D&D General How would you redo 4e?

The system I envision would account for the different power/utility levels of class features by “pricing” them differently. Lesser ones would take a single character build slot. More powerful ones might cost several times as much.

Would there still be better synergies than others? Certainly. No system is perfect. But I’m pretty sure a good game designer could achieve a pretty workable solution with a decent “sweet spot”.
Might work, isn't it called Champions? ;)
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
You know the interesting thing?

As much praise as we give 4e for being open bout how it works, it actually never expects you to make a whole new class. There's no guidance to create a full class. Powers? Proto-subclasses? Yes. But not a full class.
After a fashion, that might be by intent. They told us how the chicken is butchered--not the eleven herbs and spices, so to speak.

This is a great thread, 4e had so much to offer, and still does if you could speed up combat.
This is another perfectly valid criticism of 4e. Finding the right balance between fast and engaging combat is a difficult thing, and 4e erred on the side of slow (but definitely engaging) combat. Procedural adjustments can speed it up, as can back-end math changes (MM3), but a bit more effort could be put toward that goal. Trying to get most combats done in (say) 30-40 minutes as opposed to 45-60 minutes would be a big help; that would let a typical 3-4 hour session feature 3-4 combats and 1-3 hours of non-combat play.

That's part of why, if I ever made a 4e heartbreaker, I'd put in what I call "Skirmish" rules. Rules for running really fast, low-engagement combats, that can capture the "fight five kobolds...several times" kinds of combat from earlier editions, while still providing meaningful stakes and conflict. Essentially, if full "social combat" rules would be like taking Skill Challenges and expanding them into a complete "social-tactical" experience, these proposed Skirmish rules would be like distilling down the combat engine into something like a Skill Challenge, fast, light, and flexible, but not as deep as proper combat rules. In the ideal case, "Skirmishes" would be satisfying enough on their own that you could effectively treat "Skirmish-only 4e" as the "Gygaxian Combat Module," sort of the logical opposite of the vaporware "Tactical Combat Module" that the 5e designers promised.

Well, I've already stated that my goal would be to reduce the number of feats significantly, even drastically. I don't care what the scheme or plan would be to do so. I'm sorry that wasn't clear.

I don't have much problem with the classes, other than trimming a couple. As I said above, I don't think every power source needs all roles.
Runepriest becoming a subclass of Cleric, Seeker to Ranger, and...what, exactly? Eliminating those two leaves 23 classes. Just by keeping the thirteen found in 5e you're already more than halfway to keeping all of the remaining 4e ones (13/23). Swordmage, Avenger, Warden, and Shaman are all really cool, so I'm not sure if we can justify cutting them; that's 17/23. I never cared for the non-Monk Psionic classes, the whole design around Power Points and Augment abilities is deeply flawed, but just axing them seems like such a waste. That leaves Assassin, Invoker, and Vampire; Assassin has plenty of history (it was even a class in 3e!), so that seems to be out too, but perhaps you want it gone. Where would Invoker go--Wizard? Holy magic seems incredibly out of place for a Wizard, but diluting Cleric by building a whole separate controller side into it seems just as bad. Vampire is some really cool design, but I guess we could ditch it....and in so doing, we'll only have gotten rid of 2 (obvious picks: Runepriest/Seeker) + 3 (Augment-based classes) + 3 (Assassin, Vampire, Invoker) = 8 classes. That's still 17, and with some painful sacrifices to get there.

It's all well and good to say "not all sources need all roles," but a number of these classes are actually fun on their own. As I previously argued, they aren't just "grid filling." They were made to work with the lore, have fun and engaging mechanics all their own, and actually have meaning and purpose, not just rote performance. There are diehard Warden fans out there, even though many who didn't enjoy 4e would just write it off as "oh that's a Barbarian played as a tank." I, personally, am a huge fan of Avengers even though I've never actually desired to play one, I just think they're neat. (I even built an entire "internal police" force for the main religion of my Dungeon World game, strongly inspired by the lore of Avengers.) Vampires may be kind of superfluous/overly-specific, but they have an incredibly neat mechanic in their tiny pool of healing surges and need to extract surges from the enemies they face. Etc.

These things aren't pointless. That means you actually have to start saying that some stuff just doesn't belong in 4e if you want to axe any meaningful set of classes.

And this is, more or less, my response to a lot of requests for mass reduction of stuff in 4e. It's very easy to talk about "oh just cut stuff in half!" It's a hell of a lot harder once you actually sit down and start asking what is such a problem that it merits being cut. That's sort of the problem with 4e being actually well-designed. A lot of its components are actually really good, and ditching them solely for simplicity's sake becomes a lot harder to justify. Feats and powers are the main exception, because a lot of them are just poor, but they don't fit into neat boxes--you have to actually review them. Much like how probably half or more of the spells in 5e aren't actually all that good or worthwhile, but the only way to winnow the wheat from the chaff is to actually review the spells.
 


These things aren't pointless. That means you actually have to start saying that some stuff just doesn't belong in 4e if you want to axe any meaningful set of classes.

And this is, more or less, my response to a lot of requests for mass reduction of stuff in 4e. It's very easy to talk about "oh just cut stuff in half!" It's a hell of a lot harder once you actually sit down and start asking what is such a problem that it merits being cut. That's sort of the problem with 4e being actually well-designed. A lot of its components are actually really good, and ditching them solely for simplicity's sake becomes a lot harder to justify.
4e was a decent game. The reality is, however, for me, I am never going to play that game again except by happenstance. I am certainly not going to run it. A question was asked and answered. I do appreciate you inviting me to discuss further, but I think I've spent the whole of the effort I've allocated to this.
 

Red Castle

Adventurer
If there is something that I would maybe rework a little bit I think is make the rituals a bit easier to use.

I really love the inclusion of rituals and that 4e separated combat and non-combat spells to answer the old problem of Clerics mostly just memorizing Cure Light Wounds and Wizards Magic Missile instead of utility spells that might not be useful, but from my experience, not a lot of players actually bothered looking through them. And that’s a shame because some are great! But I think the components cost were a little too high, and time to perform too long. Presentation might have been a problem too, with players needing to navigate through multiple books and magazine to see all rituals available…. It would have been nice to have a ritual compendium including all rituals available in one easy to use book.
 

MwaO

Adventurer
MCing is MUCH MUCH BETTER than most 'charops' and casual players seem to think. Giving the ability to just swap without any cost is actually pretty OP. I know MOST people here will probably not agree, but I know @MwaO has stated this same opinion. I would agree though that PMC sucks, though there might be a very few specific ones that are OK. Certainly the hybrid rules killed PMC stone cold dead, and its easy to see why.
Yeah, MC'ing is really strong — most classes do not have top-tier EDU by 13th level, but many have 2 of each — it is a giant powerup if free. As some quick examples:
Wizard: Dark Gathering, Mirage Arcana, Shield
Invoker: Thunder of Judgment, Silent Malediction, Demand Judgment
Warlord: Vengeance is Mine, Stand the Fallen, Reorient the Axis
I have PCs who routinely do either an encounter and/or utility power swap and getting 3 for free is just wow.
 

Voadam

Legend
You can always choose to keep your lower level power.
Yes, which was not a pleasant choice. I felt most powers were reasonably balanced for their level so choosing between a low level option I really liked for flavor and style and build that worked well for the character versus a choice of powers balanced to be on a power level with the rest of the party and the threats being faced was annoying. I had already felt my ranger was a bit behind the power curve by basically giving up three feats to get to a multiclass paragon path, so this type of choice for further mechanical suboptimization was a bit grating.
 


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
If there is something that I would maybe rework a little bit I think is make the rituals a bit easier to use.

I really love the inclusion of rituals and that 4e separated combat and non-combat spells to answer the old problem of Clerics mostly just memorizing Cure Light Wounds and Wizards Magic Missile instead of utility spells that might not be useful, but from my experience, not a lot of players actually bothered looking through them. And that’s a shame because some are great! But I think the components cost were a little too high, and time to perform too long. Presentation might have been a problem too, with players needing to navigate through multiple books and magazine to see all rituals available…. It would have been nice to have a ritual compendium including all rituals available in one easy to use book.
Well, when we were all playing 4e, we didn't need that, because we had all the tools we needed online. Which is the real reason my group stopped playing the game; when Wizards took those tools away, we suddenly realized we didn't have all the books, and we certainly didn't have all the patches and options that were given to us in online content, like Class Acts articles and the like.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Yes, which was not a pleasant choice. I felt most powers were reasonably balanced for their level so choosing between a low level option I really liked for flavor and style and build that worked well for the character versus a choice of powers balanced to be on a power level with the rest of the party and the threats being faced was annoying. I had already felt my ranger was a bit behind the power curve by basically giving up three feats to get to a multiclass paragon path, so this type of choice for further mechanical suboptimization was a bit grating.
Though I'm suddenly reminded of my 13th Age Sorcerer, where every time I got a new power to trade in an old one for, I noticed my old power was better, lol.
 

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