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

Imaro

Adventurer
I see where you are coming from. I disagree with pretty much everything you state, but thank you for the second example: it clears things up nicely as to your point of view.
/MoutonRustique out
I'm cool if you don't want to answer since it may just be an agree to disagree situation but what exactly doon't you agree with... I'm literally following the mechanics and play procedures of 5e. Is it that you don't agree with my application of said tools to get the result I want? Or something else?
 
Here is a 4e example which illustrates the manner in which I see 4e as having freeform elements:


Another thing that had been planned for some time, by the player of the dwarf fighter-cleric, was to have his dwarven smiths reforge Whelm - a dwarven thrower warhammer artefact (originally from White Plume Mountain) - into Overwhelm, the same thing but as a morenkrad (the character is a two-hander specialist). And with this break from adventure he finally had he chance.

Again I adjudicated it as a complexity 1 (4 before 3) skill challenge. The fighter-cleric had succeeded at Dungeoneering (the closest in 4e to an engineering skill) and Diplomacy (to keep his dwarven artificers at the forge as the temperature and magical energies rise to unprecedented heights). The wizard had succeeded at Arcana (to keep the magical forces in check). But the fighter-cleric failed his Religion check - he was praying to Moradin to help with the process, but it wasn't enough. So he shoved his hands into the forge and held down the hammer with brute strength! (Successful Endurance against a Hard DC.) His hands were burned and scarred, but the dwarven smiths were finally able to grab the hammer head with their tongs, and then beat and pull it into its new shape.

The wizard then healed the dwarf PC with a Remove Affliction (using Fundamental Ice as the material component), and over the course of a few weeks the burns healed. (Had the Endurance check failed, things would have played out much the same, but I'd decided that the character would feel the pang of the burns again whenever he picked up Overwhelm.)

In running this particular challenge, I was the one who called for the Dungeoneering and Diplomacy checks. It was the players who initiated the other checks. In particular, the player of the dwarf PC realised that while his character is not an artificer, he is the toughtest dwarf around. This is what led him to say "I want to stick my hands into the forge and grab Whelm. Can I make an Endurance check for that?" An unexpected manoeuvre!

Similar to @Imaro's amphibious PC able to make a check to hold his/her breath for hours, so in this example the fiction that is established independent of stat/skill bonuses - namely, that this is a mid-paragon tier dwarven fighter/cleric who is the tougheset dwarf around - is integral to opening up the possibility of a skill check.

I'm not exactly sure how this should/would be handled in 5e, as 5e lacks the skill challenge framework and doesn't have quite the same tiers of play framework to support the establishment of the relevant fiction. But however exactly 5e should handle it, I don't see that it would be more freeform in terms of establishing what is possible and then setting a DC for it. I would expect it - based on a reading of the rules and a reading of this thread - to look pretty similar.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Here is a 4e example which illustrates the manner in which I see 4e as having freeform elements:


Similar to @Imaro's amphibious PC able to make a check to hold his/her breath for hours, so in this example the fiction that is established independent of stat/skill bonuses - namely, that this is a mid-paragon tier dwarven fighter/cleric who is the tougheset dwarf around - is integral to opening up the possibility of a skill check.

I'm not exactly sure how this should/would be handled in 5e, as 5e lacks the skill challenge framework and doesn't have quite the same tiers of play framework to support the establishment of the relevant fiction. But however exactly 5e should handle it, I don't see that it would be more freeform in terms of establishing what is possible and then setting a DC for it. I would expect it - based on a reading of the rules and a reading of this thread - to look pretty similar.
Question... if non-paragon characters were able to achieve the necessary DC's would you let them succeed at the same tasks?

One more question is there a formal way laid out in the rules that prohibits non-paragon PC's from achieving paragon feats? If so what is it? If it's just DC's well @Garthanos made the argument that it's very possible for low level PC's to get extremely high skill bonuses when built for it. Assuming that's the case how do you avoid the "creep" @Manbearcat was speaking too?
 
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Parmandur

Legend
Here is a 4e example which illustrates the manner in which I see 4e as having freeform elements:


Similar to @Imaro's amphibious PC able to make a check to hold his/her breath for hours, so in this example the fiction that is established independent of stat/skill bonuses - namely, that this is a mid-paragon tier dwarven fighter/cleric who is the tougheset dwarf around - is integral to opening up the possibility of a skill check.

I'm not exactly sure how this should/would be handled in 5e, as 5e lacks the skill challenge framework and doesn't have quite the same tiers of play framework to support the establishment of the relevant fiction. But however exactly 5e should handle it, I don't see that it would be more freeform in terms of establishing what is possible and then setting a DC for it. I would expect it - based on a reading of the rules and a reading of this thread - to look pretty similar.
Yes, it would look pretty similar: fewer rolls, possibly, but people do Skill challenges in 5E, if they feel like it. More free-form in terms of letting the DM adjudicate at will.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I'm not exactly sure how this should/would be handled in 5e, as 5e lacks the skill challenge framework and doesn't have quite the same tiers of play framework to support the establishment of the relevant fiction. But however exactly 5e should handle it, I don't see that it would be more freeform in terms of establishing what is possible and then setting a DC for it. I would expect it - based on a reading of the rules and a reading of this thread - to look pretty similar.
So, again, I don't see what you're arguing? I look at your example, and if that is as freeform as 4e gets ... it doesn't seem that freeform. Certainly not like I run my games.

But it's not that great of a leap, either, to most 5e (as @Parmandur put it, it would be the difference between a 5 and 6 on a 10 point scale).

I think one issue that I brought up is that 4e is more tightly integrated (design) and that it has more express enumeration of certain abilities (expressio unius est esclusio alterius), but, really, who cares?

It's all D&D, man
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Yes, it would look pretty similar: fewer rolls, possibly, but people do Skill challenges in 5E, if they feel like it. More free-form in terms of letting the DM adjudicate at will.
Yep 5e just has less formal structure in general... which just goes to the point that many of us have been making about 5e. An individual DM could run a skill challenge (X successes before Y failures), make it a group check( More than half the party needs to succeed at their checks for the overall action to be a success) or even resolve it through freeform, judging purely by the actions taken that it does in fact succeed or it doesn't...

I do find it weird that half the proponents for 4e seem to be arguing that unlike 5e it's a tightly integrated ruleset with clearly defined parameters and this is a plus... while the other half seem to be claiming it's just as freeform as 5e and it's parameters are no more locked down than 5e...
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yep 5e just has less formal structure in general...
Fewer tools in my opinion ie there is no skill challenge for 5e that you can improvise knowing about it from elsewhere is still on you not the game. Its basically laying claim to a house rule something which any D&D has.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Fewer tools in my opinion ie there is no skill challenge for 5e that you can improvise knowing about it from elsewhere is still on you not the game. Its basically laying claim to a house rule something which any D&D has.
Fewer restrictions and assumed systems = more free in a formal sense.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Fewer restrictions and assumed systems = more free in a formal sense.
Skill challenges are big broad open tool... unlike spells which narrow it down. Rules light games have big open tools it makes it more like Fate to have those.

Emphasizing player agency is another thing the rules light and free form ones do.

We know there is a ton of locked down other rules influencing even the more free form elements so in that regard any distinctions we make wrt this is more free form is not huge. (your saying maybe 1 point worth at most) is probably solid

We argue about subtle shit here sometimes dont we
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Skill challenges are big broad open tool... unlike spells which narrow it down. Rules light games have big open tools it makes it more like Fate to have those.

Emphasizing player agency is another thing the rules light and free form ones do.

We know there is a ton of locked down other rules influencing even the more free form elements so in that regard any distinctions we make wrt this is more free form is not huge. (your saying maybe 1 point worth at most) is probably solid

We argue about subtle shit here sometimes dont we
Um, just a quick note on the bolded area. This is not necessarily true in that sense.

Take 3e ....PLEASE!*

3e was definitely focused on so-called "Player Agency" by focusing on RAW and player-facing options; however, it was certainly not "rules light" nor was it "free form".

On the other hand, systems can be exceptionally rules-light (which we seem to be using as a synonym for free form) by placing on emphasis on DM adjudication (aka "DM empowerment").

I'd say that there isn't a strong correlation between player agency (however construed) and rules light systems.


*Apologies to Henny Youngman.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Um, just a quick note on the bolded area. This is not necessarily true in that sense.

Take 3e ....PLEASE!*

3e was definitely focused on so-called "Player Agency" by focusing on RAW and player-facing options; however, it was certainly not "rules light" nor was it "free form".
I knew there was a strong devotion to RAW is that actual player agency? It certainly helps create a sense of player expectation but since that means he can use raw to enable personal agenda. Hmmmmm. OK I will buy it.

Skill challenges could be cast as DM focused I suppose as well as more than anything it is a DM side mechanics

However as has been mentioned here presentation matters they were presented in a way to encourage player agency with regards to letting and encouraging players figure out approaches to problems and letting them invest in those to make it happen. They also encouraged letting skill application be just as impactful as rituals or other methods.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Fewer tools in my opinion ie there is no skill challenge for 5e that you can improvise knowing about it from elsewhere is still on you not the game. Its basically laying claim to a house rule something which any D&D has.
Well the thing is 5e even facilitated a great way of gaining ever expanding tools to be used with it's base rules framework by opening the game up to numerous publishers on DM's Guild and in traditional space. Easily accessible rules outside the corebooks with near infinite space for others to add and build upon the framework...unlike a rulebook with a limit to it's number of pages... sadly 4e was a pretty closed off system during it's time in print.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I knew there was a strong devotion to RAW is that actual player agency? It certainly helps create a sense of player expectation but since that means he can use raw to enable personal agenda. Hmmmmm. OK I will buy it.

Skill challenges could be cast as DM focused I suppose as well as more than anything it is a DM side mechanics

However as has been mentioned here presentation matters they were presented in a way to encourage player agency with regards to letting and encouraging players figure out approaches to problems and letting them invest in those to make it happen. They also encouraged letting skill application be just as impactful as rituals or other methods.
So, I think a large part of the issue is that (as I referenced before) there tends to be a certain proxy-fight going on that is not apparent, IMO, with other editions of D&D. Maybe I'm wrong- after all, I did sit all of those debates out, but (for example) I can rant about 2e without anyone taking it that personally; to quote the Big Lebowski, "That's just, like, my opinion man."

But for whatever reason (ahem) there is this particular and continuing need to argue about aspects of 4e. Which is weird; I mean, I think people run the editions they like, right? If 4e works for you, keep running it, and if it doesn't, don't.

Different approaches scratch different itches, of that I am sure. For me, for example, I never bothered with either 3e or 4e, not because they were bad systems, and not because they didn't have good idea, and not because they were not fun for many people or have interesting products; instead, they did not provide a benefit to me that was greater than the cost of not being able to utilize my prior experience easily. Whereas, for me, 5e provided that. In other words, in the grand conversation that is "D&D" there was enough of a discontinuity for me, personally, that I would rather just play another RPG, or play my modified 1e, than bother keeping up with the Joneses ... until 5e.

But not everyone is the same. I am not the King of You (YET! I mean, my plans for world domination are, at best, only half complete).

I see you returning to the same themes- specifically, your love for the martial options in 4e, and your appreciation for the elegance of the mechanics and player-facing options. That's great! It is so awesome and amazing that this worked for you and you reached a comfort level with it that I did (or could) not.

That's why I try to avoid normative judgments (X is bad)* instead of going for describing how I did something (5e works for me because of Y).

*That's right, I avoid those sorts of normative judgments. However, I will describe things, like Paladins are a class that deserves to die in a fire. See the difference? ;)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Well the thing is 5e even facilitated a great way of gaining ever expanding tools to be used with it's base rules framework by opening the game up to numerous publishers on DM's Guild and in traditional space.
There were definitely some very suckage administrative decisions blame the OGL and need to establish new IP which is more than a little sad.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Fewer restrictions and assumed systems = more free in a formal sense.
Ah. Maybe I see part of the issue.

"Freeform" not just used to describe the rules directly, but instead the results of the rules. A very structured ruleset can produce very freeform play results.

Let us consider just the magic in the game. In D&D, pretty much all the magic the PCs can manifest is done in terms of defined spells that do very specific things. It is a very structured ruleset, and produces very structured results.

Mage: the Ascension was all about playing magi, wizards, spellcasters - the magic system was the central part of the game, the largest part, and solidly structured around how you accomplish a feat of magic. But what the feat of magic was? That was very freeform. With the same rules structure one could blast you with lightning. Or Fire. Slam you to the floor with excess weight, or light up a theater stage performance. The results were freeform, not structured by the rules.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
So, I think a large part of the issue is that (as I referenced before) there tends to be a certain proxy-fight going on that is not apparent, IMO, with other editions of D&D. ;)
To be melodramatic - Did other editions die in a blaze of online e war?

Maybe I'm wrong- after all, I did sit all of those debates out, but (for example) I can rant about 2e without anyone taking it that personally; to quote the Big Lebowski, "That's just, like, my opinion man."
Yeh try dissing on save or Dies... like saying they make D&D characters seem less heroic than Flutter-shy
(insert video here about a pony facing off a basilisk - which by the way is incredibly heroic and demonstrates how a struggle is way cooler than a single yes or no die roll).

But for whatever reason (ahem) there is this particular and continuing need to argue about aspects of 4e.
This thread is asking about where 4e was headed before the dramatic and obvious shift of the direction where WOTC seemed to fold under the pressure exerted by ummm less than polite people - and some changes between 4e and 5e really point to a compliance with those who whined rather than a legitimate exploration of possible future D&D derived of the games better elements.

Is it possible to cram some of the design paradigm of 4e back into 5e... I am not sure I have given up.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Oh and lowkey The oath bound hero is an awesome archetype : fight me
..... well, you did insist! ¯\(ツ)

We all know the history of the Paladin. Just like Van Halen would insert the brown M&M rider into their contracts to verify that people read them, so too did Gygax (blessed be his name) insert the original Paladin into D&D to verify that the product was properly proofread- clearly, no sane person would let this monstrosity of a class in!

Oops.

And from the original sin, a million smug characters have been born. The Paladin is that friend you have who doesn't answer their phone when you need help moving.

The Paladin is the coworker who, every .... single ... day .... says, "Hot enough for ya?"

The Paladin is the loss of innocence in a child's eyes when they first learn that Santa is really just daddy going into debt.

The Paladin is, for all practical purposes, the Man; the very essence of soulless authoritarianism bleating at you to work harder while living off the profits of your labor and smugly pretending to give a damn.

Yeah. That's right. The Paladin is a boot stamping on your face, forever. It's the rules lawyer at the table trying to argue that they have infinite smites, and of course they have a holy avenger.

The Paladin is the class that finally makes you realize that the past tense of smite, is smut.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
..... well, you did insist! ¯\(ツ)
yes humor

I actually talk about 5e and 4e in concert largely because i want to see how much of what I see as lost by 5e is actually lost and to what extent there are things I could bring back into it (hey it is supposed to be modworthy) Now some of what I want may not be possible because of some fundamental design choices, but I am not sure how much that might be true.
 

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