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D&D 4E The problem with 4e

Dragonstriker

First Post
If the system has glaring holes and/or contradicts itself, then such a situation calls for intense parsing of the wording of the rules themselves.
I agree, however in the type of thread that prompted this one this is clearly not the issue, simply poster's failure (or wilful refusal) to understand english. (For illustration, see threads on milestones, vorpal weapons, cloud of daggers, ad nauseum)
But in situations like the 4e stealth rules, where there is much less of a clear-cut way to interpret the rules (or at least seems so), that is when intense parsing is called for
I agree again and this was the type of discussion I referred to as helping understanding - My books arrived 3 days ago (thanks Amazon!) so I haven't contributed to the discussions on stealth or skill challenges, but I did read them and I'm aware that those rules are... contentious? problematic? Ah, need handling with care.
 

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hexgrid

First Post
Unfortunately since the actual release date there has been a trend that worries me, namely a significant number of posts where people have bizzarely twisted the interpretation of the rules and argued their verifiably OBJECTIVELY WRONG interpretation is the only possible one. I would prefer to view this in the best possible light, so can only explain their behaviour as that of rabid trolls. If it is not trolling then it can only be due to an appalling failure to comprehend english.

I've found that the best way to deal with posts like this is to not read them.
 

GnomeWorks

Adventurer
I agree, however in the type of thread that prompted this one this is clearly not the issue, simply poster's failure (or wilful refusal) to understand english. (For illustration, see threads on milestones, vorpal weapons, cloud of daggers, ad nauseum)

I'm sure that's your opinion, and you're welcome to it.

However, 4e is a system of the kind that I mentioned in my post: one that is unclear and generally nebulous. You want to say that the RAI says one thing, but the system is so muddled that my interpretation could be equally supported by the "RAI." Because of the unclear RAW, we can't see the RAI.

At least with 3e, you could point to the telekinesis + napkins and say, "Well, yep, that is totally legit by the rules. But! that is nonsensical, we need to fix it, and - gee, we have a solid enough understanding of and grounding in the mechanics to know what to change to fix it. Isn't that nice?"

I agree again and this was the type of discussion I referred to as helping understanding - My books arrived 3 days ago (thanks Amazon!) so I haven't contributed to the discussions on stealth or skill challenges, but I did read them and I'm aware that those rules are... contentious? problematic? Ah, need handling with care.

This week, sure, it's stealth.

I'm sure it'll be another issue next week.

And another one, for the next.

The more the system is examined, the more holes seem to be cropping up. That might not be accurate, but that's how it seems to me.
 

Dragonstriker

First Post
However, 4e is a system of the kind that I mentioned in my post: one that is unclear and generally nebulous. You want to say that the RAI says one thing, but the system is so muddled that my interpretation could be equally supported by the "RAI." Because of the unclear RAW, we can't see the RAI.
I was making a general point to avoid singling out individual posters, but read http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=234064 and then tell me it's the designer's vague rules causing the problem.
 

GnomeWorks

Adventurer
I was making a general point to avoid singling out individual posters, but read http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=234064 and then tell me it's the designer's vague rules causing the problem.

It is.

To avoid being hong-like, I'll attempt to explain why.

The designers have attempted to make a rules framework that seems rather similar in construction to that of the rules framework of Magic. Keywords, specifically, give me that impression, and how a game element equipped with such-and-such keywords is supposed to be able to use those keywords to inform other game elements of how to interact with it.

The problem, however, is that the designers did not codify presentation, formatting, or precisely how these keywords interact. While there seems to be some amount of consistency, there are a few cases in which there are bizarre interactions that don't seem to make any sense. You get conflicting answers from the rules - most likely the result of conflicting design decisions, IMO. Too many cooks have spoiled the soup.

Because the system is not terribly robust, when you run into a situation in which a rule or power does not have the same kind of wording as most others, or references something or uses a keyword in a way that is not entirely consistent with the rest of the ruleset, or attempts to interface with another element in an inelegant fashion, you result in the rules giving two conflicting answers. Cloud of Daggers interacting with the minion rules is an example of an object attempting to interface with a class, and it returning two different answers - and it is because of the relatively ambiguous nature of the wording of the power. In an attempt to save space, WotC has introduced ambiguity.

The Cloud of Daggers vs Minions problem seems to be a legitimate one. It is sensical that CoD would not autokill minions, but it is also sensical that it would - I could make arguments either way. Your appeal to RAI does not function here, because either of the interpretations of the RAW is a viable one.
 
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Obryn

Hero
However, 4e is a system of the kind that I mentioned in my post: one that is unclear and generally nebulous. You want to say that the RAI says one thing, but the system is so muddled that my interpretation could be equally supported by the "RAI." Because of the unclear RAW, we can't see the RAI.
I think you're stretching.

Look back at 1e and 2e. Even better, look back at RC D&D. Lots of stuff is left open and nebulous. Like, tons, actually. 1e wasn't clear at all in many, many situations, and groups were generally left to figure out & interpret the rules for themselves. (I think probably less than 5% of all groups actually used the AD&D combat rules as-written, including segments, weapon speeds, and weapon-vs-armor tables.) Depending on who you talk to, this was either their greatest strength or their greatest weakness. Amazingly enough, there was still plentiful rules-lawyering here, mitigated only by the lack of a popular internet.

Look at 3e. 3e tried to nail everything down. Nevertheless, there was tons of rules-lawyering and rule arguments, as you well know. Like, gads. Oodles. The internet propelled this to stratospheric levels. And you should also know that RAI was hardly a trump card in 3e rules discussions.

So... we have 3+ nebulous editions and 1 pretty concrete one. Rules lawyering & arguments happened in all of them. It's almost like it's a trait of gamers, isn't it?

-O
 

proto128

First Post
Why is WotC not the Blizzard of RPG publishers?

Because, if so, we wouldn't have 4e for another year and it wouldn't be any closer to gaming nirvana than it is now.

Also we'd only be getting one supplement and no 3rd party support, but you could play 4e on homemade and Ikea tables right out of the gate.
 

GnomeWorks

Adventurer
I think you're stretching.

So what if past editions were nebulous, as well? That's irrelevant. The sins of the past edition don't excuse the sins of the next.

Look at 3e. 3e tried to nail everything down. Nevertheless, there was tons of rules-lawyering and rule arguments, as you well know. Like, gads. Oodles. The internet propelled this to stratospheric levels. And you should also know that RAI was hardly a trump card in 3e rules discussions.

RAI was never a trump card in 3e discussions, and that was a good thing. RAI is subjective, and it should never have to be brought up - the rules should try to be as crystal-clear as possible.

That's why we have rules, so that we can point to something and say, "This says that X is true, therefore it is." Once you bring RAI into it, you taint the boolean: you allow room for "Well, it says X, but because of Z, I think X actually means X+Y."

It's almost like it's a trait of gamers, isn't it?

Can't argue with that.
 

arcanaman

First Post
Don't forget all the people who were upset when wotc annoucened

because before they said they weren't working of another edition or

something like that
 

proto128

First Post
Don't forget all the people who were upset when wotc annoucened

because before they said they weren't working of another edition or

something like that

Again, if this was Blizzards of the Coast, everyone would've been, "They're very much working on it and it's going to be awesome!"

Then, upon announcement: "OMG 4TH EDITION! This can't come out quick enough!"

Instead there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the internet added "grognard" and "neckbeard" to its vernacular.

GnomeWorks said:
Because the system is not terribly robust, when you run into a situation in which a rule or power does not have the same kind of wording as most others, or references something or uses a keyword in a way that is not entirely consistent with the rest of the ruleset, or attempts to interface with another element in an inelegant fashion, you result in the rules giving two conflicting answers.

I figured DMs were encouraged to make a decision one way or the other should some sort of conflict or logjam arise. Were it me, I'd err on the side of the players but ultimately follow RoC for final arbitration. YMMV.
 

Dragonstriker

First Post
It is.

To avoid being hong-like, I'll attempt to explain why.

-snip-

The Cloud of Daggers vs Minions problem seems to be a legitimate one. It is sensical that CoD would not autokill minions, but it is also sensical that it would - I could make arguments either way. Your appeal to RAI does not function here, because either of the interpretations of the RAW is a viable one.
You didn't read the thread did you?
Hit, Miss and Effect ARE clearly explained, but the OP is wilfully misinterpreting; I repeat my assertion they are either a troll, or can't comprehend english.
You know, I get that you're a 4e hater, but don't use the inability of some posters to read as a grindstone for your axe.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
And the whole "RAI" thing works if the rules framework is actually robust enough to handle it.

No, all it requires is for people to exercise a bit of common sense and come to a consensus.

It's what has been done for dozens of years with dozens of RPGs.

Where you see a problem I (and I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of people who buy the rules and play the game) do not.

Sometimes there are rules which are unclear, and one of the main purposes of the ENworld rules forums is so that people can chat with one another about the way that they are interpreting particular rules.

Some people prefer to intensely parse the language in order to come up with a decision about it, others don't. We have a problem when people (normally the RAW guys) think that their way is only or best way which trumps other peoples common sense - it doesn't, and it has even led to short term bannings for people in the past who got too aggressive about "RAW".

Regards
 

While I agree that there is no one way to play, there is definitely a one way to read many of the rules in the rulebooks (I will not say all because I hate to use absolutes :)). There is somewhat of a lack of reading comprehension in the general population, and while gamers are typically are better than others, many gamers are still terrible. Add to this the relatively poor editing of the core books, and you have a recipe for arguments.

Your point PlaneSailing is generally good about being civil. I heartilly agree. That does not mean that when there is an argument about what the text says, that any interpretation is right. There is one right way to interpret what it says. There may be many interpretations about what the meaning was intended to be, but the text says what it says, and that is that. Whether you have to use the rules as they are written is an obvious "no", but the rules as written are still a good thing to think about.

I think that it is funny that there are repeated arguments about what the texts say that are based on what people think that the rules should say and not what it actually does. It is obvious that you can play with whatever rules that you want, but the rules that are written in the books, in the way that they are written, are the official rules. Anything else is a house rule. I like house rules, but I can admit when one is a house rule, and be OK with that.

EDIT: By the way, the thread title can almost not help but make this into an edition war. Just the way it is.
 
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Ulthwithian

First Post
At the very least, there are a few RAI views (which I admit should be more subjective than RAW) that should end all arguments; namely, the views of the people who wrote the RAW. Especially in what is essentially a technical document, they should be able to clearly define this. If they can't, they have serious issues.

Having said that, RPGs are a game of RAI, not RAW. Specifically, the RAI as interpreted by the gamemaster. That is his or her job in the context of the game. (At least, it's one of the jobs.) If RAW can be agreed upon (and that is primarily a function of the writing quality of the RAW), then RAI, if it differs from RAW, must contain house rules. Which is all well and good from the perspective of a game, but not very good from the perspective of discussing the rules.

Fortunately, I am blessed with the fact that my group almost never gets into these arguments.
 

hong

WotC's bitch
The job of the rules is to resolve conflicts in gameplay, not to resolve conflicts on D&D mailing lists such as this one.
 



Master Hong said:
The job of the rules is to resolve conflicts in gameplay, not to resolve conflicts on D&D mailing lists such as this one.
I completely agree Master Hong. The thing is, an argument had with strangers on a furom may avert an argument at the table amongst friends. Averting an argument with friends is the point of the rules, and if discussing it in forums gets you there, then the sore feelings of strangers is worth the saved value of friends.

If only I can multiply my number of posts by 100, then I can catch Master Hong!
 

GnomeWorks

Adventurer
You didn't read the thread did you?

Bits and pieces.

Hit, Miss and Effect ARE clearly explained, but the OP is wilfully misinterpreting; I repeat my assertion they are either a troll, or can't comprehend english.

And again, this is all subjective.

You know, I get that you're a 4e hater, but don't use the inability of some posters to read as a grindstone for your axe.

Way to be dismissive, jerk.

Plane Sailing said:
No, all it requires is for people to exercise a bit of common sense and come to a consensus.

Common sense, it turns out, isn't so common. What seems obviously true to you may seem like a completely arbitrary decision to me.

The things the game deals with are not things that we interact with in our normal lives. Thus, the only thing we can relate them to is the ruleset itself. What common sense can exist in a world that throws simulationism out the window, as the presumed setting in 4e surely does? Certainly not the brand that I follow.

It's what has been done for dozens of years with dozens of RPGs.

Sins, past, future, you know the drill here.

Where you see a problem I (and I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of people who buy the rules and play the game) do not.

That's fine.

Sometimes there are rules which are unclear, and one of the main purposes of the ENworld rules forums is so that people can chat with one another about the way that they are interpreting particular rules.

And again, I'll point out that the general weakness of the ruleset framework provided by 4e means that these discussions will devolve into RAI, which is totally subjective - making it pretty much useless to have rules discussions.

PrecociousApprentice said:
EDIT: By the way, the thread title can almost not help but make this into an edition war. Just the way it is.

At this point in the conversation, only if you want it to be.

Ulthwithian said:
At the very least, there are a few RAI views (which I admit should be more subjective than RAW) that should end all arguments; namely, the views of the people who wrote the RAW. Especially in what is essentially a technical document, they should be able to clearly define this. If they can't, they have serious issues.

And this is what I am saying - the rules framework is weak and inconsistent in several places. The RAI is unclear, and "common sense" can't really apply, because we're dealing with gamist mechanics and a setting that contains things that we do not encounter in everyday life.

hong said:
The job of the rules is to resolve conflicts in gameplay, not to resolve conflicts on D&D mailing lists such as this one.

And to provide a reasonable framework for doing so. The ruleset should not conflict with itself, or be inconsistent.
 

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