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#29441
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
Well, I picked up the 4e core books. I have only had a cursory glance at them, but here's my early, early take:

1. Boy, they @#$#ed alignment. It's clear the game was never CRAZY about it, but now it's like they finally just killed it off. First of all, you can choose whether or not even to HAVE an alignment. That's right -- it's optional now. Also, I find the loss of CG and LE totally bizarre. First, there was a great symmetry to the old system. C,N,L to modify G,N, or E. Pick any combo. Now there are two kinds of good - good and lawful good - and two kinds of evil, etc. It's just bizarre. Plus, the alignments are described as "teams" - so if you're "lawful good" you are on the same "team" as everyone else with that alignment. They seem primarily to want to distinguish alignment from religious belief -- you don't worship LG gods in this case, but they're on your "team." But they either want to or HAVE oversimplified things -- as if everyone with the same alignment is going to have the same goals, be on the same team. That's just insipid. Clearly two characters who are LG may disagree about just about everything and hardly be said to be on the same team. It's very clearly a holdover from the minis game -- an LG "squad" against a CE "squad" where people are united by their banners...

2. In general, it feels more like they want this to be a minis game than an online (i.e. WoW) game. I say this because I also picked up the first mod, and it comes with all these maps, and feels more than anything like a minis supplement, not an RPG supplement. Plus, the way everything is laid out, it's very much oriented around minis combat now more than anything else.

Hey, possible good news for DF at least! If D&D = minis gaming, then there's a bigger audience out there for cool terrain!

3. I don't like the way classes and races are handled now. But I don't have a real logical, compelling argument against them. I just am stuck in the old ways. Certain races had a timelessness to them -- elves, dwarves, halflings. That made sense. But now we've got dragonborn and eladarin or whatever they're calling them and tieflings, and frankly, I just don't buy it. They list half-elves there, too, but wasn't this all perfectly well-covered in the old system by allowing you to mate a human with just about anything to produce your own unique half-whatever? Do half-dragons and half-demons and half-elves REALLY need to be their own races? And this "elder elf" concept -- blah. It just feels not-classic, it feels generic and also-ran to me. But that's just me being an old stubborn coot. Ditto on the clases -- "warlord"? Really? And rangers and paladines and fighters all being different classes, that just irks this 1e fan. They are SUBCLASSES thank you very much of the basic fighter class. I'll grant you "warlocks" at least, as a nice variant on magic-wielders and legitimately different from clerics and wizards. Speaking of clerics -- hm, so everyone can just heal themselves now? To some extent, I can buy the concept -- if people rest up, eat right, get exercise, they get better. Fine. But I'll have to see how they've actually handled it to see if it makes sense, or just guts the whole concept of the cleric.

It's a very different game, I'll give them that - at least I don't feel like I spent $ to pick up minor tweaks on stuff I already owned. Nope, this is a whole new game, and if I want to have the current D&D game, these books are essential. So even if I never play these rules, I'm glad I have the books, and the game is definitely different enough to warrant new books.

L
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#29442
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
Yes, it is definitely minis-driven. It's such a good cross-marketing tie-in to their miniatures line I have to wonder if they have plans to finally release the non-blind "character" and "encounter" packs that people have been clamoring for years for.

Box of character types

Box of goblins, box of orcs, box of undead .... etc.

If so, Reaper had better redirect their Legendary Encounters efforts to the Townsfolk ASAP !! (Which they should have been doing long ago anyway ... but I won't belabor that topic again :D )
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#29443
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
It actually reminds me a bit of the boxed D&D game that they released in the UK 2 years ago.
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#29444
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
One thing I hate, hate, HATE so far about at least the PH -- it is just very poorly organized, almost ugly in the way it presents information.

For example -- I heard all this talk about "roles," but all I've found so far is a completely empty classification of roles (controller, defender, leader, striker) but nothing about what game-mechanic implications they have. It's just this awkward set of terms that never appears to come up again (and I don't see it on the character sheet, either -- so it appears completely meaningless)

Then, for a better example -- the Cleric. Let's see how info about the Cleric is presented:

First we get Cleric Class Features -- Channel Divinity, Healer's Lore, Healing Word, and Ritual Casting. Very little is said about precisely what these features are or how they work. There are no lists of applications, no charts or numbers, nothing about what this stuff actually amounts to in the game. Sure, I realize the information must be in there somewhere. But, um, why isn't it HERE?

Then we get Cleric Powers, a heading with one thing immediately under it -- Class Features (um, didn't we already see that list?)
We get a bit more on Channel Divinity here, though we're told "two of which are presented below." Fine, but where are the rest of them? So you mention it once, saying nothing about it. Then you mention it again, with some random examples. Hinting that it will come back.

Then we get Prayers. No account of how many prayers you get, at what level, or anything like that -- just a list of prayers. And what's worse, this is the list: level 1 at-will prayers, level 1 encounter prayers, level 1 daily prayers. Then level 2 utility prayers -- then level THREE encounter prayers, then level FIVE daily prayers.... see where I'm going with this? It leaps all over the place.

I'm sure there's an explanation, and somewhere they must tell you how many prayers, of each type, you start with, and how many you get as you go up in level. But that information should be clearly presented, early on.

And more importantly, at least to me, they shouldn't have such a messy system! So let's see -- "at-will" prayers you get level 1 versions, but maybe that is it. "Utility" prayers you get level 2, but not level 1. Encounter prayers, you get level 1 AND level 3 ones. Daily prayers, 1 and then 5.

There may be a way for this to make sense, but they've presented it in a way that gives the impression of total chaos. It doesn't appear organized at all, this crazy jumping around of categories and levels.

Again, I'm not saying the system itself is bad or that there is no reason for the categories they've chosen or the mechanics -- just that the presentation is ugly and messy. It just feels like it would take a great deal more effort and time to glean useful information about how a class actually WORKS with this book, it presents information so poorly.

L


EDIT: Ugh, it goes on. So I'm sorting this out, and the disorganization continues. I see, in another chapter, the distinction between "at-will," "encounter" and "daily" powers. Fine, but they didn't mention "utility" powers! So I have to go somewhere ELSE! That's at least three places I have to look just to figure out how a cleric works.

Oh, and btw, so if I'm reading this right -- just every single cleric works exactly the same way with the same set of prayers as they progress? What?! That's awful. Picking spells was really cool and fun, and oh, btw, a big part of STRATEGY! I liked that 3e in general added to the choices and options you had in figuring out a character -- in 1e, magic-user (types) could pick spells and IIRC, thieves could decide to focus on certain skills, but everyone else just progressed mechanically and there was no way to specialize or make your character a unique example of that class. With the introduction of skills and feats, they made it so every character could choose -- and anguish over strategy -- how they would get better in what areas (and at what costs in other areas) But now, I haven't gotten to feats and skills yet, but it seems they've made magic-user types even MORE mechanical than they ever were! So every single cleric has exactly the same spell set!? That's INSANE!!!!

I must have missed something. Easy to see how I could have, given how terribly this book is laid out. Have I made that clear? Or should I only say a little bit about it and make you read four other posts in three other areas before you figure out the answer?

rassle frassle grumble grumble frassle...
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#29445
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
L,

You crack me up. I'm soooo glad I didn't spend the cash on these books.

Have you found anything redeeming about the game? Anything that is new or unique that could be ported back into 3E to enhance it?

Also, if it didn't have the words "Dungeons and Dragons" on the cover would you have ever purchased it (or would you actually keep it)?

Just curious.

BTW the hobby stores in my neck of the woods report excellent sales of 4E.... many to young brand new customers.... lots of future HASPRPG'ers out there.
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#29446
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
Hello folks,

it may seem strange to you but:

1. i dislike the changes in 4th edition as most of you do
2. i can understand the changes in 4th edition

to the second part fist ;)

they need to make a whole new edition so that the whole playing experiance is suitable for the audience. And lets face it the
rpg audience is 10-17 years old. They want rules and cool characters concepts that "rock the house" and make life worse for
the evil guys out there. They don't want real roleplaying by acting as the character and such stuff.
In conclusion the audience is happy when the hero disposes of the evil guy and gets the girl.

Um. I am 51 and the median age of our group is well past 30. Most players I have seen are at least in their 20's so if they are going after a young audience, they are after the wrong target audience for D&D. There are less and less new players these days. We have the disposable income to buy this expensive books, not the kids anymore.

To do this the 3rd editon was far too cumbersome, todays you need simple, quick to learn rules and a fast gameplay.
The new 4th edition is kind of boardgame style playing in my opinion (much like "Descent" i.e.).

I would think that the 4th edition will be a big hit for thede reasons.

Gamers that play computer games and online gaming will still do that. They don't like the slow pace of ftf gaming. They don't have the patience for it anymore.

Now for the dislike from my side, first i want to comment aracons 10 points:
10. If you miss with a sword, you still do half damage. Everyone is a winner in 4e, even the weak. Why not just save even more dice roles and just have everyone always do max damage? Lame
=> i agree it doesn't feels right

9. No more Lawful Evil or Chaotic Good. The alignments of Chaotic Good and Neutral Good are now just GOOD. Blah. Why not just condense this into Good, Bad and Ugly?
=> bad one on this, think most people working at wizard simply don't understand the alignments in 3rd edition.

8. Players can breathe fire by playing Dragonborn. I’ve heard that the upcoming 4.25 edition will have skunkmen who can spew stink clouds… a perfect match for how much 4.x stinks.
=> i don't like many of the 3rd edition races for the same reaon: strange alien creatures that live around in human towns ???
I hate these race (as PCs) from 3rd most: 1.Genasi 2. Drow 3.Goliaths

7. Instead of having content, a large percentage of the books have full page pictures… I would say 20% of the player’s handbook seems to be littered with pictures. More content would have been nice.
=> pica are nice to have, i won't complain about these

6. No more Gnomes in the core Players Handbook. Bye bye to Druids as well. However, we really needed another FIGHTER type? bleah
=> that one really doesn't count, they want to bring out a new PHB every year, so they need stuff to put in later ones.

5. Rolling new hit points at each level is too complicated so that has been replaced with a flat hit point amount. Everyone is equal.
=> we don't roll HP in 3rd i dislike having the mage always roll 3 and 4 and the fighter always roll 1-3 (we had this in a group were at level 5
the mage had more hits than to unlucky fighter).

4. Roles… why does a cleric HAVE to be a leader? Can’t I play a friar tuck cleric around for comic relief and occasional healing? Too many stereotypes and no roleplaying.
=> i hate this, too. There is no more room for roleplaying a character in there. The system doesn't supports the strange concepts any more

3. It is too hard to count diagonals so all diagonal movement is 1. Also fireballs are too difficult to determine a sphere so why not make all fireballs into firesquares? Dumb this baby down so that people don’t have to count single digit numbers.
=> no real issues about the diagonals, but the square fireballs are simply dumb.

2. Monsters are written as something to kill, cutting out all of the background material… Just make a mob of 3 carrion crawlers and 2 otyughs and FIGHT! So much for any roleplaying.
=> yes only stats, so no more thinking about how maybe the mosters live in there. Maybe simply we stuck the above in a small alcove
to surprise the PCs when they want to search it.... *irony*

1. The target audience for the books is 13 year olds who can’t count to ten and who all want to munch out a character.
=> thats the way it goes, i was in the same age category when i started "monsterhacking" (it was no roleplying that time, but cool anyways)

In summary, 4e is a cheap rip off of World of Warcraft. While 3.x had some issues, I haven’t really been able to locate any redeeming features of 4e.
=> 4th edition is morphed into a thingy that most of the targed audience will understand. I feat that wizards will lose some sustomers for
this one, but will win more customers for everyone lost.

Good or bad, it is what we have. The gaming industry has largely dropped 3.x like a stone. I have my new books and we will run one game, but most of our games will stay 3.5 per our groups wishes.
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#29447
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
I know that my Game Day experience was hampered by lack of the rules. My books arrived from Amazon yesterday, after I returned from aikido and the D&D Meetup game (we were playing 3.5, so not needed).

Skimming through the rules, I find that the 5-foot step has been replaced by the Shift maneuver. The name change, I gather, is because some class abilities allow your to shift more than one square.

Cubical fireballs still have my head shaking.

Then again, I remember the old days, when fireballs cast inside dungeons often meant filling your own corridor with flame (4/3 pi r cubed volume), and lightning bolts rebounding off the walls into your party members.

I think part of the change has been to move the game away from punishing stupidity. Honestly, if you buddies are in the midst of a swirling melee, firing your crossbow into that mess can (and often would) result in a crossbow bolt in your buddy's backside. 3rd edition changed this to a -4 penalty for shooting into melee, with no chance of hitting an ally, and even that penalty could be eliminated with Precise Shot (a cool feat, IMO). 4th edition not only eliminates the penalty for shooting into melee, you can have a wall of PCs in front of you and shoot through them without penalty.

I think it's easier to see the things we dislike, but I'm finding other stuff I do like. I never understood why a wizard had to cast one of his few memorized spells to determine if something was magical. It sounded to me like a mechanic having to get out a device to determine if your car was mechanical. In 4th edition, it's a cantrip that can be cast at will, so the wizard won't lose his spells finding if the loot radiates magic.

I've much more reading to do, as time allows. I'll offer any insights that spring to mind.

:D
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#29448
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
That's really why I bought the books -- I just want to know what the game "officially" is now. I'm one of those geeks who gets compulsive about that sort of thing.

In any case, I haven't found anything I really liked yet in terms of game mechanics, but that's partly because I haven't gone too far down the "game mechanics" road yet. I have found a few more things to b@%#@ about, though.

1. I don't like the way things are so heavily labelled. It feels like, with the monsters, it's a result of the focus on minis, and with the heroes, it's oversimplifying.

Here's what I mean:

a. Monsters: it seems like instead of giving us basic monsters that we could make "unique" if we wanted -- i.e. this is a bugbear, but if you want him to be the Captain of the Guard or a drunken brawler, that's up to you -- they have given us a hyperspecific list of monsters now. Goblin warrior, goblin underboss, goblin skullcleaver, goblin hexer. Blazing skeleton, boneshard skeleton, tomb guardian skeleton. What happened to just giving me "goblin" and "skeleton" and letting ME decide what they're doing? It made sense to label MINIS this way, so you could keep selling goblins and skeletons without giving us the impression we already had "that mini." But it feels stupid to put it in the MM this way. I don't even know what a "boneshard skeleton" is! The picture makes it feel like it's somehow more cobbled together, with blades for hands tied around his bones -- but the only text says he's distinguishable from a normal skeleton because he "throws his boneshard." Thanks. That's helpful. I can see why he merited singling out as a wholly distinct monster and not just a regular skeleton with a boneshard to throw.

b. Heroes: Every class has these "types" it can be - wizards can be battle mages, blood mages, spellstorm mages. Rogues can be brawny rogues or trickster rogues. I just don't like labelling things in a way that sounds like it narrows down your options -- one or the other. Sure, this is not entirely new -- we've had subclasses and specializations and prestige classes before. This is essentially an extension of that. But it feels like the way they've presented it, you're really encouraged to think of things in a narrow way. Rogues are either "tough" or "tricky" -- that's it. Very rigid, very restrictive. Don't care for it.

I also don't like the way powers are presented. This is yet another "raised on 1e" bias -- when magic-users and clerics had spells, and thieves had special abilities, and for the most part -- THAT WAS IT. Now, EVERY class has powers.

Problems with the new method:

1. Powers, skills, and feats are increasingly difficult to distinguish for me. Why, exactly, is a particular ability one instead of the other. I haven't found anything yet that explains the difference between skills and feats (beyond game mechanic distinctions, of course.) Maybe it's in there -- but it should be clearer, right at the top when they lay out what skills are. And it may NOT be in there. Why are some things one, and some another? So why do fighters and warlords need "powers" instead of just having good skills and feats available?

2. Even if the differences between skills, powers, and feats were clearer -- and if they could justify assigning powers to every class -- I don't think the powers themselves make all that much sense. Sure, the warlord has neat powers, he can rally the troops and keep focus and intimidate the foe (sounds like a basic fighter with a high charisma to me, but, whatever, 4e, you sure do love your labels!) But some of the powers are "encounter" or "daily" powers -- they can only be used once per encounter/day. Well -- why? Why can my warlord only deploy strategy and rally the troops ONCE? If he can do it, shouldn't it just be something he can DO?

Sure, from a game mechanics perspective, it makes sense to limit it. But invoking balance just makes me wonder why they went this way at all -- why not just make the powers WEAKER but constant, in a way that would be plausible, natural, and realistic? Why have this "once a day you can keep your allies from routing" kinda deal? Limiting SPELLS made a certain degree of sense -- they required study, they depended on divine intervention, etc. But these kinds of purely natural abilities that are meant to stem from who these people just ARE. .. I just can't wrap my head around the notion of limiting them this way.

Plus, the game mechanic answer doesn't wash because, while balance is great, it is in fact far more clumsy and complex and needlessly messy to give us THREE kinds of abilities, and that's not even counting abilities modifiers (which is where all of this began, anyway). So my fighter not only gets bonuses for his strength and charisma, he ALSO has these "powers" AND he has these "skills" AND he has these "feats" and they all work different ways...? Stupid. 3.x was just complex enough to be nuanced and interesting -- this goes just over that line. (it's also more hyper labelling, now that I think about it - fighters could always do this kind of thing with a strength or charisma modifier, but now they've given it a special name and a special roll, instead of just leaving it a nameless extension of basic abilities...)

IMHO, of course. Some people, raised more on 3e than 1e, will find this less objectionable probably. It's like I really dug 1e, found 3e an acceptable tweak that went just to the edge of what made sense, and now 4e just goes too far....

L
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#29449
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
To me it is more dumbing down of the game. AFAIC 3E was D&D for 13 year olds so what do we call this? Not sure what game you were playing, but 3E still had the chance of hitting another player due to firing through another character. That character provided a +4 AC bonus and if you missed by the cover you had a chance to hit the cover. 3.5 made to complicated so we just stuck with hitting the cover.
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#29450
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
More stuff I don't like, and this will probably be the last post I have about 4e.....

1. The layout continues to appall. The list of powers is organized around this "utility," "daily," etc. distinction, right? Except in the actual description they also clarify which kind of power it is -- and they kinda HAVE to, because when you get to the "paragon" powers, they no longer group them, and you need to read the description to see what kind of power it is. So, for example, under "Blood Mage Spells" you have "soul burn" which, we're told, is a "daily - arcane" spell. Of course, under "Level 19 Daily Spells" we have "Cloudkill" which is "daily - arcane" as well. But one power is listed under "Daily Spells" so we already knew it was daily. The other, not so much. It's just a clumsy layout -- they repeat information needlessly, they organize and present it in different ways so it is not streamlined and clear. It's just a mess.

2. The color choice -- some powers have red bars, some green, some black. There's no pattern I can find -- do the colors mean anything? Not insofar as I can tell. But they're there all the same. And they don't have a pattern -- sometimes an entire group is in one color (Level 23 Encounter Spells) but sometimes not (Level 16 Utility spells) and the way colors are distributed has no pattern -- "Combat Veteran exploits" gives us two red powers and one grey, but "Sword Marshal Exploits" has one red and two grey. WTF??

3. All of this would bother me less if there were CHARTS than compiled all the information in one place so you could easily see it all together and get an overall feel for it. That was a standard part of 1e. It's harder to find things, harder to keep everything in your head at once, it's just clumsier and messier and, again, terribly laid out.

4. Finally -- where's "Charm Person"!??! I swear, I can't find it. That may be the last straw. I can see losing the "Power Word" spells, and "Wish," but "Charm" is just a classic. That really seals the sense that this is just a board game now, all about combat. Sure, they kept SOME non-combat spells, but even what they call "noncombat" encounters are limited to things like puzzle solving and trap disarming -- no diplomacy, no character interaction, no real narrative. They really want to break down the whole game to just those two kinds of action -- fighting, or dealing with some concrete, "there's one solution" sort of "trick." There's no real room, no discussion, for more inchoate, human-life-experience type moments where there isn't an obvious "right" choice or thing that you MUST do (disarm the trap, defeat the foe), but just a kind of difficult choice or experience that can't be reduced to a die roll. I mean, sometimes the books imply that these are still part of the game, but they also (in an inconsistent, contradictory, we-are-explaining-this-game-TERRIBLY kind of way) say explicitly "there are two kinds of encounters, combat and noncombat like trap disarming and puzzle-solving" and then say to the DM "feel free to gloss over the time between encounters as dull time in which nothing happens, and get to the next encounter to keep the action going and your players interested."

The DMG has a real anxious, fretting tone, worried that players will lose interest and wander off like kids with ADD at any real moment. I half-expect that any given page will cut off in the middle of a paragraph and start screaming "HEY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS!?! COME BACK HERE! THIS IS FUN! I PROMISE! PUT THAT DOWN! YOU'LL LIKE THIS! COME ON, GIVE IT A SHOT! REMEMBER HOW YOU SAID YOU WOULDN'T LIKE ROLLER COASTERS? AND NOW YOU LOVE THEM! COME ON! SIT DOWN AND LISTEN! IT'S FUN, I PROMISE! THEN AFTERWARDS WE'LL BUY YOU SOME ICE CREAM! WOULD YOU LIKE THAT? HUH? ICE CREAM? COME ON, SIT DOWN!"

sheesh. Can they not accept that if we plunked down our $70 or whatever that we probably do like this game?

L
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#29451
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
To me it is more dumbing down of the game. AFAIC 3E was D&D for 13 year olds so what do we call this? Not sure what game you were playing, but 3E still had the chance of hitting another player due to firing through another character. That character provided a +4 AC bonus and if you missed by the cover you had a chance to hit the cover. 3.5 made to complicated so we just stuck with hitting the cover.
In my opinion, 3E used grammar that didn't treat the reader like a child. Yes, 13 year olds could understand 3E, but the style of 3E was far more mature than 4E. Perhaps it was either the column design, the font style, size, or the grammar, but when I read through 4E it FELT like it was written for young kids. Something like Hungry Hungry Hippo or something....
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#29452
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 1 Month ago  
I played my first game this Sunday and the group had a whale of a time. We spent nearly an hour in a village/tavern setting talking to NPCs and role playing. When a fight did happen, it was almost a "game within a game" experience. We set up the MBS and played a very tactical game with minis. Combat was a superior experience to 3.5 because it gave all the players plenty of options and choices each round. I noticed there was a lot more maneuvre each round and the system really rewards team play.

In a nutshell - the system did not interfere with the role playing and it enhanced the combat experience. The group (6 of us, all aged 35+ and veteran AD&D players) unanimously thought it all looks very promising. That is just our experience so far anyway.

Dave
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