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D&D 4E Testing "Try 4e" house rules

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Well, I've just run a pretty successful session of my 3.5e Savage Tide campaign, using a number of "4e" house rules in the mix.

Currently we're using
* Second Wind: 1/day, swift action to recover 1/4 hp.
* Diagonals: 1-1-1.
* Death or Dying: Die at -25% of hp; d20 saving throws to die/stay dying/recover.

Oh, and there's a Crusader/Cleric and a Warblade in the group, so we've been using a lot of encounter powers.

Missing a couple of PCs for the game, but we did have...

* Warblade 10 ... AC 20, hp 110, F+12, R+14, W+3
* Cleric 6/Crusader 1/Ruby Knight Vindicator 3 ... AC 22; hp 71; F+10, R+3, W+13
* Rogue 11 ... AC 25, hp 50; F+3, R+11, W+3
* Wizard 11 ... AC 12; hp 49; F+4, R+5, W+7

Encounter 1: vs. 6 Hook Horrors (spd 4) (EL 11)
This encounter was in a set of connecting tunnels of 15'-20'. The HHs were able to approach from two directions, but the Cleric & Warblade blocked the 20' tunnel and the Rogue blocked the 15' tunnel allowing the Wizard to target the HHs with spells unmolested.

Diagonal movement was used, slightly increasing the movement of the HHs, but the terrain & defensive positioning made it impossible for them to get past the PCs to the Wizard.

Craig and Rich used Second Wind to stay alive long enough to defeat the monsters.

Encounter 2: vs Rhagodessas
Martin cast mass fly and the group evaded the monsters. This would come in important later, as the group didn't have fly available! (full XP awarded, btw)

Encounter 3: vs unearthly spellcaster with good melee skills & hp
Terrain for this encounter was around a great pool of water, with scattered patches of difficult terrain & cover. The distances were so great (and movement restricted enough around the pool - about 80' diameter!) that any effects of diagonal movement were minimised. Besides, the monster was moving at 12-18 squares per turn due to haste!

Excellent use of spell and counter-spell in this combat; both sides used invisibility, and then see invisibility & faerie fire (from a ring) to counter the opposing side's invisibility. Hold Person knocked out the rogue for most of the combat.

Martin's wizard used "True Strike" and then cast an Orb of Force. His subsequent attack roll? Natural 20... on an immune-crit creature. That's so frustrating!

Second Wind used by Craig to stay alive. (This was a different day than Enc. 1)

Encounter 4: vs large melee creatures with fly & dominate
Terrain was on a ziggurat, so limited movement sideways and hindered movement forward. Once again, with opponents with speed of Fly 12, diagonals really didn't matter - they could get anywhere they needed to!

At one stage, both the Wizard and the Warblade were dominated (poxy saving throws from both), and the Cleric was knocked to negative hp as a result. Then the Rogue was unfortunate to suffer an attack routine that knocked her to 1 hp and then took a 15 point blow... enough to kill her.

At that point, the Cleric rolled a natural 20 to recover, and rejoined the fray. Cleric player was very, very happy. I think it was in this encounter that the Warblade was unconscious and failed a couple of rolls before the Cleric healed him, but I may be confusing it with another encounter. Too late for the Rogue, alas.

Notes on the "4e" house rules
Second Wind is very popular; we've been using it for several sessions, and not only does it protect the PCs, it also frees up the cleric. Thumbs up.

Negative effects of the 1-1-1 Diagonal really didn't apply here. Look, 3e monsters at this level often move so fast that it's a neglible effect in any case. If 4e has more restricted movement, perhaps I'll notice it. Not really in these high-level campaigns I'm running. The Warblade and Rogue players certainly appreciated the extra mobility (and lack of calculation) it gave them.

Death or Dying worked pretty well, although the death threshold may be too low considering the high damage of many monsters in 3.5e at these levels. (-12 for death for a 11th level rogue is achieved too easily from one hit; I may bump the threshold up to 33% for these games). The Cleric really, really appreciated the recover rule, and the Warblade found the "dying" rolls increased tension. (My view of hp is "when you're dead, you've been wounded. Otherwise it's negotiable!").

I have another session with different players (a 15th level game) on Sunday. I'll see how it goes then.

Cheers!
 

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satori01

First Post
Could you go into further detail about the Death or Dying rule? Does it merely make the death threshold more personal for each character, thus a Fighter with 100 HP now dies at -25hp....or is it more like a death from massive damage rule, if the fighter takes 25 hp of damage, he or she must make a save or die?
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
Isn't there a 4E rule that if bloodied, all D20 rolls are at -2 or some such?

And, isn't there a rule that all 20s are auto-crits?
 

KarinsDad said:
Isn't there a 4E rule that if bloodied, all D20 rolls are at -2 or some such?

And, isn't there a rule that all 20s are auto-crits?
I don't know if the actual standard effect of being bloodied has been revealed. We only know that some creatures/classes have abilities that trigger when they or their opponents have become bloodied.

Switching over to 20 = auto-crit seems like it would require more work on other 3.5 mechanics, particularly threat ranges and anything which modifies them. We know that there are other mechanics in 4E which balance weapons around the auto-crit rule, but don't know the specifics on those. This isn't a rule I'd use in an current 3.x game without more info.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
satori01 said:
Could you go into further detail about the Death or Dying rule? Does it merely make the death threshold more personal for each character, thus a Fighter with 100 HP now dies at -25hp....or is it more like a death from massive damage rule, if the fighter takes 25 hp of damage, he or she must make a save or die?

You can find the Death or Dying house rules on the Wizards site in a recent Design & Development article.

Cheers!
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Sir Brennen said:
I don't know if the actual standard effect of being bloodied has been revealed. We only know that some creatures/classes have abilities that trigger when they or their opponents have become bloodied.

Switching over to 20 = auto-crit seems like it would require more work on other 3.5 mechanics, particularly threat ranges and anything which modifies them. We know that there are other mechanics in 4E which balance weapons around the auto-crit rule, but don't know the specifics on those. This isn't a rule I'd use in an current 3.x game without more info.

Indeed. That's why I wasn't using it.

I can see the effects of the rules I am using; some of the other rules require too many dependent rules (like lesser attack bonuses) to apply correctly.

Cheers!
 

Phaezen

First Post
You could try something like this for critical hits:

Natural twenty = confirmed crit for all weapons, max damage
if the weapon does x3 or x4 damage on a crit, add a dice to the damage
if the weapon has a 19-20 or any other range for crits they only crit in that range if the normal attack would have hit.

Phaezen
 

baradtgnome

First Post
Our group is kicking around the following idea:
Confirmation rolls are no longer needed. A weapon does critical damage on its former threat range. Instead of rolling additional damage just add ½ of the total maximum dice value as bonus damage, no more doubling other damage like the weapon plus, strength etc. Undead, constructs and any creatures that one can make a case for hitting sensitive spots are no longer immune to critical hits. Oozes for example would still be exempt

for example
'crit' with a d8 weapon that does x2. add 4 to damage roll
'crit' with a d12 weapon that does x3. add 12 to damage roll
 

fnwc

Explorer
Phaezen said:
You could try something like this for critical hits:

Natural twenty = confirmed crit for all weapons, max damage
if the weapon does x3 or x4 damage on a crit, add a dice to the damage
if the weapon has a 19-20 or any other range for crits they only crit in that range if the normal attack would have hit.
You need some other kind of rule that prevents certain situations where being extremely hard to hit (only on a 20) means that you're only hit 5% of the time, but are critted 100% of the time.

I think this is the situation that helped develop the critical confirmation rule in the first place.

Perhaps you could add a rule that requires you to be able to at least hit the monsters AC with a 16 or better. Unfortunately, that means you can't critical a monster with a very high AC at all, which doesn't seem like much fun.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
Do you use any rules to let rogues sneak attack previously unsneak attackable foes such as undead and plants? I plan to do that if I ever run 3e again, along with a lot of other 4e inspired ideas such as simpler monsters.
 

JohnSnow

Adventurer
fnwc said:
You need some other kind of rule that prevents certain situations where being extremely hard to hit (only on a 20) means that you're only hit 5% of the time, but are critted 100% of the time.

I think this is the situation that helped develop the critical confirmation rule in the first place.

Perhaps you could add a rule that requires you to be able to at least hit the monsters AC with a 16 or better. Unfortunately, that means you can't critical a monster with a very high AC at all, which doesn't seem like much fun.

Or you just decide it's not a problem. If you can only hit on a 20, only supremely lucky hits are going to do any damage. It's the "Smaug" or "Achilles" rule.

If I can only hit my opponent with a Natural 20, then I'm only going to do damage if I find the only chink in his defense. And if I'm that lucky, the hit should be a crit.

It doesn't bother me, especially using Fourth Edition's "Critical hits maximize damage" rule.
 

rkanodia

First Post
JohnSnow said:
Or you just decide it's not a problem. If you can only hit on a 20, only supremely lucky hits are going to do any damage. It's the "Smaug" or "Achilles" rule.

If I can only hit my opponent with a Natural 20, then I'm only going to do damage if I find the only chink in his defense. And if I'm that lucky, the hit should be a crit.

It doesn't bother me, especially using Fourth Edition's "Critical hits maximize damage" rule.
Not to mention that the relatively 'flattened' progressions of attack bonus and AC mean that 'only hit on a 20' should be a rare event, at any level of gameplay.
 

Crashy75

First Post
Doug McCrae said:
Do you use any rules to let rogues sneak attack previously unsneak attackable foes such as undead and plants? I plan to do that if I ever run 3e again, along with a lot of other 4e inspired ideas such as simpler monsters.

I agree. I would even give the rogue free skill tricks at x levels (I figure they're the beginnings of the rogues per encounter powers.)

I wish there was a simple mechanic to ease spellcaster multiclassing. Can't think of anything other than caster level= previous caster level + 1/2 other levels. It's not really that much, but it's better than nothing.
 

Captain Eru

First Post
Crashy75 said:
I agree. I would even give the rogue free skill tricks at x levels (I figure they're the beginnings of the rogues per encounter powers.)

I wish there was a simple mechanic to ease spellcaster multiclassing. Can't think of anything other than caster level= previous caster level + 1/2 other levels. It's not really that much, but it's better than nothing.
Speaking as someone who’s played more than his fair share of multiclass characters, I feel your pain. But it’s been hammered into me repeatedly that multi-classing, at least in Third Edition, only creates a character who is weaker than he or she could be. While yes, for a number of levels, there are huge benefits, but as you get higher up, the non-multi-class characters outdistance you. A good 10th level Fighter or a good 10th level Wizard will tear apart a 5th level Fighter/5th level Wizard.

The way it’s been explained to me, multi-classing is not continuing your studies in one field, it’s ignoring them completely to focus on something else. There is a correlation: the greater the distance between the two, the greater the effect. A sorcerer who becomes a wizard suffers less in his sorcery than a sorcerer who becomes a monk, for example. The only real solution is to come up with some kind of house rule, where you get the first level multi-class character benefits as described in the back of Chapter 3 of the Player’s Handbook.
 

Naszir

First Post
baradtgnome said:
Our group is kicking around the following idea:
Confirmation rolls are no longer needed. A weapon does critical damage on its former threat range. Instead of rolling additional damage just add ½ of the total maximum dice value as bonus damage, no more doubling other damage like the weapon plus, strength etc. Undead, constructs and any creatures that one can make a case for hitting sensitive spots are no longer immune to critical hits. Oozes for example would still be exempt

for example
'crit' with a d8 weapon that does x2. add 4 to damage roll
'crit' with a d12 weapon that does x3. add 12 to damage roll

I've thought of something similar:

Threat Ranges are now Crit Ranges.

Roll within the Crit Range but not a nat 20 and you do maximum weapon damage.

Roll a nat 20 and you do max damage +1d6 bonus damage for each multiplier + strength bonus for each mulitplier.

If you can only hit on a nat 20 you roll the damage dice as normal. There is still a chance you do max damage.
 

Zelc

First Post
Captain Eru said:
The way it’s been explained to me, multi-classing is not continuing your studies in one field, it’s ignoring them completely to focus on something else. There is a correlation: the greater the distance between the two, the greater the effect. A sorcerer who becomes a wizard suffers less in his sorcery than a sorcerer who becomes a monk, for example. The only real solution is to come up with some kind of house rule, where you get the first level multi-class character benefits as described in the back of Chapter 3 of the Player’s Handbook.
Well, this is true for casters, but for melee characters, rampant multiclassing can be a good thing. You can pick up quite a few abilities while meeting prerequisites for a Prestige Class.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Doug McCrae said:
Do you use any rules to let rogues sneak attack previously unsneak attackable foes such as undead and plants? I plan to do that if I ever run 3e again, along with a lot of other 4e inspired ideas such as simpler monsters.

The Magic Item Compendium and its crystals that allow sneak attacking of Undead & Golems fix that problem.

Phaezen said:
You could try something like this for critical hits:

Unfortunately, such changes a lot of balance features about 3e. I have characters who have built their characters to crit on 15-20 (and gain extra benefits when they crit), and it would disturb the game and balance way too far to try getting a 4e-ish rule... which ultimately wouldn't be very 4e-ish.

Cheers!
 

Mighty Veil

First Post
I'm a day or week away from doing my last 3.5 campaign. I surprised myself, I'm doing the Realms, the Cormyr, Shadowdale, Anourach adventures. I'm going to try out some 4e like rules.

I'm simplifying races' racial traits, tinkered with classes (mostly to fit these house rules), shorter skill list, which I did already in my previous campaign long ago. Worked fine. Death and dying rule, like yourself. Simplified critical hits, saving throws are a defense, save AC's. Spell casters roll a d20 vs. the AC needed (Fort, Ref, Will, AC, Touch, Flat footed).

I was going to go with more at firsts but figured not to go too many in the end. Just ones that would speed up combat.
 

Snarls-at-Fleas

First Post
Right now I'm running a 3.75 Expedition to Castle Ravenloft.
We use lots of 4E like houserules like:

- Second Wind
- Death & Dying
- Powers for all Classes (mostly used like SWSE Force powers)
- Criticals (no confirmation and max damage)
- Healing Prayers (unlimited healing (1d8/lvl), using swift action, range - sight)
- 1-1-1 diagonals
- Some other minor rules


At first it seems that PCs are invulnerable and nothing can affect them much. Well in a couple of first fights it really seemed so, but then I changed the monsters (adding +5 attack, doubling damage and giving them some powers from new DDM cards) and then the fun began.
Combats became furious with lots of options and defferent actions. PCs are not fragile, but still can be punished very hard. Every combat begins almost at full-strength, but that doesn't make any less dangerous.
Most of my players like the change and so do I. :)
 

baradtgnome

First Post
Naszir said:
I've thought of something similar:

Threat Ranges are now Crit Ranges.

Roll within the Crit Range but not a nat 20 and you do maximum weapon damage.

Roll a nat 20 and you do max damage +1d6 bonus damage for each multiplier + strength bonus for each mulitplier.

If you can only hit on a nat 20 you roll the damage dice as normal. There is still a chance you do max damage.
That may achieve the flavor you want, but does require additional rolls, and calculations.

We first determined what we were trying to solve:
-The extra die role of a critical threat slows the game down
-Critical hits are sometimes are disappointing, you can roll poorly on the original hit & the critical.
-Too many creatures are immune to critical hits, this is especially less fun for the rogue.
-Critical damage when a character has loads of spell buffs & abilities takes a while to figure out, and maybe overpowered.

We tried to keep some benefit consistant with the weapons original threat intent in 3e. simply giving max damage when you could get max damage on any hit didn't have the feel we wanted. But yes, you could still roll a 1 on your orginal roll.
 

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