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Inquisitor Tremayne
11-01-2008, 06:29 PM
Now that I have DM'ed 4 game sessions, I like it! Creating adventures is a snap for the DM. I used to get overwhelmed trying to craft adventures in 3.5, now it is a breeze. However, it kinda holds you to constructing encounters in a sort of stasis. Example, it is suggested that you use a mix of creatures in all encounters. I am thinking this may become problemmatic for the dungeon crawl I am about to run. The encounter system seems almost TOO balanced for its own good to where if you have other monsters arrive as, say, back-up it is going to increase the challenge for the PCs greatly. What if they enter room x, and from behind they get attacked by encounter b, but the monsters in room f hear the battle and go to join the fight? I am still populating the dungeon so we will see how it plays out.

The one thing I do not like so far is that it seems a bit too fantastical. The players and monsters with all their powers seems a bit too far fetched. Number one, there is really never a reason to EVER make a basic weapon attack. Not when you can Tide of Iron or Cleave or Sly Flourish, or etc... for EVERY attack. That seems a bit beyond the suspension of disbelief.

However ROLE-playing is not lost one bit! So far we have had 2 really good roleplaying interactions with NPCs and lots of great rp between the players themselves, staying in character and what not. That has been great!

I'll write more later.

Janisy
11-01-2008, 07:01 PM
Ya, I haven't had anything to do with 4e, but I was afraid D&D was gonna get to a fantastical point where mundane attacks and such would be obsolete. D&D is the CLASSIC roleplaying game, I hate that they changing so much. I mean 4e would be a great game I am sure, if it was called something else, published by WoTC under another name would've been wise.

Someone said the basic races in the book are messed up and information for the elf isn't in there? Crazy and dissapointing...

Pocciani
11-01-2008, 07:21 PM
I'm new to these forums so hopefully I won't come off rude. I've only played 3.5e before but I spent a good deal of time going through the changes made in 4e. I found it, as you say, "too fantastical". It seems EVERYTHING is EPIC, a little too much for my taste. The other major drawback I encountered was so many of the things that have become a staple of fantasy were overhauled, reinvented, or just removed. I was very disappointed by what I saw and I can honestly say I have no interest in trying the 4e.

That said, I have read repeatedly that 4e has made D&D much more accessible to new players and it has greatly reduced the demands on the DM. Personally though, I want a wide, vibrant world with which to interact. I want more options than I could hope to fully explore and more choices than my mind can keep up with. I'm not talking about for combat either. I want a chance to role-play my character despite the complexity.

I think the suggestion that WotC should have released 4e under a different name is a good one. In my opinion what they've done with 4e is akin to producing a sequel to the Lord of the Rings and converting the Orcs to a goodly race. Just a bit over the top. :)

Grimwell
11-02-2008, 11:34 AM
I've only got a couple sessions under the belt, but I'm liking it more under the strain of running it than I could have known reading through it.

I too see the 'fantastical' side of it, and when I sat and thought about it I decided it was much cooler and could be seen not as a "power" for every basic attack, but the actual names for the combat moves. With spellcasters we are used to having a name for darn near every attack they make and then watching the martial focused folks just roll and swing. Now, with the names the basic combat attcks really aren't much more than a roll but you get a nifty name for the "sword form" that they are executing.

Seen in that light, it's a roleplay thing and not a replacement for the basic attack.

Plus, people don't always lever those powers. Last night my parties sword focused ranger ended up using her bow quite a bit because it suited the tactics. She passed on many of her powers in combats to take advantage of range with a common attack roll.

Back to Tremayne's basic point, I'm definitely finding more affinity for it as I use it. The first session was long and we only ran through a pair of encounters. The second session was many more encounters, combat as fast as I ever had it in 3E, and when we stopped to read the rules made it easy enough to find an answer and move along. I really liked it.

Aidan
11-02-2008, 01:44 PM
There are plenty of reasons to use basic attacks. Charge for instance, and opportunity attacks are basics for the most part. Heck, even our wizard made a melee basic attack against an enemy who thought they could me away from her with impunity and she critted him.

Kalanth
11-02-2008, 04:21 PM
The one thing I don't like as a DM I also find that I love. There are not enough nitch monsters or monsters of a certain type to fill all the roles. Sometimes it just does not make sense to have an Orc, a Gnome, an Iron Defender, four Decrepit Skeletons, and a Spider in the room....

Because of this I spend more time level up or down monsters or just making my own from scratch. That makes life a bit frustrating but yet enjoyable at the same time because of how easy it is to do.

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-02-2008, 08:04 PM
Sometimes it just does not make sense to have an Orc, a Gnome, an Iron Defender, four Decrepit Skeletons, and a Spider in the room....

Yeah, yeah, yeah thats it! Thats what I don't like, thats what I am having trouble with!

Grimwell
11-02-2008, 09:37 PM
Well, monsters in 4E are nothing more than a role and a set number of powers based around a certain range of threat for the point you spend, so you could answer that problem by making a generic "Bruiser, Controller, etc." for the level range your party is working in, something that does not reflect the race or anything unique -- just a typical range of attacks and stats a monster of that type would use.

Then, as you need to fill out the niche points you could grab the blank, imprint it with everything that makes it unique (race, tactics, more special powers than generic) and move from there.

4E is very template friendly. Most creatures are a simple number of attack powers backed up with HP and AC. Everything else is where you get the flavor and come back to the powers to reflect it. A generic solider is going to do X damage with their attack at Y level. That's the generic part. When you decide that it's an ice goblin soldier the generic attack becomes "frozen strike" and deals cold damage.

If that makes sense (I'm tired), I hope it's a helpful idea!

Mindbomb
11-03-2008, 03:52 AM
I've only got a couple sessions under the belt, but I'm liking it more under the strain of running it than I could have known reading through it.

I too see the 'fantastical' side of it, and when I sat and thought about it I decided it was much cooler and could be seen not as a "power" for every basic attack, but the actual names for the combat moves. With spellcasters we are used to having a name for darn near every attack they make and then watching the martial focused folks just roll and swing. Now, with the names the basic combat attcks really aren't much more than a roll but you get a nifty name for the "sword form" that they are executing.

Seen in that light, it's a roleplay thing and not a replacement for the basic attack.


It may have looked that way to me if they didn't gimp the magic users to bring the fighters to the same combat level by using the same format.


There are plenty of reasons to use basic attacks. Charge for instance, and opportunity attacks are basics for the most part...

Those aren't basic attacks thats a Charge attack and an AoO.

Kalanth
11-03-2008, 09:53 AM
It may have looked that way to me if they didn't gimp the magic users to bring the fighters to the same combat level by using the same format.

It's a change in format, that is for sure, but what the caster lacks in damage they more than make up for in overall dictation of the battle. The wizard can really influence a battle when done right.


Yeah, yeah, yeah thats it! Thats what I don't like, thats what I am having trouble with!

Grimwell has the right idea in making a blank monster and populating the fields later. For me, I love to go through and make the monster fresh as I go which prevents the "fill in the blank" feel that you may get with making blanks. Generally I make a new monster for nearly every session I have, or at least level up / down a pre-exsisting monster.

Here is an example of a minion I made for my homebrew game. It is the only Minion I have made so far and I am not at home to double check what I based him on when I created him, but I believe he is based on the formula for making Soldiers:

Elven Acolyte of [Insert Evil God Here] (Level 3 Minion, 38 XP)
Medium fey humanoid
Initiative: +3 - - - - Perception +2, low-light vision
HP: 1 - - Bloodied: n/a
AC 16, Fort 16, Ref 15, Will 13
Speed: 6

Mace (Standard, At-Will) * Weapon
+7 vs AC: 4 damage

Wild Step
The Elven Acolyte ignores difficult terrain when it shifts

Elven Accuracy(free; encounter)
The elf can reroll an attack roll. It must use the second roll, even if its lower.

Alignment: Evil Languages: Common, Elven
Skills Nature +7, Religion +8
Str 16 (+4) - - Dex 14 (+3) - - Wis 12 (+2)
Con 10 (+1) - - Int 12 (+2) - - Cha 8 (+0)

Equipment: Mace, Cloth armor

1958Fury
11-03-2008, 10:48 AM
I too see the 'fantastical' side of it, and when I sat and thought about it I decided it was much cooler and could be seen not as a "power" for every basic attack, but the actual names for the combat moves. With spellcasters we are used to having a name for darn near every attack they make and then watching the martial focused folks just roll and swing. Now, with the names the basic combat attcks really aren't much more than a roll but you get a nifty name for the "sword form" that they are executing.

That's the way I see it. If people are pretty much using powers for every attack, then the powers are now basic attacks. Sure, you still can just hit someone with your sword, if you really want to for some reason, but why do that when you can do something with a little more flourish?

In previous editions, whenever you were just trading sword blows back and forth, it's not like your character was really doing the same boring swipe every turn. Picturing the battle in your head, he was probably doing all sorts of slashes and swipes and thrusts. So now the action is just a bit more defined in the game.

frank634
11-03-2008, 04:27 PM
I can say I have now played 4e since its inception and I can agree that it has become "Fantastical". However, I truely like that as part of the game.

When I watch a Fantasy Movie (or scifi or even secret agent movies), the hero's, for the most part, have a fantastical quality about them. They seem to be able to do the impossible or even the outragious. Some are exceptionaly strong or exceptionaly skilled. This is what made them the focus of the story.

In 4e, I feel it brought that quality of the game back in. In previous editions, the monsters, the npc's and even commoners had "levels" and were just like a PC. 4e changed that. You even see that with the Monsters.

I also like how they left room for Monsters to be exceptional. Most of the "solo" monsters have exceptional qualities, which makes them great vilions.

All in all, 4e is definately a big thumbs up. Took me a while to get used to tracking, but now that I have several months under my belt, our encounters are fast moving, and the role playing more like the Fantasy I see in the movies. The players are the true Heros.


It may have looked that way to me if they didn't gimp the magic users to bring the fighters to the same combat level by using the same format.

I wanted to comment on Mindbomb's comment with Wizards.

As a player in the 3.5e (and earlier editions), I always got "stuck" with the Wizard due to their complexity of spells. Lots of memorization, lots of spell combinations, etc... In many ways, especially at the highter levels, I thoroughly enjoyed the wizard because of its complexity. However, as a DM in the 3.5e (and earlier), it was very difficult to teach new players how to play a wizard because of their complexity and weeknesses.

In 4e, new players really get into the wizard because they have made all the classes alike in how to play them. However, believe me, the wizard really does get nasty at the higher levels.

What I was disappointed in was the lack of powers there were for the wizard (especially comming from a 3.5e view). I felt empty. However, based on what I have seen in various Dragon magazines, you can bet MANY more powers will be available.

Also, as a DM, you can always introduce more powers as well. Something I am considering in my campaigns. But, so far, the wizard playing players are standing their ground and doing a lot of damage. Maybe, it just not needed.


There are plenty of reasons to use basic attacks. Charge for instance, and opportunity attacks are basics for the most part. Heck, even our wizard made a melee basic attack against an enemy who thought they could me away from her with impunity and she critted him.

In my groups play, We see a lot of Melee Basic Attack's being done. Like you said, they are done a lot in a Charge action, and of cours the Opportunity action. We also see alot of them done when a warlord uses its Commander's Strike power to order another to attack.

Also remember, certain powers allow you to use a power in place of the basic attack. The Wizard's Magic Missile can replace the Basic Ranged Attack. Blastback Swipe (Forgotten Realms, Swordmage) replaces the Basic Melee Attack during a charge. Devistating Charge (Warlord) replaces Basic Melee Attack during a charge...Etc. I suspect there will be more powers to come that can replace the Basic Melee Attack and Basic Ranged Attack.

Mindbomb
11-03-2008, 06:36 PM
I wanted to comment on Mindbomb's comment with Wizards.

...as a DM in the 3.5e (and earlier), it was very difficult to teach new players how to play a wizard because of their complexity and weaknesses...


As a DM I don't need new players and as a player complexity is what keeps the game fresh and interesting.


...because they have made all the classes alike in how to play them....
Easier and uniformity do not = more fun in the long run(necessarily) .


However
What I was disappointed in was the lack of powers there were for the wizard (especially comming from a 3.5e view). I felt empty. However, based on what I have seen in various Dragon magazines, you can bet MANY more powers will be available.

This is the first edition (since AD&D 1e that I've played and maybe before) that there are no more options for casters than anyone else(and don't start on rituals, that is the worst system/option ever added to D&D). I always took that as one of the staples of D&D that casters were for the more advanced players, maybe I was wrong about the game for the last 20 years. I should not have to go to a secondary source to make my character interesting to begin with only to make it more interesting in the future, if I so choose. And what about all the history of casters in the novels, everything on record is now obsolete because they decided to change a fine system, the way to prepare, the reasoning behind the way it worked, there was nothing wrong with casters other than the learning curve, which really wasn't that huge.


Also, as a DM, you can always introduce more powers as well. Something I am considering in my campaigns. But, so far, the wizard playing players are standing their ground and doing a lot of damage. Maybe, it just not needed.

Most wizards aren't/weren't ever all about damage but now that's what Hasbro has decided wizards should decide to excel at. So now instead of picking a wizard and deciding which role I want him to play I pick a 'Controller' and play him as a wizard because, also as a regular Magic player I see, that it's just another 'keyword'. I like D&D as a card game(Magic), I however do not like a card game as D&D.

Webhead
11-03-2008, 07:25 PM
I got wind that Mongoose Publishing is going to be rereleasing Dragon Warriors. I think I might have to go check that out... :whistle:

http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/home/detail.php?qsID=1609

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-03-2008, 07:30 PM
Dragon Warriors looks good. I'll have to check that one out. Thanks for posting link.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-03-2008, 07:35 PM
I'm glad 4.0 came out in that it's geared for getting the new generation into playing DnD. This being said, it has changed the way the rest of us think about DnD in general. Each and every one of us veteren players(be it 1 year or 30+ years) has made a decision on which edition is our favorite. It also has made collectors of some of us and made some of us collectors stop collecting.

I myself, gave away most of my 3.5 material(had over $1000 invested) and just play any edition that had an interesting sounding campaign ongoing. My favorite now, with houserules, or course, would be 1st edition/Hackmaster.

So i dont take it as rude if folks dont care for 4.0, for i realize it rubbed gamers wrong in varying ways, myself included. I still buy the interesting modules(for i can easily converty to whichever edition i need it for), and again, play 4.0. All i'm saying is that even though 4.0 it has done alot of good, it has done alot of bad as well.

In the end, it's just another edition of DnD. I respect every edition, and gamers that have their favorites. This is why i play every edition. I love playing with gamers passionate about their fav's, for in the end, i love the comaraderie that DnD offers.

So thumbs up for 4.0. It did what it set out to do: it's attracting the next generation of players into DnD. Best of luck to the industry for it seems, to me anyway, that the new generation seems more interested in having their imagination given to them(video games) than to sit down at exercise *patience* playing with minis. It really is a tough sell for the industry.

And before anyone says it: there are exeptions to everything. I realize this and if what i said doesnt apply to you, then it doesnt. :o

Game on!

Kalanth
11-03-2008, 07:36 PM
This is the first edition (since AD&D 1e that I've played and maybe before) that there are no more options for casters than anyone else(and don't start on rituals, that is the worst system/option ever added to D&D).

Just curious if we could get more on the rituals and why you don't like them? I have enjoyed wizards for years, but I also like the changes made to them in 4th edition. On top of that, I really enjoy the rituals as do the Cleric and Wizard in the party I DM for. They have had a real good time using the rituals and have done so to great effect.


Most wizards aren't/weren't ever all about damage but now that's what Hasbro has decided wizards should decide to excel at. So now instead of picking a wizard and deciding which role I want him to play I pick a 'Controller' and play him as a wizard because, also as a regular Magic player I see, that it's just another 'keyword'. I like D&D as a card game (Magic), I however do not like a card game as D&D.

Not to sound like a company man, but don't blame it on Hasbro unless you have the data and documentation to back it up. Physical proof that shows Hasbro dipping their hands in the D&D game and pulling the 4th edition puppet strings. All the evidence I have seen show that the change was a WoTC inspired event only and really stemmed from just never being happy with the 3 / 3.5 rules.

As I said, I like the changes done to the wizard. I know a lot of people in my groups and across several forums that complained about the overwhelmingly small pool of memorizable spells for the wizard (or any casting class for that matter). The local ones I know are much happier now with the bottomless resources in terms of spell casting now.

The system is far from perfect, but it is enjoyable. The hardest part to get past is that it does not resemble the systems of the past. 3.5 was a clunky beast and the rules resembled the Hydra in that once one rule was revised / repaired / corrected / etc another rule would grow in its place that was more cumbersome and clunky than the first. To many books, to many rules, to many classes, to many prestige classes, a broken multiclass system, and so many other issues made 3.5 a power gamers delight. It also sucked the fun out of it for me and my friends. I know some cling to it as though their lives would end if they stopped playing 3.5, and they look at 4th ed as the garlic to their vampire. The game was good, the game is still good, but the fun is to the individual. And yes, I realize there was not much point to that last paragraph I just felt like rambling.


I got wind that Mongoose Publishing is going to be rereleasing Dragon Warriors. I think I might have to go check that out... :whistle:

http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/home/detail.php?qsID=1609 (http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/home/detail.php?qsID=1609)

It might be worth a look, but I have yet to see anything from Mongoose that was worth keeping (IMHO).

Webhead
11-03-2008, 08:01 PM
...It might be worth a look, but I have yet to see anything from Mongoose that was worth keeping (IMHO).

The trick here is that Mongoose isn't producing the book, they are just publishing it. The original creators are revising and reorganizing the game and Mongoose has acquired the rights to manufacture and market and distribute it for them.


Under the terms of this deal Magnum Opus Press will retain full creative control over the games, and will do all the design, writing, illustration and layout for the products. Mongoose will handle all printing, publicity, sales and distribution.

I've never actually owned any Mongoose products, though I was tempted by Conan 2e.

Creeg Viihdkarl
11-05-2008, 04:12 AM
OK, this is what I think. 4E is good for DMs and new players. Most hardcore gamers aren't going to like it too much because it seems constricting, but give it a chance. If your DM isn't supplementing things for individual campaigns it gets boring. I have DM'd 10 sessions of 4E so far and have learned a few things:
1. Don't use encounter packs suggested by the MM. Usually they don't make any sense except their abilities work together.
2. Make your own monsters. It is easy to do and your players will enjoy the encounters much better if it doesnt look like you threw a random handful of monsters.
3. Use skill challenges often. Good way for lower level players to gain XP as well as fleshing out characters.
4. Speed up encounters by using penalties. One thing I have heard is encounters take too long, use penalties to attack roll and more monsters to move the action along.
5. Don't think in 3.5E or earlier terms. This is different while the ultimate game is the same so enjoy something different.
Seriously give 4E a chance. Use the mechanics, not necessarily the content and I assure you that your 4E experience will be much more pleasent to you and your players.

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-05-2008, 09:39 AM
I DO like it, ease of play is amazing and much smoother than 3.5.

I'm guessing it is just more high fantasy than I thought it would be.

Tralix
11-07-2008, 07:41 AM
For me the only real problem with 4e is a lack of feats.

I find the Feats in the player handbook all but useless and really uninspiring. But I believe this is a problem that will be fixed.

It's definitly different, but it's still as fun.

Engar
11-07-2008, 07:08 PM
4e is easy. Of course I have run it for several sessions and only referenced the books for pictures. Since I despise the system as a whole and it fails in every regard short of providing a few new ideas I simply make it up as I go and then tell players what happened. Short of rolls we could be ad-libbing a choose your own adventure book. This has no long term character development value and is in complete opposition to what my games have been in the past, but is the best depth 4e supports. I am very anxious to roleplay again in the future.

Kalanth
11-07-2008, 09:04 PM
As I see it, if you are failing to roleplay with 4E it is not at the fault of the system. It is instead the fault of the players / DM. The group that I DM for has had little to no trouble RPing their characters in and out of combat. They have been able to get into the characters and find ways to be creative in combat as well as socially. Most of all we are exstatic that there are not hundreds of skills to fall back on when words fail them. Sure, I might default out a roll here and there, but for the most part it is like the old days when what you said mattered and the roleplaying was more pure. Not muddled with bad words and the roll of the dice.

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-10-2008, 06:38 PM
So creating monsters from scratch is really a piece of cake. Someone made some handy dandy templated blank monster stat blocks and filling them in and customizing them to use for your game are easy and great to use!

I really like adventure and encounter building for 4e so far.

However, given the seemingly ease in which PCs wade through monsters, it concerns me when making a dungeon where ideally monsters from one area might go to another area should they hear a fight going on.

This means that either A. you split the encounter to account for the 2 different groups of monsters and the possiblity that they might over hear the PCs fighting one group over the other and run the risk of each encounter being TOO easy. Or B. you create 2 separate encounters and run the risk of overwhelming the PCs with too many encounters at the same time.

What I am trying to do is find a middle ground, where they can enter an area of a dungeon, and have simi-challenging monsters join the fight or have that monster present a decent fight on its own.

Not sure if it is going to work.

I blame this on the power level of the PCs. Tons of PC abilities, encounter and daily powers, seem almost game breaking in their effectiveness.

Another cause for concern is the Warlock powers combined with Warlocks Curse. Warlocks Curse ensures that the Warlock is dealing an additional 1d10 to a cursed creature and there is no limit to the number of creatures that a warlock can curse. All the warlock has to do is hit the cursed creature and they deal an additional 1d10 damage.

Still takes some getting used to.

Kalanth
11-10-2008, 08:12 PM
If you want the encounter to be challenging on monster alone then you should look to build the encounter one or two levels over the players. What I tend to do is to build the encounter with some form of terrain that has an effect on combat. Whether that be simple as difficult terrain to as complex as a trap muddling up the works. It is all in the subtle nuances.

Webhead
11-11-2008, 08:45 AM
The thing that begins to strike me about 4e from overhearing a lot of discussion is that it seems to work primarily from the perspective of encounters as pre-planned or established. What if, in the midst of the adventure, an encounter that the DM wasn't planning on "just happens"? The prime example (which happens a lot in our games) of this being "when PCs attack the scenery". Sure, the DM could cobble together some appropriate statistics based on the scenario, but the attitude of 4e seems to favor the DM who already knows what the party is going to fight and where they are going to fight them (a la creating a balanced mix of monster types of appropriate challenge level and accompanying terrain, traps, etc). Such a thing tends to be far more rare in the campaigns that we play, simply because the players often unexpectedly circumvent or ignore pre-planned encounters and wind up in scenarios the DM hadn't anticipated.

So my question is, in 4e, what happens (cue dramatic music)..."When PCs Attack!" *dun dun dunnnnnn*

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-11-2008, 11:59 AM
Yes, I agree.

It seems difficult to gauge how effective or ineffective a random encounter will be.

3.5 was manageable because the damage ranges were fairly easy to gauge at every level, thus it was easy to compare a standard monster to a typical party and was easier to challenge the party with a single monster as a random encounter.

Now single monsters, or Solo's, are very challenging encounters.

Plus the rigid 8-10 encounters per level "suggestion" or standard makes dungeon designing difficult. Gone are the days of just a single room with a monster or two, even if the original purpose of that room was just a closet or bedchamber, now it becomes an encounter design element, which is both good and bad. Its nice that they want to spice things up and make sure DMs are putting some background into their dungeon rooms, but a small room with 2 monsters just isn't going to be a challenge for a group of 5 PCs of the same level.

I don't know. The current dungeon I am designing seems to be going ok, its really a matter of how it all works in the end. I will hopefully be using it and some random encounters in my next game on Thursday. I will report back after that.

I still have yet to use Skill Challenges.

Webhead
11-11-2008, 01:02 PM
And also, what about adventures that aren't built around dungeons or dungeon-like, point-to-point adventure paths? I've designed adventures in the past built around a group of NPCs, a handful of important locations and an overarching plot. I establish that the plot is taking place and when, where, how and why the PCs intervene is up to them.

That concept seems like it might be a little sticky for 4e's "if you build it, they will come" design philosophy.

Kalanth
11-11-2008, 01:14 PM
I don't have the kind of players that simply attack the surroundings, but what I would do is refer to something that would fit into a nitch as to what I expect the enemy to be. Since making a monster is so easy it is almost as easy to make one on the fly. If they go to town on some human guards, lets say, just crack the book open to the humans and adjuster according to level. At least, that is my best suggestion.

And you really should use Skill Challenges, as they are wonderful once you get used to them. Perfect for delaing with difficult travel situations, complex social moments, and perfect for the rogue or a rogue tandem. I used one challenge which required 18 successes between the rogues as they picked a complex series of locks on a door while the other kept watch for guards. I ruled that success on perception meant no guards, and failure meant a guard was strolling by. It was fun to watch them suddenly shift into a stealth check to avoid that guard.

I am not sure how to handle the point to point situation you describe, though, because I am not sure how it would present an issue. Why not just design what you need in advance?

Webhead
11-11-2008, 02:27 PM
I don't have the kind of players that simply attack the surroundings...

I don't have players who just attack things for no reason (well...mostly), but I do have those who will attack scenery if they perceive that the scenery has wronged, offended or challenged their sense of self-righteousness.

Example: Werewolf- Dark Ages game. Castle of Evil Baron. PCs must infiltrate to capture Baron. PCs sneak closer to the castle through the Umbra (spirit realm). The GM describes that there is powerful, malevolent spirit energy that surrounds the castle. One of the forms of this spirit energy is a large dragon that is circling one of the towers. To ward the PCs off and discourage them from approaching any closer in the Umbra, the dragon screeches and swoops close the PCs, giving a warning shot of flame from its maw. PCs assume battle formations and say, "That's it! This guy is going down!" And that's exactly what they did. Later, the GM let us know that he didn't intend for us to fight the dragon and thus hadn't prepared any stats ahead of time. The dragon was just to add some "color" to the scene.


...And you really should use Skill Challenges, as they are wonderful once you get used to them. Perfect for delaing with difficult travel situations, complex social moments, and perfect for the rogue or a rogue tandem. I used one challenge which required 18 successes between the rogues as they picked a complex series of locks on a door while the other kept watch for guards. I ruled that success on perception meant no guards, and failure meant a guard was strolling by. It was fun to watch them suddenly shift into a stealth check to avoid that guard...

Very cool. That scene sounds like it was a lot of fun!


...I am not sure how to handle the point to point situation you describe, though, because I am not sure how it would present an issue...

By "point-to-point", I mean designing an adventure around the idea of, "The PCs visit Point A and have an encounter, then they travel to Point B and have another encounter, followed by Point C" etc.

My players tend to play more like, "Okay, we know something is going down at Point A, but we need to visit Point C first to get a leg up on things, then we will take the information to Point E (which the GM hadn't thought of) and try to get some assistance. After that, we will manipulate the guys at Point C to distract Point A while we tackle Point B. And all the while, Point E doesn't realize that our inside plants are prepared to take them out if they try to double-cross us."


...Why not just design what you need in advance?

Because, as a GM, I can plan out the major elements of my adventure (NPCs, locations, plot points) sure, but my players will always explore paths, plots and agendas that never entered my mind. That's where the fun of improv and ad-libbing comes in, but if encounters are supposed to be so carefully designed, I can't really do that at the spur of the moment when the players decide to do something unexpected.

One might say that my players think outside the box, but that would assume that they've ever even seen the box. Give them options A, B or C and they will invariably choose and justify option F with a backup plan of option G should F meet heavy resistance.

So, I could pre-plan a half dozen encounters, but due to the particular actions of the PCs, half of those might be invalidated or circumvented or just rendered illogical given the events that precede them. And then they'll go exploring tangents, hoping to meet other encounters along the way, and since I didn't see the tangent coming, I wasn't able to prepare for it ahead of time.

My players force me to be very flexible and seat-of-the-pants in my adventure design, which is ultimately a good thing because it means that they can feel as though their actions constantly reshape the direction of the game. Why it might be a bad thing with 4e is because I would end up either steamrolling them with preconstructed encounters where they don't make sense or ad-hoc encounters in the midst of the game. It's not that I am incapable of that, I'm just wondering if other people have experienced what I perceive as a potential obstacle in 4e adventure design. That's all I'm trying to wrestle with. I'm not saying it makes 4e "bad", I'm just wondering what it means for the flow of the game.

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-11-2008, 03:23 PM
I do design in advance and that is part of the problem with 4e. Due to its encounter a, encounter b, encounter c, etc... = a new level philosophy, it doesn't SEEM to allow for much flexibility when the PCs diverge from the encounter path OR when reason would justify that encounter b should help out encounter a if encounter a faces a problem.

Let me clarify that last point a little bit. Going with a dungeon setting, which I am currently designing, if the PCs enter room 1 and I know there are monsters in room 2, should the monsters in room 2 help out the monsters in room 1 if they hear a fight going on? If yes, then what sort of EL are we looking at for that? Do I take a standard or hard EL and divide it between the 2 rooms? If I do that then each room on its own is potentially not enough to challenge the PCs. If I make each room and encounter with its own standard level EL then having the two rooms of monsters attacking the PCs could be overwhelming. If I do not have the monsters from room 2 go to the aid of the monsters of room 3, then that kind of throws the verisimilitude out the window because now everything has to conform to an encounter game mechanic.

See what I am dealing with?

Grimwell
11-11-2008, 03:57 PM
Let me clarify that last point a little bit. Going with a dungeon setting, which I am currently designing, if the PCs enter room 1 and I know there are monsters in room 2, should the monsters in room 2 help out the monsters in room 1 if they hear a fight going on? If yes, then what sort of EL are we looking at for that? Do I take a standard or hard EL and divide it between the 2 rooms? If I do that then each room on its own is potentially not enough to challenge the PCs. If I make each room and encounter with its own standard level EL then having the two rooms of monsters attacking the PCs could be overwhelming. If I do not have the monsters from room 2 go to the aid of the monsters of room 3, then that kind of throws the verisimilitude out the window because now everything has to conform to an encounter game mechanic.
I fail to see how this is really a 4E problem and not something that is inherent to adventure design in any system. The situation you describe would have the same problems in 3.5E D&D or Exalted... because of the verisimilitude issue.

There are some circumstances where any rules for encounter generation are not going to help and at that point you wing it as the GM and do what makes the most sense for your game. You can't really tie it to the latest incarnation of D&D IMO; I've been dealing with those problems since the red books...

The "seat of my pants" points above are in the same boat for me. Other than having a few handy critter's ready to go on a page you can grab in a pinch... you are the GM and you wing it. The players never have to know that you didn't stat out that enemy in advance if you pose it convincingly. Any game system has major problems with doing things on the fly, but that's where the skill of the GM (and their ability with the system they have chosen to run) comes into play.

Webhead
11-11-2008, 04:57 PM
...The "seat of my pants" points above are in the same boat for me. Other than having a few handy critter's ready to go on a page you can grab in a pinch... you are the GM and you wing it. The players never have to know that you didn't stat out that enemy in advance if you pose it convincingly. Any game system has major problems with doing things on the fly, but that's where the skill of the GM (and their ability with the system they have chosen to run) comes into play.

Sure, and I attempted to allude to that in my comments as well. I think the potential difference that I'm seeing in 4e design philosophy is that 4e monsters seem to be designed to be cast together in groups and that those groups should contain a hearty mix for best effect (a la skirmisher, brute, etc.), whereas previous editions seemed to regard monsters more independant of each other.

So, I suppose my question is: does the combat gameplay of an encounter suffer if the encounter isn't specifically designed as a mixed group of complimentary "roles" or doesn't carefully regard XP budgets (within reason)? How do ad-hoc encounters in 4e stack up against pre-planned encounters in terms of fairness, excitement and challenge?

Grimwell
11-11-2008, 05:40 PM
Ahhh, my bad. Your point is a good question then. I won't have an answer until I'm much more comfortable with the system and forced to ad-hoc by players joyfully ignoring the planned adventures. :)

Kalanth
11-11-2008, 06:21 PM
Ah, Webhead, I get it now. Really the best way to approach that is to know what will populate the mystery points, and not so much how the encounter is built. With the simple math presented to level up (or down) a monster (+1 to AC, Defenses, and Attack and +1 / two levels to Damage or the inverse for reducing level) it is easy to spit out an ad-lib monster. Make a few templates so that when you need a monster on the fly its a quick fill in the blank moment. Just try to pre plan NPC's for any situation you might expect.

I have been lucky so far in that my players have followed all the bread crumbs. When they presented an idea I had not planned for the session was ending anyways so I prepared for it. That happened most recently when they were traveling into an elven city and one of them decided that, instead of searching for clues, they would kidnap the local noble who was part of the evil scheme. Had they done it that night I would have gone forward in making a few random guards from elves and maybe spat out an NPC (which is just about as easy to do).

I am pretty confident that, with practice, being able to ad-lib this system will become as natural as all the others prior to it. My biggest dissapointment is the lack of monsters to fill all the niches. I like making monsters in the new edition, but by the time you make your 20th elven something or other it gets a touch old.

As for the question, does the encounter suffer if the encounter is not perfectly matched? No, it does not suffer at all. I recently had a battle in an enclosed space with a Daggerthorn Briar and three Shambling Mounds. The combat sertainly did not suffer as I had the mounds use the briar patch to their advantage. Only one player was brave enough to cross the briar patch and they were quickly sucked into the Shambling Mound. I then had the mound walk into the center of the briar patch and just sit there. The player eventually escaped and was right out of the pan and into the fire.

It can be beneficial to use a perfect pairing, but really the fights are rather compelling in most formations short of an all controller fight. Those are over quick usually. Just use sound tactics and no matter the collection you will have your players begging for mercy.

Maelstrom
11-11-2008, 07:45 PM
I'm coming late into this discussion, and have been light in posting in general lately, but I'd like to make a couple points on encounter balance.

Creating encounters that give an invigorating challenge to players has never been easier than in 4e. The inherant balance and commanality between opponents of the same level make it so, but the unique features of each monster continue to breathe life into new encounters.

As already mentioned, monster encounters are not the only thing affected by this balance... skill challenges, traps, and environment all mix in pretty easily, so that each encounter can be truly unique.

The carbon-copy dungeons I grew up can still be done in 4e, but why stick with them when you can create unique adventures when the world is suddenly so open?

That said, you still will run into situations where the players will not do the anticipated. That's where the easiness of developing encounters in 4e helps. Since you don't have to spend as much time creating the adventure and trying to balance challenge to the players, you can spend extra time creating some generic encounters equal or below the party level. That way the extra ones don't necessarily weaken the characters to the point they have trouble with the main encounters.

Even if you don't have a backup encounter ready, you can still throw something together pretty quick as needed. In those cases I'd use a bunch of minions to keep it interesting, lower than the level of the characters and not worry so much about role balance (since the characters should be able to handle it even with a role inbalance).

In the case of the example room where one encounter might lead into the next, I'd plan one or two a night until the players get their nose bloodied and realize though their characters are high powered, the monsters are equally deadly and they need their rest to keep going, and maybe they'll tread more lightly next time :)

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-11-2008, 11:06 PM
So, I suppose my question is: does the combat gameplay of an encounter suffer if the encounter isn't specifically designed as a mixed group of complimentary "roles" or doesn't carefully regard XP budgets (within reason)? How do ad-hoc encounters in 4e stack up against pre-planned encounters in terms of fairness, excitement and challenge?

The suggestion in the 4e DMG is to have a deck of monster cards that you can pull from randomly to create a random challenge to your PCs.

But what I am finding is that without roles and tactics, for both the PCs and the monsters, your party can quickly fall apart.

We'll see how it plays out and I hope I don't have a TPK on my hands next game or in two games. Next game is probably going to be random wilderness encounters as the PCs travel to the dungeon.

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-11-2008, 11:22 PM
I'm coming late into this discussion, and have been light in posting in general lately, but I'd like to make a couple points on encounter balance.

Creating encounters that give an invigorating challenge to players has never been easier than in 4e. The inherant balance and commanality between opponents of the same level make it so, but the unique features of each monster continue to breathe life into new encounters.

I whole heartily agree! Encounter creation is a breeze. In fact all of the changes they have made in 4e that are similar to Star Wars Saga I REALLY like. They are both simple and easy to learn, run, and create adventures for.


As already mentioned, monster encounters are not the only thing affected by this balance... skill challenges, traps, and environment all mix in pretty easily, so that each encounter can be truly unique.

This is very true and the ease in which you can add these elements into an encounter is also very easy.


The carbon-copy dungeons I grew up can still be done in 4e, but why stick with them when you can create unique adventures when the world is suddenly so open?

This is tricky, for what is Dungeons & Dragons without the dungeon? What 4e dungeon design seems to be doing is encouraging each room as an encounter, which is equally annoying given the 8-10 encounters per level guideline. Which means in each room you have a mix of monsters, traps, hazards, room elements that equals a challenge to the PCs. That means a dungeon with more than 10 rooms should level the PCs, that doesn't seem right to me.

I am starting to think another clarification that needs to go into my house rules is that 8-10 encounters does not equal a level in my campaign.

This is also stated in the Star Wars Saga edition, HOWEVER, Saga is MUCH easier to manipulate in terms of difficulty and encounter design, plus you also are not usually dealing with dungeon crawls in Star Wars.


That said, you still will run into situations where the players will not do the anticipated. That's where the easiness of developing encounters in 4e helps. Since you don't have to spend as much time creating the adventure and trying to balance challenge to the players, you can spend extra time creating some generic encounters equal or below the party level. That way the extra ones don't necessarily weaken the characters to the point they have trouble with the main encounters.

Again I agree. I have never really had any problems with PCs doing the unexpected. PCs doing the unexpected IS expected, thus I plan for it as best I can. The best solution I have found is having the NPCs react appropriately to the PCs actions.


Even if you don't have a backup encounter ready, you can still throw something together pretty quick as needed. In those cases I'd use a bunch of minions to keep it interesting, lower than the level of the characters and not worry so much about role balance (since the characters should be able to handle it even with a role inbalance).

I'm gonna skip this one for now.:biggrin:


In the case of the example room where one encounter might lead into the next, I'd plan one or two a night until the players get their nose bloodied and realize though their characters are high powered, the monsters are equally deadly and they need their rest to keep going, and maybe they'll tread more lightly next time :)

But see here in lies the problem, for I have already encountered this, if the PCs are not careful it can lead to character death and quickly. So if you have two rooms/encounters that are a challenging encounter for them, say level 2 PCs and encounters with ELs of 2 but one room spills over into the next you now have a much harder encounter, and much more difficult encounters can quickly lead to TPKs more so than they did in 3.5.

I'll write more later, its late and I am tired.

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-11-2008, 11:23 PM
I would like to add that I am still speculating here. I still have yet to test these theories.

Maelstrom
11-12-2008, 04:02 AM
This is tricky, for what is Dungeons & Dragons without the dungeon? What 4e dungeon design seems to be doing is encouraging each room as an encounter, which is equally annoying given the 8-10 encounters per level guideline. Which means in each room you have a mix of monsters, traps, hazards, room elements that equals a challenge to the PCs. That means a dungeon with more than 10 rooms should level the PCs, that doesn't seem right to me.

Previous to 4e, I always made my dungeons/castles/cities fit into a 20x12 grid because that was the easiest size to include all the adventure text and descriptions on my graph paper. That meant I had small rooms jammed together with short hallways.


I realized with 4e that I needed a different approach though:

4e battles are much more mobile. It is better for players and for a lot of the monster tactics to have larger rooms.
The 4e DMG inspired me with its discussion of environment. They spoke of massive underground cities and large caverns with glowing lichen on the walls, occasional streams of lava and magical formations.
4e does a good job of encouraging rapid play with little breaks in the action. I wanted my dungeons to fit this principle, so having stock dungeons where the players have to map it out as they go along and approach carefully the opening of each door didn't seem to fit.
So now I plan each encounter with a seperate map, and then between the encounters I narrate how the players pass through epic environments and see glorious or terrible sights along the way. So now my Goblin mines are huge affairs with tunnels spiderwebbing along the way, with the occasional massive underground cavern and bottomless chasms (think of how the LOTR Fellowship movie represented Moria).

There's still room for the players to do the odd thing, but instead of just improvising monsters I use D&D Tiles to create an improvized encounter map.

In the end though, this approach combined with the uniqueness of each encounter makes the 8-10 encounters per level memorable.


But see here in lies the problem, for I have already encountered this, if the PCs are not careful it can lead to character death and quickly. So if you have two rooms/encounters that are a challenging encounter for them, say level 2 PCs and encounters with ELs of 2 but one room spills over into the next you now have a much harder encounter, and much more difficult encounters can quickly lead to TPKs more so than they did in 3.5.

Yes, very true. The first time I played 4e resulted in a TPK. Fortunately that was at a convention with premade characters. For your group's tendency to bring the house down on them by making so much ruckus, maybe it'd be good to plan on them bringing the adjoining room in, and make the overall encounter level fairly high to try to break them of the habit :). It might require some tried and true tactics of trying to keep your dungeon from killing off the PCs too quickly (hidden dice rolls, sudden arrival of a friendly NPC, infighting between the opponents, etc).

Engar
11-12-2008, 07:06 AM
The idea of constant action was stolen from Star Wars. Especially from d6 SW and it was eventually integrated somewhat into Saga. I love d6 SW and I really like Saga, but this is not how I ever played DnD. DnD was a longer more thought out game. It had its moments of urgency, but did not live there like SW.

This is a play style, yes, thank you to those rushing in to point that out. Oh, and a system can be anything you make it, right (just like the Monopoly RPG, Toot! Toot! goes the train!), got it.

Webhead
11-12-2008, 08:28 AM
The idea of constant action was stolen from Star Wars. Especially from d6 SW and it was eventually integrated somewhat into Saga. I love d6 SW and I really like Saga, but this is not how I ever played DnD. DnD was a longer more thought out game. It had its moments of urgency, but did not live there like SW...

Indeed and this might explain some of my disjunction with regard to the 4e "encounter" idea. They seem to be regarded as very self-contained events. In Star Wars, action happened wherever the PCs brought it and with whoever/whatever happened to be at hand. A "balanced" encounter was just one that kept the PCs on their toes and the actual make-up of the opposition wasn't that important outside of the use of clever tactics. You also mostly had a noticable lack of certain D&D tropes like "traps" which meant that opponents just used the environment in the best way they could. Not that I never built pre-planned encounters in Star Wars, but building a quality encounter on the fly was generally as quick and easy as using one that was designed beforehand. In Star Wars D6, encounters often flew by and a tense evening of gaming was often the result of a handful of "encounters" that snowballed into each other. In D&D 3.X especially, a single "encounter" involving one small group of enemies is such an investment of time at the table that it seems that they undergo more intense scrutiny and thus need to be more carefully polished, not to mention balanced. The "one session, one encounter" scenario springs to mind. I've seen my share of those with D&D, but never Star Wars D6.

To be honest, I've had a little bit of that trouble with Saga as well, with some combats taking more time than I would like to resolve relatively few rounds. I think it's more of a function of the d20 engine and the rigid movement/action system. Saga certainly flows more quickly in some ways than traditional d20, but it still has some of the old girl's hang ups too.

Grimwell
11-12-2008, 09:11 AM
A night of rest gave me a new idea on this problem of monsters in nearby locations hearing the combat and rushing in causing encounters to swell and push toward being unbalanced... (in any system).

Instead of putting multiple encounter groups into multiple adjacent locations, why not spread one encounter group through them?

The PC's are in a kobold nest of innumerable interconnected tunnels. The crawl through to a larger chamber and see a kobold shaman annointing two warriors in a ritual. Seeing the intruder's the kobold's raise the alarm and the warriors form a battle line in front of their shaman. Moments after the heroes move to clash with these warriors a teeming horde of kobold's stream out of the tunnels and attack from all sides!

Encounter Group:
Kobold Shaman (1)
Kobold Warrior (2)
Kobold Weenies (8)

Then, in the aftermath of the battle, the heroes find the nearby rooms, now vacated of kobold's with table dressing that indicates the weenies came from these locations (pot over a fire, work projects spread out across an area, etc.).

Instead of having to deal with the problem of logical behavior from nearby residents of a dungeon just plan it into your encounters and it's no longer a problem!

Or at least it's a little more padded.

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-12-2008, 09:59 AM
Previous to 4e, I always made my dungeons/castles/cities fit into a 20x12 grid because that was the easiest size to include all the adventure text and descriptions on my graph paper. That meant I had small rooms jammed together with short hallways.


I realized with 4e that I needed a different approach though:

4e battles are much more mobile. It is better for players and for a lot of the monster tactics to have larger rooms.
The 4e DMG inspired me with its discussion of environment. They spoke of massive underground cities and large caverns with glowing lichen on the walls, occasional streams of lava and magical formations.
4e does a good job of encouraging rapid play with little breaks in the action. I wanted my dungeons to fit this principle, so having stock dungeons where the players have to map it out as they go along and approach carefully the opening of each door didn't seem to fit.
So now I plan each encounter with a seperate map, and then between the encounters I narrate how the players pass through epic environments and see glorious or terrible sights along the way. So now my Goblin mines are huge affairs with tunnels spiderwebbing along the way, with the occasional massive underground cavern and bottomless chasms (think of how the LOTR Fellowship movie represented Moria).

There's still room for the players to do the odd thing, but instead of just improvising monsters I use D&D Tiles to create an improvized encounter map.

In the end though, this approach combined with the uniqueness of each encounter makes the 8-10 encounters per level memorable.

4e may very well require that I change my approach to dungeon design.

However, a huge expansive cavern/dungeon doesn't always make sense for every scenario. I may be jumping the gun a bit by saying this but, maybe 4e encounter design is eschewing logical dungeon construction in favor of exciting encounter locale?

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-12-2008, 10:08 AM
A night of rest gave me a new idea on this problem of monsters in nearby locations hearing the combat and rushing in causing encounters to swell and push toward being unbalanced... (in any system).

Instead of putting multiple encounter groups into multiple adjacent locations, why not spread one encounter group through them?

The PC's are in a kobold nest of innumerable interconnected tunnels. The crawl through to a larger chamber and see a kobold shaman annointing two warriors in a ritual. Seeing the intruder's the kobold's raise the alarm and the warriors form a battle line in front of their shaman. Moments after the heroes move to clash with these warriors a teeming horde of kobold's stream out of the tunnels and attack from all sides!

Encounter Group:
Kobold Shaman (1)
Kobold Warrior (2)
Kobold Weenies (8)

Then, in the aftermath of the battle, the heroes find the nearby rooms, now vacated of kobold's with table dressing that indicates the weenies came from these locations (pot over a fire, work projects spread out across an area, etc.).

Instead of having to deal with the problem of logical behavior from nearby residents of a dungeon just plan it into your encounters and it's no longer a problem!

Or at least it's a little more padded.

If it takes the minions more than a round to get to the action, the Shaman and Warriors could be almost vanquished by the time they get to the fight.

Especially with my PCs, a Dwarven Fighter, Dragonborn Warlock, Gnome Warlock, Elf Ranger/Rogue, and a Human Cleric/Ranger. The 2 warlocks, with cursing, could eliminate the 2 warriors, or severley weaken them for the fighter that can come up and cleave, while the ranger and cleric stand back and pepper the shaman with ranged attacks, and thats just the first round. AND thats only using at-will powers, throw some encounter or daily powers in there and the battle is almost over before it began.

This is what I mean by the PCs powers are also problematic when designing an encounter.

I think I will read through my copy of The Keep on the Shadowfell and try to get another sense of how their encounters are designed.

Farcaster
11-12-2008, 10:53 AM
Instead of putting multiple encounter groups into multiple adjacent locations, why not spread one encounter group through them?
Indeed, this is exactly what the Dungeon's Master Guide suggests. There are many possibilities as to how it could go down. If there are eight kobolds showing up after the fight breaks out, it is a fair bet that at least one other retreated to alert the rest of camp. The PCs may have one easy encounter, but they should expect that the kobolds will be on high alert and preparing for them from this point forward. Kobolds are notorious for their snares as well, so those would be some logical encounter points. If the party doesn't play it smart, surely they are going to walk into a trap that will quickly overwhelm them. Of course, the party might still encounter a few stragglers who stumble upon the PCs away from a main group.



If it takes the minions more than a round to get to the action, the Shaman and Warriors could be almost vanquished by the time they get to the fight [e]specially with my PCs...This is what I mean by the PCs powers are also problematic when designing an encounter.

If the second group is going to take longer than a round to get to the fight and the smaller group is going to be severely diminished before help arrives, you might want to bring the encounter level up. For planning your XP budget, you could create one easy encounter (level - 2 or so) and one standard encounter. Put those together and you should have a fairly challenging fight overall. (By the way, I'm just eyeballing those figures, I don't have the DMG in front of me to help me figure out the exact mix to get a Level + 1 or 2 encounter.)

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-12-2008, 01:42 PM
Aside from different wizard creation..
I don't see sorcerers anywhere in the 4e Player's Handbook...

what happened?

Kalanth
11-12-2008, 01:46 PM
This is tricky, for what is Dungeons & Dragons without the dungeon? What 4e dungeon design seems to be doing is encouraging each room as an encounter, which is equally annoying given the 8-10 encounters per level guideline. Which means in each room you have a mix of monsters, traps, hazards, room elements that equals a challenge to the PCs. That means a dungeon with more than 10 rooms should level the PCs, that doesn't seem right to me.

I am starting to think another clarification that needs to go into my house rules is that 8-10 encounters does not equal a level in my campaign.

I have to backtrack in the thread as work has forced me fall behind. I just wanted to touch on this comment and add meat to the definition of 8 - 10 encounters. Remember that an encounter in 4th edition is not always a combat situation. The encounters can be composed of skill challenges, traps, and monster fights. There is also the Minor / Major quest reward bonuses in the DMG (of which I can't remember the page).

Say we have a period of rather extensive social moments in the game, and the players come across three or four Skill challenges of varying types (i.e. Diplomatic situation, a public event where the players have to dance like in Shackled City, etc). Additionally the players try to break into a house or vault, or something, and encounter a complex trap. This is usually set as a skill challenge but it is counted as an encounter. That means that right there we have had 5 encounters so far and not one sword has been drawn and no spells have been cast. Toss in a couple combats to bring the total to about 7 1/2 encounters XP wise and add the major quest reward on top of that and you get the players to another level without a heavy combat focus.

It is important to utilize the skill challenges in ways like that example because if you don't you begin to experience the heavy combat focus that you are talking about. 4th ed has a complex aray of ways to resolve the XP to character issue and they are not all combat related, which I am completely in love with.


Aside from different wizard creation..
I don't see sorcerers anywhere in the 4e Player's Handbook...

what happened?

I know WoTC wanted Wizards to have a different feel from 3.5 so that they did not feel like a Wizard on a diet. I have not heard any specifics on the class but I believe rumor had it slated for the PHB II.

Grimwell
11-12-2008, 11:14 PM
Kalanth has it concerning sorcerers. They were not put in the 4E PHB but Warlocks were. They are distinct enough from Wizards. Future books will bring anything missing back, it's inevitable and good business... so I wouldn't sweat it much.

Valdar
11-13-2008, 11:38 AM
Sorcerer will be in PhB2 from everything that we can determine. Current thought will be that it will be an Arcane Controller that specializes more in ongoing damage and status effects, rather than burst damage like the Wizard.

The 3e sorcerer was little more than an attempt to re-use the long Wizard spell list that was taking up so much space in the PHB, though. The new sorcerer will probably not resemble the old one to any degree.

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-13-2008, 12:46 PM
3.5 wizard spell casting/memorization was pretty flimsy.
I've taken note of the new Controller/Defender/Leader/Striker paradigm,
and am not sure what to make of it at this point. I need to let it steep a little longer before I make any kind of critical remark.

Valdar
11-13-2008, 02:30 PM
Now that Wizards' boards are back up, I found the source for that sorcerer info:

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1031661

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-13-2008, 03:07 PM
Now that Wizards' boards are back up, I found the source for that sorcerer info:

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1031661
Hate me for saying this, but i love sorcerers. Thanks for the link.

Farcaster
11-13-2008, 03:51 PM
Hate me for saying this, but i love sorcerers.

We hates you, my precious - we hates you!

Gah... I need a Gollum emote!

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-13-2008, 10:15 PM
Hey, Thoth-Amon, I love 3.x sorcerers too!
The trade off (fewer skills, better casting) worked for me. leave the skills to the rogues and ...rogues I say!

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-14-2008, 11:21 AM
Hey, Thoth-Amon, I love 3.x sorcerers too!
The trade off (fewer skills, better casting) worked for me. leave the skills to the rogues and ...rogues I say!
Agreed! Sorcerers and their sorcery always made more sense to me.

Side note: In my homebrew games, magicians became sorcerers at higher levels... well, sort of.

USFPutty
11-14-2008, 12:57 PM
What I noticed most about 4e was that it wasn't really D&D. Well, more accurately, it's more like an expanded ruleset for miniatures battles or something. It'll probably make a great series of video games. But for character, story, and everything else I like, I'll stick with 3.5e

4e seems to place the emphasis for pretty much everything on combat. we seem to have a lost a lot of skills and gone to skill groups. We heading back to Nonweapon Proficiencies? Feats were more or less uninteresting in the new context of the game. It's all about your Powers now. Combat abilities. Feh. Giant evolutionary step backwards. Or sideways.

So, really, they should not have called this 4th Edition D&D. This should have been D&D: Battlegrounds or something; something to differentiate it from a franchise that's suppose to support multiple aspects of play evenly, not dump all its eggs in the Combat basket and start running.

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-14-2008, 12:59 PM
OMG,

there is a "cat burglar" paragon path for rangers. lol

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-14-2008, 01:18 PM
What I noticed most about 4e was that it wasn't really D&D. Well, more accurately, it's more like an expanded ruleset for miniatures battles or something. It'll probably make a great series of video games. But for character, story, and everything else I like, I'll stick with 3.5e

4e seems to place the emphasis for pretty much everything on combat. we seem to have a lost a lot of skills and gone to skill groups. We heading back to Nonweapon Proficiencies? Feats were more or less uninteresting in the new context of the game. It's all about your Powers now. Combat abilities. Feh. Giant evolutionary step backwards. Or sideways.

So, really, they should not have called this 4th Edition D&D. This should have been D&D: Battlegrounds or something; something to differentiate it from a franchise that's suppose to support multiple aspects of play evenly, not dump all its eggs in the Combat basket and start running.
In a sense, i would agree. My opinion: DnD is really the version one started playing(for me~1st edition), otherwise it would be the edition the gamer preferred most.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-14-2008, 01:20 PM
OMG,

there is a "cat burglar" paragon path for rangers. lol
Really? I'll have to take a look at this builld. Sounds unusual.

Aidan
11-14-2008, 01:22 PM
OMG,

there is a "cat burglar" paragon path for rangers. lol

That's a rogue paragon path.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-14-2008, 01:28 PM
That's a rogue paragon path.
That makes more sense. Had me curious there, for a moment. :confused:

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-14-2008, 01:31 PM
Ah, correct! a rogue.

Engar
11-15-2008, 08:53 AM
What I noticed most about 4e was that it wasn't really D&D...

Agreed.


Thoth...

I did not quote you because I too lazy to go back and do it right now, but I do think 4e is a completely different system. Previous editions have commonality, 4e relates only in name and a few shared monickers like "fighter" or "rogue". If this is the basis for comparison then it may as easily be called WoW tabletop or any number of names since it shares as much in common there as with previous editions of DnD.

Valdar
11-15-2008, 10:37 AM
it's more like an expanded ruleset for miniatures battles or something.

That's what D&D has always been since the beginning.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-15-2008, 12:16 PM
Agreed.


Thoth...

I did not quote you because I too lazy to go back and do it right now, but I do think 4e is a completely different system. Previous editions have commonality, 4e relates only in name and a few shared monickers like "fighter" or "rogue". If this is the basis for comparison then it may as easily be called WoW tabletop or any number of names since it shares as much in common there as with previous editions of DnD.
No worries, Engar. I've had those kind of days.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-15-2008, 12:20 PM
That's what D&D has always been since the beginning.
Seems we have another lich(or something similar) in the house: someone who has been around since the beginning and/or a Sage. Anyone remember Sages from early DnD? I'll have to check with phoenix tesral to see if he remembers the name Valdar from ages past. :D

Valdar
11-15-2008, 02:20 PM
Not quite the beginning- I did have to wait to be old enough to leave the house (I started playing D&D in 1st grade in 1977). But it's fairly well known that D&D evolved from Chainmail, a medieval miniatures game that made the innovation of having a single unit represent one person rather than a squad. Hence my comment in response to saying that this is new with 4e.

GURPS, too, is a roleplaying game that was created by adding roleplaying rules to an existing miniatures battle game (Man to Man). I suspect there are other examples (I did borrow the miniatures rules from Star Fleet Battles for my GURPS Star Trek game, for instance.)

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-15-2008, 03:05 PM
Not quite the beginning- I did have to wait to be old enough to leave the house (I started playing D&D in 1st grade in 1977). But it's fairly well known that D&D evolved from Chainmail, a medieval miniatures game that made the innovation of having a single unit represent one person rather than a squad. Hence my comment in response to saying that this is new with 4e.

GURPS, too, is a roleplaying game that was created by adding roleplaying rules to an existing miniatures battle game (Man to Man). I suspect there are other examples (I did borrow the miniatures rules from Star Fleet Battles for my GURPS Star Trek game, for instance.)
A 'lich' or 'phoenix' has to do with time played, not age. You qualify, although it has yet to be determined what sort of being you are. You'll have to clue us in.

Ahh, i do miss DnD in 1977, Valdar. In that decade, i experienced the most exciting DnD play of my life. Good times!

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-15-2008, 03:49 PM
Not quite the beginning- I did have to wait to be old enough to leave the house (I started playing D&D in 1st grade in 1977). But it's fairly well known that D&D evolved from Chainmail, a medieval miniatures game that made the innovation of having a single unit represent one person rather than a squad. Hence my comment in response to saying that this is new with 4e.

GURPS, too, is a roleplaying game that was created by adding roleplaying rules to an existing miniatures battle game (Man to Man). I suspect there are other examples (I did borrow the miniatures rules from Star Fleet Battles for my GURPS Star Trek game, for instance.)

and before Chainmail-ers, there were the avid Prussian Kriegspiel-ers, and the British Jane's Fighting Ships, Floor Games, and Little Wars enthusiasts--the nerds of a bygone era.

tesral
11-16-2008, 02:41 AM
Seems we have another lich(or something similar) in the house: someone who has been around since the beginning and/or a Sage. Anyone remember Sages from early DnD? I'll have to check with phoenix tesral to see if he remembers the name Valdar from ages past. :D

At best here would have been one of the munchkins* underfoot. Before D&D I was that thing called a "war gamer". I still am frankly, but I like RPG as much.

I remember sages. The people you spent all that cash you got on. The cash you had to get becaus XP and GP were a 1/1 ratio. (Second worst idea ever) The guys that never went anywhere, but knew everything, for a price. The pre identify, identify.

As to the WoW comparison, I hear people that play WoW and D&D say that constantly. I have to figure where there is smoke, there is fire.

I'll agree with the Forry is not D&D. A sidegrade not an upgrade. Totally different system with a few similar terms.

*Old usage: "young gamer"

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-16-2008, 04:18 PM
I'll agree with the Forry is not D&D. A sidegrade not an upgrade. Totally different system with a few similar terms.

*Old usage: "young gamer"

Then what is to become of the true D&D lovers? are they now a dying breed? What will happen to all the people who still play/prefer 1st-3.x ed? will they be slowly supplanted by the Forreys? Oh dear oh dear... deary dear!

Webhead
11-16-2008, 07:52 PM
Then what is to become of the true D&D lovers? are they now a dying breed? What will happen to all the people who still play/prefer 1st-3.x ed? will they be slowly supplanted by the Forreys? Oh dear oh dear... deary dear!

I say/said the same thing about Star Wars D6. Slowly fading into obscurity...for the "younger" gamer generations at least. For me, it's not going anywhere...but it is getting harder to find people who play it over d20/Saga.

tesral
11-16-2008, 08:54 PM
Then what is to become of the true D&D lovers? are they now a dying breed? What will happen to all the people who still play/prefer 1st-3.x ed? will they be slowly supplanted by the Forreys? Oh dear oh dear... deary dear!

Plazio and "Pathfinder".

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-16-2008, 10:02 PM
I say/said the same thing about Star Wars D6. Slowly fading into obscurity...for the "younger" gamer generations at least. For me, it's not going anywhere...but it is getting harder to find people who play it over d20/Saga.

lol. perhaps it is merely a sign of my naivety, but I myself have never, until just now, heard of StarWars d6 .

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-16-2008, 10:52 PM
lol. perhaps it is merely a sign of my naivety, but I myself have never, until just now, heard of StarWars d6 .

:jaw:

Webhead
11-17-2008, 12:19 AM
lol. perhaps it is merely a sign of my naivety, but I myself have never, until just now, heard of StarWars d6 .

:jaw: :twitch: :faint2: :Cry: :rain: :smow:

:hurt:

tesral
11-17-2008, 12:45 AM
lol. perhaps it is merely a sign of my naivety, but I myself have never, until just now, heard of StarWars d6 .

West End Games. The first Star Wars game. They supported it reasonably well. But that is a different topic.

:focus:

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-17-2008, 12:16 PM
Back to the topic at hand...

I enjoy the changes made to 4e to make it more streamlined or as I like to say Saga-like.

In fact, I think you have to approach 4e with the Saga Edition mindset. The highly detailed explore every nook and cranny dungeon crawl days seem to be over. Now you jump from encounter set up to encounter setup and simply describe what the players see and do in between. This is similar to how Saga Edition functions yet it plays out well because it is Star Wars.

There are still a few mechanical issues, like Passive Perception checks, but overall, I am still iffy.

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-17-2008, 01:16 PM
That would be fine, If the DM is excellent, and has a strong and vivid connection to the campaign world. That is easier, I think, for starwars. If the dm is an excellent storyteller and a persuasive and charismatic adventure-leader, I can certainly see 4e being played in like manner to saga

Kalanth
11-17-2008, 02:06 PM
I don't see where or how the dungeon crawl is lost in this edition. So far in all the adventures that I have gone through with my group and the various dungeon crawl esque things they have done I don't feel any difference than how the game ran in 2nd or 3 / 3.5. There are still the descriptions of damp dark caverns and elaborate castles with NPCs and story to be found. Skill challenges have changed how traps and travel work and certain social situations when the players are looking to gain something, and a few other situations. For the most part, however, the only thing that is really a new addition for these combats is some real deep though on terrain and the effects of terrain.

Where is it that you see the dungeon crawl dissapearing and what part of the rules or how you are running the edition is brining it about? I know how you feel on Passive checks, and that may be a part of what is causing the issue, but that is being addressed in a different thread. Maybe I am just walking through this edition with blinders on during my games and that is why I don't have the problems you are speaking about. The only issue I have is the constant crafting of monsters to fill nitches in my games (and then finding out they are either overpowered, underpowered, or the optimal answer of somewhere in between).

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-17-2008, 02:41 PM
I don't see where or how the dungeon crawl is lost in this edition. So far in all the adventures that I have gone through with my group and the various dungeon crawl esque things they have done I don't feel any difference than how the game ran in 2nd or 3 / 3.5. There are still the descriptions of damp dark caverns and elaborate castles with NPCs and story to be found. Skill challenges have changed how traps and travel work and certain social situations when the players are looking to gain something, and a few other situations. For the most part, however, the only thing that is really a new addition for these combats is some real deep though on terrain and the effects of terrain.

Where is it that you see the dungeon crawl dissapearing and what part of the rules or how you are running the edition is brining it about? I know how you feel on Passive checks, and that may be a part of what is causing the issue, but that is being addressed in a different thread. Maybe I am just walking through this edition with blinders on during my games and that is why I don't have the problems you are speaking about. The only issue I have is the constant crafting of monsters to fill nitches in my games (and then finding out they are either overpowered, underpowered, or the optimal answer of somewhere in between).

For a specific example look at the Keep on the Shadowfell module, instead of the dungeon being broken up into individual rooms it is broken up into encounter areas that encompass a few rooms at a time. And while your players maybe taking the time to look around those rooms, the way 4e has been designed is to encourage that "looking around time" to take up as little of game time as possible so that you can get to the next big encounter area/combat scenario/skill challenge.

Kalanth
11-17-2008, 03:05 PM
For a specific example look at the Keep on the Shadowfell module, instead of the dungeon being broken up into individual rooms it is broken up into encounter areas that encompass a few rooms at a time. And while your players maybe taking the time to look around those rooms, the way 4e has been designed is to encourage that "looking around time" to take up as little of game time as possible so that you can get to the next big encounter area/combat scenario/skill challenge.

One of the first things I noticed in the preprinted modules, and a major reason why I won't use them, is that they all feel like they are meant to preview the game and not meant to provide story and the true D&D experience. I will take a look at the Dungeon modules that they have been putting up to see if this is a consistent trend, and if so I can say that I would never run a module made by WoTC in this edition.

I have designed all of my own material so far with full sized maps designed for exploration in much the style of old school dungeon crawl D&D. I prefer to make my own things anyways, so I easily missed what you were refering to. If it might make life easier for you I would be happy to share some of the things that I have written to not only give you examples of how someone else writes 4e but to give you ideas on how to avoid the point to point feel of the modules. It would be easy to break them down to just modules in the dungeon as I write the dungeon crawl in a seperate file and copy that text into the overall story write-up.

Inquisitor Tremayne
11-17-2008, 03:58 PM
One of the first things I noticed in the preprinted modules, and a major reason why I won't use them, is that they all feel like they are meant to preview the game and not meant to provide story and the true D&D experience. I will take a look at the Dungeon modules that they have been putting up to see if this is a consistent trend, and if so I can say that I would never run a module made by WoTC in this edition.

I have designed all of my own material so far with full sized maps designed for exploration in much the style of old school dungeon crawl D&D. I prefer to make my own things anyways, so I easily missed what you were refering to. If it might make life easier for you I would be happy to share some of the things that I have written to not only give you examples of how someone else writes 4e but to give you ideas on how to avoid the point to point feel of the modules. It would be easy to break them down to just modules in the dungeon as I write the dungeon crawl in a seperate file and copy that text into the overall story write-up.

Oh, I should point out that I am not using the module, I am creating everything from scratch, as well as fully mapped out and expansive dungeons. I too prefer to do everything myself. But using my homemade encounters as examples it is easy to say, "well change what you are doing."

USFPutty
12-01-2008, 09:09 AM
In a sense, i would agree. My opinion: DnD is really the version one started playing(for me~1st edition), otherwise it would be the edition the gamer preferred most.

Well, I STARTED playing D&D. But it was clunky. AD&D 1st and 2nd edition were better, but annoying. When 3.0 came out, I was in the military, and on weekend training pass I picked up the PHB the day it became available.

I immediately fell in love with the framework as a tool I could easily and quickly do anything I wanted with without a great deal of calculation. I especially liked the degree of customization inherent to the system. Joe Fighter was no longer possible. SKILLS, for god's sake! Cause seriously, non-weapon proficiencies FTL. And 3.5 added a bit of polish to that, but that debate tend to go back and forth a bit.

So for me, 3.x will be my gaming staple long after the books are eBay fodder cause WotC are quick to drop one line and move to another. I'll play 4e, but it'll be a seperate gaming experience, one I do NOT associate with the chain starting from old D&D and moving through 3.x. Just the way it feels.

USFPutty
12-01-2008, 09:14 AM
That's what D&D has always been since the beginning.

Eh. In the beginning, yes. But I think it sort of evolved beyond that through the Advanced years into something different. We never really used minis playing AD&D in any variant for the longest time. And the few occasions we sort of put down dice to generally determine position, it was pretty nonspecific. 3.x was the first time we really used minis, gridmaps, and the like. Not always, but occasionally, if the battle was sufficiently interesting to warrant it.

I know Chainmail > D&D, blah blah blah, but somewhere along the way, it changed from Wargame Extension to RPG. And now it's come full circle. ::Shrug::

USFPutty
12-01-2008, 09:17 AM
lol. perhaps it is merely a sign of my naivety, but I myself have never, until just now, heard of StarWars d6 .

Wasn't much of a fan myself. The mechanic was...choppy. I do, however, believe that Star Wars is a game that should benefit from a classless, levelless system and that d20 probably wasn't what the doctor ordered here.

Don't get me wrong, I play SE and enjoy it. I just feel that, while the overall clarity of the systems improved (somewhat; I'm still completely replacing about 3 systems including the entire space combat system), I do not need to be thinking about 20th level Jedi. :-(

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-01-2008, 02:24 PM
Don't get me wrong, I play SE and enjoy it. I just feel that, while the overall clarity of the systems improved (somewhat; I'm still completely replacing about 3 systems including the entire space combat system), I do not need to be thinking about 20th level Jedi. :-(

Would you mind starting a new thread about this because I am GREATLY interested to hear your critique and changes you have made.

Webhead
12-02-2008, 12:04 PM
Wasn't much of a fan myself. The mechanic was...choppy...

I, of course, tend to disagree but that's just my prerogative.

Kalanth
12-02-2008, 12:27 PM
The one thing above all that I loved from that system was Cinematic Success / Failure. How much fun was that!? :)

wbrandel
12-02-2008, 03:39 PM
Dragon Warriors does look good. I will have to see if I can get a copy of it

Webhead
12-02-2008, 03:52 PM
Dragon Warriors does look good. I will have to see if I can get a copy of it

Indeed. It has me curious. I never played the original game, but I will at least flip through the new printing whenever it comes out.

Kazinsky
12-15-2008, 03:45 PM
I like D&D as a card game(Magic), I however do not like a card game as D&D.

It simply sounds like 4E is not the system for you. Pathfinder is continuing their expansion into a progressively refined third edition if that's what you like.

Personally, they both have their merits. I just feel that 4th edition has more merits and less demerits than 3rd, so I'm investing myself into 4th. (And I have a whole bookcase of over $1200 already invested into 3rd, if that tells you anything.)