The Early Verdict (kinda long)


helium3 said:
From what I can tell, it tends to hand out TPK's to party's with sub-optimal tactics.
Which was exactly my point; skill in 4e is more about playing your character --with others-- rather than building him or her.

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el-remmen said:
But a ranger is not a fighter. . . :(
Really?? Tell that to Aragorn

If you really need to give him marking and scale armour and take away hunter's quarry and use the rest of the ranger stuff.

What is not fighter about him?

Edit: On second thoughts, marking probably will not work for a ranged combatent. So may be keep hunters quarry but take away the benefit form ranged combat style in exchange for the fighter range of armours.
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Cadfan; you too are entitled to your opinion. I think you are either misunderstanding or misreading the OP, but that is your perogative. I don't see any "wacky" parts but then this is just my opinion.

I am not interested in changing your mind or "winning", just in asking you to be a little more gentle. I also hope to learn something from the great people on this board; yourself included.


Then perhaps what many of us feel is wrong with 4E is that the PCs have become SOLDIERS and are no longer WARRIORS/adventurers. There is a sense that tactics and teamwork have overshadowed the individual and his heroism.

It is almost as if the party is now the focus, not the individual characters, at least in combat. I have tested the combat system and it plays very well, but there is something "not right" and I could not define it before.

I guess there is an association in my mind with a sophisticated sort of wargame. This type of game is great fun, but it is not an RPG. I am not saying 4E is a wargame, but there is an uncomfortable association that perhaps makes many of us unconciously uneasy.

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Orryn Emrys said:
What I'm concerned about is the possibility that it will all seem sort of old hat after a campaign or two.

I share your concern. There's an irony ongoing here, with me, in that I could not stand 3e splat books - but I think 4e splat books are dang near required in order to keep the game's longevity. Either that's a great business decision by WotC, or it's a failure in 4e's design.

To be more blunt, the 4e PHB is full of awesomeness. But there's not nearly enough of it. The Rituals list should be 4x as long, and the number of Powers each class should be able to choose from should easily be 2x to 3x as long. Likewise Feats; the list of available feats starts small for Heroic tier, and then shrinks for Paragon and Epic (despite the fact, mind you, that characters in those later tiers only select one fewer feat than that in the Heroic tier).

Can splat books handle these dearths? Certainly.

Do I think they will? Yes.

Can they do so without introducing game-breaking crap that we saw in 3e? I hope those balance lessons have been learned by WotC.

The question is: Should you need splat books in order to give the game the breadth and depth required for a number of consecutive campaigns?

I'd say - "No" - but I think you do in 4e.

All of the above is IMO.



Ydars said:
There is a sense that tactics and teamwork have overshadowed the individual and his heroism.
Two things:

It's nice that a cooperative game now, in fact, rewards cooperation.

'Individual heroism' in prior editions of D&D invariably broke down into spellcasters sidelining everyone else efforts, often while flying invisibly while lobbing explosive blasts from a distance, which strains most conventional definitions of 'heroic'.

This type of game is great fun, but it is not an RPG.
How does rewarding a cooperation in a cooperative game make it harder to pretend your an elf? It just means your elf should should show some teamwork when the elven waybread hits the fan.


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In my opinion, if I'm venturing deep underground into a place full of nasty monsters and traps all trying to kill me, enslave me, or feed me to their young... I better DAMN WELL know the people I go down there with are workign with me, and watching my back...

Cooperation seems only natural, and more realistic.


I think optimization is something of an issue in 4e, for both individual characters and groups.

Spreading out your ability points in 3e, while often sub-optimal, was at least useful in that you got a solid benefit for every attribute except Charisma, which affected only skills. But because of the paired attributes in 4e, Intelligence and one of Wisdom or Charisma has the same problem, and arguably Constitution probably is not worth raising above 12 (on point buy) for any Strength using class except the Fighter, because a 14 now costs more.

Where this becomes more problematic in 4e is in if the system is all about stacking benefits, having two sub-optimal characters can lead to a difference of 2, rather than 1, and a +2/-2 difference can be substantial.

Now, I really like 4e, but it feels like it is making it harder for me to settle for building a general heroic character instead of a specialized one.


First Post
Orryn Emrys said:
I don't mean this to seem a judgement against the system in any way... just a recognition of different goals built into the design of the game.

My wife, for example, once wrote up a wizardess who was woefully inadequately prepared for adventuring.
I definitely cannot disagree here. The 4E paradigm seems to be to make all characters ready for adventure, because that is what the game is about. Perhaps into a dungeon, or into ruins, or into a city, but adventuring is where it is at. So, you're without a doubt correct, but I see no folly in the game essentially forcing you to be able to do what you're supposed to be able to do in the game: overcome challenges. (The game forces you to take combat abilities and skills, for the two most common types of challenges.)

However, if you still wanted to play this kind of character in fourth edition, you would have to make the descriptions of damage and hit points very abstract as a DM. The utility spells of the past like grease say could now do damage and knock prone. The damage just needs to be considered as whittling away at the opponents overall vitality and will to push on. The attacks that bloody and kill your opponent could be considered physical damage. A grease that bloodies, the opponent falls prone and you hear bones crunch, the grease that kills the opponent falls backwards on its head and is knocked out to bleed to death or breaks its neck et cetera. Grease might not be a good example since physical damage is easily described from falling prone, but you get the idea.

Having damage and utility mutually exclusive in 3rd edition I believe led to very swingy fights, where as in 4E every class is expected to contribute damage and eventually take down a foe with that damage. I guess an example could be a wizard at the beginning of the day choosing between major image and fireball. A major image could completely defuse an encounter before it begins, where as fireball could decimate an encounter after it begins. The idea now is that both could do damage, essentially weakening the differences between the two, so that the wizard contributes a steady flow of damage to counteract the relatively high vitality of 4E monsters.

Orryn Emrys said:
And, perhaps most interestingly of all, he used his sorcery to try to make himself a more effective fighter (which he had all of one level of...), in "true dwarven fashion". He was one of the most entertaining and extraordinary characters we've ever seen.
Sounds the like the dwarf is mostly independent of the rules of the edition, but for being a sorcerer with a smattering of fighter be a wizard with the student of the sword multiclass feat.


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I personally am on the fence.

I'll admit - the rabidness of the 4e-club (especially on this forum) has been a bit of a turn-off. I've tried to read the replies to the OP and other threads expressing their mild-concern.

Personally - I'm really depending on the responses from the 4e crowd to get a good idea about the 4e system in regards to my own personal concerns.

It seems that here - the OP (and correct me if I'm understanding incorrectly) is saying the game has a certain baseline for optimization that previous editions of D&D lack per se.

The abstraction of "class" in and of itself has always been a distinction in the D&D game since 1e. Being an adventuring class in and of itself was meant to have implications to personal training/inclination and availiability to such training that "commoners" simply don't have/endeavor to do. But the devil has always been in the details as to what differentiates one adventurer of the same class from another. It looks like this is removed from 4e? or at the very least not really addressed?

It "appears" that many of the given "powers" (be they Per/day/encounter/whatever) are simply just aspects of a generic concept of a class - and the mechanics seem to work (especially since it's all miniatures-based) around video-game mechanics.

It seems the role implied here is more to do with combat-role than the idea of the character. I'm not sure I like what I'm reading about it, personally. I'm not a big fan of 3.5 either - there's lots of issues with it - but they're fixable. I think Pathfinder is a good (not great) step towards that direction.

So I guess my questions are -

1) The prevalance of miniature-based tactical rules - does it overpower the role-playing opportunities of the game in the sense that the game is skewed more towards combat than say, social/political play?

2) Can you, for instance, faithfully re-create classic fantasy-characters through the basic game? Or is it unrealistic for Elric to have an ability "Come and Get It" (lol). Does the fact that every class gets these abilities detract from the context of a character? Does the characters you envision match the class? or do they have to wrap themselves around the class and therefore change their own context?

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