D&D 4E What to do with 4th Edition


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Aldarc

Legend
Yeah, but I don't know that I want a "clone". I mean, they left the game pretty messed up. Why would I want to copy of that? No. I want to be able to clean it up and improve it. I want to be able to ditch what I don't like about it, including what I don't like about D&D. I don't even care if it's called D&D at that point. I just want a usable engine with mechanics that make the game work better. (Of course, I have ideas but it makes the old material useless, and that turns off a lot of people who may otherwise be interested. So I don't bother discussing it.)
I would love something akin to OSE but for 4e. Maybe New School Essentials (NSE)? Something that cleaned up 4e D&D - including its errata, math, and layout - and kept what was there without going wild creating new classes and races as part of the creator's idiomatic sense for the what 4e should be, which I find tends to plague a fair number of self-described 4e retroclones. I want a version of the game that acts as the blueprint.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Whoever suggested ORCUS - thank you! That is a good start on a 4e retroclone. At least it shows you the path to follow. Now you just need to make the tweaks you want @Jacob Lewis
I would have suggested it also... probably the most loyal I have found so far though a few others exist they seem to diverge much farther.

The thing is there are elements/tools that might be necessary for it to take off like
  1. Finished (last look it was close? but not far off)
  2. VTT support
  3. A Character builder or perhaps a part file that allows its stuff in the old character builder.
  4. Somebody following through and building a derived game off of it
 
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Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I would love something akin to OSE but for 4e. Maybe New School Essentials (NSE)? Something that cleaned up 4e D&D - including its errata, math, and layout - and kept what was there without going wild creating new classes and races as part of the creator's idiomatic sense for the what 4e should be, which I find tends to plague a fair number of self-described 4e retroclones. I want a version of the game that acts as the blueprint.
This makes sense. And I agree about authors wanting to inject their own idiosyncrasies. But here's the thing: which version of 4e is everyone going to expect? The original version, the Essentials version, or both?

I'm talking about classes specifically. You can argue about compatibility all you want. But a blueprint needs to set the tone, as well as the standards for everything moving forward. So is the fighter going to be the weapon master and all classes follow the same structure? Or should it be more like the knight and the slayer, which offers a simpler option for players without sacrificing its effectiveness compared to other classes? Or come up with something else?

I'm not saying it wouldn't be great to have this. But its not like other systems where everyone could largely agree on what the base game actually looks like. Such is the legacy of 4e, and it's not something I want carried over.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Essentials was compatible, so why not both? I think the suggestion of OSE as a template is a good one. Have the core engine that everyone can use, then release a classic set of classes and an essential set. If people want to do new things, they’d have a base they can use.
 

Aldarc

Legend
This makes sense. And I agree about authors wanting to inject their own idiosyncrasies. But here's the thing: which version of 4e is everyone going to expect? The original version, the Essentials version, or both?

I'm talking about classes specifically. You can argue about compatibility all you want. But a blueprint needs to set the tone, as well as the standards for everything moving forward. So is the fighter going to be the weapon master and all classes follow the same structure? Or should it be more like the knight and the slayer, which offers a simpler option for players without sacrificing its effectiveness compared to other classes? Or come up with something else?

I'm not saying it wouldn't be great to have this. But its not like other systems where everyone could largely agree on what the base game actually looks like. Such is the legacy of 4e, and it's not something I want carried over.
Here's the thing: The OSR movement hast mostly rallied around OSE as its forerunner and how it handled B/X and converted 1e D&D to B/X. If that's the case, the 4e community should be able to rally around a NSE game that was mostly modeled after 4e Original. A separate game could be made for 4e Essentials, but I would start with at least the original version with all of its math, modifiers, and the like errated. I also suspect that the 4e community would be mostly happy to have any love on the level of OSE regardless of whether it was based on 4e Original or Essentials.
 
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Retreater

Legend
I think when it comes down to 4E Core (don't know what else to call it) vs Essentials, what should be considered... (Not necessarily in order)
1) which is the team passionate about
2) which is the fanbase most excited about
3) which would be the easiest to get new players to try
4) which would work best for remote play (since you're likely not getting a lot of people in your particular city to want to try it)
5) which could you do in the existing OGL legal parameters
6) which has the preferred math

Essentials has a lot of material, considering Heroes of Shadow and the Feywild are also in that format.
OSE used B/X as their template, but then converted the AD&D stuff to that template. I would say you should start with Essentials and then go back and add classes like the Warlord (which I don't remember being available outside the Core version.)
 

No edition of D&D has an expiration date. The fact that WotC isn't supporting it or doing anything with it doesn't prevent anyone else from doing things with it. Every D&D edition has clones of it or third party rulesets based on them. Even the edition that is likely most obscure (Holmes) has at least one retroclone. There are two exceptions to that: 5th Edition and 4th Edition. It should be kinda obvious why 5th isn't being cloned right now. But why not 4th? Simple. Too many people actively disliked 4th. If they did like it, nobody has yet concluded there is sufficient demand among its' few remaining fans to make it worthwhile to go back and do anything with it.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Here's the thing: The OSR movement hast mostly rallyed around OSE as its forerunner and how it handled B/X and converted 1e D&D to B/X. If that's the case, the 4e community should be able to rally around a NSE game that was mostly modelled after 4e Original. A separate game could be made for 4e Essentials, but I would start with at least the original version with all of its math, modifiers, and the like errated. I also suspect that the 4e community would be mostly happy to have any love on the level of OSE regardless of whether it was based on 4e Original or Essentials.

I think when it comes down to 4E Core (don't know what else to call it) vs Essentials, what should be considered... (Not necessarily in order)
1) which is the team passionate about
2) which is the fanbase most excited about
3) which would be the easiest to get new players to try
4) which would work best for remote play (since you're likely not getting a lot of people in your particular city to want to try it)
5) which could you do in the existing OGL legal parameters
6) which has the preferred math

Essentials has a lot of material, considering Heroes of Shadow and the Feywild are also in that format.
OSE used B/X as their template, but then converted the AD&D stuff to that template. I would say you should start with Essentials and then go back and add classes like the Warlord (which I don't remember being available outside the Core version.)

And now we have two different approaches with two reasonable arguments within a matter of hours, and I suspect more will be coming. For the record, I'm not opposed to either approach, but I'm also not favoring one or the other (at the moment). But I will say that it is this back-and-forth, flip-flop kind of puzzle that locks up my brain, which is part of my issue. There's too many gray areas for me to navigate personally and it doesn't make it easy for me to decide what I want.

On the one hand, I like the consistency and expansiveness of (sure let's call it) Core. And on the other, I like the completeness and minimalist approach of the Essentials line. I know I can mix them (and WotC was real adamant about that until they decided Essentials was the key), but I didn't like that. I prefer to keep things clean and not muddy the waters. I may be too rigid that way, but that's just another one of my issues.

Anyway, I don't know how OGLs actually work. I need to know what I can and can't do with it. Being vague and general with explanations doesn't help me understand it any better. I don't think we need a complete system in order to make a license operable and usable by others. We just need to standardize all the working parts and allow the innovators to innovate. Then we should see the NSEs and revised Essentials and whatever else emerge. Maybe.
 

Retreater

Legend
And now we have two different approaches with two reasonable arguments within a matter of hours, and I suspect more will be coming. For the record, I'm not opposed to either approach, but I'm also not favoring one or the other (at the moment). But I will say that it is this back-and-forth, flip-flop kind of puzzle that locks up my brain, which is part of my issue. There's too many gray areas for me to navigate personally and it doesn't make it easy for me to decide what I want.
Yeah. My strength isn't in publishing, knowing legal code. I've been primarily a module writer as far as professional involvement in the hobby is concerned.
My interest would mostly be in just trying to figure out how to play 4e again - not that I don't remember how to play it (I was running a campaign in-person before the pandemic). It's more how do you organize it, which platforms do you use for VTT, how do you find players, etc.
I think there's enough of a dedicated niche that one would be able to pool together a few decent-sized groups online.
All the other stuff, I tend to get decision paralysis.
How I work through this is I try to not think about "the rest of the hobby and every gamer around the world." If I were running a game for friends (or perhaps people dropping in at a game store), how would I do that?
Well, I'd have an adventure and some simple pregens. I would put out a list of resources players could use for their character options (and I'm usually comfortable with Core or Essentials) in the event they wanted to create their own characters. The individual sessions of D&D Encounters were designed to be played in 1-1.5 hours so I think that would be an ideal format for introductory online play. (The PDFs of the Encounters seasons are like $5 each on DMs Guild.) But if the group really gels, you could do more substantial adventures.
 

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