4E Presentation vs design... vs philosophy

CapnZapp

Hero
This already is about something else, @Umbran.

But since thread derailment is not moderated here, I'm just waiting for the off-topic chatter to die down.

Where he gets the language this thread is dormant and ressurrected I have no idea. I check it several times a week on the off chance anyone posts something relevant to the topic at hand:

Pathfinder 2 and how its philosophy compares to 4E.

Please don't shut down the thread because those people fill it with bickering. Punish the posters, not the thread.

Thank you
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Sure, over the course of years you will see a 1 in 100 chance come into play from time to time. Over a long enough series of rolls, a 1 in a thousand or 1 in a million chance will also come into play. Does that mean you should switch to rolling d1000s or d1000000s?
Where I use d1000 is to make a single table out of what would otherwise be a cascading series of d% rolls (e.g. for random magic item generation - which I now do in a spreadsheet to make things easier, and some of the dxxx numbers are much bigger than 1000!)

The point is simply that there comes a point where granularity results in diminishing returns.
Agreed, but for me at least the jump in granularity between d20 and d% is worth it in some cases. There's only one or two side cases where I really do want something to be a 1/1000 chance, but for those out come the d1000.

If you like the granularity then by all means use it. But that doesn't make it necessarily significant. Those significant rolls that were missed by 1% could have easily been missed by 1 point on a d20 as well.
The problem isn't so much in the middle of the range as at the end. If I want to reduce the odds of something from 5% (the lowest possible on a d20) to 2% or 1%, then a d20 just doesn't do the job.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
They can be made or lost by that one time in 50 - but that doesn't mean that's a significant difference in character choices.



First, no that's not the difference. The big difference is that the old school saves were effects based
Exactly. The effect added a fourth variable to one's resistance chances, with class, race and level being the other three.

you had a better chance on the spell save than the death save
Of having an effect, yes, but again this isn't something players/PCs would necessarily know and thus it's kept DM-side.

Second as a DM or a player why would I want that? As a player not knowing how tough I am blinds me and takes away information I should have making me less connected to the world. And as a DM it's an extra piece of busywork for me.
As a player I know how tough I think I am but that might not reflect in the game-world reality, and the hard numbers aren't something I need to know. As a DM the busywork is a trivial tradeoff in return for the ability to maintain secrecy on unknown effects that may be modifying the save.

I'd prefer a simple calculation to a lookup table any day of the week where the output is the same. Especially on something that's supposed to be fast.
I already do to-hit as a calculation (I don't use the 1e combat matrix any more). THAC0 adds an extra step to that calculation any time the target's AC is not 0.

4e is either worse or better than 3e that way depending on your perspective. I prefer the 3.X and 4e approach because it imposes some quality control on me - and because it allows me to make far reaching changes when I want to. But there is a much higher barrier to effectiveness.
I guess I prefer the trial-and-error method of quality control , but in more tightly-designed or unified systems any errors can be much more consequential and catastrophic. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But this is irrelevant to @Neonchameleon's point. You can have secret DCs in a 3E-style resolution system. Unless you also think it's really important to keep the bonus secret too - but why would it be?
The players know their own bonuses but they don't know of any hidden modifiers (when such are present, which isn't always) and I'd like to keep that info secret for as long as it makes sense to do so.

I really don't know what sort of "kitbashing" you have in mind. But even on its own terms AD&D is highly vulnerable to breakage - eg the GM who allows ability score checks to overlap in function with thief skills; or the lack of fit between surprise resolution for monks and the rules for determining segments of surprise; or the risk of broken magic items, which Gygax repeatedly warns against in his DMG.
1e is IME amazingly resilient to kitbashing, even when such kitbashing isn't done well (believe me, I've loads of experience with badly-done kitbashing having been the author of great gobs of it over the years!). But obviously, anything can be broken if one tries.

One point of 4e's resolution framework is that it makes many separate subsy8stems redundant. There's no need for different systems for (say) finding and disarming traps; evading pursuit in the wilderness; and befriending a NPC - these can all be resolved as skill challenges.
They can if one wants, though of those three the only place I'd use a 4e-style skill challenge is the evasion of pursuit, for which I've yet to see anything better.

But if for whatever reason you want to create a separate sub-system for reaction rolls in 4e, that's not going to be any more work than it would be in AD&D. It might be desirable to consider how to factor Diplomacy skill into it; but then, in AD&D you'll need to work out how to factor CHA into such a system, so I don't see any marked difference. Or suppose you wanted resurrection survival checks, you could just copy the chart straight over from AD&D.

I guess I'm really not clear on what these "knock-on" effects are.
Some changes like those you mention can be easily added in (and IMO the d% res. survival roll should be!). Others can't.

Using an example from the 3e game I was in: the DM wanted to make the campaign last longer and so he slowed down level advancement immensely, to similar to what our 1e-style games had.

Knock-on effect: wealth-by-level went out the window.
---Knock-on effect: eventually, most other wealth measures e.g. wealth-by-town also blew up.
---Knock-on effect: attempts to fix this on the fly by reducing available treasure quickly led to huge wealth imbalance within the party, newer characters (we had a slow but steady turnover both of players and characters) had nowhere near what the veterans had and no chance of catching up.
---Knock-on effect: by mid-level, CR and EL guidelines also went out the window due to how much wealth and gear we had.
Knock-on effect: some adventures became too easy for us at the start and-or too hard at the end; the authors expected the party to level up a few times during the module, which of course we didn't. This caused some DM headaches and probably a few PC deaths before he realized he had to start tweaking encounters.

In 1e, where there's no such thing as wealth-by-level guidelines and thus nothing else is predicated on them, changing the advancement rate wouldn't have had nearly the same consequences elsewhere.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think, if I remember the original point after so long, that part of the issue is consistency.
Not a big concern of mine in this instance, as you'll see... :)

If you like % rolls because of granularity, then use them. But, then it is better to be consistent in how things are rolled. To make up an example with fake mechanics...

If you are picking a pocket roll 1d100 and subtract the targets perception. If you are rolling stealth roll 1d100 and add your dex. If you are swinging and axe roll 1d20 and add attack bonus which is based off of level.

Learning a system like that, where many skills and checks that are arguably similar in terms of resolution but use different rules and require different types of thinking (whether it matters more if you are skilled or if the target is skilled or well-made), is far more difficult and confusing than learning a system with a single resolution mechanic.
True, but in my view learning a system is something that only needs to be done once; on the assumption that said system is good enough and flexible enough to then serve you forever. Given that, it's not a big deal if the learning process takes a bit longer.

Disparate mechanics help make a system more flexible, and using the right mechanic for the task at hand helps make a system better.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
And here we see a concrete example of why the over 35 demographic was not considered part of the market in 1999.
Assuming that the only thing they care about is selling new systems.

But there's far more to the market than just new core systems.
 
L

lowkey13

Guest
Assuming that the only thing they care about is selling new systems.

But there's far more to the market than just new core systems.
New players are the lifeblood of any hobby.

Or, as my group put it to some OGs (original grognards) who were playing a famous naval battle in the FLGS back in the day and looking down on us scruffy D&D players ....

Screw y'all, we're blowing this popsicle stand."
 

pemerton

Legend
I feel like this was discussed before. Oh yes, in this thread! Here it was-



So, to recap, there is a very different set of assumptions regarding the different editions.
I don't quite see how the instructional text bears upon the actual difficulty of making adjustments. I posted some actual examples. Eg A 3rd level AD&D monk has a 30% chance of being surprised. If the roll is 16, how many segments is that monk surprised for?

How do I work out if a fighter wearing leather armour who is trying to be quiet is quiet enough not to be heard?

What's a concrete example of a AD&D kitbash that can't be done in 4e? New classes? New action resolutions? New fictional elements?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This would be absolutely trivial to do in 4e.

What's an example of a kitbash that was attempted in 4e and couldn't be made to work?
How would I know? As mentioned above, I've never tried kitbashing 4e, nor has anyone I know. EDIT TO ADD: My take on it comes from looking at the difficulty with attempts to kitbash 3e with its unified system, then concluding that as 4e has an even more unified system kitbashing it would be just as hard if not worse.
 
This already is about something else, @Umbran.

But since thread derailment is not moderated here, I'm just waiting for the off-topic chatter to die down.

Where he gets the language this thread is dormant and ressurrected I have no idea. I check it several times a week on the off chance anyone posts something relevant to the topic at hand:

Pathfinder 2 and how its philosophy compares to 4E.

Please don't shut down the thread because those people fill it with bickering. Punish the posters, not the thread.

Thank you
Here's where 4e and PF2 feel the same to me - they both offer a lot of choices that have very little individual impact. 5e isn't that way at all. In 4e that's powers. In PF2 that's feats.

A few other similarities - multiclassing in PF2 and 4e works the same. Hybrid character rules fixed that for 4e eventually though.

Other than that and a few other things - 4e and PF2 are very different games. But they still feel similar to me because of their vast choices that give little impact.
 
Last edited:

Aldarc

Hero
IME, and others' may naturally vary, but the more subsystems you add to the game, the greater the barrier is for players attempting to engage the fiction first rather than the mechanics. Learning the game once may be fine if you only play that one game for the rest of your life, as is likely the case with @Lanefan, but that is rarely the case, even with a juggernaut brand like D&D in the market. In this regard, D&D on the whole is deficient due to its love of subsystems.

Has there ever been an official release of D&D that has been anything less than rules medium in its crunch?
 

pemerton

Legend
Disparate mechanics help make a system more flexible
AD&D has quite disparate mechanics - and is really useful only for a pretty narrow span of fantasy gaming. It has multiple mecahnics for resolving interactions with doors, and traps, but has no mechanics eg for finding a fence in a city, or finding a particular sort of tree in a forest, or persuading a NPC wizard to place a curse on a nemesis.

Cortex+ Heroic has unified mechanics and can resolve doors, traps, finding a fence or a tree, and persuading a wizard. And the same system can also do supers (Marvel Heroic RP).

I don't think it's a coincidence, either. Each mechanic in AD&D does one thing, and one thing only. So if you want the game to encompass a new area of fiction (eg fencing stolen goods; finding plants in forests) you need a new mechanic.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
AD&D has quite disparate mechanics - and is really useful only for a pretty narrow span of fantasy gaming. It has multiple mecahnics for resolving interactions with doors, and traps, but has no mechanics eg for finding a fence in a city, or finding a particular sort of tree in a forest, or persuading a NPC wizard to place a curse on a nemesis.

Cortex+ Heroic has unified mechanics and can resolve doors, traps, finding a fence or a tree, and persuading a wizard. And the same system can also do supers (Marvel Heroic RP).

I don't think it's a coincidence, either. Each mechanic in AD&D does one thing, and one thing only. So if you want the game to encompass a new area of fiction (eg fencing stolen goods; finding plants in forests) you need a new mechanic.
While keeping firmly in mind that the new mechanic may well be no mechanic at all (i.e whatever it is is handled by DM fiat and-or freeform roleplay), I actually agree with this.

That said, flexibility also includes not necessarily having mechanics for where they are not needed. Persuading the NPC wizard is, IMO, one such.
 

Aldarc

Hero
One could make a case for Basic, I think, as being relatively rules-light. After that? Well... :)
Maybe. But now I'm curious how people would rank the editions of D&D from rules lightest to rules heaviest.

While keeping firmly in mind that the new mechanic may well be no mechanic at all (i.e whatever it is is handled by DM fiat and-or freeform roleplay), I actually agree with this.

That said, flexibility also includes not necessarily having mechanics for where they are not needed. Persuading the NPC wizard is, IMO, one such.
Jein. The problem of PCs persuading the NPC wizard, IMO, is that it often heavily falls on DM fiat. So in some regards, it's one of the contentious points where a DM can effectively railroad players.

Cortex+ Heroic has unified mechanics and can resolve doors, traps, finding a fence or a tree, and persuading a wizard. And the same system can also do supers (Marvel Heroic RP).
Sidebar: Have you looked into Cortex Prime?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Maybe. But now I'm curious how people would rank the editions of D&D from rules lightest to rules heaviest.
Wasn't there a poll on just this in here not that long ago - maybe last year? Or is my memory playing tricks again... :)

Jein. The problem of PCs persuading the NPC wizard, IMO, is that it often heavily falls on DM fiat. So in some regards, it's one of the contentious points where a DM can effectively railroad players.
True, which depending on the particular table could be just fine, or not so.

It's on the DM to play with the level of good faith expected by the table. If the table doesn't mind some railroading then do whatever, but with a less railroad-tolerant group the DM has to play the NPC within its character, and decide as the NPC would whether the persuasion RPed by the players is enough to sway him or not.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Does a version qualify as rules light if the rules aren't coherent or complete enough to run strictly out of the box? :unsure:
 

Advertisement

Top