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

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.
It isn't idiotic or absurd at all, it is simply practical, and it makes perfectly good narrative sense. There is, in world terms, no such thing as '1 hit point'. Just like you're trying state below, some characters can, and some cannot, withstand some sort of an attack (you can call it 'unit of kinetic energy' if you want, though I think that kind of thinking is also unsupportable, but one thing at a time). The ogre minion is weaker a non-minion ogre. As for the level 1 non-minion goblin, it would be turned to dust by the same attack. First of all its defenses are worthless, and it only has at most about 18 hit points. No level 11 attack is likely to leave it standing. Beyond that THE GOBLIN WOULD ALSO BE REPRESENTED AS A MINION. Why wouldn't it? You'd be playing nonsense with 4e's process to do otherwise. So, as long as you follow that process, you will never have to deal with anything so absurd, and it wouldn't even BE absurd anyway, in all likelihood.

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.
I don't buy it. 'hit' means it had its effect. If hit means something different at different levels, then your idea of "things always mean the same in the fiction" is simply absurd. Of course the arrow just bounces off (or doesn't even hit) the higher level PC, but that is exactly what hit points is doing for you, changing the fiction.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
The ogre minion is weaker than a non-minion ogre. As for the level 1 non-minion goblin, it would be turned to dust by the same attack. First of all its defenses are worthless, and it only has at most about 18 hit points. No level 11 attack is likely to leave it standing. Beyond that THE GOBLIN WOULD ALSO BE REPRESENTED AS A MINION. Why wouldn't it? You'd be playing nonsense with 4e's process to do otherwise. So, as long as you follow that process, you will never have to deal with anything so absurd, and it wouldn't even BE absurd anyway, in all likelihood.
Put an ogre and a goblin in the same room. How much force does it take to KO the ogre? Is it more or less than the amount of force carried by a single arrow? How much force to KO the goblin? It should take less force to KO the goblin than it does to KO the ogre, right?

That's what I mean by consistency. In every earlier edition, we knew how hard you would have to hit the ogre in order to make it stop moving, and we knew the same in regards to the goblin. It was a consistent HP value. One hit from an arrow would kill a goblin, but not an ogre.

I guess the real question is, why do you believe the goblin should be represented as a minion in this scenario? If it's the same goblin which could fairly be represented using the standard goblin stat block, then we know for a fact that it can withstand the impact of at least one arrow. If you used the minion stat block, then that would no longer be the case. So which is the truth? Can it withstand an impact carrying X amount of force, or can it not?
I don't buy it. 'hit' means it had its effect. If hit means something different at different levels, then your idea of "things always mean the same in the fiction" is simply absurd. Of course the arrow just bounces off (or doesn't even hit) the higher level PC, but that is exactly what hit points is doing for you, changing the fiction.
If "hit" doesn't mean "hit", then something has gone severely wrong with your game. If a "hit" is only a "hit" against someone with few HP left, but is actually a "near miss that required energy expenditure" against an enemy with many HP, then that's an inconsistent narration of the process. I think we're in agreement, that 4E assumes this inconsistency.

Our only disagreement, is that earlier editions didn't necessarily assume that inconsistency. You could play earlier editions, and say that a "hit" was always a "hit". I know for a fact that you could do so, because I did, and so did everyone I'd ever played with. I don't know anyone who was able to play that way in 4E.
 
Put an ogre and a goblin in the same room. How much force does it take to KO the ogre? Is it more or less than the amount of force carried by a single arrow? How much force to KO the goblin? It should take less force to KO the goblin than it does to KO the ogre, right?

That's what I mean by consistency. In every earlier edition, we knew how hard you would have to hit the ogre in order to make it stop moving, and we knew the same in regards to the goblin. It was a consistent HP value. One hit from an arrow would kill a goblin, but not an ogre.
Actually, this is nonsense. In my old 2e campaign I had a setup where the party would almost immediately run into a Hill Giant. How many hit points did this Hill Giant have? 9! Perfectly legal Hill Giant right out of the MM. It was pretty amusing, because here's this monstrous and terrifying creature, but on average a fighter with a bastard sword (2-16 damage vs large IIRC) will kill it in 1-2 blows, tops. Now, the giant was still DANGEROUS, but exactly where is the consistency of fiction? There are Hobgoblins with 9 hit points, also perfectly legal. Now, they do a BIT less damage than even this gimpy Hill Giant, but they're still fairly dangerous (admittedly, being an 8HD creature gives the giant a bit of an edge).

Now, in 4e, a 16th level minion STILL has level 16 defenses. The goblin is level 1. Truth is, the 16th level minion ogre would still probably defeat several level 1 goblins. I'd note that an AD&D Ogre might well have as few as 5 hit points, basically not much different from the 16th level minion.

I just don't see these games as being very far apart at all.

I guess the real question is, why do you believe the goblin should be represented as a minion in this scenario? If it's the same goblin which could fairly be represented using the standard goblin stat block, then we know for a fact that it can withstand the impact of at least one arrow. If you used the minion stat block, then that would no longer be the case. So which is the truth? Can it withstand an impact carrying X amount of force, or can it not?
OK, so, first of all, a level 16 PC's arrow is sure to insta-gank even a non-minion level 1 goblin, so representing it as a minion is simply a convenience in that sense. Secondly, I would probably make it a higher level minion, and then it would represent a strong, but still trivially weaker, goblin (say a level 16 minion). Either way it will die from one arrow. There could be a few corner cases between the minion and the non-minion where the non-minion is 'more durable' but to a fairly trivial degree.

If "hit" doesn't mean "hit", then something has gone severely wrong with your game. If a "hit" is only a "hit" against someone with few HP left, but is actually a "near miss that required energy expenditure" against an enemy with many HP, then that's an inconsistent narration of the process. I think we're in agreement, that 4E assumes this inconsistency.

Our only disagreement, is that earlier editions didn't necessarily assume that inconsistency. You could play earlier editions, and say that a "hit" was always a "hit". I know for a fact that you could do so, because I did, and so did everyone I'd ever played with. I don't know anyone who was able to play that way in 4E.
I think that, if you look at it objectively, earlier editions DID, and Gygax agrees with me!
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
The 4e minions rule was one of the better rules to come out of 4e and, in my opinion, is worth importing into 5e. I'm also thinking of using elite minions, minions that otherwise follow the rules of minions but it takes two hits to kill them.

I'm also thinking of using the bloodied condition to introduce effects. Just think of the 4e dragon that becomes bloodied and then immediately recharges and uses its breath weapon. Have that happen once and watch the players worry the second time they run into a dragon.
 
The 4e minions rule was one of the better rules to come out of 4e and, in my opinion, is worth importing into 5e. I'm also thinking of using elite minions, minions that otherwise follow the rules of minions but it takes two hits to kill them.

I'm also thinking of using the bloodied condition to introduce effects. Just think of the 4e dragon that becomes bloodied and then immediately recharges and uses its breath weapon. Have that happen once and watch the players worry the second time they run into a dragon.
Add in powers that don't refer to spells and you've got a lot of what 4e monsters have, except 5e monsters are still lacking really good design in my book. Partly a problem with 5e's combat system...

Anyway, you can do a few different minion variants. Giving them a higher than 1 point kill threshold is not bad, say 1 point plus 3/5 levels rounded down, roughly. It tends to make it possible for higher level ones to survive the very most casual types of auto damage, but doesn't really make them tough enough to take a direct hit.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Actually, this is nonsense. In my old 2e campaign I had a setup where the party would almost immediately run into a Hill Giant. How many hit points did this Hill Giant have? 9! Perfectly legal Hill Giant right out of the MM. It was pretty amusing, because here's this monstrous and terrifying creature, but on average a fighter with a bastard sword (2-16 damage vs large IIRC) will kill it in 1-2 blows, tops. Now, the giant was still DANGEROUS, but exactly where is the consistency of fiction? There are Hobgoblins with 9 hit points, also perfectly legal. Now, they do a BIT less damage than even this gimpy Hill Giant, but they're still fairly dangerous (admittedly, being an 8HD creature gives the giant a bit of an edge).

Now, in 4e, a 16th level minion STILL has level 16 defenses. The goblin is level 1. Truth is, the 16th level minion ogre would still probably defeat several level 1 goblins. I'd note that an AD&D Ogre might well have as few as 5 hit points, basically not much different from the 16th level minion.

I just don't see these games as being very far apart at all.



OK, so, first of all, a level 16 PC's arrow is sure to insta-gank even a non-minion level 1 goblin, so representing it as a minion is simply a convenience in that sense. Secondly, I would probably make it a higher level minion, and then it would represent a strong, but still trivially weaker, goblin (say a level 16 minion). Either way it will die from one arrow. There could be a few corner cases between the minion and the non-minion where the non-minion is 'more durable' but to a fairly trivial degree.



I think that, if you look at it objectively, earlier editions DID, and Gygax agrees with me!
The odds of a hill giant having 9 hp legitimately in 1E are very remote. I assume you assigned the hp rather than rolled.

That's a very very weak hill giant. Sure the occasional one like that is understandable but the minion rules are silly and gamist because it implies there are alot of them like that.

World's squishiest giant sure why not if it's a one off or rare.

Dragon breath weapon recharging when bloodied is silly in 5E. It worked in 4E because Dragon damage is stupidly low. At that point you would have to rewrite the monster.

If you're doing that you might as well rewrite the 5E classes and clone 4E. Same thing if you do a 5E Warlord with at will attack granting, time to rewrite the rogue at that point. Then you need to redo the other damage dealing classes etc.
 
Add in powers that don't refer to spells and you've got a lot of what 4e monsters have, except 5e monsters are still lacking really good design in my book. Partly a problem with 5e's combat system...

Anyway, you can do a few different minion variants. Giving them a higher than 1 point kill threshold is not bad, say 1 point plus 3/5 levels rounded down, roughly. It tends to make it possible for higher level ones to survive the very most casual types of auto damage, but doesn't really make them tough enough to take a direct hit.
The key thing 4e minions had that 5e very-low-level monsters lack is the ability to survive /making/ a save. ;) But for that 5e BA delivers: a much-lower-level monster can still hit occasional, the damage it does may be trivial, and your minimum damage may well kill it when you do hit - so easy to deal with, but its inclusion isn't meaningless.

In 4e, minions had a specific rule: a missed attack never damages a minion, since all AEs were still attacks (saves were a duration mechanic), fireballing a bunch of minions didn't auto-kill them, some of them would remain to do a little damage or otherwise get in the way and show themselves 'relevant' in the combat. A similar rule for 5e might be applied generally: If you're making a save for 1/2 damage vs damage that's more than double your max hps, you instead take 1/2 your max hp if you save successfully.

Dragon breath weapon recharging when bloodied is silly in 5E.
Only in that there's no bloodied condition. Aside from that, pacing the use of the breathweapon is a goodish idea - whether that's by recharging at a hp threshold, on a roll, or a crit, or after a cooldown, or whatever - a dragon that could just 'nova' and breath on you three times in a row could be problematic. ;)

Same thing if you do a 5E Warlord with at will attack granting, time to rewrite the rogue at that point. Then you need to redo the other damage dealing classes etc.
Hardly. The 5e rogue is, if anything, less of a potential issue if systematically granted attacks than the Essentials 'Thief' was. The biggest challenge to making a 5e Warlord would be in powering it /up/ enough from the 4e version to be a viable alternative to a Paladin (let alone a full caster).

...but, kludging 5e isn't really the point of the thread...


The odds of a hill giant having 9 hp legitimately in 1E are very remote. I assume you assigned the hp rather than rolled.
That's a very very weak hill giant. Sure the occasional one like that is understandable but the minion rules are silly and gamist because it implies there are alot of them like that.
They really don't. Monster 'secondary' roles were a neat little innovation. They let a monster be level-appropriate while putting up enough of a fight to take a whole party on (Solo) or stand out from the crows (Elite). Doing that in every other edition is problematic, you dial up the level/HD on a monster that much and it's other attributes - attack/damage, saves, AC, etc - outpace the party and resolving the combat becomes tedious, at best (or simply runs into TPK territory).

Minions - or mooks or popcorn, or whatever they were called in the games that first introduced the idea a decade or so before 4e - are not representing people made of glass, they're a game mechanic that represents how bad-ass the heroes are, and a nod to the fact that using the same level of granularity overandoverandoverandoveragainandagain in a game gets boring.

Killing that first orc can be exciting, killing your 998th orc, not s'much (killing your 1000th, sure, for some reason round numbers excite people), yet heroes mow through orcs. Playing through that in hideous detail is a pain, especially if the orcs can't hit back. In 1e, the 'solution' (which didn't work on orcs, so I shoulda said 'goblins,' but I feel I'm committed at this point) was to give fighters 1 attack/level vs less-than-one-HD monsters, and to take the average on large groups of contemptible foes (so 20 orcs who hit on a natural 20 attack you, you take 1 hit, that kinda thing). In 3.x the solution was WWA and Great Cleave and giving orcs greataxes. In 5e it's BA & hp inflation. Those 'solutions' /still/ had you roll hit & damage vs every orc - and still had orcs auto-erased by AEs, even if they made their save for 1/2 damage, meaning the fighter looking badass taking out large group of orcs took a lot of boring rolling to resolve, while for the MU it was resolved in one damage roll - yep, the fireball did more than double the toughest orcs' max hps, they're all dead, no need to roll forty saves.

In 4e it was minions, and you at least didn't have to roll damage, and a few of those little minions could survive AEs, to get a lick or two in.

The 'same monster' idea that hits pseudo-simulation so hard is not the issue it appears to be, either. A "1-hp Giant" just represents the chance that giant has against a high-level party - not much of one, but it can be a threat for a round or two. Against a much lower-level party the same giant could be statted out as a Standard or even a Solo... and it could be held at the same exp value, too, if you want to be pedantic/exacting about it being the /same/ monster.
 
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The odds of a hill giant having 9 hp legitimately in 1E are very remote. I assume you assigned the hp rather than rolled.
'legitimately'? Show me the place where AD&D says DMs have to roll hit dice. AD&D allows for a wide range of values for the hit points of creatures, it is that simple.

That's a very very weak hill giant. Sure the occasional one like that is understandable but the minion rules are silly and gamist because it implies there are alot of them like that.

World's squishiest giant sure why not if it's a one off or rare.
The minion rules imply nothing. If you want a lot of them, then you have them. But again, these aren't 'weak monsters', they are simply RELATIVELY weak compared to the party, and that weakness is being expressed in terms of hit points instead of AC or other defenses, etc. Given that D&D explicitly describes hit points as abstract this is a perfectly viable and sensible alternative. I have simply proven that a similar technique is available to DMs starting with OD&D!

Dragon breath weapon recharging when bloodied is silly in 5E. It worked in 4E because Dragon damage is stupidly low. At that point you would have to rewrite the monster.

If you're doing that you might as well rewrite the 5E classes and clone 4E. Same thing if you do a 5E Warlord with at will attack granting, time to rewrite the rogue at that point. Then you need to redo the other damage dealing classes etc.
humbug.
 
It's funny how the subject has turned to hps.

The second-earliest, second-most-vicious, second-best-justified criticism of primordial D&D was that characters gaining hps through 'experience' made no sense. (Obviously that's second after 'forgetting' spells upon casting being ridiculous.) EGGs exhaustive defense of the system was a useable rationalization if you were willing to suspend disbelief a bit and accept hps (and saving throws - the #3 criticism being the all-or-nothing poison save, OK, or maybe that was #4 after armor making you harder to hit, instead of harder to hurt) as modeling the 'plot armor' that figuratively protected fictional characters. And that tenuous rationalization has stood as the only official explanation of hps used in D&D.


I mean, take the example, above, about the inexperienced warrior taking an arrow to the armored torso and being dropped by the shock/pain of the impact (no wound channel or anything, but kinetic impact), while the more experienced one pushes through the pain and stays conscious. D&D literally cannot simulate that scenario. In D&D, if an arrow doesn't penetrate your armor, it's a miss, it inflicts NO damage. If it does 'hit,' it inflicts /exactly/ the same damage it would have had you not been wearing armor.

EGG's rationalization of hps works with that: armored or unarmored, the inexperienced character takes an arrow to the chest and goes down severely wounded & dying (or just dead, depending on ed & optional rules in place), while the experienced one - warned by his 'sixth sense' or nudged by divine providence or whatever - twists aside and suffers, at most, perhaps, a gash on his arm instead of a penetrating chest wound.

It's a level of abstraction, 'gamism,' and/or verisimilitude-breaking that's comparable to that implied by armor functioning only to turn hits into clean misses, or initiative progressing in turns, or poisoning being an all-or-nothing affair (among many other D&Disms). And, of course, still far more realistic, less abstract, and no more gamist than effing spell slots.

So there is a consistency to D&D hps - it's that they're as unrealistic as all the other sub-systems.
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
Actually, this is nonsense. In my old 2e campaign I had a setup where the party would almost immediately run into a Hill Giant. How many hit points did this Hill Giant have? 9! Perfectly legal Hill Giant right out of the MM. It was pretty amusing, because here's this monstrous and terrifying creature, but on average a fighter with a bastard sword (2-16 damage vs large IIRC) will kill it in 1-2 blows, tops. Now, the giant was still DANGEROUS, but exactly where is the consistency of fiction?
The consistency is that the Hill Giant has 9hp, whether it's facing a level 1 party or a level 20 party, or a band of hobgoblins. Those 9ph represent an objective fact about that creature, which is that it can survive an impact of a given quantifiable force, and falls to anything greater than that.

Of course, 9hp is significantly on the low side for a hill giant, but the rules tell us that these do exist. This one is just significantly less tough than its brethren. It probably doesn't get in a lot of fights. Likewise, it's possible for a goblin chieftain to have more than 9hp. It's possible for the world's toughest goblin to be tougher than the world's weakest giant. But in every case, that HP total still represents its ability to withstand an impact of given force.

OK, so, first of all, a level 16 PC's arrow is sure to insta-gank even a non-minion level 1 goblin, so representing it as a minion is simply a convenience in that sense. Secondly, I would probably make it a higher level minion, and then it would represent a strong, but still trivially weaker, goblin (say a level 16 minion). Either way it will die from one arrow. There could be a few corner cases between the minion and the non-minion where the non-minion is 'more durable' but to a fairly trivial degree.
You are factually incorrect on this point. I played at level 16, and nothing was going down from one hit, unless it was a minion. A level 1 (non-minion) goblin has between 25 and 29 HP. As a level 16 character, my at-will arrows still only deal 1d8+10 (or so). Even my encounter powers could fail to break 25, if I rolled low.

I think that, if you look at it objectively, earlier editions DID, and Gygax agrees with me!
When he was in charge, he may have made that suggestion, but the rules didn't force it on anyone. You could still play it without the inconsistency, if you wanted to; and many people chose to. Fourth Edition was unique because they removed that possibility.
 

MwaO

Explorer
You are factually incorrect on this point. I played at level 16, and nothing was going down from one hit, unless it was a minion. A level 1 (non-minion) goblin has between 25 and 29 HP. As a level 16 character, my at-will arrows still only deal 1d8+10 (or so). Even my encounter powers could fail to break 25, if I rolled low.
Here's the general rule of thumb about at-will damage:
If you're a striker in 4e, you ought to be doing your level*2 damage. Creatures gain 8 hp per level, so if you gain 2 every level, you kill an at-level standard in the same number of hits.

So if you're a striker, you ought to be doing about 32 damage with your at-wills at 16th. As an example, a Rogue starting with an 18 Dex/16 Cha would end up with a 22 Dex/20 Cha at 16th. Sly Flourish does 1d4+Str+Cha as a baseline because of that. You ought to have a +4 weapon at 16th. You do +3d6 sneak attack damage. That's 1d4+15+3d6 or 28 right there. A Ranger doing Twin Strike with a 22 Dex & Quarry ought to do 2d10+8+2d6 or 26.

This is PHB only kind of stuff here and you're doing half that damage...
 
I enjoyed 4e for what it was: an excellent tactics game.

As a melee character (fighter I think?) I had a lot of fun using footwork lure and such to rearrange the enemy positions for a perfect stomp by my friends.

I don't see how it harmed roleplaying in any way, because that's on the players and the GM. You can roleplay appropriately in any system, and the rulebook and dice only come out when "them's fighting words" situations happen.

It did restrict you to narrow class options in terms of stat progression, but that's true, to some extent, with any class-based game. And it doesn't tell you how to roleplay your character.

Comparing it to 5e, yes, my barbarian can take a few levels of sorcerer at any point "organically" in 5e just because that makes sense in character, but if I don't plan for it ahead of time, I'll be seriously shooting myself in the foot.

4e is more restrictive to prevent inexperienced players blowing themselves up like that.
 

Jacob Lewis

The One with the Force
Minions with one hit point may not have been the best idea, but at least it was a new idea. 4e was full of new ideas. Some carried over or evolved into 5e (and other systems).

What will 5e pass on to other games? There are very few innovations offered from this edition. Just refinements from older ones. Well done, I might add. But I suspect D&D has peaked in terms of system design and innovations.

So rather than complain what 4e didn't accomplish or satisfy personally for what it didn't do, we should appreciate what it did that no edition will likely ever do again: innovate new ideas, and dare to try something new.
 
The consistency is that the Hill Giant has 9hp, whether it's facing a level 1 party or a level 20 party, or a band of hobgoblins. Those 9ph represent an objective fact about that creature, which is that it can survive an impact of a given quantifiable force, and falls to anything greater than that.

Of course, 9hp is significantly on the low side for a hill giant, but the rules tell us that these do exist. This one is just significantly less tough than its brethren. It probably doesn't get in a lot of fights. Likewise, it's possible for a goblin chieftain to have more than 9hp. It's possible for the world's toughest goblin to be tougher than the world's weakest giant. But in every case, that HP total still represents its ability to withstand an impact of given force.
Or, alternatively, and still well within the bounds of HP as explained by Mr. Gygax, this particular giant, while just as tough as other giants, simply lacks the connections to fate and luck needed to avoid a particularly skilled thrust made by a dwarf fighter with his trusty bastard sword on the rd of Crackrock in the Forest of Grin, land of Kinergh. It is really that simple.

And when we are talking about humans who gain dozens, possibly even 100 hit points, over time, it is pretty hard to justify it any other way, as [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] has just pointed out.

You are factually incorrect on this point. I played at level 16, and nothing was going down from one hit, unless it was a minion. A level 1 (non-minion) goblin has between 25 and 29 HP. As a level 16 character, my at-will arrows still only deal 1d8+10 (or so). Even my encounter powers could fail to break 25, if I rolled low.
I would leave someone like [MENTION=12749]MwaO[/MENTION] to comment on this in detail, but I find it unlikely to say the least. I'm sure it is POSSIBLE to neglect your attack capability to a great degree, but even level 1 PCs generally do the sorts of damage you are talking about here (Level 1 sword and board fighter, 16 STR, long sword, making an at-will attack, and assuming the player took even one feat which helps damage, is already at 1d8 + 5, and this is a low damage output PC using his worst attack. Give him 16 levels and he's now got STR 20, and at least a +3 weapon. This already got me to 1d8 + 10 and I have EIGHT FEATS to spend which can improve on that.). You're also unlikely to use at-will powers at all at level 16, you have 4 encounter powers, not to mention benefits from PPs, possibly racial and theme stuff, etc. Plus probably a dozen magic items worth of effects, your allies are constructing constant benefits, often to damage, etc. It would be very unusual for a fighter to do less than 20 points of damage at this level, and that would be the low end of his capability. Any sort of level 16 striker probably can't even do under 25 damage, even if he tried, and there's no chance at all of missing against an AC of 17...

When he was in charge, he may have made that suggestion, but the rules didn't force it on anyone. You could still play it without the inconsistency, if you wanted to; and many people chose to. Fourth Edition was unique because they removed that possibility.
No, you cannot, the inconsistency is always there. Nor does 4e really, when it comes down to it, treat things differently in anything like realistic play (where AD&D characters are healed back to max hit points before the next day starts in the vast majority of cases for example). Surges add some options in narrative terms, etc. but in normal play I never found that the story being generated at the table was really all that different, it was just easier to do it in 4e.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
Here's the general rule of thumb about at-will damage:
If you're a striker in 4e, you ought to be doing your level*2 damage. Creatures gain 8 hp per level, so if you gain 2 every level, you kill an at-level standard in the same number of hits.
You're talking about strikers, though. I'm talking about characters of that level, in general. The assertion was that any arrow from a level 16 character would deal enough damage to kill a level 1 goblin, which is why it should be fair to model them as a minion, since they're dead in one hit either way. Rogues and Rangers aren't the only ones capable of firing a bow, and my fighter can definitely kill a level 16 minion far more easily than a level 1 standard goblin. That's even more true of wizards.

In practice, strikers wouldn't want to spend their attacks on minions, since their bonus damage would wasted. Minions are exactly the sort of thing that wizards are supposed to deal with, specifically because wizards are good at dealing trivial damage over a large area. Whether you model a creature as a high-level minion or low-level standard becomes something that players need to know, because it determines which character they should send to deal with it. The two models are not interchangeable.
 

MwaO

Explorer
You're talking about strikers, though. I'm talking about characters of that level, in general. The assertion was that any arrow from a level 16 character would deal enough damage to kill a level 1 goblin, which is why it should be fair to model them as a minion, since they're dead in one hit either way. Rogues and Rangers aren't the only ones capable of firing a bow, and my fighter can definitely kill a level 16 minion far more easily than a level 1 standard goblin. That's even more true of wizards.
Err, that's not exactly what the person was talking about. Basically, if you're using an at-will, you should be able to defeat low level creatures really fast. That's what happens in real life when a martial arts sensei goes up against someone with minimal combat training. The martial artist takes them down really fast, because they don't even know what's going on.

In any case...
Whether you model a creature as a high-level minion or low-level standard becomes something that players need to know, because it determines which character they should send to deal with it. The two models are not interchangeable.
The decision is automatically made by the DM based on the PC's level. High level fight? Minion. Low level fight? Standard. Done. An 8th level Standard Ogre Savage as an example is the same creature as a 16th level Ogre Bludgeoneer. Against a 16th level party, the 8th level has a +13 vs AC attack. A 16th level PC likely has at least a 31 AC, 33 if a Defender, so the presence of an 8th level Standard is kind of pointless. It isn't hitting anything. The Bludgeoneer on the other hand has a +21. So it hits the party on somewhere between 10-12 on the die roll.

Why doesn't the Bludgeoneer have Angry Smash? For roughly the same reasons you won't see a typical Sensei try a risky move against a world champion level martial artist — not only does the Sensei expect that the champ has seen it, but the risk is incredibly high that it opens up the Sensei to defeat. Similarly, the Bludgeoneer realizes it is hopelessly outclassed and does low risk, defensive swings that don't do a lot on a hit. But at least, it maybe survives until the next round.

The Sensei here can be represented as a Solo or Elite(going up against a low level PC), a Standard(going up against a similarly talented mid-level PC or against another Sensei) or a Minion(going up against a high-level PC/world champion). And if you watch how that actually happens in reality, that's what really happens. Rousey defeated a couple of opponents in D&D time while unarmed as an example with one 'hit', with her opponents literally knowing exactly what she was going to try to do to them, yet being unable to stop it. They weren't minions against other opponents, but they were against her.

Example of Rousey defeating someone in 12 seconds:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv3wBntoJk8
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
Err, that's not exactly what the person was talking about. Basically, if you're using an at-will, you should be able to defeat low level creatures really fast.
If they aren't talking about the fighter's basic attack with a longbow, then they aren't addressing the issue I'd raised. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt.
The decision is automatically made by the DM based on the PC's level. High level fight? Minion. Low level fight? Standard. Done. An 8th level Standard Ogre Savage as an example is the same creature as a 16th level Ogre Bludgeoneer.
You're not saying anything new here. A high-level minion will die the first time it's impacted by a single arrow, and a lower-level standard enemy will not. A fighter at level 12 (or 22, or 30) can kill a level 16 ogre bludgeoneer by shooting it with an arrow, but can't kill a level 8 ogre savage with the same shot. So, what's the truth? How grievous an injury can this ogre actually sustain, before it collapses? Or are you honestly claiming that one damage from a level 16 fighter is the equivalent of 111 damage from a level 8 fighter?
Against a 16th level party, the 8th level has a +13 vs AC attack. A 16th level PC likely has at least a 31 AC, 33 if a Defender, so the presence of an 8th level Standard is kind of pointless. It isn't hitting anything. The Bludgeoneer on the other hand has a +21. So it hits the party on somewhere between 10-12 on the die roll.
Again, your quantum ogre is being very inconsistent with its abilities. Can it reliably hit the fighter, or not? The difference between an ogre hitting you, and an ogre not hitting you, is significant. Those narratives are not equivalent at all.

If the ogre swings its club, how likely is it to injure the fighter? Does it hit on a 12, or does it need a 20? Can the fighter approach this ogre with a reasonable expectation of avoiding injury, or is it a gamble? You can't have it both ways.
 

MwaO

Explorer
Again, your quantum ogre is being very inconsistent with its abilities. Can it reliably hit the fighter, or not? The difference between an ogre hitting you, and an ogre not hitting you, is significant. Those narratives are not equivalent at all.
What you're describing as quantum, I consider realistic? If you're an Ogre fighting an 8th level PC, you fight differently than if you're fighting a 16th level one. Just as a highly trained fighter fights another highly trained fighter much differently than a world class one or a beginner. Watch an out-classed boxer fight Mike Tyson — he had 9 fights against opponents lasting less than a minute, all of which involved his opponents trying to rush in and land a big blow before he took them down. The ones at his level that caused longer fights where he couldn't just smack them.

If the ogre swings its club, how likely is it to injure the fighter? Does it hit on a 12, or does it need a 20? Can the fighter approach this ogre with a reasonable expectation of avoiding injury, or is it a gamble? You can't have it both ways.
Sure I can. The Ogre hits on a 12 when taking normally unacceptable risks, on a 20 when taking acceptable risks. It judges the normally unacceptable risks as acceptable because it realizes it won't contribute at all if it doesn't do that.

(Edit: And it has sufficient reasons to fear a lack of contributing that it doesn't just immediately try to run away instead)
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
Sure I can. The Ogre hits on a 12 when taking normally unacceptable risks, on a 20 when taking acceptable risks. It judges the normally unacceptable risks as acceptable because it realizes it won't contribute at all if it doesn't do that.
Well, I'll give you this: That's an entirely new argument. It's not a good argument, by any means, but it's new.

An ogre can't choose to become susceptible to instant death, in exchange for increasing its accuracy. Even if it's assuming a reckless fighting style (which is represented through other mechanics, and doesn't change your HP total directly), that wouldn't make them susceptible to death through random spider bites and curses. An impact or energy transfer that only deals 1 damage would be utterly incapable of killing an elephant, even if the elephant is asking for it.

And even if an ogre could choose to have 1hp, though, why would it? If these ogres are acting in the capacity of underling, then an underling with 111hp is far more valuable than one with 1hp, for flanking and cover bonuses if nothing else.
 
Sure I can. The Ogre hits on a 12 when taking normally unacceptable risks, on a 20 when taking acceptable risks. It judges the normally unacceptable risks as acceptable because it realizes it won't contribute at all if it doesn't do that.
Options like that go way back. I mean, 3e had 'fighting defensively,' sure, but back in the day DMs would assign all sorts of modifiers. Before there even was a barbarian, one DM I played with would let you 'rage' (I don't think he called it that) getting an attack bonus & taking an AC penalty - something my Druid in his game did on a number of occasions, because Celtic warriors, though not the notorious berserkers, were known for such things, and I was trying to break the hippie stereotype too many players had of the class back then.


In 4e, I pulled a trick like we're talking about doing with monsters, but with NPCs, once. In a adventure-within-an-adventure scenario, the regular PCs were trying to obtain the aid of guest-PC wizard, who was semi-retired, running a school, the city's rulers really liked having her around, so they kept adventurers away as much as possible. So there was a whole skill challenge of political maneuvering involved, and, in the middle of it, the guest PC takes some of her students on a dungeon expedition to clear out some Dire Corbies (not even in 4e, AFAIK - they were 2hd monsters back in the day), but it turns out the scouts got it very wrong, and they were Hook Horrors (paragon monsters in 4e).
So I wanted this combat where the PCs rescue the guest star and her proteges from this case of deadly mistaken identity. A 10-level gap is prettymuch untenable in any - well, any game that uses levels, really, unless it uses hundreds of 'em. But statted as minions (with a trait that allowed they were Dying at 0 hps, so could be saved with timely healing), though, they participated, and the PCs had to make an effort to protect them, but it wasn't a futile effort, because the monsters /could/ actually miss them, and because of all the marking, forced movement, and other forms of control in 4e.

From that (see I get to my points eventually, you just have to bear with me), I got the idea that it'd be cool to have options for actual to PCs do that sort of thing, stretch to contribute when wildly outclassed, since it's an heroic sorta thing to do. I never more than mused on it, though, but (starting with the premise that PCs are ~equiv to elites), it might look something like:

Over Your Head: In desperate straights against superior foes, you guard yourself with extra care and don't dare riskier attacks

  • Your attack bonus and all defenses & other level-based checks increase by 5.
  • The first time you are hit, regardless of damage inflicted, you are reduced to your bloodied value, you cannot heal up above bloodied for the rest of the encounter.
  • You cannot use Daily powers.

Out of Your League: A battle rages beyond your ken, you desperately try to avoid destruction, and put the utmost effort into your most dependable attacks... you have no chance, but you might be able to tilt the balance, just a little, if you're lucky...

  • Your attack bonus and all defenses & other level-based checks increase by 10.
  • When you are hit, regardless of damage inflicted, you are reduced to 0 hps. (Effects that do not take attack rolls damage you normally, and you can be healed.)
  • You cannot use Encounter, Daily or Utility powers, you cannot spend Action Points.


And, hey, why not go the other way:

Toying With Them: "I am going to duel him left-handed, otherwise … is over too quick." Faced with contemptable foes, you decide to make it interesting, striding unconcerned about the field, and trying showy tricks you wouldn't risk against a real threat.

  • You take a -5 penalty to attacks and all defenses & other level-based checks, but gain a +5 bonus to Saving Throws.
  • You gain temporary hps equal to your maximum hps. The first time you spend a healing surge, you gain temporary hps equal to your surge value, as well.
  • You can use any of your standard-action Encounter Power attacks as a Minor Action, if you choose to use one as a standard action, instead, it is not expended until you use it as a Minor action; your encounter powers that are not standard actions are not expended when used, but can only be used 1/round. When you spend an Action Point, you gain the use of a second, bonus Action Point that you must expend before the end of the Encounter. At the End of the Encounter, you can regain one Daily that you used in it.
  • … I can't think of anything right now, but some enhancement to p42 improvised actions might be fun …
 
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