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D&D 4E 4E's "Proud Nails"

FireLance

Legend
Remember the "Proud Nails" Design and Development article that came out towards the end of 3e?

In woodworking, a "proud nail" is a nail "that isn't quite far enough into the wood. It's sticking out just a little bit - just enough to tick you off".

Applying the concept to D&D rules, proud nails are "rules that are just a little bit off ... They won't mess up your game on a week-by-week basis, but you sure notice them when they rear their ugly heads".

I was reminded of the article in another thread, when discussing how the same monster could have different game statistics when encountered at different levels (e.g. the same ogre could be a solo for a level 1 party, an elite for a level 4 party, a standard monster for a level 8 party and a minion for a level 12 party). That's one "proud nail" for me.

Remember, though - a "proud nail" isn't something that bugs you every time you sit down and play, or a fundamental disagreement that you have with the game rules. It should be something that only bugs you occasionally.

With that definition firmly in mind, what are some of the "proud nails" you've encountered in 4e which you hope 5e will fix?
 

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mkill

Adventurer
For me, it's mostly minor stuff that just feels wrong. For example, that shields and bracers are one magic item category. WTF? Makes no sense whatsoever. Why doesn't 4E have a shield / off-hand slot?

I also found "neck slot items give fort/ref/will" somewhat contrived. Why not have belts of fortitude and boots of dodging?

Neither is so horrible to make the game unplayable, of course, but they do throw me off.

Oh, and feat prerequisites. Don't even get me started on that particular mess.
 

GreyICE

First Post
Magic Item math - Dark Sun finally made it optional, but it just needs to go. They did a great job making all these interesting items, then added the math items back in. Bah.

1/2 to level - it wasn't necessary to add in the first place. Just inflated numbers.

Utility powers - you should have gotten more. I almost want to houserule in 2 utilities per utility level. Cool options are fun.

Multiclassing power feats - grrrrrrrrrr

Power sources underdeveloped - annoying

Common/uncommon/rare - the system that went nowhere

Psionic spambots - power point costs needed to scale. Or SOMETHING.
 


Psikus

Explorer
Skill Math. They finally went and made a clear, predictable progression for most numbers in the game ("increase by 1 per level")... only to leave skills behind? At least since the skill DC update that came with the Essentials books, the system more or less works, but I'd much rather have it be consistent with how attacks and defenses work in the game.

Ditto for initiative math. It's all over the place, both for PCs and monsters.

It still bothers me that all roles have clear definitions and mechanics except for the controller. There are some great controller classes, but also some that are among the worst designs of this editions, and even one (the Bladesinger) which is mislabeled and should have been advertised as a striker.
 

Number inflation (hp, skill checks, etc)

Sameness of mechanics. The classes are all constructed the same and don't feel distinct enough from each other over time.

Lack of flexibility in magic. Powers are narrowly and over-specific; it's missing the massive flexibility that the "creative" use of something like a Tenser's floating disk can have.

Then there's some of the flavor changes from classic D&D, but enough said ...
 






keterys

First Post
Monster hit points: too high.

Monster damage: too low.

Healing Surges: too many.
This is one of the most common complaints, but anecdotally based on the writing and playtesting I do for LFR, I'd often say the opposite...

Monster HP: Too low

Monster Damage: too high

Healing Surges: Not enough

Fights often don't last more than two rounds, in a flurry of monsters smashing PCs and PCs smashing monsters, and folks often use up half their surges in one encounter.

Notable when you want to do a 4 - 8 encounter day in particular.
 


Tequila Sunrise

Adventurer
It still bothers me that all roles have clear definitions and mechanics except for the controller. There are some great controller classes, but also some that are among the worst designs of this editions, and even one (the Bladesinger) which is mislabeled and should have been advertised as a striker.
Yeah, it'd be great to have a common shtick among controller classes. I think "-2 to the target's attacks" fits the bill nicely.

I always detested the 1-1-1-1 diagonals. (But, please, I don't want to rehash this particular argument.)
I'm a fan of hexes; they give me the best of both worlds!

Not that they're ever going to become official...:(
 

BobTheNob

First Post
I was reminded of the article in another thread, when discussing how the same monster could have different game statistics when encountered at different levels (e.g. the same ogre could be a solo for a level 1 party, an elite for a level 4 party, a standard monster for a level 8 party and a minion for a level 12 party). That's one "proud nail" for me.
Really? I love that idea.

Then again, alot of the thing other people loved about 4e were nails for me. I accept that opinions vary.

Using the leader's healing word when resting to maximize hit points gained.
Using the leader's healing word when resting to maximize hit points gained.
We house-ruled that you couldn't end a short rest under 75% hp if you had a surge to spend. It not only made sense from a RW POV (Just how do you NOT spend a HS? Jump up and down vigorously? If your hurt your going to sit down and take a breather given a chance, and a short rest represented a chance) it also nailed the "I dont spend a HS and wait till the healer has a XXX ready to cast".

Now, as to 4e nails

- Same Sameness of classes
- Reliance on gear (pre DMG2)
- +to all every half level
- The oddness of skill DC
- Multiclassing
- Some aspects of the power structure (To me 4e's greatest success, but aspects of it's implications bugged me)
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Milestones. Hate them. Gave up keeping track and just let everyone use an action point every encounter. Less fiddly, and didn't break anything.

Clearly you didn't run a paragon-tier game for a party of power-gaming warlords.

Really, though, the implementation could have been smoother.
 

Truename

First Post
I've been DM'ing 4e exclusively since it came out. I like it. But nothing's perfect. Here's my list:

- Verisimilitude and player narration of powers. You did what again? Pulled him three squares and then when he makes a save, he takes damage? Okay, but what just happened in the game world?

- Paragon paths and epic destinies. Strong fluff, great. How do I tie that into my gameworld fiction? How do I foreshadow it?

- Too many feats & obsolete feats. And too fiddly and inconsequential. Grrr.

- Condition tracking in combat. But I wouldn't want to give up the tactical depth we get in 4e. (First time I've ever enjoyed D&D combat.)

- Skill challenges. Never really figured them out.

- And I'll second the annoyance of tracking milestones.
 

GX.Sigma

Adventurer
Clearly you didn't run a paragon-tier game for a party of power-gaming warlords.

Really, though, the implementation could have been smoother.
They could have just had you gain an action point each encounter, but not for the first encounter each day. Wouldn't that work?
 

Drowbane

First Post
- Verisimilitude and player narration of powers. You did what again? Pulled him three squares and then when he makes a save, he takes damage? Okay, but what just happened in the game world?

This for just about every Power in the game.

I joined TarionzCousin's 4e group when they were level 12. My Sorc's favorite power was Blazing Starfall (thats right, a lvl 1 at-will). I used feats to boost that power until it was my most effective combat power. Around level 16 I was doing something like 1d4+37 as a Burst 2, that slide all targets 1 square. Not quite Striker damage, but decent for 4e (I think).

Sadly, few of my other powers were interesting enough to consider using on a given round. Exceptions being Devour Magic (highly situation, but Dispel is always handy when you need it) and Sorcerous Sirroco - another low level power worth far more than some of its higher level counterparts.

My point? The Power System was for me a proud nail. Sure the game "worked", but damn did it play strangely...
 

Dice4Hire

First Post
The math treadmill. The holy thou-shalt-not-deviate math treadmill. If you always fight equal level brutes, your success number will not change more than one point plus or minus the whole game.

+1 items. I am so tired of plus one items

Essentials. Some people loved it, but make it compatible with what went before,especially if the non and essentials are technically the same class.

And more

But I still like 4E.
 

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