Legends & Lore - Mike Mearls' new column

Meh, what is 'correct'? Frankly 4e has a gargantuan mass of interacting game elements. Given all the possible ways they can be combined with each other any theory of making things 'correct out of the box' is doomed for at least 2 reasons. First of all no design or playtest team can possibly hope to try out all of the different permutations. Secondly things often aren't broken at all, there is simply some other thing that comes out, which itself has a perfectly legitimate purpose, which someone can now use to connect things A and B such that they create overpowered thing C.

There is another class of changes, which are adjustments to core aspects of the game math. Again there are a couple of factors. First is again the addition of new material over time which can shift things such that numbers which seemed perfectly fine become less good. Secondly the whole system is new. Anyone who thinks a few months of playtesting of a new system really tells you much about how it works in the real world hasn't experienced any kind of development project. All the theorycraft and modeling and closed playtesting in the world doesn't make a new system pop out of the box in perfect form. Things like DC changes fall into this category.

In other words, with a system like 4e there is always going to be errata. In fact I predict that no amount of slowing down releases and having the dev team going over everything 10 times is going to change the rate of errata much. WotC may just decide not to bother to issue fixes, but aside from a few dumb mistakes the truth is a lot of stuff is a judgment call or simply won't show up without a lot more play than any dev group has any hope of doing. It is a fool's errand if you ask me.

They were actually doing well before. They fixed things, improved things, made the game substantially better over time.
 

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TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
1st Edition is for people obsessed with polearms.
Aha! Now we get to the meat of the matter. ;)

Is it just my interpretation, or is he including Pathfinder, Trailblazer, etc. in "3rd Edition and its descendents"?

I liked this article. I thought it was honest. I would like to see more of that from WotC.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
But why should I have to fix it myself?

I find this comment interesting.

It suggests that fixing something, tweaking it to your liking is more of a chore than a pleasure? Requires an expenditure of time which you would rather not spend?

The sentiment is one which would never occur to me - I'm used to rolling up my sleeves and 'fixing' anything that seems wrong to me, or making whatever customisations are necessary for a campaign world I have in mind.

I wonder if that is
a) because I'm an inveterate tinkerer, and can't help doing it
b) started playing back in the 1970's when tinkering with the rules was practically part of the game :)
c) a bit of both
d) something else!

(age, family, responsibilities mean I have much less time for RPGs now than I used to have, but that hasn't proved to be a barrier to my innate desire to modify...)

Cheers
 

Solvarn

First Post
Completeness

I find this comment interesting.

It suggests that fixing something, tweaking it to your liking is more of a chore than a pleasure? Requires an expenditure of time which you would rather not spend?

The sentiment is one which would never occur to me - I'm used to rolling up my sleeves and 'fixing' anything that seems wrong to me, or making whatever customisations are necessary for a campaign world I have in mind.

I wonder if that is
a) because I'm an inveterate tinkerer, and can't help doing it
b) started playing back in the 1970's when tinkering with the rules was practically part of the game :)
c) a bit of both
d) something else!

(age, family, responsibilities mean I have much less time for RPGs now than I used to have, but that hasn't proved to be a barrier to my innate desire to modify...)

Cheers

I think it's a generational thing. 3.5 and 4 were more comprehensive with rules than in previous editions. I think people try to stick closer to rules as worded rather than tinker and fix things that aren't working in their home games, which in some ways is good and some bad, depending upon the person doing the tinkering.
 



Windjammer

Adventurer
Mike Mearls is on record for belonging to the camp of "will (mostly) not play 3E again". It came up in an early 4E podcast, shortly after the announcement of 4E at Gencon. Andy (Collins) and him talk about running their own 3.x games alongside the (then) super secret 4E playtest games; Mearls relates about how he on occasion slipped in (by mistake) 4E'isms into his 3e sessions. Anyway, in a brief aside - and that's why I mention it - he goes "I actually stopped enjoying 3E". And Andy goes "Is that really so?".

That moment nailed the difference between the two of them for me. Andy Collins may have made a full switch to 4E at the time too, but he'll hold a life long appreciation for 3.5 at a personal level. I loved his opening retort when asked, in an interview, about Pathfinder RPG, and Andy goes "You know? It's based on a very good game."

Point the second - Mearls is not fond of 2E and, like Rob Heinsoo, is on record for losing interest in the game during that era. It translates into his (Mearls') way of designing modules. Loved that moment when a segment of the Paizo crowd voiced their dissatisfaction with some of his "low on story" contributions to the Age of Worms adventure path. Mearls replied (I hope I remember this correct) "I'm more of a 1E person - you give people a locale, and the story writes itself".

And that's really it. Like Bob Salvatore, Mike is really a 1E person. As he once said on Jeff Rients' blogspot:

Something weird occured to me last week. I love 4e to bits (obviously; there'd be something deeply wrong if I didn't), but if I can't play 4e, I'd play 1e.
The BIG thing about the editorial, though, is that while Mike, like any other fan of D&D, has edition preferences, he also gets the point that sometimes it's better to attend to similarities, stuff we share. I fully share that sentiment but, unlike him, don't see how that should stop us from engaging in heated discussion on editions' differences. It's precisely been because of many a heated discussion on editions' differences that my appreciation of each of them deepened.

To create a "Rally Point" (to use a WAR'ism) for all D&D fans - well, that's a tall order. It would have to synch up with actual stuff produced by WotC, and short of Steve Winter's extraordinary columns ("D&D Alumni") I don't really see anything to fit the bill.
 
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Well, perhaps, I dunno. I honestly don't see any real difference between 1e and 2e myself. Played AD&D from its very start pretty much to its end and beyond. 2e seemed more like 1.25 to me.

Actually it isn't so much that I think Mike likes 1e (I guess) more than 4e as he seems less than comfortable with pre-Essentials 4e. I get the distinct impression that in essence WotC sees 'classic' 4e as a bit of a brick tied around their necks at this point and would sort of like to pretend it never happened. I can kind of sympathize in a way, it would be a lot easier to just go forward and work things out from the spot Essentials is at now without reference to what came before. But they have a lot of SKUs in stock and a lot of fans of the original game holding them back. Not that I share that sentiment myself, but there it is.

And yeah, the whole "we're all basically in this RPG thing together" is nice. I agree. There are just times when it seems like we classic 4e fans are almost patronizing a game that wants to be forgotten. It is a bit weird.
 

But pre essential 4e is good.

I think rituals and multiclassing really need to be reintroduced. And in a little bit more lenient way. (1-2 feats seems reasonable, paragon multiclassing should give a little benefit.)

I also believe all those subclasses should be lined up under "builds" in the CB. The build options is just redundant as it is now.
What the really need is making this choice non redundant, by preselecting all powers associated with a build when you don´t mark "show additional options"
And suddenly you have a structured character builder that is much more newbie friendly even when chosing non essential builds, without messing up anything for pre essential 4e people.
All it needs is 2 or 3 hours of work per class.

Also all redundant feats should be hidden when "show additional options" are not marked. By the number of feats, i guess this takes a bit more time.
 

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