D&D 4E messy's 4e newbie questions thread

25. there don't seem to be any restrictions on spellcasting in armor. is this correct?

No. Most arcane spellcasters aren't proficient and use Int for their casting and AC stat.

You could buy a feat, but the physical ability score requirements start getting high and you need to spend a feat per point of AC. Or you could take Unarmored Agility.

26. do ranged attacks (bow, sling) still provoke opportunity attack (like in 3e)?
Yes. All ranged and area attacks provoke (unless stated otherwise).

27. is there a handly way to print out the specific power cards i need?

I use a more old-fashioned character sheet. It has lots of pages and spaces for powers, and I fill it out by hand.
 

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25. there don't seem to be any restrictions on spellcasting in armor. is this correct?

Correct. Assuming you're proficient with the armour.

26. do ranged attacks (bow, sling) still provoke opportunity attack (like in 3e)?

All ranged and area attacks provoke, as does leaving a threatened space by walking (although not shifting - the same way a 5ft step didn't), or most other default movement modes. Other than this nothing provokes unless otherwise specified.

A ranged basic attack is a ranged attack, so provokes. Spells like Burning Hands and Thunderwave are designed for use in close combat and don't. (Thunderwave I picture as "Oh #&@%! Get away from me!" *Boom*)

27. is there a handly way to print out the specific power cards i need?

thank you, yet again.

The Character Builder
 

messy

Explorer
28. what's the reasoning behind melee powers (like cleave) doing damage on a miss?

29. can someone help me wrap my head around level one characters adding their constitution score to their hit points, in terms of both fluff and crunch?

once again, thank you.
 

28. what's the reasoning behind melee powers (like cleave) doing damage on a miss?

Cleave does damage on a hit. Reaping Strike does damage on a miss. There's no explanation for why, but note that even RS doesn't kill minions (on a miss). I like to presume there's some kind of armor-penetrating attack (if you're using a greataxe or a maul, the power makes perfect sense) but it makes far less sense if you're wielding a katana.

29. can someone help me wrap my head around level one characters adding their constitution score to their hit points, in terms of both fluff and crunch?

Tough people are tough. It's not really different from max Hit Dice at 1st-level plus Con score, it's just that your Con is twice as important for when you start, and less important as you gain levels. 4e doesn't use Hit Dice.
 

28. what's the reasoning behind melee powers (like cleave) doing damage on a miss?

29. can someone help me wrap my head around level one characters adding their constitution score to their hit points, in terms of both fluff and crunch?

once again, thank you.

Ah, hit points. They make no sense at all in any edition - and were invented by Gygax to make the outcomes make sense. Stare too long into this abyss and you'll lose your grip on any edition of D&D (this has happened to the point that people no longer like D&D because of hit points).

Reaping Strike doing damage on a miss is normally a particularly powerful blow that even if it's parried jars the arms of the defender so physically parrying took things out of them.

Constitution score: Tough people are tough, so it should be maximised at first level - but everyone gains from training so it doesn't have as much of a proportional effect at higher levels.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
29. can someone help me wrap my head around level one characters adding their constitution score to their hit points, in terms of both fluff and crunch?
No one-shot kills. Everyone can take 2 or 3 solid hits before dropping. Fluffy AND crunchy.
 

Balesir

Adventurer
28. what's the reasoning behind melee powers (like cleave) doing damage on a miss?
Because hit points have never really (or realistically) been "meat". People have tried to shoehorn them to be so, but it has never really worked since they started trying around 1975 or so.

Hit points are instead a pacing mechanism to reflect a "Hollywood/movie reality" where someone fights on, unscathed and undaunted, until they run out of "mojo". At which point, the next blow kills them (or, at least, disables them) cleanly. Think how many limbless, eyeless characters you see in the average RPG. Usually next to nil. A system to represent "meat" would have independent wounds (multiple gashes to different parts of the body won't suddenly cause you to keel over dead) that had the capacity to leave lasting disabilities and death would come through infection, shock and bloodloss far more often than a "killing blow"*.

So - hit points tell us when a creature (character or monster) runs out of "juice". They are no longer able to sustain the sheer will needed to throw themselves out of the way of that potentially fatal blow. Their concentration on that next parry is faltering.

So, it makes perfect sense that an utterly devastating attack might drain some of that chutzpah, mojo, vitality or whatever you want to call it - even if it is not executed perfectly. In short - all attacks before the killing/disabling blow miss, but some miss more convincingly than others.

29. can someone help me wrap my head around level one characters adding their constitution score to their hit points, in terms of both fluff and crunch?
Those with high Con have more vitality and will-to-life than those without, hence they have more hit points.

From a game-balance perspective, this gives Con something valuable to do - makes it a useful stat to have and gives important advantages to those classes for which Con is a primary requirement.

*: For a game system that actually does this, see HârnMaster.
 

Jan van Leyden

Adventurer
28. what's the reasoning behind melee powers (like cleave) doing damage on a miss?

Gary Gygax in Dungeon Masters Guide, Revised Edition - December 1979, page 82 under the heading Hit Points, discussing the reason for increasing hit pionts when advancing in levels: "Why then the increase in hit points? Because these reflect boith the actua physical ability of the character to withstnad damage and a commensurate increase in such areas as skill in combat [...] the "sixth sense" which warns the individual of some otherwise unforeseen events, sheer luck, and the fantastic provisions of magical protections and/or divine protections." When avoiding your attack, the enemy "uses up" some of his luck . Even a successful hit never meant in D&D that you got actually hurt.

In actual play I describe such effects as the target taking pains to avoid a possibly lethal blow, using up some of his resources to do so.

29. can someone help me wrap my head around level one characters adding their constitution score to their hit points, in terms of both fluff and crunch?

The Con score actually stands for your physical composure and ability. So why not include it in HP calculation? :cool: While HP and AC (or defenses) remain as unrealistic as they ever were, 4e uses a slightly different interpretation of their meaning.
 

messy

Explorer
30. is the higher of dexterity or intelligence added to armor class when holding a shield?

31. what's this i hear about giving bonus feats so that attacks "keep pace" with defenses?

arigato.
 

Storminator

First Post
30. is the higher of dexterity or intelligence added to armor class when holding a shield?

Yes, provided they are not in heavy armor. You don't get the stat bonus in heavy armor.

31. what's this i hear about giving bonus feats so that attacks "keep pace" with defenses?

arigato.

Monster defenses go up slightly faster than PC attacks, so PCs start to fall behind at higher levels (I haven't really seen this up to 12th level tho). Some DMs give out the existing Expertise feats for free, based on the idea that most players would take them anyway.

PS
 

30. is the higher of dexterity or intelligence added to armor class when holding a shield?

Yes. Shields don't interfere with Int or Dex.

31. what's this i hear about giving bonus feats so that attacks "keep pace" with defenses?

arigato.

Monster defenses are set by formula: AC 14 + level (-2 for some roles, +2 for soldier), and NADs are average 2 lower.

PC attack bonuses are set almost by formula. Proficiency bonus + stat + 1/2 level + 1/5 levels (enhancement bonuses), giving almost the +10 per tier that you need to keep us. This is predictable, and note that other bonuses (eg fighter weapon talent) don't scale. Implement bonuses rise at the same rate; there's no proficiency bonus, but then NADs are lower. By epic tier you're falling 3 points behind.

The various expertise feats give you +1 to hit per tier in your area, filling in the gap.
 

Tequila Sunrise

Adventurer
31. what's this i hear about giving bonus feats so that attacks "keep pace" with defenses?
What Storminator and Psi said, with the addendum that it's not just PC attacks that fall behind -- PC NADs fall behind too. Many DMs give out Improved Defenses for the same reason.
 

messy

Explorer
32. why was the sale price of goods changed to one-fifth of the purchase value?

33. what would be the effect of houseruling non-at-will powers to all be encounter powers (such that you get them all back at the end of an encounter; i ask because it seems like this would make things simpler)?

34. have the books been reprinted with errata?

35. is there a "third implement" feat?

36. what does errata mean when it mentions "rare" magic items (as i've seen no mention of this in the player's handbook)?

37. are sneak attack and hunter's quarry damage maximized on a critical hit?

38. does push/pull/slide have to move its target in a straight line?

merci.
 

32. why was the sale price of goods changed to one-fifth of the purchase value?

I think it has something to do with the magic item economy.

33. what would be the effect of houseruling non-at-will powers to all be encounter powers (such that you get them all back at the end of an encounter; i ask because it seems like this would make things simpler)?

So make dailies encounters? That would be ... odd. PCs would become far more powerful. By 9th-level more than half of their attacks in a typical battle would be dailies. Some extremely powerful utilities are also dailies, and need to be that to avoid spamming.

PCs are still going to lose healing surges throughout the day, but now there's very little incentive for a bad guy to not just show up and try to wipe out the PCs in the first encounter of the day.

So the short answer is "don't do that".

34. have the books been reprinted with errata?

No.

35. is there a "third implement" feat?

No.

36. what does errata mean when it mentions "rare" magic items (as i've seen no mention of this in the player's handbook)?

It's a newer concept, from when they changed the magic item rules, around the time of Essentials.

37. are sneak attack and hunter's quarry damage maximized on a critical hit?

Yes.

38. does push/pull/slide have to move its target in a straight line?

No, but if it's not a slide there are restrictions.
 

messy

Explorer
39. following up #33, can someone give an example of how daily powers are significantly more powerful than encounter powers?

40. is it true that the higher of dexterity or intelligence is not added to armor class when wearing heavy armor?

41. does (creature) size matter (for anything mechanically)?

gracias.
 

D'karr

Adventurer
39. following up #33, can someone give an example of how daily powers are significantly more powerful than encounter powers?

Most Daily powers do more damage on a hit, some do half damage on a miss, and a lot of them have additional rider effects. Even though there are some encounter powers that have some of these features, I really can't think of one that does all of them.

40. is it true that the higher of dexterity or intelligence is not added to armor class when wearing heavy armor?

Yes. PHB pg. 212

41. does (creature) size matter (for anything mechanically)?

Larger creatures tend to have reach, making it easier for them to attack opponents that are not adjacent. Some of these larger creatures also have "Threatening Reach", which allows them to take Opportunity Attacks against enemies that attempt to move closer to them.


De nada.
 

39. following up #33, can someone give an example of how daily powers are significantly more powerful than encounter powers?

Sure. My wizard PC is currently 3rd-level and his best encounter power is Icy Rays. It targets two opponents, dealing 1d10 + Int cold damage on a hit, and immobilizes the victim until the end of my next turn. Another power is Icy Terrain, that deals 1d6 + Int in an area burst 1 within 10, knocks prone anyone it hits, and creates a zone of difficult terrain that lasts until the end of my next turn.

I also have a level 1 daily, Phantom Chasm. This spell is an area burst 1 within 10 (targets enemies only), deals 2d6 + Int psychic damage, and immobilizes the target and knocks it prone. It deals half damage on a miss and still knocks the victim prone. And it creates a zone (an illusory pit) that causes any enemy that enters the zone (say, by me using Thunderwave on them) to fall prone. The zone lasts until the end of the encounter.

Daily powers frequently include saving throw effects, rather than ending after 1 turn.

Zones and other effects may last the entire encounter. Some of these effects (such as Stinking Cloud) can get very complicated and frankly it's a good thing these don't come up very often. Many controller effects that literally reshape the battlefield fall into this category.

Stoneskin gives lots of damage reduction for the entire encounter. Utility powers that give damage reduction until the end of your next turn are encounter powers instead.

Attack effects such as stunning pretty much never crop up unless they're daily.

I'll give a fighter example too. A 7th-level hammer-using knight can take Staggering Hammer, which will immobilize an enemy that's next to them for 1 turn. Handy when you use it to prevent someone from shifting past you to someone behind you. Knights don't have daily powers. (By that level, the knight can use it twice per encounter.)

A 5th-level PH1 fighter can take Dizzying Blow, which will deal 3[W] + Strength damage and inflicts immobilized (save ends). It's also reliable (as many fighter dailies are). It deals no damage on a miss, but instead you don't lose the power. You can keep trying until you hit with it, and only then is it expended. Yes, that's flat-out better, but of course you can only use it once.

Another 5th-level fighter daily is Rain of Steel, which surrounds you with an aura of 1[W] damage. Any creature that starts its turn next to you takes this damage, and given how difficult it is to move away from a fighter (you risk taking a hit even if you shift, which will probably do more damage) the enemy might well resign themselves to staying next to you and taking the damage. This is a minor action stance that lasts until you drop the stance (the entire encounter if you don't switch stances).

A fighter in my last campaign used Rain of Steel every campaign day. He also used Come and Get It, an encounter power that lured enemies next to him. So, he pulled enemies adjacent to him (and even if he missed, that marked them, since every fighter attack marks). Then, they he activated Rain of Steel. If an enemy stayed, they took 1[W]. If they shifted, they provoked a Combat Challenge response. If they moved away, they provoked an opportunity attack that would stop them from moving if it hit (due to Combat Superiority). We called that combo "the blender" and I'm very happy it could be done once a day!

There's a cleric daily power that weakens enemies in an AoE... but also increases the amount of healing of all of its powers by 5 for the rest of the encounter. There's a shaman power that gives all allies regeneration while bloodied and allies can sacrifice the regeneration for another 10 hit points... on top of the damage dished out. There's a warlord power that gives all allies huge attack bonuses against a single enemy for the entire encounter (really deadly if said enemy is a literal solo). Daily powers change the battlefield.

40. is it true that the higher of dexterity or intelligence is not added to armor class when wearing heavy armor?

True. You still get your half level bonus and enhancement bonuses to armor, of course. The system works pretty well, although Int/Dex classes see their AC scores rise a bit faster than heavy-armored PCs over levels.

A 1st-level fighter (weaponmaster) likely has an AC score of 17 or 19. 10 + 7 (scale armor) and maybe +2 (heavy shield). A 1st-level wizard likely has an AC score of 14 (Int 18). A 1st-level ranger likely has an AC score of 16 (+4 Dex, +2 leather). Note that it's fairly common for Dex/Int classes to take a 20 in that stat because it's giving +1 to hit, damage, and AC.

You can even get a lightly-armored defender to work (a "dodge tank") perfectly in the system. The swordmage, for instance, doesn't wear armor at all, but has a warding feature that gives +3 AC if you're using a single bladed weapon. A 1st-level swordmage probably has an AC score of 17 (+4 Int, +3 warding).

41. does (creature) size matter (for anything mechanically)?

Not much.

A larger creature cannot move into spaces that are two or more sizes smaller than it. Any creature (including a PC) can "squeeze" into a space one square smaller, but there's defined penalties for doing that.

You can't grapple a creature that's much bigger than you. Some powers let you push and pull creatures that are no more than one size larger than you (because picking up and tossing a Gargantuan titan without using magic is just ridiculous).

You can step over a creature if you're much bigger than it, or you can walk through its space if you're much smaller than it.

Size impacts reach, although strictly speaking it's more of a common sense thing (you don't normally give a Tiny creature a reach greater than 0, and you don't normally give a Gargantuan creature a reach of 1). All of the playable races (except maybe pixies?) have reach 1, as they're all Small or Medium (except maybe pixies?).
 
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Herschel

Adventurer
39. following up #33, can someone give an example of how daily powers are significantly more powerful than encounter powers?
Cleric 1: Moment of Glory - Close blast 5, enemies in blast are pushed three and knocked prone and you don't care if you hit any enemy because allies in blast gain Resist 5 to all damage until end of next turn but is sustainable so unless the cleric gets debilitated for a round, it's encounter-long. Shield of Faith (Utility 2) also gives nearby allies +2 AC for the Encounter. Take Improved Initiative and Battlewise (WIS instead of DEX for initiative) you could open every fight at second level by Shield of Faith as a minor action, step back as a move, Shield of Faith.

40. is it true that the higher of dexterity or intelligence is not added to armor class when wearing heavy armor?
Yes, you're not as nimble in heavier armor. This was my houserule back in first edition on so I was happy to finally see it make sense in teh general rules.
41. does (creature) size matter (for anything mechanically)?
Minimally. You can only grapple a creature up to one size larger, for example, and larger creatures most often have reach. There's also no more "monkey grip" feat (Thanks God!)
 

sabrinathecat

Explorer
32. why was the sale price of goods changed to one-fifth of the purchase value?
The poor merchants have to make a profit somehow, you know. They may have to store that piece of junk you were selling for years. It's not like everyone who wants a +3 suit of Warlock Leather can afford it. And they usually find something better by running around killing monsters.

33. what would be the effect of houseruling non-at-will powers to all be encounter powers (such that you get them all back at the end of an encounter; i ask because it seems like this would make things simpler)?
39. following up #33, can someone give an example of how daily powers are significantly more powerful than encounter powers?
By about 7th level, your characters would have more encounter powers than they can use in an encounter. By Epic, it would be beyond silly. Also, Daily powers tend to do at least 1 extra weapon damage, 1/2 on a miss, create zones, establish devastating effects, and generally be pretty amazing. That's why they are DAILIES. If you don't want dailies, I would suggest trying the Essentials rule set.

35. is there a "third implement" feat?
I hope not.

36. what does errata mean when it mentions "rare" magic items (as i've seen no mention of this in the player's handbook)?
WotC trying to add a layer of complexity that wasn't really needed.

37. are sneak attack and hunter's quarry damage maximized on a critical hit?
So is Warlock Curse.

38. does push/pull/slide have to move its target in a straight line?
Push: yes, sort of. Each square must be farther away that the last. However, sometimes that can mean diagonal. Pull is the same, but opposite, where each square must be closer. Slide is, well, slide.

41. does (creature) size matter (for anything mechanically)?
There are a lot of tactical considerations. If you want to push a large creature over a ledge, for example, all 4 squares of the base must be over the ledge in order for it to fall. There are feats and paragon paths that Dwarves can take that give them bonuses to defenses against larger creatures. Larger creatures have to squeeze to fit through smaller areas (combat advantage for rogues!!!)

There was another question about needing extra feats to keep up with the monsters: Expertise feats. I recently finished playing a campaign (scales of war) where I was a fey-pact warlock from lvl1 all the way through lvl30. The DM gave us expertise for free when we reached lvl 21. I didn't use it until lvl27, and unless my die rolls were really low, I still hit just about as often as not. In my view, expertise feats are totally unnecessary, and some of them have over-the-top benefits. Just lower the lvl28-35 monster's defenses by 3, and be done with it.
 

bert1000

First Post
28. what's the reasoning behind melee powers (like cleave) doing damage on a miss?

.
This is closely related to questions like:

  • Why do mental attacks, illusions, taunts, etc. all do HP damage? Seems like everything just does HP damage now?
  • How can the warlord inspire wounds closed without magic?

4e was unfortunately saddled with the terminology of older additions. HP really should have been called something like “heroic persistence” and healing surges should have been “heroic surges” or similar.

Even though HP were supposed to be abstract and not flesh points, even in the gygax days, 3e had gotten to the point where most HP damage was from sources that could do physical wounds, with other type of damage represented by ability damage, effects that occurred after a failed save, etc.

4e goes back to lumping anything that ‘wears down’ a hero into HP. So, when you see an illusion attack doing HP damage that isn’t necessarily meant to mean that the defender is physically injured, but rather off balance, confused, distracted, demoralized, etc. A strength of 4e IMO is that it is easier for both the DM and player to have narrative license to describe it however they will.

‘Wears down’ isn’t really a physical or mental thing either, it’s really a narrative / pacing mechanic. When you run out of HP, you’ve suffered enough stuff that you are in danger of the next bad thing taking you out of the scene.

With HP abstracted, these damage on a miss powers become easier to understand as well. Again “hit” and “miss” are probably not the best terms that could have been used. Maybe “Fully effective” and “partially effective” attack?

Powers with damage on a miss represent that even when the attack does not do exactly what the attacker wanted (‘hit’), the act itself (due to skill, luck, etc.) still causes some of the defenders’ “heroic persistence” to be lowered. For a weapon power that could mean getting your opponent off balance, glancing blows, defender shaken by realizing they suffered a near miss, etc. For a spell like power that could be being singed by fire, the illusion still freaking defender out momentarily, etc. Or, it could be that the attack does nothing in game at all, but the “heroic persistence” of the defender is still lowered. Narratively, the defender is still closer to being taken out.

The specifics of the ‘miss’ can be narrated by the DM/player based on the power and circumstances. I think this is a fun part of 4e, coming up with ways to wrap the narrative around the mechanical results (some people hate this). I find that 99% of the time you can come up with an interesting in-game narrative with the 1% of the time you just move on.

This question is also closely related to questions like:

  • Aren’t these martial encounter and daily powers artificial? Why can’t a fighter use any of his mundane powers at will?
‘Powers’ are not meant to be an in-game construct. In 4e, they are pure metagame abstractions (even the spells, although they can have a closer in game parallel) that help model and shape the narrative. 4e doesn’t do a good job of explaining this though. To a certain extent you can rationalize in game the martial dailies as “it takes the perfect combination of skill, luck, defender actions, environment, etc.” to pull off this maneuver and that happens on average once a day. The player can decide when that combination of circumstances occurs by using the daily.

But even that doesn’t have to be true. There is no “cleave” maneuver in an in-game fighting style for the character to learn. Cleave is just the game mechanic that the player triggers to signify that the character is using their fighting prowess to do something cool.
 

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