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D&D 4E The Best Thing from 4E

What are your favorite 4E elements?


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pemerton

Legend
I'm trying to remember the name of the level 1 ritual that lets your whole party travel basically camouflaged. It reduces all stealth checks against you by 5 points, and a few other things. I simply cast this ritual EVERY SINGLE DAY as it was NEVER a bad idea. It was clearly intended to help characters travel overland in a bit sneakier way, but the way it was worded it just worked anywhere at any time. Once we actually slipped through a gate aided by the bonus it gave. That was probably the most used ritual in the one game I was a player in for any length of time. Odd that I have a mental block on the name of the ritual, but I'm not actually sure which book it was in now and its not worth rummaging without DDI access.
A quick scan of a ritual list I compiled suggests maybe Pass Without Trace from Dragon 405, but it's not quite what you're describing:

You and up to five allies present while you perform this ritual leave fewer tracks. The DC to track those the ritual affects increases by 5, as if you had obscured their tracks.​

OK, keeping looking down the list it's maybe Traveller's Camouflage from Primal Power, which seems to make Pass Without Trace largely redundant (certainly once Nature Checks of 20+ are reliably available, say at Paragon tier) and seems to be the precursor to the 5e Pass Without Trace spell:

You cloak yourself and any allies present for the ritual in a camouflaging shroud. The subjects of this ritual gain a bonus to Stealth checks while traveling, and other creatures take a penalty when using Perception to find your tracks.

Your Nature check dete rmin es the bonus you and your allies gain and the penalty others take.

Nature Check Result Bonus/Penalty
19 or lower +2/-2
20-29 +5/-5
30 or higher +10/-10

This camouflage protects you and your allies as you travel, but not during battle. Any subject who rolls initiative or makes an attack roll loses the benefit of this ritual until the end of the encounter. If a subject is hidden when he or she makes an attack, that subject loses the bonus before making the attack roll, which could cause him or her to lose the benefit of being hidden for that attack.​

That one hasn't seen use in my game. Given that travelling and battling don't, between them, cover the field of possible activities, a call has to be made as to which box intermediate cases fall into. I think I would be inclined to generalise the "not in battle" limitation to a wider range of non-travelling cases (such as sneaking through gates, and probably urban/indoor areas in general).
 

A quick scan of a ritual list I compiled suggests maybe Pass Without Trace from Dragon 405, but it's not quite what you're describing:

You and up to five allies present while you perform this ritual leave fewer tracks. The DC to track those the ritual affects increases by 5, as if you had obscured their tracks.​

OK, keeping looking down the list it's maybe Traveller's Camouflage from Primal Power, which seems to make Pass Without Trace largely redundant (certainly once Nature Checks of 20+ are reliably available, say at Paragon tier) and seems to be the precursor to the 5e Pass Without Trace spell:

You cloak yourself and any allies present for the ritual in a camouflaging shroud. The subjects of this ritual gain a bonus to Stealth checks while traveling, and other creatures take a penalty when using Perception to find your tracks.

Your Nature check dete rmin es the bonus you and your allies gain and the penalty others take.

Nature Check Result Bonus/Penalty
19 or lower +2/-2
20-29 +5/-5
30 or higher +10/-10

This camouflage protects you and your allies as you travel, but not during battle. Any subject who rolls initiative or makes an attack roll loses the benefit of this ritual until the end of the encounter. If a subject is hidden when he or she makes an attack, that subject loses the bonus before making the attack roll, which could cause him or her to lose the benefit of being hidden for that attack.​

That one hasn't seen use in my game. Given that travelling and battling don't, between them, cover the field of possible activities, a call has to be made as to which box intermediate cases fall into. I think I would be inclined to generalise the "not in battle" limitation to a wider range of non-travelling cases (such as sneaking through gates, and probably urban/indoor areas in general).

Right, but by 4e RAW its pretty clear. Anything that doesn't involve an Initiative check and thus initiation of a combat encounter is NOT combat, and thus any movement in such a scenario is technically 'traveling'. This is even more so in the sense that 4e tries to de-emphasize all the various 'how did we get from here to there' stuff and often its abstracted into a check or an SC. I don't think anyone would suggest that Traveler's Camouflage wouldn't work in SCs, so...

Obviously its not a combat spell, that would be relegated to powers generally speaking, but its HUGE for AVOIDING combat and getting past things like patrols or even gate guards (though I always interpreted it to mean that you had to be able to use Stealth, you can't simply walk through a gate and not be seen in plain daylight, at least not unless you are a higher level rogue or warlock or something perhaps). Actually its application to warlocks in such situations seems interesting, as they have a number of ways to invoke their "I have cover even though there is none", and obviously with Rogues using things like Hide in Plain Sight. Again, these are reasons this struck me as an especially powerful ritual. What it does comes up OFTEN and can be adventure-changing.
 

pemerton

Legend
Right, but by 4e RAW its pretty clear. Anything that doesn't involve an Initiative check and thus initiation of a combat encounter is NOT combat, and thus any movement in such a scenario is technically 'traveling'.
Well, one reading is that anything not "battle" is "as you travel". Another is that "as you travel" has its ordinary meaning, and hence that the ritual leaves it open what effect (if any) it has in circumstances that are neither battling nor travelling.

On that reading, the contribution it would make to a skill challenge would depend on the details. For sneaking through a woods, absolutely! For a rogue hiding in plain sight in a city square, maybe not (that doesn't look much like travelling).
 

Well, one reading is that anything not "battle" is "as you travel". Another is that "as you travel" has its ordinary meaning, and hence that the ritual leaves it open what effect (if any) it has in circumstances that are neither battling nor travelling.

On that reading, the contribution it would make to a skill challenge would depend on the details. For sneaking through a woods, absolutely! For a rogue hiding in plain sight in a city square, maybe not (that doesn't look much like travelling).

Well, since a rogue (at least by the base rules) can't hide in plain sight there's no Stealth check for the ritual to apply to, nor does anyone need a Perception check to see you, so in fact this is simply a situation where the benefits are inapplicable. If however the rogue was attempting to conceal himself behind a pile of beer barrels from a town guard, then it WOULD presumably apply, by RAW. You could try to split hairs and attempt to claim that if the rogue isn't IN THAT INSTANT actually moving from point A to point B then he's not traveling, but now you've virtually stripped all utility from the ritual, as the same scenario translated out into the wilderness someplace would have to be ruled by the same logic, and that CLEARLY would exclude cases meant to be included.

Trust me [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION], I'm a veteran of 1000's of games of 1e. I can extrapolate the rules to their logical conclusions with the very best! ;) This is in fact one of the good (and bad) points of rituals in 4e. They're basically the belly button, the point where structured adjudication has to break down and you have to simply imagine what the effects are if you want anything to make sense. In the case of Traveler's Camouflage lets imagine that this is some sort of an illusion (rituals sadly lack keywords). The rogue in question is obscured by illusionary patterns which break up his form and make it less easily spotted, as well as covering his tracks (interesting question here, how long does that effect last?).
 


Unlike in some of the other versions of D&D, I love how most roleplaying was left completely open-ended to the DM. Now I know good DM's just take liberties with what they do and don't want to do in game, but I think it says something that in 4e if you play by the rules listed, it does not have any real restrictions on how you should roleplay. That's something that I think that future improvements on Dungeons and Dragons should keep in mind.
 

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