D&D 4E Things I really like about 4e (and how they could be better)

Crazy Jerome

First Post
Nice topic, and OP. Too bad I can't give you XP right now. Also some good replies thus far.

From an "editorial" slant, really think there should have been a rule that fully half of all space devoted to magic items should have been artifacts, or at least some lesser version of them as you listed. Same way with powers and rituals. Since rituals and artifacts take up a bit more space to explain well, this would not have been quite a 50/50 split in distinct entries, but it would have forced the game to take full advantage of two under-used options. If they found it hard to fill that space, then something needed to change in the characters to make it easier to do so.

I also think, in the name of balance, that not enough was done with artifacts and rituals, to explore the play space of "things you find make you more powerful, and there is not anything in the system to balance this." That is, their solution to this issue was to go rather weak with the artifacts and rituals. A better solution would have been to say, "Hey, this main part of the game is balanced like you've never seen. This artifact and ritual part over there isn't balanced at all, though we tried not to just run completely wild. So proceed with caution, as much as makes sense to you, and to the extent that you care about balance."
 

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Hasegawa Rayven

First Post
I'd put in that on the subject of regenerating dailies, Either giving us a daily regen mechanic, OR taking it away from the monsters!

I was playing an adventure just a few weeks ago, our party was nearly wiped out by a group of arcane archers using some kind of explosion arrows. We found out later, it was an ability that had a recharge roll (d6) and regen'd on a 4 or higher.

We were getting hit with an encounter level power (At least that, maybe a low daily) that was laughing at our party's highest FORT defenses, and that was at least one, usually 2, every turn!

I know for me personally, I shy away from even taking Daily powers if I don't have to, Because I don't like the concept of a one-off attack that I don't get to use more than once. Mainly because I usually fall into a train of thought along the lines of "Well, I could use it here, but what if something nastier shows up?"
 

Riastlin

First Post
[MENTION=22424]delericho[/MENTION] The problem I guess I would have with "Per adventure" recharge mechanics is that it may well tend to restrict the adventure design parameters for DMs. I agree that your solutions would certainly help alleviate the problem of the party trying to find a place to sleep after three fights in the big bad dungeon, but these solutions will also likely encourage DMs to run shorter adventures.

Naturally of course, even longer adventures can have their moments of "downtime" so that can be worked out, but the big large dungeon crawl (as perhaps a poor example since the dungeon crawl seems to be becoming more disfavored) would be hard to write. In other words, characters would be much more powerful in a delve or LFR format than in say a "super adventure" that spans several levels. Heck, even stringing ten encounters together in a single large dungeon would be hard to balance against the wizard's tower that has three encounters.

It can be done of course, and certainly the more experienced DMs out there will find ways to make it work, but I do think its risky. That being said though, I do like the idea in principle. If a short rest is functionally the same as an extended rest, then why bother with an extended rest? The only reason to do so would be to track sleep patterns and the like and frankly, I think you'll find that groups simply do away with the concept of an extended rest (which is not a bad thing). It does have the added disadvantage though of taking away the element of urgency. Adventures will no longer be about saving the day before Y hour. Pressing on while low on hit points/surges won't mean anything anymore, etc.

All in all though I think it provides a pretty decent starting point, so kudos for coming up with a potential solution I had not considered.
 

Crazy Jerome

First Post
How about changing dailies to "milestone" powers? Then rework milestones to only occur at major events in the adventure. A short adventure might only have one, and it occurs at the end of the adventure. Thus in that case, they powers are 1/adventure. But a larger adventure has more milestones.

Milestones are weak now, anyway. And I like the idea of making action points strictly encounter driven. I'd go a different route than the OP, but I find "mainly every other encounter" not a very useful measurement--kind of like electrum pieces. :lol:
 

heretic888

Explorer
How about changing dailies to "milestone" powers? Then rework milestones to only occur at major events in the adventure. A short adventure might only have one, and it occurs at the end of the adventure. Thus in that case, they powers are 1/adventure. But a larger adventure has more milestones.

Milestones are weak now, anyway. And I like the idea of making action points strictly encounter driven. I'd go a different route than the OP, but I find "mainly every other encounter" not a very useful measurement--kind of like electrum pieces. :lol:

I do something similar to this in my games.

When characters take an extended rest, they regain 1d4 healing surges and can make a saving throw to recover any daily powers they have expended. Whenever they reach a milestone, they gain all the benefits of an extended rest but it doesn't count against the number of extended rests they can take during a 12 hour period.

Its worked out pretty well and the 15 minute workday has basically vanished.

I also just make "action point" an encounter power and don't bother with tracking them.
 

Oldtimer

Great Old One
Publisher
Give an action point every encounter,
I do this already. I also let them start with 0 AP after an extended rest.

This has an interesting psychological effect - since they just were avarded something very useful after the encounter, something they will lose if they take an extended rest, they really, really want to go on to another encounter so that they can use the new shiny.

That got me thinking...

- Have characters start their day with no 'daily' powers available. Then, after odd-numbered encounters (or just every encounter), have them pick one 'daily' to become active.

- Provide some other recharge mechanism - perhaps there's an action required to ready a 'daily' for use.

Why do this? As long as characters have daily resources, you'll get the 15-minute adventuring day. 4e is a bit better than 3e in this regard (we're up from 5 minutes to 15), but it doesn't go far enough.
What if we had another set of points, call them Hero Points or something, handed out the same way I hand out Action Points in my campaign (zero after an extended rest, gain one after each encounter) and which were needed for your daily powers to work? Say, you are only allowed to use a daily power you have available if you spend a Hero Point.

This would likely have the same psychological effect I mentioned above (oh, new shiny!) and be another blow at the 15-minute workday. I could see Hero Points being needed for the use of any Daily Power (character or item).

Is this a bad idea?
 
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delericho

Legend
The problem I guess I would have with "Per adventure" recharge mechanics is that it may well tend to restrict the adventure design parameters for DMs. I agree that your solutions would certainly help alleviate the problem of the party trying to find a place to sleep after three fights in the big bad dungeon, but these solutions will also likely encourage DMs to run shorter adventures.

This is true. Although the trend at the moment seems to be towards shorter adventures generally (or adventures in multiple short parts, which could easily incorporate downtime into them). Still, I see your point.

Naturally of course, even longer adventures can have their moments of "downtime" so that can be worked out, but the big large dungeon crawl (as perhaps a poor example since the dungeon crawl seems to be becoming more disfavored) would be hard to write. In other words, characters would be much more powerful in a delve or LFR format than in say a "super adventure" that spans several levels. Heck, even stringing ten encounters together in a single large dungeon would be hard to balance against the wizard's tower that has three encounters.

One of the features of the old dungeons that seems to be overlooked in newer designs is that the assumption was that the party wouldn't try to tackle these in one delve - they'd progress some way through the dungeon, then return to town to heal up and re-equip. So, in fact, they'd tend not to be a single adventure, but actually multiple adventures in the same location.

(And, of course, this makes sense - if you're tracking ammunition, rations, and healing potions, you actually already have a bunch of per-adventure resources anyway. Eventually, you're going to have to retreat to restock.)

It can be done of course, and certainly the more experienced DMs out there will find ways to make it work, but I do think its risky. That being said though, I do like the idea in principle. If a short rest is functionally the same as an extended rest, then why bother with an extended rest?

If it bothered me enough, I'd rule that "you must take an Extended Rest every 24 hours or become fatigued", or something like that.

It does have the added disadvantage though of taking away the element of urgency. Adventures will no longer be about saving the day before Y hour.

I think this is the killer point. While the adventure concept still works, the balancing of encounters needs to be very careful to work.

In the current model, if you structure an adventure with a time limit, and then the PCs have a really bad first encounter (whether because you misjudged the difficulty, they rolled really poorly, or whatever), then suddenly the whole adventure is in real trouble. However, you can at least build in time for, say, 2 ERests, and all is well.

In the per-adventure resource model, ERests can't help - they either struggle on at a huge disadvantage or admit defeat. Which is hardly heroic. (Though... how much do we mind the heroes failing adventures?)

To solve that (and 15m/AD) you'd need either pure per-encounter balancing or a recharge mechanic, or something. And at this point, we're probably nearing the point where the cure is worse than the disease.

How about changing dailies to "milestone" powers?

Yeah, I like this. Start the day with 1 AP and no dailies. After every odd-numbered encounter gain a daily; after every even-numbered encounter gain an AP. Or something like that - basically, give a reward after each adventure.

Then rework milestones to only occur at major events in the adventure.

I did think that published adventures intended to cover multiple (PC) levels should have written in "levelling points" - if and when the PCs reach that point (and not until), they gain the appropriate level (and possibly treasure to match).

This eliminates the need for any 'filler' encounters to make up XP awards, it means that if the PCs miss encounters or treasure, they're still able to proceed, and it means that the DM can abridge (or expand) the adventure without issue.

But it's also really gamist. Not sure if that's a problem.

I do this already. I also let them start with 0 AP after an extended rest.

This has an interesting psychological effect - since they just were avarded something very useful after the encounter, something they will lose if they take an extended rest, they really, really want to go on to another encounter so that they can use the new shiny.

That go me thinking...

What if we had another set of points, call them Hero Points or something, handed out the same way I hand out Action Points in my campaign (zero after an extended rest, gain one after each encounter) and which were needed for your daily powers to work? Say, you are only allowed to use a daily power you have available if you spend a Hero Point.

I really like this idea.
 

NewJeffCT

First Post
I'd put in that on the subject of regenerating dailies, Either giving us a daily regen mechanic, OR taking it away from the monsters!

I was playing an adventure just a few weeks ago, our party was nearly wiped out by a group of arcane archers using some kind of explosion arrows. We found out later, it was an ability that had a recharge roll (d6) and regen'd on a 4 or higher.

We were getting hit with an encounter level power (At least that, maybe a low daily) that was laughing at our party's highest FORT defenses, and that was at least one, usually 2, every turn!

I know for me personally, I shy away from even taking Daily powers if I don't have to, Because I don't like the concept of a one-off attack that I don't get to use more than once. Mainly because I usually fall into a train of thought along the lines of "Well, I could use it here, but what if something nastier shows up?"

What I have been doing is if I have a series of 4-5 encounters planned, with the last encounter being the "boss" bad guy, I will put a lieutenant in encounter 2 or 3 along the way. Then, after the party hopefully defeats the encounter with the boss' #2, I will allow the players to recharge a daily power, be it a personal daily or an item daily. That way, they still have that daily power in reserve for the final BBEG.

I think they have a similar type option in DMG 2, but I'm not sure.
 

jimmifett

Banned
Banned
I understand the concern about the 15 minute work day but frankly, as long as PCs have any sort of limited resources, including hit points, this will continue to be an issue. Players are just too protective of their characters (and I don't mean that in a bad way, just that its natural). Heck, the game I was in this past weekend the paladin, after the first encounter, said "Guys, our next encounter is going to have to be our last one. I'm down to 6 surges left." I just shook my head. She hadn't used either of her dailies (or her Inspiring Fortitude). Hadn't used any of her Lay on Hands, either. But, she thought she was getting low on resources because she was down to JUST 6 surges.

Obviously this is a bit of an extreme example, but the sentiment is always going to be there as long as there is any sort of limitation on resources. Unless hit points and powers can be regenerated indefinitely, players will always seek to get their rests in. If resources can be refreshed indefinitely, I think you then eliminate some of the excitement and strategy that comes into play. All in my opinion of course.

I like to put my players through 'pulp action movie' style adventures. After the first third of the current plot arc, they just don't have much time for an extended rest without jeopordizing the mission somehow. By the end, the party is at 0-2 surges left, out of dailies, and have a great ride behind them when they finally get to rest.

Yes yes, I know the "it turns into an at-will slug fest grind" mantra of the uninspired. The party has encounters, they have at wills, and you don't fight on flat terrain. The map keeps it interesting, having terrain you can manipulate: cause rockslides with a dungeoneering check next to some support beam, crack open a beaver dam and wash your foes down the valley. Push enemies into the vines of a man eating plant.
 

Riastlin

First Post
One of the features of the old dungeons that seems to be overlooked in newer designs is that the assumption was that the party wouldn't try to tackle these in one delve - they'd progress some way through the dungeon, then return to town to heal up and re-equip. So, in fact, they'd tend not to be a single adventure, but actually multiple adventures in the same location.

Good point. I will say, for all its problems KotS did assume that the party would retreat at least once or twice out of the keep. I'm not sure where the assumptions started but it does seem to be a general assumption now that once the party enters the dungeon, they don't leave until its cleared. I think players are sometimes as responsible as DMs in this regard. What I don't know (since I didn't start gaming really until about 1999) is whether the player assumptions were driven by DM behavior -- i.e. if the party leaves the dungeon then the dungeon repopulates and the BBEG is even harder to kill since he knows they're coming now. Its definitely a fine balance that DMs have to maintain between realism and carrot/stick tactics.

(And, of course, this makes sense - if you're tracking ammunition, rations, and healing potions, you actually already have a bunch of per-adventure resources anyway. Eventually, you're going to have to retreat to restock.)

Also true, though the treasure parcel system has at least made things like potions easier to obtain mid-adventure.

If it bothered me enough, I'd rule that "you must take an Extended Rest every 24 hours or become fatigued", or something like that.

I actually meant this as a positive, not a negative. The point being that in general, the party would choose to take a short rest and then press on rather than looking to game as many extended rests as possible out of the DM. I think you'll still always have the "We camp for the night." when traveling between towns, etc.


I think this is the killer point. While the adventure concept still works, the balancing of encounters needs to be very careful to work.

In the current model, if you structure an adventure with a time limit, and then the PCs have a really bad first encounter (whether because you misjudged the difficulty, they rolled really poorly, or whatever), then suddenly the whole adventure is in real trouble. However, you can at least build in time for, say, 2 ERests, and all is well.

In the per-adventure resource model, ERests can't help - they either struggle on at a huge disadvantage or admit defeat. Which is hardly heroic. (Though... how much do we mind the heroes failing adventures?)

Yeah, as I said, it becomes a delicate balancing act in my opinion. It can be done to be sure, but I do think you need to be careful. For the record, as a mostly DM, I personally feel that in general, the party should succeed, but that setbacks are good for the game as well. They teach the party tactics. They build tension and/or drama. Plus, they make the successes that much sweeter. I have always felt that retreat is a valid tactic, but that encounters that are designed to force the party to retreat should be relatively rare. As for what the actual success percentage should be? I don't know. I think this is something that will always vary from table to table.


I like to put my players through 'pulp action movie' style adventures. After the first third of the current plot arc, they just don't have much time for an extended rest without jeopordizing the mission somehow. By the end, the party is at 0-2 surges left, out of dailies, and have a great ride behind them when they finally get to rest.

I actually agree with you here. Those encounters where we are strapped for resources are often the most fun and tension-filled. I don't think they should be done too often (otherwise death becomes inevitable), but they do make for a good time. In the one game I'm a player in, we just finished Reavers of Harkenwold. We finally go to the point where we knew we had one more fight with the BBEG and my runepriest was sitting on 6 HP and no surges and the fighter was at 12 HP and no surges. We pressed on anyway though because from a story perspective, we knew we had to. I ended the encounter unconscious but alive and was eventually healed so it was all good. To have tried to game an extra extended rest out of it though would have cheapened the whole experience to me. It would have felt like playing a video game instead.
 

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