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Is there demand for a “tactical” RPG akin to 4e?

Lionblade

Villager
Curious about people’s thoughts on this. I always liked the tactical aspects of D&D 4e, though didn’t play much of it myself. I think in a lot of ways, 4e suffered due to marketing and the fact that it was so different from D&D 3.5e, yet had the same name.

I’m sure there were many other issues that 4e had which turned away gamers, but I am curious now if there is demand for another game, which takes the best of 4e, and is designed and marketed as a “tactical” RPG. That is to say, an RPG with emphasis on grid-based combat, with depth for character creation, “powers” chosen at different levels (unique to the classes), and of course, a functional “social”/RP mechanics, with related skills, etc.
 

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Slow_Travel

Explorer
Newest edition of Twilight 2k has incredibly detailed combat. Savage World has miniature rules baked into it's DNA and is basically a RPG/skirmish miniatures game. Fragged Empire was created to feel like a FPS.

The only grid-based combat game with "powers" chosen at different levels is 4e. So if you're asking if people want more 4e, I think the real answer is "do you want to bring a new game to the market that's a retro-clone of 4e?"
 

Lionblade

Villager
Interesting! I hadn’t realized Savage Worlds had that in mind. I had always heard it was more geared towards theater of the mind.

I’m thinking not so much a retro clone as just a brand new game in a similar vein as 4e. I know WoTC was incredibly closed off when it came to licensing for 4e, so a “clone” would be dangerous ground. But something “adjacent” is more what I am thinking of.

Doing some searching and I can’t find anything quite like what I have in mind. So, I’m wondering, would that even be a game people would want to play?
 



aco175

Legend
I enjoyed 4e and would like to see 6e go a bit that way, but would not likely buy a game that is similar when I could just play that or more likely just play the current D&D.
 


Lionblade

Villager
Why not play 4E?
Namely, ongoing support. Partly, bloat. 4e has a problem I see in that there a lot of books required to really get back into it. On the other hand, it has been all but dropped by WoTC. So there will never be any new content for it, no one is making tools for it, VTT support for it is hard to come by, etc. PDFs are available on drivethru, but trying to get physical books requires EBay.

The lack of support makes it also hard to convince people to try and play it rather than just keeping up with the latest and greatest edition.

It almost seems better, at least to me, if there was an entirely new game with ongoing support and able to retain a fan base.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
PF2 is very tactical, not necessary identical to 4Es tactics, so Id say there is demand.
Pathfinder 2nd even has the assortment of arcane icons like 4e (D&D, I assume?).

Not sure why games need ongoing support, as long as the community is allowed to publish adventures...

But here's some demand, to further the cause:
Ian Mckellen Yes GIF by The Animal Crackers Movie
 

Retreater

Legend
Namely, ongoing support. Partly, bloat. 4e has a problem I see in that there a lot of books required to really get back into it. On the other hand, it has been all but dropped by WoTC. So there will never be any new content for it, no one is making tools for it, VTT support for it is hard to come by, etc. PDFs are available on drivethru, but trying to get physical books requires EBay.

The lack of support makes it also hard to convince people to try and play it rather than just keeping up with the latest and greatest edition.

It almost seems better, at least to me, if there was an entirely new game with ongoing support and able to retain a fan base.
I understand. I'm a fan of 4e, so I get it. And I've also tried to run a campaign somewhat recently.
I'd argue that an OOP edition of the world's biggest RPG still has greater market reach than an indie RPG.
I introduced my wife and several friends to 4E after they came in with 5E. They liked going back to see the history of the game, just like some players like going back to OSR titles.
For some players, convincing them to play anything other than 5E will be a challenge. But it can be a richly rewarding experience, even if you don't stick with the system.
To address bloat, try limiting your players to only Essentials (or only PHB1 or whatever). You don't have to use the entire library.
I've played 4e on Fantasy Grounds, and it worked fine. I'm guessing you could run it on any VTT with limited automation.
But the ship has sailed on 4e. I don't think we'll ever see a game like it again, especially not on the scale of a major RPG.
PF2 is not close to the tactical fun and streamlined gameplay experience of 4E. Level Up seems to have not gone far enough from 5E for my tastes.
 

On the tactical scifi RPG front, LANCER is doing quite well, and I have been playtesting their fleet combat module, details here:

LANCER also has a burgeoning fan community - a third-party Kickstarter adventure zine is in progress right now:

I've also been following the progress of Filipino tactical fantasy Warring States RPG Gubat Banwa (Warring Nations), and both the martial arts design and artwork are utterly fantastic.
 

Lionblade

Villager
I understand. I'm a fan of 4e, so I get it. And I've also tried to run a campaign somewhat recently.
I'd argue that an OOP edition of the world's biggest RPG still has greater market reach than an indie RPG.
I introduced my wife and several friends to 4E after they came in with 5E. They liked going back to see the history of the game, just like some players like going back to OSR titles.
For some players, convincing them to play anything other than 5E will be a challenge. But it can be a richly rewarding experience, even if you don't stick with the system.
To address bloat, try limiting your players to only Essentials (or only PHB1 or whatever). You don't have to use the entire library.
I've played 4e on Fantasy Grounds, and it worked fine. I'm guessing you could run it on any VTT with limited automation.
But the ship has sailed on 4e. I don't think we'll ever see a game like it again, especially not on the scale of a major RPG.
PF2 is not close to the tactical fun and streamlined gameplay experience of 4E. Level Up seems to have not gone far enough from 5E for my tastes.
Agreed. I do like 5e (don’t get me wrong) and will be reading through Level Up, as it looks very interesting. But, something about 4e draws me in.

Sad that, as you say, that ship’s sails. I run all my games currently in Fantasy Grounds- which seems perfect for 4e.
 

Retreater

Legend
Agreed. I do like 5e (don’t get me wrong) and will be reading through Level Up, as it looks very interesting. But, something about 4e draws me in.

Sad that, as you say, that ship’s sails. I run all my games currently in Fantasy Grounds- which seems perfect for 4e.
Maybe the real spiritual successor to 4e's tactical play is in miniature gaming and board gaming. Please don't think of this statement as edition warring or belittling 4e fans (because I am one).
When I started RPGs, my intro was HeroQuest (just recently rebooted). Maybe something like that - with some exploration and social scenes between dungeons (or even in some of the rooms)? Even when I was a kid playing it I was tinkering with that game, adding new spells, monsters, character options.
Another example is how my friend is playing the Battletech RPG and putting in the miniatures game for big combats.
Otherwise you might want to consider what you like about 4e and figure out how to put it into another system. I saw on DMs Guild that someone has converted 4e powers to 5e, which can be inserted into that game. Could be worth a look?
 

soviet

Explorer
Curious about people’s thoughts on this. I always liked the tactical aspects of D&D 4e, though didn’t play much of it myself. I think in a lot of ways, 4e suffered due to marketing and the fact that it was so different from D&D 3.5e, yet had the same name.

I’m sure there were many other issues that 4e had which turned away gamers, but I am curious now if there is demand for another game, which takes the best of 4e, and is designed and marketed as a “tactical” RPG. That is to say, an RPG with emphasis on grid-based combat, with depth for character creation, “powers” chosen at different levels (unique to the classes), and of course, a functional “social”/RP mechanics, with related skills, etc.
You've basically described 5e. The major difference between 4e and 3.5e/5e is simply that 4e is transparent about what it's designed for.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Maybe the real spiritual successor to 4e's tactical play is in miniature gaming and board gaming. Please don't think of this statement as edition warring or belittling 4e fans (because I am one).
I have no dog in the 4E stuff--I never played it and at this point never will--but it seems to me that things like Gloomhaven might at least scratch the tactical itch. I'm not a big fan of the RPG-lite stuff in Gloomhaven, but tastes differ; and the tactics are ... deep.
 

MGibster

Legend
I hate to quibble over definitions, but I've been using miniatures and a map for D&D since 3rd edition was released in 2000. So for the last twenty-one years, roughly 2/3rd of my experience with D&D, has been as a tactical RPG.
 

payn

Legend
I hate to quibble over definitions, but I've been using miniatures and a map for D&D since 3rd edition was released in 2000. So for the last twenty-one years, roughly 2/3rd of my experience with D&D, has been as a tactical RPG.
Im assuming folks are thinking of the marks, and push, and blast elements of 4E that are unique to that edition. I'd love to hear more from folks on this tho.
 


I already mentioned LANCER and Gubat Banwa, both heavily inspired by 4e, but Tom Parkinson-Morgan (LANCER) has also released a playtest version of the ICON RPG, which uses some of the tactical mechanics of LANCER, together with narrative framework borrowed from Blades in the Dark. The feel of the setting is very much a techno-magical one, with angel-summoning gunslingers, shadow-teleporting assassins and lighting-throwing spellblades. The grid-based combat design has a strong Final Fantasy Tactics influence, but with the same kind of pushes, marks and in-combat healing you'd see in 4e.

There are 12 Jobs (combat classes) and characters can switch Jobs twice in their careers, mixing and matching abilities from their Jobs, somewhat like how LANCER lets you mix and match systems and weapons on your mech. There are 12 levels of advancement, so you can acquire plenty of synergistic abilities by the time you reach maximum level.

 

Aldarc

Legend
I've also been following the progress of Filipino tactical fantasy Warring States RPG Gubat Banwa (Warring Nations), and both the martial arts design and artwork are utterly fantastic.
Holy carp! This looks gorgeous. Thank you for bringing this to my attention!
 

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