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




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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mika
    In regard to the "5 minute adventuring day", one problem is that there are only story/world reasons not to take a long rest whenever you can -- there are few if any mechanical rewards for pressing on. In 4E, milestones get you extra daily magic item uses (eventually nixed) and action points (which are of diminishing value if you start accumulating more than you expect to be able to use that day). In prior editions, the only reward for pressing on is that you might go into a new encounter with your buffs from a previous encounter still in effect -- not much incentive if you have time to rest up, regain all of your resources, and re-cast those buffs. All you lose from taking an extended rest is time -- and the value of the lost time is strictly up to DM fiat.
    This is a problem that can be solved with some solid DM advice, mostly. Use a carrot and a stick, and you have basic methodology. There are few D&D situations where some combination of XP, safe havens, deadly wilderness, night-time encounters, and enemy resupply or flight won't have some noticeable effect.

    It's also something you can add mechanics to, if you want. A specific note in the adventure about what happens when the party takes a rest.

    The big idea is just to keep that in mind, to not allow the challenge to be tackled bit-by-bit, because in that case, the challenge becomes diminished: the PC's can recover, but the enemies remain static, making it inevitable that they'll win eventually.

    Quote Originally Posted by tuxego
    Instead of housing such a distinction in Themes, perhaps WotC could house the distinction in sub-classes, thus:
    (1) The Arcanist, who gets no At-Wills but does get Ritual Casting;
    (2) The Mage, who gets At-Wills and School Specialization but no Rituals; and
    (3) The Witch, who gets one At-Will and a Familiar. ("Sound familiar?")

    That way, even people who don't use Backgrounds and Themes could still play the type of Wizard they prefer. ("It's an ideal solution!")
    Sure. As long as it is possible to play a wizard that doesn't employ at-will magic, it remains possible to play the kind of wizard that people who cut their teeth pre-3e might expect, and that's important. That playstyle shouldn't be discounted. Not EVERYONE wants to do something magical every turn. Some people prefer to play a game in which magic is not ubiquitous in play.
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  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Can't the GM vary the levels of the encounters, and/or their composition. Then the challenge will change even if the PCs are mechanically always the same going in. (This is what I used to do in my Rolemaster game, when the PCs were almost always at full strength going in - because when they got low on resources they would teleport home and rest up!)
    Hmmh, i am not a big fan of setting the encounter in a way that the PC´s will be able to take them down if they spend all their resources. In my opinion it is a big part of D&D to manage your resources. As much as I like the 4e method, in actual play, it gets repetitive fast.
    It is not that encounter powers are bad per se, but the game relies on them too much. If you had some encounter powers, that you can use situationally, like a take down maneuver it is ok... but if you blow them out every encounter, just because they do more damage, I don´t like it. Especially if they have silly names that need to be shouted before the action.
    So, if your encounter powers are situational, not doing more damage than your usual attacks, but e.g. let you trip a foe once per encounter, it is ok, as yu manage your resources during a fight. Also if they don´t do more damage, it does not matter if a gelatinous cube can´t be affected.

    In some way it is like the executioner assassin who has at will powers that are situational, but usually relies on basic attacks. I have found much pleasure in using base attack round after round, and only using a guild at will once in a while. This is more or less how I want fighter maneuvers to work. Base attack as your default attack mode: "I attack", and sometimes, if the situation is right: "trip attack and move back".

  • #33
    Quote Originally Posted by UngeheuerLich View Post
    Hmmh, i am not a big fan of setting the encounter in a way that the PC´s will be able to take them down if they spend all their resources. In my opinion it is a big part of D&D to manage your resources. As much as I like the 4e method, in actual play, it gets repetitive fast.
    It is not that encounter powers are bad per se, but the game relies on them too much. If you had some encounter powers, that you can use situationally, like a take down maneuver it is ok... but if you blow them out every encounter, just because they do more damage, I don´t like it. Especially if they have silly names that need to be shouted before the action.
    So, if your encounter powers are situational, not doing more damage than your usual attacks, but e.g. let you trip a foe once per encounter, it is ok, as yu manage your resources during a fight. Also if they don´t do more damage, it does not matter if a gelatinous cube can´t be affected.

    In some way it is like the executioner assassin who has at will powers that are situational, but usually relies on basic attacks. I have found much pleasure in using base attack round after round, and only using a guild at will once in a while. This is more or less how I want fighter maneuvers to work. Base attack as your default attack mode: "I attack", and sometimes, if the situation is right: "trip attack and move back".
    I totally agree with every word.

    And this Sand in the Eyes deal, what if you're in a hermetically sealed, bare, adamantium chamber, as a DM you would veto that power in that encounter, right?

  • #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    This is a problem that can be solved with some solid DM advice, mostly.
    Call me crazy, but if I find that the game mechanics clash frequently with the story, as they do 95% of the time when I'm not running a classic dungeon in the room 15 has 3 orcs and room 16 a gelatinous cube sense, the most obvious solution is not to fix the story and instead to do something with the mechanics so you can have, say, a murder mystery with a big fight at the end without being forced to add three pointless fights before that and find a way to make the party do all the investigation within 24 hours under the penalty of more pointless fights.

    Also, long sentences.

  • #35
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    I feel like they've repeatedly shown that they're completely ignoring the problem with the 5-minute workday. And I guess it's very D&D to do so, but it's a big black eye on the system for me all the same

    As a DM, I can fix all kinds of system problems. I'd just as soon not.
    As a PC, I can totally avoid resource manipulation. But why do I have to?

  • #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Someone
    Call me crazy, but if I find that the game mechanics clash frequently with the story, as they do 95% of the time when I'm not running a classic dungeon in the room 15 has 3 orcs and room 16 a gelatinous cube sense, the most obvious solution is not to fix the story and instead to do something with the mechanics so you can have, say, a murder mystery with a big fight at the end without being forced to add three pointless fights before that and find a way to make the party do all the investigation within 24 hours under the penalty of more pointless fights.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney Thompson
    From there, we want the DM to be able to do as he or she pleases with regard to adventure and encounter design (coupled, of course, with lots of advice); if the DM wants to run a single, massive combat encounter that eats up the whole budget for the adventuring day, that's fine! However, thanks to the XP budgeting system and the adventure design guidelines, this should mean that the single massive encounter lasts about as long as a more traditional adventuring day with several smaller skirmishes, thus keeping adventures paced correctly and the classes balanced against one another.
    Any reason that won't work?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    Any reason that won't work?
    “…And that’s how we realized” said Thorg, the unusually clever and articulated barbarian of Int 5 and Cha 3 played by John ‘munchkin’ Thompson “that the murderer couldn’t be the butler, and instead was the hound master with the help of a highly trained monkey!”

    “Yes!” exclaimed the houndmaster” And I would have gotten away if it wasn’t for you meddling adventurers! Hahahahahaha! Prepare to face three waves of enemies before you can actually fight me, a tactic I learned from this ‘villany for MMORPG foes’ book!”

    “Fool! Our buffs will last from one fight to the other!”

    “I’ll cast an extra strong Dispel Magic after each phase!”

    “YOU MONSTER!!!”




    Hmmmmm.... No, still not convinced.

  • #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Someone
    Prepare to face three waves of enemies before you can actually fight me, a tactic I learned from this ‘villany for MMORPG foes’ book!”

    “Fool! Our buffs will last from one fight to the other!”

    “I’ll cast an extra strong Dispel Magic after each phase!”

    “YOU MONSTER!!!”
    Y'know, solos in 4e manage to be as powerful as a group 16 lesser enemies without resorting to gamey tricks like phases or buff-negation.

    This just continues to scale that up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Someone
    Hmmmmm.... No, still not convinced.
    Cynic.
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  • #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    Y'know, solos in 4e manage to be as powerful as a group 16 lesser enemies without resorting to gamey tricks like phases or buff-negation.

    This just continues to scale that up.
    After all the bashing solos got in 4e (which I'm not mentioning as an example of what's good) for being grindy, a battle with something or a combination of somethings 4 times as long is worrying.

    Anyway, the point is that the resource system is conditioning how I must design that encounter and by extension the story. Either by making it extra strong in some way or another, or adding additional encounters beforehand, or threaten the players with enemies while they rest, or reinforcing the opposition. (Why do the bad guys have reinforcements always? If a team of highly motivated, buffed to the tetth and seemingly invulnerable individuals have been doing hit and runs on your side for two days with a partial score of 0-30 deaths for the outside team, I'd expect morale to be low)

    It's like having a car that breaks down if you drive it more than 30 miles a day, so you buy a new house, change job and look for a new girlfriend who lives nearby so you don't have to drive over the mile limit. Fix the damn car, ffs!

    Cynic.
    Whatever.

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    ř Ignore Crazy Jerome
    You can't entirely fix the 15-minute workday problem with mechanics. (At least not with elegant ones that people will want to use.) That's why there will always need to be DM advice, especially articulating the main tricks that good DMs already use today.

    OTOH, a well-designed game can provide tools to help the DM, so that he doesn't need to do all the heavy lifting himself. The wandering monster gimmick is one such tool. Like any tool, it only works if it is in tune with the game and the advice. So we find, not surprisingly, that wandering monsters work great in operational play where the goal is "get the treasure"--not always so hot outside those parameters.

    A well-designed game can also provide mild systematic encouragement for the players to go in a useful direction. Think of this latter stuff as akin to those temporary chains they put up in stores to route people when the lines get long. Do those chains stop you from crossing them? If there was a real need to cross them, would it matter if you did? No. Yet, as been observed, it is a characteristic of a free society that, given the need, the people will form a line. Sometimes, they just need a prod.

    I do agree with KM's point as a starting place. Determine the playstyles supported and write the advice first. Then find tools that will work to aid the DM and players in pursuing those styles and following that advice. Building the tool in isolation is making assumptions that may not hold.

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