The beating heart of D&D is missing from 4th edition

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So here we are, twiddling our thumbs, waiting for 5th edition. The writing is on the wall. Everybody can see it. D&D is ramping up for a new (possibly Monte Cooke-guided) 5th edition of the game. I plan to keep playing some version of D&D in the meantime, but I can't help thinking about how to give heart back to 4th edition.

More specifically, I'm thinking about how to encourage players to think outside their power cards. After all, the most memorable sessions were not those in which you activated your Daily power at the precise moment to do the most damage. It was when your campaign was unexpectedly derailed by a player who really understood what it means to be "adventurous", only to be wholeheartedly received by a DM who ran with the idea, despite their prepared material.

The 4th edition of D&D has been reduced to card game with a map. If you don't use your Daily power or Encounter power at the appropriate moment, it can even provoke dirty looks from the rest of your party members for not 'playing by the rules' or 'using your abilities correctly'. If you are even a little off your game, party members will claim to play your character better than you can ... and they'd be right (but only in 4th edition). This is where D&D falls apart. The beating heart of D&D, which 4th edition does nothing to encourage, is when characters do 'crazy stuff'.

This needs to be explained...

Doing crazy stuff entails all those outlandish plans that are not defined by your powers. It's leaping onto the giant's back and attacking from where he can't reach you. It's dousing the enemy camp in oil while disguised or invisible and setting it aflame. It's trying to seduce an assassin in the middle of a fight while she's doing her best to kill you.

Yes, you can technically do all of those things in 4th edition, but you are almost always guaranteed more success if you just use your card powers and drive through the presented obstacle. This is great for a board game or card game, but not a role playing game. There's no real incentive for trying something outlandish and potentially fun in D&D 4th edition, unless you are fortunate enough to have a DM who fosters such behaviour.

I will say this about 4th edition, the power card structure (At-Wills, Encounters, Dailies, Utilities) succeeded in making the game truly cinematic for the first time in D&D history. Kudos to Wizards of the Coast. But for whatever reason -- to my way of thinking -- it got boring real quick. Not early on mind you, when your power choices were still limited. At that point, you still had to fall back on your wits. But as levels accrued and your powers grew in number, players begin to spend most of the game waiting for the right circumstances in which to bring every one of their power cards to bear at the most appropriate moment. Their minds are tasked with the mechanics of their powers rather than trying to do the 'crazy stuff'. It's a trap into which I daresay even the most creative groups inevitably fall with 4th edition.

I think this problem can be solved in three ways.

Drastically limit the number of Encounter, Daily, and Utility powers.


  • Level 01-05: 2 At-Wills. 1 Encounter. 1 Daily. 1 Utility.

  • Level 06-10: 2 At-Wills. 1 Encounters. 1 Daily. 2 Utilities.

  • Level 11-15: 2 At-Wills. 2 Encounters. 1 Daily. 2 Utilities.

  • Level 16-20: 2 At-Wills. 2 Encounters. 1 Daily. 3 Utilities.

  • Level 21-25: 2 At-Wills. 2 Encounters. 2 Dailies. 3 Utilities.

  • Level 26-30: 2 At-Wills. 2 Encounters. 2 Dailies. 4 Utilities.


That's approximately one-half the number of Encounter/Daily/Utility powers that 4th edition characters can currently use. Perhaps you can already see how this helps players think outside their power cards. Less power activations means you use them up faster and get back to using your wits again.

If you like, the 'number' of power choices you make would not change. They could use the current progression, but you wouldn't have to swap them out anymore. Instead, each character would have a 'master list' of all their powers. You would then choose which powers your character practised/prepared/memorized at the start of each extended rest. There would be rules for subsuming Encounter and Daily powers for another one your list on the fly, but it would be prohibitive so that people aren't doing it all the time (slowing down the game for themselves and others). Again, freeing up the player up to think creatively is the goal.

Here's the truth of it. I've been an integral part of 4th edition D&D for three years straight. I've played and helped play characters from level 1 through level 20 without skipping a level. After level five, we rarely used every single power in our repertoire. And when we did? Huzzah! It was back to doing crazy stuff again. We had no choice at that point. It was almost as if the game 'started' once our powers were spent. Yet we were still hung up on using all of our powers 'resources' first. We were liberated from the shackles of our powers. Ah well, the objectivity of hindsight. By 20th level, we were bored with the grind of our powers. I bring this up because I don't think this experience was unique to my group.

If you are concerned from a balance perspective that you won't have enough powers to win the day, consider a standardized rule. If you really need that daily or encounter power that you spent, then characters should be able to restore it by expending an action point. So long as you remember the important caveat here. Less powers equal more innovative thinking. In hindsight, it almost feels as if getting to the point when you run out powers is important -- nay -- crucial to the survival of D&D. That's when you reach the beating heart of the game, to being truly adventurous.

The second way to solve the problem is even more simple. It fills the gap left by drastically limiting powers.

Let players initiate their own skill challenges.

A DM can still craft skill challenges for their players, but if the players have a crazy idea outside the purview of their powers, there should be able to initiate their own skill challenges. The DM would still adjudicates how many successes are needed, but it be based on what the players pitch as their skill challenge. The DM would decide which skills checks count as successes or failures, and which merely offer bonuses or penalties. A bonus lasts until somebody fails a check, a penalty lasts until somebody succeeds on a check. Some skill checks might even cancel out a failure. (You get the idea.) I heartily believe that skill challenges are a great addition to D&D, so long as you keep the structure loose.

Essentially, put the impetus for skill challenges (also known as 'crazy stuff') back into the hands of players. If the player initiated skill challenge circumvents a battle (negotiating an armistice with the enemy), or defeats the combatants in one fell swoop (destroying a damn that washes the enemy away), then rather than awarding skill challenge XP, award them XP as if they defeated the obstacle as the DM had originally planned. Heck, skill challenges like this can even incorporate mini-battles. I've seen this done to great effect in some Dungeon magazine adventures.

The third way to solve the problem has already been indirectly discussed.

Don't make magic item attacks the highest roll in the game.

Monte Cooke recently wrote about making magic items an option for D&D rather than a necessary and 'expected' part of game balance. I think this is brilliant, but it can be approximated right now with the inherent bonus rules from the DMG2 and Dark Sun setting. When every attack the character makes is calculated with the same bonuses, it levels the playing field when trying crazy stuff. For example, characters using inherent bonuses can bull rush and grapple 'at any level' without those options being inferior to magic implements and weapons at low levels (and vastly inferior at high levels). For players who actually love a lot of power-card options, magic item properties and powers can fill that void (so long as their number are controlled).

In short, while I believe that D&D 4th edition lacks heart, I don't believe the game is beyond fixing in its current form. That said, I look forward to what 5th edition will offer. The fact that Monte Cooke is working for Wizards of the Coast remotely rather than 'in house' gives me hope.
Oh please. This game wouldn't have articuled, logic and mature fans if it had no heart and soul. It is a good and great game.

Let us not bring this grognardise again. 

Changes are not all bad. Gygax was not some god. 
You raise some interesting points. I think the most important part of encouraging crazy stuff is already in the game: the ability for the DM to quickly whip up encounters and not requiring hours of prep time. If you improve that ability, you increase the option of going off the path.

A second thing that would be really important is DM training. It requires a special kind of thinking to have a DM that is not afraid to leave his story behind and go in a different direction.

Once you have those, you can start working on giving people crazy stuff in combat. (In my experience, out of combat players have little issues changing the direction of the game)
I can see your angle on "cutting down available options", however I think that your encounter and daily resources should be a sort of baseline... stuff you can always do.
Where I'd suggest a change is on page 42. Don't balance terrain powers and stunts as slightly weaker then a comparable character power. Make them stronger! If you want to encourage people to swing on the chandelier and kick the orc into the brazier then doing that should yield better results then just bashing him in the head with an encounter power, not weaker.
That way, rather then using encounter powers first and then looking for cool stuff, people will always try to cool stuff when it comes up, because they'll know it's worth doing.

The other two I pretty much agree with; skill challenges should be more prominent and player initiated and accuracy should be less dependant on your build and item options and be far closer to the baseline, so that you won't have to worry about it so much.
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.
If you don't use your Daily power or Encounter power at the appropriate moment, it can even provoke dirty looks from the rest of your party members for not 'playing by the rules' or 'using your abilities correctly'. If you are even a little off your game, party members will claim to play your character better than you can ... and they'd be right (but only in 4th edition). 


Yeah, I miss the days of 3.5 where it was perfectly acceptable to drop a fireball in the middle of a 20 foot corridor to deal with four unarmed kobolds currently engaged in melee with the rest of the party.
...
Wait, what? that wasn't the case? Nevermind, guess I'm talking out of my ass then. 
Zammm = Batman. Bronies unite. "I'd call you a genius, but I'm in the room."
It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.
Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
Oh please. This game wouldn't have articuled, logic and mature fans if it had no heart and soul. It is a good and great game.

In your rush to post, I beleive you meant 'attracted' not 'articuled', yes? You seem to have missed the point. I would not be posting if I thought D&D lacked heart and soul. That said, while 4th edition has much to offer, it lacks the heart of D&D in my opinion, which is encouraging players to attempt 'crazy stuff' outside their powers.

Gygax was not some god.

Not even remotely what this thread is about. Not even close.
I think the problem isn't their power cards but their own mindset. Players need to be reminded they can do cool things that don't involve their power cards and a DM needs to be there to reward them for their creativity.

The issue with the looks of scorn and derision because you didn't use your daily at precisely the right time is not a new problem. I can remember going to Living Greyhawk sessions where arses looked at me like I was the biggest fool from idiotsville because I didn't cast Fireball early enough or I ran over to heal an ally when it would have been more prudent (though very out of character) for my Cleric to attack the enemy. Life is full of people who think they're better than you. When they crop up, you need to tell them to mind their own business and play their own character.
So here we are, twiddling our thumbs, waiting for 5th edition. The writing is on the wall. Everybody can see it. D&D is ramping up for a new (possibly Monte Cooke-guided) 5th edition of the game. I plan to keep playing some version of D&D in the meantime, but I can't help thinking about how to give heart back to 4th edition.



As my father always says: "Do you have a frog in you pocket?" We? I am not twidling my thumbs. I am not waiting for anything. I am enjoying 4th edition because it is geat. Whenever 5th comes out It will probably be just like 3.5 and 4 for me. My friends will tell me about I'll try it, and I'll like it.


More specifically, I'm thinking about how to encourage players to think outside their power cards. After all, the most memorable sessions were not those in which you activated your Daily power at the precise moment to do the most damage. It was when your campaign was unexpectedly derailed by a player who really understood what it means to be "adventurous", only to be wholeheartedly received by a DM who ran with the idea, despite their prepared material.
The 4th edition of D&D has been reduced to card game with a map. If you don't use your Daily power or Encounter power at the appropriate moment, it can even provoke dirty looks from the rest of your party members for not 'playing by the rules' or 'using your abilities correctly'. If you are even a little off your game, party members will claim to play your character better than you can ... and they'd be right (but only in 4th edition). This is where D&D falls apart. The beating heart of D&D, which 4th edition does nothing to encourage, is when characters do 'crazy stuff'.



If the people at your table are giving you dirty looks for how you play your character I hate to say but you play with jackholes. Actually I didn't hate saying that because it's absolutely true. Advice is fine and expected, but your charcter is YOUR character and should be played by YOU. My character however is MY character and should be played by me. Anyone who doesn't get this doesn't get it and will be a jerk no matter what edition or rules set.


This needs to be explained...
Doing crazy stuff entails all those outlandish plans that are not defined by your powers. It's leaping onto the giant's back and attacking from where he can't reach you. It's dousing the enemy camp in oil while disguised or invisible and setting it aflame. It's trying to seduce an assassin in the middle of a fight while she's doing her best to kill you.
Yes, you can technically do all of those things in 4th edition, but you are almost always guaranteed more success if you just use your card powers and drive through the presented obstacle. This is great for a board game or card game, but not a role playing game. There's no real incentive for trying something outlandish and potentially fun in D&D 4th edition, unless you are fortunate enough to have a DM who fosters such behaviour.



I like how you list out your huge problem and then admit how it "technically" doesn't exist. You CAN do whatever you want. No modification to the system is necessary. If you want to be creative then be so. If other people don't that's up to them. That's the actual great part of the game. People can do whatever they want to. I see know reason why the whole system needs to be changed because your group needs permission to do things.


I will say this about 4th edition, the power card structure (At-Wills, Encounters, Dailies, Utilities) succeeded in making the game truly cinematic for the first time in D&D history. Kudos to Wizards of the Coast. But for whatever reason -- to my way of thinking -- it got boring real quick. Not early on mind you, when your power choices were still limited. At that point, you still had to fall back on your wits. But as levels accrued and your powers grew in number, players begin to spend most of the game waiting for the right circumstances in which to bring every one of their power cards to bear at the most appropriate moment. Their minds are tasked with the mechanics of their powers rather than trying to do the 'crazy stuff'. It's a trap into which I daresay even the most creative groups inevitably fall with 4th edition.
I think this problem can be solved in three ways.
Drastically limit the number of Encounter, Daily, and Utility powers.


  • Level 01-05: 2 At-Wills. 1 Encounter. 1 Daily. 1 Utility.

  • Level 06-10: 2 At-Wills. 1 Encounters. 1 Daily. 2 Utilities.

  • Level 11-15: 2 At-Wills. 2 Encounters. 1 Daily. 2 Utilities.

  • Level 16-20: 2 At-Wills. 2 Encounters. 1 Daily. 3 Utilities.

  • Level 21-25: 2 At-Wills. 2 Encounters. 2 Dailies. 3 Utilities.

  • Level 26-30: 2 At-Wills. 2 Encounters. 2 Dailies. 4 Utilities.


That's approximately one-half the number of Encounter/Daily/Utility powers that 4th edition characters can currently use. Perhaps you can already see how this helps players think outside their power cards. Less power activations means you use them up faster and get back to using your wits again.
If you like, the 'number' of power choices you make would not change. They could use the current progression, but you wouldn't have to swap them out anymore. Instead, each character would have a 'master list' of all their powers. You would then choose which powers your character practised/prepared/memorized at the start of each extended rest. There would be rules for subsuming Encounter and Daily powers for another one your list on the fly, but it would be prohibitive so that people aren't doing it all the time (slowing down the game for themselves and others). Again, freeing up the player up to think creatively is the goal.
Here's the truth of it. I've been an integral part of 4th edition D&D for three years straight. I've played and helped play characters from level 1 through level 20 without skipping a level. After level five, we rarely used every single power in our repertoire. And when we did? Huzzah! It was back to doing crazy stuff again. We had no choice at that point. It was almost as if the game 'started' once our powers were spent. Yet we were still hung up on using all of our powers 'resources' first. We were liberated from the shackles of our powers. Ah well, the objectivity of hindsight. By 20th level, we were bored with the grind of our powers. I bring this up because I don't think this experience was unique to my group.
If you are concerned from a balance perspective that you won't have enough powers to win the day, consider a standardized rule. If you really need that daily or encounter power that you spent, then characters should be able to restore it by expending an action point. So long as you remember the important caveat here. Less powers equal more innovative thinking. In hindsight, it almost feels as if getting to the point when you run out powers is important -- nay -- crucial to the survival of D&D. That's when you reach the beating heart of the game, to being truly adventurous.
The second way to solve the problem is even more simple. It fills the gap left by drastically limiting powers.

Let players initiate their own skill challenges.
A DM can still craft skill challenges for their players, but if the players have a crazy idea outside the purview of their powers, there should be able to initiate their own skill challenges. The DM would still adjudicates how many successes are needed, but it be based on what the players pitch as their skill challenge. The DM would decide which skills checks count as successes or failures, and which merely offer bonuses or penalties. A bonus lasts until somebody fails a check, a penalty lasts until somebody succeeds on a check. Some skill checks might even cancel out a failure. (You get the idea.) I heartily believe that skill challenges are a great addition to D&D, so long as you keep the structure loose.
Essentially, put the impetus for skill challenges (also known as 'crazy stuff') back into the hands of players. If the player initiated skill challenge circumvents a battle (negotiating an armistice with the enemy), or defeats the combatants in one fell swoop (destroying a damn that washes the enemy away), then rather than awarding skill challenge XP, award them XP as if they defeated the obstacle as the DM had originally planned. Heck, skill challenges like this can even incorporate mini-battles. I've seen this done to great effect in some Dungeon magazine adventures.
The third way to solve the problem has already been indirectly discussed.

Don't make magic item attacks the highest roll in the game.

Monte Cooke recently wrote about making magic items an option for D&D rather than a necessary and 'expected' part of game balance. I think this is brilliant, but it can be approximated right now with the inherent bonus rules from the DMG2 and Dark Sun setting. When every attack the character makes is calculated with the same bonuses, it levels the playing field when trying crazy stuff. For example, characters using inherent bonuses can bull rush and grapple 'at any level' without those options being inferior to magic implements and weapons at low levels (and vastly inferior at high levels). For players who actually love a lot of power-card options, magic item properties and powers can fill that void (so long as their number are controlled).



These all sound like great personal solutions to personal problems. It sounds like you are looking for permission from WOTC to do creative stuff in your game though. While I do not work for WOTC you can have mine. Angrygodofmilk you and your group may now do whatever you want, power card or no card. Hmmm. That didn't do much though to change the fact that nobody at your table wants to do the things you're interested in and they sound like a bunch of rude people anyway. As I said eralier if they are giving you a hard time about which powers you are using they will give you a hard about whatever creative thing you think of. Rules or no rules.


In short, while I believe that D&D 4th edition lacks heart, I don't believe the game is beyond fixing in its current form. That said, I look forward to what 5th edition will offer. The fact that Monte Cooke is working for Wizards of the Coast remotely rather than 'in house' gives me hope.



There is always room for improvement. Everybody is different though. Good luck with your problems, but please do not act like they are huge system flaws because honestly, they are not. Creativity is a personal thing. Negative group interactions and table dynamics are specific to the table.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a nice little self created devide here. Shame there can't be more acceptance instead. I feel that is where the future of the game should be.

All this vitrol, pushing away, retroactive retaliation, and premptive striking needs to stop.

I keep trying but some won't let things go. Will you?

 

Because you like something, it does not mean it is good. Because you dislike something, it does not mean it is bad. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it everyone's opinion. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it truth. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it the general consensus. Whatever side you want to take, at least remember these things.

I always thought the "beating heart of D&D" was the ability of the players and DM to tell a fun, interesting, action-packed fantasy story together. Hmm. Guess I was way off on that one.
I always thought the "beating heart of D&D" was the ability of the players and DM to tell a fun, interesting, action-packed fantasy story together. Hmm. Guess I was way off on that one.



Of course you are, Hocus. The beating heart of D&D is NUMBERS. You know, the ones you bandy around while SLAUGHTERING INNOCENT CREATURES AND TAKING THEIR STUFF.

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

 

Defenders: We ARE the wall!

 

I've replaced the previous Edition Warring line in my sig with this one, because honestly, everybody needs to work together to make the D&D they like without trampling on somebody else's D&D.

 

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

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
Ho-Hum, can you guys all just consolidate all this nonsense into like one thread? lol.

D&D is what you make of it Milkman. If you don't think outside the box, then you'll play a boring slugfest game, etc. This is no different than any other edition of D&D. As a DM I've made cool awesome adventures using 4e one after another. All the tools are there. It is just up to you to use them. Maybe instead of coming around to complain about how the game failed to do the DM's job and the player's jobs, you might want to ask a question like "How come we're not having fun playing D&D anymore?" which we can at least suggest some answers to.

OTOH telling us how bad the game we like is and how we have to have your version of what you think D&D is imposed on us is going to get you pretty much nowhere.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
In my experience, 4th edition players play with the rules given no matter how much experience they have with roleplaying games. I think most of the people I play with have been role-playing since the 2nd edition days and with more than just D&D (Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and Warhammer). I think those games invoke the "crazy stuff" mentality being discussed here. They did in me and my friends. The power scheme coupled with the battle grid is what turns 4th edition players into gamists. Our group can still certainly roleplay their characters, but in combat we tend to stick to game design. And that is with a group that knows you can swing on chandeliers, offer food to the hungry troll, or tell a boring story to ogres to lull them to sleep. The people who have been role-playing for less than a year, could never imagine these things could be done unless they had direction or examples to run with. As the saying goes, you can role-play a real-estate tycoon in Monopoly, but has anyone ever? 4th edition doesn't foster "crazy stuff" behavior. 

Coming to this understanding is one thing, but begrudging players who like 4th edition of their enjoyment is juvenile. 4th edition has a place at my table, just not as the epitome of what I want out of a role-playing game. For those who are upset because 4th edition isn't promoting new ideas for role-playing games, check out Warhammer 3rd edition or The One Ring. The latter looks very promising. In the meantime, let 4th edition players have their game. The pendulum will swing back someday.
oh look... this thread again.

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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
The tin man, reportedly void of a heart, told to us by the scarecrow, reportedly void of a brain.
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.
Hey guys,

I got rid of some posts because it's not cool to publically call people "troll". Let's try to keep the conversation civil and friendly. People are going to have criticisms of the various editions of D&D, attack the body of their arguments, don't get personal

Thanks,

Dragonette

Monica

Wizards of the Coast Online Community Coordinator

A friendly dragon.

All the thigns op wishes to have can be achieved without tweaking anything at all. You just need to have a good DM.

Outlandish, crazy plans, initiating our own skill challenges?
How about when we saw hobgoblins guard an obviously trapped room, and sicne our warden knew golbin language, decided to lure them across the room and roudn the corner for an ambush. We played their greed, pretendign ot be a returnign hunting party with a good catch. Their lazyness got the bettwr of them, but we pretended to be regular goblins and played their feelign of superiority. Finally, we clinked two bottles of holy water together and promized a free bottle of booze for the first two (there were 3 of them...) I wish we could've seen their faces when they rounded the corner into a hail of spells, javelins and throwing hammers. And then we outmanouvered them and unleashed their own trap upon them. And did I mention the DM whipped this thing up in couple of minutes because one PC persuaded the others to go check a ruin we otherwise had no interest in, and he even threw in an influential NPC we managed to rescue?

Earlier, we have been kickign enemies down in pits, blocked doorways to better ambush groups, kicked stuff down stairwells...

Your problems do not come from 4e ruleset at all. You seem to just have experiences with uncreative players and mediocore DM's.
I don't think the OP is saying "the current rules is stupid", he's saying "the current rules could be better".

Just because you can do certain thing and just because an experienced DM can make certain things interesting and fun doesn't mean you can't tweak the system to make them more inviting and to make it so that even a new DM can make that same thing interesting.

At some point you're considering the rules too holy, guys. It's a great system, it allows for just about anything, but that doesn't mean it's flawless and it doesn't mean you can't tweak some things to make it better either.

You can certainly tweak the rules to make creativity work better. Sure you can do it now, but it could be better.

Otherwise why aren't all of you still playing 1e? After all anything you can do know, you could also do back then if you had a good DM. They've been improving the rules for years. No reason to stop now.
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 agree with Pluisjen here, but I think the solution isn't changing the books. A combination of experienced DM's sharing their ideas through forum posts, blogs, podcasts, etc... along with developer posts and Dungeon articles can help bring inexperienced DM's more into play.

This thread gives me much to think about. I need to give my players more cool ways to interact with the terrain.
While all of these things would really help, truth is that there are many groups out there that don't visit the forums but just play the game. None of it would help them. There's very limited need to change the rules, but the books should contain all that useful advice that forums, blogs and articles can offer. Or at least as much of it as possible.

The DMG I & II are some of the best games on running a game ever written. Now we need to first pull the PHB to the same level and make it the best game on playing a character ever written, and then we need to go one step further and make the DMGs even better.
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 know that I agree that we need to do these things. I don't work for WotC, and I suspect you don't either.

As for groups that don't visit the forums and other community support (there's a whole world of D&D support outside of this website you know), I think in this day and age people know that help is available on the Internet. The horse knows where the water is, it is up to the horse to drink.
Actually I played for years before I realised how valuable visiting online forums for the game was. It's not such as a given.  Besides, many people don't want to invest more time then reading through the base rulebooks. Those should be as absolutely packed with good information and advice as they can be. It's their job to teach you the game. They should be as good at it as you can make them.
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.
It's 2011. If someone doesn't know that the Internet contains more information on the things he's interested in and how to go about looking for it, he needs to learn, and he has bigger problems than his D&D campaign.
Where I'd suggest a change is on page 42. Don't balance terrain powers and stunts as slightly weaker then a comparable character power. Make them stronger! If you want to encourage people to swing on the chandelier and kick the orc into the brazier then doing that should yield better results then just bashing him in the head with an encounter power, not weaker.
That way, rather then using encounter powers first and then looking for cool stuff, people will always try to cool stuff when it comes up, because they'll know it's worth doing.




As far as mechanics go, I think this is the real point. Rebalance situational stunts. If it's just damage it should hit like a striker-at-will if it's repeatable, like a striker encounter or daily if it's only usable once. If it does something controllery, leadery, or defendery, adjust accordingly. Basically situational tricks need an MM3 treatment.

But mostly I agree with those that are saying it's the DM and/or players at issue, with maybe some blame to go to formatting.

I had a discussion at PAX a year ago with someone who was die-hard anti-4e and gave as his reasons that in 3.5 he could, for example, use a lightning bolt to cause a stalagtite (or stalagmite? too lazy to look up which was which) to fall down and impale an attacking golem. That was his example of what crazy cool things you can do in 3rd that you "can't" do in 4th. The problem? 4th edition has page 42 with rules specifically saying you can totally do this kind of thing. 3rd edition also had rules that covered this scenario: they said the lightning bolt would do xd6 damage to the stone, which would be halved for being electricity against an object, then reduced by hardness, then applied against a pool of HP based on the thickness in inches, which probably wouldn't have destroyed it. If he rolled high enough to actually destroy it, the result would be the object is destroyed and effectively removed from play.. >_>

In other words, between the edition that says "you should totally make stuff up!" and the one that doesn't really allow for it, the one that doesn't allow for it is given credit for encouraging it.

In so much as 4e itself is guilty here, it's a mix of a) presentation.. the power blocks do emphasize sheer game mechanics over imagination and can draw people into thinking that way and b) being a victim of its own success.. if you want to play a tactical combat game by the book, 4e is (IMO) considerably better at it than 3.5. The fact that it's already adequately fun on its own merits reduces the need to go outside the box. In the wizard example above, in 3.5 the wizard would have been mechanically boxed in to being worthless (potentially, depending on spell selection) because the golem is immune to the wizard's entire schtick.. so he casts about and finds a way to bypass the rules. In 4e the rules don't write off his entire class so he can still simply use his lightning bolt as written.          
I don't understand the plea that 4th edition somehow sucked the creativity out of D&D.  Sure, you don't have a 50+ spells to choose from, but you can still do "crazy things".  Who said you have to use your spellcards exlusively?  You don't have to use a power as your minor action - of course that might not be the best option provided the benefits of your powers available.  Your DM doesn't let you participate in out of combat scenarios?  Even so, the majority of your spells ARE totally bad ass when you envision the spells being executed.  Heck, if you have a DM like mine, he will sometimes paint a pretty picture for you after you deliver a killing blow or bring a target down to bloodied.   At the cost of sounding redundant, maybe your DM needs to make a stronger effort to engage his players.  

I don't think there's anything wrong with everyone having to play their roles to the fullest, in regards to using dailies/encounters/utilities etc.  This forces players to be helpful when the group's back is against the wall.  If your team is dying and your healer is maxed on heals and everyone knows about his daily AOE heal, then he should use it.  That's the mechanics of the game, that's how its SUPPOSED to be.  I love it.  I've played with the same group of guys for almost 10 years, and whenever we play D&D or various d10 systems, at one time or another - there's always someone who is confused and doesn't know how to help the team effectively.  Needless to say, 4th Edition takes away that problem.
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I call dibs on Dorothy or Toto!
"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
Actually I played for years before I realised how valuable visiting online forums for the game was. It's not such as a given.  Besides, many people don't want to invest more time then reading through the base rulebooks. Those should be as absolutely packed with good information and advice as they can be. It's their job to teach you the game. They should be as good at it as you can make them.

Agreed, but there's one thing that I'd have to add... Look at the 1e, 2e, and 3.x books. They don't speak any more or less to using your imagination or making stuff up than the 4e rule books do. I don't think this is so much an issue of the books failed to have something in them that was somehow always present in past editions, because it wasn't. 4e simply has comprehensible rules that actually work. No other edition had that really (though 3.5 comes close, but then again you run into the same problem there as you do in 4e a lot of the time).

While I would never say 'broken rules make a good game' I would say that fairly complete working rules have a side-effect of making it very easy to just sit inside your little box and never come out. Maybe there are cultural differences and whatnot too, but ironically I think 4e created an added burden for itself by actually being a good game instead of a horrible game that had great ideas.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Look at the 1e, 2e, and 3.x books. They don't speak any more or less to using your imagination or making stuff up than the 4e rule books do.


I was just about to post this same thing! Anyone claiming that 3.x fostered more creativity with character actions is conveniently ignoring the fact that, rules-wise, most characters' actions each turn were no different than in 4E: cast a spell, or make an attack. Anyone playing a 3.x fighter could come up with flowery descriptions of their attacks actions or simply say "I make a ranged weapon attack against enemy X." Ditto for spells, and if anything, magic attacks in 4E are actually more conducive to imaginary embellishment considering how delineated many of 3.x's spells were.
All joking aside the beating heart of D&D is totally not missing. In fact I would argue that it is beating more loudly then ever. Why can't you all hear it? It is right there, underneath the floorboard. WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO HEARS IT?!
"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
The heart of D&D beats in 4e.  It also beats in games like Pathfinder (a 3.5 'spin-off'), Labyrinth Lord (a Basic, old-school retro-clone), OSRIC (1st edtion) and even more (that I'm not familiar with, like Castles & Crusades and Hackmaster).  

Check out wikipedia for details on these games.  All have been made available over the last several years (and use the d20 system referrence.)  

It used to be that once a game went out-of-print, that was it, no more support; play if you want but be prepared to make up your own stuff. Today is different; all these games are currently in print and actively supported.  Now is a great time to play D&D; choose your game.  

A few coppers ;).
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Look at the 1e, 2e, and 3.x books. They don't speak any more or less to using your imagination or making stuff up than the 4e rule books do.


I was just about to post this same thing! Anyone claiming that 3.x fostered more creativity with character actions is conveniently ignoring the fact that, rules-wise, most characters' actions each turn were no different than in 4E: cast a spell, or make an attack. Anyone playing a 3.x fighter could come up with flowery descriptions of their attacks actions or simply say "I make a ranged weapon attack against enemy X." Ditto for spells, and if anything, magic attacks in 4E are actually more conducive to imaginary embellishment considering how delineated many of 3.x's spells were.

I think Istaran has a good point too. 4e pretty well thoroughly avoids the "you simply can't do anything with your normal powers/spells/features" sort of situation. Often you WANT to improvise, but the game ALMOST never puts you in a situation where you have no other choices. Usually worst case in a combat you can do half damage and still get effects on the target, and you can pretty much always hit.

Of course in all other phases of the game I honestly can't see where 4e discourages anything. Page 42 certainly makes it easy to do stuff. You do have RELATIVELY fewer non-attack options, but they are generally a lot more flexible too. The only real exception being wizards casting some totally bizarre spell in the middle of combat hoping to get the DM to let them do something with it totally off-label. You can DO those things, but rituals won't work for that, so you ARE stuck with a few less options there. Still, the range of effects you can get with 4e powers is pretty wide.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Work on 4e was started in 2005 and the edition was announced in '07 and released in '08. If they have started work on a new edition this year (not entirely unlikely) we likely won't hear about it officially until 2013 and won't see it until 2014 baring playtests, which seem more likely. 

It's going to be a long wait, why twiddle fingers in anticipation? Get out, roll some dice, and enjoy the game while you can.
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Wait, what? 4th edition doesn't have a beating heart?

The last few sessions that I've had dont' look anything like what the OP has said 4th edition is. At all. Actually, most of my sessions in the last year haven't. I think it's because I've grasped what 4th edition can actually do, which is enable peopel to do whatever it is they want to.

4th is a highly imaginative game, one of the most imaginative I've ever played. It presents a simple system of doing cool stuff (skills), with a series of stunts that you can do in certain situations no matter how finicky your dice are (powers), with a way of tweaking both of those so you're totally unique in what you do (feats).  

 The problem isn't the system, OPoster. It's you. Please don't take that out on people who actually get the system. And before you call me a troll, please take a moment to think about what I said. I've had an amazingly imaginitive time with 4th edition, far more than I've had with almost any other RPG. I've known of quite a few people who can say the same. And then you come out of the blue saying otherwise? What gives you the right to definitively make a statement that you're obviously not qualified to make? 

Nevermind, it is the internet... 
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Sorry guys, I was practicing my intense martial arts when I accidentally pulled the beating heart of 4th Ed out. Here you go I put it back for you.

You're welcome.
The original poster doesn't seem to hate D&D. I think it's just the oposite. He wants to improve on a game which he has been playing for three years. Reading the three ideas he presents in bold individually, I don't think much of them, except the player initiated skill challenges. I like that A LOT. Reading all of the ideas as a cohesive idea, they work really well together, especially the smaller number of powers. If I understand the intent, introducing player initiated skill challenges "replaces" all of the powers you normally have.

I'm not sure how crazy I am about losing ANY of my powers. It feels like a fine balance with my character right now. But I will say this. There have been more times than I can remember when I really wanted to do something that I felt was skill challenge worthy, but rather than exploring the idea, the group rationally decided that defeating the enemy with their powers was the more efficient approach to take. When one round of focused-fire can consistantly bloody or even kill an enemy, especially when strikers really trot out the damage, it's hard to sell parties on a more creative approach to defeating the big bad.
All rules sets are nothing more or less than this: a life-support system for a good story. If you are not involved in a good story, then you have the wrong mix of gamemaster and players (or you are not playing a story-based game, which, although not for me, is a perfectly acceptable way to play).

One might say that language was better back in the day, that "damned kids these days don't know how to speak proper English." And any linguist will tell them they are absolutely wrong because language necessarily develops and evolves to fit the needs of the people and the times. One might say the same thing about D&D rules: they develop and evolve to fit the needs of the people and the times. But they are never more than the backdrop, working behind and beneath so that a gamemaster and his or her players can tell the story they wish to tell.

No matter what any edition of the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide says, if a player comes up with a cool idea then the DM is perfectly empowered -- nay, he or she is EXPECTED -- to arbitrate a way for the player to attempt the action. No edition of any roleplaying game has ever been all-encompassing.

===================================================== "Your life is an occasion. Rise to it." -Mr. Magorium =====================================================


Of course you are, Hocus. The beating heart of D&D is NUMBERS. You know, the ones you bandy around while SLAUGHTERING INNOCENT CREATURES AND TAKING THEIR STUFF.



Or those you waive about angerly as you try & convince WoTC, your own play group, & anyone online who'll listen of some point. 
While I stand by the original title of this thread, I can see how a different one might have produced less knee jerk reactions. Maybe "Some jaunty ideas on how to bring more 'crazy stuff' to your D&D game" would have generated more critical feedback. Who am I kidding? People react to the least they have to read, not the most.

While I would never say 'broken rules make a good game' I would say that fairly complete working rules have a side-effect of making it very easy to just sit inside your little box and never come out. Maybe there are cultural differences and whatnot too, but ironically I think 4e created an added burden for itself by actually being a good game instead of a horrible game that had great ideas.

This is nearing what I was talking about in my original post. No, 4th edition doesn't actively come out and say...

"STOP THINKING CREATIVELY! USING YOUR MIND IS FORBIDDEN!"

Creative thinking can happen in 4th edition quite easily. That being said, my original post doesn't address what is possible in 4th edition, but what is fostered.

As I said before, the lower levels of 4th edition prompted a lot more creative thinking to defeat enemies than it does at higher levels. I attribute this to the limited number of powers available to players early on in their careers. As such, they are more inclinded to use their wits sooner.

It's not that you can't still think creatively to defeat enemies at higher levels (when you have far more powers), but the options made advailable to your character are just so much more devastating and readily available. More often than not, they are better at dealing damage and debliating conditions than your creative ideas. Even if have a truly inspired creative idea. The card powers, especially when activated by the party damage dealers, can be crippling to an encounter, ending the enemy in one or two turns when directed at a single target.

If the entire party rolled particularly well for initiative, a major villain can be taken out of the fight before raising a finger. Hands down, I have seen this happen more in 4th edition than any other iteration of the game. It's the chainsaw versus the axe. Sure, I can sharpen my axe meticulously, I can swing it every day, I can grow strong in its use. While this lets me cut down a goodly number of trees, when the chainsaw comes along, it simply does the job more efficiently.

If you want to foster creativity to overcome an enemy, you have to stuggle first. When turning over another power card will always 'do the trick' more efficiently, then you are no longer fostering creativity.

My solution to this is three fold. Less powers (same number of choices), player-initaited skill challenges, and inherent bonuses over singular magic items (so anything you attempt in combat has the same approximate chance of succeeding at any level).
Sorry guys, I was practicing my intense martial arts when I accidentally pulled the beating heart of 4th Ed out. Here you go I put it back for you.

You're welcome.


Was this before or after 4E surprised me in the dark and I reflexively used the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart technique?
"Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” ~Mark Twain
Th-th-th-they say the heart of D&D is still beating.
And from what I see, I believe it.
If the entire party rolled particularly well for initiative, a major villain can be taken out of the fight before raising a finger. Hands down, I have seen this happen more in 4th edition than any other iteration of the game. It's the chainsaw versus the axe. Sure, I can sharpen my axe meticulously, I can swing it every day, I can grow strong in its use. While this lets me cut down a goodly number of trees, when the chainsaw comes along, it simply does the job more efficiently.



My problem with this is that in past editions, if a specific party member (i.e. a caster) rolls high enough, that major villian can be taken out. I fail to see how requiring a good chunk of a party to a.) go first, and b.) nova
in order to kill a big baddie is worse than requiring a single character to a.) go first and b.) nova to kill a big baddie.

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

 

Defenders: We ARE the wall!

 

I've replaced the previous Edition Warring line in my sig with this one, because honestly, everybody needs to work together to make the D&D they like without trampling on somebody else's D&D.

 

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

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
The one large piece that is missing within the player books, both original and Essential in mode is more talk about using skills and role-playing in and out of combat (the examples of unusual uses for skills in the Essentials Rules book was a nice start, but was only a very narrow start).  Some of this, I think, was assuming that the players would know they could do something because the designers of the system knew they could do anything.  Part might have been an expectation of DMs to push players old and new to "think beyond their power cards".  Part might also be the default, intrinsic nature of the players, i.e. players that were forced by the system and the DM to roleplay or "be punished" are no longer being punished, and are defaulting to a form of play that more suits them.

Now I am not saying that the designers are clueless, the DMs are not taking initiative or that every player is by default a hack and slash player.  What I am saying is that anyone can get close enough to a work that they cannot see the possible flaws in it, that sometimes new or uneven DMS might not think of how best to stretch players, and that after decades the hack and slash, smash and loot players are not having the game administer corporal punishment if they play the way they really want to.  So what to do to make people more inventive?  What i have found that really helps, oddly enough, is right within the DMG and DMG2: Player types.  You know, the section you glossed over because you know your players dammit.  Or at least your friends, you know them, right?  I was surprised by what I found out about my players when having them **** themselves on the guidelines of the Instigator, Storyteller, Slayer, Actor and more.  For example, two of my players are Instigators; few others will look beyond their cards, but instigators look for a rope to climb, a lever to flip, a chandelier to swing on, etc.  Few of my players are Actors, but most are Storytellers, which means they don't care about the individual characterizations (or at least are not motivated as much by them) as they are the overall story.  Which means that most encounters should, for them, have little story hooks.  One given as a freebie in a series of encounters then makes even the nearly straight Slayer type player I have (who is also a storyteller type) reason to look for new clues to what is going on in the story at large each encounter, and after each encounter.

So go back to both of those books.  They can help tell you what your players will respond to, and what they will not.  Also, have them tell you what they think they are, because they are usually right.  Make notes, and then using the second DMG in particular, you can find specific suggestions for what will or will not motivate each type of player.  Also note, many people are more than one thing in particular.  For example, one of my players is equal parts explorer, slayer and storyteller; this means that as long as there are interesting places to go, interesting story to find, and fun things to kill, he's game.

One last thing.  When introducing my players I ran Kobold Hall.  What I did is mention things they could do, such as jumping pits, climbing walls, etc.  So far, not a single battle has gone by without my players finding some way to look beyond those cards.  So take a little initiative to give them a push, let them know that, at least technically yes, jumping in the middle of a charge attack is not disallowed by the rules (as far as I have seen) and what is more, car count as a running start.  Then watch as your barbarian player sails over a pit to come crashing down on an innocent kobold.
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You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
If you want to foster creativity to overcome an enemy, you have to stuggle first. When turning over another power card will always 'do the trick' more efficiently, then you are no longer fostering creativity.

My solution to this is three fold. Less powers (same number of choices), player-initaited skill challenges, and inherent bonuses over singular magic items (so anything you attempt in combat has the same approximate chance of succeeding at any level).

My suggestions would be instead to:

1. Show them that there are options other than their powers
2. Give them a reason to use them over their powers

Take note of the DMG advice in p.42, then chuck the whole thing out the window.  If you want your players to interact with the environment and be more creative, then you can simply ignore the following line from p.42: "Use a normal damage expression from the table, because once the characters see this trick work they’ll try anything they can to keep pushing the ogres into the brazier."  Reason: the "pushing the ogres into the brazier" is *exactly* what you want your players to do regularly, rather than use their powers.

Anecdote: I remember the time I ran The Mark of Prophecy to my group, and at the last encounter they saw how fatal the drop could be to themselves (and to the enemy).  For this reason apparently, this encouraged the party to charge onto the enemy's hoverboards and bull rush them into oblivion (quite literally).  The barbarian in the party was filled with so much bloodlust that not only did he push the boss over the edge, he dived towards the boss as well, nevermind the near-fatal damage that he took.

My point again is that these options should be worth their effort, nevermind if they're even significantly more powerful than their powers either in damage or in effects (or both), so long as there is a very cinematic feel to the whole thing.  Comparing a 7[W]+STR attack [easily 7d12+40 by epic] with a 10d10 drop, a player would likely use the power before shoving the enemy into the darkness.

And while I know 4E discourages save-or-die quite heavily, for anyone who wants their cinematic feel, I see little reason to make threats any less threatening; if the scene calls for a thousand foot drop like the one in Lord of the Rings (the Balor vs. Gandalf scene), with the player grappling and attacking the beast as both of them fall to their likely doom, why not?  Because the guide says you shouldn't, even if we're looking at possibly the most awesome and heroic death possible for your group?

If save-or-die is too sensitive for the group, just make it literally a thousand foot drop -- 100d10 -- and start rolling dice when the two hit the ground.  Maybe the guy who took the beast down had the Undying Warrior trait after all, and could simply walk away from the carnage.

The game is what you make of it, after all

- - - - -
The way I'd look at the whole "power" system is in this manner: for beginners and those who want their balanced game, powers are there for easy and streamlined rules resolution, and so that players can contribute equally (give or take) over the course of an adventure. For the more creative / less sanity-inclined, they could leave the power construction to the DM in the form of Terrain Powers.

That's what we have skills for, don't we? :p 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging