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

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Imaro

Hero
Just wanted to say great posts [MENTION=23935]Nagol[/MENTION], [MENTION=7635]Remathilis[/MENTION], and [MENTION=6688937]Ratskinner[/MENTION] . I've discussed my own thoughts on what I tend to label 4e's in-coherency at length with [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION], [MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION] and a few others. It's just good to see there are others who felt the same way after reading the 4e core books.
 

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I see that 4E was polarizing in a number of ways. But can someone give me the "jist" of the whole thing? Or maybe point me to a site that has already broken it down?
More than a few 'h4ters' have long diatribes about the evils of 4e and the triumphant victory of Pathfinder.

The truth is pretty complex, and points mainly to some very bad business decisions by WotC (or forced on WotC by Hasbro).

1. How did everybody (or most people) here react to the news of a new edition in the first place? Excitement or trepidation? Didn't 3.5 still have a good amount of momentum in 2007? Or were people ready for an overhaul?
Obviously, with something that resulted in armed camps having at eachother, reactions varied but eventually shook out into h4ters and 4vengers.

The /initial/ reaction, though, I think it's safe to say, was on the surprised and negative side. You were there for 3e, you must recall the sense that 3.5 was a cyncial cash-grab 'forcing' fans to re-buy core books. AD&D had two editions, both lasting at least 10 years. BECMI also went over 10 years. Whether you looked at the announcement as ending 3.5 after only 5 years, or 3e after only 8, it was clearly too soon.

So the stage was set for a whole lot of folks to latch onto /any/ reason, real or imagined to hate 4e. Unfortunately, there were both a few real reasons, and a lot of very determined people ready to manufacture imagined ones.

2. How impressive were the early sneak peeks? Were people shocked at some of the changes from the get go? Or were people who didn't like the new game mostly blindsided once they picked up the core books?
Not very. They really failed to capture the positive changes that had been made with 4e, making it look 'different for the sake of being different.'

3. I see that that having the option of playing "Pathfinder" fragmented the fanbase somewhat. Was that a good thing or bad thing for this forum? Or did it have a minimal effect at all?
Pathfinder was the beneficiary of a 'perfect storm' of legal loopholes, established relationships, backlash, competitor meltdown and design talent. WotC didn't so much lose the D&D franchise to Paizo as it forced it on them. If Paizo hadn't consented to print Pathfinder, a dozen other 3pps would have tried their hand at it, and one would have taken the lead.

[sblock="The Perfect Storm:"] In the 3e era, they created the OGL, which gave /anyone/ who wanted the rights to re-print and build upon the core d20 system, including many untrademarkable D&Disms, like 'fighters' and 'clerics' and whatnot, that together, had been used by TSR to defend the franchise from imitators like Arduin. That resulted in rocketing D&D/d20 back into industry leadership as competitors fell all over themselves diverting their efforts from competing RPG products to complementary d20 products. Chief among these was actual WotC-partner, Paizo, who took over publishing Dragon and Dungeon magazines (incidentally, giving them a subscriber list of all of D&D's most ardent fans). Then, WotC (or rather Hasbro) decided all that revenue growth in the industry belonged to them, and tried to put the OGL genie back in the bottle by putting out a radically-redesigned game and tying it inextricably to a much more restrictive GSL.

That move, alone, would probably have doomed the next ed of D&D. But that was only part of it.

Hasbro had a policy of dividing it's product lines into 'core' and 'non-core' properties. Core got lots of resources for new development to fuel big growth numbers, while non-core was expected to prettymuch just keep printing the same things and making modest, stable profits. WotC pitched the next D&D as a core property, on the rather wild idea that they could get it to generate MMO-like subscription revenue via an on-line suite of exclusive publications and utilities (DDI was all they came up with to deliver that). The revenue goal was, according to a Hasbro insider who latter leaked the whole thing, $50-100 million, for perspective, the entire RPG industry after the boost d20 gave it, /might/ have represented 20 mil or so. Maybe. So you're looking at the bar for 'success' for D&D being raised from "win in a $20 million marketplace" to "win the whole market and at least double it."

That move, alone, would also likely have doomed any conceivable RPG product launch to 'failure.' At best, it was a bold, long-shot betting of the future of the franchise. But, it's still not the whole story.

4 launched and, predictably enough, in spite of the nerdrage, was an instant success by D&D-book standards, appearing on best-seller lists and so forth. DDI also launched, and turned out to be mostly vaporware - but a lot was promised to be in the works. Then, the lead developer of the DDI tools died (and the less said about the circumstances, the better). Apparently, he hadn't been a stickler for SWDLC or documentation, either, and nothing much was done with the DDI tools for a couple of years. The vaporware never coalesced and DDI never met it's industry-re-defining revenue goals.

At that point the D&D line was doomed as a 'core brand' of Hasbro, and WotC suffered some nasty layoffs. The line, which had been planned to have a constant constant new products, new classes, new options and updates to help support demand for DDI, had to be re-imagined in the much lower-resources, lower-revenue non-core brand mode. The result was a pretty bland, back-peddled re-boot of the franchise, after only 2 years, called Essentials. It failed miserably.

The the OGL and Paizo dealt them a final blow when Paizo released Pathfinder. The 'h4ter' nerdrage started before 4e hit the shelves, and never abated. Normally, when a D&D rev rolls (even as far back as AD&D and B/X slowly replacing original D&D), there are hold-outs who want to stick with the old edition. Thanks to copyright and trademark laws, no one had created a very successful alternative to support an older edition since Arduin got C&D'd by TSR. Thus, though there were always hold-outs, they had nothing much to buy and nothing much to talk about after a while, and the emphasis shifted to the current edition, even if the hold-out never actually converted. With the OGL, hold-outs had a ready source of new 3.x d20 material in perpetuity - if they could demonstrate the demand for it. And, remember, Paizo just happened to have the address of everyone they'd been mailing Dragon and Dungeon magazines to. And, of course, there's the internet. So it was very easy for Paizo to tap into the hold-outs' nerdrage and direct it to a 'playtest' while they developed Pathfinder (using d20 as the meat & bones of the system). Pathfinder came out just as D&D was imploding into it's non-core-brand 'Essentials' slow-pace-of-realeases incarnation. Pathdinfer, unsurprisingly, pulled ahead.[/sblock]

4. What else was noteworthy about 4E? Was there some product that was particularly awesome or infamous?
The first adventure for 4e, Keep on the Shadowfell, was pretty awful. It was written before the 4e rules were finalized, and contained some serious errors in encounter design as a result. Two of the battles were particularly notorious for TPKs: the "Irontooth" and "Kalarel" encounters. Both involved a badly-statted, over-level 'Elite' (something the DMG specifically warned against). A later, generally better module, Thunderspire Labyrinth, made the same mistake with it's final 'boss fight.'

If you got past KotS and gave the 4e rules a chance, though, you found a relatively (by D&D standards) innovative system that addresses many long-standing problems with the game.

[sblock="The Good"]

Class Balance: A major problem D&D struggled with it's entire history was balance among the classes. Some classes were overpowered at low level, underpowered at high level, others were the reverse, others just bad all the time. Layered over the raw-power imbalance was balance in versatility: some classes lacked it almost entirely or had only the versatility the DM would grant them with off-the-cuff rulings, others were extremely versatile if they could access the limited resources that made them so. The things D&D tried to do over the decades to correct the issue generally only shifted it around or made it worse. The 2e fighter went from overpowered at very low level to overpowered damage dealer over a wider range of levels. The 3e casters went from underpowered and harried at low levels, to overpowered at all levels, wildly so at high ones. 4e put all classes on a unified level progression chart, and gave them comparable access to limited resources in a pattern called "AEDU." Each class got a comparable number of 'powers' - spells, martial exploits, divine prayers, etc - that were useable at-will, 1/encounter, or 1/day. The numbers did vary a little due to class features, and potency varied a little with Role, but those variances were minor compared to prior eds. The 'powers' were radically different in nature from one 'Source' to another (martial powers, called exploits always used weapons, never did typed damage, and were overwhelmingly melee or ranged, while arcane powers, called spells, never used weapons, did a wide variety of typed damage, and were overwhelming Area Effects and Ranged, rarely ever melee/touch). The result was that each class had a clear role to play in the party that it was good at, yet no class was absolutely required for a party to succeed, and every character contributed to that success.

Roles & Sources: Mentioned above Roles (striker, leader, defender, controller) and Sources (Martial, Arcane, Divine, Primal, Psionic), have always been present in D&D. 4e, however, formalized them and supported them within the system. Divine & Arcane magic were no longer all just 'spells' that you memorized. Divine 'prayers' could use a holy symbol or a weapon, be melee or ranged/area and tended to do radiant damage, for instance, while Arcane spells were more like traditional D&D spells, not calling for weapons and emphasizing range/area effects, and even still being memorized ('prepared') in the case of the Wizard. Similarly, Roles took de-facto party 'niches' like the 'tanking' front-line fighter (which the fighter had never been very good at without a handy choke point to park in), the 'band-aid' cleric's all-important healing, and the trap-finding/lock-picking/backstabbing theif - and consolidated them into more evenly-important formal Roles with each class excelling at one Role and having one or two others it might develop in a secondary capacity. Fighters, for instance, gained the ability to mark and to stop enemies trying to run past or get away from them, making them effective 'Defenders.' While Clerics saw their band-aid role expanded to that of a healing/buffing 'Leader' still capable of contributing offensively in combat while filling that role.

Clarity & consistency: More hallmarks of a decent game. While d20 had done a lot to make D&D less self-contradictory and confusing in it's base mechanics, 4e continued that trend and applied it to classes and npc/monster stats as well. From minor things like consolidating fiddly modifiers under 'Combat Advantage,' to assumptions that permeated the rules like 'exception based design,' (the simple idea that specific rules are 'exceptions' to general one), and presentation that bordered on a technical-manual style of precision, the game was designed from the ground up to be easy to understand and adjudicate, lightening the burden for the DM...

Ease of DMing: For 26 years, designing an 'encounter' to challenge your players was much more art than science. Monsters had HD that didn't map well to levels, and not much else to indicate what kind of a threat they might pose to the party. Figuring that out was a matter of experience and 'feel' - and, perhaps, 'fudging' things substantially on the fly. 3e tried to formalize monsters by Challenge Rating, but it still didn't map very well to level. Some CR monsters were as over- or under-powered as their PC counterparts' classes. Indeed, the DM could give monsters class levels. 4e used some fairly straightforward (though tweeked a few times) formulae to build monsters that would be a suitable 'balanced' challenge for the balanced parties of PCs it enabled. It was an entirely new approach, and arguably wasn't perfected (if anything can be said to be 'perfected' in an RPG) until the MM3.

Skill Challenges: One of the biggest innovations of 4e, and, at release, it's most appalling failure, Skill Challenges provided a structure for non-combat encounters that was designed to include everyone, in spite of class/role. A great idea, but the first cut of the rules was mathematically broken - as designed, Skill Challenges actually got /easier/ as you ratcheted up the 'complexity' that was supposed to make them harder. An initial revision put them back in order, bu they swung between 'too easy' and 'too hard,' before finally settling on a balanced final update.

Playability: One final, perennial problem D&D had always faced was that of playability across levels. Prior eds of D&D had a 'sweet spot' at which they played reasonably well, when the classes and races and monsters and so forth all pretty well balanced and delivered fun play. The exact range varied with edition and opinion. In AD&D it might be pegged at 3-8, while 3.5 might be run 'E6.' 4e delivered playability across all levels - and provided 30 levels in total, to boot. The higher levels arguably had some fine-tuning of 'da math,' before they were 'perfected.' [/sblock]
 

ephemeron

Explorer
The truth is pretty complex, and points mainly to some very bad business decisions by WotC (or forced on WotC by Hasbro).
Thank you for posting that!

My 4e experience was just a couple of sessions of Keep on the Shadowfell, not long after it came out. The group sort of collectively shrugged and went back to 3.5. My impression at the time was that 4e was a well-designed tactical game that didn't feel enough like D&D or sufficiently support anything other than combat.

Now, though, it sounds like we might have had a much better experience if we'd waited for the system to mature.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Thank you for posting that!

My 4e experience was just a couple of sessions of Keep on the Shadowfell, not long after it came out. The group sort of collectively shrugged and went back to 3.5. My impression at the time was that 4e was a well-designed tactical game that didn't feel enough like D&D or sufficiently support anything other than combat.

Now, though, it sounds like we might have had a much better experience if we'd waited for the system to mature.

Tony's post did a great job of summing up the perfect storm WotC was dealing with.

I often think that if Essentials came FIRST, 4e wouldn't have failed as spectacularly as it did.
 

BryonD

Hero
and a lot of very determined people ready to manufacture imagined ones.
The crux of the issue is, this part doesn't hold up.

There were a lot of people with very real and legitimate reasons to dislike 4E.
Just because YOU don't experience them doesn't mean they are made up.

I hear people make all kinds of complaints about 3E that NEVER happen at my table. This doesn't mean they don't happen for those people.
There has been this never-ending head in the sand attitude from certain highly entrenched parties in the pro-4E camp.
You are free to hold that view. But your assessments won't be taken seriously so long as you do.

Your other points may be valid.
But it doesn't matter because people won't play a game they don't like and their reason for not liking them do not require your approval.


EDIT: What part of the "perfect storm" explains why anyone would play a game they don't like if this storm had not happened?
 
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Tony's post did a great job of summing up the perfect storm WotC was dealing with.
Thanks.

I often think that if Essentials came FIRST, 4e wouldn't have failed as spectacularly as it did.
I doubt it'd make much different. The 'storm' wasn't really about 4e's content, anyway. And, it's not likely it'd've been possible to develop 'real 4e' with the scant resources available after a hypothetical first-out Essentials failed to meet it's unrealistic revenue goals.

Really, I think things would have gone about the same whether 4e, Essentials, or 5e had been put out by WotC under the same circumstances in 2008.
 

BryonD

Hero
Really, I think things would have gone about the same whether 4e, Essentials, or 5e had been put out by WotC under the same circumstances in 2008.
4E sold like gangbusters out of the gate.
If the fan base had loved it, it would have been huge.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
Really, I think things would have gone about the same whether 4e, Essentials, or 5e had been put out by WotC under the same circumstances in 2008.

Perhaps. If 4E had been a "clean up and fix" edition of 3rd - in many of the ways 2nd was for 1st I don't think it would have happened - but for any system that took any great departure (as 3rd was from 2nd) I agree with you. And it truly was a perfect storm of lots of non content related things that gave rise to Pathfinder.
 

keterys

First Post
There are a _lot_ of things they could have done better about the launch of 4e. I can't comprehend some of the decisions, like making it impossible for 3rd party publishers, burning Paizo on supporting the edition _or even seeing it_. The fact that Paizo and WotC shared gaming groups, worked hand in hand on D&D for years, and yet Paizo saw the system the same time I did? Inconceivable.

Screwing up the basic system math with last minute changes. Monsters, poor monsters. This one really hurt in the grind department.

Not including options - of which there are now plenty - in character style at the outset? I'm no fan of the Slayer, but I bet even a glimpse of Essentials and PH3 might have disrupted all sorts of samey-sameness arguments.

No good adventures. I mean, damn. Going from Escape from Sembia where I was excited about skill challenges (!) and dynamic tactical fights to Keep on the Shadowfell or Spellgard which were horrible mental drains.

Speaking of skill challenges, that is a mighty good example where a basic concept had _horrible execution_ at the outset. Complexity 5 "talk to a baron" where intimidate auto fails anyone?

But, really, the biggest one for me was going out of their way to make the 3pp turn against the system. 3e didn't have the most elegant launch either, but there were _tons_ of other people putting out d20 products to keep me looking, and get the ball rolling. Instead, they went the opposite direction. So my Paizo adventure subscription was delivering me stats for a different system. Ditto Monte Cook. Green Ronin. Etc.
 

Dungeoneer

First Post
I remain a bit curious, in an academic way, why 4e has always elicited such visceral responses from some people. I mean, it's a set of rules. At the end of the day if those rules really aren't working for you, you can choose not to use them. That's what people have been doing since Greyhawk came out for OD&D.

I will freely admit that 5e doesn't seem like it's for me. I find that mildly annoying, but I don't feel like I've been slapped in the face. I like to think that if 6e preserves some parts of 5e that I won't be too put out. Meanwhile, I still have 4e and it still works. This is even more true for 3.x fans since Pathfinder remains in active development.

I don't want point fingers at specific people, but I do want to note that there are some people who seem to have taken Fourth Edition as a personal affront. That's odd, and I have trouble believing that the reason is a third party development policy or some rules they didn't like. What the reason actually is, I don't know.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Perhaps. If 4E had been a "clean up and fix" edition of 3rd - in many of the ways 2nd was for 1st I don't think it would have happened - but for any system that took any great departure (as 3rd was from 2nd) I agree with you. And it truly was a perfect storm of lots of non content related things that gave rise to Pathfinder.

Despite my love of 4e as is, I do think 4e would have been more successful if it had consolidated a lot of the 3.X tech developed from 2005-2007 into a revised edition. Combining Bo9S martial types into a unified "spells" table with casters, for example. Reserve feats and/or warlock invocations to allow at-will magic use. Greater development of the "alternative class levels", which presaged Pathfinder's archetypes. Combine that with judicious pruning and alteration of the spell lists, and I think you solve about 75% of the issues that people who were weary of 3.X had.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
Despite my love of 4e as is, I do think 4e would have been more successful if it had consolidated a lot of the 3.X tech developed from 2005-2007 into a revised edition. Combining Bo9S martial types into a unified "spells" table with casters, for example. Reserve feats and/or warlock invocations to allow at-will magic use. Greater development of the "alternative class levels", which presaged Pathfinder's archetypes. Combine that with judicious pruning and alteration of the spell lists, and I think you solve about 75% of the issues that people who were weary of 3.X had.

Yeah. I do some of that in my PF game.
I allow a free Reserve feat to any caster, Have a "ritual" feat that allows any character to cast spells with 10 minute to 1 hour casting time for the cost of a scroll, and use Residuum as an easy light way to carry money and use in magic items.

Personally my biggest issues with 4E in play had to do with situation and playstyle.

I tend to play solo - our group plays HERO, so my D&D/PF play is solo with me and the wife. 3.x/PF with Gestalt and multi-classing (and now the Mythic rules with Pathfinder) make playing a solo character in a published module pretty easy. 4E is not really that friendly to solo play in published modules.

The other is a quirk in my playstyle - I prefer the only way I can influence a game world is through the actions of my character. I don't even want to make a tactical decision in combat that isn't from the characters POV, and ever time I roll dice it has a direct correlation with something the character is doing. Same with spells and such - if the character has a limited resource, I need some sort of internal story based reason that the character chooses to use that resource.So if something once or twice a day, the character has to be the one choosing when to use it, and have flavor/story reasons why he can't do it again. Daily Martial I couldn't wrap my head around* (whereas Bo9S style stuff I didn't have an issue with). Fate points/Hero Points/Drama points drive me up a wall too. :D

The game itself was very well made, and had ideas I take for my PF game. Just like I stole the escalation die from 13th Age, and will likely steal bits from 5th ed too.

* Yes I am one of "those people"
 

The crux of the issue is, this part doesn't hold up.

There were a lot of people with very real and legitimate reasons to dislike 4E.
Just because YOU don't experience them doesn't mean they are made up.
It's not a matter of complaining about what you experience. Remember, the first salvos of the edition war were fired by h4ters like the Alexandrian before they'd had a chance to play the game, let alone figure out that the various ways we were accustomed to compensating for D&D's perennial issues were no longer all required.

There were legitimate criticism of 4e early on. Skill Challenges, for instance, were demonstrably messed up, there were some clearly broken power combos, that sort of thing.

They weren't really what the h4ters latched onto, though, because they kept getting fixed in updates.

The more typical h4ter rationalization - dissociative mechanics, fighters casting spells, and so forth - were either outright lies, or selectively-defined straw men that didn't hold up to scrutiny. They might ultimately be about something real - class balance, for instance (4e had it) - but they weren't legitimate.


I hear people make all kinds of complaints about 3E that NEVER happen at my table. This doesn't mean they don't happen for those people.
Sure. But, you can at least see /how/ they could happen, and how they might be difficult to compensate for. LFQW, for instance, was a real thing, mathematically demonstrable, and, while may 3e fans claimed not to notice it (or actively liked it), they couldn't argue that it was just being made up - the numbers those complaining cited were real, taken straight from the books, and they added up.

The few complaints of that nature about 4e (Skill Challenges, assumed attack and non-AC defense progression at Paragon & Epic, Elites/Solos and general 'monster math') were refined and fixed.

And, of course, there's speed of combat. 4e combats are more detailed, tend to involve more enemies, and give every player equal agency in contributing to the combat - meaning that relatively few players get virtually skipped over because their character has nothing useful to do or no meaningful choices to make or resolve. To some players that seems slow because, while you're getting more for the time you invest, it is kinda a large single block of time. To others, it seems slow because they're used to dominating play, and letting everyone else have equal time drags as they wait for their turn to come back around. And, to still others, the impression the combat is slow is simply because it's actually being resolved over several rounds, instead of in a surprise segment.

The remaining complaints - dissociative mechanics, fighters casting spells, and so forth - are, indeed, not at all legitimate or real. They may have a real agenda other than just reactionary nerdrage at the bottom of them - like balance, caster primacy, or realism - but the complaints themselves aren't about real things, just stalking horses for issues that the h4ter knows won't be taken seriously if expressed honestly.

What part of the "perfect storm" explains why anyone would play a game they don't like if this storm had not happened?
Well, it has happened with every other edition of D&D. They have fairly long runs, and new material for old editions was not generally forthcoming (due to little things like trademarks and copyright law), so even serious hold-outs would have little choice but to buy material for the old game and adapt it, and might well find it easier to just start playing the new one, instead. Especially as the new game has generally been better than the old, with each rev-roll, anyway.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
There are a _lot_ of things they could have done better about the launch of 4e. I can't comprehend some of the decisions, like making it impossible for 3rd party publishers, burning Paizo on supporting the edition _or even seeing it_. The fact that Paizo and WotC shared gaming groups, worked hand in hand on D&D for years, and yet Paizo saw the system the same time I did? Inconceivable.

Pretty sure that whole mess were the suits and lawyers. They saw other companies releasing pocket sized players handbook from the text in the SRD and others releasing competing games based on the system. And they freaked.

I seem to remember that part of the reason for the OGL was Dancy's reaction to all the stuff at TSR when WotC bought them, and never wanted a company to go out of business/sit on IP again on D&D - and made a way to keep D&D available for free, forever. They sold the suits on Network Externalities and the idea of it being used for support material. When the suits saw competing, instead of supporting, product they tried to re-bottle the genie.

When the devs kept having to push back announcements about the GSL and what it was going to be, I sensed serious frustration with the process there.
 

Perhaps. If 4E had been a "clean up and fix" edition of 3rd - in many of the ways 2nd was for 1st I don't think it would have happened - but for any system that took any great departure (as 3rd was from 2nd) I agree with you. And it truly was a perfect storm of lots of non content related things that gave rise to Pathfinder.
Agreed. A 3.x 'clean up' /could not/ have been used as a stalking horse for the GSL the way 4e was, because it would have had too much in common with d20 in terminology and structure. 3pps could have gone ahead producing content for D&D using the OGL, and no matter how late, weird or restrictive, the GSL wouldn't have mattered. So, that would have taken a lot of wind out of the perfect storm, right there.

There would still have been the standard-issue nerdrage about a 'cash grab' and 'making' us re-buy all the same books again and whatnot. And, if the revenue goals and DDI disasters had still happened, the game would still have 'failed' in that regard by 2010 and seen loss of resources and slowing releases - but 3pps could've made up the difference.

And, perhaps that could have set the stage for some real innovation...
 

reiella

First Post
Pretty sure that whole mess were the suits and lawyers. They saw other companies releasing pocket sized players handbook from the text in the SRD and others releasing competing games based on the system. And they freaked.

I seem to remember that part of the reason for the OGL was Dancy's reaction to all the stuff at TSR when WotC bought them, and never wanted a company to go out of business/sit on IP again on D&D - and made a way to keep D&D available for free, forever. They sold the suits on Network Externalities and the idea of it being used for support material. When the suits saw competing, instead of supporting, product they tried to re-bottle the genie.

When the devs kept having to push back announcements about the GSL and what it was going to be, I sensed serious frustration with the process there.

One thing to note, instead of the competition aspect being problematic, it was the lack of control over material that really lead to the change with GSL. BOEF was problematic.
 

I hope I haven't come off as dumping on the OGL. The OGL was a great idea, it's the GSL that was foolish. 5e should go ahead and publish under the OGL, updating the SRD the same way 3.5 did.

It's better to have de-facto partners (even if the fringes put out weird stuff) than not.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
<snip>


The remaining complaints - dissociative mechanics, fighters casting spells, and so forth - are, indeed, not at all legitimate or real. They may have a real agenda other than just reactionary nerdrage at the bottom of them - like balance, caster primacy, or realism - but the complaints themselves aren't about real things, just stalking horses for issues that the h4ter knows won't be taken seriously if expressed honestly.

You are incorrect. You do not get to inspect my rationale for legitimacy. You can point out areas where I am factually incorrect and in fact I appreciate when people do. The rest is subjective and I assure you, quite legitimate. The things I don't like in 4e as a player I don't like in a host of other games that use/rely on the same fundaments. I'll leave it at that.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
One thing to note, instead of the competition aspect being problematic, it was the lack of control over material that really lead to the change with GSL. BOEF was problematic.

I remember that furor now. I thought the whole concept of BoEF was just stupid, so I sort of blocked it out of my memory.
 

pemerton

Legend
The example of skill challenge, for example, are pretty far from a story-now/fail-forward approach.
4e DMG p 72:

Is This a Challenge? It’s not a skill challenge every time you call for a skill check. When an obstacle takes only one roll to resolve, it’s not a challenge. One Diplomacy check to haggle with the merchant, one Athletics check to climb out of the pit trap, one Religion check to figure out whose sacred tome contains the parable—none of these constitutes a skill challenge.​

Page 74:

the characters’ success should have a significant impact on the story of the adventure. Additional rewards might include information, clues, and favors, as well as simply moving the adventure forward.

If the characters fail the challenge, the story still has to move forward, but in a different direction and possibly by a longer, more dangerous route.​

It's not quite Burning Wheel, but it's very different from anything in Gygax's DMG, or (as best I remember it) Monte Cook's.
 

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