D&D General How would you redo 4e?


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"Feat taxes" IMO are a fan-created problem with a fan-created anger at the solution meant to fix the fan-created problem. That is, I am genuinely convinced that they WANTED it to get (very, very slightly) harder at baseline over the tiers. (Keep in mind, it's only about +1 every 10 levels!) This was meant to make it so you were soft-encouraged to actually use teamwork--at early levels, it's super effective but not absolutely required, but in Epic tier, if you aren't actually synergizing with your allies, you WILL suffer for it.
Can I just say I was always a big proponent of those expertise feats not only not being needed, but if anything being overpowered. I often ran 4e without them (or the math 'fix' people claimed was needed).

at level 11 you were +1 behind the curve... BUT compared to level 1 you had 4 dailies instead of 1, 4 encounter instead of 1 and a ton of feats... and all your damage has scaled.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Can I just say I was always a big proponent of those expertise feats not only not being needed, but if anything being overpowered. I often ran 4e without them (or the math 'fix' people claimed was needed).

at level 11 you were +1 behind the curve... BUT compared to level 1 you had 4 dailies instead of 1, 4 encounter instead of 1 and a ton of feats... and all your damage has scaled.
I liked the idea behind the Essentials flavorful expertise feats. They felt more interesting--if it's going to be a feat tax, make it a tax people will want to pay, more or less. Sort of like how most chars should pick up an MC feat, if there's anything worthwhile to pick up. (Most of my Paladins took either Fighter or Bard MC feats, because the former is good for being a better Defender and the latter is good for the kind of personality I tend to play, the "noble inspiring hero"/Superman archetype.)
 


EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
The Essentials Feat that gave me resistance to ongoing damage while fixing my Fort defense literally saved my character's life when I got hit with ongoing 2d20 by a beholder's disintegrate eye. It may have been an inelegant way to fix the math, but I never regretted taking it.
Perhaps, then, the more elegant solution is to shift these things (like your one-and-only initial MC feat, unless you're a Bard, and your Expertise feat) away from being Feats and into being something else, that can be used either for the original purpose, or for something basic and generic. IOW, accept that players opposed the math structure and adapt.

E.g., I have my proposed "Heroic Origin" concept, which would bundle up Background, Theme, and (to an extent) culture/society of origin. Perhaps, as part of that, you pick a Specialty which you get at level 5 (just spitballed, open to change.) Specialties include all the Essentials-style Expertise feats, Versatile Expertise, and some third generic thing meant to be enticing for anyone who finds Expertise feats lame. And it comes with a new feat, one that sweeps up all these things and simplifies them: Diverse Specialty, which allows you to take a second Specialty if you want, but their bonuses don't stack. Solves the problem of there being dozens of different Expertise feats and integrates them in a more effective, interesting way.

As noted above, I was considering doing something similar to MC...but now I'm not so sure. I'm now thinking it may require too much kludge and systematization to be worth it. Certainly, MC feats should be trimmed to get rid of (or rework) the weak choices and merge all "you are now a Multiclass Culinarian" feats so they are selectable options under one banner rather than five Fighter feats and six Wizard feats etc.

That would then be two other things I would do to improve 4e's presentation:
  1. Make "Heroic Origins," which preserve and extend the flexibility and utility of Backgrounds and Themes and clean up some of the "inelegant" so-called math fixes. Make these really important in the description of the game, like the following text:
    Every character, from the lowly, sneak-thief pickpocket to the lofty, shining paladin comes from somewhere: parents, birthplace, their early life before they started adventuring. In 4th Edition D&D, we call this a character's Heroic Origin. Your Heroic Origin helps you tell the story of how you became an adventurer, explaining your skills and abilities and giving you the edge that may help you overcome your foes. Just as Bilbo Baggins' genteel upbringing helped him parley with Smaug long enough to find the chink in the arrogant dragon's armor, or <insert classic D&D reference here>, your character's Heroic Origin can give you the tools you need to save the day...or at least your skin!
  2. MAKE NOVICE LEVELS! Make them GOOD. Support them to the hilt and take pains not to ever denigrate or deride them. Emphasize that these are a stylistic choice and some fans REALLY REALLY love playing D&D this way.
 

Can I just say I was always a big proponent of those expertise feats not only not being needed, but if anything being overpowered. I often ran 4e without them (or the math 'fix' people claimed was needed).

at level 11 you were +1 behind the curve... BUT compared to level 1 you had 4 dailies instead of 1, 4 encounter instead of 1 and a ton of feats... and all your damage has scaled.
Totally agree. I mean, by epic tier your PCs are these frighteningly efficient engines of monster destruction who have utterly no need to get another +1/+2/+3!!!! Taxpertise was just a totally bogus idea, IMHO. At least the Essentials taxpertise feats just tacked the bonus onto an otherwise interesting and fairly useful feat, and you could choose between several of them. I guess from the WotC standpoint that was kind of the best possible way forward with that...

Honestly, there are a lot of cool feats, but overall feats were not the strongpoint of 4e, probably rather its Achilles Heel if it can be said to have one.
 

Perhaps, then, the more elegant solution is to shift these things (like your one-and-only initial MC feat, unless you're a Bard, and your Expertise feat) away from being Feats and into being something else, that can be used either for the original purpose, or for something basic and generic. IOW, accept that players opposed the math structure and adapt.

E.g., I have my proposed "Heroic Origin" concept, which would bundle up Background, Theme, and (to an extent) culture/society of origin. Perhaps, as part of that, you pick a Specialty which you get at level 5 (just spitballed, open to change.) Specialties include all the Essentials-style Expertise feats, Versatile Expertise, and some third generic thing meant to be enticing for anyone who finds Expertise feats lame. And it comes with a new feat, one that sweeps up all these things and simplifies them: Diverse Specialty, which allows you to take a second Specialty if you want, but their bonuses don't stack. Solves the problem of there being dozens of different Expertise feats and integrates them in a more effective, interesting way.

As noted above, I was considering doing something similar to MC...but now I'm not so sure. I'm now thinking it may require too much kludge and systematization to be worth it. Certainly, MC feats should be trimmed to get rid of (or rework) the weak choices and merge all "you are now a Multiclass Culinarian" feats so they are selectable options under one banner rather than five Fighter feats and six Wizard feats etc.

That would then be two other things I would do to improve 4e's presentation:
  1. Make "Heroic Origins," which preserve and extend the flexibility and utility of Backgrounds and Themes and clean up some of the "inelegant" so-called math fixes. Make these really important in the description of the game, like the following text:
  2. MAKE NOVICE LEVELS! Make them GOOD. Support them to the hilt and take pains not to ever denigrate or deride them. Emphasize that these are a stylistic choice and some fans REALLY REALLY love playing D&D this way.
I really am stealing it for HoML in place of background (which includes origin).
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Totally agree. I mean, by epic tier your PCs are these frighteningly efficient engines of monster destruction who have utterly no need to get another +1/+2/+3!!!! Taxpertise was just a totally bogus idea, IMHO. At least the Essentials taxpertise feats just tacked the bonus onto an otherwise interesting and fairly useful feat, and you could choose between several of them. I guess from the WotC standpoint that was kind of the best possible way forward with that...

Honestly, there are a lot of cool feats, but overall feats were not the strongpoint of 4e, probably rather its Achilles Heel if it can be said to have one.
I think they're kind of both, actually.

The good feats of 4e were one of its best bits. Feats were where most of the 3e-like, "Johnny-style" character building went. Chaining three highly specific feats together to achieve something unorthodox. Like, for instance, the hybrid Monk|Ranger MC Barbarian. Ranger hybrid gives you Twin Strike, which is obviously quite potent by itself. Monk (hybrid or otherwise) gives you Monk Unarmed Strike, which is very specifically a one-hand, off-hand weapon. Having the Barbarian MC feat (whichever one you fancy most) gives you access to Hurl Weapon, which makes any one-handed off-hand weapon count as a heavy thrown (range 5/10) weapon. Congratulations. You can now double rocket punch any single target within 25 feet for the price of two feats and a very unorthodox build. Or you can play a Half-Elf and stick with pure Monk, picking up Twin Strike via Dilettante.

That's the fun side though. The good feats that do interesting things.

Unfortunately, the poor feats stink, and I'd say about a third of all feats fit into that category. IMO, it's good that the ultra-awesome or "wait, that WORKS?" feats were uncommon, but the rest of them should've been at least solid, reasonable choices for a good slice of characters. That they weren't is one of the weaker parts of 4e.
 

Baumi

Adventurer
And Heroes of Myth and Legend just replaces all these with advantage/disadvantage, its just vastly faster at the table and in practice we found you lose basically nothing. All bonuses that are granted by constant things fall into 4 non-stacking types, level, ability, proficiency, and permanent (which is mostly items, but could include a wide variety of bonuses). These fixed bonuses CAN be situational, but they don't have durations. There are only 2 durations, UEOYNT and encounter.
Never heard of that Game? Where can I find it?
 

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