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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    How is your fighter built? 18 STR and bastard sword +2 would be a crit of 16+2d6. Drop the sword to +1 and we're still looking at 15+1d6. Exchange bastard sword for weapon focus with a longsword, we're still looking at 14+1d6. That's before any Iron Armbands (the fighter in my game doesn't have them, but I know they're pretty popular!).
    Well he did say it was a throwing hammer, that may well have been mundane(I don't invest in magic ranged weapons for my melee characters) 1d6 maxed +4 is 10 maybe it was a +1 hammer for the extra 3 or maybe he was a dwarf with dwarven weapon training although then I can't think where the other 1 would come from without 20 STR off the top of my head. Either way 13 on a crit with a throwing hammer seems fine.
    Last edited by Fazza; Sunday, 30th September, 2012 at 04:01 PM.

 

  • #22
    Quote Originally Posted by B.T. View Post
    (a) At-will powers are junk.
    The rogue in particular had difficulty with his at-wills. He wanted to use his Sly Flourish ability, so he rolled a melee basic attack.
    This sounds like a nasty presentation issue. And there is one there. The Essentials Thief is much easier from that perspective, and so are the other e-classes.

    The druid was just a mess. He got the basic idea of at-wills (and used his flame seed power to some effect), but he was really lost when it came to wild shaping and using his at-will attacks, especially when he could use them on AOOs as a basic attack.
    *wince* I know why the PHB 2 druid was made the way it was. It's quite obviously attempting to cover much of the territory staked out by the 3e druid and slightly paranoid not to repeat the overwhelming power of the 3.5 druid. The druid really isn't a class I'd recommend for beginners.

    In summary: there need to not be at-will special attack powers. As it says in the Bible: "Let your basic attack be a basic attack."
    As a wizard, ewww. I want a variety of at will spells. As a monk I want my at will approaches. I thrive on flexibility and versatility.

    As a fan of Essentials, this is mostly a solved issue with the post-Essentials martial classes. Variously:

    The Fighter has a melee basic attack with At Will Stances that modify it until you enter another one. The same applies to the Scout (Two Weapon Ranger).

    The Thief has a melee basic attack and At Will tricks that allow them to move and that impact their attack until the end of the turn. You use your move action to set up your attack.

    The Hexblade has one Melee Basic Attack At Will and one Ranged Basic Attack At Will. No confusion here at all.

    (b)The striker role should not exist.
    In the combat, the strikers did the majority of the work. My warpriest hit a few times, doing a paltry 1d6 + 3 damage. The gloomblade, on the other hand, was doing 1d10 + 7 damage, and the rogue (when he finally managed a sneak attack) was doing 1d4 + 2d6 + 6 damage. There wasn't much in the way of healing needed in the battle, so I felt somewhat useless. Also, the druid's flame seed did pitiful damage.
    Here I disagree. There needs to be a "vanilla" role. And doing a bit of extra damage in place of cool stuff is the best way to get there. A defender who gets provoked normally outdamages a striker, and healing can be a gamechanger. But strikers and controllers being merged is definitely something to be thought about.

    As for the flame seed, it's meant for clearing out chaff. Not the one I'd choose (that would be Magic Stone or Grasping Tides). But the way you use flame seed is that minions have one hit point. You hit a target in the centre of the minion mob and all minions around him are torched automatically. In a fight against ordinary enemies it's pretty weak. In one that's minion heavy it's worthwhile (and would, I believe, have been the only at will power the party had capable of killing two enemies at once). This is one use for controller at will powers - options, options, and more options. Playing a controller IMO is like using a swiss army knife - you have an interesting collection of tools, and hope that one of these oddly shaped things is right for the job.

    You have IMO a classic problem with healing in that party - you have too much of it. Two leaders out of five is just too many in any game I've been in. One leader as a panic button is great. Two? Not so much. Between you you're going to take the tension out of the fight.

    (c) Round-by-round tracking sucks.
    Agreed. In each specific case I can see why it was done that way. But this is a case were it would be better to go for less simulation.

    (d) Forced movement is awesome.
    Very much so! Especially if you have interesting terrain. One of my maxims of 4e combat is that monsters belong in their own pit traps. If you're going to have a battlemat at all, forced movement makes it sing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uller View Post
    However, IMO, 4e has made basic attacks so ineffective in many cases that they tend to get neglected to the point were melee PCs don't even bother having a decent option for a ranged attack or vice versa.
    This isn't my experience for the melee PCs. If you're strength based you carry javelins. If dex based, you carry a bow or a couple of throwing daggers. And if you're based on something else unless you're a battlemind you have a ranged at will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uller View Post
    As I mentioned in the 4e/5e hybrid thread, I think there is something else horribly wrong with at-wills...even when you know how to use them, for everyone (other than strikers), they suck. A first level fighter doing d12+5 damage will take about 3 hits (and about 4 rounds) to kill a 1st level mook. When a fight is down to characters using at-wills, it has become boring because everyone feels like they are shooting tanks with rifles.
    When you're down to at wills, the battle should be almost over. Also I can not think of any characters I've played who had at wills that all sucked. Thinking of my various non-strikers:

    Berserker: Aggressive Lunge (ersatz Tide of Iron), Stalk and Strike. Forced movement is awesome. As is an extra shift mixed with a defender aura to get right into where the enemy doesn't want me.

    Bard (multiple): Guiding Strike, Vicious Mockery, and Jinx Shot. Vicious Mockery is one of the most fun powers in the game, OK, so mechanically it isn't great. But it's Vicious Mockery. Guiding Strike gives everyone a 2 point bonus to hit. Worthwhile. Jinx Shot is fun. Knocks people over if they mess up.

    Invoker: Hand of Radiance boosted by Power of the Moon. How can you not like a triple target attack-and-debuff. Often preferable to my encounter powers.

    Paladin: You have a point. One of my two at wills was an MBA and the other was Enfeebling Strike.

    Warlord: Brash Assault, Commander's Strike, Direct the Strike. Commander's Strike/Direct the Strike: Give the striker a basic attack instead of taking one myself. Fun - and powerful. Brash Assault: Attack my enemy and offer him a chance to hit back. If he does then the striker gets a swing. As possibly does the defender. Backed by me in character bombarding the enemy with insults. Great fun.

    Wizard: Freezing Burst and Storm Pillar. There were times I used both these powers in preference to my encounter powers. Storm pillar is very situational (and very nice when it works). But freezing burst was an at will AoE that did decent damage, slid people, and that I could fairly happily ground-zero with two cold-resistant party members.

    But what links almost all the at will powers I pick is that they aren't simple stabs.

  • #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferratus View Post
    I think I disagree on your assessment that everyone should do good damage. One of the frustrations I have with prior editions now that I've played 4e is that there is a strong emphasis, no matter what class you pick, to build a character that minimizes damage in, and maximizes damage out.

    While I don't miss much about 4e, I do miss the fact that it emphasized teamwork. I liked the fact that people worked together to achieve a common goal by different means.

    I think you can avoid the "useless" feeling by simply being very good at a certain role. As my wife put it, she didn't like anything but strikers until she played a pacifist cleric. As a pacifist cleric she could roll really high numbers on the dice and it didn't really matter to her that it wasn't damage.

    So I think using roles can work, as long as you allow for high dice roles at what they do. 5e is an absolute disaster on this front, since they've kept classes doing varying damage, but haven't put in any mechanics that force players to work together or give them compensation for less damage. I'm particularly looking at the warlock and sorcerer here.
    Bingo! I totally agree!!!! Monsters need to be more dangerous and PCs need to be scaled back. Make the PCs work like a team.

  • #24
    I should clarify: it's not that at-will powers are junk (which I wrote in haste); it's that at-will powers that replace your basic attacks are junk. In my experience, players want to say "I attack." They don't want to look through a list of special attacks they can do. They just want to attack with a very normal attack.

    If you want to create an at-will power that does something differently from stabbing, that's fine, but don't create an at-will stab that is a stab with a piddly bit difference.
    Last edited by B.T.; Sunday, 30th September, 2012 at 06:59 PM.

  • #25
    Quote Originally Posted by B.T. View Post

    (a) At-will powers are junk.
    (b) The striker role should not exist.
    (c) Round-by-round tracking sucks.
    (d) Forced movement is awesome.
    I have to say that I disagree with a through c and agree with d (I'm sure unsurprisingly).

    (a) This one baffles me and I've heard this one before. The position must boil down to (i) "leisure pursuits should be lacking in any complexity" or (ii) "RPG mechanics should be lacking in any complexity" rather than (iii) "At-will powers are too complex for the innumerable deltas the world over." We live in societies where algebra should be mastered by 6th graders. In light of that, how in the world are At-will powers complex? Its objectively not true. 1[W] + [relevant modifier] and some effect specific to the role of the class. Bursts and blasts follow the same rule except against multiple targets. What could be more intuitive? We understand the number "1". "W" is weapon dice (or its explicated as an implement attack) and the relevant effect is fully fleshed out. It takes minimal comprehension. Now if you want to say (i) or (ii) rather than (iii) than that is a matter of preference...and I agree with neither. My PCs are your standard business professionals (an accountant turned air traffic controller, an IT professional, a Chemist). They are slightly above average intelligence but there are no geniuses here. If we're setting the bar so low as to say that At-will powers are objectively complex then, wow, we are in a very sad state of being. If we can expect 6th graders to master Algebra then I don't think expecting mastery of At-wills to be asking too much.

    (b) I think this comes from a long-standing mis-allocation of the value of intangibles versus the easily discernible value of intangibles. This is a long refrain in human history as the service industry (lending or moving goods to out of the way areas specifically) has long had its value misunderstood and those who have performed these services have been castigated for advantaging them and expecting a return. The effect of damage has 1st order sensory input. It requires no 2nd or 3rd order evaluation in order to understand the effect of HP attrition. The implications of "control and buff effects" on the total, relative action economy output of two sides is more complex...therefore more easily misunderstood (for better or worse). The value of damage is great because, yes, "the greatest status effect is dead." However, a well-played, potent controller/leader/defender will change the scope/script of a battle, through 2nd and 3rd order implications on total action economy output that a striker cannot touch. Is "damage more fun?" I don't know. Maybe. Again, that is preference. I know plenty of folks who love playing controllers/leaders/defenders because they find them not only more fun but that their intangible output on encounter dynamics vastly outweighs that of a striker.

    (c) This is a tough one. There are only so many ways you get tactical depth into a game. If abilities are just permanent or all end of encounter then suddenly they lose their tactical depth. You just throw them out there at the beginning of the encounter because you want to leverage their effects for as many rounds as possible. There is no "right time" that must be adjudicated by a tactical minded player. There is only a "wrong time" in that case; any time after "as soon as possible." If the choice is (i) lose this round by round tactical depth and lose the book-keeping versus (ii) keep the book-keeping but keep the round by round tactical depth...I'll easily take (ii). This, like most things in DMing is just developing the acumen and improving on your efficiency/multi-tasking capability. I personally found long-term buffs and the adjudication of their length relative to the pace of the game that you have set forth to be 3 times as maddening (as I had to keep them in mind as we're moving along for several hours worth of play...and many of those buffs were enormously impactful and must be sitting in the forefront of your mind as a GM as they interacted intensely with all scenes and the limits of PC's perceptive, and other, capibilities) and considerably more open to "PC-negotiation/bartering" (and there is little more that I hate as a DM than keeping all of these game-altering effects in the forefront of my mind for an entire session while trying to focus on optimizing my creative reservoir and creating good fiction for the PCs to interact with...and the inevitable pace and immersion defiling effects of negotiating with PCs, when negotiation of open-ended effects is warranted.).

    (d) I absolutely agree on this one. There is little I want more in my combats than a mobile dynamic combat that works out of standard action economy rules. "Rock-em, sock-em robots", zero-movement, "stop-action combat" is gut-wrenchingly boring and un-immersive (my opinion, not a fact). Immediate actions broke the "stop-action" aspect and simulated combatants' ability to dynamically respond to threats/combat scenarios (specifically in ways that play to archetype). Forced movement broke the "rock-em, sock-em robots", "zero-movement" aspect of things and simulated combatants ability to either (i) subtly wrong-foot opponents through great footwork, manipulate opponents through fakes, feints, dekes and aggressive sword-play, etc or to (ii) physically impose one's self onto another person (shouldering them, pushing them, shield-bashing them, etc) or (iii) grab someone by their jerkin or their arm and throw them or pull them etc. Further, it allowed for all manner of spell-casting ability to dynamically do the same (iv) (either through physical impact, causing enemies to panic from fire, etc, telekinesis or fear/illusory effects). I absolutely love the advent of i - iv.

    If "right time" battlefield control options, immediate actions, forced movement, tactical mobility (shifts, etc) are unavailable for a wide breadth of classes (module I'm sure) in 5e, there is absolutely no way I'll have any interest in the product. I won't play a combat-centered RPG where the tactical depth or dynamism of play that I'm now accustomed to is unrealized.
    Last edited by Manbearcat; Sunday, 30th September, 2012 at 07:37 PM.

  • #26
    If we can expect 6th graders to master Algebra than I don't think expecting mastery of At-wills to be asking too much.
    I think you overestimate the intelligence of most gamers. Most gamers are, by and large, of average intelligence. And, given the people I've gamed with, I'd say that there are a fair number who are below average intelligence and/or simply don't "get" rules easily. (You'd be surprised at how hard it is to get people to understand rolling 1d20 + their skill bonus.)

    There was one very clearly dumb player in the 4e game I played. The other two I'm unsure of, but they didn't really "grok" things like Sly Flourish. When the rogue had his dagger attack written on his sheet, he didn't "get" rolling Dexterity vs. AC and adding 1[W] + Dexterity + Charisma. He kept rolling his basic melee attack.

  • #27
    Quote Originally Posted by B.T. View Post
    If you want to create an at-will power that does something differently from stabbing, that's fine, but don't create an at-will stab that is a stab with a piddly bit difference.
    Not disagreeing. I think one of the reasons I'm very happy with 4e is I always put together something where my at wills are distinct from a basic attack (to the point my Warlord was using his MBA when he was tanking to fill a hole because his at wills wouldn't work properly).

    Do you think it would have worked better if you'd renamed "Sly Flourish" something like "Sneaky Stab" - and/or made it an MBA? Because Sly Flourish basically is the rogue's standard attack power if they have it.

    Oh, and my suggestion to vastly improve that game would be to try to convince the warlord player to play a Knight. It sounds as if it's roughtly what he wants to play and should prevent him getting confused - knights only have basic attacks and stances. On the other hand whenever (1/turn) anyone next to the knight does something other than attack the knight the knight gets a free swing.

    Try to move away? Free swing. Try to shift away? Free swing. Try to attack someone else? Free swing. Try to take an opportunity attack on the rogue because the rogue just mooned them knowing that this will provide distraction for the knight? Free swing. One free swing/round and you're ahead of the strikers in the damage stakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manbearcat View Post
    (a) This one baffles me and I've heard this one before.
    See above. We have variously:
    1: Sly Flourish being the rogue's main attack. The rogue should always have come with a viable MBA and this is IMO a design defect in the class.
    2: The Druid with a situational At Will that wasn't right for that situation. (Did he have all three at will powers he was entitled to)
    3: A confused Warlord by the sounds of things.

    (b) I think this comes from a long-standing mis-allocation of the value of intangibles versus the easily discernible value of intangibles.
    It comes down more to the situation on the ground. B.T. didn't see a defender in play. (And certainly hasn't seen Provoke Tactics in action). They have two first level leaders in the party, and given that leaders have limited times to be useful an overabundance of them makes them less useful. And the druid had no minions to control and wasn't a focussed controller and so was operating little differently to a sub-striker.

    This means that one of the four roles wasn't in play, and two were playing to their weaknesses. Of course strikers appeared the strongest. It has nothing to do with intangibles, just the case study.

    (c) This is a tough one. There are only so many ways you get tactical depth into a game. If abilities are just permanent or all end of encounter then suddenly they lose their tactical depth.
    My continuation 4e solution is to make everything imposed until the end of the victim's next turn unless otherwise stated, and everything zone-based until the end of the caster's next turn unless otherwise stated. And the otherwise is either (save ends) or (end of encounter) going forward. This weakens some powers and makes timing them more important - but it cleans things up from (End of victim's next turn/start of victim's next turn/end of attacker's next turn/start of attacker's next turn/(Save Ends)). You seem to have an excluded middle there.

  • #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.T. View Post
    I think you overestimate the intelligence of most gamers. Most gamers are, by and large, of average intelligence. And, given the people I've gamed with, I'd say that there are a fair number who are below average intelligence and/or simply don't "get" rules easily. (You'd be surprised at how hard it is to get people to understand rolling 1d20 + their skill bonus.)

    There was one very clearly dumb player in the 4e game I played. The other two I'm unsure of, but they didn't really "grok" things like Sly Flourish. When the rogue had his dagger attack written on his sheet, he didn't "get" rolling Dexterity vs. AC and adding 1[W] + Dexterity + Charisma. He kept rolling his basic melee attack.
    I don't think an average new or casual gamer wants to spend a lot of time "mastering" the rules of a game, especially when new to the game. The new and casual gamers I see at the club at school are interested in D&D, and want to sit, listen to a brief explanation, and begin playing.
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  • #29
    @B.T.

    Accepting what you say as true then I don't care to accommodate the "least-common-denominator" in the least bit. If this is true then I absolutely (and implacably) hold that this is a matter of industry and will rather than genetic deficiency. We do not have a gigantic horde of genetically inferior fools walking amongst us. We very likely have a large swath of lazy (intellectually and otherwise) people amongst us as laziness, lack of industry and willingness to get away with whatever the greater cultural body lets you get away with is as fundamental to human primal programming as breathing. I'm not interesting in incentivizing or catering to poor behavior. If you cannot put forth the absurdly minimal, requisite mental exertion to learn a transparent and intuitive rule-set (that you are pro-actively, willfully, investing in as a leisure pursuit and therefore acknowledging that it is in some way important to you and further acknowledging that you are accepting the social accord of courtesy toward the others who are investing their own time), then I have no interest in being "inclusive" of your interests (and thus enabling that sort of behavior and contributing to the feedback). To be honest, I find the entitled expectations of the lazy and the parasitic to be repugnant (Full disclosure: I have a lot of close personal experience with this, and the emotional baggage that comes with it, as a former sibling, now dead from suicide after birthing 3 children and contributing nothing but misery to their lives, held me and my family hostage for 30 + years with this exact modus operandi. Beyond that, I see it at my work and other areas of my life regularly. Its absolutely destructive to the host body and punishes the "good" and "responsible" and "duty-bound".).

    There is no such thing as being "unable" to learn the concept of At-wills given the ridiculously low-bar of intellectual requirement for the mechanic. "Unwilling?" Ok. I'll accept that as the explanation. However, I won't accept that willful, poor behavior as the demographic that should be primarily catered to in the design of anything (game design or other).

  • #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post

    See above. We have variously:
    1: Sly Flourish being the rogue's main attack. The rogue should always have come with a viable MBA and this is IMO a design defect in the class.
    2: The Druid with a situational At Will that wasn't right for that situation. (Did he have all three at will powers he was entitled to)
    3: A confused Warlord by the sounds of things.
    Understood. However, which, again, all of these cases is a misapplication or misunderstanding of the rules. Sly Flourish "as MBA" is intuitive. I'm not sure how you get most of the singular misunderstandings/misapplications in the group outlined in the initial post, let alone the confluence of all of them. As a thesis, it tells us nothing other than "people have misunderstood/misapplied these sets of rules leading to this, easily extrapolated, mess of a session/encounter and its subsequent negative feelings for the /misunderstood and misapplied/ ruleset". It doesn't say "At-wills are an opaque, esoteric concept beyond the pale of reasonable expectation of standard human understanding."


    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    It comes down more to the situation on the ground. B.T. didn't see a defender in play. (And certainly hasn't seen Provoke Tactics in action). They have two first level leaders in the party, and given that leaders have limited times to be useful an overabundance of them makes them less useful. And the druid had no minions to control and wasn't a focussed controller and so was operating little differently to a sub-striker.

    This means that one of the four roles wasn't in play, and two were playing to their weaknesses. Of course strikers appeared the strongest. It has nothing to do with intangibles, just the case study.
    With the intangibles contention I was more addressing a wider issue that I have seen many-a-time throughout the years rather than the discord that you have outlined in your response to the lead post. You had already canvassed that discord so I saw little value in me recounting it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    My continuation 4e solution is to make everything imposed until the end of the victim's next turn unless otherwise stated, and everything zone-based until the end of the caster's next turn unless otherwise stated. And the otherwise is either (save ends) or (end of encounter) going forward. This weakens some powers and makes timing them more important - but it cleans things up from (End of victim's next turn/start of victim's next turn/end of attacker's next turn/start of attacker's next turn/(Save Ends)). You seem to have an excluded middle there.
    This isn't a middle that I have excluded (nor would I exclude it). Its a middle that the lead post (and those that have the same position) sometimes exclude. I'm more than happy to have a unification of these effects within a centralized time/mechanic...so long as it is premised upon pro-active adjudication by the player/DM toward the means of inventorying their available resources and enforcing dynamical decision-points for players/DM to bring to bear the "right tactical choice at the right time" toward the end of "winning the encounter/conflict."

    I just said that "losing it entirely" solves "book-keeping" issues while provoking a new problem; the loss of "right-now, pro-active, tactical decision-making with regards to buff/control/status effects."

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