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

sabrinathecat

Explorer
78. can a creature benefit from multiple commander's strikes by multiple warlords in the same round?

Yes. One free action per Turn is not the same as one per round. If you had a party of 1 rogue and 4 warlords, yes, each one could use commander's strike or Direct the strike, and the rogue would get an attack for each one. Each warlord has his/her own turn.
And with the revised striker rules from essentials, the rogue would get to add sneak attack damage with every attack, provided he/she had combat advantage (say, from a flank-buddy warlord).
 

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messy

Explorer
79. does the extra damage from warlock's curse apply to melee weapon attacks?

80. does 4th edition suffer from "option overload" (an excessive amount of class options, feats, powers, etc.) like 3rd edition?

thankee.
 
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79. is the extra damage from warlock's curse apply to melee weapon attacks? 80. does 4th edition suffer from "option overload" (an excessive amount of class options, feats, powers, etc.) like 3rd edition? thankee.

79: Yes

80: Feats are almost as bad in 4e as 3e (they tend to be more distinct and better sorted although there are about a couple of hundred more of them in 4e than 3e). Horrible either way.

Powers on the other hand are broken down nicely, so you're only ever picking a power (or a class feature) from a relatively short list - a dozen or so for fighter or wizard and fewer for other classes. And after first level you're only picking one every other level. Not much of a problem especially with the character builder.
 

79. is the extra damage from warlock's curse apply to melee weapon attacks?

"A cursed enemy is more vulnerable to your attacks. If you damage a cursed enemy, you deal extra damage."

All attacks.

80. does 4th edition suffer from "option overload" (an excessive amount of class options, feats, powers, etc.) like 3rd edition?

thankee.

"Option overload" is always a matter of opinion. 4e has been out a long time, and there's certainly a lot of poor options out there for various reasons (overpowered, underpowered, don't work, effectively repeat previous options).

If you're worried, I'd suggest starting with just the core rules or just core Essentials (or both of those). By that I mean PH1 for the first and Heroes of the Fallen Lands (and perhaps Forgotten Kingdoms) for the second.

Note that it's easier to say you want to restrict stuff than actually do it. The Character Builder makes keeping options out more difficult. There's not much you can do or say if someone is desperate to play a bladesinger, even if it's a weak class that can't even decide on it's role. (At least it's a bit easier to say "that feat is stupidly powerful, trade it out for something else".)
 

sabrinathecat

Explorer
79. is the extra damage from warlock's curse apply to melee weapon attacks?

80. does 4th edition suffer from "option overload" (an excessive amount of class options, feats, powers, etc.) like 3rd edition?

thankee.

79: "If you damage a cursed enemy, you deal extra damage." So, yes. And "Eldrich Strike" counts as a basic melee attack, so it can be used with charges and opportunity attacks. As originally written in the Player's Handbook, this was only once per round. As modified by Essentials, this is once per turn, just like rogues.

80: no. In fact, there are a number of feat options I think are missing from the game because WotC was not consistent or properly planning out their products. Furthermore, if the DM doesn't like ____ rule, the DM is allowed to say "no ___, the rule is _____." This should not be done on the fly, but it is allowed. Personally, my rules include "No psionics, no hybrids", even though that is a huge chunk of Player's Handbook 3.
There are no racial feats for Shade or Vryloka from Heroes of Shadow. There are only a couple of racial feats for the races from Heroes of the FeyWild.
Most class options are nailed down at 1st level. Paragon path nails down or refines more at 11th. And the last major decision with unalterable consequences is Epic Destiny at 21st. Other than that, you normally have only 2 or 3 powers to choose between that work with your character's build. Sure, there may be 10-12 options, but most of them don't work well, or aren't compatible with your build.
As for feats, by epic, there aren't normally that many to choose from left. When my warlock made it to 30, there was only 1 feat that did him any good.
My dwarf fighter just made lvl28, and it was down to 2 feats, and the other one will be picked at 30th.
 

MarkB

Legend
As mentioned, there's a lot of feat bloat, and although there may only be one or two that really suit your character at any given level, it's not easy to pick them out without looking at the text for each of them, since they're often titled obscurely, and even after applying the Character Builder's limited filtering options you'll still have a long list to choose from.

The other major factor to look out for is that many feats are straight-up worse than other feats which do the same job, because a lot of revised feats were published with the release of Essentials that were intended to replace earlier feats - and those earlier feats remain available in the CB.
 

messy

Explorer
81. it seems that the power level of characters (certainly at higher levels) has been reduced.

81a. is this true?

81b. why was this done?

81c. what effect does this have?

82. it seems that the power level of magic items (certainly at higher levels) has been reduced.

82a. is this true?

82b. why was this done?

82c. what effect does this have?

thank you very much.
 

81. it seems that the power level of characters (certainly at higher levels) has been reduced.

81a. is this true?

81b. why was this done?

81c. what effect does this have?

Yes - and no. In 3.X character power level officially doubles every two levels, in 4e it doubles every four - but you start at the equivalent of 3rd level. But for whether high level power has been actually reduced, it depends what class you mean. I don't believe that there's a 20th level fighter in 3e that has the flexibility, the competence, or the power to affect things of a 4e Fighter with Come And Get It. But no 4e character can measure up to a high level wizard in 3.X

82. it seems that the power level of magic items (certainly at higher levels) has been reduced.

82a. is this true?

82b. why was this done?

82c. what effect does this have?

thank you very much.

Yes, definitely. It means that the characters own abilities are more important than their equipment.
 

81. it seems that the power level of characters (certainly at higher levels) has been reduced.

81a. is this true?

Warriors are stronger than before, casters are not.

81b. why was this done?

All roles should be balanced at all levels. Also, extending the sweet spot.

81c. what effect does this have?

Generally a more balanced game. You don't have 1st-level wizards with only 1-3 spells battling alongside far superior warriors. On the other hand, you don't have 20th-level fighters whose primary purpose is to carry the wizard's water.

IMO the difference in power between level tiers in 4e is considerable, putting some stress on the DM (you basically need to learn to run three different games), but at least the PCs are generally balanced with each other.

82. it seems that the power level of magic items (certainly at higher levels) has been reduced.

82a. is this true?

In comparison to 3e, yes.

82b. why was this done?

To make PCs less dependent on magic items. Your non-magical abilities (especially AC) are far less dependent on items than on your class abilities.

82c. what effect does this have?

Third edition had the Big Six items. Amulet of Natural Armor, Magic Shield/Magic Armor, Magic Weapon, Cloak of Resistance, Ring of Protection, and stat-boosting items. These were the most efficient items in the game, and you were expected to have them. (The iconic PCs in Enemies and Allies all had them, for instance.)

This meant PCs would not spend money on "cool" items. If you got your hands on a Trident of Fish Command, you sold it and spend money on a more efficient weapon. Note how many of those items are based on defenses, since they scaled very poorly.

Also note that casters were less dependent on items than non-casters. (A caster need not spend a penny on a magical weapon, and if you're a wizard you have options that make your low AC irrelevant.) This created yet another balancing problem. And then there's the issue of slots. The poor monk wants a Periapt of Wisdom, a Cloak of Resistance, an Amulet of Mighty Fists and an Amulet of Natural Armor. You need all four items but they're competing for two slots.

Instead of the Big Six, in 4e there's the Big Three. Weapon/implement, cloak slot (Amulet of Protection, aka Cloak of Resistance Slot) and Magic Armor. All PCs use these three slots.

My current wizard PC wears "cloth armor" and bought a Robe of Scintillation (+1 cloth armor that has a daily daze attack) and wields a magic orb in place of a magic weapon. In the game where I'm a player, rather than DMing, we have a monk... who only needs to spend on those three slots, but at the same time has to spend on those three slots like everyone else. (For weapons, a monk can either transfer the bonuses to their unarmed attacks or buy a ki focus.)

The items scale at the rate of +1 per 5 levels, an easy metric. PCs generally only have enough wealth to afford three or four items of their level. So that's three of your level and enough to spend money on potions, rituals, etc. I haven't built a 4e PC beyond level 1 in a while, but it's easy. Build your PC, then spend almost no time picking three items. This is in contrast to the intricate process I went through building a brawler for Pathfinder's latest playtest.

It means magical bonuses are predictable, a big deal when trying to figure out what a PC's AC or non-AC defenses or even attack bonuses are. In fact, I generally don't have to look at my PCs' defenses; they're nearly impossible to break, so I can trust the monster math. (If I feel the PCs are steamrolling encounters, I can just add more monsters to later encounters.)

By contrast, the "typical" AC and saving throw values of a 3e or Pathfinder fighter is not predictable and you need to spend time looking at the character sheet... and that's assuming no buffs. They could have different values by buying different stat-boosting items, or different combinations of Rings of Protection, Magic Shield (if any), Amulet of Natural Armor, Magic Armor...

Inherent bonuses work in 4e, in a way they didn't in 3e. In 3e, a fighter equipped with a magic shield could have an AC 7 points higher than a fighter without a magic shield... and there's just no way inherent bonuses can cover both types of fighter in a balanced manner. I shudder to picture an inherent bonus monk in 3e (I know Exalted Monks tended to be broken). In 4e, a heavy shield gives you +2 AC, period. The math is tight enough that the +2 AC always makes a difference, but there's no dual-stacking to worry about. You can certainly buy a magic shield that gives properties (bonus to resist charge, bonuses when bull rushing, etc) but it won't boost your AC and it's not one of the "Big Three" so you don't have to buy one anyway.

When my group was playing 3.5 (rather than Pathfinder) flaming weapons and similar weapons were considered valuable. Instead of a +2 sword, I might get a +1 flaming sword. That's -1 to hit for +2.5 damage (often a worthwhile trade) and if I attacked a creature with non-magic DR, unless the creature was fire-resistant they were at least going to take that damage. (Replace fire with shock, thunder, whatever, if you worried about how common fire resistance was.)

In 4e, I don't have to decide between enhancement bonus and the type of sword. The enhancement bonus is simply based on the weapon's level (which is usually very close to my level). Of course, the flaming sword can only deal extra damage once per day. (At any time, I can make it deal fire instead of normal damage. Handy when facing an ice elemental, and I can just turn that off facing a fire elemental.) If I found a "trident of fish command" (and my PC used a trident) I wouldn't try to sell it off. It wouldn't "suck" for my PC, even if a vanguard trident were a bit better.
 

81. it seems that the power level of characters (certainly at higher levels) has been reduced.

81a. is this true?

81b. why was this done?

81c. what effect does this have?

82. it seems that the power level of magic items (certainly at higher levels) has been reduced.

82a. is this true?

82b. why was this done?

82c. what effect does this have?

thank you very much.

I think it is best to answer these together because this is central to the philosophy of 4e. 4e is designed in such a way as to highly define and nail down the MECHANICAL options of the characters so that the players know exactly what they can and can't do with their powers (and other similar resources) in given situations. The INTENT is that the story aspect of the game is then free to be expressed both in terms of these powers and in whatever other terms the DM and players want. Because the mechanics of the game are so well-defined the DM has a very large toolkit through which to carry out this expression, and he is always free to build on that in various ways. Because it is usually pretty easy to tell what the effects of a given mechanic will be in the game the DM can for example simply give a character some goody for purely story reasons. Because we know what treasures and what their power is generally that are expected we can know what will happen if the DM goes outside those guidelines. Unlike say 1e for instance where it was very hard to know if a +2 sword was stupidly powerful for a 4th level fighter or not, in 4e we do know, and thus we know that if the DM decides to give the 4th level fighter a boon of +2 attack and damage bonus, its appropriate and can be treated like a magic +2 sword.

The intent, IMHO, for higher level play is that the DM should be using the rules as just a jumping-off point. Different DMs can go further or not as they please with this. A plain vanilla 4e 30th level Wizard is pretty damned powerful, but his options ARE less open-ended on the face of them than those of a 3.5e 20th level wizard. OTOH ritual magic is totally open-ended in theory, and there is plenty of material in the various books which describe things like curses, rituals, artifacts, and just wacky things that god-level beings do and are (and a 30th level wizard is pretty close to god-like in 4e). Its up to the DM to foster this kind of stuff and up to the players to seek out power beyond what is simply described in the books as given to you. This is a lot different from 3.5 in particular, where it was all spelled out in quite some detail.

4e is more of a toolkit in this sense, something that can go in a lot of directions if the DM and players are willing to use their imaginations. Unfortunately I think this is a trait that even RPGers often lack. I saw a lot of 'by-the-book' high level play that was really pretty uninteresting. In my own games though, things were much different. High level PCs were constantly coming up with all sorts of crazy stuff to do that was not written on a character sheet or contained explicitly in a book. It proved to be pretty fun and not a lot of work.

So, its like all games, 4e is a two-edged sword. It can be used to make some very dull games with very limited PCs, or some really crazy games with a lot of easily handled mechanics and a very cool story. You might read all the articles about the Iomandra Campaign that Chris Perkins ran, he did a lot of cool stuff with it at high level.
 

sabrinathecat

Explorer
I have a question maybe someone can answer.

1: vampire class has "Hidden Might" which adds cha mod to Vampire Attack powers. What if the attack is already Cha-based? Does that mean Dark Beckoning does 1d6+chamod+chamod+magic implement+psychic Feat Bump(if you have one)
 

captpike

First Post
I have a question maybe someone can answer.

1: vampire class has "Hidden Might" which adds cha mod to Vampire Attack powers. What if the attack is already Cha-based? Does that mean Dark Beckoning does 1d6+chamod+chamod+magic implement+psychic Feat Bump(if you have one)

that is correct
 

I have a question maybe someone can answer.

1: vampire class has "Hidden Might" which adds cha mod to Vampire Attack powers. What if the attack is already Cha-based? Does that mean Dark Beckoning does 1d6+chamod+chamod+magic implement+psychic Feat Bump(if you have one)

Yes. And to be honest the vampire needs all the help it can get.
 

the Jester

Legend
Yes. And to be honest the vampire needs all the help it can get.

Dude... I don't know about that. Are you speaking from play experience or just from reading it?

The character in my epic group with the record for highest damage is the pixie vampire, over a rogue, a sorcerer and a barbarian (plus non-strikers). Said pixie is built for charging, with the helmet of whatever that gives her some extra d6s on damage, but she certainly doesn't seem to have any trouble keeping up!
 

captpike

First Post
Dude... I don't know about that. Are you speaking from play experience or just from reading it?

The character in my epic group with the record for highest damage is the pixie vampire, over a rogue, a sorcerer and a barbarian (plus non-strikers). Said pixie is built for charging, with the helmet of whatever that gives her some extra d6s on damage, but she certainly doesn't seem to have any trouble keeping up!

charge optimization is so overpowered that you can add it to any class and that class becomes overpowered (even a charging wizard)
 

charge optimization is so overpowered that you can add it to any class and that class becomes overpowered (even a charging wizard)

Sadly I have to agree. My answer is I just NEVER give out any of the charge boosting items. If a PC does manage to get one, its a pretty significant thing. You can still pump up your charges a decent amount without all the boots, badges, weapons, and helmets, but it tends to be a lot less of a problem. Once that whole monkey-business is off the table then giving out ONE Horned Helm or Badge of the Berserker is NICE, but not stupid crazy.
 

Dude... I don't know about that. Are you speaking from play experience or just from reading it?

The character in my epic group with the record for highest damage is the pixie vampire, over a rogue, a sorcerer and a barbarian (plus non-strikers). Said pixie is built for charging, with the helmet of whatever that gives her some extra d6s on damage, but she certainly doesn't seem to have any trouble keeping up!

Play experience. And charging pixies get ugly - they'd be even uglier as thieves or anyone else that can charge well. I'm not even sure half the charge boosters by the RAW work with the vampire (like the vanguard weapon) - it's not charging using a weapon attack.
 

the Jester

Legend
Play experience. And charging pixies get ugly - they'd be even uglier as thieves or anyone else that can charge well. I'm not even sure half the charge boosters by the RAW work with the vampire (like the vanguard weapon) - it's not charging using a weapon attack.

I guess I exaggerate a bit when I say she's "built for charging" - she has the helmet and maybe a single feat for it? Most of her stuff is really more "built for character neatness"- this is the player's first pc ever. I initially thought the vampire would be extra fragile, but I've been pleasantly surprised by her durability.

(Though she has died once, under torture, by dint of not having enough surges.)
 



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