Dependency on Character Creation Apps?

I will say that when you ask your players to update their characters, they learn the rules; full stop. You may be able to kill two birds with one stone for your 4e group - share the documents with them and wish them luck; and offer to join them 1x1 to show them how to do it.
This was my approach for PF2e. I had a couple players that seemed to struggle with what their character could do and so I set aside some time 1 to 1 to go over their questions to help them figure things out. It's been smooth ever since.
 

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Retreater

Legend
I've found that D&D 4E can be easily taught to a player by using Index cards.

Have the player write their encounter and daily powers on index cards (using different colors if need be, but it's not necessary).

On the backs of the cards, write the recharge conditions for each power. "Re-charges after short rest..." or whatever.

During the encounter, play the character as if it's a hand of cards.
We use the character creator program, which generates the cards automatically. I'm the only person who has access to the program, so I have to be the one to update everything. They level up approximately every 2-3 sessions, so that's a lot of sheets and cards printed.
If they had to write everything, the math would be wrong and they would miss important details.
 

Argyle King

Legend
We use the character creator program, which generates the cards automatically. I'm the only person who has access to the program, so I have to be the one to update everything. They level up approximately every 2-3 sessions, so that's a lot of sheets and cards printed.
If they had to write everything, the math would be wrong and they would miss important details.

When I played 4E, I didn't write out the math; I just wrote out the equation.

So, my card would be something like "1W + DEX Mod, Push 1."

After that, it was just plugging in the numbers, and my sheet became mostly a reference to find updated numbers.

Anecdotally, I've also found that physically writing something helps increase my memory of it. I got to a point with one of my Warlord characters from where I could be outside the room getting a drink and still call to my group what I wanted my character to do.

Side Note: Index cards and a pencil trend to be cheaper than printer ink.
 
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BookTenTiger

He / Him
We use the character creator program, which generates the cards automatically. I'm the only person who has access to the program, so I have to be the one to update everything. They level up approximately every 2-3 sessions, so that's a lot of sheets and cards printed.
If they had to write everything, the math would be wrong and they would miss important details.
I'm going to suggest something:

Let them get the math wrong.

My prediction would be that if you told the players that keeping track of (and printing out!) all their character sheets was too much, and had them do it, they might get some of the math wrong. But I also predict it wouldn't actually impact gameplay. If their numbers are a little lower or a little higher than expected, it seems worth freeing up your time and allowing you, as the GM, to enjoy the game more.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I do understand this. 4e and PF2 seem to have every action include a paragraph of text just to describe the effects...

Well, I'd argue that's the price of actually wanting clarity.


For example, this 1st level Fighter attack power...
"1[W] + Strength modifier damage, and you slide the target 1 square to a square adjacent to you. You grab the target, and until the grab ends, it takes a penalty to attack rolls equal to your Dexterity modifier. The grab ends automatically at the end of your next turn."

Like, who's going to remember that (and all the other powers you can use).

Maybe I just need to simplify my games, especially in-person ones.

4e was very focused on tactical effects including positioning ones. You can do that more generically, but that gets back to my whole point about exception based design. Its why I've tended to look at people who think of the Hero System as more complicated than D&D derivatives and laugh.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I dont think so. If you looked at your phone and said, "how do I call you?" and your wife tells you to use the contacts and then your reply is, "what are contacts?" its not the reliance on the smartphone that is the issue. You need a base desire to understand how phones work in general in order for them to be a hindrance to your knowledge.

Yeah, I have to assume when someone can't even bother to learn the concept of what a "daily" is, they most likely just can't be bothered.
 

When I played 4E, I didn't write out the math; I just wrote out the equation.

So, my card would be something like "1W + DEX Mod, Push 1."

After that, it was just plugging in the numbers, and my sheet became mostly a reference to find updated numbers.

Anecdotally, I've also found that physically writing something helps increase my memory of it. I got to a point with one of my Warlord characters from where I could be outside the room getting a drink and still call to my group what I wanted my character to do.

Side Note: Index cards and a pencil trend to be cheaper than printer ink.

Yeah its been a recent revelation for me that game books could benefit from frontloading the work on developing shorthand when things are complex. I'm designing magic right now and I've set the constraint that as I fully solidify it, it has to be able to fit, in its entirety, on a bit of empty space no bigger than an index card.

It already does, but I'm actually getting it smaller with shorthand, which is something I'm going to carry through for everything.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I think the main thing is just making sure your players understand just how important the fundamental weapon and armor runes are if your intention is to routinely use encounters rated as severe or above. The runes have a prescribed level you should be trying to acquire them by and as long as you stick to those guidelines, you'll be fine.
I've finally looked up runes, it's been so long since I've read the book that I thought they may have been something else but I was correct in thinking that at their most basic they're the '+' to an item. It is one of those things that many DnD games need for progression, I'm not sure I like having it included in the match but if that's how the game goes then it does become important to make sure PCs are prepared for encounters of their level.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I've finally looked up runes, it's been so long since I've read the book that I thought they may have been something else but I was correct in thinking that at their most basic they're the '+' to an item. It is one of those things that many DnD games need for progression, I'm not sure I like having it included in the match but if that's how the game goes then it does become important to make sure PCs are prepared for encounters of their level.

Its not just the plus, but also extra basic damage dice. There's an optional rule for just baking it into the characters at the appropriate levels who's name escapes me at the moment.
 

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