The Future of 4E

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There has been a lot of speculation about 4th edition ending and a newer edition coming out sometime in the near future (1-2 years). Let's assume that is true. My question is: what do we like about 4th edition that we want to see preserved. What is good about 4th? I want this thread to stay focused on 4th edition, its merits and also perhaps its problems.


 What I like about 4th which I want to see preserved: 


1) The basic combat system. This is the first d&d system where the basic combat rules are clean and easy to interpret and do not get in the way. 3rd edition was a nightmare to run. Basic combat is now a solved problem near as I can see.


 2) The concept of different power sources. I think this is really useful.


3) The 4 defense scores. This is part of #1 but it also helps define characters, etc.


4) The equality of the classes. Fighters level up in power with wizards.


5) The concept of the different roles.


6) Themes as way to flesh out a character. (Is this just Dark Sun?)


7) The emphasis on the d20.


8) The short, digestible stat block of monsters


9) Minions! Love’em.



Here are things I think that should be changed or what I do not like:


1) Battles take too long. Monsters should have less hit points and do more damage.


The system does not lend it self to roleplaying and just ends up being a kind of one unit skirmish game. This is in part due to problem #1.


2) Skill challenges (great idea that does not work).


3) Not enough variation in characters. 


4) Need a way to make magic item more individual.


5) Need a solid, supported world that is new.


6) Need faster way to create a balanced encounter.


7) Death does not seem real.


8) With so many abstractions in the powers of players (and monsters) there are no options for roleplaying in battle. More kind of general rules on how to allow for improvisation would be helpful. This is there with the level for damage tables -- I think it just needs to be emphasized and maybe fleshed out a bit. Maybe via a DM guide?

9) More skills.


 

There has been a lot of speculation about 4th edition ending and a newer edition coming out sometime in the near future (1-2 years). Let's assume that is true.



Why?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
There has been a lot of speculation about 4th edition ending and a newer edition coming out sometime in the near future (1-2 years). Let's assume that is true.

Why?

Because if we do not assume this is true, then there is no reason for his thread. He lays the assumption that it is true as a premise for the discussion.

Or are you asking why there has been a lot of speculation?
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
KEEP:

1) Abstraction over nailing everything down

2) Balance between classes

3) Ability to quickly prep encounters and sessions as the DM

4) Inherent bonusses as an option

IMPROVE:

1) Skill Challenges

2) Ritual Casting and Utility Powers

SCRAP

1) feats and items that give an always-on combat bonus (boring and generally too good)

ADD

1) More advice on how to play (how to create an interesting character, how to design a backstory, how to narrate conflict, etc. none of this even needs to have any relation to 5e, it could be an entire book on "how to roleplay in a fantasy world")

2) More inspiration. Lists of plot hooks, character quirks, background templates, item/city/country/people names, etc. Explanations on "how to handle improvisation" and "how to improvise properly"

3) Stacking limiters. No more "I put all my feats/powers/items/theme/paragon path/epic destiny/etc towards this one thing, so it's basically all I can do". Let characters be more organic. Force them to diversify.

4) Virtues and Vices. Or basically, benefits to having (and roleplaying) weaknesses in your character.


Think that'd be a start. 
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.
There has been a lot of speculation about 4th edition ending and a newer edition coming out sometime in the near future (1-2 years). Let's assume that is true.

Why?

Because if we do not assume this is true, then there is no reason for his thread. He lays the assumption that it is true as a premise for the discussion.

Or are you asking why there has been a lot of speculation?

If you will check the boards, you will see that there has been discussion. I do not want get into it here because I just want focus on the pluses and minuses of 4th Edition. This thread is about 4th edition.


 



I think its a fairly safe assumption that a new edition will come out sooner or later, though I would bet good money that it is AT LEAST 2 years off.  Regardless, even if they never make a new edition ever, it is a good idea to talk about what works and what doesn't with the current rules.  I agree with most of the OPs points, except that I don't give a fig either way about power sources, I think minions could use some work (though the concept is good) and I don't think that more skills are really all that necessary, though maybe a return to a skill point system (rather than simply being trained or untrained) might be a good idea.

I really, really agree on skill challenges.  Brilliant idea, terribly flawed in execution and it doesn't help that the early 4e adventures have a lot of poorly designed ones that seem thrown in just for the sake of having a skill challenge (i.e. it seems that almost every Scales of War adventure has a 'go from point a to point b' challenge).  This unfortunately meant that a lot of us had to break bad habits when designing our own.  I see a lot of potential with the concept though, it just can use a lot of work. 
There has been a lot of speculation about 4th edition ending and a newer edition coming out sometime in the near future (1-2 years). Let's assume that is true.

Why?

Because if we do not assume this is true, then there is no reason for his thread.


Was kindof my point.  I'm all for discussions about what 4e does well and doesn't do well, what we like and what has to change.

But it shouldn't require rampant speculation in order to do that.  What happens if that assumption is wrong?  The major, truly incompatible changes are relegated to the dustbin of the internet, to be long forgotten by the time they actually are working on 5e.  What do we do with the rest, though?  The stuff that could be slight tweaks and modifications and improvements that are compatible with the Rules Update process?  I'm talking about things on the level of the Stealth redesign, here.  Significant, major changes, yet still close enough that they can be published within the edition.  Those could be implemented regardless of when 5e comes out.

Which would we, as the community, rather have more discussion on?  Things that are practical to implement now, or things we might have to wait 1, 2, 5, or 8 years for?  Which is this thread more likely to generate, though?

I don't disagree with the premise of evaluating 4e to figure out a More Perfect System.  I'm challenging the premise that framing the discussion as "What do you want to see in 5e" is as good an endeavor - for us at this moment - as working from within the edition.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I'm glad Vancian spellcasting is (mostly) gone.  If they went all the way and got rid of the need to memorize spell repertoires entirely, I'd be happier.  Once you know a spell, you shouldn't forget it completely, just seems odd.

I like the balance (classes) in 4E, but something should be done to make characters feel more unique.

Spell rituals - some of them just seem too costly or require too much time to cast.

I really don't like "level required" magic items, seems too Warcrafty - gives me a similar feeling to "bind on acquire" types of items (although I realize that's a totally separate thing).
I'm glad Vancian spellcasting is (mostly) gone.  If they went all the way and got rid of the need to memorize spell repertoires entirely, I'd be happier.  Once you know a spell, you shouldn't forget it completely, just seems odd.

I like the balance (classes) in 4E, but something should be done to make characters feel more unique.

Spell rituals - some of them just seem too costly or require too much time to cast.

I really don't like "level required" magic items, seems too Warcrafty - gives me a similar feeling to "bind on acquire" types of items (although I realize that's a totally separate thing).



There are no level required magic items, though. The level on the magic items is not a restriction. It's not like a level 1 character is incapable of using a level 3 magic item.

The only exception is LFR. It has a level +4 limit on magic items. At least it used to. I haven't played much since Essentials.
I don't want to speculate on editions that haven't come out yet, rather, I will offer some advice on some things that may make some of your pain points less painful for the immediate future.

1) Battles take too long. Monsters should have less hit points and do more damage.



Here is a good chance to work on encounter design (also make sure you are using the most up to date monster stats!).  Adding in traps and hazards to an encounter, and throwing in skill challenges can help make combat more exciting (so it doesn't feel like it drags) while at the same time speeding it up (since there are less things that have hit points)

Also, using things like "auto-hit" powers on enemies and average damage will reduce die rolls as well. 

Another option is to have "outs" of combat, ways that you can speed up certain fights.  For example - in a large room of undead, successfully destroying the black crystal (as a skill challenge) will destroy all the undead.  It allows for a way to end the combat faster than it would have been.

The system does not lend it self to roleplaying and just ends up being a kind of one unit skirmish game. This is in part due to problem #1.



This is mostly a perception thing - as a DM a few things you can do that can help
- place objects in the room that can be used to "do things": ropes to swing from, candelabras to throw, fire places to kick monsters into, etc.
- if you use power cards, print one out for each player for rule 42 (i.e. do something cool rule)
- reward the players - even if something the are proposing seems out of ordinary that logically might fail, let them do it. 
- take lead as DM, if you don't describe the action of the monsters then the players really can't be expected to either.
- as DM before an encounter read through the stat block and think of a few ways a power might manifest itself and jot them down ahead of time.
- Garthanos can probably chime in with a million and one ways to refluff powers too to make them more interesting.


2) Skill challenges (great idea that does not work).



I agree they could tweak them to make them work better, but here are some things you can do to make them run a bit better
- Never tell the players they are in a skill challenge, there is no point
- don't bother with init (if you want, go in the order of their init modifier)
- make sure to check with each player, ask them how they want to handle the situation, make sure to give them plenty of clues to work off of
- don't dwell on a element for too long - don't make them make multiple nature checks to navigate the forest, make a single roll - success/failure - and move onto the next element of the skill challenge.


3) Not enough variation in characters.

 

You'd be surprised!   
- Many classes have at least 2-3 builds, some have far more than that.
- Through the use of multiclass and hybrid you can make some really interesting options
- Refluff, Refluff, refluff! 

As a practice exercise - try building a fighter a few different ways, try building one who focuses on INT instead of STR (and it can be done).  Try building a wizard who is more of a defender.  They may not be 100% optimized, but it can be done and they can still function! 


4) Need a way to make magic item more individual.



MME helps with this.  As a DM before you place an object, think of what it looks like, think of who might of used it before, think of why it might be created, why would this particular enchantment be on it? 

When you think about it, a sword with cold properties would be very different than a sword that is brutal: The cold weapon might have a slight blue color to it, and be chilly to the touch, it may have been created to stop a fire elemental that was destroying the farms...while the brutal weapon may have chips in the blade and a blood red gem in the hilt.  It might have been owned by an evil warrior who took no mercy.

As you can see, you can create some great individiuality on the magic items with just a couple of short notes.

5) Need a solid, supported world that is new.



I have no feedback for this - I do think the Points of Light campaign is pretty decent though, and Neverwinter (while part of Realms) is a good read and chock full of stuff!

6) Need faster way to create a balanced encounter.



The newer MM books tend to have examples of some encounters in them, that coupled with the DMG you can usually put together balanced encounters pretty quick. 

7) Death does not seem real.



Do you mean death doesn't seem permanent because of the raise dead spell or are the combats not challenging enough where death seems like a plausible outcome?


8) With so many abstractions in the powers of players (and monsters) there are no options for roleplaying in battle. More kind of general rules on how to allow for improvisation would be helpful. This is there with the level for damage tables -- I think it just needs to be emphasized and maybe fleshed out a bit. Maybe via a DM guide?



Page 42 of the DMG is your friend - it's basically if someone wants to do something, if it's favorable, they get a +2, if its eh - you just roll, and if it's unfavorable its' a -2.  That's all you really need.

Beyond that is just practice and experience, something that a book really can't teach.  That said, have you tried picking up "4e for dummies"? (not ment to be an insult, it really exists and I do own copy of it)


9) More skills.



Perhaps some examples of skills you think are missing?


 



Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/
KEEP:

1) Abstraction over nailing everything down

2) Balance between classes

3) Ability to quickly prep encounters and sessions as the DM

4) Inherent bonusses as an option

IMPROVE:

1) Skill Challenges

2) Ritual Casting and Utility Powers

SCRAP

1) feats and items that give an always-on combat bonus (boring and generally too good)

ADD

1) More advice on how to play (how to create an interesting character, how to design a backstory, how to narrate conflict, etc. none of this even needs to have any relation to 5e, it could be an entire book on "how to roleplay in a fantasy world")

2) More inspiration. Lists of plot hooks, character quirks, background templates, item/city/country/people names, etc. Explanations on "how to handle improvisation" and "how to improvise properly"

3) Stacking limiters. No more "I put all my feats/powers/items/theme/paragon path/epic destiny/etc towards this one thing, so it's basically all I can do". Let characters be more organic. Force them to diversify.

4) Virtues and Vices. Or basically, benefits to having (and roleplaying) weaknesses in your character.


Think that'd be a start. 

I agree with almost everything in your list, but I think that your first point about abstraction needs refinement. I think that the abstraction does at times get in the way of roleplaying. It would be  better if there was someway to have a general resolution system that was abstract, one that  could be used with modifiers based on roleplaying.




Another abstraction problem: there are character powers that abstract roleplaying (an example is the warlord power:  Lamb to the slaughter). That power should not exist. It is a great concept, but it turns a roleplaying situation (baiting an enemy into charging) into a power with a single dice role. 

1) The basic combat system. This is the first d&d system where the basic combat rules are clean and easy to interpret and do not get in the way. 3rd edition was a nightmare to run. Basic combat is now a solved problem near as I can see.

I agree, the combat rules are basically good. 




2) The concept of different power sources. I think this is really useful.


They're a good premise, but I've never really been able to distinguish between "martial" and "arcane", they seem pretty arbitrary, with generally generating the same (damage + effect) effects.. On the other hand, old D&D's "necromantic" and "evocation", those I can tell a difference.

3) The 4 defense scores. This is part of #1 but it also helps define characters, etc.


I like it, mostly, but I do find I miss the D&D's system of half a dozen different save categories. The "3 dump stat" design of 4e characters make this system twitchy, I'd rather have defenses be strictly level based, or at least not tied so closely to attributes. Still, I'll call it a wash.

4) The equality of the classes. Fighters level up in power with wizards.


A good theory, but the principle just hasn't been executed well for me. I'd like classes to be have more definition than what they do in fights, and I'm willing to risk theoretical balance problems from it.

5) The concept of the different roles.


The miserable execution of this, combined with characters being so pigeonholed, makes this a bad thing for me. Again, I want characters to be more than just what they do in battle.

6) Themes as way to flesh out a character. (Is this just Dark Sun?)


Yep, these are good.

7) The emphasis on the d20.


Sure, whatever.

8) The short, digestible stat block of monsters


Works for me.

9) Minions! Love’em.

I hate these things...way too often "is it a minion?" is asked. They make no sense except as band-aids for problems with fights taking too long. There needs to be a better system than having some monsters being especially vulnerable to being slain by bookkeeping.
 

1) Battles take too long. Monsters should have less hit points and do more damage.

Indeed. I think part of this ties into how hard it is to do anything to a character that can't be overcome in 5 minutes of chillin'. 



2) Skill challenges (great idea that does not work).


Definitely needs a different set of rules. I'm willing to listen to "Skill Challenge Rules, v23.8".

3) Not enough variation in characters.


Agreed, and much of this would probably come from classes being defined in ways besides combat.

4) Need a way to make magic item more individual.


I think pretty much any "you can make whatever you want" system will have this problem. Either items are unique, and people complain about imbalances, or they're all generic, and people complain they're boring.

5) Need a solid, supported world that is new.


Yes, one thing lacking in 4e was a good set of adventures and modules...there was just nothing that created much in the way of fun memories.

6) Need faster way to create a balanced encounter.


Huh? I find encounter creation to be a snap in 4e, I don't know how it could be any easier.

7) Death does not seem real.


I think this goes back to the 'nothing lasts longer than 5 minutes' issue, nothing really seems real. On the one hand, the second wind/surge mechanic solves some problems, but on the other, almost everything in the game seems pointless because of it.

8) With so many abstractions in the powers of players (and monsters) there are no options for roleplaying in battle. More kind of general rules on how to allow for improvisation would be helpful. This is there with the level for damage tables -- I think it just needs to be emphasized and maybe fleshed out a bit. Maybe via a DM guide?


There needs to be more options for roleplaying outside of battle; combine this with faster battles, and I think this problem won't be so bad.  

 
9) More skills.


I'm torn with this one. I think a more generic 'stunt' system to cover everything outside of the skills would be better. I don't think the game needs a Craft (silver item) skill, so much as some general guidelines on what else the characters can do besides fight. 

DnD4.0 campaign report and commentary: http://notesofdoom.blogspot.com/





3) Not enough variation in characters.

 

You'd be surprised!   
- Many classes have at least 2-3 builds, some have far more than that.




2-3 is NOT a lot of variation, and my point is that the whole concept of a "build" is the anti-thesis of role-playing.
I agree with almost everything in your list, but I think that your first point about abstraction needs refinement. I think that the abstraction does at times get in the way of roleplaying. It would be  better if there was someway to have a general resolution system that was abstract, one that  could be used with modifiers based on roleplaying.



If abstraction is getting in the way of your roleplaying, you're probably not using enough of it. It shouldn't ever get in the way of roleplaying.
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.
I don't want to speculate on editions that haven't come out yet, rather, I will offer some advice on some things that may make some of your pain points less painful for the immediate future.

1) Battles take too long. Monsters should have less hit points and do more damage.



Here is a good chance to work on encounter design (also make sure you are using the most up to date monster stats!).  Adding in traps and hazards to an encounter, and throwing in skill challenges can help make combat more exciting (so it doesn't feel like it drags) while at the same time speeding it up (since there are less things that have hit points)

Also, using things like "auto-hit" powers on enemies and average damage will reduce die rolls as well. 

Another option is to have "outs" of combat, ways that you can speed up certain fights.  For example - in a large room of undead, successfully destroying the black crystal (as a skill challenge) will destroy all the undead.  It allows for a way to end the combat faster than it would have been.

The system does not lend it self to roleplaying and just ends up being a kind of one unit skirmish game. This is in part due to problem #1.



This is mostly a perception thing - as a DM a few things you can do that can help
- place objects in the room that can be used to "do things": ropes to swing from, candelabras to throw, fire places to kick monsters into, etc.
- if you use power cards, print one out for each player for rule 42 (i.e. do something cool rule)
- reward the players - even if something the are proposing seems out of ordinary that logically might fail, let them do it. 
- take lead as DM, if you don't describe the action of the monsters then the players really can't be expected to either.
- as DM before an encounter read through the stat block and think of a few ways a power might manifest itself and jot them down ahead of time.
- Garthanos can probably chime in with a million and one ways to refluff powers too to make them more interesting.


2) Skill challenges (great idea that does not work).



I agree they could tweak them to make them work better, but here are some things you can do to make them run a bit better
- Never tell the players they are in a skill challenge, there is no point
- don't bother with init (if you want, go in the order of their init modifier)
- make sure to check with each player, ask them how they want to handle the situation, make sure to give them plenty of clues to work off of
- don't dwell on a element for too long - don't make them make multiple nature checks to navigate the forest, make a single roll - success/failure - and move onto the next element of the skill challenge.


3) Not enough variation in characters.

 

You'd be surprised!   
- Many classes have at least 2-3 builds, some have far more than that.
- Through the use of multiclass and hybrid you can make some really interesting options
- Refluff, Refluff, refluff! 

As a practice exercise - try building a fighter a few different ways, try building one who focuses on INT instead of STR (and it can be done).  Try building a wizard who is more of a defender.  They may not be 100% optimized, but it can be done and they can still function! 


4) Need a way to make magic item more individual.



MME helps with this.  As a DM before you place an object, think of what it looks like, think of who might of used it before, think of why it might be created, why would this particular enchantment be on it? 

When you think about it, a sword with cold properties would be very different than a sword that is brutal: The cold weapon might have a slight blue color to it, and be chilly to the touch, it may have been created to stop a fire elemental that was destroying the farms...while the brutal weapon may have chips in the blade and a blood red gem in the hilt.  It might have been owned by an evil warrior who took no mercy.

As you can see, you can create some great individiuality on the magic items with just a couple of short notes.

5) Need a solid, supported world that is new.



I have no feedback for this - I do think the Points of Light campaign is pretty decent though, and Neverwinter (while part of Realms) is a good read and chock full of stuff!

6) Need faster way to create a balanced encounter.



The newer MM books tend to have examples of some encounters in them, that coupled with the DMG you can usually put together balanced encounters pretty quick. 

7) Death does not seem real.



Do you mean death doesn't seem permanent because of the raise dead spell or are the combats not challenging enough where death seems like a plausible outcome?


8) With so many abstractions in the powers of players (and monsters) there are no options for roleplaying in battle. More kind of general rules on how to allow for improvisation would be helpful. This is there with the level for damage tables -- I think it just needs to be emphasized and maybe fleshed out a bit. Maybe via a DM guide?



Page 42 of the DMG is your friend - it's basically if someone wants to do something, if it's favorable, they get a +2, if its eh - you just roll, and if it's unfavorable its' a -2.  That's all you really need.

Beyond that is just practice and experience, something that a book really can't teach.  That said, have you tried picking up "4e for dummies"? (not ment to be an insult, it really exists and I do own copy of it)


9) More skills.



Perhaps some examples of skills you think are missing?


 




You sound like a complete WOTC apologist. I have been roleplaying for 40 years. I play in two 4th edition campaigns. I know a ton of gamers. The consensus  of nearly all the people I talk to is that D&D 4th edition is the least roleplaying-friendly system around.  


There is clearly a feel to this system that is different. Ignoring it will not make it go away. I know how to compensate for it, but I should not have to. 

And for the record, I really like 4th edition. 

my point is that the whole concept of a "build" is the anti-thesis of role-playing.


That's just not the case.  In fact, if you take a well-defined character who has Something That Makes Them Unique, they by definition have a build.  Roleplaying the virtuous knight in shining armor who would lay down his life for a total stranger is not incompatible with him being a mechanically-effective, shield-wearing Paladin.

Now, if your players are bad at roleplaying, and so just pick mechanically-consistent builds because that's all they know how to do, then that's still not the character's fault.

An optimized character is not antithetical to roleplaying.  It's not even related to roleplaying.  Roleplaying is a player quality, not a character quality.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

6) Need faster way to create a balanced encounter.


Huh? I find encounter creation to be a snap in 4e, I don't know how it could be any easier.



Yeah, I should not have put this in. My error. Encounter creation is easy.
[You sound like a complete WOTC apologist. I have been roleplaying for 40 years. I play in two 4th edition campaigns. I know a ton of gamers. The consensus  of nearly all the people I talk to is that D&D 4th edition is the least roleplaying-friendly system around.  

There is clearly a feel to this system that is different. Ignoring it will not make it go away. I know how to compensate for it, but I should not have to. 

And for the record, I really like 4th edition. 




Wow, you know, you're welcome for trying to point out some ways that your pain points might not be so bad if you put some work into it. (Some being the operative word - nothing I posted there takes more than a minute or two)

I am not an apologist, but when someone posts something about the system that is clearly wrong and seems to show inexperience with the system I'm going to point it out, preferably in a helpful manner.

Everything you posted came across as needing rules for roleplaying, I'm sorry after 40 years they stopped hand holding your roleplay experience.  I must be really freaking awesome to not need it anymore after just 25.



Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/
40 years of roleplaying. That's awesome.
Considering D&D is only 36 years old, what system were you using before D&D?
Chainmail was originally published in 1971.
Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.
Chainmail was originally published in 1971.



Chainmail wasn't really a roleplaying game though, that was a miniature wargame.

Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/
Chainmail was originally published in 1971.



Chainmail wasn't really a roleplaying game though, that was a miniature wargame.


You don't need rules for role playing, remember? 
 
Regardless, differentiating between 36 and 40 years is splitting hairs.
Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.

You sound like a complete WOTC apologist.




And you sound like someone who came in here with his mind made up and preconceptions cemented in place, unwilling to listen and not actually wanting a discussion.

Just sayin'.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

4) The equality of the classes. Fighters level up in power with wizards.


5) The concept of the different roles & sources.


These are particularly important positives that need to be preserved - but have already started to be abandoned in Essentials.

1) Battles take too long. Monsters should have less hit points and do more damage.

I don't get this.  If a group doesn't enjoy combats, maybe they shouldn't have so many or should cut them short, fine.  If you /do/ enjoy that aspect of the game, why is playing it for an hour instead of 20 minutes a bad thing?  The complaint just makes no sense to me.  If you don't like interesting tactical combats, don't have 'em.  Have fewer combats, have enemies flee or surrender when bloodied, use combats where one side is badly overmatched - they'll end faster.  There are lots of ways to use the system as is to have fewer and shorter combats, so you have more time for whatever it is you'd rather be doing.  Altering the game so that you can't have an interesting, challenging tactical combat isn't necessary, and would make the game worse, with narrower apeal.

The system does not lend it self to roleplaying and just ends up being a kind of one unit skirmish game.

I have to strongly object to this.  There are no such things as rules for roleplaying or rules that 'encourage roleplay.'  RPGs give you a mechanism to control a single player character, that's all the enabling of RP that needs - or can - be done by the system.   Usually, when someone is saying a system 'encourages RP' they're just rationalizing a failing of the system.  Sometimes it's taken so far as to assert that systems should be mechanically unsound because is encourages 'role not roll' playing.  It's all BS.  A good system doesn't detract from RP, a bad one doesn't encourage it, it just sits there being so bad the players try to avoid it.


2) Skill challenges (great idea that does not work).

Some vague idea of how they could be improved might help.  I agree that Skill Challenges were a great idea, but weren't initially well-implemented. They /have/ improved though.


3) Not enough variation in characters. 

Don't really see that as a problem with 4e.  Some Essentials classes, sure, are so choiceless that one character of that class is much like another.


4) Need a way to make magic item more individual.

Factoring Enhancement bonuses into 4e progression was a good idea for encounter balance, but not a great idea for verisimilitude.  It simultaneously makes magic items too necessary, but also makes them uninteresting.  Dumping Enhancement bonuses entirely may be the way to go.  Magic items become virtually optional, so they can be relatively few, and more unique without having to be terribly powerful to make an impression.


6) Need faster way to create a balanced encounter.

It takes less time for the DM to create a solid encounter than it does for the player to create a character.  Heck, it takes less time to build an encounter than to play through it.  I can't see how it needs to be any faster or easier - nor how it could be.  This is one area where it'd be safe for 4e to 'rest on it's laurels.'  Just don't go screwing it up.  One way to screw it up, for instance, would be to give monsters fewer hps and higher damage - because that would make encounter balance swingier.


7) Death does not seem real.

A long-standing problem.  As long as Raise Dead is available, death will seem more like an inconvenience.  Of course, the PCs are supposed to be the Heroes of these Epic stories that span 30 levels.  If they died at level 2, they couldn't be the stars of a 30-level Epic, could they?  Maybe, we should just accept that PCs have 'plot armor,' and leave it at that.


8) With so many abstractions in the powers of players (and monsters) there are no options for roleplaying in battle.

Completely backwards.  Abstract resolution systems leave the players and DM maximum freedom in describing (RPing) their battles.

 
More kind of general rules on how to allow for improvisation would be helpful. This is there with the level for damage tables -- I think it just needs to be emphasized and maybe fleshed out a bit. Maybe via a DM guide?



9) More skills.

Bad idea.  Expanding the skill list just gives PCs more things they will be bad at.  Oh, they might have a broader choice of things they can be good at, but, once the choice is made, the list of things they're bad it is longer the bigger the list.   A game needs just enough skills to cover everything characters need to do in the genre.  Splitting a skill up into multiple skills just creates oddities, like the character who can sneak like a cat, but can't hide in a dark room, or the one who can track a falcon on a cloudy day but can't figure out which way is north (you can totally build those character is 3.0).




 




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Chainmail was originally published in 1971.



Chainmail wasn't really a roleplaying game though, that was a miniature wargame.


You don't need rules for role playing, remember? 
 
Regardless, differentiating between 36 and 40 years is splitting hairs.



You are correct - you could be roleplaying the general in a sense.  And it is spiltting hairs, that is why I didn't even bring it up in my response back.

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Chainmail was originally published in 1971.



Chainmail wasn't really a roleplaying game though, that was a miniature wargame.


You don't need rules for role playing, remember? 
 
Regardless, differentiating between 36 and 40 years is splitting hairs.



You are correct - you could be roleplaying the general in a sense.  And it is spiltting hairs, that is why I didn't even bring it up in my response back.


Oh, I know.  That was meant more for Hocus than for you, since his statement spawned this side trek. 
Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.
Chainmail was originally published in 1971.

I stand corrected. I actually failed to do the math. I started  in 76. Not that the amount of time actually matters. I should not have brought it up. For the record though -- started in high school in 76-77. Played at university. Played in one campaign for 20 + years, same world, different characters over generations. Played D&D 3rd edition for its span. Also played RuneQuest and diceless and GURPS. 


 


So, yeah I have a lot of experience in a lot of systems. I have also written for computer games, and had work published in gaming magazines. 


 


So based on all that crap, I think I can say that while I like 4th edition, it does tend to be a more tactical system than say RuneQuest or even 3rd edition, I think that the emphasis on combat takes away from roleplaying: typically you spend a majority of your time playing out long combats. I see those as problems with the system, NOT the players or the DM. There are all kinds of ways to game the system to fix that, but that does not make the fundamental problem go away. 


 


 


 


 



40 years of roleplaying. That's awesome.
Considering D&D is only 36 years old, what system were you using before D&D?

Look I do not want a flame war. So I will try and keep this civil. You systematically went down my list of problems and came up with a way that the player or DM could come up with a "solution." All of which I am already familiar with. (I read sly flourish.) But the players and the DM should not always have to be the one to change.  The whole point of my starting this thread is to discuss merits and flaws of the system, NOT my pain points. I do not even view them as pain points and I don't appreciate someone else characterizing them that way.  


 


And yes, when you basically go down the list of problems and explain how none of them are real problems with the system, that makes you seem like apologist -- or actually even a bit worse.




4) The equality of the classes. Fighters level up in power with wizards.


5) The concept of the different roles & sources.


These are particularly important positives that need to be preserved - but have already started to be abandoned in Essentials.

1) Battles take too long. Monsters should have less hit points and do more damage.

I don't get this.  If a group doesn't enjoy combats, maybe they shouldn't have so many or should cut them short, fine.  If you /do/ enjoy that aspect of the game, why is playing it for an hour instead of 20 minutes a bad thing?  The complaint just makes no sense to me.  If you don't like interesting tactical combats, don't have 'em.  Have fewer combats, have enemies flee or surrender when bloodied, use combats where one side is badly overmatched - they'll end faster.  There are lots of ways to use the system as is to have fewer and shorter combats, so you have more time for whatever it is you'd rather be doing.  Altering the game so that you can't have an interesting, challenging tactical combat isn't necessary, and would make the game worse, with narrower apeal.

The system does not lend it self to roleplaying and just ends up being a kind of one unit skirmish game.

I have to strongly object to this.  There are no such things as rules for roleplaying or rules that 'encourage roleplay.'  RPGs give you a mechanism to control a single player character, that's all the enabling of RP that needs - or can - be done by the system.   Usually, when someone is saying a system 'encourages RP' they're just rationalizing a failing of the system.  Sometimes it's taken so far as to assert that systems should be mechanically unsound because is encourages 'role not roll' playing.  It's all BS.  A good system doesn't detract from RP, a bad one doesn't encourage it, it just sits there being so bad the players try to avoid it.


2) Skill challenges (great idea that does not work).

Some vague idea of how they could be improved might help.  I agree that Skill Challenges were a great idea, but weren't initially well-implemented. They /have/ improved though.


3) Not enough variation in characters. 

Don't really see that as a problem with 4e.  Some Essentials classes, sure, are so choiceless that one character of that class is much like another.


4) Need a way to make magic item more individual.

Factoring Enhancement bonuses into 4e progression was a good idea for encounter balance, but not a great idea for verisimilitude.  It simultaneously makes magic items too necessary, but also makes them uninteresting.  Dumping Enhancement bonuses entirely may be the way to go.  Magic items become virtually optional, so they can be relatively few, and more unique without having to be terribly powerful to make an impression.


6) Need faster way to create a balanced encounter.

It takes less time for the DM to create a solid encounter than it does for the player to create a character.  Heck, it takes less time to build an encounter than to play through it.  I can't see how it needs to be any faster or easier - nor how it could be.  This is one area where it'd be safe for 4e to 'rest on it's laurels.'  Just don't go screwing it up.  One way to screw it up, for instance, would be to give monsters fewer hps and higher damage - because that would make encounter balance swingier.


7) Death does not seem real.

A long-standing problem.  As long as Raise Dead is available, death will seem more like an inconvenience.  Of course, the PCs are supposed to be the Heroes of these Epic stories that span 30 levels.  If they died at level 2, they couldn't be the stars of a 30-level Epic, could they?  Maybe, we should just accept that PCs have 'plot armor,' and leave it at that.


8) With so many abstractions in the powers of players (and monsters) there are no options for roleplaying in battle.

Completely backwards.  Abstract resolution systems leave the players and DM maximum freedom in describing (RPing) their battles.

 
More kind of general rules on how to allow for improvisation would be helpful. This is there with the level for damage tables -- I think it just needs to be emphasized and maybe fleshed out a bit. Maybe via a DM guide?



9) More skills.

Bad idea.  Expanding the skill list just gives PCs more things they will be bad at.  Oh, they might have a broader choice of things they can be good at, but, once the choice is made, the list of things they're bad it is longer the bigger the list.   A game needs just enough skills to cover everything characters need to do in the genre.  Splitting a skill up into multiple skills just creates oddities, like the character who can sneak like a cat, but can't hide in a dark room, or the one who can track a falcon on a cloudy day but can't figure out which way is north (you can totally build those character is 3.0).




 





Wow. I want a discussion, but about the topic. Not how to roleplay better or DM better. I want a discussion about the stengths and weakness of the system. Another post had a very different list than mine. I thought that was great. 
40 years of roleplaying. That's awesome.
Considering D&D is only 36 years old, what system were you using before D&D?

Look I do not want a flame war. So I will try and keep this civil. You systematically went down my list of problems and came up with a way that the player or DM could come up with a "solution." All of which I am already familiar with. (I read sly flourish.) But the players and the DM should not always have to be the one to change.  The whole point of my starting this thread is to discuss merits and flaws of the system, NOT my pain points. I do not even view them as pain points and I don't appreciate someone else characterizing them that way.  


 


And yes, when you basically go down the list of problems and explain how none of them are real problems with the system, that makes you seem like apologist -- or actually even a bit worse.




Huh?
I truly hope you quoted the wrong person.
That, or I blacked out and have no memory of stating anything of the sort.

As far as your list goes, most of what I see are the simple re-hashings of things a hundred other posters have said. This does not belittle any of the items you have stated, but it does make it look like "more of the same" that we have all seen so many times now. I think this is one of the reasons you're catching the heat that you are catching.

40 years of roleplaying. That's awesome.
Considering D&D is only 36 years old, what system were you using before D&D?

Look I do not want a flame war. So I will try and keep this civil. You systematically went down my list of problems and came up with a way that the player or DM could come up with a "solution." All of which I am already familiar with. (I read sly flourish.) But the players and the DM should not always have to be the one to change.  The whole point of my starting this thread is to discuss merits and flaws of the system, NOT my pain points. I do not even view them as pain points and I don't appreciate someone else characterizing them that way.  


 And yes, when you basically go down the list of problems and explain how none of them are real problems with the system, that makes you seem like apologist -- or actually even a bit worse.






First of all, I posted it - not Hocus.

Second, you aren't changing anything.  I'm using the rules as writen, with the guidelines provided in the books.  What am I changing? 

You don't want to refluff? Fine - don't refluff.

But you complained that the characters didn't have enough variation and without even refluffing you can build multiple different types of the same character - if by doing nothing by choosing some different feats up front, different powers, and different class abilities.  Even changing the race can have a huge impact - a Stormsoul Genasis Wizard can be very different than a tiefling Wizard - all I did was choose a different race.

What are you, as the player or DM, changing?

What are you "changing" when you build encounters smarter (and I'm sorry - building encounters for combat in 4e is MUCH faster compared to GURPS, WoD, and 4e with less pre-work)

What are you "changing" as the DM when you add a couple of sentences about a sword?  A sword +1 was just a sword +1 in every previous edition - that was almost always the job of the DM to make it interesting

The only things I had suggested "changing" was how you run skill challenges and the option of refluffing.

That was the point of my response. WotC has done quite a few things wrong with 4e - we are missing alot of support for some of the classes, we haven't seen a new ritual in some time, and martial practices haven't seen anything new since Martial Powers 2.   Roleplaying was not one of them. 

Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/

 Wow. I want a discussion, but about the topic. Not how to roleplay better or DM better. I want a discussion about the stengths and weakness of the system. Another post had a very different list than mine. I thought that was great. 



The thing is, if you want a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the system, and you post a list of things you see as "weak" you have to be willing to accept people are going to come here and say "That's not a weakness of the system because...."

Otherwise it's not a discussion
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1) Battles take too long. Monsters should have less hit points and do more damage.

I don't get this.  If a group doesn't enjoy combats, maybe they shouldn't have so many or should cut them short, fine.  If you /do/ enjoy that aspect of the game, why is playing it for an hour instead of 20 minutes a bad thing?  The complaint just makes no sense to me.  If you don't like interesting tactical combats, don't have 'em.  Have fewer combats, have enemies flee or surrender when bloodied, use combats where one side is badly overmatched - they'll end faster.  There are lots of ways to use the system as is to have fewer and shorter combats, so you have more time for whatever it is you'd rather be doing.  Altering the game so that you can't have an interesting, challenging tactical combat isn't necessary, and would make the game worse, with narrower apeal.





I do like tactical battles and I do like long battles, just not all the time. I see a problem in that: 1) often the PCs have so many choices in front of them that they take too long (at least some PCs). 2) There should be a way to have a balanced fight that can resolve in fewer rounds. Many of the monsters have large hit points so it takes a long time to take the, down, even if you are clever. The term used to be a sumo wrestler in padding, I think.


 


Perhaps the problem I see is that an unbalanced fight does not put one side in danger, maybe a high-level minion that can kill PCs, but can also be taken out by a lucky shot is a solution.  


 


Beyond doing something artificial like having a short-circuit in the encounter (see sly flourish), I do not see a way of having a short combat where the players are either not in danger or totally overwhelmed.

Perhaps the problem I see is that an unbalanced fight does not put one side in danger, maybe a high-level minion that can kill PCs, but can also be taken out by a lucky shot is a solution.  



That's kinda the opposite of "tactical battle"

Also, there's a great way to have a fast, balanced, tactical, fun battle. You run it like a skill challenge.

Anyway, not everyone wants battles to be fast and swingy. At best, what you'd want in a next system is an integrated option to speed things up; maybe some guidelines for it, like "monsters half HP and double damage" and the designers making sure that it works that way. That way you can have both types.

Although you mostly can already, there's a reason the new MMIII and newer monsters have less defense and more offense.
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.
40 years of roleplaying. That's awesome.
Considering D&D is only 36 years old, what system were you using before D&D?

Look I do not want a flame war. So I will try and keep this civil. You systematically went down my list of problems and came up with a way that the player or DM could come up with a "solution." All of which I am already familiar with. (I read sly flourish.) But the players and the DM should not always have to be the one to change.  The whole point of my starting this thread is to discuss merits and flaws of the system, NOT my pain points. I do not even view them as pain points and I don't appreciate someone else characterizing them that way.  


 


And yes, when you basically go down the list of problems and explain how none of them are real problems with the system, that makes you seem like apologist -- or actually even a bit worse.




Huh?
I truly hope you quoted the wrong person.
That, or I blacked out and have no memory of stating anything of the sort.

As far as your list goes, most of what I see are the simple re-hashings of things a hundred other posters have said. This does not belittle any of the items you have stated, but it does make it look like "more of the same" that we have all seen so many times now. I think this is one of the reasons you're catching the heat that you are catching.





He did 
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SCRAP


1) feats and items that give an always-on combat bonus (boring and generally too good)


I would wish for the exact opposite, scrapping the "if the monster was born in a month containing an "a" and the power is used at full moon while being withing X steps of ..." powers/feats/whatever.

They are just there to be forgotten until you collected them all and thus the bonus is always on and you don't need to bother remembering and can just use it



In that case they just need to be scrapped entirely, or at least the number needs to be seriously trimmed. "Always on" combat feats don't anything to your character, which basically makes them pointless.
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.

There has been a lot of speculation about 4th edition ending and a newer edition coming out sometime in the near future (1-2 years). Let's assume that is true. My question is: what do we like about 4th edition that we want to see preserved. What is good about 4th? I want this thread to stay focused on 4th edition, its merits and also perhaps its problems.


 What I like about 4th which I want to see preserved: 


1) The basic combat system. This is the first d&d system where the basic combat rules are clean and easy to interpret and do not get in the way. 3rd edition was a nightmare to run. Basic combat is now a solved problem near as I can see.


 2) The concept of different power sources. I think this is really useful.


3) The 4 defense scores. This is part of #1 but it also helps define characters, etc.


4) The equality of the classes. Fighters level up in power with wizards.


5) The concept of the different roles.


6) Themes as way to flesh out a character. (Is this just Dark Sun?)


7) The emphasis on the d20.


8) The short, digestible stat block of monsters


9) Minions! Love’em.



Here are things I think that should be changed or what I do not like:


1) Battles take too long. Monsters should have less hit points and do more damage.


The system does not lend it self to roleplaying and just ends up being a kind of one unit skirmish game. This is in part due to problem #1.




4e has perfectly fine RP support. Jacking up monster damage and reducing hit points isn't going to create a satisfactory solution. All you'll end up with is 2-3 round combats (or one round at high levels). That won't be at all tactically interesting. There are plenty of ways to speed up combat, but it will require some streamlining and other related adjustments. Certainly worth doing though.




2) Skill challenges (great idea that does not work).




SCs work beautifully for us. The original workup on them in DMG1 was rather flawed, which got things off to a rough start, and really understanding how the concept is best used and presented is tricky, but once you get it, and once you incorporate the better mechanics that exist in DMG2 and RC, it is a pretty solid system and one that is rather needed as a way to create more variation in how different situations are approached, given the way the core skill system is already streamlined.



3) Not enough variation in characters.




Meh, there seems like a vast difference between a fighter and a wizard to me. I'd MUCH rather have PCs continue to be built on a common framework. There is a LOT of customization allowed with 4e already.




4) Need a way to make magic item more individual.


5) Need a solid, supported world that is new.




OK, yeah, nothing too radical there.




6) Need faster way to create a balanced encounter.




I can't imagine a more streamlined encounter generation system being possible than the one 4e has now. I mean, sure, if someone can dream one up, bring it on, but I don't think it is possible. 4e is already a 10 on this score, if 11 is possible nobody has figured it out yet.




7) Death does not seem real.




I don't know how it could be 'more real'. Aside from there being no such thing as Raise Dead, at which point it is as real as imaginary death can get. You can obviously just remove the Raise Dead ritual from your game. There's a WIDE variety of tastes here. Given that a player can pretty much remake exactly the same character he was playing last week if the the DM says "nope, you can't be raised" and for the PLAYER death is kind of a speed bump no matter what it is somewhat pointless to restrict it much. If it makes good story sense for someone to stay dead, well, then either the players agree and leave the dead lie, or they don't, in which case should the DM's wishes trump everyone else's? There's no one-size-fits-all answer to that.




8) With so many abstractions in the powers of players (and monsters) there are no options for roleplaying in battle. More kind of general rules on how to allow for improvisation would be helpful. This is there with the level for damage tables -- I think it just needs to be emphasized and maybe fleshed out a bit. Maybe via a DM guide?




Well, I thought page 42 was pretty clear and pretty well covered it. OTOH more words on the subject are fine. The mechanics are quite solid. Not sure how you would 'flesh it out' more really, it is a dirt simple and really reliable set of mechanics as it is. Putting some explanation of how it works into the PHB and pointing out that players are expected to improvise would IMHO be worth the most for the least page count.




9) More skills.





Yeah, not at all interested in some long 3.x-ish open-ended skill list. It is just a bad idea overall. Rewrite and polish up skill powers, maybe do some tweaking on the skill system like making training give a smaller bonus and allow some specific 'tricks', and maybe combine the skill power and martial practice concepts in some way. I'd keep the actual skill list pretty much exactly as it is now, short and sweet. Long skill lists quickly become prohibitive lists of what you CAN'T do. The short closed-ended list is in contrast proscriptive, which is much better. Beyond that all the obscure 3.x skills added basically zip to the game that isn't already covered by background etc. Keep it that way.

That is not dead which may eternal lie
"5) Need a solid, supported world that is new."


No need for a new edition.

 "7) Death does not seem real."

D&D in itself IS the problem. 


I do like tactical battles and I do like long battles, just not all the time. I see a problem in that: 1) often the PCs have so many choices in front of them that they take too long (at least some PCs). 2) There should be a way to have a balanced fight that can resolve in fewer rounds. Many of the monsters have large hit points so it takes a long time to take the, down, even if you are clever. The term used to be a sumo wrestler in padding, I think.



Well, the concept here is to make the monsters last long enough for tactics to matter. Recall 1e combat in which usually 1 or maybe 2 hits would take out pretty much any monster except the real big bad guys like dragons. There's no point in flanking, debuffing, controlling, etc monsters that are deaders with one hit anyway, just kill 'em and quit wasting time. Magic Users etc might do it simply because they could whack 10 monsters in one shot with a big spell, but that was hardly tactical either most of the time. You could have loads of little glass cannon monsters to pick up the threat level, but again it is hardly worth using tactics on them. In order for there to some reasonable scope for tactics you need a system where combat lasts something like 5 or 6 rounds (enough to allow for tactical situations to evolve) and where each monster lasts a couple rounds so there's a point to immobilizing it, knocking it prone, stunning it, etc vs just one-hitting them being the only answer that matters.

So, it isn't a simple question of more damage and less hit points, unless you're just not interested in tactics at all. There are some answers IMHO which I can discuss below.

Perhaps the problem I see is that an unbalanced fight does not put one side in danger, maybe a high-level minion that can kill PCs, but can also be taken out by a lucky shot is a solution.


I would say that would again be doing for any sense of tactics, whoever gets surprise/initiative wins, or gets unlucky and loses, all in the span of 4-5 die rolls.


However, I do understand the genesis of the issue with unbalanced fight not being threatening. The desire is to have some situations where say a group of monsters jumps the PCs, threatens them, but then is defeated fairly quickly. It is entirely true, this is not the easiest type of encounter to build in 4e if you strictly follow the guidelines for monster design and encounter construction. OTOH it isn't actually impossible. Even a minion can easily use things like Bull Rush to shove PCs into all kinds of hurt for instance. You can also design some powers that a monster can have that would work too, it just has to have a dangerous effect (see things like Cockatrice or Medusa). Clearly some greater lattitude here would be helpful though.




Beyond doing something artificial like having a short-circuit in the encounter (see sly flourish), I do not see a way of having a short combat where the players are either not in danger or totally overwhelmed.




I don't think 'short-circuits' are all that artificial really. A dangerous lurker monster for instance would most likely not engage and then fight to the death, it would probably it, gank someone or disable them, drag them off, and have lunch. Quite quick (though hard to pull off). Monsters that surrender are certainly quite reasonable. I extensively use story considerations too. The PCs don't have to have the goal of duking it out to the death all the time. Honestly that isn't even really a very common trope.

Frankly in my redesigning of the 4e combat system my approach would be not to make ordinary attacks stronger and defenses/hitpoints weaker, but to increase the value of tactics. Make surprise, flanking, cover, etc more significant. This INCREASES the benefits of using good tactics. Now you can reduce the numbers of fiddly buff and debuff type effects and such, which streamlines the system. Give monsters somewhat more varied stats too, so that they generally have more significant strong and weak points (IE increase the variance of defense numbers at a given level). All of this will tend to make fights a bit faster, but it will also do it without degrading tactics to nothing. It will also increase the value of STRATEGY somewhat over tactics. Pick the right types of weapons and magic, engineer getting surprise or a strong terrain advantage, etc before you even engage and you can amplify the power of your group a good bit. This also helps deal with the 'weak but threatening' issue where you can't really have monsters that threaten but are then easy to kill off. A weaker force with surprise or a strong terrain advantage, or clever strategy can get a solid jump on a party and really threaten them right off, yet once the players figure out how to negate their advantage they'll go down easily enough.

There are other things I would do. Carefully go through and remove mechanics that aren't really adding a lot of value. For instance minor actions are mainly used for bonus attacks right now, which actually is a problem. Just get rid of them. If it is minor enough for a minor action, the PC just does it (IE it becomes a free action). Likewise all the different variations of out-of-turn actions can be swept away and just replaced with a single immediate action (which can interrupt). Defenders will need some redesign of their mechanics to let them be effective without 1 OA/turn, but all of that is easily managed.

I would also increase the advantages from powers (IE their effects) but cut back a bit on the number of them. Let them be a bit more decisive when used and reduce analysis paralysis. That also allows for getting rid of a lot of ongoing type effects and all the tracking they require. If you blow a daily, well, it just goes to the end of the encounter or as long as the caster is still standing, etc.

Basically I think you can make combat go maybe 50-100% faster than it does now, actually widen the scope of player strategy and tactics, and not loose any of the better aspects of 4e combat. That pretty much addresses the desires of the people that want shorter combat and the people that want combat to be detailed and tactical at the same time.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Chainmail was originally published in 1971.



Chainmail wasn't really a roleplaying game though, that was a miniature wargame.


You don't need rules for role playing, remember? 
 
Regardless, differentiating between 36 and 40 years is splitting hairs.




Chainmail being Roleplayed then is about the same as Magic the Gathering Roleplaying the Wizard the Deck is representing. Just not the same, dude, just not the same.
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!)