D&D 4th Edition Rule-of-Three: 07/10/2012


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  1. #1

    Rule-of-Three: 07/10/2012

    You've got questionsâ??we've got answers! Here's how it worksâ??each week, our Community Manager will be scouring all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer.

    Read Rule-of-Three: 07/10/2012 on D&D Insider here!



 

  • #2
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    ř Ignore dkyle
    The approach to Daily abilities does not seem meaningfully different than previous editions. Assuming a given adventure-length only works if there are strong mechanical reasons why the party doesn't rest as early and as often as possible, and D&D has never had that. Leaving it to the DM to balance the game by constantly inventing story reasons why the party can't rest doesn't cut it. The issue is least significant in 4E because everyone has similar amounts of Daily power. Truly balancing 5E's predominantly Daily classes vs predominantly at-will classes is impossible without strong constraints on day length.

    As for the adventure building rules, I hope they're more than just a simple XP budget. A given amount of XP on one encounter is inherently much more difficult and dangerous than that same XP spread out across many encounters.

  • #3
    You know, the answer to that third question kind of sounds like they're saying that 5E won't actually be that modular at all... If modules won't be adding new character abilities and everything will play pretty much the same whether you are using a grid or not... Then what exactly are modules going to add? If they're just going to be another form of rules supplement (like the firearms rules they mentioned) then how are they doing anything new or useful at all?

    Also, I'm not a fan of the "expected adventuring day" style of character balancing. If the game mandates a certain amount of opposition each day in order to maintain even a semblance of character balance, then I'm going to be very disappointed. I've been complaining about that problem forever, and it still won't go away.

    Couldn't they at least create a "no daily abilities at all" module? Too bad that's kinda impossible with the guidelines for what they intend to put into modules they just mentioned...

    WotC is continuing to disappoint me with what they say about 5E.

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    ř Ignore Walking Dad
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    And here a re-post of the questions with the actual answer without the marketing speech (warning: some sarcasm):

    Do you think there's a place for Spell Resistance and/or Damage Reduction in D&D Next?
    By the current rules set: Spell resistance - yes, Damage Reduction - no

    What kind of things are you guys looking at to reduce the "5-minute work day" that daily abilities can often bring to the game?
    Nothing. We even leave all semblance of encounter design behind and base math on our expected "Adventuring Day" to be enforced by the DM.

    Is the plan with D&D Next for different classes to have different attacks/actions they can do when using the tactical rules modules?
    No.

    Or is the plan for the module not to really add any more options/complexity to characters?
    There could be "core rule themes" that add options like firearms to the core rules.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkyle View Post
    The approach to Daily abilities does not seem meaningfully different than previous editions. Assuming a given adventure-length only works if there are strong mechanical reasons why the party doesn't rest as early and as often as possible, and D&D has never had that. Leaving it to the DM to balance the game by constantly inventing story reasons why the party can't rest doesn't cut it. The issue is least significant in 4E because everyone has similar amounts of Daily power. Truly balancing 5E's predominantly Daily classes vs predominantly at-will classes is impossible without strong constraints on day length.
    I agree with this concern and I think this the key fault line between those who want mechanical versus narrative drivers of pacing. I want there to be mechanical reasons to not have to rest - and this does not remove the possibility of story reasons (time sensitive missions) or practical reasons (inhabitants reacting to the PCs) etc.

    I know some dont like their mechanics up front like in 4th ed but I dont see them as overriding other dynamics and styles of pacing.

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    ř Ignore UngeheuerLich
    You know what? Yesterday I played a game where I faced a grizzly when I was only a few points from dropping dead. Why? Because the bear was attacking us (And we played a game where your hp at level 1 is 30, and you regenerate 1d6 per night)

    Oh, and no tactical options at all.

    Lets face it, all 4e mechanics to prolong the adventuring day failed. Because after all, your resources get lower over the course of the day, and if not, there is no possibility for the DM, to make harder and less hard fights, if you ecpect all resources to recover after every fight. This is exactly what makes 4e look like a skirmish game.
    And it is exactly what makes you not try to think how NOT TO FIGHT, or FIGHT WITH UNFAIR ADVANTAGE to preserve resources.

    Really, as bad as scry and teleport attacks are, the problem are those spells, not the fact that resources are used up over the course of the day.

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    ř Ignore Ahnehnois
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    The second question is concerning on the level that it seems like they are devoting a great deal of attention to adventure-based balance, resource management, and metagame concepts like XP. All of which are things that really don't have much to do with the core ruleset, and the success or failure of which doesn't affect the game much as a whole. Hopefully this is just a response to a question, not a sign that they're confusing forest and trees (again).

    The last question, on the other hand, is a better philosophy. The more you can shift rules mechanics away from being on the character sheet, the simpler characters will be, and the more tools the DM will have to create his game of choice.
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    ř Ignore Minigiant
    That second answer....
    The answer on daily spells reminds me of a Play By Post game I invented.

    The game was based on the total encounter strength of the adventure. A cakewalk battle was worth 1 encounter power. Challenging encounters where worth 3. And boss battles were 5.

    Then characters gained resources based on the encounter strength of the whole adventure. The default adventure was 10 encounter points.

    The fighter starts with about 4HP. Everyone else starts with between 0.5-4 HP.
    Then everyone got +50% HP per Encounter point of the encounter.

    So in a default adventure at level 1, the fighter had 20 HP and the wizard had 5.

    But in a shorter AD&D style cautious 5 pt game, the fighter might have 10 HP and the wizard 2-3.

    The wizard starts with 2 spells per day and 1 more per encounter point. The sorceror starts with 10 mana and 5 mana per encounter point. The rogue gets 1 Lucky points plus 1 more per encounter point.

    It was designed so with basic scheduling everyone ran out at once. You could nova or conserve resources if you wanted to though.

    It seems like the developers are doing the same. The game is designed that every resource runs out at the same time. Basically,in the past pre4E editions, each resource (HP,spell slots,power points) was designed separately and sometimes arbitrarily. So they ran out at different rates. Also every class was not given to the resources equally compares to the encounters of the adventure. So each class ran out of resources at a different rate. So someone always ran out quicker. And whoever ran out first begged the rest to stop.

    In 4E,they partially solved it by making HP the only resource that mattered when it came to stopping. But it did this by jamming everything else in a rigid AEDU system.

    So NOW they are giving back every resource their uniqueness BUT making them drain at the same rate. So now if you run out early,that is a personal choice and not a systemfeature.
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    ř Ignore MatthewJHanson
    Essentially, when we design a class, we try to build that class toward a target adventuring day, and to make sure that if the class has daily expendable resources, it has enough of them so that it will reach the "end of day" target around the same time it starts running low on expendable resources.
    So what happens if as a DM I want to run an adventuring day that lasts longer than what you planned for? What if the PCs decided they want to use up resources more quickly that what you planned for?

    So far in Caves of Chaos, we've had to retreat from each lair at least once to rest up. I'd find it much more satisfying if we got to clear out a section before resting, but we run out of daily resources (especially hp) before that can happen.

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  • #10
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    ř Ignore Kamikaze Midget
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    So,

    Q1: Mokay. Sounds good.

    Q2:Hrm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney Thompson
    Daily refresh rates on resources do not cause short adventuring days; the ratio between the number of those resources available and the length of time it takes to spend those resources is the cause.
    In other words, having # spells per day isn't the cause of the one-encounter-and-rest problem, the problem is actually (# spells per day / # challenges), where the problem was caused by a low number of challenges?

    Okay. So the problem isn't that dudes can "go nova," the problem is that they're not then forced to slog through more encounters bereft of their novas?

    Yeah, all right. But as long as resting remains in the hands of the PC's, how ya gonna enforce that?

    I've got some ideas, and I've done some math.

    Essentially, the idea is that your rewards for the "adventuring day" come at the end of the day, and that if you take a break before the end of the day, you don't get your rewards, and the challenges you're expected to face replenish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney Thompson
    This is one arena where at-will spells come in very handy; one of the biggest reasons that spellcasters often burned through their spells very quickly was a desire to always be doing something magical (thus, living up to the promise of a class whose schtick is spellcasting). At-will spells let you do magical things and thus reduce the temptation to burn daily resources.
    I still don't want to play a wizard with at-will magic. I am perfectly fine crossbowing it up half the time or more. Though I agree with Rodney's evaluation of player psychology here, I would say, "If you want magic to come free and easy all the time, that is what Warlocks are for. If you want big booms and a few of 'em, THAT is what Wizards are for."

    It's mostly about what you expect from the experience vs. what the experience delivers. As a wizard, I EXPECT to have to carefully ration my spells. If I want to do something magical all the time, I should play a Warlock, not a Wizard.

    Q3: Huh.

    I like the idea on the face of it that most modules won't require you to do anything markedly different with your character. I like the idea of using an "archer" theme for "sharpshooters," of engineering character abilities to be broad and flexible, rather than narrow and specific. I'm very fond of the idea that the effects need to be big and dramatic, regardless.

    Which means I can kiss those fiddly 4e "shift one square/push two squares/teleport your WIS modifier/skip three squares horizontally/etc." plastic-pushing bits goodbye.

    Our 5e fighters will not be steping-shifting-steping-moving-pushing-stepping.

    They may very well be knocking that ogre across the room, though.

    That's cool. That's encouraging. That makes me a little less freaked out by the fact that everyone at WotC seems to really really <3 minis combat.
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