D&D 4E Dissociating what I (we?) like from the mechanics

Aldarc

Legend
The only thing it would be missing is an Elemental power source :p I blame the 'Arcane' power source for being way too vague. That's probably an area I would break with D&D tradition if I was making a new game: define and limit 'magic' so other power sources can better stand on their own and relate better to the rest of the cosmology.

For an Elemental Class, I had this idea for years now of a sort of close combat Controller/Defender that channeled the Elemental Chaos through their equipment, transmuting their heavy armor and other gear into fonts of elemental power. Imagine this heavy armoured character who suddenly gets engulfed in flame, or his armor becomes blades whirling around him or sprouts spikes of sharp rocks...

I wonder if it would have made sense to connect the Sorcerer to the Elemental Chaos?
I would define Arcane as "bringing Order to Chaos."So it would be a blending of Astral/Divine and Material/Elemental, representing the Nexus of these cosmic forces.
 

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Kannik

Adventurer
The only thing it would be missing is an Elemental power source :p I blame the 'Arcane' power source for being way too vague. That's probably an area I would break with D&D tradition if I was making a new game: define and limit 'magic' so other power sources can better stand on their own and relate better to the rest of the cosmology.

For an Elemental Class, I had this idea for years now of a sort of close combat Controller/Defender that channeled the Elemental Chaos through their equipment, transmuting their heavy armor and other gear into fonts of elemental power. Imagine this heavy armoured character who suddenly gets engulfed in flame, or his armor becomes blades whirling around him or sprouts spikes of sharp rocks...

I wonder if it would have made sense to connect the Sorcerer to the Elemental Chaos?
While I like the Essentials Elementalist class for its blastery base, I gotta say, the above is one awesome concept that I'd love to see/play! :D
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I like the growing list. This brings up the flipside question for me:

What would I change?

I'd say:

1) Flatter math - 5e has shown that the "bounded accuracy" works well to make a single monster stat-block last longer across levels (without having to constantly make "bigger" versions. Now, I wouldn't go anywhere near as far as 5e did, but something like a +1 prof bonus for every three levels? I think it would work.

2) Probably start level one a little less "heroic" - I liked the idea that adventurers were professionals, even at level one, but it could start a little lower.

3) Make magic items magical. - IMO one of 4e's biggest weaknesses was magic items - BUT I would LOVE LOVE LOVE mundane items to have a nice long range before things become magic. A "bearded axe" that gives you a chance to trip? Etc. Items could come with "powers" without having to be magic. Save the "real" magic for paragon and epic.

Hmmm... that might be about it.
 

Monsters don't require you to flip to other pages which is a result of one of your point below about monsters not being PCs. Having everything in one, simple to consult, place is the best. Having monsters using PC spells is just the worst idea ever.

PF2e does a little better job than 5e with interesting monsters and the monsters don't have to be built as PCs anymore but man, they kept the PC spells and it kills me.
 

Undrave

Hero
While I like the Essentials Elementalist class for its blastery base, I gotta say, the above is one awesome concept that I'd love to see/play! :D
Thinking on it I had this idea for a blastery Sorcerer that came with a basic blasting power everybody got, but that power was modified by your bloodline, then you would have certain actions that would grant you bonus to your next Basic Blast, either baked into the Encounter powers or into your bloodline (like, taking damage triggers it). And then Dailies that grant your basic blast a buff for the rest of the encounter, like a magical stance.
2) Probably start level one a little less "heroic" - I liked the idea that adventurers were professionals, even at level one, but it could start a little lower.
Maybe you start without a daily? Just a pair of at-wills and one stronger encounter move?
3) Make magic items magical. - IMO one of 4e's biggest weaknesses was magic items - BUT I would LOVE LOVE LOVE mundane items to have a nice long range before things become magic. A "bearded axe" that gives you a chance to trip? Etc. Items could come with "powers" without having to be magic. Save the "real" magic for paragon and epic.
I've never been a fan of the 'You must be at least this magical to hurt this creature' mechanics of classic D&D anyway so I'm onboard for that.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Thinking on it I had this idea for a blastery Sorcerer that came with a basic blasting power everybody got, but that power was modified by your bloodline, then you would have certain actions that would grant you bonus to your next Basic Blast, either baked into the Encounter powers or into your bloodline (like, taking damage triggers it). And then Dailies that grant your basic blast a buff for the rest of the encounter, like a magical stance.

Maybe you start without a daily? Just a pair of at-wills and one stronger encounter move?

I've never been a fan of the 'You must be at least this magical to hurt this creature' mechanics of classic D&D anyway so I'm onboard for that.

Maybe really, REALLY powerful creatures. Epic tier? No problem with that. Otherwise, c'mon. I mean, you can do stuff like make lycanthropes resist non-silvered, I suppose. Or regenerate from it. Either way.

While I'm on the subject of both magic and math - I'd say ditch the +5 (or was it 6?) items and go with the average of getting a +1 by the end of heroic, +2 throughout paragon, and +3 in Epic. MAYBE +4 for extreme awesomeness at late epic. But more like the +1 / tier feats than how 4e did magic. Obviously you rework the math of challenges appropriately.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
2) Probably start level one a little less "heroic" - I liked the idea that adventurers were professionals, even at level one, but it could start a little lower.
Or, as a DM-side option add in several in-between levels - there's room enough for them! - between commoner and 1st-level adventurer; such that while the default starting point remains at 1st level a DM could, if she so chooses, start at a lower point to give a bit more of the zero-to-hero feel for those as wants it.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Or, as a DM-side option add in several in-between levels - there's room enough for them! - between commoner and 1st-level adventurer; such that while the default starting point remains at 1st level a DM could, if she so chooses, start at a lower point to give a bit more of the zero-to-hero feel for those as wants it.

Yeah, you could do a three-level mini game before level one (if desired) and keep 1-30 "pure" for actual professional adventurers. Though one of the lessons that 5e learned was to NOT "front load" level one for less multiclassing dips (to various degrees of success). Although I don't recal 4e having much of a problem with that.
 

Kannik

Adventurer
I like the growing list. This brings up the flipside question for me:

What would I change?

1) Flatter math - 5e has shown that the "bounded accuracy" works well to make a single monster stat-block last longer across levels (without having to constantly make "bigger" versions. Now, I wouldn't go anywhere near as far as 5e did, but something like a +1 prof bonus for every three levels? I think it would work.
I'd concur, the ever escalating value was for me too high in 4e. Tighter bounding while still allowing the need for minions et al.

Also, work in advantage/disadvantage.
2) Probably start level one a little less "heroic" - I liked the idea that adventurers were professionals, even at level one, but it could start a little lower.
Personally I don't mind the starting point for 1st level chars, so I'd keep this as an optional "0 level/pre-hero" rule. :)
3) Make magic items magical. - IMO one of 4e's biggest weaknesses was magic items - BUT I would LOVE LOVE LOVE mundane items to have a nice long range before things become magic. A "bearded axe" that gives you a chance to trip? Etc. Items could come with "powers" without having to be magic. Save the "real" magic for paragon and epic.
Aye! For starters, as part of the flatter/reworked math, forgo requiring and remove any bonus to hit on a magical weapon (similar to the inherent bonus mod, only not adding/requiring it) except in rare cases. Then, magic weapons have interesting properties: greater weapon base die, additional elemental damage dice, interesting abilities or bonuses to abilities and powers, extra powers, and etc. Similarly with armour and other items. And encourage naming items and giving them unique flair (that may or may not affect mechanics).

In addition, ensure that flavourful/creativity-inducing items remain and are highlighted: feather tokens, decanters of endless water, universal solvents, immovable rods, etc. Out of the box player thinking FTW!

(As a solution to the Christmas tree effect in 4e, our group rolled with it such that when you 'got' a magic item you could either have it be a magic item or re-fluff it as a new skill/talent/ability the character acquired, or something in between. For example, for my runecaster, getting a 'magic item' that improved their resistance to elemental magic I described it as him having been continually etching runes on his armour and now they are complete, energizing to grant them the resistance. For my ranger/fighter hybrid, a "pair of boots that lets you stand up from prone as a minor action" was just something they'd developed innately. In all cases, the mechanics didn't change, including slots and etc, in order to maintain balance, but these descriptions made our characters and the game more evocative and personal. Doubly so if you chose to keep it as an actual magic item... because then it was a MAGIC ITEM.)

Similarly, ensure and include spells and especially rituals that likewise invite creativity and non-strict-encounter use (or that only have a described mechanical effect.)
 

Kannik

Adventurer
Ack, forgot to include that when it comes to removing the +s to hit, I'm still cool with creatures who require a particular material to strike them or to do full effect against. That's more interesting to me than just needing a generic "magic weapon."

(That said, as always it remains incumbent on the DM to telegraph this kind of thing so that the players aren't necessarily caught flat footed in a 'gotya' kind of moment.)
 

Undrave

Hero
Maybe really, REALLY powerful creatures. Epic tier? No problem with that. Otherwise, c'mon. I mean, you can do stuff like make lycanthropes resist non-silvered, I suppose. Or regenerate from it. Either way.
Yeah I prefer to have resistances you can overcome through mundane means because you researched the enemy, rather than just having a one-size fits all solution.

One solution that would allow to keep the 'signature weapon' trope is to simply have your ability to overcome 'no mundane damage' be simply dependant on you being attune to a magic item, ANY of them. Like, if you have a magic amulet or magic armor or magic cape, you gain a magical aura that just overcomes that basic resistance.

Come to think of it... what if we were to ditch the +X on items and have your +X simply based on how many magical items you are attuned with? The more magic item, the stronger your magical aura? With a few rare magical weapons boosting it further too. Just a thought

Yeah, you could do a three-level mini game before level one (if desired) and keep 1-30 "pure" for actual professional adventurers. Though one of the lessons that 5e learned was to NOT "front load" level one for less multiclassing dips (to various degrees of success). Although I don't recal 4e having much of a problem with that.
4e didn't have level dips. You took a MC feat that gave you a weaker version of that first level and a skill training. If you got the Rogue MC Feat, for exemple, you got to use Sneak Attack once per encounter if I recall. My favorite was the Paladin one because it let you apply the Divine Challenge feature once per encounter. I put it on my Cleric to make him an off tank (story wise he was an old drill sergeant for a Paladin order!) so I could mark a guy once per encounter (also picked up an Encounter power that could mark! I loved that character, he was really fun to play). It was a really cool trick. Further MC feats that let you swap powers were not particularly great and I don't recall people really taking it. I know later we got 'Hybrid Classes' but I never delved into how they work :p I wasn't interested.
 

Lord Shark

Explorer
The hybrid rules were a kludgy as hell attempt to create traditional multiclassing. If you weren't experienced with the system, it was all too easy to create an unworkable mess, or in a few cases something that broke the game's power curve (the dreaded paladin|warlock, for instance).

I much prefer 4E's feat-based multiclassing, which lives on in PF2E in the form of dedications and archetypes, over the 3E/5E "level of this, level of that" multiclassing.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
(As a solution to the Christmas tree effect in 4e, our group rolled with it such that when you 'got' a magic item you could either have it be a magic item or re-fluff it as a new skill/talent/ability the character acquired, or something in between. For example, for my runecaster, getting a 'magic item' that improved their resistance to elemental magic I described it as him having been continually etching runes on his armour and now they are complete, energizing to grant them the resistance. For my ranger/fighter hybrid, a "pair of boots that lets you stand up from prone as a minor action" was just something they'd developed innately. In all cases, the mechanics didn't change, including slots and etc, in order to maintain balance, but these descriptions made our characters and the game more evocative and personal. Doubly so if you chose to keep it as an actual magic item... because then it was a MAGIC ITEM.)
We did that too!
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
4e didn't have level dips. You took a MC feat that gave you a weaker version of that first level and a skill training. If you got the Rogue MC Feat, for exemple, you got to use Sneak Attack once per encounter if I recall. My favorite was the Paladin one because it let you apply the Divine Challenge feature once per encounter. I put it on my Cleric to make him an off tank (story wise he was an old drill sergeant for a Paladin order!) so I could mark a guy once per encounter (also picked up an Encounter power that could mark! I loved that character, he was really fun to play). It was a really cool trick. Further MC feats that let you swap powers were not particularly great and I don't recall people really taking it. I know later we got 'Hybrid Classes' but I never delved into how they work :p I wasn't interested.

RIght. We didn't (and still don't) play with a lot of multiclassing, so I couldn't remember why I can't recall 4e having little-to-no-issue with level dipping. It was a problem in 3e, and it's actually still a problem in 5e, in spite of the weak level one, so I suppose that 4e's solution was already better. I'm convinced! Heroic adventurers at level one is fine. Level zero games (or something like zero-1/2-one games, so you can feel the progress) can be its own thing.
 

Undrave

Hero
The hybrid rules were a kludgy as hell attempt to create traditional multiclassing. If you weren't experienced with the system, it was all too easy to create an unworkable mess, or in a few cases something that broke the game's power curve (the dreaded paladin|warlock, for instance).

I much prefer 4E's feat-based multiclassing, which lives on in PF2E in the form of dedications and archetypes, over the 3E/5E "level of this, level of that" multiclassing.
I think the feat based MCing is more fun. But the further feats could have used a tweak.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This almost ties in with the too-many-levels point raised above, in that in a system where the PCs are levelling up that fast any adventures of any decent size/length have to be designed to take this levelling - and accordant gains in powers/abilities - into account.

This results in linear (and thus, boring) adventure design, because the author needs the PCs to have gained the budgeted xp from rooms* 1-5 in order to be able to deal with what's in rooms 6-10; ditto again before they get to rooms 11-15, and on it goes.

A slower levelling rate would allow writers to make bigger and less-linear adventures, because there wouldn't be this pressing need for the PCs to have gained enough xp within the adventure to level up and thus "qualify" for the next bit, if that makes sense. Put another way, it shouldn't matter which way the PCs enter the adventure site (and ideally there's multiple ways in), in that they'll find level-appropriate encounters wherever they go.

* - substitute "encounters" for "rooms" if you like, it's the same thing here.
Instead of a slower leveling rate, getting less per level would also work out. Keep that level of granularity, but don't level out of a group of encounters just because you are +/-2 levels instead of on-level.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
3) Make magic items magical. - IMO one of 4e's biggest weaknesses was magic items - BUT I would LOVE LOVE LOVE mundane items to have a nice long range before things become magic. A "bearded axe" that gives you a chance to trip? Etc. Items could come with "powers" without having to be magic. Save the "real" magic for paragon and epic.
One of the things I wasn't fond of was that gear was part of character advancement. I'd love if we got rid of all PLUSES on magic items and other pure-math adjustments, and kept them with just the interesting powers instead. Though some of the interesting powers would need to get made more interesting.

1) Flatter math - 5e has shown that the "bounded accuracy" works well to make a single monster stat-block last longer across levels (without having to constantly make "bigger" versions. Now, I wouldn't go anywhere near as far as 5e did, but something like a +1 prof bonus for every three levels? I think it would work.
This would address an earlier complaint about leveling up during adventures - if the level up didn't change as much.

I enjoy the additional granularity of 30 levels, but I don't need a huge power bump each time.

2) Probably start level one a little less "heroic" - I liked the idea that adventurers were professionals, even at level one, but it could start a little lower.
Sideway suggestion - keep as heroic, but move some of that from class to race. So that there's enough design room for races to be really cool.
 

Voadam

Legend
I think the feat based MCing is more fun. But the further feats could have used a tweak.
The intro heroic multiclass feats were fairly strong, giving a thematic encounter power, training in a class skill, and qualifying for feats and paragon paths for the new class.

The follow up multiclass feats were fairly weak, giving up a feat to swap out your normal new encounter/utility/daily power for one of equal power from your multiclass class. 4e classes and class powers were combat balanced enough that it was generally a wash in power strength and just a flavor/mechanics swap at the cost of a feat that could have been a combat benefit.

The paragon path multiclass option was fun, but you had to have taken all four multiclass feats, essentially being down three useful feats and few feats left to play around with, particularly after feat tax feats.

I played a ranger multiclassed to wizard/paragon wizard and it was a lot of fun (twin strike with my magic staff, lots of reaction ranger powers and throwing around scorching bursts and lightning bolts), but mechanically I felt a little behind where I could have been as a non-multiclassed character.
 

Undrave

Hero
The intro heroic multiclass feats were fairly strong, giving a thematic encounter power, training in a class skill, and qualifying for feats and paragon paths for the new class.

The follow up multiclass feats were fairly weak, giving up a feat to swap out your normal new encounter/utility/daily power for one of equal power from your multiclass class. 4e classes and class powers were combat balanced enough that it was generally a wash in power strength and just a flavor/mechanics swap at the cost of a feat that could have been a combat benefit.

The paragon path multiclass option was fun, but you had to have taken all four multiclass feats, essentially being down three useful feats and few feats left to play around with, particularly after feat tax feats.

I played a ranger multiclassed to wizard/paragon wizard and it was a lot of fun (twin strike with my magic staff, lots of reaction ranger powers and throwing around scorching bursts and lightning bolts), but mechanically I felt a little behind where I could have been as a non-multiclassed character.
I think the way I would have made it would be that the base MC feat grants you a 'thing' you can use once per encounter. Then, each Swap feat grants you an extra use of that 'thing' per encounter in addition to the power swapping. And the swap feat could have been taken in any order, but if you get all three (Encounter, Daily, Utility) you automatically get to add an At-Will Power from your other class as a bonus without needing to take another feat.
 

Voadam

Legend
One of the things I wasn't fond of was that gear was part of character advancement. I'd love if we got rid of all PLUSES on magic items and other pure-math adjustments, and kept them with just the interesting powers instead. Though some of the interesting powers would need to get made more interesting.

The DMG2 / 4e Dark Sun Campaign Setting inherent bonus optional rule was fantastic for this. It allowed sword and sorcery style low magic D&D worlds and still have the 4e math work out. I really liked the option to get off the gp/magic item treadmill in D&D and have the combat math still work fantastically.
 

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