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Thread: 4th Edition Game Demo

  1. #1
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    4th Edition Game Demo

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    Who here has been able to attend one of these yet?

    I did today and was disappointed. The DM who was running the demo didn't seem to know crap about the rules. Munchkin gaming has taken over WotC.

    I like how players can do more with each skill, but it seems too simplistic. I also thought combat was kinda simple. The DM has less to keep track of in combat, but rely too heavily on a char to keep track of stuff. Alot of the abilities seemed too powerful. I noticed the Ranger can designate one opponent as his 'quarry' and deals an extra d8 per hit. And he can pick a new quarry when it dies or his next turn. Reach does not work for attacks of oppurtunity it seems now.

    All in all: HATED IT!

    Thankfully they had alot of 3.5 books on sale, so the day was not a whole waste.
    ... AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY, GOD SAID, "I NEED A DRINK."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrex View Post
    Munchkin gaming has taken over WotC.
    How so? With 4e enfocorcing player roles, its tough for one player to hog all the glory... they've got to have good support or they get creamed, and that takes teamwork.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrex View Post
    Alot of the abilities seemed too powerful. I noticed the Ranger can designate one opponent as his 'quarry' and deals an extra d8 per hit.
    Reflects the Ranger's Striker role. They're meant to deal good martial damage. Rangers are nice pincushions for defenders if one can lock em up though, so they have to keep out of the fray.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrex View Post
    All in all: HATED IT!

    Thankfully they had alot of 3.5 books on sale, so the day was not a whole waste.
    Glad to see you tried it out! Love it or hate it, at least you gave it a fair shot.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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    The part that really bothered me was that none of the NPC the group fought had any sort of cool abilities. They got slaughtered. Again that might be due to horible DM running sessions.
    ... AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY, GOD SAID, "I NEED A DRINK."

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    Wow! I had a very different experience at today's demo... (assuming you were at the one in Towson?)

    Trying to remember all of the bits and pieces that I liked.
    • The mechanic of the attacker always rolling against a defense (AC, Fort, Reflex or Will) instead of the defender using saving throws.
    • Second Wind and Healing Surges.
    • Interesting choices for At Will, Per Encounter and Daily Actions and where you can set up combinations.
    • More options for each character each round.
    • Action Points - one every other encounter. Give you an additional action on your turn.
    • Squares for areas of effect
    • Tactical combat and it was in motion
    • The cleric could heal from a distance. 5 squares? No more hanging about at arm's length all of the time!
    • Healing Word (Cure Light) and Lay on Hands are Minor Actions. You still get a Move and Standard that round.
    • Turn Undead seems much easier to use and more worthwhile
    • Criticals are straightforward and fewer creatures are immune to them.
    • Basic spells and cantrips are At Will, so you always have access to at least something other than lawn darts after you burn the encounter & daily spells.
    • Charge is a Standard action. So you can use your move action to set it up if needed.
    • Cover - Simply causes a -2 to attacks against a target in cover.
    All in all it felt very dynamic. While we were all muddling through reading descriptions as we were using them, I see a huge potential for some cinematic scenarios. Especially once you have a regular group who know their powers and how to work with each other.

    The session was VERY crowded. One DM and a dozen of us pre-registered for the event but another 15+ walk-ins. I thought the DM did a good job of covering the fast play rules. Naturally he doesn't have the full PHB to explain grapple and whatnot. So he rotated groups of six. I got to play twice.

    In the initial encounter, I had the halfling paladin. Went after the assassin who had just killed our contact. Hoped my halfling AC bonus against attacks of opp would protect me from the guards, but a blow got through. The halfling Second Chance racial power protected me as I forced a re-roll and he missed. (can only use this power once per encounter but I wanted to reach the target)

    Used Divine Challenge (at will) on the assassin. Now she had to confront me or risk taking penalties and damage. Cracked her with an attack for ok damage. Then she dazed me with a dazzling strike forcing me to miss my next round. (now I wished i had saved the Second Chance!)

    Lots of ranged attacks and spells finished her and the guards. The ranger could mark a target for additional damage. He could also split an arrow 1/day to hit two targets (I flashed back to multi-arrow in Runequest...) I had the mark for Challenge. The warlock had a type of mark system too for his eldritch blasts. Marks don't stack so only the most recent is active if multiple characters try to mark the same target.

    The guards had halberds and were using trip attacks. One pulled down the ranger. The Dwarf fighter shrugged it off with Stand Your Ground dwarf racial power. They had reach with halberds. (I did not notice the bit about reach and attacks of opportunity though - I must have missed that)

    I rotated out for the next encounter. It was largely RP and Skills but I confess I wandered. The store offered 40% off all RPGs for the day, so I grabbed the two Eberron books I had yet to purchase (and trying to watch six people play in a huddle of another 20 was a bit squeezed for space)

    I got back in for a later combat against some undead in a mountain pass. A road with a drop-off to our left and uphill difficult terrain to the right. Played the wizard this time. I was ranged artillery as you might guess. Hung back with Magic Missile (at will!) and fired away. Used an encounter spell called Force Orb for some area damage when a few of them clustered together. I didn't use my Daily as I had memorized Sleep! My movement was mostly for line of fire but the others were mixing it up.

    The dwarf fighter was at the front and was controlling the road. One skellie was shifting (5 ft stepping) over to the paladin which let the fighter use an AoOpp ability to crunk it. Another tried to get past to attack the casters - again the fighter used an ability to hit it and stop its movement. He also pushed a skellie into the difficult terrain. The ranger and paladin attacked a blazing skeleton. It threw fire at them for pretty solid damage and they both were burning for a few rounds before they saved. Two more skellies, one of them built of many bone shards, advanced.

    The cleric used Turn Undead. (oh he had used some Lance of Faith too - ranged attack for radiant damage. Turned out well against the enemy who happens to be vulnerable to radiant damage! And it gave +2 attack to an ally) Turn Undead is now a roll against the Will of the targets within the area of effect. The monster's hit dice don't matter. The Turning did 1d10+4 to a couple and pushed them 5 squares. This pushed one clear off of the cliff! (the other was immobilized for a round)

    The fighter pummeled the big one with his daily power for hefty damage which brought it below half. This caused it to explode in a shower of bone shards that caught the cleric, fighter and paladin for 12 dmg each. But the dwarf followed through on the successful attack with Tide of Iron and pushed it off the cliff to meet its friend. Good thing too - turns out at zero hp it would have unleashed another explosion of shards.

    I then bowed out to let another play the next encounter.

    So I know I skipped a lot, but I don't remember everyone's actions or abilities. For the NPCs what stood out to me were the Trips, Dazzling Strike, Fiery Flameball in Your Face, and Boneshard Bomb. (OK I made up those last two - have to wait to see what the Monster Manual really says)

    All in all, I like the mechanics and the dynamics of gameplay. For 1st level characters, you are definitely not scrubs! You have significant powers and choices of things to do. Balance will be the key for the long term. I suspect you start strong to show that you are already someone of note, but that it won't add 10 new powers every level or you would need a book for you character sheet

    The once per day powers are particularly powerful. Esp with 26 years of preconceptions of a 1st lvl characters limitations. But they seemed scaled to the encounters pretty well. And still the feeling of "well this is my one big gun - do I want to use it now or is there something worse to come?"

    So ask me again in a few months once I have had a chance to play with the full system....but after the demo I am looking forward to getting the core books for sure.

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    oh I know a few of us were safe from the skellies but the paladin was down to one hit point after the explosion. the ranger was around 4 I think and the fighter took a number of hits on the front line. So they weren't push overs.

    The assassin and guardsmen were definitely easier - although they knocked the ranger to zero.

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    Nice play by play.

    My party got creamed by that encounter and didn't get to see the next... that boneshard dude really did us in, and our 4 or so attempts to knock him off the cliff failed, he kept grabbing on! Once the Dwarf fighter and Paladin got knocked down, the skeletons tore through the others like they were paper.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseAlmighty View Post
    • The mechanic of the attacker always rolling against a defense (AC, Fort, Reflex or Will) instead of the defender using saving throws.- Like current system better for F, R, W, plus I don't like the 10 or higher ends effects with check at end of each round. So if poisoned, if you roll a 12 you are no longer poisoned?
    • Second Wind and Healing Surges. - Just don't like, too Munchkin, plus slows combat, second wind gets back HP and gives +2 AC for turn
    • Interesting choices for At Will, Per Encounter and Daily Actions and where you can set up combinations. Few of these were ok, very few.
    • More options for each character each round. - Yes there is, I think alot were over powered.
    • Action Points - one every other encounter. Give you an additional action on your turn. - Just think AP are too cheesy on a whole, hated in Eberon, hate in 4th.
    • Squares for areas of effect - Square fireball just seems wrong, yes is easier for people too lazy to make a template out of scratch paper.
    • Tactical combat and it was in motion - It is already, the onus currently sits on DM to make it interesting, at demo there was still sitting in place and whacking at enemy.
    • The cleric could heal from a distance. 5 squares? No more hanging about at arm's length all of the time! - Liked, but then cleric should lose the ability to wear heavy armor as it is no longer necessary.
    • Healing Word (Cure Light) and Lay on Hands are Minor Actions. You still get a Move and Standard that round. - Heal, move, and use an ability seems a bit much in same round
    • Turn Undead seems much easier to use and more worthwhile - Like this new mechanic alot. Actually damages undead versus make them flee or die.
    • Criticals are straightforward and fewer creatures are immune to them. - Really liked, 1 is a miss and 20 is auto hit for max damage, no critical hit or miss.
    • Basic spells and cantrips are At Will, so you always have access to at least something other than lawn darts after you burn the encounter & daily spells. - Agree cantrips at will is nice, but not so w/ magic missile every round or most other spells
    • Charge is a Standard action. So you can use your move action to set it up if needed. - I think it is a bit overpowered
    • Cover - Simply causes a -2 to attacks against a target in cover. -Nothing was wrong with old system, now there is just 1 cover bonus, no matter how much cover, except still can't hit total
    Also you no longer die at -10 HP. You make a check every round at 0 and below to see if you lose 1 HP. You don't die until -1/2 your max HP. Any healing brings you to at least 1 HP if you are in the negative. If you are at -15, 6 points of healing will bring you to 1. The new system is actually better provided there is no ability that lets anyone fight at negative HP.

    Yeah I was at the one in Towson. Did you get a chance to look at all the sheets? Some of the racial abilities were kinda neat.
    ... AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY, GOD SAID, "I NEED A DRINK."

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    Just to throw this out there. The skill or lack thereof of the DM can make a huge impact of your first impression of a game system. If the story had been engaging and fun and you enjoyed the session, perhaps your feelings about the system would have been different?
    Robert A. Howard
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    It would have made some of an impact, but not much of one. As a rabid gamer with too much brains, I tend to devour new rule sets for snacks (won my first Magic tourney after 2 weeks of play, in Sacramento vs 120+ other players). I am usually able to find flaws or exploits in many systems easily. Granted there are new concepts put forth in 4th Edition that I will use in my games, but I still don't see myself switching.

    I like a bit of realism, but the new system seems to play too much like a Munchkin game. I think there is too much power in the hands of the players in 4th. It might be a problem for a DM to make fights even without killing off the group or making the fight too easy. The amount healing surges per battle seems a bit much. Then 5 mins of rest after combat and you have all your abilities and surges minus already used once per day powers. Seems just more than a tad like Munchkin gaming.

    Have I mentioned how much I hate the 'Mark' concept yet. Why should an enemy take all attacks at -2 and take 8 damage, unless he targets who marked him, without even getting a saving throw(Divine Challenge, Paladin). Next thing you know, there will be an at will Taunt to ensure an enemy attacks you and no one else. Is an enemy warrior more like to charge the heavily armored knight equipped with a huge-monguos sword or the archer wearing leather?
    ... AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY, GOD SAID, "I NEED A DRINK."

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    I am curious to see the full explanation of Marks. Three of the characters had a version of this ability - the paladin's Divine Challenge mentioned above, the ranger's Quarry, and the fighter with Combat Challenge.

    At least they cannot be stacked. Only the most recent is active on a target. Also for the divine challenge, the damage is only taken once so a creature with multiple attacks doesn't get hosed. Still I would also like to know if the full rules include a save or some way to remove a mark.

    Otherwise - looks like we both enjoyed some of the new features and disagreed on others. We'll have to try this thread again once we get to play the real thing!

    Hope some others chime in with their demo experiences. What features you noticed etc.

    oh! one other thought from playing the wizard - and you may already know this... You have to roll to hit vs Reflex with Magic Missile now. I think that off-sets the fact that you can keep re-using it. And, yeah, mechanically that might be the same as my wizard pulling out a crossbow. I just like the flavor of it better.
    Last edited by Farcaster; 04-21-2008 at 10:28 PM. Reason: Merged posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseAlmighty View Post
    You have to roll to hit vs Reflex with Magic Missile now. I think that off-sets the fact that you can keep re-using it. And, yeah, mechanically that might be the same as my wizard pulling out a crossbow. I just like the flavor of it better.
    It's very reminiscent of the current warlock's eldritch blast it sounds like. Perhaps a little more toned down though in comparison? I dunno. It seems a bit repetitive to me to shoot off a magic missile (or eldritch blast) every round anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseAlmighty View Post
    I am curious to see the full explanation of Marks. Three of the characters had a version of this ability - the paladin's Divine Challenge mentioned above, the ranger's Quarry, and the fighter with Combat Challenge.
    It sounds like they're greatly simplifying the Defender's role with them. In v3, the fighter had to use a football-like strategy using the overly complex AoO system to prevent monsters from walking up and munching the wizard. Now, it's a straightforward, "you attack me or you take damage".

    Kind of like the AoO system was a simplification of having to track phases in combat- in 2e, spells took a certain amount of time to cast, during which they could be interrupted. Much simpler in 3e that if you're casting within reach of a hostile, they automatically get to try to interrupt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Just to throw this out there. The skill or lack thereof of the DM can make a huge impact of your first impression of a game system. If the story had been engaging and fun and you enjoyed the session, perhaps your feelings about the system would have been different?

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that "in dicussions of your abilitly as a DM, do well to make sure that when it is you they are talking about, the remarks are of how well you DM as opposed to complaining about everything you did or didn't do."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrex View Post
    Next thing you know, there will be an at will Taunt to ensure an enemy attacks you and no one else. Is an enemy warrior more like to charge the heavily armored knight equipped with a huge-monguos sword or the archer wearing leather?
    There is already something like that in SW Saga, which wizards tested a lot of concepts for 4e with.

    The rational isn't bad; it's only if the enemy is within 6 squares, and it's more like you're pinning down the enemy so much that he's got little choice but go for you.

    So if that knight is Seen as a larger threat that needs to be taken down, then yeah, that warrior is going to possibly (if he's weak minded and has a low Will Defense) go for the knight. It's pretty common for people to try to manipulate their enemies in combat. I think of the negatives to defense just like I would an attack of opportunity. The Knight is trained enough on the battle field that he can really focus on his closest enemies and cause 'em to foul up if they don't engage.

    Have you ever boxed? Imagine boxing in room with 10 other people boxing and having 2 people concentrate on you amid the chaos. Luckily a buddy of yours is backing you up. But that off person your friend is trying to beat on, if he's good, can at least throw in some distractions and fakes at you, even at some distance. Then throw in 7 foot swords and mounts... I think some of these new "talents" reflect more the fluidness of combat that is lost in simple "I roll my attack, now you roll your attack.. Rinse and repeat." People are really engaging, disengaging, countering, moving, faking, manipulating.

    Anyhow, just my view on rationalizing the mechanics. Some stuff seems to be like WoW, but when it's PnP, you make up (the DM and player) how it would visually pan out were it reality.

    I try not to let the mechanics seem so literal. It's naturally going to seem contrived if every time you see the taunt used you imagine a knight saying "Tag! You have to fight me now!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrex View Post
    It would have made some of an impact, but not much of one. As a rabid gamer with too much brains, ...
    I think you mean ... with too much brain

    Or perhaps you have more than one brain in which case you might have wanted to say ... too many brains

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