D&D 4th Edition Working in the Game Mine - Page 4




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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by n00bdragon View Post
    I love the article's implication that you either build encounters to be challenging OR tell a story.

    Way to insult a lot of players there. Really A+ job there.
    I think you're reading too much into the article. To me, the discussion of the two basic approaches to encounter design are a simplification, in much the same way that stating that there are two sides to an edition war is a simplification.

 

  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwarder View Post
    No, I'm concerned about players saying, "oh, don't mind that guy he is only a minion".

    I don't want the first thing to define a monster be its role.
    OK. So don't tell the players the monster's role?

  • #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Fifth Element View Post
    OK. So don't tell the players the monster's role?

    The only problem with the above is that in my group as in most groups I've seen not just one person DM's the games and most players eventually buy all the base books so they all find out anyways.
    Last edited by Splurch; Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 at 12:50 AM. Reason: Left out some of the info

  • #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splurch View Post
    The only problem with the above is that in my group as in most groups I've seen not just one person DM's the games and most players eventually buy all the base books so they all find out anyways.
    Sure, but that applies to every edition. If the players know everything about the monsters anyway, what does also knowing the role do?

  • #35
    I have a question for 4E players & DMs.

    Do 4E monsters strictly conform to roles? Are monsters with the same roles likely to have similar powers and vulnerabilities?

    (For example, take the ogre mage. I can't find its 4E role on the internet--and I don't own the MM--but does this monster conform to a single role? And if, as a player, I know its role, do I know more or less what to expect from it in a fight?)

  • #36
    Someone grab a starving humanities grad student and get him to write his dissertation on this article.

    Seems like you could say that 4e took a more "Postmodernist" approach to game design. Basically, when writing up the system, they said, "We all know that we're just playing a game and trying to accomplish something through that, so let's call a spade a spade and acknowledge all of the game elements as the constructs that they are."

    The way I see it, you can go the illusionism route and say that the game mechanics rise out of the reality of the fantasy world, but if you look beyond that then you'll see that those realities exist in the first place to serve a purpose in the game. The game world and its lore don't exist until somebody thinks it up and then puts it into the game, and the designers don't bother inserting something into the fiction unless it has a useful function.

    So, throughout the whole history of the game, you've had creatures that were long-range attackers with effects that have an effect over an area and control the battlefield ("Controllers"): Wizards, liches, etc; creatures that are hard to kill and do a lot of damage ("Soldiers"): fighters, owlbears, orc warchiefs... etc. All 4e did was codify these basic trends to make it easier on DMs and help them better understand and make the most out of the information they're given on monsters' stat blocks, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by dd.stevenson View Post
    I have a question for 4E players & DMs.

    Do 4E monsters strictly conform to roles? Are monsters with the same roles likely to have similar powers and vulnerabilities?

    (For example, take the ogre mage. I can't find its 4E role on the internet--and I don't own the MM--but does this monster conform to a single role? And if, as a player, I know its role, do I know more or less what to expect from it in a fight?)
    Well, first off, unless you have seen the monster's stat block, you don't necessarily know what its role is going to be when you first see it.

    Roles are sort of a "big tent" thing. There are only a handful of them, so there is a lot of room for variety within each one. All a role tells you is a monster's basic strategy and vulnerabilities: Brutes do a lot of damage but are easy to hit, Controllers control the battlefield but are physically weak, Skirmishers are easy to hit but highly mobile, etc. Beyond that basic idea, you won't know how exactly the monster is going to achieve that until you see it in action. A controller might have a lot of AoE fireballs, or it might daze enemies and dominate the others to make them attack their dazed allies; a skirmisher might jump halfway across a large room and throw a spear, or it might shift between a group of its enemies and hit each one along the way.

  • #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Dragoslav View Post
    Well, first off, unless you have seen the monster's stat block, you don't necessarily know what its role is going to be when you first see it.

    Roles are sort of a "big tent" thing. There are only a handful of them, so there is a lot of room for variety within each one. All a role tells you is a monster's basic strategy and vulnerabilities: Brutes do a lot of damage but are easy to hit, Controllers control the battlefield but are physically weak, Skirmishers are easy to hit but highly mobile, etc. Beyond that basic idea, you won't know how exactly the monster is going to achieve that until you see it in action. A controller might have a lot of AoE fireballs, or it might daze enemies and dominate the others to make them attack their dazed allies; a skirmisher might jump halfway across a large room and throw a spear, or it might shift between a group of its enemies and hit each one along the way.
    Thanks. But my question is--are roles prescriptive? Is there such a thing as a brute that does a lot of damage and is hard to hit? A controller that is not physically weak? etc.

    Also, do any monsters have multiple roles at the same time? Might I run into a single ogre that is a brute/controller?

  • #38
    Quote Originally Posted by dd.stevenson View Post
    I have a question for 4E players & DMs.

    Do 4E monsters strictly conform to roles? Are monsters with the same roles likely to have similar powers and vulnerabilities?
    I for one can't answer that question off the top of my head, because when I'm actually running 4E, I'm not thinking in those terms, or describing in those terms. For me, all the roles are bits that I used when I was reading and/or preparing the adventure. Once I've internalized those creatures, what the players are going to get described are bunch of goblins or whatever. Sure, if a goblin lurker drops off a dark staircase and stabs someone, then disappears back into the shadows, the players may know "dang, a lurker goblin knifed me in the back." But at that point, it tends to become more personal for my players. What the player would actually say is something like, "I'll get the little sneak!"

    Granted, once the creatures hit the table, none of us are prone to think much in terms of roles, but rather to think in terms of characterization. As with one of our "social gamers" I've mentioned before, her take on the fighter was not as "defender" but rather she absorbed the basic concept of "defender" with her particular halberd-wielding fighter as "get in the monsters face and stay there,"--and then tried to do that whenever possible.

    I guess for us it is a null question. They wouldn't think in overt terms of "monster role" anymore than they would dream of asking me outright what a monster's AC or hit point total was. Nevertheless, let them hit a few such creatures several times, and they will start to get a pretty decent idea of AC and hit points, if not pin it down firmly.

    This was particularly brought out to me in a run of the playtest, when my daughter, playing her first game of D&D, did think somewhat in terms of AC and hit points. I was that analytical about games when I was her age, too. But note that it is the player and her background driving this, not the system. The older players in our group show no discernable difference on this question playing 3E, 4E, 5E or even non-D&D systems.

  • #39
    Quote Originally Posted by dd.stevenson View Post
    Thanks. But my question is--are roles prescriptive? Is there such a thing as a brute that does a lot of damage and is hard to hit? A controller that is not physically weak? etc.

    Also, do any monsters have multiple roles at the same time? Might I run into a single ogre that is a brute/controller?
    I think this is going to depend a lot on whether or not you read the guidelines on encounter balance as prescriptive or not. That is, if you read them as, "this is a balanced encounter but do what you want," you'll have a wide range of levels of different monsters, and with a few exceptions, this will blur the distinctions. A 4th level soldier is about as hard to hit as a somewhat higher level brute (but will stil play differently in most cases).

    It's also going to depend on how you mix and match. I like to sometimes mix in brutes, skirmishers, and soldiers all together, but then describe them similarly. (I don't call minions out as minions, either, except describing them as somewhat less impressive or physical, where warrranted.)

    I've got a counter question. In 3E, there isn't a dime's worth of difference in the stats of kobolds and goblins. Did your players treat them as identical?
    Last edited by Crazy Jerome; Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 at 02:30 AM.

  • #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minigiant View Post
    As long as the level, XP, and monster role is on the monster page, am okay with it.
    I thought defined roles were Going Away in 5e, both for PCs and monsters; and this made me happy. Now it's not so certain...

    The problem with defined roles is that people tend to - even subconsciously - try to fit those roles whether it makes sense or not. For example, in 4e a Fighter is defined as a Defender...fair enough, but if someone has a character in mind that is a Fighter by class but ends up more like a Striker by role, the box they have to think outside of is just that little bit thicker.

    I say leave out the named roles, but in each class' writeup put in a paragraph about several things it can be good at, maybe verging into the territory of multiple 4e-style roles in the process. In other words, leave it more up to the player's imagination as to what each character can bring to the party...

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