D&D 4E Rambling thoughts about D&D 4th Edition

Not actually true. There was a warlock At Will, Eldritch Strike, that you could take in place of Eldritch Blast and counted as a melee basic attack. (It did 1[W] damage with a slide of 1). I don't think there were any other melee weapon attacks - but staff wielding warlocks were common.

More importantly there were a lot of close AoE attacks which you could use in melee. SOP for a feylock in a party with a fighter as encounter powers was for the Fighter to use Come And Get It right in the middle of the enemy to get themselves surrounded. Then on their turn the Feylock would use Fey Switch to switch their place with the fighter. And then use a power I can't remember the name of to make an icy teleport out of there, doing cold damage to all the enemies who had been around them and immobilise most of them. And then with the enemies frozen to the ground in the wake of the warlock's escape they were all nice and set up for the wizard to drop a scorching burst on all of them at once.
Brilliant!
 

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In the last chamber—the one where the party faces off against Kalarel—there is a lot of blood flowing from the chamber directly above. In that above room, there is a lot of blood flowing from a dais on the east side of the room. The blood, it says, comes from sacrifices, but there is no mention of the bodies of those sacrificed, that I can see. There should be many large piles of bodies, based on the amount of blood.

So…earlier in the adventure, the party should be hearing farmers complaining that livestock is missing, hunters are having to travel further afield because game is getting scarce. Maybe introduce some characters that mysteriously disappear over the course of several days.

Perhaps, instead of the goblin iron tooth cajoling a kobold tribe into serving him, the kobolds and the goblins are in a sort of war, with the goblins kidnapping kobolds to give to Kalarel for sacrifices. The kobolds maybe think the villagers are responsible—they’ve been peaceful until recently, but now they want revenge, and for the kidnappings to stop.
 


I cast “Raise Dead” on this thread

I was scanning through the PHB and the DMG, looking for info on the passage of time.

A round is 6 seconds, which only matters in combat.
There is a mention of a “Base Exploration Speed Table”, but the only table is a “Base Overland Speed Table”, which has entries for “Per Day”, “Per Hour”, and “Per Minute”, so I guess that’s the same thing. (PHB, p. 261)

I noticed that after taking an extended rest, the PCs must wait 12 hours before taking another one.
 

Because 4e is not a simulationist game, but rather a narrativist one. Thus time passes as Speed of Plot rather than actual, y’know, time.

Mostly. There are vestiges of simulationism like what you found. I don’t think they wanted to (or internal politic wouldn’t allow them to) completely discard D&D’s simulationist past.

Edited to add: ‘Daily’ powers are really ‘refresh when the narrative makes sense that they do’ powers. But… that name. Ugh.
 

Because 4e is not a simulationist game, but rather a narrativist one. Thus time passes as Speed of Plot rather than actual, y’know, time.

Mostly. There are vestiges of simulationism like what you found. I don’t think they wanted to (or internal politic wouldn’t allow them to) completely discard D&D’s simulationist past.

Edited to add: ‘Daily’ powers are really ‘refresh when the narrative makes sense that they do’ powers. But… that name. Ugh.
I was looking for rules that support an idea I had: that a “turn” in 4e was five minutes (as opposed to B/X having ten minute turns).
Eh. Certain powers produce effects that last until the end of the encounter, “or five minutes”.

So…if rounds last six seconds, that would be ten rounds a minute, and then if a turn was five minutes, then there are fifty rounds in each turn.

4e isn’t set up to be a procedural dungeon crawl, but if one wanted to attempt to play it that way, then one could use these time partitions.

Five minute turns make more sense to me, anyway, because moving—at the quickest—one hundred and twenty feet every ten minutes seems rather slow, even in a lightless dungeon.
 

A rule I think is easy to miss is the limit on magic item daily power use. If a heroic tier adventurer has a magic sword with a daily power, and a magic shield that also has a daily power, the adventurer can only use one or the other each day.
 

“Kobold Hall”, the short adventure at the back of the DM’s Guide, has potential beyond the mere five encounters in a row.

Firstly, change the dragon at the end from white to green. In the first chamber, make the two squares in front of the glowing pool a slide trap (trap-loving kobolds do live here, after all). Describe some sparkly lights shining at the bottom of the pool to lure a PC closer; if the PC steps in one of the trapped squares, into the pool the PC goes. While in the pool, the PC takes 2 poison damage. Same rules for getting out of the pool. Once the PC is in the pool, the sparkly thing is either revealed to be an illusion, or is worthless—but shiny—junk. Or, maybe it is actual treasure.

Also, turn off all the lights. Kobolds have dark vision, and don’t need them.

The kobolds should appear sickly (but are still at full power), because the dragon they serve breathes out poison.

Each subsequent room is lower than the one prior (there are stairs leading down in each room), so the atmosphere grows colder, maybe, as the PCs progress.

The air quality also gets worse—a faintly “off” odor in the first room grows increasingly repulsive the deeper the PCs delve, until they are positively choking. Perhaps have the PCs run across the dead body of an adventurer (someone they know—or know about) lying on the floor, clutching at his neck, his skin a mottled green and black.

Kobold Hall used to be the residence of a lord of Nerath. Why were these lower levels built? There is a room with caskets, so maybe these were burial chambers. Add the odor of death to the poisonous vapors.

Maybe have murals and frescos on the walls, that are faded and possibly be defaced. Broken furniture, that sort of thing. Names on the caskets. Elements to show that this place wasn’t built so that one day PCs could kill kobolds here.

Have the PCs find prisoners tied up. Maybe the prisoners are missing members from a merchant caravan that disappeared a few days ago. Maybe they are bandits that worked with the kobolds awhile, but were betrayed. Maybe do both: the bandits captured the merchants, expecting to be paid by the kobolds, but found themselves taken prisoner, as well. The merchants were taken deeper into the dungeon.

I would introduce an animal of some sort—a half-starved dog that follows them into the hall, for example, and helps them out as they explore. It stops suddenly, and the hairs on its neck raises up as it growls menacingly at something beyond the reach of the light. It seems to take to one of the PCs particularly. In the end battle, if the PCs are winning against the dragon, in a final act of meanness, the dragon cracks the dog’s back and flees out a secret exit. The exit slams shut, preventing the PCs from pursuing the dragon. They gather around the whimpering animal, that looks soulfully into the eyes of the PC it liked, as it licks the PC’s hand. It dies with a sigh.

Now, you (possibly) have a recurring villain.
 

Randomthoughts

Adventurer
I saw 4e to be both simulationist and narrative; it has aspects of both that hits a sweet spot for me. Ultimately, I took 4e to mean "don't sweat the small stuff". Short rests were (generally) 5 min. I took that to mean a quick "breather" that often was not interrupted, but could be (and has been in past games). I treated Dailys as daily, but eventually modified them to be more narrative that allowed flexibility in situations of frequent "recharges" (like dungeon crawling) or infrequent (like wilderness travel).

As for dungeon crawling, I ran some the traditional way (fully-mapped and stocked) and others like skill challenges. Dungeon Delves was a great resource for me and helpful for the occasional one-shots or inserting into my campaigns.
 

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