Gritty gone?


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Wulfram

First Post
Plane Sailing said:
e.g. limit classes to fighter, rogue, warlord, ranger (the martial power sources)

I expect the martial classes to be the main obstacle to achieving "gritty", at least for me.

Magic, it's hard to judge objectively. We have nothing real to compare it to, so we can only look at it in the context of the world provided. A DM can still cast a low level caster as a brave but not overly exceptional practitioner of his arts.

On the other hand, the martial powers can be reasonably compared to real world capabilities, and the impression I have so far is that it even at the first level characters will be exhibiting abilities that appear preternatural at the least - which makes the characters seem too inherently special for what I would consider a gritty game.
 


I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Beyond an exercise in masochism, how is it fun to play in a game where you are unable to actually affect the game world?

I'm not a huge fan of gritty games, but at least I can give my other players credit in that they like things that are fun, and that being unable to actually affect the game world isn't fun, so that even in gritty games, I bet you can actually affect the game world.

Criminey, I know this is the 4e forum and all, but can we give our fellow posters some credit, here?
 

cerberus2112

First Post
Kwalish Kid said:
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.)
I was going to start with 24 instead of Diehard, but this is exactly what I was thinking too.
 

Daniel D. Fox

Explorer
Gritty stories tend to fall alongside great script writers such as David Mamet. Personally, I love grit and realism (or at least as realistic as a fantasy game can be) mixed with a small dose of low magic. Thus, the very birth of my own gaming world.

However, I can see certain faults in the way healing is handled in 4e. It's something I will have to houserule, but I do like the mechanics of the new system.
 

Celebrim said:
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.

What about, recover CON modifier healing surges (without the half level, minimum 1) and 25% hit points?
 

Ashrem Bayle

Explorer
I faced the same issue a while back. D&D 3.5 was just too "heroic" for more "down-to-earth/gritty" gaming. I finally gave up on house ruling it and switched to GURPS, which works beautifully.

When info for 4e started leaking, it quickly became obvious that they were pushing for a more heroic game. So I decided GURPS would be my system of choice from now on and gave up on D&D as a system for "gritty" gaming.

Now, that said, 3.5 was a lot of fun and 4e looks even better. I can't wait to get it, I'll just have to run two separate games. I'll use GURPS for my "gritty" games, and 4e for the more over-the-top heroic action games.

As devoted GURPS gamer, I'm really looking forward to 4e.
No reason you can't love both. :)
 

Celebrim

Legend
Just Another User said:
What about, recover CON modifier healing surges (without the half level, minimum 1) and 25% hit points?

Although it is slightly more complicated to track, I'd be interested at looking at reduced healing per healing surge instead of or in addition to playing with the number of healing surges. Playing with the amount of healing per surge means that you can be slowly worn down, without running out of healing surges.

4E assumes longer and more complicated encounters. Although the damage per hit is much less than 3E, the total damage inflicted is still going to be pretty high. Couple this with the fact that the # of healing surges is tightly coupled to the rest of the system, for example, magical healing assumes an available healing surge in the abilities we've seen so far. If you want to avoid forcing the players into a long rest after every encounter, I think you need to avoid aggressively reducing the availability of healing surges.

Instead, I think I'd measure combat fatigue with reduced ability to recover from wounds - in simulationist terms, the longer you fight the greater and greater percentage of the hit points lost represent actual physical damage.

But the ability to self heal isn't the only problem. The 100% recovery of hit points after a long rest is also a problem. So is the fact that any healing restores you fully no matter how negative your hit points have gone. This means even minor healing (like a level 1 ability) can easily cure a high level character of 50 or more hit points. You can also bounce back from negative to 25% of your max hit points spontaneously. The short duration of a rest period is something of a problem too. I could see bumping it up to 10 minutes for a short rest and 8 hours for a long rest simply to slow the conceptual pace of play. With a 6 hour rest period, its pretty easy to assault the dungeon for 2 hours, long rest to get back to 100%, assault it again for 2 hours, long rest to get back to 100%, assault it again for 2 hours and then long rest. The result is that hou have recieved and healed mortal injuries 3 times in the same day without the use of magic, and probably leveled up 2-3 times as well. First to 30th level in three weeks.
 

Derro

First Post
Wulfram said:
On the other hand, the martial powers can be reasonably compared to real world capabilities, and the impression I have so far is that it even at the first level characters will be exhibiting abilities that appear preternatural at the least - which makes the characters seem too inherently special for what I would consider a gritty game.

Nail on the head. And the argument that you can tone down magic-using classes is flawed as well since, in theory, all of the classes are balanced against each other and altering by reduction their features makes them sub-optimal.

I think I'm out of the gritty debate. It just doesn't strike me as possible with the 8 core classes built and powered the way they are. Heroic high fantasy seems to be the dial not the setting.

That's fine. It's D&D not Runequest. Can't say I'll be in a huge rush to pick it up though.
 

Kordeth

First Post
Wulfram said:
On the other hand, the martial powers can be reasonably compared to real world capabilities,

This, IMHO, is where you go wrong--martial powers do not represent real-world capabilities, they represent the prowess of non-magical fantastic and mythological heroes like Odysseus, Beowulf, Cuchulainn, and Conan the Barbarian.

and the impression I have so far is that it even at the first level characters will be exhibiting abilities that appear preternatural at the least - which makes the characters seem too inherently special for what I would consider a gritty game.

Bang-on right--4E is definitely a game designed around the concept that PCs are Heroes in the classical meaning of the term--it's not really built to play "Sir Roderick the Guy Lucky Enough to Survive to Third Level." That's neither a slight against 4E or the grim and gritty play style--but yeah, if you want to be a hero just because you were lucky enough not to die against a goblin or two, you probably want to look for another game system.

(For the record, I think dark, gritty fantasy is insanely awesome. I also think the action-movie/mythological heroics of 4E are awesome. I will never, ever, attempt to mix the two.)
 

am181d

Adventurer
I liked the HR that one poster suggested:

You lose a Healing Surge every time you suffer a critical or drop below 0 HP. Presumably, you'd only regain them during periods of extended non-adventuring (say a week or two of bed rest).

Pair with this another good thought that isn't mine: Being at max HP doesn't mean that you're not injured/wounded. It just means you can function well enough to get by without penalty. As that poster pointed out, you can think John McClain in DIEHARD. DIEHARD is gritty, therefore this is awesome/correct.

(In terms of in game execution: consider adding some flavor/fluff/description to your game that everyone is always aching and covered with blood and gritting their teeth but soldiering through. Encourage them to grumble and snap at each other frequently. Players love this!)
 

Kordeth

First Post
am181d said:
Pair with this another good thought that isn't mine: Being at max HP doesn't mean that you're not injured/wounded. It just means you can function well enough to get by without penalty. As that poster pointed out, you can think John McClain in DIEHARD. DIEHARD is gritty, therefore this is awesome/correct.

(In terms of in game execution: consider adding some flavor/fluff/description to your game that everyone is always aching and covered with blood and gritting their teeth but soldiering through. Encourage them to grumble and snap at each other frequently. Players love this!)

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Thank you for making me not the only one proselytizing the "healing surges = John McClane points" model of sheer 4E badassitude. :D
 

ferratus

Adventurer
Celebrim said:
C 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.

...filth is common

I really, really, get upset when I see people claim that people in the middle ages didn't know how to look after themselves. They bathed regularly, changed the straw they used for bedding and had remedies for fleas, and disposed of garbage in garbage dumps. Sure there was some filth around due to animals crapping in the streets, and bathing wasn't as easy as it was before indoor plumbing, but the hygiene 1000 years ago wasn't any worse than it was 150 years ago.
 

Kordeth

First Post
ferratus said:
I really, really, get upset when I see people claim that people in the middle ages didn't know how to look after themselves. They bathed regularly, changed the straw they used for bedding and had remedies for fleas, and disposed of garbage in garbage dumps. Sure there was some filth around due to animals crapping in the streets, and bathing wasn't as easy as it was before indoor plumbing, but the hygiene 1000 years ago wasn't any worse than it was 150 years ago.

Also this. "The middle ages were a time of filthy, ignorant barbarians" is right up there with "plate armor was nigh-impossible to move in" as far as silly assumptions the Victorians made about the past.

And as long as we're on the subject of historical pet peeves, people have known the world was round since 330 BC, and the Greek philosopher Eratosthenes measured the earth's circumference to within about 2% accuracy in around 240 BC.

Ancient folks was smart, dagnabbit. :)
 

Fallen Seraph

First Post
Damn right and they had mammoths as labour animals! *Has been looking at too many 10,000 B.C. trailers*

Hell in some places during the Medieval Times they got along with eachother nice then we do, look at Jerusalem prior to the Crusades. I would hardly count that as gritty.
 

Will

First Post
'Ancient Inventions' is one of my favorite books.

Ancient Roman obstetrics equipment was unmatched until this century or so.
 

Kordeth

First Post
Will said:
'Ancient Inventions' is one of my favorite books.

Ancient Roman obstetrics equipment was unmatched until this century or so.

Hell, as long as we're off-topic, it's also interesting to note that between the fall of Rome and the discovery of the Americas by Europeans, no new gold was put into circulation in the European economy. Every gold coin, bar, crown, or what have you was melted down and recycled.

And yes, I have run gritty campaigns where the players hauled their 5,000,000 gp dragon hoard back to town and completely annihilated the economic structure of the world. :)
 

ferratus

Adventurer
Kordeth said:
Hell, as long as we're off-topic, it's also interesting to note that between the fall of Rome and the discovery of the Americas by Europeans, no new gold was put into circulation in the European economy. Every gold coin, bar, crown, or what have you was melted down and recycled.

Yep, Europe by a freak of geology has almost no gold mines. That's why there was a silver standard. I really wish they had that in 4e, because gold just isn't valuable in regular D&D. I'd like it if finding gold was a really big deal, and silver hoards were more commonplace.

I guess I can still do it that way by converting gold into chests of silver, but after a few levels there wouldn't be any way to carry your treasure out of the dungeon.

P.S. Sorry about derailing the thread, but denigrating the middle ages is really a big pet peeve.
 
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Kordeth

First Post
ferratus said:
Yep, Europe by a freak of geology has almost no gold mines. That's why there was a silver standard. I really wish they had that in 4e, because gold just isn't valuable in regular D&D. I'd like it if finding gold was a really big deal, and silver hoards were more commonplace.

I guess I can still do it that way by converting gold into chests of silver, but after a few levels there wouldn't be any way to carry your treasure out of the dungeon.

P.S. Sorry about derailing the thread, but denigrating the middle ages is really a big pet peeve.

Well, the "easy" answer is to shift everything down one level--so what 1 gp buys you in the PHB, 1 sp buys you in the silver economy game. It doesn't get rid of the massive piles of treasure problem, but at least it doesn't exacerbate it beyond the standard assumptions of the game.

Personally, I enjoy it when players have to spend at least 30% of the treasure they find just to hire teamsters and wagons to carry everything back to town. :)
 

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