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D&D 5E How Can D&D Next Win You Over?

Are you talking in general, or just 2nd ed AD&D.

In 1st ed AD&D and B/X, an Elf Fighter/Mage can wear full armour and cast spells. So you have lower hp than a fighter, but good AC and reasonable melee attacks. And so are about as effective as a cleric in melee - ie not too bad, although obviously not the best.

I started playing during 2E, so yeah I'm talking 2E. Even with the armor in 1E, you had Thief-ish HP without a Con bonus. In 2E, you had Mage Armor, Bracers of AC, and if your DM was lenient shields.
 

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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Here is my experiences with multiclassing:

Fighter/Mage--in the absence of very high stats and a lot of magic items, melee was a trap. Multiclassing gave you much needed survivability, and an Elf with Fighter Thac0, 17+ Dex and a Longbow was far more useful than any single class Mage could ever hope to be when not casting spells.

Fighter/Cleric--One level back in Cleric to actually be able to hit things is a good trade.

Fighter/Thief--So far superior to a single class Thief it isn't funny. Better HP, Longbow, magic shields, ect. As far as I'm concerned this was the AD&D Thief class.

Cleric/Mage--more survivable than a pure Mage, and god damn that is a lot of spells. It actually takes effort to run out.

Mage/Thief--worthless in melee, but ultimate utility character. Spells give you something powerful to do in combat over what a single class Thief can do, and an Elf with a shortbow and 17+ Dex is again money on a Mage.

I don't think there's anything particularly controversial about any of this. Though I wouldn't characterize melee for the fighter/MU as a trap. It wasn't something you wanted to do if you didn't have to do it because casting in melee was an actual challenge. But if someone did manage to close with you, you were generally in better shape than a single-class wizard a level higher. But then, this is part of the point of multi-classing - giving you more than one mode of operation and filling more than one role in the party.

I'd say that the way you characterized your experiences, you're providing ammunition for the groups who say multiclassing in 1e/2e was a little too good. Fighter/MU with bow > MU not currently casting a spell. Fighter/cleric > cleric. Fighter/Thief > thief. Cleric/MU > MU. MU/Thief > Thief (well, just about anything is > thief in numerous ways).

There were definite deficiencies in the 3e multiclassing. Martial class multiclassing worked great, but then the combat abilities were additive and had good overlap. It was really just the spellcasting that didn't work right and that was reasonably easily improved by a method or two from the Unearthed Arcana or by a couple of feats that spotted the PC some caster levels (though again, completely fixed is debatable). But 1e/2e multi-classing had its own warts - for example, that Fighter/Thief (at least in 1e, if memory serves) was supposed to use his Thief hit matrix when backstabbing, not his fighter one. It had its own quirks, not the least of which is that multiclassing was often better than being single classed for at least one of the multiclass pairings (as you illustrate above).
 

Now if you play a game in which these differences in fictional position never come into play, it may be that you never notice the myriad differences between 4e fighters and 4e wizards. I assume that a lot of those who feel that 4e plays like a board game have had this sort of experience. And to them, I say: either change your game so that fictional positioning does matter; or find a different game! Because playing an RPG as a board game seems a waste of time to me.
4e classes are a "spot the difference" picture. They're mostly the same but, if you look for differences, you'll find them. That doesn't mean they're more alike than not.

But if those players go to 3E, but keep running the same scenario, what change do they get? The only difference is that now the wizard uses daily resource mechanics, and the fighter doesn't. If the only way that fictional positioning matters in play is for purposes of resource management, you are playing the sort of game that [MENTION=87792]Neonchameleon[/MENTION] upthread has called "Greyhawking". That's a type of game that many D&D players have not been interested in at least since the 1980s (as shown by the popularity of Dragonlance, despite the fact that AD&D lacks the mechanics to make it a really viable game without massive amounts of GM force via railroading and fudging of mechanics).
Not everyone wants a class with resource management. The fighter was a popular class in 3e and continues to be a popular clas in Pathfinder. Not everyone wants powers and spells. If you don't accommodate that player base they will move on to other games or not have fun.

Of course, it may be that fictional positioning doesn't matter to you, but that avoiding metagame mechanics permits "immersion" - so even though the daily cycle for the 3E wizard and the at-will cycle for the 3E fighter never really comes into play, you can still grasp the difference between them because you imagine your wizard as being Turjan, memorising spells every day, and your fighter as being Conan, swing a sword at will. This is what [MENTION=54877]Crazy Jerome[/MENTION] calls "illusionism" - projecting a fiction onto the experience that the mechanics don't themselves generate in play, but do hint at when projected via imagination onto the gameworld. There is no doubt that 4e won't support illusionism, and is in fact unrelentingly hostile to it, because of its plethora of transparently metagame mechanics.
I get fighters doing cool things.
I object to them doing cool things exactly the same as wizards. Even Warcraft does it better, with the fighter rage mechanic. The longer a fighter fights the more abilities unlock.
Which is a reason I'm not a fan of the base 4e classes: they're lazy. Just look at the Essentials assassin class for a quick example of how it could have been done better. The rely on a basic attack, but have At-wills that are situational. They have Encounter powers normally but have no Daily powers but instead have poisons that can be applied once per day. Same essential mechanic at the core, but it plays differently.
Imagine is the base 4e fighter had been able to use basic melee attacks, if they hadn't been designed to be inherently inferiour to At-Wills. Then imagine if they had to fight so many rounds to unlock a Daily via rage. Or if their exploits were just that: reactions to enemy's tactics.

I just hard a cool idea on the WotC forum involving the 5e fighter's combat superiority. Imagine if your could forge that dice, losing until until a rest, to perform a cool move. A small move and you lose it until a short rest (Encounter power) and a very cool move and you lose it until a long rest (Daily power). It's a power, but very different from spells, which is the key. It's not fighters being able to do different things that makes it a spell, it's using the exact same mechanics, formatting, recharge, and as spells that makes it a spell. Change one word, just one word, an a martial exploit suddenly becomes a spell.

What I object is a poster telling me that, in enjoying 4e fighters, I am enjoying fighters with spells. Which is a complete misdescription of my game experience. I've never suggested,for example, that those who don't have the 15 minute day actually do have it and haven't noticed. I believe them when they say that a certain mechanic doesn't, for them, deliver a certain experience. What I then go on to do (sometimes) is explain why the techniques they use (eg wandering monsters) aren't useful to me. The analogue of this would be someone who doesn't like the 4e power structure explaining why s/he doesn't like metagame mechanics, or why the recovery cycle for player resources also, for him/her, plays an important part in immersion.
Did you enjoy fighters prior? Were you one of the many people who saw 4e and said "finally I want to play a fighter"?
If you were, it would because the fighter changed to match your play style. But at the cost of someone else. There are two players in my last Pathfinder game who I never want to play 4e with (and will never let play a spellcaster again). The kind of player who will find that one At-Will they like and spam it exclusively.
 

Steely_Dan

First Post
There are two players in my last Pathfinder game who I never want to play 4e with (and will never let play a spellcaster again). The kind of player who will find that one At-Will they like and spam it exclusively.

Yes, every 4th Ed non-Essentials class is: 1st level Features, choose Powers and Feats for the next 29 levels (aside from the ones you chose at 1st level).

Which is cool, for a certain type of game.
 

I don't think there's anything particularly controversial about any of this. Though I wouldn't characterize melee for the fighter/MU as a trap. It wasn't something you wanted to do if you didn't have to do it because casting in melee was an actual challenge. But if someone did manage to close with you, you were generally in better shape than a single-class wizard a level higher. But then, this is part of the point of multi-classing - giving you more than one mode of operation and filling more than one role in the party.

I'd say that the way you characterized your experiences, you're providing ammunition for the groups who say multiclassing in 1e/2e was a little too good. Fighter/MU with bow > MU not currently casting a spell. Fighter/cleric > cleric. Fighter/Thief > thief. Cleric/MU > MU. MU/Thief > Thief (well, just about anything is > thief in numerous ways).

There were definite deficiencies in the 3e multiclassing. Martial class multiclassing worked great, but then the combat abilities were additive and had good overlap. It was really just the spellcasting that didn't work right and that was reasonably easily improved by a method or two from the Unearthed Arcana or by a couple of feats that spotted the PC some caster levels (though again, completely fixed is debatable). But 1e/2e multi-classing had its own warts - for example, that Fighter/Thief (at least in 1e, if memory serves) was supposed to use his Thief hit matrix when backstabbing, not his fighter one. It had its own quirks, not the least of which is that multiclassing was often better than being single classed for at least one of the multiclass pairings (as you illustrate above).

As I said, my experience is primarily with 2E. Given that, there really wasn't any substitute for a single class Fighter. In 2E, multiclass Fighters didn't get Weapon Specialization, and that was big. Mage I consider an even trade, as even multiclassed they were primarily about the spells, and the level behind hurt, especially compared to a specialist. Even a Cleric/Mage was making a real sacrifice. Fighter/Cleric was better than pure Cleric, but not by that much. The Thief just wasn't that great of a class on its own, and multiclassing was a welcome improvement. In my experience, outside of the Thief class it really wasn't terribly imbalanced.
 

Part of what makes them not bland is that, in a roleplaying game, colour matters. That's the difference between an RPG and a boardgame, at least as I understand it.

This relates back to an earlier exchange we had about "fictional positioning". In 4e, a fighter's powers are martial. A wizard's powers are arcane. They are positioned differently in the fiction (and this is reflected, in 4e, via keywords). So, for example, a fighter can cut a tree in half with his/her axe - because it has the keyword [weapon]. A wizard can set a tree on fire with his/her fire spell - because it has the keyword [fire]. Conversely, an axe can't set things aflame (except, I guess, by the indirect manner of causing a spark of a rock). And a [fire] spell can't cut things down.

Now if you play a game in which these differences in fictional position never come into play, it may be that you never notice the myriad differences between 4e fighters and 4e wizards. I assume that a lot of those who feel that 4e plays like a board game have had this sort of experience. And to them, I say: either change your game so that fictional positioning does matter; or find a different game! Because playing an RPG as a board game seems a waste of time to me.

The point made above was very intuitive to me the very first time I read the new ruleset. However, others I know (friends and longterm gamers like myself) had a visceral reaction to the new format. They were unable to divorce the symmetry of the various classes' power format from their intended actualization within the fiction (or "fictional positioning" as you put it)...despite the clarity in both implication and explication of the ruleset. I was stunned at the disparity between our reactions. Somehow the simple, elegant concepts of Keywords and Power Sources (that had always been undeniably implied in earlier editions) as descriptors caused their DnD senses to twitch. The homogeneity of powers' format caused their skin to chafe...while I was utterly unmoved. It was odd as we had such a thorough shared experience in gaming. I found myself wondering if a mere lack of uniformity amidst class powers' layout would have stifled their allergic reaction.


Fire Flames of Falling (F)Down
At your whim, as an action that resembles, in quantity of time, the actions of your weapon-wielding companions, your arcane gestures bring forth an elemental gout of liquid flame to incinerate your enemies. The flames bite at flesh with callous indifference toward both foe and friend alike. The burns scour with ferocity borne of your honed intellect and those set alight involuntarily dash themselves to the ground in sheer panic, wildly attempting to douse the flames.


Swordly Sword of Sworditude
At-Will - Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Strength vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier damage, and you mark an enemy adjacent to you until the end of your next turn.


Good? I'll never know because I don't have a time machine to go back and perform the initial read of the PHB1 with them again.
 



Tony Vargas

Legend
Exactly, yes. Doesn't matter what edition number it's from. Bo9S, 3.0 Power Critical, etc. etc. are all examples of fighters with spells. It just wasn't something that came up very often before 4e, because most martial characters were free of these limitations.
'Rage' as a 'spell,' is particularly funny since there actually was a Rage spell - broken out from the old Emotion spell - that was mechanically similar to the Barbarian's Rage (though not quite as good).

I do not recall much controversy over 'Barbarians being casters' at the time.


Healing surges are indeed spells-ahem-daily mechanics. ...

The 5e hp in the playtest were truly daily, thus the controversy over them.
'Daily mechanics' is a more cogent term in general. In the case of 4e, though, 'spell' as a specific meaning, that specific meaning being "a power with the 'arcane' keyword."

The word does not necessarily imply supernatural, but it indicates that someone is doing something that is extraordinary and specific.
Yep, as opposed to ordinary and general. Heroes do have a tendency to do extraordinary, singular, things, so it's only appropriate.

The objection to fighters and other martial characters having powers, then, can accurately be summed up as: "Fighters should have only ordinary, generic abilities." Wow, sounds like oodles of fun.

Classically, nonmagical characters all perform the same actions; some are simply better at particular ones than others. Any ability that is specific to a character should be a spell, because there is no logical reason for any nonmagical character to have any exclusive options for what actions they can attempt.
I assume you mean "classically," in the sense of classic D&D (the standard issue appeal to tradition and nostalgia, that demands nothing ever change). In the genre, singular deeds are classic bits, only a fated hero could do this or that, or only the hero could wield string his bow or wield his weapon, and so forth.

Not that powers are so singular as all that. The vast majority of martial attack powers, for instance, are weapon powers - they are about using weapons, just using them better than others.

If I had had great rather than bad experiences with fighters with spells (such as the PHBII knight, which really derailed a sesssion with its daily mind-control ability or the barbarian running out of rage nonsense) and if believed this was a fun and simple and effective game mechanic, I would say so. I don't, so I say so. Nothing more to it than that.
If you want to say "fighters with spells" as a metaphor for fighters with daily abilities, that's your choice, but be aware that when discussing 5e, the statement is factually incorrect, as 'spell' has the specific meaning of 'arcane power' and the only fighters with arcane powers are those multi-classed to an arcane class and swapping in such powers.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
I do not recall much controversy over 'Barbarians being casters' at the time.
It's all relative. Was there much? Not really. Was there enough that PHBII presented a non-daily, triggered rage? Yes. Was there enough that Power Critical changed from being daily in 3.0 to being a constant bonus in 3.5? Yes.

Then again, how much controversy was there over barbarians being "linear" and sorcerers being "quadratic"? How many people complained about "15 minute adventuring days"? How many people thought monster design was too hard? Etc. Etc. More than the number of people who hated (and I mean hated) the Bo9S? I doubt it. There aren't many consensus complaints out there.

The objection to fighters and other martial characters having powers, then, can accurately be summed up as: "Fighters should have only ordinary, generic abilities." Wow, sounds like oodles of fun.
Well, I would have put it as "fighters can try anything, they just have a better chance of success than anyone else when it comes to fighting", but whatever. It is oodles of fun, though. It's been working for decades.
 

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