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D&D 4E Is there a "Cliffs Notes" summary of the entire 4E experience?

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Sure, but that's why its an attack vs. Will. It doesn't bother me any more than a 1e monster failing a morale check and fleeing even when it has a rational reason to fight on. (Now maybe it should be Cha vs Will, but that's getting a bit quibbly, ATC.)

There are things that would prevent it from happening as specified in the rules. However, Yes, because someone trained in melee can very well learn ways of making this happen...just like some trained in magic can learn ways of making fireball happen...sure.

I mean, I've seen people argue that HP are a wonderful Old School tool for modeling a fighter's pure awesome as he wades through lava that he fell into from orbit. If that is somehow okay and associative, and a little combat trick that you can observe people performing and training for IRL is not-okay and dissociative...then I suggest the problem actually lies elsewhere. (It may still be a problem for some player preferences.)

Again, using it as a combat trick and pulling foes who would normally consider closing is pretty much a no-brainer for me. Go for it. Heck, I'd even waive the Will save for those sorts. Pulling foes that normally have good reason to keep distance, go for it with a Will save. Pulling those that are opposed to closing to anything on principle? Maybe a will save with a bonus. Pulling foes that are violently opposed to closing especially if such a close will injure them in other ways? No.

As bill91 put it: nuance.

*edit to add

Originally, it was more dissociative in that there was no method of resistance and the character had to reconcile his action (closing) with his motivation (why did I do that even though...).

The one time I used the power, my character didn't do a thing. Some humanoids (ogres maybe?) jumped us and attacked my in-party rival. I activated the power, had my character point and laugh at the other character so all the ogres turned and came to me.
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First Post
Yeah, I'm ok with that. I accept that "mind-affecting" tends to imply non-mundane. But really, a feint is "mind-affecting". It won't work on a mindless ooze, for example.
Why not?

I'd expect a feint to work _even better_ on a mindless ooze. Not like it can tell you're bluffing, after all.


Why not?

I'd expect a feint to work _even better_ on a mindless ooze. Not like it can tell you're bluffing, after all.

Only if it can figure out you should be approached. How do you convince an ooze you're tastier than the thing it is at now?

Savage Wombat

What does this mean, in the gameworld? What is a "special ability to communicate with the gods" that is acquired by training? How does it sit alongside Gygax's repeated descriptions, in his DMG, of hit points as being a marker of supernatural and divine assistance?
It means "a special ability to communicate with the gods". A fighter can't read a wizard's spellbook until he learns how - a wizard can't talk to the gods until he learns what gets the gods to listen.

Except that in various circumstances, archery is quicker than melee attacks (eg if the two combatants are separated by more than 5', and the archer wins initiative).
Yes, and this isn't one of those circumstances, or the AoO issue wouldn't apply.[/QUOTE]

I mean, you can read all this action economy stuff back into the gameworld if you want (including stop-motion movement, peasant rail guns, skilled combatants moving their weapon literally once per 6 seconds, etc) - but then you can read the encounter and daily power limitations back into the gameworld, too, and the upshot won't be any more absurd.

I understand that you don't like the argument of "disassociated", but these kind of examples make you sound like you don't understand it, and therefore dismiss it out of hand (and with some heat). Honestly, develop your examples from the last quote more and you might have a more sound argument.


these kind of examples make you sound like you don't understand it
I understand it. It's a pejorative label for metagame mechanics.

What I don't accept is that the action economy of any edition of D&D is non-metagame. Or that class abilities are not allocated on a metagame basis.

I mean, you can write the words "a cleric's ability to communicate with the gods is a result of training", but the words are empty until you give me some account of what, in the gameworld, that means. What has the cleric learned - prayers? Prayers that take mere seconds to utter? So why can't the pious fighter memorise and use them? The real answer is that, for reasons of game balance, we ration: a player can play a character who is beloved of the gods, or who is a skilled fighter, but not both. That is a metagame constraint - there's no reason in the gameworld that a skilled fighter couldn't also be beloved of the gods (that might be Aragorn, or from a slightly different angle Elric).

For me, this is one mark of the difference between real simulationist games - eg Runequest, where the ability to use divine magic is actually linked to features of the gameworld like tithing, membership in a cult, spiritual devotion (by spending points of POW), etc - and D&D read as simulation. It's like saying that a dragon's natural armour bonus is no metagame but the +1/2 per level in 4e is metagame - you can slap on the "natural armour" label, but that doesn't suddenly tell me what it is, in the imagined reality of the gameworld, that makes a dragon's armour tougher than the most enchanted plate armour anyone can forge.

Returning to 1x/encounter or 1x/day powers: they play the same general role as the action economy. They are devices for regulating players' turns.

The action economy is not a model of the continuous flow of time and movement - it is a rationing of player moves that generate outcomes that can be read back into that continuous flow of time and movement. Anyone who thinks, for example, that because of the action economy rules a peasant rail gun is possible, hasn't understood the metagame character of the action economy.

A 1x/encounter power is no different. It is a rationing of player moves that generates outcomes that can be read back into the continuous flow of time and movement. If a player in any edition of D&D says "My guy is really desperate and doesn't want to die - I'm attacking the orc twice" the correct response is that desperation and the desire not to die are already built into the rules. You still only get one attack roll. Likewise the player who says "I'm trying to really belt him a second time - I want to use Brutal Strike again" or "I want to disable that group too - I want to use Blinding Barrage again" - the correct response is that the ability to reliably pull out those moves is already built into the rules.

By [MENTION=8461]Alzrius[/MENTION]'s standards, attacking is dissociated because a player can't attempt multiple attacks in the same round, for purely metagame reasons. But that is not a helpful description - for instance, it (wrongly) implies that there is no connection between the limits on declared moves and the fiction. Whereas there is such a connection, it's just that it's not one way. We don't read the action economy off some already-known fiction. Nor do we read the fiction straight off the action economy (which gives us stop motion worlds and peasant rail guns). We read the fiction off a conjunction of the outcomes generated by deployment of the action economy, and the game mechanical means used to generate those outcomes. This is not always a purely mechanical or algorithmic process - that's part of why RPGs can be truly characterised as a creative pastime.


Why have two different sets of mechanics for resolving the same task (one being a character power, the other being what you and the GM come up with)? Why not just use the exact same mechanics whenever someone wants to perform a Spinning Hurricane Slash?
Gyagx's AD&D has multiple sets of mechanics for resolving movement - there are the dungeon exploration rules; the engaging in and withdrawing from melee rules; the evasion and pursuit rules (which are themselves different indoors, where movement rates matter, and outdoors, where movement rates mostly don't matter).

3E has two different mechanics for inflicting hit point loss: damage to hit points, and damage to CON.

Many tables use multiple mechanics for resolving social interactions: CHA or Diplomacy checks; and freeform. Gygax, in his DMG, suggests the suitability of multiple mechanics for discovering secret doors - die rolls, and freeform narration of PC attempts to manipulate elements of their physical environment.

Almost every D&D table uses at least two different mechanics to handle the passage of ingame time - the tracking of combat rounds in intimate detail; and the hand-waving of time spent resting/waiting for the next mission.

There are all sorts of reasons for using different mechanics to model different things, from considerations of pacing, to simulation, to distributing agency across different participants in the game. I think all three of the considerations I just mentioned motivate 4e's decision to have multiple mechanical pathways to the same outcome.

Savage Wombat

I understand it. It's a pejorative label for metagame mechanics.

That kind of response reinforces my feeling that you don't understand it, or choose not to. It's a dismissive response - "I'm not interested in defining terms, so I'm just going to assume this is an insult."


Because HP doesn't determine my (or anyone elses) actions in the fiction. (Unless "die" is an action, I guess).
Having hit points above zero is generally a necessary condition for declaring an action in respect of a character. So hit points seem to me to play a big role in determining actions in the fiction.

Also, because a wide range of actions - jumping over a cliff, running through a burning building, trudging through a desert, etc - cause hit point loss, the availability of hit points is important to opening up various fields of action declaration.

HP measures how long I get to keep kicking before I drop.
That would be true if hit points dropped at a steady rate (and so were some sort of clock). But in fact hit point loss is heavily determined by actions declared (eg jumping over cliffs, charging into the rabble, etc). Which is to say, hit points are a resource that players can, in effect, elect to spend. (They often don't know the precise amount, because it will depend upon dice rolls - so it's like a gamble.)

The fiction (what the character sees) could describe hp damage as a bunch of equally valid things.
This seems to me to be a different matter. There is also the possibility of distinguishing between events of hit point loss, and the ongoing hit point total. For instance, many players who don't like martial healing seem to assume that if hit points that were lost have now been recovered, any wound caused has now healed. Whereas most players who like and use martial healing tend to take it for granted that while the loss of hit points might mark an event of wounding, the recovery of hit points - even of those very hit points (if that makes sense - it might not) - is an independent event that doesn't tell us anything about the wound that was taken, but tells us something about (say) the character being spurred on to greater effort by a word of benediction from a cleric, or a shout of encouragement from a warlord.

Come and Get It dictates the story. Glaringly.
CaGI it doesn't dictate the story any more than (say) rolling a successful grapple attack, which dictates that a target is grappled. Or rolling a successful Diplomacy check, which dictates that a target is friendly. Or declaring the casting of a magic missile spells vs a 1 hp giant rat, thereby dictating (with no need for dice rolls) that the rat is dead.

Unless the game is entirely determined by the GM, all player declarations of action dictate the story. That's what they're for. And D&D has never mediated all of them through dice rolls (eg spell casting in D&D typically succeeds with no need to roll dice - contrast most simulationist reactions against D&D, like RQ and RM, which do require dice rolls for spell casting).

CaGI is perhaps the single worst power ever written in D&D history. If there was ever a poster child for everything wrong with 4e, CaGI would be it. A quick review why.

* Unlike a large chunk of fighter powers, which can be described as "I hit and do X", CaGI is a very specific unique maneuver. That means EVEN IF we are willing to accept the "daily powers/encounter powers are just unique circumstances that arise, rather than some special maneuver I can only use once a fight/day", CaGI means once per day, like clockwork, the fighter meets the unique conditions to use that maneuver. Only once, mind you. If he uses it on the first room full of goblins in a dungeon, every other goblin in the complex is now magically immune to this trick. Until tomorrow, when they magically forget until a group falls for it again.

* CaGI overrides my control of NPCs without specific magical compulsion.


* Its broken. In their infinite wisdom, the WotC team not only thought it was a good idea to give the fighter's PC control over my monsters, they didn't even think this was worthy of a Will save at first. Thankfully, the errata fairy fixed that one.

* Its unfair. You'd NEVER use this ability on a player!
CaGI it isn't especially unique. The fighter in my game shifts between multiple weapons - generally a maul and a polearm. When he uses the polearm, CaGI generally (but not always) correlates to him using his superior polearm skills to wrongfoot his enemies. When he uses his maul it might represent his enemies charging in. Plus there are other narratives too, depending on circumstances.

Furthermore, given the incentive in 4e to build characters around a "theme" (eg to exploit feat and item synergies), it is likely that a PC with CaGI probably has other forced movement powers as well. Which means that the manoeuvre performed using CaGI is sometime performed, in the gameworld, via different means at the table, namely, use of those other powers. (In my game, the player has Footwork Lure, plus several other close bursts that move their targets in various ways.)

Nor does it happen every day, nor every 5 minutes. It happens at best once per encounter, and the frequency of encounters is not even steady in the real world, and certainly doesn't occur in any metronomic fashion in the gameworld. Even if it did, would it matter? In AD&D combat between 1 HD combatants, no warrior ever kills two enemies less than 1 minute apart. Yet the game, and those who play it, seem to have survived this crime against verisimilitude. The game has an action economy and pacing mechanics - only OotS-like tables are going to read that stuff back into the minds of the inhabitants of the fiction.

As for overriding NPCs - killing NPCs overrides my control of them. Grappling does. Reaction rolls and diplomacy do. The point of being a player of D&D is to impact the gameworld. Combat rules are one means to this. Moving NPCs around is hardly a bigger impact on the gameworld than killing them.

Nor is CaGI broken, in my experience, because the forced movement only works if the target can come adjacent to the fighter, so it can't be used to pull enemies into pits etc. Changing it from auto-move followed by an attack roll, to a Will attack followed by auto-damage, just needlessly limits the narrative space of the power (eg it can no longer model skilled polearm work, given that it makes no sense that this would involve an attack vs Will) and also makes the STR bonus to attack illogical (why does your STR make your enemies more likely to close with you?).

Come and Get It is a good example of a power that would have gotten a tiny fraction of the ire it got if it had instead been on a magic using class instead. As a paladin power, for example.

I don't think it was a good idea for it to be in the first PHB.
Yes and no. Its absence might have made 4e marginally more palatable for some of those who didn't like it. But for me (and perhaps others like me, if there are any such people), it was a clear marker that WotC knew what they were doing with their game design and were serious about it. It was part of the assurance I was looking for in buying into the game (both literally and metaphorically).


That kind of response reinforces my feeling that you don't understand it, or choose not to. It's a dismissive response - "I'm not interested in defining terms, so I'm just going to assume this is an insult."

It's terminology that has its roots in an essay that uses argument by definition to claim that only one creative agenda - making decisions on one to one basis as your character would - is legitimate in role playing games. Games with associative mechanics are seen to be real role playing games. Dissociation implies a detachment from the experience of playing the game - that somehow the games that use "disassociative mechanics" are less real, less meaningful. It's a pejorative slam against other play styles. It's a whitewashing attempt to deny that story games were born from the tabletop role playing culture and are in fact an authentic subset of role playing games.

Never mind the fact that we have far less loaded terminology which can communicate the same sentiments with far less value judgement.
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That kind of response reinforces my feeling that you don't understand it, or choose not to. It's a dismissive response - "I'm not interested in defining terms, so I'm just going to assume this is an insult."
The term is a dismissive term. Have you read the Alexandrian essay? It literally describes 4e as a series of miniature skirmishes loosely linked by freeform roleplaying.

Here is the quote:

Of course, you can sidestep all these issues with house rules if you just embrace the design ethos of 4th Edition: There is no explanation for the besieged foe ability. It is a mechanical manipulation with no corresponding reality in the game world whatsoever.

At that point, however, you’re no longer playing a roleplaying game. When the characters’ relationship to the game world is stripped away, they are no longer roles to be played. They have become nothing more than mechanical artifacts that are manipulated with other mechanical artifacts.

ChessYou might have a very good improv session that is vaguely based on the dissociated mechanics that you’re using, but there has been a fundamental disconnect between the game and the world — and when that happens, it stop being a roleplaying game.​

The actual examples he gives are examples of metagame mechanic - that is to say, mechanics that are either (i) rationed for reasons that arise primarily from real-world rather than in-fiction considerations (he uses as an example a rogue daily power), or (ii) that impose a mechanical status effect and leave open how that status effect, and its consequences, is narrated as part of the fiction (he uses marking as an example, getting particularly worked up about besieged foe; and he bizarrely characterises the narration associated with such powers as "house rules" - which means that every time my AD&D DM use to narrate what happened in one of those 1 minute combat rounds, by the Alexandrian's standards he was coming up with house rules).

For reasons that are completely opaque to me, he allows that Wushu is an RPG despite using metagame mechanics:

[R]esolution mechanics in traditional RPGs are action-based. In other words, the resolution mechanics determine the success-or-failure of a specific action. . . .

But there is another option: Instead of determining the outcome of a particular action, scene-based resolution mechanics determine the outcome of entire scenes. . . .

Clearly, a scene-based resolution mechanic is dissociated from the game world. The game world, after all, knows nothing about the “scene”. . . .

The disadvantage of a dissociated mechanic, as we’ve established, is that it disengages the player from the role they’re playing. But in the case of a scene-based resolution mechanic, the dissociation is actually just making the player engage with their role in a different way (through the narrative instead of through the game world).

The advantage of a mechanic like Wushu‘s is that it gives greater narrative control to the player. This narrative control can then be used in all sorts of advantageous ways. For example, in the case of Wushu these mechanics were designed to encourage dynamic, over-the-top action sequences​

Here is why this passage is opaque in its reasoning, to me at least:

* The claim that "dissociated" mechanics disengage the player from the role s/he is playing is completely made up. No evidence is provided, and my personal experience is to precisely the contrary.

* D&D has always had "scene-based" rather than "action-based" resolution for melee combat (no one thinks that there is only 1 action performed in that 1 minute round, or even that 6 second round), while trying to graft non-abstract archery onto abstract melee.

* The powers that he derides are powers that give greater narrative control to players (in the case of dailies) or to GMs (in the case of besieged foe), in order to be used in such "advantageous ways" as "encouraging dynamic, over-the-top action sequences".​

If someone is using "dissociated mechanics" in some other sense from the Alexandrian's, that actually makes sense, and can explain why Wushu is a good roleplaying game but 4e is not a roleplaying game at all, then I'm all ears. Bonus points for explaining, on whatever this new theory is, whether or not Fate, or HeroWars/Quest, is a roleplaying game. (I mean, in Fate, when a player calls for a compel what does that correspond to in the fiction, as far as the PC is concerned?)

But if someone is using "dissociated mechanics" as the Alexandrian does, then I absolutely know what it means. It means a metagame mechanic that that person doesn't like, probably because they find that it spoils their immersion.


Your response to this is that these attempts aren't restricted, but rather that these are limitations on how often you can use mechanics X to pull off these abilities, and the rest of the time use mechanics Y. I don't particularly agree that that's what the rules are trying to do, and find that to be a fairly unintuitive design anyway, particularly since that interpretation doesn't seem to be a common one that I've seen.


The paradigm that you're suggesting - that you can attempt anything, and the encounter and daily restrictions are purely about what mechanics you use - is something that is, at best, presented in a highly unintuitive manner. I'm honestly not sure that it's actually presented in the rules at all.
Well, that is what the rules are trying to do - page 42 of the DMG says as much.

There's no particular guideline on how else to mechanically resolve an attempt to use the same power beyond the encounter or daily restrictions, and nothing that says that such an attempt should be more difficult and less effective.
Actually a whole page of the DMG is devoted to this, suggesting appropriate DCs and damage ranges. When it comes to imposing conditions, WotC initially left this up to GM intuition, but later published a web column on the topic (authored by [MENTION=64825]wrecan[/MENTION]).

for a lot of people this variance is undercut if it's enforced by an artificial set of restrictions on what can be attempted.
The whole action economy is an "artificial set of restrictions" - it is a product of human artifice, for resolving turns in a game. It does not correspond to anything in the imagined reality of the gameworld.

By artificial, you mean not flowing from the setting's physics, correct? There's no explicit "fatigue" or "divine providence" explanation for why the effects occur with the frequency they do?


I don't think the character has any indication he can do three things in a turn, and he has a limited selection of options for each one. I think from the character's perspective, he just acts.
Actions are very much character resources; that's why we refer to what you can do in a round as "economy of actions." That doesn't imply anything about the characters knowing they function according to turn-based combat - they just know there's only so much they can do in a set period of time.
For me, this is as absurd as the high level fighter having more physical robustness than an ancient dragon, simply because his/her hp total is higher.

The idea that the action economy is a reality of the gameworld is just too silly for me to contemplate. It implies that the whole world is a stop-motion one, like the set of a Wallace and Gromit movie. It implies that peasant rail guns are actually possible in the gameworld. It implies that initiative, and the boundary between rounds, is a measurable natural phenomenon as opposed to part of the real-world rationing devices used to make the game play work.

Night and day are natural realities. The seasons are a natural reality. The six-second interval by which we measure the passage of time in combat, however, is mere artifice. It's a device. The characters in the gameworld have no conception of it. As TwoSix says, they just act.

A gameplay experience needs to deliver on its core aesthetics, and the core aesthetics of storytelling or running a narrative are not the same as the core aesthetics of role-playing or pretending to be another person, and they are mutually exclusive
It's not necessarily hard to swap between the two quickly, moment-to-moment, but they don't happen at the same time. Let me put it this way: When you control the story itself (like, you decide as a player what treasure you find in the dungeon, a la 4e wishlists) you are necessarily thinking out-of-character, because people don't control the events around them, they only control their own actions (that character doesn't decide what treasure is there).
These are empirical psychological conjectures. My own experience leads me to believe that they are, in general, false. Perhaps there are individuals for whom they are true; perhaps you are one of them; but they are not universally true.

Imagine an unmusical person, for instance, who says: it is possible to think of only one note at a time. You might switch back-and-forth very rapidly between thinking of one note and thinking of another, but no one can actually imagine a harmony. I reply: I can imagine two and even three part harmonies, and I have no doubt that Mozart and Wagner could imagine with crystal clarity harmonies that I can't even discern when actually hearing them played on instruments.

Here is one simple example, that I have observed at the game table, of thinking in character and storytelling: a player knows that (by dint of the mechanics) his PC has turned from a toad back to a person; the player is immersed in his character, who is devoutly religious; the player therefore, speaking in character, replies to an enemy's taunt "Look, I just turned you into a toad" with "Yes, but my mistress turned me back"; the player, thereby, makes it true in the fiction that his character was returned to human form from toad form in dint of the intervention of the Raven Queen.

It is only if someone has a very thin conception of who and what their character is - one, for instance, that involves no connections to other people and places in the gameworld - the by pretending to be his/her PC s/he doesn't also generate consequences for other elements in the gameworld. Those elements won't always necessarily form part of a story, but if the game is well-designed - for instance, by making sure that those connections to other people and places are dramatically loaded connections - then it probably will.
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Savage Wombat

Can't help but admit - those are much more thorough definitions.

I think the level of hostility towards the Alexandrian is somewhat unwarranted - when I read the article, I saw a writer attempting to explain what he didn't like about a particular system; expressing his preference, as it were.

Imagine if you were eating something that you and your friends were unfamiliar with, and you didn't like it. You had to come up with a word to describe a particular taste you disliked, say, "disasalty-ated". But your friends liked the taste.

You didn't call the flavor "disasalty-ated" as an insult or a dismissal - you were labeling something you disliked. Just because your friends liked it, doesn't mean it's not "disasalty-ated".

So, I think it's fine to say "I don't think that (what you call) 'disassociated mechanics' are a problem - in fact, they benefit the game."
I think it's fine to say "I think your definition of 'disassociated mechanics' is flawed because X - example, example, example."
I think it's fine to say "But by your own definition this is NOT a 'disassociated mechanic' because of pg Y rule Z."
But it's not helpful to discussion to say "When you say 'disassociated mechanic' you're really just saying Q, and that's just because you don't like it and are being insulting."

If you don't like the tone of someone else's article, it's best to raise the tone yourself when debating it. Sorry if you feel dragged into a side argument, but I just see so much of that around here.

Savage Wombat

Never mind the fact that we have far less loaded terminology which can communicate the same sentiments with far less value judgement.

While I agree that the article in question is, shall we say, critical of your playing style - I don't think his limited definition implies the level of condescension or hatred you seem to be inferring. Your own responses seem to "load" the terminology with value judgement more than he did.

Saying "I know some people are down on what he calls 'disassociated mechanics', but they are wrong because X" should be sufficient for debate without impugning motives.


Instead of detailing the outcomes, stun for 1 round, move an enemy 2 squares and so on, the rules describe the tools. Make someone hallucinate for 6 seconds, make yourself look more imposing, etc. In the latter case some guidelines about what results actions can have in the world are also required, but you would not have a "If X Y happens" or even "You can do Y, no matter the X" relation. Instead you have "You can do Y which might result in X or Z or something else depending on the situation".
To my mind this just reinforces [MENTION=27160]Balesir[/MENTION]'s point. Who gets to decide what results from Y, given the situation? The typical answer is the GM, as influenced by the suggestions and reasoning of the other players. Which is to say, exactly the negotiation that Balesir described.


By the time 3e came out, you already had Rolemaster which had been doing 3e for darn near a decade already.
Actually for nearly 2 decades. RM predates 2nd ed AD&D - it dates from 1982. It's second edition (which was basically a layout/compilation cleanup of the original) came out in 1986, and then was re-released in 1989 (this 1989 imprint is the version that I got into in 1990).

As someone who had been playing RM for more than 10 years when 3E came out, I was excited to see what Monte Cook would do, but disappointed in the outcome. Hit points still didn't make sense (eg a Light Wound can kill a commoner while a Critical Wound might barely scratch a high level fighter). And the mixing of somewhat gritty skill and combat-manoeuvre resolution with hit-point based combat and open-ended DCs didn't look very stable to me.


We have a dozen different powers that "stun" a foe. Couldn't there have just been one that let the PC define how he did it?
In some cases there is arguably needless duplication (eg there are two powers, I think - an Avenger one and a Swordmage one - which are identical to, or very nearly identical to, the fighter power Footwork Lure). But in general, the gameplay reason for different powers is the same as the reason for different classes: to ensure diversity of approaches to the game.

(There is also the marketing reason noted by [MENTION=205]TwoSix[/MENTION], and I think also [MENTION=6688937]Ratskinner[/MENTION] further upthread.)

What you just described is the textbook "reaction" power: a foe does something and the player/character responds.
"Reactions" and "actions" are metagame notions - devices for regulating turns in the action economy of the game. They don't correspond, except very loosely, to distinct categories of events in the gameworld. [MENTION=27160]Balesir[/MENTION] has already made this point in relation to melee exchanges. It can also be applied to OAs: one natural way to understand OAs vs archers and casters is that, when fighting a foe who isn't fighting or parrying back, you get more chances to hurt them. Instead of upping the rate of attacks, though (which can happen in AD&D when very fast weapons are used vs very ponderous weapons), we grant opportunity attacks.

In the actual gameworld, the fighter is just attacking - there is no ingame distinction between the action, the immediate action and the opportunity action.

Technically, the opponents can't do anything once they get in range until their turn.
This seems like another example of reading the action economy rules back into the gameworld in an unhelpful, stop-motion way. Pleading is an "action" in the ordinary English sense, but I don't think it's an "action" in the action economy sense. No game rule is violated by saying that the victims of CaGI have hurled themselves at the feet of the fighter and are begging for mercy.

It's the idea of archers or spellcasters charging heedlessly into melee that really got old fast.
So you can't conceive of a character motivation or situation that would prevent a rational being from charging forward and engaging in melee?
CaGI only works if (i) the target is within 3 sq of the fighter, and (ii) can end his/her move adjacent to the fighter. The distance, therefore between the fighter and target may be as little as 10' (if we assume that each is at the nearest edge of his/her square), and between the target and the fighter's weapon the distance might be as little as half that (depending on reach).

In other words, those who are getting drawn in by CaGI are already in fighting distance of the fighter. (In AD&D, striking distance was 10'. It is only 3E and 4e that reduce default reach to 5'.) They are hardly "charging heedless into melee". At least, there is no need at all to narrate it that way.

It forces the orcs to charge. It takes the agency away from the character's controller (the DM in this case). It doesn't require the foe to enter to activate, it MAKES THEM MOVE THERE to do it. You can move 6 squares, activate CaGI, and force a foe that was 40 feat away to now engage the fighter in melee
As I already posted, I don't feel the outrage. Since OD&D players have had the ability to impose the "dead" status on those orcs. Why is it more outrageous to impose the "moved from there to here" status?

there are certain things that should be the pervue of magic: controlling other creature's minds is one of them.
If you're saying that the fighter is doing it with something beyond mortal ken
I have no powers beyond mortal ken. Yet I control others' minds ever day. I extend my hand to shake theirs, thereby prompting them to move their arms. I speak words to them in languages they understand, thereby causing them to have thoughts. Etc etc. In the real world, a person's exercise of agency is constantly shaped by the actions of others. (Those who are enlightened in the technical Buddhist sense are arguably exceptions. I don't think there are many such people around, however. They are certainly not the norm.)

When it comes to gameplay, the question becomes "Who gets to decide what impact the agency of PC X has on the agency of PC Y?"

Should it not be the pervue of the DM to decide if the orcs want to flip out and charge? Isn't that what the DM is there for?
CaGI breaks the game assumptions by overriding the DMs control of his NPCs
There is no such assumption made by the game. It doesn't assume that only the GM can decide when an NPC is dead. Nor does it assume that only the GM can decide when an NPC's location changes.

B/X and 1st ed AD&D had both reaction and morale rules. In OA, samuarai and kensai could cause fear. 3E has Diplomacy rules. 4e has social skill challenges. I don't know 2nd ed AD&D well enough, but no other edition has assumed that all decisions about NPC behaviour are matters of GM fiat. Nor has any other edition of D&D taken the view that things outside GM control must depend on dice rolls (eg the classic Sleep spell; magic missile; fireball vs an opponent with only 1 or 2 hp; etc). CaGI it combines past elements of D&D in a new way - a player determines certain NPC actions without the intermediation of a dice roll - but none of the elements is new.


Can't help but admit - those are much more thorough definitions.
Thank you. They are mostly borrowed from Ron Edwards' Forge essays.

I think the level of hostility towards the Alexandrian is somewhat unwarranted - when I read the article, I saw a writer attempting to explain what he didn't like about a particular system; expressing his preference, as it were.
While I agree that the article in question is, shall we say, critical of your playing style - I don't think his limited definition implies the level of condescension or hatred you seem to be inferring.
I think it doesn't get more dismissive, in this context, then to tell a poster to an RPG message board, who is wanting to discuss experiences of playing RPGs, that s/he is not actually playing an RPG at all.

As I've said upthread, I don't care about others' preferences, nor about the circumstances in which they can or cannot immerse. It is when they start telling me what I am, and can do, and start telling me about my play experience, that I respond.

Justin Alexander can, in addition, reasonably be held to a higher standard than any old poster. He presents himself as something of an industry expert, and clearly enjoys the cachet that comes with that. He is obviously familiar with Wushu, and presumably he is familiar with other well-known RPGs (eg HeroWars/Quest, Fate) that are entirely metagame, or almost so, in their resolution systems. That simply makes the claims that 4e is not an RPG, and that those who play it are not RPGing ("At that point, however, you’re no longer playing a roleplaying game"), all the more dismissive.


Just curious for clarification....

Are you saying 3E was or was not a cleaned up version of the last edition? At first you say it was 4E was "the first that wasn't". But then you change the point. I thought we were in agreement that 3E was a substantial departure. I agree strongly with your second point. To me it was GURPS, but "HEROfication" of D&D was the term that seemed to have the most traction in the 2000 - 2001 timeframe.

I also see bits of newer games in 5E. (Gumshoe and MnM, among others)

Yes and no. 3e mechanically is a very large departure from adnd. They are very different games. So, in that sense 3e wasn't trying to sell me stuff I already bought.

But the boatload of 3e offerings which were basically warmed over material from earlier editions certainly was. How many "Return To" modules did we get? There were so many "update" products that I got very turned off from wotc. Otoh there were lots of 3pp that were more interesting to me.

I think it's telling that the only 3.5 wotc books I bought were Tome of Magic and Bo9S, both lead in products for 4e.

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