how often do dungeon masters rule that objects can be destroyed ?

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In 4th edition magical fire powers like fireball don't mention they can ignite non magical flaming material like the could in 2nd edition.

And objects in 4th can only be destroyed attacked in 4th if the Dm rules they can.
In difrent groups i have seen this play in very difrent ways.

I saw one group where the DM ruled almost nothing was destroyable.
here players hid in a canvas tent to avoid dragon breath from a fire breading dragon to force it to come down to the ground as the tent broke line of sight and line of effect, and it is an object so not effected by things like dragon breath.
also the dragonborn with a fire breath weapon wanted to light the campfire with his dragon breat and the DM ruled he coulden't as atack powers don't effect objects.

on the other side i have seen a group where a Dm ruled a lot of items could be destroyed.
giving players warning like, are you sure you want to place that fire atack to include the table there is a lot of paper work on there that might contain clues and would be destroyed.
often describing non magical items that are effected during battle, using thunder powers inside a building cousing the windows to blow out and things like that.


how often do you rule that objects can be destroyed or damaged ?



As far as I'm aware all objects in 4e still have AC's, hardness, and hitpoints and can be broken using either damage from an attack or from a strength check to break the object. Rules compendium 174-177.

Generally we don't say an object is being attacked unless we're specifically trying to break something or it makes sense given the circumstances. Objects can be targeted by powers that target enemies/creatures at the DM's discretion so in the case of the dragon breathing fire on the tent the tent would go up in flames. If a player set off a fireball in a stone hallway though that's generally ignored. The dragonborn not lighting a campfire with his dragon breath just sounds like the DM is either new or a ****.

Damaging items is mostly a story element.  In one LFR module, the party is tasked to clear the cellar of an Inn.  The Inn Keeper mentions something about the casks of wine being delicate.  If the players use Burst or Blast powers then there is a chance that wine casks can be destroyed.  This reduces the rewards at the end of the module.


I ran my group through an ancient library encounter where there were research scrolls that they needed scattered around the stacks.  Depending on the powers used, I determined if there was a chance of destroying a needed scroll or item.  The downside of this was the people using certain powers felt restricted compared to players just doing regular damage.


 
When in doubt refer to the Rules Compendium as Droma has noted. 

Whenever the player wants to destroy something and it makes sense. And sometimes even when the players don't specifically attempt to destroy objects, to set the atmosphere and remind them that out-of-the-box thinking is possible. Although generally I try to keep encounter areas clear of destroyable plot items/valuables, since being careful isn't exactly our group's favourite strategy. If a player incinerates most of a room, I usually want them to feel awesome for wiping out the enemy, not feel bad for destroying a key piece of evidence. Or worse, be blamed by the other players. Important stuff is usually placed in a sturdy box, just outside the scene, or in Team Monster's steel-plated pockets.

If someone mentions they would like to affect an item with their power I let them. If they don't, I don't. - Provided it doesn't perminatley destroy someone else's worn items. 


If it perminatley destroys someone elses items its a case by case thing. Usually no. 

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Objects are specifically immune to certain damage types and are unaffected by attacks that target Will, but otherwise they're subject to being destroyed by powers or attacks. "Target: one creature" is not meant to indicate that the power can NEVER damage an object, although it won't damage objects incidentally (unless the power text explicitly says otherwise).
If someone mentions they would like to affect an item with their power I let them. If they don't, I don't.

This fits my approach completely.

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.
In 4th edition magical fire powers like fireball don't mention they can ignite non magical flaming material like the could in 2nd edition.

And objects in 4th can only be destroyed attacked in 4th if the Dm rules they can.
In difrent groups i have seen this play in very difrent ways.

I saw one group where the DM ruled almost nothing was destroyable.
here players hid in a canvas tent to avoid dragon breath from a fire breading dragon to force it to come down to the ground as the tent broke line of sight and line of effect, and it is an object so not effected by things like dragon breath.
also the dragonborn with a fire breath weapon wanted to light the campfire with his dragon breat and the DM ruled he coulden't as atack powers don't effect objects.

on the other side i have seen a group where a Dm ruled a lot of items could be destroyed.
giving players warning like, are you sure you want to place that fire atack to include the table there is a lot of paper work on there that might contain clues and would be destroyed.
often describing non magical items that are effected during battle, using thunder powers inside a building cousing the windows to blow out and things like that.


how often do you rule that objects can be destroyed or damaged ?




I have never met a DM or Player who would have accepted what I highlighted in your post.

A canvas tent can stop Dragon Breath?  So how come Plate Armor doesn't?  And how come there isn't a defensive spell called "create invincible tent?"  Rules Compendium was a bit better at explaining it, but even the original 4e DMG gave example ACs and hit points for desroying objects.

The way that DM ruled it, technically, the dragon could land on the tent and not damage it.  The canvas tent.  Made with canvas and a few sticks.  Invincible and unable to be destroyed by the dragon by attack powers.  Seriously, that makes my head hurt, and I would have packed up my stuff right there.

I've always seen DMs use the "logical" method:  For example: your Dragonborn?  Want to use Dragon Breath to light the fire?  Well, do you breathe fire?  Awesome.  Go right ahead.

Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
My group plays it by ear mostly. Most of the times it only matters when someone wants to specifically effect an object, and it needs rolling for (ie. destorying an evil altar being used to perform a ritual). Otherwise if someone says "I want to break this," if its within reason it's broken. Doors kicked down, vases smashed, beer bottles bashed, chairs broken over backs, etc etc. Powers affect objects when it would make sense and theres a story reason for it. Like we were going through an ancient library filled with dusty dry old tomes and the wizard cast flaming hands which hit a big section of shelving, lighting the place on fire. There was a narative reason for that.
IMHO, the best policy is:  if there's a reason for an object to be destroyed in the course of a battle, give it hps and defense, if not, inform the players that it's not important to attack it. 

4e tried to make all powers more generally-aplicable, which meant toning down or eliminating description-based side effects.  It's a higher level of abstraction.   In theory, if a DM started ruling that the traditionally-described fireball had all sort of unwanted side-effects, the player with fireball could start describing it in different ways.  Rather than get into that sort of back-and-forth, the mechanics of powers are focused on what they do to enemies & allies.

 

 

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If someone mentions they would like to affect an item with their power I let them. If they don't, I don't.

This fits my approach completely.




Same here. My invoker has a habit of exploding things with his thunder powers when he doesn't want to walk around.

On one occassion, I did roll to see if a building caught fire when someone critted with a daily fire power. But it was strictly because it would have been rad.
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If someone mentions they would like to affect an item with their power I let them. If they don't, I don't.

This fits my approach completely.




Same here. My invoker has a habit of exploding things with his thunder powers when he doesn't want to walk around.

On one occassion, I did roll to see if a building caught fire when someone critted with a daily fire power. But it was strictly because it would have been rad.



I'd be more attune to a natural 1 catching a building on fire than a critical hit.  Assuming this daily power has an area of effect that is.  A critical hit was optimally potent at the location of the creature it hit.  If it was the least potent possible at the location you wanted it to hit then it must have been pretty potent somewhere else.
with the DM that ruled many objects could be destroyed there was one thing i did enjoy when watching them play.

the DM let a lot of non relevant non magical items be effected.
like i said the dm made windows break when a thunder power was used.
knocking over empty chairs and things like that.

there things did not realy affect combat but gave the powers a real feal like the casters where wielding great power,
so i'm thinking about being more descriptive with the powers, but only as fluff nothing that actualy affects gameplay.

My group plays it by ear mostly. Most of the times it only matters when someone wants to specifically effect an object, and it needs rolling for (ie. destorying an evil altar being used to perform a ritual). Otherwise if someone says "I want to break this," if its within reason it's broken. Doors kicked down, vases smashed, beer bottles bashed, chairs broken over backs, etc etc. Powers affect objects when it would make sense and theres a story reason for it. Like we were going through an ancient library filled with dusty dry old tomes and the wizard cast flaming hands which hit a big section of shelving, lighting the place on fire. There was a narative reason for that.

+1. I do give my players a fair and clear warning when an action has the risk of causing damage to the environment*. At the same time I do try to limit such situations since players don't like to feel useless for a whole fight. The occasional challenge to force players to think is good is  good change of pace, but it should not become a drag. It is also a good tool to make the thief feel usefull since it is one way you can have traps work well by letting the trap harm evidence as opposed to the PCs. As for canvas tents offering full protection against a dragon breath, baring magic, my players would stop taking me serious if I would let that happen ;)

* Unless it is part of a trap, in which I would check passive Perception and knowledge skills to see whether or not the PCs would recognize the risk.
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