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4th Ed Game
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TOPIC: 4th Ed Game
#29453
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
Excellent point, David !!

Those of us pre-4E D&Ders will have the ability and experience to inject the role-play into 4e to make it play more to our liking. Those just starting with 4E will, sadly, most likely play it as presented ... a hack-n-slash minis game and miss the role-play aspect that made D&D what it is (was).

I did just pick up the "Keep on the Shadowfall" intro / quick-start adventure and hope to run through that soon to have more practical 4E experience without major investment.

Like I said before, it IS a different game, and I could enjoy it, but it seems like it's not too widely accepted here just yet so I'll save myself the $100 on the 3 manuals for now... especially after reading L's extensive review (thanks for that, btw, L).
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#29454
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
No problem -- and just to be clear (and fair) I want to say again that I haven't actually PLAYED with the new system, and for all I know it really does work for a smashing good time. I mainly was just so aghast by what struck me as a terribly laid out book, and by the loss of certain elements of D&D I'd always really appreciated.

L
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#29455
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
I've spent the last few weeks reading the PHB front to back and I found it to be quite streamlined and relatively cohesive. More so than any other edition so far. Without rolling any dice I think I have a nice solid handle on how the mechanics work, although I did read the PHB from front to back, which I suggest. It seems like they took more time in designing it to be read that way this time around, which I appreciate.

The fact that every class' special abilities are powers, instead of totally different mechanics will make it far easier for Dave(our resident two hand sword fighter player) to make a wizard and understand the way his powers work. Not that he'll actually make a wizard, but it won't be any harder for him to do. When he makes a fighter next time I'm sure he'll be super pumped that he doesn't just make an attack roll and roll for damage. Instead he has options, just like any other class.

The artwork is pretty lame, especially with the heavy emphasis on Tieflings and Dragonborn. But, like Stefan said, I haven't really seen much RPG art that rules like the old stuff. Same with a lot of flavor text. Maybe some of the Necromancer Games stuff, but that's because they bow to the ancient Gods of RPGs. Flavor text is something we create as DMs though, so I'm not too worried about that. I just want a game that runs smoothly and is level across the board, which I think on first impression, this will be. There are some problems, but the framework of the ruleset looks good to me.

The alignment dumbing down is just that. Dumbing down. I think it's dumb and will therefore continue using the other alignments. It won't really make any impact on the gameplay, just the role play.

I don't dig the Dragonborn and Tiefling, so they won't be playable in my game. They might be handy for First Men & Demonbrood in the Wilderlands, however, which I'll use for NPCs. I hate that they bumped classic D&D races for these new upstarts though. Also not including the Druid & Barbarian is lame, but it's all marketing. They're trying to force us to buy the 2nd PHB, which is a greedy, but effective marketing plan. I don't like it, but then again, a friend burned me a copy of the PHB on PDF, so my pocket book isn't hurting right now either.

The names of the "special" monsters are kind of lame, but it's just a handle for the DM to know which one is the leader, striker, whatever. I like that they included these bosses, as creating them for 3E got cumbersome and took a lot of time. I look forward to using them with no prep time. I also look forward to creating my own harrowing monsters as well. I think monster creation will be far more streamlined than ever before.

I'm not super keen on the heavy role definitions too, but it does help to outline to new players what your class is best at. I know I'm not gonna make a Leader just because our party doesn't have one. I'm gonna make whatever character I want to role play. Those roles have existed in previous editions, there just wasn't emphasis on recognizing them. I'm sure one could make a Friar Tuck supporting cleric and play him comically just fine. Maybe when I get my game running I'll create one to prove it.

I thought that the table on page 29 clearly illustrates when you can choose powers from your class list. The powers and feat progression is there and there's even a total powers line on the chart, which I think is great. Each class has it's powers listed by level, which I thought was clean and easy to interpret.

L, the powers are color coded for ease of use. Green are at-will powers, red are encounter powers and grey are daily powers. I find the streamlining of all class' powers into the same mechanical information is great. No more guessing, and it'll be super easy to design powers.

As for the Cleric powers, the descriptions of each feature is listed under it's heading on page 61 and the uses of Channel Divinity are listed in the beginning of the powers section on Page 62. All the mechanics for using them are there just before the level 1 powers, so that if a player needs to find the definition of his powers they're all together, not on the previous page.

The omission of Charm person is a bummer, as it's a traditional spell with role-playing importance. You can always design another power or ritual that emulates it. Definitely a disappointment though.

I'll post up something once I've actually played it. I've been playing D&D for 15 years and I think this version will continue to give me satisfaction from a rules and game play perspective, while lessening the amount of rulesmongering and look up time.

Enough time at the computer, time to go the beach.
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#29456
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
I haven't played 4e either, but the Owner/moderator over at DDMspoilers posted his review and it wasn't flattering.

The worst thing about what he said? The incredible level 1 power their characters had: 5 level 1 characters were able to take down a large white dragon. Something is just wrong with that....

ddmspoilers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1482
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#29457
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
I've finally received mine, though I've had scant time to skim through the books. I plan to run some games with it - there's no better way to test drive a system than to play it.

I do like first level characters to have some abilities - they're a long way from the old days when 1st level meant "just hatched."

And I remember when you had to roll your first hit die (as well as every other one). Playing a character with 1 hit point just sucked on ice. So, fixed hit point advancement is not an issue for me.

Oh, and I liked most of the artwork, but I have no problem with tieflings and dragonborn. I've always been willing to play oddball characters, and my NPCs ran the spectrum of races and classes.

So I'll fire it up and see how it plays, then set to work on my list of likes and dislikes. Rule Zero always applies.

I figure I'll have fun no matter what.

:D
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#29458
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
Hey we used 0 level characters a lot. I am sorry, but I don't like the concept that 1st level characters are heroes. They are wanna bes IMHO. The survivors might make it to hero someday, but they all shoudn't start out being heroes. The problem is when you write for a system, rule 0 doesn't apply nor do any of the suppliments. You are stuck with what is in the SRD. We have to write to the core rules set and nothing more.
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#29459
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
If you're writing for official publication, you're right, you do have to adhere to the published rules, though even then there's leeway - note Eberron's use of action points, which were originally an option from Unearthed Arcana.

If you're writing for independent publication under the GSL, you have more flexibility.

Me, I just run my own games, and so I'm free to use Rule Zero to my heart's content.

I want to see how 4E plays by playing it. There are substantial differences between 4E and 3.5, but then again there were differences between 3.0 and 2nd edition, which was different from 1st edition AD&D, which varied a bit from the original D&D game.

I'm not selling my 3.5 books or abandoning all that's gone before. I just want to see how the new system plays.
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#29460
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
Well, we played yesterday. Our group consisted of a GM (me), an eladrin wizard, a halfling rogue, and elven ranger and a dragonborn warlord. Having not played 4th ed before, I chose the H1 module to play, and it's a good thing I did. Here are my impressions:

1) It's fun! Despite rule changes, there are far fewer changes from 3.5 to 4 than there were from 2nd to 3.0. There are only a few new concepts, actually (saves, no opposed rolls, shifting and healing surges) so it didn't take long to get going. The other changes, such as class special abilities, were no different to learn than, say, getting a new splat book.

2) Combat is fast, dynamic and deadly. Combat never turned into a hacking grind. With the wealth of abilities (at-will, encounter and dailies) there was a lot of stuff to do. Let me also say that minions are *awesome*. There is nothing like attacking a lair, at first level, and encountering a dozen foes. My players actually planned out their combat strategy, something I haven't seen in a long time.

3) Despite the fact that you'd think healers wouldn't be useful... they are. You can only heal yourself with a surge once per encounter. With the abilities and damage being dealt, you need it.

4) Use those encounter powers. If you still have encounter powers left after an encounter, it's a waste.

5) Encounters seem to be harder to balance. In the past, an encounter designed for 5 folks wouldn't be a big deal for 4. It is in this edition. I believe this has to do powers and minions. I would guess that removing a few minions would help. I'm guessing I just have to get used to it.

I'm still going to try Pathfinder, but from a playablity standpoint, this is way better than when 3.0 first came out. We never got too bogged down in rules or combat. Also, my greatest fear (which I had for 3.0, btw) was never realized. It still feels like D&D.

Good stuff. We'll be playing more.
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#29461
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
All

I'm now reading this thread with interest for a while - so it's time to add my own impressions.

As far as I see it - there are lots of changes which upset quite a few peope - on the other hand most people who played it enjoyed the game. So why is there disagreement?

To me - please correct me where I go wrong - I don't have the rules - I haven't played - it seems the biggest difference is, that you 'start as heroes'.

Is this good - is this bad ??

It depends what you are looking for. If you start a new game it seems more fun to start a hero. No need to play half a year to get a character with options and possibilities. Therefore for a one off game it seems more appealing. So it seems great for gaming.

On the other hand - building up a character the long and hard way is for many people what role playing is about. I've had tears on my table more than once when the character of my wife died. If you play a character for a few years you start bonding with him. Characters who stayed from level 1 in the game tend to have more history and flavour to them as ones which started later on a higher level (as replacements). Making wrong decisions - and living with them lends character to your character (pun intended).

Will 4.0 work as well for a long campaign - I don't know yet. What about min-maxing with a level 10 character in 4.0. It scares me if pfworks already says it is hard to keep balance on level 1. What about a random encounter - will this completely screw balance. I will watch the space - no hurry to do anything. I enjoy 3.0 with some 3.5 elements at the moment. And with the pace we play it will take a while to finish Red Hand of Doom.

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#29462
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
To me - please correct me where I go wrong - I don't have the rules - I haven't played - it seems the biggest difference is, that you 'start as heroes'.

Thod

Seems like a pretty good base-line analysis to me.
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#29463
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
It's really interesting to me to see how different the reactions are -- definitely not a uniform response. I really am getting curious to play the game, though I think I have a much better grasp now on what to expect.

A few thoughts:

1. I think the "I played it -- we had a blast!" replies are probably targeted to people who have different reservations from my own. Some people may fear the game has been "dumbed down" or whatever to the point where it just isn't fun, it's too easy, there's nothing fun about munchkin powergaming, etc. Or that the loss/change of certain elements removes some crucial part of what made the game fun all along. But that was never really my objection -- I was more in the camp that worried that the game would feel too much like a boardgame or a simple skirmish minis game now, less like a fully-immersive RPG. I can certainly imagine it being FUN to play a combat-heavy, D&D-like boardgame, but that wouldn't mean I would be happy with changes that turned D&D into one. NOT that I'm saying this has happened -- I just hadn't noticed before that there really are at least two camps of people anxious about 4e, and it's sorta amusing to me that one of them is fully prepared to accept that the new game is fun and still object to it anyway. And it's funny to me that this may end up being my view.

2. I think I've figured out why people are saying it's trying to be WoW, or some other videogame. Maybe this was obvious to everyone else, but I'm just now seeing it. I noticed before that the "powers" mechanic made all classes uniform in some way, so that what was once the special province of spellcasters or thieves is now given to all -- a list of powers to choose among to increase your combat options. Dudebird, you commented that this had a huge advantage, in that it meant that players could understand how all classes worked, and not merely their own. Fighters could understand how wizards worked without having to play a wizard, and so on. I can see that.

But here's what I object to, and this is 100% 1e bias, I admit: I don't think fighters SHOULD have so many options in combat. It seems like the real anxiety here is that nobody will want to play a fighter because wizards have so many cool choices in combat, and fighters can only hit things. I thought that skills and feats did a really great job of realistically expanding on a fighter's repertoire, allowing for individualization and specialization and still retaining the basic nature of melee combat. Fighters still only hit things, but some are particularly good with certain kinds of weapons, or fighting with two hands, or using a shield offensively, or whatever.

Now, it feels like everything is labeled and every action has to be different and unique. "Dance of Steel!" "Crushing blow!" "Griffon's wrath!" I've never played WoW, so I can't comment on that, but this does remind me a lot of Street Fighter. It's like combat is only interesting if each move has a name and a special description. (It also reminds me a lot of professional wrestling)

And I guess this bothers me for two reasons:

a. This is a very specific example of what people mean by "dumbing down." You know what? Combat CAN be dull. But on the one hand, that's just an indication that the game isn't REALLY supposed to be all about combat. The best D&D games I ever played were not thrilling because of a particular melee, but because of the greater sense of challenge and danger, of which combat was only a small part. There were all sorts of challenges to overcome, and if the core of a game had really consisted on needing to roll a 15 and successfully doing so.... well, that's a lame game. Combat was never MEANT to be colorful and exciting, or at least this aspect of combat - the "how am I going to deal out damage?" part of it. If you're playing the game in such a way that it seems dull to say "I hit him with my sword" yet again, then you aren't getting how the game is meant to work. The solution is not to find ten other ways to deal damage -- it's to find five other ways to FIGHT and ten other THINGS TO DO IN THE GAME. No, this "how do I hurt them?" thing, it was meant to be a small component of a larger game, for which die rolls were necessary to accommodate a certain level of chance and differentiation of character strengths. There were all sorts of strategic decisions to be made, about how and when to enter into a melee, and how to distribute the party, and when to cut your losses -- the actual "how do I reduce the monsters' HP?" question was just never that central, and didn't need to be made more exciting. Now it feels like players are thinking "What, just hit him, with my sword? I've done that three turns in a row now! How DULL!"


And the other half of this, of course, is that combat doesn't HAVE to be dull -- if the players and, in particular, the DM know how to stage it right. If tension is built, if players have a sense of what's at stake and how menacing the foe is, if the fight is brutal and the players are really challenged - that is enough. "I take another swing!" can be a truly dramatic and thrilling moment -- it doesn't (or at least, once upon a time it DIDN'T) need to be a matter of "Strike of the Watchful Guard! Ah-HA!"

b. This does seem to make the game all about an excuse to get into combat -- it makes combat more "colorful" because it seems like it's a resigned acceptance of the fact that the game will now mostly be about combat. This is subtle, of course, since the game still allows for all sorts of ways to play it and you don't HAVE to play a combat-central game, I assume. But when this much ink is devoted to the various ways fighters can hit people..... well, it just .... it does sorta leave one with the impression that this game is going to be Street Fighter.


Ultimately, it leaves me with a sense that the designers were worried that players were getting bored -- and instead of trying to show people how to play a game in a more textured way, with combat relegated to its proper sphere and "I hit him with my sword" given the right amount of importance (more exciting but less central than a lot of players seem to think) -- instead of trying to tweak the game to fix the tendency to think that way, they just catered to that kind of thinking and said, "Fine -- you don't like 'I hit him with my sword!'? How about 'Death Fist 2000!'?"

L
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#29464
4th Ed Game 6 Years, 2 Months ago  
Another good analysis.

Maybe, if the designers of 4e were getting "bored" with 3.5, they should have checked out Ptolus first...

;)
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