D&D 4th Edition Rule-of-Three: 06/19/2012 - Page 6





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  1. #51
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    ° Ignore pemerton
    Quote Originally Posted by jadrax View Post
    I am pretty sure, in fact 99% certain, that Nentir Vale is going to be supported. So whatever mechanical differences between common D&D monsters are needed will be provided, the same as Forgotten Realms, Eberon, Dark Sun or whatever previously published work.
    Part of my concern is that for most of D&D's design history story differences haven't been reflected mechanically.

    My concern isn't about whether or not WotC keeps publishing a Nentir Vale setting with gnolls living in whatever forest (I personally use the 4e mythos and history that is embedded in the race, class and monster descriptions, but not the Nentir Vale stuff - my campaign map is from the old Basic module Night's Dark Terror). It's about whether those gnolls will be mechanically distinctive in the way that 4e gnolls are.

 

  • #52
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Part of my concern is that for most of D&D's design history story differences haven't been reflected mechanically.
    Yup. Pre-3e monsters, particularly humanoid ones, had almost nothing to make them distinctive apart from their background/society and their looks. I always disliked this.

    Still, leader- or encounter-group-templates could be a way to provide sufficient mechanical differences. However, if all of the interesting bits depend on the leader won't the only viable combat tactic be to take out the leader first? that's a tad limited.
    In a sense, the D&D game has no rules, only rule suggestions. - Tom Moldvay

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    ° Ignore jadrax
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhaelen View Post
    Still, leader- or encounter-group-templates could be a way to provide sufficient mechanical differences. However, if all of the interesting bits depend on the leader won't the only viable combat tactic be to take out the leader first? that's a tad limited.
    Wargaming has been using system like this for years. You still end up with have to weigh up if you want to try to get the leader (who will probably be harder to kill) or his troops.

    And that's before you start playing with mechanics. I have seen generals that actually make their troops harder if they are killed or even damaged. Or even leaders that automatically transfer their abilities to another of their allies upon death. There's a lot you can do with these kind of mechanics.

  • #54
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    ° Ignore Kravell
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    4e doesn't have very strong mounted combat rules, I agree.

    I don't agree a paladin is not a paragon of virtue. Look at Valiant Smite (the paladin gets a bonus to attack when surrounded by multiple foes), Holy Smite (do radiant damage - purges undead), the various immediate actions that divert damage from allies or punish enemies who attack them, the various abilities that deliver healing to allies. Plus the paragon paths, including options like Questing Knight.

    Plus the fact that paladins will be wearing plate and carrying heavy shield, making them unable to sneak.

    The knightly, chivalric paladin is alive and well within the 4e mechanics.
    In the mechanics maybe. But what happens if the paladin steals or murders someone? By the mechanics, nothing happens. No consequences without DM fiat. In all other editions, the paladin ceases being a paladin until he atones or he may lose his status forever.

    And I could see and understand if not agree with a player crying foul on that. Especially if they want to roleplay their 4E paladin as following a dark god of lies and murder or simply as a selfish person. RAW allows both as roleplaying options (any alignment allowed in 4E).

    RAW, I as the DM have 0 input into those decisions without serious house rules. To me, that makes the rules as written flawed, despite other great rule innovations in the same set of rules.

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    ° Ignore pemerton
    Quote Originally Posted by Kravell View Post
    what happens if the paladin steals or murders someone? By the mechanics, nothing happens. No consequences without DM fiat. In all other editions, the paladin ceases being a paladin until he atones or he may lose his status forever.
    I think I see where you're coming from.

    I won't derail this thread with an detailedexplanation of my own views on paladin codes and alignment, but I prefer it to be in the hands of the player, not the GM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I think I see where you're coming from.

    I won't derail this thread with an detailedexplanation of my own views on paladin codes and alignment, but I prefer it to be in the hands of the player, not the GM.
    And I think that is fine. Right now, though, if you play 1E, 2E, or 3E RAW you can't have things the way you want them. If I play 4E RAW I can't have them the way I want them.

    If 5E addresses both options we would both have guidelines and tools to discuss with the rest of the players around the table about how to set up the rules before we start playing. If 5E can do that, it will be a huge leap forward from previous editions because it would support both of our play styles (and many other players' styles) without the need for extensive house rules.

  • #57
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I'll refer again to the example of the chained cambion: it imposes an effect on two adjacent PCs whereby they take psychic damage if they don't both begin and end their turns adjacent. What is psychic damage? Suffering. So the effect of that ability is that the two PCs suffer - are in sufficient anguish perhaps to collapse and die - if they are separated. At the same time, it makes the players suffer, and experience frustration and resentment, because of the limit put on their PCs (a limit that only really works in gridded, highly mobile combat - but 4e combat is, by default, gridded and highly mobile). What more could you want to produce a story about a cambion, chained for some reason, resentful at being chained and telepathically broadcasting that resentment and anguish to the PCs?
    Well, I don't really buy the "it makes the players suffer" argument, since this seems to be a really isolated incident. A [fire] power doesn't make them feel warm, a [fear] power doesn't make them feel afraid, etc. Unless, that is, you apply a broad definition to certain things, like you did here, in my opinion.

    That is, if I deal psychic damage in any game with hit points, you might "feel suffering" because you're worse off than you were before. If a creature makes your character afraid, you might worry that it will get to attack you while you can't defend yourself or your friends adequately (fear --> worry). But, these work in any system, and I don't think that there's any great reason to place 4e above others in this regard.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I want the story (and to a lesser extent the background) to emerge from play in a way that integrates player and GM contributions, rather than creating antagonisms or GM predominance. I see this as being the primary role of the mechanics.
    I, too, prefer a story emerge from the mechanics. I love that concept. It's why I use things like my Hit Chart, where you can lose limbs or gain bonuses, or have people roll on the Background Chart during time skips, to see what they encountered during this time (were they injured? Did they make an ally? Did they simply train, or did they blaze a new trail? Did they learn a secret, or play politics?).

    Now, 4e does do this, but I do not believe that it's the sole method to achieve those results. And, I'd also posit that the way the mechanics should (in my view) be created is "here's what I want the story to produce --> here's the mechanics that make the story be produced in play." This, I think, is where people are talking past one another. I think that both pemerton and I (and others in this conversation, probably) want the mechanics to produce the story that should be implied. That is, if goblins are supposed to be fragile, then we need mechanics to reflect that. It goes "I want goblins to be fragile --> give goblins small amounts of HP and AC."

    This can be applied to everything, and if you want the story to unfold due to the mechanics, you need to carefully craft mechanics that produce that story. But, you must know what story you want, first, which is why I think you're getting "you have to start with the flavor first!" as a reply to your statements in this thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    My issue with the GM simply adjudicating whether or not a person fleeing in fear from a wight falls down the pit, when that flight is not epxressed mechanically as forced movement, is that it makes the stakes of the combat highly contingent on the GM's adjudication, and gives the player very little control over them.
    Well, if a chained cambion can make players feel the suffering that their characters feel, and that's a good mechanic, then maybe the players feeling fear and loss of control (forced fear effect) is also a good thing? I see it working both ways, here.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    It's about mechanical structures that preserve player agency - be they the page 42 damaeg and DC guidelines, or the "you can't lose until you fail 3 times" structure of skill challenges, or the forced movement rules to regulate who does and doesn't fall into pits when running in fear from a wight.

    What I find to be the upshot of these sorts of mechanics is that, as a GM, once you frame the scene you don't have to hold back. You can push as hard as the mechanics allow, and the players can push back, and interesting stuff arises out of it. Whereas without those sorts of structures ("How much damage should this do?" "How likely should it be that so-and-so falls into a pit?" "How many retries am I meant to permit?") the game tends to turn into one in which the GM's decisions override the agency of players in deciding what actually occurs in the play of the game.
    Yep, this is the upshot. A sense of fairness that the clear mechanics produce.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Should two hobgoblins try to flank, or fight shoulder-to-shoulder? What about two goblins?

    4e answers that question mechanically (goblins should flank to gain advantage and thereby bonus damage, hobgoblins should fight shoulder to shoulder and thereby increase there already strong AC via their phalanx mechanic). And thereby engenders a story (about vexing, flanking goblins and about warlike, martial hobgoblins). Other stuff - further development of the situation by the GM, responses to the situation by the players - can then be hung off this.

    If the mechanics are "flexible" on this issue, what is the point of having the different sorts of humanoids at all? What do they contribute to the game, other than providing a suite of opponents of escalating hit points and attack bonuses?
    What about a hobgoblin raised by goblins? Or hobgoblins that are more barbaric in nature? Or goblins who are integrated into human lands, and no longer flanking goblins? What's the default human combat style? If there is none, why is there for other races? Perhaps there should be a leaning that can be expressed mechanically ("hobgoblins prefer to use a phalanx; here are the rules on them that anyone can use")? I think that's the point about flexibility.

    Different sorts of humanoids are not there to give us "flanking vs phalanx" distinctions, though giving mechanical incentive to do so is helpful. It's not strictly necessary, mind you. There's a lot about humans that isn't represented mechanically ("humans are sexual creatures" for example). That's fine, sometimes. Some things are that way because "society taught them this, so they prefer it" or "elves just taste bad to bulettes."

    The races, then, contribute new mindsets to the game. New antagonists. New allies. New aspects of the setting. We don't need all hobgoblins to form a phalanx to gain something. We have a race that is highly organized, militaristic, and generally decently equipped. Does the phalanx mechanic tell us this, or produce these things? No, not really. It has a hint of "militaristic" and "highly organized" but falls short of giving us their real place within the setting. The same holds true of the goblin and his flanking ability.

    You might ask "what is the point of his place in combat instead of other humanoids, then?" To this, all I can say is that not every race needs to be mechanically different in this respect on a base level. I'm not opposed to it, though. It's just not necessary. Because, to many people, the role within the world that hobgoblins fulfill is more than just forming a phalanx when you fight them. Their ability to equip themselves, their militaristic nature, and their highly organized nature are more important to the overall setting than their ability to fight adventurers. And, yeah, let's see some mechanics reflecting these things, too. As always, play what you like
    As always, play what you like

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