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Author Topic: AD&D 4E character creation  (Read 15649 times)
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Arnir
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« on: June 13, 2008, 07:59:51 PM »

I just got the PHB yesterday and am looking at character creation.  Looks the same and quite different at the same time.  I'll post newbie impressions here later, but I wanted to start this thread so that we could discuss character creation issues and strategies, etc. in a separate thread rather than getting the original D&D thread all cluttered up.

A comment was made in the other thread about bring class role into character personalities.  I think this is an interesting concept - at first I thought "what's the problem" but then I think I started to get the point.  I was surprised when I saw fighters classed as defenders when I have always seen them as attackers.  I think I might see what the PHB means by defender, but I can see confusion on the horizon until the tires have been kicked and a few miles put on the new engine.
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YellowKing
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2008, 08:08:26 PM »

One reason they're now classified as Defenders is that Fighters now have mark abilities. These allow them to effectively "taunt" enemies off of other players.

For example, one of the most basic mark abilities is that if a fighter marks a target, that target takes a -2 penalty to attack roles if it attacks anybody other than the fighter. As a DM playing the monster role, I typically try to play this pretty straight. Unless I'm being severely threatened by another character, I'll usually "take the bait" and attack the fighter if he marked me. However, the penalty insures that even if I, as DM, decide to ignore the taunt, I'm still facing a reduced chance of harming that weaker character.

If you have grouped in any MMOs, the model is very much the same. Fighters are now classified as the tank role, keeping enemies off of weaker players. They can still put out damage, but not as much as the Strikers (rogues, warlocks).

« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 08:11:17 PM by YellowKing » Logged
Arnir
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2008, 08:11:30 PM »

Quote from: YellowKing on June 13, 2008, 08:08:26 PM

One reason they're now classified as Defenders is that Fighters now have mark abilities. These allow them to effectively "taunt" enemies off of other players.

For example, one of the most basic mark abilities is that if a fighter marks a target, that target takes a -2 penalty to attack roles if it attacks anybody other than the fighter.

If you have grouped in any MMOs, the model is very much the same. Fighters are now classified as the tank role, keeping enemies off of weaker players. They can still put out damage, but not as much as the Strikers (rogues, warlocks).



That will probably be a reason why it might take me longer to get used to this as I really don't like MMOs at all.  The talk of making D&D more like MMOs makes me sad. Okay, not really sad, but concerned.
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kadnod
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2008, 08:29:35 PM »

Quote from: Arnir
I was surprised when I saw fighters classed as defenders when I have always seen them as attackers.

Something that took me a while to get while looking at the new PHB:

If you want to play a guy that runs around and beats on people with swords, you don't have to take the "fighter" class anymore.  You could pull it off with fighter, rogue, ranger, warlord and possibly even a cleric (I didn't really read clerics yet).  It's more about thinking about what sort of "gimicks" you want now.  If you want to be the guy that beats on people and takes a beating so his buddies don't have to, fighter is still probably for you.  If you want to be a leader that fights from the front while inspiring his comrades, warlord is the way to go.  If you just really, really want to stab people, go for rogue or ranger.

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IceBear
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2008, 09:15:16 PM »

Quote from: Arnir on June 13, 2008, 08:11:30 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on June 13, 2008, 08:08:26 PM

One reason they're now classified as Defenders is that Fighters now have mark abilities. These allow them to effectively "taunt" enemies off of other players.

For example, one of the most basic mark abilities is that if a fighter marks a target, that target takes a -2 penalty to attack roles if it attacks anybody other than the fighter.

If you have grouped in any MMOs, the model is very much the same. Fighters are now classified as the tank role, keeping enemies off of weaker players. They can still put out damage, but not as much as the Strikers (rogues, warlocks).



That will probably be a reason why it might take me longer to get used to this as I really don't like MMOs at all.  The talk of making D&D more like MMOs makes me sad. Okay, not really sad, but concerned.

Ok, as much as people say they did this to make D&D more like MMOs, the real reason they did this was to replace (sort of) AoO.  The reason they were added in 3E was to allow for bodyguards.  Basically, in prior editions if the party came into a room and saw the evil wizard and his four henchmen the group could basically run up to the wizard, ignoring the henchmen (that were supposed to be bodyguards) and kill the wizard.  AoO were put in 3E to basically make that less likely, but really, they didn't work as once you got enough hp to take a hit or two taking a blow that might not even hit you wasn't much of a deterrant.  Thus, we have this "taunting" feature in 4E.  I'm not really keen on it either, but I'll see how it goes.

BTW - AoO are still in 4E.  They are called Opportunity Attacks now, but they tend to be a lot less complicated on what can trigger them now.  Basically they are trying to find a way to allow some characters and monsters to adequately defend others.  As Yellowking pointed out, you can build a fighter that's more attacker than defender, but since he was intended to be a defender he's not going to have the same damage output as a class who has a role to be a damage dealer.  Really, this isn't much different than 1E.  In 1st Edition the fighter was meant to be the sack of hitpoints up front taking the damage (but there was no game mechanic to enforce it as the monsters could decide to attack someone else), the wizard the artillery, the rogue backstabbing and providing support and the cleric was the healer.  It was assumed your party had one of each and if you didn't you weren't a balanced party.  4E assumes you'll have a defender, a striker, a leader and a controller and one of something else.

Basically, the reason you saw fighters as attackers as they were supposed to be up front soaking up the damage and dishing it out and thus when combat started you had to run forward and attack and hope the DM decided the monsters wanted to beat on you rather than the annoying wizard magic missling them from the back.  They were defending by attacking.  In 4E, a fighter would play the same way, but now he has a mechanic to actually punish the monster when it finally decides that the wizard shooting it must die (ie, he can make an Opportunity Attack if it leaves his threat range, and if he marked it, it will suffer a -2 penalty.  He can even get a free attack if it 5ft steps away).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 09:22:40 PM by IceBear » Logged
IceBear
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 09:47:34 PM »

Interesting.  They put up an article for converting your 3.5 character concept to 4E

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4dnd/20080613a

A new adventure from Dungeon Mag:
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/files/155_Heathen.pdf
« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 09:51:53 PM by IceBear » Logged
YellowKing
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2008, 05:01:18 AM »

I'll say so far I kind of like the mark (taunt) feature in actual gameplay.

At first I thought it was stupid - marking is an at-will ability for the fighter that he would essentially be stupid to not use every round, provided he was healthy enough to soak up the hits. So I felt that as a monster I had a distinct disadvantage going into the fight.

However, in some of our bigger battles it really made a measurable difference. In one major fight with a boss mob, I was in a position to virtually guarantee the deaths of two characters on my next attack (I was already thinking ahead on how to handle their resurrection). The fighter used his mark, so (in keeping with the spirit of the ability), I attacked him instead. he ended up getting severely wounded, but saved the life of our wizard who ended up landing the final killing blow. It ultimately made for a very dramatic ending to the battle, and there were lots of high fives exchanged all around for our fighter.

However, it really depends on how the DM chooses to play it. You could certainly make it dull & automatic (by always having monsters attack the taunter), or you could certainly make it ineffective (by having monsters simply ignore it and take the -2 penalty). I think though that if you mix it up depending on the situation, it's an interesting little mechanic that can make for some cool fights.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 05:04:22 AM by YellowKing » Logged
Turtle
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2008, 05:39:51 AM »

What's the description of this ability?  It's a very gamey concept, but it's not like the whole of D&D hasn't been gamey from the beginning.  I've always thought that how the GM and players handled it matters more, unless it's completely borked.

Mark becomes a lot more story intensive if you set aside the exact combat rules and think of that situation.  For some it could be seen as the fighter, realizing his friends were in danger, throws himself headlong into a wild charge that would force the marked creature to respond.  Or, it could be one of those movie moments where just before delivering the final blow to two heroes, a third hero arrives, strikes a pose and fights the bad guy.
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IceBear
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2008, 09:21:43 AM »

Basically the ability reads: Once per round a fighter can choose to mark an opponent he attacks (doesn't matter if he hits or misses).  That opponent will take a -2 penalty on attack rolls against anyone else it attacks other than the fighter and if tries to shift away (the new name for 5ft step - which could be a lot more than 5ft now) the fighter gets to attack it for free.  The mark lasts until the fighter's next turn.  To make it feel less gamey, I'm asking the player to roleplay it.  I don't expect him to give me an insult every time he does it (though one of my players seems to know quite a few), but I find that hearing "I run up to the goblin swinging my sword at him all the while laughing about how stupid and ugly goblins are" makes it feel a lot less gamey than "I attack the goblin and mark him"

Personally I try to roleplay it based on the monster's intelligence.  If the fighter is fighting an orc and hurls an insult at the orc while bashing him in the head the orc would probably focus on the fighter.  I see the -2 penalty as being a morale hit for not defending it's honor from the taunt if it should choose to attack someone else, or it could just be the fighter is so in his face that he's that much of a distraction (sort of like the Aid Another ability in 3E in reverse - you could aid another character in combat to give them +2 to AC by trying to distract the opponent).  That said intelligent foes (or really stupid ones) might decide to ignore the fighter and hit that rogue that's been backstabbing them for tons of damage instead.  As long as it makes sense from a roleplay point of view my monsters will attack the fighter when taunted, but I can see them ignoring it depending on the situation.

The fighter mark might have some problems at my table when marking stuff like a swarm of rats.  What exactly does one do to taunt 200 rats away from attacking the wizard so that it would get a -2 penalty on attacking the wizard if it continues to do so?  I suppose it's moot as I can see the fighter running up and failing about with shield and sword and kicking and stomping and drawing attention to himself so the swarm would attack him and not the wizard so the penalty wouldn't come into question.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 09:25:27 AM by IceBear » Logged
DArtagnan
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2008, 09:55:16 AM »

Just to clarify what I meant by taking the roles into personalities:

It's not that I don't think you could potentially side-step your given role, but that inexperienced players - of which there will be A LOT in the wider audience - will most likely not do that because they're not likely to begin by moving away from what seems the intention of the designers.

I never saw a fighter as a tank, certainly not in 3E and beyond. I just don't think in those terms. The fighter had more hitpoints, true enough, but he didn't necessarily have better armor, and he was most definitely just as much a "striker" as the rogue. Basically, the rogue was never a striker in traditional AD&D. He was the guy who picked locks, disarmed traps, and used tricksy stuff to deal his damage from stealth. But he was never THE damage dealer at any point. If anyone had a "striker" role it would be the casters - more specifically the sorcerer of 3E D&D.

So, they've not only introduced the concept of roles - they've also moved away from what many consider the traditional implicit roles of the old system.

But my problem with the whole idea of roles and classes, is that it counteracts the aspect of actually roleplaying your character. That's because I don't see myself as a function, and even if I had a job that I was dedicated to doing - I would be MUCH more than that - and I wouldn't want to be seen as just that.

But, naturally, they can't just ignore the past traditions of the system - but in my mind they could have kept the freedom of 3E without losing the simpler concepts. Most likely, it was a balance-based decision and I can understand that.

I just don't agree that you should compromise what I consider great design concepts, in an attempt to balance a system that has never been balanced - and which will NEVER be balanced. That's just my opinion, of course, and I'm sure there are those who believe it can be balanced. I just don't see it happening with this format unless you simplify it into checkers or tic-tac-toe.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 09:57:05 AM by DArtagnan » Logged
IceBear
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2008, 10:17:47 AM »

The rogue was always a striker.  There was a kazillion threads on how rogues could do too much damage, that they were better fighters than fighters, etc.  Backstab and sneak attack always did a lot of damage.  That was the rogue's role - to get in behind the monster and do a lot of damage to it (that and find traps and pick locks).

I don't agree that they moved away from the traditional roles of the classes at all.  They are actually moving back to the traditional roles of the classes.  The issue was that for the past 10 years we've all gotten used to 3E which pretty much eliminated the roles of the classes through skills, feats and multiclassing.  In 4E the only class I consider as being moved from it's role is the wizard.  The wizard was the artillery piece that did boatloads of damage.  Now he deals damage to lots of enemies, but he's no longer the powerhouse that he once was (and arguably, he was too powerful at higher levels).  And yes, this was done for balance reasons as you can't really assume anything in 3E based on party composition as each class could be completely different (I agree that was a neat and fun thing, but horribly difficult to balance).

As for 4E not being balanced, I'm not so sure that's not true, at least not without playing it a bit more.  One of the things that they said about 4E is they threw out the math of the old systems and started from the ground up.  They did this because they wanted the power level to increase linearly and not exponentially as in the older editions (they want the game to feel like it's level 7ish in 3E from level 1 to 30 in 4E).  They claim, that based on this math and being able to predict what each class in a party can do the game is much more balanced that it was before.  That's part of the reason magic items are so "meh" in 4E.  They wanted the game to be more about what your character can do and not what items he has.  If by balanced, you mean, is Character X equal to Character Y, no, I don't think it's going to be balanced.  I'm sorry, but a ranger or warlock will probably eat a fighter alive in combat.  The problem is, D&D has always been a game about the party, not individual characters (which sort of happened in 3E as people could sit at home with their rulebooks and build damage dealing dynamos and then come to the table, their work done).  I believe 4E is balanced on a party level for DMs to write adventurers for not amongst the characters.  I've played in 3E games where one character was so much more powerful than the rest of the group that it made many encounters too easy but if the DM tried to make the encounters challenging for that player, it would be too deadly for everyone else.  Again, I think DMs are more excited about this than players.  Players look at their characters and see the power they've lost, DMs look at the party and are happy for the ability to craft balanced adventures again.

I understand your concern about roles, I really do, but I don't think it's going to impact experienced players that much (and probably even less as more options are released in the various books) and it provides a good starting point for newbies.  One of the things that impressed the hell out of me in the new PHB - there's a section in the character building phase on roleplaying your character - choosing a background, personality, etc.  Your character still is much more than your combat "role", it's what you put into it.  All the role is, is a yardstick for what you probably should be doing in combat - a defender should be in the middle of combat soaking up damage (that was what every edition had in the fluff about fighters), a leader should be healing and buffing the party (what every edition said about clerics), a striker should be doing damage and avoiding getting hit (rogue), and a controller should be hitting a lot of enemies at once and helping control/restrict the movement on the battlefield (I suppose a wizard used to do that in the old editions, but they were also strikers too)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 10:23:48 AM by IceBear » Logged
DArtagnan
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2008, 10:42:36 AM »

About rogues always being strikers, we're just going to have to disagree. I've done a LOT of research into DPS and whatever it takes to maximize your potential, and though rogues COULD be very powerful under the right circumstances - they could never approach the power of casters - especially not pre-3E. In terms of physical DPS, fighters rule in 3E because they could focus almost entirely on strength and have a lot more feats.

But I really don't feel like getting into a rules debate as it would be a waste.

I'm glad that you like the new system, and I hope I'm wrong about it.

I think we should take this up again, after we've all played it for an extended period of time - so we can speak with experience as backup.
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IceBear
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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2008, 10:56:39 AM »

I never meant to imply rogues could do more damage than casters or that they were the best striker in the game.  Casters in 3E were the best strikers (sorcerers like you said).  I just said that a rogue was a damage dealing class (compared to other melee classes - there was a couple 20+ page threads on rogues being too powerful compared to fighters on ENWorld) but, yes, they had a lot of restrictions on when they could do that damage so that was a limitation on them.  However, if you had someone in your group playing a rogue and he never sneak attacked I'm fairly certain people would be telling him he's not doing what he should be doing in combat (ie, not fullfilling his role).  Yes, in 3E you could build a fighter into a melee powerhouse too and he would be much more consistent about it than the rogue.  But that was only in 3E, that was never the case in the other editions so when I say traditionally I'm taking that into consideration too.  To me, saying striker means, doing a lot of damage but not very good a defending.  A fighter built to do a lot of damage will still have a lot of hitpoints so he's still a defender to me (just defending by doing a lot of damage and making the monsters want to kill him and not the group he's defending).  A rogue who does sneak attack damage is not going to be able to take too much damage in return.

BTW - I currently neither like nor dislike the current rules as I haven't played it much yet.  I have, however, listened to the design podcasts and read several articles on the design philosophy of 4E so I understand the intent of the rules and I like most of their intentions.  Whether or not their intentions match reality I have yet to full test. As I have said many times, I liked the huge possibilities open to you in 3E for character design, and I'm sad to see that limited so much in 4E.  That said, I have also personally experienced the issues that can cause as well.  I really liked when Mike Mearls said - "In 3E you basically did all your tactical thinking creating your character, but once you brought him to the table it was pretty much, I do X damage per round.  In 4E the tactical thinking takes place at the table".  There was a thread one of the playtesters posted in response to everyone saying you have less options in 4E (which, as YK said several times is of course true when you have 1 book of player options now compared to a kazillion books for 3E).  He basically said that the options were moved from when you were making your character to when you are playing your character.   There have also been several observations that many people who read the rules didn't like them but once they played them they did.  Whether or not that's the case - I'm still not sure myself.

I don't let the roleplaying aspects of stuff bother me as, as far as I'm concerned, the rules should really cover the roll part of the game and the roleplaying will happen anyway (at least with my players but I can see it as a concern for others).
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 11:01:44 AM by IceBear » Logged
Turtle
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« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2008, 10:59:12 AM »

And honestly, true to the D&D business, there'll be plenty of variants, prestige classes, and more to customize characters later.  For now it's great that they have this solid core the way it is.
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IceBear
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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2008, 11:03:31 AM »

Quote from: Turtle on June 14, 2008, 10:59:12 AM

And honestly, true to the D&D business, there'll be plenty of variants, prestige classes, and more to customize characters later.  For now it's great that they have this solid core the way it is.

Yeah, the variant wizard (the illusionist) is supposed to be released next month in Dragon.  Hopefully it'll still be free as I don't see DDI being up and running by then smile
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IceBear
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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2008, 11:11:05 AM »

BTW - here is the post I was referring to earlier.  He seems fair and even handed but he's friends with WotC employees so take it with a grain of salt:

Quote
Got a long one here for you all.

So I'm a long time lurker here on ENWorld. I decided it's finally time to start a thread. I've been playing 4th for a few months now, as an NDA'd friend of a couple WotC employees. While I can't discuss specifics, I can talk about impressions I've gotten, and I feel like I've got a good grasp of the feel of the game and how it works.

Anyway... I'll get around to my point now.

I keep seeing a lot of discussion on many, many threads regarding options. I see a lot of people, both pro and anti 4e, saying that the game is more constrained, you can't do as much with characters, so on and so forth.

I've seen a lot of people try to argue the opposite. They've discussed "party optimization" instead of "character optimization", or compared a 1st level 3e fighter to a 1st level 4e fighter.

Furthermore, in a not obviously apparent, related topic I've seen many, many arguments about how 4e is better in play than it looks from just reading the book. My own experiences agree with that one.

Despite that, I and many others are having an absolute blast playing the game. So, why is that? If the game really is constricting, if there really are less options, then why is it that it's still so much fun? And how does that relate to the recurring theme that it's more fun in play than in read-through?

Where did my options go? - The New Paradigm!

3e - What we're familiar with:

In the previous edition (3.x) which, to put it bluntly, the vast majority of us here are familiar with, the majority of character options were built into the character creation process. It started with the very strong modularity of the system. At any point, at any level, I can take my next level of whatever class I might want (assuming prereq's met). When I want to build a level 20 character, I've got 20 "units" of build, purely based off of class levels. I can take a bit here, a bit there, and go for it. Or I can take all 20 of one class.

Even further, you've got feats and skills. Spellcasters have spells. Tons and tons and tons of options. Given enough time, with just the PHB, I can create hundreds of level 20 characters, all noticeably different. Admittedly, a lot of them would be poor to unplayable (10 Ftr / 10 Wiz for example). Still, that's a *ton* of options.

However, once you've gotten your character built and you're actually playing the game, your options drop dramatically. With the exception of the open-ended spellcasters (and what I mean by that are the Wizard and Cleric types, who aren't constrained by a "spells known" maximum), the rest of the character types were still very limited in what sorts of actions they could take. This is definitely true in combat, but even expands into the non-combat arena.

While your melee fighter type character can choose from many different options to begin with, once he's in combat he's got his one or two things he does over and over again. The heavy armor fighter runs up and stands next to the monster, hitting with his greatsword. The spiked chain fighter does his tripping, or his moving with Opportunity attacks. The rogue gets into flanking position and proceeds to sneak attack. This does not generally vary from combat to combat either, except in situations where the monster is somehow "immune" to whatever your schtick is (undead for the rogue, for example), and then you generally spend the time trying to come up with creative solutions that vary from brilliant to extremely frustrating for the DM.

This isn't just in combat though. Given the lengthy skills list and the ability to have such variance in skill point allocation, you've got a couple different ways a character can be. You can specialize in a few select skills, maximizing their points for your level, or you can try to spread the points out into multiple skills. The first works throughout, but the second generally only works at lower levels. By the time you hit the double-digits your "ok at lots of things" concept starts to turn into "poor at lots of things", and then "barely able to do lots of things" at the top end.

So suppose you stick with the familiar specialist concept. Given how lengthy the skill list is (40ish, right?) you really can only be *really really* specialized in a couple things. You take hide/move silent and great, you're fantastic it it. What do you do in game? You try to solve problems by sneaking around. You take Jump and Swim? What do you do? You try to find ways to jump or swim your way past challenges. From level 1 to level 20 you're trying to sneak past things or jump past things.

So, to conclude and reiterate this point: 3e's paradigm is to provide you with maximal options at character creation. However, this comes at the cost of most characters losing options during actual play. The only exclusion to this is with the open-ended spellcasters, for whom options are maximized nearly throughout. I'll discuss this a bit later.

4e - The New Game:

Contrasting the 3e paradigm is the 4e one. And a contrast it definitely is, as the methods of the system seem designed to flip the situation around to its opposite.

As much as we want to argue that 4e has lots and lots of options, and it does, comparing the sheer number of characters I can create with a 3e PHB and a 4e PHB the 4e one comes out far behind. The system is not modular in the same way. Once I pick my starting class, that's my class throughout. Now, as I level I do have the retraining option, so I can switch things out that I don't like with things that I do. That's nice, but it doesn't mean much when I'm simply creating a new character from scratch.

There are a lot of feats, but they're largely restricted to a race or class. Multiclass options are there, but they mostly allow small uses of another class's power, not a full gaining of that class's skills. The skill list is significantly smaller and the mechanics of skill training and skill usage makes specialization difficult if not impossible in some cases.

The arguments that I've seen for the value of these changes from both posters and designers focus on a couple things: Game balance and Fun. Game balance is easy to see. The "economy of actions" concept keeps the length of a combat round down, and keeps each players turn length fairly similar. The redesign of the wizard, in particular, means that all characters have a "chance to shine", rather than the wizard being able to do basically anything, with the right spell. Hit points are standardized, BAB's are standardized, skill values are standardized, all these things prevent a lot of the swingyness and mean that most characters, of any level, are going to be at least useable if not excellent.

How about the Fun part though? Well, that comes in, in play. 4e's focus is not on Creation Options, but on Play Options. It's a hard concept to explain, but I'll do my best.

Take something simple. Say there's a rogue power that damages an enemy and slides them three spaces (I'm sure there is, but not having played a rogue I don't know the names off the top of my head). It sounds like a simple thing, in read through. In play, it has amazing versatility. I can slide the enemy into flanking position, so next turn I can get to do Sneak attack. I can slide the enemy around the fighter, so if it wants to attack me next turn it has to deal with the fighter's "stickiness". I can slide it away, trying to protect a squishier wizard or warlock in the back. I can slide it off a cliff, into a trap, into a damage zone cast by a warlock or wizard, into rough terrain, and so on, and so on.

It's one power with a simple read through, but once you're actually in combat it gives you a ton of options that are all dependant upon the specific combat situation you find yourself in.

And that's just one of your powers. You've got others. Some deal more damage. Some might blind or immobilize a foe. Others might hit more than one foe at a time. And you can use them in whatever order you want. I can put myself in a position where sliding my foe might be useful, or if it's not, I can merely go for maximum damage. Maybe *now* is a good time to immobilize rather than slide, so I can.

In 4e combat is constantly shifting. Monsters move around, traps and terrain change your ability to move or your reasons for it. The standard/move/minor action concept means you get just as much attack whether you stay in once place or you move around the field, so often it benefits you to reposition during a fight.

Skill use is also adjusted in a similar manner. A reduced number of broader skills means that you can do more with any individual skill. Thievery now covers pick pocketing, sleight of hand, trap disarming, forgery, and maybe even disguise in some cases. One skill, lots of usability. Stealth now covers both moving quietly and hiding. Nature now covers handling animals, knowledge local (in the woods), knowledge nature, and even some alchemy in potion brewing (with the right ritual). Arcana covers both knowledge and spellcraft and even detect magic, as well as lots of rituals. When I choose a skill to train in 4e, I'm now choosing to be better at a long list of different, related things. I'm getting blocks of skills for one training, rather than excelling at individual parts of that block at the expense of other parts.

And even further, rebalancing the way skills work to include the 1/2 level on a roll means that a character doesn't have to be highly trained and specialized to get use out of a skill. A wizard with decent dex can actually succeed at a sneak check now, just not as often as trained rogue. A non-charismatic dwarf might still be able to bluff his way through something. Sure, it'd be a difficult roll, but we're opening up more options during game play here. I wouldn't even try something like that in 3e because the way the system is designed, at mid-high levels your chance of success would be zero.

So to conclude this part: 4e reduces the number of character creation options in the name of game balance, but vastly makes up for it in the amount of "in play" options available.

Still reading? Thanks.  Last part!

Finally, to tie up the beginning with the end, here we go. So we keep seeing people saying "it doesn't read well, but when you play it, it's great!" Why? Well, look at what I just said. They took the options we're familiar with, and replaced them with options we're less familiar with. I look at the book and see only a few races, a few classes (both less or equal to what the 3e PHB had), with the removal of a lot of the complexity that character creation used to have. It's more simple to make, easier to "throw something together" and completely lacking in the beloved modularity of the previous game.

You see powers that say "Do 2(w) and slide the target 3 spaces". Does that give you an excited tingle up your spine? No. It sounds pretty bland on paper.

How about "Switch places with an ally as a move action", "Close burst 1, do some damage and teleport 5 + Int mod squares", "Gain concealment when you move more than 3 spaces", and "Gain +5 to sealth checks until the end of your next turn". Individually they all sound pretty simple, not very exciting...

Then I see my buddy's fae-lock use a minor to activate his +5 to stealth checks, do a move to switch places with the fighter who's surrounded and getting beat on, use otherworldy stride to damage everyone around him and uses the teleport it gives to get himself out of being surrounded as a standard action, and then rolls a stealth check at the end because he trained in that skill and has concealment from his other warlock power. He makes a high stealth roll and the enemies can't see him.

The fighter is saved, the monsters are hurt, confused, and can't retaliate on the guy who just screwed them, the DM is boggled and the warlock can sit back and bask in it. Those were "just encounter powers", he's still got his "powerful" dailies left. 

Bring on the 4e, bring on the in game options. I loved sitting around tinkering with character builds for hours, but I don't think I'll miss it much. I'm having too damn much fun actually playing the game!

Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by melkoriii
See and it seems your are ignoring the point some are having with limited Options in 4e.

In 3.X I could make any concept.

4e limits what you can do not only in classes bug also in powers.

There are WAY to many powers of melee only. Rouge and Ranger are the ONLY ways to get ranged weapon powers.

Have to wait for splat books for these options SUCKS and this is one thing I dont like about 4e.

I feel mislead abut Multi-Classing and the scope of classes.
 



There's two ways to define "Limited options". Firstly, there's the "Class concept X that I want isn't available." Secondly there's "The total number of options is less."

I was responding to the second argument, not the first. The first will almost assuredly be fixed in splatbooks, as you and others have mentioned. Does it suck to have to wait for your favorite thing to be available? Hell yes it does. However, given how much fun I'm having with my second or third favorite concepts (I've been playing Druids since 2e, can't wait for 4e version), I'm more than happy with the game as it is.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 11:17:00 AM by IceBear » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2008, 12:30:38 PM »

Great article, and pretty much sums up my feelings exactly. I really wish some of the haters would actually get a group together and play the game, rather than sitting around whining about the rulebooks. I had the same reservations going in, but every session I run, the more I enjoy it.
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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2008, 12:55:28 PM »

Agreed.  Great article.  Thanks for posting it.
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2008, 01:22:58 PM »

Another point is if you look at the guide from Andy Collins on bringing your 3.x character to 4E ( http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4dnd/20080613a ) you can see that you can still build many of the character concepts you had, you just might want to choose a different class now.  Quoted from the article:

Quote
Itís easy to assume that your 3E fighter should just use the new 4E version of the class, but before you do that you should ask yourself about your preferred style of play. Does your fighter stand in the middle of the fight, taking on every monster that comes his way, relying on his high AC and hit points to see him through? If so, then you sound like a traditional defender, and you should choose either the great weapon fighter or guardian fighter build (p76), depending on whether you wield a two-handed weapon or a weapon and shield.

On the other hand, if you built your fighter to be a high Dexterity, two-weapon-wielding engine of destruction, you might be happier using the two-blade ranger build (p104) than either of those fighter builds. And if youíre one of those fighters who disdained melee combat entirely in favor of a good ranged weapon, then the archer ranger (p104) is your likely best bet. Itís even possible that the brawny rogue build (p117) might be the optimal choice for you (particularly if you also picked up a couple levels of rogue along the way).

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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2008, 05:41:05 PM »

okay 2 questions

my warlock comes with a few "at will" powers from the class.  do i still get to pick 2 at will powers (for 1st level) or are the two given to me my 2?

also, im a half elf so i get an at will from another class - im assuming this is also in addition to my 2 first level and my at wills given me by my class.  and for this at will i want to pick a ranger one that lets me attack and then move if im using a ranged weapon (i think its called nimble strike or some such).  my eldritch blast says it counts as a basic ranged attack.  can i use it with the ranger at will?  anyone know?
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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2008, 06:46:21 PM »

Man, keep up with the times! It's been over 8 years since D&D had an A in front of it, yet here is a thread with AD&D in the title. Geez! :p
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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2008, 10:06:12 PM »

Quote from: Doopri on June 15, 2008, 05:41:05 PM

okay 2 questions

my warlock comes with a few "at will" powers from the class.  do i still get to pick 2 at will powers (for 1st level) or are the two given to me my 2?

also, im a half elf so i get an at will from another class - im assuming this is also in addition to my 2 first level and my at wills given me by my class.  and for this at will i want to pick a ranger one that lets me attack and then move if im using a ranged weapon (i think its called nimble strike or some such).  my eldritch blast says it counts as a basic ranged attack.  can i use it with the ranger at will?  anyone know?

The two you get Eldritch Blast and whatever other at-will power you get when you chose your Eldritch Pact.  The relevant phrase, P. 130, under Eldritch Blast:
Quote
You gain this power as well as another at will power as determined by your Eldritch Pact.

As for your second question...the key words say Martial, Weapon for the Nimble Strike attack.  As such, you can't use Eldritch Blast with Nimble strike, it's not a weapon.

At least thats how I interpret it...
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« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2008, 11:34:34 PM »

Quote from: hentzau on June 15, 2008, 10:06:12 PM

Quote from: Doopri on June 15, 2008, 05:41:05 PM

As for your second question...the key words say Martial, Weapon for the Nimble Strike attack.  As such, you can't use Eldritch Blast with Nimble strike, it's not a weapon.

At least thats how I interpret it...

Hentzau's correct. You make a ranged weapon attack with Nimble Strike, leaving spells right out. Also, it's my understanding that Nimble Strike and Eldritch Pack both take a Standard Action to perform, and you can't usually use two Standard Actions in the same round.

AFAIK, even if you use an action point to free-up a second Standard Action, all powers resolve completely before you activate the next one. So you might be able to use one power to modify something about the next one (a power that gives you +2 to attack rolls until your next round, for example), but it's impossible to stack multiple powers within eachother.

I found my own Half-Elf related conundrum when mapping out a Half-Elf Warlord this weekend. Looking to be helpful on a party scale, I was considering taking a Paladin or Cleric At-Will power. However, when I looked at their power-sources, they were all Divinity, whereas the Warlord gets his powers from Martial. Would this make the Paladin's At-Will power unuseable and/or unchooseable to a Warlord? Would there be a penalty to its use? Can I just pick it anyway and use it as normal? I couldn't find anything in the rule-book addressing the situation...
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« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2008, 12:18:06 AM »

nope you can use it if it says divinity - its probably just a keyword (as in maybe some monsters take twice as much damage if the source is "divinity" or some such)

however (and im not sure if they exist) if theres an at will that specifically needs "channel divinity" you cant use that, as its a cleric feature.  it MAY be part of the "multiclass" feats - im not sure - so if it is, the only way youd be able to use "channel divinity" stuff is if you got the feat AND the at will.

so from my understanding, i get TWO warlock at wills (my blast and my pact) and with my half elf i can choose a third? or do i have to forgo one of the others to get the half elf at will? im still a bit confused (as you can tell - i initially thought id get 2 warlocks, my two feature ones, and a half elf one - but then again the level advancement seems to suggest i ONLY get 2 at wills at level 1 - which would mean i cant get my half elf... because i cant really give up my warlock 2... hmm)
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« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2008, 12:35:09 AM »

As a half-elf you get to pick an at-will power from any class and use it as an extra *encounter* power.  The power source doesn't have to match your warlock source (at least not as far as I understand).  The power source is just used for determining where the power is coming from and as of right now I'm not aware of any mechanics that really make that matter (not to say there might not be something later like a zone in which divine power sources don't work).

The half-elven cleric in KotS is incorrect as it is missing an encouter power as per the half-elf ability which maybe causing some confusion

Basically, your half-elven warlock would have 2 at-will powers (eldritch blast + 1 from your pact), 2 encounter powers (1 warlock and 1 non-warlock at-will power which is now an encounter power for you) and 1 daily power
« Last Edit: June 16, 2008, 12:47:52 AM by IceBear » Logged
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« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2008, 12:49:36 AM »

Quote from: Doopri on June 16, 2008, 12:18:06 AM

so from my understanding, i get TWO warlock at wills (my blast and my pact) and with my half elf i can choose a third? or do i have to forgo one of the others to get the half elf at will? im still a bit confused (as you can tell - i initially thought id get 2 warlocks, my two feature ones, and a half elf one - but then again the level advancement seems to suggest i ONLY get 2 at wills at level 1 - which would mean i cant get my half elf... because i cant really give up my warlock 2... hmm)

The half-elf at will (which becomes an encounter power when chosen, thanks for the reminder IceBear) is in addition to what you get as a Warlock. The half-elf's picking of the at-will power is an exception to the rule.

Also, the at-will power chosen has to come from a class other than your own.

EDIT: The last line of IceBear's edit sums it up nicely. Disregard this post. Tongue
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« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2008, 05:48:19 PM »

I've been working on my human cleric for GT campaign, and I have a couple questions.

In the description for clerics, it specifically says that they "have a ritual book" -- am I correct that means that I don't need to purchase one with my starting gold?  What about a Holy Object for boosting my healing abilities?

Also, if leather armor is listed simply as "25gp," that includes the entire set?  I don't need to purchase seperate helmets, leggings, etc.?

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2008, 06:04:45 PM »

I would think you get the ritual book for free (including 2 rituals) - just like how wizards got their initial spellbook for free.  The holy symbol I'm not so sure about - it doesn't say you get one for free and it only costs 10g (as opposed to 50g for the book) so I can believe you have to buy one.  At the same time receiving a holy symbol is a pretty basic part of joining the religion so I could see getting one for free (pretty much up to the DM there).

As for the armor, that would include all the pieces.

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« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2008, 06:16:07 PM »

Quote
I would think you get the ritual book for free (including 2 rituals) - just like how wizards got their initial spellbook for free.  The holy symbol I'm not so sure about - it doesn't say you get one for free and it only costs 10g (as opposed to 50g for the book) so I can believe you have to buy one.  At the same time receiving a holy symbol is a pretty basic part of joining the religion so I could see getting one for free (pretty much up to the DM there).

I made my players buy theirs, simply because in gameplay terms it does have an effect and could be considered a "weapon" of sorts. However, I quickly learned that 10gp in this game is trivial, even to a group of Level 1 players. Had I realized that when we first started the campaign, I probably would have just let them have it. If they can't afford it at the start, they'll certainly be able to afford it after a couple of fights anyway.
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« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2008, 06:45:08 PM »

Can I use a two-handed weapon like a morningstar *and* get the benefit from my Holy Object, like it's around my neck, or am I restricted to one-handed weapons because my off-hand always holds the Object?

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2008, 06:54:01 PM »

Quote from: Autistic Angel on June 17, 2008, 06:45:08 PM

Can I use a two-handed weapon like a morningstar *and* get the benefit from my Holy Object, like it's around my neck, or am I restricted to one-handed weapons because my off-hand always holds the Object?

-Autistic Angel

I believe the rules for Implements are that you have to be wielding them, so I would say you couldn't wear it and get the same benefit.  But I don't have the rule book in front of me.
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« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2008, 07:05:57 PM »

Quote from: hentzau on June 17, 2008, 06:54:01 PM

Quote from: Autistic Angel on June 17, 2008, 06:45:08 PM

Can I use a two-handed weapon like a morningstar *and* get the benefit from my Holy Object, like it's around my neck, or am I restricted to one-handed weapons because my off-hand always holds the Object?

-Autistic Angel

I believe the rules for Implements are that you have to be wielding them, so I would say you couldn't wear it and get the same benefit.  But I don't have the rule book in front of me.
I'm pretty sure you're right there.  Mind you, I don't think you actually have to use an Implement to cast your spells (if I'm remembering correctly).  I believe that the Implement keyword is just there to let you know which powers get bonuses from magical implements.  Yeah, you don't actually need an implement to use your powers - PHB p.56

Now, keep in mind that in order to get a benefit from an implement you need to weild it like a weapon, but as a DM I wouldn't have a problem with you using a two handed weapon for melee attacks but on a round you used your implement to cast a spell you could hold (not weild) your two handed weapon in one hand and weild your holy symbol in the other. 

I thought it was odd that you didn't actually need your implement to cast spells that have the implement keyword as I thought it was a balance / replacement for material components, but I basically don't see a new for a cleric to have a holy symbol (other that roleplaying) until he gets a magical one
« Last Edit: June 17, 2008, 07:12:55 PM by IceBear » Logged
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« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2008, 07:09:44 PM »

This thread makes me miss playing D&D. frown
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« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2008, 08:39:34 PM »

Quote from: IceBear
Now, keep in mind that in order to get a benefit from an implement you need to weild it like a weapon, but as a DM I wouldn't have a problem with you using a two handed weapon for melee attacks but on a round you used your implement to cast a spell you could hold (not weild) your two handed weapon in one hand and weild your holy symbol in the other.

That sounds good to me.  Moving something in or out of your pocket is usually a Minor Action, and I don't see any instances when I'd be able to use an Implement-powered ability *and* attack with my two-handed weapon in the same round.

If our DM rules otherwise, though, I'll just trade in my morningstar for a one-handed mace.  I sort of like the idea of splintering somebody's spine with one hand and espousing the virtues of Avandra with the other.

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2008, 08:45:02 PM »

And, as I pointed out, until you get a magical holy symbol, you don't receive any benefit for using one.  You are the conduit of your god's power, not some piece of wood and metal smile
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« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2008, 10:50:26 PM »

I think we're mistaken about needing to wield the Holy Implement in your hand.  On Page 236 of the PHB it says:

Quote from: Player's Handbook
Unlike other implements, you need only wear a holy symbol for its property or power to function.

If that's the case, I should be able to wave my morningstar around like a raving psychopath, and as long as I have a magic Holy Implement visible on my body, it should enhance my powers. ninja2

(It also says you're only allowed to have one holy symbol at a time, and if you try to have more, then none of them work at all.)

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2008, 11:12:29 PM »

Yeah, you're right, I remember there were too many complaints in 3E about clerics using mace and shield and unable to use their holy symbol at the same time (a lot of people had their holy symbol put on their shield Tongue) so I guess they made away with that in 4E.

Guess my point is, having your holy symbol doesn't make a difference right now.  If you were a wizard you can activate a power that improves your spell cast through an implement but I didn't see anything like that for a cleric.  Since you don't actually need to have an implement to cast cleric spells having one or not is irrelevant (strictly from a mechanic point of view) until you get a +1 holy symbol (which will give you +1 to hit and damage with spells cast through that holy symbol).  Given that you just need to be wearing a holy symbol to use it it makes the previous rule about not needing one to use your powers a little less impactful for clerics.

Am I missing something as you seem to have the impression a holy symbol will enchance your powers but I honestly didn't see anything like the staff, wand and orb powers for a wizard for a cleric.  Do you have a magical one already or just planning ahead?
« Last Edit: June 17, 2008, 11:16:44 PM by IceBear » Logged
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« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2008, 01:46:52 AM »

Quote from: IceBear
Am I missing something as you seem to have the impression a holy symbol will enchance your powers but I honestly didn't see anything like the staff, wand and orb powers for a wizard for a cleric.  Do you have a magical one already or just planning ahead?

I don't have one yet.   According to the PHB, I think a Level 1 magic holy symbol costs something like 360gp.  I'm just planning ahead -- I didn't want to spend my starting gold on a big two-handed weapon if I'd need to switch to a one-handed one as soon as I picked up a magic holy symbol. nod

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2008, 05:00:01 AM »

Quote from: Autistic Angel on June 17, 2008, 10:50:26 PM

I think we're mistaken about needing to wield the Holy Implement in your hand.  On Page 236 of the PHB it says:

Quote from: Player's Handbook
Unlike other implements, you need only wear a holy symbol for its property or power to function.

-Autistic Angel

Nice catch, AA.  I sit corrected.
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« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2008, 02:37:22 AM »

Half-elves are listed under Dilettante as being able to choose an at-will power from a class different than the characters.  Does that include, say, At-Will prayers such as the paladin's Holy Strike?

I'm working on my character but so far today my laptop has a "no disk error" which Dell says I need to defrag th disk but the system is BSODing to a physical memory dump during the process, and my desktops video card 7900GT is acting up and it went belly up with the new drivers so I'm limping along with a system restore back to old drivers just to type this.  Sigh.
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