D&D General How would you redo 4e?


log in or register to remove this ad

Voadam

Legend
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
View attachment 277034

4e Fireball
View attachment 277035

5e Fireball
View attachment 277036

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).
Cool. Happy to engage on specifics and keep it civil.

For comparison here is B/X fireball:

1677731296520.png

Which has no spell school, no components, no fire specific effects, or pre explosion mechanics.

1e fireball has a lot of that (2-5) but uses inches instead of feet, so you can do the battle mat thing directly.

1677731523125.png

Funny how the entry is missing the M notation for the Components: V, S, M and includes it in the description.

Also given the 4e description of exploding on impact and B/X's striking language, if a fireball streaked from a caster and hit an invisible wall (impact/striking) before its intended target I think I would rule the same way in 3e and 4e and B/X.
 


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.
Here's a whole topic on the subject for reference...
 

Adding to all that was noted above by to all noted above (Skill challenges! Rituals! Utility Powers! Page 42!), the only thing potentially missing was no explicit Crafting, Profession (Appraise included), or Perform skills. Pretty much all the social skills remain (Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate). So in the rare case that someone from 3.X wanted to spend their 2 skill points on a Profession skill, I suppose that is a missing.*

But, at the risk of being a "get off my lawn" type here, none of those skills, or utilities, were available in 1e or had much of a role in 2e even if Non-Weapon Proficiencies were being used. Do you consider D&D, AD&D, and AD&D 2e not roleplaying games? I'm not being flippant here, I honestly do want to know if you believe that and that I wasn't playing an RPG back then? Because if you do, I'd be interested to know where you draw the line, what explicit things need to be in an RPG for you to consider it to be a roleplaying game.

* FWIW, I thought it was a missing and wrote and sold a supplement for it, but I never considered that without then you couldn't RP in 4e. (Wait, am I just noticing now that that rhymes?)
To relate this somewhat back to the topic at hand, I don't consider anything to be 'missing' from 4e in the way of craft, etc. Ask yourself the question "why am I doing this?" and the answer is always going to equate to one of 4e's list of skills. Yes, you may be "cooking a strawberry tart" but the reason you are doing that is to win the heart of the Princess! This is something like Diplomacy/raw CHA, maybe even Bluff or perhaps Streetwise. Now, from a FICTIONAL perspective, as GM, I will want to find out how it is that your character can bake, but this is not some sort of esoteric ability that is hard to come by. Heck, if the player wants to ask for a +5 Proficiency bonus because they happened to select a 4e background that would know how to bake, GREAT! I guess if your theme or whatever seems to make that highly appropriate, that would also suffice. So, we see that background and such are not non-existent, nor unimportant necessarily, they're just not RATIONED THINGS like skills are! This is why the 4e skill system works, because you don't have to pick between "I know how to pick a lock" and "I know how to bake tarts."

Honestly, I couldn't find any way to significantly improve the 4e skill system, and just left it alone. Frankly, if a player wants his PC to make a living as a brick layer, or whatever, why worry about mechanics for that? Its an FRPG, that mundane stuff is not really a part of it, aside from being in the fiction. It doesn't NEED rules. This is also part of why I consider wealth as a candidate to become an abstract system. It just isn't THAT important, and for whatever unusual situations where it might be, you can still play out those specific ones. If my Wealth +0 totally broke dude finds a 1000gp treasure, well, he's not Wealth +0 anymore, eh? I call that a 'minor boon' in my game. It might be a reward for a minor quest, or something you find during an adventure. Useful, maybe even something you seek out, but not the POINT of the game.
 

Haplo781

Legend
To relate this somewhat back to the topic at hand, I don't consider anything to be 'missing' from 4e in the way of craft, etc. Ask yourself the question "why am I doing this?" and the answer is always going to equate to one of 4e's list of skills. Yes, you may be "cooking a strawberry tart" but the reason you are doing that is to win the heart of the Princess! This is something like Diplomacy/raw CHA, maybe even Bluff or perhaps Streetwise. Now, from a FICTIONAL perspective, as GM, I will want to find out how it is that your character can bake, but this is not some sort of esoteric ability that is hard to come by. Heck, if the player wants to ask for a +5 Proficiency bonus because they happened to select a 4e background that would know how to bake, GREAT! I guess if your theme or whatever seems to make that highly appropriate, that would also suffice. So, we see that background and such are not non-existent, nor unimportant necessarily, they're just not RATIONED THINGS like skills are! This is why the 4e skill system works, because you don't have to pick between "I know how to pick a lock" and "I know how to bake tarts."

Honestly, I couldn't find any way to significantly improve the 4e skill system, and just left it alone. Frankly, if a player wants his PC to make a living as a brick layer, or whatever, why worry about mechanics for that? Its an FRPG, that mundane stuff is not really a part of it, aside from being in the fiction. It doesn't NEED rules. This is also part of why I consider wealth as a candidate to become an abstract system. It just isn't THAT important, and for whatever unusual situations where it might be, you can still play out those specific ones. If my Wealth +0 totally broke dude finds a 1000gp treasure, well, he's not Wealth +0 anymore, eh? I call that a 'minor boon' in my game. It might be a reward for a minor quest, or something you find during an adventure. Useful, maybe even something you seek out, but not the POINT of the game.
D20 Modern did a great job with wealth as a pseudo skill. If you fail your check, you reduce your level by 1 after buying the item.
 

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
View attachment 277034

4e Fireball
View attachment 277035

5e Fireball
View attachment 277036

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).
Look its obviously one of those aesthetic judgement things, but 4e powers have keywords, which gives you all of your "you can set things on fire" stuff (there's a DMG section on how that works). It also hooks you into ALL other rules anywhere in the game that reference fire, arcane, or implement. I'd also argue the 4e power's color block gives a pretty good condensed indication of what this thing is doing, a ball of flame appears in your hand, and you throw it, then it explodes! I agree its succinct, but MOST of the 3e version is actually just rules text that 4e puts elsewhere (IE all the stuff about "determine the range" and all that stuff about the setting fire, etc. which 3e has to repeat for every spell where it matters! 4e has it once in rules for keywords/damage types.

I will grant you the lack of a material ingredient, but how many people ever use that? I've seen some attempts, but they all died of lack of interest and players not bothering with the book keeping. So, yeah, 4e chooses to save a LOT of book space by consolidating rules and whatnot, and chose not to implement some widely unused things, but I very definitely still get the idea of a guy hurling exploding balls of fire from this.

And what the heck point is 'school', its another of those "who cares" things. I'd much rather if 5e had keywords, like 100x more useful. That and if it would just get rid of the whole bad idea of saves.

But, in any case, you have a point, 4e 'spells' (some of them) have a bit less color. That could be remedied at the cost of bigger heftier books, but it could be. Also if we got rid of a lot of powers it would still come out ahead. I still want the common rules in common places though!
 

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?).
4e was designed to let the GM riff off of a few basic keywords to provide 'rulings' too, though I would say they are more in terms of binding to FICTION (IE how things are described, as well as situational effects and such that the GM will come up with, like setting a building on fire).

You bring up an interesting point. Yes, 4e powers have very codified effects, although to be honest I don't see where 5e mostly is much different. Fireball for instance is pretty cut and dried! But OK, your example is a reasonable one, if made up. Page 42 (of the DMG) allows 'improvised actions' and gives guidelines for them. What I would say is if someone wants to trip an enemy and doesn't have a power which does that, tell me how you do it! Maybe its a Basic Attack, does minimal damage, and trades that damage for a prone effect. However, I would definitely require that explanation from the player as to exactly what environmental factor is letting you cause the enemy to go prone. 'Tripping Strike' is still likely to be a much better option for those who have it, as it undoubtedly does good damage, etc. My point is, 4e is certainly not stopping players from doing stuff they want to do.

Of course that does bring the design discussion back to the whole "creating powers on the fly" concept which people have had forever. I think Strike! did something like that, but I have really only played the playtest a couple times, long ago.
 

D20 Modern did a great job with wealth as a pseudo skill. If you fail your check, you reduce your level by 1 after buying the item.
Yeah, HoML kinda works that way. Expenses are graded by their size, so even a poor character won't go broke buying a beer or two, but he'd probably become destitute if he bought a fancy suite of clothing and failed his check. Likewise you can do things like sources of income that let you automatically recover some of your wealth as minor boons. Its a workable system anyway, one with a long tradition!
 


Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top