Just do what 5e did and dial the combats back. Place fewer enemies with fewer options, on simpler terrain. Lower monster hps a bit, up their damage a bit.I made the switch to 5e back when it first came out, but I've been having some nostalgia for 4e lately. Not a big fan of the hours long combats, though.
Right in this forum:Anyone know of some collected house rule sets for more streamlined combat mechanics in 4e?
The final result of this exercise is the 4.5 Edition Conversion Guide which managed to deliver the kind of experience I was after, a 4.5 Edition which allow me as a DM to mix and match longer tactical fights (4th Edition like), with short fast skirmish fights (like 5th Edition), and I can more easily port 5th Edition adventures to this new format as it is built on the same 3, 6, or 9 encounters per adventuring day format.
4.5 Edition Conversion Guide
It's kinda a machette-to-the-rule-book solution, but you could theoretically speed up rounds a lot by eliminating immediate actions, entirely, and turns by doing away with minor & free actions. Any power or item that calls for a minor, free, or immediate action, just *poof* banned/gone.If you try to shorten combats by just making the rounds go faster, hm, you might just run essentials, and disallow any attacks that mess up action economy (so no dazing or stunning, and maybe make tripping less of a chore by letting people spend half their speed to stand up).
Weapons, feats, &c are usually just bundled up into a bonus associated with the weapon/implement & power in question, so are available ahead of time - in the CB if you still had it, typically, or just written on your character sheet if you don't mind doing so in advance.Magic weapon, flanking, racial feat, class feat, concealment penalty, and so on. I was hoping to find a 4e revision that addressed this specific issue, but as I revisit the core books and skim over that guide, I'm reminded how essential all those circumstantial modifiers are in delivering the tight tactical experience I otherwise loved.
Precisely what I did in my own game, but it can hardly be called '4e' anymore really (though it is still not far off). In my rules system there are permanent bonuses, and they NEVER stack, level, ability, proficiency, and enhancement, that's it. Because none of them will vary (I guess enhancement and proficiency COULD if you switch weapons) and the ONLY situational modifier is (dis)advantage (5e style) things go quite quickly. There are conditions, but effects are generally either lasting the whole round or disappear at the end of the target's turn. In general combats seem to go pretty fast, though they still offer a wide range of tactical options.You could take a page from 5e and toss all circumstantial modifiers into a binary Combat Advantage/Disadvantage state. Either just like 5e or +/- 2, if you want to keep it simple. If you have CA, +2, if CD -2 - if both (even if several of one and only one of the other), no modifier.
Good to hear an actual play report. Did you find monsters needed redesign on an individual level? Encounter design? This is what tempered my excitement when Tony linked the 4.5e guide. Did the math generally work out without additional adjustment? For instance, if I were to run a 4e module, would the group have an approximately equal chance of success as a table who didn't implement the changes?Precisely what I did in my own game, but it can hardly be called '4e' anymore really (though it is still not far off). In my rules system there are permanent bonuses, and they NEVER stack, level, ability, proficiency, and enhancement, that's it. Because none of them will vary (I guess enhancement and proficiency COULD if you switch weapons) and the ONLY situational modifier is (dis)advantage (5e style) things go quite quickly. There are conditions, but effects are generally either lasting the whole round or disappear at the end of the target's turn. In general combats seem to go pretty fast, though they still offer a wide range of tactical options.
I would disagree that tactical combat was the best element of 4e or that its fiddliness added to the appeal.I dunno. The appeal of 4e was the tactical combats with all their fiddliness. Everything is tuned around giving the players enough rounds of combat that they actually need to make meaningful decisions on what powers to use and when. If you shorten combats (e.g., have fewer rounds), tactical decisions become less meaningful, and you're taking away arguably the best element of 4e.
Well, I'm using my own 'hack' of 4e, which I call "Heroes of Myth and Legend" (because why not imagine yourself a game designer/publisher, so you need a name for your special flower game, right?). It IS in some ways a lot like the '4.5e' that has been featured here. I have more consistently ramped up damage, done away with most misc bonuses/penalties, and simplified a few other things (there are OAs/Interrupts, but on a pretty strict one-per-round basis for instance). It DOES make things go fast. Because I chose to rework leveling to a 1-20 scheme you do have to change the numbers on monsters a bit (also AC is now a DR system, so all attacks hit one of the 3 defenses that 4e people call 'NADs'). However, you can do a pretty straight conversion of any monster, powers really haven't changed, the turn structure is basically the same, etc. Anyway, monsters are always a bit 'looser' in terms of what you can allow than PCs, since the GM will handle them and they're mostly one-offs.Good to hear an actual play report. Did you find monsters needed redesign on an individual level? Encounter design? This is what tempered my excitement when Tony linked the 4.5e guide. Did the math generally work out without additional adjustment? For instance, if I were to run a 4e module, would the group have an approximately equal chance of success as a table who didn't implement the changes?
Yeah, I enjoy 4e's regularity of class structure, so I have kept that. I did end up with some variations in terms of what powers are available. There are 'classified' powers, which allocate on a level chart (IE you have A/E/D of say 2/2/1 at some specific level and you have to choose which powers you will have available from all that you could pick). There are also 'unclassified' powers, which are ones that you simply HAVE based on something. Some of these are 'basic' powers, anyone can try them, they're just sort of like the misc actions of 4e, except I technically call them 'powers' to make rules interactions smoother.An aside, the source of my nostalgia is the fine class balance present in 4e. As I contemplate the sort of game I want to run, I have considered 4e + combat streamlining, 5e + class overhauls, and designing my own system from the ground up. I've already put a lot of work into the last option and will continue to do so. However, it's been a couple months since my last campaign ended and I'm getting itchy to resume DMing, while my own system is still a long ways off from being ready.
Well, in HoML I don't have 'minor action' as an action type. I have 'Standard' and 'Move' and 'Free', but only a few things are free, and none of them are standard power type things, just some trivial basic actions like drop and talk. Potentially you can make Free action boon powers to do something in someone else's turn and not eat an Opportunity Action, but its pretty rare. OAs and whatnot all take your Opportunity Action.Good luck! At this point is may be easier to add 4e elements (a tactical module if you will) to 5e than the other way around.
I think aside from adv/disadv, another element I would borrow from 5e is rewording minor action as bonus actions, ie you only get a minor action if you have a power and make quarrying/marking free actions. I found fishing around for minor actions in 4e to be anything but a minor inconvenience in terms of flow and time.
What makes 13th Age different?
13th Age makes use of many game mechanics and features that are intended to develop characters and story as the game is played. For example:
Icons – Icons are powerful factions that exert their will on the realm in some way or another.
Relationships – A quantitative measurement of how much influence a given Icon exerts on a character.
Backgrounds – Instead of advancing individual skills, a character assigns points to jobs or positions they have held, which can help them with actions in-game.
One Unique Thing – Every player character has one unique thing about them that separates them from every other individual in the campaign’s universe. This defines both the character and the universe by exclusion.
13th Age also eschews grid- and numerical-distance-based mechanics in favor of simplified range mechanics. Two characters are either:
“Engaged” – In direct melee combat
“Nearby” – Within one move away
“Far-away” – More than one move away
Mundane combat equipment is based only on the class of weapon and the class of character using it. For instance, a basic attack with a dagger in the hands of a rogue does the same damage as a basic attack with a longsword in the hands of a fighter.
Speaking of fighters, martial classes gain some variety in their combat. Fighters, for instance, have features that allow their attacks to proc certain advantages depending on the roll of the die and if the attack hit or not. Rogues build momentum as they attack. Barbarians rage.
Critical hits are as simple as rolling in the crit range once.
Spot on...I would disagree that tactical combat was the best element of 4e or that its fiddliness added to the appeal.
Arguably the best element of 4e was that it delivered a game where the characters were actually the main protagonists and they were capable adventurers from the get-go rather than bench warm up chumps, IMO. Class parity across all classes, and the fact that classes from the original Player's Handbook stayed competitive even against the last books on the game line, added to this delivery. No longer was there entire classes that became obsolete as other classes gained levels. In addition, everyone had something interesting to offer during most aspects of the game. A conscious attempt was made to make "equal time on screen" for each class into something important, and the time between your turns was still engaging because your class might have ways to be effective even during that phase. Some of the perceived fiddliness is an attempt to keep players engaged even when it is not their turn - a problem that other editions had and the designers were trying to address.
With the Bounded Accuracy rules I have in the 4.5 Edition the "To-Hit" issue you have when facing tougher challenges in 4th Edition somewhat disappears. The cumulative bonuses and penalties do not become as important to hit. Damage and Hit Points becomes more important and allow you to use a wider level range of monsters. However, if you still find it an issues, you could consider adopting the advantage concept from 5th Edition which is more straight forward I would say.Thanks for the input, everyone.
[MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION], that 4.5e guide was basically the sort of thing I hoped to find, but reading it, I realized the flaw in my quest. My memory of the uncomfortably long combats in 4e was more about the numerous and cumulative bonuses/penalties to every action than anything else. Magic weapon, flanking, racial feat, class feat, concealment penalty, and so on. I was hoping to find a 4e revision that addressed this specific issue, but as I revisit the core books and skim over that guide, I'm reminded how essential all those circumstantial modifiers are in delivering the tight tactical experience I otherwise loved.
In short, mine may have been a fool's errand. Still, I'll stick around and read whatever others have to say on the matter.
13a has some fun ideas. I don't honestly think it perpetuated some of the stuff I like about 4e though. Certainly combat in 13a isn't in any sense 'tactical' (I'm sure there are tactics in some sense, but it isn't built around concepts of maneuver and tactical principles). I never liked the way it eschews a common power system either, I thought that was a great strength of 4e, and the 13a classes come across as rather incoherent designs. Its a good game, but it ain't 4e, not even close.