Character Builder Status

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I worry.
I don't think 4e is playable without a character builder. It just got too complex.
It bothers me that my ability to play the game is based on WotCs supporting it.

This is incorrect.

4E is completely playable and character generation is fine if you don't use every single supplemental piece of mechanics that have been added over the lifetime of the game.

If you just use the Player's Handbook material, or just PHI & PHII material, or just Essentials material... you can build characters with just a character sheet and a book with absolutely no issue. After all... those of us who started playing 4E when it was first released had quite a while of doing just that before any Character Builder got created and released. And in fact... it's rather quite simple.

Now yes, if you want to select options from almost every single book and magazine article that has been produced for the game... then absolutely, the CB is practically essential if you don't own everything or want to spend a week or so combing through it all.

But to actually just play a 4E game... no builder of any sort is actually necessary.
 

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delericho

Legend
This is incorrect.

4E is completely playable and character generation is fine if you don't use every single supplemental piece of mechanics that have been added over the lifetime of the game.

Quoted for truth.

IMO, the 4e character builder hits exactly the right target in what it offers - it's a tool that absolutely is not required to play the game, but also one that is so useful that many people find it indispensable. That's a really small target to hit, but WotC hit it exactly... and well done to them.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
If you just use the Player's Handbook material, or just PHI & PHII material, or just Essentials material... you can build characters with just a character sheet and a book with absolutely no issue. After all... those of us who started playing 4E when it was first released had quite a while of doing just that before any Character Builder got created and released.

True ... IF you've faithfully copied over all of the errata to your books. There's been a whale load of it. Powers, feats, whole subsystems (flying, mounted combat). The earliest books are the ones that have had the most work done on them.

On the other hand, if you want to use all the material you've bought, and have the current errata, the character builder (and the compendium for at-the-table lookup of rules) are very nice to have. I want to use the content I purchased, that's why I bought it. And I want to play with the corrections and fixes they have issued as errata, which aren't available in the books by default.

I agree the online tools aren't indispensable, but they make bookkeeping go much quicker and more accurately so we can get on with the fun of actual play.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
I play 4Ed, and the only reason I use the CB is to give my DM an up-to-date copy of my PC...and that, only because he asked me to do so (it's his subscription).

For me, it is no mo difficult than working with PCs from prior editions of the game, with the exception of- because Dragon is no longer a physical magazine- I don't have those to look through. To explain, I mostly use only those sources I own or will have long-term access to, and the ephemeral e-magazines of someone else's subscription don't count.
 

The thread in 4e General on the WotC forums on this topic seems to have been closed or deleted. Probably because the last several pages of discussion was just people asking for Private Messages about where to find the extra-legal versions of the offline builder.
 

Gorgoroth

Banned
Banned
If Wotc discontinues CB, they should allow OCB carte-blanche to be mentioned. I would never play 4e again, but I feel bad for current players. I disagree with people making their toons using pen and paper. I've seen it done by many experienced players with TONS of mistakes and missing calculations and conditional bonuses on their sheets. There are too many moving parts. Especially with the errata pinata shaking all the pieces around the board. I still have my 4e books, but were I predisposed to play it again, I'd definitely rely on OCB. If you have 3/4 players using a builder and the other one using pen and paper, guess which ones are accurate? That's right, the built ones. You have to be super vigilant to play the game with each power having potentially many errata, both directly visible and stealth visible. E.g. They errata'ed the divine challenge from the paladin to give it a boost, but you could be perfectly forgiven for missing that if you simply played by PHB 1.

The classy thing to do is lift the ban on OCB and let the community take it from there. So you could have community driven errata or custom powers or classes added as packs, like they already do. It's really annoying, I feel like 4e is also unplayable without the builder, and I enjoyed using it a lot (the OCB one, that is).

Eventually Next will get a dearth of supplemental material and we'll be back to this same treadmill of fighting against obsolescence if they threaten lawsuits everywhere against third party builders.

My heart go out to you 4e players, especially DMs, who will have a much harder go of it without online tools (especially the DM side, to validate player choices are up-to-date with current errata to remove broken builds and feat/class/power combinations...there are simply too many permutations to count to not use them).
 

All in all this is pretty typical of WotC.

They make a decision to cancel/delay/revise something and then don't actually tell the customers and fanbase. Likely as getting permission to release a statement is an incredibly slow process and requires approval from managers who can't be bothered and just don't care.
WotC_Trevor tries so hard to keep us in the loop but he can only reach so many people via the forums and Twitter.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
True ... IF you've faithfully copied over all of the errata to your books. There's been a whale load of it. Powers, feats, whole subsystems (flying, mounted combat). The earliest books are the ones that have had the most work done on them.

Well, depending on which books you decide to use-- just PHI, just PHI&II, just Essentials... the amount of errata you will actually use based upon the specific powers/feats you take will be minimal. Small enough that it would be quite simple to just download the errata PDF doc on the website and use that. And also truth be told... most of the errata doesn't even change or fix problems... they're mainly grammar and spelling errors to help close loopholes or make rulings more clear. So you could easily not even touch the errata when playing the game and not even notice it (not including the couple "big" things like the skill challenge and stealth skill errata).

On the other hand, if you want to use all the material you've bought, and have the current errata, the character builder (and the compendium for at-the-table lookup of rules) are very nice to have. I want to use the content I purchased, that's why I bought it. And I want to play with the corrections and fixes they have issued as errata, which aren't available in the books by default.

Don't get me wrong... using the CB is a dream. I love using it and it definitely helps with completing the math of everything fast, and get all the pages of your character in order.

I agree the online tools aren't indispensable, but they make bookkeeping go much quicker and more accurately so we can get on with the fun of actual play.

This is most certainly true. You don't need it to play 4E-- and in fact, many people would probably enjoy NOT using it to play 4E, because they would be less inclined to sift through ALL the pages of powers and feats that can turn using it into a slog. If you don't mind the slog of going through everything, it's a boon to have. But if you want to do a quick and easy 4E game... just pull out the Essentials book or just PHI and you'll see how nice, easy, and clean 4E character generation can be.
 

I worry.
I don't think 4e is playable without a character builder. It just got too complex.
It bothers me that my ability to play the game is based on WotCs supporting it. So any sign of discontinuation is very alarming. I hope the tinker gnome variant makes it to the builder before it comes to a complete halt.

This is just confusing to me. I'm a player in one campaign and a DM in the other. Where I'm a player, I have a printed character sheet. I discovered in that campaign that some of the newer players don't know how to build a character without a CB. (IMO, you should learn to do it by hand before you use the builder.)

I was stunned to discover that some of the players in a Kingmaker campaign I'm in can't maintain a character sheet without a character builder either. When I first started playing 3rd Edition, electronic character builders didn't even exist. (I use a printed character sheet to maintain a druid - including wildshape - and animal companion, but confess I'm recently having to use a laptop to keep track of summoned creatures.)
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
I noticed a couple of items perfect for a bard in this month's Dragon so for two weeks or so I've been planning to include them in a particular treasure hoard after the wererat (via a character theme) bard and the party slew the former-wererat-now-vampire who originally infected the bard with lycanthropy. Major story moment. Fantastic 4E combat.

And we noticed that those items haven't been included on DDi.

Bugger. (It's not life and death: DDi allows a tiny bit of customisation so I was able to create replacement items pending an eventual update.)

(snip) When I first started playing 3rd Edition, electronic character builders didn't even exist. (snip)

... except for the original version of eTools that shipped with the first 3E PHB. :)

However, its utility was limited and, as good as it was, it was subsequently replaced by the monstrous eTurd which was the more accurate name for eTools.
 

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