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D&D General D&D Combat is fictionless

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
You really don't get it. These are never ISSUES for me. They are opportunities to have players really shine, each in their domain of choice.
When and if you want them to never of their own choice or when they come together with abilities that support each other in combos... just relying on crutches like anti-magic (also a game mechanic but yours as a dm)
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
and need a crutch like a very controlled game system here as a safeguard.
I have seen how you improvise tactical benefits in our discussions I would not trust you very far without some tool...

And the vast majority of 5e DMS here are utterly erratic about similar things, most erroring on the side of against the player.
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
No the player get to choose in 4e when the players want their characters to shine.

No, they don't, they have to abide by rules that tell them how many squares to move and how their powers are limited by combat. And it's exactly like this:

and-when-everyones-super-no-one-will-be.jpg


You get exactly that in comic books, by the way, superheroes are not equally powerful. But circumstances and plots allow them a chance to shine if they seize it.

Instead of only when you the DM decide for them with artificial leverage like anti-magic.

Yeah, right, artificial like a beholder eye that just targets powers because they have a technical tag, whatever source they come from.

Pray tell in which fantasy novel or movie you have something that feels like that. Because I have given you multiple examples of antimagic...
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
When and if you want them to never of their own choice or when they come together with abilities that support each other in combos...

Oh yes, you mean these very narrative powers of push/pull/slide and balls which are actually squares on the map. No, thanks, I'll take the narrative combos of my players any time over these, like yesterday evening when a player distracted a Prince of Hell while the other one rummaged around the back of the command tent trying to find hints about what had happened to the orders that the Prince should have received multiple times.

just relying on crutches like anti-magic (also a game mechanic but yours as a dm)

At least it's a narrative game mechanic that means something in the game world, and not something that exists only in the technical world of little squares on a technical map and that does only a purely technical effect that has no relation to what the different characters could do. It's really top-down levelling, reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator because one is afraid of the brilliant spikes.

Its all about your DM control and power right... never the player

My current game is a total sandbox. The players are in control of armies and have "allies" in hell, they decide whether they want to go in the areas where there is antimagic, or the path that they will take. But of course, in 4e, everything needs to be labelled and technically correct to be put on a gridded map, everything needs to be codified.
I have seen how you improvise tactical benefits in our discussions I would not trust you very far without some tool...

OK, this discussion is over. First, you dragged me back into edition warring with your insistence that it had to be only a matter of taste, and second this is actually extremely insulting. Have fun with your 4e, but stop trying to peddle it to everyone, it's dead out there for many good reasons (that of course you will never accept because all the people not agreeing with you are idiots for not seeing the light of 4e).

And the vast majority of 5e DMS here are utterly erratic about similar things, most erroring on the side of against the player.

Yeah, I know, we 5e DMs are all erratic and stupid, railroading DMs with no respect for the players. Riiiight....
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
No, they don't, they have to abide by rules that tell them how many squares to move and how their powers are limited by combat.
Game system is bad improvisation is the only good you are broken.
Also
sarcasm -> I have an idea let's give everyone 5 times as many squares and call the squares feet
LOL when you complain about limits of feet in the characters movement rate I will buy your bs.

Squares are just a simplification ffs.

And it's exactly like this:

and-when-everyones-super-no-one-will-be.jpg

That seems an irrelevant quote by a villain Thought you said as DM you aren't the villain.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yeah, I know, we 5e DMs are all erratic and stupid, railroading DMs with no respect for the players. Riiiight....
Nope I think you were given a tool that is erratic like a crappy CR system and functionally zero guidelines about how skills and stunts might compare to abilities already provided explicitly. So when you go off the charts its highly unpredictable or predictably meh.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
No, thanks, I'll take the narrative combos of my players any time over these, like yesterday evening when a player distracted a Prince of Hell while the other one rummaged around the back of the command tent trying to find hints about what had happened to the orders that the Prince should have received multiple times.
That is a normal narrative thing in 4e oh my and is the narrative which might well be backed by DM tool skill challenges.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Game system is bad improvisation is the only good you are broken.

This not english.

sarcasm -> I have an idea let's give everyone 5 times as many squares and call the squares feet
LOL when you complain about limits of feet in the characters movement rate I will buy your bs.

This just shows that you don't even understand the fact that the basis for 5e is ToTM, where there are not even squares, where you don't have to move in straight lines, and where you can actually go exactly where you want to be, even up or down along stairs and ladders (which 4e cannot even model properly, by the way). But that freedom is obviously too much for you to handle, even on maps without squares, although you know that VTTs have been doing it perfectly well for many years now.

Squares are just a simplification ffs.

No, they are a constraint that looks ugly and feels constrained, especially when you can't even apply pythagore. I don't want "simplification" I want to feel in a fantasy world where I can cover the same distance whether I run north or southwest, because otherwise it looks and feels dumb and only like a boardgame.

That seems an irrelevant quote by a villain Thought you said as DM you aren't the villain.

Just in case, this represents YOU, because it's you the one wanting everyone to be super in exactly the same way. I'll leave it to you to draw the conclusion as to who is the villain.

Nope I think you were given a tool that is erratic like a crappy CR system and functionally zero guidelines about how skills and stunts might compare to abilities already provided explicitly. So when you go off the charts its highly unpredictable or predictably meh.

And it's still way better than just parroting the rules of a combat boardgame and calling it a roleplaying game. :p

That is a normal narrative thing in 4e oh my and is the narrative which might well be backed by DM tool skill challenges.

Oh yes, forgot about this, crutch needed because the DM and players do not trust themselves, cannot handle improvisation, unusual situations and sandboxing. Everything needs to be controlled by little rules and rollplaying. Riiiight....
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It really looks like if, as a DM, you cannot trust your players...

I have seen how you improvise tactical benefits in our discussions I would not trust you very far without some tool...
Mod Note:

And, at this point, both of you are making it personal. As if annoying a person who disagrees with you by insulting them is going to actually help your position?

It is time for you folks to drastically change your approach to each other, or disengage.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Mod Note:

And, at this point, both of you are making it personal. As if annoying a person who disagrees with you by insulting them is going to actually help your position?

It is time for you folks to drastically change your approach to each other, or disengage.

I agree, thanks for this, I need to take a breath, disengaging now.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
because it's you the one wanting everyone to be super in exactly the same way.
Nope the daily burst of power from a fighter are nothing like those of the wizard.... you are just lying

and wanting personal control over when people get to shine and when they don't

And it's still way better than just parroting the rules of a combat boardgame and calling it a roleplaying game. :p
ah look there is your blatant edition warring complete with the language.
"4e is now not a roleplaying game." just a boardgame.


This not english.
trust me it was sarcastic but lacked proper notations.
This just shows that you don't even understand the fact that the basis for 5e is ToTM,
I have seen and played actual ToTM this is a joke to call 5e that.
No, they are a constraint that looks ugly and feels constrained, especially when you can't even apply pythagore. I don't want "simplification"
I watched people computing the area of a deformed fireball at the table in 1e... I am going with simplification is good D&D simplifies things all the time
And it's still way better than just parroting the rules of a combat boardgame and calling it a roleplaying game. :p

Ah look at the blatant edition warring yup that is you.

Oh yes, forgot about this, crutch needed because the DM and players do not trust themselves, cannot handle improvisation, unusual situations and sandboxing. Everything needs to be controlled by little rules and rollplaying. Riiiight....
LOL a tool which some used and some don't but that must make it a bad tool yes? and with your bad math example of improvised tactics you definitely need a page 42 like tool for your improvising sucks in that arena. You may do fine in the category of activity SC help with though.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Mod Note:

And, at this point, both of you are making it personal. As if annoying a person who disagrees with you by insulting them is going to actually help your position?

It is time for you folks to drastically change your approach to each other, or disengage.
You are right, apologies. Also withdrawing.
 

pemerton

Legend
If' you're at or below 0, you are factually dying, the game expressly tells you so, and dying of wounds, not of loss of resolve in most cases
But clearly you're not maimed, or blinded, because the game has never - in any edition - required a Regeneration or Cure Blindness spell to get back to fully unhurt status.

In AD&D, a character always returns to full health with a month of rest. No amount of rest will regrow a person's leg or eye, ergo, no one in AD&D is ever losing limbs simply by dint of losing hit points.

How you factor this into 4e's dying condition is up to you, but it seems obvious to me that an understanding of it that makes the game play well is to be preferred to an understanding that makes things silly. And that former understanding is trivially available!
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
But clearly you're not maimed, or blinded, because the game has never - in any edition - required a Regeneration or Cure Blindness spell to get back to fully unhurt status.

Agreed. But you still have been (usually, considering the types of adversaries and the type of damage that they inflict) wounded enough that you are dying (in both the technical and narrative sense) and sliding towards death.

In AD&D, a character always returns to full health with a month of rest. No amount of rest will regrow a person's leg or eye, ergo, no one in AD&D is ever losing limbs simply by dint of losing hit points.

AD&D, due to Gygax perspective, had a number of things:
  • A sometimes very gritty perspective.
  • Uncountable options, which went from the very commonly used (not dying at 0 but at -10 for example) to the (almost) never used (at least at our tables) ones, like the one that you mention above.
In our case, because we played, in addition to the low levels, at very high level, extremely epic, there was very often enough magic to counter the effects above. At low level, the risk was much more death than losing limbs, there was an area between raise dead and regeneration where limbs and eyes were sometimes lost, and after that, the biggest risk was losing your soul and becoming non-resurrectable.

How you factor this into 4e's dying condition is up to you, but it seems obvious to me that an understanding of it that makes the game play well is to be preferred to an understanding that makes things silly.

Can I please ask you to use such derogatory wording about the interpretations that other people make ? Because, honestly, I could easily use the same words when you claim to play in an epic way and all I see is the use of very technical powers on a grid, but still modifying the rules when it suits you.

4e RAW interpretation is not silly, it's just a different paradigm, like every edition (although it's more "closed" than others due to the formal rules) it can be played in a variety of ways. But the most important thing to understand is that it is not a realistic simulation of our world. At best, if it's not purely technical (which is, by the way, one of my problems with many powers there and is one of the reason for which it does not appear silly to a lot of players, they are just playing the rules), it is a simulation of the genre books/movies/shows where people are certainly out of the fight and look like they are dying just enough that the other heroes and the audience becomes worried about them. And indeed, in a number of cases for the most dramatic stories, it actually happens.

But when it does not happen, it's very rare when there are even medium-term effects of that "dying" state, because it does not make for a dynamic story, so there are always reasons for quick recovery. After that, it can be attributed to many things, but it's usually technology or magic, not simple recovery or a few words, no matter how commanding. Why ? Because that would indeed look silly to most readers/viewers, whose suspension of disbelief would be to say "but that is so mundane that it should at least, for the mundane part, mirror what is happening in our real world".

This is why applying the rules exactly as written in 4e for warlord healing does not make sense to me, because it gives me both the impression of a purely technical power given to a class so that it can do what other classes of the same role can do and the impression of a badly written show where things happen that stretch my suspension of disbelief.

Again, it does not mean that I can't envision the case where a guy believes he is dying and the voice of his officer rouses him, gives him incentive to fight, he rallies and is later saved. Why not, it's suitably heroic, and interesting as a story that can happen once. But if you give a power like this to a class in a TTRPG, it will get used in every fight, and while it might be explainable once, having it happen technically over and over again is just ugly to me, and forcing combat to become, in effect, fictionless, because you start to completely ignore the fiction just to apply technical powers that don't really make sense, over and over again, for the whole campaign.

And this is why the 5e view of the "warlord", infusing his troops with the power to fight longer (by temporary hit points) rather than having them "recover" looks much better to me, in particular with my views (as a marathonian) about the difference between sustaining effort and recovery. It makes it exactly as fictionfull as a commander inspiring troops would be, and it does not force me to twist the meaning of "dying" right and left, and retcon things all the time like you do.

Again, if retconning is your preferred way of doing things and your players like it, all the better for you. It's just that, at our tables, and as you probably saw from my examples of play, we want fights to be hard and fast, fully integrated in the story, and not spend time on them more than absolutely necessary for the story and drama. And we have found out that any sort of retconning, especially by other people during one's turn, is absolutely fatal to the pacing of combat, because it sparks discussions, people wanting to understand how reality is different from what they had envisioned it, etc.

Shield is certainly not a retcon, it's just the DM saying "the monster rolls an 18 to hit, does he hit you ?" and the player answering "no, my AC is normally 14 but I cast shield, so it's a miss", and that's it, part of the standard resolution.

But saying during one's turn "he is dying", and a few turns later someone else saying "actually no, he was not really dying, he just needed a few words of encouragement" is a retcon and a change of the story. Again, once at a table for dramatic effect, why not, but I can guarantee that at our tables, it would degenerate into a comedy effect extremely quickly, and that every time a DM would say "he is dying", people will start to say "or is he? Dum dum dum...."

And that former understanding is trivially available!

No, this is YOUR way to look at it, but it id by no means the only one, and if I may add, it's not the one that is supported by the rules as written. This is certainly not something that I will hold against you, I'm just pointing out again the important part, especially linked to the subject of this thread, the more formal a system is, the more full of technical rules, the more you need to "interpret" them if you want to play the game narratively and make your combats less fictionless.
 

pemerton

Legend
If' you're at or below 0, you are factually dying, the game expressly tells you so, and dying of wounds, not of loss of resolve in most cases (because monsters generally hit you with swords and claw, not with nasty words). So I'm sorry, but it totally breaks my suspension of disbelief that you are again operational because someone is "commanding", you are unconscious and dying.

There might be some edge cases where the paradigm works, but it cannot be the standard, otherwise it becomes ridiculous, and both you and Pemerton have said that your way around it is to ignore the "dying" state, and do some retcons. Which again, is fine if you want to do it in your games, but it's not what the game tells you, and if I do what the game tells me, it breaks my suspension of disbelief. This is pure fact.

<snip>

dying is dying, written plainly in the rules, and someone with a commanding presence is basically bandaging those wounds for you with just his voice and no magic
I have two (related) responses to this.

Here's the first: Pages 72-73 of the 5e D&D Basic PDF, under the heading "Making an Attack", say

Determine Modifiers. The DM determines whether the target has cover and whether your have advantage or disadvantage against the target. In addition, spells, special abilities, and other effects can apply penalties or bonuses to your attack roll. . . .
Resolve the attack. You make the attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular attack has rules that specify otherwise . . .

To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target's Armoo Class (AC), the attack hits. The AC of a character is determined at character creation . . .​

When I compare that text to the Shield spell, which is triggered by a hit and which adjusts AC other than at character creation and not because the GM determined that someone has cover, and which retroactively applies the adjusted AC to the attack roll that has already been determined to hit, what sense am I to make of it? It's obviously fortune-in-the-middle. And it's obvious that the attack, although it hit, because if it didn't, the spell wouldn't be triggered, also didn't really hit. Because it's character as a hit or a miss is reassessed by reference to the new AC total.

You seem happy to go along with the above, and yet imply a completely different approach to the Dying condition in 4e. On what basis? None that you've articulated: it's clear that dying, in 4e, works the same way as hit in 5e - it is subject to revision based on subsequent action declarations and resolutions. Eg if in fact someone restores the notionally dying character to a hit point total greater than zero, then it turns out they weren't dying after all. This was obvious to everyone at my table as soon as we read the game rules. And it's even built right into the description of the dying condition on page 295 of the 4e PHB: a player who rolls 20+ on a death saving throw is able to spend a healing surge, with the result that their PC is no longer unconscious and dying. 5e D&D has a very similar rule (p 76 of the Basic PDF; instead of spending a surge the character regains 1 hp). In the 4e Rules Compendium, p 260 (but not in the 4e PHB, nor on the 5e Basic PDF) an additional gloss is added to this rule: the character "taps into his or her will to live".

No one thinks that a character who has been (say) disembowelled has a 1 in 20 chance to miraculously recover. Hence it follows, if the character rolls 20+ on their death saving throw, that they weren't disembowelled! (Or maimed, or blinded, etc). The situation is no different when a warlord speaks an Inspiring Word.

Here is the second thought: your interpretive approach produces absurdities, including but not limited to: a character is hit by an attack but then casts a shield spell which triggers some sort of time travel to undo the hit; a character is dying from mortal wounds but then recovers with all maiming and other fatal damage miraculously healed because the player rolled a 20 on the death saving throw; a character is bleeding to death and a spoken word heals the wound.

My interpretive approach produces coherent and even compelling fiction: just in the nick of time, like Dr Strange, the character erects a magical defensive barrier (we revise our initial thought that the fiction contained a hit, due to the mechanical cue provided by the declaration of the casting of a shield spell); like Frodo in LotR, the character seemed to have been skewered by a mighty blow, and had collapsed as if dead or dying, but in fact they had just swooned, and their resolve now returned they can carry one (we suspend forming any judgement about the meaning in the fiction of having fallen to 0 hp until the death save process has worked itself out).

Notice that there is no difference between 4e or 5e as far as interpretive process goes, for either shield (an immediate interrupt triggered by being hit by an attack, in both editions) or "dying" at zero hp (which is nearly the same in both systems, except that 4e has the additional option that a warlord can speak an Inspiring Word which has the same practical effect as rolling a 20 on the save).

Shield is certainly not a retcon, it's just the DM saying "the monster rolls an 18 to hit, does he hit you ?" and the player answering "no, my AC is normally 14 but I cast shield, so it's a miss", and that's it, part of the standard resolution.
What you describe here is a departure from the process stated in the 5e rules. Which require a hit to trigger the shield spell. You are building the retcon into your "common sense" adjudication!

saying during one's turn "he is dying", and a few turns later someone else saying "actually no, he was not really dying, he just needed a few words of encouragement" is a retcon and a change of the story.
No it's not. Dying means at zero hp and rolling death saves. Just like in 5e, in fact, as I've already set out in detail above.

At best, if it's not purely technical (which is, by the way, one of my problems with many powers there and is one of the reason for which it does not appear silly to a lot of players, they are just playing the rules), it is a simulation of the genre books/movies/shows where people are certainly out of the fight and look like they are dying just enough that the other heroes and the audience becomes worried about them. And indeed, in a number of cases for the most dramatic stories, it actually happens.

But when it does not happen, it's very rare when there are even medium-term effects of that "dying" state, because it does not make for a dynamic story, so there are always reasons for quick recovery. After that, it can be attributed to many things, but it's usually technology or magic, not simple recovery or a few words, no matter how commanding.

<snip>

it does not mean that I can't envision the case where a guy believes he is dying and the voice of his officer rouses him, gives him incentive to fight, he rallies and is later saved. Why not, it's suitably heroic, and interesting as a story that can happen once. But if you give a power like this to a class in a TTRPG, it will get used in every fight, and while it might be explainable once, having it happen technically over and over again is just ugly to me, and forcing combat to become, in effect, fictionless, because you start to completely ignore the fiction just to apply technical powers that don't really make sense, over and over again, for the whole campaign.
This is your assertion. I could say the same about a cleric's miracles, which seem to eclipse in number the miracles attributed to saints and the like in actual historical records. The proper comparison is fantastic or super-powered serial fiction - comics are the most obvious example, but REH's Conan stories could also be pointed to.

I'm sorry, but pg.54k in particular for encounter powers is very, very vague and gamist about the limitations

<snip>

And Pg 15 is not more helpful, it's just "because". So unless the beholder "pre-fatigues" you with his eye, and it's not even the case since the effect goes away when he looks in another direction...
Yeah, right, artificial like a beholder eye that just targets powers because they have a technical tag, whatever source they come from.

Pray tell in which fantasy novel or movie you have something that feels like that.
Well, again, all I can report is that no one was puzzled at my table. Encounter powers are trying harder; daily powers are trying even harder, and the effect of the beholder gaze is not to "pre-fatigue" you (it doens't drain powers) but to make it so hard to act that even your best is not better than your ordinary typical (ie an at-will ability). The idea isn't unique to 4e D&D: it is found in portrayals of "reality distorting" effects, mostly in comics and film (where there would typically be a type of rippling visual overlay to represent the effect).

Only it does not work that way, it also does damage (and again, why) ? And it also affects a zone, so why would that character be affected that way ? And what about remaining movement for the character ?
I don't understand your question. A Deathlock Wight's Horrific Visage does not affect or create a zone. It is a blast - ie it affects everyone within a certain distance to one side of the wight - ie everyone the wight is looking at! The damage is obviously psychic damage (this was clarified by a later errata, in 2010 I think; but was evident to me from the start).

Honestly, I find it significant that you play an edition which is so formal about rules and movement and constraints and, in the end, ignore the way it is structured because it gets in the way of your narration, others example below.

snip>

Oh my god, it is so technical. But still with you ignoring rules when you feel like it.

<snip>

technically, you player the game incorrectly.
No rules were ignored. Nothing was played incorrectly. What errors are you purporting to have found?

4e is not suited to modifications on the fly
I don't even know what you mean by this, but as someone who has a reasonable amount of experience with rules-heavy RPGs (Rolemaster, RuneQuest, AD&D, 4e D&D) my experience is that 4e is incredibly robust and easily adjudicated "on the fly".

it's exactly like this:

and-when-everyones-super-no-one-will-be.jpg


You get exactly that in comic books, by the way, superheroes are not equally powerful. But circumstances and plots allow them a chance to shine if they seize it.
Huh? When Spider Man and Wolverine team up they are about equally powerful. Nothing about the success of their team up (either in the fiction, or from the perspective of a reader) depends on them having different power levels.

And the statement, more generally, makes no sense. If everyone is happy, then everyone is. If everyone is living a dignified life, then everyone else. If everyone is free, then everyone is. There are many concepts which can be deployed comparatively and yet are able to be universally instantiated.

And the idea that a RPG is better because some players have more access to the resources to affect play than others do seems very odd to me.

I'm sorry, but it all looks extremely artificial to me, wanting to push what is a purely technical effect into a fantasy world explanation and failing completely to engage my imagination. good for you if it works, but honestly your description of the fight in the long examples that you posted is extremely technical. It's technical power after technical power.

<snip>

As you can see, we are interested in the story, supported by the game system, not at all by the pure technicalities of the game system.
I think it's too much of a mish-mash to have abilities shared across so many different classes and roles just for the sake of balance with just basic renaming, for one, and second yes, you can't compare different roles for whom abilities were indeed very different, and you indeed sometimes had different mechanics across classes for the same role, but because in the end it was in an extremely controlled environment, it ended up feeling quite the same to us.
I find it really sad that, instead of having abilities which are the signature of an archetype, it gets spread around, like people don't have enough imagination or liberty in the system to imagine something else.
Well, for me the fiction is much more important than it's mechanical instantiation. I find it convenient to use the same resolution process as much as possible, because it reduces special-case fiddliness and having to remember multiple subsystems; and the fiction carries its own weight.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Here's the first: Pages 72-73 of the 5e D&D Basic PDF, under the heading "Making an Attack", say

Determine Modifiers. The DM determines whether the target has cover and whether your have advantage or disadvantage against the target. In addition, spells, special abilities, and other effects can apply penalties or bonuses to your attack roll. . . .​
Resolve the attack. You make the attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular attack has rules that specify otherwise . . .​
To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target's Armoo Class (AC), the attack hits. The AC of a character is determined at character creation . . .​

When I compare that text to the Shield spell, which is triggered by a hit and which adjusts AC other than at character creation and not because the GM determined that someone has cover, and which retroactively applies the adjusted AC to the attack roll that has already been determined to hit, what sense am I to make of it? It's obviously fortune-in-the-middle. And it's obvious that the attack, although it hit, because if it didn't, the spell wouldn't be triggered, also didn't really hit. Because it's character as a hit or a miss is reassessed by reference to the new AC total.

There are so many reasons to be wrong here that it's really silly to go to that level of detail:
  • You are confusing the process of resolving an attack with its result
  • You are forgetting that 5e has a specific beats general rule
  • You are forgetting that Shield is a reaction: "CASTING TIME 1 Reaction * / * - which you take when you are hit by an attack or targeted by the magic missile spell
  • You are forgetting (or do not even know) what reactions are: "A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or on someone else's... If the reaction interrupts another creature's turn, that creature can continue its turn right after the reaction."
  • You have not even read the description of the shield spell, which is very specific: "An invisible barrier of magical force appears and protects you. Until the start of your next turn, you have a +5 bonus to AC, including against the triggering attack,"
So clearly someone attacks you, the triggering attack occurs, it interrupts the hitter's turn, it applies the bonus to AC for that triggering attack, so the process might not be fully linear, but is there an obligation for what is clearly a purely technical process to be completely linear ? Especially since you cannot give any description of what happens until it is fully resolved ? All the reactions work that way, by the way, counterspell ("i cast a spell" "yes, but it does not take effect"). What is your problem with reactions ? There is even a ready action in 4e but like everything there it is very constrained, as you can only use an action as a trigger.

And it's actually exactly the same thing in 4e, by the way:
  • Angelic Intercession Paladin Utility 16
  • You teleport to the side of a friend in peril and take the effects of an attack meant for him.
  • Daily ✦ Divine, Teleportation
  • Immediate Interrupt Personal
  • Trigger: An ally within 5 squares of you is hit by an attack
  • Effect: You teleport adjacent to the ally and are hit by the attack instead.
Oh My God, an ally is HIT by an attack, but no, wait, he is not and you are hit instead. They are called interrupts in 4e and they are even written and resolved exactly the same. And you know what, they are not called "retcons", they are called "interrupts".

Anyway, this is the standard, RAW application of the shield spell that everyone uses in 5e, and when you show that you know nothing about the rules that everyone uses, you have the audacity to call this "a departure from the process stated in the 5e rules" ? This would be laughable if it was not so ridiculous, but maybe it's because there are too many rules tied in together, reactions and such?

On the other hand, you seem to be incapable to read the single unitary rule from 4e, and it's your system of choice, all in a single section:
Dying: When your hit points drop to 0 or fewer, you fall unconscious and are dying. Any additional damage you take continues to reduce your current hit point total until your character dies.
✦ Death Saving Throw: When you are dying, you need to make a saving throw at the end of your turn each round. The result of your saving throw determines how close you are to death.

How can it be more clear ? And from this, you infer that no, you are actually not dying (despite it being written clearly twice in as many sentences), you are in a shrodinger state that may last multiple rounds until somehow you die or revive ?

I'm sorry, I fully support narrativism, but this does not hold water. You can pull it off now and then for dramatic effect, but claiming systematically that you are not dying when the game writes, in plain words "You are dying" is a bit too much.

So what happens to the guy if someone looks at him and does not do anything one way or another ? Is he dying or not ? Or, like Heisenberg's principle, it takes the cat out of the box and suddenly he is dying ?

You seem happy to go along with the above, and yet imply a completely different approach to the Dying condition in 4e. On what basis? None that you've articulated: it's clear that dying, in 4e, works the same way as hit in 5e - it is subject to revision based on subsequent action declarations and resolutions. Eg if in fact someone restores the notionally dying character to a hit point total greater than zero, then it turns out they weren't dying after all. This was obvious to everyone at my table as soon as we read the game rules. And it's even built right into the description of the dying condition on page 295 of the 4e PHB: a player who rolls 20+ on a death saving throw is able to spend a healing surge, with the result that their PC is no longer unconscious and dying.

So he was dying, right ? You even say it yourself.

5e D&D has a very similar rule (p 76 of the Basic PDF; instead of spending a surge the character regains 1 hp). In the 4e Rules Compendium, p 260 (but not in the 4e PHB, nor on the 5e Basic PDF) an additional gloss is added to this rule: the character "taps into his or her will to live".

And have you READ THE F...G Paragraph: "You are no longer dying". So even in that case, the game tells you that you were dying before. That's the third time in as many short paragraphs. How many times must the game tell you that you are dying when at 0 HP ?

Honestly, how can one discuss with you when you dare interpret rules that you know nothing about and are not even able to read the simple rules that you claim to apply every day ?

THIS IS WHAT THE GAME TELLS YOU: YOU ARE DYING. After that, at your table, you can interpret it the way you want, obviously.

Notice that there is no difference between 4e or 5e as far as interpretive process goes, for either shield (an immediate interrupt triggered by being hit by an attack, in both editions) or "dying" at zero hp (which is nearly the same in both systems, except that 4e has the additional option that a warlord can speak an Inspiring Word which has the same practical effect as rolling a 20 on the save).

And this is the part that I find ridiculous, totally technical, and with nothing in reality or in fiction to support, that "inspiring word" which is not even magical. I have given you tons of examples of genre fiction to support my views, surely you will be able to give me ONE supporting you ?

This is your assertion. I could say the same about a cleric's miracles, which seem to eclipse in number the miracles attributed to saints and the like in actual historical records. The proper comparison is fantastic or super-powered serial fiction - comics are the most obvious example, but REH's Conan stories could also be pointed to.

Oh yes, sure, Conan or someone is dying and is revived by inspiring words. Right...

Well, again, all I can report is that no one was puzzled at my table. Encounter powers are trying harder; daily powers are trying even harder, and the effect of the beholder gaze is not to "pre-fatigue" you (it doens't drain powers) but to make it so hard to act that even your best is not better than your ordinary typical (ie an at-will ability). The idea isn't unique to 4e D&D: it is found in portrayals of "reality distorting" effects, mostly in comics and film (where there would typically be a type of rippling visual overlay to represent the effect).

These are all your own description, unsupported by anything in the rules. I have given you extract from the rules that you use, please read them again.

I don't understand your question. A Deathlock Wight's Horrific Visage does not affect or create a zone. It is a blast - ie it affects everyone within a certain distance to one side of the wight - ie everyone the wight is looking at!

What I meant is that the character, during his turn, moved towards the wight, maybe from the side. Sometimes later, when other characters or monsters have played and taken into account the position of the character (for example not taking him in an AoE), the wight uses his ability and blasts the character away, to another position. And your interpretation is that it is as if the character never approached the wight ? Despite the fact that the intermediate position was taken into account by players in between the actions ?

No rules were ignored. Nothing was played incorrectly. What errors are you purporting to have found?

Jumping on a another creature's back ? And acting from there ?

Again, I'm not saying that it was a bad call, it was a really good one, my point being that you had to violate some rules to make your narration look cool, and the more rules there are, the more restrictive they are, the more you will have to violate them to make the narration look cool.

After that the summary was extremely technical with powers that I have certainly forgotten in all these years if I ever knew them, but that is not really the point.

I don't even know what you mean by this, but as someone who has a reasonable amount of experience with rules-heavy RPGs (Rolemaster, RuneQuest, AD&D, 4e D&D) my experience is that 4e is incredibly robust and easily adjudicated "on the fly".

Good for you. It was not for us. Every time we tried something, someone other rule told us "No, you can't do that." Case in point above, although you can enter a creature's space, as far as I know you can't stay there.

Huh? When Spider Man and Wolverine team up they are about equally powerful. Nothing about the success of their team up (either in the fiction, or from the perspective of a reader) depends on them having different power levels.

And how about Superman and anyone else ?

And the idea that a RPG is better because some players have more access to the resources to affect play than others do seems very odd to me.

It's better when they have access to DIFFERENT resources, because it makes people complementary. Case in point, in comics, there is usually no overlap.

Well, for me the fiction is much more important than it's mechanical instantiation. I find it convenient to use the same resolution process as much as possible, because it reduces special-case fiddliness and having to remember multiple subsystems; and the fiction carries its own weight.

And what it does is overall have a constrained and repetitive system because everyone uses the same thing, especially if it's a good one. I don't care if there is manageable difference in power, which has always been the case because a DM has many more strings to his bow than controlling precisely each character's power.
 

pemerton

Legend
the process might not be fully linear, but is there an obligation for what is clearly a purely technical process to be completely linear ? Especially since you cannot give any description of what happens until it is fully resolved ? All the reactions work that way, by the way, counterspell ("i cast a spell" "yes, but it does not take effect"). What is your problem with reactions ? There is even a ready action in 4e but like everything there it is very constrained, as you can only use an action as a trigger.

And it's actually exactly the same thing in 4e, by the way:
Yes. You are simply restating my point. 4e and 5e are identical both in how they handle interrupts, and in how they handle "dying". Neither is fully "linear" - which is contrary to what you asserted upthread. And neither involves "shouting an ally's hand back on" or a character recovering from maiming or blinding through sheer force of will (by rolling 20+ on a death save).

Dying: When your hit points drop to 0 or fewer, you fall unconscious and are dying. Any additional damage you take continues to reduce your current hit point total until your character dies.
✦ Death Saving Throw: When you are dying, you need to make a saving throw at the end of your turn each round. The result of your saving throw determines how close you are to death.

How can it be more clear ?
I've read it. It's for all intents and purposes identical to the 5e rules. Both allow a "dying" creature to recover by sheer force of will - ie it turns out (non-linearly) that the creature wasn't dying at all.

So what happens to the guy if someone looks at him and does not do anything one way or another ? Is he dying or not ?
There is on answer to your question. The game hasn't yielded an answer yet. @AbdulAlhazred said exactly as much upthread - the game leaves it ambiguous, much as a filmmaker might leave us uncertain what the condition of a character is. Again, I point out that 5e is no different in its dying rules. And it is no different from the Shied spell rules - did the attack hit, or not? We don't know until the player has decided whether or not to cast a shield spell - a decision which, in the fiction, must have taken place before any literal hit takes place.

Honestly, how can one discuss with you when you dare interpret rules that you know nothing about and are not even able to read the simple rules that you claim to apply every day ?
I think this is needlessly aggressive. I know the rules very well. "Dying" is a technical term (defined in the PHB, p 277). Like immobilised. An immobilised creature, in 4e D&D, can still be moved (eg picked up and carried), just not under their own power. A "dying" creature can still recover, whether by their own will to live (roll 20+) or the inspiration of another. As I've said, it is no different from 5e which has exactly the same recovery rule.

I'm puzzled by the fact that on the one hand you criticize 4e for being overly technical, but then you also criticize its rules for zero hp by ignoring the technical notion of dying and reading that as if it carried its natural language meaning. I also don't understand how you narrate spontaneous recovery in 5e D&D?

And this is the part that I find ridiculous, totally technical, and with nothing in reality or in fiction to support, that "inspiring word" which is not even magical. I have given you tons of examples of genre fiction to support my views, surely you will be able to give me ONE supporting you ?
You seem to ignore the examples I've given. In the 2nd LotR film, Aragorn falls from a cliff, but recovers after dreaming of Arwen. This is an example of recovery via one's own will to live. Clearly he was not, in fact, dying. In the LotR book, Frodo is stabbed by an Orc chieftain and swoons. The other characters think he is dead or dying, but are wrong, He recovers when Aragorn picks him up and carries him.

The notion of the "will to live", perhaps inspired by another, is not foreign to adventure fiction.

What I meant is that the character, during his turn, moved towards the wight, maybe from the side. Sometimes later, when other characters or monsters have played and taken into account the position of the character (for example not taking him in an AoE), the wight uses his ability and blasts the character away, to another position. And your interpretation is that it is as if the character never approached the wight ?
No. I said "I can imagine contexts in which the most apposite narration would be not that the character recoiled at all, but that they never approached - eg if the ability was used as an immediate reaction after having been readied in response to a character moving towards the Wight." Obviously you are not describing such a context.

Jumping on a another creature's back ? And acting from there ?
There is no rule in 4e D&D that says you can't jump onto another creature's back, and obviously the mount rules only make sense if the opposite is true. The movement rules permit moving through the square of an enemy two sizes larger or smaller (eg dwarf PC vs dragon). The Rules Compendium notes that Acrobatics might be used to somersault over a foe of the same size (p 133). And as p 42 of the DMG says, it is up to the GM to adjudicate improvised actions. Nowhere does it say that a fighter can't leap onto the back of a much larger foe and act from there.

Every time we tried something, someone other rule told us "No, you can't do that." Case in point above, although you can enter a creature's space, as far as I know you can't stay there.
Technically, the dwarf is not in the dragon's space. The dwarf is on top of the dragon's space.

Most of the time the 4e rules don't pay much attention to verticality, but obviously in a fight against a dragon from a flying tower verticality becomes very important.

And what it does is overall have a constrained and repetitive system because everyone uses the same thing, especially if it's a good one.
This seems to be a report of your experiences. I've got no reason to doubt that this is what you experienced. But I think you should be cautious in generalising to others, particularly those who appear to have read page 42 of the DMG more closely than you, and extrapolated from that plus the rest of the rules to get a richer sense of the possibilities the game opens up.

I also think, as a general rule, that if one person found a game to play poorly by doing X, and another person did Y instead and found the game to play well, that is a reason to at least question whether X is what the designers really had in mind for their game.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Yes. You are simply restating my point. 4e and 5e are identical both in how they handle interrupts, and in how they handle "dying".

NO THEY DON'T. Please read the rules, won't you:
  • 4e: When your hit points drop to 0 or fewer, you fall unconscious and are dying.
  • 5e: If damage reduces you to 0 hit points and fails to kill you, you fall unconscious. This unconsciousness ends if you regain any hit points.
For christ's sake, can you please simply read the rules ? There is no "Dying" explicit in 5e, whereas, once more, it's there once per short paragraph in 4e, with even this: "When you are dying, you need to make a saving throw at the end of your turn each round. The result of your saving throw determines how close you are to death."

Moreover, once more, there is absolutely nothing similar about the way interrupts and dying are managed.

Neither is fully "linear" - which is contrary to what you asserted upthread.

I certainly said nothing of the kind. Once more, Dying is dying, 4e tells you that expressly, without the smallest ambiguity whatsoever, where is the non-linearity here, pray tell ?

And neither involves "shouting an ally's hand back on" or a character recovering from maiming or blinding through sheer force of will (by rolling 20+ on a death save).

The difference, indeed, is that 5e acknowledges, in general, that it takes more than a few words, however commanding, to make someone FULLY operational again when they are DYING.

This is the precise part that I don't like about 4e. If you create martial classes that don't do magic, I'm all for it's it's awesome. Just don't sneak in powers that can only be magical behind everyone's back just because of balance. This is one mistake that 5e did not make, and it makes narration that much easier.

5e is also explicit as to what can save you when you are at 0 hit points: "You are in the hands of fate now, aided only by spells and features that improve your chances of succeeding on a saving throw."

I've read it. It's for all intents and purposes identical to the 5e rules.

No, as clearly demonstrated above.

Both allow a "dying" creature to recover by sheer force of will - ie it turns out (non-linearly) that the creature wasn't dying at all.

Again, no, there is no non-linearity here, WHERE IS IT ?

There is on answer to your question. The game hasn't yielded an answer yet. @AbdulAlhazred said exactly as much upthread - the game leaves it ambiguous,

No, the game tells you YOU ARE DYING and even created a condition called DYING. How ambiguous is that ? Is the word not clear enough ?

Whereas 5e does not even use that word...

much as a filmmaker might leave us uncertain what the condition of a character is. Again, I point out that 5e is no different in its dying rules. And it is no different from the Shied spell rules - did the attack hit, or not? We don't know until the player has decided whether or not to cast a shield spell - a decision which, in the fiction, must have taken place before any literal hit takes place.


I think this is needlessly aggressive. I know the rules very well. "Dying" is a technical term (defined in the PHB, p 277). Like immobilised. An immobilised creature, in 4e D&D, can still be moved (eg picked up and carried), just not under their own power. A "dying" creature can still recover, whether by their own will to live (roll 20+) or the inspiration of another. As I've said, it is no different from 5e which has exactly the same recovery rule.

Except that 5e, which uses natural language, does not use the DYING word, and did not create a condition called that way. Wheras in 4e, you are not only unconscious but very specifically DYING, in as many letters and told to you extremely explicitely.

I'm puzzled by the fact that on the one hand you criticize 4e for being overly technical, but then you also criticize its rules for zero hp by ignoring the technical notion of dying and reading that as if it carried its natural language meaning. I also don't understand how you narrate spontaneous recovery in 5e D&D?

Honestly, are you pretending that all these uses of "DYING" whether as a condition or a description, in the rules, mean something else than dying ? Honestly...

You seem to ignore the examples I've given. In the 2nd LotR film, Aragorn falls from a cliff, but recovers after dreaming of Arwen.

No, he does not. He was just unconscious, dreams of Arwen and is awakened by his horse kissing him... Was he even dying ? Did he have any wounds ? You have zero proof of this.

This is an example of recovery via one's own will to live.

Maybe, maybe not, it might just have been recovery from unconsciousness. And even if it's the case, no one shouted to him to get up, which is the part that bugs me, not the part where someone, actually recovers naturally.

Clearly he was not, in fact, dying. In the LotR book, Frodo is stabbed by an Orc chieftain and swoons. The other characters think he is dead or dying, but are wrong, He recovers when Aragorn picks him up and carries him.

Again, just unconscious / stunned / prone. Why would he have been dying, wearing an invincible mithral shirt ?

The notion of the "will to live", perhaps inspired by another, is not foreign to adventure fiction.

And again, you have failed to show me the inspiration of others in here.

No. I said "I can imagine contexts in which the most apposite narration would be not that the character recoiled at all, but that they never approached - eg if the ability was used as an immediate reaction after having been readied in response to a character moving towards the Wight." Obviously you are not describing such a context.

And then, same situation, the character approaches from the side, he is pushed back, the rules tell you to move away from the wight, so clearly he has moved. Not only that, but depending on the situation, as I've pointed out, the character might have some movement left.

There is no rule in 4e D&D that says you can't jump onto another creature's back, and obviously the mount rules only make sense if the opposite is true. The movement rules permit moving through the square of an enemy two sizes larger or smaller (eg dwarf PC vs dragon). The Rules Compendium notes that Acrobatics might be used to somersault over a foe of the same size (p 133). And as p 42 of the DMG says, it is up to the GM to adjudicate improvised actions. Nowhere does it say that a fighter can't leap onto the back of a much larger foe and act from there.

Isn't the back of the dragon part of the dragon's space ? Then all of the above does not matter, it's impossible according to the rules. "A creature is considered to occupy the square or squares within its space." I hope that the back of the dragon is in his space, otherwise I don't see much being in his space...

Technically, the dwarf is not in the dragon's space. The dwarf is on top of the dragon's space.

Of course, because that is the one thing that 4e never took into account, that space is 3 dimensional... So tell me, how high is the space of the dragon ? How many squares ? Because that matters a bit for all the 4e powers, their range and their area of effect....

Most of the time the 4e rules don't pay much attention to verticality, but obviously in a fight against a dragon from a flying tower verticality becomes very important.

And this is where 4e failed miserably for us, because in 4e you don't fly, you hop, at best. and can't do anything vertically.

And I agree it's important, and I agree that you had to invent rules, but it just make the system break down if you look at it closely to realise that you don't even know how much vertical space is required by a medium creature, even less a bigger one. Is it one square ? Is it two ? We failed miserably at high level combat in 4e and at narration with that "flying" that the game let us do, and could not be bothered to create rules for this, it would have been way too complicated.

This seems to be a report of your experiences. I've got no reason to doubt that this is what you experienced. But I think you should be cautious in generalising to others, particularly those who appear to have read page 42 of the DMG more closely than you, and extrapolated from that plus the rest of the rules to get a richer sense of the possibilities the game opens up.

I had that and much more in other editions, where my flying was not reduced to hopping around the battlefield, thank you very much. Of course, I could have extrapolated, but this is the perfect example of a constrained system requiring much more work than an unconstrained one to provide good narration. I have it out of the box in 5e with TotM, I need to invent (and write down, remember, this is a rule of 4e that house rules must be written down) pages and pages of rules for verticality in 4e.

I also think, as a general rule, that if one person found a game to play poorly by doing X, and another person did Y instead and found the game to play well, that is a reason to at least question whether X is what the designers really had in mind for their game.

No, it does not work that way because, fortunately, we have the words of the designers themselves explaining what they intended.
 

pemerton

Legend
@Lyxen, I don't understand why you seem to ignore the fact that dying, in 4e, is a technical term, defined in the PHB (p 277) to mean having zero or fewer hit points, being unconscious and having to make death saves. When a 5e character drops to zero hp, and they don't trigger the "instant death" rule, they are unconscious, and have to make death saves (Basic PDF, p 76). Setting aside some minutiae (in 4e, a natural 20 save allows spending a healing surge; in 5e, it restores the character to 1 hp; 5e has a couple of further fiddly rules around the saves, in part reflecting that it has no rules for negative hit points) these are the same mechanical subsystem! And neither requires magic or substantive surgery or similar to recover from dying to healthy. So it completely puzzles me why you are outraged by 4e's but not by 5e's treatment of this matter.

As far as the dragon is concerned, the rules for movement in 4e and 5e are also relevantly identical. From the 5e Basic PDF, p 71:

Whether a creature is a friend or an enemy, you can't willingly end your move in its space.​

So if you object to my adjudication of the jump onto the dragon's back in 4e, you should be rejecting the same adjudication in 5e. Conersely, whatever rationalisation you apply in 5e is equally available to you in 4e.

This is another reason why I find your arguments very hard to follow.

For my part, I just followed the advice on p 42 of the DMG: Your presence as the Dungeon Master is what makes D&D such a great game. You make it possible for the players to try anything they can imagine. The player in my game could imagine leaping onto the back of a nearby dragon flying at about the same level as the PCs' flying tower. And we adjudicated it.

In an earlier session, the ranger PC had leaped onto the back of some Hobgoblins' war behemoth and taken control of it. In another earlier session, two PCs psychically chained together had been forced to go about with one sitting on the other's shoulders. In a subsequent session, the PCs captured Ygorl by leaping onto him from a giant elemental Frosthawk, grappling and thereby immobilising him. He tried to rid himself of them by teleporting through the waves of chaos, but the PC held on.

There was never any controversy at my table about using three-dimensionality to advantage when appropriate.
 

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