D&D 4E Ben Riggs' "What the Heck Happened with 4th Edition?" seminar at Gen Con 2023


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Kannik

Hero
Yes, several. There are more who liked 4E fine and moved on, I reckon.
I very much enjoy 4e, and when 5e came out our groups moved on to it. It's fine and we enjoy it, even if there was deleterious regression in some of the design elements as well as less overall flavour to the character classes and abilities.

If I were to rank what editions I would like to play in (and only listing those I have extensively played in) today, I would place it as 4e, then 5e, then 1e/2e, with 3e/3.5e last. Nicely, we just started a 4e campaign in one of my groups, and it's been delightful to return to it.

That said, there are some elements/ideas in 5e that I think are an improvement and would port into a revised 4e, such as finesse weapons (sidestepping some of the BMA issues) and some of the subclass variants.

I agree and vice versa... where 5e changed things some of its fans think are for the better..

-The stifling AEDU structure used for every class.
-Badly explained/math/examples of SC (along with the actual rules changing depending on what source you check. DMG vs DMG 2 vs RC)
-Excessive overhead and time spent in combat (even at lower levels)
-Design that pushed against actual dungeoncrawling.
-Hard-coded roles for classes.
-Excessively gamist mechanics for monsters & encounter design
-Mechanics that heavily pushed for visual representation of combat encounters.
-Enforced magic item math
-Jargon as opposed to natural language
-Excessively released errata

For me, the AEDU structure from PHB1-3 was not a show-stopper nor stifling. That said, I equally like the variations that began in the Essentials line, so variety is cool and it would be neat to push that design space even further. Class roles (primary and secondary) were cool too. I certainly wouldn't jettison SCs, they offer great potential and they always rocked for me (which might be because I didn't read the rules ran them based on a description of play from before the game was released; the post was from WotC though I don't remember who was running the game in the example). I didn't find the game overly gameist (especially given that Gary himself calls 1e designed from a gameist perspective!) in the least, and I think the effects-based design + improvisation rules were a great boon which allowed for easy 'fluffing' to make all sorts of RP possible.

As noted upthread, I'd've loved to have a series of modules to facilitate a greater variety of campaign styles...
 
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Hussar

Legend
I am curious... if you believe 5e has so much 4e DNA in it and it's for the most part just a matter of presentation... why do you think many 4e fans aren't fans of 5e?

Why do you say that? I have no idea how many 4e fans now play 5e but at a guess I’d say it’s “most”.

Do you have any evidence that this isn’t true?
 

Hussar

Legend
Then why not just play 5e? If it’s essentially 4e anyway?

Again, what evidence is there that most haven’t? Point me towards a “Dragonsfoot” style 4e community. Every poll I ve seen points towards most 4e players having moved on to 5e.

Heck even in the online play community less groups play 4e than 1e.
 

Hussar

Legend
I'd be interested to know if they believe the two provide the same play/DM experience just presented differently?

By and large? Yes. I find very little difference. 5e combat obviously plays faster per round although that’s still very player dependent. But overall? Not huge difference.

I mean I ran the 4e version of Keep on the Borderlands (The Chaos Scar) in 5e with pretty much no changes other than simply updating stat blocks to 5e.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Why do you say that? I have no idea how many 4e fans now play 5e but at a guess I’d say it’s “most”.

Do you have any evidence that this isn’t true?
There's a difference between playing something and being a fan of it, especially when the something in question hogs virtually all the spotlight in the industry.
 

Hussar

Legend
There's a difference between playing something and being a fan of it, especially when the something in question hogs virtually all the spotlight in the industry.

Again, not the point in question. The question centered around people playing 5e.

Not everyone plays 5e under protest.

Or, to use my original question, what evidence is there that many 4e players don’t like 5e?
 

Imaro

Legend
Why do you say that? I have no idea how many 4e fans now play 5e but at a guess I’d say it’s “most”.

Do you have any evidence that this isn’t true?

Eh, even if it is most why are there those that are dissatisfied if it's the same outside of presentation... and even the ones who like it (at least those in this thread) clearly have a preference for 4e... but why if they are just presented differently but play the same?
 

Imaro

Legend
Again, not the point in question. The question centered around people playing 5e.

Not everyone plays 5e under protest.

Or, to use my original question, what evidence is there that many 4e players don’t like 5e?

Actually the point in question was about being a fan of the game... not whether they play it or not. At least my original question was centered on this unless you're speaking to something else.
 

Voadam

Legend
IMO... Its better to not have something than to half arse it so that the initial (and final for most who don't buy beyond the 3 initial books) impression of a new mechanic/process, is just bad. The explanation, examples and math in the initial 4e books were pretty much all failures in helping people grasp and ddesign good SC's.

Many people felt they were better off just playing in a naturalistic progression of actions style with the DM awarding XP for overall success as opposed to formal SC's. On top of that with milestone advancement their purpose becomes even more nebulous for any groups using that method of progression in 5e.

Edit: Do you use milestone advancement in 5e and if do what practical purpose do SC's fulfill without XP in your games?
I use milestone xp in 5e and I used it in Pathfinder. I think I started using it in 3.5 or 3e and said level ups would just happen at appropriate times and stopped tracking xp when all the classes were on the same chart.

I had forgotten there was an xp element to skill challenges at all. :)

I use skill challenges to have a group oriented challenge with mechanics where everybody participates instead of a single character making a single skill roll.

It is to get multiple people engaged in a group activity for multiple rounds with each bringing in their character's specialties and individual approaches and having decision points that impact the action.

Sometimes a single character using a single skill roll is appropriate for a situation. Sometimes I want it to be a whole party thing when appropriate so I go with a skill challenge type of situation.

I did one in my 5e game a bit ago to do an Indiana Jones style street escape when the party was running away from a gang of hobgoblins and ghouls on their figurine of carrion crawling motorcycle with sidecar. One character was driving with decision points of focusing on speed or direction or maneuverings, one was hanging on to a rope while levitating and making decisions and checks on whether to pull himself towards the vehicle or focus on not getting wrapped around lamp poles, one was throwing obstacles at their pursuers, etc.

I remember running a bunch in Pathfinder where the party was trying to do a group ritual to use weird stuff that was around (fey magic nodes, midnight necromancy, etc.) and different party members' ideas and contributions to get something done that was not covered by a specific spell, having a necromancer use an animate dead scroll to bring back a party member as a sentient undead, accessing witch tower stuff to create an effect, etc.

I have no idea if I am doing it by the book for 4e rules, I am mostly going off the concept as advertised by WotC and as makes sense when I am dming. I don't formally have things setup as x successes before y failures, I want everyone to take actions in turn and make decisions in my skill challenges, sometimes with everybody contributing once, sometimes for a couple rounds just as if it was a combat with no attacks, and then I adjudicate based on the situation and choices and some impacts of the die rolls as seems appropriate.

It has been an enhancement to my games when I want to make resolving something more of a group activity.
 
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