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knasser
People may have noticed that I've been a little absent from Dumpshock for some months now. Basically, I've been working my socks off and there's been a big gaming hiatus in my life. But I intended to come back to RP'ing and I had in mind a change of pace, going back to some high fantasy. That coincided with a certain other game coming out in a new edition so I'm afraid I took a look. It was the game, after all, that started me off in RPGs when I was just an odd little immigrant kid trying to make friends.

Bad. Or at least critically flawed. I guess the game was always an unrealistic and rather simplistic game, but I ran a pretty atmospheric campaign once, despite that. The new system has gutted itself of what shreds of believability and internal consistency it possessed, however. I will say that they've produced what looks like a very fun and fast paced small scale fantasy battle game. But I've seen enough elements of the new system now that set themselves against role-playing to believe that it would take significant effort to immerse yourself in a game in any character sense.

Why am I posting this here on Dumpshock? I don't know - just that I've hung out here a lot over the past year or so and want to share what I'm thinking with my friends. And because I think my distaste for that new edition is partly a result of having been spoilt by Shadowrun. The elegance of Shadowrun 4th vs. The Other Game 4th, is marked. SR4 compares favourably in terms of the Simplicity for Gain ratio of the rules. But more than this, the difference in flexibility and fine detail that the systems are capable of is staggering - especially when you consider page counts. The designers of Shadowrun are to be commended (so I'm commending them) for such a well put together and balanced system. Reading through the WotC forums, is like running through a ghetto of shit-flinging monkeys. Dumpshock feels like sitting quietly in a holy place after visiting there. One of the many dogmas in that place is a set of rules doesn't stop you role-playing if you want to. I find that not to be the case. The system of that Other Game actively hinders immersion in the world through character abilities that have no internal justification but only their coolness from a game-play angle; and also through it's active forbidding of realistic actions to preserve its abstract nature. Conversely, the Shadowrun rules seem to gently encourage role-playing through their fine granularity. And it's no more complicated to learn (imo).

I guess I wanted to say that I'm impressed with SR4. That despite my taste for occasional world saving, lich-battling valour, the latest serving of TOG looks like it'll cause some severe after-effects, compared to the nutritious soy of SR. I now know what sort of cancer TOG causes - bowel. If you want a slick miniatures game it looks good, but it's not much more than that, imo. If I could work out how to make mundanes balanced with the magic users without automatic weapons, I'd seriously contemplate running a fantasy game using the SR4 system.

So there you have it people. My thirst for adventure has been quenched, I have learnt my lesson and come back to where the Ex-Ex rounds might kill your PC, but at least the player wont be harmed.

There be dragons, chummers.

Khadim.
Nigel
I need to know one thing, that can be answered in PM if you really don't want to mention it out loud - what is The Other Game? I've seen it around quite a bit, and it seems like TSR's creation, later sold to WotC. Am I correct?

If so, I agree on all points. Especially the forums.
Stahlseele
that other game? only other 4th i am aware of might be DnD . .
But That Other Game usually is supposed to mean
[ Spoiler ]
aka the game that shall not be named
FrankTrollman
QUOTE (Nigel @ May 31 2008, 12:23 PM) *
I need to know one thing, that can be answered in PM if you really don't want to mention it out loud - what is The Other Game? I've seen it around quite a bit, and it seems like TSR's creation, later sold to WotC. Am I correct?

If so, I agree on all points. Especially the forums.


TOG is what we call Dungeons & Dragons here. 4th edition is probably going to be particularly reviled by this crowd because human fighters (NPC) and human fighters (PC) aren't even vaguely recognizable as similar creatures. Shadowrun players get into arguments quite frequently about whether or not it is OK for NPC mobs (and I mean that in the actual sense of "groups," not the MMO sense of "opponent") to use group Edge rather than having individual Edge like a Player Character or Named NPC.

Certainly 4e makes my head explode. While I can grudgingly be made to accept different rules and stat lines for NPC fighters vs. PC fighters; there are a number of design choices of 4e that I cannot reconcile myself with.

-Frank
Faelan
Have not gotten it yet, and will reserve final judgment until I have read the whole. Of course from what I have seen they are stepping in a big steaming pile of dog doo. If you want a good fantasy game, quick, and easy to play yet detailed try the new Runequest by Mongoose Publishing, or the soon to be released Chaosium Basic Rolpeplaying. Hell bust out Earthdawn, but whatever you do avoid the video game in question.
JeffSz
A really great fantasy RPG if you like the undead as your main enemy is All Flesh Must Be Eaten with the Dungeons and Zombies book. Just pick up the free Witchcraft PDF from the Eden website, or buy Armageddon, and you've got Magic in your fantasy world.

Also, Ars Magica looks really good, but I haven't played it yet.

I wouldn't touch D&D 4e with a 39.5 foot pole.
Particle_Beam
Seeing as this topic which is discussing about D&D 4th edition has nothing to do with Shadowrun, I would suggest that the moderators should place it somewhere else.
hyzmarca
I am very much of the opinion that the best D&D is the original. You know, the one where Elf, Drawf, and Halfling are Classes. Particularly the blue book with the bit at the end about how to create sentient Swords, which, being the only weapon creation rules available, result in a campaign with a rather large glut of sentient swords.
fistandantilus4.0
It's connected, but as the focus is primarily on D&D 4th, this is being shuffled to General Gaming.
knasser
I'm pretty sure that the "blue book" was the Expert set of D&D Basic. And yes, I remember putting sentient swords in the game.

Yep - symmetry between PCs and NPCs is now broken. NPCs follow monster rules or are supposed to. That's another difference to Shadowrun and it's interesting to question whether this also contributes to a feeling of game over-riding immersion. On reflection, I think you have a very good point that I hadn't thought of. Shadowrun would feel significantly different if PCs had their own special rules. It would really make the game feel more hero-centric. I hadn't considered that.

Something else that is resulting in much fecal-projection over there is the idea that the game is no longer playable without miniatures. Some are saying that it is, but from what I've seen of the new rules, miniatures are pretty much compulsory. That's interesting because I've always run games without. Of course I break out pads of paper and sketch out maps, lots of x's marking security guards (a convenient symbol because they are easily transformed into little crucifix headstone markers). But I keep things running in a narrative fashion and I think using miniatures would make me feel constrained. The best combat ever took place half in a street below and half on the side of a tower block above where the gecko-gloved hunters (PCs) got into a running gun-fight with a wall-climbing Beast spirit. A three level warehouse shoot-out was probably one my other most ambitious combat settings and I'm not sure I wouldn't have toned down both of those encounters if I was using miniatures. I think Shadowrun feels a lot less constrained and I hadn't realised how much I appreciated that until I was going through the new rules for TOG.
Aaron
The blue box was Expert and the red box was Basic. I'm looking at copies of them right now.

Some friends and I will be playing through the Carcinogen 4th Ed. introductory adventure, "The Keep on the Shadowfell," over the next couple of months to see what it's like. If anybody's interested, I'd be happy to post my thoughts on the game as a player and link our DM's thoughts (as I am certain he will be posting some) here.
Muspellsheimr
I, even still, occasionally play That Other Game, because I like to play in a pure Fantasy setting sometimes. As such, once it is released in less than a week, I will be taking a thorough look at 4th edition, but suspect I will only be adapting some of the changes to the previous edition.

From what I have gathered on it so far, it has the advantage of far superior world building, but in addition to the primary problems of earlier editions (d20, class/level/hitpoints), it has the major mechanical failure of being too simple.

So, basically, d20 gives you cancer, and 4th still has potential to be better, but most likely, will be the greatest health-hazard of them all.
QUOTE (knasser @ May 31 2008, 11:02 AM) *
If I could work out how to make mundanes balanced with the magic users without automatic weapons, I'd seriously contemplate running a fantasy game using the SR4 system.

I have been trying to solve this problem for quite some time now, and so far only have half-assed solutions, as follows:
Everyone is Awakened: This removes the Magical vs. Mundane balance issues, but is incompatible with a mid/low-magic setting.
Every PC is Awakened: This removes the Magical vs. Mundane balance issues where it is most prominent, but has the problem of the PC's being far superior to any mundane NPC, causing potential difficulties developing a challenge outside of hack-n-slash monster hunt adventuring.
Magicians are the only Awakened: This requires you to provide a way for mundane characters to obtain Adept-like abilities, most likely a Karma cost based on the PP cost of the Adept Power in question. Some obviously magical abilities, such as Elemental Attack, would be unavailable. Magicians remain the same.

The major difficulty I have had is, if you want to balance the Magical vs. Mundane, Adepts are a problem for a few reasons:
If a mundane ability has roughly the same cost as an Adept power, the Adepts are superior simply because of a greater variety.
If a mundane ability is cheaper than the an Adept power, the Adept will select the mundane equivalent instead.
If a mundane ability is more expensive than an Adept power, balance issues are obvious.

If you can come up with a good reason why an Adept would be unable to learn a mundane technique (I cannot see any), then you could potentially balance the two in the same low-tech world. If you do, be sure to let me know what it is.
Cantankerous
QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ May 31 2008, 09:34 PM) *
I, even still, occasionally play That Other Game, because I like to play in a pure Fantasy setting sometimes. As such, once it is released in less than a week, I will be taking a thorough look at 4th edition, but suspect I will only be adapting some of the changes to the previous edition.

From what I have gathered on it so far, it has the advantage of far superior world building, but in addition to the primary problems of earlier editions (d20, class/level/hitpoints), it has the major mechanical failure of being too simple.

So, basically, d20 gives you cancer, and 4th still has potential to be better, but most likely, will be the greatest health-hazard of them all.

I have been trying to solve this problem for quite some time now, and so far only have half-assed solutions, as follows:
Everyone is Awakened: This removes the Magical vs. Mundane balance issues, but is incompatible with a mid/low-magic setting.
Every PC is Awakened: This removes the Magical vs. Mundane balance issues where it is most prominent, but has the problem of the PC's being far superior to any mundane NPC, causing potential difficulties developing a challenge outside of hack-n-slash monster hunt adventuring.
Magicians are the only Awakened: This requires you to provide a way for mundane characters to obtain Adept-like abilities, most likely a Karma cost based on the PP cost of the Adept Power in question. Some obviously magical abilities, such as Elemental Attack, would be unavailable. Magicians remain the same.

The major difficulty I have had is, if you want to balance the Magical vs. Mundane, Adepts are a problem for a few reasons:
If a mundane ability has roughly the same cost as an Adept power, the Adepts are superior simply because of a greater variety.
If a mundane ability is cheaper than the an Adept power, the Adept will select the mundane equivalent instead.
If a mundane ability is more expensive than an Adept power, balance issues are obvious.

If you can come up with a good reason why an Adept would be unable to learn a mundane technique (I cannot see any), then you could potentially balance the two in the same low-tech world. If you do, be sure to let me know what it is.



There are other balancing methods to keep magic from runaway status. The first is the simplest...active magic is RARE and the people who use it are distrusted and persecuted. Heavily persecuted, or have social or political status enough to keep from being persecuted. This keeps magic use very subtle and/or low key. The only problem with magic in a non-technological society is that the balnces have to be the mob. Robert E: Howard's Hyborian Age is a perfect example.

The other half of the equation deals with Conjuration. Again, the mob is part of the solution, but here it is only part. The other part is making dealing with these beings inherently dangerous. VERY dangerous. Keeping control should be much more strenuous than in Shadowrun as well, but with that taken care of, you're pretty much set.


Isshia
knasser
QUOTE (Aaron @ May 31 2008, 08:10 PM) *
The blue box was Expert and the red box was Basic. I'm looking at copies of them right now.


Ah, I said the blue box was the Expert set of the basic series, where I meant "basic" as opposed to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I liked the blue box set because suddenly you could have adventures above ground. biggrin.gif


QUOTE (Aaron @ May 31 2008, 08:10 PM) *
Some friends and I will be playing through the Carcinogen 4th Ed. introductory adventure, "The Keep on the Shadowfell," over the next couple of months to see what it's like. If anybody's interested, I'd be happy to post my thoughts on the game as a player and link our DM's thoughts (as I am certain he will be posting some) here.


I would be curious as to how it appeared to Shadowrun players. You could post in this thread as it's here?

@Muspellsheimr: Your other option for balancing the mundanes is to reduce magic's power, rather than increase the mundanes. The best way would probably be to increase drain, either by adding a set figure to all the drain codes or introducing some random element. This would bring magicians back into some similar "spell points" like style of play as they exhaust themselves through magic, requiring rest. But it doesn't alter the power of individual magic radically, so they still get their glory. I'm not sure it would play particularly well though as in a traditional TOG style adventure of Little Fight-->Little Fight-->Boss Fight the magician will play as Throws a Rock-->Throws a Rock-->Kills the Big Villain with a single spell.
Dumori
The more I hear about the 4th e Of D&D the more it become far form what got me into RPGs. I'm 16 and jumped into 3.5 2years ago but 4th just seams to fall flat lack the "magic" the way you could add that PC idea you like into game when you GM to play test it and the few other little thing that 4th would loses even the GM running a NPC bit like your to show you how to make the most of it if your starting out in that class and not playing very well. The differences from D&D in the red box i got it for free last year are not to big and to me just look like adding more ways to play and expanding the classes. But form what i know of the new ed it sound nothing like the two other versions I own.

I left classed based games now as the cramp my odd and inventive ideas for PCs and NPCs on a side note the 40k roleplay game is a good mix of class and not class in a way that can make the game very open as you can easy make new classes or what there called in the book. Point based RPGs are more balanced and allow for more unique PC due to who many options you have and how if things change in the group you can fill the role with a bit of luck.
Zombayz
4th ed DnD is a tremendous faliure. Where classes use to have oringinality and logic behind them, now it's cool for the sake of cool. And For the sake of Odin's hairy balls, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO RUIN THE GAME? The only thing that truly remained the same is the fact that it's d20. And even that's gone to hell. Plus, 30hp on a level 1 character is bullshit. I like my low level combat to be gritty as fuck. Now a friggin wizard, who has infinite magic missiles per day, has 24 hp, and probably has some spontaneus casting can go through kill 200+ orc fighters(NPC orc fighters, for that matter, who are totally diffferent from PC orc fighters), as long as he has concentration, a damn horse and some cross class ride. And jus to top it off: paying for errata. Yeah, I'm sorry, I didn't write something clearly or got a pile of typos, and I'm gonna charge you to see the corrections of my fuckups.

Thank you WotC, for turning the game that got me into RPGs, my religion (Asatru), and actually gave me something to think about, into a motherfuckin episode of Naruto.




Fake Edit: We now know why Gygax died. He saw the early bit of this bullshit.
Aaron
But Carcinogen 4e does have classes. Three of them: Tank, DPS, and Buffer.

At least, that's what I've gleaned from what I've seen so far. More detailed report in a week or three.
Larme
The one thing I really can't reconcile is how they've added tanking to DnD. In real life, buff people don't have special abilities that make the enemies attack them. 3rd ed handled it well by using attacks of opportunity - you could attack the wizard, but the fighter would swat you as you passed him, and then the fighter would turn around and flank you while you attacked the soft targets. The tactics were there, they didn't need to replace what they already had with MMO style garbage.

On the other hand, I listened to the Penny Arcade webcast of them playing 4th ed, and it still sounds like a game of D&D. In fact, it sounds just slightly more fun than a game of D&D... Yes, things are simpler. But is complexity what actually made D&D the game it was? The less complex it is, the worse it is? Then I guess 4th ed Shadowrun is a worse game than 3rd ed too, despite being more balanced and streamlined and faster.

The fact is, no matter what you do to the system, it's the same game. If the system is fun, who cares how much it resembles the old system? The point of an RPG is the setting, and DnD has many to choose from. The setting makes the game, the system can only break it. Change the system, keep the setting, and you have the same game. Unless of course the system actually changes the setting by, say, making certain character classes too crappy to play, effectively wiping them from the world. But I digress. People are not complaining about substantive game elements, they're complaining that it will be faster and easier and require less grunt work to create a character and go through combat. I don't get it. It's not the same system, but until you actually play it, you can't tell me if it's the same game or not. And until you actually play it, you can't tell me if it's a fun game or not.
Cain
QUOTE
Change the system, keep the setting, and you have the same game.

I'm sorry, but that's not the case.

Try converting Shadowrun to d20, and see if it's the same game. You might get passable results with HERO or GURPS; but it still wouldn't be the same thing. Wushu is a wonderful universal system that I love dearly, but if I tried converting Shadowrun into it (easier than you might think), it would not feel the same. Heck, just try using the next closest thing-- Rifts-- and you'll still be playing a totally different game.
Larme
Feeling different is not the same as truly being different. But really, does difference matter if it's a fun game? We were pissed when the Xbox game was nothing like real Shadowrun, but did it really matter? It fell short of our expectations, but that's not what made the game bad. In fact, I hear the game was pretty good, despite having the name Shadowrun and not having much to do with Shadowrun. The same might be true for DnD 4e. It has the name D&D, and it might not be the same game, but it still might be worth playing. And like I say, listening to people playing it, it sure as hell sounds like a game of D&D.
Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (knasser @ May 31 2008, 04:47 PM) *
@Muspellsheimr: Your other option for balancing the mundanes is to reduce magic's power, rather than increase the mundanes. The best way would probably be to increase drain, either by adding a set figure to all the drain codes or introducing some random element. This would bring magicians back into some similar "spell points" like style of play as they exhaust themselves through magic, requiring rest. But it doesn't alter the power of individual magic radically, so they still get their glory. I'm not sure it would play particularly well though as in a traditional TOG style adventure of Little Fight-->Little Fight-->Boss Fight the magician will play as Throws a Rock-->Throws a Rock-->Kills the Big Villain with a single spell.

This affects almost solely Magician's, while Adepts are the primary concern. Regardless, although it could be effective, just talking to the players about your concerns would likely have much the same result. It would reduce the frequency of high-force spells, but would not actually limit their power.

Another option that I have gone over and immediately dismissed is increasing the Build Point cost of magical abilities. The reasons why this would not work is it discourages players from playing magically active characters, and those that do are (nearly) required to heavily specialize to be of use.

If you are still concerned about Magician's being to powerful, another option you could use, instead of or in addition to increasing Drain, would be to make the maximum Force of a spell the Magician's Magic, with the Drain being physical if it exceeds half their attribute, &/or change (F/2) to (F).

Once again, though, my primary stopping point is Adepts, and none of the above solutions address them.
FrankTrollman
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 1 2008, 12:31 AM) *
Feeling different is not the same as truly being different. But really, does difference matter if it's a fun game? We were pissed when the Xbox game was nothing like real Shadowrun, but did it really matter? It fell short of our expectations, but that's not what made the game bad. In fact, I hear the game was pretty good, despite having the name Shadowrun and not having much to do with Shadowrun. The same might be true for DnD 4e. It has the name D&D, and it might not be the same game, but it still might be worth playing. And like I say, listening to people playing it, it sure as hell sounds like a game of D&D.



Most of the fun of D&D, or any RPG is the role playing aspect. The interpersonal relationships, the quest, the jokes, the table camaraderie. 4th edition is no different there from any other version. And with a fun group of people who are all on-task because they want to be there, you can have a rollicking good time. With D&D 4th edition or any game system.

4th edition differs not really in how much a Fighter can accomplish, but in how little anyone can accomplish. A 29th level Wizard casts Meteor Swarm (once per day) and he rolls to hit to do 8d6 + Int Mod + Orb Bonus against every enemy in an area 5 blast. Seriously, it's like 3 hits from a 1st level character with their basic attack at 29th level with your ultimate once-per-day. The "Utility" abilities that people get are actually just combat powers that don't involve attacking enemies directly. You don't get any world affecting abilities. The moment you step off the battle map, you're basically just playing Magical Teaparty. There aren't really any rules for whether and how Eladrin can teleport around their homes during downtime because the rules are literally only supposed to handle combat between PCs and NPCs.

Magical Teaparty is a fun game. M√ľnchhausen is a great "system." But having that be the rules for D&D every time you aren't actively fighting enemies is basically insulting. The Shadowrun playing crowd threw fits when SR4 abstracted Build/Repair modifiers, do you think that we would accept a system that treated any wall that you couldn't burst through like the Kool-Aid Man as indestructible?

In D&D4, there is no real advancement. Your bonuses get bigger, your target numbers get bigger at essentially the same rate, no matter what you do. If you specialize your character fully, you are no better at accomplishing your schticks at 20th level than you are at 7th. And if you don't specialize, you've fallen behind. And even if you do specialize, your damage output falls horribly behind as you go up in level. A super attack from a 29th level character is seriously just two and a half super attacks from a 1st level character. Meanwhile, a Level 3 Solo has 200 hit points, and a Level 29 Solo has 1,335 hit points. High level fights take forever - and all your "cool" abilities are used up in the first couple of rounds. For the next 15 rounds or more, you're just picking one of the two attacks you got at 1st level and using it round after round after round.

-Frank
Cantankerous
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 1 2008, 07:31 AM) *
Feeling different is not the same as truly being different. But really, does difference matter if it's a fun game? We were pissed when the Xbox game was nothing like real Shadowrun, but did it really matter? It fell short of our expectations, but that's not what made the game bad. In fact, I hear the game was pretty good, despite having the name Shadowrun and not having much to do with Shadowrun. The same might be true for DnD 4e. It has the name D&D, and it might not be the same game, but it still might be worth playing. And like I say, listening to people playing it, it sure as hell sounds like a game of D&D.



In an RPG, the feel is half the game.The idea of the RPG is to act as a stage upon which the roles are acted. If the stage constructed to have the feel of wide open spaces and limitless vistas then it's almost impossible to bring across the feel of tight subterranean tunnels and claustrophobia.

D&D is the flagship for the heroic fantasy genre, but it no longer feels anything like heroic fantasy. Those who buy it thinking that what they are getting is heroic fantasy are going to feel robbed. Super heroes in a supposedly heroic fantasy universe has very limited appeal I think...but thankfully for WotC most people will buy any drek they serve up and happily chow down smiling all the while.

It's the designer label syndrome.

Isshia
knasser

It's my contention that the structure of the rules does affect the purely role-playing aspects of the game. Frank put it pretty succinctly with his examples, but I think I can put it even more so: The rules stop at the edge of combat. They really, actually do. And I think that strongly affects the role-playing feel of the game. Now in Shadowrun, we know that the magician who can use Levitiate in a battle can also do so at home. But in 4e, everything is explicitly determined by combat parameters. An example would be a Warlock power that enables a short distance teleport after dropping an enemy to 0hp. Why? It was nicely summarised by someone over there as follows:

QUOTE
Warlock hanging from tree-root off a cliff
Warlock: Quick - help me up!
Fighter: Why don't you just teleport up here? You do that all the time in combat.
Warlock: I can only do that if a person I've been fighting has been knocked unconscious or killed.
Fighter: Oh, okay. I can't reach you.
Warlock: *sigh* Okay, go and find a bunny rabbit or something and drop it down to me.


I'm actually fine with the tactical mechanics of it from what I've seen. It looks quite good fun. But the severe lack of attention to world outside combat really damages the immersion in the setting for me. There are no non-combat skills. The DMG states that if a player used to be a blacksmith, the GM should just say they can make horseshoes or whatever if they want. Perform skill has also been taken out. If you want to be a poor bard, just say you are. If you want to be the world's greatest musician, just say you are There's no mechanical difference. Only a few non-combat areas such as Diplomacy rolls for negotiation get any attention.

I'm really actually saddened and annoyed by this. The presentation of the game is exemplary. At least that is to say it's perfect for it's feel - heroic battles against villains and monsters. The rules show a lot of thought and effort. It is now unquestionably easier to pull together customised monsters and villains, which I see as a positive. All of which makes the flaws even more frustrating. I like running heroic fantasy games and because I have a habit of pulling in total non-stereotypical gamer types to my games, it's also a lot easier to plunge someone into an elves and unicorns epic than it is to start with the "Okay, in the 2011...". Plus they can have ponies. wink.gif

On a slight tangent, I'm not sure I entirely agree, Frank, about the hit points issues. From what I've seen, the result looks more likely to be that players and GMs have longer to decide whether they want to run or change tactics than they would have under previous editions, but that combat actually goes so quickly that more rounds does not result in more real time for the same combat. But it does look as though you're bang on about there being no real progression. It seems numbers increase somewhat, but there's little real change in capability.

I am sad.
Larme
That does sound pretty disturbing... But I can't really defend the game, as I haven't played it and don't plan to soon. And it looks like the people who actually know what they're talking about are taking a pretty balanced view - maybe it's fun, but the system appears to have big holes in it.

Though I did hear that as you level, you can replace your basic level 1 abilities... And the progression problem seems like it would probably be solved with further sourcebooks? It really appears that what they've done is balanced the game by nerfing everyone to a pretty much even level of non-deadliness. That's kinda sad, but it looks like they're trying to take it in the direction of tournament play.

Regardless, 3e books are still available, and it's pretty much 100% complete as a game, so there's no need to feel sad if you like the old edition smile.gif
Particle_Beam
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 1 2008, 05:57 PM) *
It really appears that what they've done is balanced the game by nerfing everyone to a pretty much even level of non-deadliness. That's kinda sad, but it looks like they're trying to take it in the direction of tournament play.
How do you mean that? Fighters not sucking anymore beyond level 8? Wizards and clerics not ruling the game at level 12 upwards, making every non-spellcasters obsolet safe for sidekicks, unless the gamemaster throws out the nerf-stick to the spellcaster players and reduces their combat capabilities, so that the players who are using mundane classes still get the illusion to contribute? Because Monte Cook himself admitted that the higher-level content of D&D 3.X wasn't tested at all. And they had purposefully built in some suck-choices, so that some people might learn "game mastery", like the Dodge Feat, or Toughness.
D&D 4th edition is nothing more than a continuation of D&D 3.whateveredition, with new focus on balancing. However, this time, D&D 4th edition admits to not being a "simulationist" game, which D&D 3.X pretended to be and failed in this regard.
Also, MMORPG-mechanics have been creeping into D&D 3.X since the year 2000. They seem to be popular for the absolute vast majority, so including them makes sense. If somebody wants to purposefully use suboptimal tactics and make it harder for everybody else in the game, you can use a basic attack, instead of your at-will, encounter or daily power. It's the same as in Shadowrun to purposefully throw yourself at the bullets, instead of dodging and going behinde cover.
fistandantilus4.0
Having not read the game it's self, only the reviews posted here so far, take my opinion with a grian of salt:

It sounds as if they were trying to make a MMORPG into a P&PRPG. Everything scales up, all you do is increase stats, and the monsters increase in the same linear fashion all the way up. Not much matters out side of combat because that is what the game is specifically geared toward handling, and everything else is incidental. That may just be my narrowed view of it, but that's how it sounds so far.
Aaron
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 1 2008, 09:57 AM) *
Though I did hear that as you level, you can replace your basic level 1 abilities... And the progression problem seems like it would probably be solved with further sourcebooks?

If that's the case, then the Wicked Wizard of the Pacific Northwest is lying about selling you a game. They're selling you part of a game and demanding more money for the rest of it.
Particle_Beam
What progression? Level 30 is the end, no further level ups anymore, because 3.X-epic level powers didn't scale well at all. Also, Wizards of the Coast always sold "splatbooks". Heck, you do remember Sword & Fist, the first martial supplemental for fighters and monks, which arrived shortly 2 or 3 months later, didn't you? Heck, that's even how Shadowrun operates. Here's the big book, and then there's supplemental with new nifty must-have-powers. That's how it has always been so.
Larme
QUOTE (Particle_Beam @ Jun 1 2008, 01:20 PM) *
How do you mean that? Fighters not sucking anymore beyond level 8? Wizards and clerics not ruling the game at level 12 upwards, making every non-spellcasters obsolet safe for sidekicks, unless the gamemaster throws out the nerf-stick to the spellcaster players and reduces their combat capabilities, so that the players who are using mundane classes still get the illusion to contribute? Because Monte Cook himself admitted that the higher-level content of D&D 3.X wasn't tested at all. And they had purposefully built in some suck-choices, so that some people might learn "game mastery", like the Dodge Feat, or Toughness.
D&D 4th edition is nothing more than a continuation of D&D 3.whateveredition, with new focus on balancing. However, this time, D&D 4th edition admits to not being a "simulationist" game, which D&D 3.X pretended to be and failed in this regard.
Also, MMORPG-mechanics have been creeping into D&D 3.X since the year 2000. They seem to be popular for the absolute vast majority, so including them makes sense. If somebody wants to purposefully use suboptimal tactics and make it harder for everybody else in the game, you can use a basic attack, instead of your at-will, encounter or daily power. It's the same as in Shadowrun to purposefully throw yourself at the bullets, instead of dodging and going behinde cover.


I dunno much about it either way, I'm just trying to introduce some sanity into a very one-sided debate. I'm glad to hear someone with more knowledge standing up for it.

I don't think anyone is pretending that D&D 4e was the same game as D&D 3e. Are people saying they want to be charged again for the same game? Cuz 3.5 was the same game, minorly tweaked, costing exactly as much as the old game... More of that does not sound appetizing. sleepy.gif
FrankTrollman
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 1 2008, 10:57 AM) *
Though I did hear that as you level, you can replace your basic level 1 abilities... And the progression problem seems like it would probably be solved with further sourcebooks?


Uh... not quite. You get certain specific slots, which eventually override specific earlier slots. You never get more than the 2 "at-will" abilities you start the game with. Indeed, as you get more expendable abilities the number of hit points that enemies have increases more proportionally, so those first level abilities are going to be used more and more often as you go up in level (weird but true). And while I think it very likely that they will bring in a massive damage upgrade to make that not the case* - the current rules do pretty much fall back to an "I attack, you attack" paradigm fairly quickly. Characters have two different basic attacks available to them, and everyone also has a couple of grapple-style attacks that they are automatically non-proficient with, but basically you just figure out which of your attacks is best against an enemy and use it many, many times.

*: Earlier writeups had the [W] notation that keeps getting added and multiplied into everything be a collection of damage die, attribute bonuses, half your level, feat mods, and weapon enhancement bonuses. And by earlier I mean February, so it seems likely that much if not all of the Monster Manual was written under that assumption. As opposed to the current rules where the only thing that gets multiplied and added is a single d8 while monsters are seriously walking into battle with over a thousand hit points.

-Frank
Particle_Beam
Yes, damn those epic-level solo monsters who need several rounds to beat them up, and god forgive any gamemaster who dares to bring in special environment that can make the difference in those battles. And every person who decides to be a teamplayer and try to synergize with somebody else be damned too.
knasser
QUOTE (fistandantilus4.0 @ Jun 1 2008, 06:44 PM) *
Having not read the game it's self, only the reviews posted here so far, take my opinion with a grian of salt:

It sounds as if they were trying to make a MMORPG into a P&PRPG. Everything scales up, all you do is increase stats, and the monsters increase in the same linear fashion all the way up. Not much matters out side of combat because that is what the game is specifically geared toward handling, and everything else is incidental. That may just be my narrowed view of it, but that's how it sounds so far.


This is how it has sounded to me. I have seen some very good fluff material for it. There's a stronger back story to the setting involving the creators of the world (Primordials) being over thrown by the deities of the setting (much like the titans in Greek myth) and there are still living remnants of that war. And they have nice adjustment to the default setting in making it a little wilder and in adding two parallel planes to the setting - a shadow realm of death and a fey realm. But I'm not sure how much of this fluff is in the main books, I think it's mostly web supplements. And one of the main designers is quoted as saying that they deliberately dropped all the boring stuff such as skills you would use outside of combat.

I guess I might sound quite one-sided in all this, but in fact there is much about the new edition I really like. Certainly the presentation is marvellous (good word). But that only makes it more frustrating when there are flaws that might stop me running it.
FrankTrollman
QUOTE (Particle_Beam @ Jun 1 2008, 02:54 PM) *
Yes, damn those epic-level solo monsters who need several rounds to beat them up, and god forgive any gamemaster who dares to bring in special environment that can make the difference in those battles. And every person who decides to be a teamplayer and try to synergize with somebody else be damned too.


Where the hell did that come from dude? All I said was that sawing through over a thousand hit points in 20 point increments is mind bogglingly dull. The synergy between party members is pretty tepid in the 4th edition rules. The people who have the power to make their attack give the next attacker a +2 damage bonus have an attack that does slightly less damage than the people whose attack doesn't do that. Pretty much all of your choices are zero sum. While an attack that uses an Orb or a Holy Symbol has a lower to-hit bonus than an attack that uses a sword or a bow, it also targets a Reflex Defense, that happens to be slightly lower than the AC defense that the sword or bow targets. You have a to-hit bonus two points lower, but the target number is two points lower as well so it doesn't even matter.

I doubt you're going to find people who play Shadowrun coming in to bitch about different characters contributing to the team in different ways. That's kind of the point of Shadowrunner teams after all. But you will find a lot of people who will be frustrated by 4e's lack of difference between characters. A bow, a laser beam, a knife, or a fire bolt all do pretty much exactly the same thing. They all have pretty much exactly the same effect on the target, they all have pretty much exactly the same mechanics for use, and they are all pretty much useful in the same situations. The game skeleton is so bare in 4e that you can see the strings on virtually every aspect, every action, every choice, every result is preordained, interchangeable, and largely irrelevant.

I wanted to like 4e. I used to really like Rob Heinsoo's stuff for Feng Shui and Shadowfist. But 4e isn't a gme I can support. It's too late for it to be a financial failure, because preorders alone were guaranteed to make a profit based solely on the name. But I can hope that the oncoming sourcebooks fare as badly as Magic of Incarnum so that the movement towards deliberately breaking the 4th wall during gameplay that 4e is based upon can end and we can get on to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition as quickly as possible with as little of the anti-immersive taint as possible and with a completely different design team.

-Frank
Larme
Turns out I have some friends who actually want to play, so I took a look...

First of all, what's this about no abilities working outside of combat? They're pretty explicit. You can use at-wills whenever you want, in or out of combat. You can also use encounter powers whenver you want, you just need a short rest before you use them again. And since one does "once per day" mean "once per day in combat?" Obviously, a lot of the powers only matter in combat, since they give a bonus to an attack. But the whole "can't use them outside of combat" think is, as far as I can tell, totally slanderous and ignorant.

Now, reading through the PHB, it still seems like D&D. They've monkeyed with the setting, and there are wacky new races, but it's the same game. And the system isn't even radically different. There are still skills and feats, the only major change that I see is the "powers" system. But I haven't read that far into it, so I'll reserve judgment on whether it's good or not.

Now as for what Frank says about epic level stuff... All I can ask is: are you sure? Because it sounds kinda dumb... Maybe you haven't factored magic weapons in? After all, in 3e, a fighter's longsword never goes beyond 1d8 + strength bonus before magic. But after you add magic, it can do 1d8 + 5 + 1d8 + 1d8 + 1d8 + strength. Is that actually gone?
Particle_Beam
Nah, it's still there. Many of the enchanted weapons dish out extra-damage in form of additional d6 when scoring a critical, depending on the enhancement modifier of the weapon. And of course, most of these weapons pack a daily power themselves, like the Flameweapons. The favourite weapon of all paladins, the Holy Avenger (now also in form of a hammer or a mace) gives you extra-damage when using a power with radiance damage. And there are epic and paragon feats and abilities that make you score a critical on a roll of 19-20, or 18-20. The criticals are rarer, but they still whallop a lot of damage. Power Attack also adds to damage output (at epic level, you either make +6 damage constantly with a one-handed weapon, or +9 with a two-handed weapon, but only suffer a -2 penalty to hit). And there's a lot more. Also, some powers can refresh all your encounter abilities, or even your dailies.
It's still the same. In D&D 3.X, you combined things to get your X-thousand dices plus 1 gajillion damage, and in D&D 4th edition, you still add this and that to create some super-attack that makes x-thousand dices plus half a gajillion damage, but with status effects.
FrankTrollman
First off: almost none of the abilities make any difference outside of combat. Even the so-called "utility" powers are almost exclusively related to combat rounds or battles. The ability to gain AC or temporary hit points until the end of next round or even until the end of the battle is both puzzling and irrelevant outside of combat. Attempting to find an ability that does anything at all in a non-combat scenario is frustrating.

This goes for monsters as well. Even a Succubus only has the ability to invoke a single target sanctuary effect and spend an action to try to dominate someone for one combat round. She can't actually influence people. Outside the combat arena her powers don't really do anything. She can run up and kiss you, and then you can't attack her. But if it's the middle of market day you weren't going to attack her anyway. You're totally free to shrug and go about your business, so long as you don't try to stab her in the face for the duration. And if she tries to command you with her one round dominate power (long enough for you to open a door on her behalf!), then the sanctuary effect ends and you are free to attack her again. And that's as out-of-combat as any monster in the entire book. It's a frickin Succubus.

Ad just to drive the point home: A Succubus has a lower Diplomacy modifier than a Voidsoul Specter or a Scissor Crownwing. Not because those things have any intention of talking to you, but because higher level monsters get bonuses to Diplomacy checks automatically which outshine the bonuses for being a silver tongued sex devil by a substantial margin.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 1 2008, 08:31 PM) *
Now as for what Frank says about epic level stuff... All I can ask is: are you sure? Because it sounds kinda dumb... Maybe you haven't factored magic weapons in? After all, in 3e, a fighter's longsword never goes beyond 1d8 + strength bonus before magic. But after you add magic, it can do 1d8 + 5 + 1d8 + 1d8 + 1d8 + strength. Is that actually gone?



When they gave the Paladin preview, they defined the notation in such a way that a smite listed as 2[W]+Charisma would do:

2d8 + 2*(Strength Mod) + 2*(Half Level) + 2*(Feat Bonuses) + 2*(Weapon Enhancement) + 2*(Secondary Item Mod) + (Charisma Mod)

And frankly they implied that you would get to add Half Level again because you got to add half level every time you added a Stat Mod. That was only a few months ago, when they were writing the Monster Manual. But what made it to the final copy is that the same notation means:

2d8 + (Charisma Mod) + (Feat Bonuses) + (Weapon Enhancement) + (Secondary Item Mod).

Now by 30th level, Charisma Mod can be as high as +10 (starts maxed at +5), Feat Bonuses can be +2, Weapon Enhancement and Secondary Items can be +6 each. So while a 1st level Paladin is using his basic smite and smiting for 2d8+7, a 30th level Paladin is using a 27th level smite and is smiting for 3d8+24. While enemy hit points have gone up more than seven times, player damage output has gone up 2.34 times. So not only does it take more total attacks to bring down an enemy, but the number of attacks which are left after you go through your encounter and daily powers is higher as well. So you end up spending more time fighting with your at-wills, which don't really change much (d8+7 -> 2d8+24, otherwise identical).

They told us a few months ago that when we fought a 1390 point Red Dragon that we would be smiting for ~100 damage. It turns out that we are smiting for 33 damage.

-Frank
Fuchs
I reserve judgement until I actually read the rules (my books haven't been shipped yet).
Malicant
It's awesome. Frank is just naysaying. biggrin.gif
nezumi
QUOTE (Particle_Beam @ Jun 1 2008, 02:26 PM) *
Also, Wizards of the Coast always sold "splatbooks". Heck, you do remember Sword & Fist, the first martial supplemental for fighters and monks, which arrived shortly 2 or 3 months later, didn't you? Heck, that's even how Shadowrun operates. Here's the big book, and then there's supplemental with new nifty must-have-powers. That's how it has always been so.


I strongly disagree here.

A D&D game with only 1 splatbook strongly favors whatever class that splatbook affects. Try playing with the fighter book but nothing else. Whether the core game is playable without splat books I'll leave up to other people, however I would tend to say it becomes very difficult to play after around level 8.

Shadowrun is far more balanced. If you play with M&M but not MitS, it doesn't seriously change who is more powerful. The sammies might be more USEFUL, but rarely do they find themselves suddenly able to outpace the mages. The exception is SOTA books, which introduce serious new toys, but intentionally applies them across the board. It has new stuff for the mages AND the adepts AND the sams, so no one is really left behind.

You can also play entire campaigns using only the main book. The other books are fun, but in no way required. I say this because I'm currently on my second year of doing precisely that. The game is great, and I have as of yet to even feel the temptation introduce a single other book.
Particle_Beam
Of course cybered characters can never outpace magicians. Mages are considered to be better than mundane characters, which is why you pay some hefty points for being an awakened character (or have to chose it for the priority decisions). Aside from that, every additional supplemental will make your character better, either by introducing new features, or better items. You would be a moron to take a cyberarm from the basic book, instead from Augmentations, as an example. And that applies to SR 3rd edition too. Man and Machine had rules for better cyberware and re-introduced bioware, which aside from the hefty price was superior in many things to the stuff in the basic book. And don't even start on Magic in the Shadows. It had Initiation, for god' sake.
Everybody can play entire campaigns, even years, using only the main books in D&D too.

Supplementals have always been sold in addition, with options that make the book very desirable to its target demographic.
nezumi
I can't comment on SR4, however with SR3, the books really didn't bring much of anything that 'replaced' anything you had before (the big counter example being the Smartlink 2, but since mages would already regularly take the SL1, that did sort of apply to everyone). There are no better cyberlimbs in M&M, just more options. There aren't better VCRs, nor cyber eyes, nor just about anything else you care to mention, just more ways of doing it.

MitS is the singular exception because it allowed for initiation, which suddenly made mages (not adepts, who already had an option) tremendously more powerful. Debatably, Rigger 3 made riggers more powerful because they had better gear (admitedly, the vehicle list in the main book was pretty miserable - but riggers still regularly use the vehicles listed there).

D&D suffers from power creep - each new book makes the characters more powerful. Shadowrun suffers from rules creep - every new book allows you to do more stuff and applies more rules you can follow. But rules creep doesn't especially unbalance the game like power creep does.
Particle_Beam
Look, Shadowrun and D&D will always suffer from power creep. That's a given. Shadowrun 3rd edition did have supplementals to enhance and give new options for everybody, be it the mundane or the awakened. Shadowrun wasn't better, nor worse in that regard. Every pen-and-paper-RPG does that. Shadowrun 4th edition continues with that, and the new D&D 4th edition will do that too. It's only the decision of the gaming group if some supplementals are to be used or not. No supplemental is mandatory ever in any game, be it SR 1-4, or D&D from 197x to its latest incarnation in the year 2008. No Fanpro Nazi Squad, Catalyst Terror Marine Commando or Wizards of the Coast Secret Ninja Platoon will storm your house if you don't use the latest supplemental.
But they're produced with power creep to make people oogle for them. Be it the damage compensator or however it is called, the newest guide to create your superpowerful ally spirit and gain new uberinitiate powers, vehicle mods to make your moped into a tank-buster, or german crap like the urban combat weapon series, there are new things added in to make as many people buy it as possible.

That's always been so, and will remain so.
FrankTrollman
QUOTE (Nezumi)
A D&D game with only 1 splatbook strongly favors whatever class that splatbook affects. Try playing with the fighter book but nothing else.


Since historically Fighters have been hobos and vagabonds contrasted with spellcasters, that's not even a problem. What are you going to do with Sword & Fist or Complete Warrior that is going to overshadow a Conjurer? A Wizard can planar bind an army of efreeti and demons and give himself wishes in the core books. The twinkiest Frenzied Berserker you can foist on the world is impressive from time to time, but he's not seriously playing the same game as a Wizard who puts even have an effort into mastering time and space.

That is something about 4e that I do appreciate. Fighters are no longer left hopelessly in the dust. Unfortunately it happens at the cost of there not being anything worth driving to. Basically everyone sits back where they would be left in the dust if anyone could do anything meaningful. Only they can't, so n one is left behind. The ultimate aspect of being a "Demigod" is seriously that when you get to the "grind grind grind" stage of high level combats, that you can use one of your encounter powers over and over again instead of one of your at-wills. That means that your attacks do 2d8 extra points of damage. That's it. That's the 30th level grand master crowning achievement of Demigodhood for a Fighter. Or anyone else really.

4e succeeds in making a system where things are reasonably balanced. Unfortunately it does so at the cost of having characters and monsters not really do anything.
4e succeeds in having monsters that play differently while still being fast to integrate into the game, quick and easy for a DM to understand and play. Unfortunately it does so at the cost of having monsters be essentially not customizable. The Kuo-Toa Spearman and the Kuo-Toa Harpooner play and feel differently. But if you wanted to make a more powerful Kuo-Toa Spearman or a Kuo-Toa Swordsman, you are basically on your own.

And the art is bad. Like really atrociously bad. Like I don't even feel as bad about the cover of Augmentation bad.

-Frank
Drogos
eek.gif OMFG, they took a MMORPG and made a PnP game out of it. What the fuck were they thinking??? eek.gif

I mean I realize that they are trying to tap into the massive players of the online games, but really...I just got nothing i can say to WotC shear lunacy in their attempt. I hope it fails...MISERABLY so that it illustrates to them that hey, gamers are not the lowest common denominator, especially the ones willing to fork out $45 for a BOOK. I guess they thought, "Hey there's this COMPUTER GAME that has a lot of players and we'd liek them to play our game and spend a lot of money to play it. Lets make the two similar so that we can appeal to the market." Obviously, they missed their respective market. While many gamers also play MMORPGs, I don't know a single one who would after a PnP session sit back and say, "Man, I wish we had done some more grinding so I could get to level 28 this session...hmm, you got time to run my grind fest. I'll go find some kobolds." I'm really glad I'm not bothering to spend my money on this drek. I'll stick to Gurps and the Hero system, tyvm, cause I just can't bring myself to support Wizards anymore.
Particle_Beam
Nah, D&D 4th edition is more like Magic The Gathering, with dices. And all your hopes for D&D 4th edition to fail are already crushed. According to Mike Mearls, one of its lead designers, D&D 4th edition has more pre-orders than D&D 3.0 and 3.5 together ever had together.

Some people must have really no good opinion about their buddy who takes the job of the gamemaster today. To even suggest that he's going to force the people to grind the game upwards like in a MMORPG...
D&D 3.X probably successfully conditoned players to think that a gamemaster is nothing more than an inferior computer subjective to the whims of everybody else on the gametable. Either that, or Illithids are sucking the brains away from game nerds. pumpkin.gif
darthmord
I do have to question the damage output example given by Frank.

Did you account for multiple attacks by the higher level Warrior? I'm fairly certain they did NOT do away with that mechanic.

So while per swing damage may have only gone up by a little over 2x, through multiple attacks, you get the other 3x-4x which amounts to the same effective Time to Kill metric.

Honestly, I prefer my D&D with pieces from 2nd Edition through 3rd Edition. 3rd made several changes that once implemented were pretty dang good and encouraged people to play out of the box. Multi-class was no longer a penalty as doing so under 2nd Edition was highly restricted by race and race specific combos. Want an Elf Cleric/Mage? Better hope your DM will house rule it so you can. Because having an Elf Cleric/Mage was apparently unbalancing... yet a Half-Elf Cleric/Mage was perfectly fine.

Unified metrics were another improvement. Everything adds up to a number based on d20. No more THAC0 & -X armor classes.

Unified level advancement was another improvement. That also helped the multi-class angle too. Now you don't have to worry about whether the adventure is too hard for some or too easy for others simply by virtue of levels / classes.

Is it perfect? No. There are still rough spots. I've yet to find a game that is perfect. If there was such a beast, I would think we'd all be playing it.

As for SR, I honestly prefer 2nd Edition with a few choice pieces borrowed from SR3 & SR4. SR3 was just ehh overall IMO. SR4... too simplistic and it copies & pastes too much from previous editions without much of the explanatory text. Does that make SR3 & SR4 bad games? No, not just as polished as I would prefer.

Therein lies the crux of the arguement... It's all about opinion. My opinion of SR3 & 4 is less than that of my opinion of SR2. But does that make my opinion right or the top dog? No. It's my opinion. Because of that, it doesn't have to be right or wrong for anyone else.

We should really keep that in mind regarding our own opinions. Just because you have an opinion doesn't mean it is right or wrong. It's just an opinion.
FrankTrollman
Important note: Mike Mearls isn't a lead designer on 4e and never has been. The lead designers are Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, and James Wyatt. Mike Mearls is a contributing designer for 4e. If he has ever claimed to be a lead designer on 4e, that is an outright lie. You can check the credits of the book.

Now, if he has been crowing about how preorders for 4e were bigger than for 3e + 3.5, then that's probably true. It doesn't actually mean very much because 3rd edition didn't market itself on preorders particularly. 4e has a pre-order package set up with Amazon and 3e didn't. That being said, the idea that an edition, any edition of Dungeons and Dragons could be a "failure" at this point is laughable. The core books simply cannot fail to make money. They could be FATAL and they would still make money because there's enough name recognition that people will go buy at least the first books. It's like how people went to see Matrix 2 or Phantom Menace. Those movies had enough brand loyalty built up that it literally didn't matter what they were, money was going to be made.

Whether 4e is judged successful or not will depend not on whether it makes its investment back - it definitely will and doubtless already has. It will be judged successful by how well it stays in the market. The sales of source material and continued sales of the core book will tell marketing analysts whether the direction was a good one based on how well the product performs against the base expectations of a new D&D edition. The faster sales of new books fall to Dragons of Eberron levels, the less 5e will resemble the current offering. The longer it takes for interest in new books to look like Magic of Incarnum, the more similar 5e will be to 4e.

It's an interesting paradigm. If 4e has good sustainment in the market, 5e will take longer to arrive and be more similar to 4e. If 4e sales drop fast after the initial push, then 5e will be here sooner and will be a more radical departure. The more work the new design team has to do, the less time they will have to do it.

---

Now while the early 4e marketing stuff was downright offensive and to my mind incredibly poorly done (getting caught sneaking shills onto message boards, putting out rants about how D&D wasn't fun, etc.), the latest stuff where they invite people with nerd cred over to their house and play D&D with them with some pizza and Mountain Dew and just let those people talk about how they had fun - that's genius. So of course they are getting a lot of distribution right now. I would bet $10 that the leaker of the .pdfs was in fact a WotC staffer, because someone out there finally understands that .pdf piracy drives game book sales in the same way as it drives CD sales. The amount of buzz they are generating by having people actually able to get their grubby paws on the new edition is staggering. Whether people like it or not, they are still thinking and talking about it, and that drives sales from a preorder standpoint.

QUOTE (darthmord)
I do have to question the damage output example given by Frank.

Did you account for multiple attacks by the higher level Warrior? I'm fairly certain they did NOT do away with that mechanic.


Well, you're wrong. They got rid of that mechanic. (Essentially) all attacks are Standard Actions now. You don't get iterative attacks under any circumstances. People don't even have BABs any more.

[quote]

-Frank
Malicant
QUOTE (FrankTrollman @ Jun 2 2008, 06:32 PM) *
4e succeeds in making a system where things are reasonably balanced. Unfortunately it does so at the cost of having characters and monsters not really do anything.
What does that even mean?

QUOTE
4e succeeds in having monsters that play differently while still being fast to integrate into the game, quick and easy for a DM to understand and play. Unfortunately it does so at the cost of having monsters be essentially not customizable. The Kuo-Toa Spearman and the Kuo-Toa Harpooner play and feel differently. But if you wanted to make a more powerful Kuo-Toa Spearman or a Kuo-Toa Swordsman, you are basically on your own.
Wrong. There is a section in the DMG detailing how to build your own monsters and how to decrease or increase the powerlevel of existing monsters.

QUOTE
And the art is bad. Like really atrociously bad. Like I don't even feel as bad about the cover of Augmentation bad.
I really don't know why people keep repeating that. It is way better than anything I have seen so far in any game. Well, oWoD Mage and nWod Werewolf are better.
Drogos
QUOTE (Particle_Beam @ Jun 2 2008, 12:25 PM) *
Nah, D&D 4th edition is more like Magic The Gathering, with dices. And all your hopes for D&D 4th edition to fail are already crushed. According to Mike Mearls, one of its lead designers, D&D 4th edition has more pre-orders than D&D 3.0 and 3.5 together ever had together.

Some people must have really no good opinion about their buddy who takes the job of the gamemaster today. To even suggest that he's going to force the people to grind the game upwards like in a MMORPG...
D&D 3.X probably successfully conditoned players to think that a gamemaster is nothing more than an inferior computer subjective to the whims of everybody else on the gametable. Either that, or Illithids are sucking the brains away from game nerds. pumpkin.gif


From all the sources, some opinions I respect and others I know nothing about, I have come to the conclusions I have. And no, the gamemaster is not IMO some computer to generate my encounters. But when you have few to no rules for social interactions (a complaint of Frank's I've yet to see anyone address, so I must assume it is true...adding the fact that I heard this exact complaint from other gamers) outside of combat, the interface of the game devolves. A system is supposed to be designed to handle things in the rules more than just GM fiat. Yes, I can sit and BS my GM into thinking that such and such NPC should do X for me, when Y is SOOOO much better for the NPC, but in the end when it is so overwhelmingly biased the call for a roll is made. This roll is generally aided by my attempts to role-play my character and is based on points I assigned to specific skills, not some arbitrary rating dependant on the number of hit die I possess. Since 4th sounds like all it is based on level (such is the problem with a class based game), all you will be doing is looking to get to the next plateau so that you can be better at your shtick. And while DnD has always been plagued somewhat by this problem, at least in 3.0 and 3.5 (the version I am most familiar with) there was a system in place for this exact occurrence. As far as I recall, 2nd edition was quite similar (I avoided it because THAC0 confused the crap out of me). I realize that DnD is a fantasy adventure role-playing system. I like it and appreciate it for that aspect. But you must have the filler to go with it. Otherwise all you are doing is running from one tavern to the next until finding the trigger for the next dungeon that you delve into and decimate the inhabitants. That's a fuckin MMO, and I can do without that experience at my table.

And preorders do not, and have never for any PnP game made up the bulk of sales, so using that as a benchmark for success is inaccurate. PnP games are not video games and rely on sales for more than just the opening weekend. A lot of pre orders could be due to the enraging d20 hate that many people feel over 3.0 and 3.5. It may just be that their idea worked too. Wizards is not a stupid company after all and they make sure to make money off of their licenses.
::EDIT:: Frank is absolutely right, this core book will make money. The rest of the line shall have to wait and see ::EDIT::

Of course, I'll be just as satisfied if I'm completely wrong and if 4th edition saves DnD like SR4 breathed new life into SR. If so, great, wonderful, stupendous. Either way, I'll be happy I spent my $45 on SR stuff instead of MMODnD.
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