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  1. #11
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    There is nothing new about skill challenges we didn't have in 3x. The Medieval Players Handbook alone has two even cooler kinds of skill challenges, one based on debates and one based on making things. In 2e using proficiencies and way
    back in 2004 using skills I have always preferred important tasks to require rolls in several skills, rather than one. And this assumes the plenitude of skills in a 3x environment, let alone a skills desert like 4e. For a battle I want to see a character's strategy, tactics, logistics, morale, and anything special they might want to try. All before the battle starts. Moving troops around, redeploying, spotting opportunities, using reserves all require more checks.

    To me a major battle is about a series of skill checks by a commander and unit to unit combat. Not the commander in combat himself, although there can be some of that.

    Although certainly not an opportunity for everyone to be differently equal. There are things for everyone to do, but the burden of command lays on the shoulders of the commander.

  2. #12
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    Well, skill challenges per se are not a new concept, but the wording in the core books it is, before they weren't so directly described to the GM. It's a pitty the basic math on the DMG is flawed, but it has been fixed over the Enworld forums (and they have even made new skills systems, like the Obsidian Skill System, pretty nice). And again, if you find you are short on skills, you can find some of the old skills ported to 4e over Enworld (or just add them yourself). Honestly, I don't see why anything done in 3e can't be done in 4e.

    For me, as other posters, 4e streamlined the most rule-intensive part of the game (combat) making it easier to concentrate on other things. Also, I was pretty exceptic of how well the game would expand with new classes, but the Players Handbook 2 was a very nice surprise in that department.

  3. #13
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I'm obviously a freak in that 4e appears to make combat far more complicated to me - and the same feat/ability bloat that caused problems in 3e as products were churned will quickly erode the 'not known off the top of my head' benefit as 4e keeps churning out the splat.

    Of course I used a stream-lined 3e combat system called 'forget the sodding battlemat and we'll wing it on whether or not you can cleave/attack of opportunity/etc' but even so 4e appears to be all about 'more powers more of the time' and more limited by the need for a battlemat making it much more complicated. The few 'games' I tried at gencon dragged combat out terribly due to the number of power options available, only the spellcasters used to have that problem... About the only good thing to come from the combat system was recognition of mook status.

  4. #14
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    D&D will NEVER solve the bloat problem, because it is precisely that bloat which makes them such a marketing powerhouse.

    They HAVE succeeded, IMO, in making the new rules, new classes, new powers, etc. much more interesting and viable. For the first time I am really interested in rulebooks beyond the core books. In fact, I daresay the new rules supplements keep getting better and better, with more creative options that make the core sets the less interesting ones. Kind of the reverse of 3e.

    However, WotC seems to be producing too much too fast. I don't see how they can continue to market new products successfully along the same lines. They're already doing Martial Power 2 and Player's Handbook 3. I doubt the sales will be so good on Martial Power 3 and PH 4. So unless they find something new, I predict that indeed, we will see 5th edition a little earlier than the typical 8-10 year edition cycle. More like 5-7 years.

    I do agree with other posters that the combat system is more streamlined, fun, and generally superior to every previous edition. Bloat will continue to be a problem, but at least you don't have to plan out your character's entire career from level 1 anymore.

    As for story and flavor, it is really pretty easy as a DM once you get over combat and turn back to story and role-playing, just like any other edition. It takes less brainpower to put good and quick combats together, leaving more time for other stuff. And given that WotC is encouraging homebrew more loudly than ever, I don't really understand people's gripes about the proliferation of races and classes. Just nix them in your game if they don't fit! I've allowed genasi, tieflings, shifters, and devas in a fairly traditional D&D setting, but I strongly object to their alien look and feel, so I just ruled that they look quite human, with only slight variations. I also don't have any truly cosmopolitan towns and cities; racial diversity is very rare, and racial tensions do exist. I don't buy into a fantasy world where there's far less racism than the modern world where we only have one species of humans to deal with. Seems to me the only difference in a fantasy world is that humans might get along better with each other and treat the other species the way humans in our world treat other races.

    Anyway off that soap box and on to another. There's a lot of support for skill challenges now and I find them very helpful and useful. I think this is the great growth area for 4e.

    As for a BR adaptation, I think it would be worthwhile to puzzle out a minimalist combat system for a game that emphasizes roleplay over adventuring, and greatly expand skill challenges.

    I'm thinking Skill Powers. Yes, there is the likelihood that such a thing would bloat just like Combat Powers do, but I think that could be a good thing, revolutionizing role-play. It would make skill uses in a myriad more situations than combat just as interesting as combat. Skill powers would create a combat-like give and take and encourage people to be just as if not more interested in skill challenges as combat.

    Birthright is a great setting to lead the way on Skill Powers.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I'm obviously a freak in that 4e appears to make combat far more complicated to me - and the same feat/ability bloat that caused problems in 3e as products were churned will quickly erode the 'not known off the top of my head' benefit as 4e keeps churning out the splat.

    Of course I used a stream-lined 3e combat system called 'forget the sodding battlemat and we'll wing it on whether or not you can cleave/attack of opportunity/etc' but even so 4e appears to be all about 'more powers more of the time' and more limited by the need for a battlemat making it much more complicated. The few 'games' I tried at gencon dragged combat out terribly due to the number of power options available, only the spellcasters used to have that problem... About the only good thing to come from the combat system was recognition of mook status.
    I think the problem with 3e is not so much the battlemap and AoO rules (although AoO were pretty bad) but the spellcasters as you say. Get a mid-high level party, full of combat buffs hit by a dispel magic, great fun

    Also, I agree that 4e will take a while to understand if you just pick some pregens at mid-high level, but you would have the same problem in 3e too. If you start playing from level one combat is not a problem at all as the players know pretty well their own powers so they will choose them pretty fast, and for the DM monsters aren't so complex to run (as they have far less options available to them).

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