This is not a gripe thread...

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Okay, well, it is. But it's also more of a lamentation thread. I've been playing 4E since it's inception, and I've played every edition before that, right back to the Holmes rulebook. In the time I have had to experience 4E, I've made a few observations that I'd like to open for civilized discussion. If I'm wrong, then offer me a dissenting opinion, just do it politely, please.

1) D&D meets WoW
This is probably my biggest complaint about 4E. It feels like a tabletop video game. I have a character that has powers that can be used once per turn, once per encounter, and once per day. Not unlike having powers in a videogame that have to have time to regenerate. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy video games, but I don't like the feel that the current edition has that feels more like a videogame than an RPG.

2) Magic Items
My second biggest gripe. I'm an old-school gamer. I recall the days when your characters found a magical sword and everyone spent the entire evening wondering what properties it might have. In 4E, anyone with the Arcana skill can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the weapon in ten minutes. To me, that sucks some of the fun out of the game. It also precludes the possibilities of things like cursed weapons (remember those?).

On a similar note, I also dislike the idea that the players can build a "shopping list" which they give to the GM to be sown into the adventures. It reduces finding magical goodies to a case of, "Oh, boots of the eladrin. Didn't the rogue want those?" Remember when there was dicing to see who would ge the magical cloak and you didn't even know what it did yet?

Then there's the fact that it is expected that the characters will have a certain amount of treasure by a certain level, and if they don't then they are underpowered. This makes it difficult to hide treasures and magical items, because if they are overlooked, then the characters miss out on something they should have received to keep the game balanced. If, for example, the orcs are using the staff of fire as a spit for roasting their suckling pig, it could easily be overlooked when searching the lair.

And whose idea was it to give magic items daily uses? Did the One Ring only allow Frodo to be invisible for ten minutes between each extended rest? (Okay, it was an artifact, and the rules are different for them.) But really, it just adds to the videogame feeling that I mentioned earlier.

Lastly (on this subject), magical items in my campaigns have always been rare and wondrous things. If a character got a +1 sword, it meant something! That sword was manufactured by someone for someone or some specific purpose. It had a history and a reason for existing. In 4E, there are magical sweatshops full of wizards cranking out hundreds of magical goodies each day. Magic has become disposable. Doubtless somewhere in the Realms, there is a huge landfill brimming with old +1 weapons.

3) Encounter-driven Expeditions
Again, I'm an old school gamer. I remember extended underground expeditions where characters would be so long out of the sunlight that it hurt when they came back to the surface. While such is certainly possible in 4E, the game isn't designed for it. On average, characters should go up a level every 8-12 encounters. Can you imagine trying to play through the Caves of Chaos? They would overshoot the upper limit of the adventure in the first three caverns! Oh, but it can be done. After all, Wizards did it with the Encounters program. True, but how much did they have to write out of that in order to make it fit within the format? Why are rations and water even a concern in the new rules? In a typical adventure, characters will be home in time for dinner at the local tavern.

4) Roleplaying Diminished
This is going to start an argument, I know it, but I'm putting it in here anyway. When cries of, "The fighter rushes the group of orcs shouting, 'Die, pig-faces!'" are replaced with cries of "Move me up 3 squares. I charge and make a basic melee attack against the lead orc while spending a minor action to blast the second rank with dragon's breath," something is wrong. The game has become more like a board game than a role-playing game, with the use of miniatures almost mandatory. What happened to using your imagination? It's just that the game seems more... mechanical... to me now.

5) Power Struggles
To me, there seems to be some disparity between the classes. I run two different groups. One of them has a psion that is a continual thorn in my side. He only has one offensive power, but he can augment it to the point of ridiculousness. Worse still, he has a feat or something that allows him to slide creatures as a free action, at will! He continually throws my monsters up against walls and one another and wants them to take damage from the impact (which is not covered in the rules).

6) Powers That Don't Add Up
Here's another one from a real-life example: Both groups have a bard in them. The bards makes good use of Viscious Mockery. But how does this power work against mindless undead? Or unintelligent creatures? Or beings that can't understand the language of the bard? And there are other powers that don't make sense when applied to certain circumstances, either. Timely Distraction comes to mind. If a zombie likely to turn and look because you pretend to spot an owlbear? It seems unlikely to me.

Don't misunderstand me. While I feel that there are several problems with 4E, there are also things I like, such as skill challenges, the loss of the Vancian magic system, and the broadened possibilities of race and class combinations. But there has to be a happy medium somewhere. I just can't seem to find it.

My players are similarly divided. Some find 4E enjoyable, but not D&D. Some want to switch to Pathfinder. One wants to go back to 2E! One (a rules lawyer by nature) is a die-hard fantical fan of 4E. I just want something that has the old-school feel with rules that work and don't feel like a mathematics exam.
Everything you just said is wrong. Just so wrong. This can't be a civil discussion.
Yeah, I see a lot of stuff that just seems head-scratchingly wrong too. But, he joined in 2002, so...he's not a troll or sockpuppet.... 

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
1. Only if you play it that way.
2. Use Inherent Bonuses.
3. New edition, new math.  Most people don't want to take months to advance their characters.  If you want a slower advancement, give less XP.  Or just toss XP as an advancement system and level up the PCs when you feel it's appropriate.
4. Utter bullcrap.  Big, steaming pile of crap.
5. Nothing in the rules says they take damage from being slid into a wall, so they don't.  Non-issue.
6. Firstly, there's no such thing as a mindless creature.  If it were mindless, it would be an object.  Every creature has an Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma score.  How does Mockery work on them?  It's MAGIC.  It's mind-control, emotional manipulation, not just random smack-talk.  You don't have to actually say anything, same with Timely Distraction.  You cast a spell and the creature is affected by it.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
No, I'm not a troll or a sockpuppet, and if it's wrong, then offer a counterargument. I'd REALLY love to hear from one of the Wizards folks.
I think some of you need to realize that when you hear the same thing coming from lots of people that don't even know each other, there has to be some truth to it. 

What this poster has done is made a list that we have all seen before from various people.  People aren't coming up with this stuff for the hell of it.  
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
1. Only if you play it that way.
2. Use Inherent Bonuses.
3. New edition, new math.  Most people don't want to take months to advance their characters.  If you want a slower advancement, give less XP.  Or just toss XP as an advancement system and level up the PCs when you feel it's appropriate.
4. Utter bullcrap.  Big, steaming pile of crap.
5. Nothing in the rules says they take damage from being slid into a wall, so they don't.  Non-issue.
6. Firstly, there's no such thing as a mindless creature.  If it were mindless, it would be an object.  Every creature has an Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma score.  How does Mockery work on them?  It's MAGIC.  It's mind-control, emotional manipulation, not just random smack-talk.  You don't have to actually say anything, same with Timely Distraction.  You cast a spell and the creature is affected by it.

1. It doesn't matter how you play it, short of changing the way the game works. It still feels like I'm sitting at a keyboard, hitting Function keys.

2. I've given it some thought, but I'm afraid the players would rebel.

3. I have, actually, but if they don't level up after 8 encounters, they start getting antsy and badgering me about it.

4. Why?

5. True, and I've been enforcing that, but even I have to admit that it makes no sense. They SHOULD take damage.

6. Again, logic. I'm not asking for real-world physics, I just want a little logic in the game. A skeleton, in my humble opinion, is not going to take offense because you insult his heritage. If you say, "Well, it's a MAGICAL compulsion," then I ask why the ability is called Vicious Mockery and not, say, Compulsory Distraction.

I think some of you need to realize that when you hear the same thing coming from lots of people that don't even know each other, there has to be some truth to it. 

What this poster has done is made a list that we have all seen before from various people.  People aren't coming up with this stuff for the hell of it.  



And some people still want believe that the earth is flat.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

I think some of you need to realize that when you hear the same thing coming from lots of people that don't even know each other, there has to be some truth to it. 

What this poster has done is made a list that we have all seen before from various people.  People aren't coming up with this stuff for the hell of it.  



And some people still want believe that the earth is flat.



You're not comparing like for like I'm afraid.
1) 4e is a video game.
Okay, so because there are powers that aren't all at usable all the time, 4e "feels" like a video. Well, not only did you not explain what a "video game" feels like (unless you're saying Final Fantasy is Gears of War is Bejeweled is The Legend of Zelda) but your equating resource management to a video game. I mean, if that's true, tons of RPGs (including all D&Ds) and boards are just video games because they have "things that recharge in their usage". It's just a fallicious statement.

2) Magic Items.
See, this is completely subjective, but I always found pay a buttload of money to figure out what your rewards do is plain bad design. Slows down the game, means I don't get to play with my toys. That's just me. Cursed weapons exist. Their curses aren't explained, however.

Wish list aren't required; they just aid in the DM's job. No one wants to find 3 +1 longbows when it's a party of casters. Random tables just took up too much space for too little pay off.

Once again, reasource management =/= video game.

Otherwise, I agree that the profileration and discardation of magic items is lame. Gimme inheirent bonues any day.

3)Amount of Adventuring time per-day
Now, I don't imagine the Caves of Chaos were a single day expedition. I'm not sure, I'm new to the game. However, I do know that in previous characters had a lot less HP, and a no built in healing resource. I do know, also, that 4e characters have healing surges, and get all those back in an extended rest. So, frankly, I'm not sure what you're trying to get at here. 4e characters have more endurance than ever inregards to D&D, so that you can play longer. This is a fact.

4) I echo Salla's cry of bullcrap. If your players can only find time for RP when they just needed to roll a d20, maybe try a simpler game than D&D. I can't tell you how many times my group as RP'd really interesting conflicts IN the combat encounter. I agree, some players get wrapped up in the game, some players WANT to get wrapped up in the game. I disagree that this is a problem. If your group is suddenly not RPing at the table, ask them why. Likewise, players roleplay more when they are engaged by the DM TO roleplay. I find the DM is really the leader of this, and he is the one that should be responsible for this.

5) Character strength.
If you really thing a strong at-will is the be-all, end-all of 4e, then I'm happy for you. You clearly didn't have to put up with anything powerful in the older editions. Frankly, maybe try changing your tactics and your adventuring lay out? And not giving free damage because a player wants it?

6)Powers that don't add up.
I agree with you somewhat, but not for your reason. At some points in early 4e, they pushed a lot of gamist powers out. While easy to ignore, I'm still not a fan of them. However, when you're dealing with magic and a non-sentient creature, the magic is going to win out. And who says zombies ALWAYS have to be the same type?

Frankly, you've said a lot of things that sound like, to me, "they changed it so it sucks". Nostalgia goggles always do this. I suggest taking them off.
I think some of you need to realize that when you hear the same thing coming from lots of people that don't even know each other, there has to be some truth to it. 

What this poster has done is made a list that we have all seen before from various people.  People aren't coming up with this stuff for the hell of it.  



I think what you need to realize is a lot of people form opinions that are from other people's opinions, or latch on the an explaination because everyone they have encountered uses that kind of term. Frankly, I chalk it up to misunderstanding and misinformation driving these posts than actual play experience. Or do I have to remind you how fervently you claim that 3.5 casters aren't broken?
Preface: I am an old school guy too. I have played every edition for a long time at this point. I love 4e, though Essentials isin't my cup of tea.

1. WoW/D&D

This one is a 'whatever floats your boat' thing, really. I, and my group, really enjoy the division of power into the A/E/D/U format, because it balances the game, making each class have big-time things they can do, not just the magic using classes (or the multi-class Fighter 2/Sorcerer 2/Rogue 2/Bard 2/Cleric 8 if we are talking 3.5) and because we feel it makes each class FEEL different, but FUNCTION the same.

2. Magic Items

If you don't like the shopping list set up, there are other options for treasure distribution out there, as well as the Inherent Bonus option (as Salla pointed out). If you like the mystery of magic items, tell your group that Arcana no longer allows you to ID an item, and add a ritual in that fulfills that role. Personally, I enjoy the easy transition, to combat the invariable 20-30 minutes of REAL time answering questions like "I put the ring on. Am I invisible? I jump in the air. Do I float? I put my head in a bucket of water. Can I breathe? I jump off a table, saying "Up, up and away!". Do I fly? I make a small cut to see if I heal...."

3. Encounter Expeiditions

Change the way you divide XP out to the group. My group, which meets once a month to play, has done away with the standard XP distribution listed, and gone with leveling at the end of each session. It allows us to steadily progress through the ranks, experience the different classes at various levels, and not get bored playing at level 3 for 3 months. You, however, could change it the other way, and only award levels at story appropriate times, when you feel the PCs have experienced enough horrors to advance to a higher level of mastery. Whatever you and your group decide preserves the 'old school' feel for you.

4. Role playing is what you make it. I personally have found that 4e CAN lend itself to a mechanical, table-top, wargaming mindset, but often, what is listed as the "missing" feel of roleplaying is a combination of nostalgic remembering of "Remember when we had to track food, or risk starving to death?" or "I remember when my elven ranger had to keep track of his arrows, and we didn't DARE enter Castle Ravenloft without 2 quivers on me, and 4 on the party henchman.." and a misuse of Skill Challenges. Sometimes, DMs seem to feel compelled to shoehorn skill challenges into any and every adventure, when the simpler way would be to just talk to the NPCs, maybe roll a Bluff or Intimidate check here and there, and let the players actually convince YOU (the NPCs) to part with the goods. Just because you call for a check, or even a series of checks, doesn't mean you are replacing role playing with a skill challenge unless you want it to/let it.

6. Eh. Chalk the powers issue up to magical effect, again like Salla said. If your players are hardcore on wanting mind affecting spells to not work on certain types of monsters, though... house rule it to make them not work on monsters based on the old 3.5 rules.

(yeah, out of order)

5. This one is sort of two issues.
First, your player wanting the forced movement to cause damage. There is nothing in his power saying that it causes damage by forcing the movement into terrain, so it doesn't unless the terrain causes it (like moving them into a fire, or off a ledge). Allow the player to retrain if he doesn't like the fact that it doesn't slam the monster/bad guy into the wall at bone breaking speed. As a side note, I think Psionics were the first real misstep WotC made in power creation. PPs are a sacred cow that should have stayed dead, as the A/E/D/U format was just so perfect for balance, IMO.

Second, I PERSONALLY find the balance of 4e to be one of it's most attractive qualities. My fighter is just as effective at his job as your wizard is at his, at 1st level all the way to 30th. I've even read the argument that 4e is SO balanced, that it makes it bland. I could almost side with that argument more than this one, though I of course feel that is wrong as well.
THe other quality that works here is that 4e is so modular, that parts can easily be removed (less easily added, but still possible) without significant damage to the system.

As always... YMMV
So many PCs, so little time...
Please keep your posts polite, respectful, and on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.

Debate the ideas and rules, don't attack the posters.

Thanks

ORC_Chaos
1) 4e is a video game.
Okay, so because there are powers that aren't all at usable all the time, 4e "feels" like a video. Well, not only did you not explain what a "video game" feels like (unless you're saying Final Fantasy is Gears of War is Bejeweled is The Legend of Zelda) but your equating resource management to a video game. I mean, if that's true, tons of RPGs (including all D&Ds) and boards are just video games because they have "things that recharge in their usage". It's just a fallicious statement.


I'm gonna have to agree with the Time Lord here.  It's hard to say "it feels like a  video game" when video games (even within a single genre) all have varied feels.  Also, resource management/"cool downs" for abilities  are not the sole domain of video gaming.  P&P RPGs have been doing that for years.

That said I feel the need to include this pic... (Not intended as a dig at the OP, but as a tongue in cheek joke about the subject matter.)  
Yes, the latest book/release that you don't like is a blatant attempt by Wizards of the Coast to make money off the fanbase. They all are. That's kinda the point of the Free Enterprise system, companies are in it to make money...
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69889855 wrote:
You can't! I tried... and the next night masked men came into my house and beat me until I burned up my ranger character sheet and rolled a scout. They told me... if I ever thought of making a non-essential character that they would kill mitsy..... OH GOD THEY ARE COMING BACK AND ARE FORCING ME TO BUY HEROES OF SHADOWS! SOMEONE STOP THEM PLEASE!
58321818 wrote:
Your DM is your friend. He's not trying to screw with you, or dick you around. Play your character how your character would act. Accept that your character won't always be able to do what he's best at, but also know that as a goddamn HERO, he's gonna try to do his best at what he can do. Roleplay your goddamn character, make the decisions he would make, and roll appropriately. Everything will be fine.
57025236 wrote:
But filling a post with vitriol, hate-filled comments, like "these people should be fired", swearing at us or other ambiguous members of the company - there really is no reason for that. Please share your feedback respectfully, and consider how you would share your ideas if this were a face to face conversation between real people, not faceless names on a screen.
If you see me posting in a thread about editions or Essentials (that isn't simply a rules thread or similar) remind me that I'm trying to stay away from them. (My blood pressure will thank us both.)


1) D&D meets WoW
This is probably my biggest complaint about 4E. It feels like a tabletop video game. I have a character that has powers that can be used once per turn, once per encounter, and once per day. Not unlike having powers in a videogame that have to have time to regenerate. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy video games, but I don't like the feel that the current edition has that feels more like a videogame than an RPG.



I can understand where you are coming from.  The at-wills/encounters/dailies strongly resemble "cooldowns" of MMOs.  I don't see it as a negative, however.  But I can respect your opinion on it.  However, I see encounters and dailies as this:  These are moves you know, but the openings for them come only about once per fight/once per day.  It's not that you can't do them more often: it's that you can't find the right MOMENT to do them.


2) Magic Items
My second biggest gripe. I'm an old-school gamer. I recall the days when your characters found a magical sword and everyone spent the entire evening wondering what properties it might have. In 4E, anyone with the Arcana skill can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the weapon in ten minutes. To me, that sucks some of the fun out of the game. It also precludes the possibilities of things like cursed weapons (remember those?).



Actually Cursed Items have returned with the publishing of Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium.  They can't be detected until after the curse comes into effect.

But as a counter to that: didn't you think it was stupid that you could watch someone use a flaming longsword, but once you killed him and took it, you couldn't activate it until you went back to town and had someone cast Identify?



On a similar note, I also dislike the idea that the players can build a "shopping list" which they give to the GM to be sown into the adventures. It reduces finding magical goodies to a case of, "Oh, boots of the eladrin. Didn't the rogue want those?" Remember when there was dicing to see who would ge the magical cloak and you didn't even know what it did yet?



This is a suggestion given in the DMG.  I'm currently running a 4e game where I'm using the 3e magical item charts to roll what it is, and then picking it when I have it narrowed down that it should be a Magical Armor or something.  My players are loving it, especially when I decide that I'm just going to make up an item for fun.

The design idea for the "make a wishlist" is that, in 3.5, due to random rolls, you might get a great magical item that nobody can use, because they are not allowed to use said item.


However, like I said: you can easily play a game without a wishlist.  It's a suggestion, not a commandment.


Then there's the fact that it is expected that the characters will have a certain amount of treasure by a certain level, and if they don't then they are underpowered. This makes it difficult to hide treasures and magical items, because if they are overlooked, then the characters miss out on something they should have received to keep the game balanced. If, for example, the orcs are using the staff of fire as a spit for roasting their suckling pig, it could easily be overlooked when searching the lair.



Here is the opposite side of that: y'know how, in 3e, if you rolled well, you could get a +5 magical longsword at level 1?  I had one.  It made the game not fun for the other players, because I could ALWAYS hit, and they were struggling.

Also, there were plenty of times where players would end up lop-sided on gear, where they would be Glass Cannons (+6 weapons but only +1 armor) or the Stone Walls (+6 Armor of Resistance but only +1 weapons).  

As a DM for 3.5, it is INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT to know if a CR 5 monster will kill the party or not, because you don't know if the 5th level party will be equipped on par with the abilities of the monsters.  4e simplified this so that if you look at a monster worth 100 XP and is level 1 or whatever, you know that a level 1 party is going to have the attack bonuses and defenses to be able to have a fair fight.  I've seen level 8 parties taken down by CR3 monsters before, because they didn't get lucky in loot rolls.  It's not fun being killed for something out of your control.


And whose idea was it to give magic items daily uses? Did the One Ring only allow Frodo to be invisible for ten minutes between each extended rest? (Okay, it was an artifact, and the rules are different for them.) But really, it just adds to the videogame feeling that I mentioned earlier.

 

3.5 Magical Item Abuse.  Daily powers on items that could break the game if used over and over again prevent people from making ultra combos of magical items in a default setting where magical items are able to be made/purchased.


Lastly (on this subject), magical items in my campaigns have always been rare and wondrous things. If a character got a +1 sword, it meant something! That sword was manufactured by someone for someone or some specific purpose. It had a history and a reason for existing. In 4E, there are magical sweatshops full of wizards cranking out hundreds of magical goodies each day. Magic has become disposable. Doubtless somewhere in the Realms, there is a huge landfill brimming with old +1 weapons.



From what I have seen, a lot of DMs ran magic-rich campaigns in 3.5, and 4e just gave the option for that.  

However, if you want magical items to be rare, then use Inherent Bonuses.  That way, the players get the attack bonuses and defenses they need to be able to have the correct "math" for fighting monsters, and you can make magical items much more rare.  

I will point out that saying "That sword was manufactured by someone for someone or some specific purpose" and complaining about magic shops seems idiosyncratic.  Your first sentence implies that there is someone who can make those items.  And, it would make sense that, if magic has been around for THOUSANDS of years, that magic is part of the economy.  But, I can see your point.  Your answer to that is to use Inherent Bonuses so that math works right for encounters, and then you can practically remove magical items from the game entirely.


3) Encounter-driven Expeditions
Again, I'm an old school gamer. I remember extended underground expeditions where characters would be so long out of the sunlight that it hurt when they came back to the surface. While such is certainly possible in 4E, the game isn't designed for it. On average, characters should go up a level every 8-12 encounters. Can you imagine trying to play through the Caves of Chaos? They would overshoot the upper limit of the adventure in the first three caverns! Oh, but it can be done. After all, Wizards did it with the Encounters program. True, but how much did they have to write out of that in order to make it fit within the format? Why are rations and water even a concern in the new rules? In a typical adventure, characters will be home in time for dinner at the local tavern.


I've run a game where, for three sessions and 15 in-game days, the party was accosted by multiple waves of level -2 encounters and lethal traps.  We usually level up every two sessions.  During this period, they went from level 7 to level 7 and 1/4, and they said it was the hardest portion of my entire campaign.

8-12 encounters assumes that the encounters are, on average, of equal level to the party.  You can slow progression easily by having more encounters being below the party's level, which means they will win, but there WILL be resource drain.  Combine that with trap combos that can do enough damage to knock a PC out if they're not careful, and you can have the experience you're describing.


4) Roleplaying Diminished
This is going to start an argument, I know it, but I'm putting it in here anyway. When cries of, "The fighter rushes the group of orcs shouting, 'Die, pig-faces!'" are replaced with cries of "Move me up 3 squares. I charge and make a basic melee attack against the lead orc while spending a minor action to blast the second rank with dragon's breath," something is wrong. The game has become more like a board game than a role-playing game, with the use of miniatures almost mandatory. What happened to using your imagination? It's just that the game seems more... mechanical... to me now.



Interesting.  I don't have that roleplaying problem in my 4e table.  And I find it funny that you say that miniatures seem required now:  I have yet to meet, in-person, someone who wasn't using miniatures or some sort of marker for position since 2e.  My players are always telling me what the Nightmare Eruptions are doing to the enemies that are hit, and the Changeling is always a blast describing how he is changing his facial features to look like a dinosaur to get Combat Advantage.

As an aside, I have seen this happen in 3.5, where every round someone says "I hit it with my axe again."  No Roleplaying in combat from him for over 12 levels.

Roleplaying, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with combat rules or any rules whatsoever, in my opinion.  It has to do with the people and how much they want to roleplay.


5) Power Struggles
To me, there seems to be some disparity between the classes. I run two different groups. One of them has a psion that is a continual thorn in my side. He only has one offensive power, but he can augment it to the point of ridiculousness. Worse still, he has a feat or something that allows him to slide creatures as a free action, at will! He continually throws my monsters up against walls and one another and wants them to take damage from the impact (which is not covered in the rules).

 He has to have more than one offensive power.  He gets two at-will attacks.  He might not use it.  But that's his choice.

Okay, you have a Controller who is VERY GOOD at what he does.  However, he's probably got a weak point.  If I remember Psions well, they're good at controlling one or two bad guys at a time, but get really messed up if they're fighting a bunch of minions, because they can't attack them all and lock them all down.

I'd love to see the character sheet of this character.  I'm pretty sure together we could get you some tactics that won't have you locked down so much, or see if there is a rules misinterpretation that is causing you to think he does X, when the rules actually say he does Y.



6) Powers That Don't Add Up
Here's another one from a real-life example: Both groups have a bard in them. The bards makes good use of Viscious Mockery. But how does this power work against mindless undead? Or unintelligent creatures? Or beings that can't understand the language of the bard? And there are other powers that don't make sense when applied to certain circumstances, either. Timely Distraction comes to mind. If a zombie likely to turn and look because you pretend to spot an owlbear? It seems unlikely to me.



First off, you're thinking too literally.  Just because the flavor text says something, doesn't mean that is the only way it works.  For example, Magic Missle is described as a bolt of force.  But plenty of people turn their Magic Missle into a wreath of flowers, or a snowball, or a bead of metal flying off a necklace.

Vicious Mockery is a Magical attack (It has the Arcane keyword).  So, against Undead, maybe he's not insulting it, but rather is messing with the necromantic magic that allows it to see (causing the -2 to attack rolls).  Or, it could be that it forces that enemy to have pink magical boxing gloves, which prevent it from doing as much damage.

Timely Distraction is also Arcane.  So, you could say that, instead of acting, the Bard uses his magical abilities to mess with the sensory stuff the zombie has going on, so that it turns around, thinking the Bard is behind him.  Or the Bard used his magical abilities to mimic the aura of the person who commands the zombies, and now the zombie is confused because it thought it was attacking bad, not leader.

The flavor text is just there as a suggestion.  Any attack can be fluffed in any way that you deem fit to make it make sense (or for it to be fun).


I hope my replies help!

Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.

1) D&D meets WoW

Perhaps there is more than one way of looking at this.  WoW is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game if i remember correctly).  WoW is an on line evolution of video game RPGs like Final Fantasy IMO.  I believe that video game RPGs have always sought to emulate the experience of table top RPGs, it's just that as technology improved they have becoming better at emulating what they have always tried to emulate.  Maybe a glass half full way of seeing this is to say that WoW (and other MMORPGs) have become better at emulating table top RPGs, which is what they have always tried to do.  As an example FF1 had vatican spell casting.

2)  magic items

There's a new book out Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium, it contains cursed items and expands on the item rarity system which I think was started in Esssentials.  I don't own this book, but maybe the new rarity system would be more to your liking.  I believe they have random treasure charts in it.

As far as magic item wish lists, I like them as a DM, it saves me time looking for equipment that will help the PCs.  Of course I can understand that you do not like such things, but I suppose you can just ignore any list the players give you and just give them whatever you want to give them.  This, of course may displease them, but hopefully they will understand.    


4) Roleplaying Diminished
This is going to start an argument, I know it, but I'm putting it in here anyway. When cries of, "The fighter rushes the group of orcs shouting, 'Die, pig-faces!'" are replaced with cries of "Move me up 3 squares. I charge and make a basic melee attack against the lead orc while spending a minor action to blast the second rank with dragon's breath," something is wrong. The game has become more like a board game than a role-playing game, with the use of miniatures almost mandatory. What happened to using your imagination? It's just that the game seems more... mechanical... to me now.



For me it is not so much that the quality of Roleplaying that has diminished, rather it is the available quantity of Roleplay time out of combat which has diminshed.

Combat just takes so damn long that a fight that previously would take 30 minutes now takes 60 minutes plus (oh sometimes a lot plus).

So for me a typical 3 hour session with two fights has gone from 120 minutes Roleplaying and 60 minutes Combat to 60 minutes Roleplay and 120 minutes Combat which is a 50% reduction in Roleplaying quantity.

That is of course just my personal data point.


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No, I'm not a troll or a sockpuppet, and if it's wrong, then offer a counterargument.


I can't offer a counterargument because what you offered was not an argument.

You offered your emotions.
To wit:

  1. "It feels like a tabletop video game"

  2. "To me, that sucks some of the fun out of the game"

  3. See below

  4. "It's just that the game seems more... mechanical... to me now"

  5. See below

  6. See below

Of your six points, three of them are purely emotional.  There is no argument to counter emotion because emotion is not rational.  I can't tell you that your feelings are wrong any more than you can tell me that that fact that I don't share those feelings are wrong.

As to your remaining points...

I have in fact adapted the Caves of Chaos to 4e and it works fine, if you read the DMG and DMG2 advice on making encounters.  They key is that in 4e, you can make groups of rooms a single encounter, which works great for the Caves of Chaos where individuals from diffeent rooms are always running to help their neighbors.  It's a dynamic and very fun 4e adventure.

Also, skill challenges, which you claim to like, can span multiple weeks and months of adventuring time.  Traversing the underdarl is a great skill challenge that can bring peril to travel.  So I'm not sure why you think 4e cannot handle exploration.

I have not heard anybody claim that the psion is an overpowered class, and the Character Optimization forum has investigated all the classes quite extensively.  It is possible you are misunderstanding the rules that pertain to his character.  It is possible that he found a build that is tailored to the encounters you tend to make.  (In other words, he's playing the Dm rather than the game.)  Without knowing more details, it's impossible to know.  I would suggest you post this as a separate thread in the What's a DM to Do? forum with a lot more detail and people should be willing to help.

As to the sixth, I find it odd that on the one hand you decry the lack of roleplaying and imagination in 4e and yet you don't seem able to eplxain why Vicious Mockery can work on undead.  Even the least powerful skeleton minion has an Intelligence of 3.  It must in order to understand the instructions given to it by the necromancer who created it.  It has a modicum of intelligence, and that is what the bard can affect with his magic.  Were the undead truly mindless, they wouldn't be creatures.  They would be traps or objects.  Creatures have Will defenses; objects do not.

This may simply be you carrying over assumptions from prior editions.

Now, since it seems significant to you that you have played D&D since near its inception, I'll let you know that I have been playing since the Moldvay ruleset as well.  I like 4e.  My players, many of whom have also been playing for a quarter-century or more, enjoy 4e.  We're not blind to the drawbacks and 4e is definitely not for everyone.  It sounds like it isn't for you or your group.
Yes, this is a gripe thread, using the same regurgited banalities as before.
what a crappy thread
1) D&D meets WoW
This is probably my biggest complaint about 4E. It feels like a tabletop video game. I have a character that has powers that can be used once per turn, once per encounter, and once per day. Not unlike having powers in a videogame that have to have time to regenerate. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy video games, but I don't like the feel that the current edition has that feels more like a videogame than an RPG.

note that "daily recharge" powers have been with D&D from day one via vancian casting. heck, simply rereading the druid entry of my 1st Edition AD&D book gives me this line

"At 7th level (initiate of the 5th Circle) the following additional powers are gained:
1...
2.Ability to change form up to three times per day, actually becoming, in all respects save teh mind, a reptile, bird or mammal."

so even in 1st edition you had powers with daily uses... now, i don't know about old World of Darkness, but i know the new one has abilities that last an entire scene (ie: an encounter). the main reason for the change between "adventuring day" to "encounter-based" is kinda obvious when you think about it: encounter-based recharges gives players abilities they want to use, rather then simply hoard them until the time is right.

so how is 1st edition with it's daily recharge powers so radically different then 4th ed with it's encounter recharge powers that only the latter is "video game-y"?

2) Magic Items
My second biggest gripe. I'm an old-school gamer. I recall the days when your characters found a magical sword and everyone spent the entire evening wondering what properties it might have. In 4E, anyone with the Arcana skill can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the weapon in ten minutes. To me, that sucks some of the fun out of the game. It also precludes the possibilities of things like cursed weapons (remember those?).

i don't know if you can call me old-school (i've cut my teeth on 2nd ED AD&D at age 12ish about 14 years ago) but i don't remember those magic items being things of wonder. i remember them being "who uses daggers" then an annoying trial & error period until someone yelled for the DMs mom so she would tell him to give us the actual properties of it. 

yes i do remember cursed items. i also remember how everyone minus the [entirely not polite expellitive] DM who used them hated them. good riddance for bad rubbish. if you really want to make a cursed item, do it proper like in actual mythology:


-read up on the artifact rules in the DMG. you'll notice that some of the artifacts, like the eye and hand of vecna have an end result of "you die".
-think up your curse, it's history and the lore on how to remove it.
-apply it onto an existing item
-at this point use concordance: if it reaches "pleased" the curse is lifted and the character has his neat weapon, if "angered" then the full extent of the curse bears down on the character

there, i used existing rules to make cursed item generation in a method that isn't "be a dick"

On a similar note, I also dislike the idea that the players can build a "shopping list" which they give to the GM to be sown into the adventures. It reduces finding magical goodies to a case of, "Oh, boots of the eladrin. Didn't the rogue want those?" Remember when there was dicing to see who would ge the magical cloak and you didn't even know what it did yet?

yes and like the old cursed items, good riddance to bad rubbish. in a recent adventure a buddy of mine ran (3rd ed) d'you know how many items we actually kept for ourselves? the +2 ring of protection. the gist was nothing more then a bunch of masterwork leathers and rapiers, and the only person who cared for the rapiers had a magic one. the rest was forgettable. someone joked that we could have built that sword throne from a Game of Thrones but with rapiers instead.

that was a silly thing to say but it's something i've run across often: treasure that simply acts an easier to carry version of gold... no one wants or cares for it. so it gets sold for items we actually do care about.

there is nothing interesting about finding the 12th pair of "bracers of armor +1".

as for the "shopping list" it exists entierly to give the GM an idea of what kind of items the players would be excited to find. it doesn't need to be exact, but give the barbarian a break... is there absolutely no way you can include an N+1 Greataxe for him?


Then there's the fact that it is expected that the characters will have a certain amount of treasure by a certain level, and if they don't then they are underpowered. This makes it difficult to hide treasures and magical items, because if they are overlooked, then the characters miss out on something they should have received to keep the game balanced. If, for example, the orcs are using the staff of fire as a spit for roasting their suckling pig, it could easily be overlooked when searching the lair.

i never saw the point of introducing elements into the story you don't expect people to interact with. i cannot understand how one could consider elements like that good design. you're rewarding players not for actually playing the game put infront of them (especially if you expect them to act in-character) but to play the game of "guess what the DM is thinking".

And whose idea was it to give magic items daily uses? Did the One Ring only allow Frodo to be invisible for ten minutes between each extended rest? (Okay, it was an artifact, and the rules are different for them.) But really, it just adds to the videogame feeling that I mentioned earlier.

as you said, the one ring was an artifact. now, i know many 3rd ed items had daily uses and i know 2nd ed had the odd item, like the spider cloak (i think that's what it was called) that let the wearer use Web once a day. daily uses of items is nothing new.

Lastly (on this subject), magical items in my campaigns have always been rare and wondrous things. If a character got a +1 sword, it meant something! That sword was manufactured by someone for someone or some specific purpose. It had a history and a reason for existing. In 4E, there are magical sweatshops full of wizards cranking out hundreds of magical goodies each day. Magic has become disposable. Doubtless somewhere in the Realms, there is a huge landfill brimming with old +1 weapons.

welcome to 3rd edition. now, remember that for all the posturing that "+1 swords are special", they're still required in 1st ed, especially against monsters who had the delightful "SPECIAL ABILITY: requires a +X weapon or greater to hit" line and all that history only means something if the player or character actually cares about it.

there is NOTHING stopping you from placing items with histories in the game. thinking otherwise is entirely an issue with you and not the game.

yes the game expects you to have +X items at certain points throughout the game. there are ways around that limitation. the easiest, is to use the Inherent bonuses found in both the DMG2 and Dark Sun sourcebook. this removes the + magic from weapons and makes it an inherent bonus to be based off character level. this gives the GM an easier time by using the effects of the magic weapon as a descriptor.

to give an example, let's make "Flametongue" a weapon used by an elvish prince to slay a red dragon who was terrorizing his village, coming down every decade or so to raze the forest and cull the herd. when he stabbed the beast in the heart, his blade became inbued with burning hatred of the beast and only a true hero (IE:a PC) can bring out it's full potential.

mechanically, however, it's a Flaming Sword who's properties are based off the character's inherent bonuses.

the tools are there, all you have to do is ask.

3) Encounter-driven Expeditions
Again, I'm an old school gamer. I remember extended underground expeditions where characters would be so long out of the sunlight that it hurt when they came back to the surface. While such is certainly possible in 4E, the game isn't designed for it. On average, characters should go up a level every 8-12 encounters. Can you imagine trying to play through the Caves of Chaos? They would overshoot the upper limit of the adventure in the first three caverns! Oh, but it can be done. After all, Wizards did it with the Encounters program. True, but how much did they have to write out of that in order to make it fit within the format? Why are rations and water even a concern in the new rules? In a typical adventure, characters will be home in time for dinner at the local tavern.

i mentionned it before, but daily-based adventuring is harder to work with then encounter-based as a GM, especially with pacing and resource management. i don't remember the caves themselves being a pinnacle of good adventure design. mostly just a boring dungeoncrawl.

also note that when converting a module from one edition to another, yes you will make a few conceits. then again, i would never run a dungeoncrawl since those tend to bore me. room > orcs > fight > repeat... and you say 4th ed is like a videogame? :P

4) Roleplaying Diminished
This is going to start an argument, I know it, but I'm putting it in here anyway. When cries of, "The fighter rushes the group of orcs shouting, 'Die, pig-faces!'" are replaced with cries of "Move me up 3 squares. I charge and make a basic melee attack against the lead orc while spending a minor action to blast the second rank with dragon's breath," something is wrong. The game has become more like a board game than a role-playing game, with the use of miniatures almost mandatory. What happened to using your imagination? It's just that the game seems more... mechanical... to me now.

i'm sorry 4th ed made combat mechanically engaging rather then a chore, thus breaking your imagination. you have my condolences. in a less condencending tone, i don't remember every fight in 2nd edition being amateur theater night. most of the time it simply was "Fighter goes up to orc, swings... i hit ThAC0 of 3, does that connect? 1d10+4 damage"

i also remember using minis in 2nd edition because they simply told everyone, without a shadow of a doubt, where everyone is. i think what happened is that the game finally embraced using visual aids, like minis and maps, to make it so everyone is imagining the same thing rather then have the GM adjudicate everyone else's imagination to stop the bickering of "what do you mean i'm inside Thadderick's fireball radius?"

5) Power Struggles
To me, there seems to be some disparity between the classes. I run two different groups. One of them has a psion that is a continual thorn in my side. He only has one offensive power, but he can augment it to the point of ridiculousness. Worse still, he has a feat or something that allows him to slide creatures as a free action, at will! He continually throws my monsters up against walls and one another and wants them to take damage from the impact (which is not covered in the rules).

no game can have everything covered by the rules, though if you want to use impact here are a few options:
1) use the falling rules
2) page 42 for ad-hoc'ing actions
3) "no you git, stop trying to do that. a slight shove does not deal damage."

as for disparity, previous editions had it MUCH worse... the options available to casters far outranked anything available to non-casters

6) Powers That Don't Add Up
Here's another one from a real-life example: Both groups have a bard in them. The bards makes good use of Viscious Mockery. But how does this power work against mindless undead? Or unintelligent creatures? Or beings that can't understand the language of the bard? And there are other powers that don't make sense when applied to certain circumstances, either. Timely Distraction comes to mind. If a zombie likely to turn and look because you pretend to spot an owlbear? It seems unlikely to me.

everything has some level intelligence in 4th ed so there is no "mindless" anything. how it works is entirely up to the GM and player to decide via roleplay rather then simply making blanket "no you can't" statements. 4th ed is a game that enables you. it's prone to saying "yes, and..." rather then a curt "no". your descriptions could be serious "my bard's vicious mockey echoes to the former life of the zombie, causing him to gain a moment of insanity as he realizes what he is" or silly "Wearing (dirtied) white after labor day? fashion faux-pas!".

talk it over with your player and let your imagination take over, rather then have the game imagine it for you.



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For me it is not so much that the quality of Roleplaying that has diminished, rather it is the available quantity of Roleplay time out of combat which has diminshed.

Combat just takes so damn long that a fight that previously would take 30 minutes now takes 60 minutes plus (oh sometimes a lot plus).

So for me a typical 3 hour session with two fights has gone from 120 minutes Roleplaying and 60 minutes Combat to 60 minutes Roleplay and 120 minutes Combat which is a 50% reduction in Roleplaying quantity.

That is of course just my personal data point.





Ever try having less combats? I agree that combats take longer (compared to 2e and lower, on average) so why not have more roleplaying opportunity, and more way to avoid combats? Last night, it took my party about 45min to finish an encounter (level+1 at 4th level) but a scene that COULD have turned into a fight (A Templar looking for hidden goods) turned into a complete roleplaying encounter that took a little more than the combat did. Overall, it was really enjoyable both ways. It just about letting the players find combat themselves, not always having combat find them.
Lots of great issues here that I have never seen anyone bring up before!

1) D&D meets WoW
This is probably my biggest complaint about 4E. It feels like a tabletop video game. I have a character that has powers that can be used once per turn, once per encounter, and once per day. Not unlike having powers in a videogame that have to have time to regenerate. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy video games, but I don't like the feel that the current edition has that feels more like a videogame than an RPG.


Other than the fact that all characters get the three types of powers (except for newer builds), how is this different than older versions of D&D?  The Fighter had at-will attacks, the Cleric and Wizard had daily powers.  D&D has always felt like a video game, because RPG video games have always been based off of D&D.  Over time, D&D also began to take good ideas from video games.  The distinction is the same as it has always been: when you play an in person RPG, there is a lot more freedom.  You get to interact with the environment in whatever way you can imagine.  (Plus you get to sit around with your friends and make jokes while eating good snacks).
That said, if giving everyone the same assortment of powers isn't your cup of tea, check out the newer builds.  Martial classes once more have no daily powers (and the encounter powers are very limited in scope), while the Wizards have a full assortment of cool powers.
2) Magic Items
My second biggest gripe. I'm an old-school gamer. I recall the days when your characters found a magical sword and everyone spent the entire evening wondering what properties it might have. In 4E, anyone with the Arcana skill can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the weapon in ten minutes. To me, that sucks some of the fun out of the game. It also precludes the possibilities of things like cursed weapons (remember those?).


You can still do this: just houserule that you can't identify magic items with the Arcana skill, and add in an Identify ritual.  Also, cursed items are back; check out the new book of magic items.
On a similar note, I also dislike the idea that the players can build a "shopping list" which they give to the GM to be sown into the adventures. It reduces finding magical goodies to a case of, "Oh, boots of the eladrin. Didn't the rogue want those?" Remember when there was dicing to see who would ge the magical cloak and you didn't even know what it did yet?


So don't use wishlists.  There isn't a rule that says you have to; it is simply a suggestion to help new DMs give out usable and desired items.  I don't use wishlists at all.  But even if you do use them, you still have control over how you roleplay it.  Rather than saying, "Oh, [magic item A], didn't [character x] want these?", you can say, "Wow, [magic item A]!  Who wants this one?"  In other words, don't break the 4th wall.  The players know about the wish list, but the characters don't.
Then there's the fact that it is expected that the characters will have a certain amount of treasure by a certain level, and if they don't then they are underpowered. This makes it difficult to hide treasures and magical items, because if they are overlooked, then the characters miss out on something they should have received to keep the game balanced. If, for example, the orcs are using the staff of fire as a spit for roasting their suckling pig, it could easily be overlooked when searching the lair.


This is a tricky one, but I think it comes down to this: there is no point to having hidden stuff unless the characters find it.  I know as a DM I get very sad when I build in something hidden and give what I think are plenty of clues, only to have my players completely fail to find it.  The point of the game is to have the characters find treasure, not to say, "Ha ha, get a load of all the stuff you missed!" at the end of the session.
But (as always), it is easy to work around this if you like hidden treasures that reward players for taking a closer look at the environment.  As the DM, simply have several options for the location of treasure parcels.  So, to take your example, the characters' first chance at getting the staff is when the encounter the orcs.  If they don't find it there, they could find it among some brooms in the Wizard's entry chamber.  If they don't find it there, the Wizard will be wielding it when they face him at the end.
And whose idea was it to give magic items daily uses? Did the One Ring only allow Frodo to be invisible for ten minutes between each extended rest? (Okay, it was an artifact, and the rules are different for them.) But really, it just adds to the videogame feeling that I mentioned earlier.


You answered your own question here.  Magic items that have constant and powerful effects would actually be artifacts.  They are potentially game breaking items that should be used with care.  But a lesser ring, that can turn you invisible once per day, is still a special thing.  It is something your character could never do without the ring.  I don't understand how this relates at all to video games.
And again, you can fix this if you want.  Make magic items useable as much as you want (would once per encounter work?).
Lastly (on this subject), magical items in my campaigns have always been rare and wondrous things. If a character got a +1 sword, it meant something! That sword was manufactured by someone for someone or some specific purpose. It had a history and a reason for existing. In 4E, there are magical sweatshops full of wizards cranking out hundreds of magical goodies each day. Magic has become disposable. Doubtless somewhere in the Realms, there is a huge landfill brimming with old +1 weapons.


I wasn't aware of these "magical sweatshops".  In fact, magic items are (as they have been throughout the history of D&D) available according to what the DM says.  If I tell my players that Tiny Town A has no magic items for sale, and not enough money to buy their old gear, there is nothing they can do about it.  There is no page in the rules that says you can buy and sell gear anywhere.  If you want to make magic items rare, you can do so (check out the optional rules for inherant bonuses).
3) Encounter-driven Expeditions
Again, I'm an old school gamer. I remember extended underground expeditions where characters would be so long out of the sunlight that it hurt when they came back to the surface. While such is certainly possible in 4E, the game isn't designed for it. On average, characters should go up a level every 8-12 encounters. Can you imagine trying to play through the Caves of Chaos? They would overshoot the upper limit of the adventure in the first three caverns! Oh, but it can be done. After all, Wizards did it with the Encounters program. True, but how much did they have to write out of that in order to make it fit within the format? Why are rations and water even a concern in the new rules? In a typical adventure, characters will be home in time for dinner at the local tavern.


As you say, nothing is stopping you.  As long as you build in places for safe extended rests, you can have the characters in a dungeon as big as you can imagine.  Having characters gain a level after a certain number of defeated monsters is not new to 4E.  I know this was true in 2nd and 3rd edition, and I assume it was true also for earlier editions. 
4) Roleplaying Diminished
This is going to start an argument, I know it, but I'm putting it in here anyway. When cries of, "The fighter rushes the group of orcs shouting, 'Die, pig-faces!'" are replaced with cries of "Move me up 3 squares. I charge and make a basic melee attack against the lead orc while spending a minor action to blast the second rank with dragon's breath," something is wrong. The game has become more like a board game than a role-playing game, with the use of miniatures almost mandatory. What happened to using your imagination? It's just that the game seems more... mechanical... to me now.


This is true (that fights are more mechanical).  This means that everyone (players and DM) know exactly what happens when Bob describes his Fighter's actions.  I remember saying, "My fighter charges in..." followed by many minutes of arguing with the DM about where exactly each orc was, where I could charge to, etc.  There is nothing stopping you from describing your actions during combat in creative ways; the grid simply allows you to do that while also making everything clear.  It isn't a black and white issue; roleplaying vs. mechanical.  My players all describe their actions and rarely even use the name of the power past the first couple of uses (so that everyone gets used to the description).
For example, you could say, "I charge the lead orc while yelling, 'Die, pig-faces!'  Have me move up 3 squares and then charge the lead orc."  Note that this works the same way as how the DMG suggests DMs give out information regarding monster powers: first colorful description to set the mood, then the mechanics to make everything clear.
To sum up: the roleplaying is what YOU bring to the game, not something found between the covers of a book.  Think back to what YOU did back in the olden days that made the roleplaying so much fun, and then do it again.
5) Power Struggles
To me, there seems to be some disparity between the classes. I run two different groups. One of them has a psion that is a continual thorn in my side. He only has one offensive power, but he can augment it to the point of ridiculousness. Worse still, he has a feat or something that allows him to slide creatures as a free action, at will! He continually throws my monsters up against walls and one another and wants them to take damage from the impact (which is not covered in the rules).


This isn't anything new to 4E.  "Stuff the Rules Don't Cover" has been a fun part of the game ever since it first came out (I assume).  For this case, you have three options:
1) Don't allow it to deal damage, which is Rules as Written.
2) Have it deal a small amount of damage (say, 1d6), but only for hitting them against blocking terrain.  If the forced movement was enough to deal damage, the power would have it built in (some do).
3) Have it deal a lot of damage (say, 1d6 per square moved).  This will lead to your players optimizing for forced movement.
In all cases, it should work the same for PCs and monsters.
6) Powers That Don't Add Up
Here's another one from a real-life example: Both groups have a bard in them. The bards makes good use of Viscious Mockery. But how does this power work against mindless undead? Or unintelligent creatures? Or beings that can't understand the language of the bard? And there are other powers that don't make sense when applied to certain circumstances, either. Timely Distraction comes to mind. If a zombie likely to turn and look because you pretend to spot an owlbear? It seems unlikely to me.


You have to separate the name of the power (and the printed fluff) from the mechanics.  The bard doesn't have to actually mock the target.  In fact, the bard doesn't even have to vocalize anything.  All that has to happen (if the bard hits) is that the target takes psychic damage and a -2 penalty.  This means that it will be effective against anything without resistance or immunity to psychic damage.  Note that undead are no longer mindless, and so you can blast them all you want with psychic damage.  If you don't like this (you should be getting tired of hearing me say this by now): CHANGE IT.  Don't complain that the system is ruining your game, just change the system to fit your style.  That is what we have always done with D&D.
Don't misunderstand me. While I feel that there are several problems with 4E, there are also things I like, such as skill challenges, the loss of the Vancian magic system, and the broadened possibilities of race and class combinations. But there has to be a happy medium somewhere. I just can't seem to find it.

My players are similarly divided. Some find 4E enjoyable, but not D&D. Some want to switch to Pathfinder. One wants to go back to 2E! One (a rules lawyer by nature) is a die-hard fantical fan of 4E. I just want something that has the old-school feel with rules that work and don't feel like a mathematics exam.


Well, in my experience 4E has rules that work the best out of any edition of D&D that I have played.  As the DM, it is up to you to install the old-school feel.  Just make a list of things that, for you, constitute "old-school feel", and then figure out how to add them into the game.  We on the forums can help with this!

Okay, well, it is.


Nice




2) Magic Items
My second biggest gripe. I'm an old-school gamer. I recall the days when your characters found a magical sword and everyone spent the entire evening wondering what properties it might have. In 4E, anyone with the Arcana skill can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the weapon in ten minutes. To me, that sucks some of the fun out of the game. It also precludes the possibilities of things like cursed weapons (remember those?).

On a similar note, I also dislike the idea that the players can build a "shopping list" which they give to the GM to be sown into the adventures. It reduces finding magical goodies to a case of, "Oh, boots of the eladrin. Didn't the rogue want those?" Remember when there was dicing to see who would ge the magical cloak and you didn't even know what it did yet?

Then there's the fact that it is expected that the characters will have a certain amount of treasure by a certain level, and if they don't then they are underpowered. This makes it difficult to hide treasures and magical items, because if they are overlooked, then the characters miss out on something they should have received to keep the game balanced. If, for example, the orcs are using the staff of fire as a spit for roasting their suckling pig, it could easily be overlooked when searching the lair.

And whose idea was it to give magic items daily uses? Did the One Ring only allow Frodo to be invisible for ten minutes between each extended rest? (Okay, it was an artifact, and the rules are different for them.) But really, it just adds to the videogame feeling that I mentioned earlier.

Lastly (on this subject), magical items in my campaigns have always been rare and wondrous things. If a character got a +1 sword, it meant something! That sword was manufactured by someone for someone or some specific purpose. It had a history and a reason for existing. In 4E, there are magical sweatshops full of wizards cranking out hundreds of magical goodies each day. Magic has become disposable. Doubtless somewhere in the Realms, there is a huge landfill brimming with old +1 weapons.



A few comments on this one.

Magical Items in this edition are used at additional powers for the characters. There are a few that have At Will powers and a few with Encounter (or Errated Encounter) and a lot of Dailies. The reason for the change from the previous edition is the differences in resources that the character has, what you figure is WoW like. (I alway think of Wand of Wonder instead of World of Warcraft... forgive)

The new Errata also clarafies the use of powers, though having a character with multiple items and switching them to use the same power again is still vague. (I say you can't use it, no matter if it is a different item or not)

In the beginning, there was way to many items with Dailies. Some should have been Encounter powers instead.

The lousy Parcel System aside (I also hate wish lists) there is an expatation of characters having magical items as they advance into their adventuring carreers. This is in any edition, not just 4th. With the overall balance in the game having more importance, the magical items were changed to reflect this. It made them mostly boring, but still servicable. I still think the Portable Hole being removed from a storage device should have lowered it's price (level?) and other items are somewhat muted, but it works with this edition.

So, my main problem is the fact that all items cost the same at each level no matter it's use, be it weapon, protection or some wonderious application. I hope this will change for 5th edition.
Terms you should know...
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Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
For me it is not so much that the quality of Roleplaying that has diminished, rather it is the available quantity of Roleplay time out of combat which has diminshed.

Combat just takes so damn long that a fight that previously would take 30 minutes now takes 60 minutes plus (oh sometimes a lot plus).

So for me a typical 3 hour session with two fights has gone from 120 minutes Roleplaying and 60 minutes Combat to 60 minutes Roleplay and 120 minutes Combat which is a 50% reduction in Roleplaying quantity.



+1

Veteran of The Transfer... Add 700 to my post count... 



For me it is not so much that the quality of Roleplaying that has diminished, rather it is the available quantity of Roleplay time out of combat which has diminshed.

Combat just takes so damn long that a fight that previously would take 30 minutes now takes 60 minutes plus (oh sometimes a lot plus).

So for me a typical 3 hour session with two fights has gone from 120 minutes Roleplaying and 60 minutes Combat to 60 minutes Roleplay and 120 minutes Combat which is a 50% reduction in Roleplaying quantity.

That is of course just my personal data point.





Ever try having less combats? I agree that combats take longer (compared to 2e and lower, on average) so why not have more roleplaying opportunity, and more way to avoid combats? Last night, it took my party about 45min to finish an encounter (level+1 at 4th level) but a scene that COULD have turned into a fight (A Templar looking for hidden goods) turned into a complete roleplaying encounter that took a little more than the combat did. Overall, it was really enjoyable both ways. It just about letting the players find combat themselves, not always having combat find them.



Yes you are right, if we have less combat then we can have more roleplay.  But if you spend more time in combat then naturally your roleplaying time will suffer and 4e does specialise in tactical combat.  In my opinion it could be the reason why there are so many people who think there is less roleplaying in 4e.

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Homogenising: Making vanilla in 31 different colours
For me it is not so much that the quality of Roleplaying that has diminished, rather it is the available quantity of Roleplay time out of combat which has diminshed.

Combat just takes so damn long that a fight that previously would take 30 minutes now takes 60 minutes plus (oh sometimes a lot plus).

So for me a typical 3 hour session with two fights has gone from 120 minutes Roleplaying and 60 minutes Combat to 60 minutes Roleplay and 120 minutes Combat which is a 50% reduction in Roleplaying quantity.



+1


-1

THis is not true, as pointed. 
For me it is not so much that the quality of Roleplaying that has diminished, rather it is the available quantity of Roleplay time out of combat which has diminshed.

Combat just takes so damn long that a fight that previously would take 30 minutes now takes 60 minutes plus (oh sometimes a lot plus).

So for me a typical 3 hour session with two fights has gone from 120 minutes Roleplaying and 60 minutes Combat to 60 minutes Roleplay and 120 minutes Combat which is a 50% reduction in Roleplaying quantity.



+1



YMMV on that.  

My campaign runs for 4 hours every week.  Four players.

My first session, we had four combat encounters, as well as exploring a trapped dungeon. 

All four combat encounters took less than one hour twenty minutes, including the final fight that was level +3 for the PCs. 

As disclosure, I run 4e with all monsters using post MM3 stats. 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
For me it is not so much that the quality of Roleplaying that has diminished, rather it is the available quantity of Roleplay time out of combat which has diminshed.

Combat just takes so damn long that a fight that previously would take 30 minutes now takes 60 minutes plus (oh sometimes a lot plus).

So for me a typical 3 hour session with two fights has gone from 120 minutes Roleplaying and 60 minutes Combat to 60 minutes Roleplay and 120 minutes Combat which is a 50% reduction in Roleplaying quantity.



+1



YMMV on that.  

My campaign runs for 4 hours every week.  Four players.

My first session, we had four combat encounters, as well as exploring a trapped dungeon. 

All four combat encounters took less than one hour twenty minutes, including the final fight that was level +3 for the PCs. 

As disclosure, I run 4e with all monsters using post MM3 stats. 



Combats generally run like 30-40 minutes for an easy encounter, 45 minutes to an hour for a normal, and an anywhere from 40-1 hour + for hard encounters (generally because of "Hey that guy looks dangerous *unloads dailies" My group if we actually stay focused and don't rp/goof off/etc. between combats can get 4-5 encounters down in a 3-4 hour session. We generally only get 2 though because we spend a good amount of time roleplaying and the goofing off and the what have you.
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."-Douglas Adams
hey now Blaz, you know you can't roleplay or have fun when combat occurs. the D&D is going to come get you and punish you.
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"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
hey now Blaz, you know you can't roleplay or have fun when combat occurs. the D&D is going to come get you and punish you.



Did I say that.... I meant that we fill the time between combat.... with more combat..... yeah......

 We don't do no stinking rp or fun at my table. We're all about killing x amount of animals and getting dat purple loot.
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."-Douglas Adams

5) Power Struggles
To me, there seems to be some disparity between the classes. I run two different groups. One of them has a psion that is a continual thorn in my side. He only has one offensive power, but he can augment it to the point of ridiculousness. Worse still, he has a feat or something that allows him to slide creatures as a free action, at will! He continually throws my monsters up against walls and one another and wants them to take damage from the impact (which is not covered in the rules).


This isn't anything new to 4E.  "Stuff the Rules Don't Cover" has been a fun part of the game ever since it first came out (I assume).  For this case, you have three options:
1) Don't allow it to deal damage, which is Rules as Written.
2) Have it deal a small amount of damage (say, 1d6), but only for hitting them against blocking terrain.  If the forced movement was enough to deal damage, the power would have it built in (some do).
3) Have it deal a lot of damage (say, 1d6 per square moved).  This will lead to your players optimizing for forced movement.
In all cases, it should work the same for PCs and monsters.



Except, forced movement covers this rule.  Forced movement doesn't cause damage, even if you force them into a wall or whatever.  Only exceptions are movement into hazards, in which case the bad guy gets a saving throw to fall prone next to the hazard.
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
1) D&D meets WoW
This is probably my biggest complaint about 4E. It feels like a tabletop video game. I have a character that has powers that can be used once per turn, once per encounter, and once per day. Not unlike having powers in a videogame that have to have time to regenerate. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy video games, but I don't like the feel that the current edition has that feels more like a videogame than an RPG.



I think the best way to approach the At-Wil/Encounter/Daily is not from the perspective of a videogame, to think of it in terms of gameplay and cinematics.

First in terms of game play:

At-will powers give characters a meaning and interesting way of contributing to the encounter every round.  They allow the character to always be able perform his class function and doing something interesting, opposed to falling back on monotone "I hit it with my sword" or "I shoot it with my crossbow and 1/2lvl Bab" crossbow. 

Encounter and Dailies powers encourage tactical variety on a round-by-round basis.  Every encounter and daily power does something a bit different, and you generally can have only one copy of each.  So strategy comes from figuring out interesting ways to combine your different powers, or figuring out synergies with your allies rather than spamming the same ability over and over.  Each round of combat, you will likely be doing something at least a bit differently than the round before. 

Dailies, in particular, give you those big, powerful effects that give your character a chance to shine and take center stage by potentially altering the flow of combat.  And when view as a party resource rather than an individual one, a party can typically expect to see one of these used every encounter or so.

This is a big change from the old school method of combat where you usually find that one trick that works and spam for the entirety of their adventuring career.

And in terms of cinematics:

At-wills can be viewed as your basic techniques - the filler/set-up between the really cool moves.  Encounters are the cool stunts and maneuvers that make the scene worth watching.  And Dailies are the big-budget effects the heroes whip out either during the climax, when their back is to the wall,  when they're doing a Big Damn Heroes moment, or when they just learned that the BBEG is their father.


And the system works very well in play.  Combat length varies, but 6-ish rounds is what I normally hear reported.  That's usually just enough time to play off a few strategies with your encounters and toss in a daily or two. 

I find that this isn't too different to how combat usually panned out in 3e (albeit with a lot less pre-battle buffing).  The party will usually spend some mid-cost abilities to soften up their foes (mid-level spells/powers, stunning fist, trip attempts, bardic music, psionic focus feats etc), perhaps whip out a high-cost ability (top-level spells, full-attacks, UMD+Wands, Dragon Breath), and intersperse some low cost abilities to finish foes, mop up, or do something between set-ups (standard attacks, low level spells, Reserve feats).

2) Magic Items
My second biggest gripe. I'm an old-school gamer. I recall the days when your characters found a magical sword and everyone spent the entire evening wondering what properties it might have. In 4E, anyone with the Arcana skill can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the weapon in ten minutes. To me, that sucks some of the fun out of the game. It also precludes the possibilities of things like cursed weapons (remember those?).



I don't know how it work before, but in 3e at least, identifying items was nothing more than an annoying formallity.  Your choices were: 1) You cast Identify and 100gp and in in-game hour later, you learn whether or not the item was worth the time money to identify (100gp is a huge chunk of change at low levels, and a pittenance at higher levels).  2) If you don't have someone in your party with Identify (very likely), you pay an NPC to cast it or get a scroll of it, which takes even more time and more money.  3) You hope the DM gives you enough clues so you can try to figure the item out and hope it doesn't curse you/blow up in your face/stat drain the cleric/etc.  And considering the different methods of activating magic items in 3e, you could spend days in-game trying to figure out how an item works and fail because its unlikely that "wubba-wubba" every crosses anyone's mind.

And of course, most of those objects means that you have to wait until after the adventure to actually use the cool item you picked up, which can be a downer for both the players and the DM, since the DM can't reasonably craft an adventure with a cool new item taking center stage for a while.  Sorry Aladdin, no magic carpet escape from the Cave of Wonders for you until you get back to town and higher a mage.

I would assume that the fun aspect of items for most players is actually using those items, or the exciting adventure it took to acquire them.  Handwaving the in-game hour and paying the identify-tax, not so much.

Of course, if you want identifying items to be harder, it would extremely easy to houserule it so. 

Also cursed items were reintroduced in Mordenkainen's Magical Emporium, which just came out.  So they have not been forgotten.

On a similar note, I also dislike the idea that the players can build a "shopping list" which they give to the GM to be sown into the adventures. It reduces finding magical goodies to a case of, "Oh, boots of the eladrin. Didn't the rogue want those?" Remember when there was dicing to see who would ge the magical cloak and you didn't even know what it did yet?



Wrong!

I normally don't like coming out and saying someone is just completely wrong, but this piece of misinformation keeps coming out of the wood work like some kind of foul demon clockroach and needs to die.  Now.  With fire.  That's on fire.  Double-fire.

A wish list is not a shopping list.  A wish list gives the DM an idea of what kind of items the player is interested in.  And with that information, the DM can decide how he wants to adjust the loot in his adventures to make items for fun for his players.  The goal of wish lists is to provide players with items that they'll enjoy using rather than attempt to sell at the nearest vendor trash facility ASAP.  The DM is still in full control of what loot he puts into the game.  To that end, the DM is not obligated to give any, let alone all, of the items the players request.  Likewise, the DM is not obligated to give the exact same items requested.  And since the Wish Lists are a suggestion and not a rule, your group can ignore it completely. 

Don't like the idea of your players letting you know what kinda of stuff they'll like, then ignore that suggestion.

Double-fire!

Then there's the fact that it is expected that the characters will have a certain amount of treasure by a certain level, and if they don't then they are underpowered. This makes it difficult to hide treasures and magical items, because if they are overlooked, then the characters miss out on something they should have received to keep the game balanced. If, for example, the orcs are using the staff of fire as a spit for roasting their suckling pig, it could easily be overlooked when searching the lair.



This is not concept new to 4e.  In 3e at least, PCs were expected to have a certain amount of wealth for balance as well, which is covered in the 3eDMG Wealth By Level guidelines. 

Again, remember that the DM is always in control of the what, when, where, and whys of the loot he puts into the game.  If the players miss an item, you can always put that item or something similar into your loot later.  The game won't fall apart with your characters are over or under budget a for a while.

And really, there's only 3 types of items that they really need to keep up to date.  Their weapon(s)/implement, armor, and neck-slot items.  Anything else is gravy.

And whose idea was it to give magic items daily uses? Did the One Ring only allow Frodo to be invisible for ten minutes between each extended rest? (Okay, it was an artifact, and the rules are different for them.) But really, it just adds to the videogame feeling that I mentioned earlier.



Lastly (on this subject), magical items in my campaigns have always been rare and wondrous things. If a character got a +1 sword, it meant something! That sword was manufactured by someone for someone or some specific purpose. It had a history and a reason for existing. In 4E, there are magical sweatshops full of wizards cranking out hundreds of magical goodies each day. Magic has become disposable. Doubtless somewhere in the Realms, there is a huge landfill brimming with old +1 weapons.



Abundant magical items is also not new to 4e (3e characters could buy whole kingdoms just by selling their swords alone), though enhancements bonuses are more important to maintaining balance in 4e.

Though you have the standard lore off.  The standard explanation is that most magic items are relics of a by-gone era, during an age where magic was more abundant and mundane.  So there's lots of magic lying around...if you are willing to risk life and limb to dive into abandoned ruins and dangerous locales to so.

That said, I can understand your complaint.  You should look into the inherent-bonus variant detailed in the DMG2.  The basic idea is that characters automatically get the enhancement bonuses that they normally would get from weapons, armor, and neck-slot items.  This effectively removes all need for magic items and perserves the mechanical balance.  As I said earlier, everything else is gravy.  So actual magic items can be made much rarer or given out with some alternative system.

3) Encounter-driven Expeditions
Again, I'm an old school gamer. I remember extended underground expeditions where characters would be so long out of the sunlight that it hurt when they came back to the surface. While such is certainly possible in 4E, the game isn't designed for it. On average, characters should go up a level every 8-12 encounters. Can you imagine trying to play through the Caves of Chaos? They would overshoot the upper limit of the adventure in the first three caverns! Oh, but it can be done. After all, Wizards did it with the Encounters program. True, but how much did they have to write out of that in order to make it fit within the format? Why are rations and water even a concern in the new rules? In a typical adventure, characters will be home in time for dinner at the local tavern.



I'm familiar at all with Caves of Chaos or the Encounters program, so I can't comment too much on the subject.  Though I can say that how the Encounters program runs their game does not affect your home game at all.

Also, it sounds like the Cave of Chaos is some sort of mega-dungeon type deally?  If so, I can't imagine how the 4e rules are not set up to handle such an adventure.  If its simply because players would level up too fast, you could simply adjust how XP is handled (you have that power as the DM), or keep the possibility of players leveling up in mind when planning your encounters.  And there's nothing stopping an adventuring party from spending days or even weeks in an adventuring local.

4) Roleplaying Diminished
This is going to start an argument, I know it, but I'm putting it in here anyway. When cries of, "The fighter rushes the group of orcs shouting, 'Die, pig-faces!'" are replaced with cries of "Move me up 3 squares. I charge and make a basic melee attack against the lead orc while spending a minor action to blast the second rank with dragon's breath," something is wrong. The game has become more like a board game than a role-playing game, with the use of miniatures almost mandatory. What happened to using your imagination? It's just that the game seems more... mechanical... to me now.



This is also just wrong.  Double-Double Fire!  (Fire Squared?)

No matter the edition or system (D&D or otherwise), roleplaying is now, was, and always will be a product of the player's imagination.  Nothing in the system is stopping you from describing your actions narratively.  In fact, you did it right there: You charged your foe's leader, degracing his racial pride before rending him soundly with the cold steel of your blade, and then incinerating his men while they were still trying to come to grips with the grisly image of their glorious leader falling ingloriously in a pool of his own blood. 

Spending actions to do stuff and referencing mechanics for resolution is as old as D&D itself.  If you were able to roleplay between the mechanics before, there nothing stopping you from doing so now. 

In fact, is extremely easy to flavor your powers however you choose because the flavor is not married the mechanics (which was not always the case in past editions).  So if you don't like the flavor built into something, you can change it or substitute it completely if you like, without needing to worry about breaking the system somehow.

However, I will give you that 4e does place lots of emphasis on tactical movement.  Though the trend on more reliance on the grid is at least as old at 3e.  If you are looking for a gridless system, 4e may not be for you.  Though I really doubt that the existence of the grid is directly interfering with your roleplaying since the most that it does is make your relative position tactically important.


I would propose a different theory for why you feel that 4e lacks roleplaying.  I would bet that you are simply not yet comfortable with all the rules differences.  If you think back to when you were completely new to D&D, I would bet that your roleplaying was a lot more mechanical (no pun intended).  As you became more used to the system and as the system became more second nature to you, you found it easier to roleplay because you could skim over now-intuitively understood  mechanical parts and go straight to the descriptions without cognitive interruptions. 

And like a new player, you are entering 4e needing to become familiar with the system.  But unlike a new player, you not only already know what it feels like to have mastered a system enough to become second nature, but also come into the system with previous system baggage of how stuff used to work which has to be resolved with how stuff works now (i.e. Negative Transfer).  So you more recently, newbish experience with 4e is being compared to your latest, expert-level level experience of whatever edition you last played, instead of the distant memory of your first experience with D&D.  A cognitive bias leading to an unfair comparison.

5) Power Struggles
To me, there seems to be some disparity between the classes. I run two different groups. One of them has a psion that is a continual thorn in my side. He only has one offensive power, but he can augment it to the point of ridiculousness. Worse still, he has a feat or something that allows him to slide creatures as a free action, at will! He continually throws my monsters up against walls and one another and wants them to take damage from the impact (which is not covered in the rules).



Forced movement does not inherently cause damage.  There are some psion powers that do work as you describe, but those exceptions will be explicitly spelled out in the power(s) in question.  Otherwise, your player has no basis on which to request additional damage.

I'm not an expert on the psion class, this combo sounds highly suspicious.  If you can find out what powers and feats the player is using, I'm sure someone can tell you if it's legit or not.

6) Powers That Don't Add Up
Here's another one from a real-life example: Both groups have a bard in them. The bards makes good use of Viscious Mockery. But how does this power work against mindless undead? Or unintelligent creatures? Or beings that can't understand the language of the bard? And there are other powers that don't make sense when applied to certain circumstances, either. Timely Distraction comes to mind. If a zombie likely to turn and look because you pretend to spot an owlbear? It seems unlikely to me.



First of all, remember two things.  Flavor are not rules (and rules not flavor).  And flavor is mutable.

With Viscous Mockery, remember Vicious Mockery is not just a sling of insults.  First and foremost that, description aside, you are attacking with magic.  And with psychic energy at that.  This is even called out in the flavor text of the spell (You unleash a string of insults at your foe, weaving them with bardic magic...).  That's why the power is a spell, why it causes damage, and why it uses your implement.  The insults are just the entertaining descriptor for what's happening.

Mindless undead may not be intelligent, but they do have something similar enough basic neural network that allow it to move and act with some semblance motor ability and purpose (even if that purpose amounts to no more than braaaaaains).

And whatever the source of that animation is, be it a vengeful soul or foul enchantment, the magic contained in the Vicious Mockery attacks and disrupts that.  The same applies for any other unintelligent or mindless creature.  The magic either assaults their mind, or assaults whatever it has that passes for a mind.

Of course, that's just justifying the default flavor.  I have a Sorcerer|Bard whose Vicious Mockery is described a terrible evil eye that assaults the foe's mind and crushes its senses with a awful psychic force that rings with the sounds of impossibly loud bells. 

The same applies to Timely Distraction.  Again, you are not simply yelling and pointing.  You are weaving an powerful enchant to beguile your foe that compels your foe to drop its guard.  And you are not limited to that one line of flavor text in the power's description.  So if owlbears aren't doing it for you, describe the attack some other way that does make sense for you.  There's nothing stopping you from roleplaying.

Don't misunderstand me. While I feel that there are several problems with 4E, there are also things I like, such as skill challenges, the loss of the Vancian magic system, and the broadened possibilities of race and class combinations. But there has to be a happy medium somewhere. I just can't seem to find it.


So far, your complaints seem to be relatively minor, so I'm pretty sure you can find that happy medium.  Good luck.

My players are similarly divided. Some find 4E enjoyable, but not D&D. Some want to switch to Pathfinder. One wants to go back to 2E! One (a rules lawyer by nature) is a die-hard fantical fan of 4E. I just want something that has the old-school feel with rules that work and don't feel like a mathematics exam.



Well, that depends a lot on how you define "old-school" feel.  There are about as many definitions of that as there are players.

Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
So what you're saying is that a resource management system put in place before Pong even existed is evidence of the infiltration of the heathen videogames into your sacred pasttime?

I'm...unconvinced.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The entire issue here is that you, as the player, want to feel 4e sucks. This is perfectly summed up in you listing both points 4 and 6.

"boohoo I can't roleplay in this system."
"Ok, fine. You knock the Ooze prone. Tell me what your character does to make this happen."
"booho the rules don't tell me exactly what happens all the time so that I don't need to roleplay."

Once you realise this, you'll notice that actually none of these things are problems, and once you stop seeing them as problems, you'll notice they'll just go away.
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
1) 4e is a video game.
Okay, so because there are powers that aren't all at usable all the time, 4e "feels" like a video. Well, not only did you not explain what a "video game" feels like (unless you're saying Final Fantasy is Gears of War is Bejeweled is The Legend of Zelda) but your equating resource management to a video game. I mean, if that's true, tons of RPGs (including all D&Ds) and boards are just video games because they have "things that recharge in their usage". It's just a fallicious statement.

Perhaps, but often it is given an in-game reason that makes some semblance of sense, rather than as a balancing agent. In many games, for example, you may have a limited supply of power points to cast spells. It's still resource management, but it makes more sense than what seems an arbitrary balancing agent.

2) Magic Items.
See, this is completely subjective, but I always found pay a buttload of money to figure out what your rewards do is plain bad design. Slows down the game, means I don't get to play with my toys. That's just me. Cursed weapons exist. Their curses aren't explained, however.

Wish list aren't required; they just aid in the DM's job. No one wants to find 3 +1 longbows when it's a party of casters. Random tables just took up too much space for too little pay off.

Once again, reasource management =/= video game.

Otherwise, I agree that the profileration and discardation of magic items is lame. Gimme inheirent bonues any day.

I'm not suggesting we bring back the identify spell (sacrificing a 100 gp gem every time you wanted to know about an item; my groups always relied on experimentation anyway), but the idea that anyone can spend 10 minutes looking over a magic item and then tell you everything you need to know about it irks me.

Fair enough, wish lists are not a requirement. But they are well-liked by many players because it insures that they get exactly what they want for their character. I'm not saying that a group should get random goodies. They should always acquire something useful to them. Even in previous editions of D&D, I always kept an eye towards the composition of the party when allocating magical items. I'm just saying that it kills some of the mystery if the players can just read off their wish lists each time a magical item is found.

3)Amount of Adventuring time per-day
Now, I don't imagine the Caves of Chaos were a single day expedition. I'm not sure, I'm new to the game. However, I do know that in previous characters had a lot less HP, and a no built in healing resource. I do know, also, that 4e characters have healing surges, and get all those back in an extended rest. So, frankly, I'm not sure what you're trying to get at here. 4e characters have more endurance than ever inregards to D&D, so that you can play longer. This is a fact.



What I'm getting at is that the game is designed with any eye toward modular adventures that fit into convenient 10 encounter blocks (on average) per level. Caves of Chaos was designed for characters levels 1-3 and featured several dozen encounters that could easily fill a span of several sessions (one group I ran it for took three months of two sessions a week to complete it). If you did the same thing with 4E, the characters would easily be 8th level by the time they finished.

Perhaps it would have been better to have said that extended adventures are certainly possible, but due to the math and leveling formula, the DM must be prepared for characters to advance quickly over the course of a single adventure.

4) I echo Salla's cry of bullcrap. If your players can only find time for RP when they just needed to roll a d20, maybe try a simpler game than D&D. I can't tell you how many times my group as RP'd really interesting conflicts IN the combat encounter. I agree, some players get wrapped up in the game, some players WANT to get wrapped up in the game. I disagree that this is a problem. If your group is suddenly not RPing at the table, ask them why. Likewise, players roleplay more when they are engaged by the DM TO roleplay. I find the DM is really the leader of this, and he is the one that should be responsible for this.

Players have just as much responsibility as the DM, and if the game makes it simpler to break things down into a mechanical exercise, then many players who are not strong role-players will tend to do so. When we play Savage Worlds, for example, which we play without miniatures, there is a much greater degree of role-playing because the players are forced to use their imaginations rather than being bound by a set of restrictions. 4E has no mechanic for an attack that lets the hero flip over an opponent and strike from behind, unless it is specifically part of a power. Sure it's possible, and as a GM, I would allow it (with an Athletics or Acrobatics roll, but the players won't try it because that's not what the card says.

For example, the first time the bard used Timely Distraction, he cried out, "Look, an owlbear!" I thought that was brilliant and was ready to congratulate him for great role-playing. Then he replied, "That's what is says on the card. 'Look, an owlbear'" Since then, it's always the same. "Look, an owlbear!" Never, "Is that a dragon?" or "How many legs does a displacer beast have?" or some similar distracting line that would indicate a hint of originality. Is this a problem with the player and not the game? Yes, but it's also the fault of the way the game is designed.

5) Character strength.
If you really thing a strong at-will is the be-all, end-all of 4e, then I'm happy for you. You clearly didn't have to put up with anything powerful in the older editions. Frankly, maybe try changing your tactics and your adventuring lay out? And not giving free damage because a player wants it?

I don't permit the free damage, for the record, though it makes more sense that it would cause damage. And I don't think it is the be-all, end-all; I am merely annoyed by the fact that the psion class can do all of these wonderful things seemingly without limitation. They nerfed Magic Missile, so why is the psion permitted to move my critters around the battlefield each turn for free?

6)Powers that don't add up.
I agree with you somewhat, but not for your reason. At some points in early 4e, they pushed a lot of gamist powers out. While easy to ignore, I'm still not a fan of them. However, when you're dealing with magic and a non-sentient creature, the magic is going to win out. And who says zombies ALWAYS have to be the same type?

You may be right, but the whole concept brings gales of laughter every week without fail as the bard informs the giant spider that its mother shaved her legs. Funny? Yes, but it also gets old.

Frankly, you've said a lot of things that sound like, to me, "they changed it so it sucks". Nostalgia goggles always do this. I suggest taking them off.

I'm old, and I like my nostalgia glasses. Now you kids get off my lawn before I get the hose. ;)

it makes more sense than what seems an arbitrary balancing agent.


I don't see the problem.  4eis a cinematic game.  The stuff that you would only see characters do once a scene in a movie are encounter powers.  The stuff you'd see them do once in the whole movie are dailies.  It's not that the player knows he can only use Daily Power X once a day.  It's that the opportunity to do something that awesome happens once a day.  The character is always looking for the opportunity, but the player gets to decide when that oppotunity occurs.

the idea that anyone can spend 10 minutes looking over a magic item and then tell you everything you need to know about it irks me.


Why?  Identify has absolutely no basis in myth or pre-D&D fantasy.  It was invented for D&D in order to give even more reasons for wizards to be awesome.  The "10 minutes looking" is the experimentation.  Please roleplay that out if you enjoy it.

I'm just saying that it kills some of the mystery if the players can just read off their wish lists each time a magical item is found.


But that's not how wish lists work.

Caves of Chaos was designed for characters levels 1-3 and featured several dozen encounters that could easily fill a span of several sessions (one group I ran it for took three months of two sessions a week to complete it). If you did the same thing with 4E, the characters would easily be 8th level by the time they finished.


That's not true.  I adapted Caves of Chaos to 4e.  It took you from level 1 to 5 (which is about the BD&D equivalent of 1-3) and took you many days of adventure, which the DM intersperses with time in between selling loot and roleplaying at the Keep.

due to the math and leveling formula, the DM must be prepared for characters to advance quickly over the course of a single adventure.


That's not necessarily true.  You're just confused by the different ways encounters are defined in BD&D and 4e.  In BD&D every room is an encounter, but even in Caves of Chaos, the intent is that one room would be supplemented by the occupants' companiosn rushign to aid them.  In 4e, it's the entire complex that may be considere one to three encounters.  The entire Caves of Chaos becomes several dozen encounters to be handled over an extended period of time. 

4E has no mechanic for an attack that lets the hero flip over an opponent and strike from behind, unless it is specifically part of a power.


Please read the section in the PHB and/or Rules Compendium on improvised attacks.  There are rules and guidelines and charts and tables for everything you just described.

I am merely annoyed by the fact that the psion class can do all of these wonderful things seemingly without limitation.


You really need to ask this question in the Rules Q&A or Char Op forums.  I really have a feelign you are misreading this power or the rules on psionics.

the whole concept brings gales of laughter every week without fail as the bard informs the giant spider that its mother shaved her legs. Funny? Yes, but it also gets old.


Except that Vicious Mockery has the "Arcane" keyword.  He's not making Yo Momma jokes and if that's the only way your players can imagine magically wearing down the ego of a creature, then that's problematic, but not with the game. 
Preface: I am an old school guy too. I have played every edition for a long time at this point. I love 4e, though Essentials isin't my cup of tea.

1. WoW/D&D

This one is a 'whatever floats your boat' thing, really. I, and my group, really enjoy the division of power into the A/E/D/U format, because it balances the game, making each class have big-time things they can do, not just the magic using classes (or the multi-class Fighter 2/Sorcerer 2/Rogue 2/Bard 2/Cleric 8 if we are talking 3.5) and because we feel it makes each class FEEL different, but FUNCTION the same.

I agree that it is a good thing in that the cleric is no longer the walking band-aid and the mage has something to do other than fire off a magic missile and then sit out for the rest of the fight. I just don't like the way the mechanic makes it feel like playing Diablo II.

2. Magic Items

If you don't like the shopping list set up, there are other options for treasure distribution out there, as well as the Inherent Bonus option (as Salla pointed out). If you like the mystery of magic items, tell your group that Arcana no longer allows you to ID an item, and add a ritual in that fulfills that role. Personally, I enjoy the easy transition, to combat the invariable 20-30 minutes of REAL time answering questions like "I put the ring on. Am I invisible? I jump in the air. Do I float? I put my head in a bucket of water. Can I breathe? I jump off a table, saying "Up, up and away!". Do I fly? I make a small cut to see if I heal...."

Maybe, but I guess that 20-30 minutes of experimentation was a guilty pleasure after watching a group of PCs ransack in a span of 60 minutes the adventure I had spent several days writing.

3. Encounter Expeiditions

Change the way you divide XP out to the group. My group, which meets once a month to play, has done away with the standard XP distribution listed, and gone with leveling at the end of each session. It allows us to steadily progress through the ranks, experience the different classes at various levels, and not get bored playing at level 3 for 3 months. You, however, could change it the other way, and only award levels at story appropriate times, when you feel the PCs have experienced enough horrors to advance to a higher level of mastery. Whatever you and your group decide preserves the 'old school' feel for you.

We do, but they read the Rules as Written and get prissy when they don't advance as quickly as they feel they should.

4. Role playing is what you make it. I personally have found that 4e CAN lend itself to a mechanical, table-top, wargaming mindset, but often, what is listed as the "missing" feel of roleplaying is a combination of nostalgic remembering of "Remember when we had to track food, or risk starving to death?" or "I remember when my elven ranger had to keep track of his arrows, and we didn't DARE enter Castle Ravenloft without 2 quivers on me, and 4 on the party henchman.." and a misuse of Skill Challenges. Sometimes, DMs seem to feel compelled to shoehorn skill challenges into any and every adventure, when the simpler way would be to just talk to the NPCs, maybe roll a Bluff or Intimidate check here and there, and let the players actually convince YOU (the NPCs) to part with the goods. Just because you call for a check, or even a series of checks, doesn't mean you are replacing role playing with a skill challenge unless you want it to/let it.

See my previous response to a different poster on this subject.

6. Eh. Chalk the powers issue up to magical effect, again like Salla said. If your players are hardcore on wanting mind affecting spells to not work on certain types of monsters, though... house rule it to make them not work on monsters based on the old 3.5 rules.

They aren't the ones protesting it; I was.

(yeah, out of order)

5. This one is sort of two issues.
First, your player wanting the forced movement to cause damage. There is nothing in his power saying that it causes damage by forcing the movement into terrain, so it doesn't unless the terrain causes it (like moving them into a fire, or off a ledge). Allow the player to retrain if he doesn't like the fact that it doesn't slam the monster/bad guy into the wall at bone breaking speed. As a side note, I think Psionics were the first real misstep WotC made in power creation. PPs are a sacred cow that should have stayed dead, as the A/E/D/U format was just so perfect for balance, IMO.

Well, on a personal note, I have never thought that psionics belonged in any edition of D&D, which is fantasy role-playing, not science-fiction role-playing. I cringed when they introduced the psion because I knew which of my players would take the class. But that is beside the point.

Second, I PERSONALLY find the balance of 4e to be one of it's most attractive qualities. My fighter is just as effective at his job as your wizard is at his, at 1st level all the way to 30th. I've even read the argument that 4e is SO balanced, that it makes it bland. I could almost side with that argument more than this one, though I of course feel that is wrong as well.
THe other quality that works here is that 4e is so modular, that parts can easily be removed (less easily added, but still possible) without significant damage to the system.

As always... YMMV

I agree, and I like the balance, but it still feels mechanical to me. As for removing components, I tried that. I restricted drow as a PC racial option (because I feel that they have been overdone to the point of being cliché) and was met with cries of, " But it's in the rules and they are availabler on the character generator!" In the end, while I like the character generator (the one that we could download, anyway; I hate the new one), it was simpler to just say, "Fine. If it's in the generator, you can have it," as opposed to trying to restrict what I didn't want used.
A bards power is not just personality attack.. in fact the ancient bards were curse layers when they mock something they are speaking to the universe not necessarily the target.. the world was created with a song in many myths (check out JRR Tolkeins for an example) and the root words of enchantment and encantation are cant (or song)

A bards magic undermines the universes support for the target death by mockery for sentient entities may be no more silly than suicide... or death of the soul (human souls are immortal but that is based in part on deep seated belief that they are important to god/the universe) .

Death of an uncomprehending target by Bardic power may well be the creature simply ceasing to exist... there history unwound from the threads of the song we call history.

If you want to see things as silly ... you can but you are as much responsible for the flavors of the game as anyone.
 
  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'm confused as to how the OP can on one hand claim that 4e sucks for roleplaying, but then on the other hand get upset that powers are left completely vague as to how they work.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
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