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

Atlictoatl

Villager
It's certainly a novel idea, but it unfortunately tells us very little about how the world actually works, which I've always taken to be the major goal of having such a detailed system in the first place.

I mean, if a level 16 ranger can fire an arrow for 10 damage, and it has the same ogre-killing capacity as 111 damage from a level 8 ranger, then what do the numbers even mean? It seems like the numbers are arbitrary, and we could get the same level of information with vastly reduced complexity by playing Savage Worlds.
The challenge within 4e is that the system functions on both a narrative and a mechanical level. The game is not claiming that 10 pts of damage at L16 is "the same as" 111 pts of damage at L8. It's stating that, proportionately, one attack from a L16 ranger can kill an ogre, but that same attack only fractionally hurts a purple worm.

The numerical values are there to facilitate us playing the game of combat. The narrative sits above the mechanical game. The same ranger who is entirely unchallenged by an ogre (who *was* challenged by that ogre earler in their career) has to fight for their life against a purple worm.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
The challenge within 4e is that the system functions on both a narrative and a mechanical level. The game is not claiming that 10 pts of damage at L16 is "the same as" 111 pts of damage at L8. It's stating that, proportionately, one attack from a L16 ranger can kill an ogre, but that same attack only fractionally hurts a purple worm.
I agree that it is a challenge, and it is an unnecessary challenge at that. There's very little reason why we should play a game where we are challenged to interpret the mechanics on a simple narrative level, when there are so many other games out there that are more straightforward in the narrative meaning of their mechanics.
 

Atlictoatl

Villager
I agree that it is a challenge, and it is an unnecessary challenge at that. There's very little reason why we should play a game where we are challenged to interpret the mechanics on a simple narrative level, when there are so many other games out there that are more straightforward in the narrative meaning of their mechanics.
For myself, I loved that 4e separated the narrative and the mechanics. For many years, I gamed with about 30 people online in different PbP games who ran with that, separating fluff from crunch and telling the most magnificent tales together, our imaginations freed while simultaneously being supported in the more mechanical aspects of the game. I've been gaming since the '80's and have played every edition of D&D, as well as dozens of other games, and 4e was the first game that really drove home for me the realization of a mechanical chassis supporting a narrative, and that the two could be separated for creative purposes.

I think the takeaway is that some people were enamored with the way 4e did things, in this regard, and others were greatly turned off. Which isn't to say that the latter population doesn't enjoy narrative or even narrative separation, just that the manner in which 4e went about it didn't meet their needs or preferences.

For many of us, though, it was an ideal synthesis. I only wish that published adventures lived up to the design intent, and that they had found a way from the beginning to speed up combat or impress upon people the need for 'featured combat', as was expressed in the OP. And that what 4e was doing appealed to more people, at the time of its run.
 
The numerical values are there to facilitate us playing the game of combat. The narrative sits above the mechanical game. The same ranger who is entirely unchallenged by an ogre (who *was* challenged by that ogre earler in their career) has to fight for their life against a purple worm.
One thing I saw in 4e (which, to be fair, may not even really have been there, so let's call it a 'potential'), was a way to model what you see in fiction, especially, say, adventure TV shows that's aren't entirely episodic: You'll see a monster first introduced, its mysterious, it's frightening, it puts up a fight that nearly flattens the entire ensemble cast, takes whole episodes to figure out and defeat...
… then, later, knowing how to defeat it, it's just one challenge giving a few moments of excitement as part of an episode …
… and if that kind of beasty keeps coming back, pretty soon the heroes are just mowing through hordes of 'em.

It's not even necessarily all that long a time frame, or that the characters are that much more powerful (indeed, in fiction the power of the protagonist and/or supporting/ensemble cast tends to fluctuate rather than growing steadily as it does in an RPG like D&D, though that's a whole 'nuther thing). It's just, last season's monster doesn't get the screen time it used to.

4e can be used to model that, introducing a recurring type of enemy as Solo, then, as the party, 'demoting' it to a higher-level, elite, then standard, finally minions & swarms of minions. It means a given type of foe can go from Big-Bad to popcorn over time, something no amount of BA & hp/dmg inflation can quite match.


But 4e monster books rarely went there, they'd present a standard monster, and an inferior minion version of about the same level, and a leader-type elite or solo, of, again, about the same level. ::shrug::
 
I agree that it is a challenge, and it is an unnecessary challenge at that. There's very little reason why we should play a game where we are challenged to interpret the mechanics on a simple narrative level, when there are so many other games out there that are more straightforward in the narrative meaning of their mechanics.
Which game are you talking about?

I mean, there ARE games where this is arguably the case, BRP-based games like CoC and games like Traveler (which has only 'attribute damage') would be possible contenders. Even Dungeon World could be looked at in that light, though I would think it clashes with other aspects of its 'narrative over mechanics' design.

Certainly D&D, any edition, does NOT fall into this category at all! A sword blow against a level 1 PC is clearly most likely to represent a solid blow causing serious physical damage, if not outright death. I guess you could spin ANY non-lethal blow as 'luck and skill', but that seems a bit wrong when you start considering things like falling and poison damage. In any case, the situation when striking a PC with 48 hit points is clearly a lot different, as a sword blow in that case is not even close to lethal, and logically represents largely a sort of 'plot armor' being worn down.

I have no idea why 4e would be singled out as different here. Given the D&D paradigm, 4e is really quite structured in its approach, though you certainly will explain damage in many different narrative ways. This is not a new 'problem'.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
Which game are you talking about?

I mean, there ARE games where this is arguably the case, BRP-based games like CoC and games like Traveler (which has only 'attribute damage') would be possible contenders. Even Dungeon World could be looked at in that light, though I would think it clashes with other aspects of its 'narrative over mechanics' design.

Certainly D&D, any edition, does NOT fall into this category at all! A sword blow against a level 1 PC is clearly most likely to represent a solid blow causing serious physical damage, if not outright death. I guess you could spin ANY non-lethal blow as 'luck and skill', but that seems a bit wrong when you start considering things like falling and poison damage. In any case, the situation when striking a PC with 48 hit points is clearly a lot different, as a sword blow in that case is not even close to lethal, and logically represents largely a sort of 'plot armor' being worn down.

I have no idea why 4e would be singled out as different here. Given the D&D paradigm, 4e is really quite structured in its approach, though you certainly will explain damage in many different narrative ways. This is not a new 'problem'.
Believe it or not, people have been describing HP damage as objectively quantifiable for as long as the game has been around. It actually works pretty well, as long as you ignore Gygax's flawed explanation of what he was trying to do, and just take everything at face value. In any other edition, you can assign a consistent value to 48 damage, whether in terms of force applied or severity of injury, and it makes sense.

Fourth Edition is the only edition where a creature's HP total can change depending on who is attacking it. It's the only edition where an ogre might have different stat blocks, depending on whether you approach it when you are level 1 or level 21. That uniquely divorces the game mechanics from any sort of consistent meaning within the narrative. That is why 4E is being singled out here. It's the one edition where you can't ascribe consistent meaning to the mechanics, or else you're stuck trying to explain how any minion survived into adulthood with only 1hp.
 
I guess you could spin ANY non-lethal blow as 'luck and skill', but that seems a bit wrong when you start considering things like falling and poison damage.
Falling? You luckily fell through a flock of seagulls and they slowed you down a bit, you skillfully sky-dived into a haystack. Poison? You finely-tuned senses detected the poison just before you would have sipped the wine. The envenomed blade slashed through your armor and gambeson but your rolled away in the split-second before it would have broken your skin.
In any case, the situation when striking a PC with 48 hit points is clearly a lot different, as a sword blow in that case is not even close to lethal, and logically represents largely a sort of 'plot armor' being worn down.
I have no idea why 4e would be singled out as different here. Given the D&D paradigm, 4e is really quite structured in its approach, though you certainly will explain damage in many different narrative ways. This is not a new 'problem'.
Because, like 1e AD&D, it actually came out and said what was going on - and more concisely, via the straightforward Bloodied condition, than AD&D, with it's convoluted Gygaxian treatise - while 2e & 3e just left it unsaid, and 5e side-bared bloodied and declined to give it a label or make it a mechanical condition.

And, while it's an old problem, it's also the solution to a much older problem: in the early days, D&D was roundly mocked for the 'absurdity' of characters gaining hps as they leveled up. One old-school player I knew back in the day quipped about splicing the torsos of giants into PC minis to represent what was happening. Gygax's rationalization has stood ever since, even though, when it's inconvenient in the context of some other agenda, it's simply ignored or denied.
 

Atlictoatl

Villager
Fourth Edition is the only edition where a creature's HP total can change depending on who is attacking it. It's the only edition where an ogre might have different stat blocks, depending on whether you approach it when you are level 1 or level 21. That uniquely divorces the game mechanics from any sort of consistent meaning within the narrative. That is why 4E is being singled out here. It's the one edition where you can't ascribe consistent meaning to the mechanics, or else you're stuck trying to explain how any minion survived into adulthood with only 1hp.
Are you belaboring the bolded section to make a rhetorical point, or do you legitimately not understand how to explain minions at your table? Because we understand your rhetoric, and have pointed out why it's flawed and rhetorical. To continue picking at it implies either an inability to engage beyond what you've already said on the subject, or some other agenda.

In the assumption that the conceptual intent of minions in 4e escapes you (though I suspect you do understand it, and are simply pretending confusion because you disagree with the design principle), let me briefly explain:

If you want to represent an ogre surviving in the wild against the many forces other than PCs who are also in the wild -- when PCs aren't present -- then use the L8 Savage or Skirmisher. You can simulate a combat between it and the goblin band living nearby, or the dragon who wants to eat it for lunch. That shouldn't be complicated or confounding.

However, plopping two L8 Ogre Savages and two L8 Ogre Skirmishers into a squad with a L16 Treant and two L16 Savage Minotaurs and setting them against the PCs isn't a good idea within the mechanics of the game. 4/7 of the encounter will feature creatures which can't really hit and which can't defend at all, and ultimately reduce them to bags of 100 HP that can be mostly ignored while the true threats are dealt with, until the party has to hack down 400 HP of creatures that pose no threat. Verisimilitude, maybe. But more on the side of tedious than fun.

By introducing the abstraction of a L16 Ogre Bludgeoneer minion, the game introduces a gameable element, something which represents a minor threat that can actually bite but will perish very quickly. The party, reveling in their status as L16 planar heroes, can tear through a squad of four ogres while they fight the Treant and Savage Minotaurs. There's color there, there's nostalgia, there's the revelry of ginsu'ing something that once was a scary challenge, and the game doesn't bog down in a slog in pursuit of pretend verisimilitude.

If 4e didn't use ogre minions at L16, in order to achieve the same narrative effect the PCs would have to be able to dish out 450 damage/round, and Savage Minotaurs would have to have at least 800 HP, and there would be massive numerical inflation. Instead, 4e came up with minions, which are a mechanical representation of the idea of exponential PC superiority at L16 over themselves at L6.

The way you explain Ogre Minions is... "yeah, that's an ogre, you're just so much better than them now that you're able to kill them easily. If you want, think about the 12 damage you just did as at least 120 points of damage to a L6 PC. Badass, huh? It also means that, to a L6 PC, this Treant has over 3000 HP. Fortunately, the game has scaled things for play at the Paragon Tier so things are more manageable and fun. The takeaway is... you all are serious badasses now."

If you can explain how dragons can be understood when they speak Common, how it is you can press animals from another plane into service when you summon them, and how Mimics disguise themselves convincingly as treasure chests, you should be able to explain the design intent and reality of a Minion without a ton of effort.
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
Are you belaboring the bolded section to make a rhetorical point, or do you legitimately not understand how to explain minions at your table? Because we understand your rhetoric, and have pointed out why it's flawed and rhetorical. To continue picking at it implies either an inability to engage beyond what you've already said on the subject, or some other agenda.
What I can't do is explain how much punishment a creature can really take, because that explanation doesn't actually exist. The only possible explanation of how to use minions is to deny that numbers have inherent meaning, and that's a line I'm not willing to cross. That's not something that any other edition has asked of me, and I'm honestly a bit offended that the designers would do such a thing; I thought I knew what I was buying, when I chose to buy those rulebooks, but they tricked me. That's why 4E is different (to answer the reply from the other poster).

I get it. Some people don't ascribe objective meaning to game mechanics. Those people can play 4E as easily as they could play 1E or 3E. Not everyone falls into that category, though. If the designers were really intent on crossing that line, then the least they should have done was to warn people. That's all I have to say on the topic. I thought I'd already made that clear, before you decided to drag me back in here.
 

Atlictoatl

Villager
What I can't do is explain how much punishment a creature can really take, because that explanation doesn't actually exist. The only possible explanation of how to use minions is to deny that numbers have inherent meaning, and that's a line I'm not willing to cross. That's not something that any other edition has asked of me, and I'm honestly a bit offended that the designers would do such a thing; I thought I knew what I was buying, when I chose to buy those rulebooks, but they tricked me. That's why 4E is different (to answer the reply from the other poster).

I get it. Some people don't ascribe objective meaning to game mechanics. Those people can play 4E as easily as they could play 1E or 3E. Not everyone falls into that category, though. If the designers were really intent on crossing that line, then the least they should have done was to warn people. That's all I have to say on the topic. I thought I'd already made that clear, before you decided to drag me back in here.
Fair enough. And I take your point about 'dragging you back in'. I didn't read the thread much past the post of yours that I quoted, and it's entirely possible that you refined your point and I missed it. So I do apologize for belaboring things on my end, and admit it's a little rude to take someone to task for something they said three months previous. FWIW, when I quoted you I was more wanting to use the comment as a launchpad to chime in to the larger conversation than to target you specifically.
 
Are you belaboring the bolded section to make a rhetorical point, or do you legitimately not understand how to explain minions at your table?
The latter. It's a complete mental block. Not for want of having them (or hps) explained, either.
You'd have more luck explaining fire to a fish.

In the assumption that the conceptual intent of minions in 4e escapes you (though I suspect you do understand it, and are simply pretending confusion because you disagree with the design principle), let me briefly explain:

If you want to represent an ogre surviving in the wild against the many forces other than PCs who are also in the wild -- when PCs aren't present -- then use the L8 Savage or Skirmisher. You can simulate a combat between it and the goblin band living nearby, or the dragon who wants to eat it for lunch. That shouldn't be complicated or confounding.
Or, even better(worse?): you don't bother. Because the game isn't running a simulation in the background, it's only there to be played.

By introducing the abstraction of a L16 Ogre Bludgeoneer minion, the game introduces a gameable element, something which represents a minor threat that can actually bite but will perish very quickly. The party, reveling in their status as L16 planar heroes, can tear through a squad of four ogres while they fight the Treant and Savage Minotaurs. There's color there, there's nostalgia, there's the revelry of ginsu'ing something that once was a scary challenge, and the game doesn't bog down in a slog in pursuit of pretend verisimilitude.
Even so that 'pretend verisimilitude' - if it could be achieved - would be a aesthetically pleasing piece of game design. The ideal is understandable. Yes, it'd be awesome if a system, like a good scientific theory, elegantly modeled not only what it was created for, but accurately modeled or predicted unexpected phenomena, as well.

Games are designed to play well (games that don't suck, anyway), RPGs thus don't model an imagined fantasy world, so much as the experience or story of the PCs in that world. Sometimes, though, a system will have hints of modeling the backdrop world - 3.5 had more than a few, like NPC classes & crafting skills - and that just fires the imaginations of some fans. They want to believe the system is or can be some sort of fantasy G.U.T.

If you can explain how dragons can be understood when they speak Common, how it is you can press animals from another plane into service when you summon them, and how Mimics disguise themselves convincingly as treasure chests, you should be able to explain the design intent and reality of a Minion without a ton of effort.
If it was only wizards erasing minions with fireballs and the like, I'm sure it'd be OK. If you can work "but magic!" into it, there's generally a free pass to be had. If minions only dropped dead instantly when attacked by magic, but had hps when being beaten on, that'd be fine.

4e pushed so many hot-buttons all at once it's amazing Hiensoo didn't get 3rd-degree burns.
 
Believe it or not, people have been describing HP damage as objectively quantifiable for as long as the game has been around. It actually works pretty well, as long as you ignore Gygax's flawed explanation of what he was trying to do, and just take everything at face value. In any other edition, you can assign a consistent value to 48 damage, whether in terms of force applied or severity of injury, and it makes sense.

Fourth Edition is the only edition where a creature's HP total can change depending on who is attacking it. It's the only edition where an ogre might have different stat blocks, depending on whether you approach it when you are level 1 or level 21. That uniquely divorces the game mechanics from any sort of consistent meaning within the narrative. That is why 4E is being singled out here. It's the one edition where you can't ascribe consistent meaning to the mechanics, or else you're stuck trying to explain how any minion survived into adulthood with only 1hp.
So, my 96 hit point 11th level 1e Ranger can stand around and let 20 longbow arrows pierce his body and what? He simply doesn't die from having all those arrow shafts impaling him? What sort of realistic is that? This is clearly balderdash. 6 points of damage to a level 1 1e fighter means "skewered through by a clothyard shaft and bleeding out" whereas for Cargorn (the level 11 ranger) it means basically nothing. This is simply a fact of the mechanics of the game, you can't paper over it.

This is why Gygax described hit points as he did, as a way to constructing some sort of basis for the 'plot armor' they represent in terms of play in a narrative way that isn't nonsensical.

I would also like to disabuse you of your notions about 4e...

There is nothing in the rules which states that a creature's HP total changes. While it may be that it is fairly easy to make different versions of creatures with different levels and thus numbers of hit points, this is simply different versions of creatures. If the GM decides to use this to depict THE SAME creature at different times, then that might approach what you're talking about, in a narrative sense, but it is still not so mechanically.

And yes, the mechanics of the game are ONLY intended, explicitly, to reflect what happens in play, not to dictate how the world works in a narrative sense. However, this is also clearly true in at least some ways (see above in this post) in every edition of D&D. Nor does 4e try to entirely abandon, or intend to entirely abandon, the link between mechanical outcomes and narrative. It only means to eschew the concept that the mechanical representation of the creatures in the game is literal. This is actually quite in keeping with wargaming, in which mechanics and statistics are only meant to represent how things work within the scenario being played, and not to represent the actual world.
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
So, my 96 hit point 11th level 1e Ranger can stand around and let 20 longbow arrows pierce his body and what? He simply doesn't die from having all those arrow shafts impaling him? What sort of realistic is that? This is clearly balderdash.
Any serious idea can be presented comically, but that's just a matter of presentation, and says nothing about the idea itself. In this case, nobody said anything about longbow arrows piercing a body. And even if they did, there's no reason why that has to be inherently silly. I've seen stories where a sufficiently powerful fighter continues to fight, even with three or four arrows sticking out of his back, and those characters were never presented as the almighty warrior-god that a level 11 ranger might be. (Seriously, you're talking about a level 11 character, in a game where level 6 is already incredibly impressive.)

More reasonably, everyone worth talking about is either wearing armor or is magic. (And if they aren't, for whatever reason, then the DM is there to adjudicate that.) By level 11, most characters will be wearing magic armor. Can you really say that it's ridiculous for someone to suffer the impact of twenty arrows without dying, if they're wearing armor? Or if they're a wizard?

Obviously not. A fighter in magical armor, surviving dozens of solid hits from incoming arrows, is far less ridiculous than a modern-day scientist surviving several gunshots to the chest because he's wearing a kevlar vest; and that's a perfectly normal degree with which to suspend disbelief.
6 points of damage to a level 1 1e fighter means "skewered through by a clothyard shaft and bleeding out" whereas for Cargorn (the level 11 ranger) it means basically nothing. This is simply a fact of the mechanics of the game, you can't paper over it.
The fact of 5E is that descriptions will vary from table to table. Older editions didn't even try to come up with a consistent explanation, leaving it as an exercise for the DM.

If you assume that 6 damage means a level 1 fighter is skewered though and bleeding out, but it's a near miss to a level 11 ranger, then that's entirely on you. Other players were happy to come up with their own consistent explanations.

This is actually quite in keeping with wargaming, in which mechanics and statistics are only meant to represent how things work within the scenario being played, and not to represent the actual world.
Well, excuse me for expecting D&D to be an actual RPG, and not a wargame.
 
Any serious idea can be presented comically, but that's just a matter of presentation, and says nothing about the idea itself. In this case, nobody said anything about longbow arrows piercing a body. And even if they did, there's no reason why that has to be inherently silly. I've seen stories where a sufficiently powerful fighter continues to fight, even with three or four arrows sticking out of his back, and those characters were never presented as the almighty warrior-god that a level 11 ranger might be. (Seriously, you're talking about a level 11 character, in a game where level 6 is already incredibly impressive.)
Is it? And if so, doesn't that mean that there's a point at which you cannot say, in 1e in this case, that a fixed amount of damage still represents a specific fiction. Its unavoidable, and what you're saying is just admitting it! Now, I used my 11th level PC with a lot of hit points as an example, but your average 5th level fighter with a 15 CON has an average of 32 hit points. He can already withstand a total of 9 average arrow strikes, or 5 that do max damage. Now, perhaps this isn't utterly beyond the realm of possibility, but it is stretching it a LOT. It certainly is a lot more than the 'three or for arrows sticking out of his back'. Clearly D&D can't simply whitewash this, the fiction changes as you level!

The fiction of a level 1 fighter with 6 hit points taking 4 points of arrow damage is easily "he's got an arrow sticking out of him, he looks bad, but he's still standing" whereas for the above mentioned 5th level fighter the fiction is more like "he deflects an arrow with his shield, a little of his endurance was diminished by the effort" (or something similar). This is just how it is!

More reasonably, everyone worth talking about is either wearing armor or is magic. (And if they aren't, for whatever reason, then the DM is there to adjudicate that.) By level 11, most characters will be wearing magic armor. Can you really say that it's ridiculous for someone to suffer the impact of twenty arrows without dying, if they're wearing armor? Or if they're a wizard?

Obviously not. A fighter in magical armor, surviving dozens of solid hits from incoming arrows, is far less ridiculous than a modern-day scientist surviving several gunshots to the chest because he's wearing a kevlar vest; and that's a perfectly normal degree with which to suspend disbelief.
The fact of 5E is that descriptions will vary from table to table. Older editions didn't even try to come up with a consistent explanation, leaving it as an exercise for the DM.
Exactly! You are making my point. The FICTION CHANGES, 6 hit points of damage is now "the arrow bounced off" instead of it sticking in almost (or all the way) killing him. Even if he DOES NOT wear any armor, this will still be the effect. This is how D&D works. ALL EDITIONS OF IT.

If you assume that 6 damage means a level 1 fighter is skewered though and bleeding out, but it's a near miss to a level 11 ranger, then that's entirely on you. Other players were happy to come up with their own consistent explanations.
Which are? I understand that they did, we all did. They were different at different levels. That is the whole point.

Well, excuse me for expecting D&D to be an actual RPG, and not a wargame.
I'm simply describing how wargaming, which is the acknowledged root of RPGs, doesn't start from a premise of mechanics simulating the world. Neither do RPGs. It simply is not necessary or definitional of RPGs, despite what some people in the community refuse to see.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
Is it? And if so, doesn't that mean that there's a point at which you cannot say, in 1e in this case, that a fixed amount of damage still represents a specific fiction. Its unavoidable, and what you're saying is just admitting it! Now, I used my 11th level PC with a lot of hit points as an example, but your average 5th level fighter with a 15 CON has an average of 32 hit points. He can already withstand a total of 9 average arrow strikes, or 5 that do max damage. Now, perhaps this isn't utterly beyond the realm of possibility, but it is stretching it a LOT. It certainly is a lot more than the 'three or for arrows sticking out of his back'. Clearly D&D can't simply whitewash this, the fiction changes as you level!
I said that you can explain HP and damage consistently by saying that a given amount of damage represents an objectively quantifiable amount of force, which is true. An arrow that imparts 8 units of force, will impart that same amount of force whether it hits someone with 6hp or 600hp. The only difference is whether or not the impact causes the victim to drop.

The fiction of a level 1 fighter with 6 hit points taking 4 points of arrow damage is easily "he's got an arrow sticking out of him, he looks bad, but he's still standing" whereas for the above mentioned 5th level fighter the fiction is more like "he deflects an arrow with his shield, a little of his endurance was diminished by the effort" (or something similar). This is just how it is!
You can say that's how it is, but you're wrong; that's how it is at your table. Your table is no more representative of the collective experience than mine is. We'll never come to any peace here unless we accept that other people played differently.

I'm simply describing how wargaming, which is the acknowledged root of RPGs, doesn't start from a premise of mechanics simulating the world. Neither do RPGs. It simply is not necessary or definitional of RPGs, despite what some people in the community refuse to see.
If a game wants to call itself an RPG, rather than a wargame, then I'm going to subject it to higher standards of scrutiny. If you don't care about that sort of thing, then fine, but there's a good reason why 4E was such an utter failure of an RPG and this matter is at the heart of it.
 
I said that you can explain HP and damage consistently by saying that a given amount of damage represents an objectively quantifiable amount of force, which is true. An arrow that imparts 8 units of force, will impart that same amount of force whether it hits someone with 6hp or 600hp. The only difference is whether or not the impact causes the victim to drop.
OK, so how does this not fit with 4e? I don't get it. Not saying I buy this as a viable way to reason about this kind of thing, but if we're going to work with it, then how does 4e not do this the same?

You can say that's how it is, but you're wrong; that's how it is at your table. Your table is no more representative of the collective experience than mine is. We'll never come to any peace here unless we accept that other people played differently.
OK, then give me the fiction that works for both of them. I'm not interested in being told that something can or cannot be done, SHOW ME.

If a game wants to call itself an RPG, rather than a wargame, then I'm going to subject it to higher standards of scrutiny. If you don't care about that sort of thing, then fine, but there's a good reason why 4E was such an utter failure of an RPG and this matter is at the heart of it.
Ah, now we get to the nut of it, you just don't like certain games. That's fine, there are games I don't like either. I don't go making stuff up about them. 'k?
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
OK, so how does this not fit with 4e? I don't get it. Not saying I buy this as a viable way to reason about this kind of thing, but if we're going to work with it, then how does 4e not do this the same?
If we take as a given that HP objectively measure the ability of a creature to withstand a violent impact without falling, the way HP were actually used at many tables throughout every earlier edition, then it means any minion has absolutely zero tolerance for injury. It means a level 11 ogre minion has a much lower tolerance for injury than a level 1 non-minion goblin. If you objectively test their ability to survive a minor nuisance - have a level 1 fighter throw a dagger at each - then the ogre will die from the first hit, every time, while the goblin survives multiple hits.

That's setting aside the nonsense about using different stat blocks to represent the same creature, based on party level, which so many 4E-defenders endorse. At least the designers don't come right out and suggest that technique, in the book. They probably realized how idiotic it would sound.
OK, then give me the fiction that works for both of them. I'm not interested in being told that something can or cannot be done, SHOW ME.
It's not complicated at all. An arrow imparting 8 units of kinetic energy impacts the breastplate of a warrior. The warrior, being an inexperienced novice with a low tolerance for pain, falls unconscious from the impact. A similar arrow, with identical kinetic energy, impacts the breastplate of a more-experienced warrior. That warrior is not significantly impeded by the impact.

Ah, now we get to the nut of it, you just don't like certain games. That's fine, there are games I don't like either. I don't go making stuff up about them. 'k?
This is an RPG board, where we're supposed to discuss RPGs. If we're going to judge a game, then it needs to be on a basis of how it performs as an RPG; not on how it plays as a wargame.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
I don't think 4E was any worse than any other edition in terms of how it represented hit points.

Healing surges and rapid non magical healing were a bit absurd though. Both made the game grindy and easy mode especially combined with minor action healing like healing word and the other equivalents. All the modern D&Ds suffer from hit point inflation as well as PCs deal more damage/are tougher etc so its mostly a wash but 4E hit point inflation was combined with 4E defenses as well so combat was slow, grindy and ultimately boring.

Rereading 4E now you can at least kind of see why they did it, still reads like an instruction manual but most of it is quite good the horrible thing for me is basically the class/role design which is a big problem. Alot of the other stuff in it could be tuned had they made a follow up like how defences scaled and how things like healing surges or magic items worked.

Still think you could use the 5E engine to clone anything from B/X to 3E and 4E.
 
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