Create RPGA legal characters at any level with CCG2.0

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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.




Not if you saw the Fighters that Daren is talking about - they could easily deliver over 100 hp of damage per round before significant caster buffs. Given buffs, they could jump to over 200 hp or more. A friend of mine would do 75 hp of damage on a hit given buffs and her character could attack 4 times a round even if not next to her target...most things, she'd hit 3 times a round, and they'd be dead. Even without buffs, she'd do about 50 hp of damage(boots of speed + dervish + big falchion)

The big issue for 3.5 was more that if you were playing a mod that assumed that a broken character might be playing it, you were doomed if the majority of PCs at the table weren't at least strong. And a lot of mods in LG assumed that a broken character was playing it.

And on top of that, many people would do builds that were crippled long-term because they would do extremely short-term multiclassing that would damage their BAB or caster level. Or they'd do some really unoptimal action, such as saving daily spells to use a magic missile wand or wearing a mithral chain shirt to give their Wizard 5 a spell failure chance - in 4e, those are extremely difficult to do.
On topic, I have not heard anything to suggest a change to LFR to allow characters to be started above 1st level is coming.  We have a couple of times discussed the idea of a one-time character (non-advancing) so that a player without a PC appropriate for the level band adventures being offered could play, but there was not strong support for that idea.

Granted, when/if we see the end of LFR in sight (probably when WotC announces the date for the release of 5e), there might be a reconsideration of starting PCs at a higher level.  I will be surprised if before that date, but then I was surprised at the full retrain rule being introduced.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
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.



Yeah, there are certain combos that can make for very powerful builds.  Some can do that once per encounter, others once per day.  We are likely never to get away from that, but at least in 4th, in a lot of cases, characters that are so heavily focued on max damage output tend to be weak in other areas.
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
For my part, if the rumor proves to be true, I would rethink my involvement in LFR. For me, a large--in fact, probably the primary part of the attraction of LFR and before that LG has always been continuity of character: that characters grew organically and continued to play with other organically grown characters. A series of essentially one-shot games holds much less interest for me. And there are now local alternative forms of organized play available, so I wouldn't necessarily have to organize a home game to keep playing.
For my part, if the rumor proves to be true, I would rethink my involvement in LFR. For me, a large--in fact, probably the primary part of the attraction of LFR and before that LG has always been continuity of character: that characters grew organically and continued to play with other organically grown characters. A series of essentially one-shot games holds much less interest for me. And there are now local alternative forms of organized play available, so I wouldn't necessarily have to organize a home game to keep playing.




Well, the odds are it's not going to be an issue.  But while your opinion is just as valid as anyone else's I don't get it.  No one says you can't play a character from 1-30 if it's important to you.  It would be easy to set up the rules so that "organically grown" characters would have an advantage (at least for the first few levels after being created).

But with the retraining rules, I can see your sense of continuity being in trouble already.  One session you're playing with Bob, the strength based cleric of Tempus and the next you're playing with Lucy the pacifist cleric of Sune.  Same race, same class and technically the same character. 

Or to put it another way ... when I sit down at a table I don't normally know what set of characters I'm going to be playing with.   Maybe we've adventured together before, maybe not.  Why would their background matter to me?

Allen.
I like the idea of allowing people to create X level characters at conventions ONLY.

BUT..

I would suggest.. ANY rewards earned.. be "held" until the character earns the level at which they gained these rewards.

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?



Yes he does. Honestly -- apart from one point difference in strength you are almost exactly describing my character. And he's human -- whereas a dwarf is a much better fighter (my single +2 human bonus went into intelligence), so I think that easily compensates for the single point of stats. In fact, since the character we are discussing is 12th level, there is NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL between a 15 and a 16, (three bumps mean the stats difference is 18 or 19 -- no mechanical difference at all).

So not only is it a fair comparison, but my character is actually LESS optimal, by race, than your theoretical failed character.

But your main point is that in LFR, you have to pull punches, wheres in 3.5 a DM didn't need to. This is a serious boggle moment for me where it is hard to believe you say that with a straight face. In 3.5, once I DMd past level 7, almost every single mod I had to work out how *not* to kill players. All it takes is the spring attack shadows to auto-kill party members -- not any complex scenario like you describe. In LFR I have yet to have to pull punches, and that makes me a much happier GM.

I guess I'll just have to assume you have had a radically different play experience from most LFR/LG players -- so long as you are having fun and your fellow players are too, then cool.

I'm reminded how many complaints there were in LG of how deadly it was and how you needed an optimized PC to just survive.  And that was working within the CR guidelines.  In LFR you have people calling on others to always build optimized, but lots of complaints of it being too easy.

This is why I had to do the double take.  I agree with Graham, I haven't had to pull any punches in 4e but have still had plety of opportunity to challenge the PCs.
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
For my part, if the rumor proves to be true, I would rethink my involvement in LFR. For me, a large--in fact, probably the primary part of the attraction of LFR and before that LG has always been continuity of character: that characters grew organically and continued to play with other organically grown characters. A series of essentially one-shot games holds much less interest for me. And there are now local alternative forms of organized play available, so I wouldn't necessarily have to organize a home game to keep playing.




Well, the odds are it's not going to be an issue.  But while your opinion is just as valid as anyone else's I don't get it.  No one says you can't play a character from 1-30 if it's important to you.  It would be easy to set up the rules so that "organically grown" characters would have an advantage (at least for the first few levels after being created).

But with the retraining rules, I can see your sense of continuity being in trouble already.  One session you're playing with Bob, the strength based cleric of Tempus and the next you're playing with Lucy the pacifist cleric of Sune.  Same race, same class and technically the same character. 

Or to put it another way ... when I sit down at a table I don't normally know what set of characters I'm going to be playing with.   Maybe we've adventured together before, maybe not.  Why would their background matter to me?

Allen.



It may seem strange, but it matters very much. As far as retraining goes, I think that's a problem too. I rather dislike that at least in my local area, adjusting the character's stat distribution at every stat gain level in order to maximize the bonuses seems to be becoming the norm. (At least partially, that's because I want to play D&D as it is written and keep the "it wouldn't work in a home game but it's the norm in LFR" stuff to a minimum). Fortunately, equipment is not as changeable as other character components so that tends to keep Bob the strength cleric from becoming Lucy the pacifist cleric.

Part of it may be that I've noticed that people behave rather differently when they do not have to grow characters organically. The few times I played in the Legend of the Green Regent or Mark of Heroes campaigns, even though the adventures were within the same quality range as most living greyhawk adventures and the players were players that I had played with in Living Greyhawk, the approach was vastly different. For the most part, people were bringing the most mechanically abusive characters that they could think of and treated them as throwaways rather than investing them with personalities or aspirations. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that they were essentially creating a new character for every game anyway so there wasn't any motivation to invest the character with anything more than was necessary for the 4 hour slot.

There is another way that character continuity matters even when you have never met the player or character before. A player who has played a character from level 1 tends to understand the character better than someone who has just created him. This is true from a mechanical perspective (there are players with 13th level characters who still haven't figured out that they can charge or use a daily while dazed, don't realize why their fighter wants to be adjacent to the enemies he has marked, and don't know how to calculate damage on a crit, but there is a lot more of that when characters are first created. Playing the character for several levels usually gives the player some experience). Perhaps more importantly, it is true from a role-playing perspective as well. It is my experience that both other players and I tend to understand their characters better as we play them more. In the first adventure that one plays a character, one may have an idea or two but you usually haven't seen how it plays out. By the time you've played a consistent character through several levels, you have a better sense not only of how he reacts to situations but also of how those reactions will impact the rest of the table. Maybe you realized that "quiet and brooding" is ok for a movie or a novel but really limits your ability to interact in a tabletop game. Perhaps you realized that your kender clone is really annoying the other players and toned it down a bit. Or maybe it's just that you've had several weeks to think of your cool catchphrases and to think of witticisms for your swashbuckler so you actually come across as Errol Flynn rather than Elan.

It may seem strange, but it matters very much.



As far as retraining, I know several people who have either changed characters completely (strength-based battle clerics to wisdom based laser clerics for example) or who have seriously considered it.  Nobody I know has changed gender and/or name yet but it wouldn't surprise me.

With the average "experienced" player having a half-dozen or more characters, I see a lot of "who am I again?" already. 

If you reward people for advancing the same characters for multiple levels, I don't think we'd see the "character of the week" syndrome. 

If we ever want to give a fair percentage of people a chance to play epic level games while still judging and having a life outside of LFR, we need an alternative to the way we've done things in the past.

The main reason I would like to see the change is that as a game day organizer I see it getting harder and harder to coordinate and organize game days.  No offense, but for every 1 person that left LFR because of the ability to create a higher level character, I think we would gain 5 people that could join an established group that don't want to start new characters every few months to accomadate newbies.

I think this is just something we're going to have to agree to disagree on. 

Allen.

Assuming three sessions per level, one game a week, everyone DMs 1/6th of the time... everyone gets around 42 games per year (figure in some holidays when nobody plays). That's 14 levels a year, which is more than enough to stay at the top of the available module curve. I dunno if a game a week counts as having a life outside LFR or not, but I think it does. 

On the other hand, your point vis a vis organizational issues rings true. Practically speaking, it ought to be possible to get two tables going in most locations. You can dedicate one to level 1-4s, but the second one is gonna be a puzzle, and it's not going to be possible to have a table for each level band. So play will really slow down there.

On the third hand, I agree with EB. Part of why I play LFR is for the feeling of satisfaction I get when I hit a new level, and that really goes away if I don't have to work for it. 

No offense, but for every 1 person that left LFR because of the ability to create a higher level character, I think we would gain 5 people that could join an established group that don't want to start new characters every few months to accomadate newbies.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that players are not fungible.

A hardcore player who participates in 100 modules a year (DMing 25% of them) singlehandedly takes up the slack of 8-12 casual players who play once a month but would never think of DMing.

If it's people in the former group who fall into the category of enjoying playing all the way through from level 1 to 20 instead of being handed a brand new epic character, losing one of them to gain five casual players is a net loss to the campaign.

Adding more casual players is irrelevant if you don't have anyone to DM for them.  Indeed, depending on how stretched your group is, losing that one player might be the last straw for the group as a whole.

It's a basic issue in living campaigns.  20% of the players are responsible for 80% of the play, as well as 80% of headaches caused to campaign staff and stress on the campaign.  However, they're also responsible for 80% of events organized and tables DMed.

Trying to make 80% of the player base happy misses the point that they wouldn't exist save for the other 20%.

My inclination is to think that if someone has invested a lot of time in the campaign, it's because they want a campaign that requires you to invest a lot of time.  Turning it into a campaign focused on those who want casual play requires you to create a new infrastructure dependent on casual players (and good luck with that), while the former group finds something else to invest a lot of time in.
I think that there is room in the RPGA for a campaign that allowed you to start at a higher level as the campaign progressed - heck, that's what the D&D Campaign model was all about. However, I don't think it's appropriate for *every* campaign model, and to change things that substantially with a campaign that's already gotten its highest-level characters halfway to retirement is unwise; it's a pretty substantial change, even more so than the recent changes to retrains (which were a BIG adjustment for many longtime Living Campaign players).
John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com
I don't know if this has been brought up or not but I can certainly appreciate a compromise.  How about having the option of either starting at 1 or say at 7 for a character?  It's not quite the leeway of any level you would want but it's certainly high enough that the characters will have significant resources to spend on newly released character options.

It would also facilitate the option of eventually stop releasing H1s and H2s to focus on higher brackets.
I understand that I'm probably in the minority of people that post to these boards that think allowing people to start a character at a level higher than 1 would be good for LFR. 

But as a "serious" supporter of LFR who started when the campaign started, the only reason I have a level 14 level character is because I went to a local con and played a ton of paragon level mods (and a big thanks to the judges that made that possible!).  Usually I judge 50% of the time or more - and that seems pretty typical in our area.

Whether the people who don't judge do so because they are intimidated, don't feel qualified or just plain don't enjoy it doesn't really matter.   But what I see with our current system is more and more mods that I and other judges can't play because we spend too much time ensuring other people have a game.  That's frustrating.  We also continuously offer mods at all levels at our local game day (every slot has at least 1 table of a 1-4 mod) so that new people can join which is spreading our judge pool ever thinner.  Also frustrating.  The gap between "haves" who were lucky enough to start characters when the campaign started and the "have nots" who started later seems to be growing with the "middle" tiers not getting a lot of interest.

There are many, many ways to reward people who play starting from level 1.   Say that you can only start a higher level character at the bottom of a tier (4, 7, 11, etc) and can't play a "lower" mod until you qualify for the next tier.  Give them slightly less gold and limit the level of items they can pick to their current level or less.  Penalize them 20% XP and GP for the first 3 mods they play, or similar.

Whether the people we would gain would be "lower quality" or "more casual" is debatable.  But I can guarantee that some of the people who are most committed to making LFR work are sometimes the ones who could benefit most from being able to create higher level characters.

If "organically growing" your character is important to you, don't take advantage of the rule allowing you to create a higher level character. 

If you're a newbie, I hope your local gaming group supports you.  If the group is big enough, you might be ok for now.  If it's a smaller group, well, good luck.

In any case, this debate is probably moot.  Someone somewhere else will or likely already has made a decision.  But just because we've always done it this way doesn't necessarily mean we should continue doing it.  Inertia isn't necessarily a good thing if you're headed towards a brick wall.  Surprised

Allen.

Assuming three sessions per level, one game a week, everyone DMs 1/6th of the time... everyone gets around 42 games per year (figure in some holidays when nobody plays). That's 14 levels a year, which is more than enough to stay at the top of the available module curve. I dunno if a game a week counts as having a life outside LFR or not, but I think it does. 


And how many people do you know who play that often?

And how many people do you know who play that often?



That's the wrong question. I've played or DMed 22 games so far this year, and I will keep it up at something close to that pace, because I go out of my way to have a lot of LFR. Unsurprisingly, most of the people I play with also hit about that pace -- there's a weekly game day with four tables a bit south of me, and all my regulars play at that as well as my game day, which is once every two weeks. I am atypical. The last hobby I spent a lot of time on was WoW raiding, and in comparison I'm not doing as much LFR, but I do a fair bit. So, yeah, I have a self-selected LFR social group that games a lot, which means my answer to that question is irrelevant.

The right question is whether or not a weekly time commitment to a hobby is typical, and I think it is. Think of LFR like bar trivia, karaoke night, ballroom dancing groups, bowling night, the office softball league, etc. It isn't weird for non-gamers to have weekly activities; it's pretty normal.

The organizational question is the thing that would sort of reluctantly sell me on the idea of creating characters at higher levels. I might still lose interest in the campaign, because I'm highly motivated by sense of achievement. That doesn't make it a bad idea, that's just a personal thing. My distaste is not a universal ruling principle.

I suspect it might be too much tracking, but if I were revamping the CCG and I wanted to allow for higher level play, I'd steal sidekicking/flashbacks from City of Heroes. The way they do it: if your PC is lower level than his party, he gets a temporary power boost up to the party's average level, so you can play with your high level friends. If you go the other way, the opposite happens.

Come to think of it... OK. So let's say I want to play LFR with my paragon friends but I only have a level 3 character. For that session, my PC's level goes up the top of the band (let's say 14) but I don't get all the extra powers, the paragon path, and so on -- I just get my level adjustments to my rolls, plus bonuses equal to the bonuses I'd get under the DMG2 no magic item rules, plus the additional hit points.

Now I can play in the adventure and be useful. I am not as good as someone who's worked their way up, but I can contribute. My to hit rolls are off by... 2 points from what they'd be normally, since I didn't get my attribute boosts. If that's too much of a handicap we could fix it by increasing the DMG2 bonus numbers. My damage rolls would certainly be lower, and I wouldn't have cool tricks. But I also wouldn't be roadkill.

At the end of the adventure, I get experience equal to the experience I'd get if I played an adventure in my level band.

Let high level characters do the same thing in reverse. Probably make them lose an appropriate number of powers. Low level adventures would still be easy for them, so you could level a character with ludicrous ease that way, but it's not like it's so hard as is so I don't care about that abuse.

There are probably holes in this. Not having cool high level power tricks is maybe a problem for the "sidekicks". But it might be a workable concept. 

Assuming three sessions per level, one game a week, everyone DMs 1/6th of the time... everyone gets around 42 games per year (figure in some holidays when nobody plays). That's 14 levels a year, which is more than enough to stay at the top of the available module curve. I dunno if a game a week counts as having a life outside LFR or not, but I think it does. 


And how many people do you know who play that often?




community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


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

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...




You do realize that people on these boards are not going to be particular representative for the LFR community at large?

Personally I am not convinced  the typical player plays LFR once per week. I don't, and nor do the majority of people I regularly game with. For us LFR is mostly the game you play at conventions, gaming clubs and game days. Most also have multiple PCs not because their PC has reached maximum level or because they want to play everything, but because they have to play adventures of a lower level band.
Personally I am not convinced  the typical player plays LFR once per week. I don't, and nor do the majority of people I regularly game with. For us LFR is mostly the game you play at conventions, gaming clubs and game days. Most also have multiple PCs not because their PC has reached maximum level or because they want to play everything, but because they have to play adventures of a lower level band.



I have no idea if there are cultural differences at work here, but it is possible? I dunno.

Actually, WotC has the relevant information about play frequency. You oughta ask 'em for it; all these antecdotes are interesting but not ultimately useful.
I understand that I'm probably in the minority of people that post to these boards that think allowing people to start a character at a level higher than 1 would be good for LFR. 

But as a "serious" supporter of LFR who started when the campaign started, the only reason I have a level 14 level character is because I went to a local con and played a ton of paragon level mods (and a big thanks to the judges that made that possible!).  Usually I judge 50% of the time or more - and that seems pretty typical in our area.



I have to agree. My wife and I DM more than 50% of the local mods we are playing in. We travel to cons and gamesdays specifically so we can play together and get our number 3 or 4 characters up in level.

We run into a problem that because we are DMing so much, the character's that started with us outlevel us. I have a larger pool of gamers, but of those that we game with regularly only myself and my friend have more than 2 years of RPG experience. These are all new people that are struggling to come to terms with what it means to be a DM. There have been nights where I have to look at people and say, "Hey, sorry, but 'Steve' is the DM tonight because you are all 4th level and my wife and I are 3rd and you are alread bugging us about playing 4-7."

The flip side is as was brought up, the new players. My wife's sister is considering the ideas of playig LFR with us. Right now we have a new set of level 1 characters. If it takes her a month to decide if she is going to play, which is very possible, then we will be into the 4-7's. As a co-ordinator, do I tell her..."When your ready to give it a try, let me know and we will include you." or do I tell her, "Beth, you have to play, right now, if you are thinking of playing because there are 1-4 mods running, right now."

There are two concepts here and I think both need addressed. Protect the people that DM from becoming the weak character because they lose module oppertunities. Be inviting to new players because if we don't have new players we won't have a D&D hobby anymore.

I do see a solution in allowing a player to make a higher than first level character for new players and also for players that have already achieved a higher level.

A solution for DMs can be that their characters get XP when they DM. A percentage, but still get some XP. It can simply be noted on a character journal as DM XP.

--------------------

In general though, I hear lots of people talk about traditions in gaming. In not becoming like a MMORPG or video game. However, bear something in mind, when it comes to the organizational structure of gaming and concepts about character longevity, the genres pushing new technology in this area are MMORPGs and have been one of the only one's for about 10 years. To cast aside the gains in technology they have achieved and not try to incorporate a better idea in D&D is not a good thing.

technology -
1: Practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.
For me, a campaign that allows you to create whatever character you want for whatever game you need wil eliminate the 'living' element fo the game. Sure, I can pretend the game is a continuing story for myself, but if I get the feeling that I am the only one pretending this, then the feeling is quickly gone. I like to have the idea that I am sharing the world and the story with others.
Likewise, why would I bother writing a coherent story if nobody is going to even bother following it? It would feel as if I am doing it for nought.
Of course, it all depend on how players react to such a change.
But if campaign changes result in a different kind of player, on who predominantly plays each adventure as a seperate game, then I will have to consider whether this is a campaign to stick around in.

But if campaign changes result in a different kind of player, on who predominantly plays each adventure as a seperate game, then I will have to consider whether this is a campaign to stick around in.



I think this is a bit of an extreme. People naturally form connections with their characters. They like going back to a character they know and want to play.

I believe that is the crux of the problem with people that end up having to over DM. Plus, that is a similar problem with people that are new. To make the 1-4 table, the more established players have to not play the characters they have the attachment with to make a new character they do no. If you have a situation where you bring in one or two new players at a time, which is frequent, then to fill the table, you have 3 to 5 players that are not playing a character that they are not connected to yet.

Besides, the coherent story with new players is about the other people at the table doing one off adventures and the jokes and heroic things that happen. The campaign story is recognized by more experienced players that have the resources to know, which mods to play in what specific order to experience the quest lines.

Look at it from the perspective of a coordinator.  When all we had was heroic level mods, it wasn't too hard to organize game days.  With the introduction of P1 and now P2, it's getting difficult.

I coordinate for a reasonably large game day of 4-6 tables per slot.  This is a public game and I want to offer games for everyone.   What do I do?  

My current scheduling looks something like:
Slot 1
lvl 1-4
lvl 7-10
lvl 11-14

Slot 2
lvl 1-4
lvl 4-7
lvl 15-17

So, at the moment I can barely - and I mean barely - accomadate all ranges.  Running slot 0's no longer makes sense because our judges are spread out too much.  I don't really like scheduling P1 mods in the morning because they tend to run long, but I don't see a lot of options.  But this all works if we have people and judges that are flexible enough to play multiple levels.  Add another level band or two to that and we're SOL.  

But I just volunteered - well, my wife volunteered me ;) - to help out with another, smaller game day that runs 2-3 tables per slot.  What to do?  I don't know.  I want the group to grow, which means we have to offer lower-level games ... but I also want to offer higher level games for people who want to play their higher level characters.  

What I'd like to do is offer a morning slot of level 1-4 for newbies and another slot of something else.  I'd then like to have some pre-generated higher level characters (with an instruction sheet) so that new people could join in whatever game we're running for the afternoon.  If they know what they're doing, they can bring their own characters of course.

So ... to all the people who think allowing creation of higher level characters, what are the options?  Not support lower level characters?  Don't support higher level characters?  Reward people who got into the campaign early?  Because I'm open to suggestion.  This wasn't an issue when the campaign was starting, but it's time to discuss alternatives.

To those who say that it would destroy continuity ... it's been my experience that there is very little continuity in the current campaign.  We currently bounce from continent to continent, story-arc to story-arc.  If I happen to realize that I'm playing a mod in a series I have to check my character history to see if I've played the previous mods with this character.  I don't know of anyone in our regular group who's played for more than a few months who would tell you different.  I wish LFR was more than a series of loosely-connected one-shot adventures.  The reality in my experience that is exactly what they are.  Other people may have different experiences.

Last, but not least, I just want to state that I probably wouldn't take advantage of the option to create higher level characters for myself very often, if ever.  I'm not arguing for me.  I accept that because I choose to judge as often as I do, I don't get to play all the mods released.  I'm arguing for a healthy LFR community that can continue to attract new players while allowing for people who want to play higher level characters and for those that DM for smaller groups.

So ... to all the people who think allowing creation of higher level characters, what are the options?  Not support lower level characters?  Don't support higher level characters?  Reward people who got into the campaign early?  Because I'm open to suggestion.  This wasn't an issue when the campaign was starting, but it's time to discuss alternatives.


"Henchman" rules! See my post on the last page.

The other parrallel is that for the health of LFR as a campaign, we need to push people into current book releases. As we have gone along in the publication cycle, the books published contain more and more content for paragon and epic play. The simple reason for this is that when D&D 4th was new, there was not Paragon or Epic play.

Higher level books get released more frequently as our character's grow up. For LFR to stay pertinent to WotC we need to continue to be a vehicle in providing marketing support for WotC. If we can't grow the campaign while also pushing towards the upper tiers then there is no reason to purchase the new book that comes out next month.

Plus, from a new player perspective, when they here the table next to them surfing the astral sea, in search of an exarch that needs a beat down. It kinda stinks that their adventure is so small they barely make a dent in a villager's life.


So ... to all the people who think allowing creation of higher level characters, what are the options?  Not support lower level characters?  Don't support higher level characters?  Reward people who got into the campaign early?  Because I'm open to suggestion.  This wasn't an issue when the campaign was starting, but it's time to discuss alternatives.


"Henchman" rules! See my post on the last page.



I was assuming that we'd follow normal D&D 4E rules.  When DMG 3.0 comes out with "henchmen" rules we can reconsider. Or maybe you can submit it as a Dragon Magazine article.  Laughing

But on a related note, I can see how MMOs can get away with such varying levels ... there are thousands if not millions of players online at any given moment.  Even then they have to invent "creative" ways around the issue or put up with some schmuck in China creating a high level character for people stateside to purchase.

Allen.
I was assuming that we'd follow normal D&D 4E rules.  When DMG 3.0 comes out with "henchmen" rules we can reconsider. Or maybe you can submit it as a Dragon Magazine article. 

But on a related note, I can see how MMOs can get away with such varying levels ... there are thousands if not millions of players online at any given moment.  Even then they have to invent "creative" ways around the issue or put up with some schmuck in China creating a high level character for people stateside to purchase.

Well, that's sort of the point. MMOs have the same problems, because new players want to be able to play with their friends. City of Heroes did a great job solving the problem with the sidekick concept. I don't think adopting that idea is any less of a change in the rules than awarding arbitrary XP on demand.


Also, what's easier for a new player -- taking a level 1 character and applying +10 to attacks/skills/defenses and +5 to damage, or saying "nice first level character, now pick 10 powers!"

The other parrallel is that for the health of LFR as a campaign, we need to push people into current book releases. As we have gone along in the publication cycle, the books published contain more and more content for paragon and epic play. The simple reason for this is that when D&D 4th was new, there was not Paragon or Epic play.

Higher level books get released more frequently as our character's grow up. For LFR to stay pertinent to WotC we need to continue to be a vehicle in providing marketing support for WotC. If we can't grow the campaign while also pushing towards the upper tiers then there is no reason to purchase the new book that comes out next month.

Plus, from a new player perspective, when they here the table next to them surfing the astral sea, in search of an exarch that needs a beat down. It kinda stinks that their adventure is so small they barely make a dent in a villager's life.


Where do you see that? Looking at MP2 or what's known of PHB3 there not aimed higher or lower than PHB1 was.

Adventures might be released for higher tiers, but  most don't become ADAPs anyway.



Curiously the last several posters favoring the ability to create higher level characters all said that they DM a lot and the last such poster actually said that he and his wife are falling behind the other characters in their local community because of the amount of DMing they do. While this is obviously not the conclusion that they draw from that data, I should point out that it is consistent with bgibbons observation that players are not fungible. A significant part of their problem appears to be that they are performing significantly more judging than the other members of their communities. If we were to assume that they lost one hardcore player/DM from those groups and gained five casual players as a result of the hypothetical rules change, those problems would likely get worse and not better. (Not that I buy the idea that the proposed change would get five casual players for every player it drove away). The casual players would almost certainly not share DMing duties and the combination of more players and (most likely) fewer DMs would leave their play/DM ratios more heavily wieghted towards DMing than they are now.
As we have gone along in the publication cycle, the books published contain more and more content for paragon and epic play.



That's an assertion that makes a certain amount of sense, but I don't know if it is actually supported by the published products (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness" title="en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness">"truthiness").  It is possible that the number of Paragon Paths is slightly higher in some of the later books than in the PH1, but if so the ratio isn't that much higher.  4E is still very much Heroic in focus.
But as a "serious" supporter of LFR who started when the campaign started, the only reason I have a level 14 level character is because I went to a local con and played a ton of paragon level mods (and a big thanks to the judges that made that possible!).  Usually I judge 50% of the time or more - and that seems pretty typical in our area.

Whether the people who don't judge do so because they are intimidated, don't feel qualified or just plain don't enjoy it doesn't really matter.   But what I see with our current system is more and more mods that I and other judges can't play because we spend too much time ensuring other people have a game.  That's frustrating.  We also continuously offer mods at all levels at our local game day (every slot has at least 1 table of a 1-4 mod) so that new people can join which is spreading our judge pool ever thinner.  Also frustrating.



I think that's a case of where you need to put your foot down and put a stop to it. Tell everyone that they're expected to DM say once every 3 months or they won't always get to play. And if that means that a table that could have 6 players only has 5, you're fine with it. If someone would rather play say 9 out of 12 times than play 11 out of 12 times and DM once, that's their choice.

When you put simple rules like that into play, I think you'll find a whole bunch of people willing to volunteer their time to DM(especially the intimidated or don't feel qualified people...) 

Re:  Getting people to DM:

I recommend using the following system.

New players start with 5 points.  You gain 5 points by DMing a game.  You lose 1 point by playing a game.  Players are seated according to how many points they have.

You start at 5 because negative numbers are inherently a bit scary.

Besides this system, it's important to create an environment friendly to new DMs.  If you use the system, but people in the area are nasty to new DMs, you can expect that people will NOT DM.

How I've seen it work:

The number of DMs doesn't increase until people start losing their seats a few weeks in a row.  Functionally, it takes a few months for things to really get running - after people end up not playing for weeks in a row, eventually someone just says "wth" and DMs.  (It helps a lot - I would even say it's essential - to have people on hand to help new DMs along week after week; this way, new DMs have a far easier time getting along.)

If someone's nasty to a new DM, someone - whether player or DM - needs to explain the situation to an organizer.  From there, the organizer explains to the relevant player that the group needs new DMs, so won't the player please be understanding of the DM's shortcomings?  Of course, if the player isn't understanding, the organizer just makes sure the player doesn't play until the player *does* understand.

When we started this up in New York City, I figured at best we'd get people to just run stuff they'd already played.  Now, we even have DMs volunteering to eat adventures (i.e. DMing stuff they hadn't played yet).

Player population's currently 75%+ DMs.  Not bad, I'd say.  We lost some people that refused to DM along the way, but the group's pretty fair-sized.

Whether the people who don't judge do so because they are intimidated, don't feel qualified or just plain don't enjoy it doesn't really matter.   But what I see with our current system is more and more mods that I and other judges can't play because we spend too much time ensuring other people have a game.

The way we do things locally is that the public game every other week is for L1-4/L4-7 modules.  The majority of local play consists of private/semi-public games primarily for and by rotating DMs, though other people will get invited to fill in if we happen to have a seat open.

By the time someone has an 8th level character, they should know enough to DM a game.  If they're not willing to do so, I really don't care why, but neither do I care if they don't get to play as often as they'd like or the character they'd prefer.

Personally, I think if your ratio is more than 1 game DMed per 2 games played, you either need to recognize and embrace that you're (for whatever reason) providing a charitable service for others out of the goodness of your heart or you need to stop DMing for people who aren't willing to step up and do their part.

If your group is offering L14-17 modules for players who aren't willing to help out, and there's no stigma to them not doing so, then I'm not sure the problem is all on their end.  That's just the culture the group has created, that there are certain people who DM and everyone else just shows up and plays.
Well, that's sort of the point.  MMOs have the same problems, because new players want to be able to play with their friends. City of Heroes did a great job solving the problem with the sidekick concept. I don't think adopting that idea is any less of a change in the rules than awarding arbitrary XP on demand.

Also, what's easier for a new player -- taking a level 1 character and applying +10 to attacks/skills/defenses and +5 to damage, or saying "nice first level character, now pick 10 powers!"



Seriously?  The henchmen rule would have a lot of issues.  You get more and more powerful encounter and daily powers as you level, not to mention having better equipment.  It's not just adding HP, Defenses and attack bonuses.  It's going from an encounter power that does 2[w] to a power that does 3[w] and dazes.  Changing a non-magical axe to a jagged axe that crits on a 19-20 and does ongoing 10 damage on a crit and so on.  Well, that and the pesky issue that it's not a 4E rule unless it gets published in an official source.


Like I said before ... as an organizer I'd have some "pre-gen" characters with instructions and hints on how to run them.  An experienced player could write up whatever character they want of course.



Curiously the last several posters favoring the ability to create higher level characters all said that they DM a lot and the last such poster actually said that he and his wife are falling behind the other characters in their local community because of the amount of DMing they do. While this is obviously not the conclusion that they draw from that data, I should point out that it is consistent with bgibbons observation that players are not fungible. A significant part of their problem appears to be that they are performing significantly more judging than the other members of their communities. If we were to assume that they lost one hardcore player/DM from those groups and gained five casual players as a result of the hypothetical rules change, those problems would likely get worse and not better. (Not that I buy the idea that the proposed change would get five casual players for every player it drove away). The casual players would almost certainly not share DMing duties and the combination of more players and (most likely) fewer DMs would leave their play/DM ratios more heavily wieghted towards DMing than they are now.



How does that address the fundamental issue of what levels of play should be offered at a game day?  A certain percentage of newbies will eventually turn into judges.  But if we can't offer games that new people can play how will LFR grow, much less avoid stagnation? 

The way we do things locally is that the public game every other week is for L1-4/L4-7 modules.  The majority of local play consists of private/semi-public games primarily for and by rotating DMs, though other people will get invited to fill in if we happen to have a seat open.



I guess that's ok if it works for you, but basically you've separated people into "haves" who can play every game day if they want to  and "have nots" who can only play ever other game day.  It's not the way I want to run public game days.  I want newbies to feel welcome, not like second-class citizens who are relegated to the back of the line.

The ratio of judges to players is a whole other topic.  I never said I have a problem with how much I judge.  I enjoy killing PCs ... err ... running fun and challenging games.  Wink  I ran a home campaign for several years where my chance to play a PC was zero, so playing fifty percent of the time is a nice change of pace.

Giving DM's a chance to play higher level games is an issue, but keeping games open for new players is just as big of a concern.

Allen.
As we have gone along in the publication cycle, the books published contain more and more content for paragon and epic play.



That's an assertion that makes a certain amount of sense, but I don't know if it is actually supported by the published products (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness" title="en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness">"truthiness").  It is possible that the number of Paragon Paths is slightly higher in some of the later books than in the PH1, but if so the ratio isn't that much higher.  4E is still very much Heroic in focus.



Well, and that's just it.  Sure, more Paragon and Epic stuff has come out, but just as much (if not more) heroic tier stuff has coem out as well.  Most player focused books have a number of heroic feats that number equal up to twice as many as the paragon and epic feats combined.

The wholesale changing of characters and the level bumps were the main reason I didn't play the D&D Campaigns (Legacy, Xendrik, Mark of Heroes).  I can live with the wholesale retrains, I just won't take advantage of it for my PCs.  If they go the route of allowing higher level PCs, I'll stick with the campaign.  I still enjoy playign it.  But if they released another campaign with tighter restrictions, I would end of focusing on that.
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
Well, that's sort of the point.  MMOs have the same problems, because new players want to be able to play with their friends. City of Heroes did a great job solving the problem with the sidekick concept. I don't think adopting that idea is any less of a change in the rules than awarding arbitrary XP on demand.

Also, what's easier for a new player -- taking a level 1 character and applying +10 to attacks/skills/defenses and +5 to damage, or saying "nice first level character, now pick 10 powers!"


 

Seriously?  The henchmen rule would have a lot of issues.  You get more and more powerful encounter and daily powers as you level, not to mention having better equipment.  It's not just adding HP, Defenses and attack bonuses.  It's going from an encounter power that does 2[w] to a power that does 3[w] and dazes.  Changing a non-magical axe to a jagged axe that crits on a 19-20 and does ongoing 10 damage on a crit and so on.  Well, that and the pesky issue that it's not a 4E rule unless it gets published in an official source.




Yes, I know. Obviously it wouldn't be as powerful as a character you level up the normal way. That doesn't mean it's unworkable, that means it's different. I don't think having one or two characters at that power level would make an adventure too difficult. 

You could fiddle with the numbers, too, perhaps. If the lack of special effects is really crippling, tune the modifiers such that a character who was playing up had a better chance to hit than a "normal" character -- that way he's doing less damage, but he's doing it more often. 

I'm getting the impression you really hate this idea, however. Sorry about that; I was looking for a compromise between the full-blown "make a PC at any level" idea that would make the campaign significantly less fun for me, and the very real problem that you and others have convinced me exists. 

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...




You do realize that people on these boards are not going to be particular representative for the LFR community at large?



You didn't ask how many people in the LFR at large did that.  You asked how many people we knew that did.  There's quite a few in that thread.  You never asked for a representative sample.  (sorry, had to go all rules lawyer on you there )

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
The ratio of judges to players is a whole other topic.  I never said I have a problem with how much I judge.  I enjoy killing PCs ... err ... running fun and challenging games.  Wink  I ran a home campaign for several years where my chance to play a PC was zero, so playing fifty percent of the time is a nice change of pace.



The problem isn't whether or not you like judging that percentage or not, the problem is whether or not your judge pool likes judging that amount or not. You're saying they don't to the point where you think changing the rules of the campaign isn't a bad idea.

Either you need more judges and/or less players to take that stress off the judge pool. When you tell the players that something has to give or you'll run less tables, I think you'll see a lot of every week players willing to step up and judge on a semi-regular basis.
A solution for DMs can be that their characters get XP when they DM. A percentage, but still get some XP. It can simply be noted on a character journal as DM XP.



I don't see this as a solution. It actually decreases the amount of play experience you get to have with your character. While your toys get bigger, you get significantly less of them, and you miss out on a large part of the shared world.

I think the MMO analogy is apt: WoW offered triple XP for accounts that recruit a friend to play with them, and the result is that the XP boost causes the new player to miss a third of the world, a third of the story, and the third of the memories from playing.

Personally I am not convinced  the typical player plays LFR once per week. I don't, and nor do the majority of people I regularly game with. For us LFR is mostly the game you play at conventions, gaming clubs and game days. Most also have multiple PCs not because their PC has reached maximum level or because they want to play everything, but because they have to play adventures of a lower level band.



My experience is literally the opposite of yours. I'm a bit odd in my group in that I only get about one game a week. My average is probably about 1.25 / week. I have a private mid-week pot-luck LFR game, a weekly 1-table Friday night game, one LFR group that plays two tables each Friday & Sunday and another that hosts about three tables on Saturday—all within 5 miles of my home. I think the difference is that there are fairly few home games around here: I know of one bi-weekly game and have heard rumors of a Pathfinder game. For pretty much everyone else I know, D&D and LFR are equivalent.

What I wouldn't give for actual data on this.