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D&D 4E Keith Baker on 4E! (The Hellcow responds!)

hong

WotC's bitch
Klaus said:
If Dm Fiat a valid answer, then why not:

"Healer: hp 6, Heal +12"

And then you ask "where is he getting that skill from?", to which I reply "+8 circumstance bonus from doing that daily, instead of adventuring".

Absolutely no reason why you couldn't do that. Circumstance bonuses and racial bonuses have always been ways to ignore the rigid build framework. But if you're going to do that as a matter of course, it raises the question of why you have that rigid build framework in the first place.
 

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hong

WotC's bitch
Caedrus said:
Because ALL the rules don't apply ALL the time. Sometimes you only need the NPC to have certain abilities. Why not just give them what they need? This is one of the aspects that turned me on to Savage Worlds. They specifically tell you in the rulebook "Don't follow character creation for NPC's. Just give them what you want them to have." Is it really going to affect the game if the healer who never does anything outside his shop has a +12 heal skill at first level or at 6th?

Er, and the underlying philosophy of 4E is that you don't "follow character creation" for NPCs (ie, you build them according to what you need, without having to shoehorn them into an unsuitable framework). So I'm not sure what you're trying to argue.
 

Pbartender

First Post
Klaus said:
If Dm Fiat a valid answer, then why not:

"Healer: hp 6, Heal +12"

To which Keith has pre-emptively replied, "Why not, indeed?"

In fact, if the characters are unlikely to fight the Healer, then:

"Healer: Heal +12"
 

Caedrus

Explorer
hong said:
Er, and the underlying philosophy of 4E is that you don't "follow character creation" for NPCs (ie, you build them according to what you need, without having to shoehorn them into an unsuitable framework). So I'm not sure what you're trying to argue.

This isn't an argument against 4e. I like that it is going that way. This is against 3.x, which made you build unrealistic NPC's just to get a couple bonuses where you wanted them to be.
 

Stogoe

First Post
Klaus said:
I don't see why it has to be a big selling point for 4E.
Because it's explicit. Because it's that way in the rules. Because for some people, the text of the rules is the only thing that matters.
 

Klaus

First Post
Caedrus said:
This isn't an argument against 4e. I like that it is going that way. This is against 3.x, which made you build unrealistic NPC's just to get a couple bonuses where you wanted them to be.
My argument is against using that argument as something you can do in 4e that you can't in 3.x. Because you can. So it's a non-issue.
 

Lackhand

First Post
Klaus said:
My argument is against using that argument as something you can do in 4e that you can't in 3.x. Because you can. So it's a non-issue.
By ignoring the rules for building characters and/or encounters.

I mean, yes, you can do it, but it wasn't encouraged. Now it is. Yay, yet another way in which D&D 4e continues the mighty banner of that which is D&D!

It's great that the way people actually play the game is being codified, isn't it?
 

hong

WotC's bitch
Klaus said:
My argument is against using that argument as something you can do in 4e that you can't in 3.x. Because you can. So it's a non-issue.
You can do it without having to pay dollars and brain cells to learn, and then ignore, the rules. Which sounds like a real advantage to me.
 



LightPhoenix

First Post
Stogoe said:
Because it's explicit. Because it's that way in the rules. Because for some people, the text of the rules is the only thing that matters.

That's why there's a D&D Rules board here, and it is a viscious place.
 

Klaus

First Post
hong said:
You can do it without having to pay dollars and brain cells to learn, and then ignore, the rules. Which sounds like a real advantage to me.
hong, I know you're funny and stuff at times, but did you not pay attention when I built a simple, weak NPC with a high skill modifier, by the rules? What am I ignoring?

Plus, look in your Monster Manual. Right there, in the appendix, they tell you how to give a creature an ability, and slap a +x to the CR if warranted. No need for your orc to take wizard levels. Just give him magic missile as a spell-like ability, throw in a +1 CR and be done with it.

I like most of what I see of 4e, and I'm eager to try the playtest characters (hell, I even layouted a PDF for Olgar Shiverstone's "Raiders of Oakhurst" adventure). But I see some things being touted as a "4e improvement" that were already possible in earlier editions.
 
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hong

WotC's bitch
Klaus said:
hong, I know you're funny and stuff at times, but did you not pay attention when I built a simple, weak NPC with a high skill modifier, by the rules? What am I not ignoring?

Because if what you really want is just an NPC with the specification "must have high skill modifier", then do that. Screw all that enhancement bonus, synergy bonus, feat bonus and whatnot, and just give the guy +12. Nobody is ever going to notice. You said it yourself:

Why do NPCs need to be fully statted? So, the healer with Heal +12. Would it matter if his stats in a 3.5 adventure read:

...

He still follows the basic rules, but I only wrote up what I need for him.

And all you need is that +12. So make up your mind. Are you following the rules, or are you ignoring them?

Plus, look in your Monster Manual. Right there, in the appendix, they tell you how to give a creature an ability, and slap a +x to the CR if warranted. No need for your orc to take wizard levels. Just give him magic missile as a spell-like ability, throw in a +1 CR and be done with it.

Precisely. If all you are doing is slapping on special abilities willy-nilly, then why bother with complicated formulas like "BAB = HD x 3/4", "1 feat per 3 HD", "8 skill points/level", "+1 hp per 2 Con", "class skills are X, Y, Z, W" and so on?

I like most of what I see of 4e, and I'm eager to try the playtest characters (hell, I even layouted a PDF for Olgar Shiverstone's "Raiders of Oakhurst" adventure). But I see some things being touted as a "4e improvement" that were already possible in earlier editions.

Everything is possible if you ignore the rules that you paid money for.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
Klaus said:
hong, I know you're funny and stuff at times, but did you not pay attention when I built a simple, weak NPC with a high skill modifier, by the rules? What am I ignoring?

Plus, look in your Monster Manual. Right there, in the appendix, they tell you how to give a creature an ability, and slap a +x to the CR if warranted. No need for your orc to take wizard levels. Just give him magic missile as a spell-like ability, throw in a +1 CR and be done with it.
It's possible, but it's a kludge. The idea is that the "standard rules" say that the better anyone is at a skill the higher level they have to be to get that skill. Skills only go up with levels.

However, in order to get the numbers you want, you can just come up with a "miscellaneous bonus" to a skill check. However, it doesn't REALLY follow the rules, rather it gets AROUND the rules.

In the same way that you could give a monster whatever AC you wanted simply by giving it a misc bonus or a natural armor bonus. Or you could apply a misc bonus to Fort Save if you thought it was too low.

However, adding a bonus that doesn't come from anywhere in the actual formulas for creating creatures is pretty much just applying DM fiat. It's the equivalent of saying "3rd Edition fighters could have powers that could be used once per encounter as well, you just have to make them up and change fighter so they can take them. And the rules support this, the DMG says the DM can make any changes they want to the rules. So, changing anything in the game to anything you wanted it to be was part of the rules."
 

Klaus

First Post
hong said:
Because if what you really want is just an NPC with the specification "must have high skill modifier", then do that. Screw all that enhancement bonus, synergy bonus, feat bonus and whatnot, and just give the guy +12. Nobody is ever going to notice. You said it yourself:

Why do NPCs need to be fully statted? So, the healer with Heal +12. Would it matter if his stats in a 3.5 adventure read:

...

He still follows the basic rules, but I only wrote up what I need for him.

And all you need is that +12. So make up your mind. Are you following the rules, or are you ignoring them?



Precisely. If all you are doing is slapping on special abilities willy-nilly, then why bother with complicated formulas like "BAB = HD x 3/4", "1 feat per 3 HD", "8 skill points/level", "+1 hp per 2 Con", "class skills are X, Y, Z, W" and so on?



Everything is possible if you ignore the rules that you paid money for.
I'm working within the rules to get what I need from them. And the rules allow me to apply circumstance bonuses as needed, among other things.

Then you ask "why pay for the rules". To have a common ground, and use exceptions when needed.
 

hong

WotC's bitch
Klaus said:
I'm working within the rules to get what I need from them.

No, you are going outside the build framework so as to achieve a specific objective.

And the rules allow me to apply circumstance bonuses as needed, among other things.

That the rules explicitly gives you a means to bypass the build framework does not answer the question as to why the framework should have to be bypassed on a regular basis.

I can use circumstance bonuses and racial bonuses to give a CR 1, 1 HD monster +1000 hp and +1000 damage on its attack if I want. You will say this is ridiculous, because the various formulas and rules that constitute the build framework are meant to disallow such silliness, yes? And that's the point. That I can do this says nothing about the usefulness or otherwise of the framework itself.

Then you ask "why pay for the rules". To have a common ground, and use exceptions when needed.

Said common ground, namely the build framework as applied to NPCs, is unnecessary far more often than not, and serves only to make life difficult. So why bother with it?
 

hong said:
Because if what you really want is just an NPC with the specification "must have high skill modifier", then do that. Screw all that enhancement bonus, synergy bonus, feat bonus and whatnot, and just give the guy +12. Nobody is ever going to notice.

At some point the PC's will notice. +12 is perfectly feasible with a level 1 PC as demonstrated. What if the bonus was instead +40? How do you explain that without falling into a mechanic that resembles the 3.x character building design? (i.e. becoming experienced and more powerful) I can see how this can lead to a sense of inadequacy if NPC's outperform the PC's for unexplained or inadequate reasons.

What if I arbitrarily decide my blacksmith can do 3d10+5 damage. With his bare hands. The (possibly high level) PC's wonder why their weapons and spells don't even compare to this simple, ordinary blacksmith's bare hands. In short, there's a complete loss in consistency at some point in the scaling. I'm not saying 3.x got it perfect with what the max available cap is at any given level, but at least it's consistent.

The way this whole thing reads to me is "Just arbitrarily assign figures for yourself, there's a decent chance it'll make sense and you get to cut corners"

Or more bluntly, wave your hands and use the DM-fiat stick.
 

Please stop the annoying banter

Please, guys, you're descending into a pissing contest. Please stop it and get back on subject. I have a couple of things to say. First, the request was a healer with 10 hp and +12 on heal. It isn't that hard to figure out that you can't get a 1st level expert that high hp or heal. For HP, you would need 18 Con at the very least. For that high heal, you could, with a human, get at most skill focus and a homebrew feat which gives +2. Then, by the nonelite array, you would be able to have 13 Wisdom, which would give +1. Even assuming that you could get a regular healing kit, which doesn't give a bonus, and 4 ranks in Heal, that is still only +10. There is absolutely no way that you would be able to have either 16 Wisdom or a Masterwork Healer's Kit (which only works 10 times anyways).

Basically, in 3.5 it is very annoying to do stats for a NPC, let alone running one.
 

hong

WotC's bitch
Goreg Skullcrusher said:
At some point the PC's will notice. +12 is perfectly feasible with a level 1 PC as demonstrated. What if the bonus was instead +40? How do you explain that without falling into a mechanic that resembles the 3.x character building design? (i.e. becoming experienced and more powerful) I can see how this can lead to a sense of inadequacy if NPC's outperform the PC's for unexplained or inadequate reasons.

0. Why don't you ask Klaus this question, since he was the one who said you could go outside 3E's build framework to meet a given NPC specification (with the implication being that 4E's way of doing things didn't result in anything new).

1. Nobody ever has to know the PC is level 1. If someone has an amazing proficiency at a particular skill, then they have it. There is no reason to insist said character must be level 1 or any other level in particular.

2. Nobody ever has to know the NPC has +40. If someone is capable of amazing feats of skill, then they can do it. No dice have to be rolled, and no mechanics need to be used, unless a PC is somehow involved.

3. It's been revealed that 4E will include tables giving recommended skill/attack/defense bonuses by level and role, along with ways of modifying published monsters to fit specific needs. Thus you will get something similar to a build framework, but greatly simplified compared to that used by PCs.

What if I arbitrarily decide my blacksmith can do 3d10+5 damage. With his bare hands. The (possibly high level) PC's wonder why their weapons and spells don't even compare to this simple, ordinary blacksmith's bare hands. In short, there's a complete loss in consistency at some point in the scaling. I'm not saying 3.x got it perfect with what the max available cap is at any given level, but at least it's consistent.

Indeed. Note the +1000 bonuses I mentioned above.
 

Imp

First Post
spontaneuscombustion said:
It isn't that hard to figure out that you can't get a 1st level expert that high hp or heal. For HP, you would need 18 Con at the very least. For that high heal, you could, with a human, get at most skill focus and a homebrew feat which gives +2. Then, by the nonelite array, you would be able to have 13 Wisdom, which would give +1. Even assuming that you could get a regular healing kit, which doesn't give a bonus, and 4 ranks in Heal, that is still only +10. There is absolutely no way that you would be able to have either 16 Wisdom or a Masterwork Healer's Kit (which only works 10 times anyways).
Yes you can. You ignore the array. Which to begin with is a suggestion for making things easier for DMs to stat up minor characters the brick-by-brick way, not a hard and fast rule for what NPCs are capable of, even if you were playing things strictly by the book.
 

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