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Author Topic: D&D 4th ed  (Read 7260 times)

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Offline HairyHereticTopic starter

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D&D 4th ed
« on: April 26, 2008, 05:31:51 AM »
I understand that demo / pre release stuff for 4th ed is starting to appear. Anyone had a try of it yet? If so, what's your thoughts on it?

Offline kongming

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2008, 11:25:04 AM »
It has undergone... extensive reviewing on the Gaming Den, and to sum it up politely, they all think it's utter shit. I'm more or less in agreement. They have followed the Saga path where no abilities or feats are actually interesting - instead of new abilities and cool stuff, almost everything is "another +1 to this, +4 to that".

They still don't seem to know how to balance things, the guy with the dragon fetish (no offence, BK *wink*) is still in charge of monster design, we've already found some aspects that are highly abusable and others that are just plain stupid...

The game also encourages a weird playstyle of "Leap in, blow your load (so to speak), run away, repeat." In 3.X it was "Sleep after every fight, I'm looking at YOU, Wizard and Cleric." Now you run off to take a small break in the middle of battle. And that is dumb.

Those people who believe all medieval battles were fought just like their SCA duelling, and who think all fantasy games should be like that, *might* like it. Because it's practically the end of your career by the time you get flight (ie before you'll be able to fight a staple fantasy creature like a chimera or manticore) or invisibility. Remember how 1-4 of 3.X was trudging through embarrassing lower levels of "Beat up these goblins! Kick a kobold over and fetch me a bucket! Take this ladder to the baker, squashing a dog-sized spider on the way. Get more beer from the next town, and there are bandits along the way"?

You can look forward to that for the first 10 or so levels now. And yeah, the combat will sort of devolve into no interesting abilities being available and it all getting boring. Actually, I'm not sure even the realism-freaks will like it, even ignoring "But dragons just don't exist!"

If I try really hard I might be able to think of something good to say about it. But I doubt it. The debate on the Gaming Den (note: one of the more vocal members, our leader of sorts, used to be an RPG designer before he decided to go study medicine in Prague. He did some of the Shadowrun stuff, and he warned WotC about certain abuses and rule issues of 3.0, so then for 3.5, they banned him from the forums rather than fix anything. Yeah, they don't take criticism. The rest of us tend to, through lots of playtesting and being decent with numbers, be good at seeing mechanics problems, and, through being fans of fantasy, be good at seeing flavour problems) has basically been a continual "Hey, here's their newest article. Spot the stupidity!"

Online Jefepato

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2008, 11:45:42 AM »
Are the classes at least marginally better-balanced than before?

I mean, let's face it, every edition of D&D has managed to be full of all kinds of abusable stupidity, and yet still manage to actually be a lot of fun.  (D&D is hardly alone in this.)  I'm looking forward to whatever the Gaming Den comes up with next, though.

Offline kongming

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2008, 11:53:59 AM »
Well, Frank (the one in Prague) has said that, despite any issues, every former edition has been fun - whether "out of the box" or "after I had fun typing up large books of house rules and fixed classes". Except this one.

That being said, the classes are more evenly matched against each other, and with... okay, instead of "I am the cheerleader, I cast buffs." they have more "If I do this, then you get this bonus too." abilities for various people. So there's a little bit of synergy there, but not so much that it matters. I mean, the fighter has an ability where if the enemy attacks not-him, they take a penalty to hit. Except the penalty is less than the difference between his "I wear full plate" AC and the mage's/rogue's "I'm a naked man in a fight." AC.

But yes. So far, it seems as though the classes are closer together. Whereas 3.X had "The level appropriate guys, who can also abuse certain rules to be too good, sometimes" (full-casters, with Rogues trailing along the end if they do the acid-flask-throwing, Epic-feat-gaining, abuse-magic-device routine) and "The rest, who are not level-appropriate." (Fighter and Monk are the worst examples, but there are plenty of others", and TGD Tome material just shunts everyone into "level appropriate land" and says "Look, some things are outright abusive. Make a gentleman's agreement not to use them.", this does it by making everyone kind of boring and lame.

But yeah, at least you can say "I'm a fighter" without having to hide your face.

Offline Far eyes

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2008, 03:29:48 PM »
I have guan trough the 4e light PHB and have played in a short 4e prevue game and I have to say I am split on the subject. Mostly because I was never one of the balance whores and happen to believe to a degree (Not epic lvl wizard vs epic lvl useless fighter) degree but to a point that feel and style should go over balance

Pro

Now you can actually fight things at first level that look kind of fun, not just 1d3 rats.

Level 1 character are much less prone to sudden fits of death and with the new rules on crits it looks like the sudden death from the single stupid roll is less likely.

As a caster you can actually do something each round and don’t have to drag around a crossbow or *Shudders* sling

Cons

It all looks prty meh, its about as gray as gray gets. 4e has a bad caser of tastelessness or at least that is what I get from it.

With all the efforts to balance everything against everything ells I feel they really killed magic, wizards just no longer feel magical and it looks like they are going for mechanical balance over feel and taste so a lot of the things that use to do what they sead are now just prty lame

I find this really disturbing tendency of making the MM into a long list of stuff you can fight, ok I have to agree that basically MM 3-5 was that already. But 4e is just stripping away anything that isn’t used in killing stuff.

I also find the implication that now the PCs are by default these Super human adventuring power rangers prty fucking retarded. Personally I had never used the Commoner, Warrior and Noble DMG classes because I think its prty stupid. And 4e is just going more into that philosophy

Offline EGFrost

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2008, 05:00:23 PM »
I like what I've seen so far.  Granted, I don't have full acess, but what I have seen, and played through with the PHB Lite, makes me like it. 

As a DM, the fact that exception based design takes me back to some of the good old days, of when I first began D&D is a good thing, as is ease of use.  There are tons of examples of the 'universal' approach of 3.X D&D that are ridiculous, as anyone who hangs out in the charop forums can tell you.  Monsters and players don't /need/ to use the same rules, and decoupling them, is, IMO, an improvement.

As a player, the fact that the fighter and the paladin now actually have tools to be 'sticky' or punish people for ignoring them to attack the casters is /great/.  Before, unless the DM was playing the monsters as exceptionally stupid, the fighter had bo way to actually /protect/ the glass canons that were the spellcasters and rogues.  And I like Tome of Battle, so it's nice to see a /similar/ mechanic (Not quite the same) that allows nonspellcasters to remain useful at higher levels.  The system also seems less arcane, and much less of a cascading system.  [By cascading, I mean this: An undead ambush results in a party member taking con damage, losing a level, ande becoming fatigued.  You now have to change fort saves, carrying capacity, hit points, spells known, all saves, etc.  By the time you actually figure out what just happened, half the players at the table have walked off.  And then you realize you forgot that cat's grace was still up from the last encounter, so you wouldn't actually have been hit at all].

I am slightly worried about the loss of /mechanical/ differences between classes, but I have good roleplayers, and I expect that they'll behave quite differently, even with the same underlying mechanics.  People who enjoy or are invested in the complexity won't like it, of course.  The people who think nothing of throwing together a four or five PrC combination, if it gives them the flavor and abilities they like.  And some people who enjoy playing commoners with swords are a bit upset by the assumption that PCs are heroes, and hence, special.  I however, have always assumed so.  If the world needs saving, there should be a reason why the party is needed.  My PCs have always been heroes, and NPCs almost always lack the same sort of skills the PCs have.  Chosen by fate, pawns of the gods, or what have you, they've always had second chances, action points, or whatever.

Ultimately, the new system, (so far) maintains the feel of D&D I love (even some from earlier editions) and ditches alot of the complexity.  While there are a few things I was thinking I would miss, in retrospect, they were almost never used, or can still be done.  I really don't /care/ if there's a detailed subset of the rules for grappling, or if the ogre just makes a fort save to prevent it.  I don't care that undead use d12s and fey use d6s, because for a monster of the same CR, and same general role, the total HP are going to be almost exactly the same anyway.  I don't feel a need to add two levels in 'aberration' to a beholder.  I don't /care/ how many ranks in craft basketweaving my commoners have, after they max out profession: farmer.  It /is/ a simpler system, especially in the individual actions.  However, like chess or go, I think this new, 4e framework allows for nearly endless complexity in tactical considerations.  Easy to learn, impossible to master.  And of course, while I enjoy rolling the dice, I won't miss squeezing 12 seconds of combat into 2 hours, at any level past level 11.  Or the fact that save or dies make doing damage utterly useless.    Or well ... I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Ultimately, I think I and my group will like 4e.  I could be wrong.  Or, I could just be a different audience than others.  All I want out of a system is consistent resolution for chancey events.  I play exalted, I like stunts in play.  I play eberron, I like the PCs as above average individuals.  I played modules, because I didn't have time to devote 3-5 hours of GM time for every hour of gameplay.  I play with people who want their characters to do cool things, and change the world.  For us?  4th Edition sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

Offline Jeramiahh

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2008, 01:47:27 AM »
Repost from another thread here, from about a month ago, giving my impressions and thoughts on the game.

Quote
4th edition playtest report:

So, tonight, hobbling together bits and pieces of rules form across the net, the premade characters from the D&D experience, and a player-made module created using the very limited number of monsters we have available... I ran a 4th edition game tonight.

Goddammit the players are hard to kill.

The encounters varied greatly in difficulty; the first was an easy encounter for a 4-man party, and this was a six; each of the three players controlled two of the premade PCs. That encounter only required the fighter to use a single healing surge. The second one was a lot better; the 8 minions annoyed the hell out of the fighter, who missed one three rounds in a row. That was an 'appropriate' challenge for said party, but was still fairly easy, partially due to misreading the wizard's spell, partly due to the fact my players are very, very tactically minded... the fighter, with his anti-five-foot-step aura, essentially locked down half the kobolds every fight, while the paladin tanked the rest.

The next fight got interesting; no more level 1 kobolds, now they were fighting 2's and 3's... 7, in this one. Unfortunately, the ranger decided to abuse the ever-loving hell out of his teleport power, and the party got the jump on the difficult encounter, neutralizing the very dangerous spell-caster in less than 2 rounds. The rest were easy pickings, with his inability to use his area buff.

The fourth fight switched to undead; tough bastards, too. A 5th level and 2 3rds... an above average difficulty fight for them... and it was. The cleric did nothing but heal the entire fight, except to land a beautiful turn undead on the first action. Nailed 2/3 of them, and was probably why they won... especially after the fighter pushed the other skeleton right into being surrounded by everyone else, beating him to death. Still did a lot of damage to them.

The final fight was the hardest; 6 level 3 hobgoblins. That had more HP, more attack, and more damage than the players. How'd they win that, without a single person dropping unconscious the entire adventure? They novaed in that final fight. Hard. Everyone's first round action was to drop their daily AND burn an action point. One of the three fighters and the mage were more than half dead by the time the dust settled, and everyone else was hurting. Followed by a series of abysmal rolls, including four attacks that were the player's AC -1, they managed to escape a death by the slimmest of margins, though, if I'd been more tactically minded, I would've done a lot more damage to them; the DM has to get really creative with some of these guys.

Some observations; fighters are amazing at control; nothing can 'shift', or five-foot-step, away from them, without provoking anyway. This lead to the unfortunate death of many, many kobolds, as they either tried to shift, which is one of the key powers of the kobold, or couldn't escape imminent, cleaving death. The paladin's challenge ability is majorly abusive, combined with the fighter; by challenging something that couldn't hit the paladin at that moment, but was threatened by the fighter, the creature had to choose; do nothing, attack the fighter and take 8, or move to attack the paladin... and take an AoO, for up to 15. This, too, lead to many deaths.

Players can take things far above their level, almost absurdly so. I hope this doesn't carry throughout the game; having to throw squads of things 2-4 levels higher than the players to challenge them seems wrong. The game is fairly fast; we finished all of those encounters in less than 5 hours, and only one encounter had less than 6 creatures in it, along with six players. I love the new magic items; they're powerful, but not overwhelmingly so. The NPC caster's recharge mechanic's a little wonky, but interesting, and forces more DM strategizing. A LOT of movement based abilities in the game, yet my players still spent most fights in a tight formation, with the fighters blocking the melee fighters from attacking the squishies. I think this will change, immensely, one area attacks start flying at them, but for now, it was very hard to hurt the back row fighters; the ranger and wizard never took damage, and the cleric and warlock were only hurt in the last encounter, albeit seriously.

I imagine I'm going to houserule death and dying; right now, it's almost impossible to kill someone. Hell, I was *trying* to kill the paladin, and he just. Would. Not. Die. He never even hit 0; he just took damage, then popped up to full, thanks to the healbot cleric. Surges are powerful, especially stacked with the cleric's healing 2/encounter power.

All in all; I enjoyed tonight. If I'd had more control over the NPCs, I would've done things differently, and I'm fairly certain we misinterpreted at LEAST half a dozen rules, and made bad rulings left and right. But, most importantly, it was fun. There was never a single round, when someone said "I do nothing." That felt good. The low-level wizard in me jumped for joy, because there was noone resorting to "I shoot my crossbow" or "I twiddle." There was ALWAYS something to do, even if it was chucking a bag full of flour at a kobold.

Also, the award goes to the wizard, for most kills in a round; downing three minions with a single attack, though he missed them all; he lit the cloud of flour on fire, which did damage, killing them all instantly.

Offline WyzardWhately

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2008, 11:50:13 PM »
I've been following the game pretty closely for a while now.

My impression is that it is an extremely well-designed game, into which a great deal of deep consideration has been put.  However, it is a product that is probably not designed for me (Or, apparently, a lot of the people on this site, referred to above.)  I do think it's foolish to say the game "sucks," when it merely fails to please the palate of the individual.  I expect to find that I prefer the older editions, but I can't deny that the designers have probably succeeded in meeting the design goals they set for themselves.  Now, I happen to think those design goals are short-sighted and limited in a lot of ways that are going to clash with what I like to do as a GM and as a player, so it's not the game for me.  But it's far and away from sucking, IMHO.  I honestly don't know how people find the time and energy to hate games like 4E, when there's shit like RaHoWa and FATAL and SenZar out there.

TL;DR: It's probably a love-it or hate-it thing.  Give it a shot and find out if it's to your taste, if you can do so without buying the books.

Offline vampyrer0me0

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2008, 05:29:47 PM »
I just got the first module(Shadowfell keep or whatever) In stock and ran it last night for my employees. I like it it seems pretty cool. I like the  changes to the fighter class that allows it to really defend the weaker people. The way the monsters are set up is also really fun. The differant archtypes to make it really easy for a dm to remember more or less what monsters do. The inclusion of minions allowing for battles where players are fight a huge ammount of low hp same danger as far as damage monsters gives the game a slightly differant feel.

Im waiting for the full books to come out before i pass final judgement but i like it so far.

Offline Elohim

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2008, 07:41:26 PM »
So....  is DnD turning into a blander, less anime inspired exalted?

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2008, 03:53:19 AM »
I rarely used canned monsters when I DMed D&D.

Never forget that tactics are everything.  Three measly 2HD monsters can take down a sixth-level fighter...under the right circumstances.  Did in fact, in one of my games where a player got cocky.

Offline Far eyes

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2008, 07:18:55 AM »
What would you rather be fighting and having a real chance and still be challenged without getting instakiled on a hit. 1d3 rats or 10 goblins

Be honest

Offline Far eyes

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2008, 08:44:35 AM »
Hehe

The Orc Excert from the 4e MM really went down nice with me.

Everything their from a low lever orc encounter to a higher level one as well as probably grouping suggestions. A nice clean format, and I kind of really like the new cleaned up monster stat blocks. Really nice not having Alertness tacked onto everything and their grandmother

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2008, 12:46:16 AM »

Ah, rats. 
It's not just a harmless, G-rated expression of frustration anymore.

Offline kongming

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2008, 05:40:32 AM »
Never forget that tactics are everything.

Keeping in mind that some critters don't understand tactics. Many low-Int monsters use the tactic of "run forward and attack the closest thing" or "charge, then run away if I get hurt" or even "Sit back and see how it goes for the others before leaping in or running off." Most trolls, ogres and animals aren't reading the works of Cao Cao Mengde, Zhuge Liang Kongming or Sun Tzu.

Quote
Three measly 2HD monsters can take down a sixth-level fighter...under the right circumstances.  Did in fact, in one of my games where a player got cocky.

Let's be fair: fighters aren't worth the sheet they're written on, barring very special circumstances or the lowest levels. So "it can tear a fighter apart." is hardly a measuring stick :p

Offline Far eyes

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2008, 06:19:39 AM »
Kobolds on the other hand now ..



Offline Starr69

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2008, 10:22:13 AM »
Kobolds on the other hand now ..

Depends on the Kobolds!

I once ran a 2E campaign where while the part was away from their keep/home base, a large band of kobolds overran it.

They raided the PC's armory, and used dirty tricks (they had an unusually smart leader) and tactics to fend off the PCs when they returned. Man, my guys hated those kobolds. :)

From what I've seen of 4E, I'll give it a try. It does seem very much to me like whoever was writing the game basically wanted to play WoW at a table, with dice. I play WoW, but I liked the flavor of old D&D. *sigh*

Offline Far eyes

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2008, 10:40:09 AM »
I have herd the MMORPG thing used a couple of times but in have to say that most of the ability’s of melee characters can be described by a variety of things that are not flashy. So while your character dos have a lot more ability’s now you can just use the “Smacks him with his shield” description without problems

The part ware I will agree about MMORPGs is that it seams rather well balanced, like most MMORPGs or the good ones anyway.

Offline HairyHereticTopic starter

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Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2008, 12:56:06 PM »
And it looks like a pre release copy of the 3 books may have leaked online, assuming they're legit.

Offline Starr69

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2008, 01:20:07 PM »
Geez. That was fast.

Offline The Great Triangle

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2008, 01:31:50 PM »
I'm putting ten to one on the leaked books being loads of Lolicon myself.

Offline Far eyes

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2008, 01:38:44 PM »
Hehe well its possible this or that way.

*Goes to check*

Offline Starr69

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2008, 02:21:30 PM »
I have no official comment other than.. "I didn't leak 'em." :D
 :-X


Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2008, 03:50:14 AM »
Keeping in mind that some critters don't understand tactics. Many low-Int monsters use the tactic of "run forward and attack the closest thing" or "charge, then run away if I get hurt" or even "Sit back and see how it goes for the others before leaping in or running off." Most trolls, ogres and animals aren't reading the works of Cao Cao Mengde, Zhuge Liang Kongming or Sun Tzu.

True.  But some creatures have a cunning or instinct that makes up for low intelligence.  Consider ants. 

Offline Far eyes

Re: D&D 4th ed
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2008, 06:00:32 AM »
So apparently some pre print editions of the PHB/MM/DMG had bin leaked and apparently they are the pre prints. And apparently 4e is going to be prty awesome from what I can apparently tell