Thread: 4e/5e hybrid...
27th September 2012, 06:01 PM #1
My son and I played a 5e game over the weekend. In just over 2 hours with a party of 3 5th level characters (Elf Archer/Bounty Hunter, Dwarf Cleric/Soldier and NPC human thief) he:
Explored a town/interacted with NPCs for leads on a wizard his elf is hunting
Followed trail of the wizard to an abandoned watch tower and found him killed and his lair ransacked by raiders (apparently orcs)
fought the ghoul/servant of the dead wizard (wight with some immobilizing powers) that was guarding his body.
Used speak with dead and found out that the killers included a wizard after knowledge to control magical beasts.
ambushed by 5 orcs outside of a cave, turned into a tough fight as some orcs scored some lucky hits
healed a little, found a secret entrance to orc lair
surprised 3 orcs in lair and quietly dispatched them.
avoided a trap overwatched by 2 orogs
surprised and killed the orogs
found clues to another trap, ignored them, fell in a poison spike pit but luckily avoided getting poisoned (lose 1 HD per failed save per hour then die...that's right...die. It's poison...you should have heeded the sign that said "Poisoned pit trap ahead!").
found orog lair, killed two more orogs,
found 3 goblin slaves and killed them ("they would just lie anyway")
found room with a healing puzzle but missed clues and moved on
discovered lair of a rival wizard behind first wizards murder.
Avoided pit trap that would have dropped a PC into a cave/maze with a minotaur.
killed the wizard but not before he released the minotaur.
Healed up a bit more (fireball nearly killed the thief and the cleric) before minotauar arrived.
Killed minotaur (too easily?).
Returned to town with some treasure and 2500xp and a feeling of accomplishment.
A complete adventure played out in 2 hours and 10 minutes. I spent maybe 30 minutes creating the adventure and my son thought I had downloaded it somewhere.
Granted, if this was played with 3 or 4 players each controlling one PC it would have taken longer with role-playing and less coordination...but still...3 hours max. This is how D&D should be, although there were a couple times he felt a little too easy.
So afterwards I asked my son (he's 14) what he likes better. 5e with no hesitation. "We get so much more done!". He also likes that traps outside of encounters can still have some consequences. This weekend he has a friend coming over to play some 5e. This kid and his dad occasionally play 1e. He tried 4e and hated it.
So...since 5e is not coming out any time soon and we have two 4e campaigns going with two different groups that are at 6th and 8th level...how do we snag some of that 5e mojo to pick up the pacing of our 4e game.? In other threads I've already gotten a lot of tips for making 4e play faster and there is much to 4e that I very much enjoy. So I don't want to abandon 4e...just want to get it to that point where we can play at a pace similar to what we got with 5e.
So I'm thinking one of our games, we'll do a test run with the following house rules lifted from 5e (with some of my own thrown in)...We'll try it this weekend in the Well of Demons in Thunderspire Labyrinth using RPG Table online...
- Reduce all monster HP by 50%.
- Reduce Monster and PC skills (and init?) by 1/2 level. Change skill training to +3 plus player may improve one skill per 2 levels. So an 8th level PC with a trained skill at 14 (training(5) + 1/2 level(4) + abil mod(5)) would have it be 8 plus maybe 1-4 more depending on his choices of skill improvement.
- Use 5e skill check DC calculations.
-Leave attacks and defenses unchanged (or reduce PC attacks and defenses by 1/2 level and monster attacks and defenses by level? 1/2 level? Seems easier to just leave them so I don't have to modify magic items, feats, etc)
- Action Economy: leave as is
- Charge = Std Action, move 0.5 X speed + basic atk w/ +1 bonus, must be straight line and must move at least 10' (slowed creatures can never charge).
- No action points (deciding to use them slows things down).
-Surprise Round: Move or Action. Surprised creatures don't act on their turns and attacks against them have advantage unless their turn has happened. (so if you go on init 10, attacks on you at init 11+ have advantage)
- Replace surges with hit dice: 4 hp/level = d6 HD/level, 5 hp/level=d8, 6hp/level=d10, etc.
- Expending a HD = die roll plus con modifier (my players will find this more palatable, I think).
- any power that allows/requires a character to expend a surge equals him spending up to half his HD (round up). So healing word on a 5th level fighter,he can spend 0-3 HD. Let's say he spends 2, he gets 2d10+d6 hp back.
- Use adv/dis mechanic for combat advantage and most power/feats/traits/circumstances that give +2/-2 or more (except cover and concealment).
-Saves: use appropriate ability modifier vs appropriate DC (set by spell caster's ability mod or easy, medium, hard DCs for environmental effects), example: Save vs Hypnotism to avoid falling in a fire. Wisdom Save vs 10 + Caster's Int mod.
-Ranged weapon attacks in melee are made with disadvantage
-Spell disruption rules for area and ranged spells cast in melee
-OAs provoked by moving away without shifting (no advantage...).
-Do I need to figure out a way to limit encounter powers?...Maybe they become 2X per day? So a 5th level Rogue can backstab up to 4X per day. A Cleric can Holy Word 4X day? same limit per encounter, though? Don't know...but it has to be simple.
-Dailies are fine I think. I have no strong opinion one way or the other between AEDU/Vancian/Spell points/etc...As long as it is reasonably balanced and doesn't leave a wizard or cleric player (or the DM with NPCs) having to spend inordinate amounts of time choosing things, I'm for it.
Anything else? Bad idea?"A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny." -Aesop
27th September 2012, 08:11 PM #2
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Those are fine changes you propose, however there are two factors that slow down 4e in a major way which this does not address: players choosing from an overwhelming array of options/mechanics (including out of turn actions), and using the combat grid.
Also keep in mind that some of your proposals tread on class abilities. For example, ranged attacks being disadvantaged at melee. You'll need to make a ruling on what the essential ranger's close combat archery does then. This is just an example, but I imagine there'll be lots of little corner cases like that.
What about converting to 5e whole cloth? The next playtest packet is out in October and it will cover levels 1-10, plus several folks online (myself included) are homebrewing already. This is my current plan for my next campaign which picks up where a 4e game left off only it introduces everyone's favorite characters from *any* edition...sort of "D&D All Stars".
27th September 2012, 09:04 PM #3
You and your son's experience sounds exactly like me and my 12 yo old son's experience. Just that in our case, we switched from PF BB w/ some core additions to a LBB/S&W smashup. We accomplish so much more, have eliminated the grid and pawns, and we are having much more fun as a result of both. By the end of the second OD&D session, my son was ecstatic with the changes. Me too, as I have cut my prep time by 2/3, and I'm very comfy with the older versions of the game, not nearly so when I was running PF, 3.0 or 4.0.
One thing in particular, I forgot how much I miss round by round initiative! It has made combat far more exciting for us both.
If 5E can give me a similar gaming experience then I'll be happy to throw some money WOTC's way when it arrives. I just have not been terribly fond of what I have seen so far..certain parts I dig, but more often than not I'm underwhelmed.
27th September 2012, 10:26 PM #4
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- Aug 2007
I'm guessing that the new action economy is a huge part of what makes 5e run so much more quickly. But I can also see how you wouldn't want to change that, since so much of 4e involves minor actions, interrupt powers, and so on.
Since a hybrid system like you propose would probably take quite a bit of effort to playtest and keep the players up to date on, I might tentatively suggest waiting for the next 5e playtest and just switching to that... unless your players have classes not in 5e yet that you can't easily convert, like monk or druid or whatever.
27th September 2012, 10:44 PM #5
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Smaller parties make for lightning-fast games in any edition, and not just proportionately, either. Half as many players, and you'll be done in a third or a quarter the time. My theory is that players lose focus when they wait too long for the action to get back around to them (waiting your turn in combat, or your opportunity to participate out of it), which requires reviews of what enemy or other element is which, and slows their decision-making process radically.
27th September 2012, 11:27 PM #6
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- Feb 2012
Keep going, sounds great, 5th Ed is like 1st Ed (so far...) without the crap.
28th September 2012, 08:48 PM #7
Yeah, that's all true. But my son and I often play with just the two of us with 2-3 PCs. Apples to apples, 5e is much faster and he loses focus less because he isn't overwhelmed with options....he says what he wants to do then we look to the rules to resolve it...not the other way around which is what 4e seems to encourage. My 'hybrid' won't necessarily fix that but it helps that the focus is more on at-wills and basic attacks with encounters and dailies kept more in the back pocket for when needed....at least that's my hope."A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny." -Aesop
28th September 2012, 12:26 AM #8
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Leave interrupts and reactions as is - 5e accommodates reactions.
28th September 2012, 08:31 PM #9
I ran a test encounter last night
6th level party (scout, knight, warpriest, mage) vs an EL 6 encounter for 4 characters with the following rules changes:
1/3 hp for monsters
HD (plus con mod) instead of surges
treat encounter powers as dailies (just to see what that's like)
adjusted skills by 1/2 level (training counts only as +3)
no action points
5e style saves vs DCs set by ability modifiers
The fight lasted 4 rounds (longer than I expected) and the party used the following resources:
Cleric: 2 Healing Words (one on her, one on the scout), Sunburst, Elven Accuracy, used 3 of 6 HD, 49/53hp
Knight: 1XPower Strike, 52/59 HP
Scout: used 1 of 6 HD, 51/51 hp.
Mage: None. Full HP and HD
Restricting encounter powers to being dailies is too much. Encounter powers are often what make a PC fun and exciting. So, here is the mechanic I came up with:
After a short rest, all utility encounter powers recharge and you may only recharge one encounter attack power that you used in the previous fight on a short rest. This way PCs are encouraged to stick with at-wills (which are generally plenty effective against mooks) and save the encounter attacks for when it really counts.
Changing skills didn't really change anything...it's just extra work.
No APs means you move, act and are done.
I really like the advantage mechanic.
So here is what I'm going with for an actual play session:
-Monsters get 1/3 hp and do MM3 damage
-Healing Surges become 1 HD per level (and using a HD also includes Con mod).
-Healing effects such as Healing word that require a healing surge instead allow the target to spend 0 to 1/2 his HD (round up) but the target cannot benefit from the same power again until he is wounded again (this is to prevent spamming healing word to turn each use of an HD into d8+con mod+2d6 healing...). so yes, even if you have no HD, you can still get 1d6 (or 2d6 at 6th level) from HW.
-5e style saving throws (elites and solos don't get a bonus...use their ability scores)
-Encounter Utility powers remain encounter powers (always recharge after a short rest)
-Encounter attack powers: only one that you used in the previous fight recharges on a short rest."A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny." -Aesop
27th September 2012, 11:50 PM #10
I made a number of your changes, Uller, in my most recent 4e campaign. Fights did go faster . . . but paragon level characters typically had so many options, and there were so many conditions, and so many out-of-turn and extra turn actions.
I was working on making a simpler version of 4e, for a superhero game, when the DDN stuff started coming out. Since my system would feature d20 but with bounded accuracy, I thought I would save myself the trouble and use the playtest rules.Glamour is a rocky road!