log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 4E Ron Edwards on D&D 4e


log in or register to remove this ad

cavalier973

Adventurer
Interesting, though when I think of the early settings I think more of huge sprawling things with 1000's and 1000's of locations and super elaborate encounter tables and whatnot (Wilderlands of High Fantasy, City State of the Invincible Overlord). I mean, those two products together are like a dungeon map and key on a huge scale, and the hexcrawl rules are just subbing in for the dungeon exploration rules. lol.
He specifically compares PoLand to Greyhawk, but I don’t know a whole lot about the latter.

I took his argument as being that PoLand fit the idea of Law versus Chaos; civilization versus wilderness; order versus entropy.
 

cavalier973

Adventurer
SO, you are saying I'm not brain-damaged??!! lol. Or did playing 4e reverse the damage that was done by 2e? What about 1e, did that just create impotency? WWWHHHAAAAAA ;)
Player Brain Assault DM Attack 20
Daily * Primal, Psychic
Standard Action Close Burst 5
Prerequisite: You must have a copy of any edition of D&D rules
Target: Each creature in the burst
Attack: INT vs Will
Hit: 66d6 psychic damage, and the target is dazed and dominated (save ends)
Miss: half damage, and target is dazed
 

pemerton

Legend
Gonna be brutally honest: anecdotes about how epic awesome your particular games were don't disprove the anecdotes the people whose games fell flat.
Sure. But the reverse is true too - that someone's game sucked doesn't show that mine did. And it also doesn't meant that I was doing the same thing as them but just don't get bored when they do.

When a group of posters - me, @Manbearcat, @AbdulAlhazred, @Campbell are some of them active in this thead, and back in the day there were others, and it seems Ron Edwards is from the same school - converge without colluding on the same understanding of 4e and how and why it works, that suggests that it's more than just wild idiosyncracy or arbitrary differences in taste that meant some of us got great games out of it.

I think Edwards's comparison to early Champions - not a game I ever played, but I have a bit of a sense of it - is a pretty interesting one.
 

He specifically compares PoLand to Greyhawk, but I don’t know a whole lot about the latter.

I took his argument as being that PoLand fit the idea of Law versus Chaos; civilization versus wilderness; order versus entropy.
I don't know why that would make it look like Greyhawk. Greyhawk is more of a sort of poor man's version of the Forgotten Realms arrived at by first running a wargame, and then evolving it into a primitive RPG, tossing in the kitchen sink of fantasy, and finally rewriting the whole thing with a mild dose of Tolkien pastiche layered on top. I agree that Greyhawk is the first modern RPG setting, it is really fairly similar in a lot of its FORM at least to things like FR, Eberron, PoLand (at least some late iterations of it, post the board game).

I'm not sure how PoLand and its law/chaos theme (just borrowed whole cloth from the WA cosmology generally) is much like Greyhawk though. Greyhawk is pretty much thematic chaos. In some ways its very messy lack of order is almost its best part, and it mimics the real world in some ways, where things are a consequence of infinitely dense skeins of causally connected happenings and nobody can really say "this is so because" for anything not utterly trivial. Of course in the case of GH it is that way simply because nothing there DOES make sense and there are no causal connections at all....

So, form is similar, but PoLand is a lot more thematically coherent and focused than Greyhawk.
 

cavalier973

Adventurer
I don't know why that would make it look like Greyhawk. Greyhawk is more of a sort of poor man's version of the Forgotten Realms arrived at by first running a wargame, and then evolving it into a primitive RPG, tossing in the kitchen sink of fantasy, and finally rewriting the whole thing with a mild dose of Tolkien pastiche layered on top. I agree that Greyhawk is the first modern RPG setting, it is really fairly similar in a lot of its FORM at least to things like FR, Eberron, PoLand (at least some late iterations of it, post the board game).

I'm not sure how PoLand and its law/chaos theme (just borrowed whole cloth from the WA cosmology generally) is much like Greyhawk though. Greyhawk is pretty much thematic chaos. In some ways its very messy lack of order is almost its best part, and it mimics the real world in some ways, where things are a consequence of infinitely dense skeins of causally connected happenings and nobody can really say "this is so because" for anything not utterly trivial. Of course in the case of GH it is that way simply because nothing there DOES make sense and there are no causal connections at all....

So, form is similar, but PoLand is a lot more thematically coherent and focused than Greyhawk.
You know, as I am remembering it, the comparison he makes to Greyhawk is more along the lines of the piecemeal way both settings were published. Bits here and bits there in various books and magazines. Contradictory themes and elements. That sort of thing, rather than the underlying story worlds of each setting.
 

Sure. But the reverse is true too - that someone's game sucked doesn't show that mine did. And it also doesn't meant that I was doing the same thing as them but just don't get bored when they do.

When a group of posters - me, @Manbearcat, @AbdulAlhazred, @Campbell are some of them active in this thead, and back in the day there were others, and it seems Ron Edwards is from the same school - converge without colluding on the same understanding of 4e and how and why it works, that suggests that it's more than just wild idiosyncracy or arbitrary differences in taste that meant some of us got great games out of it.

I think Edwards's comparison to early Champions - not a game I ever played, but I have a bit of a sense of it - is a pretty interesting one.
I played a little bit of it. It was definitely a fun game. I just remember that in play things were very wacky, and we spent a LOT of our time in chargen, a LOT. I also recall that I got pretty good at hacking the CP system, and built such monstrosities as 'Mushroom Man', which spewed poisonous 'spores' that were ridiculously toxic, and 'wizard', all of who's powers and attributes were invested in his staff (greatly reducing their cost, hence he was able to kick the arses of all the other characters of his power level). Of course the GM arranged to steal the staff, someone invented fungicide, etc. It was amusing, but at least the early versions of the game definitely required the players to go along with all the genre conventions. They kept tweaking things, but I assume they never got the CP system to be really bulletproof, I doubt it was possible.

Of course, exploiting the system was kind of missing the point of the game, but that was sort of how things went, back in 1981. The world was not really ready.
 

Campbell

Legend
Other than the initial state of skill challenges (which the DMG2 really made sing) the biggest issue with 4e is how the DMG phrased every bit of instruction as polite suggestions instead of actually teaching you how to run the game. This is a general issue that's been with us since 2nd Edition though.

The DMG2 is so much better at instructing how to run the game then the initial DMG.
 

You may (or may not) be surprised to know that there are folks On This Very Forum who would argue that 4e is a Story Now RPG.

(I believe these are the appropriate incantations for summoning @AbdulAlhazred in all their dread glory.)

Yes. One of them started this thread.

And bringing the domino back in time to the beginning, yet another one sent Ron’s 4e videos to you in hopes you would start a thread because I neither have the stamina nor interest in making gigantic post after gigantic post about this anymore (I’ve spent well more than my share of virtual ink on the subject)!

4e is clearly a robustly capable Story Now engine…and not by accident nor by dint of GM’s drifting it.

That premise + the revolting edition war = why I started posting on ENWorld.
 
Last edited:

pemerton

Legend
Other than the initial state of skill challenges (which the DMG2 really made sing) the biggest issue with 4e is how the DMG phrased every bit of instruction as polite suggestions instead of actually teaching you how to run the game. This is a general issue that's been with us since 2nd Edition though.
Also, whereas the combat encounter section is excellent from a mechanical point of view, and - contrary to widespread opinion - I think the skill challenge section is not bad, the section on adventure design is awful.

In the combat encounter section there is no discussion of theme or story from the metagame perspective. All that is found in the W&M prequel. The only bit of the DMG that really compares to this in tone is the section on languages. I think a lot of that W&M stuff could have been dropped into the DMG whole-cloth and made it quite a bit better.
 


Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Interesting, though when I think of the early settings I think more of huge sprawling things with 1000's and 1000's of locations and super elaborate encounter tables and whatnot (Wilderlands of High Fantasy, City State of the Invincible Overlord). I mean, those two products together are like a dungeon map and key on a huge scale, and the hexcrawl rules are just subbing in for the dungeon exploration rules. lol.
4e setting evokes very closely the setting I worked with in 1e era so for me personally that is old school... but I paid little attention to any official sources.
Sure. But the reverse is true too - that someone's game sucked doesn't show that mine did. And it also doesn't meant that I was doing the same thing as them but just don't get bored when they do.

When a group of posters - me, @Manbearcat, @AbdulAlhazred, @Campbell are some of them active in this thead, and back in the day there were others, and it seems Ron Edwards is from the same school
Definitely
- converge without colluding on the same understanding of 4e and how and why it works, that suggests that it's more than just wild idiosyncracy or arbitrary differences in taste that meant some of us got great games out of it.

I think Edwards's comparison to early Champions - not a game I ever played, but I have a bit of a sense of it - is a pretty interesting one.
Well As to Champions he did get involved and focused on Hybrids first in the PHB3. Where piecing together your own class is much more a thing (a core feature of Champions ) which he fairly promptly had all his players doing.
 
Last edited:


Aldarc

Legend
Gonna be brutally honest: anecdotes about how epic awesome your particular games were don't disprove the anecdotes the people whose games fell flat. Some games "click" for some groups, some games are a big miss. 4e was a miss for my group (I was a player and did not find it engaging). Had the GM been more familiar with GMing and the system as a whole, I have no doubt 4e would have been more fun. But it's still not a game I want to play. I lean hard into simpler systems with simpler mechanics, so even 5e is a bit much for my tastes.
On paper, 4e D&D defies my usual aesthetics for games, as I often gravitate more towards "simpler systems with simpler mechanics" as well or at least lighter than whatever D&D generally offers as the baseline. However, in retrospect, I suspect that where 4e D&D succeeded for me where a number of other crunchier games have failed is how 4e D&D synthesized mechanics, themes, and roles.

I don't know why that would make it look like Greyhawk. Greyhawk is more of a sort of poor man's version of the Forgotten Realms arrived at by first running a wargame, and then evolving it into a primitive RPG, tossing in the kitchen sink of fantasy, and finally rewriting the whole thing with a mild dose of Tolkien pastiche layered on top. I agree that Greyhawk is the first modern RPG setting, it is really fairly similar in a lot of its FORM at least to things like FR, Eberron, PoLand (at least some late iterations of it, post the board game).

I'm not sure how PoLand and its law/chaos theme (just borrowed whole cloth from the WA cosmology generally) is much like Greyhawk though. Greyhawk is pretty much thematic chaos. In some ways its very messy lack of order is almost its best part, and it mimics the real world in some ways, where things are a consequence of infinitely dense skeins of causally connected happenings and nobody can really say "this is so because" for anything not utterly trivial. Of course in the case of GH it is that way simply because nothing there DOES make sense and there are no causal connections at all....

So, form is similar, but PoLand is a lot more thematically coherent and focused than Greyhawk.
PoLand is also thematic chaos, and that's why it needs heroes who can push back the chaos that's hammering on the gates of the city, of the kingdom, of the world, of the cosmos, etc. But I agree that "PoLand is a lot more thematically coherent and focused than Greyhawk." It's probably even one of D&D's most thematically coherent settings ever created, which is quite amazing given how so much of its framework is predicated on the simplicity of the mythic Chaoskampf motif and World Axis cosmology.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
On paper, 4e D&D defies my usual aesthetics for games, as I often gravitate more towards "simpler systems with simpler mechanics" as well or at least lighter than whatever D&D generally offers as the baseline. However, in retrospect, I suspect that where 4e D&D succeeded for me where a number of other crunchier games have failed is how 4e D&D synthesized mechanics, themes, and roles.
Fate exemplified what was appealing to me prior to 4e
 

Aldarc

Legend
Fate exemplified what was appealing to me prior to 4e
Fate and 4e still appeals to me. However, I've recently been drawn to Cortex Prime in no small part due to how one can tie themes into the character by constructing the game. One of my "fooling-around projects" with Cortex Prime is creating an Italian Renaissance-inspired fantasy, especially inspired by things like Borgias, Medici, Goethe's Faust, Machiavelli's The Prince, and The Lies of Locke Lamora. The core traits include Distinctions, Means, and Virtues, but also secondary traits include Resources, Relationships, and Assets.

Character Distinctions (like Aspects) are guided: (1) Identity, (2) Background, (3) Ambition. (There's a bit of a present, past, and future to it.) The Means represent your character's preferred methods and approaches to achieving your ends: i.e., Cunning, Force, Grace, Panache, and Reason. The Virtues are the primary religious values for the prevailing Church of Angelic Virtue: i.e., Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, Justice, Mercy, Hope, and Love. With Virtues, players also write statements for how they relate and understand them. Players can also Challenge their own Virtue Statements, which involves tripling your die roll for acting opposite of your Virtue (i.e., vice and sin).

Assembling a dice pool for an action, therefore, requires thinking about your Character Distinctions, your character's means to their ends, their relationship to their religious virtues, as well as whatever resources they have at their disposal.

Meanwhile, it's pretty easy to set thematically appropriate Stress tracks: i.e., Physical, Mental, Social, and Spiritual.

It's just all to easy to bake in game/setting themes into the character. I'm definitely curious to see how players engage these elements.
 

S'mon

Legend
Meh, not these days. The genre is popular, as ever, but there are actually quite a few good offerings. CoC is a bit like D&D in that space, but IME it is no longer the dominant game. It is just too ill-matched to the genre to be perfectly frank. While CoC has great production values and whatnot, the core system it is built on actually bites lava chunks in heck for that type of game. I don't even consider it playable, and I was enthusiastic enough about the game in the 1980's that I own a decent amount of CoC stuff. I would use it as background material nowadays, but for actual play purposes the SoC and FATE derived games that are out there are VASTLY better fits. Trail of Cthulhu is really rather brilliant and produces great Mythos stories, and that is an old game at this point.
Go check some stats - eg Roll20 publish theirs regularly. CoC is the clear number 2 to D&D. Nothing else comes close. Storygames are way way behind.
 
Last edited:

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Fate and 4e still appeals to me. However, I've recently been drawn to Cortex Prime in no small part due to how one can tie themes into the character by constructing the game. One of my "fooling-around projects" with Cortex Prime is creating an Italian Renaissance-inspired fantasy, especially inspired by things like Borgias, Medici, Goethe's Faust, Machiavelli's The Prince, and The Lies of Locke Lamora. The core traits include Distinctions, Means, and Virtues, but also secondary traits include Resources, Relationships, and Assets.

Character Distinctions (like Aspects) are guided: (1) Identity, (2) Background, (3) Ambition. (There's a bit of a present, past, and future to it.) The Means represent your character's preferred methods and approaches to achieving your ends: i.e., Cunning, Force, Grace, Panache, and Reason.
Oh my ... Scissors Rock Lizard Paper Spock

The Virtues are the primary religious values for the prevailing Church of Angelic Virtue: i.e., Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, Justice, Mercy, Hope, and Love. With Virtues, players also write statements for how they relate and understand them. Players can also Challenge their own Virtue Statements, which involves tripling your die roll for acting opposite of your Virtue (i.e., vice and sin).

Assembling a dice pool for an action, therefore, requires thinking about your Character Distinctions, your character's means to their ends, their relationship to their religious virtues, as well as whatever resources they have at their disposal.

Meanwhile, it's pretty easy to set thematically appropriate Stress tracks: i.e., Physical, Mental, Social, and Spiritual.

It's just all to easy to bake in game/setting themes into the character. I'm definitely curious to see how players engage these elements.
A lot of intriguing elements
 

S'mon

Legend
You just never never ever want to say "here's a room with 5 orcs in it" or anything like that.

I see your point, but 5 orcs in a room works great in 4e as one part of a larger Encounter. An entire small dungeon in 4e makes one great Encounter, eg the Moathouse in Village of Hommlet - I think WotC actually did do just that at one point?
 

S'mon

Legend
Other than the initial state of skill challenges (which the DMG2 really made sing) the biggest issue with 4e is how the DMG phrased every bit of instruction as polite suggestions instead of actually teaching you how to run the game. This is a general issue that's been with us since 2nd Edition though.

The DMG2 is so much better at instructing how to run the game then the initial DMG.
Aye! I don't blame anyone for reading the 4e DMG and not knowing how to run 4e. That was certainly my initial experience!! 4e DMG has some good advice for generic-D&D play copy/pasted from 3e D&D "D&D for Dummies". But 4e is not really "D&D" in design or intent (5e is, moreso than 3e IMO), so it's not good advice for 4e as such. And the actual 4e-oriented advice in the 4e DMG is really weak, as if Wyatt & co did not understand their own game. It needed 1-2 more years to get right.

4e DMG2's Robin Laws advice is a bit more on point, but personally I don't find it all that great for 4e specifically. It's written for Robin Laws Gaming (TM), which is only somewhat related to 4e. It's easy to read the 4e DMG2 and still not have much idea how 4e works.

I suspect you could take the advice from Dungeon World, use that as your 4e GM advice, and it'd work better than anything WoTC ever put out. And I've not even read DW...
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top