4th edition less magical?

922 posts / 0 new
Last post
Having quietly lurked on these forums for a couple of years, I finally decided to actually say something myself after purchasing the 4e core books.

I started playing D&D 3.5 about 4 years ago, and when 4e was published, I figured the message boards would be transformed into a pro-/anti 4e flame war, and therefore decided to avoid the forums for the time being, read the new core books and form my own opinion about the new edition. So about a week ago I bought the core books.

I must say that there are a couple of things I really like about the new edition. Giving powers to every class is really brilliant. The fighter can finally do more things than simply ”attacking with his longsword”, and with his at-will and encounter spells, the wizard will always have something to do. (after all, you play a wizard because you want to do magic).

There is however, a huge problem with the new magic system that has not (as far as I have seen) been adressed in-depth on the message boards. A problem that, in my opinion, renders the wizard class and, to some extent, the entire game, unplayable. It is not the system that is the problem (as I said, the at-will/encounter/daily spells are brilliant), but rather the spells themselves.

First of all, there are far too few spells to choose from, and they are all very similar to one another. One spell deals 3d8 points of damage and knocks the target prone, while another does the same but makes the target immobilized instead of prone, and a third damages and knocks prone characters in a small area of effect a bit away. Practically all spells seem to be useful only in combat situations (deal damage, bonus to attacks, penalty to AC and so on). Even several among the utility spells seem to be designed for use only in combat.

What happened to the other, non-combat spells? What happened to summoning demons and demanding their service? What happened to creating powerful illusions, shapechanging into other creatures or becoming gaseous? What happened to charming and dominating people, and talking to them through their dreams? It might sound silly, but even simple spells like create water and discern north gave the impression that magic was something beyond ”3d8 + charisma points of psychic damage”.

While I understand that rituals have been created to serve exactly this purpose, they are nevertheless far too few to compensate for the loss of the non-combat spells of the spellcasting classes.

It feels as if the spellcasters have lost their versatility and have ultimately been stripped down to nothing more than combat machines capable of only dealing some damage and then stunning, dazing or perhaps sliding the target a few feet. What happened to reshaping the ground, changing the weather and creating clones of yourself?

This lack of versatility also becomes apparent when you are designing adventures. When practically all magic is only usable in combat, your adventure design choices drop drastically. No more dominated barons or dukes. Not even the good old necromancer works anymore, since the core books do not mention any magic even remotely similar to animating the dead.


If we turn our attention to combat magic, I cannot help but notice the abscence of spell-like abilities as I flip through the monster manual. The player character's combat choices may have increased, but it seems to me that the monster's choices have been severely restricted. For an extreme example, take a look at Orcus, Demon Prince of the Undead. He has only three different attacks to choose from. He is a Demon Prince and yet he does not have access to any magic at all? What happened to conjuring walls of fire, blasting his enemies with negative energy and imprisoning their souls in jars? A battle against Orcus in which he can do nothing more than to hit his opponents with his rod until he runs out of his 1525 hit points does not seem to be very exciting to me.

To wrap it all up, I feel that the magic system in fourth edition focuses far too much on combat, and leaves the spellcasters with practically no spells that are useful outside a fight. This severely limits the versatility of the spellcasting classes and the game in general, reduces the flavour of the game and makes magic seem less, well, magical.

The new system increases the player's options in battle, but the lack of spell-like abilites greatly restricts the monster's options and inevitably leads to quite boring battles in which the villains is restricted to one or two different attacks.

What are your thoughts on this?

I guess I'll just have to wait for 4.5 and hope they have fixed this problem by then, but it looks like I'll have to stick to 3.5 till then.
I agree. I'm sticking to 3.5 because I simply don't like the flavor of 4.0, the way it handles, or basically anything about it. I absolutely HATE what they have done with Faerun.
I have tried the new system, me and my 4 gaming buddies agree that it is complete and utter ****.
It IS like WoW, which we won't go to D&D to play, if we wanted a tabletop mmo, we'd use the WoW tabletop RPG.
On the bright side, all the 3.5 books are on clearance :D
Ritual Magic; pg 296 of the Player's Handbook. The stuff that broke the last edition isn't there (minion creation, mental domination, make-god-get-me-stuff spells), but there's a good selection of non-combat magic and there's going to be more with every publication.

As to the rest of your post; You're entitled to your opinions, but I'd suggest giving it all a thorough play-test before you write the system off. Casters now play like everyone else, and that's the point.

I'm too tired to address your post point by point without dissolving into a rant about people who want casters to be able to do everything and how they ruined the last edition, so I'll end this here.
I agree. I'm sticking to 3.5 because I simply don't like the flavor of 4.0, the way it handles, or basically anything about it. I absolutely HATE what they have done with Faerun.
I have tried the new system, me and my 4 gaming buddies agree that it is complete and utter ****.
It IS like WoW, which we won't go to D&D to play, if we wanted a tabletop mmo, we'd use the WoW tabletop RPG.
On the bright side, all the 3.5 books are on clearance :D

Did you come up with all that yourself, or does PsionX have a mailing list now?
What happened to the other, non-combat spells?

The game devs decided that it would be much easier to balance the game by removing such effects and making the game entirely about dealing damage. Unfortunately, some people believe that only a system that enforces balance this way can be balanced. This is probably the only reason 4e even exists IMO.
Ritual Magic; pg 296 of the Player's Handbook. The stuff that broke the last edition isn't there (minion creation, mental domination, make-god-get-me-stuff spells), but there's a good selection of non-combat magic and there's going to be more with every publication.

As to the rest of your post; You're entitled to your opinions, but I'd suggest giving it all a thorough play-test before you write the system off. Casters now play like everyone else, and that's the point.

I'm too tired to address your post point by point without dissolving into a rant about people who want casters to be able to do everything and how they ruined the last edition, so I'll end this here.

Yes, it's the point of 4th edition...and that's the sad part. The point of the game seems to have changed from fantasy adventures, to tabletop wargaming. This is why wizards have been made to work "the same as everyone else"

They have balanced the game through homogeneity, in the same way that warcraft 2 was balanced. Wizards weren't broken they had the most powerful abilities at later levels but also the most drawbacks and vulnerabilities, which made them interesting.

Sure at tenth level you could pass through walls and fly, but you had a limited number of things you could do per day, you had to plan ahead. Some situations severely limited your capabilities - always relying on charming your enemies? doesnt work against undead, same with casting on a ship during a storm...good luck.

Now all the classes are operating on the same mechanic. This certainly makes some aspects of the rules much much easier to figure out, including making it very easy to make your own classes and such. But now many classes have lost their flair. So many people are complaining about the same things for a reason.

I certainly don't hate the new edition though. Most of it i really like. I have issue with the "balancing", and some other things designed to make the game more forgiving (like healing surges, milestones and such) DnD has always been unforgiving. I am just waiting for the next step in 4.5:

"yes now when you die you actually appear in spirit form at the nearest graveyard and just have to travel to your corpse to reanimate"

sound familiar?
Did you come up with all that yourself, or does PsionX have a mailing list now?



You win this thread..

You sir..... get a cookie.
If you have any 4E conceptual issues or rules that you would like help with feel free to PM me. Roleplaying since 88! Guide To Dealing With Problematic Posters
This lack of versatility also becomes apparent when you are designing adventures. When practically all magic is only usable in combat, your adventure design choices drop drastically. No more dominated barons or dukes. Not even the good old necromancer works anymore, since the core books do not mention any magic even remotely similar to animating the dead.

Do what I do, ignore the rules if the adventure benefits from it. In my first 4e adventure I had a necromancer, the place was filled to the brim with undead. Even though the Warlock I statted up for the last encounter didn't have animate dead spells, I still went along ignoring the rules to make the adventure fun for me and my players.

This is my way of giving a Big "FU" to the rules and do as I please. ;)

As for the rest of your post, I agree. I miss illusions (the paltry amount of illusion in DDI is not enough for my tastes), charms, shape changing, summons, divination, transmutation and of course necromancy. In 4e it's hard to pull your own weight in battle without resorting to damage. But despite that, I will still play 4e because it's fun and enjoyable and my group asked for more. I still play 3e, so I get best of both worlds.
-I got ran over my a squirrel the other day. -I'm going to steal my own idea. -My fruits of labor are not fruits... *sniff* they're vegetables. *sobs*
I agree. I'm sticking to 3.5 because I simply don't like the flavor of 4.0, the way it handles, or basically anything about it. I absolutely HATE what they have done with Faerun.
I have tried the new system, me and my 4 gaming buddies agree that it is complete and utter ****.
It IS like WoW, which we won't go to D&D to play, if we wanted a tabletop mmo, we'd use the WoW tabletop RPG.
On the bright side, all the 3.5 books are on clearance :D

It's nothing like WoW. But that's your opinion, and your entitled to it. At least you gave it a try. Sorry you didn't enjoy it, and hey, good luck finding a full set of 3.5 books .
If anything I say is wrong, clueless or spelt incorrectly, it is because, I am, in general, wrong, clueless and... Well, I'm usually spelt correctly.
"yes now when you die you actually appear in spirit form at the nearest graveyard and just have to travel to your corpse to reanimate"

sound familiar?

So does that mean you can loot your own corpse? That others will not be able to loot your corpse for like 30 minutes to give you a chance to get back to it first. Then there is only about 2 minis after that that anyone can loot it for an item or two before the corpse and all items on it decays out of existance?

Seems like I have seen that somewhere before.
What happened to the other, non-combat spells?

Rituals. At - Will Cantrips. Some utility spells.



What happened to summoning demons and demanding their service?

'Ambassador Imp', 'Minions of Malbolge', [Insert Homebrewed lvl 22+ Ritual Here]

What happened to creating powerful illusions, shapechanging into other creatures or becoming gaseous?

'Hallucinatory Terrain'. 'Hallucinatory Creature'. 'Shadow Form'. 'Beguiling Tongue'. 'Disguise Self'.

As for the true shapechanging, that seems to have been made the true dominion of the doppleganger, as it should be. Though, again, you can always make a ritual for it.

Funny that people seem so angry at having a system that is open to self creation to fullfill needs that the designers missed or did not originally want in their game. When my players saw "Rituals", their eyes widened like children meeting the real Santa Clause.
Spellcasters were broken in 3.x. They were broken because they could do everything and had access to horribly broken powers.

Until you understand this, you understand absolutely nothing.

The idea that spellcasters should have more options than non-spellcasters is horribly wrong and you need to clear your mind of it.

Spellcasters should not be more fun to play than non-spellcasters, and spells shouldn't break the game in half.

That's why spellcasters are so much more limited in what they can do now; because now they aren't broken and have options roughly equivalent to, in power and scope, those of other classes.

Incidentally, you obviously didn't actually read the monster manual, or didn't understand the templating.

You see, spells aren't different from other powers anymore; they're the same. TONS of monsters have SLAs; they're just standard abilities and have the same templating as other abilities, AS THEY SHOULD.

Some people complain about out of combat spells, but I'll counter with this: most of them shouldn't exist.

You should not give players the ability to create their own army of mindless slaves unless EVERYONE has that ability. Don't argue, don't whine, don't complain; you're wrong and I'm right. You CANNOT allow it.

Same goes for numerous other things - dominating/charming people completely does away with need for roleplaying, diplomacy, and other party members. Flying completely screws over adventures. Teleportation makes it too easy to come and go as you please at a moment's notice, anywhere, anytime.

3.x did not work, and spellcasting being broken was a large part of why it was non-functional. The entire vancian casting system, the idea of being able to change into any shape you wanted... these are inherently broken, and simply not good for roleplaying games.

They have balanced the game through homogeneity, in the same way that warcraft 2 was balanced. Wizards weren't broken they had the most powerful abilities at later levels but also the most drawbacks and vulnerabilities, which made them interesting.

The only person who claims wizards weren't broken is the person who has absolutely no idea what they're talking about.

Wizards didn't have the most drawbacks and vulnerabilities; clearly you don't understand 3.x. They had no weaknesses, no drawbacks, and no vulnerabilities. Oh no, I'm out of spells! I'll just teleport away, rest, and teleport back. Or planeshift away to a plane where time runs a million times faster, rest, and teleport back the same round I left, but with all my spells. Oh, I'm suprised? That's right, I can't be suprised due to divinations and the fact that I've got spells which allow me to instantly and proactively react to anything.

They had numerous ways of killing anything with no saving throw, no SR, and no ability to escape.

Only the ignorant would claim they weren't broken, because they were, even without throwing splatbooks into the mix.

Sure at tenth level you could pass through walls and fly, but you had a limited number of things you could do per day, you had to plan ahead. Some situations severely limited your capabilities - always relying on charming your enemies? doesnt work against undead, same with casting on a ship during a storm...good luck.

Why are you on a ship? You can teleport. And fly. Obviously you haven't played a mid to high level 3.x wizard, otherwise you wouldn't speak of things like ships.

Now all the classes are operating on the same mechanic. This certainly makes some aspects of the rules much much easier to figure out, including making it very easy to make your own classes and such. But now many classes have lost their flair. So many people are complaining about the same things for a reason.

That reason being, of course, that they have no idea what they're talking about.

You cannot give spellcasters the ability to do everything. Simple as that. If you think you can, then you shouldn't play D&D, as D&D has non-spellcaster classes which are supposed to be as powerful as the spellcaster classes. There are games which assume that everyone is a spellcaster, and that is the game you must play if you want to give wizards the power to do everything. The only way to give wizards the power to do anything is for everyone to be wizards.
Yes, it's the point of 4th edition...and that's the sad part. The point of the game seems to have changed from fantasy adventures, to tabletop wargaming.

Stop right there. The point of the game is the same as it always was; providing a mechanical framework wherein you and your buddies can pretend to be brave warriors and cunning thieves from a magical fantasy land. That hasn't changed. What has, and what's freaking everyone out apparently, is the quality of the combat system.

4E's system is leaps and bounds ahead of previous editions in terms of the impact of tactics and in-combat decisions on the game as a whole. You don't win fights with your character sheet anymore; you win them with strategy. All this means is that combat now showcases the abilities of the characters rather than being a speed bump on the way to the Wizard dominating out of combat play. It's not "roll for initiative, cast save or die, split loot" anymore, and apparently that has a lot of feathers ruffled. The system isn't a table-top strategy game anymore than Monopoly is a game of craps; they share certain similarities (dice rolling, money changing hands, etc) but they do very different things if you're using them correctly.

This is why wizards have been made to work "the same as everyone else"

Wizards don't work "the same as everyone else." They cast spells, know rituals right from the start, and have a good working knowledge of the planes of existence built right in. Compare to the Fighter, who swings his sword, can take a beating, is good at killing things with pointy stuff and probably knows more about the local sporting events than anything to do with the Shadowfell or Feywild.

Wizards do have combat powers. And the do generally do damage. The thing is, that hasn't changed from previous editions at all. Magic Missle, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, etc. Combat staples that every Wizard who didn't have Conjuration and Evocation blocked would prepare and cast. They had other things too (what mid-to-high-level Wizard was ever without the ability to make the game go "boom" if he wanted to, after all?) but if they wanted to synergize with their party-mates rather than completely dominate them, damage dealing was their best bet.

Now all the classes are operating on the same mechanic. This certainly makes some aspects of the rules much much easier to figure out, including making it very easy to make your own classes and such. But now many classes have lost their flair. So many people are complaining about the same things for a reason.

No offense, but that "reason" always boils down to "I can't do the things I used to do, and I find change scary." Shifting paradigms (in this case the underlying mechanical system of D&D) always bring people out of the woodwork opining for what was and mindlessly demonizing whatever replaced it.
Funny that people seem so angry at having a system that is open to self creation to fullfill needs that the designers missed or did not originally want in their game.

I never claimed that there are no non-combat spells, I only said that there are far too few non-combat spells. Every class has no more than just a handful on them, whereas they in 3.5 had dozens, if not a hundred, of them. While I understand that it is fully possible to create your own rituals, I somehow doubt it is the right choice to dump all responsibility on the DM to create the 200+ rituals needed to make magic seem like something more than just a weapon to kill things with.

You see, spells aren't different from other powers anymore; they're the same. TONS of monsters have SLAs; they're just standard abilities and have the same templating as other abilities, AS THEY SHOULD.

I do understand that spells have the same templating as the other powers, and I do agree that practically all of the monsters do have SLAs, but the problem here is the same as above: they are far too few. Look up any mid to high level monster in the 3.5 monster manual, and you will see that most of them have at least ten SLAs or spells, in addition to their normal attacks and extraordinary abilities. The monsters of 4th edition seem to have 3 or, at most 4, different attacks too choose from, leaving them with significantly less tactical options in combat.

You should not give players the ability to create their own army of mindless slaves unless EVERYONE has that ability.

I don't agree about this. If everyone is supposed to be able to to everything the other characters can do, then what is the purpose of having different classes? Aren't the classes supposed to be different? Aren't they supposed to give the players different abilities?

3.x did not work, and spellcasting being broken was a large part of why it was non-functional.

I suppose this is true, to some extent, but I don't believe it was necessary to completely tear down the system to balance it. As it is today, there is no significant difference between the wizard and the fighter. What they do is practically the same, except that the way they do it looks a little different. The fighter is a warrior, and therefore he should do lots of damage in combat. The wizard is a magic-user, and therefore he should be able to perform magic. They are different classes, and thus they should have different abilities.
I'd rather see all the schools of magic split into various classes than to have them all grouped under the same one. It wouldn't change much mechanically since to be effect you should focus on one specific school of magic rather than try to do it all...so why not just have different names right? Plus new class mean new class features and those are always fun!

The new uniform power structure makes it easier for new comers to pick up.
58292718 wrote:
I love Horseshoecrabfolk. What I love most about them is that they seem to be the one thing that we all can agree on.
See for yourself, click here!
Casters now play like everyone else, and that's the point.

That isn't honestly responsive to the argument. The OP uses the word spells, but what is really under discussion are powers (or capabilities, or whatever you choose to call packages of costs-targets-effects).

In 4th those are indeed lacking variety. Related to that, classes can feel more homogenous.

As you say, Ritual Magic provides an out. An out that is unnecessarily narrowed (or costly) while at the same time hearks back to the paradigm of 'spells' for stuff containing variety. Thus it fails one of 4th's best design objectives.

-vk
In 3.5e D&D spellcaster were totally overpowered and dominated the game. Some people loved this.

In 4e D&D spellcasters are no longer overpowered and can no longer dominate the game. Some people hate this.

WotC is playing the world's smallest violin for the 4e haters.
That isn't honestly responsive to the argument. The OP uses the word spells, but what is really under discussion are powers (or capabilities, or whatever you choose to call packages of costs-targets-effects).

No, what's really under discussion is the level of versatility and "magicness" a Wizard brings to the table. The powers are representative of in-combat abilities, but there is an entire section of the book dedicated to non-combat magic. Discounting them is disengenious at best.

In 4th those are indeed lacking variety. Related to that, classes can feel more homogenous.

Only on paper. In practice Wizards, Rogues, Clerics, etc play completely differently. They use the same mechanic (d20 + Attribute mod vs Defense) but the effects they create have very different impacts on the battlefield. Saying that the Wizard "feels" just like the Fighter is like saying that pizza and tacos taste the same because they contain the same food groups.

As you say, Ritual Magic provides an out. An out that is unnecessarily narrowed (or costly) while at the same time hearks back to the paradigm of 'spells' for stuff containing variety.

"Unnecessarily" is extremely subjective. All the classics are there; Knock, Scry, Raise Dead, Comprehend Languages, Speak with Dead, etc. The only truly ubiquitous spells that aren't Rituals are things like Feather Fall and Fly which are Wizard Utility powers instead.

Rituals as they stand keep the flavor of the versatile spellcaster without providing major avenues for abuse. Charms and mental dominations are out because they basically wound up giving the Wizard a second PC. Same goes for Undead and Golem creation. Those will probably show back up in later supplements, but only after the devs have taken the time to make sure they aren't unbalancing. Frankly, I'd rather have a Charm (or animate dead, or summon animal companion, etc) spell that I can let my players use freely than one that I have to massively restrict to keep it from breaking the game.

The bottom line is that casters in previous editions, the ones that filled everyone's head with this idea that they should be able to do absolutely everything, were unbalancing to the game. Well played, they could suck all the fun out of a campaign for the other players, and that made them bad classes. The way it's set up in 4E, they have their niche (Controller), they have their magical powers (lets see the Fighter turn invisible or Fly), and they don't invalidate every other PC class.

Thus it fails one of 4th's best design objectives.

Only through an extremely hostile interpretation of those objectives.
While I understand that it is fully possible to create your own rituals, I somehow doubt it is the right choice to dump all responsibility on the DM to create the 200+ rituals needed ...

DM created rituals? No no no. My players create the rituals (if they have ritual caster feat). Its a great roleplaying tool (the studious mage/cleric/arlock/other class with a thing for magic spending time in a stuffy library/lab/mage tower to study a create a ritual) and I still have final say as a DM to let it in or not (nay- the ritual doesn't work, a flaw of research or design; aye- the ritual works as intended, or maybe with an unexpected variance).


But 200+? I'm trying to fathom what effects you want that aren't in 4th ed....
I don't find it less magical, I just find it different. In things prior ot 4th, once a spellcaster was out of memorized spells, or power points or whatever alternative they used, they were essentially useless. In early levels this was problematic.

In 4th edition, a mage can continue to keep throwing out those missiles, a paladin can still use lay on hands nd a priest can still keep throwing up magical shields.

To me, there is more magic now.
Yes, it's the point of 4th edition...and that's the sad part. The point of the game seems to have changed from fantasy adventures, to tabletop wargaming. This is why wizards have been made to work "the same as everyone else"

They have balanced the game through homogeneity, in the same way that warcraft 2 was balanced. Wizards weren't broken they had the most powerful abilities at later levels but also the most drawbacks and vulnerabilities, which made them interesting.

Now all the classes are operating on the same mechanic. This certainly makes some aspects of the rules much much easier to figure out, including making it very easy to make your own classes and such. But now many classes have lost their flair. So many people are complaining about the same things for a reason.

I really have to laugh when I see comments like this. Not just from you, but from others as well. Yes, the game is balanced through similar mechanics that all must follow. Even though the mechanics are similar, though, it is the fluff of the ability that differentiates the characters. And isn't that what roleplaying is really all about?

Does it really matter that both the fighter and wizard have at-will abilities that inflict damage. The fighter's is described as some fantastic maneuver which allows him to damage and, perhaps, inflict a condition on his enemy. The wizard's is a spell which allows him to do the same, but it is described differently. And that, to me, is the important part in a roleplaying game. Mechanics are just the effect, nothing more.

My fighter steps up to the ogre and swings his sword, catching the ogre at the knees and knocking him to the ground. The mechanics are damage and causing the target to be dropped prone until his turn.

My wizard casts a spell that causes a resounding clap of thunder to target the ogre and the force of the sound rings his ears and forces him to the ground. The mechanics are damage and causing the target to be dropped prone until his turn.

Even though they both have the same effect, it is the descriptions that are the roleplaying aspect. This is why there can not be rules for roleplaying. Some groups would play this to the hilt, others would just tell the maneuver being used and what effect it has. What you do is completely up to you.

Many games have gone in the directing of similar mechanics for actions. Savage Worlds, Mutants & Masterminds, True 20, etc. Balance in any game should be paramount. Nobody, or most people, like to feel that they are getting the short end of the stick, even for roleplaying reasons. A level playing field means it usually, more often than not, comes down to how you roleplay your character. This is why I feel that 4.0 promotes, rather than detracts, from roleplaying.
People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. --George Orwell There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. --Howard Zinn He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster. --Friedrich Nietzsche Devil\'s Brigade
I really have to laugh when I see comments like this. Not just from you, but from others as well. Yes, the game is balanced through similar mechanics that all must follow. Even though the mechanics are similar, though, it is the fluff of the ability that differentiates the characters. And isn't that what roleplaying is really all about?

Does it really matter that both the fighter and wizard have at-will abilities that inflict damage. The fighter's is described as some fantastic maneuver which allows him to damage and, perhaps, inflict a condition on his enemy. The wizard's is a spell which allows him to do the same, but it is described differently. And that, to me, is the important part in a roleplaying game. Mechanics are just the effect, nothing more.

My fighter steps up to the ogre and swings his sword, catching the ogre at the knees and knocking him to the ground. The mechanics are damage and causing the target to be dropped prone until his turn.

My wizard casts a spell that causes a resounding clap of thunder to target the ogre and the force of the sound rings his ears and forces him to the ground. The mechanics are damage and causing the target to be dropped prone until his turn.

Even though they both have the same effect, it is the descriptions that are the roleplaying aspect. This is why there can not be rules for roleplaying. Some groups would play this to the hilt, others would just tell the maneuver being used and what effect it has. What you do is completely up to you.

Many games have gone in the directing of similar mechanics for actions. Savage Worlds, Mutants & Masterminds, True 20, etc. Balance in any game should be paramount. Nobody, or most people, like to feel that they are getting the short end of the stick, even for roleplaying reasons. A level playing field means it usually, more often than not, comes down to how you roleplay your character. This is why I feel that 4.0 promotes, rather than detracts, from roleplaying.

QFT!
If you have any 4E conceptual issues or rules that you would like help with feel free to PM me. Roleplaying since 88! Guide To Dealing With Problematic Posters
The point of the game was to emulate a herioc figure in a fantasy world. Combat was a side system to the game. In some games, Combat never/rarely happened. Once successful game could have been a character acting as his kings advisor. As a wizard, being able to shape change or pass through walls or listen from a distance or observe from a distance, you can see where all this subterfuge can be a great deal of fun for the player...but wouldn't necessarily lead to much combat. I can't run that type of game effectively now.

How about a game where the group is told to build a settlement on the edge of a forest. This game would favor skill checks and diplomacy. It would deal with finding resources and the construction of the wall and town. Sure, you could approximate this one with the current skills, but much of the flavor is lost. Everyone will have approximately the same skill levels. Those trained will be similiar and those untrained will be similiar. There will be some combat in this game as well, but weeks can go by without combat.

Yes, you can run and roleplay for weeks with this game as much as the other, but the other game had rules cover many different aspects. Given that much of this will be added later, still, the rules as written are so combat oriented as to give the impression that combat is the end and be all of this game.

That is about the furtherst from the truth. Combat was about a slice of the adventurers life.

Many people have stated (myself included) that this version handles combat very well. What it forgot was that the world exists outside of combat.
The point of the game was to emulate a herioc figure in a fantasy world. Combat was a side system to the game. In some games, Combat never/rarely happened. Once successful game could have been a character acting as his kings advisor. As a wizard, being able to shape change or pass through walls or listen from a distance or observe from a distance, you can see where all this subterfuge can be a great deal of fun for the player...but wouldn't necessarily lead to much combat. I can't run that type of game effectively now.

How about a game where the group is told to build a settlement on the edge of a forest. This game would favor skill checks and diplomacy. It would deal with finding resources and the construction of the wall and town. Sure, you could approximate this one with the current skills, but much of the flavor is lost. Everyone will have approximately the same skill levels. Those trained will be similiar and those untrained will be similiar. There will be some combat in this game as well, but weeks can go by without combat.

Yes, you can run and roleplay for weeks with this game as much as the other, but the other game had rules cover many different aspects. Given that much of this will be added later, still, the rules as written are so combat oriented as to give the impression that combat is the end and be all of this game.

That is about the furtherst from the truth. Combat was about a slice of the adventurers life.

Many people have stated (myself included) that this version handles combat very well. What it forgot was that the world exists outside of combat.

Umm, I dunno what you are talking about. Considering 3rd edition rules focussed heavily on combat as well. That might of changed over the years I stopped getting into 3rd edition because the system was just too cluttered with rules.

But you don't need rules for picking your nose, crossing the street and the like, and those are actually handled fairly simplistically in 4th edition to.
DM created rituals? No no no. My players create the rituals (if they have ritual caster feat). Its a great roleplaying tool (the studious mage/cleric/arlock/other class with a thing for magic spending time in a stuffy library/lab/mage tower to study a create a ritual) and I still have final say as a DM to let it in or not (nay- the ritual doesn't work, a flaw of research or design; aye- the ritual works as intended, or maybe with an unexpected variance).

That actually does seem like a great idea. The downside of this is, however, that without some inspiration, something to spur their imagination, it might be difficult for new players to come up with new rituals, and therefore more pre-made rituals in the PHB wouldn't hurt.

It also seems that some people are missing my point. What I am trying to say is not that wizards should be able to kill people with a single spell. I am not trying to say that wizards should be able to deal more damage than a raging barbarian to several enemies using a single spell. What I am trying to say is that there are too few non-combat spells; spells that are not used inside combat.

Take a look in the 3.5 PHB. Now look at the spell list of the druid/cleric/wizard. At every spell level, there are about ten or a dozen spells that would be useful outside combat. These are the kinds of spells I miss. Not the "save-or-die" spells. Not the extremely powerful evocation spells.

I don't know, I just feel that 49 rituals to make up for all of these are too few. Sure, some of these spells exist as powers, but as I have already said, they are pretty useless outside of combat. Invisibility, for example, exists as a wizard power, but it only lasts for 1 round (6 seconds). That is too short to be useful when you are not in a fight.
That actually does seem like a great idea. The downside of this is, however, that without some inspiration, something to spur their imagination, it might be difficult for new players to come up with new rituals, and therefore more pre-made rituals in the PHB wouldn't hurt.

While I agree that more pre-made rituals wouldn't be bad, I think it's spurious to assume that players aren't creative enough to come up with ritual ideas on their own.
Rituals. At - Will Cantrips. Some utility spells.





'Ambassador Imp', 'Minions of Malbolge', [Insert Homebrewed lvl 22+ Ritual Here]



'Hallucinatory Terrain'. 'Hallucinatory Creature'. 'Shadow Form'. 'Beguiling Tongue'. 'Disguise Self'.

As for the true shapechanging, that seems to have been made the true dominion of the doppleganger, as it should be. Though, again, you can always make a ritual for it.

Funny that people seem so angry at having a system that is open to self creation to fullfill needs that the designers missed or did not originally want in their game. When my players saw "Rituals", their eyes widened like children meeting the real Santa Clause.

Yes, but you're forgetting that some people need to be spoon-fed their creativity or else they just sit there saying, "This game broken."

Don't worry, baby birds. I'm sure WoTC will be mouth-feeding you your creativity again in no time. I'm sure they'll be books of rituals and powers for years to come.
Spellcasters were broken in 3.x. They were broken because they could do everything and had access to horribly broken powers.

Until you understand this, you understand absolutely nothing.

The idea that spellcasters should have more options than non-spellcasters is horribly wrong and you need to clear your mind of it.

Spellcasters should not be more fun to play than non-spellcasters, and spells shouldn't break the game in half.

That's why spellcasters are so much more limited in what they can do now; because now they aren't broken and have options roughly equivalent to, in power and scope, those of other classes.

Incidentally, you obviously didn't actually read the monster manual, or didn't understand the templating.

You see, spells aren't different from other powers anymore; they're the same. TONS of monsters have SLAs; they're just standard abilities and have the same templating as other abilities, AS THEY SHOULD.

Some people complain about out of combat spells, but I'll counter with this: most of them shouldn't exist.

You should not give players the ability to create their own army of mindless slaves unless EVERYONE has that ability. Don't argue, don't whine, don't complain; you're wrong and I'm right. You CANNOT allow it.

Same goes for numerous other things - dominating/charming people completely does away with need for roleplaying, diplomacy, and other party members. Flying completely screws over adventures. Teleportation makes it too easy to come and go as you please at a moment's notice, anywhere, anytime.

3.x did not work, and spellcasting being broken was a large part of why it was non-functional. The entire vancian casting system, the idea of being able to change into any shape you wanted... these are inherently broken, and simply not good for roleplaying games.



The only person who claims wizards weren't broken is the person who has absolutely no idea what they're talking about.

Wizards didn't have the most drawbacks and vulnerabilities; clearly you don't understand 3.x. They had no weaknesses, no drawbacks, and no vulnerabilities. Oh no, I'm out of spells! I'll just teleport away, rest, and teleport back. Or planeshift away to a plane where time runs a million times faster, rest, and teleport back the same round I left, but with all my spells. Oh, I'm suprised? That's right, I can't be suprised due to divinations and the fact that I've got spells which allow me to instantly and proactively react to anything.

They had numerous ways of killing anything with no saving throw, no SR, and no ability to escape.

Only the ignorant would claim they weren't broken, because they were, even without throwing splatbooks into the mix.



Why are you on a ship? You can teleport. And fly. Obviously you haven't played a mid to high level 3.x wizard, otherwise you wouldn't speak of things like ships.



That reason being, of course, that they have no idea what they're talking about.

You cannot give spellcasters the ability to do everything. Simple as that. If you think you can, then you shouldn't play D&D, as D&D has non-spellcaster classes which are supposed to be as powerful as the spellcaster classes. There are games which assume that everyone is a spellcaster, and that is the game you must play if you want to give wizards the power to do everything. The only way to give wizards the power to do anything is for everyone to be wizards.

WOW

way to be mature...

heres what your post sounds like: I THINK THIS...IF YOU DONT THINK THIS THEN YOU DONT KNOW ANYTHING....YOU CANNOT DO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IT IS WRONG AND YOU KNOW NOTHING!!!11!!!1!!!!

if you want to live in a personal bubble where only your opinion counts, then stay off the boards.

-----------------

ok in response to the reasonable people...

I do concede a point...the wizard has the potential to own combat with some high level spells, at high level all classes can get out of hand powerful (even fighters), but wizards CAN do amazing things.

there are many ways to have overpowered characters though. i know someone who found a way for a priest with the strength domain to have like 100 strength (this is just out of the players handbook).

fighters with certain feat combos got pretty sick too, same with having characters with +30's to skills like bluff.

but seriously...was there a big outcry before 4th edition about the wizard? was the game unplayable because of this class? in your group did everyone always play the wizard? it would be interesting to go back and look at what people were complaining about before anyone mentioned 4th edition.

in my group we dont roll for stats, we pick them...the DM says be reasonable, and we respect that. we are also reasonable about our characters. when i make a character i dont care about trying to be more powerful then everyone else...i think of a cool concept and go from there. i think that is how most mature players do it...

i am fine with WOTC balancing classes, but don't do it by making them all the same...and they are all the same. It is solidly obvious by the inclusion of power-swap feats that every power of a certain level is exactly matched to another classes power of the same level.

just the fact that it is the same mechanic for every class makes the classes so much less interesting in my view.

in 3rd edition every class had a totally different way using abilities. some had a balance of fighting in melee and casting divine or arcane spells (ranger, paladin) some had more focus on spells (priest) some were all spells (wizard), the fighter was all feats, the monk was a melee class like fighter but had cool abilities at every level, the rogue was all skills and some abilities. so each class was interesting and felt different from the others.

in 4th its like woot this class gets abilities in the same way as everyone else...its just that they have the "arcane" tag, or they have more ranged powers, or they use charisma instead of strength, big deal.

also...some of us like dominating monsters, and like running two PC's, just adds more depth to the game, the DM gets to play with the character losing control of the monster (maybe the monster gets free of the spell but pretends to be still under it). some of us like having a character whose concept is a wizard who just uses summon spells and stands back while his minions fight for him. or a character who uses the diplomacy skill every combat (my group always thought the courtier class was overpowered and the DM said we couldnt play it at one point).

so for wizards to take all these cool powers away from us is a harsh blow to our group.

games that need to be perfectly balanced are ones like warhammer 40,000 (which happens to have more variation between each army then 4th edition has between classes) dnd needs to be perfectly balanced if your 12 years old

after all this though...4th edition is still pretty good, im not sticking to 3.5. i guess wizards just needs to release a big book o' spells and rituals or something.

maybe they need an expansion "Dungeons and Dragons hardcore mode *for mature audiences only" (no healing surges!)
The point of the game was to emulate a herioc figure in a fantasy world. Combat was a side system to the game. In some games, Combat never/rarely happened. Once successful game could have been a character acting as his kings advisor. As a wizard, being able to shape change or pass through walls or listen from a distance or observe from a distance, you can see where all this subterfuge can be a great deal of fun for the player...but wouldn't necessarily lead to much combat. I can't run that type of game effectively now.

That is exactly what I am trying to say!
While I agree that more pre-made rituals wouldn't be bad, I think it's spurious to assume that players aren't creative enough to come up with ritual ideas on their own.

I've always left it up for my players to create powers, spells rituals and the like, and if it was good, I would add it to the blue book.

In fact, with the Wizard addition in dragon for illusion spells, I think it's quite obvious new powers can be created for the class, and quite easily.

To say the new system is limiting I think is one of those excuses that really boggles the mind.
The point of the game was to emulate a herioc figure in a fantasy world. Combat was a side system to the game. In some games, Combat never/rarely happened. Once successful game could have been a character acting as his kings advisor. As a wizard, being able to shape change or pass through walls or listen from a distance or observe from a distance, you can see where all this subterfuge can be a great deal of fun for the player...but wouldn't necessarily lead to much combat. I can't run that type of game effectively now.

What?

No, my good sir. You're romanticizing the history of D&D.

D&D, classically, is just a combat game. It's about going into dungeons, killing things, and getting treasure. Stories were frameworks to hang this on so it wasn't completely unbelievable.

Consider the fact that the first books produced for D&D encouraged not naming your character until it was certain they'd survive.

The "role-playing" part, of playing a role in a story, game later. Roleplaying, originally, meant playing a tactical role in a group.
I've always left it up for my players to create powers, spells rituals and the like, and if it was good, I would add it to the blue book.

In fact, with the Wizard addition in dragon for illusion spells, I think it's quite obvious new powers can be created for the class, and quite easily.

To say the new system is limiting I think is one of those excuses that really boggles the mind.

Agreed. 4th Ed's design makes for incredible ease of user created content.


Invisibility, for example, exists as a wizard power, but it only lasts for 1 round (6 seconds). That is too short to be useful when you are not in a fight.
Reply With Quote

It can last quite a bit longer if the wizard sustains it.
I don't know, I just feel that 49 rituals to make up for all of these are too few. Sure, some of these spells exist as powers, but as I have already said, they are pretty useless outside of combat. Invisibility, for example, exists as a wizard power, but it only lasts for 1 round (6 seconds). That is too short to be useful when you are not in a fight.

And Invisibility can be sustained indenfinately as long as you spend a standard action each round doing so. Which if you are not in combat seems like a pretty easy thing to do.
I'm gonna use certain points in Toftarn's post to springboard off of with my own thoughts and opinions.

I must say that there are a couple of things I really like about the new edition. Giving powers to every class is really brilliant. The fighter can finally do more things than simply ”attacking with his longsword”, and with his at-will and encounter spells, the wizard will always have something to do. (after all, you play a wizard because you want to do magic).

I like the *idea* of at will, encounter, and daily powers. Unfortunately, to implement this design (seemingly inspired by Book of Nine Swords for v.3.5 ;)) means scrapping Vancian casting as we know it. I miss Vancian casting; maybe it's disappearnce is what's causing 4e to feel less like D&D for me.

There is however, a huge problem with the new magic system that has not (as far as I have seen) been adressed in-depth on the message boards. A problem that, in my opinion, renders the wizard class and, to some extent, the entire game, unplayable. It is not the system that is the problem (as I said, the at-will/encounter/daily spells are brilliant), but rather the spells themselves.

First of all, there are far too few spells to choose from, and they are all very similar to one another. One spell deals 3d8 points of damage and knocks the target prone, while another does the same but makes the target immobilized instead of prone, and a third damages and knocks prone characters in a small area of effect a bit away. Practically all spells seem to be useful only in combat situations (deal damage, bonus to attacks, penalty to AC and so on). Even several among the utility spells seem to be designed for use only in combat.

I forget who originally posted this, but here's how they deconstructed 4e powers:

In 4th, you find there are maybe five powers:
1) Deal damage
2) Deal damage + move,
3) Damage + move foe
4) Damage + heal yourself
5) Damage + status effect

On one hand, all the many powers have clearly defined parameters; they follow a design, and that's good. On the other hand, its easily recognizable, and even seems repetitious reading it.

What happened to the other, non-combat spells? What happened to summoning demons and demanding their service? What happened to creating powerful illusions, shapechanging into other creatures or becoming gaseous? What happened to charming and dominating people, and talking to them through their dreams? It might sound silly, but even simple spells like create water and discern north gave the impression that magic was something beyond ”3d8 + charisma points of psychic damage”.

While I understand that rituals have been created to serve exactly this purpose, they are nevertheless far too few to compensate for the loss of the non-combat spells of the spellcasting classes.

The one problem I have on rituals is that anyone can access them now (given the right feat, time and money). I'm so used to these "spells" being the domain of the arcane and divine casters. I'm just gonna have to learn how to think out da box on this one ;).

It feels as if the spellcasters have lost their versatility and have ultimately been stripped down to nothing more than combat machines capable of only dealing some damage and then stunning, dazing or perhaps sliding the target a few feet. What happened to reshaping the ground, changing the weather and creating clones of yourself?

[Snipped for brevity]

What are your thoughts on this?

I guess I'll just have to wait for 4.5 and hope they have fixed this problem by then, but it looks like I'll have to stick to 3.5 till then.

I totally agree that 4e feels less magical. I'm also sticking primarily with 3.5. Even if they do eventually release a "4.5" however, I'm just gonna wait 'til 5th edition-- 4e is not 4me :P.
/\ Art
The point of the game was to emulate a herioc figure in a fantasy world. Combat was a side system to the game. In some games, Combat never/rarely happened. Once successful game could have been a character acting as his kings advisor. As a wizard, being able to shape change or pass through walls or listen from a distance or observe from a distance, you can see where all this subterfuge can be a great deal of fun for the player...but wouldn't necessarily lead to much combat. I can't run that type of game effectively now.

Why? Do you really need rules for all that stuff? The problem with many of those abilities is that they became broken in many other situations. If you are able to run a game with players using these abilities without taking advantage of them, then you really do not need rules for them. Unfortunately, the reality is that many of these abilities caused problems. Until those problems can be resolved they have been removed form the table.

How about a game where the group is told to build a settlement on the edge of a forest. This game would favor skill checks and diplomacy. It would deal with finding resources and the construction of the wall and town. Sure, you could approximate this one with the current skills, but much of the flavor is lost. Everyone will have approximately the same skill levels. Those trained will be similiar and those untrained will be similiar. There will be some combat in this game as well, but weeks can go by without combat.

A game like this would favor roleplaying. Skill checks should only be used where there is an element of risk. The flavour is up to you, the players of the game, though. If there is any lack of flavour, that is on you and your group's haed and no one elses. There is absolutely no need for mechanics for every eventuality. And if you do not see a difference between someone trained in a skill and being untrained, I really do not see the point in trying to explain it yet again.

Yes, you can run and roleplay for weeks with this game as much as the other, but the other game had rules cover many different aspects. Given that much of this will be added later, still, the rules as written are so combat oriented as to give the impression that combat is the end and be all of this game.

What kind of aspects do you feel are not being covered at this time? I'm curious.

That is about the furtherst from the truth. Combat was about a slice of the adventurers life.

It may have been a slice in your games, but it remains a predominant part of many other games. Hence the reason it retains a chapter unto itself to this day. Yes, this shows its roots as a wargame, but I do not see this as a negative. Besides, I can not think of one RPG that does not dedicate an entire chapter to combat. It is usually the one mechanic that is in need of the most mechanics. Mind you, I have not experienced every RPG out there, as yet.
People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. --George Orwell There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. --Howard Zinn He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster. --Friedrich Nietzsche Devil\'s Brigade
Artifact, I think you haven't read the book, because there are quite a number of things, called utility powers, that don't even do an ounce of damage.
No, I've read the book ;) and I understand what you're saying. A few utility powers don't make 4e feel any more magical though, which was my point.
/\ Art
No, I've read the book ;) and I understand what you're saying. A few utility powers don't make 4e feel any more magical though, which was my point.

Add them then. The format of the quick spell list make's it easy to convert more spells over into utility powers for wizards and clerics.
So in other words, everything you want already exists in the game, but the Player's Handbook isn't 1,000 pages long and therefore can't fit in hundreds of rituals and dozens of alternate powers per class per level. Is this really a surprise?
Please, Everyone! Stop replying to these threads. We all know It is just PsionX, GamejunkieJim, and hellmute using multiple aliases!

Do you have a life?
Do you think your little defamation rants are going to make the whole world suddenly burn their 4e books and go back to that POS that is 3.x?
Do you think Wizards, who has put all this hard work into 4e, the greatest RPG ever to be published, cares about your thread?

-Go! Play 3.x! Have Fun(probobly not, 3.x sucks)! But for the love of Gygax, don't ruin the time of those who love D&D 4E!
Add them then. The format of the quick spell list make's it easy to convert more spells over into utility powers for wizards and clerics.

I'm not disappointed in 4e due to a lack of options (there's plenty), I just don't much care for the system; athough it's solid design, it just feels less magical. No matter what I decide to add, I'm still working within that same system.

'Sides, I don't have a lick of talent for game design ;). I do like the *structure* of 4e design however, and if I wanted to design (or convert) my own material, 4e would be an excellent system for that.
/\ Art