Gritty gone?

brehobit

Explorer
OK,
So I've largely run "gritty" games. And while 3.x wasn't the best for that type of game, it could be made to work, mainly by running lower-level games. I'm thinking 4e won't work for this at all. Low-level play isn't "that" low-level, lots of blasting, etc. Makes me sad.

That said, 4e looks like a great game. Just not the type of role-playing I generally prefer. I've got the first 3 books on pre-order and look forward to reading them and playing some. But I very much doubt it will be my game of choice....

Mark
 

log in or register to remove this ad



Celebrim

Legend
It won't be easy.

However, if it was only the 'gritty' factor that was a problem in 4E I think I could manage to put it back in.

Unfortunately, there are so many areas that I'd feel the need to overhaul that flaws like 'six hours cures all ills' are just minor parts of the whole mess from my perspective.
 

Cyronax

Explorer
Having played a lot of different encounters in 4e at the D&D XP over the weekend, I will say that the grittiness is what you make of it.

We had two TPKs in the Living Forgotten Realms previews (I know ... embarrassing) and I also noticed that 4e is a DM-empowering game, in that he/she the DM gets to set the tone a lot more.

If the DM is standard/nice then the of course the party will have 5 minutes between encounter to recharge some of their abilities. BUT, what if the DM rules that since the PC's enemies are aware of the party's presence in their precious dungeon, that they can't allow them to catch their breaths? In essence, a well prepared BBEG sends waves of minions (and more badness) out to harry the party, trying to force them to call off their attack.

To go further, from a roleplaying perspective, nothing has changed. Its up to the DM to provide gritty flavor. The 4e combat rules merely shift complexity from one area to another in regards to 3.5.

Likewise, I truly think that when they say magic items aren't required, its true. Magic items weren't decisive in most of the victories of the Delves I participated in.

Also, as I indicated, character death is still very possible.

Just IMO.

C.I.D.


I' m no 4e fan boy. I am on the fence as well. But it was still fun. Not sure if it will be a fun, overall, as 3.5 was.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Cyronax: I think it would be a mistake to equate 'grittiness' directly with 'lethality'. 'White Plume Mountain' is extremely lethal (probably more lethal than the more famous 'Tomb of Horrors), but it's not at all gritty.

As I understand the term, 'gritty' implies 'versimilitude = realism'. That is to say, 'gritty' at least in part is an attempt to emulate something reminescent of the real world or a real historical period, often with the additional assumption that real world myths and legends were real. Hense, common features of 'gritty campaigns' are overt magic is somewhat rare, diseases should be prevelant and feared, injuries require some amount of rest to recover from, filth is common, the natural environment is to be feared and respected, travel is difficult, anachronisms are avoided, and so forth.
 

I personally feel that Warhammer Fantasy goes beyond gritty, into dirtfamer.

I've always gone to d20 modern/past for my gritty needs.

As for 4e, I guess it depends on what you mean by gritty, if you mean, "heroic but human and bad luck can happen" then you can probably mess with healing surges, dying & crits to get what you want.

If you have a problem with the action movie/mythic nature of the martial exploits then even with the help of your players it might not be worth the effort.
 

Cyronax

Explorer
Celebrim said:
Cyronax: I think it would be a mistake to equate 'grittiness' directly with 'lethality'. 'White Plume Mountain' is extremely lethal (probably more lethal than the more famous 'Tomb of Horrors), but it's not at all gritty.

As I understand the term, 'gritty' implies 'versimilitude = realism'. That is to say, 'gritty' at least in part is an attempt to emulate something reminescent of the real world or a real historical period, often with the additional assumption that real world myths and legends were real. Hense, common features of 'gritty campaigns' are overt magic is somewhat rare, diseases should be prevelant and feared, injuries require some amount of rest to recover from, filth is common, the natural environment is to be feared and respected, travel is difficult, anachronisms are avoided, and so forth.


I may/probably will concede that point (by the time 4e comes out). The recharge nature of many of the encounters of the 4e previews made me feel pretty powerful for a 1st lvl character. 1st level characters that are cocky have a better chance of surviving than in 3.5. That's not sooo gritty ...... according to standard definitions of gritty. As just a combat encounter though, the 4e rules were fun.

Well met.

C.I.D.
 


Pale Jackal

First Post
I do enjoy "gritty", not that I've played in too many gritty games... but I think house-ruling 4E might be possible...

Possibly remove the teleport effects (or alternately, just use the four magic-less core classes), reduce the amount of HP damage you can sustain, and possibly introduce an exhaustion penalty with bloodied.

Maybe do something to simulate long-term wounds.

Edit: Goodknife has a workable suggestion, of course, I view HP in 4E as more morale/exhaustion, rather than physical damage, so I'm not sure if I'd use it.
 


Kwalish Kid

Explorer
brehobit said:
OK,
So I've largely run "gritty" games. And while 3.x wasn't the best for that type of game, it could be made to work, mainly by running lower-level games. I'm thinking 4e won't work for this at all. Low-level play isn't "that" low-level, lots of blasting, etc. Makes me sad.

That said, 4e looks like a great game. Just not the type of role-playing I generally prefer. I've got the first 3 books on pre-order and look forward to reading them and playing some. But I very much doubt it will be my game of choice....

Mark
Honestly, when I think 4E, I think Die Hard. Now there was a movie with a character who was tough. However, it was also a pretty gritty movie. John Maclean got hurt a lot and that pain got to him, at least from time to time. In my 4E campaign, it's hopefully going to be a lot like Die Hard from time to time.

If you want wounds to have some real effect, then you can easily come up with some rules that leave hit points and healing as they are and impose some other sort of, mostly minor, hurts and injuries that are longer lasting. (I recommend adapting the Wound system from Earthdawn, since it's pretty easy to adapt and is freely available on the web.)
 

Celebrim

Legend
Guild Goodknife said:
Instant grittiness rule: Instead of regaining all your healing surges after a 6 hour rest, you only regain 1.

Nightmare mode: You regain 1 per week.

The way 4E seems to be balanced it appears you are expected to lose about 50% of your hitpoints in an average encounter. You then expend 2 healing surges to recover all or most of your loses, and can continue to the next encounter.

For the most part that's fine. I don't have a particularly big problem with that and you can still do some gritty with that. The problem is with how 4E handles losing more than 50% of your hit points.

For that, taking away healing surges just doesn't seem to work. I'm far more concerned with the ability to regenerate all hit points from a 6 hour rest, than I am with the ability to regenerate all healing surges.

All your changes would actually do is force a six hour rest after most encounters, and limit the amount of magical healing that could be used during a battle to more or less 'none'.

My take on gritty healing in 4E is in a different thread.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
Heroic tier is kind of gritty. Okay so everyone's shooting laser beams all the time. But at least there's no flying, and maybe no invisibility. And it's supposed to be easier to do low magic than in 3e. The Xmas tree is sparser and the adds you need to replace are clearer.
 

Lackhand

First Post
Guild Goodknife said:
Instant grittiness rule: Instead of regaining all your healing surges after a 6 hour rest, you only regain 1.

Nightmare mode: You regain 1 per week.
This. Though even with this, you bounce back from death too quickly -- I suggest removing death tokens also eats surges.
 



Cyronax

Explorer
Zulgyan said:
I'm no fan of 4E but I'd do it this way:

Divide all total HPs by 2 (or more). Keep same damage capacity.


Done.

And the players revolt, as they always do when the game is made too lethal.

Too bad. Good idea.

Edit: Dispel criticism. I meant that i liked the idea, but players wouldn't allow it to be implemented.
 
Last edited:

I think a condition track ala SAGA would do a lot to add a gritty feel.

Deadly isn't gritty, per se. Potentially deadly standoffs are gritty, persistent wounds are gritty, pain is gritty, and so forth. But most gritty characters manage to stay around for a while even with fighting. So I think all you really need is a subsystem that layers pain on PCs and good get the drop rules to apply that pain.

Still, really not going to be the best game for gritty until it's modded very very heavily.

But even low level 3X didn't do gritty too well so much as occasionally deadly.

Gritty mileage varies, for me gritty means tough but in pain, with a minor aside for cautious. For others it's far more specific - skills that only get raised because you used them, horrifying infection rules, rolling to get past your hesitation to commit murder before combat begins, and all that.

So you got everything from people only playing first level in DnD to people playing mortal level Exalted where you can't go a week without catching tetanus from shaving with your own rusty blade.

Somewhere on that range I'm pretty certain 4E will work for ya, but I wouldn't say it's going to be anybody's go to gritty, no.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Doug McCrae said:
It means the PCs can't do anything. DMs love it.

And heroic means player characters killing men by the hundreds, consuming the English with fireballs from their eyes & bolts of lightning from their arses. :D

Actually, gritty is a play style that more than just sadistic DMs enjoy. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a small but loyal following for games like Call of Cthulhu, Grim Tales, Warhammer FRP, and Runequest. PCs can do things, just not a lot of things that would be considered cinematically flashy or gravity-defying -- more Raiders or 3:10 to Yuma than 300 or Hero.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top