Yet another look at KotSF/4th Ed.

Jhaelen

First Post
Insight said:
Area effects provoke opportunity attacks. So dumping a spell on yourself to clear minions isn't the best plan unless the minions can't hit you (or can't hit you very often).
Well, Burning Hands is a Close Blast 5, so it doesn't provoke OAs.
Endroren said:
It's absolutely an "uber minis game" rather than a true RPG.
Care to elaborate on what a 'true' RPG is?
Felon said:
Sleep does seem like a crap spell now.
As opposed to the 3E version?
I think it's fantastic. In the D&D XP delve it was THE decisive power to stand a chance at surviving the encounter with the black dragon.
Zil said:
I only experienced both of those adventures from the player side, and I would have to agree with you that Forge of Fury was pretty bad - we never finished it and this effectively ended that campaign.
I think Forge of Fury was probably the best of the whole 3.0 'Adventure Path' from WotC. It did an excellent job of putting diverse creatures into a big dungeon complex with noticeably different areas.
It was challenging, but not overly so. I think there were three character deaths in the adventure:
- one tried to charge over the rope bridge very early in the adventure and fell down.
- one died in the roper area after stepping into a gray ooze.
- one died during the fight against the dragon.
They knew better than to try to fight against the roper. It turned out to be an excellent opportunity for roleplaying.
 

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GoodKingJayIII

First Post
So WotC break the third rule of adventure design... The first mentioned NPC has a dumb name. Caralel (?) who of course alternated between Kal-El, Caramac, Caramel and Captain Cadbury. And the rest of the NPC's got ignored and abused equally... Poor DM, he suffered with dignity and even tried to keep things in character. I'm so proud.

I believe I have solved this problem. Simply rename him "Malephant."
 

Endroren

Adventurer
Publisher
Celebrim said:
The mythic '15 minute workday' is not a product of rules. It's a product of some players approach to the game, coupled with what appears to be conscious DM reinforcement of that approach.

Huzzah! What he said!
 

Cadfan

First Post
Endroren said:
One of the things that makes an RPG VERY different from any other game is that it is a living, breathing environment that doesn't require a specific map of actions for its exploration. RPGs are written with this in mind, knowing that characters might ignore a doorway, flee from the enemy, fall back and set a trap, or handle the scenario in any one of a million creative ways.

I'm just not seeing ANY of that in the now published materials, the posts about what is to come, or the previews others have offered. I'm sorry, I DO think this game is cool but when I read these rules, I'm not seeing a role-playing game.
I also rarely see things when I wear blinders.
 


Endroren said:
Seriously, were you playing the same game? Ever use reaction rolls? Ever read the modules all the way through and read the complex interelationships the writers created for the monsters and ways they might interact with players? Sure, not every adventure but many of them. Ever notice that combat was expected to extend beyond the room, perhaps spilling into the hall and out of the dungeon? Have you looked at the introductory adventure? It's a completely different thing. It's a series of complex D&D mini's scenarios plain and simple.

And I'm not just talking about comparing this to 1E or 2E. We know they had problems. We don't need to rehash that. But they set the groundwork for future RPGs. Take a bigger look at RPGs. Look at the full breadth of RPGs out there today. Savage Worlds. RIFTS. HERO. White Wolf games. The Monte Cook materials. Pathfinder. And yes, even 3E and 3.5E. These all have distinct qualities and presentations that encourage the players to break out of the situation, to explore the world around them, to change the course of the adventure.

One of the things that makes an RPG VERY different from any other game is that it is a living, breathing environment that doesn't require a specific map of actions for its exploration. RPGs are written with this in mind, knowing that characters might ignore a doorway, flee from the enemy, fall back and set a trap, or handle the scenario in any one of a million creative ways.

I'm just not seeing ANY of that in the now published materials, the posts about what is to come, or the previews others have offered. I'm sorry, I DO think this game is cool but when I read these rules, I'm not seeing a role-playing game.
Spoilers for Content of Keep on the Shadowfell
[sblock]
Did you miss these parts:
- Monsters that follow PCs (and how far)
- Monsters that flee to alert others (Kobolds breaking off, the Homunculus that warns his master)
- The Elf in Winterhaven that is secretly a spy and will alert his allies

- The roleplaying advice for the NPCs in Winterhaven and in the encounters? (The mayor, the "wise man", Splurg, the "head-honcho" of Orcus (etc.)?
- The DM suggestions on how to change the NPCs personality or add new ones in Winterhaven?
[/sblock]
 

Endroren

Adventurer
Publisher
Mustrum_Ridcully said:
Spoilers for Content of Keep on the Shadowfell
Did you miss these parts:

First, the examples you give that involve combat are just more minis tactics and not roleplaying IMO. Second, regarding the other examples, I didn't miss these. A few sentences here and there that refer to personalities and the ability of Bruce Cordell, an excellent writer, to add some story to a tactics based adventure, doesn't make this an RPG. The focus of this game is on tactical combats. Everything in between is just fluff and filler.

In my experience, a roleplaying game is ALL about what happens in between. The combat is simply the punctuation to those in between moments. That isn't what I'm seeing here. This entire game seems to be written as a series of tactical combats. Here and there they sprinkle in some story but that isn't the point of the game.

This is exactly what I would expect from Hero Quest, Descent, Runebound, the UK D&D board game that came out a couple years back. Unfortunately, when you pull the emphasis of the game away from the characters and their stories and place it squarely on the battles, you lose the key element of what makes an RPG different than any other game that exists.

Now, did WotC see that a lot of GMs never figured this out? Did they realize that these GMs wouldbe just as happy with a super cool minis game? Yeah, probably...but how unfortunate that they've nearly eliminated the possibility that players might turn their game into something more.
 

brehobit

Explorer
Endroren said:
I think though that the point is that 4E doesn't seem to focus on that style of play. Rather, it is HERO QUEST 4E with the D&D name. Very cool. Very fun. But just look at the structure of the game as set forth by WotC. It's absolutely an "uber minis game" rather than a true RPG.

Is that bad? Not really. If it is still fun, then great. But I think his complaint is on the money and very valid.
My exact thoughts. As a mini's game, it looks great. As an RPG, not so much.

I will buy it and I will play it. I found 3.x to be a step toward a board game. 2e and 1e were less about combat rules (they didn't try to have rules for all cases) and more about pretending to be somewhere. 4e goes even further. And what it shoots for it seems to hit quite nicely. But I don't find the system immersive.

Mark
 

Celebrim

Legend
brehobit said:
My exact thoughts. As a mini's game, it looks great. As an RPG, not so much.

Pretty close agreement with my thoughts as well.

It's amazing how many of us have formed the same impression despite the fact that this opinion is apparantly badwrongthinking.
 

PeterWeller

First Post
Celebrim said:
Pretty close agreement with my thoughts as well.

It's amazing how many of us have formed the same impression despite the fact that this opinion is apparantly badwrongthinking.

Probably because it's an idiotic impression formed from a combat heavy, hack & slash introductory module that's designed to showcase the major change to D&D: combat.

The assertion that it's just advanced advanced Hero Quest is ridiculous. First of all, it ignores the simple fact that you could, and many did, role play in HQ and WHQ. It ignores the fact that rules aren't necessary for role playing. It ignores the fact that you can, any many have and still will, role play during combat. It ignores the fact that there is space between the fights, during which you can role play to your heart's content. It ignores the fact that D&D, and all RPGs for that matter, have asked you, the player, to bring your creativity, wit, and cunning to the table. It ignores the fact that you decide how important, in depth and common combat is in your game.
 
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drjones

Explorer
Endroren said:
First, the examples you give that involve combat are just more minis tactics and not roleplaying..
To paraphrase: I role play, you suck do not.

Edit: a little harsh, I apologize. The module is a straightforward dungeon romp, intentionally, it si an introduction to a new combat system and an introduction for new DMs. There is, however, nothing I have seen in the rules that prevents you from making your own encounters that consist of nothing but chatting with the dukes servants for 4 hours.
 
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Cadfan

First Post
Endroren said:
Elaborate, please. If you're going to attack my opinions on the subject at least give me the opportunity to defend myself.
What's there to say? Your claim, that 4e doesn't effectively support out of the box thinking, reactive environments, intelligent monsters, or "the stuff that happens between combat," is so absurd that I do not believe an intelligent person could make it with sincerity.

So far, you haven't even made an argument. You've cast vague aspersions, and a few times you've utilized a zero sum fallacy that assumes that because combat became more interesting, roleplaying became less interesting. I can't intelligently critique your point because there's nothing there to dissect.

I could try to point out things like "The DM, not the game rules, crafts the plotline." Or, "The players are responsible for roleplaying, and don't need game rules to tell them how to do it." But you already know these things, of course. You're not a fool. What's the point of telling you what you already know?
 

Brown Jenkin

First Post
Celebrim said:
Pretty close agreement with my thoughts as well.

It's amazing how many of us have formed the same impression despite the fact that this opinion is apparantly badwrongthinking.

Count me in on the badwrongthinking as well.

I am interested in playing 4E, although mostly as ADDM. For that it looks like fun.
 

Vaeron

Explorer
The Eternal GM said:
#1 - Per day powers are so ultimately awesome that we rested as much as we could. Utterly undermining the design logic.

Hehe... Officially, you can only rest once per day, and not in the Keep itself without being attacked by a large wandering party of hobgoblins. Even, potentially, if you're in the secret "safe" room. You're supposed to have to return to Winterhaven to rest, and have a couple other encounters on the road in the process. So yeah, a bit of twisting of design there!
 
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Felon

First Post
nckestrel said:
Sleep: Start with the fact that pre-4th ed Sleep was overpowered.
What makes that a fact? 3e sleep had a small area and due to the 4HD restriction, it typically only put one or two creatures to sleep, if any.

Now, Sleep averages hitting about half the monsters (?), slowing all of them at least temporarily, and putting half to sleep after that? One action slowing most everybody and likely putting at least one out for longer, and maybe more (depending on defenses and how packed they are) is a good use of an action, but not a complete encounter killer.
If you want to slow creatures, then call the spell slow. Sleep should actually induce sleep.

As bad as 3e sleep was, it actually did the job of knocking one creature out so you could drag it off somewhere and take it prisoner.

BookKeeping: previous system, keep track of all effects AND keep track of separate durations for each. 4th ed, keep track of all effects, no need to keep track of any durations.
Having to keep track of which creatures has made its save and which still hasn't, with that number randomly changing every round, is at least as much of a hassle as sitting a die off to the side and turning it over to indicate the remaining duration.

As I said, it should at the very least knock out minions.
 
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Endroren

Adventurer
Publisher
Cadfan said:
What's there to say? Your claim, that 4e doesn't effectively support out of the box thinking, reactive environments, intelligent monsters, or "the stuff that happens between combat," is so absurd that I do not believe an intelligent person could make it with sincerity.

So far, you haven't even made an argument. You've cast vague aspersions, and a few times you've utilized a zero sum fallacy that assumes that because combat became more interesting, roleplaying became less interesting. I can't intelligently critique your point because there's nothing there to dissect.

I could try to point out things like "The DM, not the game rules, crafts the plotline." Or, "The players are responsible for roleplaying, and don't need game rules to tell them how to do it." But you already know these things, of course. You're not a fool. What's the point of telling you what you already know?

Not civil, but at least something to work with.

Thumb through the rules included with the module. Tell me how many lines of RULES are focused on role play vs combat.

Next look at the encounters...the adventure. How many non-combat encounters are provided? Do they spend much time explaining what rules are used during these rare character interactions? Do they set up social encounters as carefully as combat encounters? As far as I can tell, the only roleplay provided is through the effort of the writers who wrote the color text but there is very little concrete system information to back up their creativity. Give me a non-combat encounter crafted with as much detail and effort as the combat encounters and maybe I'll start to believe.

I'm sorry but unless this introductory module is horribly misleading, the rules and the game are firmly focused on playing out tactical combat scenarios. In between they offer suggestions for "you might want to roleplay this" but that's it.

And please don't suggest that it's all up to the DM and players to handle the role play. I can role play go fish if I have to ("Your trawler heads north into the icy waters of the sound. You throw out your nets and pray that you'll net enough to pay for the mortgage on your boat." "Do you have any hearts?") A roleplaying game places strong emphasis on both combat AND roleplaying. I won't even say that's an opinion because if it were, why would you even call it a roleplaying game?
 


Endroren

Adventurer
Publisher
PeterWeller said:
Probably because it's an idiotic impression formed from a combat heavy, hack & slash introductory module that's designed to showcase the major change to D&D: combat.

That seems a strange approach. If the module is "introductory" the goal is to teach players WHAT the game is. Now if it were called a "conversion" module, designed to teach players about what was different I'd believe your argument.

Look, if this is an introductory module, what WotC is telling us is "this is what it is like to play this game" and based on that, sorry...it's a minis game.

The assertion that it's just advanced advanced Hero Quest is ridiculous.

An even handed response. Thank you.

First of all, it ignores the simple fact that you could, and many did, role play in HQ and WHQ. It ignores the fact that rules aren't necessary for role playing. It ignores the fact that you can, any many have and still will, role play during combat. It ignores the fact that there is space between the fights, during which you can role play to your heart's content.

You are right. Good roleplayers can make ANYTHING a roleplaying game. I can make Hero Quest a role playing game. I can make Go Fish a roleplaying game (see my other post). Then again, I could make 3.5E a minis game. But does that make these games something they aren't? No. A game IS what it IS whether or not a creative person can bend it into somethign else.

A game is not a roleplaying game because someone roleplays. It is a roleplaying game because the system it presents supports and encourages roleplaying. The system I'm reading in the introduction that WotC has provided, does not do this. Oh sure, here and there they say "You could talk in a funny accent" but really, is that a system that embraces and encourages roleplay?
 
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Endroren

Adventurer
Publisher
Vaeron said:
Anyone who needs rules to tell them how to roleplay doesn't get the entire point of roleplaying, methinks.

Do you not READ my post? I don't need rules to roleplay. I can roleplay with ANY game, but if you don't need to include roleplaying rules to be a roleplaying game, what IS a roleplaying game? By that definition, EVERYTHING is an RPG. Monopoly is an RPG by that definition.
 

Vaeron

Explorer
Endroren said:
Do you not READ my post? I don't need rules to roleplay. I can roleplay with ANY game, but if you don't need to include roleplaying rules to be a roleplaying game, what IS a roleplaying game? By that definition, EVERYTHING is an RPG. Monopoly is an RPG by that definition.

It sounds like you may be confusing role playing with roll playing. One certainly COULD play Monopoly as a roleplaying game, it might even be fun (like they did with the Clue movie), but it wouldn't be very rewarding in the context of a one-shot game like that. Or in most one-shot games, really.
 

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