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D&D 4E Running player commentary on PCat's 4E Campaign - Heroic tier (finished)

Glyfair

First Post
There's a somewhat more constructive thread in House Rules where people discuss house rules to address the scaling issues without the need for (and with the presumed banning of) these feats.
One thing to remember is that a key element of this house rule for PC was that it could easily be implemented within the character builder software. This solution doesn't sound like it can be.
 

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Barastrondo

First Post
In this case, the rogue should either follow up with an action point attack, or delay until right after the villain, then deliver his daily.

I'm sure our group isn't the only one that manipulates the initiative order to maximize our power's effects. Just one more layer of tactics to deal with...

That was my exact thought as well. Delay until after the villain, and you can line up an effect for all the rest of the gang to exploit. It's risky, of course, but that's part of the fun.
 

Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
Huh. That had never occurred to me. It seems like poor design to have to metagame your tactics solely due to a rules quirk, but it certainly works.

I want to take a moment to talk about campaign direction and plot flow.

When I build my campaign, I usually have roughly three or more levels of simultaneous plot. One is the large, slow-moving megalithic plots that move forward even without PC interaction; these happen in the background and help drive the world forward so it doesn't feel stagnant. (A good example that my players know about is that their country supposedly rebelling from the Caprian empire, and this might have destroyed the Emperor's Peace and made the Oathstone stop working. That means more monsters begin attacking people, and a greater need for adventurers and heroes.) These play out over many levels.

The second is medium-range plots. These play out over a level or two. They provide continuity and a cohesive set of games, but aren't audacious enough to drive the whole campaign. Bad guys in these plots may be catspaws for other bad guys, but they should always be entertaining and dangerous enough to inspire me as I build games around them. The series of lizardman raids on Floodford, and who's driving that (and why!), is a good current example. Alene is a glorious bad guy for reasons I can't discuss, even if the PCs haven't met her face-to-face.

Finally, I have active adventures. These are clearly driven by the first two, but are far more focused in nature. They may not always be linked to a larger plot; depends on whether I want something that moves the story forward, or just want a fun and fast adventure as a palate cleanser. These last a session or two.

The secret for me is to layer these types of plots onto one another to create the appearance of complexity. I may have two or three large-scale plots going on, and the 3-4 mid-level adventures they inspire interact with one another to always give me options for the PCs. In truth, I just load myself down with plot hooks and let the group pursue whatever seems like the most fun at the time. That way they're always advancing at least one of the larger plots whichever path they choose.

One thing I don't do is plan everything out ahead of time. I'm not a top-down designer, and I generally don't fill in all the details until a plot comes into focus. More fun for me that way.
 
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Mustrum_Ridcully

Adventurer
Huh. That had never occurred to me. It seems like poor design to have to metagame your tactics solely due to a rules quirk, but it certainly works.
We had a similar situation in our Scales of War campaign where I noted that with a different initiative, a certain feature could have been used a lot more interestingly. My DM reminded me that I could have delayed.

I first thought that was metagamey - but it is just coordinating the characters action better, which is, in the end, absolutely realistic.
[sblock=Scales of War Spoiler, 1st adventure]
There is a room with 2 Goblin snipers and 2 Hobgoblin soldiers, and a kind of trap that shoots flames when one of the room doors open. One of my characters could push the enemies around, but they could act before the fire, so I couldn't use the trap against them - unless I had delayed until after their action!
[/sblock]
 

Barastrondo

First Post
Huh. That had never occurred to me. It seems like poor design to have to metagame your tactics solely due to a rules quirk, but it certainly works.

It's not optimal, but I tend to think of it as kind of an "on my mark — GO!" maneuver. It's less about giving up your opportunity and more like attempting to get into synch with your teammates so that you can pull off coordinated strikes like a bunch of pros. I would sometimes see it happen in previous editions as well, as the players shifted into a coordinated knot in the initiative order, but there's absolutely more incentive to do it in 4e.

The secret for me is to layer these types of plots onto one another to create the appearance of complexity. I may have two or three large-scale plots going on, and the 3-4 mid-level adventures they inspire interact with one another to always give me options for the PCs. In truth, I just load myself down with plot hooks and let the group pursue whatever seems like the most fun at the time. That way they're always advancing at least one of the larger plots whichever path they choose.

Thanks for the look at that! That's awfully clever. I sort of practice a less sophisticated version, with only medium- and low-tier plots in play; I'm not that fortunate when it comes to games that can play out over a very long period of time, so I tend to try and plan in manageable, bite-size chunks.

Has the new design element of tiers affected your viewpoint at all? I'm curious if you ever find yourself tempted to say "Hey, this plot could make a good transition from heroic to paragon," or "This large-scale plot could spark Epic Adventures X and Y" ahead of time.

One thing I don't do is plan everything out ahead of time. I'm not a top-down designer, and I generally don't fill in all the details until a plot comes into focus. More fun for me that way.

Yeah, and I find sometimes it really helps to "find the motivation" for a plot after its peripheral effects have been running around in the setting for a while. Even if the player characters haven't even heard the name of a villain at work behind the scenes yet, how the game unfolds might make me get a better handle on him as they interact with his workings.
 

Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
On a totally separate note, wish me luck. I'm about to go over to Sagiro's house to recieve what may be the most complex, best planned, most secretive birthday present in the history of such things. I know it is masterminded by Sagiro, has been planned for 3 years, involved multiple rehearsals (if they were rehearsals, which isn't certain), may have a videographer, and might involve all of the players in my Defenders / Grey Guard campaigns. Or not. I can't get a straight answer out of anyone, I've had tantalizing snippets of clue dangled in front of me for almost a year, and it all occurs tonight.

I either love my friends, or totally hate them. I don't know which yet! But I trust them.

I hope it's a pony.
 




Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
I have the best friends ever. What I got was an original nine-song musical written and scored by Sagiro, and performed (sung and acted) by my six players and two other friends.

Spine of the Times: A Musical Journey Into the White Kingdom.

Complete with a book of lyrics and text, a forthcoming cast CD of the songs, a video recording, an impromptu dance from Sagiro's daughter, a bottle of Rat Bastard wine, and memories I'm never going to lose. I'm speechless, but only because I can't stop grinning like a goon. I love my players.

I'll make a separate post tomorrow to talk about this. Any performance featuring (for example) the Alienist song "Tentacles" deserves its own thread.
 
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Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
One thing I don't do is plan everything out ahead of time. I'm not a top-down designer, and I generally don't fill in all the details until a plot comes into focus. More fun for me that way.

I was talking to barsoomcore the other day about his Reform School Ninja Girls PbP, and something he said was "I know who the Big Bad is, and what his objective is, but the details of what's going on are a bit of a mystery. What I do know is that wherever the Ninja Girls show up, something happening there is a crucial part of it. And so it builds itself as the game goes along."

We followed a lead and talked to a guy who mentioned someone else's name, and we fixated on it, tracking him down at the Triceratops Races. So now, the trike races are important to the Big Bad's scheme somehow, and it's just as well we're here!

-Hyp.
 

vagabundo

Explorer
I have the best friends ever. What I got was an original nine-song musical written and scored by Sagiro, and performed (sung and acted) by my six players and two other friends.

Spine of the Times: A Musical Journey Into the White Kingdom.

Complete with a book of lyrics and text, a forthcoming cast CD of the songs, a video recording, an impromptu dance from Sagiro's daughter, a bottle of Rat Bastard wine, and memories I'm never going to lose. I'm speechless, but only because I can't stop grinning like a goon. I love my players.

I'll make a separate post tomorrow to talk about this. Any performance featuring (for example) the Alienist song "Tentacles" deserves it's own thread.

lol.. What a birthday prezzy!!. Good job...
 

Mathew_Freeman

First Post
I have the best friends ever. What I got was an original nine-song musical written and scored by Sagiro, and performed (sung and acted) by my six players and two other friends.

Spine of the Times: A Musical Journey Into the White Kingdom.

Complete with a book of lyrics and text, a forthcoming cast CD of the songs, a video recording, an impromptu dance from Sagiro's daughter, a bottle of Rat Bastard wine, and memories I'm never going to lose. I'm speechless, but only because I can't stop grinning like a goon. I love my players.

I'll make a separate post tomorrow to talk about this. Any performance featuring (for example) the Alienist song "Tentacles" deserves it's own thread.

This is just the most fantastic thing, like, ever.

Incidentally, I'd like to throw in a suggestion and a plea to Sagiro:

Don't do a Story Hour version of this thread.

I love this thread as it is - an example of us getting the story and the mechanics all mixed up together, with plenty of DM interaction. It seems to be easier to update than a Story Hour (I know how that feels!) and it's not getting bogged down in missed sessions.
 


Aravis

First Post
Having just been told that no, the thread has not been dead for two weeks, but rather the boards are just not telling me of activity...I am back.

Hmm, I'm not convinced that's the reason; Dr. Caldwell has a fairly average level of devotion. On the other hand, Dr. Caldwell is a follower of Demis, Sklar's archenemy, so perhaps that's it.

Not for me. I liked having the effect follow closely to the cause; it emphasizes that the PCs have agency in the gameworld.

As with the chance of immobilization during the Tide of Sklar thing, I suspect that it is devotion to Demis or being of a divine character class.

I too agree that it was tremendously cool to get the cut scene (which is funny because I hate cut scene's in video games...).

--Aravis
 

Aravis

First Post
Huh. That had never occurred to me. It seems like poor design to have to metagame your tactics solely due to a rules quirk, but it certainly works.

I don't know about that. Is that really any different than Cobalt and Logan holding their actions until Toiva uses Radiant Delirium, so that their target is stunned first?

It certainly seems less metagamey than knowing your opponent is bloodied.

--Aravis
 

Blood Jester

First Post
In this case, the rogue should either follow up with an action point attack, or delay until right after the villain, then deliver his daily.

I'm sure our group isn't the only one that manipulates the initiative order to maximize our power's effects. Just one more layer of tactics to deal with...

PS

This assumes:

1) You have an action point available, and have not already used one in the encounter (both *very* sketchy assumptions in the combats I've been in).

2) The rouge (or another PC) is in a position to be safe to wait (we have had many situations where a delay for another attack could mean below-zero land); and the enemy will stand still and wait for you to set-up, instead of using the dynamic nature of the battlefield. (A tactical opponent will see the set-up and move or neutralize the option if given the chance.)


I am a very tactics-focused player and gamer, but to *have* to use tactics to make a Daily (at best) the equal of an Encounter power is a fail for the designers.
 

Storminator

First Post
This assumes:

...snip...

I am a very tactics-focused player and gamer, but to *have* to use tactics to make a Daily (at best) the equal of an Encounter power is a fail for the designers.

I look at it a little differently. The only thing I assumed was that the rogue isn't going to blindly throw his daily into the fight and just hope it all works out. I assume that everything a player does requires tactics, and that the bigger the resource expended, the more intensively the tactics are considered.

I don't follow the logic that says "I will consider my Encounter powers carefully, but I will expect not to use tactics for my Daily."

I don't think it's a well written power, and I don't think we'll see more of them. We've already seen a better formulated version. But that doesn't mean the player is absolved from thinking when he uses his powers.

PS
 

Blood Jester

First Post
I look at it a little differently. The only thing I assumed was that the rogue isn't going to blindly throw his daily into the fight and just hope it all works out. I assume that everything a player does requires tactics, and that the bigger the resource expended, the more intensively the tactics are considered.

I don't follow the logic that says "I will consider my Encounter powers carefully, but I will expect not to use tactics for my Daily."

I don't think it's a well written power, and I don't think we'll see more of them. We've already seen a better formulated version. But that doesn't mean the player is absolved from thinking when he uses his powers.

PS

The above really put a lot of words in my mouth (blindly, hope it works out, not use tactics).

Let me rephrase...

To *have* to use *perfect* tactics, and/or be a tactical wizard (which many excellent players are not) just to not get screwed on your powers, means the designers, who worked so hard to remove many of the more interesting, but more complex, aspects of the rules to open the scope of accessibility for more players, have failed in designing the power in question.

This is not chess, and while I personally play more in the style that combat is a friendly chess match with the DM, does not mean that the designers should be sloppy in their work.

A Daily power should be clearly better than an Encounter power used by the same player, with the same skill-set and play style.

So you, being a better player than I, may use an Encounter power to much greater effect than I use a Daily. *BUT* my Daily powers should serve me better than my Encounter powers. And, proportionately, your Daily powers should serve you better than your Encounter powers.

That is what I consider good design.
 

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