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DeathByDM
01-06-2009, 07:48 AM
Is anyone else who has played 4e growing bored of the game? It seems to me that all of this simplicity has truly turned this into an MMO style game, where there is no creativity in creating (or playing) a character, just picking from a limited number of options.

Now, I'm not the current DM, but I am usually the person most into the game. I'm the only one who buys the miniatures/maps/etc and I'm the one who introduced the group to 4th Edition.

Last session, my group played for about 5 hours and we gained a level. Normally, this would thrill me to no end and I'd excitedly level-up my character as soon as I got home. This time, I arrived at this week's session having completely forgotten what character I had and I hadn't even leveled.

This week, we ended up playing Rock Band 2 all afternoon so I know that I'm not the only one who's a bit bored of D&D.

Anyone else experiencing a similar disinterest in the new game?

Matt
01-06-2009, 08:10 AM
I went ahead and bought the three 'core' books at their release, looked through them a few times noting down what might be interesting... then left 'em in my shelf gathering dust in favor of the 3.0e and 3.5e books I find more interesting especially for their character customization options.

DMMike
01-06-2009, 09:21 AM
DBD - sounds like your gaming sessions are becoming routine, or maybe the group has just been playing too long (or $4E really stinks).

Maybe the group should take a session to watch a fantasy movie that gets the juices flowing. Or I'm a fan of the alterna-venture, in which the players could play villains acting out a cut-scene or flashback.

Etarnon
01-06-2009, 10:00 AM
I think there is creativity, but it's more in plot, and the character's motivations, and backstory.

I never was a fan of all the options, bells and whistles to get me going, because I'm used to 6 stats, in order, and saves, on one side of a sheet of paper.

Maybe with proficiencies added in from 2e, if the DM is of inclination.

The rest of it is mechanics-as-character (Feats, at-wills, dailies, and all the rest of it, this means you), and it leaves me cold.

Rochin
01-06-2009, 10:02 AM
I am underwhelmed at 4E. Each class is the same, different name, powers have different names, but they do the same damage and such. So far each of the new classes previewed on the WOTC site is the same, just a different build. The druid and the warden are perfect examples. One is a nature wizard and the other a nature warrior. A friend of mine has stated at the game sessions that the game feels like a MMO. Where you just keep hitting your X button, and maybe your Y button. They have taken out the whole ROLE in roleplaying.

I have played in 3 4E games. One with a fantastic DM, and the combat and how the skills worked really were boring. I have been in a game with a so so Dm and the game is a bore. I find some of the feats pointless as blowing a feat to get a +1 to your fire damage abilties is very weak if you compare it to 3.5 feats. The races barely get a write up, the Monsters in the MM do not have a listed modivation. It just lists that they are all evil, demonic, etc and want to kill everyone that is not them.

4E feels like a badly produced video game, where combat is really the only thing they focused on and that didnt even turn out right. I have been playing some form of DND for over 20 years now. 4E is by far my least favorite. It just does not have the DND feel. I really like to get into character and am usually driven to write short stories about my characters. 4E has not really given me the depth of a character as everyones character is basically the same.

Kalanth
01-06-2009, 10:12 AM
No, I am definetly not bored with the game. I enjoy the simplisity as a DM and I can tell that my players (which consists of two vets and four new to D&D players) are really enjoying how the game plays easier. Besides, a good story and good character development should be able to trump out any system. We find the simplicity of the game play allows us to focus on the complications of the story and characters.

Meeki
01-06-2009, 10:26 AM
How strange, alot of the complaints about 4e are the exact complaints I heard about 3e. The game is boring and repetitive. In 3e melee became rounds of full attacks and spell casters used the same "combos" every freaking combat.

Before I go on I would like to say I enjoyed 3.5. I found the system itself to be very... technical and liked the ability to design anything in the game. However, I also found that the actual game itself was so abusable that it was nearly unplayable as a PC and as a DM. The rules of combat, skills, etc were great, the d20 system is great, but the actual classes, feats, powers, spells, were not. More so I found that roleplaying characters was so tied to the mechanics of my character that it was kind of annoying.

What has happened in my group is that they became so used to the oodles of options in 3.x that 4e really restricts their mechanical options. I also find that 3.x really mixed role playing into roll playing, with so many options to create a character there was no need to write backstory or design flare for your character; all you had to do was pick the class/feat combination that best represented your character.

In 4e it's alot different. A simplified system is presented, which, oddly enough, is what people were complaining about 3e, one which separates roll playing from roleplaying more so than 3e (IMO). Removal of crafting skills, perform and profession skills means that writing a background and description of your character is even more important. Combinding many skills into one allows your character to BE that acrobat or BE the scholar much easier than 3e. However, you can no longer pick and choose skills here and there, like in 3e.

A major issue with 4e is that the abilities are very similar and they already have a description attached. But this doesn't restrict the DM or the player from using a power differently. I allow my players to use powers differently in skill challenges or out of combat situations. Another issue is that ROLLplaying is dominating in this edition, the class you pick strictly defines your roll. Coming from 3e that drove me nuts.

If you find yourself bored with 4e because of repetitiveness I would recommend asking the DM to use shorter fights/skill challenges. I find that if a fight drags on for too long, where everyone is out of encounter powers, then it becomes boring; like 3e high level fights (if you were a melee character). I don't really find a shortfall of creativity in the 4e system, I find that people's arguments of lack of creativity can be directly applied to 3e. Remember swinging a sword in 3e is the same as using a power with a sword in 4e, it just does more. I fail to see how a full attack is more exciting than attacking with both weapons with twin strike after tumbling to flank. In 3e you would tumble and make an attack, wee!

If you find that roleplaying is lacking, I suggest you forget about the roll/roleplaying of 3.x and write a background before building your 4e character. Then use your imagination and class options to create a character. Now I know that this isn't 3.x with TONS of classes, but you can still create a good deal of characters. In 3.x most players I know, including myself, thought about their character in terms of what he does; such as I want to be an assassin or a dominator type character, and picked a class accordingly. This isn't exactly roleplaying, but rather rollplaying, it's simply picking a class that best fits what powers/skills you want to possess. Even if you had a background, it HAD to be tied directly to your skills.

I'm not saying 4e is perfect. There are a ton of things I might change later, such as the removal of tumble breaks my heart :(

cplmac
01-06-2009, 01:01 PM
As the 2E DM of our groups "Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" campaign, I can't help but just smile and nod my head. Just wondering how often the folks that are getting bored with their game are actually getting together to game? Could be as simple as your playing to often. (Yes I said to often, as in burnout) The other thing could be that maybe the DM is thinking that the new system doesn't require as much work on their part. From what I have read, no matter what the system is, the DM/GM will always have the same amount of work to do. It may seem like things are easier, but, you still have to use description and keep plots interesting.

Webhead
01-06-2009, 01:25 PM
...The other thing could be that maybe the DM is thinking that the new system doesn't require as much work on their part. From what I have read, no matter what the system is, the DM/GM will always have the same amount of work to do. It may seem like things are easier, but, you still have to use description and keep plots interesting.

This is a distinct possibility and one that many (myself included) can fall prey to at one time or another...leaning on the system as a crutch.

"No worries. If things slow down, I'll just throw a combat at the party. The players love to fight stuff, right?"

True, players like action, but most like to have context for the action for it to really engage them beyond clattering dice and 2 hours of writing tic-marks on a piece of paper. I've had the problem with the d20 system. Too much time looking at the numbers and too little time asking why I should bother with them.

Motivation, drive, and conflict. Your players want to know "why" they're adventuring just as much as "where" and "against whom" and they look to the GM for support.
--- Merged from Double Post ---
Perhaps to offer some advice in that regard, here is my 6-point, quick plot generation summary. The 6 things you should develop as a GM to prepare for your game:

1) What? - What is the primary action, object or series of events that the plot is about?

2) Who? - Outside of the PCs, who will become involved in the plot, either for or against the potential conclusion?

3) Why? - Why are the NPCs above involved and what do they stand to gain or lose by the forthcoming events? Why are the PCs involved and what will it mean to them?

4) Where? - What locations are likely to be involved in the events of the plot and how can they be made important to the events?

5) When? - What is the general time-line for the course of events and what is likely to happen if one or more of the events are interrupted/displaced/ignored?

6) How? - How do the PCs become involved and what are the likely courses of action once they do? How can the PCs bring about their desired conclusion and what happens if they don't?

My 2 coppers.

Kalanth
01-06-2009, 01:54 PM
As the 2E DM of our groups "Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" campaign, I can't help but just smile and nod my head. Just wondering how often the folks that are getting bored with their game are actually getting together to game? Could be a simple as your playing to often. (Yes I said to often, as in burnout) The other thing could be that maybe the DM is thinking that the new system doesn't require as much work on their part. From what I have read, no matter what the system is, the DM/GM will always have the same amount of work to do. It may seem like things are easier, but, you still have to use description and keep plots interesting.


This is a very good observation in regards to DMing. I do just about the same amount of work if not more for my 4th edition game vs. the 3.5 game. The major difference is that I am doing more work because I want to and with 3.5 it felt like a chore and I just did not want to do it. Encounters and Skill Challenges are easier to put together and to make challenging for the game, which leaves me more time to create involved plot lines and deep quality NPCs. In 3.5 I spent most of the time digging through books and trying to work out the numbers to make a monster or NPC statistically interesting which made my plot lines drab and uninteresting.

With 3/3.5 and 4th ed I still get reminisent of when I DMed 2nd edition and just did every single thing on the fly and had a great campaign that stretched 2 years and 15 levels.

Skunkape
01-06-2009, 03:10 PM
I'm not so sure it's the system per say. Nothing against your group, but I find that the system can help the game, but mostly it's the GM & Players who really make the game exciting and fun.

Granted, liking the game system you're using to run the game is very important, but I don't think it's the deal breaker as far as whether the game get's boring or not.

Course, personally I like 3.5 better, but as I said, I'm not bashing a particular system and in fact, the next campaign I run will be using the Savage Worlds system.

fmitchell
01-06-2009, 03:30 PM
I've played in one 4e game with a great DM. The 4e game we were running was heavy on politics, investigation, and negotiation; combats would clear out the "evil-doers", and enable us to find the next set of clues.

Granted, I've never been keen on D&D, and I prefer skill-based systems. Still, what I can't get past is that role-playing is about the same (albeit with constrained skills), but as soon as the battle map comes out we're playing a tactical combat game. Powers, and at least half of everything else of the character sheet, only matter as soon as battle is joined. The contrast between hand-wavy rule support for role-playing and very exact (but still curiously abstract) rules for combat seems worse in 4e.

Etarnon
01-06-2009, 03:41 PM
I see that while more concrete, as a rules set, 3.5, and 4e. are very much technical animals.

So that you can in fact describe exactly, round by round, exactly what happens, according to the rules as referenced by the book, it leads to this kind of stop motion, freeze frame effect, and the whole combat goes that way, for as long as it lasts.

With inexperienced DMS, and players you're talking hours to resolve something that should take in game seconds or minutes.

Yeah, it's accurate, with all the rules, but who needs that accuracy? Apparently, a lot of people, who say it should be utterly balanced, fighters equal to mages, etc, all the things that people hated about 3.5.

But in the PLAY of it, there's the thing.

2e, to me was:

"You are in a 10 X 30 corridor that opens up to a 40 X 40 room." (Lay out dungeon tiles)

"Set your guys up between here and here in the corridor, you got 30 seconds."

"Here are the orcs. Roll initiative."

Throw down minis, pennies with numbers for orcs, I need a 16 to hit. boom, next guy / gal at the table. A handful of d20s for the orcs.

6 to 7 rounds later, we are done, and the party heals if the cleric didn't get whacked.

then, "BACK To the Story."

even though there's a lot of rules, and the rules are impartial (so to speak), there's been a real cost to gaming, in the move away from Expert DM-centered gaming, that a lot of the new crowd hasn't seen, because they weren't born yet.

Not perfect, lots of Old school Dms didn't learn right in any case. But it didn't take the rest of the session to do one combat, with rules lookups.

MortonStromgal
01-06-2009, 03:55 PM
I would play as completely different of RPG as your group is comfortable with for a bit (one-shots, short campaign) then see if D&D still has the appeal it does or if your enjoying the new game stick with it.

Some examples would be (all that can be played with just the core book)
Close to D&D - Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
Little out there - Shadowrun
Out there - Traveller
Way out there - Don't Rest your Head

Grandore The Giant Killer
01-06-2009, 04:08 PM
Honestly the game can only be boring if the story line is bland and has a bad DM. My DM rocks. But then again he tends to bend the rules and make the game more like you are playing an actual video game. What I mean by that is he recently incorporated a new thing in our games. That thing is that you can unlock new races to play as. All you have to do is kill a person of that race and you unlock it. I mean races like spider people, Bird People, Ogres, Minotaur people and Fawns (Half Goat half human). We already have Cat, Snake, Centaur, and Lizards unlocked. He also has multiple different realms for us to play in. So if a realm grows stale and boring he'll simply just tell us to write up new characters and open up a new one. He recently decided to open up this realm that is a prehistoric jungle realm. The humans are basically a bunch of ass wipes that will slay anything that is nonhuman. The lizards are out to slay the humans, then there are a pack of Dwarves who are formulating a plan to take out both parties because they are infesting all the good hunting grounds, And let us not forget about the Elves. Lord knows what those sneaky Elves are up to. The game was fun right off the bat because me and my 2 buddies started in freak show cages. I was a cat, my one friend was a lizard, and the other one was a Tiefling. So yeah the humans were parading us around as side show attractions in circus carts. That was until I decided to claw up the wooden wall and break free from the cage.

See all it takes is a good DM who knows how to plan out a good story. And you know what? About monsters... This is why he sometimes creates them. If he knows that the players are strong as hell He'll go into his folder with the word "Monsters" Written on it and he'll pull out one of his many sinister creations with specific resistances and weaknesses.

Webhead
01-06-2009, 05:11 PM
...The major difference is that I am doing more work because I want to and with 3.5 it felt like a chore and I just did not want to do it...

*Ding ding ding ding*

We have a winner! ;)
--- Merged from Double Post ---

...Still, what I can't get past is that role-playing is about the same (albeit with constrained skills), but as soon as the battle map comes out we're playing a tactical combat game. Powers, and at least half of everything else of the character sheet, only matter as soon as battle is joined. The contrast between hand-wavy rule support for role-playing and very exact (but still curiously abstract) rules for combat seems worse in 4e.

Interesting and not entirely surprising based on my impressions reading 4e. This was the annoyance that I faced with 3.X and is something I seek to avoid. Yes, pacing shifts in combat scenarios in most any game system, but the change shouldn't be jarring. Play should flow smoothly into and out of combat even to the point that the role play continues during the fighting. That's the jarring transition that I witnessed at the game table a lot with d20 system games. The map comes out and suddenly everyone gets quiet as they start calculating movement speeds, spell ranges and threatened squares. :(
--- Merged from Double Post ---

...the next campaign I run will be using the Savage Worlds system.

Awesome. I would be interested to hear how it goes as my next campaign may be using Savage Worlds as well. :thumb:

Rochin
01-06-2009, 05:38 PM
Honestly the game can only be boring if the story line is bland and has a bad DM. My DM rocks. But then again he tends to bend the rules and make the game more like you are playing an actual video game. What I mean by that is he recently incorporated a new thing in our games. That thing is that you can unlock new races to play as. All you have to do is kill a person of that race and you unlock it. I mean races like spider people, Bird People, Ogres, Minotaur people and Fawns (Half Goat half human). We already have Cat, Snake, Centaur, and Lizards unlocked. He also has multiple different realms for us to play in. So if a realm grows stale and boring he'll simply just tell us to write up new characters and open up a new one. He recently decided to open up this realm that is a prehistoric jungle realm. The humans are basically a bunch of ass wipes that will slay anything that is nonhuman. The lizards are out to slay the humans, then there are a pack of Dwarves who are formulating a plan to take out both parties because they are infesting all the good hunting grounds, And let us not forget about the Elves. Lord knows what those sneaky Elves are up to. The game was fun right off the bat because me and my 2 buddies started in freak show cages. I was a cat, my one friend was a lizard, and the other one was a Tiefling. So yeah the humans were parading us around as side show attractions in circus carts. That was until I decided to claw up the wooden wall and break free from the cage.

See all it takes is a good DM who knows how to plan out a good story. And you know what? About monsters... This is why he sometimes creates them. If he knows that the players are strong as hell He'll go into his folder with the word "Monsters" Written on it and he'll pull out one of his many sinister creations with specific resistances and weaknesses.

I had an awesome DM for my first 4E game. The story was great as well. The issue was that in combat everything turned from how we Roleplayed to a small tatical simulation. Who is marked by who, when will my spell stop, etc. It brings the game to a halt. Now sure 3.5 was combat sticky, but at least it flowed. You had your attack or your spells, simple. In 4E to give it "variety" you have a basic attack, your at will powers, and so on. So you have to think "Do I want to waste a daily/encounter power here or save it" combat bogs down to a crawl at that point.

fmitchell
01-06-2009, 06:08 PM
I had an awesome DM for my first 4E game. The story was great as well. The issue was that in combat everything turned from how we Roleplayed to a small tatical simulation. Who is marked by who, when will my spell stop, etc. It brings the game to a halt.

This is the same game I referred to, by the way. For the last, strategic-scale battle the DM allowed us to use our powers to enhance any unit we were commanding at the time ... but he was obviously making it up as he went along. It was a fun battle ... and I wished tactical-scale battles used similar hand-waves and simplifications.

Skill-based systems (like Basic Role-Playing) usually treat hitting someone with a weapon as another skill, with a few twists. Even those with talents, feats, stunts, "powers", etc. often augment non-combat abilities like perception, stealth, or various knowledge skills. On the other hand, D&D has always had a plethora of rules around combat, and very few around other activities "because that's role-playing".

Maybe if 4e included powers like "Silver-Tongue" or "Master of the Wilderness" to enhance Diplomacy or Wilderness skill challenges somehow, I might find the transition from "role-playing time" to "combat time" less jarring. If it weren't for spellcasters, I might suggest the other direction, e.g. ditching 4e's myriad powers for a few "special moves" that impose a penalty (unless one is trained?). As it stands, 4e is even less my thing than earlier editions were.

Valdar
01-07-2009, 12:42 AM
Best advice for gaming I've ever heard for DMs: "Have fun, and your players will too."

If your DM isn't having fun, either address the issue with him (her?), or take over. Me, I'd take over.

4e is like the new BSG- something a little familiar, but will throw you in ways you don't expect. Play that up. One dungeon I ran featured a bunch of 1e monsters that haven't appeared in 4e yet, and the party was floored. Shriekers? Mimics? Will-o-wisps? They knew what their foes were supposed to be, but it was far from routine. Imagine the surprise of finding that Shriekers pull the dead from their graves, or the thrill on discovering that Wisps, upon dying, dissolve into precious Residuum?

It was fun until they stepped in Grey Ooze. I should probably have backed that monster off- it got pretty serious at that point.

Anyway, my game was called off for the holidays, but we're restarting tomorrow, and I've got the new Manual of the Planes in hand. We'll see how the party reacts to my interpertation of the Steel Predator :D

Maelstrom
01-07-2009, 07:02 AM
If your DM isn't having fun, either address the issue with him (her?), or take over. Me, I'd take over.


I think this is one of the strong benefits of 4e. I remember my first foray into DMing 3.5. I'll attack this from three points:

1) It was a real chore to get the right level of challenge for the players that wouldn't kill em off outright unless I fuddled the dice rolls or brought NPCs to the rescue, without being a cakewalk. In order to create the right challenge you needed experience, and it took me a while to get that right.

2) All the work ahead required to put together customized monsters, NPCs, and treasure really bogged me down. If I didn't spend more than five hours (often of drudgery) the session felt underplanned.

3) Anytime someone deviated from the planned path, it was then up to the level of skill of the DM to be able to improvise, another skill that takes a lot of experience to master.

Not so with 4e in my experience.

1) Because of the balance designed into the system, it is easy to design an encounter that will provide the desired amount of challenge. And more, it doesn't take a lot of experience before you can mix a bunch of elements into the same encounter (skill challenges, traps, hazards, a varied assortment of opponents).

2) 4e with D&D Insider makes it really easy to build encounters and design a session. There is plenty of content of all types to draw from in the compendium, and the magazines provide troves of ideas to build an adventure around. Just a couple weeks ago, I had some players call in sick, and so instead of following the campaign adventure path I picked up a module online and DMed it on the spot. It didn't feel unplanned at all, despite me reading it on the fly.

3) Because of point #2, with 4e being well designed from a DM perspective, I'm able to quickly adjust to what the players want to do. Again, using online and digital tools, I'm able to throw a balanced and exciting encounter together on the fly, or adjust an encounter in progress.

The very things that some people complain about with 4e are the reason that these are possible. And because it is much easier to DM, that means that any player with an adventure idea could probably do a descent job. So if you need a little change up to keep things interesting, do as Valdar says and have someone else try their hand at it.

Skunkape
01-07-2009, 08:42 AM
Awesome. I would be interested to hear how it goes as my next campaign may be using Savage Worlds as well. :thumb:

Sure thing, I'll keep you posted. A quick summary, I've decided to do my own take on the wild west, the inspiration came from an episode of the Dragon's Landing podcast.

Towards the end of the Civil War, several tribes of American Indians decided that while the Union Army was mostly busy with the Confederate Army, they would perform the Ghost Dance. Well, the result was not what they had anticipated and the fabric of reality was torn open, allowing fantastic creatures to return to our reality from the dimension they had gone to right around the Age of Reason.

So it will be a western game, but will have various monsters and demi-human creatures thrown into the mix as well. Kind of a mix of Deadlands and others, so far, my players are very interested in playing, but I've got to finish my current campaign first.

Meeki
01-07-2009, 10:38 AM
@Maelstrom: How is DDI? I haven't looked into it extensively but have been contemplating. Are there tools to build encounters?

I agree with Valdar that 4e is another beast than 3.x. IMO the issues people have with 4e, as far as being too MMO'ish, are because they are new to the game and SO focused on the power, classes, feats, etc. that there is little time to roleplay. This is probably due to the game being new'ish and everyone needs to take time to figure out what is what. Coupled with that, there is a new dimension of class types and a stronger benefit of working together that consumes time.

4e still has a fair amount of flaws and I do feel like the core books were designed to be expanded upon instead of being stand alone, which I feel the 3.x core books were suppose to be. Good marketing strategy and may be great for the 4e players, in a year or so when more content comes out.

Kalanth
01-07-2009, 10:44 AM
4e still has a fair amount of flaws and I do feel like the core books were designed to be expanded upon instead of being stand alone, which I feel the 3.x core books were suppose to be. Good marketing strategy and may be great for the 4e players, in a year or so when more content comes out.

I completely agree here. The books do feel a touch incomplete and some things felt rushed. WoTC comming out and saying that the Skill Challenges were not working as intended and then doing an Errata that (kind of) broke them in the other direction is a fine example of that. You are right in that it was good marketing on their part and that future books will add to the game, but then it is also annoying at times for groups like mine that want to stick with the core books and only let in the occasional book outside of those. One complaint that I had was that there was not enough monsters, but this is also something so easily resolved. Until 4th edition I would never have dreamed about making a monster for my games. It was a daunting task. Now I can do this in no time flat and I know the numbers are right thanks to DDI and a few other 3rd party programs that are out there. Once we developed enough work arounds for the problem areas (again, see skill challenges) the game became smooth as silk.

Suzaku
01-07-2009, 07:56 PM
How strange, alot of the complaints about 4e are the exact complaints I heard about 3e. The game is boring and repetitive. In 3e melee became rounds of full attacks and spell casters used the same "combos" every freaking combat.

Before I go on I would like to say I enjoyed 3.5. I found the system itself to be very... technical and liked the ability to design anything in the game. However, I also found that the actual game itself was so abusable that it was nearly unplayable as a PC and as a DM. The rules of combat, skills, etc were great, the d20 system is great, but the actual classes, feats, powers, spells, were not. More so I found that roleplaying characters was so tied to the mechanics of my character that it was kind of annoying.

What has happened in my group is that they became so used to the oodles of options in 3.x that 4e really restricts their mechanical options. I also find that 3.x really mixed role playing into roll playing, with so many options to create a character there was no need to write backstory or design flare for your character; all you had to do was pick the class/feat combination that best represented your character.

In 4e it's alot different. A simplified system is presented, which, oddly enough, is what people were complaining about 3e, one which separates roll playing from roleplaying more so than 3e (IMO). Removal of crafting skills, perform and profession skills means that writing a background and description of your character is even more important. Combinding many skills into one allows your character to BE that acrobat or BE the scholar much easier than 3e. However, you can no longer pick and choose skills here and there, like in 3e.

A major issue with 4e is that the abilities are very similar and they already have a description attached. But this doesn't restrict the DM or the player from using a power differently. I allow my players to use powers differently in skill challenges or out of combat situations. Another issue is that ROLLplaying is dominating in this edition, the class you pick strictly defines your roll. Coming from 3e that drove me nuts.

If you find yourself bored with 4e because of repetitiveness I would recommend asking the DM to use shorter fights/skill challenges. I find that if a fight drags on for too long, where everyone is out of encounter powers, then it becomes boring; like 3e high level fights (if you were a melee character). I don't really find a shortfall of creativity in the 4e system, I find that people's arguments of lack of creativity can be directly applied to 3e. Remember swinging a sword in 3e is the same as using a power with a sword in 4e, it just does more. I fail to see how a full attack is more exciting than attacking with both weapons with twin strike after tumbling to flank. In 3e you would tumble and make an attack, wee!

If you find that roleplaying is lacking, I suggest you forget about the roll/roleplaying of 3.x and write a background before building your 4e character. Then use your imagination and class options to create a character. Now I know that this isn't 3.x with TONS of classes, but you can still create a good deal of characters. In 3.x most players I know, including myself, thought about their character in terms of what he does; such as I want to be an assassin or a dominator type character, and picked a class accordingly. This isn't exactly roleplaying, but rather rollplaying, it's simply picking a class that best fits what powers/skills you want to possess. Even if you had a background, it HAD to be tied directly to your skills.

I'm not saying 4e is perfect. There are a ton of things I might change later, such as the removal of tumble breaks my heart :(

I disagree you start with a concept, then background and then a character sheet that reflects your background. So if you want to create a character who grew up on a farm and picked up a sword when goblins attacked his farming community.

In 3E you put in some points into profession farmer and maybe a cross rank into knowledge nature.

In 4E as soon as the game start you'll suddenly forget how your life as a farmer was. Even if the game starts with the goblins attacking you still forget how to be a farmer.

In 3E there is also a distinction between casting and melee. However in 4E there is virtually no difference between the two. In fact you could copy and paste a power between a melee and casting class and no one would blink.

fmitchell
01-07-2009, 08:37 PM
OK, let's not turn this into another 4th Edition flamefest ... we've got enough of those already.

I think it's fair to say, though, that 4e oversimplified or outright eliminated the non-combat aspects of a character. To old 1e or 2e players, backstory and personality are "just roleplaying", but in other systems those aspects give concrete advantages within the system. For those of us who miss this aspect, the only way to approximate a farm-boy is to give the character Training in Nature, or some such. There are ways to patch the problem, though, but that requires house rules.

Conversely, the combat aspects have gotten more "balanced", so that putting together an encounter is easier for the DM. 4e combat, especially with the very similar powers at each level, have also made the game more confusing. Some of us aren't into tactical warfare at all, or at least 4e's version of it. (Is that tautological enough?) Someone upthread mentioned using Powers beyond their stated scope ... which, again, is a house rule.

The solutions for those of us bored with 4e, in increasing radicality, are:

Collaborate with the DM to make the game more interesting for you,
House-rule 4e to add the bits you miss from 3e or other games,
Find some other game system to play -- and there are others, believe me.

Maelstrom
01-08-2009, 06:08 AM
@Maelstrom: How is DDI? I haven't looked into it extensively but have been contemplating. Are there tools to build encounters?

Yes indeed. I think its a very good tool for DMs and players alike. Take a look of how I used it recently: http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8680




The solutions for those of us bored with 4e, in increasing radicality, are:
Collaborate with the DM to make the game more interesting for you,
House-rule 4e to add the bits you miss from 3e or other games,
Find some other game system to play -- and there are others, believe me.


Don't forget #4 - Try a hand at DMing yourself (which I believe is where 4e really shines).

With the ease of putting together the mechanics of encounters and adventures, DMing is in the reach of each player.

gdmcbride
01-08-2009, 07:38 AM
Anyone else experiencing a similar disinterest in the new game?

I ran a D&D 4th edition game (I think its been referenced by fmitchell and rochin). I would say that after six sessions playing more 4th edition isn't exactly high on my list of priorities. I don't DISLIKE it per se. I just prefer other options.

4th ed. really wants the game to be about killing monsters and taking their stuff. Stay on that road and the game is right there for you offering all kinds of help. The monsters are ready. The stuff is ready. Fun and interesting tactical layouts ... check! Traps and exciting combat complications ... double check! Truly the game rocks at that.

When you leave that road, the game is basically gone. For example, let's say that instead of fighting monsters ... you wanted to run a pirate game. Our PCs board a ship ... who can sail it? Who can navigate it? There is no sailing skill (not even a tacked on profession skill) or anything like it. If a storm hits, any chancing of keeping your bearings? Do any of the PCs know about trade routes and how to hunt down merchant ships on the high seas? You meet some natives who you want to trade your beads and baubles for their exotic goods. Who can tell if their baubles are worth anything? Who can haggle? Does diplomacy allow for haggling? It's all hand waving and systemless roleplaying.

And there is nothing wrong with that! But as soon as you board another ship and get into a fight with bad guys, its no longer a systemless game. Suddenly you are tracking every square and you are back to the tactical wargame.

I am not flaming 4th ed. Frank was completely correct when he said there's been enough of that. But I am saying, it's not my preferred flavor of ice cream. I prefer something a little more skill focused and narratvist with its combats.

This weekend I start up a brand new Call of Cthulhu campaign -- "Beyond the Mountains of Madness".

Now that, I'm looking forward to.

Gary

Rochin
01-08-2009, 09:01 AM
If I could only fly up there for the game every other week, but alas that cannot happen. Good luck on that game!!

Meeki
01-08-2009, 10:14 AM
I disagree you start with a concept, then background and then a character sheet ...


That is partially my point, in 4e you don't need to spend character resources on being a farmer. You simply write it in your background, you don't forget it. If you want to farm again you farm. As I said in 3e WHO your character is, is strongly tied to what you spend your resources on rather than having them independent. The designers tried to take out all the RP skills.

I was trying to get to that people coming from 3e are so used to this way of building characters that 4e characters can seem lack luster in the RP department.

I don't really see an issue with this. Why do you need to have a skill set for sailing? If you know how to sail you know how to sail, you do so. If you NEED a check just have the player make a skill check as if it existed. People are hung up on having to have skills that do not really define their D&D character. If you are adventuring, your past as a sailor will have little bearing on your new career. Even in 3.x you may have the profession skill but there are no hard and fast rules for success. The DM had to make most situations up as far as this goes.

The 4e system isn't great for roleplaying, and it wasn't created to be great for roleplaying. The 3e system is worse IMO, because to learn anything "RP oriented" you need to level up and spend skill points to do so. The lack of an "RP" skill system isn't really a flaw of 4e since it doesn't seem designed to support this.

This thread is about being bored while playing 4e, I am trying to address this issue. From what I have experienced and read on various forums many players expect a system to support roleplaying via skills, rules, etc. However a major complaint against this is the success of roleplaying boils down to a roll of the die. 4e tosses that out the window for the most part. I know an argument against this is skill checks with diplomacy, but diplomacy isn't RP'ing it's a negotiation skill that is vital to adventuring (farming is not), the RP'ing comes in with what exactly you are offering. The DM is urged to give bonuses for "good" RP'ing, allowing roleplay to enter in. 4e is more "free flow" in this aspect, even with skill challenges there is encouragement to be lenient.

I think a good catch phrase for making 4e more "descriptive" and "roleplaying" is "Just do it." If you want RP then RP you don't need Profession(ditch digger) to dig a ditch.

MortonStromgal
01-08-2009, 11:32 AM
When you leave that road, the game is basically gone. For example, let's say that instead of fighting monsters ... you wanted to run a pirate game. Our PCs board a ship ... who can sail it? Who can navigate it? There is no sailing skill (not even a tacked on profession skill) or anything like it. If a storm hits, any chancing of keeping your bearings? Do any of the PCs know about trade routes and how to hunt down merchant ships on the high seas? You meet some natives who you want to trade your beads and baubles for their exotic goods. Who can tell if their baubles are worth anything? Who can haggle? Does diplomacy allow for haggling? It's all hand waving and systemless roleplaying.

And there is nothing wrong with that! But as soon as you board another ship and get into a fight with bad guys, its no longer a systemless game. Suddenly you are tracking every square and you are back to the tactical wargame.

I am not flaming 4th ed. Frank was completely correct when he said there's been enough of that. But I am saying, it's not my preferred flavor of ice cream. I prefer something a little more skill focused and narratvist with its combats.


Reminds me of when my class was dwarf :D

Suzaku
01-08-2009, 01:50 PM
That is partially my point, in 4e you don't need to spend character resources on being a farmer. You simply write it in your background, you don't forget it. If you want to farm again you farm. As I said in 3e WHO your character is, is strongly tied to what you spend your resources on rather than having them independent. The designers tried to take out all the RP skills.

I was trying to get to that people coming from 3e are so used to this way of building characters that 4e characters can seem lack luster in the RP department.

I don't really see an issue with this. Why do you need to have a skill set for sailing? If you know how to sail you know how to sail, you do so. If you NEED a check just have the player make a skill check as if it existed. People are hung up on having to have skills that do not really define their D&D character. If you are adventuring, your past as a sailor will have little bearing on your new career. Even in 3.x you may have the profession skill but there are no hard and fast rules for success. The DM had to make most situations up as far as this goes.

The 4e system isn't great for roleplaying, and it wasn't created to be great for roleplaying. The 3e system is worse IMO, because to learn anything "RP oriented" you need to level up and spend skill points to do so. The lack of an "RP" skill system isn't really a flaw of 4e since it doesn't seem designed to support this.

This thread is about being bored while playing 4e, I am trying to address this issue. From what I have experienced and read on various forums many players expect a system to support roleplaying via skills, rules, etc. However a major complaint against this is the success of roleplaying boils down to a roll of the die. 4e tosses that out the window for the most part. I know an argument against this is skill checks with diplomacy, but diplomacy isn't RP'ing it's a negotiation skill that is vital to adventuring (farming is not), the RP'ing comes in with what exactly you are offering. The DM is urged to give bonuses for "good" RP'ing, allowing roleplay to enter in. 4e is more "free flow" in this aspect, even with skill challenges there is encouragement to be lenient.

I think a good catch phrase for making 4e more "descriptive" and "roleplaying" is "Just do it." If you want RP then RP you don't need Profession(ditch digger) to dig a ditch.

Skills are there to help you out, let's say your Bard has a +25 check to diplomacy but in real life you don't have a sliver tongue. Should you be punished for stuttering your words, or are you not allowed to make a diplomatic bard? No of course not you provide what the best you could do to the dm and the die roll represent how well your character did.

You don't need skills in profession ditch digger to dig a ditch, but people with the skill could last longer without tiring or dig in such a way the walls won't collapse back in and thus slowing down their progress. Or maybe even dig in such a way to conceal that a hole was dug...

Let's say we're playing in a group and we got separated into two different puzzle rooms and I'm playing a wizard and you're playing barbarian. Let's say my wizard has 26 Int and 18 Wis but I'm terrible at puzzles but you're great at puzzles however you have 6 or 8 Int barbarian. Which character should be done first if they're both relatively the same difficulty? Should I be punished for not being able to do puzzles at the same time are you going to metagame and solve your puzzle?

Let's face it in 4E everyone becomes adventure and forgets their past.

fmitchell
01-08-2009, 01:52 PM
I think a good catch phrase for making 4e more "descriptive" and "roleplaying" is "Just do it." If you want RP then RP you don't need Profession(ditch digger) to dig a ditch.

Sorry to abbreviate your post so much, but this is the major bone of contention between "old-school D&D" and "new-school RP" ... why should combat, disarming traps, and other "adventuring" skills have rules and die rolls, while other forms of human endeavor be decided on GM fiat?

RPGs include rules and randomizers a) to provide dramatic tension, and b) to provide an "objective" resolution of an action. "Skills" in RPGs represent knowledge or abilities a character has that the player may not, and abstract out the minutia of certain tasks. Both systems arose as a response to limitations of DM fiat, and relying on player knowledge.

As Gary said, if the main focus of the game is dungeon delving, 4e works fine. For some of us that's not enough; that part is even "boring". Sailing is a good example: many adventure stories include naval battles and crews battling the elements. Other adventure stories include the wooing of fair maidens, the investigation of curious events, the forging or repairing of swords, and the fortuitous recall of obscure but vital facts. Granted, 4e has an advantage in that skills are either "trained" (stat bonus + 5) or untrained (raw stat bonus), so it's easier to improvise something ... but as these other situations predominate, the system provides less and less guidance.

Also, as I've stated before, what's particularly jarring to me is the transition between combat -- with a plethora of rules, powers, feats, options, etc. -- and non-combat conflicts, which relies solely on skill or stat rolls. Again, some of us find non-combat conflicts and events more interesting, and choosing among minutely different combat options "boring". Why does combat have such a privileged position? Certainly 4e combat isn't a simulation of real combat by any means; the "flavorful" manoevers each character can take quickly become repetitive, and even nonsensical. ("I fire the crossbow with a Sly Flourish" ... what does that mean? It sounds like bad fiction where the writer repeats the same word or phrase every time a character does something.) I'd rather each class (except maybe spellcasters) had a standard set of manoevers that got better as they leveled up: shield slam, sweeping blow, aimed strike, parry and riposte, grapple, etc.

I'm obviously not the target audience for 4e, so I can see how some might find 4e "boring". It's optimized for a particular style of play, which isn't mine.

Rochin
01-08-2009, 03:10 PM
You hit the nail on the head in that. I also find the at will "powers" to be just a funny name for "I attack the Orc", but they are better than a basic attack for some reason. Another drawback to 4e how I see it, is that each class, except for the wizard are basically the same class. Each has a at will melee attack of some sort, does almost the same damage, and add the classes best stat to the attack or damage or sometimes both.

While that is fine and good, it takes a few players a while to figure out which at will attack to use. Which takes away from combat. If I am a Fighter I want to attack the Orc, not have some fancy name for an attack that may make no sense.

With our DND group we had a laugh when what happens when you want to ride a horse was not in the PHB. Um what? Yes it is not in there. In the DMG it says that if a player wants to ride a horse, they can. As even me in person can sit on a horse. To do something in combat, you need a feat to do so. As it has been said in 4e if its combat, it has rules. If its just for RP, hell just make it up. So that leaves you at the whim of your DM. While I have had a great DM for a while and would trust him to not make everyone pathetic in non combat situations, I could see other DMs making some obsure ruleset for how to shovel, knit, and a nice d20 or % roll to see if your dumb self falls off the horse you just bought.


4e needs to be consistant, it is not. I have been a die hard DNDer for a long time now, but 4e gives me a bad taste in my mouth. Sure it is DND, but at the same time it really is not. I have been opened to other systems and I have to say that is a good thing. Being stuck with 4e and only 4e for roleplaying has gotten a bit dull. I am looking forward to trying out BRP in the near future. If it works well for me, I plan to try and run some game with it.

(Sorry for the all the random, there is a point in there someplace)

Meeki
01-08-2009, 04:45 PM
@Suzake: I don't know what you were getting at in your post. We pretty much agree on most points, not sure what purpose you had quoting my entire post. Solving "puzzles" has always been a problem in D&D, between meta-game and RP'ing I don't know what your point was with bringing that up.


... why should combat, disarming traps, and other "adventuring" skills have rules and die rolls, while other forms of human endeavor be decided on GM fiat?

Because this is D&D? When has D&D ever been a game about being a professional sailor, not even 3e. The majority of the rules were about adventuring (ie. combat) and dungeon delving. The profession skills were relatively worthless from a technical standpoint, the money made was minimal and DC's incredibly easy for the most part. Older editions of D&D didn't offer much of anything else. Heck basic edition had so few rules that the DM had to make up rules. D&D is NOT a non-combat RP'ing system, it never has been, ever.

RP has ALWAYS been at the whim of the DM. In 3e they set the DC's, they tell you what happens.

Why are so many people hung up on HAVING to have a skill to RP. You now can be more involved with the story without having to have the right skill to do so. Even the 4e skill system makes it easy to be decent at untrained skills you still get 1/2 lvl + stat. +5 for being trained is not that great at higher levels. Of course certain actions can only be used with trained skills, which is kind of annoying (exception of Knowledge skills kinda makes sense).

As I said if you want to be a sailor, say you are a sailor. When the time comes to sail you sail, is there really reasons to go beyond that? If a storm hits you, making a profession sailor check would NEVER have been a response as a DM. I would have the PC's either make saves, make a physical skill check to stay afoot (balance, acrobatics, etc) or make an attack. Profession sailor might give you a bonus, but its DM fiat at that point. Profession sailor could be used to keep the boat on course in a storm, but really you could do that in 4e with a skill check from someone who was a trained sailor.

I guess some people need to see a +Number, maybe in a simulationist game, which 4e fails at.

The 4e powers are wonky, but it doesn't take my group much time to figure out what they are going to do. Once you get used to it the combat runs smoother. Just like in 3e where you had to read EVERY spell and look up EVERY feat. I think that the issue is that D&D uses the D20 system, which is very condusive to point-based skill system rolls.

Fmitchell you argument against 4e can be applied you all of DnD. You are basically saying that repetitive actions are boring. Which is every edition of DnD. Using magic missile 10 times a day in 3e is just as exciting as using it in 4e (or lack of excitement). They could have been a bit more... generic in their attack names and descriptions.

Also, on the horse thing. They should have provided something about mounts but why do you need special skills to ride it? You are arguing that in 4e the DM will just make up a silly rule (or could make one up) but in 3e you NEEDED ride to do anything from a mount, an already silly rule.

Aidan
01-08-2009, 06:04 PM
Sorry to abbreviate your post so much, but this is the major bone of contention between "old-school D&D" and "new-school RP" ... why should combat, disarming traps, and other "adventuring" skills have rules and die rolls, while other forms of human endeavor be decided on GM fiat?


If you'll pardon one quibble. Having skills/proficiencies for non-combat type things is 'new school', not 'old school'.

fmitchell
01-08-2009, 06:24 PM
If you'll pardon one quibble. Having skills/proficiencies for non-combat type things is 'new school', not 'old school'.

Even in 1e, Thieves had percentile values for disarming traps, sneaking, picking pockets, etc. 2e introduced "kits" (which I'm not familiar with). Not exactly skill systems, true, but they did make a few concessions to limited non-combat activities.

My point was, though, that the only activities supported outside of combat in 4e are secondary dungeon-delving abilities: disarming traps, sneaking, picking pockets, negotiating with hostile forces, identifying monsters, and so forth. Once outside the caverns, ruins, wilderness, or hostile fortress, 4e's interest -- and apparently a number of posters' -- generally ends.

Cries of "How complicated is riding a horse?" ring particularly hollow, having ridden a very few horses in my life. There's a difference between steering a docile pack horse down a path and urging a high-strung animal at full gallop across uneven terrain toward hostile foes.

Suzaku
01-08-2009, 06:57 PM
What I'm trying to say is concept, background and c-sheet should complement each other. There are certain concepts and background that don't fit with 4E especially non dungeon adventure concept and backgrounds. You can no longer be a former merchant, sailor etc as there is nothing on your c-sheet to support it. The only thing you can do is have DM fiat to say you do, which could provide inconsistency between various DMs.
Before you say you would use 3E’s skills as a clutch keep in mind if these same people migrate to 4E they would use background a clutch, except they could over inflate.
And yes you can cast 10 magic missiles but you don’t exactly have to and some spells themselves you could vary. Take grease for example, let’s say someone is being grapple cast grease on their armor and suddenly they can escape a lot easier, or cast it on the enemies’ weapon so it comes flying out and lastly cast it on the floor and cause them to fall. You can even go and make a Gish build with a wizard and make a melee combatant.
Before you bring up fighter, yes you can do some varying with him. Let’s say you attack creature with 3 natural attacks and you only have 1 you can drop your sword pull out your long spear withdraw and have the creature chase you.

fmitchell
01-08-2009, 07:28 PM
There are certain concepts and background that don't fit with 4E especially non dungeon adventure concept and backgrounds.

Exactly, and that's why I say I find 4e boring. It does "dungeon adventure" reasonably well -- although I still think Powers are overwrought -- but that's not the sort of game I want to play. Yes, 3.x went a little insane with skills, feats, and so forth, but a simple rule of "don't roll unless something interesting could happen" would patch some of that. Even under 4e, a "Wildcard Skill" slot similar to the Buffy RPG would give characters a little usable background.

A long time ago I opted to look outside D&D. Especially after seeing Star Wars Saga Edition I hoped D&D would streamline across the board: feats, skills, classes, combat rules. Instead, combat dominates and other activities fade into the background. So I'm off to renew my acquaintance with Chaosium's Basic Role-Playing, read up on WFRP, and mine some other systems for nifty ideas.

EDIT: I realize nobody answered a question I posed earlier: why does hitting things require complex rules, yet disarming traps or sneaking requires only simple rules, and sailing, horse-riding, buying, selling, blacksmithy, armory, trap-making, and the rest are "just roleplaying"? Combat is a matter of split-second reflexes and physical conditioning, but so are Acrobatics, Athletics, and most uses of Thievery. Combat requires skill and practice until the motions are almost innate, but so does Stealth, and most arts and crafts. Combat builds on innate talents, but so do Diplomacy, Intimidation, and other social skills. Combat risks life and limb, but so does leaping across a chasm, or surviving in the wilderness. Yet in most systems, even skill-based ones, combat takes up at least one chapter, whereas those other activities get a few paragraphs and possibly a table. My answer is, because it's always been done this way.

Rochin
01-08-2009, 08:53 PM
If you'll pardon one quibble. Having skills/proficiencies for non-combat type things is 'new school', not 'old school'.


2e had secondary skills as well as crafting skills(non combat). 3.5 also had non combat skills, crafting, professions, etc. So saying its "new school" to have non combat skills is wrong.

The main isssue we are facing here with 4e is that it is made for 99% combat. Sure combat is good and all, but as you get to be an older Roleplayer, roleplaying becomes more of what you want. I feel 4e was made to try and pull pre-teens and teens get off WOW and play some DND. While that is nice and good from a business stand point, I feel WOTC needs to make another "adult" edition that actually has rules for building things, taking control of and running an empire. All of this is lacking in a big way.

Aidan
01-08-2009, 09:18 PM
You folks missed my point. Second and third edition are 'new school', not 'old school'.

Maelstrom
01-08-2009, 09:22 PM
why does hitting things require complex rules, yet disarming traps or sneaking requires only simple rules, and sailing, horse-riding, buying, selling, blacksmithy, armory, trap-making, and the rest are "just roleplaying"?

What about skill challenges? When done right, they can be as involved as a combat (or even combined with a combat encounter).

Aside from them, yeah, many RPGs tend to focus on combat I think because more players tend to spend more time in fantasy settings doing fantastic things (fighting dragons, banishing the Dread Lord, exploring an ancient crypt), rather than mundane things (bartering with merchants, plowing a field).

Rochin
01-08-2009, 09:24 PM
You folks missed my point. Second and third edition are 'new school', not 'old school'.



4e is new school and has no rules for what I stated above. I feel that 2nd edition is "old school" as it has been 21 years give or take a few since I started playing it. I came in right on the end of AD&D. 2nd edition came out after I was already plaing ADND. If 4e is any indication of the future for DND and WOTC, 5th edition will be a MMO. I for one dislike MMOs very much(as why 4e bothers me) and they are already preping us for that with their DDI(which also makes having a real book nearly pointless).

Grimwell
01-09-2009, 01:29 AM
Someone up above tried to make the point I am, but it didn't stick, so I'm going to quote and take another shot at it:



The main isssue we are facing here with 4e is that it is made for 99% combat. Sure combat is good and all, but as you get to be an older Roleplayer, roleplaying becomes more of what you want.

Back in the 1980's when I was a wee lad in school I played me quite a bit of what was then called "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" with my friends. I'm going to take the first sentence that Rochin is quoted from above and change one character. Just one character in all of the sentences text and make my point...

The main isssue we are facing here with 1e is that it is made for 99% combat.

Note the bold.

First edition D&D was a combat machine in terms of how your character was created. There were no skills to take, no professions to officially acquire. It was just as much of a "Here is your character and how he kills things, go get some loot!" set of rules.

When we wanted to roleplay, we just did it. If I wanted to be a farmer, sailor, or even a farming sailor, I just said I was and we winged it.

This is not a new thing. This is not a bastardization of what D&D is. Which is why someone is telling you that 2E and 3E are "new school" games. They introduced a wealth of character options that you just didn't find in 1E.

1E was a very simple combat grinder on the surface. Characters had nothing more than a list of combat abilities (woe to the fighter who's only ability was to add a big + to his attack roll.. it was dull) and anything that wasn't covered by that ended up being in a table in Dragon.

This incredibly simple 1E D&D is also why other game systems arose. People went "I want a system that has rules for my background. I want a system with skills!" and we saw GURPS, Rolemaster, etc. spring up to offer something more and something deeper than plain old 1E D&D, which was a very simple game.

Don't believe me? Find an old fart and read his books. I still have mine and the character creation area does not have anything in it about background and skills.

If you are bored with 4E being a simple combat grinder, take note that it's D&D getting back to it's roots in that sense, and that you would be bored in 1E. If you want more than a simple combat grinder, it might not be the edition for you.

Personally, since all the character combat abilities are a simple stack of numbers that you can find trends in, I think 4E is the shiznat. If I want to make a character that isn't a fighter but is a Knight of the True Flame, I have a range of abilities that just need new flavor text to fit my style. That flavor text is just imagination fodder, but that's where the fun comes from, thinking something up and being able to do it; not from rules that say you can.

In my opinion

Aidan
01-09-2009, 02:07 AM
Thank you Grimwell, you understood what I was saying. I'll note that despite the lack of these professional skills in 1e we managed to roleplay quite well. We had enough imagination to understand what a background of growing up as a farmer meant without having to have Professional Skill, Farming: +8 written on our character sheet.

gdmcbride
01-09-2009, 03:30 AM
First, I find arguments about old school vs. new school frankly inane and meaningless. To kids under twenty Star Wars episode IV is old school. To 70 year old Secret Masters of Fandom, its new school. So, I'm ignoring that part of the argument.

Second, OD&D did not have complex combat rules or skill rules or hardly any rules. It was, as Grimwell noted, incredibly simple. Even AD&D was incredibly rules light by modern standards. The 1st ed. PHB was 128 pages long. And that included rather leisurely rambling appendixes on psionics, bards and the outer planes.

AD&D did have non-professional skills ... well, sort of. DMG 1st ed pg. 12 there is a random chart for rolling PCs backgrounds followed by a hearty injunction that if "secondary skills are used, it is us to the DM to create and/or adjudicate situations in which these skills are used or useful..." That could be the very definition of what 'rules light' means.

Fourth edition by contrast is incredible rules heavy -- as long as you stick to what the game covers. The best illustration is page count. The 4th edition PHB at 320 pages is almost as long as the 1st ed PHB and DMG combined (320 vs 368)! If you add in total length of the three cores together -- 832 pages -- D&D 4th is almost twice as big as 1st edition. Most of that additional bulk is pure crunch (4th eds DMG is actually smaller than the DMG 1st edition...the only book to shrink).

Fourth edition is the sort of game that found it necessary to define (very precisely) three kinds of involuntary movement -- push, pull and slides. Any sort of similar complexity is absent from 1st ed.

The first edition style of gaming is represented in the modern market but not by 4th edition. Games like Castles and Crusades, Mazes and Minotaurs, Labyrinth Lord and the other retro-clones do a fine job of bringing first edition gaming up to date with modern sensibilities.

Fourth edition and first edition are not bad games. Play what you like. But they are VERY different games.

As for fourth or first edition encouraging or discouraging roleplaying ... I've never been fond of those arguments. You can roleplay with no system what so ever. Kids find it quite easy to simulate playing knights versus monsters without ever touching dice or paper.

This quote...

"We had enough imagination to understand what a background of growing up as a farmer meant without having to have Professional Skill, Farming: +8 written on our character sheet. "

...could be replaced with this one: "We had enough imagination to understand we were knights and wizards without classes, levels or dice."

Everyone has a rules complexity preference. Those often differ. So what?

Gary

Meeki
01-09-2009, 08:27 AM
I think gdmcbride, Aidan, and grimwell frame what I was getting at before it turned into edition wars. Although I was trying to stay on topic, which is why the OP is bored with 4e.

fmitchell: in 3e and 4e skill rules and combat rules are fairly similar. The basic mechanic is rolling against a DC. However, combat has movement involved and requires to know exactly where you are in the combat, what you are doing, and how you want to do it. Picking a lock doesn't require as much specifics and neither does convincing and Orc to give you his shoes.

IMO, D&D has ALWAYS been about the "dungeon crawl" adventure. 4e rules provide primarily for combat and let the roleplaying rules go. It still supports character concepts, although to a limited extent, but backgrounds can be almost purely separated. So if you are trying to use the rules as a "crutch", for lack of a better term, to roleplay with then you need to adapt to the 4e lack of hard and fast rules system.

Valdar
01-09-2009, 12:43 PM
What about skill challenges? When done right, they can be as involved as a combat (or even combined with a combat encounter).


True that. From what I've seen, the skill challenges are more customized/abstract than the combats because they cover a much wider range of activites, and you want those activities to stay fresh and interesting. You don't want the rules for "disarm magic trap" to be the same every time.

Anyway, skill challenges for me are more fun to run than combats because they offer infinite customizability, and don't have the continuous whittling away of monster hit points, round after round. Players are more engaged too, since they're trying to figure out the tactics for a brand new system, without being bogged down with initiative and a bunch of situational modifiers...

fmitchell
01-09-2009, 01:17 PM
fmitchell: in 3e and 4e skill rules and combat rules are fairly similar. The basic mechanic is rolling against a DC. However, combat has movement involved and requires to know exactly where you are in the combat, what you are doing, and how you want to do it. Picking a lock doesn't require as much specifics and neither does convincing an Orc to give you his shoes.

Not all RPGs use a map in combat, and very few have AoO and the like. Someone also noted how his group finds skill challenges more interesting then combat. Why, then, can we not structure combat like skill challenges?

I'm not trying to dissuade people from playing 4e, 1e, or any other version of D&D. If you like that sort of thing, then it's the sort of thing you like. I'm just trying to explain the feeling of boredom in 4e as more elaborate combat rules (than 1e, for instance) and skimpy or non-existent everything else.

For me, at least, the "everything else" (farmer straw-man aside) is more interesting than selecting powers for this round, adding bonuses, and tracking hit points. If the latter is what D&D is "really about", that explains why I ventured beyond D&D, and why I'm not inclined to go back.

boulet
01-09-2009, 01:53 PM
The battle map gravity is what killed the fun for me too. If D&D 4e did anything for me, it's opening my eyes on what I was suspecting already : battle maps are incompatible with me enjoying RPGs. So thank you 4e for the revelation ! :)

Meeki
01-09-2009, 03:29 PM
I never mentioned a map and I also stated that skill use is essentially the same thing as combat. You roll against DC's. Skill challenges can use the same thing if the involve moving and what not. It's how the D20 system works. The difference is the presence of hit points. In skills you now have successes or failures rather than hit points. Which is more interesting IMO than HP.

D&D has always been adding bonuses, selecting an action and tracking hit points. If you don't like that either modify the system or play a different one.

I have played games w/o battle mats, including AD&D, (WoD, WHFR, MM)and we still had to be sure where we were, what actions we took, yadda yadda, basically it was the same as a battle mat without the mat. Just because you have a battle map doesn't mean you can't be descriptive. The presence of a battle mat lends itself more to strategic mini based gaming. IMO the 5ft square is what made the battle map a necessity. Now all 4e measures in is squares! I agree it is kind of lame but it makes measuring easier. Maybe I'll try to DM without a mat tonight :P

It seems that the OP was bored with 4e because of the lack of "RP" based skills, abilities, what have you. I have been arguing you do not need that to RP but people are so used to having it that it's unnatural to RP without.

fmitchell
01-09-2009, 04:07 PM
It seems that the OP was bored with 4e because of the lack of "RP" based skills, abilities, what have you. I have been arguing you do not need that to RP but people are so used to having it that it's unnatural to RP without.

To be fair, the original poster said nothing about non-combat abilities. That explanation came later (from me, among others).

To paraphrase Gary upthread, you don't need combat abilities either, just a trusted judge and/or an "impartial" method to resolve any disputes, e.g. "let's flip a coin". What throws me is the attention lavished on combat rules, in D&D and elsewhere, compared to everything else.

Etarnon
01-09-2009, 08:41 PM
Yeah the wargamish elements are really distracting.

It's more Battletech with swords and armor than what i remember as D&D.

Skunkape
01-09-2009, 09:56 PM
A few of my friends were hesitant to use minis and battle mats, but once they saw the tactical advantages, including using all 3 dimensions, we hardly ever play with out both of them.

Like I said earlier, if you don't like the game system or the way the group is playing, you won't have fun, so why continue playing a system/way you don't like?:D

Rochin
01-10-2009, 12:15 AM
I am really enjoying the varied opinions on the subject and off topic subjects. As far as staying in a game you do not enjoy, I will give you an example. I enjoy the story the DM/GM is trying to create almost as much if not more than the game play its self. I tend to write lengthy stories about my character in the DM/GMs world. In the future of the story they are telling or present in the form of a Journal. So even if the game drags, I can entertain myself with that, as well just hanging out with good friends is its own reward. Enjoying the game and having fun playing it in, is a bonus.


As far as minis go(since we are on that subject) I had never really used minis. In my first game here in Dallas the DM had the works, sets, minis, more sets, more minis. I thought at first they would take away from the gameplay. I could not have been more wrong. Done right(which it was in this game) it brought a whole new aspect to the game. I enjoyed that everyone had the exact same idea of the battlefield, so we could move and position properly. Some games do not need minis, but in games that do, dnd 3.5 and 4e for example it really helps players make sense of it all.

Maelstrom
01-10-2009, 04:54 AM
I thought at first they would take away from the gameplay. I could not have been more wrong. Done right(which it was in this game) it brought a whole new aspect to the game.

I've been playing with "minis" (a mixture of risk pieces, plastic animals, and a few scattered lead minis in various stages of painting) since the 80s. Also "D&D Tiles" (little cardboard strips cut into squares) and "Battlemats" (Big 1" square easel-sized graph paper).

I was hooked ever since our 5th level characters battled a kobold army (said risk pieces, the three pronged kind). By using the grid, you could place your fireball right, have tactics that matter, figure out where to stand to avoid a beholder's anti-magic gaze, and sneak through a dungeon avoiding big nasties.

4e takes it to a whole new level with dynamic combats and entire group-based tactics. How anyone can get bored with that is beyond me ;) Of course my approach to D&D has been more from the tactical side, and not so much from the storyline side (I build characters based on how I see them fighting opponents, then fill in the non-combat details later).

Rochin
01-10-2009, 10:35 AM
I've been playing with "minis" (a mixture of risk pieces, plastic animals, and a few scattered lead minis in various stages of painting) since the 80s. Also "D&D Tiles" (little cardboard strips cut into squares) and "Battlemats" (Big 1" square easel-sized graph paper).

I was hooked ever since our 5th level characters battled a kobold army (said risk pieces, the three pronged kind). By using the grid, you could place your fireball right, have tactics that matter, figure out where to stand to avoid a beholder's anti-magic gaze, and sneak through a dungeon avoiding big nasties.

4e takes it to a whole new level with dynamic combats and entire group-based tactics. How anyone can get bored with that is beyond me ;) Of course my approach to D&D has been more from the tactical side, and not so much from the storyline side (I build characters based on how I see them fighting opponents, then fill in the non-combat details later).


With me story is key. I have to be captured and pulled in, I like the combat side too, but it tends just accent the RP. In my last 4e game we had a good mix of combat and RP. As it has been stated before 4e is great(if you like that) at being tactical combat. As fmitchell posted, they put all their eggs in the combat basket and left out how to do anything else. Skill challenges while interesting, can not replace some sort of guidelines for ruling things not covered in the books. How do I as a character have a castle built? If I as a character am stranded in the middle of a forest 1000s of miles wide with nothing, how do I build things? Well in 4e it is not covered, so it is just made up by the DM/GM.

That is the problem. Combat is made easy from a Dm standpoint, as all the monsters have good write ups for different levels of combat. Rules are given for groups of monsters, and various tactics are given so the Dm does not have to spend hours stating out every little encounter. On the flip side, if a party wants to suddenly become traders for some reason, the Dm is in a world of hurt. Not that it is impossible to come up with rules for that, but being a "complete game" 4e should have thought of that and had some type of rules for things non combat. Other editions at least mentioned something.. 4e skips that.

Being bored I think is a strong term. Frustrated by the lack of actual depth, may be a better term. When a group of people want to RP the hell out of their 4e characters and feel limited by a lack of system, it tends to make them less than happy with the system. Now in that said group we did go from a rules lite system to 4e so that did not help that much. Now if I can get motivated to be in a 4e game longer than 4th level, things may change. So I will still attempt to give 4e a chance. So far and the more they keep releasing the same classes only different builds(druid and warden for example) it just seems they are trying to wow us with quantity over quality.

Etarnon
01-10-2009, 12:55 PM
To me if the D&D story that is going along is interrupted by 2 hours of a skirmish battle that in game is supposed to take 30 seconds, there's too many mechanics.

I think Gygax got it right in 1e.

I think a lot of people in later years wanted hard wired mechanics in place within the rules for the flanking, and such, so now they got the minis game, with all the trimmings...with some saying it is the game itself, the tactics, that they like about D&D.

Some people want that, in D&D. Not me. I want the story, a brief combat with a few dice rolls, and get back to the plot.

I've seen ideas tossed around as to how to make combat skills a skill challenge...yeah it used to be that way, long ago.

Sure, people can say "Times change, grow with the new edition. This is how people play these days."

But I've seen it swing in general from basic rules to super complex back to basic, over and over across the RPG games systems design philosophy.

The people that want the crunch drive the storytellers to distraction. The storytellers aren't providing the competitive types with enough huzzah.

So new games come out. 5e (If such an animal is every invented) I predict will be mostly story, coming out in 3 to 4 years, and people from wotc will say "Yeah, 4e combat was too technical...players wanted story.. here's 5e, pitch out all your 4e books."

Grimwell
01-10-2009, 05:26 PM
On the flip side, if a party wants to suddenly become traders for some reason, the Dm is in a world of hurt. Not that it is impossible to come up with rules for that, but being a "complete game" 4e should have thought of that and had some type of rules for things non combat. Other editions at least mentioned something.. 4e skips that.

The only edition of D&D that has ever done a good job of simulating merchant activities (or any non-combat job) to my experience is 3.x. Even then it is a very simple abstract and the GM has to jump in and sort out details.

TBH, no system can present a system that covers every idea the players are going to have. The best they can do is have a simple mechanic so the GM can wing it and find a way to say "Yes" or "perhaps, if you do well" to the players. Which is what the basic d20 mechanic covers.

The art of being a good GM involves not mastering the rules and calling it done, but mastering how to answer the situations your players create for you. Not having a rule and table to point to for that ruling is a trivial problem to an experienced GM; who is going to determine a way to give the player's idea a shot in a manner that is balanced and fun, and then let it happen.

Chasing after a rules system with a rule for every situation is like trying to find El Dorado. We can satellite map the world now, and still have not seen it.

fmitchell
01-10-2009, 06:49 PM
TBH, no system can present a system that covers every idea the players are going to have. The best they can do is have a simple mechanic so the GM can wing it and find a way to say "Yes" or "perhaps, if you do well" to the players. Which is what the basic d20 mechanic covers.

True, and in previous posts we've outlined how to handle non-dungeon-crawling situations, albeit in vastly different ways.

However, I can't help compare D&D to other systems. In Basic Role-Playing, for example, there's a plethora of skills, plus fallbacks to characteristic percentile rolls and the Resistance Table ((stat - stat) x 5% + 50%) if nothing fits. Combat consists mainly of rolling weapon skills, allowing the defender a defense roll to parry or dodge if he can, and D&D-like damage rolls applied to hit points. While the original RuneQuest had refinements (e.g. tactical movement, Strike Ranks to allow longer weapons to go a little earlier), those are optional in the current version.

A lot of systems like GURPS, Unisystem, and WoD make combat an extension of a skill system. WFRP and The Fantasy Trip, on the other hand, use basic stat rolls, augmented by "Talents", to handle combat and non-combat activities. Others, like PDQ, FATE, Grimm, and HeroQuest, blur the lines between "stats" and "skills", but still make "combat" a special case of "conflict".

While D&D set the basic combat pattern in 1974, RuneQuest a few years later switched from "levels" to "skills", which was a huge influence on later games. D&D 0-2 always regarded non-combat prowess (except for special abilities of Thieves and other classes) as secondary to combat abilities, but tacked on systems for them. D&D 3.x added a skill system to complement levels and BAB, and created the "core mechanic", although the resulting explosion of skills, feats, and classes ended up a bit too unwieldy.

4e decided to streamline, which is good, but it reduced non-combat abilities for a vestige skewed toward "adventuring". Some on this very board tell us we didn't need those 30 years of RPG design anyway. However, we apparently do need feats and class abilities and powers besides. If we want to devise a new class for a campaign-specific role (e.g. a martial artist for an Asian-themed world, what a wacky idea), we now have to plot out 30 levels of powers for that class, balanced against other classes, which makes class design even more of a black art than it ever was. But that's OK, we don't really want to try something different; we should content ourselves with Forgotten Realms and Eberron and whatever else WotC gives us, when they finally do so.

Strangely, I find 4e much less attractive.

Rochin
01-10-2009, 07:40 PM
I think you sum it up pretty well. While WOTC is giving us "more" in 4e, it turns out to be really "less". I really hate to talk bad about any incarnation of DND. I was really excited to hear about what they were doing with 4e. I think that half way through making it, they had the idea to try and convert some of the WOW fanbase, and we got what came out. In previous editions I enjoyed reading the "fluff" about the races and classes and being the sheltered shut in the Monster manuals were some of my favorite reading. You got a lot of info in the short descriptions. In 4e everything is cut down. Classes are mainly power lists, the races get a short notation and the MM is basically the same description for each monster "Such and such is a demonic/evil/man eating thing that will attack players for food on sight." Then it gives some tactics and some stats.

Why that is fine, for a new DM it leaves it empty. What are their cities/towns/lairs like? Can they exist without bloodshed? We will never know... oh wait they are comming out with seperate books on Lairs, Undead..etc. Out of the box 4e is half of what it should be. I feel more cheated than in any other edition that the "core" books are half of what they should be.

Grimwell
01-11-2009, 03:06 AM
I think too many people expect 4E D&D to be something other than a strain of D&D. D&D has always been presented as a system that sets up characters to kill things and take their treasure. Being dissapointed that 4E is nothing more than a system that sets up characters to kill things and take their treasure is about as honest with the situation as buying a Toyota Camry and wondering why you don't have a BMW when you get behind the wheel.

It can't be what it's not.

Rochin, you ask:
"Why that is fine, for a new DM it leaves it empty. What are their cities/towns/lairs like? Can they exist without bloodshed?"

My answer is that these are questions a setting answers, not a system. D&D in the core books is presented as a system for combat and skill based encounters. It is not a guide to a campaign and the interrelations of the peoples in that campaign setting.

The campaign information for 4E is deliberately thin, beyond landing the idea of "points of light" and the other key assumptions, and giving you a few token deities to use, there really isn't much of a campaign forced into the system and it's deliberate.

The campaign comes from the GM, or any number of convenient and shiny sourcebooks that are sure to come out over the next few years. The system itself, is presented as a campaign generic environment so you don't have to weed out so much as add when it comes time to make it your own.

People who want more campaign up front and in the rules are most likely going to be much more happy with one of the other fine systems out there for play. Enjoying other systems does not mean that a system that does not suit your needs is broken... it's just not for you. We can all be happy. :biggrin:

fmitchell
01-11-2009, 03:13 AM
In 4e everything is cut down. Classes are mainly power lists, the races get a short notation and the MM is basically the same description for each monster "Such and such is a demonic/evil/man eating thing that will attack players for food on sight." Then it gives some tactics and some stats.

Why that is fine, for a new DM it leaves it empty. What are their cities/towns/lairs like? Can they exist without bloodshed? We will never know... oh wait they are coming out with separate books on Lairs, Undead..etc. Out of the box 4e is half of what it should be. I feel more cheated than in any other edition that the "core" books are half of what they should be.

Well, I haven't read the DMG yet, so I can't say for sure, but I think 4e spends so much time on mechanics that you don't get much "fluff" or atmosphere. (There are bits, e.g. to explain Dragonborn or Tieflings, but those hints about the wider world are few and far between.) Earlier D&D editions skimped on that part too, but in the AD&D and d20 eras we built up enough "shared knowledge" that DMs and players could indeed "just wing it". In addition, d20 allowed us to bend mechanics to suit our concepts: look at Midnight, Mutants and Masterminds, Iron Heroes and Star Wars Saga Edition, among many others, to see how d20 gurus adapted the system to other genres and concepts.

Now, with 4e, we start at ground zero again. New players lack the resources we had in previous editions. More abstract lessons in world-building remain valid, but even more than previous editions D&D forces assumptions on you. Could I create a world where only Martial characters exist, and magic is a rare and dangerous force, as Iron Heroes and Midnight did? Maybe, but I'd drop half the PHB, more than a few monsters, and possibly minions (since there's no Martial Controller to keep them at bay) ... and need Martial Power and house rules besides to realize concepts like Midnight's "Defender" or Traits in Iron Heroes. Could I run Dark Sun in 4e? Without psionics rules, the best I could do is relabel Wizards and Warlocks as psionicists ... or write my own psionic system. What about Oriental Adventures, with unarmed martial artists? Sorry, no Monks in the forseeable future.

Modern games thrive on compelling backgrounds, or mechanics malleable enough to fit a GM's concept. D&D 4e is a solid chunk. It's almost as if D&D 4e bids us use our imagination to add "flavor" to the rules, rather than tailor the rules to our imaginations.

EDIT: In the cold light of day, I realize how absurd it is to argue about a D&D "golden age" when I never liked any D&D to begin with, for all the reasons I don't like 4e. I guess my real problem is that D&D 4e will be the first entry point to RPGs for a number of people, and I think it moved in the wrong direction. Harking back to the OP -- remember him? -- 4e bores experienced RPG players precisely because there's so little of modern RPG design in it. They've kept the Core Mechanic but rebuilt a more elaborate and fiddly version of First Edition around it. Without the history of RPGs behind you, and judging by the first few official adventures, you'd think D&D was merely combat scenarios with a thin story linking them, when countless DMs have built rich stories that involve combat.

Grimwell
01-11-2009, 11:01 PM
For the record, the 4E DMG does not really spend that much time on rules and mechanics. Most of the book is focused on being a good DM in the game and taking a reader through different elements of running a campaign. The PHB has the overwhelming bulk of the rules in it, and while it turned me off at first, it dawned upon me that players really should have easy access to the baseline rules so they can understand the game they are playing.

Modules... I don't think 4E is any different than any other. I'm doing the same thing I did when 3E came out, running the first modules to see how the rules work. The Sunless Citadel was a monster grind with just as much/little story set up for it. The 2E and 1E modules I bought were just as linear and just as "kill monsters and take things" based.

Which is why I never stick with modules long. I'd toss Keep on the Shadowfell right now if I gave in to my urges. It's got a great framework and isn't hard to run at all, but it's a typical module that has all kinds of logic gaps and is end to end designed for fighting.

Nothing wrong with that at all mind you, but I like my games to have more flow than an average module will.

Which makes 4E modules no different than any other editions.

fmitchell
01-12-2009, 02:39 AM
Meh, maybe I'm getting bored with this thread.

I just saw "Hard-Boiled Cultures for D&D 4E" (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=59729) on sale. I guess if enough people devote enough effort to it, 4E can provide the same roleplaying experience as previous editions, or any other games. I guess I just don't see the benefits outweighing the costs, at least in my case.

Kalanth
01-12-2009, 08:52 AM
I guess if enough people devote enough effort to it, 4E can provide the same roleplaying experience as previous editions, or any other games.

This is the exact kind of thing that just bothers me to no end. The edition has nothing to do with the RP, the players do. Just because there are or are not rules for RP does not mean that the group of people playing the edition cannot have a rich and deep RP experience with that game. In my experience with 4e we have yet to have a game that did not have an extended period of just RP with no dice hitting the table and that is wonderful. I have managed to have that same experience in every edition of D&D, Paladium, Star Wars, d20 Modern, Classic Marvel Super Heroes, Shadowrun, and even an MMO (Matrix Online). If you want to RP and intereact you are going to do it regardless of the game system you are playing.

Rochin
01-12-2009, 10:14 AM
This is the exact kind of thing that just bothers me to no end. The edition has nothing to do with the RP, the players do. Just because there are or are not rules for RP does not mean that the group of people playing the edition cannot have a rich and deep RP experience with that game. In my experience with 4e we have yet to have a game that did not have an extended period of just RP with no dice hitting the table and that is wonderful. I have managed to have that same experience in every edition of D&D, Paladium, Star Wars, d20 Modern, Classic Marvel Super Heroes, Shadowrun, and even an MMO (Matrix Online). If you want to RP and intereact you are going to do it regardless of the game system you are playing.

We are not saying you cannot RP. You can RP just about anything, that is a given. What we are saying is that in the rules for 4e there is a heavy ended rules set for combat. For non combat and non combat skills there is almost nothing. As gdmcbride talked about there are no rules for how to sail a ship. Sure a DM can just make it up, but if he/she wants to run a sea campaign, that adds more work for them. Also the classic campaign where players are stranded with nothing in the wilderness, where in the rules for 4e is it that explains how a PC can attempt to make anything? If a PC wants to create a bow and arrows, um the DM has to make it up. While not hard per say, the DM should not have to make up something that should already be included. Crafting and or secondary skills have been in DND since ADND, why exclude them in 4e, when it is to be the end all awesomeness of DND.

I played in a very RP rich 4e game my first time playing 4e with an awesome DM. We were offsrping of a uber hero and because of his death given titles and land to run. We RPed the heck out of that, we liked it. In combat however it was another story. Sliding, shifting, and keeping track of who marked who and who had a ongoing damage or powers going was a royal( har har) pain. It was not bad, but it made a simple 6 PC vs 8 Orc fight take 2 times as long as in 3.5.

I liked 4e in what it is trying to do, which is make the game more exciting. The way the did it is not so great. As a Dm I do not want to have to make up rules for things that should be included. Crafting, and various other skills are just missing in 4e. It has been said that 4e is great as a dungeon crawl, and I agree. However if you step out of the dungeon and want to buy a ship with your gold and fight pirates, or set up a shop and make some armor from the mithral you just found, um yeah good luck with that.

I am not upset with what is included in 4e, it is what should be in there and is not that gets me. A big eye opener to a friend of mine was that the Gold Dragon was not included in the MM, when in all other versions it is in the first MM(compendiums) of the other versions. I was a bit shocked by this as well, you have a dragon god, but no write up for good aligned dragon. Just kind of funny in a bad way funny.

fmitchell
01-12-2009, 10:57 AM
Ugh, I can't believe I'm returning to this thread.


The edition has nothing to do with the RP, the players do. Just because there are or are not rules for RP does not mean that the group of people playing the edition cannot have a rich and deep RP experience with that game. In my experience with 4e we have yet to have a game that did not have an extended period of just RP with no dice hitting the table and that is wonderful.

There's this underlying assumption that a Roleplaying Game has a "roleplaying part" and a "game part". If that's true, and the Roleplaying Part is so wonderful, why put up with a Game Part that harshes the buzz? Why stop that wonderful experience to push, pull, slide, Sly Flourish, and so forth across a miniatures game board? Because "that's the game"? There are others.

Of course, I deny the underlying assumption. The Roleplaying Game is a game about roleplaying, and the game part should support that experience, not undercut it, not remain "neutral" to it or "independent" of it. If "Farmer +8", to take that hoary straw man argument, enhances the experience, leave it in, otherwise throw it out. And, conversely, if you like the "roleplaying part" of the Most Recent Edition of the Most Popular Role-Playing Game but resent taking an extended time-out to push miniatures around, then that part has to go. If that's the entirety of the game, well ...

This is the cost/benefit analysis I alluded to earlier. If I have to house-rule my way through the parts of the game I like, and suffer through parts of the game that are actually in the rulebooks, why do I need that game at all? I'm not saying everyone has the extreme reaction I do, but if 4e is "boring" to somebody, then the game has failed them; they haven't "failed the game". They're not stupid, or impatient, or "mere hobbyist players" who can't appreciate the True Roleplaying Experience; the game simply doesn't give them what they want.

Kalanth
01-12-2009, 11:05 AM
We are not saying you cannot RP. You can RP just about anything, that is a given. What we are saying is that in the rules for 4e there is a heavy ended rules set for combat. For non combat and non combat skills there is almost nothing.

My 1st and 2ed memory is a bit fuzzy, but how many social or "RP rules" were there in the old editions? Why is it that I remember playing those games without a Skill check to talk to someone, or a rule dictating that I was a farmer in the past. Rules to RP are really not needed at all, and so I steal a quote that 4e books have "90% of the rules pertaining to something that should happen 10% of the time." In other words, is it really so damaging that 4e contains mostly combat rules and leaves it to the players and DM to actually talk to each other during the RP moments?


As gdmcbride talked about there are no rules for how to sail a ship. Sure a DM can just make it up, but if he/she wants to run a sea campaign, that adds more work for them.

Adventurers Vault under Vehicles. My campaign just had a 6 hours session that was completely consisting of ship to ship combat and boarding. Some holes exsist and the DM has to fill them, but if you want to sail a ship that is where I suggest looking for the how.


Also the classic campaign where players are stranded with nothing in the wilderness, where in the rules for 4e is it that explains how a PC can attempt to make anything? If a PC wants to create a bow and arrows, um the DM has to make it up. While not hard per say, the DM should not have to make up something that should already be included. Crafting and or secondary skills have been in DND since ADND, why exclude them in 4e, when it is to be the end all awesomeness of DND.

Aside from the Enchant Magic Item ritual there are no rules for this, that is true. But adding crafting is as simple as exporting the 3.5 crafting rules and adding them into 4e. Thats not a whole lot of work, and it is even less work if the players in the 4e game already understood 3.5 rules and the 3.5 crafting mechanic. Again going back to 1st and 2nd ed, though, I don't remember crafting rules being around then either. I may have overlooked them because the people I played with did not care about making stuff and just wanted to be heroes. Guess what no one has wanted to do in any of the 4e games I have played in.


I played in a very RP rich 4e game my first time playing 4e with an awesome DM. We were offsrping of a uber hero and because of his death given titles and land to run. We RPed the heck out of that, we liked it. In combat however it was another story. Sliding, shifting, and keeping track of who marked who and who had a ongoing damage or powers going was a royal( har har) pain. It was not bad, but it made a simple 6 PC vs 8 Orc fight take 2 times as long as in 3.5.

I agree it can become combersome. In the above mentioned ship to ship moment I ran a combat which put the players (6), NPCs (2), and the enemy (21) against each other. 29 people on a map at one time is very confusing and was a learning experience that will not be duplicated any time soon. But with a few cheep methods, such as decorative marbles of varying colors from a craft store (the flat kind) you have a quick and easy marking system. Using this same idea you can mark the effects like Cloud of Daggers so you know where the dangers are.


I liked 4e in what it is trying to do, which is make the game more exciting. The way the did it is not so great. As a Dm I do not want to have to make up rules for things that should be included. Crafting, and various other skills are just missing in 4e. It has been said that 4e is great as a dungeon crawl, and I agree. However if you step out of the dungeon and want to buy a ship with your gold and fight pirates, or set up a shop and make some armor from the mithral you just found, um yeah good luck with that.

Again, ships are in Adventurers Vault. As for setting up shop, I don't know to many people that want to do that before the point that they are retiring a character. Even then I don't know of any rules even in 3.5 that help to govern setting up a shop and running a shop. That and you are much less likely to make a major profit off that mithral in 4e considering the sell back reduction they have in place.

As it stands the 4e game that I have been running for the past few months is anything but a dungeon crawl. Being that the majority of the events are political and story rich and that combat is limited to a small number of events per game. I see people make the argument all the time that 4e is not built for RP or deep story games, but then I sit down at the table for my session and experience a game that does not meet any of the preordained definitions of 4e.


I am not upset with what is included in 4e, it is what should be in there and is not that gets me. A big eye opener to a friend of mine was that the Gold Dragon was not included in the MM, when in all other versions it is in the first MM(compendiums) of the other versions. I was a bit shocked by this as well, you have a dragon god, but no write up for good aligned dragon. Just kind of funny in a bad way funny.

Now why would I want a gold dragon write up short of an Eberron game? Sure on my homebrew world dragons are feral because of a curse, so the players could fight one, but that is unlikely to happen any time soon and so I was not dissapointed when I noticed they were left out. Shocked, yes, dissapointed, no. The reason it was done from my understanding was because Wizards felt the book should be filled with monsters the players would be expected to actually fight and have conflict with. The pages for the dragons of good in the previous books were, honestly, wasted pages and I generally skipped right over them to the chromatic dragons. Even with their omission making a new monster is so easy that you could probly put together a gold dragon in about 10 minutes time.

I just find all the complaints about the edition to invalid, as I see it. Granted everyone is entitled to their opinion and I have no intention of trying to convince them that 4e is the meca of gaming. It is more likely that I have found a diamond in the rough in that the group I play with much prefers this edition the 3/3.5 and we all feel like it is best describbed as 1st edition on crack. Rules light is great, and if the DM is comfortable and confident with himself and trusted by the players then plugging in fixes or new rules is exceptionally easy. I know for me I have found the edition that I truly enjoy and hope to be playing 4e for a long time coming.


This is the cost/benefit analysis I alluded to earlier. If I have to house-rule my way through the parts of the game I like, and suffer through parts of the game that are actually in the rulebooks, why do I need that game at all? I'm not saying everyone has the extreme reaction I do, but if 4e is "boring" to somebody, then the game has failed them; they haven't "failed the game". They're not stupid, or impatient, or "mere hobbyist players" who can't appreciate the True Roleplaying Experience; the game simply doesn't give them what they want.

You, sir, are absolutely correct. If you are bored then the game has failed you and the game is obviously not the edition for you. I disagree in that combat breaks down to the pushing of mini's around a board and pushing, pulling, and sly flourishing, but that goes back to my "diamond in the rough" comment and the experiences I have had with my players RPing through all actions, be it combat, social, or in between. The combat takes longer and is more involved, but adding flavor text to the powers is about the same as the old days of adding flavor text to the basic and boring, "I swing my sword. 18, do I hit?"

Oh, and you did not have to come back to the thread if you did not want to. :D

Rochin
01-12-2009, 11:32 AM
Ok I looked it up and yes everyone in 4e is a acomplished ship pilot. All you do is spend an action to move it. Kind of lame in my opinion, as now everyone is a top notch ship captain at 1st level, even minions. Ok lets move on.

I have been in many a game where the DM wants us to be more than just killers for hire. I have enjoyed sessions where all we did was run our little villages and such from a non combat trade role. It is fun and breaks up the hack and slash a bit. Also, someone should not have to purchase each and every book to have access to basic rules that should have been in the core books, that is just silly to have to keep buying a book when they introduce crafting for example. It just keeps the company in business.

My comments about combat still stand, it is way over complicated. Combat should not take 90% of a game session for one encounter(Unless it is some epic conflict). 4e takes combat and manages to drag it out. Combat is fun, yes, but when you keep going through the same motions "I will mark and attack with (insert power here) " and the next character a totally different class says "I mark and attack with (insert power here)" combat is drawn out and boring. It takes longer for each action and longer to figure out which of your many options to do, when a simple basic attack is all you really need. For a few classes a basic attack is a joke. They do half the damage of their at will powers, if that.

I may be a bit harsh on 4e. I have really tried to enjoy it, it just ends up being people sitting around a table when combat happens looking at their character sheets to try and get the best bonus or best damage, only to sigh and look some more when another character changes up something.

Valdar
01-12-2009, 01:47 PM
Just wanted to point out that 4th edition is seven months old. Expecting it to have everything that previous editions had, or other games have that D&D never had, seems like an excuse to hate it when the real reason you hate it is going unspoken. I'd be curious to hear what that is? Less min-maxing available perhaps?

Besides, less books means more freedom for the DM. I can create a planar campaign and only be true to the core books and MoP now- I don't have to worry about contradicting a bevy of other material that the players are familiar with. And I can create mercantile encounters for a merchant party as free-form skill challenges, and not have to worry about rolling for shifting market forces or what have you...

And as for piloting a ship? My very last gaming session included just that, and I wrote it as a skill challenge (They were getting their new Spelljammer to the Astral Sea for the first time). Nobody got penalized for not having the Pilot (Medium Watercraft, Extraplanar) skill, and it was a fun encounter- even though they failed it the first time and wound up in the Shadowfell...

Webhead
01-12-2009, 02:43 PM
Whoa! :faint2:

Kalanth
01-12-2009, 02:52 PM
Ok I looked it up and yes everyone in 4e is a acomplished ship pilot. All you do is spend an action to move it. Kind of lame in my opinion, as now everyone is a top notch ship captain at 1st level, even minions. Ok lets move on.

A skill that was not present in 1st or 2nd edition as well as 4th edition (or technically 3/3.5). The skill system was bloated and watered down in 3/3.5, and requiring someone to take Profession:Seaman to determine if they are a good captain or not was a waste. If you want to require checks in 4th edition just to operate the ship use skills like Nature for navigation, Perception to spot land / iceburgs / ships at sea, Athletics to do some of the ship based tasks (trim the mail sail, etc), and Endurance for long stints at sea (especially in rough weather). That provides a bevy of skills to use so you can better determine how skilled you are as a seaman and you are not waisting skill points on fluff skills.

The rules in Adventurers Vault are for litterally moving the ship. As I had said, there are some holes in there but they are easily plugged in to a point that they are a non-issue. I have an array of additional house rules, such as when the ship is reduced to 30 or less HP it begins to take on water, 10 HP or less it begins sinking rapidly, and 0 HP or less the ship is destroyed. Aside from assuring my players that there was little in the way of rules for ship combat it was a great event that consisted of a lot of DM freedoms as Valdar mentioned.

cplmac
01-15-2009, 07:25 PM
For the record, the 4E DMG does not really spend that much time on rules and mechanics. Most of the book is focused on being a good DM in the game and taking a reader through different elements of running a campaign. The PHB has the overwhelming bulk of the rules in it, and while it turned me off at first, it dawned upon me that players really should have easy access to the baseline rules so they can understand the game they are playing.

Modules... I don't think 4E is any different than any other. I'm doing the same thing I did when 3E came out, running the first modules to see how the rules work. The Sunless Citadel was a monster grind with just as much/little story set up for it. The 2E and 1E modules I bought were just as linear and just as "kill monsters and take things" based.

Which is why I never stick with modules long. I'd toss Keep on the Shadowfell right now if I gave in to my urges. It's got a great framework and isn't hard to run at all, but it's a typical module that has all kinds of logic gaps and is end to end designed for fighting.

Nothing wrong with that at all mind you, but I like my games to have more flow than an average module will.

Which makes 4E modules no different than any other editions.


Which is why I like taking a module and finding a place or two to add an extra twist or so to the whole situation. Like in the "Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" campaign that I am running, the party has been introduced to one of the extra elements of this game, but they have yet to really find out about the second. Unfortunately, since many members of the party are also members of this site, I can not go into detail at this time.

kirksmithicus
01-16-2009, 11:37 AM
I think you guys are starting to touch upon the reason I abandoned D&D altogether back around 1990. D&D combat is BORING, "I roll a 12 do I beat AC or miss?" The 4E tried to make combat more exciting and dynamic by adding combat maneuvers and powers, and in the opinion of some it makes combat too complicated. Once those powers / moves run out though you are back to "I rolled a 15, did I beat AC or miss?", unchanged since 1E. The problem is that WoTC did not need to take the route they did and add all of the powers and moves, in a/n (failed?) attempt to make combat more exciting. IMO the problem with D&D at its core, is that combat is a ROLL-OVER mechanic, hence "I rolled a 19 did I beat AC or miss?" that's what makes it boring. Combat in any game, should be an OPPOSED test / roll, this should have been a no-brainer. Combat: two talking monkeys trying to kill the other without getting killed themselves. Dropping the static defense would go a long way in making the game more interesting as well as unpredictable. Which, may be why combat is not an Opposed roll, the game becomes to unpredictable and the hero's might get their ass's handed to them by some low level kobolds, because the players blew some combat roles. Take the 3.5 or 4 edition and make the PC engage not only in attacking but also actively defending, and I bet it'll make the game a hell of a lot more exciting and interesting. I can hear the whining and complaining already, "...but that doubles the amount of rolling in the game!" No kidding math genius, but It improves the game by more than double.

Also, I think much of the MMO feel associated with the 4E games comes from the fact that the designers abandoned the English Standard Rule as the primary means of describing combat distances and instead chose to use the term "Square/s". Now in your head, go back and convert all D&D editions from ft. to squares and I bet you they all feel more like an MMO. Or convert 4E from squares to ft. and I bet it'll probably sit a little better. I'm sure this was done to make things easier on the battle map and to consciously to avoid any ambiguity in the game, but it takes some getting used to. What ambiguity? you ask. Well let me pretend to be one of my old players (Mike will remain nameless) "well it says 15 ft. radius, and only a small portion of that radius is in the square in which my character is standing, so I think that my character should take no damage or at least a pro-rated amount of damage based on the percentage of that square occupied by the blast radius and additionally if we take into account atmospheric conditions such as wind speed, wind direction and barometric pressure at the time of the explosion........."

Valdar
01-16-2009, 01:57 PM
Combat in any game, should be an OPPOSED test / roll, this should have been a no-brainer.


That already exists as an optional rule in 3e.



Also, I think much of the MMO feel associated with the 4E games comes from the fact that the designers abandoned the English Standard Rule as the primary means of describing combat distances and instead chose to use the term "Square/s". Now in your head, go back and convert all D&D editions from ft. to squares and I bet you they all feel more like an MMO.

Nope. No MMO I've ever heard of uses squares. Are you thinking of RTS?

fmitchell
01-16-2009, 02:02 PM
IMO the problem with D&D at its core, is that combat is a ROLL-OVER mechanic, hence "I rolled a 19 did I beat AC or miss?" that's what makes it boring. Combat in any game, should be an OPPOSED test / roll, this should have been a no-brainer. Combat: two talking monkeys trying to kill the other without getting killed themselves. Dropping the static defense would go a long way in making the game more interesting as well as unpredictable.

Adding an extra die roll creates a greater variance in die results, although it also makes the random factor more like a bell curve. Mathematically "A + d20" vs. "B + d20" is equivalent to "A - B + (d20 - d20)" or "A - B + 2d20 - 21", with positive results going to A, and negative results going to B.

I've played FATE, where both sides roll their skill level plus Fudge dice (four dice marked +, -, or blank). I've also played BRP and GURPS, where the attacker rolls to attack and the defender can parry, dodge, or block the blow if he has time. Both mechanics add a little more tension.

However, the real kick is in FATE, where a) movement is more abstract and more narratively based, and b) you can use any skill as an attack or defense if you can justify it to the GM. In physical combat, you can defend with Intimidate (throw the mook off his stride) or Guns (to lay down a suppressing fire). There's also mental/social combat, using the same rules, to make the murderer confess or show up that blowhard professor as a fraud; that could use Intimidate, Academics, Art, Science, Investigation, anything as long as it was relevant.

Many game systems after D&D let the mechanics support roleplaying, and step out of the way when they're a distraction. D&D, and other games (e.g. GURPS*), insist on putting combat mechanics front and center: who is where, how far can they move, how many actions do they get, where did they hit, etc. As time goes on, I'm less inclined to stop the story to play a unit-level tactical wargame (ooh, he said the W-word!), and more interested in what happens to the character.


* I realize you can play a "lighter" game of GURPS without the combat map; conversely some versions of BRP, notably pre-Mongoose RuneQuest, required a battle map, Strike Ranks, the whole 9 yards (or three SR for a human). You can tailor any game mechanics however you want; I'm singling out a style of play rather than a specific game.

Webhead
01-16-2009, 02:46 PM
...However, the real kick is in FATE, where a) movement is more abstract and more narratively based, and b) you can use any skill as an attack or defense if you can justify it to the GM. In physical combat, you can defend with Intimidate (throw the mook off his stride) or Guns (to lay down a suppressing fire). There's also mental/social combat, using the same rules, to make the murderer confess or show up that blowhard professor as a fraud; that could use Intimidate, Academics, Art, Science, Investigation, anything as long as it was relevant.

Many game systems after D&D let the mechanics support roleplaying, and step out of the way when they're a distraction. D&D, and other games (e.g. GURPS*), insist on putting combat mechanics front and center: who is where, how far can they move, how many actions do they get, where did they hit, etc. As time goes on, I'm less inclined to stop the story to play a unit-level tactical wargame (ooh, he said the W-word!), and more interested in what happens to the character...

:D

You make me wanna try to sell my group of FATE again. I really love that game. Especially with the Dresden Files RPG in the works.

Rochin
01-16-2009, 03:37 PM
:D

You make me wanna try to sell my group of FATE again. I really love that game. Especially with the Dresden Files RPG in the works.


I enjoyed my FATE game where fmitchell was a player in. I had never played a FATE system game before and I was really blown away with the rules lite system. There were still rolls and such, but combat was never clunky, ever. As my character Boris, I was only limited by my mind in what I wanted to attempt. I did some crazy stuff and got away with most of it, really fantastic. Looking forward to fmitchells BRP game Sunday, it will be my first time entering into BRP. Looking forward to it.

Webhead
01-16-2009, 04:31 PM
I enjoyed my FATE game where fmitchell was a player in. I had never played a FATE system game before and I was really blown away with the rules lite system. There were still rolls and such, but combat was never clunky, ever. As my character Boris, I was only limited by my mind in what I wanted to attempt. I did some crazy stuff and got away with most of it, really fantastic. Looking forward to fmitchells BRP game Sunday, it will be my first time entering into BRP. Looking forward to it.

Very cool. Hope it all goes well. Should another FATE/SotC game or desire for one surface, let me know as I would certainly be interested in getting to play it again.

Engar
02-16-2009, 01:51 AM
4e is to rpg's as checkers is to chess.

bjorell
02-16-2009, 08:46 AM
I'm new around here and kinda like the diversity of games and opinions.

This thread caught my interest since me getting bored at D&D 4e is the very reason i'm here. Last night my gaming group took a vote after some 100/h of play with the 4e system and the unanimous vote was "we are all bored, lets change systems before we lose interest in RPG altogether".

I would not state the reason as "we are bored because 3.5 was better" as the fact that 4e isn't stimulating the style of play we have and always had.

Its not an edition war for me, I just want to have fun while playing, and if a RPG fails to give just that - its time to move on.

The fact that I'm not alone with this opinion could say something about 4e, but then again - looking back we saw the same thing when 3.0 was introduced.

Have fun! If its not fun - change the game! (unless on the rare occasions when a gamer actually looses interest in RPG'ing alltogether)

Blind loyalty to a system that IMO wasnt loyal to its customer base, just isnt worth it.

cheers
Tomas

Sneaksta
02-17-2009, 02:40 AM
[quote=Maelstrom;59056]What about skill challenges? When done right, they can be as involved as a combat (or even combined with a combat encounter).

I have skipped a few pages, mostly because im tired of reading most the same arguments worded differently :eek:.

But Maels' quote above begins to hit the best as a beginning. I Have never even picked up 4E, and reading here, i doubt i ever will 'till forced to. But, as i started playing Ad&d 1st and 2nd, 3.x is good for me.

As to , why the skillsets? If he was a sailor, then he was a sailor??
And why all the rolls, what has it to do with roleplaying? I, for one, think it adds to the overall effectiveness/randomness of the game. For instance...
Riding a horse. any idiot can figure it out,yes. butcan they gallop into a battle and attack? unless ya got the skill, sure, ride it into battle, but most likely yer horse is gonna panick, or yer gonna fall off, because, like i said, any idiot can ride a horse. A person with skill can ride in, jump a goblin, and slash the other one attacking his friend, in most cases.

Now, why i really like skillsets. Randomness factor! IMO this is a great tool for RP'ing.. Even those with skill can sometimes screw up! Say my Char said he was a weaponsmith before he was an adventurer(4E) and to hear some people post, well, he was a smith, so for the sake of expediency, yeah, he can craft that masterwork longsword in an afternoon...From a 3.x standpoint, well, it takes( roll skill)x time.. costs this much, and oops, you failed a check, you ruined 25% of the materials, start over.. I love this.

Just like if you can tumble, because (4e) I said i used to be in a circus, its fun that in (3.x) even with 8 skillpoints, sometimes even the best is gonna try to tumble, slip on a rock or something, and fall flat on his face.Now, what are ya gonna do to get outa that one, with an Ogre standing over you with a club and a Bigsmile??

ROLEPLAY it! You'll Be Glad Ya Did!

my 2 coppers

Kalanth
02-17-2009, 09:44 AM
I have skipped a few pages, mostly because im tired of reading most the same arguments worded differently.


Good call.

EDIT: Strange... The boards are adding the quote tag in there a second time.


As to , why the skillsets? If he was a sailor, then he was a sailor??

And why all the rolls, what has it to do with roleplaying? I, for one, think it adds to the overall effectiveness/randomness of the game. For instance...
Riding a horse. any idiot can figure it out,yes. butcan they gallop into a battle and attack? unless ya got the skill, sure, ride it into battle, but most likely yer horse is gonna panick, or yer gonna fall off, because, like i said, any idiot can ride a horse. A person with skill can ride in, jump a goblin, and slash the other one attacking his friend, in most cases.

Now, why i really like skillsets. Randomness factor! IMO this is a great tool for RP'ing.. Even those with skill can sometimes screw up! Say my Char said he was a weaponsmith before he was an adventurer(4E) and to hear some people post, well, he was a smith, so for the sake of expediency, yeah, he can craft that masterwork longsword in an afternoon...From a 3.x standpoint, well, it takes( roll skill)x time.. costs this much, and oops, you failed a check, you ruined 25% of the materials, start over.. I love this.

Just like if you can tumble, because (4e) I said i used to be in a circus, its fun that in (3.x) even with 8 skillpoints, sometimes even the best is gonna try to tumble, slip on a rock or something, and fall flat on his face.Now, what are ya gonna do to get outa that one, with an Ogre standing over you with a club and a Bigsmile??

All these examples are doable with the skills that are in 4e. Ride is now incorporated into Handle Animal, and the player gets the added benefit of using the special abilities of the mount if they take Mounted Combat. You can still call for a skill check for the untrained riding into combat and they can still have a chance for the horse to spook and dump the rider.

Crafting from 3.5 is practically a stand alone feature and is easily ripped out of 3.5 and plopped right into 4e. There are no major 3.5 mechanics that are not a part of the overall crafting rules so that is easy. All the DM needs to do is tell the player that if they want to add the skill of Craft (X) they can do so if they train the skill. Make it a trainable skill to all classes. From there use the old rules from 3.5 and you know have a crafting system in 4e. I don't do this because none of my players have ever wanted to "waist time" crafting items in any edition, but it is easy enough to port over which makes complaining about it more exhausting than just incorporating it.

Tumbling is incorporated into Acrobatics and follows much the same guidelines as tumble did in 3.5. Want to tumble around the Ogre (or for some reason through the Ogre's legs) then go for it. There is still a random chance at failure through the skills available.

What the original quote was actually referring too, however, was Skill Challenges. Not singular moments like the above examples, but something new that 4e introduced that sets a complex series of skill checks in front of the players to accomplish tasks that just one check would not normally resolve. As he said, these can be as involved as combat when done right, both in RP and in dice rolling. I use them frequently in my 4e campaign to present challenges to the players that prevent it from being a one man show.

I am all for people picking the edition they want to run with, as one of my best friends has been running 1st edition since it released and never looked at the other editions (short of playing Dungeons and Dragons Online). However it does bother me a touch when people don't have all the information and formulate their opinion on hearsay and speculation. I suggest reading as much as you can stomach prior to really formulating an opinion, and go in with an open mind because looking at 4e with anything but a blank slate will just make the edition appear unappealing.

Sneaksta
02-17-2009, 10:05 AM
True. why i stated i have never even picked one up to read. Maybe someday, but all else aside, too broke to pick it up.

Good points, however, about blind speculation .

im just :ballchain: to my experiences i guess........ :violin:

Kalanth
02-17-2009, 10:56 AM
True. why i stated i have never even picked one up to read. Maybe someday, but all else aside, too broke to pick it up.

Good points, however, about blind speculation .

im just :ballchain: to my experiences i guess........ :violin:

Which is fine, and perfectly acceptable. I was that way when 2nd changed to 3rd. I remember reading a Dragon article that previewed Whirlwind Attack and then complaining to my buddy that D&D was being turned into Final Fantasy. Turned out, until 4th came out that is, that I loved 3 / 3.5 D&D and it completely replaced older editions for me. Playing 4th edition has opened my eyes to the more broken aspects of 3 / 3.5 that I never realized were there, and this time through I am noticing the things that are not working with 4th edition sooner and correcting them for my games (but stubbornly sticking to the RAW when I run RPGA events).

Malruhn
02-17-2009, 09:11 PM
I'm new around here and kinda like the diversity of games and opinions.

This thread caught my interest since me getting bored at D&D 4e is the very reason i'm here. Last night my gaming group took a vote after some 100/h of play with the 4e system and the unanimous vote was "we are all bored, lets change systems before we lose interest in RPG altogether".

I would not state the reason as "we are bored because 3.5 was better" as the fact that 4e isn't stimulating the style of play we have and always had.bjorell, we all go through this. I've been involved in many groups that just lost interest in gaming for a while. If it weren't for the many various systems and games available, we were gameless...

BUT - we have even done things like sit around playing the "Corrupt a Wish" game and just general arguments about games and genres.

Don't worry, you'll get back to gaming.

bjorell
02-18-2009, 03:55 AM
bjorell, we all go through this. I've been involved in many groups that just lost interest in gaming for a while. If it weren't for the many various systems and games available, we were gameless...

BUT - we have even done things like sit around playing the "Corrupt a Wish" game and just general arguments about games and genres.

Don't worry, you'll get back to gaming.

Thanks Malruhn =) and our group is already back on track actually. We just started a new campaign in 3.5 with renewed energy and imagination.

We will run a "political, yet brutal" game focused on thwarting the Evil slavers of Mulmaster and Thay... and all players have gathered around the god Kelemvor for an added twist to exterminate any beings that have in some way "tricked" death.... such as ghosts, zombies, liches etc...

For our group, going back to 3.5 was the right thing to do for now, since we have like a gazillion books with the system... But as a DM, I could easily just as well tested Pendragon, Pathfinder or Call of Cthulhu.

So: 4e wasn't for us and we changed versions to find the "fun" again. This however does not make 4e a bad game . it just didn't deliver the flavour we needed at this point in time.

I'm now once again officially engaged with RPG =)

Bjorell

DeathByDM
02-19-2009, 01:53 PM
As the OP, I thought I'd give you all an update. We've now got a different guy as DM and I'm now playing a different character (Dwarf Fighter). I'm actually enjoying it. I guess just like any other campaign, the game is what you make of it and a good DM makes a big difference.

Happy gaming folks!

Grimwell
02-20-2009, 06:50 PM
I guess just like any other campaign, the game is what you make of it and a good DM makes a big difference.

Thanks for the update!

I completely agree with the quoted bit. Any game system can be fun with the right people.

yukonhorror
02-25-2009, 12:38 PM
First off, I never put a point of skill into profession or into craft (unless I had to for a prestige class). I have an upbringing of 1e (no skills at all), and all "skills" were done on the fly. I have always seen D&D as a game, not a story. Who cares if the princess cheated on her husband, does this affect me from stopping the vampire from turning the whole town into undead?

I think what 4e will always have over 3e with respect to skills is this. I don't have to sacrifice skill in being a tumbler if I want to be a sailor. This is why I never spent a point in those skills. I would rather be good at climbing the castle walls than know why the castle was built there in the first place (unless it would provide an alternative to climbing the wall).

Sorry, had to put that out there. My first point is if you want a more skill-based game, play one. I really like 4e, but my first reaction was how skills got pushed out the door. My second point is, being a game, it should have goals. Does being a sailor aid in achieving those goals, or does it just spark creativity.

As for the discussion of the thread, (boredom), I will put in some anecdotal advise. When I first played a RPG, it was 1e D&D. No skills, but good role-playing was rewarded. We initially designed a character concept, and if we played into that concept well (role-played it) we got rewarded. We didn't have to incorporate mechanics into the role-playing. Mechanics are difficult for something "fuzzy" like skill stuff. Now the example skill challenges in the DMG actually show good mechanics for that. But it has to be more than "I rolled a d20 for my sailor skill, got a 16, did it work?"

Further delving into my 1e past, we played all the time. During the summer, we would try and play once a day. But the combats (the monsters), the characters (classes), and such were getting boring. I stopped playing for 6 months or so. But then my friends started a game (after class sessions featuring canterbury tales), and we got into all over again.

My advice would be either,
a) give it a break and come back later.
b) play a different game for a while (we switched to rolemaster)
c) try and mix it up somehow (let the players change characters, new campaign storyline, change the monster's combat strategy). It seems like you are allowing it to be repetitive. Use some creativity and try something new. It might not be the best (making the combat too easy or too hard), but it can't hurt to try. Maybe have the monsters be played by different players, and you play the PCs. Maybe alter your tactics. If that requires you to come up with something that doesn't exist, the DMG is pretty helpful in helping you incorporate that into the game.
d) maybe your goals are too short-termed. What kept us going was this annoying illusionist. He kept kicking our butts and all we wanted to do was find him and beat the crap out of him.