D&D 4E Anyone playing 4e at the moment?


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Retreater

Legend
How do you compare it to PF2? If am not mistaken, you have written a bit about PF2, and both PF2 and 4e seems to lean towards doing tactical battle, having interesting monsters etc.
The primary difference I've noticed is in the balance. 4e is very well balanced. PF2 is swingy - and a character can drop in an instant on a failed save or a critical hit (which are very, very common). In 4e the monsters are designed with the role the DM needs them to play in the encounter. Like if you know you want an enemy to befuddle and confuse the opponents while his brutes smash away on the heroes, that is all clearly spelled out in the monster description, and they do it well. Monsters have a handful of useful, colorful abilities that are clearly listed on their stats sheet without you needing to look up spells, buffs, etc.
I could run 4e completely smashed (and often did after a few pints with my friends). PF2 requires utmost concentration, can't even have my dog in the room when I'm running it.
The tactics of 4e "just work." Movement and measurement of effects is simple. Spells/powers are straightforward. For PF2, it seems a grafted-on feature on the crumbling chassis of 3.x/PF.
 

BigZebra

Explorer
Reavers of Harkenwald is really good, but starts at 2nd level.
The Scales of War series from Dungeon Magazine (if you can find them digitally) are some of the best for 4e. The 1st level intro is "Rescue at Rivenroar" from Dungeon 156.
The idea behind the 4e way of thinking (as I understand it) is to not present dungeons with a bunch of trivial encounters with rats and kobolds. Have smaller dungeons with memorable set piece encounters that actually mean something. You can take Keep on the Shadowfell, but cut out the trivial encounters and replace with Skill Challenges, roleplay, etc., but use the big important battles.
Thank's! I'll be sure to check them out.
 

Can you recommend a good beginner adventure that nicely introduces the 4e way of thinking?
HS1: The Slaying Stone is almost universally recommended as the introductory 1st-level adventure for 4e. I haven't played it myself, but if you go looking for good 4e adventures it's on everyone's lips (fingers?). The general path for Heroic-tier stuff tends to be your choice of The Chaos Scar, which is a collection of various adventures linked only by theme and location, not an over-arching metaplot, or:
HS1: The Slaying Stone (1st)
Reavers of Harkenwold (DM's Kit, 2nd-3rd)
Cairn of the Winter King (Monster Vault, 4th)
HS2: Orcs of Stonefang Pass (5th)
Madness at Gardmore Abbey (6th-11th)

Literally every single one of the list above comes up as An Excellent 4e Adventure, I've heard their names enough times to almost think they intentionally form a single plotline despite knowing they don't.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
Never heard of it. Gonna take a look 🤔
Just try to ignore the artwork. And also it's kinda poorly structured.

But other than that, it uses similar power-bases approach to tactics, is setting-agnostic (it's expected that the players are gonna reskin classes, so it doesn't care whether, say, Magician is a Illusions School Wizard or a cyber-enhanced soldier armed with holographic projectors, as long as they control the battlefield through deception and illusions).
 


Yeah, D&D fanboys don't like when systems have an actual design and are well focused for some reason ¯\(ツ)
The most bizarre phenomenon I've seen over and over is people loving 5e for feature X while hating 4e for feature X. I've also seen podcasts where 5e is lauded for introducing a design feature that was actually introduced in 4e.

It's pretty clearly that the presentation of design in 4e was a much larger factor in its reception that the actual design itself.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
The most bizarre phenomenon I've seen over and over is people loving 5e for feature X while hating 4e for feature X. I've also seen podcasts where 5e is lauded for introducing a design feature that was actually introduced in 4e.

It's pretty clearly that the presentation of design in 4e was a much larger factor in its reception that the actual design itself.

Could also be that its the cumulative effect of the features. Thid ones ok. That one seems ok. That other one.... but blend them altogether & bleh.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
The most bizarre phenomenon I've seen over and over is people loving 5e for feature X while hating 4e for feature X. I've also seen podcasts where 5e is lauded for introducing a design feature that was actually introduced in 4e.

It's pretty clearly that the presentation of design in 4e was a much larger factor in its reception that the actual design itself.

My main arguement was mostly the design was about the class/role structure that was really the big upset.

It was very rigid early on and the powers thing didn't go over to well.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
My main arguement was mostly the design was about the class/role structure that was really the big upset.

It was very rigid early on and the powers thing didn't go over to well.
The thing that power source/role did that a lost a lot of long-time fans but I think was really brilliant, was it made classes bottom-up design, where in every other edition of D&D, they had been top-down. What I mean by that is, in other editions of D&D, classes are primarily archetypes, and their mechanical design follows from that fictional concept. In 4e, classes are primarily game constructs, and their story concept follows the design.

I think a proper successor to the ideas 4e tried to explore might not even have classes. Classes were kind of vestigial in 4e, and I think freed of the baggage of being a successor to D&D, You could cut them lose and just have players pick a power source and a combat role role, each of which would grant access to a selection of Powers to choose from at the appropriate levels.

You almost start to see this happening in Essentials, where there were a lot of shared powers between different classes of the same power source; although it also introduced secondary power sources, and eventually even started playing around with stuff like the Berserker that shifted from Striker to Defender when raging. God, I loved Essentials.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
The thing that power source/role did that a lost a lot of long-time fans but I think was really brilliant, was it made classes bottom-up design, where in every other edition of D&D, they had been top-down. What I mean by that is, in other editions of D&D, classes are primarily archetypes, and their mechanical design follows from that fictional concept. In 4e, classes are primarily game constructs, and their story concept follows the design.

I think a proper successor to the ideas 4e tried to explore might not even have classes. Classes were kind of vestigial in 4e, and I think freed of the baggage of being a successor to D&D, You could cut them lose and just have players pick a power source and a combat role role, each of which would grant access to a selection of Powers to choose from at the appropriate levels.

You almost start to see this happening in Essentials, where there were a lot of shared powers between different classes of the same power source; although it also introduced secondary power sources, and eventually even started playing around with stuff like the Berserker that shifted from Striker to Defender when raging. God, I loved Essentials.

Are you familiar with Stat Wars Saga Edition?

It was kind of a 3.5/4E hybrid.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yeah, D&D fanboys don't like when systems have an actual design and are well focused for some reason ¯\(ツ)
It’s a preference for top-down design vs. bottom-up. D&D has a long history of using bespoke and ad-hoc mechanics to emulate specific fictional concepts. 4e came at the design from completely the opposite direction, starting from a tightly focused mechanical design and creating fiction to fit that design. That’s also why reskinning works super well in 4e, which is another thing the old guard hated. It’s a total inversion of how they approach the game.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
I’m aware of it, but I never looked into it because my interest in a Star Wars RPG is next to none.

Each class was essentially feat, talent, the force powers anyone could take if they devoted resources to it and you had talent trees aka class abilities you could pick.

Not quite classless but yeah. It used NADS, had 5 classes, multiclass how you like.

Powered were essentially optional.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Each class was essentially feat, talent, the force powers anyone could take if they devoted resources to it and you had talent trees aka class abilities you could pick.

Not quite classless but yeah. It used NADS, had 5 classes, multiclass how you like.

Powered were essentially optional.
Neat.

Classless design has its benefits and its drawbacks for sure. I’m not saying D&D would be better off classless - in fact, I think Essentials did a pretty good job of demonstrating the potential design advantages of classes. What I really think 4e did great was make class mean something mechanically. Wizards weren’t just people who used magic and and gained it through rigorous study, they were Arcane Controllers, which came with certain mechanical implications. Form followed function, and I think that was a step in the right direction for D&D to take.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
The thing that power source/role did that a lost a lot of long-time fans but I think was really brilliant, was it made classes bottom-up design, where in every other edition of D&D, they had been top-down. What I mean by that is, in other editions of D&D, classes are primarily archetypes, and their mechanical design follows from that fictional concept. In 4e, classes are primarily game constructs, and their story concept follows the design.

I think a proper successor to the ideas 4e tried to explore might not even have classes. Classes were kind of vestigial in 4e, and I think freed of the baggage of being a successor to D&D, You could cut them lose and just have players pick a power source and a combat role role, each of which would grant access to a selection of Powers to choose from at the appropriate levels.

You almost start to see this happening in Essentials, where there were a lot of shared powers between different classes of the same power source; although it also introduced secondary power sources, and eventually even started playing around with stuff like the Berserker that shifted from Striker to Defender when raging. God, I loved Essentials.

That all sounds incredibly terrible to me personally. I consider the original arrangement of 4e classes a marked improvement over 3e precisely because of strong theming and mechanical niches of powers. Each class was designed to have a different feel even if the structure was similar. Abandoning level by level multiclassing, having powerful class features available at first level, and focusing on what made each class distinct even if resources were structured similarly made me feel like I was playing a Fighter again instead of someone with 5 levels of fighters and feats x, y, and z.

I view most of the Essentials content as pretty much a separate game that moved away from damn near everything I liked about 4e. It ditched the attitude, the lore, and distinctive class design that made the game feel special to me. While some excellent supplements came out of this era the core Player's Handbook replacements featured extremely bland design that took all the edge and flavor out of the game.

Personally I feel that Dungeon World, Freebooters on the Frontier and Pathfinder Second Edition were much better spiritual successors than Strike or 13th Age precisely because they are strong archetypal designs with mechanics that have real teeth. To me they integrate the lore directly into the game in a way that rewards players for engaging with it in the same way that 4e did.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
Neat.

Classless design has its benefits and its drawbacks for sure. I’m not saying D&D would be better off classless - in fact, I think Essentials did a pretty good job of demonstrating the potential design advantages of classes. What I really think 4e did great was make class mean something mechanically. Wizards weren’t just people who used magic and and gained it through rigorous study, they were Arcane Controllers, which came with certain mechanical implications. Form followed function, and I think that was a step in the right direction for D&D to take.

D&D will never go classless then it's no longer D&D;).

Not that one can't design a better game of course but yeah.
 


lockyreid

Explorer
Yes I still play 4e as my main DnD edition. We are currently 3 years into my campaign and the party just hit level 18. My group and I vastly prefer 4e game mechanics, and I've made some simple but hugely effective changes to the core game to fix some of the major pacing issues most players have.

In fact we started the campaign with 4e, and after a year we had 2 players leave, and 2 new players join. In order to help those new players join we decided to switch over to 5e and continue. This lasted for about 6 sessions before the party began to talk about switching back to 4e, and we did, and have been having a great time ever since.
 


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