D&D 4th Edition [and other..oh, who are we kidding. 4th Ed!]

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

WolfShirts
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:55 pm UTC
Location: Los Osos, CA
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby WolfShirts » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:17 pm UTC

The words I use in my head to classify things make more sense when only I use them =/
Less sass. More blasts.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:21 pm UTC

Yeah, somehow I started calling talents techniques, probably from staring at the Force Adept for too long.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Garm
Posts: 2241
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:29 pm UTC
Location: Usually at work. Otherwise, Longmont, CO.

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Garm » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:50 pm UTC

I think DnD's problem is that it's an RPG that aspires to be a wargame. Maybe if it'd just stick to the RPG side of things and let us use our rapidly disintigrating imaginations we wouldn't need all the seperate catagories of abilities. And maybe people wouldn't be using one form of overpowered attack over and over again.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
- JFK

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:57 pm UTC

Any RPG needs rules for how to resolve action. The rules for combat look like a war game because that's what combat rules are: a battle simulation that plays out to resolve combat between characters.

I'm not entirely sure I understand the point you're trying to make. Are you basically saying that Freeform RP is the way to go for all things?
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Garm
Posts: 2241
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:29 pm UTC
Location: Usually at work. Otherwise, Longmont, CO.

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Garm » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:13 pm UTC

No, freeform RP gets boring after a while. Yeah, you need combat rules and Thac0 was really stupid but I feel like WotC when way overboard with the five foot squares and movement feats. Everything is so codified. If my character wants to swing from the chandalier onto a table with his rapier in his teeth I shouldn't have to make 500 die rolls. I guess my contention is that I when playing 3e (or 3.5), so much emphasis is put on combat that I feel like I'm trying to improve my miniature, not build the legend of my character. To me, that's more wargame than role playing game. This feeling persists regardless of the quality of the DM, tho' it does wax and wane depending on the quality of the game.

Strangely enough I think that the Cadwallon system, put out by Rackham, does a good job of miniatures based roleplaying combat, tho' I do rather loathe the whole rise in importance of minis in roleplaying games. I think this must stem from the fact that Rackham put out a miniatures game first (Confrontation) and then produced an RPG.

Earthdawn still owns my soul tho'. Despite the horrible step system which made combat an unbearable mess.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
- JFK

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:16 pm UTC

Combat tends to have more rules because it is, by nature, more complicated, not because it necessarily has to be a larger part of the game.

Our Star Wars D20 game, for example, is maybe 10% combat so far. I've had D&D games that were even less.

I do agree that D&D's combat needed to be streamlined a bit. *Maybe* 4.0 took care of some of that.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11129
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Yakk » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:20 pm UTC

WolfShirts wrote:A few of my campaigns were ruined when the same guy would get a guisarm, do repeated tripping, and then complain about how I kept making melee combat boring regardless of what I tried to do to make it interesting. Needless to say many arcane spells came raining down on him from afar after awhile.


And that is what per-encounter specials (or specials with random cooldowns) can help fix.

First, it means that specials are "cheaper" -- that guisarm guy? He would know a trip special, a whirlwind special, a hold-the-line special and a disarm special. He might use a trip on the first round of combat, but the next round he'd use something else.

It can still result in "do X, then Y, then Z" patterns, but at least you don't have the same thing repeated. (A mechanic that gave you a random sub-selection of the abilities you know as being "usable" in a given round would be a way to discourage "the same 3 moves in a row" patterns).

Under D&D 3.5, the game mechanics reward you for becoming really really good at a given move, and then using it as much as you can. The DM either happens to pick a set of enemies that your trick works against, doesn't work against, or rewrites the plot/game so your trick is less useful.

Look at what Wolf did -- he took the players trick, and nullified it. The arcane spells raining down? A direct response to the effectiveness of the trick. That kind of "mean spiritedness" is encouraged by the difficulty in balancing D&D game mechanics.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:23 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
It is both more cinematic and more interesting for characters to switch up what they are doing.
I agree, I'd just prefer that they not be forced to do so, especially by an extremely unbelievable and out-of-character mechanic.
Backing up Belial.. cinematic and interesting battles don't happen in a relatively flat open area with clearly defined boundaries of safety (A large courtyard, a corridor, and so on).

Cinematic and interesting battles happen on disintegrating walkways above pits of lava during a hurricane. On a ship as it's falling down an incredibly high waterfall, perhaps having to jump (dc10) from piece to piece as the ship gets smashed apart by jutting rocks. Or when the characters are somehow hindered, like an arm is stuck in a wall, or two characters have somehow fused, allowing one to "move" and the other to attack/spellcast/force ability use.

As for the swinging from a chadalier to a table with a rapier in one's teeth... well, it's hard to come up with rules for it, but they're kinda there.. Tumble/Jump checks to do it, basically.

Yeah, D&D is a system of rules of combat. Which is simply to resolve the Cops n Robbers problem of "I shot you" "Nuh uh!" in a way that makes sense... It probably could be done better in some ways, but whatever... combat is the easiest thing to control with rules, and considering the lethal consequences, it's good. Very very rarely does one die due to a conversation turning bad.

So.. yeah, old argument - if the roleplay sucks, don't blame the system. I'll stop flogging that horse now.

Look at what Wolf did -- he took the players trick, and nullified it. The arcane spells raining down? A direct response to the effectiveness of the trick. That kind of "mean spiritedness" is encouraged by the difficulty in balancing D&D game mechanics.


The DMs I've gamed under the past few years and my group have a basic rule that came out of Shadowrun and Grenades, I think... basically, if we use stuff a lot, the enemies we face will use it better, or nullify it... ergo, our tripping guy uses his trip, sure.. but not all the time.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:31 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Look at what Wolf did -- he took the players trick, and nullified it. The arcane spells raining down? A direct response to the effectiveness of the trick. That kind of "mean spiritedness" is encouraged by the difficulty in balancing D&D game mechanics.


Ideally, the arcane spells should be raining down because that's a good idea and your opponents are vaguely intelligent. "This guy keeps tripping our dudes. Back up and hit him with a magical artillery barage." That's not mean spirited, that's sensical, and if he doesn't have any way to deal with that situation, it's his fault for specializing too much.

"This guy keeps hosing us down with fire-based attacks. Get the mage to cover us with Prot. vs Elements!"
"Dear god, he's completely destroying us with those arrows! Rush him!"
Etc.

The rewards for being well-rounded in both your abilities and your strategies should also be arrived at sensically, rather than controlled directly by the rules. The nature of the situation should force you to keep changing your techniques, and punish you for being overly specialized, rather than having out-of-character, non-game-world-related rules built in to force you to change your techniques and tell you you can't be overly specialized.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Benitosimies
Posts: 326
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:57 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Benitosimies » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:41 pm UTC

Belial wrote:\The rewards for being well-rounded in both your abilities and your strategies should also be arrived at sensically, rather than controlled directly by the rules. The nature of the situation should force you to keep changing your techniques, and punish you for being overly specialized, rather than having out-of-character, non-game-world-related rules built in to force you to change your techniques and tell you you can't be overly specialized.


Yeah, seriously.
Like... how do you trip an imp? Or a zombie bat swarm?
хлэб и Воля

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:48 pm UTC

Or an ooze.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

zenten
Posts: 3799
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:42 am UTC
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:50 pm UTC

Or a Centaur.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:03 pm UTC

Or, if you want to stay away from monsters:

A guy on a horse.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:11 pm UTC

Go on, trip the guy behind the wall firing through an arrow slit!
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11129
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Yakk » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:21 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:The DMs I've gamed under the past few years and my group have a basic rule that came out of Shadowrun and Grenades, I think... basically, if we use stuff a lot, the enemies we face will use it better, or nullify it... ergo, our tripping guy uses his trip, sure.. but not all the time.


*nod*, metagame adversarial-style game changing based on in-character actions.

"You are too effective, so I'll start changing the types of opponents you meet to counter your skills."

And trip is an example of an effective (3.5) ability that is easily countered, sometimes without the DM even specifically trying to. Sneak attack and undead. Grapple and larger creatures. Area control reach weapons and tumble checks.

Note that the "I do raw damage and kill things" build has less of this problem, but it happens somewhat: if your ability to do damage goes up, many DMs respond by boosting the HP of the creatures you fight directly in response to your character skills.

Because, against the particular bad guy, your strategy just wins. If that class of problem is there, the proper response is "do the win" at a simulation-level. The DM can respond to this by eliminating the situations where the "do the win" move is ideal -- but I see this as more cumbersome and annoying than putting non-simulation based restrictions on how often you can "do the win" move. Or the player can, as noted above by SecondTalon, engage in a game of "sure, this move will win -- but I better not annoy the DM by doing the ideal move as far as the simulation rules dictate, because then I will suffer the Wrath Of The DM".

I'm all in favor of having situations that are tactically complex and in flux -- but I think demanding that every fight have rapidly changing dynamic state changes in order for the fight to be interesting is a bit hard.

...

Look, in the movie, the trick stops working because the plot responds to the implicit boredom of the audience and, using cinematic logic, provides a different situation. If we are playing the game as a simulation, Brigands that you fight in one county don't change their strategy based on what you did to the Kobolds in another county. I like having rules in the game that help the DM produce interesting conflicts, even if they aren't pure-simulation -- you, apparently, want the game to be simulation based, while the DM is in charge of making sure the simulation results are interesting.

That seems like a waste to me, not having the system help the DM along. As a bonus, as I noted, you have less of the
"DM responds to effective strategy on part of players with counter strategy" effect, which can easily foster feelings of opposition between the players of the RPG (namely, between the PC and the DM).

...

As an example, imagine if your character knew 20 different combat moves. On any given round, 5 of them chosen at random will have an opening. Pure game rules: but explaining why those 5 moves are the ones that are "easy to do" at this point can be written in easily by either the PC or the DM. Maybe the bad guy is has a root in front of his feet, or maybe he's keeping his sword low in order to guard his feet, and this round attempting to trip looks like it won't be a good result.

To do this in a "DM balanced" situation, you end up with the DM saying "this round you cannot trip because of X": where the cause in theory produces the result of "cannot trip", but in practice the frequency of times that you cannot trip tends to correlate with how effectively you are using the trip move.

I've view the "you can use any one of a random 5 moves on a given round" (or, more accurately, you can use your special bonus at those 5 moves: you can still try to trip without any special move bonus regardless) to be a good system to produce extra dynamic conflict. Stitching a story onto your moves can follow the game-based mechanics. And the GM can still have a bad guy who gets tired of your tripping and builds an eel powered personal hovercraft if he wants to: it just becomes less necessary.

Game systems should, in my opinion, help the GM produce interesting conflict, encourage storytelling, while keeping within the bounds of plausibility of the simulated universe in order to make things more intuitive and understandable. But that's just my opinion. :)

Yes, the GM can respond to character's effective tactics by metagaming and changing the types of opponents the characters face. I just don't think requiring this is healthy. I can already see people thinking up "how can we screw the trip monkey", more than "how can we make the game fun" choices in this very thread!
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:35 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:The DMs I've gamed under the past few years and my group have a basic rule that came out of Shadowrun and Grenades, I think... basically, if we use stuff a lot, the enemies we face will use it better, or nullify it... ergo, our tripping guy uses his trip, sure.. but not all the time.

Yes, the GM can respond to character's effective tactics by metagaming and changing the types of opponents the characters face. I just don't think requiring this is healthy. I can already see people thinking up "how can we screw the trip monkey", more than "how can we make the game fun" choices in this very thread!


Actually, it's more of the opposite. The DM doesn't pull the Time-Stop Meteor Swarm combo thing because it would destroy the party in seconds... the whole James Bond principle.. sure, the players are in a deathtrap, but it's a deathtrap with a way out. There's an ambush coming up that, due to the skill of those taking part the PCs should have no clue whatsoever that they're about to get their shit ruined, so the DM tones down their hide for just a moment, or has one of them make a stupid mistake that a sharp-eyed or eared PC can pick up on. Basically, (almost) always giving the PCs a shot to get a heads up before the shit hits the fan.

Because, really, what's the fun in the evil enemy overlord wishing the PCs dead? It's a completely sensible course of action and it'd work. It's also nigh-impossible to defend against.

It's basically a gentleman's agreement. We, the players, don't spend too much time looking for stuff like this... which is hard as a couple of guys at the table have played so many different gaming systems over the years, from board to card to other roleplaying games, that they can within a few minutes come up with strategies that completely demolish opponents without ever breaking a letter of the rules. Bend the spirit of a couple, sure, but never the letter.

Great guys, wonderful roleplayers, just have minds for rules and rule systems. Which is a hard part of your brain to turn off.


Also.. story-wise.. given that most of the games are fairly story driven, and we the PCs are facing an active resistance... and we don't always get every single guy in the fight.. it makes complete sense that word of our exploits would quickly spread to our enemies ears. There's a guy who has first-hand information, telling the opponents that the large armored guy always trips people, and the fat man's actually a powerful spellcaster, and the kid is apparently some kind of age-reduced cleric or whatever.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

Dan Frank
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:33 am UTC

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Dan Frank » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:55 pm UTC

I agree with Belial and SecondTalon, but they're doing such a bang-up job taking the words from my mouth, I'm not going to enter that part of this discussion.

Instead, I want to agree with Belial again, on the issue of 4.0

Eww. I haven't played under the SW Saga or the Bo9S, but almost everything I've read about the changes to the rules upsets me.

I think part of it is that it feels to me like they're trying to make the game more epic, make the characters more superhuman (triple hit points at first level? Everyone gets every skill?)... and that's basically taking the game in the exact opposite direction from where I'd like it to go. Core D&D's biggest flaw, as far as I'm concerned, is already that everyone is too unrealistically superhuman. My houserules tend to make everyone more mortal, not less.

I don't want to judge it before I've seen the completed version, but damn, it's hard not to. Like the big man raptor said... any recipe that calls for shit, will probably taste like shit.

Okay so I paraphrased.

Edit: SecondTalon, there should be more fat spellcasters. More fat PCs of any kind. My best friend once made a monstrously fat knight, and that was one of the best PCs I've ever had the pleasure of DMing for. Why is everyone so against making their characters fat?

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:03 pm UTC

Look, in the movie, the trick stops working because the plot responds to the implicit boredom of the audience and, using cinematic logic, provides a different situation. If we are playing the game as a simulation, Brigands that you fight in one county don't change their strategy based on what you did to the Kobolds in another county. I like having rules in the game that help the DM produce interesting conflicts, even if they aren't pure-simulation -- you, apparently, want the game to be simulation based, while the DM is in charge of making sure the simulation results are interesting.


Yes. If you fight the same types of opponents, in the same conditions, with the same equipment, and the same level of preparedness, the fights should be very similar. Trying to get the game rules to force them to be different is backward and confusing: they should be different on a flavor level, and the rules should reflect that. And forcing the player to scramble to come up with an in-character, in-world justification for why he's not doing something that should be a valid option just seems odd and somewhat of a hassle to me.

When it would be just as easy for the DM to have the opponent respond appropriately and render the technique less useful in a totally simulational way. No one who knows how to fight is just going to let himself get tripped over and over ad infinitum. The enemy will change his strategy, and the player will change his strategy accordingly. Think of, for example, how a platform fighting video game forces you to vary your attacks and change strategies on the fly, and model your combats on that ideal.

Yes, the GM can respond to character's effective tactics by metagaming and changing the types of opponents the characters face. I just don't think requiring this is healthy. I can already see people thinking up "how can we screw the trip monkey", more than "how can we make the game fun" choices in this very thread!


Actually, those were just the types of opponents that a character will face across his career, and a couple examples of an enemy fighting smart in an entirely in-character way. These are the types of things that you *should* encounter, overpowered repetitive trick or no overpowered repetitive trick. These are the things that should reward you for having more than one trick in your bag or punish you for failing to. And once you have multiple tricks in your bag, trip no longer looks like the best option in every situation. What's the saying....if all you have is a hammer, everything is AWESOME!!!?
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:05 pm UTC

I don't usually play spellcasters, but had one in a one-shot session... Necromancer, Chaotic Neutral, and looked like a fatter George Costanza.

Kinda similar personality, too. A complete blast to play. Always had him dress in a black robe, carrying a scythe a good two feet taller than him... kept getting into arguments with the Paladin because he kept trying to catch him being Evil.


In the "Responding Better" way.. maybe a +2 to resist the Trip Attempt every time it's tried to a maximum of +10?
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

WolfShirts
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:55 pm UTC
Location: Los Osos, CA
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby WolfShirts » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:30 pm UTC

Did you ridicule the Paladin for going on a crusade against the Moors?
Less sass. More blasts.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Vaniver » Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:40 am UTC

Rock, paper, scissors balancing is only good if you can change what you picked. Otherwise, the game becomes a player sitting there with a closed fist, and the DM choosing whether to play scissors or paper.

As pointed out, most character builds are specialized, because specialized character builds are heavily rewarded. And for those characters that don't specialize (or specialize in 'only' two or three things), their versatility is their defining feature, not the hallmark of all classes.

My (limited) experience with Mutants and Masterminds suggested it suffered from this problem even more than D&D does. Even though you have the character points to get multiple good attacks (I have a good melee physical attack, and a debilitating ranged reflex save-dependent attack, and a good ranged energy attack!), you also have the character points to get multiple strong defenses (or flat-out immunities). The DM that knows what his party makeup is then has the choice of throwing them up against their respective Kryptonites* or making it a cakewalk.

If 4E does things along the lines that Yakk is suggesting, then I think it'll be an improvement. I'd like to see players with more eggs that they can spread into more baskets; people will still try to specialize (My anatomist knife-wielder will ruin any human he comes across! What's that? We're clearing out the Crypt of Skeletal Undeath?), but there won't be one-trick ponies.

*But, you say, the party could balance it out so that every damage type (and, until you get to the higher levels, everyone has to have at least one weakness) is represented. Well, sure- but requiring that level of party balance so that a battle won't stop a party dead and trusting that the one effective person will survive strikes me as bad game design.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:57 pm UTC

As pointed out, most character builds are specialized, because specialized character builds are heavily rewarded. And for those characters that don't specialize (or specialize in 'only' two or three things), their versatility is their defining feature, not the hallmark of all classes.


Exactly what I'm saying is that characters *shouldn't* be heavily rewarded for specializing, and versatility *shouldn't* be a gimmick, it should be the norm.

Across an adventurer's career, he should have the opportunity to use myriad strategies to solve his problems. So many, in fact, that if he should choose to use only *one*, he should be pretty much hosed because it will only work *really well* in a small sliver of the situations he encounters, and only work *passably* in no more than a third of them.

This can be done by just throwing a wide, wide range of challenges at the characters, until it becomes clear that they'll need several workable tricks if they're going to get by.

The only group of people I know in real life who face as much combat as an average D&D or Star Wars character does are infantry soldiers. Ask one of them how effective it is to *only* know how to implement *one* tactic.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
letthemeatquiche
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:11 pm UTC
Location: 9th Circle of Hell, aka Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby letthemeatquiche » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:54 pm UTC

My experience with D&D is that if you play strictly by the letter of the rules, you're going to have a very mechanistic experience that will be a bit of fun if you munchkin, and irritating and boring if you don't. My best gaming experiences have been with GMs who use the rules as guides rather than absolutes. If you want to go swinging around on chandeliers, a good GM reduces it to one or two simple rolls that you can probably make (if chandelier-swinging is appropriate for your character), while a weaker GM spends five minutes pouring over DC tables and then announces a nonsensical series of rolls you have to make that takes all the fun out of it.

On a personal note, I'd like to say that I wish more GMs embraced this strategy when it came to illusion spells. The letter of the rules for illusion spells takes all the fun and imagination out of it.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:59 pm UTC

My best gaming experiences have been with GMs who use the rules as guides rather than absolutes. If you want to go swinging around on chandeliers, a good GM reduces it to one or two simple rolls that you can probably make (if chandelier-swinging is appropriate for your character), while a weaker GM spends five minutes pouring over DC tables and then announces a nonsensical series of rolls you have to make that takes all the fun out of it.


Very true. Honestly, if it isn't going to give you any huge advantage except looking neat, there's no reason to use more than one roll, tops.

And if, for example, you were swinging on the chandelier to bypass all those tables in the middle of the room, it should be *easier* than jumping over them, which is a pretty simple (if hard to make) roll.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

WolfShirts
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:55 pm UTC
Location: Los Osos, CA
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby WolfShirts » Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:19 am UTC

Although in no way related to the current conversation, Decibel magazine (the only respectable metal/punk magazine in my opinion...I could list why but it'd be pointless) did a pretty big article about D&D and its ties to metal in different ways, and its pretty well written. Good interviews and expressed opinions and the such. Plus I really like the phrase "facing dragons and giant spiders and generally triumphing over shit"

http://www.decibelmagazine.com/features/dec2007/darkdungeons.aspx
Less sass. More blasts.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:17 pm UTC

well, I'd have phrased it as "ruining NPC's shit" but that's me.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
mosc
Doesn't care what you think.
Posts: 5404
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby mosc » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:12 pm UTC

you guys familiar with the "mage" d20 system? Back when I was into such things, I found it much less limiting. I guess most of my experience is with AD&D but I have played other stuff (like D&D3). I agree with the earlier poster complaining about the complexity of D&D3e's combat rules. Keeping track of the distances is particularly annoying when it's not a 1v1 encounter but a group against a group. Really, I'm not looking for realistic combat anyway. If I can swing at anybody within meele range whither they be 5 feet or 100 feet away from me I could care less. Keep it simple. Easier to balance and requires less understanding on the rules on the part of casual players. Realism is over-rated. Mage had a ton of flaws and I'm not suggesting it for much of anything but the concept of fewer dice and more open ended combat at the DM's discretion was welcome.

Course, I've been in a few D&D games that people almost had an MMO attitude towards. The good or bad of the day was decided by the loot and the XP accumulated. Everyone strictly wanted to twink. Level 1's are much more fun to play I think. Higher level characters are too ingrained and unimaginative.
Title: It was given by the XKCD moderators to me because they didn't care what I thought (I made some rantings, etc). I care what YOU think, the joke is forums.xkcd doesn't care what I think.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:35 pm UTC

Maybe it comes from my earliest experiences running a AD&D game, but I got tired of the "Frank's opening the chest? I check it out with him" "Okay, an explosion goes off.." "Whoa! Glad I was nowhere near the room yet!" argument. Basically, people insisting they, a halfling, could melee with their short sword against one orc, but not be hit by another orc because they're too far away, regardless that both orcs were wielding spears and standing next to one another in a mini-spear wall formation.

Realism in combat.. not really. I've seen systems where every hit needs five or six die rolls to determine precisely where you hit and the effects that occur when you're struck by a blunt object in the upper forearm vs. the lower forearm. That's far too much... While I wouldn't mind D&D combat being a little more complex than it is in 3.5, I'm mostly satisfied with it.

Personally, I like the.. in D&D terms.. the level 3-8 range. Low enough that there's rarely any "I cast this, I cast this, everyone dies" spells or what have you, but high enough that they're not likely to be slain by an anemic goblin who got a lucky roll with his toothpick.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

WolfShirts
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:55 pm UTC
Location: Los Osos, CA
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby WolfShirts » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:58 pm UTC

Even with all the gripes I had about Star Wars Saga Edition, it was really fun to play. Combat was so nice/easy to do with the defenses and hit point system, the force powers were really well done compared to the previous versions, and overall skirmishes felt like skirmishes instead of drawn out battles.

I'm now happy in knowing that 4th edition might not be a total failure.
Less sass. More blasts.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:27 pm UTC

I still have so many little issues with 4.0/Saga that I don't see ever graduating from 3.75.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

zenten
Posts: 3799
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:42 am UTC
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby zenten » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:05 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Maybe it comes from my earliest experiences running a AD&D game, but I got tired of the "Frank's opening the chest? I check it out with him" "Okay, an explosion goes off.." "Whoa! Glad I was nowhere near the room yet!" argument. Basically, people insisting they, a halfling, could melee with their short sword against one orc, but not be hit by another orc because they're too far away, regardless that both orcs were wielding spears and standing next to one another in a mini-spear wall formation.

Realism in combat.. not really. I've seen systems where every hit needs five or six die rolls to determine precisely where you hit and the effects that occur when you're struck by a blunt object in the upper forearm vs. the lower forearm. That's far too much... While I wouldn't mind D&D combat being a little more complex than it is in 3.5, I'm mostly satisfied with it.


That's a problem with a player being a dick though, not the system. If they keep that up after talking to them you boot them from the game, not change the rules.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:19 pm UTC

Jesus, way to miss the point of the conversation.

Which was - I prefer something concrete as to player positioning, not abstract, as it resolves a lot of problems down the road. I used an extreme example to illustrate my point, but I could have easily used a guy using a wall as cover as a fireball goes off, and the rules in place to determine whether or not the fireball's explosion hit the player or not.

It's not about dick players, it's about uniform clarity in the rules where there the rules exist to eliminate as many tabletop disagreements as possible. Without positional rules that dictate how characters can and cannot move, what they can and cannot hit from certain positions, and effects of various attacks on players in certain positions, even the most polite and well-intentioned players can get into a disagreement with the guy running the game over the interpretations of the surroundings, distances, and whether or not certain actions are even possible.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11129
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Yakk » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:11 am UTC

You can also go more abstract and solve the problem that way. :-)
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:25 pm UTC

Well.. and now I'm veering off into game design.. if the system's designed from the ground up to be abstract, then that'd be fine. Something designed to be moderately abstract (As I view the D&D system to be) then adding further abstraction.. or further precision.. will usually add nothing to the game and instead detract from it. Sure, every now and again you can get something that doesn't and modify the game that way, but at a certain point you have to determine if you're even playing that game anymore.

Or something. It's early.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:37 pm UTC

So I picked up the "Races and Classes" preview book for 4.0.

I have to eat some words. Mmm, mmm, words. Reading about everything they say they're trying to do, now that they've revised their ideas and (by their own admission) brought it back toward some of the things that 3.5 did well, I'm emerging with a lot more optimism about 4.0. It could very well be awesome as hell.

I have a feeling I'll still have to doctor the skill system something fierce, because they seem to be in love with this super-simplified strategy-game skill mechanic they rolled out in Saga edition, and I don't see them changing it back to something that actually makes any damn sense in a roleplaying game, but the rest sounds tasty.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11129
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Yakk » Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:16 am UTC

The skill system in 3.5 pretty much devolved to "you can have X skills at your level+3", with a few quirks on the side.

Saying "you can train 1 skill every Y levels" gives you a higher power curve for skills, removes a lot of the fiddly bits (because, really, the D&D skill system was pretty fiddly, when it all boiled down to "level+3 modifier max"), and generates very similar in-game mechanics.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:30 am UTC

Eh, the skill system in 4.0 (if it's the same as in Saga) is "You get X skills (chosen at character creation and never changing) at your level + x, and the rest of your skills you get as though you were investing cross class skills in *everything*".

It makes you too good, because you're moderately trained in *all* skills, and it removes all the little quirks like "Oh yeah, I have two ranks in knowledge local: Calimport because....."

I don't like it at all.

Not to mention all the foolish fusions like rolling Spot, Listen and Sense Motive into one skill (Spot and Listen was a good idea, mind, but adding a social skill?). And Bluff with Disguise. Blech.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26529
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:32 pm UTC

Obviously because I can hear the wind moving around a guy standing still, or notice the dust moving around the invisible guy approaching me, I must be excellent at knowing when that merchant is lying about the quality of the goods in all six barrels! It just makes sense that way!

....
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:44 pm UTC

And it only follows logically that, being a spectacular liar, I'm also an accomplished makeup artist. They're totally linked.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Not a god. Not even a titan.
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:10 pm UTC

In Disguise's defense, a lot of DMs I had treated it as not just makeup, but one's behaviour and acting skill. which I think is part of the problem.

There are a few skills which I really think needed to be merged, but there's a lot of others which are like "Uhh, why?" Sense motive + spotlisten for instance. Wtf?

On the other hand I really think Hide and Move Silently need to be merged. The only people I know who are bad at one but not the other are little kids, and they are only bad at moving silently.

... still. Would it be THAT hard to use the old system, so that I can still have ranks in stupid stuff like Perform: Sitar despite being a psion and having no use for Perform: Sitar?
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.


Return to “Gaming”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests