Completely new to D&D

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Hi.  I'm new to the forum here, and, i'm also very very new to D&D.  I have tons of D&D stuff, 3.5 Ed. books, mini's, "ready-to-go" quests, dungeon mats, punch-out tiles, hoping that one day i'd be able to get with friends and DM a game with them.  So last nite, I bought this D&D Starter Set, which basically has everything in it, to get you going on a solo quest, it helps you understand the game, and as you're playing the quest, you are also filling in your character sheet.  Anyway, I decided to DM that with my brother in law as the player.

I understood attacks, melee, or ranged, but let me put here what I was confused with, because it doesnt really explain the content in better detail.

First, there we're 4 gobliins.  Each of them had these same stats:

Initiative +3
AC 15, Fort, 13, Reflex, 15, Will 13
Hit points 1
Speed 6
Melee Attack (short sword) +6 vs. AC.  If this attack hits, it deals 4 damage.
Ranged Attack (shortbow) +6 vs. AC.  If this attack hits, it deals 4 damage.
Goblin Tactics: When you miss a goblin with a melee attack, the goblin shifts 1 square as an immediate reaction

So the first thing to do is roll the initiative, to see who goes first.

What about Standard action, minor and move actions?  Can they be used in any order?  Do you have to use all actions?

What is shifting?  It says here in the book also that, if you leave a square adjacent to a goblin, he can opportunity attack you and vice-versa.  But, you can "shift" as a move action 1 square.  But the way its worded is what is confusing me.  It says, "You (or the goblins) can avoid opportunity attacks by shifting.  You can shift 1 square as a move action.  The goblin tactics power lets the goblins shift as an immediate reaction on your turn."


Who is it referring to when it says, "on your turn"  The DM or the player?

And I understand how attacks work, but even that was vague.  No real information about the goblins defending.  Basically roll a D20, add attack bonus for the weapon or power, and compare the result to the moster's AC for a weapon attack.  Okay so the goblin has AC 15.  So what I was doing, player would roll D20, then would add +7, the attack bonus, and if that number was higher than 15, goblin dead.  Was that correct or not?  It doesn't say anything about if X number is rolled, goblin gets saving roll.  It talks about saving rolls in the DMG that came with this set, but didn't mention "melee or ranged" attacks.

Any help or clarity on all this would be great.  Thanks
There is no order required for actions.  But part of your problem is that the Starter Set appears to be in Fourth Edition language, while you're using 3.5.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Well no, this starter set comes with everything needed to play a "solo" mission as it said in the player book.  I didn't need to use any other books, because this was a starter set.  It's supposed to be that, you open the box, read the book, and it gives you a story, and then suggestions on what you can do, and if you do this, turn to this page and so on.  And in the midst of all of that, you are also filling out your character sheet as you go along playing.  But what I did, I had my brother in law as the player, and I just read the book, so we both could figure it out.
Let me see if I can tackle some of this, and bear with me because it's been awhile...


A standard action would be considered attacking, drinking a potion, cast a cantrip or low level spell, pretty much action that you can do in one round.  I'm not sure about shifting, could be a fancy way to say a five foot step, which does not invoke an Attack of Opportunity.  Moving in or out of a threatened area does, however, invoke an AoO.  I can only presume that the phrase 'On your turn' refers to the DM in this case.  And yes, if your d20 roll is higher after adding bonuses (or subtracting penalties) and the goblins have only 1hp, they are dead in one hit.

Hope that helps for now! 
Yes, but the rules being used are from the 4th ed typeset. 3.5 rules are much different and no "starter set" was made for it afaik....

No, you don't have to use all actions, nor do they all have to be used in a turn.

Shifting is what the book says it is and the goblin uses it whenever something attacks it and misses. Since the DM controls the goblin, this ability would happen on the players turn, immediately after the player misses.

The goblin is a minion. They are meant to die after hitting them. Also, you would also hit on a 15. That is the number required to meet to hit them.

Saving throws only come when they are called for in a power.

Honestly, all questions regarding the starter set needs to be directed to the 4th ed section of the forums...
I wasn't aware it was 4th edition.  When I was at the store, I thought I saw it said 4th edition on the box, but just thought I was seeing things.

As far as a 4th edition starter set being made, well I guess it was.


Yea, what I did last nite was, whenever he would miss an attack against a goblin, I'd move the goblin one square away from the player, so that was supposed to be the goblin shifting, but, not quite sure if I did that right or not.

"The goblin is a minion. They are meant to die after hitting them."

Is there a page that explains minions and other types of monsters in more detail, and how attacks affect different types of monsters?

"Saving throws only come when they are called for in a power."

So does that apply to all monsters, or just the goblins?  And if there is no power called upon for the monster to get a saving throw, then the monster gets no defense?
You handled the goblin's shifting correctly.

I don't have the starter box, but the general idea of minions is that they're mooks. They're not much of a threat individually, but they tend to show up in large numbers, and that's what makes them dangerous.

Standard monsters, by contrast, usually have enough hit points to take a few hits, and their damage output and other abilities make them a threat on their own.

As for saving throws: what you're used to seeing as "saving throws" in earlier editions was replaced by defenses (AC, Fortitude, Reflex, Will), and a hostile effect attacks one of those defenses. (IE: Charm Person involves an attack against the target's Will defense.)

The 4E 'saving throw' is a duration mechanic rather than a defense mechanic. There's a chance that a given condition ends at the end of the victim's turn, which is handled by a saving throw. 10+ on the d20 roll (with bonuses, if applicable) and the condition ends.
This would be better addressed on one of the 4e forums, but here we go anyway.
Yea, what I did last nite was, whenever he would miss an attack against a goblin, I'd move the goblin one square away from the player, so that was supposed to be the goblin shifting, but, not quite sure if I did that right or not.

A "shift" is a short-range adjustment (typically one square; the effect will always say how far it goes). There are some restrictions on how they work, but in general, it's "free" and "safe" movement. It doesn't necessarily have to be away from the player though. (It's been a long time since I looked at 4e (prerelease, actually) but as I recall it uses "shift" for a voluntary adjustment in any direction, while "push", "pull", and "slide" are used for forced adjustments (i.e. of opponents) in a fixed direction.)

"The goblin is a minion. They are meant to die after hitting them."

Is there a page that explains minions and other types of monsters in more detail, and how attacks affect different types of monsters?

There is (and there are quite a few other roles besides "minion"), but I don't know if it's there in the starter set. For a beginner, particularly with pre-built adventures, all that matters for a minion is that they have 1 hit point. Since all attacks deal a minimum of 1 damage if they hit (barring special text that says otherwise; I don't think minions commonly (ever?) have such text), a hit will automatically kill them. They're basically fodder on their own; in large groups they can be a threat if they dogpile something (although that also makes them vulnerable to area attacks).

"Saving throws only come when they are called for in a power."

So does that apply to all monsters, or just the goblins?  And if there is no power called upon for the monster to get a saving throw, then the monster gets no defense?

This is a bit different between editions (saving throws actually worked quite differently in previous editions!). While the basic idea of a "saving throw" hasn't changed much - it's always a desperate attempt to avoid or escape from a cruel fate - how they work, what they do, and when you use them really did change quite a lot.

-In 3e and 3.5, a saving throw had a modifier (i.e. your Reflex saving throw was +4) and was made in response to certain effects, which all specify when they need a save. For instance, a Fireball spell lists "Saving Throw: Reflex Half" in its description, so if someone cast Fireball at you, it automatically "hit" and you rolled your Reflex save (in this case, it'd be 1d20+4) and tried to get a number equal to or higher than the spell's DC. If you succeeded, the spell did half damage to you. If you failed, it did full damage. The individual effects mentioned when you made a save. (i.e. you didn't get a save against every spell - Magic Missile had "Saving Throw: None".)

-In 4e, a saving throw is a 1d20 roll typically made at the end of your turn when you're subject to an effect that interacts with them (i.e. a power might say something like "Hit: Target takes 5 ongoing damage (save ends)", in which case you'd take 5 damage each turn and roll 1d20 at the end of your turn; if you rolled 10 or higher, you "saved" and the effect ended). Occasionally you could make saves at other times but they still worked the same way (for instance, a team healer might have a power that lets an ally make a saving throw - potentially ending the above effect before their next turn). There's a bit more to it than this, but that's the basics.

In both cases, these rules apply to pretty much everything (in 3e/3.5, they do apply to everything, since monsters follow the same rules that players do; in 4e there are some specific exceptions, but I'm not familiar enough with the system to answer this offhand).

I wouldn't say "no defense", though. Note that in the first example (for 3.5), the spell automatically "hit" (unless the target had Spell Resistance, the caster doesn't need to roll or anything) and you used saving throws to determine how badly it hurt. In 4e, in general, spells require attack rolls against a specific defense (and you'll notice that the three saving throw types from 3e - Fortitude, Reflex, and Will - are different defenses for 4e) with different effects for hitting that defense and missing it. Although a spell might not allow a saving throw in 4e, it still interacts with the target's defenses - you'd still have to make, say, an Intelligence-based attack roll against any monster's Reflex defense if you wanted to hit them, which gives the monster some chance of defending.


(The biggest difference between these two? In 4e, the proactive creature - whoever's casting the spell, making the attack, etc - is always the one rolling all the dice. (Even saving throws usually only happen on your turn.) In 3.5, this was a bit different - usually it was the proactive creature making the rolls, with the significant exception being saving throws, which were made by the reactive creature. Basically 4e shifted its emphasis to make sure the player whose turn it is rolls most, if not all, of the dice.)

One other note that suffuses all of this: both 3e and 4e make use of what's called "exception-based design". The rules supply general cases, but specific elements can provide an exception for that, and in these cases the specific exception always takes precedent. For instance, in the 3.5 example above, that's the general case - but there's also a special ability called Evasion, which replaces all "Reflex Half" effects with "Reflex Negates" (so you take full damage on a failed save and none on a successful save, instead of full on a fail and half on a pass). Evasion provides an exception to the standard rules, so it takes precedent for the character who has it. If your characters have a power or feat or similar that looks like it changes the rules for them, that's actually what it's doing. So, while I'm talking about the general case here, if you read something that conflicts with it, go with what you're reading.

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Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Wow, thanks for the information guys, it really explained more to me than I had thought possible.

So then i'm assuming the 3.5 books and 4E books are incompatible because of the change with rolls against defense, which now I understand.

What about the 3.5 DMG book or 3.5 MM?  Are those incompatible as well?

And lastly, we did the starter set mission, but, that was just a small, and quick game, not very strong monsters.  Is there a way I can setup a 1 on 1 game, DM and 1 player, and make it so that the player won't get clobbered by the first set of monsters he sees?  Basically balance everything out so the play field is even and not one sided?

I know D&D is usually group play, but it's just me playing it with my brother in law for now.
Unfortunately, 3.5 and 4E are pretty much completely incompatible. Encounters are generally set up for a group of 4 players, so cutting the encounter level to 1/4-1/3 is really about the only way to do it. There's another way in 3.5 (gestalt rules in Unearthed Arcana), but I know if no similar method in 4E.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
While some parrallels can be drawn it is my opinon that 4e and 3e are two very different beasts which use mechanics that do not translate well from one to the other.  Yes, some of the numbers will match up but in many cases the philosophy behind those numbers has changed so they may not actually be compatible.
 
Unfortunately, 3.5 and 4E are pretty much completely incompatible. Encounters are generally set up for a group of 4 players, so cutting the encounter level to 1/4-1/3 is really about the only way to do it. There's another way in 3.5 (gestalt rules in Unearthed Arcana), but I know if no similar method in 4E.



So if I were to continue this game from the starter set, how would I dumb the encounter down?  Less monsters or keep the same amount of monsters and just lower their defense or strength's?  For instance, continuing the quest, there are 2 Goblin Cutthroats lvl 1 and 2 Gray Wolves lvl 2, both mobs are skirmishers.  The Goblin's each give 100xp and the Wolves give 125xp.  Granted, I know he could do that on his own, against 4 minions, but those guys are hit against AC, and dead.  These guys have HP now, and that's where i'm going to need to figure out, cut their strength back, which would sound right to me, but I could be wrong.

And what would the equation be for cutting back everything by 1/3?
Use 1 of each, or just a wolf. And quadruple the XP, since he's going it alone. XP is based on the assumption of a 4-member party also.
Two... Ah ah ah! Three.. Ah ah ah! Four... Ah ah ah! Six... Ah ah ah!!
88534793 wrote:
Punctuation exists for a reason, and your neglect of the shift key is to the point where Social Services should be involved.
If I go with one monster, say a wolf, thats 38hp x 4 = 152hp the wolf now has, versus the player's hp at 25.  I was thinking more along the lines of just cutting both back.  For example, take 4 mobs down to 1, and cut the hp by 1/3 also which is 29hp for the wolf.
Quadruple the EXPERIENCE points; not the hit points.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
I'm making some a number up but if you say a Wolf is worth 200 XP to a party of 1st-level adventurers you would, at least pre-4e, divide that 200 XP up equally between all party members.  If there are four people in the party that means each would get 50 XP from that wolf.

I'm not sure how 4e does XP but if it is list assuming each person in a four member party would get that amount you should increase the award for fewer PCs.
 
4e does the same thing, except all creatures give a set amount of xp.
I just thought I'd chime in to say:  There is no wrong way to play D&D as long as you are having fun!  Many people start out playing one on one or even messing around solo.

I wasn't much different than you when I started.  I had the Basic book, the 1st edition players handbook and DMG, which weren't really compatible, and no monster manual. 1st edition AD&D products were very unclear as to how game play actually progressed (at least to my young mind).

We mostly made it up as we went and we had a ball! 

Welcome to the hobby!