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4E In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective

MwaO

Explorer
Nerds will be Nerds, I guess. ;) Really, i see that contrary impulse in myself pretty clearly, and all too often...

Yeah, a lot of the time, the people wanting to be contrary simply want to be asked, "Hey, are you okay with this.", then they respond with something passive-aggressively snarky, the DM then starts to explain why/make some concessions, and that player will then hold up their hands and say, "Seems fine, no need to pay attention to me."

But having that conversation at the beginning of a campaign kills so many bad conversations later on in the game. When that player then says 10 games in, "I really wanted X!" and the DM says, "I literally told you I was going to give you X and you told me no!"...or finding out that a player did want an explanation or a concession and without that, they're annoyed enough to be upset, but insufficiently so to tell the DM.
 

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4e made the monsters seem more real and less gamey. If you have a bunch of goblins for example, you are going to have one as the leader (even if he is just the one that is more clever then the rest), perhaps a few brutes, and a bunch of cannon fodder. To me, that just made sense. The idea that you needed a bugbear or a hobgoblin to do this (which seemed to come up in the games I remember from 3E) just made the monsters seem too two-dimensional for me and effected emersion in gameplay as well as my suspension of disbelief.
To be fair, you're probably thinking of earlier eds. In 3e you could totally have a band of goblins, most ordinary, a leader with levels of IDK, Rogue, maybe, for the skills, brutes with Barbarian levels, and maybe a witchdoctor with Adept levels.
 

thanson02

Explorer
To be fair, you're probably thinking of earlier eds. In 3e you could totally have a band of goblins, most ordinary, a leader with levels of IDK, Rogue, maybe, for the skills, brutes with Barbarian levels, and maybe a witchdoctor with Adept levels.

Fair enough. It has been a while since I have played either 2nd or 3rd edition. The two are probably blending together at this point. :p
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
And don't get me wrong, there are still mindless creatures in 4E, it is just different then earlier editions. And I am not saying that is better or worse, just different.

Analyze the concept of mindless creature? even a puppet has something pulling its strings ... is it programmed behavior how smart is the program, anything with motivations/goals or is controlled by something with those has something like a mind. Anything that wants to eat/kill and not die/continue and recognize threats and barriers to those can be tricked.

I just do not understand the meaning of mindless creatures.... to me they are then just a trap. (a complex enough trap can be jimmied in a way that is basically also applying a trick)
 

I just do not understand the meaning of mindless creatures.... to me they are then just a trap. (a complex enough trap can be jimmied in a way that is basically also applying a trick)
A creature can be mindless but still display, say tropisms, so a black pudding or something would move towards prey to engulf it, jerk away from painful stimuli, etc.
As children of the information age, we tend to think of golems as 'programmed' but the long-dead tellers of those stories probably thought of them as obeying commands (or not, the original golem became murderous) like a person would, instead.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
A creature can be mindless but still display, say tropisms, so a black pudding or something would move towards prey to engulf it, jerk away from painful stimuli, etc.
which for me means it has responses just like a mind a simple one that can be tricked even easier.

Those with fewer self preservation instincts can be covered by describing hit points / defenses differently (ie not as responsive maneuvering but rather as regen or similar) etc.

As children of the information age, we tend to think of golems as 'programmed' but the long-dead tellers of those stories probably thought of them as obeying commands (or not, the original golem became murderous) like a person would, instead.
yes they likely thought of skeletons or magically grabbing trees or the like as possessed by daemons/spirits and not mindless at all.
 

To be fair, you're probably thinking of earlier eds. In 3e you could totally have a band of goblins, most ordinary, a leader with levels of IDK, Rogue, maybe, for the skills, brutes with Barbarian levels, and maybe a witchdoctor with Adept levels.

Nothing in prior 'classic' versions of D&D really stopped you from doing this either. There weren't explicit rules for it, generally, but it was some pretty basic trivial homebrew. I mean, plastering a few thief levels onto a goblin isn't exactly rocket science...

For that matter, in 1e and 2e, most humanoids had leader types, shaman/witch doctors (1e had them as an option in the DMG) which was just basically a variation with some simple 'classes' designed for these creatures (and with the shaman/witch doctor they were even called classes and levels).

Even original D&D had a bit of this, as NPC demi-humans had levels, and sometimes in classes that were forbidden to PCs (IE there are NPC dwarf clerics in D&D and B/X).

3e definitely codified all of this stuff, some of which late 2e had already brought into the official game, but it was definitely always there. 4e just leaned heavily on the concept, while at the same time actually jettisoning the concept of NPC classes almost entirely (there's a section on it in DMG1, but it is practically a forgotten option, and WotC never talked about it again).
 

which for me means it has responses just like a mind a simple one that can be tricked even easier.
Certainly. Once you know that a blackpudding is attracted to movement or a mindless undead to life force, an exploit like C&Gi should be an at-will vs them. They'll never see through it.



yes they likely thought of skeletons or magically grabbing trees or the like as possessed by daemons/spirits and not mindless at all.
Two very different ways to go, the modern-intuitive robot-like behaviors, or the mythic, anthropomorphized behaviors.
 


Bobble

Villager
But is there anything in the mechanics that prevents roleplaying?

Yes, the internal world logic is broken badly. See minions, powers, getting them back, et al. In a video game that doesn't matter because you are NOT RPing but you are straight jacketed into something limited by the S/W. One cannot RP while playing Gauntlet

4E was an attempt to make a P&P version of Gauntlet, as told to me by one of the 4E after release.
 

One cannot RP while playing Gauntlet
Well, you can, if you want to, it just doesn't have much impact.

But, it's funny you should mention Gauntlet: it's a fair analogy to how certain classes played in most editions of D&D: grind damage in melee, heal with found potions (food) or Clerical assistance, when briefly not in melee, grind out damage at range.

That's a fighter in TSR D&D, or a barbarian in 3e, or an Essentials Slayer or 5e Champion.

But it's not how any AEDU class played.
 

thanson02

Explorer
Yes, the internal world logic is broken badly. See minions, powers, getting them back, et al. In a video game that doesn't matter because you are NOT RPing but you are straight jacketed into something limited by the S/W. One cannot RP while playing Gauntlet

4E was an attempt to make a P&P version of Gauntlet, as told to me by one of the 4E after release.
Well..........

1: There are a ton of people who have no issue role playing in 4E, so yeah.........

2: If you are looking at the rules as a form of physics, then it makes sense that there was confusion, since 4E saw the rules a medium to express plot points in a story. That is like expecting your English class to teach you Science. You might get some science in your English course, but not as much as you would if you actually took a science class. On the flip side, science textbooks are excessively boring versus English literature which, granted it depends on what your story is, is a far more enjoyable read.
 

Bobble

Villager
then it makes sense that there was confusion, since 4E saw the rules a medium to express plot points in a story.

Exactly. So many players and DMs got "confused" that it crashed the product line and sales. Like how New Coke "confused" its consumers. It takes rolling 1 multiple times in a row in marketing to screw up that badly.
 

If you are looking at the rules as a form of physics, then it makes sense that there was confusion,
No version of D&D has ever worked well as laws of physics - at best you end up with a setting Terry Pratchette might've come up with, at worst, you run a crap campaign, both is not out of the question.

But, 3e did come pretty close in a few areas, particularly character generation, which worked about the same for PCs, NPCs, & monsters. But, it wasn't trying to, rather it was leveling the roles of player & DM - which coincidentally, enabled comparatively 'fair' adversarial DMing & PvP modes of play - something 5e finally reversed.

Ironically, 4e didn't reverse that - even as it took PvP, at least 1:1 off the table -but did revert to rules modeling tropes of fiction instead of imaginary laws of physics. So there mightve been some whiplash, but, by itself, probably not enough to trigger the factions of the fan base that fought the edition war. If, for instance, 4e had kept 9 spell levels, and not given martial characters dailies, it might not have provoked such hostilities, no matter how dramatic the shift to the narrative side may have been in other ways.
 
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thanson02

Explorer
But, 3e did come pretty close in a few areas, particularly character generation, which worked about the same for PCs, NPCs, & monsters. But, it wasn't trying to, rather it was leveling the roles of player & DM - which coincidentally, enabled comparatively 'fair' adversarial DMing & PvP modes of play - something 5e finally reversed.

Ironically, 4e didn't reverse that - even as it took PvP, at least 1:1 off the table -but did revert to rules modeling tropes of fiction instead of imaginary laws of physics.

That's what I really loved about 4E. They weren't trying to create a table top simulator. If your focus is on telling a story, the fictional tropes are a lot more effective in doing this, at least in my experience. The key is keeping it modular enough so you can modifier what you need to tell the stories you need to tell. And given how modular 4E is, I also think they did a good job in that area as well.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
That's what I really loved about 4E. They weren't trying to create a table top simulator.

Runequest (Stormbringer) was how I figured out no D&D ever was trying for simulating anything but heroic fantasy RQ had vivid combat that made you involved in attacks and defenses the advancement system was very oriented, where any attack might kill or disable in a stroke but your character never felt heroic. Gygax made an argument against critical hits which explains it. He said that Conan would never fall to the random arrow from some schmuck ... now why not? It was because of story. Conan is also a picture perfect example of why minions work they definitely fit his story and Elrics story and many of the source material from early on.

All game systems simplify things but they also play to tropes.
 
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