CCG v. 1.95

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Thanks to Wolfstar76 for the link: bit.ly/djHar6

Meaningful changes:
* New retraining rules: Keep your race and class; everything else is up for grabs
* Rules updates go into effect 30 days after their release (though you can choose to use them earlier if you want)
* You only need three members of your AdCo at the table to get the bonus action point
 
* New retraining rules: Keep your race and class; everything else is up for grabs



Wait, anything? Including ability scores? As many as you want when you level???
It does seem a little odd to allow completely free retraining.

It does still say "It has a workspace for your retraining notes, so you can write down what one option (if any) you retrained when you gained a level."

I'd note does this mean you can retrain your paragon path or epic destiny?

Wow. That seems to require an explanatory note of "Hey, here's why we did this."

 

 
* New retraining rules: Keep your race and class; everything else is up for grabs



Wait, anything? Including ability scores? As many as you want when you level???



It does say "any and all character-based rules options."  However, I would argue that ability scores are considered a character based rules option.  However, they may very well have meant that so you can take advantage of different builds/change track after a harsh update.

I'll get Wolfstar to start up his poking stick to try to get a clarification.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
IMO, these are two huge (HUGE!) changes.

Retraining in the RPGA: Don't like any of your powers, class features, skills, or feats?  Just level up, and then dump them all!  Min/maxers rejoice!!!

Rules Updates: The option to switch out a magic item for another one of the same type at the same level is incredible, especially with how many changes have been made to AV.  I hope this applies retroactively, because I can find much better Level 7 armor for my ranger than +2 Veteran's.

On another note, let me be the first to take credit for the new adventuring company requirements.  I submit the following post from September 18, 2009:

Suggestion: Relax the adventuring company requirements, and allow the extra action point if there are three members of the same company at the table.  I play (and I imagine many people play) with a large weekly group, and there are different people at the table every time I sit down.  Getting four people from the same company at the same table is difficult, if not impossible.  I think lowering the action point requirement would (1) make adventuring companies more useful, (2) prevent adventuring companies with 40-character rosters just to get 4 at the same table, and (3) prevent players from forming a company right before the mod starts just so they can get the extra action point.

I thought that change had no chance...no chance.  I'm floored to see that someone took it seriously.



Wait, anything? Including ability scores? As many as you want when you level???



We asked the same question to the globals, and the answer was: yes, including ability scores.
This is to enable people to switch builds that have different requirements (i.e. a Cha paladin to a Str paladin build).

The onyl exception are classes (including hybrid) and race. The rest is as you want it.

The basic idea is that people can in this way use new options when they become available (and buy new books. And Dragon subscriptions. So go to our store and empty your wallets.).
It is all up to the honor system to prevent abuse of these new options.

Gomez

I'll get Wolfstar to start up his poking stick to try to get a clarification.



Wait, anything? Including ability scores? As many as you want when you level???



We asked the same question to the globals, and the answer was: yes, including ability scores.
This is to enable people to switch builds that have different requirements (i.e. a Cha paladin to a Str paladin build).

Gomez


Seems I was beat to the punch, but I can try to get a more direct answer out of Chris tomorrow when I finally make it to DDXP.

I suspect that with the Organized Play seminar later today, however, that someone else will almost certainly ask during the Q&A. 
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

On another note, let me be the first to take credit for the new adventuring company requirements.  I submit the following post from September 18, 2009:

I thought that change had no chance...no chance.  I'm floored to see that someone took it seriously.



Was Windows 7 your idea as well? ;)

Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
It does seem a little odd to allow completely free retraining.



It's all that crazy Spellplague energy running around...  Tongue out

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

No listing of any 2010 player resources becoming legal.

Looks like a huge oversight, as it only lists 2009 resources.

So, as written, the Dragonborn book won't be legal anytime soon. 
On another note, let me be the first to take credit for the new adventuring company requirements.  I submit the following post from September 18, 2009:

I thought that change had no chance...no chance.  I'm floored to see that someone took it seriously.



Was Windows 7 your idea as well? ;)


Of course I called my mom!  She had to know this!
Conflicting statements:

"Whenever your character gains a level, you may retrain out any and all character-based rules options, except for the following:
• Your character race (you may retrain race-based options that you chose)
• Your character class (you may retrain your build)"

"• Select a character region. Choose a region within the Forgotten Realms for your character. This is the place where your character hails from or considers their place of origin. Once you've chosen a region for your character, that choice remains for the rest of your character’s life. It’s as much a part of your character as its race. You cannot retrain your region, although you may retrain your background(s)."

Interestingly, it seems that according to the RAW, you could be from Akanul, but have a background from Windrise Ports.  Which could make some sense in a rp way.  "Oh yeah, my family owns vast tracts of land in Akanul, but I was sent to boarding school in Windrise Ports, and grew up running numbers for a crime syndicate there..."

I agree that ability score retraining needs to be explicitly called out.

Also, the sections on effective dates for rules changes is very confusing.  It says they become effective 30 days after publishing on the WoTC site, but this document says "effective Feb 1st".  Then it goes on to say that "Players who are able to incorporate the updates into their characters sooner than 30 days are encouraged to do so." 


The implication is that you can not only fix problems with your PCs before the 30 day-effective date, but you can take advantage of new content as well.  So, one could ask whether the same applies to this version of the document.  Can players incorporate the updates into their characters sooner than the effective date?  Or is the Feb 1st date meant to be the "publishing date" and the "effective date" is March 1st?

The new CCG does not contain the Advancement Tracker and Adventure Log which were at the end of the previous version. Are these going to be posted as separate downloads?
Yes, I am a defender apologist. A Rock and a Hard Place: A Warden Handbook
So, as written, the Dragonborn book won't be legal anytime soon. 



Actually, under "Player's Handbook Series" you'll notice the additional text stating "including races series." Clearly, the Dragonborn book and all PHB Races books will be legal upon release.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
Interestingly, it seems that according to the RAW, you could be from Akanul, but have a background from Windrise Ports.  Which could make some sense in a rp way.  "Oh yeah, my family owns vast tracts of land in Akanul, but I was sent to boarding school in Windrise Ports, and grew up running numbers for a crime syndicate there..."



You can only have one regional background regardless of whether or not you have a benefit from it - you can't be from Akanul and then pick the benefit of Windrise Ports. You could choose to be from Akanul and take the regional benefit and then retrain it to be Born Under a Bad Sign.
So, as written, the Dragonborn book won't be legal anytime soon. 



Actually, under "Player's Handbook Series" you'll notice the additional text stating "including races series." Clearly, the Dragonborn book and all PHB Races books will be legal upon release.



Ahhh.  Thanks
Interestingly, it seems that according to the RAW, you could be from Akanul, but have a background from Windrise Ports.  Which could make some sense in a rp way.  "Oh yeah, my family owns vast tracts of land in Akanul, but I was sent to boarding school in Windrise Ports, and grew up running numbers for a crime syndicate there..."



You can only have one regional background regardless of whether or not you have a benefit from it - you can't be from Akanul and then pick the benefit of Windrise Ports. You could choose to be from Akanul and take the regional benefit and then retrain it to be Born Under a Bad Sign.



"Select a character background. You may choose a character background benefit from any player resource. You may gain a background benefit from your character region (if the region has a benefit listed in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide) or one based on your race, occupation or other background (as listed in Player's Handbook 2 and other sources). However, you only gain the mechanical benefit of one background, not from both your region and another source."

I think you are correct here, and that I misread on first pass. 
I think you are correct here, and that I misread on first pass. 



np. That CCG is a lot to take in.

I'm noticing another issue actually - odd/even stats. As an example, there's no benefit to having an odd stat other than you can make it even. So as an example, you could now do the following:
Have a Wizard start with a 20 Int/14 Wis.
At 4th, rebuild so technically, you started with a 19 Int/15 Wis(which is now 20/16) and have 2 free points for somewhere else.
At 8th, rebuild so you now have a 22 Int/16.

And so on. 
I'm assuming/hoping that this doesn't mean you can retrain all your feats to paragon-tier feats as soon as you hit level 11?

I'm guessing that that was not the intent, but RAW it sounds like this is possible.  It should be clarified that an 11th level character should still only be able to have up to 2 paragon tier feats (one new one and one retrain) if that was the intent.

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

Yeah, the odd/even stats thing looks like it could pretty easily be abused, and probably will be.  Don't like it.
I'm assuming/hoping that this doesn't mean you can retrain all your feats to paragon-tier feats as soon as you hit level 11?

I'm guessing that that was not the intent, but RAW it sounds like this is possible.  It should be clarified that an 11th level character should still only be able to have up to 2 paragon tier feats (one new one and one retrain) if that was the intent.




I don't even think character builder is capable of handling that.
You can do it within character builder, but it will end up telling you that you've houseruled it.  You simply override the feat selection for any level by clicking the little house icon, and telling it to list illegal elements.  It won't track it, and it will tell you you've houseruled, but you can do it.
No listing of any 2010 player resources becoming legal.

You'll note that they made any books with "Player's Handbook" or "Power" in the title legal, which accounts for most resources.  (No blanket allowance for "Adventurer's Vault ___", which is odd.)

But, yeah, this CCG does have a "Well, we have to get something out there before DDXP" feel to it--the announcements that the next document would be a total reworking under a new name did not come to pass and a number of outdated references abound ("player resources through December 2009", "paragon tier play will begin in 3rd quarter 2009" and the obvious "Year 1: August 2008-December 2009").

I am kind of perplexed as to the implementation delay until February 1st.  Basically, the primary impact of this is that you can't use the willy-nilly retraining rules, the errata requiring a save to teleport someone vertically or the relaxed AdCo rules for DDXP.  I'm not seeing much value in delaying any of those.

Conflicting statements

Remember that they have chosen to go with the bizarre and confusing route of having separate RPGA and LFR character creation instructions, with the latter overriding the former.

Saying "You can change anything except race and class" and "You can't retrain your home region" makes as much sense as disallowing FRPG backgrounds on page 2 and then allowing them on page 7.
No listing of any 2010 player resources becoming legal.

You'll note that they made any books with "Player's Handbook" or "Power" in the title legal, which accounts for most resources.  (No blanket allowance for "Adventurer's Vault ___", which is odd.)

But, yeah, this CCG does have a "Well, we have to get something out there before DDXP" feel to it--the announcements that the next document would be a total reworking under a new name did not come to pass and a number of outdated references abound ("player resources through December 2009", "paragon tier play will begin in 3rd quarter 2009" and the obvious "Year 1: August 2008-December 2009").

I am kind of perplexed as to the implementation delay until February 1st.  Basically, the primary impact of this is that you can't use the willy-nilly retraining rules, the errata requiring a save to teleport someone vertically or the relaxed AdCo rules for DDXP.  I'm not seeing much value in delaying any of those.

Conflicting statements

Remember that they have chosen to go with the bizarre and confusing route of having separate RPGA and LFR character creation instructions, which the latter overriding the former.

Saying "You can change anything except race and class" and "You can't retrain your home region" makes as much sense as disallowing FRPG backgrounds on page 2 and then allowing them on page 7.



Ya.  I kind of got that "post something, anything because we said we would" vibe from the document.

I've ragged before about WOTC's (lack of) editing, and this looks like another example.  The retraining rules look like a blanket allowance to rebuild at each level.  If this is the intent, then more clearly stating it would be a good thing.  If this is not the intent, then better stating the retraining rules would still be a good thing.

I understand that there is some disagreement as to whether or not 4e should have the precise wording and templating that Magic:The Gathering uses to clearly define rules - preferring to instead leave it up to individual DM's to run their games with some wiggle room.  The difference with LFR being that in a shared world, having rules change from DM to DM makes for a poor play experience.  I would hope that even if the player resources leave in wiggle room, the RPGA/LFR documents would be explicitly clear as to what is allowed and not allowed.
I'm assuming/hoping that this doesn't mean you can retrain all your feats to paragon-tier feats as soon as you hit level 11?


I'd like to see an "as if" clause, personally.  "You may retrain any character element except race and class, but the resulting character must be legal, as if it had been built using the regular rules only with different choices made at earlier levels"

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima


I am kind of perplexed as to the implementation delay until February 1st.  Basically, the primary impact of this is that you can't use the willy-nilly retraining rules, the errata requiring a save to teleport someone vertically or the relaxed AdCo rules for DDXP.  I'm not seeing much value in delaying any of those.



I suspect people that already printed their characters and didn't/couldn't take their laptops and printes to the show with them see the value.  This keeps the playing field level for everyone at the con.

Conflicting statements

Remember that they have chosen to go with the bizarre and confusing route of having separate RPGA and LFR character creation instructions, with the latter overriding the former.

Saying "You can change anything except race and class" and "You can't retrain your home region" makes as much sense as disallowing FRPG backgrounds on page 2 and then allowing them on page 7.



Which makes perfect sense.

The first examples are for the RPGA in General - since there are new programs (allegedly) being announced for this year we need those general guidelines.

The latter examples are for LFR specifically.

The general rules stop people in, say, a (future/potential/rumored) Dark Sun RPGA event/campaign taking LFR backgrounds.
The LFR rules allow LFR backgrounds.

This isn't a complicated setup.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Yeah, the odd/even stats thing looks like it could pretty easily be abused, and probably will be.  Don't like it.



Maybe that falls into the "honor system" category.  From the section on changing your character because of Errata:

 



Players are on the honor system to make the minimum necessary changes.  If your armor needs to change because of a class feature update, changing your (unaffected) weapon at the same time is not a legitimate use of these rules.



If you decide you want your CHA-paladin to be a STR-paladin, everyone would agree that changing your stats is a fair and reasonable use of the new retraining rules.  If you're constantly retraining your stats to have all even stats all the time - I think it's pretty clear that this is abusing the rule and cheating. 
There are plenty of ways that people can cheat/abuse the system while still technically not breaking any rules (like having a MYRE with one minion guarding a big pile of gold). 

I think the position from the higher ups is that if people are going to cheat, they're going to cheat (there's no LFR-cops running around) and that people should use common sense and the honor system.  (This isn't a direct quote or anything and I'm no one official, but I've heard that sentiment floating around in response to various possible rule abuses.) 

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

Yeah, the odd/even stats thing looks like it could pretty easily be abused, and probably will be.  Don't like it.

I'll admit that I don't see how it's abusive. Quirky, I'll grant, but it's a fairly negligible mechanic difference that lets people not have to worry about or second guess which ability score array they happened to choose at 1st level.

Mind you, I think it's most useful for characters, especially older ones, that are suddenly confronted with completely new options (like Dual Implement Spellcaster and Enlarge Spell) that they want to qualify for, but had not factored in when they didn't exist.

As far as I can tell, this entire set of changes is made to reduce the... debate... that occurs whenever there is a significant new errata or product, around characters 'ruined' and/or 'unplayable'. At heart, LFR is about getting together with some friends or soon to be friends and having a good time for a few hours. This change just makes it even more so than before, at the sacrifice of a minor amount of balance (now everyone has the option to be as min/max-ed as everyone else, rather than those who plan several levels ahead getting a leg up, and your capability to be optimized for a specific level has gotten a huge boost) and... character verisimilitude (you can have a character change radically from level to level, which is good for longevity of enjoying the character, but tough when it comes to 'Ahh, you're playing your valiant fey warlock / paladin, right? Or, wait, you're a soulsucking Dark warlock / rogue this week? Hrmm)

Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
I'll admit that I don't see how it's abusive


In the face of all the other things that can be done, no it's not that abusive. But it is in the face of the base 4E retraining rules.

Another thing that comes up. Hybrids. If you can't retrain your class and race ... I don't believe 1) you can retrain your PC into hybrids if they weren't already AND 2) you can't retrain which classes you hybridized into (e.g. you're always a hybrid warlock/paladin). Not a bad thing per se, but I wanted to see if others agreed with this interpretation.


I'll admit that I don't see how it's abusive


In the face of all the other things that can be done, no it's not that abusive. But it is in the face of the base 4E retraining rules.

Another thing that comes up. Hybrids. If you can't retrain your class and race ... I don't believe 1) you can retrain your PC into hybrids if they weren't already AND 2) you can't retrain which classes you hybridized into (e.g. you're always a hybrid warlock/paladin). Not a bad thing per se, but I wanted to see if others agreed with this interpretation.



This is the impression I got from Chris when we spoke about it.

Hybrid (or HybridX/HybridY) is your class.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Yeah, the odd/even stats thing looks like it could pretty easily be abused, and probably will be.  Don't like it.

I'll admit that I don't see how it's abusive. Quirky, I'll grant, but it's a fairly negligible mechanic difference that lets people not have to worry about or second guess which ability score array they happened to choose at 1st level.



The major difference is that you can now do the following stat array a significant percentage of the time(14 out of 30 levels):
17/15/12/11
instead of
16/16/12/12

When you essentially can donate one point from your 4th stat to bump up your primary stat by one, there's going to be a lot of pressure to do it.
I'll admit that I don't see how it's abusive. Quirky, I'll grant, but it's a fairly negligible mechanic difference



It might be minor (a +1 modifier difference max) but it is pure power creep.  

With powers and feats, even the most powerful options still means you give up taking anything else in that power or feat slot.  With fluxuating stats, you give up nothing to drop your 18 stat to a 17 and then apply a level bump to it while freeing up 2-4 ability points to put into other stats.  Or you enjoy 3 points into a secondary/tertiary stat for levels 1-3 while you start with a 16 prime stat, then cash them in to bump your primary stat to a 17 base to level bump it to 18.
This seems pretty loosey-goosey, but it looks like a more accurate representation of how many people (at least those in my area) play LFR.

I like this bit the best though:

Found magic items: When a found magic item is affected by an official rules update, the player does not receive any "compensation." They can … replace it with a new, legal item of the appropriate type whose item level is less than or equal to the old item’s level.



Isn't that compensation?

Interestingly, it seems that according to the RAW, you could be from Akanul, but have a background from Windrise Ports.  Which could make some sense in a rp way.  "Oh yeah, my family owns vast tracts of land in Akanul, but I was sent to boarding school in Windrise Ports, and grew up running numbers for a crime syndicate there..."



You can only have one regional background regardless of whether or not you have a benefit from it - you can't be from Akanul and then pick the benefit of Windrise Ports. You could choose to be from Akanul and take the regional benefit and then retrain it to be Born Under a Bad Sign.



"Select a character background. You may choose a character background benefit from any player resource. You may gain a background benefit from your character region (if the region has a benefit listed in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide) or one based on your race, occupation or other background (as listed in Player's Handbook 2 and other sources). However, you only gain the mechanical benefit of one background, not from both your region and another source."

I think you are correct here, and that I misread on first pass. 



Sure? I know FR backgrounds are not player-legal (they are specifically exempt in the CCG), but Dragon backgrounds should be. Seems like you could be from Moonshea and take the Sarifal benefit (or your example—Akanûl/Windrise Ports), because they qualify as from "other sources." You just can't be from Impiltur and take the Aglarond benefit.
Sure? I know FR backgrounds are not player-legal (they are specifically exempt in the CCG), but Dragon backgrounds should be. Seems like you could be from Moonshea and take the Sarifal benefit (or your example—Akanûl/Windrise Ports), because they qualify as from "other sources." You just can't be from Impiltur and take the Aglarond benefit.



That seems to be the way that everyone interprets it (Edit: or how they like it), so I think you'd be in the minority. That said, yeah, I do think it seems sketchy, but wordsmithing/setting up the rule for saying you can take a Scales of War background and be from Cormyr but NOT take the Windrise Ports (FR background from Dragon) background and be from Cormyr might be kind of difficult too.
I'll admit that I don't see how it's abusive


In the face of all the other things that can be done, no it's not that abusive. But it is in the face of the base 4E retraining rules.

In the same way that the ability to retrain a feat at all is 'abusive' compared to not doing so? I suspect that people might just have a lower threshold for what is abusive than I do. I notice that sometimes for cries of 'broken' too.

I've said it before, but when I DM what I really care about is that people have characters that are legal and possible. Now those characters will occasionally have a +1 to AC/Reflex or +1 to attack and damage over a character that couldn't retrain as thoroughly as the previous CCG, but I don't expect it to drastically change the play experience. I actually imagine that most people won't even notice other people doing it. One of my characters started with 17/15/13 and I think one person only noticed it once in 11 levels.

It does mean that one guy I know who started the game during a Weekend in the Realms and did his stat buy like a more 3e-ish one (lots of 14s, with his racial bump bringing his primary to a 17) will perhaps catch up that point in attack he's been missing for the last 12 levels. Maybe even pick up two, depending on how much it's bothered him. But, whatever. It's all a game.

I never would have expected the powers what be to choose this for LFR, but I 100% understand why they did, and I do actually think it's the correct choice for this campaign, because we lack DMs to oversee and modify incoming changes, paths, etc. I actually have effectively played a few home games done this way, and it's never been a problem (my Saturday games, where I DM 2/3 of the time, play 1/3 of the time, has long had a 'If you've got a problem with your character, change it between sessions. That includes stats, paths, everything. Feel free to optimize your stats for your level. For items, talk to the DM and we'll figure it out.' policy). In another game I play, it's almost the opposite - no item changes, very little item control, restricted sources, restricted retraining. And that works too, just requires more planning.

But LFR isn't a tightly woven campaign where your character's personality and history is woven into the ongoing plots, you meet up with and adventure with the same group, you bond with NPCs, lose them, build side interests, etc. It's not a campaign in which you start out off the farm and watch the steady incremental improvement of your character as you follow a specific path of advancement, growing over time in a clear and recorded manner.

It's a lot more about having fun. We sit down with a bunch of other random folks, with semi-random characters, and we find that we've somehow teleported from whatever zany spot we were in last week to a new one this week, where someone's daughter needs rescuing from a lost temple, and we have fun doing it. It's more than beer and pretzels, certainly, but it doesn't need to have the restrictions that a normal campaign does to ensure that every level looks a lot like the previous one. It's better served by making sure that every level is at least as fun as the previous one. No matter what changes may happen.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director

But LFR isn't a tightly woven campaign where your character's personality and history is woven into the ongoing plots, you meet up with and adventure with the same group, you bond with NPCs, lose them, build side interests, etc. It's not a campaign in which you start out off the farm and watch the steady incremental improvement of your character as you follow a specific path of advancement, growing over time in a clear and recorded manner.



It might not be "tightly woven", but in the group I play in most often, personality and history definitely are woven into the plots. In the MINI campaign, our characters are built specifically for the campaign and we adventure in the same group and expect to continue to do so; even in regular sessions who is playing makes a huge difference. Less so with NPCs, but there are definitely ones we look for. And my main character started as a nomad herder, followed a clear path of advancement (trained in Waterdeep as a mage dispute his fighter upbringing, and escapes occasionally to do real "manly" work, oft with his sister harassing him). He has grow over time in a clear and recored manner. Other characters are working out similar stories.

I think it's a little unfair to assume that -- using your phrase -- LFR is little more than a "beer and pretzels" game for everyone. So your argument that radical retraining for pretty much any reason is a good thing seems, to me, based on a very false premise. 

I really detest this updated rules. It makes the "Living" part of the campaign a hollow shell -- essentially the only real facts about your character are his name, race, and level. Anything else is up for grabs.  Now, hopefully, sane people will just ignore this ruling (or more likely, just eek out that extra +1 stat and retrain maybe two things this level instead of one), but the message it sends out about the campaign is not a hopeful one:

    "Story is less important than stats; continuity is irrelevant. All that matters is that player have the chance to minimax their characters at all possible times. If your character suffers in any way, the next time they level, you can re-minimax her."

The rules on equipment aren't as bad -- they at least ask people to do the minimum needed. With retraining, there's not even that sop -- the expectation is that you minimax each and every level; not even suggestion that switching a female archer bard/ranger into a male valorous bard/barbarian might be a bad thing to do.
 
Well enough ranting; my excitement with LFR drops by a goodly factor and it's worth posting a position in the hopes that people listen. I understand the value of "pick-up-and-play" roleplaying, but there needs to be role somewhere in the play. And the saddest thing is that those who really ought most to be allowed to retrain (PMCs who would have been hybrids if that had been available)  are pretty much the only ones that cannot get fixed. I guess that's what happens if you chose a role-playing option. In future, just minimax like you're supposed to. 
I think it's a little unfair to assume that -- using your phrase -- LFR is little more than a "beer and pretzels" game for everyone. So your argument that radical retraining for pretty much any reason is a good thing seems, to me, based on a very false premise. 

I really detest this updated rules. It makes the "Living" part of the campaign a hollow shell -- essentially the only real facts about your character are his name, race, and level. Anything else is up for grabs.  Now, hopefully, sane people will just ignore this ruling (or more likely, just eek out that extra +1 stat and retrain maybe two things this level instead of one), but the message it sends out about the campaign is not a hopeful one:

    "Story is less important than stats; continuity is irrelevant. All that matters is that player have the chance to minimax their characters at all possible times. If your character suffers in any way, the next time they level, you can re-minimax her."



There's a lot here that I agree with. Not sure that I detest the rules update, but LFR has systematically stripped everything that makes a living campaign ... well "living" since it started. All we need now is to strip the "Characters must start at level 1" requirement out and we're more or less at the Mark of Heroes/Legacy of the Green Regent style games. I continue to play, I continue to GM, but my excitement with this does drop with each one of these "bowing to the realities" changes.
Now, hopefully, sane people will just ignore this ruling (or more likely, just eek out that extra +1 stat and retrain maybe two things this level instead of one),



I think you'll see this more often than a full retrain. I suspect full retrains might happen when a new Power book comes out with a new build, or maybe 1 or 2 levels into a character and you realize you're not having fun (which I will be doing with my Pacifist Healer cleric), but beyond that, most people who retrain to something else completely were probably going to do it anyway.

Basically, it comes down to making sure everyone's having fun. If you're not having fun because your character isn't playing the way you expected but you're too far down the rabbit hole, that's solved. This echos the houserule I have in both homegames I'm running and the one that I'm playing in: if at any point you don't like some character option you selected and want to change it, please do so if you feel it will allow you to enjoy the game more.

Besides, to be honest, was there anything stopping anyone from doing a full retrain before? It's all honor system, after all.
Yes, I am a defender apologist. A Rock and a Hard Place: A Warden Handbook
I'll admit that I don't see how it's abusive


In the face of all the other things that can be done, no it's not that abusive. But it is in the face of the base 4E retraining rules.

In the same way that the ability to retrain a feat at all is 'abusive' compared to not doing so? I suspect that people might just have a lower threshold for what is abusive than I do. I notice that sometimes for cries of 'broken' too.

I've said it before, but when I DM what I really care about is that people have characters that are legal and possible. Now those characters will occasionally have a +1 to AC/Reflex or +1 to attack and damage over a character that couldn't retrain as thoroughly as the previous CCG, but I don't expect it to drastically change the play experience. I actually imagine that most people won't even notice other people doing it. One of my characters started with 17/15/13 and I think one person only noticed it once in 11 levels.



I think it ought to be very noticeable. The issue isn't whether or not someone starts with a 17/15/13 or a 16/16/12/12 - it is that now everyone should have effectively started with a 17/15/13 from 4-7. In effect, it is as if everyone started with a base 18, but isn't suffering the downside of poor secondary and/or tertiary stats for doing so. Which means not just one character is going to have a bump at the table, but likely everyone but maybe one or two people will.

4-7, 11-14, 17-20, and 24-27 tier mods just got a lot easier...
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