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4E Where was 4e headed before it was canned?

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
4e has examples of what certain DC's mean... while not as exhaustive as 3e it still locks in a chunk of that color to specific DC's.

As an example...Climb has DC's listed as follows...
DC 0 Ladder
DC 10 Rope
DC 15 Uneven Surface (Cave Wall)
DC 20 Rough Surface (Brick Wall)
DC +5 Slippery Surface
DC +5 Unusually Smooth Surface
oops that was a misquote and I am less certain I totally agree could you fix the attribution
 

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Campbell

Legend
Free form roleplaying has distinguishing characteristics that go beyond a lack of defined mechanisms. Free form role play has no fundamental goal beyond playing out the situation and seeing how things go. It also has no formal means of deciding what happens. Generally you rely on consent and active negotiation in place of formal systems.

Fifth Edition's Goal and Approach is an extremely formal means of resolving what happens to the game state. A player states what they want their character to achieve and how they go about it and then the DM either tells them how it goes or calls for an ability check and then tells them how it goes. It is also fundamentally a game where players are focused on overcoming challenges with strong reward systems to back that up. This is far closer to refereed war gaming like Free Kriegspeil than free form roleplaying. The play is very structured.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Free form roleplaying has distinguishing characteristics that go beyond a lack of defined mechanisms. Free form role play has no fundamental goal beyond playing out the situation and seeing how things go. It also has no formal means of deciding what happens. Generally you rely on consent and active negotiation in place of formal systems.

Fifth Edition's Goal and Approach is an extremely formal means of resolving what happens to the game state. A player states what they want their character to achieve and how they go about it and then the DM either tells them how it goes or calls for an ability check and then tells them how it goes. It is also fundamentally a game where players are focused on overcoming challenges with strong reward systems to back that up. This is far closer to refereed war gaming like Free Kriegspeil than free form roleplaying. The play is very structured.

Can I ask where you're getting this definition from?
 

Campbell

Legend
Can I ask where you're getting this definition from?

Mostly from experience participating in online free form roleplaying in my formative years as well as accounts of the sort of structured free form Vincent Baker, Meguey Baker, Emily Care Boss, and others participated in.

This is not far from my personal experience.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Mostly from experience participating in online free form roleplaying in my formative years as well as accounts of the sort of structured free form Vincent Baker, Meguey Baker, Emily Care Boss, and others participated in.

This is not far from my personal experience.

I just asked because after googling it seems like there isn't any definitive agreement on what the exact characteristics of freeform rpg's are... thought admittedly some traits pop up more often than others.
 

Generally if I am going to be playing Dungeons and Dragons I am not very interested in a fiction where 20th level fighter is just a little bit better than a 1st level fighter at things like evading attacks, running and jumping and the like. I need a fighter who faces down pit fiends to feel like someone who would face down pit fiends.

I feel like we've done this a million times yet we've made absolutely no headway.

@Parmandur and @Imaro

Imaro was heavily involved in my level 30 DC thread many years back when 5e was first released (which was unfortunately wiped out in the board changeover...it was an extremely productive thread).

Here are the issues at hand that make the comparison of 5e mechanics and fiction at end game incompatible with the experience of 4e mechanics and fiction at end game.

1) 5e uses some kind of extra-PC, objective baseline for the natural language assignment of the difficulty of tasks. Whatever that baseline is, its there, but we can fuss over what it is (which we did in that old thread). Is task x and y Easy/Hard for "average adventurer", "every-man", whom? Someone.

2) A large part of 5e's bounded accuracy is to keep challenges relevant for PCs for longer.

3) 5e's noncombat resolution mechanics produce a fiction whereby there is SIGNIFICANTLY more parity in feats of non-combat martial prowess (coordination/balance/explosiveness/endurance, etc) between "average adventurer" or "every-man" (whatever the baseline) and an endgame Fighter.

So in 5e, you're 4th level Fighter may have + 6 to Athletics. Meanwhile, your 20th level Fighter may have...+11?

4) Even if 5e's GMing ethos pushed back against the intentful design of (2) (it doesn't) and it included 4e's noncombat resolution ethos of "all on-screen obstacles are tier-relevant threats/dangers" (which, for the 4 millionth time, does not mean that the door to the guildmaster's vault in Heroic Tier is suddenly an Epic challenge at Epic Tier if the fiction of the guild hasn't changed), that would still mean that the 5e Fighter at endgame (who is taking on Ancient Red Wyrms in melee combat) isn't overwhelmingly more competent at feats of athletic prowess than the low level Fighter (who is taking on Red Dragon Wyrmlings in melee combat).

Say whatever you'd like about the anti-process-sim gonzo nature of 4e...but as a martial artist and athlete my whole life...that narrative...just does_not_compute. The parity in noncombat capability between the two is far, far, far too narrow.

The guy taking on the Ancient Red Wyrm better be borderline superheroic in their feats of athletic prowess. He almost surely needs to be north (possibly well north) of Captain America and Captain is well north of a 5e endgame Fighter!

Contrast with 4e where:

5) The guy fighting the Red Dragon Wyrmling (RDW) has somewhere around a +13 Athletics...while the guy fighting the Ancient Red Dragon (ARD) has around a +38 Athletics!

One guy is well south of Captain America. One guy is north of Capatain America.

6) Again, the ethos of 4e noncombat resolution is that "obstacles that are on-screen should be tier-relevant threats."

7) So that RDW guy is faced with climbing a steep mountain face with the most precarious of handholds in the cold winter (DC 22). Meanwhile, the ARD Fighter is climbing a sheer volcano, leaping from one impossibly distant handhold to another, while the actual Elder Spirit of the mountain is violently changing the shape of the face to try to shake the Fighter and assaulting him/her with scalding pyroclastic outflow from vents in the rock (DC 42).

The mechanics and ethos of 4e supports that fictional framing and that disparity (which supports the ability to face down an RDW vs an ARD). 5e's mechanics and ethos does not.

Which is fine. It what intentfully designed to produce that...because that is what 5e's vocal audience wanted.

But even if you want to genre drift play to mythic in 5e, the basic PC build tool and action resolution mechanics do not support that parity (the parity of, say, Jamie Lannister vs Beowulf)...having 25 % better chance to succeed at the overwhelming % of tasks just isn't anywhere near the requisite disparity.
 
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Imaro

Adventurer
But even if you want to genre drift play to mythic in 5e, the basic PC build tool and action resolution mechanics do not support that parity (the parity of, say, Jamie Lannister vs Beowulf)...having 25 % better chance to succeed at the overwhelming % of tasks just isn't anywhere near the requisite disparity.

Why would Jamie Lannister be in a mythic campaign? If he were, for some inexplicable reason, wouldn't there just be feats the DM would rule he couldn't accomplish but a mythic character could?

EDIT: And if he's an NPC... well 5e doesn't use the same mechanics for NPC's and PC's.
 

@Imaro

I think you misunderstand my juxtaposition.

I'm comparing the low level Fighter's capability (Jamie Lanister is that 4th level Fighter) vs the endgame Fighter. The PC build and resolution mechanics of 5e contract the noncombat prowess window between those two to an extreme degree.

They wouldn't actually be playing together. We're talking about fictional framing and the game's mathematical archetecture.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
@Imaro

I think you misunderstand my juxtaposition.

I'm comparing the low level Fighter's capability (Jamie Lanister is that 4th level Fighter) vs the endgame Fighter. The PC build and resolution mechanics of 5e contract the noncombat prowess window between those two to an extreme degree.

They wouldn't actually be playing together. We're talking about fictional framing and the game's mathematical archetecture.

But if the genre is mythic... Jamie Lannister isn't representative of a low level mythic fighter since he's not a mythic character at all...

In other words you're assuming a specific color on the DC's/mechacnics/etc in 5e that is actually up to the DM to decide.
 

But if the genre is mythic... Jamie Lannister isn't representative of a low level mythic fighter since he's not a mythic character at all...

I don't understand what is happening here. How are we not connecting.

In your 5e Mythic Campaign, pick a 4th level genre archetype for your Fighter. Now pick a relevant noncombat obstacle for them.

Now do the same for your 20th level Mythic Campaign Fighter.

What does this look like. Does the system architecture support this fictional framing and disparity?
 

Imaro

Adventurer
I don't understand what is happening here. How are we not connecting.

In your 5e Mythic Campaign, pick a 4th level genre archetype for your Fighter. Now pick a relevant noncombat obstacle for them.

Now do the same for your 20th level Mythic Campaign Fighter.

What does this look like. Does the system architecture support this fictional framing and disparity?

Ah, ok I think I see what you're getting at... Also these are off the cuff so just using them to illustrate the point, not necessarily how I'd rule in a real camapign.

Ok so 4th level mythic character diverts the flow of a volcano to avoid it destroying a village... STR DC 15 to push a boulder into it's path to block it/divert the lava flow.

20th level mythic character diverts the flow of a volcano to avoid it destroying a village... STR DC 15 to push a boulder into it's path to block it/ divert the lava flow.


So 4th level mythic character tries to hold the world mountain (The mountain upon which the entire world rests) upon his shoulders to stop it falling into the abyss...and auto-fails it is impossible for him to accomplish.

20th level character tries to hold the world mountain upon his shoulders to stop it falling into the abyss... STR DC 25 to hold it up over the abyss
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Looks at description of tiers in 4e ... and then squints at the last 3 of 5e raises an eyebrow shakes head reads like an aweful lot of progression to me.
 

Kai Lord

Explorer
Say whatever you'd like about the anti-process-sim gonzo nature of 4e...but as a martial artist and athlete my whole life...that narrative...just does_not_compute. The parity in noncombat capability between the two is far, far, far too narrow.

The guy taking on the Ancient Red Wyrm better be borderline superheroic in their feats of athletic prowess. He almost surely needs to be north (possibly well north) of Captain America and Captain is well north of a 5e endgame Fighter!

Contrast with 4e where:

5) The guy fighting the Red Dragon Wyrmling (RDW) has somewhere around a +13 Athletics...while the guy fighting the Ancient Red Dragon (ARD) has around a +38 Athletics!

One guy is well south of Captain America. One guy is north of Capatain America.

Fantastic discussion guys. I find the Captain America references fascinating if for no other reason than he's my favorite superhero. :-D

However I would argue that Captain America as seen on screen actually supports a 5E style of play more than 4E. Sure his fighting style was cranked up to 11 when he was battling Thanos in Endgame compared to his first few HYDRA opponents in The First Avenger but I don't know that I'd say his non-combat athleticism doubled or tripled in that same amount of time. A 25% increase sounds about right. In fact from The Winter Soldier on I'd say it was pretty much static with regards to acrobatics and feats of strength.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Fantastic discussion guys. I find the Captain America references fascinating if for no other reason than he's my favorite superhero. :-D

However I would argue that Captain America as seen on screen actually supports a 5E style of play more than 4E. Sure his fighting style was cranked up to 11 when he was battling Thanos in Endgame compared to his first few HYDRA opponents in The First Avenger but I don't know that I'd say his non-combat athleticism doubled or tripled in that same amount of time. A 25% increase sounds about right. In fact from The Winter Soldier on I'd say it was pretty much static with regards to acrobatics and feats of strength.

Irregardless (and I do agree with you here) part of the process of action resolution in 5e is that the DM can determine whether an action is possible or not... You think there should be greater disparity in the athleticism of a 4th level fighter and a 20th level fighter... that's the process to make that a reality... there are certain things that are just plain impossible until you meet a minimum threshold of athleticism in game. 5e really is prettty flexible in this area.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Which DCs are you talking about?

Particularly, DCs for skill checks and non-combat actions. For whatever reason that seems to be the pivot point of this part of the discussion.

I am going to post an old quote that I think is the best statement ever made on these boards about how setting DCs works in 4e. And it explains why I think the process of DC-setting is as "freeform" as 5e.

This is exactly how I have experienced the play of 4e. And I don't see how it's any different from the descriptions that are being offered to explain how and why 5e is "freeform".

With my limited experience with 4e (and without referencing the few books I have), I would say that between the utility powers, etc. It was much clearer what kinds of actions were genre-expected in 4e (mediated by tier/level) than it is in 5e. A position boisterously espoused by other 4e supporters on this thread. If not, then there shouldn't be any complaint about the loss of non-combat martial ability WRT casters (as exhibited earlier in this thread by other posters), which, in the context of 5e, is dependent on what DCs the DM sets for actions or what actions are allowed to be attempted. Allowing or encouraging the "gonzo action" style of 4e seems amenable or preferable to several of 5e DMs who have posted in this thread and is relatively easy to effect.

I grant that there are other aspects of the two systems which factor into this perception of a loss of martial parity (particularly the expenditure of resources via AEDU powers.) However, if anything, those powers enforce the expectations in 4e rather than broaden them. IMO/IME/YMMV, of course.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I grant that there are other aspects of the two systems which factor into this perception of a loss of martial parity (particularly the expenditure of resources via AEDU powers.) However, if anything, those powers enforce the expectations in 4e rather than broaden them.
An expectation of parity hmmm I am cool with that it pushes them upwards from expectations that without an expenditure you are only able to achieve inferior results.
 


Ratskinner

Adventurer
Free form roleplaying has distinguishing characteristics that go beyond a lack of defined mechanisms. Free form role play has no fundamental goal beyond playing out the situation and seeing how things go. It also has no formal means of deciding what happens. Generally you rely on consent and active negotiation in place of formal systems.

I don't disagree, but this discussion spiraled off of an earlier set of posts that kinda got the word "freeform" tossed in without much definition.

For my part, I'm okay with saying that a game with open-ended descriptors (like the skills and OUT of 13th age or Fate's aspects) which require a similar type of negotiation or agreement in order to engage the mechanics as being somewhat "freeform". I prefer the term "flexible" to refer to the discussion-relevant differences between 4e and 5e.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Allowing or encouraging the "gonzo action" style of 4e seems amenable or preferable to several of 5e DMs who have posted in this thread and is relatively easy to effect.
The desire is not for Gonzo or Wuxia...
No its not easier to affect parity... that is bull shit... tell me about the Teleportation spell and how many others were just slopped into the mix which undermine dozens of survival skill use with a trivial cost
 
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