Legends and Lore - Charting the Course for D&D: Your Voice, Your Game

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Gygax really did know what he was talking about.



He also urged that the release of spammy splatbooks to increase player power and feature bloat was a bad relic of 2nd edition's TSR going bankrupt and a terrible idea. Same for spamming out settings, just because Dragonlance was an unexpected huge hit because, in his words, it fractured the fanbase.

He supported more adventure content and fewer rules that get in the way of the fun (causing people to break open books and go "no no no but on page 247 the footnote says..."). He thought alignment was to the point where it would be better to shoot it behind the shed than keep it because people were becoming obsessed with it by the early 2000s and that opposition should be rightfully dangerous, including things like level drain on undead (and that anyone who said it was unfair should go play Candyland instead because they obviously aren't mature enough to handle their entirely fictional character being hurt in any way). He mentioned further that adding encumbrance and weapon vs armor tables was done at the behest of several people who thought the game would be much better with them in it and he regretted including them ever since. There's some more stuff, too - I've got a big compiled list of Gary Gygax quotes I took from the Ask Gary threads over at ENWorld about any topic he spoke on that I considered even remotely interesting (not so much his choice in food, drink, and politics, much more his positions about game design!)

All in all I think he was a pretty smart dude. I may not agree with some of the setting flavor specifics he thought were a good idea but he definitely knew a lot about games.
Try DMing a theives guild campaign were all the players must take a rogue like class.   I've done this before in 2e and we had a great time.   I'm not sure how it would work in 4e since you would really only need one rogue.   That rogue could do all the out of combat stuff on his own ( Forgery, Pick Locks, Disable Device, Bluff, Sneak, etc... )


Just adjust it so you require more guys with thievery, stealth, insight, bluff, arcana, religion, history, nature, dungeoneering, healing, etc.

Here are the way to create Thieves Guild types in 4e
Class: the most obvious part. Rogue, Thief, Executioner, Assassin, Ranger, Scout, Hunter fits

What I especially like though is themes and backgrounds to mak ANY CLASS pretty much work out. It also gives specialization with the existing roguish classes

Themes
-Alchemist: You can create regents that help you in your suspicious activities. Breaking locks, melting bars, etc. You can also make smoke bombs and more, with access to alchemical formulas
-Athasian Minstrel: add poison use to any existing class. Now your wizard has something even sneakier up his sleeve
-Animal Master: add an animal companion's keen senses to the group

-Outlaw: ambush master type, enhancing assassins or giving fighters a sneaky kick
-Reaver: the intimidating muscle, frighten enemies into submission
-Yakuza: another variant of the enforcer type with a flair for getting even.

-Dune Trader: great social skills, can negotiate to your odds
-Guttersnipe: this is the guy that operates the black market, bonuses to selling and acquiring goods

-Scholar: knows a lot about a lot of things be it the reputation of rival guilds, the origins of poisons, the rumors of lost treasures, etc.
-Vile Scholar: knows a lot about a lot of things no mortal should know. If you've got dealings with the infernal, let the Vile Scholar do the dealing

These can be added to any existing class.
Backgrounds can then be added in to give Thievery, Stealth, whatever to existing classes. Set the theme and you can fit a lot of ideas in. For example my Bladesinger has the Outlaw theme and Assassin background. He belongs to a clan of Eladrin Ninjas and I RP him as such (that's what Bladesingers are in my campaign)

A hypothetical sample of the 4e thieves in action

The scholar knows that the port was built over an ancient city with an extensive network of catacombs, it was discovered when the sewer tunnels dug in deep to expand the city.
The way through the sewers is barred. The alchemist prepares his aqua regalia and the bars bend like wax with the application of a crowbar.
As they go through the animal master's companion moves through a tiny hole to scout ahead. There's unexpected trouble ahead, agents from the guardswatch are in the tunnels.
The outlaw draws his longsword, they'll be dead before they hit the ground.

and so on and so on, and then the guttersnipe fences the loot.





Try DMing a theives guild campaign were all the players must take a rogue like class.   I've done this before in 2e and we had a great time.   I'm not sure how it would work in 4e since you would really only need one rogue.   That rogue could do all the out of combat stuff on his own ( Forgery, Pick Locks, Disable Device, Bluff, Sneak, etc... )


Just adjust it so you require more guys with thievery, stealth, insight, bluff, arcana, religion, history, nature, dungeoneering, healing, etc.

Here are the way to create Thieves Guild types in 4e
Class: the most obvious part. Rogue, Thief, Executioner, Assassin, Ranger, Scout, Hunter fits

What I especially like though is themes and backgrounds to mak ANY CLASS pretty much work out. It also gives specialization with the existing roguish classes

Themes
-Alchemist: You can create regents that help you in your suspicious activities. Breaking locks, melting bars, etc. You can also make smoke bombs and more, with access to alchemical formulas
-Athasian Minstrel: add poison use to any existing class. Now your wizard has something even sneakier up his sleeve
-Animal Master: add an animal companion's keen senses to the group

-Outlaw: ambush master type, enhancing assassins or giving fighters a sneaky kick
-Reaver: the intimidating muscle, frighten enemies into submission
-Yakuza: another variant of the enforcer type with a flair for getting even.

-Dune Trader: great social skills, can negotiate to your odds
-Guttersnipe: this is the guy that operates the black market, bonuses to selling and acquiring goods

-Scholar: knows a lot about a lot of things be it the reputation of rival guilds, the origins of poisons, the rumors of lost treasures, etc.
-Vile Scholar: knows a lot about a lot of things no mortal should know. If you've got dealings with the infernal, let the Vile Scholar do the dealing

These can be added to any existing class.
Backgrounds can then be added in to give Thievery, Stealth, whatever to existing classes. Set the theme and you can fit a lot of ideas in. For example my Bladesinger has the Outlaw theme and Assassin background. He belongs to a clan of Eladrin Ninjas and I RP him as such (that's what Bladesingers are in my campaign)

A hypothetical sample of the 4e thieves in action

The scholar knows that the port was built over an ancient city with an extensive network of catacombs, it was discovered when the sewer tunnels dug in deep to expand the city.
The way through the sewers is barred. The alchemist prepares his aqua regalia and the bars bend like wax with the application of a crowbar.
As they go through the animal master's companion moves through a tiny hole to scout ahead. There's unexpected trouble ahead, agents from the guardswatch are in the tunnels.
The outlaw draws his longsword, they'll be dead before they hit the ground.

and so on and so on, and then the guttersnipe fences the loot.



Oh thanks I was going to do this but I lost track of the the thread and post..... 
The main gist of all this is... the rogue class is by a long shot not the be all end
all of being a rogue character. 

 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 


I played D&D for over a decade back in the day, and it was the same game the whole time. I come back a couple of years ago and there's a major re-jiggering called 'Essentials' and an announced new 'itteration,' already.

I know things are supposed to be 'moving faster' these days but this is rediculous.  New books every month.  Errata every month.  New 'itterrations' every year or two.  Why make the effort to keep up with all that?  I could afford the books and the DDI.  I can't afford to spend half my time re-learning a schizophrenic game that can't decide what it's supposed to be.



This is a point I was just thinking about... 4E existed for, what, 2 and a half year, 3 years before the game design was "changed" by the Essential line ("all you'll ever need to play D&D!").


Essential lasted for... one year? One year and a half ? before 4E as a whole is considered obsolete, and the new "iteration" is anounced.


Maybe it was because the design team changed and the heads were not happy with their predecessors, or their conception of what D&d should be. Maybe it is because of "bad" sale figures. I just hope (but doubt...) the circonstances that caused this... instability will be corrected when they create 5E, or the wild iteration madness won't stop.


I fear that they may try too hard to "satisfy everybody", as well among the players that among the designers - and at the executive level, and try to do it too fast, without leting time tell the real value of their work. I doubt that any 5th edition will accomplish the miracle they are expecting - every design choice will please some and make some unhappy, even with a modular system. If the "team" doesn't learn to live with... let's say... disapointed expectations, theirs and the player's, we may see 5th edition Essential, 5.5, 5Th edition : the new concept and 6Th edition : born again too fast for our own good.

Remember Tunnel Seventeen !

Oh thanks I was going to do this but I lost track of the the thread and post..... 
The main gist of all this is... the rogue class is by a long shot not the be all end
all of being a rogue character. 

 


This will also be a point of interest with 5E : what will a class be ? This thread shows that for some people, it should define what the character is, while for others it is a way to describe what he can do, or what he is trained for. 1st edition classes were more of the first kind, 4E was more on the "trained for" side. What will 5E chose - and how many will find this choice inadequate ?
As for the rogue guild... My current campaign is a "pirate" campaign, and it was quite fun to see how any 4E class could fit on a pirate ship with a little imagination.
Remember Tunnel Seventeen !
it is not the DMs job to ensure a TPK doesn't happen. That responsibility lies solely with the players. With regard to a TPK, the DMs only responsibility is to make sure it's not unavoidable.



QFT!  A DM's job has nothing to do with coddling his players.  It is challenging the players and ensuring that everyone (within reason) is having fun.  I notice that dmgorgon ignored my question about whether anyone else was having fun when his healer didn't heal anyone.  RPGs are about fun for EVERYONE!  It is a cooperative game, and making selfish decisions has no place in it unless...everyone at the table agrees it is okay.  I role-play the heck out of my characters, but I never generate a personality in a vacuum.  I always consider my responsibilities to the other players seated around the table with me.




Let me try to be clearer.


I think it is the DM's job to ensure that the party faces a reasonable challenge.  I don't agree that the DM should coddle the players either, and I also don’t like systems that coddle the players.    In fact I like it when players face deadly challenges and die a few times.     

The point I was making was that the players and their builds should not trump role playing.   If a party is very weak because they have all chosen to play characters that are not min/maxed munchkins, then it is the DM's job to ensure that they face a reasonable challenge.      

If there is no cleric then the DM should provide some means of healing, like a staff or some other mechanism.  There are many ways to bring healing into the game and it doesn’t have to be the responsibility of the cleric.   If a character decides that he wants to play a fighter/cleric that heals himself the DM should allow for this.  Likewise, if the party consists of mostly squishy characters then the DM is perfectly justified in allowing the party to hire a few front line NPC warriors.    When I played there really was no demand on any party member to do X.   In fact, I do recall having several NPC clerics or fighters in the party to fill in the gaps, but I never forced the players to play anything in particular.     

I think that forcing a player into a particular role is just pointless.   It isn't fun being forced to play something you don't want and it isn't fair to be called a selfish gamer simply because you are role playing a selfish character.    I think that attitude started with 3e, but was ingrained into the 4e system.   


In fact, when I watch players build their characters in 4e it is very different process.    In general, everyone is focused on combat tactics alone.  Players will say, “Hey why don’t you take this power that grants CA so I can use this power X all the time.”   As an old school DM, I want to tell the players to shut it and stop min/maxing, but I can’t because that is just the nature of 4e.    Previous editions discouraged this kind of min/maxing, but 4e encourages it.  In fact, people are now focused on min/maxing the party’s abilities and powers far more than thinking about their characters in role playing terms.     This kind of behavior makes me laugh.  Don't these players realize that as the DM I could kill them at a whim I so chose?  Don't they realize that if an encounter is too easy for them, I'll just toss a few more brutes in the mix?


Even the themes and backgrounds you select in 4e have some sort of mechanic benefit to them.   In 4e I see players picking backgrounds for the sake of the bonus and not for the sake of role playing the background.   This is why in my game I require the players to write a paragraph on their characters mentality, physical description, and history before they play.    


 


Now as for that 2e fighter/cleric I played, since I was in the middle of battle all the time it was my job to stay alive.   He had the best AC in the group and for the sake of the party it was his job to stay alive.   After all, if he went down there would be no raise dead spells to raise all the fallen party members.    The priest/cleric class, with the introduction of the specialty priests of the FR, was a very different concept than he is in 4e.    There were clerics who were mostly warriors and some that were more like rogues, or even wizards.    In the end, the cleric wasn't simply a healing monkey.  His main job was to further the ethos of this deity.   In fact, if he didn't he could have his spells revoked by his deity.   


At one point I did try to duplicate my fighter/cleric concept in 4e and I ended up making a battlemind/cleric.   In the end, he had a high AC, high HP, high attack damage (just as much as the strikers), damage resistance, and healing spells to boot.    I loved that character because he was a self sufficient machine. 


After all, if he went down there would be no raise dead spells to raise all the fallen party members.



You keep ignoring my question.  I know you had fun with your fighter/cleric and you were able to raise or heal the rest of the party between fights, but how did the rest of the party feel about needing to be raised or healed up from near dead all the time?  Were they having fun, or did they resent you for not being a team player in a cooperative game?

Also note that I have been saying all along that any behavior is okay as long as everyone agrees on it.  If your fun diminishes the fun of anyone at the table without their consent then you are being selfish.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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In fact, when I watch players build their characters in 4e it is very different process.    In general, everyone is focused on combat tactics alone.  Players will say, “Hey why don’t you take this power that grants CA so I can use this power X all the time.”   As an old school DM, I want to tell the players to shut it and stop min/maxing, but I can’t because that is just the nature of 4e.    Previous editions discouraged this kind of min/maxing, but 4e encourages it.  In fact, people are now focused on min/maxing the party’s abilities and powers far more than thinking about their characters in role playing terms.  



What is wrong with people wanting to min/max?  It sounds like your players were having fun and working as a team.  Some people like playing the game that way and you want to take away the option.

And previous editions were often worse about min/maxing.  You couldn't even cast higher level spells without a high enough base stat in some (all?) earlier editions.  And Basic DD even gave you extra XP for min/maxing your stats IIRC.  I think you got +10% XP if your primary stat was over a certain number, I think 16.  And you had to have certain stats at a certain level to even be allowed to play certain classes. 

You can build a non-min/maxed PC and still be very effective in 4E and use any power your class has and progress at the same rate as everyone else. Honestly any race can be fine playing any class if you want to.

Oh thanks I was going to do this but I lost track of the the thread and post..... 
The main gist of all this is... the rogue class is by a long shot not the be all end
all of being a rogue character. 

 


This will also be a point of interest with 5E : what will a class be ? This thread shows that for some people, it should define what the character is, while for others it is a way to describe what he can do, or what he is trained for. 1st edition classes were more of the first kind, 4E was more on the "trained for" side. What will 5E chose - and how many will find this choice inadequate ?
As for the rogue guild... My current campaign is a "pirate" campaign, and it was quite fun to see how any 4E class could fit on a pirate ship with a little imagination.



I'm hoping that there are a small number of bases classes from which the more specialized classes  derive from and inherit the properties.      At the very least, I hope that class bloat will be avoided in this edition.  

They could design the system for making money or they could make it simple.     Hopefully we get all classes in the PHB.


I am under the belief that 4e is the edition where the difference between SUPER OPTIMIZED and 'chosen for flavor' has the least drastic gap between them.

If I'm mistaken, and 3e discourages min/maxing further than 4e does, please correct me.

In AD&D though it's up to luck how capable you are as there's not much in mechanical customization.
After all, if he went down there would be no raise dead spells to raise all the fallen party members.



You keep ignoring my question.  I know you had fun with your fighter/cleric and you were able to raise or heal the rest of the party between fights, but how did the rest of the party feel about needing to be raised or healed up from near dead all the time?  Were they having fun, or did they resent you for not being a team player in a cooperative game?

Also note that I have been saying all along that any behavior is okay as long as everyone agrees on it.  If your fun diminishes the fun of anyone at the table without their consent then you are being selfish.




They never had a problem with it, if anything they encouraged it.   After all, I'm sure the party would feel much worse if I died and the remaining party members had to drag all the bodies back to town and then pay 1000's of gold to have my character raised.   You're also making the assumption that my character never healed anyone else in the party during combat.  


I am under the belief that 4e is the edition where the difference between SUPER OPTIMIZED and 'chosen for flavor' has the least drastic gap between them.

If I'm mistaken, and 3e discourages min/maxing further than 4e does, please correct me.

In AD&D though it's up to luck how capable you are as there's not much in mechanical customization.

I would agree with your first statement with regards to 3E and 4E. Although the comparison kind of doesn't work with regard to early editions since optimzation as a concept was different back then.

Having said that, I would expand on your last statement and say that it wasn't so much about "luck" as it was about the dice and letting them help tell the story on a more basic level.  And I would say that that is simply a different way to play the game, neither better nor worse.  In recent editions, we've moved away from that. The dice have less and less say with each iteration as to what we can and can't do and what we are or are not good at.  Some love this. In general I think most people are ok with it. I would argue that this has some impact on the "feel" of the game. I personally like the dice to help tell the story, even more than just whether I hit or miss. I like the challenge of shaping the narrative according to the dice. This is totally a personal asthetic concern. I understand other most likely prefer more control.
I am under the belief that 4e is the edition where the difference between SUPER OPTIMIZED and 'chosen for flavor' has the least drastic gap between them.



For the most part that is correct.  There are a handful of very noticably under powered classes and races and a handful of overpowered options if you are full on optimizing.  But you can mix pretty much any race and class combo put just a few minutes into picking your powers themes etc. and you will still contribute and not be noticably outshined by someone else.  I have never seen a 4E PC that didn't contribute to the party on a consistent basis.

If you have someone doing a full on optimized Kulkor Arms Master charger or something then there is very noticable difference between that and another casual PC, but even then the casual PC is still probably contributing.

I for one don't feel comfortable seeing yet another edition coming out.  I have just gotten used to (and like more than 3rd edition) the 4th edition rules and game style.  It finally made playing every class worth something to play, unlike 3rd edition where if you were a 1st level wizards you were basically a one hit a day wonder who cast his meager magic missile then sat down the rest of the fight unless you really wanted to hit something with a staff or a crossbow, that is what other classes are for like ranger or rogue.  Sure at higher level you got better spells, but unless you play a campaign where you start high, you had best enjoy a miserable time being the party's third wheel after you got your one spell off.  The concept of a wizard or sorcerer or any other spell caster with a spell always ready is something I like.  What I don't want to see D&D regress back to that, might as well just play a party of fighters then and tear out the spell section of the book.  If 5th turns out to regress to a 3rd edition like game, then why even buy it?   Might as well buy Pathfinder (a.k.a. the repackaged D&D, but I don't believe the hype that says it’s a 3.75 edition, it’s still just 3.5 to me).  I would also like to see it compatible with 4th in some way so that all the books I have bought now don't go to waste.

. I personally like the dice to help tell the story, even more than just whether I hit or miss. I like the challenge of shaping the narrative according to the dice. This is totally a personal asthetic concern. I understand other most likely prefer more control.


Dice make crappy story tellers...
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

. I personally like the dice to help tell the story, even more than just whether I hit or miss. I like the challenge of shaping the narrative according to the dice. This is totally a personal asthetic concern. I understand other most likely prefer more control.


Dice make crappy story tellers...

Simple solution. Remove the To-Hit and Damage Rolls. Remove saving throws. Remove skill checks. Then you can tell your story exactly the way you want. Let the MD decide if the monster hit or miss. Let him tell his story. No dice to muck it up.
I fear that they may try too hard to "satisfy everybody"

I just hope that doesn't actually morph into "offend nobody" - which is a lot easier but also actually satisfies pretty much nobody.

Unfortunately, I think "offend nobody" is the second most likely possibility - behind "satisfy the people who are already satisfied by 2E and Pathfinder but hate 4E".
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
. I personally like the dice to help tell the story, even more than just whether I hit or miss. I like the challenge of shaping the narrative according to the dice. This is totally a personal asthetic concern. I understand other most likely prefer more control.


Dice make crappy story tellers...

Simple solution. Remove the To-Hit and Damage Rolls. Remove saving throws. Remove skill checks. Then you can tell your story exactly the way you want. Let the DM decide if the monster hit or miss. Let him tell his story. No dice to muck it up.


Simple but crappy and assumes its the DMs story... instead of the groups story.
Extremes are still just extremes the wider the impact of dice the less like a story and the more "like a mush that has to be fixed" it can become. This is a pattern it does not necessarily mean that a diceless extreme is ideal NOR does it imply DM totalitarian determinism NOR does it imply game play free of mechanics.(see resource management) NOR does free of dice free you from randomness any time you have choices from limited knowledge you have random.
Dice can cause unexpected things to happen.. but the coolest unexpected things to happen are when your players suprise you with decisions and ideas.

Oh and yes dice "help" provide inspiration but there are some better sources for that too.

Its certainly subjective ... "do you like craps" or "chess" .. I have a game at home called nightmare chess which inserts random factors in to a regular game of chess.
Conversely I like MTG the cards also have randomness... but deck design often hinges around reducing that.

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

In fact, when I watch players build their characters in 4e it is very different process.    In general, everyone is focused on combat tactics alone.  Players will say, “Hey why don’t you take this power that grants CA so I can use this power X all the time.”   As an old school DM, I want to tell the players to shut it and stop min/maxing, but I can’t because that is just the nature of 4e.    Previous editions discouraged this kind of min/maxing, but 4e encourages it.

I saw it happening all the time in AD&D and 3.5E. (Didn't play the in-between editions much.)

In fact, people are now focused on min/maxing the party’s abilities and powers far more than thinking about their characters in role playing terms.

To the extent that I agree that this is true, it's because in 3.5E your abilities and powers didn't really matter (unless you were a caster). However, to get what effectiveness you could as a level-10 fighter, you had to plan most of your feats and equipment around the casters' favored effects. (Still, if two characters synergized to kill more than 10 enemies in one round, they were both casters.)



This kind of behavior makes me laugh.  Don't these players realize that as the DM I could kill them at a whim I so chose?  Don't they realize that if an encounter is too easy for them, I'll just toss a few more brutes in the mix?

I'm sure they not only realize it, but expect it.

Heroic individuals do heroic things. Heroic teams synergize well to do heroic things that are beyond what they could do individually. Naturally, they need to be presented with suitable challenges where they CAN do such heroic things; the master swordsman does not demonstrate his combat prowess by slicing a cake.

Even the themes and backgrounds you select in 4e have some sort of mechanic benefit to them.   In 4e I see players picking backgrounds for the sake of the bonus and not for the sake of role playing the background.   This is why in my game I require the players to write a paragraph on their characters mentality, physical description, and history before they play.

I picked my Bard's background for a single specific ability that is the entry benefit. It's pretty powerful for a level-1 character. However it is also part of the source material that is the inspiration for the character, and the theme is easy to fit in.

I loved that character because he was a self sufficient machine. 

So why did he hang around with those other guys all the time?
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I fear that they may try too hard to "satisfy everybody"

I just hope that doesn't actually morph into "offend nobody" - which is a lot easier but also actually satisfies pretty much nobody.

Unfortunately, I think "offend nobody" is the second most likely possibility - behind "satisfy the people who are already satisfied by 2E and Pathfinder but hate 4E".



In fact, I really wonder who 5E will be aiming for. Even if they want a modular system, there are choices that must be done, at the conceptual level, and these choices can't be apropriate for every kind of d&d player.
Let's take "balance" for instance - you must chose the criteria you will use to balance the game. In 4E, encounter balance was based on the concept that adventurers would, each day, have a given number of encounters, and that the typical encounter would be "equal" to the characters. In other words, the encounter balance was meant for dungeon exploration (and relatively short dungeons of four or five encounters). This created some problems for players/DMs who prefered to have their adventures outside of dungeons - there has been a lot of thread, over the years, on how you could "tweak" the rules for one encounter every few days of travel (or intrigue, or whatever).
It also meant that "big" dungeons (either with many, many encounters, or with bigger encounters : reinforcment, really big battles, etc) needed more work - because they were not the typical case the rules were balanced around.

I wonder what choices 5th edition will make. I think they will chose dungeons (probably longer ones) as their "typical day" basis - after all it is the traditional way to play D&D. But "dungeon exploration" is a very specific thing - and more fit for a boardgame than a RPG, I would say... Can the designers create multiple "balancing" options, giving dungeon explorers and more RP/intrigue/anything oriented player the same chances to like the game? Will the game be (as it still is now, in fact) made for a given style of play ?

Another example would be treasures : will 5E keep this rather... strange idea that heroes spend their time counting their gold coins, like in the old days of D&D and in modern MMORPG ? This is an old concept - I don't know many RPGs who are so enamored of the coins you gain, finding magic items, buying this or that and having lots of potions and so many magic items on yourself that you could warp space by sneezing... So will a character be more defined by the things he can do - or the things he has ? This is also a high conceptchoice, and an important one for "balance". And one that can make the game more or less interesting to different people.

The more I think about it, the less I think that "sacred cows" like dungeon exploration, plethora of magic items, dead enemies pocket wiping and so one will be abandoned - they are, after all, what everybody, even those who stopped playing long ago, remember of D&D, to the point of not wanting to play 4E because "D&D? you want to play door-monster-treasure oh look I'm sparky again ? come on... We already have a WoW account for this."
So, a D&D for those who always liked these aspects of D&D. I doubt they would try to enlarge the game by making other choices, throwing away the notions of dungeons, item collection, etc and make a "modern" wide-appeal RPG of epic heroes and adventures, and have the "dungeon-side" being one of the added options, not the basis of eveerything else.

Annyway - even these basic design choices are limiting, that's what I waned to say. Balance fighting around a "fight day", or balance each fight as a separate entity, means a completely different game, pleasing to different players... And these choices being the basis on what you are building the very core of the game may make it extremely difficult to introduce other "styles" of play without having to rebuild everything from scratch each time.
Well, let's hope they manage to make it...



Remember Tunnel Seventeen !
I loved that character because he was a self sufficient machine.

So why did he hang around with those other guys all the time?


QFT!

My group has had players from time to time with the attitude that dmgorgon espouses.  They were universally considered "trouble players" and all were eventually asked to not come back.  Like it or not, D&D is a cooperative game and always has been.  Characters who are anit-social, lone wolves, or psychotic are not allow in my campaigns because the game and story isn't about them or how cool they can be individually, it is about the group and how they can work together to overcome challenges.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

. I personally like the dice to help tell the story, even more than just whether I hit or miss. I like the challenge of shaping the narrative according to the dice. This is totally a personal asthetic concern. I understand other most likely prefer more control.


Dice make crappy story tellers...

Simple solution. Remove the To-Hit and Damage Rolls. Remove saving throws. Remove skill checks. Then you can tell your story exactly the way you want. Let the DM decide if the monster hit or miss. Let him tell his story. No dice to muck it up.


Simple but crappy and assumes its the DMs story... instead of the groups story.
Extremes are still just extremes the wider the impact of dice the less like a story and the more "like a mush that has to be fixed" it can become. This is a pattern it does not necessarily mean that a diceless extreme is ideal NOR does it imply DM totalitarian determinism NOR does it imply game play free of mechanics.(see resource management) NOR does free of dice free you from randomness any time you have choices from limited knowledge you have random.
Dice can cause unexpected things to happen.. but the coolest unexpected things to happen are when your players suprise you with decisions and ideas.

Oh and yes dice "help" provide inspiration but there are some better sources for that too.

Its certainly subjective ... "do you like craps" or "chess" .. I have a game at home called nightmare chess which inserts random factors in to a regular game of chess.
Conversely I like MTG the cards also have randomness... but deck design often hinges around reducing that.


Did you notice that I listed player centric rolls first and said you can tell your story by removing them. Then I listed DM centric rolls and said the DM can tell his story by removing those? Why bold the part about the DM but ignore the same section about the players? My guess is that you assume that I'm pushing some DM centric agenda because that's what you expect, rather than what I wrote. I will admit, I do assume it's kind of up to the DM to be in control of the monsters and how they react in the story. I suppose you COULD leave that up the players, but having the players control the monsters would mostly remove the need for a DM at all.

I find more often than not that the dice make amazing story tellers. My party wanted to try to break down an interdimensional ward on their way to negotiate with some witches and due to some poor dice rolls, ended up inadvertantly opening a dimensional gate that was cycling through different planes. I told them that if they were to enter this gate, they would go to whatever plane it was on when they entered. Elemental Chaos, Shadowfell, Astral Sea or Feywild. This was totally unplanned and improvised. They decided they wanted to jump in. It would have been much better for me if they had simply chosen the Feywild since they also had an unfinished quest that would ultimately lead there. They wanted to roll for it and so we did. They ended up in the Astral Sea and had to find their way home, ultimately through the Shadowfell. It was an amazing blast of an experience all set up because we let the dice tell the story. I never would have thought to do what the dice recommended but I'm thrilled I left myself open to it because it ended up being amazing. Some may struggle with this method but I embrace it.
1. The OGL was a travesty. I hope they don't bring it back, and I don't think they will. 2. The biggest problem I see with modularity is that it isn't just about rules, it's about aesthetics. Different editions of D&D had different aesthetics, and of you look at 1E and 2E the aesthetics set them apart more than anything. As little faith as I have in a modular system being able to appeal to conflicting tastes, it's the aesthetic aspect I expect them to royally fail at.




The GSL was a travesty.  The OGL was definitely not a travesty.  It was one of the best things to come out of the switch to 3rd edition.  Some of the best adventures form 3.0/3.5 era came from 3rd parties which would not have been possible without the OGL.  The OGL made possible lots of games such as True20, Savage Worlds, Mutants and Masterminds, and Pathfinder.  I cannot conceive how you can make such a statment with a straight face.  You are probably in for a dissapointment with 5E because one of the desingers has already said that the lessons learned from the GSL "mistake" will not be forgotten.
1. The OGL was a travesty. I hope they don't bring it back, and I don't think they will. 2. The biggest problem I see with modularity is that it isn't just about rules, it's about aesthetics. Different editions of D&D had different aesthetics, and of you look at 1E and 2E the aesthetics set them apart more than anything. As little faith as I have in a modular system being able to appeal to conflicting tastes, it's the aesthetic aspect I expect them to royally fail at.




The GSL was a travesty.  The OGL was definitely not a travesty.  It was one of the best things to come out of the switch to 3rd edition.  Some of the best adventures form 3.0/3.5 era came from 3rd parties which would not have been possible without the OGL.  The OGL made possible lots of games such as True20, Savage Worlds, Mutants and Masterminds, and Pathfinder.  I cannot conceive how you can make such a statment with a straight face.  You are probably in for a dissapointment with 5E because one of the desingers has already said that the lessons learned from the GSL "mistake" will not be forgotten.

Help me understand something. You say great third party adventures would not be possible without the OGL, yet I've played quite a few great third party adventures for 4E. What am I missing?
1. The OGL was a travesty. I hope they don't bring it back, and I don't think they will. 2. The biggest problem I see with modularity is that it isn't just about rules, it's about aesthetics. Different editions of D&D had different aesthetics, and of you look at 1E and 2E the aesthetics set them apart more than anything. As little faith as I have in a modular system being able to appeal to conflicting tastes, it's the aesthetic aspect I expect them to royally fail at.

 


The GSL was a travesty.  The OGL was definitely not a travesty.  It was one of the best things to come out of the switch to 3rd edition.  Some of the best adventures form 3.0/3.5 era came from 3rd parties which would not have been possible without the OGL.  The OGL made possible lots of games such as True20, Savage Worlds, Mutants and Masterminds, and Pathfinder.  I cannot conceive how you can make such a statment with a straight face.  You are probably in for a dissapointment with 5E because one of the desingers has already said that the lessons learned from the GSL "mistake" will not be forgotten.



Savage Worlds is not OGL. It has nothing to do with d20 at all. 
there are many things i would like to see in 5e.  perhaps foremost in my mind is a desire for 5e to be free of the handcuffs endured by prior editions with respect to errata.  if something needs correcting, no matter how significant the fix, then correct it.  i don't want to hear that the fix would alienate those who purchased the book containing the original material to be corrected.  also, adding alternatives is fine, so long as it it not intended as a substitute for fixing something that needs fixing.  i imagine that this could be accomplished by shifting the focus from printed material as primary source to digital material as primary source.
. I personally like the dice to help tell the story, even more than just whether I hit or miss. I like the challenge of shaping the narrative according to the dice. This is totally a personal asthetic concern. I understand other most likely prefer more control.


Dice make crappy story tellers...

Simple solution. Remove the To-Hit and Damage Rolls. Remove saving throws. Remove skill checks. Then you can tell your story exactly the way you want. Let the DM decide if the monster hit or miss. Let him tell his story. No dice to muck it up.


Simple but crappy and assumes its the DMs story... instead of the groups story.
Extremes are still just extremes the wider the impact of dice the less like a story and the more "like a mush that has to be fixed" it can become. This is a pattern it does not necessarily mean that a diceless extreme is ideal NOR does it imply DM totalitarian determinism NOR does it imply game play free of mechanics.(see resource management) NOR does free of dice free you from randomness any time you have choices from limited knowledge you have random.
Dice can cause unexpected things to happen.. but the coolest unexpected things to happen are when your players suprise you with decisions and ideas.

Oh and yes dice "help" provide inspiration but there are some better sources for that too.

Its certainly subjective ... "do you like craps" or "chess" .. I have a game at home called nightmare chess which inserts random factors in to a regular game of chess.
Conversely I like MTG the cards also have randomness... but deck design often hinges around reducing that.


Did you notice that I listed player centric rolls first and said you can tell your story by removing them. Then I listed DM centric rolls and said the DM can tell his story by removing those? Why bold the part about the DM but ignore the same section about the players? My guess is that you assume that I'm pushing some DM centric agenda because that's what you expect, rather than what I wrote.


You did remove the player rolls sure but I didnt read any of the "you" as being player, a lot of people seem to assume that when dice are removed things decay to DM fiat a very D&D oriented assumption (but which is kind of backed up by ADRPG which is heavily governed that way) since their has been quite a history of things like just about everything currently governed by skill checks being a DM fiat. I actually assumed you were saying that reduction of dice significance is DM slanted and that was why it wasnt desireable.



  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

. I personally like the dice to help tell the story, even more than just whether I hit or miss. I like the challenge of shaping the narrative according to the dice. This is totally a personal asthetic concern. I understand other most likely prefer more control.


Dice make crappy story tellers...

Simple solution. Remove the To-Hit and Damage Rolls. Remove saving throws. Remove skill checks. Then you can tell your story exactly the way you want. Let the DM decide if the monster hit or miss. Let him tell his story. No dice to muck it up.


Simple but crappy and assumes its the DMs story... instead of the groups story.
Extremes are still just extremes the wider the impact of dice the less like a story and the more "like a mush that has to be fixed" it can become. This is a pattern it does not necessarily mean that a diceless extreme is ideal NOR does it imply DM totalitarian determinism NOR does it imply game play free of mechanics.(see resource management) NOR does free of dice free you from randomness any time you have choices from limited knowledge you have random.
Dice can cause unexpected things to happen.. but the coolest unexpected things to happen are when your players suprise you with decisions and ideas.

Oh and yes dice "help" provide inspiration but there are some better sources for that too.

Its certainly subjective ... "do you like craps" or "chess" .. I have a game at home called nightmare chess which inserts random factors in to a regular game of chess.
Conversely I like MTG the cards also have randomness... but deck design often hinges around reducing that.


Did you notice that I listed player centric rolls first and said you can tell your story by removing them. Then I listed DM centric rolls and said the DM can tell his story by removing those? Why bold the part about the DM but ignore the same section about the players? My guess is that you assume that I'm pushing some DM centric agenda because that's what you expect, rather than what I wrote.


You did remove the player rolls sure but I didnt read any of the "you" as being player, a lot of people seem to assume that when dice are removed things decay to DM fiat a very D&D oriented assumption (but which is kind of backed up by ADRPG which is heavily governed that way) since their has been quite a history of things like just about everything currently governed by skill checks being a DM fiat. I actually assumed you were saying that reduction of dice significance is DM slanted and that was why it wasnt desireable.




In my games, I create villains and their motivations and the rest is pretty much collaborative. Even my villains are often based on the back stories of the players.

The point was just that if you think dice are not good story tellers, to remove them, then the story can be what everyone wants. I like letting the dice tell the story. It's one of the best ways to really surprise everyone (including the DM). The trick is to make sure that any options the dice have to tell the story are interesting ones.  I drive to D&D every weekend and I'm excited to find out what will happen and where the story will go. Because I honestly have no idea. Between giving the players a lot of narrative power and giving the dice a lot as well, its truly a mystery for me, the DM.  I'm forced to react (as the NPCs) to what happens each night just like the players are.
. I personally like the dice to help tell the story, even more than just whether I hit or miss. I like the challenge of shaping the narrative according to the dice. This is totally a personal asthetic concern. I understand other most likely prefer more control.


Dice make crappy story tellers...

Simple solution. Remove the To-Hit and Damage Rolls. Remove saving throws. Remove skill checks. Then you can tell your story exactly the way you want. Let the DM decide if the monster hit or miss. Let him tell his story. No dice to muck it up.


Simple but crappy and assumes its the DMs story... instead of the groups story.
Extremes are still just extremes the wider the impact of dice the less like a story and the more "like a mush that has to be fixed" it can become. This is a pattern it does not necessarily mean that a diceless extreme is ideal NOR does it imply DM totalitarian determinism NOR does it imply game play free of mechanics.(see resource management) NOR does free of dice free you from randomness any time you have choices from limited knowledge you have random.
Dice can cause unexpected things to happen.. but the coolest unexpected things to happen are when your players suprise you with decisions and ideas.

Oh and yes dice "help" provide inspiration but there are some better sources for that too.

Its certainly subjective ... "do you like craps" or "chess" .. I have a game at home called nightmare chess which inserts random factors in to a regular game of chess.
Conversely I like MTG the cards also have randomness... but deck design often hinges around reducing that.


Did you notice that I listed player centric rolls first and said you can tell your story by removing them. Then I listed DM centric rolls and said the DM can tell his story by removing those? Why bold the part about the DM but ignore the same section about the players? My guess is that you assume that I'm pushing some DM centric agenda because that's what you expect, rather than what I wrote.


You did remove the player rolls sure but I didnt read any of the "you" as being player, a lot of people seem to assume that when dice are removed things decay to DM fiat a very D&D oriented assumption (but which is kind of backed up by ADRPG which is heavily governed that way) since their has been quite a history of things like just about everything currently governed by skill checks being a DM fiat. I actually assumed you were saying that reduction of dice significance is DM slanted and that was why it wasnt desireable.




In my games, I create villains and their motivations and the rest is pretty much collaborative. Even my villains are often based on the back stories of the players.

The point was just that if you think dice are not good story tellers, to remove them, then the story can be what everyone wants. I like letting the dice tell the story. It's one of the best ways to really surprise everyone (including the DM).


Player choices all ways seem to me to be the best suprises..  dice are not that expressive

The trick is to make sure that any options the dice have to tell the story are interesting ones.  I drive to D&D every weekend and I'm excited to find out what will happen and where the story will go. Because I honestly have no idea. Between giving the players a lot of narrative power and giving the dice a lot as well, its truly a mystery for me, the DM.  I'm forced to react (as the NPCs) to what happens each night just like the players are.


Shrug the players part I will agree with..  in rpgs the more the dice did well the less it seemed to make sense.
DragonQuest had horrible spell failure system (... call it what it is huge and warty - nice flavors but way too easy to fail you are playing a young clueless apprentice)
If you had a spell caster dice might make big difference on the turn of a battle but it was just dumb luck fluke not because of the choices of the protagonists.

Its like using dice to determine wandering monsters.. or floor plans, big meh.
I remember the meandering pointless tunnels with monsters there because the dice said so... dice have been used as a short cut tool in place of thinking an aweful lot.

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

"Its like using dice to determine wandering monsters.. or floor plans, big meh.
I remember the meandering pointless tunnels with monsters there because the dice said so... dice have been used as a short cut tool in place of thinking an aweful lot."

You may be the unluckiest person in the world. Talk about DM's, you're afraid of bad ones...because it sounds like that's all you had. Talk about dice, you're afraid they'll do something bad because they did something bad in the past. I think I probably don't use dice the way you do/did when it was so horrible. I've never had these horrible experiences. You must be a magnet for "suck" or something because almost everything you run into is somehow the worst possible incarnation of it.
"Its like using dice to determine wandering monsters.. or floor plans, big meh.
I remember the meandering pointless tunnels with monsters there because the dice said so... dice have been used as a short cut tool in place of thinking an aweful lot."

You may be the unluckiest person in the world. Talk about DM's, you're afraid of bad ones...because it sounds like that's all you had.


Became a DM so that I didnt have to deal with problems like a DM that wouldnt let my Cleric of Odin carry a spear (same damage as a staff but because the flavor text didnt match that of the cleric)..
I did actually get ummm turned off on being a "player" because of it... this latest is perhaps the first edition of D&D I have been excited to do that.

Talk about dice, you're afraid they'll do something bad because they did something bad in the past. I think I probably don't use dice the way you do/did when it was so horrible. I've never had these horrible experiences. You must be a magnet for "suck" or something because almost everything you run into is somehow the worst possible incarnation of it.


Hey I never ran in to an explicitly Monty Haul DM? Though I did meet players whos characters had bags of holding with multiples of ALL the items from the DMG.


  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Since it's the story which pulls players in, and not just a collection of XP, GP, magic items, and abilities, wouldn't WotC's money be better spent giving DM lessons at fantasy gaming stores across the country? Just set your goal to be to train 10,000 young DM's over the next 3 years, and watch your book sales surge. I know this is kind of a lateral suggestion, but the 4e books are actually pretty good.

We really need a new rules system like we need another hole in our heads. Ok, the alignment system from AD&D 1.0 was FINE and didn't need to be changed; some DM's used alignment more, others used it less, which is how we customize our campaigns to our party's style of play. By and large, I've been impressed with 4e's materials. I just haven't bought many adventures because I prefer to tell my own stories. But dang I own a lot of 4e books. Too many to carry to gaming night, hence my investment in an iPad and PDF copies of said books. THAT'S the reality - players need their tools with them in an electronic form.

Alas, the online character builder produces AWFUL character sheets. This is the biggest complaint from my thursday night group, aside from how combat drags on forever with 7th-level and above characters, reduced to at-wills after the first several rounds. We're willing to forgo new powers from the online content in order to use the old XP-compatible character builder, whose character sheet layout was pretty near perfect.
My absolute greatest fear for this edition, for lack of a better place to express my sentiment (and lack of desire to read this thread to chime in with a QFT) is the apparent suggestion of crowdsourced design.

A lot of people here are good at emulating and approximating effects within the context of established rules but as far as game system design goes the vast majority of players are incredibly shortsighted.  It only sounds worse than it is, if everybody could design a game what would we be buying D&D for, right?

Example: I think 4e magic items are terrible.  Not only are they boring, but they failed at one of their own design goals which was to make character building less reliant on magic.  Instead they made character building intimately tied and dependent on magic items.  I would like to see a return in philosophy to 1e/2e D&D, in that I would like to see magic items as unnecessary and very special "gifts" to the players.  Keeping the 4e ideas of making sure items don't break game balance, and having levels and rarity is great too.  I definitely like the 4e artifacts and concordance rules.  I would also like to see magic item scaling.  Elric didn't throw away Stormbringer as he progressed in experience and power, characters shouldn't either.


I keep seeing this as a theme in this thread.  Our weekly group also held the 4e magic item requirements to be one of the top things that we felt needed to be addressed.

I'd be curious to hear from people who liked how it was done in 4E give some reasons.  I'm interested to know if this is something that can be solved with a modular approach. Not everything can but a most things can as far as I can tell. I wonder if this is an outlier.

Hmmmm, I'm not going to say that I exactly 'liked the way it was done', but I think there are things about the way it has been perceived that are odd. For one thing MANY of the items really are not much different from their incarnations in earlier editions. Take the Flaming Weapon that is in IIRC the PHB1. It is basically identical to the old 1e flametongue. The mechanics are virtually identical give or take a 4e-ism (IE there's no list of specific creatures it does extra damage against because we have keywords and vulnerabilities now, which takes care of that). Yet I recall a whole thread where someone complained bitterly about how 'bland' it was. What accounts for that? The item isn't any different, so that points to something else.

Another thing is people talking about "having to throw away your weapon to upgrade", yet AV1 contained complete rules for auto-updating weapons (and it was frankly such an obvious concept that most of the people I know who play had already invented exactly the same procedure anyway). Somehow it seems like 4e presented MANY things like this, but in practically all cases they just sort of sat by the wayside while people lament the lack of the very things they brought to the table. Again, what accounts for that?

The core oddity here though is the oddity of "not knowing what we were wishing for". Many people said they wanted items to be non-critical. 4e basically delivered that. Again, DMG2 provided a systematic rule that made them UTTERLY optional, but fundamentally items don't play much of a role in 4e characters. Yeah, you have some plusses you need, but that's trivial, in essence just built in bonus progression. What did people THINK would happen if items were optional? Obviously they couldn't be big dramatic things that have a big effect on the game or else they'd HAVE to be factored into the PCs power progression. The game would have to either assume you had them or assume you didn't. The very 'blandness' that people complain about is the result of getting what people wished for.

I don't know what factor it is about the organization, presentation, player mindset, or whatever other factor it is, but there is a real theme here. Somehow there's a gap in perception that isn't crossed with this particular game. The horrible part is when you start to really dissect the game and analyze what it is and what you would do, you don't find much. Its hard to actually come to grips with what separates the actuality of the game from what people see.
That is not dead which may eternal lie

Example: I think 4e magic items are terrible.  Not only are they boring, but they failed at one of their own design goals which was to make character building less reliant on magic.  Instead they made character building intimately tied and dependent on magic items.  I would like to see a return in philosophy to 1e/2e D&D, in that I would like to see magic items as unnecessary and very special "gifts" to the players.  Keeping the 4e ideas of making sure items don't break game balance, and having levels and rarity is great too.  I definitely like the 4e artifacts and concordance rules.  I would also like to see magic item scaling.  Elric didn't throw away Stormbringer as he progressed in experience and power, characters shouldn't either.


I keep seeing this as a theme in this thread.  Our weekly group also held the 4e magic item requirements to be one of the top things that we felt needed to be addressed.

I'd be curious to hear from people who liked how it was done in 4E give some reasons.  I'm interested to know if this is something that can be solved with a modular approach. Not everything can but a most things can as far as I can tell. I wonder if this is an outlier.

Hmmmm, I'm not going to say that I exactly 'liked the way it was done', but I think there are things about the way it has been perceived that are odd. For one thing MANY of the items really are not much different from their incarnations in earlier editions. Take the Flaming Weapon that is in IIRC the PHB1. It is basically identical to the old 1e flametongue. The mechanics are virtually identical give or take a 4e-ism (IE there's no list of specific creatures it does extra damage against because we have keywords and vulnerabilities now, which takes care of that). Yet I recall a whole thread where someone complained bitterly about how 'bland' it was. What accounts for that? The item isn't any different, so that points to something else.

Another thing is people talking about "having to throw away your weapon to upgrade", yet AV1 contained complete rules for auto-updating weapons (and it was frankly such an obvious concept that most of the people I know who play had already invented exactly the same procedure anyway). Somehow it seems like 4e presented MANY things like this, but in practically all cases they just sort of sat by the wayside while people lament the lack of the very things they brought to the table. Again, what accounts for that?

The core oddity here though is the oddity of "not knowing what we were wishing for". Many people said they wanted items to be non-critical. 4e basically delivered that. Again, DMG2 provided a systematic rule that made them UTTERLY optional, but fundamentally items don't play much of a role in 4e characters. Yeah, you have some plusses you need, but that's trivial, in essence just built in bonus progression. What did people THINK would happen if items were optional? Obviously they couldn't be big dramatic things that have a big effect on the game or else they'd HAVE to be factored into the PCs power progression. The game would have to either assume you had them or assume you didn't. The very 'blandness' that people complain about is the result of getting what people wished for.

I don't know what factor it is about the organization, presentation, player mindset, or whatever other factor it is, but there is a real theme here. Somehow there's a gap in perception that isn't crossed with this particular game. The horrible part is when you start to really dissect the game and analyze what it is and what you would do, you don't find much. Its hard to actually come to grips with what separates the actuality of the game from what people see.

Well, I think the simple answer is that people see what they want to see and don't see contraindications.  That much is probably certain. They're looking for something to complain about in many cases (not all, but many).

But I think you speak to a bigger issue. Do you think it's possible that the very thing people wanted (speaking generally about alot of the improvements in 4E, but also specifically about the magic item implimentation) ended up making the game less desirable for them?

Also, not to nitpick and I've certainly never made this complaint, but the 1E Flametongue was significantly cooler than the Flaming Weapon. And very different mechanically.

1. It could burst into flame on a secret command word or phrase and be used as an everburning torch.  The 4E Flaming Weapon....not so much. The flavor text mentions something like this but the only corresponding mechanic is for typing the damage. No out of combat utility is mentioned. (As a DM, I would allow it but I've seen this very thing not allowed in a public play scenario)
2. It also had a FOUR stage gradient of bonus to hit and damage, depending on what you were attacking.  The 4E version has a single static to hit bonus regardless of whether or not the enemy has the vulnerable fire keyword. So, whereas the flametongue increases your ability to hit the baddies who don't like fire, the Flaming Weapon does not.  In this regard, the wielder of a flametongue loves nothing better than to seek out those who don't like fire, because he would be MUCH more likely to hit them. The 4E Flaming Weapon has none of that feel.
3. The Flametongue was a CONSTANT ignite risk, meaning it could always cause ongoing fire damage (assuming the wielder had instructed it to ignite), whenever it came into contact with something that could burn, including enemies. The Flaming Weapon can only set an enemy on fire (cause ongoing fire) damage once per day.

Again, I'd never think to complain about this because, well, who cares, but honestly, the Flame Tongue is way cooler.

Just sayin.
"Its like using dice to determine wandering monsters.. or floor plans, big meh.
I remember the meandering pointless tunnels with monsters there because the dice said so... dice have been used as a short cut tool in place of thinking an aweful lot."

You may be the unluckiest person in the world. Talk about DM's, you're afraid of bad ones...because it sounds like that's all you had. Talk about dice, you're afraid they'll do something bad because they did something bad in the past. I think I probably don't use dice the way you do/did when it was so horrible. I've never had these horrible experiences. You must be a magnet for "suck" or something because almost everything you run into is somehow the worst possible incarnation of it.

Nothing is perfect. I will toss around a couple dice just to see what they tell me, and I don't think randomness is always a BAD way to spark some creativity. OTOH I know where garthanos is coming from too. I ignore as many die rolls that the rules say should mean X as I do toss a die to decide something for me. Dice are good when you need to decide something like a hit because nobody is impartial about it. Other times its more of a mixed bag. I can riff though, maybe not everyone can. I can just close my eyes and start with whatever comes to mind and half the time it totally surprises me already, and its usually fun. Anyway, we're all a bit different so its cool if there are a variety of tools for tapping into the old imagination. I know a lot of people that love all the old 1e DMG tables. I used a few of them here and there, but not a lot.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Well, I think the simple answer is that people see what they want to see and don't see contraindications.  That much is probably certain. They're looking for something to complain about in many cases (not all, but many).

But I think you speak to a bigger issue. Do you think it's possible that the very thing people wanted (speaking generally about alot of the improvements in 4E, but also specifically about the magic item implimentation) ended up making the game less desirable for them?

Also, not to nitpick and I've certainly never made this complaint, but the 1E Flametongue was significantly cooler than the Flaming Weapon. And very different mechanically.

1. It could burst into flame on a secret command word or phrase and be used as an everburning torch.  The 4E Flaming Weapon....not so much. The flavor text mentions something like this but the only corresponding mechanic is for typing the damage. No out of combat utility is mentioned. (As a DM, I would allow it but I've seen this very thing not allowed in a public play scenario)
2. It also had a FOUR stage gradient of bonus to hit and damage, depending on what you were attacking.  The 4E version has a single static to hit bonus regardless of whether or not the enemy has the vulnerable fire keyword. So, whereas the flametongue increases your ability to hit the baddies who don't like fire, the Flaming Weapon does not.  In this regard, the wielder of a flametongue loves nothing better than to seek out those who don't like fire, because he would be MUCH more likely to hit them. The 4E Flaming Weapon has none of that feel.
3. The Flametongue was a CONSTANT ignite risk, meaning it could always cause ongoing fire damage (assuming the wielder had instructed it to ignite), whenever it came into contact with something that could burn, including enemies. The Flaming Weapon can only set an enemy on fire (cause ongoing fire) damage once per day.

Again, I'd never think to complain about this because, well, who cares, but honestly, the Flame Tongue is way cooler.

Just sayin.



I don't know about looking for things to complain about. I think people just don't very often know how to articulate things. I don't think they very often analyze what it is that's bothering them. I think 4e magic item implementation shows a few things. First of all, while the leveling items were a logical concept, it just added a lot of clutter. In some ways it was good, but there were too many items that weren't really all that different. Clearly enhancement bonus should just go away. I doubt it will, but it really should. There should be less items, like with powers, the more you have the less distinctive each one is. Less can be more. If 4e has a cardinal sin it is just too cluttered with minor variations of things.

There are no really significant differences in mechanics between the 4e flaming weapon and the flametongue though. The '4 gradients' was unworkable because it listed a small list of specific monsters that Gary happened to think of when he wrote it down, and the chances you actually were fighting that monster was pretty slim. Having that many distinctions wasn't all that useful anyway, the "its flammable or it isn't" approach in the 4e version works because splitting hairs just isn't that distinctive. The difference between a +2 and a +3 is to piddly to be worth all the trouble that looking it up every time was worth.

I also don't understand why you discount the flavor text in 4e, yet basically the same flavor text in the 1e version is 'cool'. Of course fire sheds light, there's no way you can have fire that doesn't do that, the OD&D "Monsters & Treasure" description of a flametongue didn't mention light either IIRC and nobody had any problems realizing that fire sheds light or else you couldn't see it at all... I honestly don't recall anyone ever using any of the command word rules. Nothing would suck more than getting a magic item and having the DM tell you that you didn't know the command word, lol. It could be story hook, but here again is a difference that I liked with 4e, it didn't dictate that kind of story thing. You use a minor action to ignite it, well, what are you doing with that minor action? Its up to the players/DM to decide. Again, saying some command phrase should be such an obvious possibility it really doesn't need to be spelled out. Also, the whole thing with doing more damage isn't a 'one time thing' with 4e either, all your attacks are fire attacks, so anything vulnerable to fire always takes fire damage. It is just a more robust way to do the same thing as the 1e version, and the 'damage boost' power is a whole extra bennie, you can do extra damage to ANYTHING once a day/encounter (whichever it is).

Anyway, it illustrates something that I observe a lot these days. People seem to need every little thing spelled out. The most amazingly obvious things, like 'fire makes light' or 'you can upgrade an item and call it a treasure parcel' seem to escape people. I don't know if there was something different in the water back in the day or what, lol.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
The whole "everything for everybody" approach is going to be very difficult to achieve and playtesting has the potential to be a giant mess unless it's handled properly.



I disagree. After reading through this forum, I've come to the realization that WotC can NEVER reconcile the hurt feelings after players spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a game system, only to see it scrapped in 3 years. No matter how much Pathfinder codpiece you kiss, you're not getting those players back - they've already made their investment in a new system. The ONLY path for WotC's continued success is to bring new players to the game - which points back to my suggestion earlier today: don't focus on rules, focus on teaching DM's to be better storytellers. 

Since so many people complain about the "flavor" missing from 4e magic items, is it the DM's fault for not building a story around these items? or WotC's fault for putting magic items in the Players' Handbook, and expecting them to be handed out with the frequency of Pez candy?

The BEST thing I've gotten from attending DDXP and GenCon is to play many, many games of 4e with different DM's of all stripes and colors. In one game, my DM and I were a party that got TPK'd. The DM for that game apologized, but all 6 players at the table THANKED HIM for running an awesome game that kept us on the seat of our pants. It encouraged my DM to take the kid gloves off and throw trickier challenges at our party. [At higher levels, some DM's stop using minions. This is a mistake. Push your players to their boundaries. Be fair, not mean, and force them to use their heads to think through situations so it's not just a splatterfest]

You can have a fun time playing any edition of D&D. The most important thing to remember is that this is a GAME and you're supposed to have fun. With my group of experienced gamers (half of us are in our 40's) we've spent entire evenings roleplaying with 4e rules, yet never needing to roll dice for a single encounter. Not all new players and DM's could do this, I'm certain, but since we're all working together to create interesting characters and even more interesting stories, I'm not sure how changing something as unimportant as the ruleset would encourage us to play more D&D or buy more books. This has taught me that the thing D&D needs most is not new books and a new system of rules for us to learn. No, we need more DM's who understand how to bring their friends together, or even strangers, and teach them how to ROLE PLAY. Don't forget that the 4e book Players Strategy Guide talks not just about min/maxing your characters, but about using your imagination and creativity. 

And feel free to tack on the Wil Wheaton quote: DON'T BE A (substitute name for Richard). That's a message that far too many gamers don't take to heart (along with the positive effects of the regular use of soap).
Do you think it's possible that the very thing people wanted (speaking generally about alot of the improvements in 4E, but also specifically about the magic item implimentation) ended up making the game less desirable for them?



This is really exactly what happened. 4e is a necessary iteration in game development that consists basically of smashing everything in the face with a bat until it's balanced. Lots of people don't like the extremely even-keel gameplay that results at this stage. The good news is that the next step is to return to step 1 and add more flavorful features back in now that the base is nice and balanced. 

Psychology shows again and again that humans are tremendously bad at predicting what we want, it wouldn't be surprising at all if that's the case here and I think it almost certainly is.  
Well, I think the simple answer is that people see what they want to see and don't see contraindications.  That much is probably certain. They're looking for something to complain about in many cases (not all, but many).

But I think you speak to a bigger issue. Do you think it's possible that the very thing people wanted (speaking generally about alot of the improvements in 4E, but also specifically about the magic item implimentation) ended up making the game less desirable for them?

Also, not to nitpick and I've certainly never made this complaint, but the 1E Flametongue was significantly cooler than the Flaming Weapon. And very different mechanically.

1. It could burst into flame on a secret command word or phrase and be used as an everburning torch.  The 4E Flaming Weapon....not so much. The flavor text mentions something like this but the only corresponding mechanic is for typing the damage. No out of combat utility is mentioned. (As a DM, I would allow it but I've seen this very thing not allowed in a public play scenario)
2. It also had a FOUR stage gradient of bonus to hit and damage, depending on what you were attacking.  The 4E version has a single static to hit bonus regardless of whether or not the enemy has the vulnerable fire keyword. So, whereas the flametongue increases your ability to hit the baddies who don't like fire, the Flaming Weapon does not.  In this regard, the wielder of a flametongue loves nothing better than to seek out those who don't like fire, because he would be MUCH more likely to hit them. The 4E Flaming Weapon has none of that feel.
3. The Flametongue was a CONSTANT ignite risk, meaning it could always cause ongoing fire damage (assuming the wielder had instructed it to ignite), whenever it came into contact with something that could burn, including enemies. The Flaming Weapon can only set an enemy on fire (cause ongoing fire) damage once per day.

Again, I'd never think to complain about this because, well, who cares, but honestly, the Flame Tongue is way cooler.

Just sayin.



I don't know about looking for things to complain about. I think people just don't very often know how to articulate things. I don't think they very often analyze what it is that's bothering them. I think 4e magic item implementation shows a few things. First of all, while the leveling items were a logical concept, it just added a lot of clutter. In some ways it was good, but there were too many items that weren't really all that different. Clearly enhancement bonus should just go away. I doubt it will, but it really should. There should be less items, like with powers, the more you have the less distinctive each one is. Less can be more. If 4e has a cardinal sin it is just too cluttered with minor variations of things.

There are no really significant differences in mechanics between the 4e flaming weapon and the flametongue though. The '4 gradients' was unworkable because it listed a small list of specific monsters that Gary happened to think of when he wrote it down, and the chances you actually were fighting that monster was pretty slim. Having that many distinctions wasn't all that useful anyway, the "its flammable or it isn't" approach in the 4e version works because splitting hairs just isn't that distinctive. The difference between a +2 and a +3 is to piddly to be worth all the trouble that looking it up every time was worth.

I also don't understand why you discount the flavor text in 4e, yet basically the same flavor text in the 1e version is 'cool'. Of course fire sheds light, there's no way you can have fire that doesn't do that, the OD&D "Monsters & Treasure" description of a flametongue didn't mention light either IIRC and nobody had any problems realizing that fire sheds light or else you couldn't see it at all... I honestly don't recall anyone ever using any of the command word rules. Nothing would suck more than getting a magic item and having the DM tell you that you didn't know the command word, lol. It could be story hook, but here again is a difference that I liked with 4e, it didn't dictate that kind of story thing. You use a minor action to ignite it, well, what are you doing with that minor action? Its up to the players/DM to decide. Again, saying some command phrase should be such an obvious possibility it really doesn't need to be spelled out. Also, the whole thing with doing more damage isn't a 'one time thing' with 4e either, all your attacks are fire attacks, so anything vulnerable to fire always takes fire damage. It is just a more robust way to do the same thing as the 1e version, and the 'damage boost' power is a whole extra bennie, you can do extra damage to ANYTHING once a day/encounter (whichever it is).

Anyway, it illustrates something that I observe a lot these days. People seem to need every little thing spelled out. The most amazingly obvious things, like 'fire makes light' or 'you can upgrade an item and call it a treasure parcel' seem to escape people. I don't know if there was something different in the water back in the day or what, lol.

"There are no really significant differences in mechanics between the 4e flaming weapon and the flametongue though. The '4 gradients' was unworkable because it listed a small list of specific monsters that Gary happened to think of when he wrote it down, and the chances you actually were fighting that monster was pretty slim. "

I would call a weapon with a static +1 vs. EVERYTHING and another weapon with +1, +2, +3, +4 vs. a varied list of creatures pretty significant.

If you want to say it was unworkable (I disagree) that's one thing. BUt to say  they're not different, well, that's just not true.

A "flaming" weapon that can cause ongoing fire damage once per day and one that can do it constantly is also a pretty significant mechanical difference IMO.
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