5E How To Clone 4E Using 5E Rules - Page 16
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  1. #151
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    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    I cracked open my 4E PHB and my Heroes of the Fallen Lands and looked over the class design in 4th, and I'm reminded that the power structure of everything kind of bored me. I didn't sit and read the PHB front to back like I did in 3E or 5E (minus the spells), since most of the class entries were basically spell lists.

    But, that withstanding, damn did I love 4E in play.

    Using 4E Essentials as a map, some extra class abilities could be thrown onto 4E classes to make them feel more unique. Utility powers could be turned more into class abilities in the class table, and utility spells and powers could be folded into the attack powers so characters don't feel so focused on combat.

    For instance, if the fighter has an "Action Surge" minor action encounter power that let's them make an attack or take a standard or move action, this would get used in combat and exploration challenges (and possibly social challenges too). This would be their base encounter power. Casters could have pools of spells, so their encounter and dailies aren't just attacks.

    Aside from rounding out the math in some places (requiring an overhaul of the feat system), and some discussion of multiclassing, I don't think this is an impossible task.

    I may go back to a project of rewriting the 5E monster manual to be more like 4E, though.
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  2. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    It's not an idea, it's the GSL. You can't clone 4e, it's not open source. It's not a limitation of the 5e (or other d20) mechanics - you can work from any open source engine, and replace most of the parts, if you want - it's a limitation of the license.

    You could create a 4e-ish game using a d20 OGL (any of 'em really), like 13A did, heck, you could take the Pelgrane Press Archmage Engine and build from something half-way between regular d20 and 4e to get closer more easily ...
    but it won't be to 4e what PF was to 3.5, an actual clone, all but reprinting the original.


    What you can do (and WotC should have done by now), and what is much more practical, is to add the missing elements - like the Warlord! (you knew it was coming) - to 5e.
    4e and 5e aren’t fundamentally all that different.

    A 4e equivalent of pathfinder would just be a 5e OGL game with versions of the classes that provide maneuvers, spells, rites, etc for each class on a predictable schedule, with more tactically interesting monsters, and built in level guides for magic items.

    Adding new feats that function like Themes, Paragon Paths, and Epic Destinies wouldn’t be hard. The Paragon and Epid feats would have level requirements, and you could include a new rule that you gain a “Prestige” feat that you qualify for at levels 1, 11, and 17.

    There’s a not of leg work involved, but it’s not difficult work.

  3. #153
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    I would recommend focus on Heroic tier (levels 1-10) first. Don't concern yourself with the higher powered experiences that will introduce more complexity and potentially game-breaking abilities until you nail down the fundamentals. Keep it simple. Keep it basic. Make it work. If you can't make it interesting enough for the first ten levels of play, which is the tier played by most, then very few are going to hang around long enough to deal with the issues of Paragon or Epic.

    Even now, few adventures or campaigns reach level 20. Why waste time and effort balancing for encounters that few groups ever reach. It can wait. Plus, that allows more space for a more robust game at entry level without needing more supplements or splat books to fill in the gaps.

    The biggest change in features that separates 4e from the others is the removal of the dreadful Vancian spell system and the plethora of spells and spell-like abilities. Of course, it replaced them with a plethora of powers and spells converted into powers that were more limited and more restricted, but I believe there is a space between the extremes to come up with something better. Don't be afraid to experiment with new ideas and new mechanics to make it work. Action points, healing surges, and some other ideas should be repurposed and redefined, and some new innovations wouldn't hurt.

    Finally, don't just reskin existing ideas into the same thing again. If it looks like 4e and acts like 4e, then you might as well play 4e with some house rules.

    That is all.
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  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Lewis View Post
    I would recommend focus on Heroic tier (levels 1-10) first. Don't concern yourself with the higher powered experiences that will introduce more complexity and potentially game-breaking abilities until you nail down the fundamentals. Keep it simple. Keep it basic. Make it work.
    The whole point of a clone is that your copying something that already works (in whatever way or to whatever extent it does, anyway). 4e was functional at all levels, so there's certainly no need to focus on Heroic Tier. If anything, focus on Epic would make more sense, since, while functional by-the-numbers, that Tier was not as well supported with DMing advice and the like as Heroic in the DMG1/Essentials and Paragon in the DMG2.

    +
    Quote Originally Posted by doctorbadwolf View Post
    4e and 5e aren’t fundamentally all that different.
    If by fundamentally you mean they're both d20 games, sure.

    But, fundamentally, 4e was designed from the ground up as a cooperative game, optimized for balance, playability and ease of both introduction & DMing. The result was AEDU and Roles (PC & Monster).

    While, fundamentally, 5e is a re-boot of the franchise, with acceptability to the most reactive segments of the fan base an overriding factor for which all other aspects of game design could be compromised. Thus, it began with traditional spell-casting and class focuses, and fit design to them.

    A 4e equivalent of pathfinder would just be a 5e OGL game with versions of the classes that provide maneuvers, spells, rites, etc for each class on a predictable schedule, with more tactically interesting monsters, and built in level guides for magic items.
    No, it would be a backwards compatible continuation of the game in the direction it was heading before it's design principles were compromised.

    For that, 4e'd've had to have been an OGL game.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Friday, 31st May, 2019 at 04:37 PM.

  5. #155
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    While the goal is to reverse-engineer 4e, the clone is also an opportunity to finetune the system. To improve it for certain sensibilities if there is enough agreement. Here are suggestions that interest me.

    Reduce the ‘core engine’ to only four scores
    Strength ( = Fortitude save) (size, toughness, meat hit points)
    Athletics ( = Reflex save) (move/run/climb/jump/fall)
    Intelligence ( = Perception save) (save versus hiding, invisibility, illusion) (stealth, deception)
    Charisma ( = Will save) (persuasion)

    Only four sources
    Elemental (earth/bludgeon/pierce/metal, fire/acid) (air/weather/lightning/thunder, water/cold)
    Primal (body, life, nature, animal, poison, disease, healing)
    Mindful (prescience, illusion, charm, telekinetic force, psionics)
    Martial (nonmagical versions of the three:
    ‘elemental steel sword’, ‘primal athletic body’, ‘mindful knowledge, learning skills’)

    This foursome makes Martial necessary if wanting any skills and weapons, and makes Wizards more thematic.

    Multiclassing, or simply allowing a character to pick from a smorgasbord of conveniently labeled categories, builds custom character.



    Four main ‘roles’ for powers (class features and spells)
    Attack/AC
    Damage/Hit Points
    Mobility/Barrier
    Detection/Stealth

    Four Targetings
    • Melee Single-Target (Inflict Wounds, Lay Hands, sword)
    • Melee Multi-Target (Burning Hands, Aura of Healing, cleave)
    • Range Single-Target (Scorching Ray, Healing Word, arrow) − shooter
    • Range Multi-Target (Fireball, Mass Heal, vial of acid) − blaster
    Last edited by Yaarel; Friday, 31st May, 2019 at 05:43 PM.

  6. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    While the goal is to reverse-engineer 4e, the clone is also an opportunity to finetune the system. To improve it for certain sensibilities if there is enough agreement. Here are suggestions that interest me.

    [I]Reduce the ‘core engine’ to only four scores
    That's not fine-tuning, that's radical re-design at the lowest level.
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  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    That's not fine-tuning, that's radical re-design at the lowest level.
    Even if so, it takes the most useful mechanics of 4e (Perception, Fortitude, Reflex, and Will), and makes them like 5e in using the abilities as the saves.

  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    That's not fine-tuning, that's radical re-design at the lowest level.
    This is part of the reason no 4e retroclone has gone anywhere. Everyone who starts one starts making improvements and it becomes something else.

    While I don't completely agree with you that the lack of the ogl is a barrier to reverse engineering a 4e clone (after all, OSRIC exists and 1e was never OGLd) I do think the mindset of 4e enthusiasts is a barrier to it getting done. 4e brought out my inner game tinkerer and it seemed to do likewise for a lot of other people. I don't think a clean 4e-alike can get made because too many folks who like it also want to tinker with it.
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  9. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jer View Post
    While I don't completely agree with you that the lack of the ogl is a barrier to reverse engineering a 4e clone (after all, OSRIC exists and 1e was never OGLd)
    It didn't have the GSL hanging around it's neck, either - and OSRIC is right on the fringe of legality, itself.

    4e brought out my inner game tinkerer and it seemed to do likewise for a lot of other people. I don't think a clean 4e-alike can get made because too many folks who like it also want to tinker with it.
    I have the opposite experience: I'm an inveterate rules-tinkerer - I could measure my 1e variants in pounds rather than pages - usually the first thing a new ed triggers in me is an impulse to create new/variant stuff for it. 1e, 2e, 3e, 5e - even Essentials - all had that affect. 4e, I thought "hey, it'd be kinda cool if you had the players roll all the dice - they could 'save' or 'dodge' when attacked, 'soak' damage, there'd be a certain elegance to it," and that was about as far as I got the first year or two. I fiddled with a martial controller c2010, then Essentials came out, and the impulse to tinker returned.

  10. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garthanos View Post
    4e heroic begins closer to level 5 in 5e.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    The whole point of a clone is that your copying something that already works (in whatever way or to whatever extent it does, anyway). 4e was functional at all levels, so there's certainly no need to focus on Heroic Tier. If anything, focus on Epic would make more sense, since, while functional by-the-numbers, that Tier was not as well supported with DMing advice and the like as Heroic in the DMG1/Essentials and Paragon in the DMG2.

    + If by fundamentally you mean they're both d20 games, sure.

    But, fundamentally, 4e was designed from the ground up as a cooperative game, optimized for balance, playability and ease of both introduction & DMing. The result was AEDU and Roles (PC & Monster).

    While, fundamentally, 5e is a re-boot of the franchise, with acceptability to the most reactive segments of the fan base an overriding factor for which all other aspects of game design could be compromised. Thus, it began with traditional spell-casting and class focuses, and fit design to them.

    No, it would be a backwards compatible continuation of the game in the direction it was heading before it's design principles were compromised.

    For that, 4e'd've had to have been an OGL game.
    It's like you actively want to kill a 4E clone lol.

    OSR clones are not that authentic, they focus on playstyle.

    People realistically are not going to get to epic level. Even if a clone condensed it to level 15+.
    If people don't enjoy level 1 they won't stick around. We made it to level 8 and bailed to Pathfinder.

    Using NADs is a bad idea for example and by that I mean legally. C&C is based off 1E but uses fort/ref/will.

    A clone should be faithful to the 4E playstyle but doesn't need to be a perfect copy.

    If you condensed things in you phb you could fit in the missing races and classes that were cut from the 4E phb. Easiest way to do that is cut the epic levels. You might want to keep epic destinies though so level 15 plus.

    At the end of the day though it's up to whoever writes it. Purists will moan but since they haven't produced anything in 7 years who cares what they think.

    I would focus on 4 classes and 5 levels initially just to get something out and playable then go to 8 classes and 10 levels then add another 4 classes and then finally do level 11+.

    That would give you a foundation to build on. Find some small map online everyone can access ( or make a pdf) and design half a dozen monsters or so and have at it.

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