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5E So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I find in 5e it is best to us straight 5e monsters for mooks and then dress up a boss with a few 4e-isms. Strikes the perfect balance for me and doesn't require much effort at all.
Insert DM in the equation who doesn't have that 4e as a resource and you have a need for the obvious part of a tactical module.

The thing is character abilities need to interact interestingly with monster abilities the ability to easily stand up from being prone is meaningless if nothing prones you. I do not see this stuff as operating in isolation.
 

Charlaquin

Explorer
Yes, especially after playing 4e I have a wealth of easy options at my finger tips! To be honest, I lot of 4e monsters aren't as engaging as people claim. That being said, there was an excess of conditions and movement that could be fun.

I find in 5e it is best to us straight 5e monsters for mooks and then dress up a boss with a few 4e-isms. Strikes the perfect balance for me and doesn't require much effort at all.
The strength of 4e’s monster design, IMO, was not in the design of its individual monsters, but in the way monster roles allows you to build dynamic tactical encounters more easily than in other editions. The individual monster designs were fine, good even, but in 4e one individual monster is only a fraction of what makes up a combat encounter.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The strength of 4e’s monster design, IMO, was not in the design of its individual monsters, but in the way monster roles allows you to build dynamic tactical encounters more easily than in other editions. The individual monster designs were fine, good even, but in 4e one individual monster is only a fraction of what makes up a combat encounter.
I think people do not always get how over all structure contributes

It kind of relates to 5e designers take on healing surges mentioned earlier.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
The strength of 4e’s monster design, IMO, was not in the design of its individual monsters, but in the way monster roles allows you to build dynamic tactical encounters more easily than in other editions. The individual monster designs were fine, good even, but in 4e one individual monster is only a fraction of what makes up a combat encounter.
That section of the DMG was my favorite and most used section of that book.

4E monsters were so easy to refluff and retool, and you could have interesting dynamic encounters right out the gate. I remember an encounter in an exploration game I ran where first level characters were being stalked by a pack of wolves. I made stats for an "alpha wolf", which were soldier wolves while the younger wolves were still skirmishers. The soldier wolves had a mark but also had a grab instead of the usual knock prone. When they grabbed someone, they used their movement to drag the target back away from it's friends so the skirmishers could dog pile.

Yeah, that's possible to do in 5E, but the game doesn't immediately give you the tools.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Honestly, I don't think the 5e designers were up to the task. Everytime I hear them talk about 4e I'm amazed by how little they get the appeal of 4e.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Honestly, I don't think the 5e designers were up to the task. Everytime I hear them talk about 4e I'm amazed by how little they get the appeal of 4e.
That right there feels altogether too true though at the same time I wonder how that could happen
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
There were some pretty cool variant rules in the DMG, and that was it. .
And some are kind of innadequate like how second wind is very nearly un-used in 4e due to action economy and which is even more tied down in 5e. But it gets a variant?

Thought i would double down on why the variant they presented isn't really even the interesting parts of Healin Surges

Healing Surges in 4e


  • A limit to healing albeit high limit to "commonly available" healing (no healing if your subject is out except by dm controlled resources)
  • Defenders and to a lesser degree melee combatants have more not just more hit points they need healed more often doing their fighting style and role.
  • A resource spent in extreme exertion for skill use not just healing and sometimes by magic items and rituals adding this could be nice in a module
  • Flavor wise putting the awesome in the character being healed as much as the healer
  • proportionate healing - yes its kind of flavor too. (remember curing light wounds healed your low level character completely folks you were unconscious and dying from a "light" wound in 1e to 3e how cute)
  • oh.yeah... and second wind for emergencies / leaderless groups.
 

Lanefan

Hero
CapnZapp said:
It died when WotC decided to not rock the boat afraid that any new ideas would jinx the edition and stop the profits rolling in.

They avoid doing anything that could be interpreted as "new edition" like the plague.
It's there in the class design and optional rules in the DMG.

I think the fanatics took things a bit to literally. They said fans of 1E to 4E could play together not that it would be 1E to 4E.
What we were told and-or led to believe in the pre-playtest and early-playtest days were three things:

1. 5e would be 'modular', the intent being to limit or even eliminate knock-on effects to other modules when making changes to one
2. 5e would be designed with kitbashers in mind, such that a DM could - with more or less effort - massage the game into what she actually wanted to run
3. With enough kitbashing 5e could be largely made to play like any previous edition (the implication being that the 5e design would be robust enough and flexible enough to handle this)

Well, other than some options in the DMG 1 seems to have largely disappeared along the way. 2 may or may not ever have truly been the case despite what was said at the time; and 3 - while still true - would now take huge gobs more work than originally - 'promised' is too strong a word to put here, and 'implied' is too weak - due to the absence of 1 and 2.

The other thing they never gave us (in fairness they never said they would, but...) right from the start are conversion guides to-from each previous edition - how do you port a 1e Illusionist or a 4e Warlord into the 5e framework and make it work without losing the uniqueness of the class; or how does 0-1-2e style level loss work in the 5e milieu; or ... (I could go on for pages here). A 16 or 24 or 32-page softcover adventure-module-sized conversion guide for each previous edition (so 5 of these, 1 each for 0e/BECMI and 1-2-3-4e) is all it would have taken...and it's work that was probably 90% done anyway during the design process - all they'd have to have done would be type it up and lay it out. :)

The only guides we have to go on, and these were all released well after the fact, are the updated-to-5e re-releases of some classic adventure modules from 0e, 1e and 3e.
 

MarkB

Adventurer
And some are kind of innadequate like how second wind is very nearly un-used in 4e due to action economy and which is even more tied down in 5e. But it gets a variant?

Thought i would double down on why the variant they presented isn't really even the interesting parts of Healin Surges

Healing Surges in 4e


  • A limit to healing albeit high limit to "commonly available" healing (no healing if your subject is out except by dm controlled resources)
  • Defenders and to a lesser degree melee combatants have more not just more hit points they need healed more often doing their fighting style and role.
  • A resource spent in extreme exertion for skill use not just healing and sometimes by magic items and rituals adding this could be nice in a module
  • Flavor wise putting the awesome in the character being healed as much as the healer
  • proportionate healing - yes its kind of flavor too. (remember curing light wounds healed your low level character completely folks you were unconscious and dying from a "light" wound in 1e to 3e how cute)
  • oh.yeah... and second wind for emergencies / leaderless groups.
Another aspect of healing surges, that I don't think 4e ever adequately encouraged in the rulebooks, was that they worked flavour-wise as a way of showing how beaten-up a party gets over the course of an adventuring day. The way I always narrated it, a character who was at full hit points but down to their last 1-2 healing surges did not look the same as a character who was at full hit points and full healing surges. Instead, they'd look battered, bruised, bandaged up and practically on their last legs. The only thing the "full hit points" part was buying them was that, at least, they didn't currently have any open, bleeding, untreated wounds.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
The strength of 4e’s monster design, IMO, was not in the design of its individual monsters, but in the way monster roles allows you to build dynamic tactical encounters more easily than in other editions. The individual monster designs were fine, good even, but in 4e one individual monster is only a fraction of what makes up a combat encounter.
Yes, you can do that in 5E too, but thE game doesn't give the names out of the box. Though that would be the easiest thing to add to a tactical module.
 

Lanefan

Hero
You named one right there dude... do you really think you can go and change virtually every monster an easy fix to the game?
Depends how fine-tuned you want to get with it.

The 3e idea of templates might hold water here: tactical templates (say, a forced-move template or a marking template or a minion template or whatever) that you could then apply to whichever monsters you like and in whatever combination you like; without having to go in and change the write-up for every monster in the various MMs which, without question, would be tedious as hell.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
It's in the DMG, it emphasizes the grid, including flanking, adds /facing/ of all things, and lets anyone mark (or maybe that's a separate variant?).

Anyway, it credibly delivers the "grid dependence/tactical-boardgame" people who didn't like 4e complained about.

Honestly, I don't think the 5e designers were up to the task. Everytime I hear them talk about 4e I'm amazed by how little they get the appeal of 4e.
They did seem to be working primarily from criticisms of 4e.

What we were told and-or led to believe in the pre-playtest and early-playtest days were three things:

1. 5e would be 'modular', the intent being to limit or even eliminate knock-on effects to other modules when making changes to one
2. 5e would be designed with kitbashers in mind, such that a DM could - with more or less effort - massage the game into what she actually wanted to run
3. With enough kitbashing 5e could be largely made to play like any previous edition (the implication being that the 5e design would be robust enough and flexible enough to handle this)
2 & 3 prettymuch go together.

There also really was this claim, Zard alluded to, above, that players with different favorite editions could sit at the same table, playing characters that evoked what they like best about their edition of choice. It seemed an over-ambitious pipe-dream, at the time, and that seeming was borne out. Rather, the 5e Empowered DM can make 5e feel something like his favorite edition - especially if that edition was TSR-era - /absolutely including the way he ran said edition, with all the variants & assumptions and whatnot that made it uniquely awesome for his group, back in the day/.

(And, I do think 5e is kitbash-friendly enough to just turn on MCing, Feats, and add Feats, de-facto PrCs, reams of spells, make/buy rules, etc, and get it back to something like the early WotC era, 3.0/3.5, though it'd be a lot of up-front work, and y'know, PF is right there, so why bother?)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It's in the DMG, it emphasizes the grid, including flanking, adds /facing/ of all things, and lets anyone mark (or maybe that's a separate variant?).

Anyway, it credibly delivers the "grid dependence/tactical-boardgame" people who didn't like 4e complained about.

They did seem to be working primarily from criticisms of 4e.
Don't think your snark gets unappreciated...
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Don't think your snark gets unappreciated...
To be fair, 4e was very much designed based on criticisms of 3e (and earlier) - 'static combat,' LFQW, 5WMD, CoDzilla, Sorcerers inferior to Wizards (heck, everyone but CoDzilla being inferior to Wizards), broken combos/exploits, broken spells, 'Rocket Tag,' /needing/ 20-level builds, whacked Epic-levels, lack of functionality outside the 'sweet spot,' burden of prep & difficulty of running for DMs, excessive impact of system mastery ('win' the game at chargen!), steep learning curve being a barrier to entry, Fighter SUX! (not just LF/QW/CoDzilla, lack of meaningful contribution out of combat, called out as natural 'party leader' & tasked with protecting weaker party members, but with 0 mechanical support for either), BAB & Rank disparities at high level making challenging specialists while including non-specialists virtually impossible...
...anyone wondering why 4e changed so much, mutilated so many sacred cows - it's because people just complained that much about 3e.

(So be careful what you wish for...)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
To be fair, 4e was very much designed based on criticisms of 3e (and earlier)
Question is does the design team actually understand the material well enough to change it or evoke what was liked about the earlier edition and currently we keep getting all the signs of no not really *you dont make offerings of things that were barely background and just complained about by others if you are really after the previous edition audience you claim to be designing this module X for. You introduce easy multiclassing AND maybe try to fix front loading level dipping to attract 3e fans you do not make CoDzilla happen ... that is the difference. And why I say 5e actually does try to appeal to 3e fans.

Though I am sure 3e fans are better able to answer their editions support question.
 
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Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Question is does the design team actually understand the material well enough to change it or evoke what was liked about the earlier edition
The answer to the question of ignorance or expediency or malice is really kinda moot. (But my guess is expediency.)

if you are really after the previous edition audience you claim to be designing this module X for. You introduce easy multiclassing AND maybe try to fix front loading level dipping to attract 3e fans you do not make CoDzilla happen ... that is the difference. And why I say 5e actually does try to appeal to 3e fans.
3e fans have PF. When PF rolls rev, anyone else can publish a 3.875 under the OGL and the party keeps rolling.
The things built into 5e to appeal to them seem more like olive branches - they're there to keep those fans from warring against 5e by validating their preferences, not with much hope they'd actually play or appreciate it.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The answer to the question of ignorance or expediency or malice is really kinda moot. (But my guess is expediency.)

3e fans have PF. When PF rolls rev, anyone else can publish a 3.875 under the OGL and the party keeps rolling.

The things built into 5e to appeal to them seem more like olive branches - they're there to keep those fans from warring against 5e by validating their preferences, not with much hope they'd actually play or appreciate it.
Maybe, but I do think there are advantages to some of the 3e nods in 5e which indicate actual sympathy for positive elements in that earlier system.
 

Monayuris

Explorer
As someone who ran 4e for over 6 years, i’m actually glad that 5E is what it is. 5E is a very accessible. (All my 4e players felt they had to scour the books and spreadsheet their characters to optimize them... in 5E that’s not necessary).

if you want the tactical richness of 4e, you are probably better served just playing 4e, instead of wishing 5E would change. This is no slight... I still play B/X for the same basic reason. i actually would prefer 5E stay the way it is and not introduce anything from 4e. The game is fine as it is. It doesn’t need that. There is nothing wrong with sticking to the game that works for you.

5E will never be the game you want it to be. And that is a good thing. I say let 5E be good at being 5E, let OSR be good at being OSR, and let 4e be good at being 4e.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
As someone who ran 4e for over 6 years, i’m actually glad that 5E is what it is. 5E is a very accessible. (All my 4e players felt they had to scour the books and spreadsheet their characters to optimize them... in 5E that’s not necessary).
I ran 4e, for the run of Encounters (and beyond, but with an established group), so that's a /lot/ of introducing the game to brand-new players. Something I'd done back in the day, and done, since, as Encounters opened up to the Next playtest, then 5e.

4e is /easily/ the most accessible of the WotC editions, to brand-new players. Now, sure, you /could/ do 30-level builds if you were so inclined, but it wasn't /necessary/, you could just pick whatever looked cool each level, and you'd be fine, you could build highly-customized build-to-concept, highly optimized, or just obvious/intuitive and you'd have a comparatively viable character. The rewards for system mastery were just marginal.
In 3.5 it was "necessary," to generally be on roughly the same system-mastery page, preferably similar-Tier classes, if you wanted a fully-participatory campaign, and if that page as PvP or CharOP, genuinely necessary to go full-on optimization - but if that page showed more restraint & was core only, or if it was E6, such optimization was not necessary, at all.

In 5e, it's simply not possible to build characters to that level of customization or optimization, because the options aren't there.

if you want the tactical richness of 4e, you are probably better served just playing 4e, instead of wishing 5E would change. This is no slight...
It is. It is a slight to 5e and it's goal of 'big tent' inclusion of fans of all past editions.

(And the idea of 'tactical richness' as defining 4e is also a bit of faint praise, since it was also the only version of D&D to at least /try/ to cover out-of-combat in a functional full-party-participation way, that was weighted the same as combat. Yes, 4e got away from 3.5 'static combats' - but that was far from the only thing it did.)
 

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