since lfr is being decoupled from wotc can we fix some problems?

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while wotc was footing the bill and promoting the game, lfr was trapped in using wotc's rules.  many of them were good, some were innovative, but once in a while they were a detriment to game balance.

what keeps us from simply banning all action points for players.  period.

what about the other bad mechanics out there that should be changed?  i will not list examples, since what i consider utterly ludicrous, others (wrongly) consider tollerable or more often fun.  but, setting aside what gets changed, what keeps us from making changes?

Banning action points neuters Warlords.

Simply put, this is still D&D - we largly play by its rules.
what keeps us from simply banning all action points for players.  period.

Is this a troll?

madre dios, corwynn!  where ever i post you show up and post something you dont like about what i posted!!!

no im not a troll!  action points are broken.  they are the principle element of all alpha strikes, they make combat in lfr too easy (and it is already much too easy anyways).

other things we could do without are all forms of saving throw penalties even if that makes some wizards sad, all uses of intimidate to force surrender, despite idiotic arguments that rules zero lets the dm say it failed anyways, and all forms of stealth and invisibility in combat that can persist more than one turn.

sometimes an overall good game has some flaws.  there is nothing wrong with correcting those flaws when you get a chance!
While WOTC is no longer overseeing our plot, we are still their OP campaign and they still provide some support for us, so still have to use their rules. We don't have a choice in this. The only things we can adjust are those rules that need special attention due to the organized play environment (such as rules that say your DM decides).
madre dios, corwynn!

Haha, nothing personal I swear.  You just say the darndest things ;)

while wotc was footing the bill and promoting the game, lfr was trapped in using wotc's rules.  many of them were good, some were innovative, but once in a while they were a detriment to game balance.

what keeps us from simply banning all action points for players.  period.

what about the other bad mechanics out there that should be changed?  i will not list examples, since what i consider utterly ludicrous, others (wrongly) consider tollerable or more often fun.  but, setting aside what gets changed, what keeps us from making changes?


Sorry jsaint...We can't ban capital letters, either.

(Sorry. Couldn't resist.) Smile
Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
I don't think LFR is too easy on players, I think 4e in general is too easy on players.  I really like MM3, it puts some scare back into the game, particularly with solos.  I don't think dropping action points will solve any headaches.

Things I dislike:

* Cards - but I think those are going away anyhow
* Formulaic adventures - Skill challenge, combat, combat, skill challenge, big fight
* The stories mean nothing -- again something I suspect is being looked into

I'll be back to LFR when it reboots next year... till then I am only a LFR player, not a DM.  Then, after we see the new product, will I want to comment on things I want to change. 
Without changing the rules (let's put that notion aside for now..) I think everyone has a different take on how Living Realms adventures should be run --me included. This is why I would really recommend the use of the MyRealms adventures. These currently go all the way up into Paragon levels. 

MyRealms gives you an XP budget and a treasure budget.. beyond that, you can go nuts. And at that point it just depends on whether or not you are able to find people willing to play your second* adventure.

I've had huge success with these- not just original adventures but entire original storylines and campaign groups running within the Living Realms. If the published adventures aren;t doing things the way you would like.. you can do it your way!



 * DMs are advised to trick, coerce or bribe players into playing their first MyRealms adventure.



* Formulaic adventures - Skill challenge, combat, combat, skill challenge, big fight


I understand the dislike, but this is really hard to deal with. LFR is written with conventions in mind, and that is not going to change. Hence, an adventure needs to be finished within 4 hours, which severely limits the setup of adventures. In 4E this is further limited by the rules concerning extended rests, and the difficulties in designing single encounters per day that are challenging without making them over the top lethal for the average group. Personally as a DM and a player I have accepted the fact, and I regularly run games for players who use dailies when it makes sense in the combat and not just because they know it to be the last fight.

Of course, outside of conventions DMs have some freedom to modify stuff more to their liking, and they most certainly can use MYRE to weave more encounters before and/or after the adventure to break away from the mold.

I understand the dislike, but this is really hard to deal with.


What I think Festivus may be referring to, is that some (a small minority of) adventures contain a rather silly skill challenge that doesn't add to the plot merely on grounds that "each adventure must contain a skill challenge". If the format is no longer mandated by WOTC, then authors have more creative leeway, and that doesn't have to preclude convention play.


I think that the OP has a good point that since WOTC no longer "owns" RPGA as strongly, the RPGA admins can make certain fixes to the game for issues that simply don't come up in home campaigns. For example, the RPGA could prohibit carrying three identical items to get around a "once per day" or "once per encounter" usage limit; this is never an issue in any home campaign that I'm aware of, yet some people abuse this in RPGA.

This is not all that different from the RPGA rule that you have to ask allies before you include them in your Fireball; in home campaigns this is rarely an issue. It is neither new nor surprising that certain rules only apply in RPGA games.

Of course, such changes should be rare; and the OP's example of banning action points does not strike me as a good idea. But there are some obvious rules loopholes that many DMs simply veto and that RPGA could similarly veto.
While WOTC is no longer overseeing our plot, we are still their OP campaign and they still provide some support for us, so still have to use their rules. We don't have a choice in this. The only things we can adjust are those rules that need special attention due to the organized play environment (such as rules that say your DM decides).




Skerrit--  

Is there any chance you could let the community know what these magical rules are that we can and can't change?   It would really help us (the community) to know what we can do with *OUR* campaign.   Are they posted someplace?  Can they be?  

One of my frustrations is that I don't know or understand the relationship between the Global Admins and WotC and want a clear foundation upon which we can build a truly living campaign. 

Thanks.

-Pain
Is it really that difficult?  I'd love a adventure where there was less combat, more roleplay opportunities, and longer skill challenges.  Those are not everyone's cup of tea but I am just saying, I can predict when everyone is going to use their daily powers in almost every single LFR adventure I play in (that isn't a MYRE).

As I mentioned, I am pretty much on LFR hiatus until the reboot happens next year.  Till then, I pretty much play MYRE adventures and am DMing Slaying Stone at our meetup.  Since DMing LFR no longer counts toward DM Rewards, and since as a player you can launch in at any point I don't see much point to playing LFR.  

Seems like more and more what I enjoyed has been pushed aside.  I very much look forward to some meaningful changes... and I hope they fit my wants well enough to warrant my return to LFR play. 
Is it really that difficult?  I'd love a adventure where there was less combat, more roleplay opportunities, and longer skill challenges.  Those are not everyone's cup of tea but I am just saying, I can predict when everyone is going to use their daily powers in almost every single LFR adventure I play in (that isn't a MYRE)



CORM 1-5 (H1 adventure) is an adventure you should try then.
-Sartredes
I need to remind myself not to use infinitives.  Yes, I did play that one and enjoyed it.
campaigns. For example, the RPGA could prohibit carrying three identical items to get around a "once per day" or "once per encounter" usage limit; this is never an issue in any home campaign that I'm aware of, yet some people abuse this in RPGA.



I think the new item rarity rules will fix some of this.
One of my frustrations is that I don't know or understand the relationship between the Global Admins and WotC and want a clear foundation upon which we can build a truly living campaign. 




Yes, we are currently working on an Administrators document that spells out what the abilities and responsibilities of all of the campaiagn volunteers are and how those people are reviewed. Once finished, we will post it for all to see, just like the Writers Guidelines and the CCG.
As I have mentioned here and there, I very much look forward to the "reboot" of LFR, and really do hope it's a good fit for me.
Things that I want to see include follow up to dangling plot threads from year 1 and year 2, real uses for story rewards other than this guy/girl helps in skill challenge, place magic item bundles which will have definite uses in later area adventures like lunia's bracelet for werecreatures or boots of swimming for lots of underwater combats, and finally on time adventures for PRIVATE PLAY.
Is it really that difficult?  I'd love a adventure where there was less combat, more roleplay opportunities, and longer skill challenges.  Those are not everyone's cup of tea but I am just saying, I can predict when everyone is going to use their daily powers in almost every single LFR adventure I play in (that isn't a MYRE).


If you ask whether or not we are going to remove the minimum of 2 combat rule in the writing guidelines: unlikely. The generic group wants those fights.

Of course, I still love to ask Imaginaryfriend about the time where his group was being slaughtered in the first fight, and one of the players asked whether it was a good idea to use the daily or not since it clearly was not the last fight. I love seeing the steam coming from his ears ;) Sometimes the first fights are the more lethal ones ;) So I fully understand were you are comming from.
Of course, I still love to ask Imaginaryfriend about the time where his group was being slaughtered in the first fight, and one of the players asked whether it was a good idea to use the daily or not since it clearly was not the last fight. I love seeing the steam coming from his ears ;) -snip-


Yeah I noted you take great pleasure in reminding me..  To be clear, I was in fact DM-ing the table and they were in dire straits when the particular player posed that question. I may have overreacted a little, but I still maintain some fire was warranted and I am still very happy that I was not alone in my ehm, shall we say..annoyance. Most of the other players were also of a "say WHOT???" state of mind.

As for the topic at hand. Less predictability to counteract some of the more obnoxious meta gaming is a good GOOD thing.

To DME, or not to DME: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous powergaming, Or to take arms against a sea of Munchkins, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more;
Of course, I still love to ask Imaginaryfriend about the time where his group was being slaughtered in the first fight, and one of the players asked whether it was a good idea to use the daily or not since it clearly was not the last fight. I love seeing the steam coming from his ears ;) -snip-


Yeah I noted you take great pleasure in reminding me..  To be clear, I was in fact DM-ing the table and they were in dire straits when the particular player posed that question. I may have overreacted a little, but I still maintain some fire was warranted and I am still very happy that I was not alone in my ehm, shall we say..annoyance. Most of the other players were also of a "say WHOT???" state of mind.

As for the topic at hand. Less predictability to counteract some of the more obnoxious meta gaming is a good GOOD thing.



Hmm... Reduce metagaming, watch certain people go crazy every convention... I don't know... tough choice...
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
honestly, i play in a group that bounces about 20 people around tables. we've played together for a year or more, and have played several mods multiple times each (different characters). even though we know how the encounters are made, by using the +/- characters rules (adding & removing creatures) and hi/low rules, we can tailor mods to be challenging. 

As opposed to changing rules, how about we change players:

Extreme Character Optimization (to the edge of rule breaking) is prohibited.
DM's who simply through creatures at the PC's w/o being tactical are banned

These 2 simple changes would put the challenge back into 4E more than any rules changes. 
Yeah, I think this is more of a matter about adapting player habits rather than changing game rules.

The weak monster damage for paragon and above has been fixed in MM3 and mods will surely take that into account from now on.

At one of the local game stores, the organizer asked people who wanted to play their optimized characters and mainly enjoyed the fighting side of D&D to identify themselves (I think by placing Tactical next to their names on warhorn) to make sure that they get paired up with similar players/DMs.  Likewise, those who wanted to mainly RP or wanted to de-emphasize the combat side of things were grouped together. 

Now, most people didn't bother to identify themselves with one camp or the other, preferring a mix of both, but it did help to group players and DMs of similar playstyles together and everyone had more fun.
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Yeah, I think this is more of a matter about adapting player habits rather than changing game rules.

The weak monster damage for paragon and above has been fixed in MM3 and mods will surely take that into account from now on.

At one of the local game stores, the organizer asked people who wanted to play their optimized characters and mainly enjoyed the fighting side of D&D to identify themselves (I think by placing Tactical next to their names on warhorn) to make sure that they get paired up with similar players/DMs.  Likewise, those who wanted to mainly RP or wanted to de-emphasize the combat side of things were grouped together. 

Now, most people didn't bother to identify themselves with one camp or the other, preferring a mix of both, but it did help to group players and DMs of similar playstyles together and everyone had more fun.

Oh, where was that?

If you ask whether or not we are going to remove the minimum of 2 combat rule in the writing guidelines: unlikely. The generic group wants those fights.




Madfox/Skerrit--  I hope that when the document that outlines the powers/responsibilities/whatever is released we can go back over statements like this.   While I believe and understand that some people lurve the fighting, I don't know why there needs to be mandated combat in any mod.  Or mandated skill challenges.

I believe modules will be better, funner, and more unique when authors have more freedom to create.  After we have a clear understanding of what we can do *THEN* decide, as a community, if we want to have a generic 2 combat rule or 6 combats or no combats, rather than have it decided by Admin fiat.

I would like to have discussions, as a community, that includes mandatory skill challenges in mods, what magical equipment is allowed, what new content is brought in, etc.  If you're telling us that this campaign is being run by volunteers working with the community, then let's make sure that happens.  

I understand the need for 'combat' mods, but why can't we have roleplaying mods?

I shudder to think of a campaign wherein mods like "Madhouse" cannot exist.

Thanks.

-Pain

 Even in the Madhouse, there were combat elements, even if there was no true combat.

In any case, combat represents approximately 75% of the game content (per a WotC representative) and there truly is an expectation of combat in an adventure by players. I can't see a skill challenge-only adventure being sanctioned, especially as they still seem to be misunderstood by many DMs. There is still plenty of room for originality in the guidelines.

Oh and the Madhouse was one of my favourite LG adventures. Britt and I got into a pretty lengthy discussion about what a good DM could do with it - it's a crying shame he's too busy travelling the globe earning millions to still be involved in organised play. Cry

Joe Fitzgerald | joerpga[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au LFR Global Administrator
In any case, combat represents approximately 75% of the game content (per a WotC representative) and there truly is an expectation of combat in an adventure by players. I can't see a skill challenge-only adventure being sanctioned, especially as they still seem to be misunderstood by many DMs. There is still plenty of room for originality in the guidelines. 



Mr. Buster--

See?  This is the kind of discussion we should have with the community rather than accepting an Admin or WotC representative fiat.    I just want a discussion after we figure out what we can and can't do before we re-boot this campaign.   It's pretty clear that the old structure wasn't working and a new one was needed. 

Players may expect combat because that's all we've given them...and if we continue to force-mandate 2 combat mods, then we really aren't exploring as we should explore nor giving players options and chances to see new types of mods. 

The Admins are trying to make LFR more storybased and 'living' and it seems silly to me to re-arrange things toward that end but stop part way.  

Am I wrong to want to give the community more input into how we re-build this?

-Pain

p.s.  I'm neither for all-combat or no-combat mods.   I'm for allowing authors to build really interesting and cool stories by eliminating both the restrictions on combat AND skill challenges.    Even moreso, I want the community to have voice into our direction rather than mandations of a few. 


Mr. Buster--

See?  This is the kind of discussion we should have with the community rather than accepting an Admin or WotC representative fiat.    I just want a discussion after we figure out what we can and can't do before we re-boot this campaign.   It's pretty clear that the old structure wasn't working and a new one was needed. 

Players may expect combat because that's all we've given them...and if we continue to force-mandate 2 combat mods, then we really aren't exploring as we should explore nor giving players options and chances to see new types of mods. 

The Admins are trying to make LFR more storybased and 'living' and it seems silly to me to re-arrange things toward that end but stop part way.  

Am I wrong to want to give the community more input into how we re-build this?

-Pain

p.s.  I'm neither for all-combat or no-combat mods.   I'm for allowing authors to build really interesting and cool stories by eliminating both the restrictions on combat AND skill challenges.    Even moreso, I want the community to have voice into our direction rather than mandations of a few.


I think the community has had and continues to have a huge influence on the campaign to date. I would imagine the dramatically increased presence of the Globals (myself, skerrit, madfox11 and soccerref73) on the both the LFR community forums and here might be evidence of greater engagement and consultation.

Provided everyone is understanding of the fact that we can't implement every idea (and we don't get unduly flamed for doing so), I can't see why that won't continue. Smile

Joe Fitzgerald | joerpga[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au LFR Global Administrator
i would really like to see the difficulty of encounters addressed.  this does not need to be a lowest common denominator enterprise, do the modules "need" to be so easy?  i realize that there are some that are too hard out there, but nearly all of the 40 or so i've played have been too easy.

and in the too hard camp, the only ones i can think of that might have fit that bill was one in akunul with some harpy in a grainery or a mill or something and one i played recently with lava dragons that had minions attacking the lava dragons to trigger some insane aoe damage effect.  the second one was in fact insane btw, wildly beyond almost any parties hope to survive, and it was great that way.  the fact that we managed to pull it off mattered, there was a sense of accomplishment at the end.  making an effective character mattered.

i would really like to see the difficulty of encounters addressed.  this does not need to be a lowest common denominator enterprise, do the modules "need" to be so easy?  i realize that there are some that are too hard out there, but nearly all of the 40 or so i've played have been too easy.



Ask your DM to boost the challenge. Sorry, but for each player complaining things are too easy, there are two saying it is perfect and one that says it is too hard. In my experience increasing the challenge is a lot easier, and less obvious, then downgrading things, especially since you usually see how things are going on late in the fight.

Mind you, looking at MM3 and beyond monsters certainly have gained more power, so I would suspect the general level of difficulty is going to raise. Considering the reactions to D&D Encounters, I suspect to get a flood of complaints about things being too hard though. Dice, DM and players just have too big an influence on how the experience goes...
 Even in the Madhouse, there were combat elements, even if there was no true combat.

In any case, combat represents approximately 75% of the game content (per a WotC representative) and there truly is an expectation of combat in an adventure by players. I can't see a skill challenge-only adventure being sanctioned, especially as they still seem to be misunderstood by many DMs. There is still plenty of room for originality in the guidelines.

Oh and the Madhouse was one of my favourite LG adventures. Britt and I got into a pretty lengthy discussion about what a good DM could do with it - it's a crying shame he's too busy travelling the globe earning millions to still be involved in organised play. Cry




Actually, Mr. Frey is closer than you might think. He's moving to Boston next month and is currently helping me with ideas for the Epic Plotline.

...oh and uh, yeah, combats are important. I'd never write a module without at least two per round. I've definitely learned a lot about skill challenges though. Authors feel the need to fill space with them. I find, if you can't find a good place for one, don't use one. Sometimes, however, they can be really great.

I would avoid playing any module with less than two combats per round. I care about story first and foremost, but combats are a close second (D&D is a strategic board game to me). I know that many players feel the same way (whether or not they choose to admit it).
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
... one i played recently with lava dragons that had minions attacking the lava dragons to trigger some insane aoe damage effect.  the second one was in fact insane btw, wildly beyond almost any parties hope to survive, and it was great that way.

I'm not sure if I'd call When Dragons Die insane, but the tactics in the first combat you reference did leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Show
Minions with stated tactics that they will attack a creature who will resist all of their damage, because bad things happen to the PCs if the creature is hit by a fire attack?  If a player tried that kind of cheesiness (attacking a fellow PC in a way that was guaranteed to deal no damage, to trigger a beneficial side effect), I'd roll my eyes at them, and would at least consider whether 'bag of rats' applied.

These aren't the kind of tactics that we necessarily want authors to be legitimizing as being part of LFR.

i would really like to see the difficulty of encounters addressed.  this does not need to be a lowest common denominator enterprise, do the modules "need" to be so easy?

I say yes, they need to be easy. If LFR is meant for convention than the difficulty should be aimed at 4-6 random strangers who don't know each other's powers or tactics and might even lack some roles altogether.

I also deny that LFR is too easy. I found most mods just right and in the extremes I found more mods too difficult than too easy. I dread the MM3 damage expressions and will avoid them as long as I can.


making an effective character mattered.

And that should not be what the mods are aimed for, because the TPKs of the normal chars will be sooo much fun to the players without these effective chars.
I think I'm going to get banned for slow-motion spamming if I keep posting this every so often, but:

Please do not turn LFR into an arms race. If a certain subset of players needs to feel more manly, there are ways they can work with their DM to do that. Or, all else failing, they can not play LFR.
+1

It's important to take a step back when judging the challenge of LFR mods. The majority of people who post on these boards are sophisticated D&D players who have experience making effective characters (even, dare I say, broken ones). A significant portion of LFR players are either novices or do not have the free-time necessary to fine-tune their characters. The mods as-is are significantly more challenging for them.

Perfect example: There are three FLGS in my area that have LFR. One has mostly experienced players who universally find the mods easy. Another has a large population of novice players, and we hear TPK stories coming out of there frequently. A third is a mix. Boosting the challenge of mods across the board would have different effects on all three of these groups.

My group has combatted the problem by allowing the DM to scale a 4-person table up to 5 or 6 if the players desire a greater challenge. Perhaps a more standardized sanctioning of this practice or widespread adoption of the "glory tier" would be effective.
Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
why are the people who want harder mods in the wrong?  or put differently, why do we cater to the people who want easier games instead of catering to those who want harder games?

rather than artificially increasing the challenge of module that was easy (and nearly all of them are way too easy), why not make them much harder, even unfairly harder, and instead artificially soften them for the crowd that doesnt want a challenge.

in short, why is what i want less important than what other people want.

and getting back to my original point, there are some things in the game that are 100% totally broken.  indisputably so.  so if wotc is unwilling to solve saving throw penalty stacking for example, why dont we.  this is a problem that is real, not a hypothetical build that is based off some obscure interpretation of RAW.  it is absolutely legal to break the system in half with saving throw penalties.

if it is legal for us to dissallow content from dungeon magazine, and we do, and it is legal for us to disallow dragonmark feats, and we do, why can't we solve this obvious and critical game balance issue!
rather than artificially increasing the challenge of module that was easy (and nearly all of them are way too easy), why not make them much harder, even unfairly harder, and instead artificially soften them for the crowd that doesnt want a challenge.

in short, why is what i want less important than what other people want.


Because, as Madfox11 already explained, it is much easier for a DM to scale the challenge of an encounter up, rather than down. Why? Because the way the game is designed makes the line between difficult and lethal very fine and once you overstep the mark, it is very hard to do anything but have the monsters wave the white flag to avoid a TPK. 

I hate to always bring this back to the DM and it may sound like common sense (but you know the adage about it not being that common) but if the adventure is properly prepared, the tactical challenge is often far greater. Maybe all your DMs are already prepped but in my experience, DMs often think they don't need to prep and that doing it on the fly is good enough - in many cases this makes adventures too easy because, you know, the whole preparation thing.

Yes, there are instances where adventures (especially the earlier ones) don't provide an adequate challenge but to quote Pieter again, for each player complaining things are too easy, there are two saying it is perfect and one that says it is too hard. As Global Admins, we do have a wider view of how the player base views the challenge and in all honesty, the heavily invested people that inhabit these boards aren't always the best gauge of the greater community.   

 
Joe Fitzgerald | joerpga[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au LFR Global Administrator
in short, why is what i want less important than what other people want.



If what you want proves to be a minority viewpoint, or if delivering what you want seriously damages the enjoyment of a large number of other players, that's what makes it less important.
"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 am wondering if we can remove the requirement to use Dungeon Tiles.

I know some LG authors who have decided not to write for LFR because
they are being forced to utilize Dungeon Tiles for all of their encounters.

Well, anyhow: I agree with Mirtek and Joshua Randall.

LFR should remain at a standard level of difficulty. And really that's not "easy"- PCs are still going to get hit and bloodied with regularity, and even killed, but at least the battles won't take so long and there will be less missing of attacks. I have to say it's annoying when you break into a new tier (let's say 7-10th, - you just hit 7th.. and the rest of the group decides to play it on high, and you find out you are missing with a 17 against a monsters weakest defense.)

The battles aren't the be-all of the experience!

For people that want things harder, they should play glory tier.

PS: I had not even realized that writers were forced to use dungeon tiles. I mean, as a DM I'm certainly not forced to use them.