5E How To Clone 4E Using 5E Rules

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
The point of 5e was supposed to be that it could be whatever edition you wanted it to be.
Huh? No, the point of 5e wasn't to allow people to play it like any other edition. That would be an impossible task. The point of 5e was to bring back it's gamer base that they lost to Pathfinder. And to somewhat bring D&D back to what the D&D identity was prior. Note: I am not saying 4e was a bad game, I'm simply saying it was a pretty big difference from what D&D was prior to that, mechanically, for either good or bad, depending on a person's preference of course.

5e brought elements from every prior edition into it, but was never meant to allow people to play it like it was any previous edition. I certainly can't play it like 1e without major mechanical overhauls. I imagine 4e fans feel the same.
 
Huh? No, the point of 5e wasn't to allow people to play it like any other edition. That would be an impossible task.
Mearls came right out and said it, in a pre-playtest L&L. Not just groups will be able to play 5e (Next) like it was their past-fave ed, but that /different players at the same table/ would be able to play their characters like they were still in their favorite respective past eds!
It was total pie-in-the-sky idealism, and the effort wasn't ever really undertaken to deliver it.

But, /a/ point, as the playtest progressed, still seemed to at least try to be … not repulsive … to fans who exclusively (dis)liked one prior edition for whatever reasons (even though they were distinctly in the minority, according to playtest-era polling that concluded the majority if D&D fans were not fans nor detractors of any one particular edition, but just fans of the game, in general).
That is, 5e was meant to be a 'big tent' inclusive of the entire fanbase, in spite of how fractured it seemed in the aftermath of the edition war.

5e brought elements from every prior edition into it, but was never meant to allow people to play it like it was any previous edition. I certainly can't play it like 1e without major mechanical overhauls. I imagine 4e fans feel the same.
I've totally run 5e very much like 1e with no formal adjustments whatsoever, just on the fly rulings, and attitude - it's remarkably well-suited to 1e style DMing, IMHO/X - perhaps it's different from the other side of the screen. I didn't have the same experience trying to run it like 4e (nor 3.5), but another DM I know routinely ran her 5e combats on a grid, casually using 4e rules on movement, placement, flanking, AEs and the like, with minimal issues.

It's no where near that one L&L's sweetness & light aspirations, but it's not completely the opposite direction, either.
 
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Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Mearls came right out and said it, in a pre-playtest L&L. Not just groups will be able to play 5e (Next) like it was their past-fave ed, but that /different players at the same table/ would be able to play their characters like they were still in their favorite respective past eds!
It was total pie-in-the-sky idealism, and the effort wasn't ever really undertaken to deliver it.
I think this is some revisionist history going on here. Mearls never said that you could have a table of gamers play the game just like 4e, and have a player come in and play their PC just like 1e with no problems. What he said was that 5e would offer flexibility so that you could have one player play with full options on (like feats and multi classing) and another player with the basic rules (no multiclassing or feats) and still be pretty well balanced. He said you could play the game with a very heavy tactical bent (like 4e) or TotM (like AD&D). Not that 5e would allow you to emulate your favorite edition near exactly. That's a lot different than what you're saying he said.


I've totally run 5e very much like 1e with no formal adjustments whatsoever, just on the fly rulings, and attitude - it's remarkably well-suited to 1e style DMing, IMHO - perhaps it's different from the other side of the screen. I didn't have the same experience trying to run it like 4e (nor 3.5), but another DM I know routinely ran her 5e combats on a grid, casually using 4e rules on movement, placement, flanking, AEs and the like, with minimal issues.
In order to run 5e like 1e, I imagine there are just as many major changes needed mechanically as if you wanted to play it like 4e. I don't play 4e, so I can't comment on the changes, needed, but I disagree you could run 5e like 1e with no formal adjustments, and that assertion makes me wonder if you remember how 1e was played.

For example, going from ascending AC to THAC0 is a pretty radical change. So is removing all non magical healing completely. As is getting rid of death saves. And then adding in save or die effects. Then spell memorization/failure and spell interruption. Also niche protection. And class specific leveling. And the entire skill system (removing it pretty much except thieves and assassins). So yeah, in order to play like I play 1e, there are major adjustments that are needed.

Saying you can play it like 1e based only on rulings vs rules and attitude isn't accurate because you can play 4e that way too, and it doesn't address the actual mechanics differences between editions, which is pretty important in how a game plays.
 
Mearls never said that you could have a table of gamers play the game just like 4e, and have a player come in and play their PC just like 1e with no problems.
I think he said something more like, /one/ player of each ed, rather than an odd-man-out scenario, but my recall isn't perfect.
They took down the old L&Ls, or I'd link it for you.

In order to run 5e like 1e, I imagine there are just as many major changes needed mechanically as if you wanted to play it like 4e. I don't play 4e, so I can't comment on the changes, needed, but I disagree you could run 5e like 1e with no formal adjustments, and that assertion makes me wonder if you remember how 1e was played.
It was played pretty differently at each table, as I recall!

When I say 'run 5e like 1e' I mean get the same feel, use an old module just converting on the fly, stuff like that. Not translate all the mechanics to make 5e /into/ 1e - which'd be silly: just play 1e, I still have the books, and they haven't fallen apart.

For example, going from ascending AC to THAC0 is a pretty radical change.
Simplicity itself. AC 10 is 10; 3 is 17, 0 is 20 etc. In theory -10 would break 5e like glass, but in practice no monster ever had that. If a monster is problematic to on-the-fly ruling, I'd just go to the trouble of looking up the current version.

So is removing all non magical healing completely.
You don't need to, it has no impact on the feel of play. Though, you can just use the 'gritty' short/long rest if you want to drag out the pacing.

Edit: Ok, that may need some reasoning, I realize it's quite a claim. Thing is, back in the day, you'd grind against a dungeon a bit, and then 'go back to town' to rest. Some DM's'd let you barricade yourself in a room or something and rest. You fought as much as you could, rested as much as you could /to recover spells/, sometimes in cycles, and moved on. The excruciatingly slow natural healing rates never came into it. You had your Cleric systematically cast Cure..Wounds or whatever until you were all healed up, maybe that meant 'resting' two days in a row, even, but that's as slow as it ever got. (I've seen 1e played /lots/ of ways, but /never/ the cleric-less, weeks of recuperation - barring 0 hps & a DM who enforced those rules - some people seem to think was the only way anyone ever played it.)
So, no HD and overnight healing don't break the 1e feel of 5e. They zip over something that was boring and usually moved over pretty quickly in 1e if you could manage it.

As is getting rid of death saves.
They serve the same purpose as negative hps. Down & dying. The feel isn't appreciably different.

And then adding in save or die effects.
Again, nothing to it: save mechanics are in place, the narration of failure is just different.

Then spell memorization/failure and spell interruption.
Memorization instead of slot casting is easy, old-school players trying 5e for the first time will do it instinctively, you have to train them not to.

Also niche protection.
Taken care of at char pregen - just don't toss any criminals who aren't Rogue(Thief) or the like into the pile for the players to choose from, for instance.

And class specific leveling.
Irrelevant w/in a session.
And the entire skill system (removing it pretty much except thieves and assassins). So yeah, in order to play like I play 1e, there are major adjustments that are needed.
1e didn't have a skill system, but every DM grafted in something or just used his judgement and narrated results when players did thing that, in 3e or 4e, would require a skill check. That's /exactly/ how 5e runs, by default. The players declares he'll do something, and the DM either describes how it works or fails, or calls for a check - the mechanics of the check are just consistent in the case of 5e (as they would be with a DM who consistently used on variant to resolve actions, like roll-under stat checks, for instance).

Saying you can play it like 1e based only on rulings vs rules and attitude isn't accurate because you can play 4e that way too
Maybe not 4e, but I did run Temple of the Frog under Essentials with pretty fair fidelity to the feel of the original.
 
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Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
So..."You can totally play 5e just like 1e if you ignore all the rules in how 1e was played." Gotcha.

Tony, I played 1e from 1981 to 2012 when the 5e playtest came out. I'm pretty well versed in how 1e plays, and how it feels. What you're arguing is extremely dismissive of very important factors. It's more than just attitude. If it was, then every edition can play like every other edition if you wanted. And we all know that's not true. You keep harping about "4haters" who keep attacking you when you say you want 4e things in 5e, so I find it ironic that you're so quick to dismiss another's view on 1e as "irrelevant" and "just attitude". How would you feel if I said "you can totally play 5e exactly like you did in 4e. All the mechanical differences aren't important. It's just your attitude."

Wait, I know how you'd feel. Because you keep complaining about it whenever someone hints at something like that, endlessly bringing up "4haters". If you don't see the double standard* you're arguing, then I don't know what to tell you.

*you can totally wave away 1e rules, but no way you can do that for 4e.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
The point of 5e was supposed to be that it could be whatever edition you wanted it to be.
Except it's never going to be 4E.

It's the "any edition you want to be except for that last edition we don't talk about" edition.

-------
I don't understand the desire to make a 4E clone and I like 4E. Is it because you can't publish your own material? I mean, okay yeah if the "problem" with 4E is that you. can't make money off it, well, I mean tough beans. Is the problem getting the books? They're cheap on ebay and heck, I've got 3 extra copies of the PHB if you want one for a deal (I buy people's 4E collections).

Is the issue getting people to play? That's just a matter of making a good game and trying to find folks who haven't bought too heavily into the stigma around it.

Is it the fact that it feels so different than 5/3/whateverE? I mean, that's no bigger a deal than getting someone to play an entirely different RPG.

I just don't get it. 4E isn't "oldschool", even the concept of an OSR revival for it doesn't fit.
 
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So..."You can totally play 5e just like 1e if you ignore all the rules in how 1e was played." Gotcha.
Ignoring the rules (that didn't suit you) /was/ how 1e was played, and is, IMHO, how best to play 5e, sure. ;) It's definitely not how 3.x (RaW! RaW!) and 4e (updates! DDI!) were played.

Tony, I played 1e from 1981 to 2012 when the 5e playtest came out. I'm pretty well versed in how 1e plays, and how it feels.
For you, sure. For me, it's more nostalgia. I played 1e from 1980 through to 2e, and my 2e campaign was really more a hybrid between the two. After a 5 year break I came back to D&D with 3.0. I played /very little/ 1e or 2e in the WotC era, the occasional convention game.

So, OK, I have half your experience with AD&D - but it's still a lot of experience! IDK what 1e became for you after 20 or 30 years of continuous play, presumably quite different from what I remember from the 80s, let alone what it was for me after hybriding with 2e and applying excessive variants. So I guess we're not exactly on the same page.

What you're arguing is extremely dismissive of very important factors. It's more than just attitude. If it was, then every edition can play like every other edition if you wanted.
It's a lot more feasible to use DM privilege to run any version of D&D (or rather a lot of other games) like TSR era eds than to run another ed like 3e or 4e, because of that difference in focus between DM-centric and player-centric or rules-centric. But, 5e has that same DM-centric (Empowerment) dynamic, so it naturally runs very much like 1e, and pushing it over the top and getting to the nostalgia factor, running a 1e module or the like, is pretty easy.

And we all know that's not true. You keep harping about "4haters" who keep attacking you when you say you want 4e things in 5e, so I find it ironic
There's very little that was in 1e but is missing from 5e.
All the standard 1e PH character options are there (among many others), for instance. You have to squint a little to wait to 3rd level and accept an EK or a modular-MC'd PC as a classic Fighter/Magic-user or fighter/magic-user/thief. Psionics are /still/ in development and promise to be *nothing* like 1e psionics. The Bard is a class instead of a broken proto-PrC option. (But, I never allowed psionics and never once had a player try to get to Bard, so it's a non-issue, for me - in 30 years of play, you might've seen both any number of times.)

The same is not true of 4e or 3.x - there are multiple classes, for instance, that were in those eds, that are not in 5e. PrCs are sadly lacking from 5e as well, several sub-classes would've been much better-implemented as PrCs, and with 5e already using 3.x style MCing, there's no good reason not to give DM's a tool like that.


How would you feel if I said "you can totally play 5e exactly like you did in 4e.
Moments ago, I mentioned a fellow DM who did just that - at least as far as running combats was concerned. So, not too bad, considering I just did it to myself. Of course, that was only from the DM perspective. 5e gives the DM latitude to run it very much like another edition if desired, you just judge success/failure, make rulings, and narrate results of player actions to be in accord with the past edition in question. From the player perspective, obviously, it's different.


But, to circle back around to the topic of /cloning/, 1e has already been cloned (Hackmaster /and/ OSRIC), so not really an issue.
 
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dave2008

Hero
I don't play 4e, so I can't comment on the changes, needed, but I disagree you could run 5e like 1e with no formal adjustments, and that assertion makes me wonder if you remember how 1e was played.
I think it is a matter of point-of-view. I feel that we play 5e, like we played 4e, and like we played 1e. The rules have changed, but how we actually play hasn't changed much at all. To be clear I am talking about my group that has played since the late 80s. I don't think someone new to each rule set would play the way we play, but we drift from one rule set to another with hardly any change to how we play.
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
I believe it would be easier to create 5e classes that play like 4e classes than to complete reverse engineer 4e to abide by OGL rules. That said, creating an OGL game that plays like 4e is also a possibility. You couldn't just copy/paste, Pathfinder-style, but looking at the 4e engine, I don't see anything inherently out of bounds for an OGL effort in the tradition of Blue Rose, M&M or even Star Wars Saga Edition.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Except it's never going to be 4E.

It's the "any edition you want to be except for that last edition we don't talk about" edition.

-------
I don't understand the desire to make a 4E clone and I like 4E. Is it because you can't publish your own material? I mean, okay yeah if the "problem" with 4E is that you. can't make money off it, well, I mean tough beans. Is the problem getting the books? They're cheap on ebay and heck, I've got 3 extra copies of the PHB if you want one for a deal (I buy people's 4E collections).

Is the issue getting people to play? That's just a matter of making a good game and trying to find folks who haven't bought too heavily into the stigma around it.

Is it the fact that it feels so different than 5/3/whateverE? I mean, that's no bigger a deal than getting someone to play an entirely different RPG.

I just don't get it. 4E isn't "oldschool", even the concept of an OSR revival for it doesn't fit.
For me, it’s about wanting to see 4e design iterated and improved upon. If I want to play 4e I can play 4e. I moved on from 4e though, because while there are aspects of it that I think got thrown out with the bath water, the overall experience does feel very 2010 to me. What I want is a 2019 evolution of 4e. Something that takes the best parts of 4e and brings them into a more streamlined, approachable, modern system. I want the 5e from the alternate universe where 4e sold gangbusters. And the 5e from this universe is probably the best baseline to work from to make that. Certainly it has a broader pool of potentially interested players than “hey guys, want to play my heavily houseruled version of 4e?”
 

jmartkdr

Villager
For me, it’s about wanting to see 4e design iterated and improved upon. If I want to play 4e I can play 4e. I moved on from 4e though, because while there are aspects of it that I think got thrown out with the bath water, the overall experience does feel very 2010 to me. What I want is a 2019 evolution of 4e. Something that takes the best parts of 4e and brings them into a more streamlined, approachable, modern system. I want the 5e from the alternate universe where 4e sold gangbusters. And the 5e from this universe is probably the best baseline to work from to make that. Certainly it has a broader pool of potentially interested players than “hey guys, want to play my heavily houseruled version of 4e?”
I assume you've looked into 13th Age? It's very much, in many ways, an attempt to be exactly this.

It didn't quite hit the sweet spot for me (because it goes all-in on the TotM among other things) but it seems to work for a lot of people.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
For me, it’s about wanting to see 4e design iterated and improved upon. If I want to play 4e I can play 4e. I moved on from 4e though, because while there are aspects of it that I think got thrown out with the bath water, the overall experience does feel very 2010 to me. What I want is a 2019 evolution of 4e. Something that takes the best parts of 4e and brings them into a more streamlined, approachable, modern system. I want the 5e from the alternate universe where 4e sold gangbusters. And the 5e from this universe is probably the best baseline to work from to make that. Certainly it has a broader pool of potentially interested players than “hey guys, want to play my heavily houseruled version of 4e?”
I'm a fellow 4e apologist here. In fact, I've been running two 4e campaigns recently and modding my creature design in another 5e game to reflect 4e paradigms - I think to good success.

I've tried 13th Age, and it also didn't hit that sweet spot of 4e play. Particularly, the Icon dice and inflating damage dice didn't fit my game style.

I think that the way to do it is to identify those design decisions that you liked about 4e and start from the ground up for your dream game. For me, these would be class balance, monster design, and robust tactical combat.

I wouldn't expect you would need WotC's blessing to release your own originally designed system.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm a fellow 4e apologist here. In fact, I've been running two 4e campaigns recently and modding my creature design in another 5e game to reflect 4e paradigms - I think to good success.

I've tried 13th Age, and it also didn't hit that sweet spot of 4e play. Particularly, the Icon dice and inflating damage dice didn't fit my game style.

I think that the way to do it is to identify those design decisions that you liked about 4e and start from the ground up for your dream game. For me, these would be class balance, monster design, and robust tactical combat.

I wouldn't expect you would need WotC's blessing to release your own originally designed system.
I feel quite the same. I have often considered just building my ideal system from the ground up, but man does that sound like a lot of work for something that would likely be too specifically tailored to my own tastes to be able to find an audience for.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I feel quite the same. I have often considered just building my ideal system from the ground up, but man does that sound like a lot of work for something that would likely be too specifically tailored to my own tastes to be able to find an audience for.
You just described the OSR movement! Except that quite often, they do find an audience.
 

Hussar

Legend
Why would you want to do this? The point of 5e is that it's not 4e.

But hey, if this project keeps you busy enough so you don't rant about Star Wars, go for it. :)
And the wonder is, they managed to convince folks that this was true. :D
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
I feel quite the same. I have often considered just building my ideal system from the ground up, but man does that sound like a lot of work for something that would likely be too specifically tailored to my own tastes to be able to find an audience for.
If you're starting from an established system, and you're just introducing a couple of wide-reaching changes to the system, then it shouldn't take you much more than six months. Remember, you don't have to translate all of the content immediately, as long as you establish how you would translate later on.

As for finding an audience, I honestly think you'd have a better chance finding players for a new game that nobody had ever heard of, rather than an established game which has been discontinued. The only one you really need to sell on it is yourself.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
How I'd sell someone on a 4e-inspired system:

"Command the battlefield with beguiling illusions. Sharpen your rapier for a precision strike. Become a hero of legend in cooperative quests that will challenge you to think tactically against powerful foes. Go forth ... to adventure!

"Streamlined, intuitive rules guide parties of adventurers through robust tactical challenges, while providing Game Masters with the tools they need to create dangerous dungeons and perilous quests."
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Turning it into a “dungeon delve” system is the way to go. One-session tactical modules.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
But with the ability for interconnected, longer campaigns. Along the lines of Frostgrave?
You could choose your own publishing strategy, of course. If it were me, I’d be more focused and specific. I’d go single one-shot skirmish encounters with a range of parameters. I’d look at some of FFGs Star Wars skirmish stuff.
 

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