't believe I hear people defending 3.X skill rules.

 

There are more things ... wait, I said that already. :poke:

 

I agree that skill points are a bit low in D&D 3.5, but the concepts work pretty well. FWIW, one of the things I dislike most about 4E is the lack of customization. I've played that game where characters were adequately described by class and equipment; there's a reason I switched to D&D 3.5.

 

But then my alternate games of choice are Fantasy Hero and GURPS, so knob twiddling is a requirement for me.

 

I'm glad you found a system you like, but your post was just as intemperate as those of some of your adversaries. Is it really necessary to treat this as if it were a debate between Monophysites and Nestorians?

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There are more things in heaven and earth, Digital M, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. You might want to take a look at O Yoroi armor, which was quite explicitly intended for archers, and would be considered heavy armor in any reasonable scheme.

 

Early feudal period Japanese armor was not just intended for archers, it was designed to be a defense AGAINST archery as well. Any warrior of any sort of reputation was an archer first (and he hopes a mounted archer), so Japanese armor evolved its distinctive style as a counter to archery.

 

Later armors emphasized hand-to-hand defense with some bullet-proofing.

 

Another example would be some Italian condota crossbowmen, equipped with plate armor...

 

Another example would be Sassanian/Byzantine/etc Clibanarii, who wore the D&D equivalent of banded armor (or "half plate" to a certain extent...both of which out of 4e it seems) and performed as mounted archers as well as charging home with hand weapons. Not to mention my favorites, the Sarmatians...

 

There are plenty of examples of "heavy archers"

 

Damon.

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Ach - you are both wrong. Archers wear tights. Haven't you ever seen Robin Hood? ::P:

 

The sheer number of things which are gone from 4E that existed in 3E would take a book to fill (actually probably several books). While you can easily take a feel of a campaign from system to system (and dumb D&D completely if you like) there are a lot of things which will not quite work so easily. For example, a celtic kingdom ruled by druids and bards...wait there are no druids or bards. Perhaps a Dragonlance campaign dealing with the gnomish tinkerers...wait their are no gnomes. A convoluted campaign which deals with the workings in a college of magic with intrigue between the different schools of magic...wait their are no schools of magic.

 

3.x wasn't for me but it was still recognizable as D&D. I don't see D&D any more with 4E.

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I've been skimming and reading the books, trying to like the 4th edition. I can see how some decisions were made and how they might improve things for a different audience

 

I just can't wrap my brain around some concepts and how they make "sense" in the context of the world. For example, minions and rituals.

 

I can see how the idea of minions can make creating an encounter easier. But, in the context of the game world, how do you have these 2 orcs that are very similar except that one takes many hits to kill while the other dies if hit by a tossed pebble (because, as a minion, he has one HP)? How do you explain that in the context of the game world?

 

Would have been better to have baseline orcs and then some leader type orcs who are tougher.

 

I can see how having some rules around common rituals separates them from other types of spells. I can see how some different spell casters should have access to the same spells. I kinda like that only rituals have components and the component cost is clearly listed. But, why does everyone, including the dumb fighter, get to cast Raise Dead (and any other ritual for which they have the level, instructions, and components)? How does that make any sense in the game world?

 

Would make for some interesting shocks in long adventures as well as the leader of the band of thieves keeps on raising his lieutenants from the dead.

 

Ron

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TS,

 

What is it about 4E that does not fit your campaign world and how major is it? These statements always confuse me. I visualize a campaign world as a concept and the rules are how things are applied. There is still magic, and the rituals, and monsters just as always. How they apply their trade is mechanically different, but besides that it is all the same. There will still be death cults, smugglers, corrupt rulers, over powering religions, political strife, ruins needing a good cleaning, undiscovered dungeons etc.

 

I love the Ptolus setting, the city has a ton of flavor and detail (that I don't have to create). Sure I will have to restat NPCs and make a few tweaks, but it is still a city with a dark history lurking with tons of danger and opportunity.

 

I am mostly concerned about the volume of work to convert. Honestly, I don't have my 4e books yet, so I am only going off of what I have read of the rules online in the previews and such. A few points that have me concerned:

 

- Multi-classing: In my world there are a few elves that are called "the driven" by the other elves. These are elves that don't stop to smell the roses and continually improve themselves throughlout their lives. The most powerful of these have at least 3 classes. These are the real power brokers on my world. So with the new multiclassing rules, how do I convert someone like this: Nightshade, Neutral Drow Male, 28 Scorcerer/25 Rogue/20 Fighter/10 Assasin (and yes I had this guy around years before Mr. Salvatore published anything with Drizzt in it). This is a fairly prominent character who turns up from time to time. Now he is an extreme example, but I have others like this.

 

- Home brew prestige classes. In 2e I had several special classes/kits that I had made myself for our world. Most of these I converted to prestige classes for 3e (very time consuming, especially for the Alchemist). So, how will I fit these special cases into the 4e rule set?

 

- Current campaigns: we are in the middle of two major campaigns right now. One includes a Minotaur with a special prestige class unique to my world and the other has a bard and a druid with a home-brew prestige class, all of which I'll have no support for in 4e. We can't just hurry up and finish the campaigns, as we have been playing it for years and are only now about 1/2 done. These are truely epic scale, world changing campaigns.

 

These are my biggest concerns right now. I may have others after reading the books. Honestly, if you can waylay my fears on this, please do. I really look forward to getting my books (Amazon just informed me that they will be 2 to 3 weeks late. <_< ).

 

Thanks,

 

Andy

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For example, a celtic kingdom ruled by druids and bards...wait there are no druids or bards.

 

 

WHAT!!! No druids either. Well that sucks. I have a huge organization in my world composed of Druids, Rangers, and Fey. Kind of a D&D version of Greenpeace, except they use arrows and spells instead of Lawsuits.

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

 

 

...what I don't like:

 

- at-will powers for everyone else.

 

- 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).

Regarding at will powers for Non Spellcasters:

Lets use the Rogue Exploit "Kidney Shot" as an example.

In a typical Encounter, how many times is an enemy oging to badly expose themselves and leave themselves vulnerable to a kidney strike? Once, if you feint just right. So your Kidney Strike Encounter power is actually "I feint, and they expose their weakness, so I can get in a Kidney Shot". Limited, because it will only work once against a given enemy... And even then, it's only a chance at a Kidney shot, because your attack might miss.

 

Ok -- now retraining and why it isn't munchkinism, it's necessary.

Look at how may at-will powers you get at Level 1. 2. Now how many do you get at Level 30? 2. Without retraining, You're stuck with the 2 level-1 at will powers your entire career. OK, but lets go further, Per encounter, that gets better, goes from one to 7. But again, without retraining, one of your 7 will be the one you picked at level 1. How many times did your Level 18 Wizard (from 1,2, or 3e) cast Sleep after level 18? I bet pretty few. Which was ok then, because you still got ne Level 9 spells, so you had power comparable to what you faced. But in this system, that doesn;t happen. Ok, So daily, those don't get much better. So again, you need to retrain every level to drop a level 1, or 2 or whatever so you can have powers appropriate for your level. Without retraining, you get the hit bonus, HP, and skills, but your exploits and spells never get any better EVER. Retraining allows a level 11 character to take ONE level 11 power at level 11, and a second at level 12 in preference over the level 1-10 stuff they had been using. Odds are, unless it's just a very useful power, you're replacing only your lowest level thing.

 

My 2¢.

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

 

 

...what I don't like:

 

- at-will powers for everyone else.

 

- 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).

Regarding at will powers for Non Spellcasters:

Lets use the Rogue Exploit "Kidney Shot" as an example.

In a typical Encounter, how many times is an enemy oging to badly expose themselves and leave themselves vulnerable to a kidney strike? Once, if you feint just right. So your Kidney Strike Encounter power is actually "I feint, and they expose their weakness, so I can get in a Kidney Shot". Limited, because it will only work once against a given enemy... And even then, it's only a chance at a Kidney shot, because your attack might miss.

 

Ok -- now retraining and why it isn't munchkinism, it's necessary.

Look at how may at-will powers you get at Level 1. 2. Now how many do you get at Level 30? 2. Without retraining, You're stuck with the 2 level-1 at will powers your entire career. OK, but lets go further, Per encounter, that gets better, goes from one to 7. But again, without retraining, one of your 7 will be the one you picked at level 1. How many times did your Level 18 Wizard (from 1,2, or 3e) cast Sleep after level 18? I bet pretty few. Which was ok then, because you still got ne Level 9 spells, so you had power comparable to what you faced. But in this system, that doesn;t happen. Ok, So daily, those don't get much better. So again, you need to retrain every level to drop a level 1, or 2 or whatever so you can have powers appropriate for your level. Without retraining, you get the hit bonus, HP, and skills, but your exploits and spells never get any better EVER. Retraining allows a level 11 character to take ONE level 11 power at level 11, and a second at level 12 in preference over the level 1-10 stuff they had been using. Odds are, unless it's just a very useful power, you're replacing only your lowest level thing.

 

My 2¢.

 

But from a realism standpoint, how do you forget how to do something that you already knew how to do and had been doing for quite a while? I used to paint minis with the base coat/wash/dry brush method. Now I have learned how to layer, wet blend, and do complex free hand art, but that doesn't mean that I have forgoten how to dry brush; I just choose not to now, but if I want to I could at any time.

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Ok -- now retraining and why it isn't munchkinism, it's necessary.

 

While very good points, this also reinforces for me the contrived and "gamey" nature of the Powers system...

 

Damon.

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

 

 

...what I don't like:

 

- at-will powers for everyone else.

 

- 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).

Regarding at will powers for Non Spellcasters:

Lets use the Rogue Exploit "Kidney Shot" as an example.

In a typical Encounter, how many times is an enemy oging to badly expose themselves and leave themselves vulnerable to a kidney strike? Once, if you feint just right. So your Kidney Strike Encounter power is actually "I feint, and they expose their weakness, so I can get in a Kidney Shot". Limited, because it will only work once against a given enemy... And even then, it's only a chance at a Kidney shot, because your attack might miss.

 

Ok -- now retraining and why it isn't munchkinism, it's necessary.

Look at how may at-will powers you get at Level 1. 2. Now how many do you get at Level 30? 2. Without retraining, You're stuck with the 2 level-1 at will powers your entire career. OK, but lets go further, Per encounter, that gets better, goes from one to 7. But again, without retraining, one of your 7 will be the one you picked at level 1. How many times did your Level 18 Wizard (from 1,2, or 3e) cast Sleep after level 18? I bet pretty few. Which was ok then, because you still got ne Level 9 spells, so you had power comparable to what you faced. But in this system, that doesn;t happen. Ok, So daily, those don't get much better. So again, you need to retrain every level to drop a level 1, or 2 or whatever so you can have powers appropriate for your level. Without retraining, you get the hit bonus, HP, and skills, but your exploits and spells never get any better EVER. Retraining allows a level 11 character to take ONE level 11 power at level 11, and a second at level 12 in preference over the level 1-10 stuff they had been using. Odds are, unless it's just a very useful power, you're replacing only your lowest level thing.

 

My 2¢.

 

But from a realism standpoint, how do you forget how to do something that you already knew how to do and had been doing for quite a while? I used to paint minis with the base coat/wash/dry brush method. Now I have learned how to layer, wet blend, and do complex free hand art, but that doesn't mean that I have forgoten how to dry brush; I just choose not to now, but if I want to I could at any time.

It's not forgetting. It's setting aside the techniques you know you won't use on your Competition entry and using other things (to use your analogy). Sure, on paper, you don't have your lv 1 power written, but that's to avoid clutter. I mean, honestly, would you rather have 2 at-will powers at level 30 that were somewhere in the 20's power level wise, or 24 at-will powers, knowing darn well you only use the 2 from the 20's anyway....

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Ok -- now retraining and why it isn't munchkinism, it's necessary.

Look at how may at-will powers you get at Level 1. 2. Now how many do you get at Level 30? 2. Without retraining, You're stuck with the 2 level-1 at will powers your entire career. OK, but lets go further, Per encounter, that gets better, goes from one to 7. But again, without retraining, one of your 7 will be the one you picked at level 1. How many times did your Level 18 Wizard (from 1,2, or 3e) cast Sleep after level 18? I bet pretty few. Which was ok then, because you still got ne Level 9 spells, so you had power comparable to what you faced. But in this system, that doesn;t happen. Ok, So daily, those don't get much better. So again, you need to retrain every level to drop a level 1, or 2 or whatever so you can have powers appropriate for your level. Without retraining, you get the hit bonus, HP, and skills, but your exploits and spells never get any better EVER. Retraining allows a level 11 character to take ONE level 11 power at level 11, and a second at level 12 in preference over the level 1-10 stuff they had been using. Odds are, unless it's just a very useful power, you're replacing only your lowest level thing.

 

I agree entirely with Glenn and Damon. I can't very easily forget BASIC because I don't use it any more in favor of a new programming language. I can't forget how to adjust a carburetor in favor of how to rebuild a fuel injector - just because it only gets used once every few years. Replacing a skill with another skill (no matter the method or frequency) just doesn't make sense.

 

In gaming terms, one day you are out adventuring and are able to use the most basic wizardry puff of smoke trick. The next week you are in a situation that the best tool for the job is that simple wizardry puff of smoke trick (causing a tribe of rapid halfings to fall asleep for example). Wait - I no longer no how to cast sleep because I now know how to cast uber-super-duper fireballs out of my butt. Doesn't make sense and sounds a bit like munchkinism.

 

The other method is a lot like reality. Over the years I have done a lot of different things and picked up a lot of different skills. In my current life I don't think I will ever need to analyze fiber particles under a polarizing microscope...but it doesn't change the fact that that information is in my head. From time to time though, it does get used in one way or another...or even just thought of in passing.

__________________

 

Sure, on paper, you don't have your lv 1 power written, but that's to avoid clutter.

 

So what is the trade off than...if it is only to avoid clutter? I don't know about you guys - but that is in no small part part of the character...all that clutter. Having the farm boy warrior with proficiencies in a variety of useless skills allows them to provide insight that those book learned wizards and priests may not have when they are trying to barter with a village for supplies.

 

BTW - the excuse which Wizards uses is to allow people to do over when they make a mistake in their earlier character development - no actual reason for allowing it, other than that. I bet there are a few hundred barristas with Master's in literature who would like to be able to retrain...

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