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  1. #1
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    4th edition, blessing or curse

    A topic in which to discuss the merrits and flaws of 4th edition. Simply catering to a need.

  2. #2
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Its neither a blessing nor a curse, it represents a style of play that is well suited to an action adventure movie style of play, and very poorly suited to a costume drama style of play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    I disagree. Skill challenges have been reduced to a coin flip. AFAIC, the skill system is the game, and combat is something to do once in a while to change things up to add some dramatic tension. Frankly, I'd rather resolve combat with a coin flip and keep the skills system.

    That's the point of my critique of the Gavin Tael write up. As a 9th level character, he's either a +4 on a skill or +9. All of the range of choices from zero to combination of synergies, feats, and specific items is gone. The skills system is now so simplified, with few skills and no skill points, that you can't build a game on the skills system and ignore combat.

    The number of skills has been reduced, the choices involved in which skills to be good at is remarkably reduced to almost nothing, so that skills and adventures based on skills are no longer a viable way to play a game.
    I can see the problem, as I too did not like the simplified skill system. However, during play I did not notice any real adverse effects from this simplified system. I think this is mainly because the difference between a char that is very good in a certain skill compared to a char that has average proficiency is likely to more than 10 points at mid-level. In my experience 10 points makes a lot of difference on a d20.
    Last edited by Sir Tiamat; 04-27-2009 at 05:17 PM.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Particularly if simplifying the domain system to '+1 per bonus of 5 from the skill' or the like for domain actions the 0/.5 lvl/+lvl proably doesn't impact all that much.

    Personally I'd go more with the 3e approach as you can easily simplify it to 4e type skill levels, but have more scope to compare high v wide and so on with 3e's more gradiated approach.

    4e looks to heavily works against the wizard as army-killer that you got in DnD, but that could just be my mis-interpretation, if so then some of the issues you get with wizards will reduce although you will get issues with domain magic which would presumably become open to any class in line with non-combat magic. The latter is an easy fix if you want to keep domain magic for wizards and priests though.

    Personally my view is that if 4e encourages roleplaying games then it is good for BR as the hobby will be bigger, and vice versa. So far I seem to being hearing more vice leading to versa but little in the way of hard figures to support the view.

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    At 12:36 AM 4/27/2009, Sir Tiamat wrote:

    >A topic in which to discuss the merrits and flaws of 4th edition.
    >Simply catering to a need.

    Personally, I`m indifferent to 4e. It`s not really my taste in
    RPGs/game mechanical styles, but it has a few interesting things in
    it. It`s just that there are fewer things in it worth using than
    things I want to put into use, so on the whole I would give it around
    a 5 on a 1-10 scale. From the POV of BR, though, I think its nearly
    useless or, at least, that are options that make better sense for
    portraying things in the setting--including 2e or some iteration of
    3e. BR is the proverbial round peg and 4e is the square slot.

    I wouldn`t go so far as to characterize that as a curse,
    though. It`s not like the last episode of Galactica or
    anything.... I don`t have any interest in playing Birthright with 4e
    rules (though if someone were to come up with a system that blew me
    away I`d be quite pleased) but if it amuses people to do a conversion
    then that`s all to the good.

    Gary

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    From a BR perspective, it doesn't really impact it, anyways. There won't be an official world book, most likely, for Cerilia. So 4e will be fan-based for us.

    In that respect, in light of the skill system, it really just returns to a 2e style for that. The complaint that Gavin Tael would have a + or -5 based on skills isn't really much different from the fact that in 2e at 9th level he would have had only 5 non-weapon proficiencies, if memory serves me. Considering the game was built with that in mind... the skill system doesn't change much.

    Meanwhile, wizzies and clerics accessing their realm spells also returns to 2e - whereas 3e it was easy to multi-class, and thereby have someone capable of using all the holdings - now, only classes able to draw on that power source can use the holding effectively.

    Regardless, doesn't matter to me. I hate 4e mechanics for my style of BR-play, and still house-rule the heck out of my 3.5e.

  7. #7
    I quit playing 3.x just before the annoucement of 4E because of all the broken mechanics, power builds, and IMO craptastiness of it. In 4E you have to work hard to make a character that would be considered "crappy" and be outshined by a min-maxer.

    It erode my soul until all roleplaying games turned to ash in my mouth and I completely stopped playing RPGs until the release of 4E. Even though I loathed 3.x, I admit that I was a 4E-Hater when it first was announced and I rode the bandwagon of beating the 4E-hatedrum.

    Then I previewed the fluff changes that came in the 4E preview books and I thought that it had merit but I wasn't going to put much stock in it until I got to preview the books. I went to the bookstore and sat down with the 4E books and paged through them. I immediately turned around came home and ordered the set from amazon.

    4E gave me my drive to game again and I have since played 4E & L5R. I am looking into Savage Worlds as well and never looked back at 3.x. I had to decline a game because it was still using the 3.x rules and I just couldn't bring myself to slug the system and build a character.

    Now that I am starting to stray off-topic lets get back to it. 4E feels like the fun days of ole 2E. I feel that Birthright and 4E would go together like a good puzzle that never quite fitted with 3.x. So in long, 4E is a blessing... now if only Wizards would stop putting their foot in their mouth.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    3.x was super versatile. That meant it was capable of use by any gaming style. If a DM didn't exercise good judgement in what they used and what they allowed, it was very easy to bring in material that didn't suit what had gone before, and so could be wildly unbalancing. But almost any playing style could be constructed by picking and choosing classes, feats, and abilities. 4e doesn't leave this job to the DM. It does it for him. That means I can't play my game in 4e, because 4e doesn't support it with the mechanics I need and the choices I need.

    The design philosophy of 4e, where the game itself selects a playing style and goes from there is more robust, by which I mean idiot-proof. But that comes at the cost of being able to design other kinds of characters for other kinds of playing styles. For a cinematic action game, its a great system. For other kinds of games, like one that feels like an episode of the Tudors on Showtime, not so much.

    What makes 3.x a good system is that its versatility allowed me to play a game of skills-based political intrigue in my game, and someone else to play a game were wizards rode magically animated metal beasts firing wands of fireballs at flying demon pirate ships.

    4e won't allow some of the over-the-top stuff I saw in 3x, but it won't work for my low action, skills heavy, emphasis on what-you-know style of play either.

    I like 4e for what it is supposed to do. Its easy to learn, easy to play, and when you want cinematic action gaming, its got to be at or near the top of the list. I've said so since I read the books (and I pre-ordered). Its just not trying to be all things to all people the way 3x did. 3x allowed a DM to do anything, with the caveat that they had to exercise good judgment about what to allow and what to forbid or steer players away from.

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    I will also admit that I was very scepticle of 4e and was not interested until I read about the Skill Challenges. This is what made me pre-order the books from Amazon. Yes there are more rules for streamlining combat but from my experience as a DM, combat was the biggest time waster and you were always going back to the books to re-read the rule for a particular combat option. 4e has made this area easier to understand and in my play testing of 4e combat now takes less time, therefor more time for roleplaying.

    Skill Challanges are a great addon for roleplaying but I would agree that the list of skills could be a bit limiting. I have been tossing up the idea of going back to 3e skills but 4e for the rest. I am still undecided yet and as I get further down the track in my 4e conversion of BR I will have a bertter idea.

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    After sitting down and playing 4E my take on it is it's great for random encounter monster slaying dungeon hacking. In fact, for just fights, I like it much more than any previous version of D&D. It's easier to explain to players and none of my players have had to look anything up in a book, which happened ALL the time in 3x, breaking the mood. Players can just review the power card on their sheet for abilities, I'm so happy the mood of the game doesn't get crushed every 5 minutes like 3x did because somebody got some feat from some book, that may or may not have been reviewed by the GM, and may or may not be in some book that happens to be at the table. Combat hasn't shortened up any, but it feels that way because the time it took to stop the game and find the rule has been removed in 4E.

    I hate the concept of healing surges but love the way they work that it almost makes up for the silly way characters can heal themselves. It sure beats the tar out of the "whole party of clerics" or "two clerics in a party" build that just broke healing in 3x.

    The game is just much more better organized that 3x. If you use the character builder it centralizes so much information you really don't need any books at the table.

    The skills are too few, skill challenges are interesting but really need fleshed out by Game Masters to make any sense. I've been in some games where the GM says "You need to make 2 diplomacy success". In those games is super mechanical and just plain boring to engage the skill challenge. I've seen intrepid game masters explain what each skill roll is, defining it in terms of roleplaying and what's being said, argued, or debated. That system is slightly better than just stating your successes requirements.

    I prefer figuring out the number of successes and then being entirely flexible on what skill rolls are used or not used, and a good argument (through roleplay) might be worth more than one success. I don't lower the difficulties of the skills checks, but a clever argument might mean less successes are needed. Encouraging better "in character moments"

    I gave thought to running a 4E Birthright Game but the cons out wieghed the pros such as:

    1. The domain turn information would have to be adapted to the game. It's too much work for me to invest in it.


    2. The races, classes, and abilities keep drifting further from the AD&D source material. I'm not real keen on having warforged wardens, and teifling warlocks running around. Birthright, at least Andurian Birthright (which is really what I want to play) is very human, very basic class oriented. I want to keep it that way, not have a team of minotaurs, with me having to make source material concessions just to place them in the word. It's clear 4E is ALL about new crazy races and classes, the more the merrier.

    3. 4E is a treasure trove of abilities. Feats at every 2 levels, new abilities at every level all keep a character focused on the "build" of characters. That means I need extra dedicated players willing to go above and beyond to write story, background, and plot element for the game. Most of the players I have anymore are the 9-5 professionals with families. They have 4 hours to spend on monday nights playing and not much else. So I decided not to play in Birthright because it's sooo very much about what's going on around the players, and my players have just enough attention span at the moment to worry about their character, not so much the world.

    I'm probably giving up 3x entirely (I preferred AD&D to it) and just playing 4E for monster beats, and AD&D for Birthright Games.
    Last edited by Sinister; 04-28-2009 at 04:12 AM.

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