log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 4E An Olive Branch to 4e Fans: Some Things 5e Should Take From 4e

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a huge fan of 4th edition. But there are quite a few things that I think it did right, and I'd like to see those good ideas pass on to the new edition. Here's some of the things I'd like to see:

- Combat Advantage: A simple +2 bonus for having combat advantage is easy and simple to keep track of compared of the myriad situational modifiers you could get in previous editions (flanking, prone, flat-footed, higher ground, etc etc etc). It's also easy for things like a rogue's sneak attack. Have combat advantage - can sneak attack.

- No Rolling to "Confirm" Criticial Hits. Always hated that.

- Being able to save against a "save or suck" effect every turn in combat. 3.5 started this with hold person, 4e applied to all such effects. I didn't like the "coin toss" saving throws, but it's still a good idea. Nothing is worse than being nauseated, paralyzed, dazed, or whatever else and being unable to do anything for the entire battle.

- Standard, Move and Minor Actions: I liked this. No full-round actions. It's simple and straightforward while giving players enough flexibility to do the kinds of things they need to do.

- No "iterative" attacks. I hated that about 3rd edition. Likewise, monsters only tend to make 1 or 2 attacks also, not claw, claw, bite, wing, wing, tail slap, rake, rend, etc.

- AC that scales with attack bonus. I always thought it was ridiculous that characters got way, way better at attacking people, but not better at defending themselves without loading up on magic items.

- No Rolling for Stats or Hit Points.

- At-Will Spells and Cantrips. It makes vancian casting much more bearable. I hope my wizard doesn't sit there twiddling his thumbs or pointlessly plinking things with a crossbow during all those rounds of combat where he wants to do something, but doesn't want to waste a good prepared spell. Likewise, cantrips, as the simplest of magic, should be able to be used at-will. Pathfinder likewise saw the value in that.

- Implements: I liked that wands, staffs, etc improved a caster's spells in much the same way that magical weapons improve attacks. It makes much more sense for me for a wand or staff to serve as a focus for a wizard's powers than a spell battery.

- Spells that required Actions to "Sustain." This is a simple and effective way of balancing alot of the more "overpowered" spells, like fly, and preventing players from stacking too many buffs.

- Alignment is just fluff. No class alignment restrictions. No alignment-based magic. No detect evil. No smite evil. Alignment is there as a way of describing your character's morality, nothing more. There's probably alot of people that disagree with me, but I loved that about 4e.

- Simple, Easy to Read and Use Monster Stat-blocks. This makes the DM's life sooooo much easier.

- No Level Drain. Good riddance!
 

log in or register to remove this ad


mkill

Adventurer
Fully agree on all points. In fact, I'd play a 3E that implemented all these.

- Being able to save against a "save or suck" effect every turn in combat. 3.5 started this with hold person, 4e applied to all such effects. I didn't like the "coin toss" saving throws, but it's still a good idea. Nothing is worse than being nauseated, paralyzed, dazed, or whatever else and being unable to do anything for the entire battle.
True, but I always wanted to save at the start of the turn, not at the end.
At the start of the turn, you want to roll because you want to get rid of the attack and act. At the end of the turn, you're mentally done with the turn and forget to roll the save.

Now, I understand that rolling saves at the start of the turn is a big nerf for controllers and control-style powers because they now need to pass 2 checks to take effect (attack and first save). However, there are ways to counter that (create staged effects in which the first save reduces the effect, but does not negate; give an attack bonus; give a penalty on the first save; make the effect strong enough that a power with two barriers is still good)

- Implements: I liked that wands, staffs, etc improved a caster's spells in much the same way that magical weapons improve attacks. It makes much more sense for me for a wand or staff to serve as a focus for a wizard's powers than a spell battery.
The idea was good. The big issue with implements though was that they didn't get a proficiency bonus to attack. Instead, implement powers were expected to hit Fort/Ref/Will, which was expected to be lower than AC (but often weren't). This created a number of annoying issues.

If 5E uses implements, make them exactly like weapons (including giving them a damage die). The only difference should be that some can't be used as melee weapons.
 

delericho

Legend
I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a huge fan of 4th edition. But there are quite a few things that I think it did right, and I'd like to see those good ideas pass on to the new edition.

Time has blunted much of my initial distaste for 4e. While it remains my least-favourite version of the game, it had a lot of really nice ideas, and it would be a crying shame to just throw those out.

- Combat Advantage: A simple +2 bonus for having combat advantage is easy and simple to keep track of compared of the myriad situational modifiers you could get in previous editions (flanking, prone, flat-footed, higher ground, etc etc etc). It's also easy for things like a rogue's sneak attack. Have combat advantage - can sneak attack.

- Being able to save against a "save or suck" effect every turn in combat. 3.5 started this with hold person, 4e applied to all such effects. I didn't like the "coin toss" saving throws, but it's still a good idea. Nothing is worse than being nauseated, paralyzed, dazed, or whatever else and being unable to do anything for the entire battle.

- Standard, Move and Minor Actions: I liked this. No full-round actions. It's simple and straightforward while giving players enough flexibility to do the kinds of things they need to do.

- No "iterative" attacks. I hated that about 3rd edition. Likewise, monsters only tend to make 1 or 2 attacks also, not claw, claw, bite, wing, wing, tail slap, rake, rend, etc.

- Simple, Easy to Read and Use Monster Stat-blocks. This makes the DM's life sooooo much easier.

- No Level Drain. Good riddance!

Yep, I agree with all of these. No question.

- No Rolling for Stats or Hit Points.

I don't mind rolling for stats (though I prefer point buy). I think 5e should support both, and that both should be close to equivalent.

I hate rolling for hit points, mostly because I never roll higher than a '1'.

- AC that scales with attack bonus. I always thought it was ridiculous that characters got way, way better at attacking people, but not better at defending themselves without loading up on magic items.

Sort-of agree. I like that the 4e defences scale with level, and agree in principle that AC should do the same. However, AC is a bit of an odd beast because of the huge roll that the armour itself plays in this. I haven't yet seen a good way to square the circle so that AC climbs with level, armour worn still has an appropriately significant effect, and yet AC as a whole remains fairly close to being on a par with the other defences.

- No Rolling to "Confirm" Criticial Hits. Always hated that.

Again, I'm torn. 4e's system works, there's no doubt about that, and the "crit = max damage" thing is a really neat mechanic. However, the "confirm" mechanic also has a certain utility, especially if they were to generalise it out to skill checks as well.

- At-Will Spells and Cantrips. It makes vancian casting much more bearable. I hope my wizard doesn't sit there twiddling his thumbs or pointlessly plinking things with a crossbow during all those rounds of combat where he wants to do something, but doesn't want to waste a good prepared spell. Likewise, cantrips, as the simplest of magic, should be able to be used at-will. Pathfinder likewise saw the value in that.

- Implements: I liked that wands, staffs, etc improved a caster's spells in much the same way that magical weapons improve attacks. It makes much more sense for me for a wand or staff to serve as a focus for a wizard's powers than a spell battery.

I'm indifferent to these.

- Spells that required Actions to "Sustain." This is a simple and effective way of balancing alot of the more "overpowered" spells, like fly, and preventing players from stacking too many buffs.

Agree, but...

This isn't really new; lots of spells have always required Concentration to maintain. 4e's only innovation here was in generalising the mechanic. (Which was, to be fair, a good step.)

- Alignment is just fluff. No class alignment restrictions. No alignment-based magic. No detect evil. No smite evil. Alignment is there as a way of describing your character's morality, nothing more. There's probably alot of people that disagree with me, but I loved that about 4e.

Disagree 100%. IMO, 4e did exactly the wrong thing with alignment. They should have either dropped it entirely (my preference, under the circumstances) or made it meaningful. As it is, it is just wasted paper.

I would like there to be rigorous, transparent and consistent math under the hood that's easy to bend to my will.

Agreed. Though 4e went too far in making a fetish of balance.

Other things that should be brought across from 4e:

- Action Points. I don't care for them (at all) as implemented in 3e's Eberron, but I really like them in 4e. Only thing I would do differently is give one per encounter and adopt a "use it or lose it" mentality.

- Skill Challenges, or rather the concept thereof. The implementation pretty much sucks (although it is apparently improved a lot in DMG2, and the SWSE "Galaxy of Intrigue" version is also really good). But the concept is genius.

- Monster roles. Coupled with monster levels and XP budgets, these made building interesting encounters really easy.

- Page 42. Or something like it.
 


avin

First Post
Yup, agreed, there's a lot of 4E stuff that should be on 5E.

In special saves at the end of turn and combat advantage.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
Agree, but...

This isn't really new; lots of spells have always required Concentration to maintain. 4e's only innovation here was in generalising the mechanic. (Which was, to be fair, a good step.)

Not trying to nitpick here, but 4e's sustain mechanic is different from the concentration duration of spells in past editions, particularly in that many 4e spells only required a minor or move action to sustain, while concentration spells before took a caster's entire attention.

Disagree 100%. IMO, 4e did exactly the wrong thing with alignment. They should have either dropped it entirely (my preference, under the circumstances) or made it meaningful. As it is, it is just wasted paper.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't shed a single tear if alignment died in a fire. But since alignment is a classic part of D&D, and this is the "unity" edition, I find it highly unlikely that they would do something as controversial as dropping it entirely. As long as alignment is going to be there, I'm okay with it as long as paladins aren't running around with their evil-sensing radar that ruins roleplaying and plots.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
I really like the much broader sweet spot of 4th - although I would like a slightly less heroic starting point for 1st level characters. I quite miss that slightly awkward 'bums with swords' vibe of 1st level characters in previous editions. Especially I did not like the idea of 1st level character having plate mail.
 

Sammael

Adventurer
In full agreement with the following points (and have implemented them in my games a long time ago):

- Combat Advantage
- No Rolling to "Confirm" Criticial Hits
- Standard, Move and Minor Actions
- No "iterative" attacks
- AC that scales with attack bonus
- No Rolling for Stats or Hit Points
- At-Will Spells and Cantrips
- Spells that required Actions to "Sustain."

- Being able to save against a "save or suck" effect every turn in combat. 3.5 started this with hold person, 4e applied to all such effects. I didn't like the "coin toss" saving throws, but it's still a good idea. Nothing is worse than being nauseated, paralyzed, dazed, or whatever else and being unable to do anything for the entire battle.
I'm generally fine with this, but it should be on a case by case basis. For instance, Power Word: Stun and Lich touch should retain their potency.

- Implements: I liked that wands, staffs, etc improved a caster's spells in much the same way that magical weapons improve attacks. It makes much more sense for me for a wand or staff to serve as a focus for a wizard's powers than a spell battery.
While I don't disagree that wands, staffs, and such should add some flavor/power to a wizard's spellcasting, they should in no way be required.

- Alignment is just fluff. No class alignment restrictions. No alignment-based magic. No detect evil. No smite evil. Alignment is there as a way of describing your character's morality, nothing more. There's probably alot of people that disagree with me, but I loved that about 4e.
This one I don't agree with.

- Simple, Easy to Read and Use Monster Stat-blocks. This makes the DM's life sooooo much easier.
Sure. As long as the simplicity doesn't take away essential monster abilities, particularly non-combat ones.

- No Level Drain. Good riddance!
Level drain as implemented in 3.x sucked. I've instituted a penalty system that replaces it and it works well.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
While I don't disagree that wands, staffs, and such should add some flavor/power to a wizard's spellcasting, they should in no way be required.

Didn't mean to imply that they should be. I don't think magic weapons should be necessary either. I just prefer a staff or wand that lets you supplement your spells rather than being 50 scrolls in the form of a stick.

Sure. As long as the simplicity doesn't take away essential monster abilities, particularly non-combat ones.

Agreed.
 
Last edited:

Li Shenron

Legend
I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a huge fan of 4th edition. But there are quite a few things that I think it did right, and I'd like to see those good ideas pass on to the new edition. Here's some of the things I'd like to see:

...

Given the length of your list, I wonder how are you not a huge fan of 4th edition ;)

Personally I am mostly indifferent on all the points you mentioned. Whether these are in 5e or not, I don't think they'll significantly change my opinion on it as a whole. Some of them can make the game a different enough experience to play, but either way the game can be good.

The only important point in your list is the last: "Easy to Read and Use Monster Stat-blocks". I cannot imagine how the opposite of this can bring a positive experience to the game, so I certainly help this will be the case in 5e.

More generally, I think the feature of 4e that 5e should strive for, is the less time required from a DM to design the mechanical elements of an adventure.
 

delericho

Legend
Not trying to nitpick here, but 4e's sustain mechanic is different from the concentration duration of spells in past editions, particularly in that many 4e spells only required a minor or move action to sustain, while concentration spells before took a caster's entire attention.

No disagreement here. As I said, 4e generalised the mechanic.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't shed a single tear if alignment died in a fire. But since alignment is a classic part of D&D, and this is the "unity" edition, I find it highly unlikely that they would do something as controversial as dropping it entirely.

As I've said on a couple of other threads, I think both alignment and patron deities should be handled on an "if you want" basis. That is, players can optionally choose to declare an alignment/deity, and doing so should give them access to certain powers/feats/magic items/whatever that other characters can't access.

I'm also inclined to think that both should be presented in optional modules (or settings, in the case of deities). And also that the Paladin should be both LG-only and presented in the "Alignment Module".

As long as alignment is going to be there, I'm okay with it as long as paladins aren't running around with their evil-sensing radar that ruins...

Honestly, I've been playing for decades and never seen a problem with paladins. Like the 15-minute adventuring day, it's a playstyle issue.

Now, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be dropped, given that it's causing lots of people lots of trouble. That seems sensible. But at the same time, teaching DMs (in particular) how to deal with this issues would also be a good thing - because even if you sidestep this issue, that just means that there will be others down the line.

roleplaying

The issue here is DMs (and sometimes players) who insist that paladins have to be LG-stupid, something that has never been inherent in the books. The solution to that is actually quite simple: stop.

and plots.

Honestly, if your plot can be trivially derailed by the application of a standard PC ability, then it really isn't a good plot in the first place. Two things:

- A DM should be building his adventures while mindful of his PCs' capabilities. If he doesn't know what PCs he's going to be working with, he should be mindful of the typical powers of PCs of the appropriate level. Divinations in general have a particular tendency to mess up mystery plots; they really do need to be considered carefully (including, but certainly not limited to, detect evil).

- In any realistic (or semi-realistic) world, a significant portion of the populace will show up as Evil, not just the one solitary murderer. And, indeed, the local lord and his enforcers are amongst the most likely to be Evil. So, while detect evil may well act as a useful clue, and provide a place to start an investigation, it by no means should be the end of the matter.

(Also, a very basic tenet of mystery design is that everyone has something to hide. A great many people are going to be less than happy when the paladin starts routinely scanning everyone with his magical sight. And rightly so.)
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
Given the length of your list, I wonder how are you not a huge fan of 4th edition ;)

Heh. Let's just say that the things I dislike about 4e, I dislike alot. ;)

[Edit] To clarify, I don't hate 4e. I've played it and had fun doing so, and if my gaming group were to decide to play it, I wouldn't refuse just because it's 4e. It's just not my edition of choice. There are some things about it I really dislike, but that's been true of every edition of DnD.
 
Last edited:

Grazzt

Demon Lord
I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a huge fan of 4th edition. But there are quite a few things that I think it did right, and I'd like to see those good ideas pass on to the new edition. Here's some of the things I'd like to see:

- Combat Advantage: A simple +2 bonus for having combat advantage is easy and simple to keep track of compared of the myriad situational modifiers you could get in previous editions (flanking, prone, flat-footed, higher ground, etc etc etc). It's also easy for things like a rogue's sneak attack. Have combat advantage - can sneak attack.

- No Rolling to "Confirm" Criticial Hits. Always hated that.

Agreed. Definitely with the no roll to confirm crits.

- Being able to save against a "save or suck" effect every turn in combat. 3.5 started this with hold person, 4e applied to all such effects. I didn't like the "coin toss" saving throws, but it's still a good idea. Nothing is worse than being nauseated, paralyzed, dazed, or whatever else and being unable to do anything for the entire battle.

Situational. Depends on effect/spell. Not everything should let you save every single round.

- Standard, Move and Minor Actions: I liked this. No full-round actions. It's simple and straightforward while giving players enough flexibility to do the kinds of things they need to do.

Generally agree with this for the most part.

- No "iterative" attacks. I hated that about 3rd edition. Likewise, monsters only tend to make 1 or 2 attacks also, not claw, claw, bite, wing, wing, tail slap, rake, rend, etc.

For classes other than fighter I agree. Fighters should be able to attack more than once (but probably not more than twice if you go with a 6 second round)

- AC that scales with attack bonus. I always thought it was ridiculous that characters got way, way better at attacking people, but not better at defending themselves without loading up on magic items.

Completely agree

- No Rolling for Stats or Hit Points.

Each to their own. I like rolling for ability scores and hp. So do my players. But- long as the option's there (and if it's not, we can houserule it in), I'm good.

- At-Will Spells and Cantrips. It makes vancian casting much more bearable. I hope my wizard doesn't sit there twiddling his thumbs or pointlessly plinking things with a crossbow during all those rounds of combat where he wants to do something, but doesn't want to waste a good prepared spell. Likewise, cantrips, as the simplest of magic, should be able to be used at-will. Pathfinder likewise saw the value in that.

Generally agree with this one too

- Implements: I liked that wands, staffs, etc improved a caster's spells in much the same way that magical weapons improve attacks. It makes much more sense for me for a wand or staff to serve as a focus for a wizard's powers than a spell battery.

Agreed, so long as they don't become required (like magic items in the later editions)

- Spells that required Actions to "Sustain." This is a simple and effective way of balancing alot of the more "overpowered" spells, like fly, and preventing players from stacking too many buffs.

Agree

- Alignment is just fluff. No class alignment restrictions. No alignment-based magic. No detect evil. No smite evil. Alignment is there as a way of describing your character's morality, nothing more. There's probably alot of people that disagree with me, but I loved that about 4e.

Disagree. Though WotC could do more to make it more important or have more of an effect in the game

- Simple, Easy to Read and Use Monster Stat-blocks. This makes the DM's life sooooo much easier.

Agreed.

[/QUOTE]
- No Level Drain. Good riddance![/QUOTE]

Agreed for the most part. Turn it into ability damage/drain, or penalties that are difficult to remove without questing/magic/whatever.
 

hanez

First Post
I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a huge fan of 4th edition. But there are quite a few things that I think it did right, and I'd like to see those good ideas pass on to the new edition. Here's some of the things I'd like to see:

I agree with you on all points except two:

Alignment is important, gives something to roleplay about, gives meaning, and should have some mechanical effect in the game. That doesnt mean we need detect evil, but when paladins break their code or druids raze forests, there should be effects. Still 3.5 and the editions before needed alignment fixing. I hope they fix it, it needs to work to make the game more deep and interesting, not just to be a hammer.

Iterative attacks, as a magic user, I was always jealous of the fighters 3-4 attacks. I think its a great way to balance classes and needs to be refined. Mages and spells should have huge flashes and spectacular moments in combat. But they should have less TIME in combat, because the mellee classes are getting more actions/attacks.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
- Combat Advantage
- No Rolling to "Confirm" Criticial Hits
- Standard, Move and Minor Actions
- At-Will Spells and Cantrips
- Implements
- Spells that required Actions to "Sustain."
- No Rolling for Stats or Hit Points
- No Level Drain. Good riddance!
Absolutely! Especially that last one...level drain has been a plague on the hobby since its inception. I don't mind at-will cantrips, but I don't want at-will spells without also having implements.

- Being able to save against a "save or suck" effect every turn in combat.
- Standard, Move and Minor Actions
- No "iterative" attacks
- AC that scales with attack bonus.
- Simple, Easy to Read and Use Monster Stat-blocks.
Meh. I can take or leave most of this stuff. They haven't been much of an issue in any of my games.

- Alignment is just fluff.
AAAKK! Do not want. I think alignment should matter...and it should matter a lot.
 

Incenjucar

Adventurer
The gist of 4th edition is that the rules got out of the way of the story as much as possible. The lack of restrictions means you can play just about any character you can imagine, from a Tiefling Paladin of Asmodeus to a Barbarian/Monk hybrid, without losing mechanical footing (Primary ability scores aside). If 5E wants to capture the interest of 4E players, it needs to provide enough balance and lack of restrictions to let people play whatever characters suit them, even if those characters are contrary to traditional stereotypes or settings, and without making their characters useless.

If 5E has options - supported by any tools that are put out - that back off from the story unless the players and DM want to use a "Restriction Module" or the like, it will have a much better chance of getting 4E players' support.
 

Hassassin

First Post
- No Rolling to "Confirm" Criticial Hits. Always hated that.

I'm a bit torn on this. The second roll often seemed either a chore or a let down. However, I don't think 4e could have dropped the confirmation roll without gimping typical crits to just max damage. That part I didn't like. 3e like 3x and 4x critical weapons wouldn't work if one attack in 20 is a crit regardless of hit chance.
 

Incenjucar

Adventurer
4E Crits are max damage, plus crit bonus damage. You can get some insane crits in 4E with magic weapons and high crit weapons.
 

avin

First Post
I would change Level (which I guess is an abstract word in most games) Drain to "Drain", and would work some sort of penalties.

Level drain is such a huuuuge pain to deal... as DM or Player, IMO...
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top