Having a small DM problem, figured Char OP could help.

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So an old friend of mine is starting a new game, and has invited me to play in it. We've been friends for years and have never played due to one simple problem: He hates options and I love them. He's an old school 3.5"PHB only" DM, and I can't get it through his head that, A: That doesn't keep people from breaking games and B: It doesn't work that way in 4e anyway.

He really wants me to play, but doesn't want me pulling anything from any books besides PHB 1, 2, or 3. How do I convince him that just because I would like more than 4 at-wills to choose from, or the ability to play a functional Paladin doesn't mean his game will be ripped into shreads and be unplayable for anyone? I did finally get permission to "cherry pick" a couple of powers from other sources, but that hardly covers all the bases. For instance another player really wants to run a Hexblade because he likes Duskblade in 3.5. He's boned under the current ruling on what is/isn't allowed. So far I'm banking on the fact that he wants to run a mini campaign to get to know the players he isn't familiar with yet (Me, the Hexblade in question, my roommate). Problem is, he's incredibly skeptical and I'm not actually sure any amount of math/simulations/discussion will convince him that splat books and options don't ruin games, and instead they enhance them.

So...suggestions? I'm certainly open to them.

And for the record, I'm wanting to run a Half-Orc Warden|Cleric with a Scythe that takes the Battle Cleric powers. So broken amirite?

Edit: Bro, if/when you see this, I am *NOT* trying to call you out. I just figured if you heard it from some other people than myself, people who know the system better than I do and can explain things better than me it might put your mind at ease, or even give some ideas on how YOU can become more comfortable with stuff. So make an account, join the discussion, and lets all talk! :D 
Dear arkthepieking's DM, quit being hardheaded.  Let your players use everything available to them, INCLUDING DRAGON.  It's kinda tough to build something super-crazy-gamebreaking-awesome in 4e.  If they manage to, say "That was fun, now that it's out of your system, tone it down".  Also, 4e is not 3.x, so don't treat it as such.  Read up on it, and figure it all out before making sweeping declarations and changes to everything.  And arkthepieking's PC is, well, I lol'd at Scythe.

edit:  DSMReference is right.  A party of fighter, ranger, wizard, and warlord, even right out of the PHB can curbstomp standard encounters.

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

Is he new to 4E? Are the players? If so, maybe he shouldn't be trying to start out with a whole campaign. I'd recommend running some one shot games to let the DM and the players get a feel for the system and what does and doesn't work. That is how I typically introduce new players to the game, especially if they are coming from 3.5. 
So...suggestions? I'm certainly open to them.



Can you get him to post here? I would like to talk to him for a little while, in a reasonable manner, to try and sell him on 4e splats.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Is he new to 4E? Are the players? If so, maybe he shouldn't be trying to start out with a whole campaign. I'd recommend running some one shot games to let the DM and the players get a feel for the system and what does and doesn't work. That is how I typically introduce new players to the game, especially if they are coming from 3.5. 



I think he's fairly new. He doesn't know the hybrid rules, and he says (part of) the reason he wants to limit things is because he doesn't want to have to deal with powers/class features/feats he's not familiar with. I've tried to get him to run one-shots, but he says he doesn't like them so the mini-campaign I believe is a sort of compromise on that.


 

Can you get him to post here? I would like to talk to him for a little while, in a reasonable manner, to try and sell him on 4e splats.



I can certainly try! I think that's a good idea. Hearing it from someone else might help quite a bit. Its one thing for the guy who wants access to everything to say "Sure, I won't break your game *cackles maniacally*". Its another when you hear it from people who are removed from the situation. I'll see what I can do on that front.
 

Can you get him to post here? I would like to talk to him for a little while, in a reasonable manner, to try and sell him on 4e splats.



I can certainly try! I think that's a good idea. Hearing it from someone else might help quite a bit. Its one thing for the guy who wants access to everything to say "Sure, I won't break your game *cackles maniacally*". Its another when you hear it from people who are removed from the situation. I'll see what I can do on that front.



I uh... think Armisael was joking when he mentioned "reasonable manner".  And if I'm reading his post wrong and he does stay reasonable, be prepared for your DM to be assaulted by others.
No, I was not being sarcastic or joking. People refusing to accept 4e splats is something I take really seriously because way too many classes are gimps because of it. If I can turn Ark's DM around to see things like we all do by refraining from talking in my usual gruff way, I'll gladly spend half an hour writing messages for it.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
No, I was not being sarcastic or joking. People refusing to accept 4e splats is something I take really seriously because way too many classes are gimps because of it. If I can turn Ark's DM around to see things like we all do by refraining from talking in my usual gruff way, I'll gladly spend half an hour writing messages for it.



Hats off to you then
Try pointing out original blade cascade to him as an example of the original stuff being broken.
Try pointing out original blade cascade to him as an example of the original stuff being broken.



Trust me, I thought about it. As a joke I thought about holding his game ransom. Either he lets me play what I want, or I roll up a PHB1 Lazylord and top the DPS charts for the group ha ha.
Try Pointing out +stat to d20 rolls. Oh wait. Thats still in the game. Everywhere.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
Remind him that the game has been around for four years.  Wizards didn't get everything right straight out of the gate and have added things more or less organically to the game to help realize certain core concepts (Straladins, for example) or fix otherwise broken math.  Picking a random array of books that are legal is pretty artifical, actually.  WotC works in a world of publisher's page counts and digital content.  Just because something is in PH3 doesn't immediately make it more or less important than something from Dragon.
Remind him that the game has been around for four years.  Wizards didn't get everything right straight out of the gate and have added things more or less organically to the game to help realize certain core concepts (Straladins, for example) or fix otherwise broken math.  Picking a random array of books that are legal is pretty artifical, actually.  WotC works in a world of publisher's page counts and digital content.  Just because something is in PH3 doesn't immediately make it more or less important than something from Dragon.



That's a very good point. I've brought it up to him in the past, but his response is always to the effect of, "If it was printed then it was fine. The core books are the most balanced ones."

Players breaking a game isn't a problem with the rules, its a problem with the player. Good players will behave themselves regardless of what sources they have and bad players will push whatever sources they have to the limit regardless. 
Players breaking a game isn't a problem with the rules, its a problem with the player. Good players will behave themselves regardless of what sources they have and bad players will push whatever sources they have to the limit regardless. 



Another point I've tried to bring up several times. Its not the game, its the player.
Remind him that the game has been around for four years.  Wizards didn't get everything right straight out of the gate and have added things more or less organically to the game to help realize certain core concepts (Straladins, for example) or fix otherwise broken math.  Picking a random array of books that are legal is pretty artifical, actually.  WotC works in a world of publisher's page counts and digital content.  Just because something is in PH3 doesn't immediately make it more or less important than something from Dragon.



That's a very good point. I've brought it up to him in the past, but his response is always to the effect of, "If it was printed then it was fine. The core books are the most balanced ones."




Boy could this board disabuse him of that notion quick.
What you might want to do is have a flashback/flashforward campaign that then leads into the main campaign.

As an example, let's say the characters start out at 1st level. Have a prophetic dream of a combat that they'll have at 8th level. Let everything work. If things go wacky beyond belief, tone things down. If the DM feels really comfortable with what happened, then the prophetic dream might come true.

This will help the DM feel a bit more comfortable with where you, the players, think you're potentially going buildwise. If he doesn't understand how things are working, he can tell you that and you can figure out how to work everything out.

Plus, then you have this cool prophetic dream against a BBEG that may or may not come true. 
Remind him that the game has been around for four years.  Wizards didn't get everything right straight out of the gate and have added things more or less organically to the game to help realize certain core concepts (Straladins, for example) or fix otherwise broken math.  Picking a random array of books that are legal is pretty artifical, actually.  WotC works in a world of publisher's page counts and digital content.  Just because something is in PH3 doesn't immediately make it more or less important than something from Dragon.



That's a very good point. I've brought it up to him in the past, but his response is always to the effect of, "If it was printed then it was fine. The core books are the most balanced ones."




Given his unfamiliarity with the secondary material, I don't see how he could possibly make this judgment.  And as rjsilverthorn pointed out (and a glance at the size of the errata files will prove), core does not always translate to balanced.
Players breaking a game isn't a problem with the rules, its a problem with the player. Good players will behave themselves regardless of what sources they have and bad players will push whatever sources they have to the limit regardless. 



Another point I've tried to bring up several times. Its not the game, its the player.



The games I run are pretty simple, you can use any source but I reserve the right to ban or change something if it becomes an issue. So far I haven't had to ban anything but I'm sure none of my players would give me a problem if I asked.
If he's using Monster Manual creatures, just go for 2 rangers, a wizard, and a warlord.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
If theres no non-core content, is there any errata?
 
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
This is a DM used to 3.x, so it is understandable to be afraid of the crazy crap that could happen at the end of some of those editions.  The main thing he needs to get into is the standardization of characters.  They have done a pretty good job making a baseline in 4e and sticking to it which means that while highly optimized characters might be better it isn't generally because of some crazy gimmick (revenants being an exception here) but rather about the math just being better.  There aren't "end the world" wizard spells and druids can't shapeshift into epic threats.  They did a pretty decent job of seeing how that borked the system and took it out.

My advice to your DM:  Let everything run wild at first.  Let players pick whatever they want as long as you get to see the source to make sure it isn't something homebrewed.  Then run them through a lair-assault type one-shot or two-shot to get used to how you can hammer the PCs.  Give the first set of PCs such a beating that you don't think they can survive (but still have a chance).  That should show you how strong PCs are.

From 3.x here is what you get:

Wizards aren't useless at level one and aren't brokenly overpowered at high level.  Their progression is much more linear.
Fighters are good out of the gate and good at high level.
Making encounters is a freaking cake-walk comparitively.  The CR system was terrible.
PCs are more durable, but less offensively powerful in general.  It takes more abuse from things their own level to actually kill them, but the Wizard won't Orb of Annihilation a small army either.
Significantly less power-creep than before.  At the end of 3.5 there was someone called, I think, the Inquisitor that could just say "I rolled a 20" instead of rolling a dice.  They didn't do anything like that bullshit.  In fact the later classes are generally weaker than the originals at high level. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Regardless of balance issues and Math fixes for some classes, Avenger is a popular example as they completely fail to meet Striker benchmarks without both Divine Power AND Dragon articles, the most glaring hole in the "PHB Series is Fine" logic is the Strength Paladin who doesn't get a choice of At-Will powers, Encounter Powers at 7th or 17th, Daily Powers at any level, and does not even have a Daily Power option at level 9. High Str Paladin is pretty damn Iconic in D&D, and without Splat Books it's not fully playable until level 15.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.