Loss of imagination


First Post
shadowguidex said:
Magic Missile
At-will * arcane, force, implement
Standard action
Target: one creature
Roleplaying: You choose one word you have to say. Alternatively you can select a short descriptive sentence or make a complex gesture. Also, if you have a supply of spell components available to help you roleplay, you gain a bonus of +1 to the attack rolls (a small piece of sharp glass).
Hit: 2d4+Intelligence modifier force damage

Um, on second thought, just roleplay dude, the PHB doesn't have to spoon feed you everything.

My wizard can still play that the magic missile have the form of snowball that he is throwing. But the hit and damage will stay the same and will not be transform into cold damage just because he roleplay that they are snowball without changing the spell .

What I was searching is in how the rules can give us new options to make thing crazy like having a mage hand empty a bag of flour in the eye of a dragon. Where have you notice that the rule give us new option compare to previous edition

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First Post
The rules intentionally leave a lot of leeway for free-form ideas to make sense, but as a result the things which are defined are defined fairly rigidly, so there are fewer opportunities for this.

The DMG actually explains that whatever a player wants to do that isn't in the rules should be doable, with some form of check or attack roll. So if you want to use Command to make the target take off their clothes, the DM may allow that - it might just require the normal attack, but give the clothes-removal instead of the normal results. Or, it might do the clothes removal in addition to the normal results, but not if the target is wearing armor and in combat, or it might require a hard DC arcana check as well, etc.

Really, there's plenty of leeway for things you want to do to just be skill checks or attacks or skill checks followed by attacks. Want to use Magic Missile to cut the rope so a chandelier falls on your enemies? Make an attack roll against their reflex, use the "limited" damage column (how many chandeliers could there be?). Want to use your knowledge of magic to disrupt an enemy's spellcasting? Ready an action and when he casts a spell, make an opposed arcana check to disrupt the spell (maybe that gives a -2 or -5 to attack rolls with it, or just outright makes it miss).

Basically anything that is remotely justifiable is actually fairly easy to adjudicate in the new system. The most important thing to bear in mind when doing so is: if the player spends a standard action to do something they are reasonably good, they should get an effect about as strong as an at-will power. If it is far harder to pull off, the pay off can be far larger.


Pedantic Grognard
Actually, the use-any-command was still in 3rd Edition; it was 3.5 that switched to the menu of options.

One classic use was having somebody in front of the cleric set a weapon for a charge, and then the cleric would command "charge!" Especially useful against an enemy wizard; he runs straight forward into the fighter's spear for double damage and then is in melee range.

And for non-combat, "confess", "elucidate", "explain", "answer" . . .


It's an issue of balance.

A power is supposed to be X deadly.

If you find a loophole to make it 4X deadly on a regular basis, then the power has to be shoved up several levels, or you have to get specific as heck because people will keep looking for loopholes.


You can use imagination all you like... The spell in particular that you mentioned, command, was subject to a lot of abuse and players trying to do crazy things with it. It's required many revisions and limitations set on it over the years. Many players tried to use it as a sort of instant-death megaspell. Finally, it was decided, it moves a monster forward, back, or knocks it down. If it fixes player's giving monsters ridiculous commands, I'm all for it.

If you want a scorching burst to look like a flash of spinning purple flowers that erupt into flame, enjoy. Imagination remains untouched. What 4e has attempted to fix is broken-ness. We'll see if they were successful over time.

Are some of the spell descriptions a bit bland? Yes. That's where the imagination comes into play. Why does a rogue's positioning strike automatically make a monster stumble back 1+cha mod squares on a hit? That's for the player or the DM to describe. All we know from the power is that it does. I'm sure some players will approach it from a strictly mechanical standpoint, but all the tools for imaginative gameplay are still intact.


Pedantic Grognard
Vaeron said:
command, was subject to a lot of abuse and players trying to do crazy things with it. It's required many revisions and limitations set on it over the years.
Actually, it managed to go the first 25 years of its existence (from first publication in the 1st edition AD&D Player's Handbook to the publication of D&D 3.5) without any significant revisions or limitations to its effect. It was merely assumed that the DM was intelligent and sane.

(Don't believe me? Go, compare the 1e PHB, 2e PHB, 2e Priest's Spell Compendium, and 3e PHB versions, and tell me what you think the big revisions and limitations were. I'm looking at them and I don't see any.)


Vaeron said:
You can use imagination all you like... The spell in particular that you mentioned, command, was subject to a lot of abuse and players trying to do crazy things with it.

I think the OP's point is that....is it good that we've taken out the versatility of many spells in the interest of balance? And there's no question 4e has, as the command spell demonstrates.

I think this is a question that time will answer. We will see if people are generally happy with their more limited but more balanced abilities.
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First Post
see said:
It was merely assumed that the DM was intelligent and sane.

Now that's just looking for trouble.

Anyway, yes, spells are significantly less open ended now, and there is more "it just happens" and less interaction with vocabulary and physics knowledge and random trivia. Except only the spellcasters got to do that. It's not like fighters had abilities like "name one body part, which your next attack will sever should it hit (with no rules for effects)" or "you smash one object, flattening it completely (with no mention of whether you can do this to someone's helm while they are wearing it)".

Basically, I could see the game going in one of two directions. Either everyone ends up with powers that provoke lawyerly arguments with the DM (the power of which is greatly determined by the DM and your ability to convince the DM that what you want is reasonable) or else everyone ends up with clearly defined powers and there is some sort of catch-all system to handle weird stunts. As it turns out, they went with the second approach.

On the other hand, the catch-all system seems pretty robust in 4th edition, even having a chart of appropriate (high!) damage values so you don't end up making three difficult skill checks only to do 1d6 damage to someone. So maybe imagination isn't really gone; just handled differently.

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