D&D 4th Edition Blog: Reacting to the Reaction - Page 2




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  1. #11
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    I find all the butthurt about action economy highly amusing.

    D&D always had a mix of the same actions: attack, cast a spell, move (up to twice) and do something else. This action economy is present in Basic and Advanced D&D, and pretty much worked the same in both (with some differences in round phases and the unnecessary addition of segments). Its only 3rd edition, with the addition of meaningful free actions (IE quickened spells) and full-round actions that action economy becomes something to squeeze every last drop out of. While 4e (and SW Saga) tried to simplify the action economy (mostly be removing full-round actions and limiting free/swift/immediate) but in the process created a feeling of "three actions; make them count" which was exasperated by 4e's early grind (you don't DARE waste a round in 4e doing something that doesn't do damage, which is why minors became the "dome something else" default action).

    5e is pretty much removing the "mandatory" minor and rolling that into reactions, which is the only action legacy from 3e/4e. That's fine. If an action distrupts the normal "standard/move" then its an exception. Really, any economy that saves me from "5-foot/full attack" and its opposite "I cast a spell, a quickened spell, and my summoned monsters each do full attacks" than I'm happy panda.
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  • #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dd.stevenson View Post
    I think it's an abuse, not a misuse. As in, "boy, I really abused myself some alcohol last night!"

    In other words, I think there are better terms to describe his design choices ("design choice" comes to mind), but instead the author went with a buzzword. And that's fine--it is what it is...

    ... but I find it interesting because the motif of borrowed tech sector terminology appeals to certain market segments but not to others. (You aren't likely, for example, to hear Paizo or Goodman Games describe their design choices as "technologies".) And I find that off-putting because, as was pretty clear by the tone of my post, I'm not a part of the segment that this otherwise fine article is being pitched to.
    I think you're reading quite a bit more into it than is actually there. First, it's one guy at WotC using this terminology, not the totality of WotC. And unless one is aware of every communication, blog, or post that's been made by Paizo or Goodman Games employees in official communications or opinions, I wouldn't be making claims that it would be unlikely to hear the same thing from them. Second, he's speaking metaphorically, which is a perfectly legitimate use in the English language. It sounds to me that he likely has a programming or software background, and is simply using the language which he knows to describe some RPG concepts...(along with his use of "technology", he also uses "unpacking"). An abuse would be if he was using the word improperly or incorrectly, which he isn't. Nor do I think he's purposely trying to use language that appeals to a certain market segment...that is unless he's trying to lock in the programmer/software development sector of our fan base...(targeting a niche group of a niche group of a niche group of a niche hobby seems rather impractical and implausible.)

    However, I do find it ironic that one would make a pedantic argument as reason to take issue with an article, while incorrectly using the word "abuse" (being exactly the opposite of pedantic in one's own use of language). Just because one doesn't like someone using the word technology in that way, does not make it abuse. Now if someone simply and only said "I don't like the way he uses the word "technology", and found it offputting."; then one would be making an incontrovertable statement, as it's 100% personal opinion and makes no inaccurate claims (like saying it's "constant" abuse when he only used the word twice in the whole article...)

    My opinion: I think taking umbrage over an article for such a reason is just a little bit petty, and quite a bit contrary just for the sake of being contrary. Now, if the argument was about simply not liking the idea of reactions...that I would understand...I wouldn't agree with the opinion, but I'd understand.


  • #13
    Quote Originally Posted by El Mahdi View Post
    An abuse would be if he was using the word improperly or incorrectly
    An abuse would also be if he were using the word too much.

    My objection is not pedantic. It's a matter of taste. Clearly you don't share my taste in this matter and that's fine.

  • #14
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    Personally, I never had any issue with the 4e action economy. In fact, I felt that 4e's bringing Minor (formerly Swift) actions into the core, and formalising the five action/reaction types was a really good thing. My gut feeling is that 5e is taking a step back in that regard.

    I found the 3e formalisation of Swift actions (later, 4e's Minor actions) to be a really useful thing - it cleared up all those instances of "as a free action, once per round". The problem was that the 4e designers then saw that as a design space to be filled up, and proceeded to give every class and every character a bunch of these actions, when they were originally very rare. They should have remained rare.

    Eliminating Minor actions sounds like a good thing at this point. But I give it three months before a supplement brings back such actions that can be done only "once per round". Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the core included them!

    I also don't think eliminating Interrupts is actually feasible - the game will presumably still include Readied Actions, and some of those will only make sense if they act as an interrupt. So, again, we lose the formalisation of the language, but probably not the action type, or the complexities that actually go with it.

    That business of limiting characters to once one reaction in the round is a good thing, though. To be honest, I'm a little shocked that 4e didn't do that already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    He's trying to present it in opposition to the 4e action economy when it's nothing more than a thinly warmed over version of the 4e action economy.
    I wouldn't say it's in opposition to the 4e action economy, because it's clearly taking that economy as its basis, since it's the best one they've come up with so far. It's an evolution of the 4e action economy (I'm not saying it's better, but it is different).

    He starts with a simple misunderstanding of the 4e action economy and from that makes a false comparison between the 4e action economy and the 5e action economy. He claims that the 4e action economy is Standard/Move/Minor, and the D&D Next one is Action/Move/Interrupt.

    That's an apples to oranges comparison he's running. First he's comparing an on-turn 4e turn to a full round in 5e. Second he's ignoring free actions and actions that are part of your move. Third he's ignoring certain spells that take their own specific undefined action type in 5e (Healing Word, I'm looking at you).
    Ok so the correct comparison is 4e Standard/Move/Minor (Free, immediate and opportunity out of turn) against 5e Action/Move (free and interrupt out of turn). Further, I imagine the current undefined actions are 'incomplete' draft rules rather than deliberately left undefined.

    The Reaction Action, his Great New Thing is neither more nor less than an Immediate Action in 4e. It's something you can do once per round as a response. The only difference is that he's cut off parts of the design space by cutting out interrupt actions.
    Yes. I am glad of this. Interrupts should be renamed Disrupts (the game). It's really very clear whether a reaction can affect the action being taken or not (even in non-mechanical language this can be made clear by using 'when' or 'after' whilst describing the trigger).

    Now the Opportunity Attack thing is a debate for another time. But would someone please explain how fuzzing up the minor actions, and reducing the design space by removing the possibility of interrupts is in any way simplifying the action economy?
    I agree with his opinion that players tried to get the most out of their turns and took a long time to make decisions on that basis. I did it myself, deliberately selecting powers that would 'fill out' my potential minor actions in an encounter, so I'd never waste one. The design space was sadly used to encourage this. Putting things that used to be minor actions into movement, I suggest, will stop the design space being used for powers that could otherwise be free actions or reactions. You won't agonize, because you won't have choices to make about what to do with 5' spare movement, either it's useful to open a door or it isn't - powers won't exist in this design space.

    As for his claim about people stressing how to use their minor actions, that's an easy problem to fix in game design. You add a minor 'aid' action that gives an ally a +1 bonus - and then make the player describe how the aid happens. This should not be hard.
    That would be awful. Another random +1 to track. People would still agonize over whether to do that or use another power. Worse, they will forget, and bring it up after their turn is over.

    I like the current action economy design. Actions will be actions. Movement will be movement and interaction with the environment, and not contain fiddly powers. A single reaction will reduce out of turn faff and still provide an interesting tactical choice (to shield someone or save your reaction for an OA).
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  • #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    He's trying to present it in opposition to the D&D 4th Edition">4e action economy when it's nothing more than a thinly warmed over version of the 4e action economy.
    It's neither "presented in opposition to anything" (it's simply compared),...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    I wouldn't say it's in opposition to the 4e action economy, because it's clearly taking that economy as its basis, since it's the best one they've come up with so far. It's an evolution of the 4e action economy (I'm not saying it's better, but it is different).
    ...nor is it based (solely) in 4E action economy.

    It's a simplified action economy based on what D&D has pretty much always had, or at least since AD&D. It's neither 1E, 2E, 3E, or 4E...and yet it's based on all. It's not an evolution of 4E action economy, but simply an evolution of D&D action economy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    I like the current action economy design. Actions will be actions. Movement will be movement and interaction with the environment, and not contain fiddly powers. A single reaction will reduce out of turn faff and still provide an interesting tactical choice (to shield someone or save your reaction for an OA).
    Absolutely! Well Said!


    Quote Originally Posted by dd.stevenson View Post
    An abuse would also be if he were using the word too much.
    I Agree. Though I hardly think that twice in a 12 paragraph, 500+ word article qualifies as using a word too much...


    Quote Originally Posted by dd.stevenson View Post
    My objection is not pedantic. It's a matter of taste. Clearly you don't share my taste in this matter and that's fine.
    Is this a clarification of what your intent was, or are you saying this is what you actually said in your original post? (...of which the latter would simply not be true...your objection in your op was not expressed merely as a matter of taste, but instead stated as an absolute...)

  • #17
    This part struck me as odd:
    And heres where we get to the fun part. Were controlling for 4th Editions reaction creep by adding the reaction to the action economy. You get one, and thats it. Not only is the Defender themes disadvantage-granting ability a once-per-round ability, but it also eats up your ability to use other reactions.
    Don't we only have on reaction in 4e? So to control the reaction creep we are doing it the same way that led to the reaction creep? Maybe they are getting rid of interrupts or opportunity actions too, but Tom doesn't mention that.

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  • #18
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    The action economy in 5e is so far one of my favorite things about it.

    One reaction per turn makes some sense, and probably doesn't bog things down too much. The problem in 4e, IMO, wasn't so much the existence of these things as it was the PREPONDERANCE of these things. Our Defender-theme cleric has one special move to do when it's not their turn. No one else does. It shouldn't be a frequent thing.
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  • #19
    Quote Originally Posted by El Mahdi View Post
    I hardly think that twice in a 12 paragraph, 500+ word article qualifies as using a word too much
    And I pretty clearly think it *is* too much. "Too much" is a matter of taste.

  • #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    The problem in 4e, IMO, wasn't so much the existence of these things as it was the PREPONDERANCE of these things. Our Defender-theme cleric has one special move to do when it's not their turn. No one else does. It shouldn't be a frequent thing.
    It would be very easy for my to build five pregens in 4e with only three levels each, and only have one character that uses reactions. I think it is too soon to say how frequent they will be in 5e.

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