New December and Beyond

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surprised I didn't see a post of this yet...
well, it quells any debate or suspicion on what Heroes of Shadow was going to be about: now it's definitely essentials format builds for certain, iconic classes.

Really like that DM screen though- I might just get it to differentiate myself for when I DM :D
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
The Icewind Dale tiles look gorgeous.  Snow/ice terrain isn't something that comes up a lot in my games, but I'll be happy to get some anyways (because I'm a DT addict).

DM Screen is pretty, but I've never paid for a DM screen, and I most likely never will (unless it's included with something else that I actually want).

Gamma World is Gamma World.

Heroes of Shadow is a.) not surprising, and b.) wholly uninteresting to me.  New Paladin build?  New Mage schools?  New "hexblade" pact?  New Assassin... stuff?  Greaaaaaat.

I guess I'm waiting until Player's Handbook: We Don't Put Numbers On Them (Or Classes In Them) Anymore for a 2011 book I may buy.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
I hope they either publish an Assassin class in the book or do not publish Assassin information/updates in the book. I find it to be very annoying to have to use a web document with a printed book. I prefer my classes and races to be all in one format or the other. Going between the two formats just really bothers me.
Yeah my problem is I don't like the most archetypal builds, and thus get screwed over by WotC's marketing strategy. I prefer weird and unique concepts, and less specialized, more multi-purpose, utility builds (hence my love of hybrids, and currently played character being the Sentinel).
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
Well looks like Essentials will be more than just a line of 10 books/products. Heroes of Shadow appears to be item #11. Finally excited to see the Blackguard, see its a striker... and apparently based on the Cavalier chassis... Would have been nice to see it as an actual Paladin build.

The Mage was the one class not completely boned by Essentials so at least Necromancers and "Nethermancers" should be interesting.

Oh well, guess we'll have to wait a few more months for something interesting to be published. 
well i will be purchasing the tiles. i dont know much about heroes of shadow yet but i really hope there are non essential builds and powers in there
Count me in the Tiles Addict group.
Definitely going to get Cavers of Icewind Dale. Just looking at the tiles makes me want to create something around Ten-Towns.

I bought the first 4e DM screen and never really liked the art on it and stopped using it a few months back. I think I'll be getting the new one, depending on the info within and dimensions.

I was expecting Heroes of Shadows having mostly if not all Essentials builds. We'll see.
I'm with doppelganger on this tough, if you include an assassin build, better print the whole class or it makes getting this book an even harder decision for me, not having DDi.

2011 is going to be Dungeon Tiles, DM screen and a few miniatures for now.
-Realize You are your own source of all Creation, of your own master plan.
Heh, I love the continuing dichotomy between "Ohhhhh no one would ever want to play evil characters, noooooooo" that's the official line and the ongoing presentation of things like Infernal Pacts, Epic Destinies for things like being a lord of hell or a dread domain, assassins (with a small a or Big A), and now Blackguards, Necromancers, and clerics of Vecna all being supported for PCs.

I'm a little disappointed by the Ne*mancer summoning power... they could have very easily presented one summoning power themed for the Necromancer and one themed for the Nethermancer and let Mages pick the appropriate one (with all Wizards having the option of taking either!), thus preserving the Mage/Wizard flexibility that's been present in all previous material for the class.
  
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
Words cannot express my dissapointment at Heroes of Shadow.  I wanted to play a Shadow hero.  Not an arcane or divine hero with a hint of shadow flavor.  "Shadow Power only requires surrender" my butt.  apparantly it requires that in addition to all the dedicated study of a wizard or pious devotion of a paladin.  Way to ruin the power source with the best fluff by forcing it to share space with other unrelated power sources.

I wanted to play a Necromancer, not a wizard build focused on one of the worst damage types.  I wanted to animate corpses, and have my character revolve around commanding them, not have a lousy daily summon as an afterthought.  Speaking of, I hope the book sees some revision before publishing, as the blackguard is probably intended to be Shadow/Divine, not just Divine, and the Shadow Beast summon should probably be insubstantial and have the ability to charge - given that it has half the normal HP, and a faster speed when charging, which it currently can't do at all.

"Heroes of Shadow" should have been a slam dunk for me.  Instead it's a slap in the face, since not only does it not have the content I've been waiting for for two years, its existance pretty much confirms that I won't be seeing that content this edition.  As far as I'm concerned it's a degree of fail unparalleled in 4e.  I can already re-fluff a summoner wizard as "necromancer".  I can already write "evil" in my paladin's alignment space.

2011 was supposed to be my year.  Nentir Vale ghazeteer, Heroes of Shadow, the Shadowfell box, Ravenloft.  So far the Vale's vanished, Heroes of Shadow is a titanic dissapointment.  I wonder if the Shadowfell box will vanish.  I wonder what they'll do to ruin ravenloft.  Maybe make it a Gamma World kinda thing that sort of uses the 4e mechanics, but isn't compatible with actual 4e D&D?  I'm not sure it matters for me.  Heroes of Shadow was the book I've been waiting for since 4e was published.  Seeing it in its current form is a serious blow to my motivation to play D&D at all.
Heh, I love the continuing dichotomy between "Ohhhhh no one would ever want to play evil characters, noooooooo" that's the official line and the ongoing presentation of things like Infernal Pacts, Epic Destinies for things like being a lord of hell or a dread domain, assassins (with a small a or Big A), and now Blackguards, Necromancers, and clerics of Vecna all being supported for PCs.

  



WOTC still present the darker elements which you would see as classic bread and butter for actual evil protagonists as opportunity to explore dark heros who turn evil back on itself... who are walking a fine line and so on.

My experience with players who want to play evil PCs want an excuse to be an ass to the other players and do not want to be members of any sort of interdependent team, so I dont have a lot of sympathy in that arena anyway. The default assumptions of heroic pcs works fine with me... if they arent heroic?... then they might as well get minion hit points and deal with a truly dark and gritty world.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

I was both excited and indifferent to the Heroes of Shadow book. I know, contradiction, but I really wanted a necromancer, but was certain that it would have a summon mechanic similar to a summoner wizard (as opposed to a druid's). Sure enough, that's what we got. Oh, it is different in that it looks like we have a single summoning power that accesses a library of creatures, which is a step up from the summoner, but the action mechanics are still disappointing for me.

I mean, how is any necromancer supposed to be able to command an army of undead if they need all their concentration to handle their most basic minions? Yeah, yeah, PCs aren't NPCs and all that, but that's the design philosophy I like least in 4e, so :P
@Garthanos:

Bread and butter? More like having cake and eating it, too. They're publishing material that works much better to support evil PCs than anything else and they're fluffing it as if they expect it to be used by those "walking a fine line" types... sometimes painfully, in the case of the Infernal Pact Hexblade's repeated use of "Gosh, the devils hate it when you use this power." 

It's a game they've been playing since launch, when they put  the "By the way, you can make radiant Divine powers shadow or re-flavor them to be more evil. You know. For evil NPCs." suggestion in the DMG. 
 
They knew when they wrote that that NPCs will hardly ever be made using PC powers, compared to the number of PC Clerics and Paladins who might find that suggestion useful. They know when they publish Infernal Pact stuff and Shadow Power things like the Blackguard that for every PC who does the "I AM HEROICALLY STRIVING TO HEROICALLY OVERCOME THE TAINT OF BLAH-DE-BLAH-BLAH-BLAH" there are going to be ten or twenty PCs going, "Yep, I'm evil."

It's like the head shop that has big signs up that say "Water Pipes Are For Tobacco Use Only"... sure, some customer every once in a while is going to be purchasing a "water pipe" to smoke flavored tobacco... but most of their customers are shopping for bongs so they can get stoned, and they know it.

@malisteen:

While the one power shown in the preview is disappointing and discouraging, my impression from the fact that we have a separate "Nethermancer" focused on shadows is that the Necromancer won't  be as focused on shadow damage as all that. If it is, then we'll have two completely redundant schools, with the only difference being that one has powers that are shaped like skeletons.
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
I have thought a bit about grand scale summonings I am thinking a combination of expensive rituals and skill challenges might be the order of business.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

well i will be purchasing the tiles. i dont know much about heroes of shadow yet but i really hope there are non essential builds and powers in there



The Wizard power previewed had a level so there are at least some powers that aren't essentials only.

I have to say I won't be getting this book. I'm probably not the target demographic though. I mean, the blackguard thing is too "dark side of the force" for me. If I wanted to play a jedi, I'd play Star Wars (and I wouldn't play a jedi).

Oh and the tiles are cool. It looks like they broke up the map from the monster vault.
@CrowScape:

While your reading is cooler, I do believe you're mistaken in thinking they get a portfolio of creatures to summon with a single power. Judging by the material presented in Essentials, when it says you summon "a creature associated with" your build, they don't mean "one out of the X options we've presented for each build", they mean "Each build has one thing, and you get that."

So if you're a Necromancer, that level 5 power summons a Shadow Skeleton every time. If you're a Nethermancer, it summons a Shadow Beast.

I would like to be wrong, but that's how it's worked so far.
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
I'm not dissapointed at the party scale & adherence to the action economy.  I like the idea of large scale battles with the PCs leading armies, but I think that sort of thing, and undead armies as a subtype of it, would be better covered by a separate 'Heroes of Battle' kind of book presenting variant rules specifically for it.

I am dissapointed that the necromancer is back under the wizard's boot.  I very much wanted to play a necromancer.  I very much did not want to play a wizard.  Necromancy is a strongly focused theme best represented by mechanics targeted to that theme.  The wizard, including the mage, is the single most unfocused, undefined class in the game, and the highly focused necromancy concept can only suffer when forced to fit with mechanics meant for a generalist.

Also I hate the arcane power source.

I can't say this enough.  I wanted to play a Hero of Shadow, not an arcane or divine hero with a hint of shadow flavor.  I could already re-fluff a summoner wizard.  I could already play an evil paladin.  I don't need to pay WotC $20 for permission to play an antihero of any class.  I wanted to play an antihero of a Shadow class, and now I can't for the duration of 4e.  I hate the grognard mentality going around the design studio right now.  It's killing everything I liked about 4e.
@DrNick:

That's a bad example, I'm afraid... while it has a level and a class, it also has a requirement that the user either be a Necromancer or a Nethermancer. That's a design trend that I deeply dislike: powers that would play perfectly nicely "in the wild" that are explicitly shackled to a class feature or build. It's especially irksome to see it on a Wizard power, since they've been resolutely "open source" so far.

Though I doubt very much every power in the book will be like that. They'd just take off the levels if that were the case.
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
It is a bit annoying to me that they won't do racial support for my good-aligned, elf-raised goblin monk because his race is 'evil,' but anyone can play a Vecna-worshipping Blackguard that eats babies for breakfast (as long as it's a good race that looks somewhat like a human!).

I too was really, really hoping this wouldn't be an Essentials book.  At the least, Wizards will probably get to use most of the Mage options.  But since I don't really have any desire to be a necro/nethermancer, the last shred of hope I am holding onto is that there might be some decent ki focus enchantments.

I guess the one other thing to hope for is that the class builds will be more engaging and less simplistic than existing Essentials builds.  HotFL presented builds I'll probably never play, HotFK presented a couple builds I'd like to play for a 2-3 session arc before getting bored of them.  Perhaps EPHB3 will have builds that have even more replay factor.  I'm not holding my breath though.
I am dissapointed that the necromancer is back under the wizard's boot.  I very much wanted to play a necromancer.  I very much did not want to play a wizard.  Necromancy is a strongly focused theme best represented by mechanics targeted to that theme.  The wizard, including the mage, is the single most unfocused, undefined class in the game, and the highly focused necromancy concept can only suffer when forced to fit with mechanics meant for a generalist.

Also I hate the arcane power source.


I'm very sorry you feel this way, but can you elaborate on why you think necromancy should be divorced from wizards? In my experience, it's just another form of magic commonly practiced by wizards, and I can't recall any game, book, or movie that portrays necromancy as less "wizardly" than, say, enchantment or illusion.

Also, I think you're overstating the case for wizards' generalism: it is certainly possible to be a generalist wizard, but it's also possible to be a specialist focused entirely on illusion spells.

I'm very sorry you feel this way, but can you elaborate on why you think necromancy should be divorced from wizards?


I'm not who you asked, but:

It's the same reason why I prefer a Druid to be its own class, instead of a "nature cleric".  Or a Barbarian to be its own class, instead of an "angry fighter".  Or a Psion to be its own class, instead of a "mind wizard". 

There may not be as much tradition to splitting it off into its own thing, but there's a lot of potential there.

This book (as its been described now, in previews) seems to reflect an abandonment of one of the things I liked about power sources - we would get a variety of new classes, with new concepts and themes, that were more than just "another Cleric/Wizard/Fighter/Paladin".


Which is a long way of saying: The Necromancer (along with other "shadow" classes) could have been its own class.  It didn't have to be, by any means, but that isn't really and consolation for my disappointment.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
@CrowScape:

While your reading is cooler, I do believe you're mistaken in thinking they get a portfolio of creatures to summon with a single power. Judging by the material presented in Essentials, when it says you summon "a creature associated with" your build, they don't mean "one out of the X options we've presented for each build", they mean "Each build has one thing, and you get that."

So if you're a Necromancer, that level 5 power summons a Shadow Skeleton every time. If you're a Nethermancer, it summons a Shadow Beast.

I would like to be wrong, but that's how it's worked so far.



That would make me very sad. Ok, not that sad, as I'm already turned off by it, but I doubt I'd give it much of a second look.

I was experimenting with implementing PC necromancy (note: not a necromancer class), but I shelved it for other things on the off chance I'd like what they did with Heroes of Shadow. It was ritual, feat, and equipment based, so any class could pick it up. At level 30, if you sunk the feats into it, the math currently works out so you could have somewhere north of 100 level 1 minions (largely useless in serious combat, but fun if a player felt like terrorizing a town) or 3 level 30 minions, or a level 30 standard creature and minion, even a level 22 solo if you really wanted to. Overpowered, but I was working on throwing penalties on these creatures and adding further hoops to overcome them (e.g., using a properly prepared site to conduct the ritual, an anatomy feat to avoid a -2 defense penalty, etc), and since the value that controlled the number of creatures is independent of the value that controlls their potential quality, I could always reduce controllable monster level.
Seriously, why the restriction on using the necromancy summon for only necromancy mages? And also, if it turns out that any alignment can be a Blackguard, but only Lawful Good people can be a Cavalier of Sacrifice, I will laugh like crazy. (At this point, I'm wondering if Paladins really need to reunionize and begin contract renegotiations with their gods).
I think they're doing a good job by releasing one book that's dedicated to evil PC's and everything their players want. The PHB cautions against the evil alignment for a good reason. This really doesn't need to be discussed. Like Garthanos said, most players don't know how to walk the fine line and don't have the personal strength to roleplay an evil character without ruining it for everybody else, and still make it interesting. Think Dr. Faustus.

I truly believe that all the shadowy / creepy / evil / necromancing stuff is serving only a minority of players, and I don't play with them. The majority wants some more options for their goblin monk, as someone already stated.
I'm very sorry you feel this way, but can you elaborate on why you think necromancy should be divorced from wizards?


I'm not who you asked, but:

It's the same reason why I prefer a Druid to be its own class, instead of a "nature cleric".  Or a Barbarian to be its own class, instead of an "angry fighter".  Or a Psion to be its own class, instead of a "mind wizard". 

There may not be as much tradition to splitting it off into its own thing, but there's a lot of potential there.

This book (as its been described now, in previews) seems to reflect an abandonment of one of the things I liked about power sources - we would get a variety of new classes, with new concepts and themes, that were more than just "another Cleric/Wizard/Fighter/Paladin".


Which is a long way of saying: The Necromancer (along with other "shadow" classes) could have been its own class.  It didn't have to be, by any means, but that isn't really and consolation for my disappointment.


I think your position is totally fair and reasonable, I'm just a little surprised at malisteen's reaction against associating necromancers with wizards. In my experience the two are so closely related that they're sometimes used interchangeably, unlike clerics and druids. After all, necromancy was a school of magic alongside illusion and enchantment pre-4E, and I haven't come across a lot of protest against the 4E illusionist build. I totally agree, however, that the introduction of a new power source should absolutely bring totally new classes, and what I read in the preview article isn't very exciting at all.

@DrNick:

That's a bad example, I'm afraid... while it has a level and a class, it also has a requirement that the user either be a Necromancer or a Nethermancer. That's a design trend that I deeply dislike: powers that would play perfectly nicely "in the wild" that are explicitly shackled to a class feature or build. It's especially irksome to see it on a Wizard power, since they've been resolutely "open source" so far.

Though I doubt very much every power in the book will be like that. They'd just take off the levels if that were the case.



Shackling has been one of the hallmarks of essentials design, so I'm disgusted to see it has spread to another book.

With Alexandra and Froths in the same thread, I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned that another "doomsay" has come to pass- essentials killed the shadow powersource.  The blackguard/dark knight archetype isn't even hybrid divine/shadow, nor pure shadow, but an evil version of the Cavelier.  The necromancer was eaten by the mage, which means it'll need to take the mage dedicated paragon path to get the full complement of class features; while it's "appropriate" power list will always be in competition with the rest of the wizard spell list**.  Nethermancy mages eat shadowcasters, and likely the rest of the support the original shadowcaster assassin would have had.  The hexblade really is going to be just a new warlock pact. 

Lastly, the fluff of the shadow power source: personal surrender for power, is wasted since you seemingly can't wield shadow power without having training in another class/powersource first.

**This is part of why it's good to separate wizards and necromancers.  It allows necromancers to have their own spells without being tempted by some overpowered wizard spell or non-necro wizards suddenly breaking out undead minions.

no sympathy for all the little creepy ghouls out there who insist that they should be able to play necromancers.

If it was up to me, there would never be a Necromancer class for PC's. If the class is deemed unplayable by evil roleplaying munchkins, well then that's the next best thing.

Besides, people really just want to play evil characters for the sake of being jerks, anyone who says different is lying. 



that's intriguing as the evil necromancer in my last evil campaign was the nicest pc.Though frankly the only people they were open jerks to were NPCs after the initial party power struggle. (which is way more fun in evil campaigns as it can be an actual struggle.)

Even in video games I play the nice guy and struggle to make myself pick the 'dark' or 'evil' endings but sometimes being evil is a fun welcome break if you're a jerk or not. (and evil and jerk are mutually exclusive, being a good jerk is way more interesting to me then an evil one. You gotta work a lot harder to pull off being a jerk of justice.)
Characters currently: Abscense makes the heart grow fonder but the characters disappear.
**This is part of why it's good to separate wizards and necromancers.  It allows necromancers to have their own spells without being tempted by some overpowered wizard spell or non-necro wizards suddenly breaking out undead minions.


I really don't mean to harp on this, but why not? What's so special about zombies and skeletons  that wizards should be forbidden from summoning them, but not goblins, elementals, or the rest of the D&D zoo that wizards can summon?

Similarly, if there are some generic wizard powers that are just too good to pass up, then why don't most characters select the multiclassing feats to gain access to those powers?

I totally understand what people are saying about the shadow power source being a great chance to introduce some fun new classes to the game, but I don't see why it has to be a zero-sum game with respect to incorporating elements from pre-4E D&D like necromancer wizards and blackguard paladins. We can have both entirely new classes and shadow-based builds of existing classes.
pssst...erachima, that was me not moneyshot. (whose name I keep misreading as monkeyshot.)


And I respectfully disagree. (and would like you to give me a list of archetypical jerk heroes.) We'll then compare it to a list of non-jerk heroes...wanna guess which one is longer? Especially jerks who are actually likable and interesting? And yes you can have a likable jerk it's just tough.
Characters currently: Abscense makes the heart grow fonder but the characters disappear.
You had a random W at the start of your post that screwed up the formatting and I apparently fixed it wrong. Should be fixed properly now.

As for the grand list of heroes who are also total dicks? Start in pre-history with Gilgamesh, enumerate forwards to Mass Effect's Shepherd. Being a jerk is one of the defining traits of the classical hero.



my Shepard didn't play as a jerk at all. *shrugs* So I guess you just like playing as jerk heroes.

And who is Gilgamesh?

I'm afraid that I just don't see jerk as a defining trait of any hero I like. Achilles was a jerk but I never liked him. Beowulf wasn't a jerk in the epic poem, Arthur has been made into a jerk in some modern permutations, but I just can't buy your theory sorry.
Characters currently: Abscense makes the heart grow fonder but the characters disappear.
Darth Vader: Calrissian. Post this Heroes of Shadow preview. 
Lando: You said Essentials would only be 10 products, what about support for our AEDU builds? And where is the NEW power source with NEW classes?  These are just new re-fluffed Essentials builds!
Darth Vader: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further

IMAGE(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-sw017.gif) 
Those have to be the coolest tiles I've seen yet. They will most certainly find their way into my collection. Good Job WotC!!!
Personally, I think the correct approach to a 4e Necromancer would have been to make them a Leader. Make them a sort of "Shadow Artificer" ability-wise, give them one big customizable summon, but make their main focus be working on their allies and themselves. Less Vecna, more Dr. Frankenstein and Mayuri.

The simple fact of the matter is that the rules aren't going to allow you to make a zombie horde and take over the world, so let's not dash people's hopes by using that idea of the necromancer as the basis of the class in the first place. They'll just end up with a gimped class that makes them unhappy.

BaronFel: Gilgamesh is the subject of the first recorded heroic epic (and a total dick), Beowulf was a jerk, and I've played all sides of Mass Effect, Shepherd is a jerk no matter what path you pick.

Arthur is debatable, but the majority of his knights? Total jerks.



so our problem is different definition of jerk. 

And your idea for a shadow leader is cool. But obviously they will have to use a new name.



So what do people think is likely for the shadowy defender type? I mean the striker and controller options seem covered but there is still a defender and leader class just sitting their begging for coolness. (and I'd hope we get a brand new controller class to and not just a mage add-on.) 
Characters currently: Abscense makes the heart grow fonder but the characters disappear.
Some of the best heroes to me are the anti-heroes.

I can desire to play a necromancer without wanting to "be a jerk". 

People who want to "be a jerk" can do so playing paladins, invokers, wizards, clerics, and even rogues.  If they are that tyep of person, it doesn't matter what class they are playing... they will be "the jerk" regardless.
Some of the best heroes to me are the anti-heroes.

I can desire to play a necromancer without wanting to "be a jerk". 

People who want to "be a jerk" can do so playing paladins, invokers, wizards, clerics, and even rogues.  If they are that tyep of person, it doesn't matter what class they are playing... they will be "the jerk" regardless.


+1

What's the deal with trying to 'typecast' classes/races?  Anyone can be a hero just by making the 'right' choices.
I am very excited for Heroes of Shadow. Considering how much I like the other Essentials products, the fact that I always thought that "Necromancer" should be a wizard build anyway, and how much I wanted to see a paladin blackguard build, I think that book is going to rock...
I'm not dissapointed at the party scale & adherence to the action economy.  I like the idea of large scale battles with the PCs leading armies, but I think that sort of thing, and undead armies as a subtype of it, would be better covered by a separate 'Heroes of Battle' kind of book presenting variant rules specifically for it.

I am dissapointed that the necromancer is back under the wizard's boot.  I very much wanted to play a necromancer.  I very much did not want to play a wizard.  Necromancy is a strongly focused theme best represented by mechanics targeted to that theme.  The wizard, including the mage, is the single most unfocused, undefined class in the game, and the highly focused necromancy concept can only suffer when forced to fit with mechanics meant for a generalist.

Also I hate the arcane power source.

I can't say this enough.  I wanted to play a Hero of Shadow, not an arcane or divine hero with a hint of shadow flavor.  I could already re-fluff a summoner wizard.  I could already play an evil paladin.  I don't need to pay WotC $20 for permission to play an antihero of any class.  I wanted to play an antihero of a Shadow class, and now I can't for the duration of 4e.  I hate the grognard mentality going around the design studio right now.  It's killing everything I liked about 4e.

So your main issue with the Heroes of Shadow is the fluff?  What is stopping you from taking the new builds and applying the Shadow fluff in place of Divine or Arcane fluff?  The power sources are so blurred as it is that no one will notice.  Take the first Assassin, for example, a Shadow striker.  It could have been divine or arcane without any changes to mechanics; all it would take is alteration to the fluff.

I like that necromancy is a mage build. I also think other necro-like builds should be in play for other classes as well, kinda like a theme from dark sun. Either way I actually think I will buy heroes of shadow, as the preview makes it look promising regardless if its building on essentials concepts.  

As a side note, I think that feat preview for the channel divinityecna power is horrendous. Why would you spend a feat to "substitute"  turn undead (this goes against the logic of every other channel divinity feat power in the game that I've read so far), and then have it deal necrotic damage? Unless the fight you're in consists of a mixture of undead/non-undead most likely it will be undead only. And since almost all undead have resist necrotic, it makes the power kinda pointless from a damage standpoint (which it didn't show if it has a damage progression akin to turn undead). It probably should either ignore resistance, increase in damage like turn undead and be a standard class power option instead of a feat. As in if you worship vecna, you can choose to pick up turn undead or control undead. But as is, radiant damage typically is better than necrotic vs undead, so its kind of a no brainer.
I'm not dissapointed at the party scale & adherence to the action economy.  I like the idea of large scale battles with the PCs leading armies, but I think that sort of thing, and undead armies as a subtype of it, would be better covered by a separate 'Heroes of Battle' kind of book presenting variant rules specifically for it.

I am dissapointed that the necromancer is back under the wizard's boot.  I very much wanted to play a necromancer.  I very much did not want to play a wizard.  Necromancy is a strongly focused theme best represented by mechanics targeted to that theme.  The wizard, including the mage, is the single most unfocused, undefined class in the game, and the highly focused necromancy concept can only suffer when forced to fit with mechanics meant for a generalist.

Also I hate the arcane power source.

I can't say this enough.  I wanted to play a Hero of Shadow, not an arcane or divine hero with a hint of shadow flavor.  I could already re-fluff a summoner wizard.  I could already play an evil paladin.  I don't need to pay WotC $20 for permission to play an antihero of any class.  I wanted to play an antihero of a Shadow class, and now I can't for the duration of 4e.  I hate the grognard mentality going around the design studio right now.  It's killing everything I liked about 4e.

So your main issue with the Heroes of Shadow is the fluff?  What is stopping you from taking the new builds and applying the Shadow fluff in place of Divine or Arcane fluff?  The power sources are so blurred as it is that no one will notice.  Take the first Assassin, for example, a Shadow striker.  It could have been divine or arcane without any changes to mechanics; all it would take is alteration to the fluff.




I find that kind of odd, since I see the power sources as inextricable from their assigned classes.  The assassin is nothing like the avenger; the assassin uses the shadows of himself and those around him to fuel his powers, the avenger gets his powers from the gods.  You can see this with the mechanical aspects of the assassin's powers drawing power from other creature's shadows (extra damage for adjacent creatures) and the ability to move through shadows.  Avengers have an undead-specific power (similar to all other divine classes with the rare exceptions of the Paladin and Runepriest).

Different classes have deep running flavour and mechanics linked to their power sources.  The sources simply haven't been given the weight they deserve.

Which is why I dislike the Heroes of Shadow preview.  Now I can hope that future previews show support for the original 4e designs and classes, but it's only a small hope.  If they insist on continuing with the essentials concepts as a way to introduce new "classes", I think I can do without Heroes of Shadow.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
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quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
Another reason why I'd prefer "Shadow" classes rather than these essentials recolors is a belief (possibly naive) that pure shadow classes would have significant differences from other classes in their mechanics as old AEDU style.   There's a non-trivial chance that the blackguard will steal/share the slayer's striker mechanics or "twist" the caveliers mark punishment rather than coming up with something distinct.  Knowing that the Necromancer is just a mage means it has Mage's features and there isn't going to be any unique mechanics like shaman's spirit companion split into a minion batch.  Even though persistant summons is newish, it's not that much different that ranger companions.
I'm not dissapointed at the party scale & adherence to the action economy.  I like the idea of large scale battles with the PCs leading armies, but I think that sort of thing, and undead armies as a subtype of it, would be better covered by a separate 'Heroes of Battle' kind of book presenting variant rules specifically for it.

I am dissapointed that the necromancer is back under the wizard's boot.  I very much wanted to play a necromancer.  I very much did not want to play a wizard.  Necromancy is a strongly focused theme best represented by mechanics targeted to that theme.  The wizard, including the mage, is the single most unfocused, undefined class in the game, and the highly focused necromancy concept can only suffer when forced to fit with mechanics meant for a generalist.

Also I hate the arcane power source.

I can't say this enough.  I wanted to play a Hero of Shadow, not an arcane or divine hero with a hint of shadow flavor.  I could already re-fluff a summoner wizard.  I could already play an evil paladin.  I don't need to pay WotC $20 for permission to play an antihero of any class.  I wanted to play an antihero of a Shadow class, and now I can't for the duration of 4e.  I hate the grognard mentality going around the design studio right now.  It's killing everything I liked about 4e.

So your main issue with the Heroes of Shadow is the fluff?  What is stopping you from taking the new builds and applying the Shadow fluff in place of Divine or Arcane fluff?  The power sources are so blurred as it is that no one will notice.  Take the first Assassin, for example, a Shadow striker.  It could have been divine or arcane without any changes to mechanics; all it would take is alteration to the fluff.


It's true that power sources themselves are just fluff, but over time mechanics have been tied to them as well.  Probably my favorite features of the XXX Power books have been the introduction of power source-wide options.  The arcane familiar, the divine domain, the martial arena training and greater/lesser styles.  The point is, a power source provides additional options that are supposed to fit the broad theme of the source.

While I totally support refluffing power sources for individual character concepts, I certainly don't want WotC to just throw all common sense to the wind with the excuse that you can refluff whatever you like.  Power sources give classes a structure and provide another layer of options - having a Heroes of Shadow book without them being based on the Shadow power source (which already exists but languishes with zero support) is absolutely ridiculous.

If this book centered around the Shadow power source and contained feats, paragon paths, and other options that applied to the whole source, not only would assassin get a boost, but the book would just have more meaning.  But with the explanation provided, Shadow powers are just for anyone who's lazy and decides to pick up an extra "choke someone with a shadow" power here and there.

If this book centered around the Shadow power source and contained feats, paragon paths, and other options that applied to the whole source, not only would assassin get a boost, but the book would just have more meaning.

I agree.

A "you're shadow powers ignore necrotic resistance" or "critical hits agains undead with shadow powers dazes them", and such would be pretty nice, but you would, in fact, need a solid shadow power source.

Of course it's good to note that the preview'd spell is both arcane AND shadow.  So you can arcane admixture it, and shadow admixture (or whatever) it.  I assume most N*macny powers would have both keywords.

As for the Blackguard, i could possibly see them drop the divine keyword, but it's hard to call.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.