4E D&D Discussion

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4E D&D Discussion

Post by vampyre on Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:13 pm

What are your thoughts on it?

Pros, Cons, opinion of its product line & future etc... Very Happy

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Reverend Red on Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:23 pm

Hey Vampyre.

I'm personally not a big fan, I feel the dumbing down of the system obviously underestimates the player, leaving fewer options and less room for the "building" of the character. Though I'm no pr0 optimizer, I enjoy the thousands upon thousands of options available to a 3.5ed character. I don't see the point, even though many have tried to explain it to me, of the "at-will, 1/encounter etc." abilities. I also find that the exact similarity of wizards and clerics, for example, sounds like designers slacking off. What I do like is that even though optimizers everywhere agree the wizard is STILL the best class in the game, they've bought more fire and brimstone to the abilities of the standard warrior, though the extent seems well below the brilliant implementation of the 3.5edition Tome of Battle. The mechanics are, simply put, lazy and though innovative at some points, very scarce. The oversimplification is what strikes me as the most negative part.

Of course I'm not saying the roleplaying premises of a 4th ed game are any less than those of a 3.5 edition, since RP is always dependant on the players, not the system.

The second worst beef I have is the rape of the setting. First, the core becoming Faerûn was a bad move, as it's way too specific. The "General Greyhawk" idea worked well, and didn't bind the game to the world of Greyhawk (which in itself is a good setting already.) I'm a big fan of Forgotten Realms, but I think it's too specific to be a "core" setting. The fluff fuckery continues, as these fucking imbeciles fucked over MY FUCKING PLANES. I've been a Planescape fan for a long time, and it's revolting how they turned the shit completely upside down, decimating dozens of planes and molesting their inhabitants in a myriad of innovative and painful ways. Can you spell "Eladrin are now fey?" Fuck that shit. They ruined my planes. Not forgiving that.

And third is the vile stench of money. I mean, a pay-per-month online service you practically HAVE to have to be able to play the game to its maximum potential? Well who the fuck came up with that, Bill Gates? Blizzard Entertainment? Fuck you guys.

As you may have noticed, the post got a little aggressive towards the end, but 4th ed really has a lot of points that completely turn me off. I've never played a game using the new system, and would be interested in trying... but as a general concept, I dislike it.

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:31 pm

Not to mention how they just decided to hand out a few pink slips to their main designers. Apparently it's not enough that the books grind money like no tomorrow, but they got to get some more and kick out a number of actually talented people, such as their drawers.

One of the worst mistakes of 4e was how they moved out of their original shtick and decided to move more towards video game-esque play style. Needless to say, this is a losing battle because the crap they are sprouting cannot compete with actual hack 'n' slash games. So now instead of providing players a chance to play a game that encourages creativity they essentially created the worst video game of all time, you even have to do all the math yourself.

Also, the game pretty much requires players to wait quite a while between battles to recover their few attack options, use healing surges and other such fail. What this means is that if 4e didn't assume all monsters will nicely wait behind the door after you slaughtered their well-liked cousins, you'd die in an instant. Storytelling-wise this makes no sense at all. Of course you still have some crappy at will powers, but good luck pushing through the dungeon with those.

Skill system and a few other so called features is better described by a friend of mine:
SF wrote:The entire skill challenge system. Ignoring how badly they've screwed even that much up, the entire system is what you'd expect to see in a video game that due to hardware limitations cannot handle real roleplaying so they have to improvise and jury rig it. Simply by including this, WotC is insulting every DM that would want to run it by telling them that their brain is incapable of handling actual roleplaying, so here's some jury rigged BS that does not actually work. It also insults any player that would want to play under such a DM for the same reason. Makes sense... unless and until you stop thinking of 4.0 as a video game, then it falls apart.

Entire, essential subsystems are missing. The overzealous fans call this a feature, and decry anyone who (correctly) proves otherwise. Apparently you're supposed to just pull random arbitrary crap out of your ass, and this is a good thing.

Except that there already is a system for that. It's called free form, and as the name implies it costs nothing. Why would anyone choose to pay hundreds of dollars for something that they can get for free? The whole point of buying books is so that someone else is designing the system for you, and you are paying them to devote their time and effort to this instead of your own. The main problem with free form is that it breaks apart the moment the inevitable 'I shot you!' argument comes up.

Even if you look 4e as nothing but combat it sucks hard. You have to dumpster dive for every piddly +1, which really proves something is failing, because you don't even have that many options to begin with. Normal Web spell gives more encounter-ending power than anything 4e has.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Deodanth on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:16 pm

To address Vampyre's original question:

I spent good money on the 4e core books at their release, have kept up with the supplements, ran my own game for several months last year, and am currently in one active 4e campaign as well as occasional games via Living FR. So I think I have enough authority to judge it as a rule set, and to make my current decision -- which is to go back to 3.x as my preferred system. Exclamation

4e's advantages include fairly well streamlined rules (a further step along the trend of streamlining that began with 3.0), and the high degree of rules clarity that comes as a result. I also happen to like the static defenses, the healing system (a necessary addition), the streamlining of skills, and the elegance of the monster stat blocks.

4e's drawbacks, for me, are the current lack of character options and the VERY conspicuous lack of emphasis on non-combat related abilities. Both of these areas may improve over time, as the WotC gaming mill inevitably grinds out more 4e material. However, as someone who is planning a long term and richly detailed campaign and does not want to wait another year or two, I have resolved to stick with 3.5 and its immediate variants.

Now allow me to take issue with just a couple of the statements made in this thread:

Rev wrote:I also find that the exact similarity of wizards and clerics, for example, sounds like designers slacking off.
Did you mean to say WARLORDS and clerics? With that substitution your statement makes perfect sense. If you meant to say that 4e wizards and clerics are alike, I would disagree; a 4e wizard has almost more in common with a 4e fighter than with a 4e cleric.

Rev wrote:What I do like is that... they've brought more fire and brimstone to the abilities of the standard warrior, though the extent seems well below the brilliant implementation of the 3.5 edition Tome of Battle.
Tome of Battle introduced martial powers to D&D. This itself was a brilliant concept and rightly applauded, but its implementation was less than perfect. Simply because they were adding a revolutionary concept to an already established system. Melee characters needed an edge in 3e, but something as sweeping as ToB couldn't be done without bending the fabric of the system and leaving the 'older' melee classes (fighter, ranger, etc) at a disadvantage. In 4e all classes have powers, so martial powers are now seamlessly integrated. Any core fighter can now have powers like Dance of Steel and Thicket of Blades (which not coincidentally are names from the ToB, though their function in 4e is a bit different).
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:31 pm

Tome of Battle, as we now know, was something of a 4e playtest before 4e beta was published. That was essentially 4e with actually reasonable mechanics. While ToB's mechanics didn't work out to be quite flawless, it still was probably the most balanced system in the entire game. Unlike psionics it was something else than just a weak attempt to emulate magic, look at Psionic Dominate for example, just a magic rip off.

What the Book of Nine Swords did was introduce a fresh and long needed way for melee characters to actually contribute meaningfully. The main flaws of the system where the crappy maneuver recovery system of the Swordsage, the Iron Heart Surge shenanigans and the peculiar stance progression of the Crusader. Every book has a couple of inclarities and the rest (maybe I am forgetting something?) can be blamed on these normal typos.

But yes, Tome of Battle failed to fix the fundamental problems of existing classes and instead gave us a number of new ones. This, as you might imagine, can be blamed on the fact that it was their early try on 4e mechanics.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Deodanth on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:50 pm

Someone pointed out to me a very apt likeness between the ToB and something that appeared during the previous evolution of D&D editions: a book called "Skills & Powers."

2nd edition muddled along for years with its clunky Weapon and Non-weapon Proficiency rules. Then came Skills & Powers, which greatly increased PC skill options but also increased their power level. It was welcomed by many, but decried by others as a powergamer's book. Mass rioting, panic in the streets! bounce Then came 3e with its evolved, integrated system of skills for all characters. Peace and common sense reigned (oh, and who else misses such funky 3.0 skills as Innuendo and Scry?)

So it is with Tome of Battle, whose concepts are still a bit too drastic for the more conservative 3e players, and couldn't be fully integrated into the game until 4e's full release.

Never fear however... Deo is working on house rules to give some ToB powers to the 3e core classes. Cool Something a bit nicer than the sparse Martial Study feat option, but not as much as a full-on Warblade.


Last edited by Deodanth on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:59 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Reverend Red on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:57 pm

From my experience, ToB is a great addition and does work mechanically, theoretically and philosophically. I like it a lot, and I'm ashamed to admit how little I've played around with it.

But when it comes to mixing up editions, I only have this much to say: Play Icewind Dale 2. That was an attempt. It wasn't a good one.

I think it all follows a logic that I have nothing against, to each time their own. Each edition is a response to the older one, it's all very dialectic. I'm fairly sure that 5th edition, again, will be more appealing to me, as it will respond to the simplification and the need for more mechanics 4e presents.

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:02 pm

I look forward to seeing that. I could try to find you a few links to custom made Tome of Battle classes like the Sublime Way Marshal if you want. It might give you some indication about the power level CO specialists considered appropriate.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:05 pm

I'd actually say that the 5th edition will continue the video game style, simply because 4e has sold so damn much already. Note that the main advertising tactic used by WotC on its web site was actually to actively mock (criticise is too lame a word) 3.5 and all its flaws. This is why so many prominent 3.5 experts became adamant defenders of 4e after the proper brainwash they went through when they entered the playtest. Thank god my PM box was full back then...
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Deodanth on Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:17 pm

Tshern wrote: I could try to find you a few links to custom made Tome of Battle classes like the Sublime Way Marshal if you want. It might give you some indication about the power level CO specialists considered appropriate.
Maybe something like the Sublime Samurai? [url=http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Sublime_Samurai_(DnD_Class)] I've been looking at a few of these. But no matter what you use there is almost no way around it, the martial-powered version of any class is stronger than its pre-ToB cousin. My proposal is to rewrite ALL classes who aren't dedicated casters, from Barbarian to Spellthief, to give each one some ToB options. To save me the huge amount of work that implies, I am thinking of basing it on simple substution tricks like "trade a bonus feat for 2 maneuvers" etc.

And if anyone disagrees with the notion that a ToB class is superior to a core class, you could set up the gauntlet for Fighter vs. Warblade, if you like :-) A couple of major ToB advocates once insisted on Mayhem that the two were about equal, but once the idea of a challenge came up, they started quite a tap dance. No
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:43 pm

Equal in what sense? From level to level Warblade always defeats Fighter in survivability, versatility and later on in damage output as well. At first a Fighter might be able to outdamage a Warblade unless the Warblade in question actually focuses on damage dealing ignoring his versatility for a few levels.

Heck, when you go high enough, Fighters can't even beat Warblades at archery, which is supposed to be one of the roles where Fighter owns pretty much every class due to the feat-intensive nature of that combat style. Too bad the statement doesn't actually hold true...
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Deodanth on Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:23 pm

Tshern: The person saying that fighters could measure up to warblades was not me, but I'll give you a hint, his name started with the letter G. Razz

You bring up an interesting point about ranged combat. It takes a lot of feats to be good at archery in 3e, and there are next to no ranged maneuvers (after all ToB is supposed to bring all the glory to melee combat, right)? But to bring this back to the original topic: 4e goes a long way toward improving combat with ranged weapons. They get rid of penalties requiring a feat like Precise shot, increase bow damage to bring it in line with other attack forms, and base damage bonuses on Dex (a huge step in the right direction, IMO, and one which in 3.5 is still possible only via an obscure feat from Dragon magazine, or via Pathfinder). Then again, only certain classes benefit from ranged weapon powers (rangers and rogues). The fighter still gets no joy; to make a true bow specialist in 4e you are railroaded into the ranger class.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:04 pm

Ah, I thought some people were unable to prove that Warblades are better. That would've been weird.

Anyway, 4e's ranged combat is the same as the rest of the game: Useless. While feat prerequisites as such are indeed made of fail, I don't believe 4e is the right answer to that problem. Check out Tomes for better examples of scaling feats that anyone can take whenever they want.

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by MisterSinister on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:26 pm

Tshern wrote:Ah, I thought some people were unable to prove that Warblades are better. That would've been weird.

Anyway, 4e's ranged combat is the same as the rest of the game: Useless. While feat prerequisites as such are indeed made of fail, I don't believe 4e is the right answer to that problem. Check out Tomes for better examples of scaling feats that anyone can take whenever they want.

Quite. In general, 4E is also full of idiocy in their rules, like how you are your own enemy, warlocks can only curse themselves, rangers can only quarry themselves, and how a fighter can kick himself along to move faster. Oh, and you provoke AOOs against yourself when moving.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:41 pm

Yes indeed, I remember the 'Your own enemy' find. Made me rub my eyes in utter disbelief.

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Deodanth on Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:11 pm

This I have got to see. Paradox Busters, educate me?
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:07 pm

Player's Handbook, 4e, page 57 wrote:When a power’s target entry specifies that it affects you and one or more of your allies, then you can take advantage of the power’s effect along with your teammates. Otherwise, “ally” or “allies” does not include you, and both terms assume willing targets. “Enemy” or “enemies” means a creature or creatures that aren’t your allies (whether those creatures are hostile toward you or not). “Creature” or “creatures” means allies and enemies both, as well as you.

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by MisterSinister on Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:04 am

Or, in simple-speak: under 4E rules, everything is an ally or an enemy. Additionally, you are not your own ally. Thus, you are your own enemy.

Sheer jenuis.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Deodanth on Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:46 am

You know, at first I thought this was the usual hyper-pedantic, hair splitting crap you people seem to live for. pig But that text is some real shit.

Only way I can see out of the "ranger must quarry self" paradox is that quarry is not a power, it's a class feature, therefore the quoted definitions (which are for powers) do not apply.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:12 am

It's a mind-bogglingly idiotic sentence, there is no question about that. Not exactly the kind of fuzzy wording WotC is so infamous for. In any case, most of the meaningful stupidities like that are not hyper-pedantic at all. Care to offer an example?

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Deodanth on Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:30 am

No, but I'm sure you can.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:05 pm

Deodanth wrote:No, but I'm sure you can.
Nothing practical optimization-related. However, why all the sand in the vagina?

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by MisterSinister on Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:37 pm

The level of creative rules-reading among certain members of the DnD community is fairly legendary. Resultantly, some people might interpret this as rules-lawyering, and nobody likes lawyers. Heck, often, they don't even like themselves.

The sand in the vagina is unsurprising, but unfortunately, 4E all-but-requires you to adopt this sort of mentality simply not to suck.
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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by Tshern on Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:12 pm

Which is kind of amusing, isn't it? They tried to make the game more simple and the result was something simplistic, which usually isn't too nice.

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Re: 4E D&D Discussion

Post by MisterSinister on Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:05 pm

Tshern wrote:Which is kind of amusing, isn't it? They tried to make the game more simple and the result was something simplistic, which usually isn't too nice.

As far as the former goes, I'm inclined to agree. However, 4E is NOT simplistic at all. It is OMISSIVE, as it has removed essentially every noncombat interaction or ability of any meaning, but simplistic is one thing it is not. In order to even create a character which doesn't suck requires time investment in Rifts orders of magnitude, due to the sheer amount of dumpster-diving required, and no matter how hard you work at it, it STILL ends up looking like a pile of shit. To make matters worse, what each individual character can do no longer means anything - you can be an amazing melee ranger, but if the rest of your party consists of wizard, shooty ranger, shooty ranger, shooty cleric, you're an active liability.
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