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D&D 4E Who's still playing 4E

D'karr

Adventurer
I'm currently playing 4e in a converted Kingmaker (Pathfinder) Adventure path. We are having a blast.

Interestingly enough I was recently invited to join in a Pathfinder game and declined because my experiences playing and running 3.x and Pathfinder, after playing 4e, have been extremely disappointing.

After we started playing 4e we still had a significant portion of the 3.x adventure path Savage Tide to play. We muddled through a large portion and eventually dropped playing because the game play was simply unsatisfying. Eventually after examining our disappointment, we agreed that standard action healing in 3.x was one of the major culprits in ruining the experience for us. It ended up being mostly the action economy in 3.x that hampered our enjoyment of the game.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Eventually after examining our disappointment, we agreed that standard action healing in 3.x was one of the major culprits in ruining the experience for us. It ended up being mostly the action economy in 3.x that hampered our enjoyment of the game.

Same. IMO 4e has the best action economy of any d20 game. Well, Star Wars Saga actually takes that for me.
 

Nemesis Destiny

Adventurer
After we started playing 4e we still had a significant portion of the 3.x adventure path Savage Tide to play. We muddled through a large portion and eventually dropped playing because the game play was simply unsatisfying.
Savage Tide was the last thing I did in 3.x - I was playing in it on a PbP that turned into an in-person game, which we converted to 4e. The DM lost interest after a while, but it seemed fun while it lasted.

My character was enjoyable to roleplay under both systems, but much more satisfying under 4e, echoing your experiences. That said, it was not easy to make an analogue across editions, and the character class was a houseruled version of a later 3.5 splat class in the first place, so there were some issues converting, but once I got over the difference, it was fine.
 

I'm running a Strike! Star Wars game.

I'm also running an orthodox 13th Age game (which I'd rather it be 4e, Strike!, Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy, or Dungeon World).

Both of those are 4e offspring so they basically apply.
 

I'm running a Strike! Star Wars game.

I'm also running an orthodox 13th Age game (which I'd rather it be 4e, Strike!, Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy, or Dungeon World).

Both of those are 4e offspring so they basically apply.

I still think of 13a as more of a 3.5 spin-off than a 4e one. The classes are just not much like 4e classes and the absence of the power concept makes a huge difference.
 

I still think of 13a as more of a 3.5 spin-off than a 4e one. The classes are just not much like 4e classes and the absence of the power concept makes a huge difference.

While I'm not a huge fan of 13th Age (I certainly don't dislike it, but there are any number of Story Now Heroic Fantasy systems I'd rather be running), I don't really see the similarities to 3.x outside of (a) the basic d20 chassis and (b) the fact that Tweet was involved in 3.x as well as being the co-creator (with 4e's Heinsoo). Obviously I agree with you regarding the lack of symmetry in class resource scheduling for and lack of keyword dependency (including Power Source).

But for my money, the experience of 3.x was all about:

a) Terrible Action Economy - Heavily favoring casters while very negatively impacting mobility (perpetuating battlefield stagnation) and melee characters (PCs and NPCs aliike)
b) LFQW...cubed
c) Horrendous combat budgeting (in many ways directly related to a and b)
d) Granular noncombat task resolution predicated on process-sim and featuring fiddly build mechanics and binary (non-dynamic) action resolution
e) Magic Item Economy and all the notorious impact that proliferated onto the rest of the system and setting as a result
f) An exceedingly narrow sweet spot of play
g) Related to (b), but needing a spot on its own, is the overwhelming, conflict-neutering power of Divinations, Conjurations, and Transmutations.

13th Age doesn't feature any of those and pushes in the opposite direction toward 4e (along with being heavily focused on fail forward and the story components of PCs - a la 4e)
 

Nemesis Destiny

Adventurer
I'm not sure if it's just me (because I don't truck in 5e circles), but I've noticed a definite, well, I wouldn't call it "pushback" exactly, but perhaps, nostalgia (?) for the "good bits" of what made 4e great. Maybe the community at large (not the echochamber of ENWorld) might be ready to integrate 4e into the fabric of D&D history and to acknowledge what it brought to the game.

Maybe it can be partially explained by the honeymoon phase of 5e coming to an end, but I've seen an awful lot of static along the lines of "hey, you know what I miss about 4e? Yeah, that was great. I wish they'd bring that back." Or, "Why was this cool thing not kept?"

I've seen this a number of times now, and maybe it's just that I've largely bailed out of online discussions of D&D because they're anti-4e for the most part in the circles I used to frequent, but there might be something to it. What do you folks think?
 

Campbell

Legend
I'm not sure if it's just me (because I don't truck in 5e circles), but I've noticed a definite, well, I wouldn't call it "pushback" exactly, but perhaps, nostalgia (?) for the "good bits" of what made 4e great. Maybe the community at large (not the echochamber of ENWorld) might be ready to integrate 4e into the fabric of D&D history and to acknowledge what it brought to the game.

Maybe it can be partially explained by the honeymoon phase of 5e coming to an end, but I've seen an awful lot of static along the lines of "hey, you know what I miss about 4e? Yeah, that was great. I wish they'd bring that back." Or, "Why was this cool thing not kept?"

I've seen this a number of times now, and maybe it's just that I've largely bailed out of online discussions of D&D because they're anti-4e for the most part in the circles I used to frequent, but there might be something to it. What do you folks think?

I think we might get some movement that way with more interesting martial classes and more dynamic monsters, but the parts of 4e that I really value - more dynamic lore with a focus on playability, transparency, openness toward indie RPG style play procedures, and rigorous mechanical design are probably nonstarters largely due to the internal culture at Wizards.

The sort of lore I desire runs contrary to the hopes of making Dungeons and Dragons into a cross-media property. There's a reason why Paradox is interested in Vampire: The Masquerade and not Requiem.

Rigorous Mechanical Design with heavy playtesting is definitely not going to happen for the foreseeable future. It requires a lot of effort that has not proven to be that valuable in the market. I think this is the reason why we haven't really seen a spiritual successor to 4e appear on the market. Tabletop RPGs don't justify the sort of economic resources required to build a game with that level of rigor.
 

JamesonCourage

First Post
But for my money, the experience of 3.x was all about:

a) Terrible Action Economy - Heavily favoring casters while very negatively impacting mobility (perpetuating battlefield stagnation) and melee characters (PCs and NPCs aliike)
b) LFQW...cubed
c) Horrendous combat budgeting (in many ways directly related to a and b)
d) Granular noncombat task resolution predicated on process-sim and featuring fiddly build mechanics and binary (non-dynamic) action resolution
e) Magic Item Economy and all the notorious impact that proliferated onto the rest of the system and setting as a result
f) An exceedingly narrow sweet spot of play
g) Related to (b), but needing a spot on its own, is the overwhelming, conflict-neutering power of Divinations, Conjurations, and Transmutations.
It definitely had those problems. But I think it's weird that you associate eliminating those problems with 4e. Not because 4e had them, but because eliminating those flaws (as well as many, many others) was a goal for my own homebrew, which was significantly based off of 3.X.

But maybe you meant that because you didn't encounter those problems in 13th age, it reminded you more of 4e? I'm guessing that's it, but I'm curious.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: While 4e has never been my game of choice, I definitely had fun running the game for a long time (with many play reports on these very forums).

Rigorous Mechanical Design with heavy playtesting is definitely not going to happen for the foreseeable future. It requires a lot of effort that has not proven to be that valuable in the market. I think this is the reason why we haven't really seen a spiritual successor to 4e appear on the market. Tabletop RPGs don't justify the sort of economic resources required to build a game with that level of rigor.
Wow. That's a good insight. And it's sad.

Also, I just want to say that you're definitely an MVP on this site. I rarely poke my head in these days, but I always enjoy seeing your posts.
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
(snip) Rigorous Mechanical Design with heavy playtesting is definitely not going to happen for the foreseeable future. It requires a lot of effort that has not proven to be that valuable in the market. I think this is the reason why we haven't really seen a spiritual successor to 4e appear on the market. Tabletop RPGs don't justify the sort of economic resources required to build a game with that level of rigor.

(snip) Wow. That's a good insight. And it's sad. (snip)

You're right: That is both insightful and sad.

I think it's fair to conclude that the D&D fan base is dominated by nostalgia both when it comes to rules and to adventures. No wonder 5E seems to be succeeding!

I'm currently playing 4e in a converted Kingmaker (Pathfinder) Adventure path. We are having a blast.

Interestingly enough I was recently invited to join in a Pathfinder game and declined because my experiences playing and running 3.x and Pathfinder, after playing 4e, have been extremely disappointing. (snip)

I would put this really bluntly: Paizo APs work better with 4E. It's easier for the DM to run and it forces the DM to remove a lot of the grind that the APs otherwise rely on to get the PCs to the right level for the next grindfest.

Similar to your experience, I find it difficult to go back (yes, I consider it a backwards step) and play 5E. I don't enjoy those constipated feelings that come from playing what is, in effect, an earlier edition. I mean, looking up spells in a book? Stuff that. I want everything on my character sheet.
(snip) But for my money, the experience of 3.x was all about:

a) Terrible Action Economy - Heavily favoring casters while very negatively impacting mobility (perpetuating battlefield stagnation) and melee characters (PCs and NPCs aliike)
b) LFQW...cubed
c) Horrendous combat budgeting (in many ways directly related to a and b)
d) Granular noncombat task resolution predicated on process-sim and featuring fiddly build mechanics and binary (non-dynamic) action resolution
e) Magic Item Economy and all the notorious impact that proliferated onto the rest of the system and setting as a result
f) An exceedingly narrow sweet spot of play
g) Related to (b), but needing a spot on its own, is the overwhelming, conflict-neutering power of Divinations, Conjurations, and Transmutations. (snip)

I loved 3.5E until I discovered 4E and learnt that I could build a stat block in under 20 minutes no matter what level monster or NPC.

3.5E was becoming a full time job as a DM. If I relied on the pre-built stat blocks they were full of errors plus I needed to do almost as much work looking up feats and spells as I would have done building them myself and learning the feats and spells that way. And the amount of work I put into a stat block had no effect on how long I would be able to use it in play. No, I cannot go back to that... and 5E is much the same.

I'm not sure if it's just me (because I don't truck in 5e circles), but I've noticed a definite, well, I wouldn't call it "pushback" exactly, but perhaps, nostalgia (?) for the "good bits" of what made 4e great. Maybe the community at large (not the echochamber of ENWorld) might be ready to integrate 4e into the fabric of D&D history and to acknowledge what it brought to the game. (snip)

I DM 99% of the time. I don't have any interest in playing. So, as a DM, I look at 5E - which I have both run and played - and all I can see are how it's going to have the same problems as 1E and 3.5E as time moves on. Like 1E, playing theatre-of-the-mind with a system that relies heavily on strict measurements is ultimately going to require grids and minis for times when players would otherwise want to argue with the DM and like 3.5E it's still a lot of work to play a complicated monster because you still have to look things up, like spells, that appear on the stat block.

More power to 5E because I do like to see D&D succeeding but the problems that 4E solved are still there. But that's clearly OK because, as stated above, nostalgia is clearly of vital importance to the D&D fan base. And that nostalgia trumps a lot of the elegance of 4E design.
 

While I'm not a huge fan of 13th Age (I certainly don't dislike it, but there are any number of Story Now Heroic Fantasy systems I'd rather be running), I don't really see the similarities to 3.x outside of (a) the basic d20 chassis and (b) the fact that Tweet was involved in 3.x as well as being the co-creator (with 4e's Heinsoo). Obviously I agree with you regarding the lack of symmetry in class resource scheduling for and lack of keyword dependency (including Power Source).

But for my money, the experience of 3.x was all about:

a) Terrible Action Economy - Heavily favoring casters while very negatively impacting mobility (perpetuating battlefield stagnation) and melee characters (PCs and NPCs aliike)
b) LFQW...cubed
c) Horrendous combat budgeting (in many ways directly related to a and b)
d) Granular noncombat task resolution predicated on process-sim and featuring fiddly build mechanics and binary (non-dynamic) action resolution
e) Magic Item Economy and all the notorious impact that proliferated onto the rest of the system and setting as a result
f) An exceedingly narrow sweet spot of play
g) Related to (b), but needing a spot on its own, is the overwhelming, conflict-neutering power of Divinations, Conjurations, and Transmutations.

13th Age doesn't feature any of those and pushes in the opposite direction toward 4e (along with being heavily focused on fail forward and the story components of PCs - a la 4e)

Yes, I just think that it did so from a starting point that was more 3.0 than 4e. I mean, its like a do-over, what if we took 3.0 and made a more story-centric and narratively driven system from it, but without much reference to what 4e did. You could look at 13a's 'recoveries' as being somewhat akin to 4e's Healing Surges/Second Wind, but not VERY much like it, and weirdly more reminiscent in effect to 3.x with a modest number of healing items in play.

But TO ME the real heart of 4e's mechanical appeal IS the healing system, the action economy, and the regularized power-centric class designs, none of which is particularly evident in 13a. So they have some things in common in terms of goals, and start from a common design philosophy, but IMHO go in quite different directions with it.
 

You're right: That is both insightful and sad.

I think it's fair to conclude that the D&D fan base is dominated by nostalgia both when it comes to rules and to adventures. No wonder 5E seems to be succeeding!
And this is why I've called 5e the 'Tombstone of D&D', because where do you go from the point where you threw up your hands and gave in to "D&D is just all about nostalgia"? It stops being a really living growing game in essence. So, while WotC has captured a bunch of sales, they've entirely given up any claim to being thought leaders in the RPG market space. People have wondered at the market forces behind the surge in smaller RPGs, fingered Kickstarter, OGL, etc, but the real core of it is, D&D is rather intellectually dead. I mean, you could hack on 5e, and that's all fine and good, but its not much different really from hacking on 4e, or 3e, or whatever. Its hard to see where there's room for WotC to come back with anything new. Frankly do they even have the intellectual capital left on board there to DO much? It sure doesn't seem like you'd want to be working for WotC if you want to innovate in RPGs!
 

I'll add something to the conversation later. Just chiming in to say it's nice to see several of my favorite commenters all posting on one page (a few making brief returns!)!
 

Imaro

Hero
And this is why I've called 5e the 'Tombstone of D&D', because where do you go from the point where you threw up your hands and gave in to "D&D is just all about nostalgia"? It stops being a really living growing game in essence. So, while WotC has captured a bunch of sales, they've entirely given up any claim to being thought leaders in the RPG market space. People have wondered at the market forces behind the surge in smaller RPGs, fingered Kickstarter, OGL, etc, but the real core of it is, D&D is rather intellectually dead. I mean, you could hack on 5e, and that's all fine and good, but its not much different really from hacking on 4e, or 3e, or whatever. Its hard to see where there's room for WotC to come back with anything new. Frankly do they even have the intellectual capital left on board there to DO much? It sure doesn't seem like you'd want to be working for WotC if you want to innovate in RPGs!

I don't see how streamlining to use the advantage and disadvantage mechanic, becoming more casual friendly with AP and short adventure collections, slowing down the treadmill of rules supplements, using bounded accuracy, and so on aren't innovations... Maybe not the innovations you want but they are still innovative compared to previous editions.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I don't see how streamlining to use the advantage and disadvantage mechanic, becoming more casual friendly with AP and short adventure collections, slowing down the treadmill of rules supplements, using bounded accuracy, and so on aren't innovations... Maybe not the innovations you want but they are still innovative compared to previous editions.


The whole false narrative of "Progress" infects the 4E Grognard rhetoric, as much ad older ed Grognard rhetoric is rife with silly "Decline" narratives. 4E is different, doesn't mean the differences were "advancements" anymore than it means they were badwrongfun: just different, is all. There isn't some ideal future towards which D&D is working, the rules are tools for peoples games. Some like certain rules, others prefer different rules.
 

Nemesis Destiny

Adventurer
Just chiming in to say it's nice to see several of my favorite commenters all posting on one page (a few making brief returns!)!
Indeed. I've learned that there are some conversations on these boards that are simply not worth joining, and 4e-centric conversations that are either CONSTRUCTIVE, or friendly, or both, are often in short supply. I have no wish to engage trolls and haters; there are better things to do with my time. In other words, nice to see you too ;)
 

The whole false narrative of "Progress" infects the 4E Grognard rhetoric, as much ad older ed Grognard rhetoric is rife with silly "Decline" narratives. 4E is different, doesn't mean the differences were "advancements" anymore than it means they were badwrongfun: just different, is all. There isn't some ideal future towards which D&D is working, the rules are tools for peoples games. Some like certain rules, others prefer different rules.

I don't think that the words 'progress', 'decline', or 'advancements' appear anywhere in my post, nor is there any implication of badwrongfun. Games do clearly evolve with the times though. And no I don't particularly see anything like the number of innovations in 5e that Ilmaro does. (Dis)advantage can be reasonably considered mildly innovative, at least for D&D. 5e is nowhere near as casual friendly as say Basic D&D, and I guess I'd argue even as 4e is for initiating low-level play. In other respects too it seems more to harken back to 1e perhaps than anything else, with less supplements. I won't even tread into the waters of 'bounded accuracy', but even if we just call it given that 5e's numbers progress more slowly (which really ISN'T clearly the case, but) that seems like a pretty miserly 'innovation'. Anyway, I don't think you can dismiss my statement as '4e Grognard rhetoric' so easily, but I expect we're veering off the topic here anyway...
 

Raith5

Adventurer
I don't see how streamlining to use the advantage and disadvantage mechanic, becoming more casual friendly with AP and short adventure collections, slowing down the treadmill of rules supplements, using bounded accuracy, and so on aren't innovations... Maybe not the innovations you want but they are still innovative compared to previous editions.

I agree that the idea of innovations are subjective - but isnt it the case that the innovations of 5e are designed to replicate the feelings of previous editions rather than create a new experience and playstyle (or wider set of playstyles) . I feel they have been very effective in doing this - but I dont feel I am travelling (or have the capacity to travel) through new territory with 5e.
 

I still think of 13a as more of a 3.5 spin-off than a 4e one. The classes are just not much like 4e classes and the absence of the power concept makes a huge difference.
And, of course, it's an OGL product.

Yes, I just think that it did so from a starting point that was more 3.0 than 4e. I mean, its like a do-over, what if we took 3.0 and made a more story-centric and narratively driven system from it, but without much reference to what 4e did. You could look at 13a's 'recoveries' as being somewhat akin to 4e's Healing Surges/Second Wind, but not VERY much like it
Certainly more like it than HD in 5e.

IMHO, 13A is very much like 5e. Not in the particulars so much as in the goals it delivers on. It's TotM by default. It's combats wrap up more quickly. It's classes have varied recharge schedules and unique mechanics. It evokes the classic game. Etc.

In some ways, it often does a better job at some of those things than 5e has.

But it's definitely not 4e nor a 4e clone nor even a spiritual successor or anything of that sort.

And this is why I've called 5e the 'Tombstone of D&D', because where do you go from the point where you threw up your hands and gave in to "D&D is just all about nostalgia"?
TO DA BANK! Laughing all the way! ;P

It stops being a really living growing game in essence.
Seriously, though, I appreciate the point you're making, but it's as much a foundation stone as a tombstone. From here, the D&D IP can be built up in other media and other formats. The RPG is, perhaps, dead in the existential sense that it's identity is set. It's legacy won't be a later, better, D&D TTRPG. Maybe it'll include D&D CRGPs, MMOs, AR games, movies, or future holodeck adventures or what-have-you.

But what D&D, the TTRPG, /is/ has become a settled question.

they've entirely given up any claim to being thought leaders in the RPG market space.
D&D hasn't been that in a long while. Even when everyone was jumping on the d20 bandwagon, it was market or business-model, not head-space/creative, leadership.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I don't think that the words 'progress', 'decline', or 'advancements' appear anywhere in my post, nor is there any implication of badwrongfun. Games do clearly evolve with the times though. And no I don't particularly see anything like the number of innovations in 5e that Ilmaro does. (Dis)advantage can be reasonably considered mildly innovative, at least for D&D. 5e is nowhere near as casual friendly as say Basic D&D, and I guess I'd argue even as 4e is for initiating low-level play. In other respects too it seems more to harken back to 1e perhaps than anything else, with less supplements. I won't even tread into the waters of 'bounded accuracy', but even if we just call it given that 5e's numbers progress more slowly (which really ISN'T clearly the case, but) that seems like a pretty miserly 'innovation'. Anyway, I don't think you can dismiss my statement as '4e Grognard rhetoric' so easily, but I expect we're veering off the topic here anyway...


See, this is assuming "innovation" us a desire able value in and of itself, next to refinement or sticking with what works.
 

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