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D&D 4E My 4e problem.

RyvenCedrylle

First Post
I like a good homebrew as much as the next guy, but at this point you might as well write the game from scratch. It's not even 4E, really, because you're shifting focus from role by class to role by ethos. Class and ethos are becoming redundant in the design space you're headed into. You're going to save yourself and your players a lot of time and headaches by not reinventing this wheel.

4E is effect-based design. Cleave, Great Cleave, Twin Strike, Divine Bolts and Dual Strike(? - the Tempest Fighter one) are all the same thing in different strengths: hit two things. Thunderwave and Thunder of Judgement are the same thing: blast enemies away from a central point. Sly Flourish, Curse of the Dark Dream and Tide of Iron are the same thing: Hit one thing and move it. If I were going to try this, I would eliminate classes completely and assign an ethos to each power based on its crunch, not its fluff. Stuff that all does more or less the same thing -- another one, Ray of Frost, Frostblade and Grasping Shards: hit and slow -- is all the same ethos. Ignore damage types, they're easily changed.

Each level, figure out how many powers you have from each role (Defender, Striker, Controller and Leader) and gain HP appropriately. For class features, pick a class you have at least one at-will in. It's kinda dirty, but you don't need really well defined classes for your setting anyway, at least from the outside looking in.
 

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Cadfan

First Post
Resilience is not a virtue all magi embrace, and frankly such a choice should belong to the players, not the system.
That has nothing to do with it.

Look, the game designers set the bounds in which the players can improvise. For example, no character built with the standard rules can begin the game with less than 18 hit points. Likewise no character can begin with more than 42.

So players get the ability to choose to be more or less sturdy, in terms of hit points, but there are limits. They cannot choose to have a hundred hit points at level 1, nor to have 1 hit point at level 1. The game designers have ruled this out because its not good for the game as a whole for characters to be that extremely disparate on this very important issue.

That's the approach you have to taken when you design material. Its not about flavor or player's rights. Its about designing the environment in which flavor and player's decisions can exist.

Or in other words, let your players spend too many healing surges for extra offensive power, and pretty soon you'll have at least one player who wants to burn most of his healing surges in the first fight, and then rest.

Also, Daze is too good at level 21. Even at epic tier, stunning at will is too good. Just imagine a fight with a single enemy. The wizard with Daze casts it, repeatedly. If he hits 50% of the time, great. One player uses up all of his actions to cost the entire enemy force half of its actions. Or to put it another way, five players have five turns amongst themselves per round. The single enemy has one turn per round. One player uses up one out of the party's four turns to cost the monster half of his turns. Instead of a 5:1 ratio, now you have an 8:1 ratio. There's nothing in the game this powerful for an at will.
 

Michael Morris

First Post
I like a good homebrew as much as the next guy, but at this point you might as well write the game from scratch. It's not even 4E, really...

:lol:

You lecturing me on what does and does not constitute 4e is about as stupid as the endless debates on what constitutes D&D itself. It's elitist, snarky and rude at best, so knock it off.

That has nothing to do with it.

Look, the game designers set the bounds in which the players can improvise. For example, no character built with the standard rules can begin the game with less than 18 hit points. Likewise no character can begin with more than 42.

[snip]

Or in other words, let your players spend too many healing surges for extra offensive power, and pretty soon you'll have at least one player who wants to burn most of his healing surges in the first fight, and then rest.

Let him. Let his companions refuse to let him. And let him die. You might like D&D on training wheels. I don't. Bad choices and / or risky choices are a part of the game.

Also, Daze is too good at level 21
It's too good at level 1 as an at will - but I put it in there to see if anyone was paying attention. It has been my experience in my long years on this board that if every I is dotted and ever T is crossed just right a powers post will get ignored. Make a mistake and everyone wants to talk about it. In so doing the stuff I might have missed that was an honest mistake may get noticed. For instance, I still have reservations about remand.

Daze can go two ways. The most likely way is to give it some damage (1d6+intelligence mod) and make it an encounter power, or let it stay at will and limit it to working on a given foe only once (which is at best an odd approach).

The trick is where the red mage has the best damage opportunities, the blue mage has the worst. His ability to control is through repeated denials (counterspelling), terrain and time manipulation, not damage.
 
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Cadfan

First Post
Let him. Let his companions refuse to let him. And let him die. You might like D&D on training wheels. I don't. Bad choices and / or risky choices are a part of the game.
Bad choices IN GAME are part of the game. Bad choices as in "Whoops, the power you chose screws you! Guess you shouldn't have picked it!" is just poor design.

Realistically though, in this particular case, that's not going to happen. Your players are just going to use powers like this to nova, get high damage in one fight, and then find an excuse to rest. You'll fight back by creating plot based reasons they can't nova and immediately rest, and they'll fight back by making choices to facilitate their ability to be as powerful as possible. You'll retaliate by ambushing them when they think they're safe, and they'll respond by stopping even earlier so that they're combat ready if or when they get ambushed. Eventually your actions will become more and more logically strained, and your players will get frustrated, or you'll give up.

Its a pretty standard cycle you get into when you give players the ability to burn fast, hot, and short.
 

Michael Morris

First Post
And now for time games.


Standstill
Balcra Utility 27

You utter a word and a shimmering pulse emanates from you to include all combatants. Time stops, the effects of the combat end, and time resumes.

Daily + Planar
Standard Action
Effect: End the encounter (This means all effects which last until the end of the encounter halt. Initiative must be rerolled if combat is rejoined).


Temporal Shift

Balcra Attack 10

You vanish. Moments later you reappear, teleported through time.

Encounter + Planar
Standard Action
Effect: You vanish. When your turn comes up roll a 6 sided die. On 6 you reappear in the last square you occupied. If it is occupide you slide to the nearest unoccupied square. No time passes for you from the time you vanish until you reappear.


Time Warp
Balcra Utility 27

With a jump to the left and a step to the right and a few magic words you cause a contortion in time that causes all effects to occur twice.

Daily + Planar
Standard Action
Effect: For the next round The actions of all combatants (including your enemies) occur twice.


Temporal Pulse

Balcra Utility 2

You channel your will to pass your share of time to an ally.

Encounter + Planar
Full Round Action
Effect: An ally gains a bonus turn they take while you lose yours. This doesn't affect their normal turn.
 

Michael Morris

First Post
Bad choices IN GAME are part of the game. Bad choices as in "Whoops, the power you chose screws you! Guess you shouldn't have picked it!" is just poor design.

Not all powers are for all players. Nor can all the powers be equally useful. 4e attempts to make more powers relevant by spreading the good powers around among the classes and trying to make sure that no class gets too many good powers. The problem with this approach is that as time goes by and the game gets solved by power gamers certain classes will bubble up to the top like the druid did in 3e.

The magi system uses the colors rather than class to enforce a limit on how many good powers each character gets. Some people get Eldritch blast - some settle for magic missile or worse.

Realistically though, in this particular case, that's not going to happen. Your players are just going to use powers like this to nova, get high damage in one fight, and then find an excuse to rest. You'll fight back by creating plot based reasons they can't nova and immediately rest....
:snip:

First, slippery slope logic does not impress me - quite the opposite. Second you presume all the magi will be able to, as you put it, 'nova.' - which will not be the case. It's something I'm considering for red because red has a 'future be damned' impatient streak a mile wide that needs to be expressed in the powers it has. Third, the pattern of play you describe worked well enough for 30 years of D&D's history - so why is it suddenly bad-wrong-fun? Spare me you condescension please.


I'm trying to save the heritage of my setting and put it in terms that will work in 4e. It may not be the best match, but there are ideas in 4e I like that I want to use. There are others that I loathe that won't be using. One of those is the training wheels philosophy. I will be putting some powers in that ostensibly suck or at least look like they suck because there are players out there that like to take suck powers (or in Magic, such cards) and make them useful. They like the challenge of doing such a thing. Who are you to call that bad-wrong-fun??
 

Nytmare

David Jose
It's too good at level 1 as an at will - but I put it in there to see if anyone was paying attention. It has been my experience in my long years on this board that if every I is dotted and ever T is crossed just right a powers post will get ignored.

Honestly?

This and this alone has convinced me to stop paying attention to you.
 


Cadfan

First Post
First, slippery slope logic does not impress me - quite the opposite. Second you presume all the magi will be able to, as you put it, 'nova.' - which will not be the case. It's something I'm considering for red because red has a 'future be damned' impatient streak a mile wide that needs to be expressed in the powers it has. Third, the pattern of play you describe worked well enough for 30 years of D&D's history - so why is it suddenly bad-wrong-fun? Spare me you condescension please.
The 15 minute adventuring day issues of 3e is related to the ability to take effects intended by the game designer to be spaced out across several fights and concentrate them into one fight, as compared to other classes which have no such ability, resulting in one class having greater power levels in a single fight and then negating the downside of reduced power later by finding creative ways to rest. If you don't understand that, you probably shouldn't homebrew.
 

Michael Morris

First Post
If you don't understand that, you probably shouldn't homebrew.

Let me be plain.

No member has any right to tell any other member that.

You have no right to tell that to any member, least of all me. I worked on this site for six years, I've been playing this game the better part of sixteen. You don't even have the semblance of a right to tell me what I can and cannot do.

Take your passive aggressive bs elsewhere, and welcome to my killfile.
 

RyvenCedrylle

First Post
Mr. Morris-

My apologies to you if I came across (and continue to below) as snarky or elitist. The downside to internet forum posting, of course, is that there is no body language or voice intonation to provide proper context. My point is simply that it seems you are introducing so many new powers and feats that the game is more "Michael Morris" and less "WotC." Now that's not a bad thing - heck, I played a homebrew classless OGL variant that I found decidedly better than canon 3E, but because it was so.. diluted, maybe is the right word?.. it felt wrong to call it 3E. Maybe it's just semantics.

I liked some of the time-based powers you just posted, but am a little confused to some of the functioning. Please assume the statements to be honest and inquisitive as that is the intention.

Standstill has some definite potential so long as there's the option to not rejoin battle. That's a GM improv issue though, as opposed to a design issue. I assume it's intended to convert combat to roleplaying or skill challenges as opposed to simply 'end all ongoing conditions?' If it's the latter, "end all ongoing conditions and reroll initiative" is a heck of a lot easier to follow mechanically.

Temporal shift: So this is like the old 'Sanctuary' spell, I take it? I was a huge fan of Sanctuary in earlier editions, but as a player looking at this quickly as a power option, I'm not sure if I would take it. With Sanctuary, you can heal, move and do a bunch of other things while in the protective bubble. Here, I miss 1d6 turns (essentially) and then show up in almost exactly the same space and condition. I'm not sure what I would do with this unless the battle was almost over and I just needed to get out and save my hide while other folks clean up the mess. Now, if you have the option to spend a healing surge or two while you're telling the laws of physics to sit down and shut up, that's a totally different animal. I'd use that any day of the week and twice on Tuesdays.

Time Warp - hmm.. I'm conflicted. This is REALLY swingy - everyone will probably go nova at this point to maximize the amount of carnage with their best dailies and so the battle is really going to rely heavily on a small number of rolls. That being said, it's level 28 and by that point, stuff like this ought to be happening. This is epic tier and you should be able to epic fail. I'd probably never use it myself, but I can think of some friends who would LOVE that power.

Temporal Pulse - retains economy of actions and does something unique. Beautiful.
 
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Michael Morris

First Post
Mr. Morris-

My apologies to you if I came across (and continue to below) as snarky or elitist. The downside to internet forum posting, of course, is that there is no body language or voice intonation to provide proper context. My point is simply that it seems you are introducing so many new powers and feats that the game is more "Michael Morris" and less "WotC." Now that's not a bad thing - heck, I played a homebrew classless OGL variant that I found decidedly better than canon 3E, but because it was so.. diluted, maybe is the right word?.. it felt wrong to call it 3E. Maybe it's just semantics.

No need to apologize. I can be quite brutish at times unfortunately for, like most programmer types, social skills aren't my forte. There's a reason Piratecat never let me moderate in all the time I was an admin.

I can understand the feeling about the schism, but I am trying to pull the game to my setting if for no other reason than I feel 4e has lost some verisimilitude. Forgotten Realms was trashed utterly, I hold no hope for Eberron to keep its identity and the default world is at once more cohesive and less cohesive than in any prior edition. I don't want my setting to lose what makes it feel different from default D&D - but I still want someone to be able to play default D&D materials in the world.

For example, my world has no native dragonborn or tieflings. If a player really wants to play one they could end up in Carthasana via a portal, but they would be unique (and likely very alone) in the world. Mechanically though they would fit in.

I liked some of the time-based powers you just posted, but am a little confused to some of the functioning. Please assume the statements to be honest and inquisitive as that is the intention.

Standstill has some definite potential so long as there's the option to not rejoin battle. That's a GM improv issue though, as opposed to a design issue. I assume it's intended to convert combat to roleplaying or skill challenges as opposed to simply 'end all ongoing conditions?' If it's the latter, "end all ongoing conditions and reroll initiative" is a heck of a lot easier to follow mechanically.

The magic card "Time Stop" is the inspiration for this -- "End the turn." has a lot of repurcussions in that game. In 4e "End the encounter" has a lot of repurcussions even under the current rules, and there may be future classes or powers that the wording would affect. Hence the statement of the effect and they in parenthesis a reminder of what that effect means to the game.

The spell itself is pretty scary since it's a global status dispel without a caster level check. Only Time Spiral is scarier, but I'm not sure if I *can* translate that effect into 4e at any level -- in brief Time Spiral returns all creatures in the encounter to their status at the beginning of the encounter - even going so far as to raise the dead. It's balance in 3e was its high XP cost of 5000 XP, the same as a CR 17+ encounter. I don't know if it can balance in 4e at all.

Temporal shift: So this is like the old 'Sanctuary' spell, I take it? I was a huge fan of Sanctuary in earlier editions, but as a player looking at this quickly as a power option, I'm not sure if I would take it. With Sanctuary, you can heal, move and do a bunch of other things while in the protective bubble. Here, I miss 1d6 turns (essentially) and then show up in almost exactly the same space and condition. I'm not sure what I would do with this unless the battle was almost over and I just needed to get out and save my hide while other folks clean up the mess. Now, if you have the option to spend a healing surge or two while you're telling the laws of physics to sit down and shut up, that's a totally different animal. I'd use that any day of the week and twice on Tuesdays.

This is one of those puzzle powers I mentioned earlier. I'm not exactly sure how this can be used. Given the points you bring up I'm even less sure of it's level assignment now.

Time Warp - hmm.. I'm conflicted. This is REALLY swingy - everyone will probably go nova at this point to maximize the amount of carnage with their best dailies and so the battle is really going to rely heavily on a small number of rolls. That being said, it's level 28 and by that point, stuff like this ought to be happening. This is epic tier and you should be able to epic fail. I'd probably never use it myself, but I can think of some friends who would LOVE that power.

I've seen this in play in 3e - the trick is to use other Balcran spells or simple held actions to line up the parties' attacks into one massive assault. And I've had clever NPC's get the party back

Temporal Pulse - retains economy of actions and does something unique. Beautiful.

Originally named Quick - Temporal Pulse is a prettier name but also the original spell was my broken character litmus test. If using Temporal Pulse over and over on a given ally is more attractive than personally acting it's an indication that your character is too weak or the character you're targetting is too powerful.

Another note, this power WILL break up if the party members are different levels. A 3rd level blue mage can get a lot of mileage by hitting a 7th level anything with this spell. This happens more often with NPC's in my own games - Imagine a high level wizard with multiple apprentices packing this spell. The 3e version states that a given character can only benefit from this spell once per round - and it may be worth adding to this 4e power that a given character can only be affected by this power once per encounter to stop the potential abuse.
 

Michael Morris

First Post
Let's now move away from Blue over to Red - the "I really want to knock the crap out of you color."

Fanning the Flames
Shunra Utility 6

You chant ancient words of power causing the temperature to rise uncomfortably. The kindling is set, now for the spark!

Daily + Planar, Fire
Effect: Fire powers deal 5 more damage.


Flaring Pain
Shunra Utility 16

Daily + Planar, Conjuration
Area: 10 square radius from you.
Effect: All healing effects are halved.


Rolling Thunder
Shunra Attack 5

You strike your fist or implement into the ground creative a shockwave of flame that lashes out to engulf foes though you are unharmed.

Daily + Planar, Fire, Implement
Close Burst 5
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex
Hit: 3d8 + Intelligence modifier damage. On critical hit target knocked prone instead of extra damage.
Miss: Half Damage


Parch
Shunra Attack 1

You unleash a ruby ray that lashes out and dries up all moisture in the target.

Encounter + Planar, Fire, Implement
Range: 10
Target: One Creature
Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d10+ Intelligence modifier fire damage.
Note: A Balcra aligned character will be dealt an additional 1d10 damage by this attack.
 

The_Warlock

First Post
Ok, I don't have the brainspace to make effective power by power commentary at the moment, however, I did want to say...

Absolutely, fundamentally, COOL.

Highly different playstyles represented with a world integrated mechanic...love it.


This would probably make me bother to play 4E.

When I'm not running on fumes I'll be back and see if I have anything to add. If not, I'll at least be reading what you are posting, because I find it very interesting, even as I try to parse relative value and balance issues.


Felt the need to say that at least.
 


Greg K

Adventurer
The 15 minute adventuring day issues of 3e is related to the ability to take effects intended by the game designer to be spaced out across several fights and concentrate them into one fight, as compared to other classes which have no such ability, resulting in one class having greater power levels in a single fight and then negating the downside of reduced power later by finding creative ways to rest. If you don't understand that, you probably shouldn't homebrew.

And, maybe, you should stop assuming that everybody plays the same as you. The 15 minute adventuring day is not something every group experiences.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
The 15 minute adventuring day issues of 3e is related to the ability to take effects intended by the game designer to be spaced out across several fights and concentrate them into one fight, as compared to other classes which have no such ability, resulting in one class having greater power levels in a single fight and then negating the downside of reduced power later by finding creative ways to rest. If you don't understand that, you probably shouldn't homebrew.

If you can't be polite, you shouldn't be posting in this thread. I'll give you a hand there. Threadbanned.
 

Michael Morris

First Post
Moving on. Green magi are to do the defender role. Defender of nature and all that, but it's also an interesting role focus to distinguish from the druid who is the primal controller class. But a primary spellcaster that can effectively get in close and wallop, there's a puzzle...

I think the way to do this is let green have a *lot* of summons (ironically just like the card game). The green mage doesn't so much personally defend the party as summon in beasties to do it.

Thoughts?
 

Greg K

Adventurer
Michael,
I wish I could help you, because I really find what you are doing interesting just as I did when you presented the setting before. Currently, though, I don't run or play 4e having chosen to stay with 3e. Yet, it is threads like this that have me keeping a watchful eye upon the 4e boards and open to the possibility of switching at some point in the future.
 

The_Warlock

First Post
Moving on. Green magi are to do the defender role. Defender of nature and all that, but it's also an interesting role focus to distinguish from the druid who is the primal controller class. But a primary spellcaster that can effectively get in close and wallop, there's a puzzle...

I think the way to do this is let green have a *lot* of summons (ironically just like the card game). The green mage doesn't so much personally defend the party as summon in beasties to do it.

Thoughts?

That said, tones of Tenser's Transformation from Prior Editions comes to mind.

If it were me, I would look up the Tenser spells from the old Greyhawk Adventures hardbound for inspiration.

Nature Themed powers that give a certain number of rounds of Enhanced Defense, or melee nature powers with a "Brutal" component giving them a minimum damage, or powers which give temp hit points only to the mage.

Then mix them with some summons so that they can have helpful flankers. Another thought would be that the Green Magi's summoned creatures are "defenders" in the sense that the Mark a target, so that it and the Green Mage can melee an enemy, but most enemies will focus on the summoned creature, "effectively" increasing the Green Magi's defense/hit points by reducing his likelihood of being targeted.

Going too focused on summons I think will keep the Green Mage OUT of the front line, which doesn't sound like something you want (based on the "wallop" concept).

Perhaps an encounter power called "Relentless Revival" which allows the Green Mage to heal himself from unconsciousness but only if he was in melee when he was KO'd.

I'm now going back in this thread and re-reading some stuff, but figured an unenlightened brainstorm post might be useful.
 
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