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4E Am I crazy? I've just gotten a hankering to play 4e again...

Reskinning things was so easy and fun.
That was a pleasant surprise, the first time I ran an impromptu pick-up game, I found monsters to re-skin as elementals, and had 4 encounters ready in minutes.

That, and a playtester comment about the warlord, really set the tone for me.

You didn't even NEED a MM. Just grab some of the various charts with the math and have at it. I ran complete improv games that way in 4E.
I just ran a complete imorov, that way, tonight. An absent player unexpectedly got to return, and we threw together both monsters and alternate PCs, to play through the situation he'd been left in.

But I'll do that in any ed, in 4e, just with stats... that I don't have to fudge constantly... ;)
 
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JeffB

Legend
That was a pleasant surprise, the first time I ran an impromptu pick-up game, I found monsters to re-skin as elementals, and had 4 encounters ready in minutes

I just ran a complete imorov, that way, tonight. An absent player unexpectedly got to return, and we threw together both monsters and alternate PCs, to play through the situation he'd been left in.

But I'll do that in any ed, in 4e, just with stats... that I don't have to fudge constantly... ;)
I improv regardless of system as well. In any O/TSR versions for sure with much confidence and no books.

As for re-skinning- I remember upon 4E's release being so pi$$ed at WOTC that the MM1 didn't have stats for Frost Giants. C'mon- NO FROST GIANTS??? Not long after I realized all I needed to do was replace a couple keywords and change a condition or two to the Fire Giant and voila! Instant Frost Giant (though the MM2 version was better- mine worked just fine)

For 4E I use Quickleaf's excellent DM reference document (might still be available here on ENWORLD) and occasionally the Sly Flourish 4E cheat sheet.
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
4E is my favourite D&D edition and the one that I currently run.

I sometimes think I like it because I'm naturally contrarian and assume that anything as apparently unpopular as 4E must be good.

(snip) Monster lore was a bit of a mixed bag though, wasn't it? I remember one of my first games when I asked the DM to describe the monster we were fighting and he couldn't. All the MM had was stats - no description, no lore, nothing. I guess that worked if it was a monster from a previous edition that you recognized, but if not you were SOL. Monsters were just a bunch of stats and if you were lucky a picture. (snip)
I'm pretty sure that was Mike Mearls' influence which resulted in the absolute weakest of the three core books. I recall him explaining at the time that he thought it best that each table have its own monster lore. He also wanted more 1E Fiend Folio monsters in the Monster Manual so we ended up with crap like the berbalang instead of the much more commonly encountered frost giants.

Don't forget, the MM stat blocks were also crap (thanks, Mike!). If you study them closely, they seem to be based on three different sets of monster creation rules with little overlap with the ones in the DMG. I began 4E by building my own monsters from scratch according to the DMG rules as it seemed like I had a better grasp of how stat blocks were supposed to be created than Mike and his team who were paid to create the 4E Monster Manual.

Anyway, it's just spilt milk now.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
Don't forget, the MM stat blocks were also crap (thanks, Mike!). If you study them closely, they seem to be based on three different sets of monster creation rules with little overlap with the ones in the DMG. I began 4E by building my own monsters from scratch according to the DMG rules as it seemed like I had a better grasp of how stat blocks were supposed to be created than Mike and his team who were paid to create the 4E Monster Manual.

Anyway, it's just spilt milk now.
There's definitely a bit of a rushed feeling to the core books. It's why I think the books that came out in 2009 and 2010 were the real high point of the system.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
4E is my favourite D&D edition and the one that I currently run.

I sometimes think I like it because I'm naturally contrarian and assume that anything as apparently unpopular as 4E must be good.



I'm pretty sure that was Mike Mearls' influence which resulted in the absolute weakest of the three core books. I recall him explaining at the time that he thought it best that each table have its own monster lore. He also wanted more 1E Fiend Folio monsters in the Monster Manual so we ended up with crap like the berbalang instead of the much more commonly encountered frost giants.

Don't forget, the MM stat blocks were also crap (thanks, Mike!). If you study them closely, they seem to be based on three different sets of monster creation rules with little overlap with the ones in the DMG. I began 4E by building my own monsters from scratch according to the DMG rules as it seemed like I had a better grasp of how stat blocks were supposed to be created than Mike and his team who were paid to create the 4E Monster Manual.

Anyway, it's just spilt milk now.
One of the more cynical things they did was the selection of monsters for the first MM and races for the PHB. They purposely left out canonical monsters and races (although some people may disagree that gnomes were important) so that people would have a reason to buy the version 2 of the book.

But I don't know who deserves the most blame here. I know they were under a lot of pressure to build in reasons to sell product and, as I stated before, that they pushed the system out before they were ready. Reportedly the whole daily/encounter/at-will structure was designed for wizards and was never meant to apply to every class.

Whether that structure was a good thing or not is a matter of preference.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I wished there was a ''Rule Cyclopedia'' for 4e, with a redesign of the monsters with the maths from MM3 and Monster Vaults, fully errata-ed classes and all the updated rules for skill challenges, disease tracks etc in the same place. Same with essentials.

I recently played a one-shot with character from Essential, but with the maths from 5e and no feats. Guess what, I works great. Just keep the saves, rest rules and the healing surges from 4e, with the rest of the class design (starting hp/hp per level, powers, saves etc), but take the Proficiency, Advantage, Equipment rules of 5e instead. I used the Monster Vault creatures and it worked well enough.
 

One of the more cynical things they did was...purposely left out canonical monsters and races, in so that people would have a reason to buy the version 2 of the book.
Not 'version' - that's a whole 'nuther level of cynicism, where they just wanted you to re-buy all the same stuff, like 3.5, Essentials and, within Essentials, HotFL/K (here! have all the same rules twice! just with different classes! it's simpler!), and, well, every rev-roll, really, they backed off on trying to sell the Essentials Class Compendium which'd've just re-printed PH classes with lame sub-class names, though, so there are limits - but the next in the line, MM2, PH2, DMG2... because everything is core, so slice core up and parcel it out.

I recall him explaining at the time that he thought it best that each table have its own monster lore.
I can accept that. OTOH, I can also accept the 5e party line that the rules are a starting point, and each table will have it's own variants, (so why ever fix anything). Hm... is that a pattern?
He also wanted more 1E Fiend Folio monsters in the Monster Manual so we ended up with crap like the berbalang....
That I can't get behind. ;P

I wished there was a ''Rule Cyclopedia'' for 4e, with a redesign of the monsters with the maths from MM3 and Monster Vaults, fully errata-ed classes and all the updated rules for skill challenges, disease tracks etc in the same place.
Well, for a long while there was DDI. That consolidated just about everything. But it didn't fix up everything.

Part of the problem is that the high points didn't come at the same time. MM3 finally got monsters right, but PH3 & HotFL/K were off the peak when it came to classes - and feats just kept getting worse - the trendline with DMGs pointed to some future DMG3 or 4 being the high point, I think. ;)
 

dave2008

Legend
4E is my favourite D&D edition and the one that I currently run.

I sometimes think I like it because I'm naturally contrarian and assume that anything as apparently unpopular as 4E must be good.



I'm pretty sure that was Mike Mearls' influence which resulted in the absolute weakest of the three core books. I recall him explaining at the time that he thought it best that each table have its own monster lore. He also wanted more 1E Fiend Folio monsters in the Monster Manual so we ended up with crap like the berbalang instead of the much more commonly encountered frost giants.

Don't forget, the MM stat blocks were also crap (thanks, Mike!). If you study them closely, they seem to be based on three different sets of monster creation rules with little overlap with the ones in the DMG. I began 4E by building my own monsters from scratch according to the DMG rules as it seemed like I had a better grasp of how stat blocks were supposed to be created than Mike and his team who were paid to create the 4E Monster Manual.

Anyway, it's just spilt milk now.
Just use the Monster Vault and Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale. Both very good books. The nentir vale one had great lore.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
I wished there was a ''Rule Cyclopedia'' for 4e, with a redesign of the monsters with the maths from MM3 and Monster Vaults, fully errata-ed classes and all the updated rules for skill challenges, disease tracks etc in the same place. Same with essentials.

I recently played a one-shot with character from Essential, but with the maths from 5e and no feats. Guess what, I works great. Just keep the saves, rest rules and the healing surges from 4e, with the rest of the class design (starting hp/hp per level, powers, saves etc), but take the Proficiency, Advantage, Equipment rules of 5e instead. I used the Monster Vault creatures and it worked well enough.
okay tangent, 'cause you mentioned "Rule Cyclopedia", but does anyone remember the Rules Compendium they made for 3.5? I remember everyone loved it, and they especially praised the layout of the book. sometime after 4e came out I realized that it had almost the same layout as the 4e books, except it wasn't 4e so people were more than happy to praise a minimalist layout after the stuffy feeling of the layout in 3rd ed. books 🙄
 
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dave2008

Legend
okay tangent, 'cause you mentioned "Rule Cyclopedia", but does anyone remember the Rules Compendium they made for 3.5? I remember everyone loved it, and they especially praised the layout of the book. sometime after 4e came out I realized that it had almost the same layout as the 4e books, except it wasn't 4e so people were more than happy to praise a minimalist layout after the stuffy feeling of the layout in 3rd ed. books 🙄
I just checked it out and it does look a lot like 4e layout/ graphic design. I hated the 3e/3.5e graphic design/layout, big reason I avoided that edition and pathfinder.
 


dave2008

Legend
...

Hmm... I can't say either made a strong impression on me.
Everyone is different! I know several people who didn't like the 4e graphic design.

However, for me 3e/3,5 was the worst. I have stopped reading 3e books on multiple occasions because I am so irritated by the graphic design. If I want to read something from most 3e era books, I really have to force myself or keep to a very limited amount of time.
 

4E is my favourite D&D edition and the one that I currently run.

I sometimes think I like it because I'm naturally contrarian and assume that anything as apparently unpopular as 4E must be good.



I'm pretty sure that was Mike Mearls' influence which resulted in the absolute weakest of the three core books. I recall him explaining at the time that he thought it best that each table have its own monster lore. He also wanted more 1E Fiend Folio monsters in the Monster Manual so we ended up with crap like the berbalang instead of the much more commonly encountered frost giants.

Don't forget, the MM stat blocks were also crap (thanks, Mike!). If you study them closely, they seem to be based on three different sets of monster creation rules with little overlap with the ones in the DMG. I began 4E by building my own monsters from scratch according to the DMG rules as it seemed like I had a better grasp of how stat blocks were supposed to be created than Mike and his team who were paid to create the 4E Monster Manual.

Anyway, it's just spilt milk now.
I imagine leaving out monsters for the next Monster Manual was ultimately a corporate decision, whatever spin Mearls might have felt he needed to put on it.

And as for the monsters not using the rules from the DMG, that's probably because they hadn't been written yet, or were written simultaneously, or were written as a product of lessons learnt from the monster design, while the rules were still being tweaked and finalised.

4E as a whole wasn't really fully ready by the time of its release. I'm pretty sure some of the designers have admitted that since.
 

However, for me 3e/3,5 was the worst. I have stopped reading 3e books on multiple occasions because I am so irritated by the graphic design. If I want to read something from most 3e era books, I really have to force myself or keep to a very limited amount of time.
So, we're talking illos, color schemes, fonts, page layouts?

I can kinda understand the organization and writing style - being a dry rules manual rather than an entertaining cover-to-cover read, for instance.

And as for the monsters not using the rules from the DMG, that's probably because they hadn't been written yet, or were written simultaneously,
Sure, like encounter designs in HotDQ disastrously not following the DM guidelines, because they weren't even written yet.
Seems like an early-in-an-ed hazard, in general.

4E as a whole wasn't really fully ready by the time of its release. I'm pretty sure some of the designers have admitted that since.
I've heard the excuse. Not sure I buy it, entirely.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
Everyone is different! I know several people who didn't like the 4e graphic design.

However, for me 3e/3,5 was the worst. I have stopped reading 3e books on multiple occasions because I am so irritated by the graphic design. If I want to read something from most 3e era books, I really have to force myself or keep to a very limited amount of time.
So, we're talking illos, color schemes, fonts, page layouts?

I can kinda understand the organization and writing style - being a dry rules manual rather than an entertaining cover-to-cover read, for instance.

Sure, like encounter designs in HotDQ disastrously not following the DM guidelines, because they weren't even written yet.
Seems like an early-in-an-ed hazard, in general.

I've heard the excuse. Not sure I buy it, entirely.
it has little to do with the writing. for starters the page layouts almost always had borders*. with the smaller text size I always felt a little claustrophobic whenever I read a 3.5 book. it also didn't help that they had those weird text lines as a background. everything about the design felt overdone, like I get that they're trying to make the books like old wizardy tomes, but the covers already convey that idea fairly well, and I'm surprised they didn't go all in and make the pages look like parchment like they did with 5e.

in contrast, 4e had blank pages and well defined and colored blocks. the text was larger as well, which made it a lot easier to read. a lot of people derided this as meaning less content, but that's a little too cynical imo.

*sidenote: I realize now that this actually made it a bit harder to flip through the books as well. with 5e books I might catch the edge of a full page illustration and have a good idea of where I am in the book, and 4e and 2nd ed. had this going on as well. I can't say the same for 3.5 books.
 


Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
There's definitely a bit of a rushed feeling to the core books. It's why I think the books that came out in 2009 and 2010 were the real high point of the system.
Definitely. With the exception of Heroes of Shadow (Mike Mearls, lead designer), the design team seemed to finally grok 4E after about two years.

(snip) But I don't know who deserves the most blame here. I know they were under a lot of pressure to build in reasons to sell product and, as I stated before, that they pushed the system out before they were ready. Reportedly the whole daily/encounter/at-will structure was designed for wizards and was never meant to apply to every class.

Whether that structure was a good thing or not is a matter of preference.
I have always liked the AEDU system and still do. But that's a question of taste rather than it being an objectively superior model.

Just use the Monster Vault and Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale. Both very good books. The nentir vale one had great lore.
Actually, I continue to build all my own monsters in Masterplan even though I also have all the stat blocks loaded for use. That said, I like the MVs for some of their lore and I do steal various powers and traits for my own monsters. (Three cheers for the offline tools!)

I imagine leaving out monsters for the next Monster Manual was ultimately a corporate decision, whatever spin Mearls might have felt he needed to put on it.

And as for the monsters not using the rules from the DMG, that's probably because they hadn't been written yet, or were written simultaneously, or were written as a product of lessons learnt from the monster design, while the rules were still being tweaked and finalised.

4E as a whole wasn't really fully ready by the time of its release. I'm pretty sure some of the designers have admitted that since.
That is largely true but it's clear that the MM is the "least ready" of the core books. I can still use the other two (although I normally just use the offline tools I have been using for five years) but the MM is basically useless. The stat blocks are crap and the lore is crap. There is no reason to turn to it.
 

dave2008

Legend
Actually, I continue to build all my own monsters in Masterplan even though I also have all the stat blocks loaded for use. That said, I like the MVs for some of their lore and I do steal various powers and traits for my own monsters. (Three cheers for the offline tools!)
I tended to us the monsters from the book mostly, except boss monsters. Of course I did do a whole series of custom epic monsters on this forum: 4e Epic Monster Updates
 

ChaosOS

Adventurer
One of the more cynical things they did was the selection of monsters for the first MM and races for the PHB. They purposely left out canonical monsters and races (although some people may disagree that gnomes were important) so that people would have a reason to buy the version 2 of the book.

But I don't know who deserves the most blame here. I know they were under a lot of pressure to build in reasons to sell product and, as I stated before, that they pushed the system out before they were ready. Reportedly the whole daily/encounter/at-will structure was designed for wizards and was never meant to apply to every class.

Whether that structure was a good thing or not is a matter of preference.

At the same time, the stated reason for the PHB2 delays of "These guys have a troubled history and needed more time for hashing out" really was and is true for gnomes and half-orcs. In fact, one of my biggest issues with 5e is they got rid of the interesting "fey gnome" angle and went back to the half-baked 3.5 gnomes. Half-orcs similarly have always had issues (tied up in the general issues with the way orcs are presented), although I'm not sure 4e fixed that (Eberron to me is the actual fix).

I also think it's hard to argue that bards and sorcerers didn't have mechanical identity issues coming out of 3.5, but I will totally grant that Barbarians and Druids being held back was kinda arbitrary other than "power sources".
 

Undrave

Hero
I also think it's hard to argue that bards and sorcerers didn't have mechanical identity issues coming out of 3.5, but I will totally grant that Barbarians and Druids being held back was kinda arbitrary other than "power sources".
The Druid had its whole Wild Shape thing to figure out so I totally get that.

As for the Barbarian, I think they had trouble figuring out how it meshed with 4e's roles and how to make it interesting compared to a Fighter. Also, I think it ended up a way better class than it would have been if they had rushed it out for PHB1.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

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