log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 4E Ron Edwards on D&D 4e

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Right, so IMHO practices should be a bit scalable, and maybe that includes "pay more, get more"
Yup rituals too see also my design ideas on Marshal Troops or my ideas about taking Alarm and making it so in Epic your alarm has to be well epic to detect some of the interdimensional and similar issues.
and I have linked them in my design to consumables, so a consumable is just a 'condensed practice/ritual' in effect (4e already has that with scrolls, I just assume that potions are similar, you can also consider them to be 'one time use boons').
 

log in or register to remove this ad


Yup rituals too see also my design ideas on Marshal Troops or my ideas about taking Alarm and making it so in Epic your alarm has to be well epic to detect some of the interdimensional and similar issues.
Yeah, well, in that sense a lot of rituals just "sort of scale by virtue of what you're dealing with." That is, a heroic PC is not going to need to detect an Epic threat with Alarm. The game simply doesn't DO that, so it isn't really necessary to spell out some of these things. That, IMHO is pretty much what @pemerton is talking about when he discusses an appropriateness test for fiction, heroic PCs generate and interact with heroic fiction, etc. 4e doesn't spell out a ton of level restriction stuff that was explicit in earlier editions (I mean, in 1e technically there's no reason not to suppose a level 1 PC couldn't come up against an elder dragon or something, and his party could be 12th level except for him, so it is kind of needed there!). Likewise you never see in 4e things like "immune to weapons of less than +3 enchantment" because it just won't ever come up.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yeah, well, in that sense a lot of rituals just "sort of scale by virtue of what you're dealing with." That is, a heroic PC is not going to need to detect an Epic threat with Alarm. The game simply doesn't DO that, so it isn't really necessary to spell out some of these things.
I meant cost wise sort of. The benefit of not being surprised if its worth 20gp at low levels is it the same at high levels no at high levels 20gp is meaningless but the benefit is not.
 

I meant cost wise sort of. The benefit of not being surprised if its worth 20gp at low levels is it the same at high levels no at high levels 20gp is meaningless but the benefit is not.
I guess the question is if those costs were intended to represent some sort of 'spam deterrence' or if they were just color. Maybe in the later case the color is "low level guys are money grubbers, high level guys are not." I don't know. I suspect nobody really thought it all out thoroughly.
 

pemerton

Legend
I guess the question is if those costs were intended to represent some sort of 'spam deterrence' or if they were just color. Maybe in the later case the color is "low level guys are money grubbers, high level guys are not." I don't know. I suspect nobody really thought it all out thoroughly.
They definitely didn't think it all through! The cost for Phantom Steeds becomes negligible at Epic, and the PCs fly everywhere! Whether that's a feature or a flaw is probably table-specific.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I guess the question is if those costs were intended to represent some sort of 'spam deterrence' or if they were just color. Maybe in the later case the color is "low level guys are money grubbers, high level guys are not." I don't know. I suspect nobody really thought it all out thoroughly.

I think you convinced me. Now for too much analytic details FTW, Lets examine the impact of that color... rituals arent used at many tables and maybe that flavor is too harsh at low end I do think that kind of color discourages ritual use which I find problematic.

Of course I think the thing that really needs fixed on a alarm is the cost without gain issue we have discussed. But that can be a case of the more expensive components only are expended when the alarm is triggered flavor. I kind of scaling the cost of those expensive components can be important. Here is an example using Marshal Troops to set up a Night Watch.

You want to use higher level scouts for more dangerous situation so they should cost more in some fashion. One way of representing that is when one of them dies guarding the party their death price will be higher at higher level. I do not want to discourage spamming necessarily but your elite squadron needs to feel elite. We could scale the price for instance that 20 GP of the alarm spell become ...at lowest level a price kicks in 1 in 10 times the alarm is signalled ie so this is 200gp that represents paying the death price. Now comes the scaling without scaling we could level it after 5 levels so 1 in 20 times it kicks in but the price is 400gp. both have the same median. The money could always be 20GP and is a hazard pay bonus, and you might have instead of a squad you have a fireteam of more resilient ones. Fewer heads but each is paid more effectively scaling within the same level just different composition.
Obviously none of this has to really be written down LOL

My gut actually says maybe at high level surprise or avoiding suprise scale the same so having our cost unscaling except in flavor is fine.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
They definitely didn't think it all through! The cost for Phantom Steeds becomes negligible at Epic, and the PCs fly everywhere! Whether that's a feature or a flaw is probably table-specific.
I think the foundations of an Arcane Power II could include thinking rituals through
 

They definitely didn't think it all through! The cost for Phantom Steeds becomes negligible at Epic, and the PCs fly everywhere! Whether that's a feature or a flaw is probably table-specific.
Right, in my work I would simply scale the prices. Actually, HoML has a neat way of doing that, abstract costs. So any given 'cost' is simply a check, its trivial, non-trivial, or substantial. Exactly what that means doesn't matter in that we know it is tier-relative. So things like Phantom Steeds just work, the cost is, for example, non-trivial. Since the EFFECT scales, that all works fine, you have say 50gp fast horses for heroic PCs, 500gp Pegasi for paragon PCs, and 5000gp Astral Chargers for epic PCs.

There actually isn't even a need to note ANY of that, because the effect of the ritual is to provide the narrative license to the player to describe, in a fictionally appropriate manner, how the characters are transported by their steeds in whatever way earns them a success on the check in whatever challenge it came up in. As I was talking about above, action is assumed to always be fictionally appropriate, so your heroic PC won't end up with an Astral Charger, because his area of concern is "some orcs down the road" or something where that wouldn't be meaningful. I guess it would be OK to describe the results of his ritual that way, it wouldn't break the game, but I am guessing there would want to be some deeper reason for that to be done (IE it is foreshadowing that the character has some sort of powerful patron or something).
 


pemerton

Legend
Skill challenges were dismal in both explanation and implementation.
That's a matter of opinion. I found the explanation in the DMG clear enough - perhaps because I was already familiar with HeroWars extended contests - and was able to implement it without much trouble.

The aspect of skill challenges that I found tricky follows from the GM never rolling: when you want to narrate an active opposition, this creates questions as to how far you can go in narrating what a PC does as part of your own framing and narration of consequence. There is - unsurprisingly, I guess - a resemblance to Apocalypse World here. I have seen posters on these boards object to the GM narration in the AW rulebook example of play ("Moves Snowball") because it includes narrating things about how the PC responds when the NPCs turn up at her house and throw a grenade into it.
 

Helpful NPC Thom

Adventurer
That's a matter of opinion. I found the explanation in the DMG clear enough - perhaps because I was already familiar with HeroWars extended contests - and was able to implement it without much trouble.

The aspect of skill challenges that I found tricky follows from the GM never rolling: when you want to narrate an active opposition, this creates questions as to how far you can go in narrating what a PC does as part of your own framing and narration of consequence. There is - unsurprisingly, I guess - a resemblance to Apocalypse World here. I have seen posters on these boards object to the GM narration in the AW rulebook example of play ("Moves Snowball") because it includes narrating things about how the PC responds when the NPCs turn up at her house and throw a grenade into it.
Familiarity with non-D&D systems (particularly narrative-oriented systems) aids in the execution and structuring of skill challenges, in the same way that familiarity with wargames aids in those processes with regards to AD&D. However, the systems were lackluster in terms of mathematical soundness in the same way that initial Monster Manual math was off-kilter; the numerous attempts at revising them indicate such. Nonetheless, there was an attempt at implementing narrative mechanics within D&D, for which I cannot fault the designers, but in the end, it felt awkward and out of place alongside a system designed first and foremost to facilitate the balanced tactical combat desired by 3e players. (The cruel irony being that developers gave them precisely what was demanded and yet it wasn't what they wanted.)
 

Familiarity with non-D&D systems (particularly narrative-oriented systems) aids in the execution and structuring of skill challenges, in the same way that familiarity with wargames aids in those processes with regards to AD&D. However, the systems were lackluster in terms of mathematical soundness in the same way that initial Monster Manual math was off-kilter; the numerous attempts at revising them indicate such. Nonetheless, there was an attempt at implementing narrative mechanics within D&D, for which I cannot fault the designers, but in the end, it felt awkward and out of place alongside a system designed first and foremost to facilitate the balanced tactical combat desired by 3e players. (The cruel irony being that developers gave them precisely what was demanded and yet it wasn't what they wanted.)
Again, this is not some sort of canonical position. In fact I played some 4e EARLY on where the GM in question used the original SC system presented in DMG1 exactly as presented, and it worked brilliantly. When WotC started changing it he just laughed said whoever revised it really didn't 'get' SCs and that they were making a mistake, and continued to run the campaign according to what he felt was the best rule.

I personally didn't have a huge problem with the DMG1 SC rules either, though when the errata were issued I did switch to the new official version, and it works fine too. Yes, the 'probability of success' and thus 'danger' of SCs is HIGHLY variable. So what? There's nothing in the story game paradigm which cares about that! The fact is, the dice are simply a way of generating an outcome. That is, they are simply a source of entropy which makes 'what happens' not some 100% certainty and not 100% dictated. 4e, like DW and other similar games, doesn't really have "level of difficulty" in much of a real sense. There's UNCERTAINTY, most things you attempt have about a 50/50 chance of success, ideally. Once you factor in that the PCs get to pick how to respond to things, and thus select favorable tactics, it appears you have basically something like maybe 90% goal attainment on SCs. While technically the higher complexity ones (in the revised system) are 'harder' I think that is deceptive in that more plot complexity should lead to more possible approaches, and thus better optimization and thus things should/may (IME do) balance out.

Still, the original argument that the 4e SC as presented was mathematically sound and correct is pretty good if you think about it. I mean, overall PCs should pass a fixed ratio of all checks, and the original SCs used a fixed ratio to gauge success! It wasn't a bad design at all, someone considered it carefully!
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top