Create RPGA legal characters at any level with CCG2.0

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First off, this is entirely hearsay as I head it from a group member last night.

But he says he has heard a rumor that the 2.0 revision will allow you to create a character at any level to play in an RPGA mod. I certainly hope not.

My simple analysis:

Pro

1) LFR is already on the honor system. People can already do this; it's cheating, but it can happen.
2) The original charter of the RPGA was to get people together to create homegames. The living campaigns have become their own monster with certs and organized play. If WotC is trying to transition the living campaigns away from their own entity under DnD, and back to a way of introducing new players, this is the way to go.
3) There is way too much cool stuff coming out each week. How else can you try out all your cool builds without a homegame. See above for commentary on RPGA transitioning players to homegames.

Con

1) LFR is a controlled and accountable campaign and that's why people like it. You earn everything you get. Thus your levels and equipment are more valuable to you.

(Feel free to suggest more cons. This one is good enough for me.)

As much as I hate to see it, things are pointing in this direction. Mods can be replayed. Every character option from every setting can be used. Dedicated character tracking was abandoned. Retraining was expanded to near ridiculous levels.

Let me know what you think.
Let me know what you think.



I think the rumour is unlikely to be true.
I think the odds of this happening are slim, but to be honest I wouldn't care.   Set up the rules so that a character created at level x has slightly less wealth than the average LFR character (or some other significant disadvantage) and I don't see a problem.

I know this is heresy to a lot of people.  A lot of people thought LFR would be a failure without TU limits, limited access to magic items, or judges signing paperwork.  I can already retrain my character so that they are nearly impossible to recognize from one level to the next.  Is this really all that much different?

It would give me a chance to play higher level characters with new friends, or to keep up with my buddies because I've been judging too much.  As it is I have so many characters I can hardly keep them straight ... and I have less than most people in my area.

Allen.
2) The original charter of the RPGA was to get people together to create homegames.



Was it?  I wasn't in the RPGA 25 or 30 years ago, when it started, but I'd been under the impression that RPGA play was originally focused on convention play.  Yes, there were RPGA clubs, but RPGA "tournament modules", as I always understood it, were originally written for play at conventions. 

At any rate, I suspect it's an unfounded rumor.  Then again, I've been surprised before.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
2) The original charter of the RPGA was to get people together to create homegames.



Was it?  I wasn't in the RPGA 25 or 30 years ago, when it started, but I'd been under the impression that RPGA play was originally focused on convention play.  Yes, there were RPGA clubs, but RPGA "tournament modules", as I always understood it, were originally written for play at conventions. 

At any rate, I suspect it's an unfounded rumor.  Then again, I've been surprised before.



I shouldn't speak as an expert as I haven't been around for that long either, but that was how it was explained to me from a very early timer. While making sense doesn't make it true, I can imagine how in a time before internet it might have been rather hard to get together a group if your circle of friends was uninterested.
First off, this is entirely hearsay as I head it from a group member last night.

But he says he has heard a rumor that the 2.0 revision will allow you to create a character at any level to play in an RPGA mod. I certainly hope not.



This may get folded into the general rules to cover one-shot adventures and maybe D&D Encounters, but I bet it will be overridden by the LFR section.

I certainly hope this is just a rumor. I wouldn't call it impossible though.

If this ends up being true I would strongly consider retiring from organized play until 5e and finding a nice long term home game to commit to.
Hearsay is hearsay. I don't see this happening either, for what my completely uninformed opinion is worth. I, too, would dislike it a fair bit.

I for one am a BIG BIG FAN of CCG 1.95, particularly the insane amount of free retraining allowed.  Specifically for LFR.

In 3.5 and other earlier editions, you could run with suboptimal stats and still come out pretty well.  The 4th edition model, though, is quite punishing for those that don't run good stats and chosen powers / feats / skills.

Let's say that you are a new player, and don't know what you're doing, and are following the advice in the Player's Handbook.  Sounds like a reasonable assumption, right?

So you build a dwarf fighter with a 15 Strength that uses axes.  Dwarves use axes.  It just makes sense.  And 15 is plenty strong, isn't it?  You're not bulging with muscles like some freak, but you get the job done.  (So you think).  Now let's say you take some fun feats.  You want to be able to speak all the languages of the Underdark, so you have a 14 Int (just for flavor) and take the Linguist feat.  And let's just say you make a lot of other fun decisions solely based on how you want to roleplay your character.

For 12 levels.

A hundred fifty hours of play later, you realize your guy can't hit anything.  So sad.  How many times have you been turned into monster chow?  How many times have people muttered behind your back "dude, he's fun to play with, but please, not at my table."

But now there's 1.95.  Seriously.  Now that's some good stuff right there.

As an organizer and as a DM, I feel very liberated to let new players have all the fun and make all the lousy decisions they want at 1st level, because no matter how wretched their choices, the 1.95 retraining rules save them.  Now the character that they think "geez, this guy sorta sucks" again becomes the character the player wants to play.

--

As far as 2.0 allowing create-a-PC-any level -

Personally, I would rather players start at 1st, because 11th and 21st are just confusing to new players.  But if you are a new player that wants to play with your gaming veteran buddies - the rumored change would certainly work for you (rather than against you.)

"LFR is a controlled and accountable campaign and that's why people like it"



Mm - now I know I'm taking that quote out of context.  But I think LFR has distinctly taken a step away from the accountability of LG, and apparently - from what I hear, the attendance is good, *despite* Player Rewards taking a hit, and *despite* DM Rewards maxing out at 5 games DMed per half-year.  (Note:  That IS hearsay, I have NO numbers to back that up.  Honestly, I have no idea what the numbers are between LFR and LG.)

So perhaps it isn't the controlled and accountable aspects of the LFR campaign that attract the most people.

Although I personally like tight controls and accountability, I think I am rather more the exception than the rule.

"Dude, let's go to the bar!"

"No wai, man, I am like doing my taxes early this year; have phun!"
So perhaps it isn't the controlled and accountable aspects of the LFR campaign that attract the most people.



Mmm. I'm not at all convinced that my personal opinion about such a change is correct from a player acqusition point of view.
The 2.0 CCG will probably have rules for creating non level 1 characters, but it will most likely not be in the LFR section but in the general section for RPGA special events that would have come with pregens already.  Just my guess.
Blah blah blah
The 2.0 CCG will probably have rules for creating non level 1 characters, but it will most likely not be in the LFR section but in the general section for RPGA special events that would have come with pregens already.  Just my guess.



That seems far more likely to me, though such rules are already in v.1.95 (see p. 3, right-hand column).
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
The 2.0 CCG will probably have rules for creating non level 1 characters, but it will most likely not be in the LFR section but in the general section for RPGA special events that would have come with pregens already.  Just my guess.



That seems far more likely to me, though such rules are already in v.1.95 (see p. 3, right-hand column).



I agree with this, in fact, if I'm not mistaken - we have similar language in the CCG now, don't we?  (leaving work right now, don't have time to look it up)
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

Let's say that you are a new player, and don't know what you're doing, and are following the advice in the Player's Handbook.  Sounds like a reasonable assumption, right?

So you build a dwarf fighter with a 15 Strength that uses axes.  Dwarves use axes.  It just makes sense.  And 15 is plenty strong, isn't it?  You're not bulging with muscles like some freak, but you get the job done.  (So you think).  Now let's say you take some fun feats.  You want to be able to speak all the languages of the Underdark, so you have a 14 Int (just for flavor) and take the Linguist feat.  And let's just say you make a lot of other fun decisions solely based on how you want to roleplay your character.

For 12 levels.

A hundred fifty hours of play later, you realize your guy can't hit anything.  So sad.



Not sure what sort of world you're playing in, but I can assure you that there is no problem playing this character. In fact, it pretty much describes my main character, except that he is human and has a 16 strength, not a 15, and a 16 int, not a 14. And I took ritual caster, and a lot of multiclass wizard feats ... for, funnily enough, 12 levels.

And he has no problems hitting anything. Compared to what the character builder recommends - an 18 in a stat, he is just down +1. You cannot easily spend more than maybe two feats improving your attack, so you can happily blow half your feats on fun.

So, in short, I disagree with your assertion, both logically -- if you spend half your feats on combat and half on fun you will only be down +1 or +2; your defenses will be much better, of course; and in practice. On the the hand, try building a 3.5 fighter with the same STR/INT progression and only spending half his feats on combat and see how good the result is ...

4e is much more forgiving. MUCH.
IIRC it was stated that they were working on seperatign out the LFR campaign rules into its own "CCG" to elimnate any confusions with general RPGA play vs. LFR play.  So it may be possible that such a rule may very well make it into the CCG, but the LFR sction may be divested into its own rule book that doesn't operate with the CCG anymore.  I guess we'll see.
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
In 3.5 and other earlier editions, you could run with suboptimal stats and still come out pretty well.  The 4th edition model, though, is quite punishing for those that don't run good stats and chosen powers / feats / skills.



I had to do a double take when I read this.  So I have to ask, in all seriousness, are you serious?
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
As mentioned, the CCG already includes rules for creating RPGA legal characters above first level. But those rules do not apply to LFR, they are for other RPGA games, like the various Delves.

I do not see those rules disappearing from the CCG in the future. Therefore, the CCG is almost certain to have rules in it for how to create PCs above first level for the foreseeable future.

Equally, however, the likelyhood of those rules actually being applied to LFR PCs is Nil, son of None.

On the other hand, as was mentioned, LFR is on the honor system, so it is possible for someone with flexible enough ethics to use the spreadsheet from the LFR Spoilers group to not just plot out an advancement plan, but to build a pseudo history for a character, along with XP, gold, and found item list as though he had actually played that PC to whatever level he desires, within the levels allowed by LFR mods available.

To be honest, without full experience of how the PC works, that PC is going to be a bit sub-optimal in the build, since you wouldn't have the full experience of how the variuous aspects of the PC synergize, and it is easy to miss holes in a PC's powers and such when doing a building exercise, like no area attacks for a melee PC...
As mentioned, the CCG already includes rules for creating RPGA legal characters above first level. But those rules do not apply to LFR, they are for other RPGA games, like the various Delves.

I do not see those rules disappearing from the CCG in the future. Therefore, the CCG is almost certain to have rules in it for how to create PCs above first level for the foreseeable future.

Equally, however, the likelyhood of those rules actually being applied to LFR PCs is Nil, son of None.


I bet that if I had started a thread 2 months ago with a rumor that LFR PCs would be allowed to do a complete class, feat, skill, paragon path, and ability score retrain every level that would have been given a 0% chance of happening too.

The chance of higher than 1st level LFR start is certaintly higher than 0%.  In fact, I think it will happen at some point - probably by the time the campaign moves into epic.  It just fits the profile of what the campaign has been trying to do -- removing barriers to play.  So if I have one 12th level character and one 4th level and I already played the P1 mod being offered, I would be allowed to roll up a new 11th character to play the mod again.

And if this is implemented, so what.  It really shouldn't "ruin" things or make things "less fun" for other players.  But before we go the road on this debate, we should wait for the rules change to happen. 

Daren
If I was running a home campaign with paragon level characters and a new person wanted to join I would let them write up an appropriate level character.  The alternative - a level 1 pc hiding in the back unable to contribute to the team - just doesn't work. 

There are enough gamers in our group to still support all levels of play, but we have a decent size group with 4-6 tables per slot on average.  As we hit ever-higher mods it's going to get harder and harder to support all of them.

LG was able to get away with "all pc's start at level 1" because they supported half the levels and the range of levels that could play together was much greater. 

With replay rules, anyone can create a higher level character with enough time.  But is it fun to play (or judge) the same low level mods repeatedly just to grind out levels to get the character you really want to play?

Allen.
Just make sure the level 1 PC hiding in the back is a warlord, maybe with Commander's Strike, and he'll be able to contribute!  Heck, we've joked about hiring three level 1 warlords to follow us around, because just their presence is so valuable.

/mostly joking
Just make sure the level 1 PC hiding in the back is a warlord, maybe with Commander's Strike, and he'll be able to contribute!


I played that warlord.  (Bald 1-1, going high, 6 players.  I was a 1st level warlord.  It felt like my go-to at will was really strong (+10,1d10+14, something like that.  Commander's Strike, of course), but I was made if tissue paper.

"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 bet that if I had started a thread 2 months ago with a rumor that LFR PCs would be allowed to do a complete class, feat, skill, paragon path, and ability score retrain every level that would have been given a 0% chance of happening too.

The chance of higher than 1st level LFR start is certaintly higher than 0%.  In fact, I think it will happen at some point - probably by the time the campaign moves into epic.  It just fits the profile of what the campaign has been trying to do -- removing barriers to play.  So if I have one 12th level character and one 4th level and I already played the P1 mod being offered, I would be allowed to roll up a new 11th character to play the mod again.

And if this is implemented, so what.  It really shouldn't "ruin" things or make things "less fun" for other players.  But before we go the road on this debate, we should wait for the rules change to happen. 

Daren



Y'know - this does put an interesting perspective on things.  Daren's point resonates with me (I certainly wouldn't have believed full retrains were coming).  Which opens up the next question: "What if"

For me?  The What If isn't a very big deal - let's assume that it does happen, and that the base rules given in the core rules for making higher level characters goes through - AND applies to LFR.

For me, I've just picked up new play opportunities, since I don't have any characters above the H2 tier.  Characters that *do* get that far "organically" will still have more "stuff" than I suspect I will with my "artificial bump."  The player with the "organic" character knows his powers better, and can (probably) employ better tactics than can I.

On the other hand - as an organizer at my FLGS and at large shows (as part of HQ), I can also see the benefit of not having to turn away players, or explain to them they can only start at level one.  In fact, players who might be reluctant to leave their home game where they have, say, mid-paragon characters could "port" their characters over and join in at public/convention play.

I'll be surprised if it happens - but I have to say. . . I don't think I have a strong objection to it happening.

But then, that's just me, and we all know I'm an easy-going sop.  
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

Honestly, I can see some form of it applying to DMs. The players who play level up their characters. The people who DM on a regular basis fall behind.

I realize that without people who DM, there ceases to be a local LFR (and I got to witness that in pure funny mode when it appeared that all the people who were normally willing to run games were playing in the same MINI and more than a table worth of people who wouldn't DM went home, despite a stack of adventures sitting on a table).

As it is now, there's seems to be subtle movements towards GMs going to other living campaigns (where they can play) or otherwise making sure other GMs get seated first (so they can get a chance to play) and I can see the player base being less than happy about this, but what's a GM to do otherwise? If they don't get to play because someone has to GM, they don't get XP, they don't level, and eventually they'll move on to greener pastures.
I had to do a double take when I read this.  So I have to ask, in all seriousness, are you serious?



(in response to what I wrote about PCs being punished by suboptimal stats in 4th edition)

In response to Dragon9, and GrahamWillis:

Yes.  I am quite serious.  But I can understand why you might think what I wrote doesn't make sense, so I will elaborate.

1.  Relaxed attitude towards play by GM and players
2.  Ease of combats in LFR adventures
3.  Party / player optimization
4.  The level difference
5.  What you could (and should?) be seeing

--

1.  I see GMs pull punches a lot.  This makes combat easy enough that players running PCs with suboptimal stats are not punished.

2.  LFR adventures are generally not challenging.  There's a few exceptions.

3.  Players that know what they're doing compensate to large degree for lower stats.

4.  Monsters defenses go up 1 point per level.  PC attacks go up 1/2 point per level.  Oh, there's Weapon Expertise and higher magic bonuses on your sword, but the monster *abilities* go up, which the players can't always compensate for.  This, more than anything else, is what *potentially* punishes low stats IMHO.  (But notice - if you have 1-3, above, the punishment is far less severe.)

5.  Well, first I'll say a few words about my area.  It's New York City; there's a lotta players and DMs.  In general, DMs are soft and squishy and loveable in our area.  They don't focus fire.  They don't attack downed PCs.  Combine this with the fact that LFR adventures don't really chew your head off, and honestly - at low levels, there's no reason to optimize.  Even at mid-levels, especially since you don't see the awful awful things that D&D is capable of (per point 2 above).

But let me give you some examples of stuff I haven't seen in LFR.  Just stuff out of the book.

A.  Level 1-4:  Gibberling.  Just throw a mass of gibberlings at a party.  Probable TPK.
B. Level 4-7:  Blue dragon in open field at night, flies 21 squares above party and hits them with burst.  Repeat until TPK.  (Honestly, we don't need to see that in any game, let alone LFR)
C.  Level 7-10:  (Haven't researched this level yet)
D.  Level 11-14:  Mummy rot hits at this level, the first "serious" primary disease effect.  Also, this is when you start seeing turn-to-stone effects.  Also, drow poison.  Dark Stalker (it's a type of Dark One) at this level can force PCs to attack at -5 (effectively blind) for the entire encounter unless they have darkvision.  And how many people do you know that rock Goggles of Night and/or have darkvision, unless they're optimizers anyways?  Anyways - there are so many ways to abuse PCs at level 11-14, all by the rules, that I simply haven't seen in LFR yet.

So whether it's because DMs in your area pull punches, because LFR generally doesn't have difficult combats, because you know what you're doing (or at least know how to set up good party synergy) - or whatever other reason, perhaps you think that players can rock lower stats and get away with it.    And I will say - it's certainly true for DPR builds using potions of clarity and dice of auspicious fortune that abuse their secondary stats to maximize incidental effects.

But I say that in a game in which you may be playing with a lot of people you don't know, with player characters whose builds you may not understand, with a DM that may *not* end up pulling punches, in an adventure that may *not* be written to softball the players, that every little thing you do can and will influence your chance of walking from the table with full XP and gold.

Now, again - I'm not talking about a player running a carefully optimized character from level 1-30, using stat retrains along the way to gain maximum DPR and incidental combat advantage every turn.  No, I'm talking about players that *don't know what they're doing* getting beat down by the differential in stats.  I hope that if you keep that in mind, that you'll be able to more easily see where I'm coming from.

Oh, and GrahamWillis - the dwarf I mentioned used a *15* in Strength, a +2 bonus, not the *16* that you used for your character.  Also, he uses an axe, with a +2 proficiency bonus, not a +3 proficiency bonus.  Does your character use an axe?

Now - since this is level 12, let's put that dwarf in a murky underwater (-2 concealment, -2 for using noncrossbow nonspear underwater) environment where he's fighting a kuo-toa harpooner mummy lord (soldier class monster with high defenses; mummy lord template increases defenses in particular AC by 2; mummy lord aura makes monster harder to hit by 2).  Now every time the dwarf misses with a melee attack, he'll drop his weapon (kuo-toa sticky shield).  There's lots of ways to increase the to-hit penalty, from running low-level otyughs (nausea aura) to a dark one stalker (total concealment for everything without darkvision), and there's still 3 monsters' worth of XP to assign, so it's easily doable.  This is just stuff out of the core rules; I'm not inventing anything here.  That dwarf now has a -8 to hit, on top of having a relative -3 from starting with a 15 (+2 bonus) vs 20 (+5 bonus), and on top of having a relative -1 from using an axe (+2 prof bonus) vs a sword (+3 prof bonus).  So when you put a -12 on a PC, do you or do you not think that that dwarf is gonna be like "wtf"?

What does "wtf" mean in game terms?

Level 12 Kuo-Toa Harpooner:  AC 26.

Level 12 Dwarven Dude:  Starting Str 15, stat bump 4, 8, 11 for +4 to hit from Str.  +3 magic weapon.  +1 fighter class feature.  +6 level.  Axe gives weapon proficiency +2 bonus:  Total: +16 to hit on attack.  Remember - this dwarf is played by someone that doesn't know how to optimize.  No Weapon Expertise.

Normal attack hitting vs kuo-toa:  10+ to hit.

Post concealment, post underwater, post mummy lord template AC adjustment, aura adjustment:  18+ to hit.

In other words - he hits about 15% of the time, and when he misses, he drops his weapon.
If the player's picked up a lotta savvy, say he has combat advantage every turn.  Still 25% hit ratio.

Now let's contrast that with

Level 12 Warforged Dude:  Starting Str . . . etc, including Weapon Expertise total:  +21 (relative difference:  +3 additional from Str bonus, +1 from sword, +1 from Expertise) to hit.  Post adjustments, that's a much better 40% to hit; with combat advantage, that's 50%.

So in hit terms, the optimized warforged hits twice as well as the nonoptimized dwarf.

But, you say, you don't see this in LFR?

Well, that's true, you don't.   But you could, is what I'm saying.  It's not a big stretch.  All I did here was impose a -8 penalty.  Total darkness is a -5 penalty; there's tons of things that can be done  - nausea aura, despair aura, odd terrain, traps, whatever, to impose additional penalties, especially at level 11-14.

So going back to what I originally wrote:

"Let's say that you are a new player, and don't know what you're doing, and are following the advice in the Player's Handbook" . . . "A hundred fifty hours of play later, you realize your guy can't hit anything.  So sad." -

Do you or do you not think that CCG 1.95 was a good change (specifically, allowing players the extent of retraining that has been allowed, including the ability to switch out stats)?  Personally, I'm inclined to view it as a Blessed Event for players new to the game.  Knowing all this junk, of course I'm gonna run a 18 or 20 in my main stat - but it isn't about me; it's about players *new to the game that don't know what they're doing*

But back to CCG 2.0 - as was noted earlier in this thread, we'll have to wait and see what actually happens.  Personally I am not, on the whole, opposed to allowing players to create new PCs at any level, as I think it *would* encourage new players.

Re:  Warlord:  I see a lot of writers, players, and DMs saying playing high is a big difference.  What is playing high, if not a few more monster hit points and +2 to all defenses?  If that's such a big difference, then isn't the -4 to hit off the block I listed for the dwarf (starting Str 15, not 20, axe not sword) *more* challenging?

Re:  Warlord:  Personally, I think playing up is not a big deal if the players know what they're doing.  You can absorb a few less hits.  You have a lower to-hit percentage, and don't have a feat and/or encounter that you would at higher level, maybe even a daily.  But if you play smart, it's my opinion playing up in 4th edition is not something you have to be afraid of. UNLIKE in 3 / 3.5 edition.  In those editions, two levels meant access to another whole spell level, which made a huge difference.

Re:  Practical Advice for a Warlord Playing Up:  Let the defender go in first, and follow him/her in.  Try to gain combat advantage for your attacks (unless you're using the at-will that gives a buddy an attack).  Stay where the monsters can't focus fire on you when at all possible.  Make sure at least one party member is 3 squares away from the party, and have a slightly dispersed formation for the party so you aren't all caught up in some surprise blast/burst effect.  Stay in the middle so monsters attacking from behind the party won't be able to jump you.  Also, don't feed that fuzzy pet of the elf's after midnight.
but what's a GM to do otherwise? If they don't get to play because someone has to GM, they don't get XP, they don't level, and eventually they'll move on to greener pastures.



Two possibilities spring to mind.

1.  Players pay.  GM gets a percentage.  This used to go off at Neutral Ground in New York City; I think it worked OK.  Of course, poor players have less of an incentive to play - but if you're that poor, the incentive to DM is stronger.  Worked for me every time I paid out as a player, or got store credit as a DM.

2.  Currently we've got a point system at Citigroup in NYC.  Start with 5 points.  DM and get 5 points per game DMed.  Play and lose 1 point per game played.  Whoever has the highest points gets a seat.  If you've got really low points, you can lose your seat very easily and quickly.  I think we're running a population of 85%+ DMs now.  Nobody pays anything, and it seems to work just fine; recently we've actually had MORE DMs volunteering than we need.

True, there's some people that maybe shouldn't DM . . . but we trust players and DMs to handle things in an adult fashion.

There's also the problem of DMs cancelling at the last minute - but there's workarounds for that too.

There were players that refused to DM and lost their seats week after week, or that tried to Bluff their way into games - but that hasn't really been a problem for a while.

I won't go into much more detail here, as I'm threadjacking this CCG 2.0 thread enough as it is.  But it's my opinion that with good organization, you really don't need to worry about having enough DMs.


Re:  Practical Advice for a Warlord Playing Up:  Let the defender go in first, and follow him/her in.  Try to gain combat advantage for your attacks (unless you're using the at-will that gives a buddy an attack).  Stay where the monsters can't focus fire on you when at all possible.  Make sure at least one party member is 3 squares away from the party, and have a slightly dispersed formation for the party so you aren't all caught up in some surprise blast/burst effect.  Stay in the middle so monsters attacking from behind the party won't be able to jump you.  Also, don't feed that fuzzy pet of the elf's after midnight.


If you were talking to my comment about being the 1st level Warlord in a party playing up, it was fine.  It just felt weird because I had so few hitpoints (and such low defences) when compared to "my" main attack (the Ranger's MBA).  (Also, not a new player, and had Disciple of Divine Wrath for the attacks I actually wanted to land)

Why shouldn't I have fed the elf's fuzzy pet?

"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

Devil's advocate:


Currently, LFR modules are written with at least half an eye towards the Str 15 fighter. CCG 1.95 shouldn't change that, because the ability to optimize to a 20 starting stat doesn't imply the knowledge that one "should."

Do you or do you not think that CCG 1.95 was a good change (specifically, allowing players the extent of retraining that has been allowed, including the ability to switch out stats)?  Personally, I'm inclined to view it as a Blessed Event for players new to the game.

That's killing a mosquito with a sledge hammer.

Consider an alternative:
* You can rebuild your character an unlimited number of times (full rebuild, race, class, everything) until the first adventure you play as a 2nd level character.
* Once each calendar year, you can do a CCG 1.95-style rebuild (everything except race and class).
* Aside from these options, you can use the standard retraining rules.

That covers 99% of the situations where CCG 1.95 is a good thing, while eliminating the constant rebuilds that people see as problematic.

Note that, not only does CCG 1.95 go too far in the context of players who don't really need a rebuild but can use it to tweak the PC that slightest bit better for a particular level, it doesn't go far enough to deal with your problem about players new to the game.

Someone who showed up at WitR and got stuck with a pregenerated gnome cleric or halfling avenger, for example, can rebuild all he wants, but he's still going to have a gome cleric or halfling avenger at the end of the process.  That's fine in the context of someone who, say, wanted to play a gnome cleric and just needs help tweaking that concept a little; not so great if they just wanted to play a cleric (or worse, got stuck with it as a last option or talked into it so the party had healing) and are now stuck with something that's significantly more niche than they were looking for.

As far as allowing creation of higher-level PCs in LFR, this sounds to me like someone's wishful thinking of what they would like to see, as opposed to any real insight into what's going to happen.

My expectation would be that any such change would be as part of a larger announcement about drastic changes to LFR, such as an ending date for the campaign or a decision to stop producing Heroic tier adventures.

My expectation would be that any such change would be as part of a larger announcement about drastic changes to LFR, such as an ending date for the campaign or a decision to stop producing Heroic tier adventures.



Similar things have happened in campaigns such as Living Force, Living Death, and Living Arcanis, where many (if not all) of the adventures in the final year of those campaigns were written only for higher-level characters.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
Having PCs at any level is great if you have very few players. It mitigates tables not filling. For example, Spycraft had a system where you received a free 2nd PC when you reached level 7. The second PC was always 6 levels behind. You received more PCs as you continued to level. When you played, you applied the XP to your main PC. The whole concept was to mitigate the small player base and help tables form. The current rules are even friendlier, if I recall correctly. (But, this is D20 with the 3.5 style of play where you generally had only one PC... thus the rule to allow for more PCs).

Having PCs jump around in level in LFR is not good for continuity. "Oh, I played that adventure at 5th level, but I'm happy to downlevel to 3rd now.. well, or I could level up and we play that P2 adventure..." Really? That's just a complete insanity. Even if it were only a new PC starting at other levels, I don't see the campaign need. I can see individual needs but not a campaign need. The individual need isn't a big deal - at least I've never seen it be some factor that drove people away. Really, any change to starting at 1st and tracking XP is just not a "living" campaign. It further becomes "one-shot adventures in a common setting".

I really like Bgibbon's idea on allowing a full rebuild until level 2 (even through the end of level 2) and then having a yearly rebuild and otherwise using the standard rules. It keeps us closer to the purpose of the rules and shuts down the complete min-max aspect. Honestly, one of my old gaming groups did this by defacto. It is more fun to just jump in and play than agonize about how to make perfect level 1 and 2 choices. If something was a silly choice at those levels, they rebuilt. Once past 1st, they would not do that. At that point they understood their PC.

I think what would be nice to analyze is what really is needed to encourage consumption and play. Those are the goals. Do you not buy MP2 if you can only take the new feats and powers but not the new class feature for a few months? (If so, does there need to be a "new class feature for a class you have" rule?). Let's address the real problem and not create endless optimization or sacrifice the quality of the living experience.

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I guess it depends on why you play LFR.  I don't play LFR for continuity of story or character.  If I wanted that, I'd join a home campaign.  With bouncing from one end of the continent to the other, limitations of a living style campaign, having half-dozen or more characters, replaying mods and the new retrain rules there isn't (at least for me) any continuity now.  

I play to get a chance to experience new, fun mods with a variety of people.  If you want continuity and your local gaming group supports it, fantastic!  I'm happy for you.  Nothing stops you from running a character from 1-30.  Add some not-insignificant penalty to creating a leveled up version of a character if you have concerns about people bouncing around too much.

Don't get me wrong.  The vast majority of my characters would progress the "old fashioned" way - one mod at a time - because it's my preference.  But I have friends who can't play very often (or that haven't been playing LFR for very long) that I would love to play paragon mods with.  I can't.  In addition, I know a lot of people are tired of playing the same 1-4 level mods just to get a character up to 4-7 so they can play new-to-them mods.  Grinding out levels by replaying mods isn't fun for a lot of people.

Other than "it's not my preference" I just don't see a lot of reason to not allow it.

Allen.
I stumbled on an issue. Characters will now be 4th, 7th, 10th, 14th, etc. level only. Why would one play a mod with a character that isn't as powerful?
I stumbled on an issue. Characters will now be 4th, 7th, 10th, 14th, etc. level only. Why would one play a mod with a character that isn't as powerful?



That assumes that one would be allowed to create a character "of any level".  If they allow for creation of characters above first level (which I still doubt, but...), perhaps what they might do is allow for creation at 11th (and, eventually, 21st).
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
I stumbled on an issue. Characters will now be 4th, 7th, 10th, 14th, etc. level only. Why would one play a mod with a character that isn't as powerful?



If it is ever allowed - and that's a big if - there are a couple of ways.  One is to say that you can only create characters at level 1, 5, 8, 11, 15 etc.  Or 1, 4, 7, 11, 14 and they can't play in the lower band (a character created at 4th level could not play 1-4 mods).  You could also give them slightly lower wealth than average to encourage people to play the minimum level required to get into the game they want.

Problem solved. Well, that particular problem solved.    People could cheat of course, but there's nothing stopping that now.

Allen.

A.  Level 1-4:  Gibberling.  Just throw a mass of gibberlings at a party.  Probable TPK.



Auras don't stack unless they specifically state that they do. Gibberlings have poor defenses, to-hits. They can do a lot of damage in the right circumstances, but one half-decent burst/area attacker wipes them out really fast. And they can't surprise(and a party should have a decent idea that they're about to encounter some) A party who gets TPK'd by Gibberlings deserves it.

D.  Level 11-14:  Mummy rot hits at this level, the first "serious" primary disease effect.  Also, this is when you start seeing turn-to-stone effects.  Also, drow poison.  Dark Stalker (it's a type of Dark One) at this level can force PCs to attack at -5 (effectively blind) for the entire encounter unless they have darkvision.



Mummy Rot is relatively inconsequential - at the absolute worst, you have a rough time after the combat. Saves that happen outside end of turn do not affect 'first failed save' type of situations. Zones end when you kill the thing creating the zone.

Level 12 Dwarven Dude:  Starting Str 15, stat bump 4, 8, 11 for +4 to hit from Str.  +3 magic weapon.  +1 fighter class feature.  +6 level.  Axe gives weapon proficiency +2 bonus:  Total: +16 to hit on attack.  Remember - this dwarf is played by someone that doesn't know how to optimize.  No Weapon Expertise.

Normal attack hitting vs kuo-toa:  10+ to hit.

Post concealment, post underwater, post mummy lord template AC adjustment, aura adjustment:  18+ to hit.



Congratulations. You managed to make an Elite who doesn't do a whole lot other than inconvenience the party. Immediate Reaction means he can do this once a round and a 12th level Elite is eating up a lot of the XP of an encounter. This for something that the Dwarf can spend a minor action to pick up. The Dwarf who doesn't know to get Weapon Expertise by 12th level isn't picking it up when they retrain everything anyway.

There's nothing wrong with taking a 15 in a stat(especially at 12th level, where it is actually sort of optimal) - the general problem is a combo of tactical inexperience + being unoptimal + picking powers without any general concept. Put that 20 Str Warforged in a situation tailored to his weaknesses, and you'll see him say the exact same thing.

As a 20 Str Warforged tends to be its own kind of unoptimized, just hard to exploit without making them complain equally loudly as that Dwarf should complain about a writer trying to make things unhittable over boosting damage. There are much worse things than being unable to hit the enemy. Such as a really DPR optimized Striker being able to hit his friends with his at-will while Dominated...

Re:  bgibbons:  Good points.

Re:  MommyWasAnOrc:  Thank you for being so specific!  I will address some of those points, if I may:

1.  Correct, auras generally don't stack.  The wording of the aura for Gibberling Bunch and Plaguechanged Gibberling Bunch indicates "a gibberling bunch makes a basic attack as a free action against each enemy that begins its turn in the aura."  I read that as if you have one PC in the range of two gibberling bunches, the PC would get attacked by both.  This is much like the "Needlefang Drake Swarm" that was recently errataed.

2.  Quite true on the blast/burst.  Only in LFR, you can't count on having a blast/burster in your party.  I ran a group through a MYRE and did nothing but hit them with some non-dressed up plaguechanged gibberlings; I ended up having to have the monsters attack each other to let the PCs survive.

I hope you don't mind too much if I point the players I ran through that adventure to your response (i.e. players getting TPKed by gibberling bunches deserving it).  Personally, I thought they didn't do anything foolish; my opinion is that they were just outgunned.

3.  Yes, I know that mummy rot does nothing when you pick it up.  The problem *is* those subsequent encounters.  Of course, optimizers will be rocking Keoghtom's ointment.  Non-optimizers may not be.


4.  Yes, the zone ends when the thing dies, which is how you neutralize the dark one lurker.  But that's just one monster; there's plenty of room for soldier class monsters to defend the dark one, or additional monsters to impose additional attack penalties.  My point was not that these negative circumstances *can* be overcome - that is something I take for granted (if you couldn't overcome these obstacles, it's just . . . a dragon dropping rocks on a party at night from 65 squares up using the improvised damage table in the DMG, at levels 1-4, aka really weird and lame).  My point was intended to be that there are certain situations that punish poorly optimized characters (aka new players that don't stat out / choose powers well)


5.  Re:  Kuo-Toa Harpooner Mummy Lord:  Ah, but that's why you flavor the mix with the appropriate monsters and traps.  But haven't you reviewed that already?  Or am I thinking you're someone else?  Well, if not - allow me to mention the Spectral Tendrils trap (also in the P1 level range) dazes; another nasty alternative is having the battle in the middle of an underwater chasm, where the dropped item cannot easily be retrieved (if at all).  Oh, this is all very nasty stuff, but that's my point.  I'm not trying to say I'm clever for thinking these things up; I'm trying to say there *are* lots of things out there ready and waiting to smack PCs upside the head.

6.  Point very well made on tactical inexperience.  You know, I absolutely agree - in fact, I would say tactical inexperience is worse than poorly planned stats.

I had to do a double take when I read this.  So I have to ask, in all seriousness, are you serious?



(in response to what I wrote about PCs being punished by suboptimal stats in 4th edition)

In response to Dragon9, and GrahamWillis:

Yes.  I am quite serious.  But I can understand why you might think what I wrote doesn't make sense, so I will elaborate.

1.  Relaxed attitude towards play by GM and players
2.  Ease of combats in LFR adventures
3.  Party / player optimization
4.  The level difference
5.  What you could (and should?) be seeing



Well, I think what you're missing is that, truth be told, in any edition, a DM can cobble together a killer encounter whether it's due to synergies between monster abilities or because they throw a really tough (meaning higher level) encounter at them. Sometimes it depends on tactics and terrain also.  You're exampe of the Dragon being a good one because, well, dragons aren't stupid and any group of adventurers trying to fght one out in the open like that, and not doing it on terms more favorable to them,  is just asking to get TPK'd.  However, in general, if you follow the guidelines put forth in the DMG, in 4e, the players will be challeneged but not overwhelmed without optimized PCs.  LFR really ends up beiong a poor example of this because:

1) A lot of people build optimized PCs with starting primary stats at 18+.
2) The nature of LFR module encounter building is that you aren't tailoring a combat to a specific group level/party makeup.  So to some people it's easy, and to some it's hard.

Personally, I have a Dwarf fighter with a 16 Strength to start.  Some would scoff at that, but he holds his own just fine.  Som scoffed at my 18 STR Barbarian with the +2 proficiency weapon (as opposed to taking a ZOMG FULLBLADE!!!) and no Expertise at 1st level, but he did just fine also, often outdamaging the +3 proficiency, + class bonus, + expertise strikers in the parties he was in.  Both would be considered suboptimal to many.

Also, in regards to player vs. monster to-hit increases, one thing to remember is that Players have leader classes that can give out bonuses like candy.  4e combat is designed to be more about teamwork than ever before (see my warlord quote in my sig) and I always found much of the hue and cry over PC/Monster differences to be a holdover mentality from previous editions where one character could dominate every fight they were in on their own and also simple shortsighted focus on one aspect of the party as a whole.  Sort of a "Not seeing the forest for the trees" issue.

My experiences during 3rd were apparently much different then yours.  Once you hit 6th level the monster power level jumped up more than the PCs and continued to do so up into the higher levels.  Once you went past 10th or 12th level you had to be heavily optimized to not get squished (i.e. the right mix of cherry picked classes and prestige classes + weapon choice, + magic items).

Again, this is just my observation.
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
I stumbled on an issue. Characters will now be 4th, 7th, 10th, 14th, etc. level only. Why would one play a mod with a character that isn't as powerful?

Sure, that's a pretty basic problem, along with why someone would want to play a 4th level character in an adventure to potentially gain a 6th level magic item instead of just playing a 14th level character with better magic items for free.

It should be noted, however, that this is all nothing but rank speculation.  It might not be a bad idea to change the topic title to indicate that (such as "Will we be able to create characters at any level with CCG 2.0?"), as it's quite possible a casual player could stumble across the topic and think that CCG 2.0 is already out and be misled into thinking that this is a new rule.

My experiences during 3rd were apparently much different then yours.  Once you hit 6th level the monster power level jumped up more than the PCs and continued to do so up into the higher levels.  Once you went past 10th or 12th level you had to be heavily optimized to not get squished (i.e. the right mix of cherry picked classes and prestige classes + weapon choice, + magic items).

Again, this is just my observation.


But 3.5 was very easy to break.  And it wasn't very complicated -- just start with a couple of two-handed weapon wielders with max strength and Power Attack and add some buffs.  3.5 was definitely less forgiving than 4.0 you are right about that.  And the power spreads were huge.

I do have to say that as we get into P2 I am starting to see some of the same things.  I played Spec 2-1 at P2 (high) today with 4 14s and 1 15.  Everyone was good and knew what they were doing (although we had not played together before).  But the 2 strikers who pumped their initatives -- Rogue Daggermaster and a Ranger/Avenger on a mount just put out ridiculous amounts of damage.  One BBG went once -- and by the time he did he was prone, weakened and had 7 hps left.  The other BBG never got to go: stunned and then a whirlstorm of damage.

This reminded me a lot of APL14 or 16 in LG.

Daren

This would not surprise me at all.  This would allow people to come to conventions (major and minor) and play at tables without worry if they have a character of the appropriate level etc.

So this wouldnt surprise me at all. 
But 3.5 was very easy to break.  And it wasn't very complicated -- just start with a couple of two-handed weapon wielders with max strength and Power Attack and add some buffs.


If that was true, then there would not have been so many people complaining about the amount of system mastery required to play high level LG. I fear your experience with 3E is completely opposite in this regard than mine. Besides, those were fighter-types. Weak compared to most caster builds.