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4E Countdown to Fourth Edition

I was puttering around the old 3e D&D archives when I came across this:

http://archive.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/dx20010401a

It’s an April Fools joke from 2001. What I find amusing is that it overshot 4e’s arrival time by about three years. What I find interesting is that they joke about a “revolutionary d30 system,” but 4e, when it arrived, was indeed a dramatic departure from the past.

In any case, if you have the time and inclination, there’s all sorts of interesting stuff (and a trip down memory lane) to be found in the archive.wizards site.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
4E was functionally out if print by 2011. Still combine that with the start of the 4E phb about the next decade it seems the assumption is 10 years for a D&D edition.

Spitting out 3 editions in 7 or 8 years doesn't work as they did 3 editions of Star Wars as well.
 

Aebir-Toril

Explorer
I can't wait for 10e, when there will only be Gnomes, Paladins, and Rapiers, nothing else.
 
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MockingBird

Explorer
I remember reading an article about 5e or Next rather. In the article it said (or at least how I interpreted it) that you could potentially make a character from any edition and be able to play at a 5e table. It made sense to me at the time cause they had just rereleased 1e, 2e, and 3e core books. I always thought that was an interesting concept. I was perplexed however how it could actually work in practice.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
I remember reading an article about 5e or Next rather. In the article it said (or at least how I interpreted it) that you could potentially make a character from any edition and be able to play at a 5e table. It made sense to me at the time cause they had just rereleased 1e, 2e, and 3e core books. I always thought that was an interesting concept. I was perplexed however how it could actually work in practice.
I think people took it to literally.

A AD&D Druid is a land Druid, the Battlemaster is a 4E concept, a thief is your AD&D one etc.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It might not be what hardcore 4E players want but concept wise it's not really any other edition. It's only 1/3rd warlord.
If might be seen to derive from the Book of Nine Swords classes (Swordsage etc) the maneuver sharing was more complete in that ... the most magical ones maneuvers were directly swappable with other maneuvers.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Battlemaster just feels like an "almost" to me it seems like it had more potential than was actually explored / I remember noticing when i first seen it that they had left out some of the stuff in the playtest that would have given it more pop.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
If might be seen to derive from the Book of Nine Swords classes (Swordsage etc) the maneuver sharing was more complete in that ... the most magical ones maneuvers were directly swappable with other maneuvers.
Marginal and even you said it was 1/3rd warlord iirc. Might have been Tony.

It's not the only example though. You can build the warlock like a 4E one or 3E one. 4E races are there but optional, so are 4E type feats like sentinel and martial healing.

Simple fighter champion, complex one Battlemaster.

Throw in the optional rules like short rests being 5 minutes or weapon speeds. There's a bit in there for everyone.

As I said some people took them to literally.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Marginal and even you said it was 1/3rd warlord iirc. Might have been Tony.
Could have been either of us not something i would dispute much It's limited in how much Warlord it can be expected to present by being such a heavy striker. (Wasnt it you I recall who designed on a real class that might work?). The ranger in 4e could leverage feats to allow sacrificing its striker class feature to shore up partially other role support. The BO9S classes had one School which did Warlord type things too. I think the Battlemaster name actually implies the Warlord element well. If their was more follow through on (sacrificing the BM extra attacks selectively for more frequent maneuvers) that would be more follow through and having Adroit/Skillful Superiority Feat might be just the thing to do that. I think the Battlemaster also needs a set of Intellect based maneuvers so you can pick your flavor of Warlord. AND it needs a Fighting style that says Warlord. I am actually one of those who likes and thinks the Battlemaster could be a foundation for other 4e cool stuff but I think it lacked follow through is all.

It's not the only example though. You can build the warlock like a 4E one or 3E one. 4E races are there but optional, so are 4E type feats like sentinel and martial healing.
I think the Protector Fighting style is very lacking trading off the foundation of opportunity attacks to maybe kind of defend an attack that you are far from certain is going to hit anyway and make your sentinel feat useless in the proces. I have seen what looked to be a good solution which allowed you to induce a reroll if they were going to hit far less waste if you decide to do and a better choice. Ie your martial acumen let you tell how dangerous this attack really was, allowing you to kick in and interfere when it is really needed.

Simple fighter champion, complex one Battlemaster.
Certainly something they realized was needed because of 4e.

Throw in the optional rules like short rests being 5 minutes or weapon speeds. There's a bit in there for everyone.
Is the short rest being 5 minutes an optional rule actually mentioned? And the adjustments the DM may need to make to support it?

As I said some people took them to literally.
5e has rescaled 4e mechanics / numbers all over the place but mostly in a consistent way (each level approximately== 2 4e levels adventurer in 4e start at level 5 in 5e land).
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
Could have been either of us not something i would dispute much It's limited in how much Warlord it can be expected to present by being such a heavy striker. (Wasnt it you I recall who designed on a real class that might work?). The ranger in 4e could leverage feats to allow sacrificing its striker class feature to shore up partially other role support. The BO9S classes had one School which did Warlord type things too. I think the Battlemaster name actually implies the Warlord element well. If their was more follow through on (sacrificing the BM extra attacks selectively for more frequent maneuvers) that would be more follow through and having Adroit/Skillful Superiority Feat might be just the thing to do that. I think the Battlemaster also needs a set of Intellect based maneuvers so you can pick your flavor of Warlord. AND it needs a Fighting style that says Warlord. I am actually one of those who likes and thinks the Battlemaster could be a foundation for other 4e cool stuff but I think it lacked follow through is all.


I think the Protector Fighting style is very lacking trading off the foundation of opportunity attacks to maybe kind of defend an attack that you are far from certain is going to hit anyway and make your sentinel feat useless in the proces. I have seen what looked to be a good solution which allowed you to induce a reroll if they were going to hit far less waste if you decide to do and a better choice. Ie your martial acumen let you tell how dangerous this attack really was, allowing you to kick in and interfere when it is really needed.


Certainly something they realized was needed because of 4e.



Is the short rest being 5 minutes an optional rule actually mentioned? And the adjustments the DM may need to make to support it?



5e has rescaled 4e mechanics / numbers all over the place but mostly in a consistent way (each level approximately== 2 4e levels adventurer in 4e start at level 5 in 5e land).
I designed a rough Warlord chassis, it's a lot of work converting a full 4E class. I would probably covert stuff a little bit different than 4E fans mostly due to ogl/gsl.

The Warlock I think can be used as a template for 4E classes tweaking things like hit dice etc as required.

I don't think at will attack granting works in 4E but you can design a class better at it than the Battlemaster.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I don't think at will attack granting works in 4E but you can design a class better at it than the Battlemaster.
I think Mearles actually said it was possible to make it work.. remember when a 4e Warlord does it that is his action fully spent if he had 3 attacks before ... all of those would go into it. The problem is he would need to have a really good reason to want to do that. Because the Battlemaster Chassis is striker so unless it was well outside his reach or the rogue was in a very sweet spot he is better off using those 3 himself if he could limit the quality of the attack granted like the 4e basic attack was (before essentials) spreading it to all his nearby allies then becomes an option.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
using ones action surge on an ally would be a daily form of attack granting

The idea I had for at-will maneuvers was to spend one of the fighters attacks and a skill or mental stat roll to make the follow up attack have a superiority die. (Then you have at-will of any maneuver you really want not so coincidentally at level 5) also add the mental stat bonus to the results. You are basically scanning for an opening.

Epic Heroism optional rule to do 5 minute short rests and 1 hour long rests....
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The idea I had for at-will maneuvers was to spend one of the fighters attacks and a skill or mental stat roll to make the follow up attack have a superiority die. (Then you have at-will of any maneuver you really want not so coincidentally at level 5) also add the mental stat bonus to the results. You are basically scanning for an opening.
This encourages mental secondaries like Wisdom was encouraged in 4e and gives battlemaster even more reason to use charisma as a solid second.

Scan for openings might even be a better name it really puts more eggs in the basket if you succeed on the roll and makes it more interesting its not a power enhancement you could probably just make it an additional class feature or if a Feat allow them to get a bonus on a favored stat alongside of it and maybe some other subtle benefit, knowing another maneuver comes to mind.
 

Jer

Explorer
4E was functionally out if print by 2011. Still combine that with the start of the 4E phb about the next decade it seems the assumption is 10 years for a D&D edition.

Spitting out 3 editions in 7 or 8 years doesn't work as they did 3 editions of Star Wars as well.
If you just looked at prior history in 2000, 10 years seems about right. The core of AD&D 1e came out over 3 years, but regardless of which year you pick (77-79) there was a roughly 10 year span until 2e was released in 1989. Then 3e was released in 2000 (though IMO that timing had as much to do with TSR's corporate struggles as it did for a "natural" span between editions). Looking at it from 2000, expecting a new release to drop roughly 10-11 years later because that was how long 1e and 2e both lasted seems reasonable.

One thing about the 3.x run for D&D is that it set up some bad expectations about publication schedules. 3.0 was barely 3 years old when 3.5 was released. 3.5 lasted 5 more years before 4e was released. 4e then got roughly another 5 years (6 if you just look at when 5e was released compared to when 4e was released, but for an entire year before the actual release it was all "D&D Next" hype, so functionally only 5). And since Wizards had internalized that the financial problems that TSR faced was partly due to diluting sales across setting lines, and that their surveys said that people wanted "rules crunch" in the accessories they bought, they were dropping a book a month full of rules changes onto the games. 3e couldn't handle the weight, which is why it got 2 revisions over the span of 10 years (just 3 years later when 3.5 dropped, and then one in 2008 when they reworked the engine to be more robust to the grind of dropping monthly rules updates and called it 4e - despite everything I enjoy about 4e it's pretty clear that one of the intents behind 4e was to make it easier to add features to the game quickly. I'm pretty sure I even remember someone - maybe Dave Noonan or Mike Mearls on their podcast back when he did that? - explicitly saying that. One of the compromises for 5e is that they moved back to an engine that is harder to slot new rules into, and changed their publishing expectations instead).

I would not be surprised at all to find out that internal plans for 5e originally expected to have to release a "5e revised" this year (5 years in) to tweak the sales numbers. But the sales game they're playing has definitely changed for a number of reasons both involving how Wizards has been handling D&D internally and how the game has seen renewed popularity independent of things that Wizards has done on purpose. (2e did get a "revised" edition around 1995 with new layout, art and some errata incorporated into it - if it weren't for the fact that 5 years in the PHB is still selling incredible numbers I could have seen them doing that this year. But from a publication perspective you don't want to do that when it's still selling so well - you want to keep that bullet in your chamber for when you need the sales).
 

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