Why do people still play older editions of D&D? Are they superior to the current one? - Page 7
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  1. #61
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    We are managing to play two 4E campaigns that "feel" like D&D. One is more of a dungeon hack, while the other is more roleplaying-based with political intrigue. I think that the marketing rubbed people the wrong way, as well as the way certain elements of the game were presented. (I still attest that Skill Challenges were presented terribly, and my own system works much better for us.) It's still very much D&D, and the "WoW/MMORPG feel" comes down to the way DMs run it, and how the action is presented.

    I can speak only to my own experience (and my gaming circles), that we didn't want to like 4E at first. We were on the 3.5/Pathfinder train, and Paizo could do no wrong. It took so much to develop system mastery in 3.x edition and we collected so many adventures and supplements, that it stung to abandon the edition for something that was clearly very different. I had an additional chip on my shoulder because I had just published an adventure for Necromancer Games that wasn't going to be compatible with 4E. (And my magnum opus I was working on would never see the light of day due to 4E.)

    So we made fun of it. We tried to wreck the system. We tried to prove that it "wasn't D&D." We played one bad adventure (Keep on the Shadowfell) and wrote off the entire edition.

    I begrudgingly got into 4E when it was "the only game in town" due to D&D Encounters. I made many wonderful new friends who are still in my gaming groups. Then 5E came and became the dominant system for all my groups for a time.

    Now I run a mix of both 4E and 5E campaigns. I think it depends on the group which system works better. 4E has much better balance and tactical combat. 5E is more streamlined and pared down.

    Personally, I don't think I would want to go back to 3.x/PF as it has the complexity and tactical richness of 4E without the balance. OD&D/OSR games can be streamlined, but they present very few options, so I'm not a fan of those systems.
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by MwaO View Post
    5e math is literally 4e/2 math. You should expect a level 20 fighter to get a +3 magic weapon if you play in a 'typical campaign' ala page 133 of DMG, which makes the increase from levels 1-20 usually +9 additional(+2 stat, +4 proficiency, +3 weapon), where in 4e, you'd expect it likely to be +18 additional(+2.5 stat, +10 level, +4 weapon, +2 expertise).

    Ditto for important skills, which are +2+4 vs +2.5+10 or +6 vs +12.

    The big difference is 4e is super-transparent about expectations and 5e is trying to thread the needle of OSR people believing Bounded Accuracy wasn't abandoned and everyone else doing numbers as expected by running a 'typical campaign'. Which creates some problems when not everyone at WotC is aware of what Jeremy Crawford did, such as Adventurers League which hands out too many magic items, which then breaks numbers.
    Looking at the math in 4e without also looking at the target side makes it an incomplete picture. 5e is literally not 4e math in the sense that it isn't built in with the expectation of defenses rising at the same rate to produce a relatively static hit chance. So while +3 weapons might appear on the random treasure tables for a high level character, there's no expectation they will get or, more importantly, need one just to make the math work.

    And since the same limited improvement applies to PC defenses and not just NPC/monsters, there's no issue with OSR people believing bounded accuracy wasn't abandoned. Lower powered opponents can still chip away at the PCs without needing to bloat their offensive numbers while gimping their hit points and PCs don't need to pursue astronomical stats and bonuses to hit any potential enemy in the Monster Manual. The whole point of bounded accuracy is met.
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by wingsandsword View Post
    4e, in its quest for game balance and mechanical perfection, placed that over any semblance of realism. . .and the focus on perfectly balanced mechanics (that often ignored even a vague semblance of realism) is one of the things that drove complaints of it being like a "video game". . .that things players might accept in a video game RPG as just aspects of the medium wouldn't be accepted in a tabletop game because many players came to expect at least a little more nod towards simulation and realism in a tabletop RPG.
    4e is extremely good at modeling realistic expertise. A 20th level Wizard can auto-succeed on Arcana checks that would be expected to be difficult for 1st level Wizard to succeed at doing. Or a 20th level Rogue disarming a trap that might end up with a poisoned 1st level Rogue. And you'll never end up with a scenario where an untrained incompetent beats out the supercompetent expert with any consistency.

    The only way to get realistic expertise as a default of the system is to tell DMs what DCs will make the expert feel like an expert. And then build your encounters accordingly. If you don't do that, you'll end up with the Bounded Accuracy article's example of verisimilitude where the incompetent Next PC succeeds at opening the Iron Shod Door 15% of the time and the Next expert succeeds slightly more than twice that at 35% of the time. Which is completely without realism even as it is touted as such.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by MwaO View Post
    4e is extremely good at modeling realistic expertise. A 20th level Wizard can auto-succeed on Arcana checks that would be expected to be difficult for 1st level Wizard to succeed at doing. Or a 20th level Rogue disarming a trap that might end up with a poisoned 1st level Rogue. And you'll never end up with a scenario where an untrained incompetent beats out the supercompetent expert with any consistency.

    The only way to get realistic expertise as a default of the system is to tell DMs what DCs will make the expert feel like an expert. And then build your encounters accordingly. If you don't do that, you'll end up with the Bounded Accuracy article's example of verisimilitude where the incompetent Next PC succeeds at opening the Iron Shod Door 15% of the time and the Next expert succeeds slightly more than twice that at 35% of the time. Which is completely without realism even as it is touted as such.
    I agree with the overall thrust of your observation, although I think you confuse your argument by using 'realistic' to describe what you are going for. You'd actually I think be clearer by dropping realistic from your discussion and just say, "4e is extremely good at modeling expertise", which is I concur one of the problems I have with 5e's approach is that it doesn't model expertise or advantageous circumstances in the way past editions have.

    On the other hand, compared to earlier editions, 4e modelled expertise as universal, in the manner of action heroes or Star Trek bridge crew, where your expertise increased over time in all fields regardless of whether it was your field. A 30th level Wizard in 4e isn't merely competent in Arcana, but universally competent in everything. Again, whether that appeals to you depends on what you want from the system.

    As yet another take, Pathfinder takes a middle ground between 3e and 4e, by making it much easier to achieve competence outside your field while not assuming that competence automatically happens. Again, whether that appeals to you depends on what you want from the system.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Monday, 4th March, 2019 at 08:10 PM.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by MwaO View Post
    4e is extremely good at modeling realistic expertise. A 20th level Wizard can auto-succeed on Arcana checks that would be expected to be difficult for 1st level Wizard to succeed at doing. Or a 20th level Rogue disarming a trap that might end up with a poisoned 1st level Rogue. And you'll never end up with a scenario where an untrained incompetent beats out the supercompetent expert with any consistency.

    The only way to get realistic expertise as a default of the system is to tell DMs what DCs will make the expert feel like an expert. And then build your encounters accordingly. If you don't do that, you'll end up with the Bounded Accuracy article's example of verisimilitude where the incompetent Next PC succeeds at opening the Iron Shod Door 15% of the time and the Next expert succeeds slightly more than twice that at 35% of the time. Which is completely without realism even as it is touted as such.
    Yet it's utterly awful in modelling injuries. Get mauled to within an inch of your life? Rest for a while, you don't even need healing magic. . .just rest and camp and you get everything back (thanks to so many non-magical healing abilities) you can be back in action in no-time. In prior editions, if you were seriously wounded and didn't have magical healing available, it would take days (and in some cases weeks) of rest and non-magical treatment to get back in action, not just a good night's sleep.

    Giving characters the ability to non-magically force other characters to attack them (or compel them to take some kind of action), like a taunt ability from an MMORPG, was another utterly immersion-breaking, simulation-destroying aspect. It's one of the things that is most obviously something out of a video game, not a tabletop RPG.

    "Well, now you have to attack him, or else"
    "Why?"
    "Because he used an ability that says you have to"

    Giving them various non-magical tricks and abilities that somehow only work X times per day was another thing that made no sense. With magic, yes, it can make sense that magical power can run out, but when your super special fancy sword trick only works once a day that doesn't make sense as to why you can't just do it twice in a fight, other than it being a pure game rule reason which, again, flies in the face of any concept of immersion and totally destroys the idea of suspension of disbelief.

    1e, 2e, 3e. . .were all based and modeled on myths and legends, on fantasy novels (including D&D novels), and historic combat. . .4e was based on video games and didn't care if it didn't reflect anything historical, mythical, out of fantasy novels. . .or even out of prior D&D novels (like how they had to completely break Forgotten Realms into something unrecognizable to shoehorn it into 4e).

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Looking at the math in 4e without also looking at the target side makes it an incomplete picture. 5e is literally not 4e math in the sense that it isn't built in with the expectation of defenses rising at the same rate to produce a relatively static hit chance. So while +3 weapons might appear on the random treasure tables for a high level character, there's no expectation they will get or, more importantly, need one just to make the math work.
    You might want to check out page 274 in DMG. Monsters literally increase defenses and to-hit at the exact same rate that PCs are expected to get bonuses in defenses, to-hit and attack.

    Also, while you might not expect a +3 weapon, the system expects you get roughly a +3 weapon in a typical campaign. It might not be +3. It could be +2 or as high as +7. Odds are very favorable though that you get the +3 weapon and that you will get a total of 5 good number moving items per PC.
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...tem-Math-of-5e

    And a +3 weapon, when you're a Fighter that does an average of 12 damage per swing and hit 65% of the time, makes for more than a 50% increase in damage. When you take Action Surges into account, you can very easily end up in scenarios where the Fighter with the magic weapon defeats a creature in 2 rounds and the Fighter without a magic weapon takes 4 rounds.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by wingsandsword View Post
    Well, I don't want to re-ignite the Edition Wars (which was the main reason I stopped posting at ENWorld regularly). . .but suffice it to say that there are a LOT of players who strongly disagree with the idea that 4th edition is in any way even vaguely related to 3rd edition or any predecessor edition.

    One reason it was so controversial, besides as you mentioned its marketing that actively alienated many players and told many players that they were playing D&D "wrong" and 4e would show them how to play it "right", was that it seemed custom designed to divorce D&D from its entire history both in terms of setting/lore "fluff" and game rules "crunch".

    Also, many players stick with 3.5 because they didn't just see 4e as being utterly alien to D&D (to the point that if the same game had been released by another company, under another name, nobody would have thought of it as being anything but an odd d20 fantasy variant). . .and they didn't go to 5e because they see it as stripped down, dumbed down, and gutted of options and flexibility.

    I can appreciate that 5e at least looks and feels more like D&D than 4e ever did. . .but I don't play it because it removes so many options and so much functionality from the game.

    When I played 2e, I'd describe my character concept to the DM. . .and we'd work together to come up with something that worked to describe it. . .even it it was often a hideous chimera of kits, optional rules, Skills & Powers variants ect. . .but it could be done. In 3e and 3.5e, I could come up with a character concept and with multiclassing and prestige classes, feats, skills, various races and templates I could create the character. In 4e, we quickly learned that such intricate customization was verboten and that characters were much less flexible. . .and while 5e isn't as much of a straitjacket to creativity as 4e was, it's nowhere near as versatile as 3.x or even 2e (it's got better mechanics than 1e or 2e, but not the intricate customization that 2e had by the late '90's).

    I play 3.5e because to me, and the people I play with, it's the peak of D&D evolution and is far more versatile, flexible than any edition before or after and we can play whatever setting, whatever world we want and have such a vast library of classes, races, feats, spells ect. to work with. . .and a system that is designed to make the game highly customizable in ways no other edition ever could.

    I've heard it argued that people stick with the edition they started with. I started with "Black Box" basic D&D, then moved on to 2e in college. . .and we dropped it quickly when 3e came out, and moved to 3.5 not long after it came out, because in each one I saw continuous progress and improvement from the game, things that worked better and allowed me and my friends to play better games.

    We never saw that from 4e or 5e, we saw a U-turn in game development at 4e, and while 5e was an improvement from 4e, it wasn't as good as 3.x (but better than 1e or 2e).
    4E evolved out of late 3.5. The problem being what if you did not buy a lot of 3.5 books, or at least bought the right ones. I had around 80 odd 3.x books but missed Races of the Dragon, Book of Nine Swords etc but was aware they existed.

    If you went from 3.5 PHB and maybe a few of the Complete XYZ (especially the 1st 4), yeah 4E would be unrelated to D&D for you.

    I also would not call 4E bounded, the numbers were a treadmill, there was no cap on ability scores, magic weapons went higher than +3 etc and have your prime be 5-10 points higher than your other scores would not be to unusual. A gap in skills of +14 or +15 (level 1) between an expert and untrained also existed which was similar to 3.X. Monster ACs also went up as high as they needed.

    Playing B/X and 2E again 2012-2014 the numbers being all out of whack in 3E and 4E was very noticeable. 4E was not as bad as 3.5 in some ways worse in other ways.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by wingsandsword View Post
    Yet it's utterly awful in modelling injuries. Get mauled to within an inch of your life? Rest for a while, you don't even need healing magic. . .just rest and camp and you get everything back (thanks to so many non-magical healing abilities) you can be back in action in no-time. In prior editions, if you were seriously wounded and didn't have magical healing available, it would take days (and in some cases weeks) of rest and non-magical treatment to get back in action, not just a good night's sleep.
    Every edition is horrible at modeling injuries. Get mauled within an inch of your life so you only have 1 hp? Well then, fight just as well as if you weren't hurt at all as long as you don't get hit. And you're dying and low-level and magically healing with a cure light wounds to full hp, but at high levels, it might not even heal a small scratch?

    All 4e does is represent the mechanical reality of hp in D&D as per Gygax. That it is mostly luck, skill, and magical or divine protections. All of which seems easy to recover given a night's rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by wingsandsword View Post
    Giving characters the ability to non-magically force other characters to attack them (or compel them to take some kind of action), like a taunt ability from an MMORPG, was another utterly immersion-breaking, simulation-destroying aspect. It's one of the things that is most obviously something out of a video game, not a tabletop RPG.
    Martial is not exclusively defined as non-magical unless your table decides that it is.

    If a Fighter takes Come And Get It, there are a few things can happen:
    Come and Get It is a theatrical example of what can happen in combat and non-magical.
    Come and Get It is a martial power that has some magical aspects.
    Come and Get It is a martial power that is actually magical and some Fighters can do magical things.
    Fighters can't take Come And Get It because Fighters are not magical, period, and it is a magical power.

    Up to your table as to what's the correct answer for your table. Instead of being up to your table what's the correct answer for everyone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MwaO View Post
    All 4e does is represent the mechanical reality of hp in D&D as per Gygax.
    Let's not start that again. 4e models a very different reality than the one 1e does, not the least of which is Gygax never suggested that hit points ought to be easily recoverable from a night's rest. Let's not pretend otherwise. You can fully describe the reality that 4e models and defend it without resulting to spurious claims that it isn't any different than the one modelled by 1e. There are two huge differences.

    And while it is true that every edition is horrible at modeling injuries and generally does not try, injuries in 4e are actively deprecated as even a thing. There is a scale to this. There are differences in degree. The last thing we need is to resurrect one of the great battles of the edition war, namely, that 4e was actually truer to 1e than 3e had been.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Monday, 4th March, 2019 at 09:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wingsandsword View Post
    Well, I don't want to re-ignite the Edition Wars (which was the main reason I stopped posting at ENWorld regularly). . .but
    Nothing before the "but" matters.
    ;P

    suffice it to say that there are a LOT of players who strongly disagree with the idea that 4th edition is in any way even vaguely related to 3rd edition or any predecessor edition.
    It can be hard to see the relation, since 4e was so much more evolved. Like how did T-Rex evolve into hummingbirds? It didn't, the common ancestor was further back, a teeny warm-blooded saurian that diverged into many species of dinos and has living descendants in birds, as well.

    The commonalities are there, though. 3.0 divested itself of some of the worst needless complexity in AD&D, for instance -- some. Though 4e cut a lot deeper, it didn't just scrap it all and start from scratch -classes, levels, hps, AC, etc - many a hoary D&Dism remained. 5e pasted much of it back, though, in some cases, only as a veneer.

    I can appreciate that 5e at least looks and feels more like D&D than 4e ever did. . .but I don't play it because it removes so many options and so much functionality from the game.
    Just one example: Spells Levels. Spell levels could almost be trade dress of D&D, they're so emblematic of the game. Yet, they are an example of needless, complexity, they never /did/ anything, just gated spells by class level - 2nd level wizard spells were gained at 3rd level, they'd've a more intuitively been 3rd level spells.
    3.5 manufactured a function for spell levels: they added to the DC of saving throws. 5e dumped that, and gave spell levels a different, even more arbitrary function in the form of slot-based up-casting. Of course, calculated DCs and up-casting are both, themselves, examples of needless complexity, as well. ::shrug::

    In 3e and 3.5e, I could come up with a character concept and with multiclassing and prestige classes, feats, skills, various races and templates I could create the character. In 4e, we quickly learned that such intricate customization was verboten and that characters were much less flexible. . .
    There was intricate customization in 4e - you had race, class (including builds, alternate class features, hybrids and sub-classes), feats (including multi-classing), backgrounds, and themes. And most of those could be extensively re-skinned one way or another, without appealing DM fiat. The level of customization was generally comparable to 3.x, the main difference being that more of the universe of theoretically possible characters was viable, because balance was so much better.

    And, sure, 5e, especially if your DM hasn't opted into feats & MCing, is pretty limited, as far a character customization is concerned: that's one of the main ways in which it claims to be rules lite - by taking away a lot of player choice from the get-go. And, reducing player choice ('agency') also key to delivering on DM Empowerment over 3.x/PF/4e/E "Player Entitlement." Of course, it's also just a matter of there being less material published for players than in those editions (or in 2e AD&D for that matter). Still, if you just consider viable options, 5e doesn't present a lot less than 3.x does.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Monday, 4th March, 2019 at 10:21 PM.

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