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13th Age What should 4e steal from 13th Age?


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pemerton

Legend
I do like the Full Heal Up system from 13A where players automatically get the equivalent of an extended rest every four encounters. The GM can hand out a full-heal up or even a partial heal up early if they want. But recharging HP and dailies is no longer tied to a day of game time unless you want it to be. Gives the GM great control over the pacing.

I'm concerned that this is such a large structural change that it would have unforseen impacts on the game, though.
It's not a structural change at all, is it? The only mechanical elements of 4e that are specified by reference to real-world time (as opposed to short or extended rest periods) are rituals, and they are not at the core of the game's structure.

At paragon and epic, though, I'd be inclined to make it 5 or 6 encounters rather than 4.
 

heretic888

Explorer
I had forgotten about that; good catch.

Might I suggest....

Armor Class: middle of Con, Dex, and Wis
Fort: middle of Con, Str, and Cha
Reflex: middle of Dex, Int, and Wis
Will: middle of Cha, Int, and Wis

Not sure how it monkeys around with class/build balance, but it seems ok on paper at least.
 

Dungeoneer

First Post
It's not a structural change at all, is it? The only mechanical elements of 4e that are specified by reference to real-world time (as opposed to short or extended rest periods) are rituals, and they are not at the core of the game's structure.

At paragon and epic, though, I'd be inclined to make it 5 or 6 encounters rather than 4.
What I worry about, I guess is balance. Obviously, deep down under the hood of 4e, there are assumptions about how many powers the players are going to have during any given fight. How much healing they have available is also a concern. 4e was designed with a certain pacing in mind. What kind of effects will there be if I tinker with that? I feel that it's likely that there are SOME, although they may be subtle.

I admit I am probably over-thinking it.
 

pemerton

Legend
What I worry about, I guess is balance. Obviously, deep down under the hood of 4e, there are assumptions about how many powers the players are going to have during any given fight. How much healing they have available is also a concern. 4e was designed with a certain pacing in mind.
Here's how I look at it: if you have an extened rest after every encounter, then dailies become encounter powers and healing surges become an encounter resource. What difference does that make?

It powers down Essentials martial PCs the most - because they don't have any dailies and are balanced over stronger at-will abilities.

It powers down defenders a bit, because their greater number of healing surges probably doesn't come into play as much.

It powers up wizards a bit, because of their stronger dailies and their (typically) greater number of daily utility powers.

But will you notice any of this in play? Perhaps the effect on E-classes, though that's just speculation because I haven't actually seen them played. I don't think the rest is hugely significant.

The lack of wildly assymetric resource suites (outside of the E-classes) means that turning dailies into encounter powers just doesn't have the big impact that it would in (say) 3E with wizard or psion nova-ing.

I think the real issue with doing 4e in 13th Age style is working out what the rest cycle should be. I'd do it in terms of XP worth of encounters. But as I said upthread, above Heroic I don't think 4 level equivalent encounters is enough to put real pressure on a party of 5 PCs.
 

hvg3akaek

First Post
Our group is a bunch of engineers, so we weren't ready to let go of our tactical maps - maybe one 'generalised' battle every session or so, but we al feel more comfortable, and have more fun, with grids.

There were also mixed feelings on backgrounds instead of skills, and so although some really liked 13A's take, we stuck with 4e.

However, what we have taken includes:
  • Escalation Die (and had the bonus not stack with expertise, so those feats are no longer a feat tax)
  • Ten-level structure (I set it up so that each new level = three 4e levels, and you get a bonus one at a tier jump. Thus level 1 = 4e level 1; level 5 = 4e level 14; and level 10 = 4e level 30).
  • Only 1 feat per level (again, removing feat tax, making feat more interesting)
  • Incremental Advancements (after each session, choose one element of your next level to gain)
  • Pass a save to SW a second time
  • Can go negative with surges (with the penalty to rolls if you do so)
  • Death Saves from 13A (change the numbers and results - makes for more bounceback, less downtime)
  • Double and Triple main stat damage at paragon and epic
  • Level to miss damage (and added to any miss damage that already exists)
  • Can take ability modifiers from class and race (so, main one of race, and main one of class; a little flexibility allowed, too).
  • "Fleeing" option spelled out at the start (run away from dangerous encounters!)

I also worked at cutting back powers by giving them "bonus points" for each power dropped, to add bonuses to other powers as they saw fit. 1 bonus a tier, and you had to give every power a bonus before giving any a second. Most bonuses are just an extra die of damage, but some were more interesting (making a power target ref or will instead of just one of them; slow + prone instead of just one, etc).

We're still getting the feel of it, but so far, things are working - one player dropped half his powers and managed to give his twin strike +2[W] damage - impressive, but not game breaking (because everyone is doing it). And when the whole group is doing similar things, it also allows them to get through encounters more quickly.
 

Dungeoneer

First Post
Our group is a bunch of engineers, so we weren't ready to let go of our tactical maps - maybe one 'generalised' battle every session or so, but we al feel more comfortable, and have more fun, with grids.

There were also mixed feelings on backgrounds instead of skills, and so although some really liked 13A's take, we stuck with 4e.

However, what we have taken includes:
  • Escalation Die (and had the bonus not stack with expertise, so those feats are no longer a feat tax)
  • Ten-level structure (I set it up so that each new level = three 4e levels, and you get a bonus one at a tier jump. Thus level 1 = 4e level 1; level 5 = 4e level 14; and level 10 = 4e level 30).
  • Only 1 feat per level (again, removing feat tax, making feat more interesting)
  • Incremental Advancements (after each session, choose one element of your next level to gain)
  • Pass a save to SW a second time
  • Can go negative with surges (with the penalty to rolls if you do so)
  • Death Saves from 13A (change the numbers and results - makes for more bounceback, less downtime)
  • Double and Triple main stat damage at paragon and epic
  • Level to miss damage (and added to any miss damage that already exists)
  • Can take ability modifiers from class and race (so, main one of race, and main one of class; a little flexibility allowed, too).
  • "Fleeing" option spelled out at the start (run away from dangerous encounters!)

I also worked at cutting back powers by giving them "bonus points" for each power dropped, to add bonuses to other powers as they saw fit. 1 bonus a tier, and you had to give every power a bonus before giving any a second. Most bonuses are just an extra die of damage, but some were more interesting (making a power target ref or will instead of just one of them; slow + prone instead of just one, etc).

We're still getting the feel of it, but so far, things are working - one player dropped half his powers and managed to give his twin strike +2[W] damage - impressive, but not game breaking (because everyone is doing it). And when the whole group is doing similar things, it also allows them to get through encounters more quickly.
Wow, you wholesale gutted 4e!

I'd love to hear further updates on how it goes. Do you find combat to be faster?
 

Dungeoneer

First Post
Here's how I look at it: if you have an extened rest after every encounter, then dailies become encounter powers and healing surges become an encounter resource. What difference does that make?
Wait, why would adapting 13A give you an extended rest after every encounter? I feel like I missed something here.
 

pemerton

Legend
Wait, why would adapting 13A give you an extended rest after every encounter? I feel like I missed something here.
It wouldn't. It would give you an extended rest after every N encounters (or, for more precision, every N XP worth of encounters). The question is, what value of N should be settled on?

There are two relevant considerations that I can think of: what effect does variation in N have on intraparty balance/dynamics? And what effect does variation in N have on the dynamics of the party vs the challenge?

Thinking about what happens if you have an extended rest after each encounter (which is the smallest possible value of N) helps work out what the effects will be on intraparty balance. And my contention is that, unless you're using martial E-classes, the effect is "not much". That is, again unless you're using martial E-classes, you don't need to worry about intraparty dynamics when choosing a value of N.

That then leaves the other relevant consideration, of the dynamics of party vs challenge. 13th Age is built around N = 4. 3E was (I gather) built around N = 4. I think, at least at paragon and epic 4e, if you use N=4 you will find that challenges aren't very challenging. Hence my suggestion that you might try N = 5 or N = 6.
 

Dungeoneer

First Post
It wouldn't. It would give you an extended rest after every N encounters (or, for more precision, every N XP worth of encounters). The question is, what value of N should be settled on?

There are two relevant considerations that I can think of: what effect does variation in N have on intraparty balance/dynamics? And what effect does variation in N have on the dynamics of the party vs the challenge?

Thinking about what happens if you have an extended rest after each encounter (which is the smallest possible value of N) helps work out what the effects will be on intraparty balance. And my contention is that, unless you're using martial E-classes, the effect is "not much". That is, again unless you're using martial E-classes, you don't need to worry about intraparty dynamics when choosing a value of N.

That then leaves the other relevant consideration, of the dynamics of party vs challenge. 13th Age is built around N = 4. 3E was (I gather) built around N = 4. I think, at least at paragon and epic 4e, if you use N=4 you will find that challenges aren't very challenging. Hence my suggestion that you might try N = 5 or N = 6.
OK, I gotcha.

Well the other thing to think about is how often the party 'goes nova'. In an ideal situation, players should be using their dailies with an even frequency. In a four player party in four encounters you would expect one daily in each. In practice, that's not how it works. Players hoard dailies for the tough fights. This is smart, but the fact is you get to that fourth fight and the players have most of their dailies left and they just mop the floor with whatever it is. This can turn the ogre in front of the treasure room into a cakewalk.

I think it might be a good idea to add 13A's recharge rolls to 4e. That way players won't feel like they have to hoard every last daily until the final fight.
 

heretic888

Explorer
It wouldn't. It would give you an extended rest after every N encounters (or, for more precision, every N XP worth of encounters). The question is, what value of N should be settled on?

There are two relevant considerations that I can think of: what effect does variation in N have on intraparty balance/dynamics? And what effect does variation in N have on the dynamics of the party vs the challenge?

Thinking about what happens if you have an extended rest after each encounter (which is the smallest possible value of N) helps work out what the effects will be on intraparty balance. And my contention is that, unless you're using martial E-classes, the effect is "not much". That is, again unless you're using martial E-classes, you don't need to worry about intraparty dynamics when choosing a value of N.

That then leaves the other relevant consideration, of the dynamics of party vs challenge. 13th Age is built around N = 4. 3E was (I gather) built around N = 4. I think, at least at paragon and epic 4e, if you use N=4 you will find that challenges aren't very challenging. Hence my suggestion that you might try N = 5 or N = 6.

Just to clarify, in 13th Age N = whenever the GM says so. The suggestion is for (roughly) 4 battles or so, but this is in no way a hard and fast rule. Personally, I hand out full heal-ups based on accomplishing "story objectives" or minor/major quests, regardless of how many battles that takes or how difficult they were (thus rewarding "clever" play).
 

hvg3akaek

First Post
Wow, you wholesale gutted 4e!

I'd love to hear further updates on how it goes. Do you find combat to be faster?

We only play monthly, so updates will be slow in coming :) But the first night went well. Due to a short session, and the start-of-a-campaign RPing to set the scene, we only had one encounter, but that was a significant one - I think it was about level + 4? (so ~level 21 for a group of level ~17 characters).

It was three dragons (two artillery ones who weren't very involved, and one huge brute that tried to destroy the ship) and a bunch of dragonborn riders who leaped onto the deck. My aim was to have the dragons retreat when bloodied, but they locked the dragon down and ended up killing him before he could escape. Even though the encounter went longer than planned (4-5 rounds), we were still done in ~90 minutes, and that with high-paragon level characters, all but one of them which they hadn't played before. With unfamiliar characters, an epic-level encounter, and new rules to learn, I think it was significantly quicker than what other folks pin that level of game at.

But I think future games will be more telling, as the group learns the characters, and we have opportunity for multiple encounters per night.
 


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