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

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

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:29 pm UTC

Hide and Move, sure... Disable Device, Open Lock, and Search (for Traps/Hidden Compartments/Secret Doors, but not the other stuff) sure...


Bluff and Disguise... maybe. Kinda reaching there, but maybe.

Spot and Sense Motive..... no.

I mean, can we top that one with Heal, Climb, and Escape Artist all being the same skill?
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:30 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.


True, but I always understood that as why a high bluff skill gave synergy on disguise. But there's still a technical aspect. You have to actually create the disguise. If you're trying to pass as another species, no amount of acting skill is going to pull that off.

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.


You're absolutely right, some of the skills really did need to be fused. Spot+Listen, Hide+Move Silently, Tumble+Balance. They made sense.

... 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?


At least in saga edition, it's not very hard to use the old system at all. We worked it in fairly flawlessly in our Star Wars 3.75 ruleset. We fused skills when relevant, but otherwise just used the old skill system.

In addition to undoing some of the Saga Edition skill fusions, we also made a couple new ones. We didn't really see a reason why Jump, Climb, and Swim were all different skills in star wars, where the latter two of those three things barely come up, so we fused them into Athletics. We'll probably undo that when it comes time to make D&D 3.75.

I also didn't like that they cut Craft, Profession, and Perform entirely.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:02 pm UTC

re: disguise + bluff - No, sir, I'm TOTALLY human! Just look at my hat!

Belial wrote:I also didn't like that they cut Craft, Profession, and Perform entirely.


WHAT?!

HOW DO I GET PERFORM: BANJO NOW! OR PROFESSION: BARTENDER?!

Boooooo!

... granted I'm also a freak who will take irrelevant skills even when I don't have a prestige class I want, but... but... :(

Yeah, in DnD, Climb, Jump, and Swim really do need to be different. Also, to idiots who try to fuse Tumble, Balance, and Jump - you are wrong. I can tumble and balance fantastically, don't ask me to jump PLEASE.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:32 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:re: disguise + bluff - No, sir, I'm TOTALLY human! Just look at my hat!


This is a totally ludicrous example. That would never work.

Belial wrote:I also didn't like that they cut Craft, Profession, and Perform entirely.


WHAT?!

HOW DO I GET PERFORM: BANJO NOW! OR PROFESSION: BARTENDER?!

Boooooo!

... granted I'm also a freak who will take irrelevant skills even when I don't have a prestige class I want, but... but... :(


Yeah, exactly. They were the stuff that made your character more individual. The "Profession: stable hand" ranks to reflect your humble origins, or the "Craft: Woodworking" ranks because you like to carve little trinkets to kill time on the adventure trail.

Yeah, in DnD, Climb, Jump, and Swim really do need to be different. Also, to idiots who try to fuse Tumble, Balance, and Jump - you are wrong. I can tumble and balance fantastically, don't ask me to jump PLEASE.


Yeah, Climb, Jump, and Swim need to be separate in DnD because they actually come up reasonably often. In SW, two of them are just a waste of skill points.

And yeah, adding Jump to Balance and Tumble is foolish, not least because Jump is strength based and should stay that way. Fusing Balance and Tumble together is a good call, though. There's really no reason why someone would be good at one and bad at the other, but Balance was so seldom used that many people were.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:38 pm UTC

Yeah, exactly. They were the stuff that made your character more individual. The "Profession: stable hand" ranks to reflect your humble origins, or the "Craft: Woodworking" ranks because you like to carve little trinkets to kill time on the adventure trail
Well, it's not like those things are no longer part of your character; it's just they're no longer forcing you to ditch other skills to satisfy your RP desires. Why should you have to give up, say, your ability to listen well so your character can be a talented whittler?

At least, that's the way I'm hoping they're doing it.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:38 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And yeah, adding Jump to Balance and Tumble is foolish, not least because Jump is strength based and should stay that way. Fusing Balance and Tumble together is a good call, though. There's really no reason why someone would be good at one and bad at the other, but Balance was so seldom used that many people were.


I know a few people who are good at tumbling but bad at balance, though. Which means it's a damn good thing they're good at tumbling since they need it a lot.

Even so, I feel that in the realm of DnD, where most people using Tumble are highly trained, fusing the two is a good plan.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:54 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Yeah, exactly. They were the stuff that made your character more individual. The "Profession: stable hand" ranks to reflect your humble origins, or the "Craft: Woodworking" ranks because you like to carve little trinkets to kill time on the adventure trail
Well, it's not like those things are no longer part of your character; it's just they're no longer forcing you to ditch other skills to satisfy your RP desires. Why should you have to give up, say, your ability to listen well so your character can be a talented whittler?


Because somewhere down the line, if you have a DM that likes to do this sort of thing, that whittling will become crucially important in a totally unpredictable way.

Without any rule to track it, either you'll end up with a pile of characters who are only good at adventuring stuff, or *everyone* will be incredibly good at a whole list of crafts/professions/performance arts for no good reason except that they don't have to pay anything to be good at it.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:23 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Because somewhere down the line, if you have a DM that likes to do this sort of thing, that whittling will become crucially important in a totally unpredictable way.
Is the point of the whittling to develop the character, or to get a mechanical advantage? You make it sound like the mechanical advantage of being able to whittle at a crucial moment will overcome the missed mechanical advantages caused by a poor Listen skill. Sure, a DM can make any choice his players make a good one, but that does little to reward the players that like strategic thinking.

Belial wrote:Without any rule to track it, either you'll end up with a pile of characters who are only good at adventuring stuff, or *everyone* will be incredibly good at a whole list of crafts/professions/performance arts for no good reason except that they don't have to pay anything to be good at it.
I'm not sure how the first scenario will come about by not having rules track it. In my experience, when the rules require you to give up a mechanically beneficial ability (like, say, the ability to spot an ambush more frequently) for a non-mechanically beneficial ability (like, say, the ability to muck out a stable for a handful of cash, because that's what you did as a kid), characters will have less non-mechanically beneficial abilities than if they can acquire them for free.

Because the abilities aren't mechanically beneficial, there's no mechanical problem with someone having lots of them. Your character knows how to do a lot of random, near-worthless junk? Ok, sure. Whatever makes you enjoy the game more. But, if that strikes you as unrealistic or somehow detracting from the game, just put a cap on it. Say, "ok, everyone gets to write down three (or whatever) things their character is good at that aren't helpful in a fight."

If the point is to develop the characters (which is where I think it should be), then it's clear that not tracking them is a far better plan than tracking them.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Yakk » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:41 pm UTC

Heck, just have someone write out their character's life story. Any directly applicable to adventuring skill must be purchased normally, but any background stuff just happens.

Your character was a stable hand? Well, that'll help you clean out sables!
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:49 pm UTC

I make people write out backstory ANYWAY.

And once, a very well-written and fun backstory got me a free feat. SO THERE.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:49 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Belial wrote:Because somewhere down the line, if you have a DM that likes to do this sort of thing, that whittling will become crucially important in a totally unpredictable way.
Is the point of the whittling to develop the character, or to get a mechanical advantage? You make it sound like the mechanical advantage of being able to whittle at a crucial moment will overcome the missed mechanical advantages caused by a poor Listen skill. Sure, a DM can make any choice his players make a good one, but that does little to reward the players that like strategic thinking.


Good thing it's a roleplaying game with a story rather than a game of Warhammer 40K, then. "Useless" skills tend to be a sort of chekhov's gun in campaigns. A good DM will find a way to work them into the story to be significant somehow. Mechanical advantage? Maybe not. But they progress the story somewhere along the way.

Belial wrote:Without any rule to track it, either you'll end up with a pile of characters who are only good at adventuring stuff, or *everyone* will be incredibly good at a whole list of crafts/professions/performance arts for no good reason except that they don't have to pay anything to be good at it.
I'm not sure how the first scenario will come about by not having rules track it. In my experience, when the rules require you to give up a mechanically beneficial ability (like, say, the ability to spot an ambush more frequently) for a non-mechanically beneficial ability (like, say, the ability to muck out a stable for a handful of cash, because that's what you did as a kid), characters will have less non-mechanically beneficial abilities than if they can acquire them for free.


Having to actually think about them during the process of character creation makes you more likely to...well, think about them. If "Profession" and "Craft" are staring you in the face on the character sheet, you're more likely to think "Do I want my character to be good at doing something or making something in his non-adventuring life. If all you see is Acrobatics and Perception, you're more likely to only think of those things.

Because the abilities aren't mechanically beneficial, there's no mechanical problem with someone having lots of them. Your character knows how to do a lot of random, near-worthless junk? Ok, sure. Whatever makes you enjoy the game more. But, if that strikes you as unrealistic or somehow detracting from the game, just put a cap on it. Say, "ok, everyone gets to write down three (or whatever) things their character is good at that aren't helpful in a fight."


In the course of a story, those things *will* come up. You'll want to give a present to an NPC or build something for your own use or get into a position to overhear the conversations of a noble by applying for a job as his cook (using your prior knowledge and references for the position). They are useful, just not in a direct "use this in a fight" sort of way. Letting everyone have a laundry list of them is unrealistic and dilutes that impact, I think.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:56 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Because the abilities aren't mechanically beneficial, there's no mechanical problem with someone having lots of them. Your character knows how to do a lot of random, near-worthless junk? Ok, sure. Whatever makes you enjoy the game more. But, if that strikes you as unrealistic or somehow detracting from the game, just put a cap on it. Say, "ok, everyone gets to write down three (or whatever) things their character is good at that aren't helpful in a fight."


In the course of a story, those things *will* come up. You'll want to give a present to an NPC or build something for your own use or get into a position to overhear the conversations of a noble by applying for a job as his cook (using your prior knowledge and references for the position). They are useful, just not in a direct "use this in a fight" sort of way. Letting everyone have a laundry list of them is unrealistic and dilutes that impact, I think.


REAL EXAMPLE: My Mad Crazy General Grevious Wannabe character had several ranks of Perform: Dance (This was actually to qualify for Whirling Dervish, but I worked it into her backstory anyway). A friend of mine (A theif) randomly had Perform: Comedy for no reason at all, and a guy with one level of Bard and 10 of Warblade had Perform: Bass Guitar (his magic sword also transformed into a bass)

Sometime after our Crazy Shenanigans, we had to go and report to the leader of a hobgoblin nation about what we'd done and the current situation (we'd killed the Avatar of Lolth and had thrown the Drow nations into chaos, in addition managing to thwart a treaty between the various demonic factions). So the fellow with Perform: Comedy decided randomly to do it as a comedy skit. Then Clark (the bass guitar playing sword guy) chimed in saying that he'd give the guy a nice bass beat. And then I, not to be upstaged, said that I'd top it off with some interpretive dance.

Scott (the comedian) rolled very well, and then the modifiers from Clark and my good roles gave us something like a 35 total. The hobgoblin king got the message, thought we were hilarious and also awesome. Furthermore, since we were there before an audience, news of our triumph reached the entire kingdom since nobody was going to forget THAT performance.

We didn't HAVE to do it that way, but doing it that way impressed the DM and got us goodies.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

Belial wrote:"Useless" skills tend to be a sort of chekhov's gun in campaigns. A good DM will find a way to work them into the story to be significant somehow. Mechanical advantage? Maybe not. But they progress the story somewhere along the way.
This is a strong argument for having non-mechanically beneficial skills (I try to avoid the word useless, because they have a use; but it's more defined by what it's not useful for than what it is useful for). It is entirely unrelated to them competing with mechanically beneficial skills, and suggests that they shouldn't because the mechanics reward characters who pick mechanically beneficial skills. The DM can compensate by adjusting the mechanics in an arbitrary way, but it's better to sidestep the competition entirely.

Belial wrote:Having to actually think about them during the process of character creation makes you more likely to...well, think about them.
Sure. But a question like the one I posed (maybe with a list of sample answers to help jog minds) will cause you to think about them just as much, if not more (again, since thinking about Craft no longer competes with staples like Spot and Listen, more players are likely to consider Craft for their characters).

Belial wrote:Letting everyone have a laundry list of them is unrealistic and dilutes that impact, I think.
Ok. How does a cap not solve this concern?

Nyarlathotep wrote:REAL EXAMPLE
Cool. I'm arguing that a superior RPG will promote these sort of events instead of hamper them, and I think making the skills involved 'off the character sheet' (or, maybe, in a different section of the character sheet) promotes it more than making the skills involved compete with skills involved in combat.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:37 pm UTC

See, I prefer to make players choose between things that will further the story and make their characters more...people-ish, and things that will make them more tactically and numerically sound.

Why? Because I really enjoy it when a total munchkin is totally ignored by the story. When people make a combat monster, a paragon of all that it is to be mechanically efficient, and then are at a loss to explain why their character is unimportant to the story and is largely forgotten after the end of the chronicle, while other less efficient but more human characters are remembered in stories for years afterwards, it makes me giggle.

This probably makes me a bastard. In my defense, I *was* the largely forgotten munchkin in a few games, and had to come to grips with that. But it really comes down to the question: What makes a "successful" character? One that can easily surmount challenges and destroy them in combat, or one that contributes to a good story and is fun to get inside and play?

And the thing about making people choose between one or the other is: I don't even have to decide! If people want to have forgettable combat monsters, they can (and I'm not knocking this option. Sometimes it's a lot of fun)! If they want to have less efficient but more interesting characters, that works too! But handing them a way to easily do both bothers me. It doesn't give the players the chance to learn to prioritize story/character vs mechanics, because they never have to choose or balance them.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:55 pm UTC

Belial wrote:What makes a "successful" character? One that can easily surmount challenges and destroy them in combat, or one that contributes to a good story and is fun to get inside and play?
One that can do both. There's no point in sitting there with nothing to say for half of the game when you could be always involved.

My argument is that any choice between the two is unnecessary and hurts the game. Instead of a munchkin - roleplayer continuum, you get a munchkin axis and a roleplayer axis; it's possible to have a well-designed and interesting to play character when it comes to tactics and storytelling.

Belial wrote:But handing them a way to easily do both bothers me. It doesn't give the players the chance to learn to prioritize story/character vs mechanics, because they never have to choose or balance them.
I can't see a rational reason to be bothered.

Forcing a choice does seem to raise the value of both options, because it raises the cost of both options (my rogue's ability to cook seems more valuable to me because I bought it with not being able to disable devices). But that's not a real increase in utility.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Indon » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:36 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:I'm not sure how the first scenario will come about by not having rules track it. In my experience, when the rules require you to give up a mechanically beneficial ability (like, say, the ability to spot an ambush more frequently) for a non-mechanically beneficial ability (like, say, the ability to muck out a stable for a handful of cash, because that's what you did as a kid), characters will have less non-mechanically beneficial abilities than if they can acquire them for free.


What if I want to have a character who can make his own armor? In 3.5, I can put ranks into Craft(Armor). Even in AD&D, I could devote a nonweapon proficiency slot to it, if I recall correctly.

A rule - a real one - will need to exist for that, precisely because there are mechanically beneficial Craft/Profession/Perform abilities. Some, like the ability to make your own gear (another one I'm a fan of is Craft(Fletchery), for archer characters), are clearly very beneficial. Others (like Perform) are less obvious about it, but still can be very nice to have.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:31 pm UTC

Indon wrote:What if I want to have a character who can make his own armor? In 3.5, I can put ranks into Craft(Armor). Even in AD&D, I could devote a nonweapon proficiency slot to it, if I recall correctly.

A rule - a real one - will need to exist for that, precisely because there are mechanically beneficial Craft/Profession/Perform abilities. Some, like the ability to make your own gear (another one I'm a fan of is Craft(Fletchery), for archer characters), are clearly very beneficial. Others (like Perform) are less obvious about it, but still can be very nice to have.
There don't have to be no rules for it, and I don't remember enough about NWPs to say if that's a system I like or not (but something similar to it would probably be fine).

But the usefulness of Craft Armor in 3.5 is laughable. It'll take weeks, if not years, to make anything quality, and while you can save a few gold, it's rarely significant (at least, nowhere near on the scale of making your own magic items). Your armor isn't any higher quality than storebought armor, regardless of how much you devote to the skill (it's no surprise that you bump into a lot of house rules to make crafting useful). Any customization of your armor is generally something you could assume anyway ("My armor has cool spikes that look like this!" "My armor is black and red!").

Now, is it a better option to have DM fiat determine what happens with skills like crafting or perform? It depends on what you're using it for. My experience is that, for skills like these, it's better to trust fiat than to reduce it to rolls and numbers.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Jessica » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:29 pm UTC

In general, I don't like profession as a skill. It seems out of place in an adventurers world.

Craft will be better if they add a good crafting system instead of just a skill.

Preform's only use really is for Bards. If they change it to something else, that's cool.

(There's a reason I like wod skills more... less focused)
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Re:

Postby Alisto » Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:16 am UTC

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Shanked. To shank. It's a verb.

"Enrique shanked Jerome with the shiv he ganked from Paul."
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Indon » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:There don't have to be no rules for it, and I don't remember enough about NWPs to say if that's a system I like or not (but something similar to it would probably be fine).

NWP's, for crafting, were largely handwavery. The crafting system was almost nonexistent, but it did have a price for your character (since you could instead take marginally-useful-for-adventuring NWP's instead).

Vaniver wrote:But the usefulness of Craft Armor in 3.5 is laughable. It'll take weeks, if not years, to make anything quality, and while you can save a few gold, it's rarely significant (at least, nowhere near on the scale of making your own magic items). Your armor isn't any higher quality than storebought armor, regardless of how much you devote to the skill (it's no surprise that you bump into a lot of house rules to make crafting useful). Any customization of your armor is generally something you could assume anyway ("My armor has cool spikes that look like this!" "My armor is black and red!").

You have a good point. The crafting system for 3.x is extremely simple, and as a result, is not very good (except for when you need to quickly create a palisade, in which you craft a whole bunch of quarterstaves really fast :P). It could have been improved significantly through measures that made it much more complex, like measures that could have added mechanical diversity in crafted equipment. (I liked the crafting system for Exalted 1ed, personally)

Vaniver wrote:Now, is it a better option to have DM fiat determine what happens with skills like crafting or perform? It depends on what you're using it for. My experience is that, for skills like these, it's better to trust fiat than to reduce it to rolls and numbers.


DM fiat may be a better option when there's a bad system (such as in 3.x) or such a poorly fleshed-out system that it'd be basically houseruled anyway (such as in AD&D), but a good, nuanced system in which your armorsmith really can make, say, mechanically unique armor using a well-defined mechanic seems like it'd be far superior to handwavery, eh?

Basically, like with traps (which have been completely revamped), WotC had the choice of scrapping an idea, or fixing it to be good. Unlike with traps (which have turned into their own kind of encounter, in which you deal with a trap on a component-by-component basis and can now do things other than "I disarm it"), it doesn't look like they bothered to improve on professions.

Edit: I do like what they did with traps, though.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:29 pm UTC

Gharbad wrote:In general, I don't like profession as a skill. It seems out of place in an adventurers world.

I'm not a tabletop gamer by any means, but isn't it reasonable that an adventurer could be, say, a blacksmith before he decides to go on an adventure? If so, his skills in said profession could easily be transferrable to the game and useful.

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

Postby zenten » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:44 pm UTC

Abstraction is good, as long as it's tailored to the game in question. Is the game involving lots of climbing ropes and swimming and whatnot? Then it makes sense to have those as separate skills. If the game is focusing on say hitting people with axes or charming bar wenches into their beds then it doesn't make sense for these to be separate skills. If it won't matter often, but might come up, you roll them into one skill that vaguely makes sense. If it should never matter in your game, then don't put it under any skill at all.

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

Postby Indon » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:57 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:
Gharbad wrote:In general, I don't like profession as a skill. It seems out of place in an adventurers world.

I'm not a tabletop gamer by any means, but isn't it reasonable that an adventurer could be, say, a blacksmith before he decides to go on an adventure? If so, his skills in said profession could easily be transferrable to the game and useful.


Craft is better to represent that specific ability.

Profession's biggest function is that experience in a profession should grant synergy bonuses to applicable skills with 5 ranks in the profession. Profession (Sailor) is given as an example (for Use Rope), and if I recall the PHB encourages DM's to work with players to determine the synergy bonuses of other professions.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Jessica » Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:37 pm UTC

I don't like the stated purpose (not the synergy bonus) of profession. You roll it with wisdom to make piddling change. I just don't like skills like that. They seem out of place.

Yes it makes sense that you could be a trained blacksmith, or muckraker, but does that really need skill points for someone who's now a fighter as a job?
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:08 pm UTC

Yeah, the stated purpose is kindof dumb, but I see it used for a lot of other things, as well. Like talking shop. Or finding jobs. Or doing minor tasks related to the profession (profession (sailor) for example I've seen used for all the random stuff involved in sailing a boat. Which knots to use on which ropes, how to work the helm, etcetera), and that sort of thing.

The stated purpose is just the only thing that you can say about nearly *every* profession.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Vaniver » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:52 pm UTC

Indon wrote:DM fiat may be a better option when there's a bad system (such as in 3.x) or such a poorly fleshed-out system that it'd be basically houseruled anyway (such as in AD&D), but a good, nuanced system in which your armorsmith really can make, say, mechanically unique armor using a well-defined mechanic seems like it'd be far superior to handwavery, eh?
I agree that a good crafting/enchanting system does wonders for a game, but when it becomes mechanically useful, it's not really in the purview of the non-mechanically beneficial skills. People don't take Craft Wondrous Item solely because it fleshes out their character. I'm saying for things like Perform, you're better off leaving it up to the DM than hashing out quick rules for it (look at how Diplomacy works; it's been a long time since I've had a DM who played with it as-is).
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby FACM » Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:10 pm UTC

There's now a preview book for races and classes for D&D4e. I flipped through it briefly. It looks like paladins are getting beefed up a bit, which I'm in favor of. They felt like they needed something a little more useful than Smite Evil and Remove Disease 3/week.

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

Postby Belial » Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:16 pm UTC

Yeah, I flipped through it, and like it a lot. I like what they did with Warlocks (basically combined them with Binders from Tome of Magic) especially. I'm kindof cautiously optimistic about the druid, but it looks like the druid won't be hitting print until the PHB II anyway.

I am kindof worried about all the race changes. I don't have any problem with them in principle, in fact I really like them. I might actually want to play an elf (by which I mean an elf or an eladrin in this new system) or a dwarf now. And they turned Halflings into the Gyptians from Golden Compass. I approve so hard.

But there are two major settings out in D&D that already have their own racial makeups and politics, and I'm wondering exactly what's going to happen to those. Are the Forgotten Realms going to be remade and retconned along these new race distinctions? Eberron? Or are they just going to release updated versions of the old FR and Eberron races (which were, largely, the old 3.0/3.5 races) in the new setting books? Are the races outlined in the races and classes book *just* for the new "main" D&D setting?

I wonder if they'll be covering that in the new Worlds and Monsters book....
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Yakk » Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

I think there is going to be a disaster that hits the 3.5 FR, to rebuild FR as "points of light in a sea of darkness".

This could change how races interact with the world... For shorter races, a few 100 years and some large-scale disasters could produce large cultural shifts.

The "two types of elves" already existed in FR to a large extent (there are actually many types of elves in FR, some of which are more "fey elf" others are more "wizard elf").
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:33 pm UTC

I understood the "points of light in a sea of darkness" thing to be more in reference to the new "main" setting. Why would they want to do the exact same thing to FR? Would seem redundant.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Yakk » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:50 pm UTC

First, because it is what they usually do. Remember the time of troubles? They revamped FR from a AD&D 2nd standard to a D&D 3rd standard...

Second, we know the Spellplague is coming -- to blame for the changes in magic, among other things. Maybe it will be just restricted to magic...

Spellplague is, btw, set at "current+10Y". Dunno where the default time of the campaign will be set.

For races, I found this:
Yeah Rich Baker states in his blog quite plainly that the Moon/Star and Sun Elves are Eledrin (but FR will not use that word) and that wood and Wild elves are Elves. Drow we can assume stay drow.


The lizard-things can just pick up where an existing lizard-like race left off, or they could add it into the continuity of the Spellplague.

There is some evidence (orc king novel) that CY+100 contains a bunch of fallen kingdoms.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:55 pm UTC

See, I haven't been keeping up with the novels really, so this is mostly new info to me.

Can you go into the spell plague a bit further?

Things like the Tieflings being a full-blown *race* will have to be worked into the setting too, or else discarded.

And I would just as soon not see the Dragonborn added to Faerun. There's nothing saying they have to use them. I *like* the dragonborn, but I'd rather they not try to wedge them into existing settings just because they have them.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Yakk » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:08 pm UTC

I think there is a sample chapter for "Orc King" on the Wizards homepage. I haven't read it -- the above is all hearsay. :)

(Google led me to the reference, and I presumed anyone who cited a chapter in a book and provided a link to it wasn't speaking completely out of their ass!)
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Jessica » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:48 pm UTC

is FR becoming the default setting in the books?
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:42 am UTC

No, they're making a new setting for the "default" D&D setting, and letting Greyhawk die the ignominious death it so richly deserves. FR and Eberron are just being updated to the new ruleset, as far as I know, and I'm curious as to how that's going to work out.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Indon » Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:39 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:I agree that a good crafting/enchanting system does wonders for a game, but when it becomes mechanically useful, it's not really in the purview of the non-mechanically beneficial skills. People don't take Craft Wondrous Item solely because it fleshes out their character. I'm saying for things like Perform, you're better off leaving it up to the DM than hashing out quick rules for it (look at how Diplomacy works; it's been a long time since I've had a DM who played with it as-is).


But Perform could also have mechanical uses - admittedly, 3.x did the Bard pretty poorly in that regard, but they could have done better on that front, as well.

The odd one out is Profession. Admittedly, having a profession may be more appropriate as some sort of feat, which grants you certain in-game bonuses (to include, but not limited to, the ability to perform in that profession) as a result of taking it, but that's still a mechanical use.

And it's kind of silly to play with Diplomacy as it is, but it's not so much because the rules are hashed-out as that the rules are too exploitable: "My Half-elf Bard rolls Diplomacy as a standard action. He hits a DC high enough to bring the Hostile lich to Friendly. I ask him nicely to call off his undead army so we can have a nice chat over some tea."

Edit: And Belial, it's unlikely Wizards is dropping Greyhawk. They'll likely just establish (or maintain, not sure if they're running it for this setting) a "Living" setting for it, which is a relatively new concept for the company.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Jessica » Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:51 pm UTC

From what I've heard, greyhawk will no longer be supported by wizards, except by the RPGA.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:34 pm UTC

Which is good, because this new setting actually looks interesting. Someone might actually play it.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Jessica » Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:39 pm UTC

Yeah, I like the idea of points of light in darkness... instead of the default greyhawk with low magic.
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Re: D&D 4th Edition [and other Gen-Con news]

Postby Belial » Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:43 pm UTC

Yeah, Greyhawk always struck me as just a watered down Forgotten Realms. Which is why I really don't want them to change the themes of the FR to line up with this new main setting. It'll just be the same problem all over again.
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