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D&D 4E My Least Favourite Thing About 4e is Forced Balance

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keterys

First Post
I think that fire elementals should have notable fire resistance, but I'm fine with volcanic dragons or azers or whatever not having it.

I'd approve of them having something that made it clear they ignore extremes of temperature common to their home environments without interacting with damage / resistance. There's probably a clean way to do that.

Basically, I think there's way too much immunity and resistance in D&D, such that juggling energy types is its own mini game rather than just letting people play. There's nothing wrong with saying that a creature is able to live in much harsher conditions than humans, without making it a recurring combat issue.

P.S. Spoken as someone who showed up to a campaign as a "storm" sorcerer in 3e, then a level later the campaign turned into going up against all sorts of skeletal undead who were resistant or immune to lightning. Cause clearly a bolt of lightning doesn't hurt a skeleton somehow ;)
 

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Dausuul

Legend
Basically, I think there's way too much immunity and resistance in D&D, such that juggling energy types is its own mini game rather than just letting people play. There's nothing wrong with saying that a creature is able to live in much harsher conditions than humans, without making it a recurring combat issue.

This I do agree with, although the problem is mostly resolved in 4E. Resistance and immunity should exist only where absolutely necessary. A fire elemental should have fire resist, but a red dragon doesn't need it. A skeleton should be immune to poison, but it's senseless to make it immune to lightning. Et cetera.
 

hanez

First Post
Nothing stops you from creating your own skeleton with such an immunity. This is what is so good about D&D4 : you can really design monsters the way you want. So add this trait to your skeletons and play... You could also add another traits that would make the skeleton vulnerable to some power of the rogue to balance things out if you want. You don't have to though... You don't have to balance things out if you don't want to.

On the other hand, a system that would not allow to balance fun between players would not be nice. I prefer a balanced system that can be umbalanced, than a umbalanced system that cannot be balanced.

Ive never done this before so tell me if Im doing it wrong but...

OBERANI FALLACY!

Just cause I can fix the problem as DM doesn't mean the rules arent a problem.

Really Im just trying to be comical. But I do notice that when 4e "can be changed" its a graceful option of the system. But when its the other way around, its "why should the DM have to change it to make up for the faults of the system" or an Oberani fallacy (or whatever).

Personally I like immunities and weaknesses, they make monsters more then just bags of hitpoints with attacks. IMHO when the designers are considering an immunity they should lean towards giving the monster the immunity and not consider if "its really needed"

Immunities, and other things that force PCs to change their tactics, and make a varieties of strategies and classes shine are a great thing about D&D that helps make combat memorable.


Its not about realism, sure I can find all sorts of reasons why a monster should, or shouldnt have an immunity. Rather its about the PCs trying something, and it NOT WORKING. Its about them having to try something else. Its about the wizard (or whomever) being less useful for one day or one adventure. Its about remembering a signifigant fact about a monster that you learned the hard way.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Just finished the first page, but, I'd point something out re: fire elementals and fire spells.

The game has long distinguished magical fire and normal fire. They operated under different rules in AD&D. So, having a fire elemental be affected by magical fire does have some justification in it.
 

Number48

First Post
Been giving this a rethought. First, is this a straw man argument? I don't play 4E anymore. There weren't as many books out when I stopped and I can't rightly remember the ones that were out. But, how many of these "problem" creatures are we talking about when you say the problem with 4E is forced balance. Is this problem greater than 2% of the monsters in the books? Every edition has had monsters entries that you look at and say, "Well, that's stupid." I mean, has anyone actually seen a quaggoth used in a game? Or a sussurus?

The second thing I thought about is that, with my group at least, it would make absolutely no difference if a fire elemental had resist 0, 20 or immunity. They wouldn't use fire attacks on a fire elemental. The only way I would see my group using fire on a fire elemental is by accident, such as using a flaming sword because that's what you're holding.
 

herrozerro

First Post
But, show me a game that tells its players that they need to look at things from where it is coming from instead of the game being able to service the notions the players want to bring into the game, and I'll show you a game where the designers are thinking about a new edition two years later.

so lets take every single game with magic, vancian magic operates on a certain established rules that tells the player how the game should be looked at.

FF espers are another way of looking at magic, as are a multitude of other systems.

You could have 10 games and 10 different ways of looking at what "magic" is.

If you play a game where magic is granted by espers or other powerful creatures then playing some kind of wizard who learns about magic isnt gonig to make much sense, even if that's what the player wants to bring to the table.

I think you are making the assumption that a game that tells it's players how to view its game world is suddenly going to have to change editions is false as well. Perhaps for something huge like D&D but there are a multitude of indie games out there and especially some of the more esoteric ones out there you really have to approach the game for what it is and not what you think it should be.
 

BryonD

Hero
Hussar said:
So, 3rd edition?

I think you will need to explain to me how the game that has been converted into:
Blue Rose
Grim Tales
Pathfinder
Spycraft
Mutants and Masterminds
etc
etc
etc


even BEGINS to meet that definition.
 

BryonD

Hero
so lets take every single game with magic, vancian magic operates on a certain established rules that tells the player how the game should be looked at.

FF espers are another way of looking at magic, as are a multitude of other systems.

You could have 10 games and 10 different ways of looking at what "magic" is.

If you play a game where magic is granted by espers or other powerful creatures then playing some kind of wizard who learns about magic isnt gonig to make much sense, even if that's what the player wants to bring to the table.

I think you are making the assumption that a game that tells it's players how to view its game world is suddenly going to have to change editions is false as well. Perhaps for something huge like D&D but there are a multitude of indie games out there and especially some of the more esoteric ones out there you really have to approach the game for what it is and not what you think it should be.
Honest question here....

Are you a Hussar alt?
 

BryonD

Hero
I think you are making the assumption that a game that tells it's players how to view its game world is suddenly going to have to change editions is false as well. Perhaps for something huge like D&D but there are a multitude of indie games out there and especially some of the more esoteric ones out there you really have to approach the game for what it is and not what you think it should be.
OK, for some niche game with no observable fan base, I concede the point.

I'm pretty sure we ARE in fact talking about D&D here though, so I'll take you statement as concurrence.
 

herrozerro

First Post
Ive never done this before so tell me if Im doing it wrong but...

OBERANI FALLACY!

Just cause I can fix the problem as DM doesn't mean the rules arent a problem.

This doesn't apply here, as monster design is a customization element of the game.

now if the issue were that all monsters auto hit every third attack because it's in the rules and you need to change the rules to fix it, then it would apply.

But to say that "monster X isnt as cool as you'd like it to be so you should change it." its not a fallacy in the sense that you are putting forth.
 

herrozerro

First Post
OK, for some niche game with no observable fan base, I concede the point.

I'm pretty sure we ARE in fact talking about D&D here though, so I'll take you statement as concurrence.

So the real answer is that a game needs to be simulationist to reflect our real world so that the greatest percentage of people bringing in their own preconceptions are not effected?
 

BryonD

Hero
So the real answer is that a game needs to be simulationist to reflect our real world so that the greatest percentage of people bringing in their own preconceptions are not effected?
Wow, putting words in my mouth.....

I've seen that before.


Well, lets see.....
I don't know of ANYONE hung up on "our real world", so lets ditch that red herring from the start.

And, IME, hardcore simulationists tend to constantly be looking for new ideas to simulate. Thus pretty much by definition a quality simulationist system must reject nearly all "preconceptions" so that it is ready for the concept of the minute that the fans may want to build.

No. I think I have to say that I can't make much sense out of what you just said. Sorry.

I think it is better to just say:
"But, show me a game that tells its players that they need to look at things from where it is coming from instead of the game being able to service the notions the players want to bring into the game, and I'll show you a game where the designers are thinking about a new edition two years later."
 

herrozerro

First Post
I think it is better to just say:
"But, show me a game that tells its players that they need to look at things from where it is coming from instead of the game being able to service the notions the players want to bring into the game, and I'll show you a game where the designers are thinking about a new edition two years later."

To which I say your question is a loaded one to start with. any game that is not a niche game with no noticeable fanbase is probably going to be that is going to do multiple editions.

I could show you games that have the mentality that we are discussing but of course the big ones are going to be going through revisions and editions.

Like I said before though, magic as a topic is a perfect example of "Here is how it works in this game.".
 

hanez

First Post
This doesn't apply here, as monster design is a customization element of the game.

But to say that "monster X isnt as cool as you'd like it to be so you should change it." its not a fallacy in the sense that you are putting forth.

I think my satirical use of the fallacy is equivalent to the way I see many others use it on this site. Let me use a classic example:

"Oh myyyy this edition sucks soooo bad because I read you could make this mage/druid/splatbook class that totally dominates in combat. Theres only one class to play and everyone else is a torchbearer! "

Response - "So, uh don't do that, and a reasonable DM would veto that anyways. He could also throw a variety of situations to make everyone useful."

"noooooo the whole system sucks because of this one intentional ploy to break it, and I shouldnt have to change it or have a competent DM, thats the OBERANI Fallacy!"
All I'm trying to say, is to some fire elemental should be immune to fire. Changing that in their game, is just as easy as changing a rule on balance issues in another game. Both may provoke questions and concerns from players. Both are areas of DM discretion (rule adjudication, challenge design and setup, and monster selection are part of DM discretion).

People dont want to have to change rules to make the game fun (for them), they want to have faith that the rules will be fun as is and that they won't have to constantly patch, append or customize the system. It just seems we often hear from one side "well you can change that, thats not a big deal right?" when it would be a big deal if it was the other way around.

In fact the quote I specifically referenced said that while one rule type for the monster could easily be changed, the other would not be acceptable. Ill quote it below, logically shouldnt both solutions be acceptable as both can be changed?

Nothing stops you from creating your own skeleton with such an immunity. This is what is so good about D&D4 ... You don't have to balance things out if you don't want to.

On the other hand, a system that would not allow to balance fun between players would not be nice. I prefer a balanced system that can be umbalanced, than a umbalanced system that cannot be balanced.
 
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Hussar

Legend
I think you will need to explain to me how the game that has been converted into:
Blue Rose
Grim Tales
Pathfinder
Spycraft
Mutants and Masterminds
etc
etc
etc


even BEGINS to meet that definition.

You criticized a system for the designers beginning to look for a new edition two years after release. I honestly thought you meant 3e, since that fits the criteria. After all, 3.5 hit 3 years after release, so it was being designed pretty much since 3.0 hit the shelves, and 3.5 started being reworked as early as 06, again, about two years after release.

Or perhaps you'd like to back up a bit on the edition cheap shots?

I'd point out that 4e currently has Santiago in the wings (SF 4e), Gamma World, and half a dozen other alternate genre games already out there. Granted, nowhere near as many as 3e. Totally get that. OGL and all that tends to limit things quite a bit.

But, that's the point. The reason you don't have a bajillion alternate games for 4e is the OGL, not the mechanics of the game.
 

BryonD

Hero
You criticized a system for the designers beginning to look for a new edition two years after release. I honestly thought you meant 3e, since that fits the criteria. After all, 3.5 hit 3 years after release, so it was being designed pretty much since 3.0 hit the shelves, and 3.5 started being reworked as early as 06, again, about two years after release.
Are you really trying to equate 3.5 to replacing 4E with a completely new edition?

Yeah, 3.5 was promoted from very early on. And it was touted as an effort to take the massive feedback that the groundswell of fans had provided and build on that. Now I’ll readily agree that it had some serious negative unintended results. But we are talking about motivation. And the motivation was the growth.

I agree that there are fundamental differences between essentials and 3.5. But if 3.5 counts for this specific conversation, then essentials counts even more. I was talking about moving from 4E to the next edition. But the motivation for both the current change and the role out of essentials were touted as efforts to expand the fan base and recover lost fans.
Yes, I said 2 years and 3.5 meets that sole criteria. But if I said “round, purple, and full of sweet juice” would you say I must mean a cue ball because it is round? 3.5 doesn’t come close to meeting what I said.
Or perhaps you'd like to back up a bit on the edition cheap shots?
You not liking it is not the definition of a cheap shot. It was an accurate statement of what happened (without even considering essentials). And it was an accurate statement of cause and effect.

I'd point out that 4e currently has Santiago in the wings (SF 4e), Gamma World, and half a dozen other alternate genre games already out there. Granted, nowhere near as many as 3e. Totally get that. OGL and all that tends to limit things quite a bit.

But, that's the point. The reason you don't have a bajillion alternate games for 4e is the OGL, not the mechanics of the game.
So what? Those setting tweaks don’t being to touch the fundamental system changes that I listed.

Yes, the GSL greatly limited supporting development. But showing me a different fact that also happens to be true does nothing to contradict other realities. The mechanics are fundamentally important here as well. 3E readily supports major rebuilds because it was designed as intended to be a tinker toy tool box. 4E was designed, and loudly praised by its fans, for not burdening new DMs with that tool box.

You know I have made that point to you multiple times over the past small number of years. And now Mearls has echoed that point in his quote in the Forbes article when he said “In some ways, it was like we told people, ‘The right way to play guitar is to play thrash metal,’” says Mearls. “But there’s other ways to play guitar.”
Repainting fantasy thrash metal into sci fi thrash metal does not meet the standard I have in mind.

And you are also contradicting the pro-4E point I directly responded to here.
“I think all of this "Oh Noes! My immersion is broked!" comes from people bring their own preconceptions into the game and not trying to instead look at it from where the game might be coming from instead.”

Do you support that quote or do you agree that the game system needs to be able to respond to the preconceptions the players in a given group have more than the players should be expected to set aside their preconceptions in order to meet the requirements of the game?
 

BryonD

Hero
To which I say your question is a loaded one to start with. any game that is not a niche game with no noticeable fanbase is probably going to be that is going to do multiple editions.

I could show you games that have the mentality that we are discussing but of course the big ones are going to be going through revisions and editions.

Like I said before though, magic as a topic is a perfect example of "Here is how it works in this game.".
Ok, I don't see how any of that is relevant to this conversation.

Within the scale of the popularity of D&D I stand by my contradiction of your claim.

I don't dispute that there may be some tiny little niche game out there that may be perfect for you, or may be perfect for me. And neither of those games is ever going to be a dent on the marketplace.

But for making a version of D&D that appeals to a much larger fan base than 4E did I stand by what I said.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
This ain't exactly the case. The 4e "fire mage" -- the pryomancer -- has an ability to ignore fire immunity built right into it.
Yep. This was partially due to the fact that different monster designers had different visions of what should have fire resistance and what shouldn't. So, they needed to give the pyromancer the ability to ignore it, given too many enemies already had resistance. I don't know how many have immunity, mind you. I think VERY few. And I suspect that they were exceptions that got past the Development team.

However, if you chose not to take that class feature(or it wasn't available, given that it came out 3 years after the game was released in a Dragon Magazine Article), but still chose all fire spells, you would be unable to hurt some enemies. Which is why most enemies don't have more than Resist 10 fire. So that you can always roll above it and hurt them at least somewhat.

IMO, it's a bit of a conflict between "general" and "specific." Generally, fire elementals don't take fire damage. Specifically, the pyromancer has an ability that ignores fire immunity, in order to make it playable in a fire-themed dungeon (or whatever). This is pretty Good Design, IMO. Everyone BUT the fire mage still has to deal with fire-immune elementals, but the fire mage can trump that immunity. Awesome possum.
But the creature with fire immunity still causes major problems for other people, even if they aren't a pyromancer. I once played an Avenger for 8 levels before I even noticed that he only had 1 power that didn't do fire damage. And it was an at-will. I was glad I never ran into any fire immune creatures because it would have made the battle annoying as hell.

I don't think a class should need an exception to the rules just so they can play normally.
The other side of the coin: fire elementals that are not immune to fire damage -- is a little silly. This is pretty Poor Design IMO. Fire is a reasonably effective strategy to use against things made of fire? No. Not in my games.
Well, this is purely opinion. I don't find it silly at all and it IS a reasonably effective strategy. In fact, it's a great strategy. Sometimes you just have to fight Fire with Fire.

It was part of the "essentials-ization" of 4e that lead to fire elementals loosing their fire immunity (and gaining big resists instead), which is sort of a pointless non-change. Actually immune and functionally immune is immune as far as the party fighting the things is concerned.
Most things with large resists are very high level and you can power through them. However, I agree with you here. I believe I saw a comment from one of the R&D team that said they let too many creatures with high resists through. That their goal was to have very few of these. But that each designer was allowed to create what they wanted.

If it's a situational ability, then anything you want can be immune to fire attacks.

If it's a core part of your character's design, then nothing should be immune to (your) fire attacks.
100% agree. Except that I'd go one step further and say that if an ability can be made into a core part of your design, it should be viable. If sneak attack is your way of doing damage, nothing should be immune to it. If you can choose all fire spells, nothing should be immune to that. If you can make a character who grapples as his primary ability, he should be able to do that with a reasonable chance against any creature.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
Please could you change your thread title to reflect the main thrust of your argument - that you don't like forced balance - and don't have 4e in the title.

This will help reduce the chance of edition war temperatures rising b accident.

Thanks

Since this didn't happen, I'm closing the thread. We do rather rely on people not choosing partisan titles when wanting to discuss issues.
 

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