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Thoughts on 4.0 now that the fervor has died down a bit

4e D&D  

129 members have voted

  1. 1. Rate 4th Edition D&D

    • I'll stick with a previous version of D&D
      43
    • I'm going to play a different RPG entirely.
      24
    • My group plays it, but I'm not a fan.
      3
    • I like it. I'm not giving up my old systems, but there's room on my bookcase for this one, too.
      36
    • I'm probably going to get rid of my old stuff, it's really good!
      9
    • Best. Version. Ever.
      14
  2. 2. Have you actually played, or just read about it?

    • I've only read the internet and heard some anecdotal reviews by friends.
      20
    • Read it. Haven't played, though.
      31
    • Played once or twice.
      29
    • Have a campaign with multiple sessions so far.
      49


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That's part of my point. Some new material, or at least some equivalencies to 3rd's character race capability, and some old held to build interest for later books.

 

If all of the popular and traditional races and classes were in PHB1, there would be less enticment for people to grow their game with PHB2.

 

Leaving some teaser material for the later book enhances its marketability, and reduces the risk of a book full of just new stuff.

 

There will be lots of supplements for 4th. It's become close to an industry standard, and a practice that has stayed with D&D since the beginning. Every supplement that can garner interest before it's published is a boon for WotC.

I see your point, but I'm going to counter with this - with a whole new ruleset, they were providing the new with the rules. There was no need to throw in new races/classes at the expense of iconic ones in the first release - doing so simply highlighted the fact that some iconic ones weren't there. They would have simply been better off not including those races at all - people would whine about it, sure, but they wouldn't feel nearly as slighted about is as they do knowing there was space for their favorites, but a deliberate decision was made to not to include them.

 

There is also the element that the PHB is supposed to be one of the core parts of the game. That's the stuff that most GMs will accept without question. Now I obviously can't speak for every GM out there, but Tieflings and Eladrin will never be a core part of any of my campaigns, and I know many who feel the same way.

 

Considering how big 3.5e grew, it's understood that stuff will have to wait for further supplements, and there will always be people unhappy with the release order. But the core books weren't the place to make changes that dramatic, IMO. But what's done is done, and people will get over it or they won't play it.

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There was no need to throw in new races/classes at the expense of iconic ones in the first release - doing so simply highlighted the fact that some iconic ones weren't there.
That's the big reason behind my gripes, too. I don't think of D&D containing human (half) star elf (half) vampire (half)* fighters who can only swing their war axes counter-clockwise three times a day. But even those changes would have been palatable with less destruction of the elements that kept players coming back over several decades.

 

My compliments to whoever gets the joke

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Oddly enough, I like much of the "fluff" of 4E...the new pantheon, the elemental chaos, the Shadowfell, the whole "points of light" thing. I like this all as a backdrop for a good game.

I don't care for the "crunch" though. It's too different from what I've played for so many years as D&D; it's too Anime" with all the cutesy names for powers, too war gamey with all the "slide one square", etc. I don't care much for the idea of "daily, encounter and at-will" powers, or of making everything have them.

I do like the greater flexibility in creating NPCs and monsters (the reduced stat block is very nice).

So. I'll do what I've done with every edition since OD&D; I'll take what I like, add it to what we play now ( a very homebrewed rule set) and ditch what I don't like.

Simple for me, since we play in a small group that has mostly played together for a couple of decades/.

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This is what we do. FREX, we have incorporated the "skill challenge" mechanic, and generally like it. Most other aspects we do not use. 4e feels very restrictive, with only a few "builds" available. Sure, you can tweak it here or there, but if you want to make FREX a bug based wizard, its a no-go. This lack of customizability in the core PHB is a big turn off. I'd rather keep with 3xe or something like GURPS or Savage Words...

 

Damon.

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That's part of my point. Some new material, or at least some equivalencies to 3rd's character race capability, and some old held to build interest for later books.

 

If all of the popular and traditional races and classes were in PHB1, there would be less enticment for people to grow their game with PHB2.

 

Leaving some teaser material for the later book enhances its marketability, and reduces the risk of a book full of just new stuff.

 

There will be lots of supplements for 4th. It's become close to an industry standard, and a practice that has stayed with D&D since the beginning. Every supplement that can garner interest before it's published is a boon for WotC.

I see your point, but I'm going to counter with this - with a whole new ruleset, they were providing the new with the rules. There was no need to throw in new races/classes at the expense of iconic ones in the first release - doing so simply highlighted the fact that some iconic ones weren't there. They would have simply been better off not including those races at all - people would whine about it, sure, but they wouldn't feel nearly as slighted about is as they do knowing there was space for their favorites, but a deliberate decision was made to not to include them.

 

There is also the element that the PHB is supposed to be one of the core parts of the game. That's the stuff that most GMs will accept without question. Now I obviously can't speak for every GM out there, but Tieflings and Eladrin will never be a core part of any of my campaigns, and I know many who feel the same way.

 

Considering how big 3.5e grew, it's understood that stuff will have to wait for further supplements, and there will always be people unhappy with the release order. But the core books weren't the place to make changes that dramatic, IMO. But what's done is done, and people will get over it or they won't play it.

They were supplying some alternates with quite a bit of the standards. 3rd really opened the door to new character race options compared to 2nd. Cutting back to the original racial mix could easily turn off people who liked the new and different racial options given with 3rd.

 

By adding some new races, they could work to mollify those players, while still also keeping most of the traditional races. You have humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings in the 4th PHB. That's what many people I know look for first in a fantasy RPG (the legacy of Tolkien). Beyond that, they add some new (or slightly alterred) options for other races. They did the same for classes. That gives a mix of old and new races and classes to help with player retention and game growth.

 

With PHB2, they can build on PHB1 both with more iconic choices and additional new choices, to continue the trend, while maintaining interest for many continuing gamers. I expect parts of PHB2 to be considered effectively a core option for most campaigns. With the inclusion of iconic races and classes, it encourages groups to run with it that way, while still not opening up the can of worms many GM's faced while they figured out how much they wanted to control player options when 3rd first came out.

 

Campaign GM's can always opt to ignore racial options, just as they can allow alternate races, or not, at their discretion. That's part of the fun in creating an RPG world. Games simply give you the tools, but the GM can go whichever way they want from there, limited only by their imagination and willingness to work for it.

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By adding some new races, they could work to mollify those players, while still also keeping most of the traditional races.

Here lies our basic disagreement, I guess. I beleive that the outrage of not including the newer races would have been less than the current outrage.

 

With PHB2, they can build on PHB1 both with more iconic choices and additional new choices, to continue the trend, while maintaining interest for many continuing gamers. I expect parts of PHB2 to be considered effectively a core option for most campaigns. With the inclusion of iconic races and classes, it encourages groups to run with it that way, while still not opening up the can of worms many GM's faced while they figured out how much they wanted to control player options when 3rd first came out.

I see the logic for the supplements, but I don't think they avoided the can of worms at all. Most GMs with ongoing campaigns that have any kind of player race restrictions are going to have an issue, no matter what was included. Better, IMO, to have kept it to Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings in the PHB, and had the PHB2 ready to go with Gnomes, Eladrin and the rest within 2-3 months.

 

Campaign GM's can always opt to ignore racial options, just as they can allow alternate races, or not, at their discretion. That's part of the fun in creating an RPG world. Games simply give you the tools, but the GM can go whichever way they want from there, limited only by their imagination and willingness to work for it.

That's all a given.

 

What's done is done, though. It will be interesting to see how that particular can of worms is handled when 5e is eventually released

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To be honest, I've never played in a game where there was a Gnome PC or a Bard PC, in 20+ years of playing D&D. From what I've seen of the previews, they managed to actually do the bard some justice instead of making him a 2nd-tier class choice as he's been in the past.

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For me, I began my FOURTH 4e campaign last night. This time, I'm the GM. Games 1 & 3 we're 4th level (wow, so many 4's! It's a sign!) and in game 2 we're still level one, but since Games 1 & 2 are the same night by hubby & wife DMs and they take turns, it'll be a month or so before we return to game 1 while we work on Game 2, then back to Game 1, etc. Keeps it fresh!

 

So I'm converting the World's Largest Dungeon to 4e. If I'm able, I'll put all my conversion notes into a pdf or something. Heck, If I'm lucky, somebody has already done it! <<goes to look>>

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I'm starting a new X-crawl campaign converted to 4th this week. Another DM and I are planning to run alternating Crawls so we both have a chance to run a character as well.

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@Kristof65,

It's not really that much of a disagreement between us. I've simply been pointing out rationales that WotC could have for what they did. I'm willing to take the time to try and understand those decisions, regardless of whether I think they were the best choices they could have made. No matter which choices they made, there would be some players that loved them, and others that hated them. They're working with a game that people can be passionate about, because it's something people do for fun.

 

WotC kept some of the old, along with some added new, for PHB1. They saved some other old to put together with more new later on in PHB2. That was a choice from a business' standpoint that made good sense.

 

From an individual gamer's standpoint, how good their choices were for the old and new used and saved becomes much more variable. When you judge aesthetics, there are no real concrete options to run with. Everything done to appease some players would frustrate others.

 

WotC had no single correct course for the change to 4th. As a business, they felt they had to revitalize the product line. It's hard to keep a game line fresh and profitable without new, interesting content (supplements frequently don't add much). TSR found that out the hard way. Consumers are too fickle. WotC was going to get some players upset no matter what they did, and could only work to mitigate the frustrations as best they could.

 

WotC is not an evil empire trying to destroy D&D. They're a business trying to make a product people will enjoy so they can continue as a business. Most of their employees are actively interested in their product (especially compared to a lot of other industries). They are going to work to try and keep players interested in their product. To do otherwise would be corporate suicide.

 

Players get to decide if any changes are worth using, or if they want to play a different game. WotC does not want people to choose other games. No company does.

 

Once more games became available way back, D&D dropped from being our primary game. We're not as fond of leveling systems. We've continued to play D&D through the years, because it can still be fun, regardless of which version we use. X-Crawl was a big boost for our 3rd ed D&D play. Any decent system can be fun with a good group, and any system we have the books for is playable, even if it's out of print. I'm currently running a 1st ed Deadlands adventure (OOP), a Renegade Legion: Legionaire adventure (OOP), and a Dark Heresy adventure (modified). None of the players have had an issue with playing a game that's out of print. I'm working on an X-Crawl adventure along with some other game ideas. When any adventure comes to a stopping point, we choose what system we want to go with next, so I normally have a week or two to finish developing the next adventure.

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@Kristof65,

It's not really that much of a disagreement between us.

Aahh - we're on the same page then, we're both just playing devil's advocate for the different sides. :devil:

 

Frankly, 4e has nothing more or less to offer me than 3/3.5e did. Given that I don't particularly care for the class/level system D&D is based on in the first place, I'm rejecting 4e on that premise, rather than any of the changes they made. As for the changes they have made, from what I've seen so far, I don't like 4e any more or less than 3.5, it's just different things to love/hate, but pretty much the same balance of them.

 

We just had a discussion tonight in my current group about what we are going to do after our current campaign is over, which looks to be within the next 6 months. Of the six of us, our GM really wants to move to 4e, one of us would rather not but will go with group consensus, three would like to but will go with group consensus, and one is vehemently against it. The real problem is going to be who GMs. Our current GM wants to pass the job to someone else for awhile, and the only two of us who are willing to pick up GMing the next go around won't GM 4e.

 

So if we make a switch to 4e, either our current GM will soldier on as GM, or one of the others will have to step up and GM.

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A few topics

 

Bards: OK, bards weren't useless, in that if you added up all the damage done by a party without a bard, then with a bard, assuming not spellcasters, the bard was doing more damage than any other character. But the problem was the player basicaly said "I'm playing music" at the start of a fight, and then didn't participate at all in what was going on, except for casting the odd cure light wounds form a wand when we found the musical casting feat in a splat.. (then there was the whole "Anything you can do, a Cleric can do better" issue.)

 

Kristof65: Your opinion makes no sense. How is removing previously unpopular core races to make room for previously popular non-core races in core not a good decision, or not understandable? My group consists of an eladrin, a tiefling and 2 dragonborn, and a fifth player is joining who build.. another eladrin. Everyone was excited to try new things. I think "They took out the old to make way for the new" is much more understandable than "They took out the old for no particular reason and there's just less options than before". How could hte latter possibly be better?

 

Meanwhile, "Don't take out the old and keep adding new" leads to extreme bloat, whilst "Don't take out the old and don't add anything new" leads to stagnation.

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Just wanted to touch upon the options debate (new core classes/races vs old core classes/races, etc).

 

For races, in one of our groups, we have 1 tiefling and 2 dragonborns, and in the other group we have 1 eladrin and 1 dragonborn. For classes one group has a warlock, and one group has a warlord. Everyone is excited about the new core options. Do people miss some of the old options? They do. But not too long ago, we ran a one shot game, and our Barbarian fan got to play a 4e barbarian. In another game, I had a guest player also play a barbarian. And in yet another one shot game, someone got to try a Genasi Swordmage. The options build very quickly.

 

I also think DDI is a huge advantage in providing players with options. I'm the only one in our two groups (total of 10 players) with DDI access, but for $60 a year it vastly increases options for 10 people (essentially a value of $6 per person per year). I can easily have someone pickup a level 1-3 bard or druid and play it right now. And thanks to DDI, I'm never going to be in a hurry to buy a D&D book (though I'll still browse through them at the store probably). DDI also makes my life much easier as a DM. It gives me a searchable monster manual in database format of every monster ever published for 4e. And for any tool that reduces my prep time for the game (or gives me more time to focus on the adventure itself rather than statting out combat encounters) I'm willing to pay quite a bit.

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