D&D General How would you redo 4e?

JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
How do you feel the percentage compares to other editions?

4e PH has 15 pages of skills (176-190), 20 pages of rituals (296-315). Utility powers are always non-attack things but are often at least somewhat combat useful like levitate. I am not sure offhand how much to peg utility powers as a percentage of class powers (at will are not going to be 25% of AEDU) and on where to peg them as combat or noncombat. Blur is pretty much only combat, but disguise self is pretty hard to classify as a combat spell. I am not going to try and guess on breaking down feats.

Most non-combat spells from prior editions seem to be in 4e as utility powers or rituals. Which seems the biggie on prior edition non-combat mechanics.
Lots of people have chimed on on my post, but i'm going to reply to yours as a general answer to everyone.

Here is what I mean by an amazing tactical skirmish game but not so amazing role-playing game. Look at the difference in presentation of these three identical things....

3e Fireball
3e FB.png


4e Fireball
4e FB.PNG


5e Fireball
5e FB.PNG


Differences (the loss of which makes the spell fell less "real" in the game)
1. Area/Range is in squares (a combat abstract) instead of feet (a real world thing)
2. No individual material component.
3. No spell school.
4. No mention of fire specific effects like melting, destroying items, unattended items, etc.
5. (Only compared to 3e) No mention of the mechanics of the pre-exploded fireball.

So in this particular example of a purely combat related spell there are so many things shaved off the 4e description that it reduces the "feel" of what was a spell of chaotic firey destruction to living and non-living things in the environment into just a way to do some damage to "Each creature in burst" without any other consequences (unless the GM decided to house rule them).
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
MC feats were just an example. But, yeah, that's an absurd number.
Sure, but there aren't any other examples that do better, MC feats are the most so-called "bloated" category you could lump together by "theme." What else is there, Proficiencies? Expertise? Sure, you can get some progress. But even if you drop 100 feats from each of these categories, you aren't going to remove more than like 500 feats in total. It's a dent, but it's not going to do anything near the kind of culling that you'd need to make the kind of reduction you're going for.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Differences (the loss of which makes the spell fell less "real" in the game)
1. Area/Range is in squares (a combat abstract) instead of feet (a real world thing)
2. No individual material component.
3. No spell school.
4. No mention of fire specific effects like melting, destroying items, unattended items, etc.
5. (Only compared to 3e) No mention of the mechanics of the pre-exploded fireball.

So in this particular example of a purely combat related spell there are so many things shaved off the 4e description that it reduces the "feel" of what was a spell of chaotic firey destruction to living and non-living things in the environment into just a way to do some damage to "Each creature in burst" without any other consequences (unless the GM decided to house rule them).
Squares are just a convenience so you can talk about them faster. Every square is, and was, a 5' square. Y'know, exactly what 3e and 5e use.

Material components aren't a thing in 4e, sure. They're also almost completely superfluous in both 3e and 5e, given a component pouch obviates them in the former case and a spell focus obviates them in the latter. I don't understand what RP benefit that provides, when it's so easily cast aside.

What, exactly, do spell schools contribute to roleplay? Like with components, I'm genuinely confused how this has any relevance. Why does it matter what "school" of magic your Sorcerer is using when calling upon the power of their draconic ancestor to set their enemies on fire? Isn't it more thematic that the game doesn't enforce upon you a rigid hierarchy that is completely nonsensical for an intuitive, self-taught form of magic?

All of those "fire specific effects" are given by the Fire keyword: "Explosive bursts, fiery rays, or simple ignition." The books literally instruct DMs to take that into account. It's not house-ruling, it's actually how 4e is supposed to be played. The designers even wrote a Dragon magazine article about how and why you might let players take a power but alter its keywords (the given example being someone playing a fire mage IIRC, but who wants to take a power that creates ice spikes, and swapping it from Cold to Fire to keep their pyromancer theme going; they also mentioned how this could be used for abuse, and so DMs should be open but cautious.) The power text isn't as evocative as a full explanation of possible ways things can go, sure, but the whole point was to make things quick and easy to use--if a power does fire damage, you decide what that looks like and whether it has impacts on the world or not. You-as-DM are, in point of fact, empowered to decide what happens when, and whether it is reasonable for a given action to achieve an effect based on its qualitative, rather than quantitative, elements.

Also? Fireball--and most other Wizard powers--did get a spell school. It wasn't there to begin with, but it was added in later (Rules Compendium and other Essentials books, IIRC.) So they even changed that in the actual game itself! Some (generally Wizard-linked) PPs also got spell schools.
 

JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
Squares are just a convenience so you can talk about them faster. Every square is, and was, a 5' square. Y'know, exactly what 3e and 5e use.

Material components aren't a thing in 4e, sure. They're also almost completely superfluous in both 3e and 5e, given a component pouch obviates them in the former case and a spell focus obviates them in the latter. I don't understand what RP benefit that provides, when it's so easily cast aside.

What, exactly, do spell schools contribute to roleplay? Like with components, I'm genuinely confused how this has any relevance. Why does it matter what "school" of magic your Sorcerer is using when calling upon the power of their draconic ancestor to set their enemies on fire? Isn't it more thematic that the game doesn't enforce upon you a rigid hierarchy that is completely nonsensical for an intuitive, self-taught form of magic?

All of those "fire specific effects" are given by the Fire keyword: "Explosive bursts, fiery rays, or simple ignition." The books literally instruct DMs to take that into account. It's not house-ruling, it's actually how 4e is supposed to be played. The designers even wrote a Dragon magazine article about how and why you might let players take a power but alter its keywords (the given example being someone playing a fire mage IIRC, but who wants to take a power that creates ice spikes, and swapping it from Cold to Fire to keep their pyromancer theme going; they also mentioned how this could be used for abuse, and so DMs should be open but cautious.) The power text isn't as evocative as a full explanation of possible ways things can go, sure, but the whole point was to make things quick and easy to use--if a power does fire damage, you decide what that looks like and whether it has impacts on the world or not. You-as-DM are, in point of fact, empowered to decide what happens when, and whether it is reasonable for a given action to achieve an effect based on its qualitative, rather than quantitative, elements.

Also? Fireball--and most other Wizard powers--did get a spell school. It wasn't there to begin with, but it was added in later (Rules Compendium and other Essentials books, IIRC.) So they even changed that in the actual game itself! Some (generally Wizard-linked) PPs also got spell schools.
I use spell schools all the time when I'm GMing. At least once an adventure if not more often.

Lots of investigstion plots can use spell schools.

5e has wizard picking schools as a subclass.

You are defining roleplay much narrower than I am. Roleplay functionality is anything that I can hook narrative to.

Heck, I've been playing through Solasta currently and spell schools are part of the primary plotline for the provided campaign.
 

JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
Squares are just a convenience so you can talk about them faster. Every square is, and was, a 5' square. Y'know, exactly what 3e and 5e use.

Material components aren't a thing in 4e, sure. They're also almost completely superfluous in both 3e and 5e, given a component pouch obviates them in the former case and a spell focus obviates them in the latter. I don't understand what RP benefit that provides, when it's so easily cast aside.

What, exactly, do spell schools contribute to roleplay? Like with components, I'm genuinely confused how this has any relevance. Why does it matter what "school" of magic your Sorcerer is using when calling upon the power of their draconic ancestor to set their enemies on fire? Isn't it more thematic that the game doesn't enforce upon you a rigid hierarchy that is completely nonsensical for an intuitive, self-taught form of magic?

All of those "fire specific effects" are given by the Fire keyword: "Explosive bursts, fiery rays, or simple ignition." The books literally instruct DMs to take that into account. It's not house-ruling, it's actually how 4e is supposed to be played. The designers even wrote a Dragon magazine article about how and why you might let players take a power but alter its keywords (the given example being someone playing a fire mage IIRC, but who wants to take a power that creates ice spikes, and swapping it from Cold to Fire to keep their pyromancer theme going; they also mentioned how this could be used for abuse, and so DMs should be open but cautious.) The power text isn't as evocative as a full explanation of possible ways things can go, sure, but the whole point was to make things quick and easy to use--if a power does fire damage, you decide what that looks like and whether it has impacts on the world or not. You-as-DM are, in point of fact, empowered to decide what happens when, and whether it is reasonable for a given action to achieve an effect based on its qualitative, rather than quantitative, elements.

Also? Fireball--and most other Wizard powers--did get a spell school. It wasn't there to begin with, but it was added in later (Rules Compendium and other Essentials books, IIRC.) So they even changed that in the actual game itself! Some (generally Wizard-linked) PPs also got spell schools.
And as a separate topic to reply to....you can't credit a ruleset for having guidelines for situation X when the GM made up those guidelines themselves. That's just a good GMing.

5e was designed to let GMs riff of of a few basic systems to provide on the fly "rulings, not rules". This was a different design goal than 4e which was very codified to say "this power does exactly this". In 4e design it's not fair to the person who took Tripping Strike (made up?) if you just let the other player trip people using their Shoving Strike (made up?).
 


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Blame all the people who got mad at WOTC when they wanted to do a "Purple Wyern" school or something like that at early 4E. WOTC then made everything super generic so DMs could impose whatever fiction they wanted.
Yeah, or how the 3.5 Book of Nine Swords was full of evocatively-named powers, and the result was raging nerds lambasting it for being "too anime" (whatever that means).
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Blame all the people who got mad at WOTC when they wanted to do a "Purple Wyern" school or something like that at early 4E. WOTC then made everything super generic so DMs could impose whatever fiction they wanted.
Precisely. People flipped the hell out when WotC tried to give real narrative meaning to a thing in one of the early previews.

This is why I say the D&D fanbase is almost unpleasable. Provide flavor? YOU'RE TELLING ME HOW TO PLAY MY CHARACTER! Don't provide flavor? GARBAGE RULES WHICH MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO ROLEPLAY.

And before anyone asks, yes, I have actually seen real, living people make both of those arguments. About 4e.
 



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