More questions from a beginning player.

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Alright, so my friends and I started with the essentials starter kit, and now have the rules copendium, the dungeon master book, the monster vault, and heroes of the fallen land, but after reading through all of them I still have a lot of confusion.

First of all, Mages: My friend is playing a mage and he has this thing where he tries to become overpowered oppose to balanced, so I just want to make sure his interpretation of the rules are correct, do staffs count as quarterstaffs? With the following attack and damage stats? So a mage with the feat to use intellect instead of strength for attack roles has a weapon that has an attack bonus of 10 and damage of 1d8+3, kind of weak but still a lot stronger than I believe a mage should be meleeing...

Further, Fighters: We've had a sort of loose interpretation of the rules as to classes because we don't want to stick to the specific classes, so this question might be sort of hard to answer, but I was creating a fighter sub-class with proficiency in Plate armor, but not shields. (So inbetween a slayer and a knight.) But while creating this class, I noticed the bonus for plate armor was +8, but the bonus for hide armor was +3, but with hide armor you still retain a bonus to AC from dexterity, so with a dexterity of 20 (starting at 18 and a racial modifier of +2), which my character has, that results in a modifier of +5 and a total AC bonus of +8 as well, but the hide armor also allows the user to retain his speed so same AC bonus but no speed penalty... So why bother with anything higher than hide?

Finally, Longsword versus Greatsword: Both have an attack bonus of +3, and the long sword does 1d8 and the greatsword does 1d10, but the greatsword is 2 handed and the longsword is versatile so you get a +1 bonus using it 2 handed, which results in a roll of 1-9 versus the greatsword which is 0-9 so why bother with a greatsword?

P.S. I forgot some of the questions I originally had typing this, there are loads, but I'll add to this thread as they appear.

Edit 1: Oh right, d10's, the starter box comes with a d10 numbered 1-10 but the player handbook has a picture of one numbered 0-9, and when I bought more dice sets they came numbered 0-9, so we've been playing using 0-9 as the correct numbering but my query of longsword versus greatsword seems to imply otherwise.
All of these things seem right, I'll give you a bit of a breakdown.

The wizard: A staff implement can indeed be used as a quarterstaff. If he takes the feat to use Int instead of Str for his melee basic attack, he can add his full intelligence modifier to the attack roll and half of his intelligence modifier to damage.

 As for the fighter question, while I can't help with your homebrewed class, I can tell you that yes, if you have a high Dexterity or Intellect modifier, that hide can be better than plate, BUT many classes do not have a high Dex or Int, so Plate would be better for them.

Lonsword vs. Greatsword. Yeah, the greatsword is underwhelming versus using a longsword two handed. It gets even worse when compared to the Bastard Sword, which isn't in the Essentials books, but it's better than both of them.

d10s: A d10 numbered 1-10 is correct. a d10 numbered 1-0 is the same. 0 doesn't mean 0, it means 10. The reason that some d10s have a 0 is when rolling for percentages, 2d10, you take the tens column from one die, and the ones column from the other. 
Thanks for all your quick answers.

Ah right, I meant to ask about bastard swords as well, I forget where but I read somewhere that bastard swords can be used one handed with the correct strength and training? So I've been using one one-handed on my old fighter class having assumed the pre-requisite was less than 20, is this accurate? With a +3 attack bonus and 1d10?
The only pre-req for using a Bastard Sword is the feat Bastard Sword Proficiency.

Also, if you've just started playing I would seriously advise against homebrewing/houseruling until you gain a better understanding of the system.

And your Mage buddy needs to forget melee training and take Staff Expertise. 

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But aren't bastard swords by default 2 handed unless you have strength training?

Also, I know that it's highly not recommended, but originally we started with just the starter book (which is severly limited), and when we started building our own dungeons we found play severely lacking, from there we started playing with a 1st edition playerbook and a 3.5th edition DM book (due to miscommunications on my christmas list) and no monstervault, so needless to say we entered this game with a need to be creative, but so far everything have been more balanced than my experience with the starter kit, so it seems to be working.

Yeah he ended up with that too.

But aren't bastard swords by default 2 handed unless you have strength training?



No.  Bastard Swords are versatile weapons, meaning you can use them one-handed normally, or two-handed and gain a +1 bonus to damage.
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Keep in mind that each edition of D&D is a separate game, they don't just mix and match with each other.  If you vaguely remember a rule from somewhere, it's best to check where it was from.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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You should use a rapier instead of a longsword or a bastard sword or whatever. If your character has the DEX, you get more out of them than heavy blades. Also, high DEX means you should wear hide armor. If you want to wear heavy armor, IMO, scale is better than plate. There are plenty of ways to mitigate the +1 that plate gives you.

I agree with the above posters: you don't want to mix'n match or houserule without total system mastery. The Essentials books are cheap and should be easy to find, so get them (or step up to the non-essentials books).
One caveat to the longsword/greatsword issue: using the longsword in two hands still leaves you with a [W] of d8, not d8+1. This matters because many powers involve multiple [W], so with a power like Brute Strike, a longsword wielder would get 3d8 + 1, not 3d8 + 3, to the greatsword wielder's 3d10. This difference becomes more pronounced at higher levels, when at-wills are usually doing 2[W] and encounter and daily powers are doing anywhere from 3[W] to 7[W].

Edit: Oh, another thing: the longsword won't qualify for something like the Slayer's heavy blade features because those specifically require a two-handed weapon, not just a weapon wielded in two hands.

--

As for the mage using a staff: +10 vs AC for 1d8 + 3 damage sounds like the character is higher than 1st level and/or using a magic weapon, since I can't think of any way to get those numbers at 1st level. (+8 vs AC and 1d8 + 2 with a nonmagical staff and also having an Expertise feat.)

If he's going that route though, he's spending character resources (feats) to be reasonable at something the class normally isn't, which is fine. (Mind you, 4E wizards aren't necessarily expected to be pushovers in close quarters, unlike old-E standards.)

As for the custom class, I'll also recommend against homebrewing stuff when you're first getting started. If you've got a slayer who wants plate proficiency, he can obtain it with a feat (and it's a reasonable option). If he's Dex-heavy then he may not actually need it, though.
The only pre-req for using a Bastard Sword is the feat Bastard Sword Proficiency.


Actually nothing is a pre-req for using a Bastard Sword.

Anyone can pick one up and start using it. You just don't get the bastard sword's weapon proficiency bonus (+3 to attack rolls) when using that weapon if you are not proficient with it. That bonus is huge, so it would be wise to be proficient with it if you plan to use one regularly.
from there we started playing with a 1st edition playerbook and a 3.5th edition DM book



Okay.  You need to pick *one edition*, and forget all the other editions.  They don't work together.  They don't cross over.  They're not the same game.  Football rules and Baseball rules are completely different.

I forget where but I read somewhere that bastard swords can be used one handed with the correct strength and training? So I've been using one one-handed on my old fighter class having assumed the pre-requisite was less than 20, is this accurate? With a +3 attack bonus and 1d10?



A Bastard Sword in D&D4 is a Superior Weapon, so it requires the feat Superior Weapon Proficiency to use effectively.
Once you have the feat, it is a one-handed Heavy Blade, with a +3 proficiency bonus and a 1d10 damage die, and the Versatile trait.  And anyone can use it exactly as that, regardless of stats, regardless of class:  Take the feat that says "I know how to use this weapon", use the weapon.

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Another comment regarding the hide vs scale vs plate armor discussion - the differences in these armors become larger at higher levels when you start getting into masterwork versions and allowed enchantments.

 If you plan on using high dex as an archer, and for skills like atheletics, and acrobatics, hide may be better.
  However, if you have low dex or int (the typical brute fighter), higher level plate will give you a significant AC bonus to make up for the lack of a dex bonus.

As a late game examples when you get to +6 armors (which are the most pronounced, your masterwork choices for plate include Godplate, which is a base +14 AC PLUS the enchantment of +6 (so +20 AC), or there's Terrasque Plate armor, which is +12 AC Plus the enchantment and grants you a constant Resist 5 All damage.

  For comparison, the top tier Hide armors are Elderhide (+5 AC +6 Enhancement) and Voidhide (+4 AC +6 Enhancement, +2 Fortitude), so to keep up with the AC of a character in Godplate, you would have to have a Dex or Int modifier of +7 or +8 respectively.


Edit: Also meant to include that some enchantments are only allowed on Plate or Heavy armors and not on Hide, and vice versa ( a fair number allow Hide or Chain).  Many of the enchantments for heavy armors are geared for the classes expected to be wearing heavy armor.


The only pre-req for using a Bastard Sword is the feat Bastard Sword Proficiency.


Actually nothing is a pre-req for using a Bastard Sword.

Anyone can pick one up and start using it. You just don't get the bastard sword's weapon proficiency bonus (+3 to attack rolls) when using that weapon if you are not proficient with it. That bonus is huge, so it would be wise to be proficient with it if you plan to use one regularly.

QFT.  A lot of folks forget that you don't need to be proficient in any weapon or armor in order to use it, or they just assume you have to be proficient to use it.  It's just that if you're not proficient with a weapon you don't get the proficiency bonus to attack rolls and if you're not proficient with the armor you will have some penalties to attacks and REF (IIRC).  Lack or proficiency does not prevent you from using that stuff ... but the penalties might make it really undesirable.

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I'm pretty sure not having proficiency with a weapon makes it an improvised weapon, doesn't it?  You don't just lose the prof bonus, you lose the damage die as well.
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No it doesn't. It only means you don't add the Proficiency bonus  (RC 273)

Yan
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@Plaguescarred on twitter

Thanks for all your replies everyone, I have another question I just encountered. Arc lightning, it says it hits one or two targets, and ranged 20 for both shots, and can bend around allies, this seems kind of strong to me again, (in my head arc lightning would go straight, need line of effect from caster to target 1, and then from target 1 to 2). Are we interpreting the spell correctly?

Edit: Also, Dying, this was also unclear for me, death saving throws below 10, is it 3 that are not consecutive for death? Or 3 in a row?
Arc Lighting is one attack against one target or two attacks against two targets, each within 20 squares from you and each lightning bend as much as an archer's arrow do for the purpose of cover.

Failed Death Saving Throws need not be consecutive. You die if you roll a 9 or lower three cumulative times before taking a rest, this even if you are brought back up and goes down again in the same encounter.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Alright thank you again, I have another question regarding necrotic damage, is there any guidlines for creatures or players dying due to necrotic damage being undead or anything along those lines? Or is it just it's own damage type.

Also, for rolls of 20 on area of effect attacks, since the damage is calculated once does a crit still happen for the target of the 20?

Sorry for so many questions, thanks again to everyone for being so helpful.
Being killed by necrotic damage has nothing different than being killed by any other damage type. Its just a damage type, among many. 

Only the target that the 20 was rolled against is critted and gets max + extra damage, other targets hit get normal damage.

You're welcome you can shoot more anytime brother!

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

This isn't really a question, but I just noticed that Hydra doesn't appear in the Table of Contents on the Essentials Monster Vault O.o

Also, how do you recommend organizing all the tokens? I'm using alphabetically labelled ziplock bags for now, but I'd prefer something more efficient than that. 
This isn't really a question, but I just noticed that Hydra doesn't appear in the Table of Contents on the Essentials Monster Vault O.o

Also, how do you recommend organizing all the tokens? I'm using alphabetically labelled ziplock bags for now, but I'd prefer something more efficient than that. 



Plastic Bead Organizers and strips of paper.

The bead organizers look like this:

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The small ones are about the perfect size for the medium sized tokens and they have larger sizes for the larger tokens.

In order to label the different ones, just take strips of paper (about 1cm tall) and write on the slip of paper what is in that paricular cuplet with the sign facing outward.

So it should look like this:
-----------Lid
Goblins(8)  (with tokens behind)
-----------Base

They are modular, so you can also stack them however you choose and keep certain towers set aside for certain missions or modules.  I have a tower that is set aside right now for the next session.  I just took the individual cases that had the tokens in it I needed and made a tower for the encounter.  That way I have an easy-to-carry, always labeled and sorted container of tokens for use in any encounter. 
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