4E My plans for a 4E revamp

Xeviat

Adventurer
Hi everyone. I really loved 4E, and while there is a lot about 5E I enjoy, I feel like it might be easier for me to port things I like from 5E to 4E (classes built with features other than limited use powers, limited classes, shared spells across classes) than to port more 4E stuff into 5E (monster roles, minion/standard/elite/solo monster design, monsters in general, specific item progressions, encounter/daily refreshing, martial powers doing cool stuff). I've talked about this a bit before, but I have a nice empty weekend coming up and wanted to put some work in.

Here are my design principle thoughts; I'm open to discussion on the principles and how to implement them, but not really to comments like "don't waste your time" or "just play 4E":

  • Condensed Classes, and classes with multiple roles: I like the idea of classes being broad things in the world. I liked how Essentials had a striker fighter, a striker paladin, and a leader druid. My idea is to have the 5E classes and have subclass define your primary role (a war cleric could operate as a defender, an avenger paladin is a striker, a tactician fighter is a leader ...).
  • Shared Power/Spell lists: Rather than having each class have, for instance, an encounter power for 2W+Stat and Slow, powers and spells will be more shared between classes. This will largely be source, but be a bit broader (weapon powers, skill powers, arcane spells, divine spells, some universal spells).
*Tightening of feats.
*Smoothing of the math of character growth (not needing Weapon expertise feats to keep up with monster AC, for instance).

As you can see, the changes are pretty much all on the character side.

What do you think? Anyone care to assist a bit?
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Class redesign ideas

Each class is going to be redesigned with an eye to each class having a different play style and likely their own mechanic.

I'm really liking the idea of using the traditional 9 spell levels. For the primary spellcasters, their daily spells will eventually then into encounter spells as they level up and learn new dailies. A 20th level character, for instance, may have encounter spells drawn from 2, 3, 4, and 5th level spells, while their 6, 7, 8, and 9th level spells are daily.

Here's my initial thoughts.

Barbarian: rage offers a toggle to switch from primary role (determined by subclass) into a wild striker.
*At-will powers: weapon attacks
*Encounter power: Rage
*Daily powers: likely tied to subclass.
*Roles: I can easily imagine a leader (like a barbarian warlord), striker (berserker), or defender roles; potentially even a melee controller with sweeping attacks and literally hamstringing people to impose conditions.

Bard: bardic inspiration is used for enhancing allies or hindering foes.
*At-will powers: weapon attacks or cantrips
*Encounter powers: songs/inspirations
*Daily powers: spells (drawn from multiple lists, with some enhancement to make up for them having access to lower level spells as a half-caster).
*Roles: bards could easily be designed to be any role.

Cleric: sort of a baseline spellcaster, but their channel divinity kind of could work out to being a multiclassing lite (war clerics play with some fighter stuff, for instance).
At-will: cantrips
Encounter and Daily: spells

Druid: wildshape could be used to dynamically switch roles. Forms could be striker or defender and each have their own at-will and encounter powers (expending spells to use their encounter powers).
At-will: cantrips
Encounter/Daily: spells

Fighter: the fighter is the baseline warrior; I've been playing with having their role be dynamic with their equipment, but I'm not entirely sure that would be workable (it works for non-leader roles, but I don't know what leader equipment would be).
At-will: weapon attacks
Encounter: action Surge? Weapon specialization attacks (different features depending on the weapon you use)?
Daily: drawn from subclass (Eldritch knight gets wizard encounter spells that they can cast alongside basic weapon attacks, like the Bladesinger design from late 4E).

Monk: I actually really liked the 4E monk design, and would like to keep the move/action design somewhat, making the balancing of those two actions into their style.
At-will: weapon attacks
Encounter: techniques
Daily: subclass dependent

Paladin: the divine challenge ability is their primary playstyle defining ability, making the paladin want to focus on one on one fights; the riders on the challenge will be different for subclass/role.
At-will: weapon attacks
Encounter: smites
Daily: cleric spells plus basic attack (the half-caster/gosh design)

Ranger: I'm strongly considering having all rangers use a pet, so managing two units is their playstyle. The nature of the pet helps determine role, like a beefy pet could be a defender and a swift pet could be a striker. Could have something small, like a hawk, allow for a build where the pet isn't a targetable creature but can be used to gain benefits against a foe.
At-will: weapon attacks
Encounter: companion coordination
Daily: druid spells plus basic attack

Rogue: rogues focus on attacking opportune targets, and use their skills to create those opportunities; might even design them to play with a set-up/attack back and forth, spending a round setting up and then a round attacking.
At-will: skill tricks (actions abilities that add benefits to the next basic attack)
Encounter: backstab
Daily: tied to subclass

Sorcerer: I start to struggle with the arcane casters. I think the sorcerer's playstyle should be more power focused than spell focused, making the sorcerer more of a half-caster that gains other supernatural abilities tied to their bloodline. This way, the sorcerer's playstyle would be kind of playing like a monster.

Warlock: curse would be their defining feature, but I think they might work best as a half caster.

Wizard: the main spellcaster. They'd follow the at-will, encounter, daily structure with extra abilities from their subclass. A summoner could be a defender, while an abjurer could be a leader, for instance.
 
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TwoSix

The hero you deserve
I think the idea of transforming subclass into role seems...difficult. Roles were primarily defined by two sources; the pool of powers available to them and specific class features. If you're making powers broadly shared between classes, then you're committing yourself into designing a role defining feature for each and every subclass you introduce. 4E had to stretch to do that just for classes.
 
Class as big tent is plausible in 4e. It even worked with retrofitting the Slayer.

If the "Fighter" is a big-tent class, you will have subclasses that have the defender mechanics in them. And you'll have some powers that are defender subclass only.

What I see is wrong headed here is that, in practice, you'll be making a game for a few people to play, and not a game for millions to play.

Which means you don't need 18 powers to pick between at level X for a fighter. That character-building minigame isn't something you are going to deliver (it takes a LOT of work to make up that many powers and give them fun fluff and make them vaguely balanced -- I've tried) practically.

So don't deliver it. Deliver narrow, essentials style classes (well, vampire-essentials; with mostly pre-determined power picks). Have customization along the lines of "you can pick a power from another subclass at this level".

As part of the thing for big-tent classes, make the classes more distinct.

If you are going to have Str vs AC, 2[W]+Str+Slow powers on two classes, consider that your classes aren't distinct enough yet, in either theme or mechanics.

---

Imagine if the Fighter has a pile of power strikes powers you apply after you hit.

The Rogue has movement powers that produce riders on foes you move next to.

The Ranger has stances that it flows in between, dealing an effect when leaving a style and when entering one, and a passive off-turn benefit.

The Wizard has spells that take 2 rounds to cast, but hit hard.

The Sorcerer manifests their bloodline as they use their powers.

The Warlock's magic creates symbols over the battlefield, executing clauses of its contract.

The Paladin turns damage dealt and prevented into an aura.

etc.

All of these can fit in the 4e damage budget mechanics without having powers that are at all like each other.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
I think the idea of transforming subclass into role seems...difficult. Roles were primarily defined by two sources; the pool of powers available to them and specific class features. If you're making powers broadly shared between classes, then you're committing yourself into designing a role defining feature for each and every subclass you introduce. 4E had to stretch to do that just for classes.
I think designing role features for subclass is easier than designing whole suites of powers. It's an issue I have with 4E design, actually. Defender, striker, and leader relied a lot on their class's role ability, while controller roles were baked into their powers. This meant a striker picking up controller spells, through multiclassing or just later power design, made it feel like controllers were undefined to me.

So, for instance, paladins could be strikers or defenders easily, with different effects on their Divine Challenge ability. I could even see a leader version. Yes, this does mean someone could have a primary class defender ability and then pick up more leader oriented spells/powers, but that's where we get into the variety of certain characters having a primary role and a secondary role they can lean in to.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
I think designing role features for subclass is easier than designing whole suites of powers. It's an issue I have with 4E design, actually. Defender, striker, and leader relied a lot on their class's role ability, while controller roles were baked into their powers. This meant a striker picking up controller spells, through multiclassing or just later power design, made it feel like controllers were undefined to me.

So, for instance, paladins could be strikers or defenders easily, with different effects on their Divine Challenge ability. I could even see a leader version. Yes, this does mean someone could have a primary class defender ability and then pick up more leader oriented spells/powers, but that's where we get into the variety of certain characters having a primary role and a secondary role they can lean in to.
Oh, it's definitely easier, it just still seems like a lot of work.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think I said it in another one of your thread a few weeks back, but I made a one shot with Essentials + 5e Math. It was fun and easy to convert. I'm sure doing it with regular 4e would be easy enough.

Powers from 4e
I used proficiency for: Attack roll, NADs (10+ Highest from two + prof), but not AC.
Trained skill give double prof (5e expertise), regular skills just add prof.
Weapon and Armor used their 5e counterpart. I kept armor penalties from 4e and shield from 4e.
Starting HP is Con score + Class HP, every level players gain + class HP
Used Advantage/Disadvantage from 5e.
Skill challenges work the same.
I used 4e Healing Surges.
 
I think designing role features for subclass is easier than designing whole suites of powers. It's an issue I have with 4E design, actually. Defender, striker, and leader relied a lot on their class's role ability, while controller roles were baked into their powers. This meant a striker picking up controller spells, through multiclassing or just later power design, made it feel like controllers were undefined to me.

So, for instance, paladins could be strikers or defenders easily, with different effects on their Divine Challenge ability. I could even see a leader version. Yes, this does mean someone could have a primary class defender ability and then pick up more leader oriented spells/powers, but that's where we get into the variety of certain characters having a primary role and a secondary role they can lean in to.
It is doable.

Like you said, the roles except for controller were defined by a by a class feature.

So having something like a fighter choose between
  • Fighter's Mark (A mark) for a defender
  • Fighter's Strike (+Con to damage) for a melee striker
  • Fighter's Sight (+Str to damage) for a ranged striker
Is a simple way to do it.

How you do controllers I have no idea? Change attacks to cones? Have automatic conditions to damage types?
 

dave2008

Legend
Hi everyone. I really loved 4E, and while there is a lot about 5E I enjoy, I feel like it might be easier for me to port things I like from 5E to 4E (classes built with features other than limited use powers, limited classes, shared spells across classes) than to port more 4E stuff into 5E (monster roles, minion/standard/elite/solo monster design, monsters in general, specific item progressions, encounter/daily refreshing, martial powers doing cool stuff). I've talked about this a bit before, but I have a nice empty weekend coming up and wanted to put some work in.

Here are my design principle thoughts; I'm open to discussion on the principles and how to implement them, but not really to comments like "don't waste your time" or "just play 4E":

  • Condensed Classes, and classes with multiple roles: I like the idea of classes being broad things in the world. I liked how Essentials had a striker fighter, a striker paladin, and a leader druid. My idea is to have the 5E classes and have subclass define your primary role (a war cleric could operate as a defender, an avenger paladin is a striker, a tactician fighter is a leader ...).
  • Shared Power/Spell lists: Rather than having each class have, for instance, an encounter power for 2W+Stat and Slow, powers and spells will be more shared between classes. This will largely be source, but be a bit broader (weapon powers, skill powers, arcane spells, divine spells, some universal spells).
*Tightening of feats.
*Smoothing of the math of character growth (not needing Weapon expertise feats to keep up with monster AC, for instance).

As you can see, the changes are pretty much all on the character side.

What do you think? Anyone care to assist a bit?
you might ask @Myrhdraak as he developed a pretty nice 4.5e with a similar premise. He might be interested in revisiting it again.

Personally, I was in the some boat once (port the best ideas from 5e into 4e), but I found it easier for me and our group to go the other way and pull our favorite parts for 4e into 5e.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Personally, I was in the some boat once (port the best ideas from 5e into 4e), but I found it easier for me and our group to go the other way and pull our favorite parts for 4e into 5e.
Which parts did you do? I did consider sitting down and writing an "Advanced Monster Manual", and then making a variant feat system so you get feats and ASIs. Since it would be compatible with 5E, it might get more use.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
It is doable.

Like you said, the roles except for controller were defined by a by a class feature.

So having something like a fighter choose between
  • Fighter's Mark (A mark) for a defender
  • Fighter's Strike (+Con to damage) for a melee striker
  • Fighter's Sight (+Str to damage) for a ranged striker
Is a simple way to do it.

How you do controllers I have no idea? Change attacks to cones? Have automatic conditions to damage types?
Been questioning the controller role a lot actually. Part of me thinks controller should be artillery, and have their typical controller feature be a way to get attack bonuses so their powers land more. Strikers would focus on damage, artillery on ranged accuracy; whether or not you build a toolbox of powers or you just go for aoes would be up to the class/player.
 
Been questioning the controller role a lot actually. Part of me thinks controller should be artillery, and have their typical controller feature be a way to get attack bonuses so their powers land more. Strikers would focus on damage, artillery on ranged accuracy; whether or not you build a toolbox of powers or you just go for aoes would be up to the class/player.
Well when I redesigned 4e for my little cousins, I split controllers into Blasters that got the AOE powers and Nerfers that got the status effects. Strikers dealt heavy damage but had "escape" powers.

in reality there were 6 roles

  1. Defender- Marks and melee damage
  2. Blast Strikers "blasters" - AoE damage and escapes
  3. Controllers- Ranged damage and debuffs
  4. Leaders- Heals and buffs
  5. Melee Strikers "Skrimishers"- Melee damage and escapes
  6. Ranged Strikers "Snipers"- Ranged damage and escapes
So you could break up the casters a bit more into the 3 unofficial splits of striker and controller.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
  • Condensed Classes, and classes with multiple roles: I like the idea of classes being broad things in the world
I like this but sub classes just feel like a remake of the class... I would rather have stances to allow hot swapping I want to be both any given role based on something that isnt static think of how the Berserk is both? Roles are almost mindsets allow a martial artist to swap mindsets trivially sure why not.
  • Shared Power/Spell lists: Rather than having each class have, for instance, an encounter power for 2W+Stat and Slow, powers and spells will be more shared between classes. This will largely be source, but be a bit broader (weapon powers, skill powers, arcane spells, divine spells, some universal spells).
You do that role collapsing you will get some of that almost automagically
 
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dave2008

Legend
Which parts did you do? I did consider sitting down and writing an "Advanced Monster Manual", and then making a variant feat system so you get feats and ASIs. Since it would be compatible with 5E, it might get more use.
Well, first you have to undestand that we are not trying to make something for general consumption. It just has to work for us. If something we change has ramifications for class we are not using, it doesn't affect our game so we don't care. 2nd we are mostly martial characters. Third, some of the 4e rules we ported to 5e were our 4e houerules. Basically here is what we did:
  1. Monsters: I like making monsters and I have good feel for the system. I can make and adjust them on the fly (pretty much) to make them interesting. However, I did post a thread where I made some "elite" monsters: 5e hardcore monsters. I also make use of swarms mechanics for masses of enemies (you will see some of those in the link too) and minions. I actually think 5e "legendary" monsters work better than 4e solos, if you use them at the right level.
  2. Heroic Surges: Like healing surges, but you can spend them in more ways. See powers below.
  3. Rest: We adopted the 5 minute short rest.
  4. Powers: Reminder, we are mostly martial characters. Power levels are set at 2/3 their 4e value (to accommodate the change from 30 to 20 lvls). At first level you get to chose one at-will, encounter, and one daily. Then, whenever you would get an ASI you chose another at-will, encounter, and daily power instead (no feats or ASIs at all). However, we said to use a power you had to spend a heroic surge (HD). Heroic Tier powers cost 1 surge for encounter and 2 for daily; Paragon Tier cost 2 for encounter and 3 for a daily, and I assume we will do 3 & 4 at epic, but we are not their yet. You can substitute an extra attack for one surge. So essentially once you have two attacks you can always use an encounter power, and fighters could spam dailys once they get three attacks.
  5. Bloodied: We use the bloodied condition, but it is not half hit points. HP are abstract luck ,exhaustion, close calls, scratches and bruises. Bloodied hit points (BHP) are real damage. You only have set amount of bloodied HP based on size you don't get more. BHP = [STR mod + CON mod] x Size (Medium = 1). We had a version of this change in 4e.
  6. DR: When you take damage to your BHP, your armor's DR kicks in. So any damage to your BHP is first reduced by your armor's DR. Armor DR = armor AC-10. WE had a version of this in 4e.
I feel like I am missing something, but that is the basic idea. For us, it was the interesting powers that made 4e what it was. I can handle all the monster stuff on the fly (mostly). We have other changes to dying and resting that aren't 4e related too, but that is what i can think of from 4e at the moment.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The decayed form of class collapse would be classes based on sources.
Hero (Martial) - Wizard(Arcanist) - Druid (Animist) - Priest (Channeler)
 
The decayed form of class collapse would be classes based on sources.
Hero (Martial) - Wizard(Arcanist) - Druid (Animist) - Priest (Channeler)
Except I think class and power source should serve different masters.

"A champion in plate armor, wielding a seord and shield, standing between her allies and the foe" is a class to me. That class could be powered by divine, martial, psionic or other power source. What more, I could see a game where your power sources are limited in capacity, and part of adventuring is seeking out more (or upgrading yours).

Classes should be archtypes, roles should be patterns that subclasses use, power sourcrd should be in-world things to hang mechanics off of.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Except I think class and power source should serve different masters.

"A champion in plate armor, wielding a seord and shield, standing between her allies and the foe" is a class to me. That class could be powered by divine, martial, psionic or other power source. What more, I could see a game where your power sources are limited in capacity, and part of adventuring is seeking out more (or upgrading yours).

Classes should be archtypes, roles should be patterns that subclasses use, power sourcrd should be in-world things to hang mechanics off of.
I prefer flexible tricks so my character isn't bound by his role and 4e has that to a degree I want more of that to me binding role up in subclass is still binding it up. ie the desire was to collapse classes and to my thinking subclasses just put more branches on the tree the same as adding new class features to support a new build does. There is actually more sharing with the build paradigm and more possibility for tricks like maneuvers or stances to allow one to flexibly present the role you need right now.

To me less specialization is the key.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
There is a thread around here where we adjusted the monk to be more of a full controller using feats it gives some ideas. It adjusts the flury into something that allows multiple enemies to be affected but what if something like which flurry you used was a stance that one could assume by meditation for a minute.
 

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