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5.5E 4e design in 5.5e ?

I think --and I can't say I know because I don't really share the mindset -- that the appeal of forced random characters is the same as it is with certain Rogue-likes: it's forcing you to make do with what you have. Some people feel a sense of accomplishment from building themselves up from nothing.

Trouble is, much like in the larger gaming community where there is often such a hew and cry about difficulty levels, that there doesn't seem to be much of a consideration that some people... don't want that, especially as the default. The attitude seems to be that players who don't want to do this stuff should 'take the medicine' and will eventually grow to love it.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think --and I can't say I know because I don't really share the mindset -- that the appeal of forced random characters is the same as it is with certain Rogue-likes: it's forcing you to make do with what you have. Some people feel a sense of accomplishment from building themselves up from nothing.
Exactly; and in some ways I see D&D as a Rogue-like writ large.
 

Mordhau

Explorer
I think --and I can't say I know because I don't really share the mindset -- that the appeal of forced random characters is the same as it is with certain Rogue-likes: it's forcing you to make do with what you have. Some people feel a sense of accomplishment from building themselves up from nothing.

Trouble is, much like in the larger gaming community where there is often such a hew and cry about difficulty levels, that there doesn't seem to be much of a consideration that some people... don't want that, especially as the default. The attitude seems to be that players who don't want to do this stuff should 'take the medicine' and will eventually grow to love it.
As always the problem is that everyone insists on being able to play the same game.

I continue to find it bizarre. New computer games aren't constrained to be built on the old Wizardry character engine.

God. I wish D&D would fracture and the fanbase become something less deeply conformist.
 
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Is there something in particular that interests you that we could discuss in further detail?
well I don't know what i don't know really.

I get that some monsters had new changes that came about when they were bloodied. What's some examples of those that people liked? Did any have ones that would activate on death?

Apart from notation was there any big changes to some spells?

And I've heard a bit on ritual magic in 4e, but i don't get how it works.
 

Campbell

Legend
@Lanefan

That's not all congruent with my experience of 5e. Thanks to bounded accuracy your ability scores matter more than in pretty much any other version of the game. Having a 14 when someone else has an 18 or 20 is a pretty damn big deal in 5e. Closing that gap requires like 7-11 levels by which point most games will be finished. Having that high score also lets a player invest in feats or ability scores while you are busy trying to make up that gap.

Our group started out rolling stats and quickly moved to the standard array because there was such a large difference in effectiveness based on initial rolls. When running/playing B/X I'm 3d6 down the middle kind of guy. I also rolling in AD&D. Modern D&D is a different story. The bonuses are just too powerful.
 


Uni-the-Unicorn!

Adventurer
That’s not really true, though. Nobody ever had a problem with using a magical effect once in a combat if it was the only instance of it you had prepared. But nobody had a problem with using a magical effect more than once if you had prepared it multiple times as well. There wasn’t much of a concept of using anything just once a combat outside of a few edge cases. And that’s where we get to a lot of problems people had with the AEDU structure - it was too restrictive in its conception. A model that irritates less is one that gives you resources to spend, refreshed by rests (long/daily or short/encounter), but gives the player more free rein to spend those as they see fit.
And that was very easy to implement in 4e.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The attitude seems to be that players who don't want to do this stuff should 'take the medicine' and will eventually grow to love it.
Gygaxian thinking is where that came from.... you will appreciate your mage out classing everyone because they used to be incompetent... What do you mean starting at a higher level!!!! You skipped over the punishment how can you appreciate the awesome.
 

Hussar

Legend
Exactly; and in some ways I see D&D as a Rogue-like writ large.
This might explain a lot. I've never played a Rogue game. I vaguely remember seeing one once? It just never entered my gaming at all.

So, approaching the game from that mindset would never occur to me.
 

vagabundo

Adventurer
Dear jebus, I feel like I've timeportalled back a decade. The same disccussions, so weird.

If 5.5 turned into a 4.5 it could make me buy it. 5e has unerwelmed me in so many ways I've just ran other things or 4e.

EDIT: Just to be clear that there are things I've wanted fixed in 4e, like power/feat bloat and some streamlining of certain elements. 4e was a monster of content in someways, but it needed a good 4.5 edit. Essentials was more like an experiment; I like a lot of essentials, it wasnt a 4.5.


In 4e fluff never seemed to matter, one example was I had NPC's throwing magic shurikens in an adventure. They were refluffed magic missile. A player, a monk, really wanted to pick them up. All of a sudden I had to come up with a reason why, or just say, no the rules don't let you, which kinda sucks in the middle of a game. Normally that isn't a big deal, but something like that would happen A LOT A LOT in 4e games. Especially in Encounters and official content. I found myself mentally exausted from constantly having to justify fluff that didn't match what the rules were doing. And while it isn't an inherent thing in 4e, 4e by it's design with a hard seperation between fluff and rules all but enforced it.

Why didn't you let him have the Shurikens? I don't understand why its connected to 4e. If you have refluffed something and a player interacts with the element why not let them? 4e is very flexibable, transparent. Its fairly easy to rule on the fly without breaking anything.

I would have let him collect them as a consumable maybe if I was uncomfortable with them being in the game long term. They're made of funky material, they break on a hit, collect the missed ones after the fight if you like etc.

I've done these ruling in every edition since BCEMi, 4e is no different in that regard. 4e excells at transparency and, not published enough, but a core system that is so easy to run on the fly.

well I don't know what i don't know really.

I get that some monsters had new changes that came about when they were bloodied. What's some examples of those that people liked? Did any have ones that would activate on death?

Apart from notation was there any big changes to some spells?

And I've heard a bit on ritual magic in 4e, but i don't get how it works.

You'll probably get some great examples of monsters that do this, but do your self a favour and get something like the Monsters Vault or MMIII. The 4e Monster books for mechanics where so good.

Rituals were free form spells that took time to cast(1 minute, 10 minutes, 1 hour,) usually had a monetary component and maybe something else. They could be cast by anyone who had the Ritual Caster feat. They had to be mastered. effectively it meant that anyone could do cool magic.

Sometimes there were Arcana, Religon or Nature skill checks. They were devided up by function not magic school (Exploration). All the big teleport spells, etc were rituals. They were cool, had a few poblems mechanically and probably underused, but cool none-the-less.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
well I don't know what i don't know really.

I get that some monsters had new changes that came about when they were bloodied. What's some examples of those that people liked? Did any have ones that would activate on death?
Some of the monster design expanded the triggers as well. So for example, the cool monster ability may be triggered once the PCs score a critical hit or the monster become bloodied. Some cool abilities would recharge once bloodied, so GMs were encouraged to use the ability before the monster is bloodied so they can use it later again in the encounter.

Matt Colville talks about a fun one where gnolls got a free bite attack when the PC they are fighting becomes bloodied.

And the ferocity of monsters could also increase, even if passively. For example, one dragon from the later Threats to the Nentir Vale book would get an improved critical range for their attacks once they became bloodied: 17-20.

In some cases the bloodied condition would trigger the monster's temporary disappearance from play.

So there were a lot of mechanics you could tie to whether the monster was bloodied, became bloodied, or wasn't bloodied or even the bloodied state of PCs.

Apart from notation was there any big changes to some spells?
Yes, but that's a doozy to explain. Maybe later for this one. But you can probably get a big sense for one of the biggest changes to a number of familiar spells via the ritual magic below.

And I've heard a bit on ritual magic in 4e, but i don't get how it works.
In 5e, Rituals can be cast as spells if they are known/prepared or cast without using a spell slot out of combat with the time and material costs. Rituals in 4e were detached completely from spells, and you presumably weren't performing them in combat.

Potentially anyone could do Rituals in 4e. It required a bit of work though. You needed either a Ritual Book or a Ritual Scroll. A Ritual Book could be used multiple times while a Ritual Scroll would crumble to dust upon performing the ritual. You needed 8 uinterrupted hours to study the ritual in order to master it. You also needed the Ritual Caster feat, which the Cleric and Wizard got as class features, and your level had to equal or exceed that of the ritual's level.

Time to cast a ritual. The standard cost of the components to perform the ritual as well as the market price for buying the book or copying the ritual into your book were provided. Up to four allies could assist you with performing the ritual. They had to be close by and essentially there the whole time, but your willing allies could spending their own healing surges or other resources to help power the ritual in your stead. The PHB also alludes to dark rituals to malevolent gods or demons involving unwilling participants paying those costs. This was fantastic because there are rules for interrupting a ritual and victims' healing surges provide a potential countdown clock for an encounter.

Your allies could also help assist you with the skill check needed to succeed at the ritual. That's because each ritual required a skill check to perform. Low results didn't necessarily result in failure, but producing a higher check could scale the results. (Not every ritual had scalable results that varied with skill checks though.)

Animal Messenger (for example)
Level: 1
Time: 10 minutes
Component Cost: 10 gp
Market Price: 50 gp
Key Skill: Nature
  • 19 or lower: 6 hours
  • 20-29: 12 hours
  • 30-39: 18 hours
  • 49 or above: 24 hours

Remove Affliction (for example)
Level: 8
Time: 1 hour
Component Cost: 250 gp
Market Price: 680 gp
Key Skill: Heal
  • 0 or lower: Death (of the target)
  • 1-9: Damage equal to the target's maximum number of hit points
  • 10-19: Damage equal to one-half the target's maximum number of hit points
  • 20-29: Damage equal to one-quarter the target's maximum number of hit points
  • 30 or higher: No damage

I loved how 4e moved a lot of utility spells and some magical crafting (e.g., Brew Potion) to Rituals. It meant that the casters couldn't so easily bypass encounters with a quick spell or sleep on the problem and simply churn out the right spell the next morning. (A number of caster players used to earlier editions, didn't like this change though.) Here is the list of rituals from PHB 1 alone:
  • Animal Messenger
  • Arcane Lock
  • Brew Potion
  • Commune with Nature
  • Comprehend Language
  • Consult Mystic Sages
  • Consult Oracle
  • Cure Disease
  • Detect Object
  • Detect Secret Doors
  • Discern Lies
  • Discenchant Magic Item
  • Drawmij's Instant Summons
  • Enchant Magic Items
  • Endure Elements
  • Eye of Alarm
  • Eye of Warning
  • Forbiddance
  • Gentle Repose
  • Hallucinatory Creature
  • Hallucinatory Item
  • Hand of Fate
  • Knock
  • Leomund's Secret Chest
  • Linked Portal
  • Loremaster's Bargain
  • Magic Circle
  • Magic Mouth
  • Make Whole
  • Observe Creature
  • Passwall
  • Phantom Steed
  • Planar Portal
  • Raise Dead
  • Remove Affliction
  • Secret Page
  • Sending
  • Shadow Walk
  • Silence
  • Speak with Dead
  • Tenser's Floating Disk
  • Traveller's Feast
  • True Portal
  • View Location
  • View Object
  • Voice of Fate
  • Water Breathing
  • Water Walk
  • Wizard's Sight
And this list grew with time.

Almost needless to say, there were a number of caster players (i.e., Wizards) who weren't happy that many of their instant cast utility spells were suddenly rituals or even available to non-casting people with the right feat and skill. (And somehow they were angry in 4e about the latter, but okay with it in 5e.)

In my experience, Rituals in 5e often get handwaved and glossed over: e.g., "Okay, you have the time and components. Your ritual succeeds." However, this was not generally my experience with rituals in 4e. Again, there were incentive structures to not gloss over performing the ritual: e.g., having allies aid the ritual, the skill check affecting the results, etc. So rituals in 4e, again IME (and I can't speak to anyone else's) had more depth to them, and it felt more like simulating rituals in fiction. Removing a Curse in fiction sometimes feels like a big ordeal in fiction. In 5e, it involves finding a Cleric to cast a 3rd level spell. Big whoop.

It also becomes easier to imagine a world in which these rituals are provided as a service. Let's say you take your ally suffering from a curse to a friendly temple. You are not simply asking the clergy there to cast Remove Curse so you can be on your merry way. As seen above with Remove Affliction, there is a risk of harming or killing your ally further too! You are also asking both time and money from them. And as it's 4e, these clergy may not even be clerics. They could simply be ordained ritualists! Raise Dead (level 8), for example, will cost the clergy at the temple 8 hours of their time to perform, and that price increases with the target's character tier! (Unlike 5e there is no Revivify either.)
 


vagabundo

Adventurer
I love bullywugs in 4e. They're so corrupt the change their enviroment and the primal spirits hate them. 4e did such a good job of setting up conflicts.

Theres a side quest in Reavers of Harkenwold involving Bullywugs, in fact that whole adventure was probably my best run 4e module. Its great, its a pity the 4e Adventure format got in the way of some of the good stories.

4e doesnt do filler combats well. They should be handled by structured skill challenges, narratively or just throw some minions so PCs can blow through them. I use morale rules as well for 4e. It makes no sense that all intelligent foes fight to the last man. So a saving throw with some triggers and circumstance bonses helped me tell when a rout happens.

But the big bad, climax, tentpole combats are amazing in 4e. No D&D edition I've run has given me the tools to plan and execute as exciting, fun and interesting combats as easily.

4e PC really are Action Hero's from level 1. I know that grinds some people gears, but its like the difference between pulp and purist Call of Cthulhu, just two ways to play the game.
 

HammerMan

Adventurer
well I don't know what i don't know really.

I get that some monsters had new changes that came about when they were bloodied. What's some examples of those that people liked? Did any have ones that would activate on death?

Apart from notation was there any big changes to some spells?

And I've heard a bit on ritual magic in 4e, but i don't get how it works.
bloodied: i remember some creatures (and some PC builds) had regeneration kick in at bloodied...so basically if after a fight you were below half you wait a minute or two and you are back to half or slightly over before healing... Some monster got bonus to hit when they were bloodied and/or bonus to hit or damage against a bloodied foe. my favorite where ones like dragons, auto free use of breath weapon even if they had already used it (I always imagine that they were so pissed at mere mortals hurting them they burst out a BW)

as for rituals, first all (or at least most) of the long casting time spells became rituals (Identify, legend lore, planar binding,ext) then they had a min character level instead of a spell level, and they cost components. ANyone could (like 5e) take a feat, but most of the big spells (legend lore looking at you) don't have the ritual tag...

I like to think of rituals the way the dresden files handle them "Magic is will power knowledge and control focused on changing the world, rituals are more like a vending machine, you drop in the coins, you know the button to push the effect comes out"
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
And I've heard a bit on ritual magic in 4e, but i don't get how it works.

Rituals were free form spells that took time to cast(1 minute, 10 minutes, 1 hour,) usually had a monetary component and maybe something else. They could be cast by anyone who had the Ritual Caster feat. They had to be mastered. effectively it meant that anyone could do cool magic.
And a 4e feat was a much smaller investment like 1/2 of a typical 5e feat
Sometimes there were Arcana, Religon or Nature skill checks. They were devided up by function not magic school (Exploration). All the big teleport spells, etc were rituals. They were cool, had a few poblems mechanically and probably underused, but cool none-the-less.

In some ways rituals are actually not that big of deal they are just easier to implement when you have an expected PC economy.

More Info I was going to mention as well.

There were large numbers of rituals.
Rituals are unrestricted use frequency but take time from 1 minute to many hours,
Rituals require specific expended components (the form of which was based on type of ritual).
Rituals were very open ended but almost entirely non-combat oriented effects (some improved your preparation for combat) and might even be modified using skill checks (arcana generally).
Ritual Components in a generic form could be gathered from a disenchanted item. I allowed scavenging for components. Components generally speaking could be purchased but that might be setting adjusted too.
 

Campbell

Legend
I like the Pathfinder Second Edition iteration of Rituals the best. Anyone who is trained in the relevant skill and knows the ritual can perform it. Rituals are largely gated by time to cast and often require secondary casters to perform. Some have component costs and all carry a risk they might not work with consequences for critical failures. It really makes them feel like plot device magic.
 


Thanks to everyone who replied!

There's things in 4e that don't sound appealing to me such as several hour long fights at the like, but monster and ritual design sounds like it's my thing.

Would a 4e monster book be worth getting for 5e? How easy is conversion between the two additions?
 

Mort

Legend
Since we are talking 4e design in 5.5e.

The new UA just snuck in healing surges (much more so than just in the current short rest mechanic):

The Autognome PC race (a construct that looks like a gnome) gets this:

If the mending spell is cast on you, you can expend a Hit Die, roll it, and regain a number of hit points equal to the roll plus your Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 hit point).

That's closer to true 4e healing surges than anything I've seen in 5e.
 

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