#tabletopday 2 - At a store

This time I brought pregens (sticking close to the encounters rules of pickup play). A friend from the Old Team showed up to return as Jacar the wizard (an elf, this time). A random dude played Thorn, the ranger.
Jacar has experience playing and running both 3.x and 4e. He vastly prefers 3.x. I vastly prefer 4e.
Thorn said he had never played D&D before. I'm guessing he had played WoW, by a few comments.
We tried to get a friend to play remotely as Spence the halfling rogue. Spence loves tabletopping, and much like several folks on this board develops hisown homebrew games.
After the first encounter Georgette showed up. Well, I had given them an NPC paladin named George. She had played in several of my 3.x games years ago. She had tried 4e w/ one of my favorite dms, but didn't really dig the game. I think 4essentials may've been a better fit since it's kinda 3.9ish...
Jacar felt powerful. Like a wizard. When I asked him about the experience of playing a wizard in 4e, he said that he had felt like a nerfed 3.x warlock. Just constantly doing the same blast. I asked him about always using ray of frost. That, apparently, felt wizardlike. Perhaps it's that this playtest put the save on the dm. But, it was odd because most of the time he'd want to roll anyway. The spell recovery thing worked out really well for Jacar (a well-rolled burning hands is always useful). I like it. I feel like wizards are extremely powerful once or twice per day, but that the other characters are responsible for steering the game the rest of the time. I'm actually okay with this. I think a wizard player likes to be a little useful most of the time, but have just the right spell when it really really counts.
George, the paladin, died. Two bites from a giant lizard with a poisoned bit and a failed save ended his life. He was avenged by his long lost adopted sister,Georgette the lifegiver cleric. Now, for a few combats she got to play George. I asked her how the two compared. She thought George was a little better at martial combat(I think she explicitly said melee), but really couldn't tell that much of a difference between the two in playstyle. Jacar, in our post-game meal/discussion pointed out how 4e classes felt the same due to the power structure being identical. But, I recalled how I and another player were both paladins in his game, and we were mechanically very different (and we even had a power that overlapped!). Regardless, 4e felt similar between classes and the cleric and paladin play too similarly right now. But, this is the armored cleric (which is somewhat paladinlike), unlike the lightbringer and other clerics who would've played very differently from a different deity's cleric.
Also, I didn't use feats this game.
Thorn's player didn't join us for food. But, he had a lot of fun. It was really easy for him to jump in and get the rules. I think he was bummed there wasn't more beyond what I had made up for that playtest. Good times, I think. The ranger got mileage out of cure wounds and cloud of fog in this game as well.
I think the game is too lethal at low levels. I'd prefer 3-4 having more enemies who are tougher and able to 1 or 2 shot PCs. I did soup up badguys' hp from encounter to encounter (using the average to max in the bestiary). This allowed me to sustain combat for another round or a half, w/ some baddudes being "unusually tough and capable". It also allowed dramatic plans and rolls (like a nat 20 or a sneak attack throat slit) to be more effective. As long as they did damage in the max hp range it died.
No feedback from the rogue "Spence" since his player couldn't really connect. He played by committee, and did the gutsiest (and sometimes self-servingest) stuff. But, in this game as well the crowning moment of awesome was stealing the generic evil orb from a cleric. However, they beat a retreat and had a comedic chase scene.
For Christmas, my older brother got me an olde DMG reprint. I snagged inspiration for the chase rules from there. Basically: sprint roll (dex or str check). Con save to maintain for a few rounds of running. It worked out well. I also incorporated some exploration rules influence (they got a little lost in the dungeon).
All-in-all massively fun for all! Some feedback needs to be given, but I like the direction.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Great report.   Let us know how other events turn out.   Our group and I agree that all of the classes seem quite different now.   We loved the spells requiring saves mechanic.   Instead of having the player roll the saves, we ended up rolling damage and saves simultaneously.  DM roll saves, player roll damage.   That gave the player something to do and it also made the round go faster.  Most of the spells do 1/2 damage on save so the damage was almost always used and the player felt magical.

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Great report.   Let us know how other events turn out.   Our group and I agree that all of the classes seem quite different now.   We loved the spells requiring saves mechanic.   Instead of having the player roll the saves, we ended up rolling damage and saves simultaneously.  DM roll saves, player roll damage.   That gave the player something to do and it also made the round go faster.  Most of the spells do 1/2 damage on save so the damage was almost always used and the player felt magical.



Great idea, I really like that. I think that helps address the notion that players aren't 'doing' anything when casting spells. Like yous said, most do at least half damage anyway, so why not have the magic users roll damage while the DM rolls the save.
4e the classes were vastly different, there was more variation in it then there has been in any previous edition, no two fights built the same, unless they purposly did it. and the diffences between wizard warlock and sorcerer were the most diverse then they have in the past.
To clarify:
I think 4e does a good job of different classes feeling different. I tried to explain to Jacar's player how this is true citing examples from a 4e game he ran. It didn't sway his opinion. Georgette still felt like the common accusation against 4e of "sameyness"felt true. I couldn't persuade either of them, in spite of evidence.
Similarly, the dndNext cleric and paladin felt far too similar. I think the paladin might need more emphasis on ch:divinity, and less on spells... or his own mechanic?
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
i was looking at the paladin, maybe instead  giving the same spell list as a cleric there could be one of a more offensive rout with some defensive holy spells for his list. maybe make him even more around melee
Radajind, I could see some swift spells which enhance melee attacks or allies' saves. Or HP. It could work. I guess I see paladins as holy warriors while I see clerics as holy spellcasters.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls