Giving 4th one more go or bust

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Well, try as I might I am having a hard time liking 4th Ed. Powers. I've got a game coming up sunday, and if I can't shake the power-rangers feel this system gives me, I guess I'll move on to Pathfinder. There's a lot I like in 4E (I'm the FIRST guy in line who hates cherry picking gazillion prestige classes, and the first to say balance is great. I prefer low-magic).

I hope the bad taste goes away. In older editions I liked levels 3rd-7th, where PC's were not stupidly powerful, but could take some hits, and had enough time invested in them to mean something to the players (I used a 1000xp/level with difficutly determined by the DM as to easy (10 xp), normal (25 xp), hard (75 xp), and deadly (100 xp) for combat awards. Story awards, unique solutions or or good roleplaying was 50-150 xp.

4th edition was supposed to make you feel like the 'sweet spot' in levels at every level. I don't know. Characters feel too tanked up at level 1. Anyway, I'm playing KotSF, and bought the follow up, so I'll try and keep an open mind while I run them. I did invest in the books, so I owe it to ME to try it for a while.
I like the fact that characters start out as heroes already. Its a nice change of pace from "and then the orc crits with his greatsword and you die".
I personally find that given that monsters are more powerful, the characters in 4e don't feel anymore powerful then before. They simply have more options, it makes it feel more real for me that a fighter for example doesn't just swing at a opponent but can choose to deal out a variety of different manoeuvres like someone who had some basic knowledge of using his weaponry.

I have seen many many cases of characters being killed off by kobolds, so if kobolds can kill PCs, I don't think they be considered "super-tanked".
I like the fact that characters start out as heroes already. Its a nice change of pace from "and then the orc crits with his greatsword and you die".

Yeah seriously, or heck if your a wizard it does not even need to be a crit.
Eh. 1st level shouldn't mean the PC's are already powerful. That's half the fun of having pride in having a character survive. of course, when it comes down to it, it's the DM's job to run the type of game he wants. So often I've ahd great story lines with good character/player intrest, then in a stupid moment I've fallen back on store-bought material due to tiem comstraints and mangeld a promising campaign.
Oh I agree first level characters shouldn't be powerful... But, I don't think 4e level one characters are powerful. I don't view having the ability to have flexibility and able to survive more then one blow as being powerful. Since as stated they die against kobolds and dire-rats still, they are not killing Ancient Dragons at level 1.
Well after playing the Rescue at Rivenroar I can say that character's aren't all that overpowered at 1st level. My group expects all the rolls to be made infront of them and we had two characters deaths. A lot of it is them getting use to the teamplay that 4E seems to require. The difference is in every other edition a strong wind or the first 1d6 damage trap could take out half the party.

The one big issue I do have with 4E is the names of some of the powers. Sly Flourish, come on. I quickly came to the conclusion that getting the characters to describe their attacks, even a paraphrase of the little description, sure beat the Pokemon sense of I choose you "Twin Strike".
I would suggest that you try changing your mind set a little for how a level 1 character should be seen. 4th more then any edition sets the characters up as heroes from day 1. I personally love this, though I do also like the idea of characters starting out as commoners and surviving their way to hero status.

And as to the challenge of the fights, up the anti! If you think it is too easy for your players, give them more challenging fights. Fights that will kill them if they are not smart about what they are doing. I like slowly building up to a seriously challenging fight so that the first few fights go like a breeze but by the third or fourth challenge the players are biting their nails in horror as they see things go from bad to worse( this works great for those players who pull out the big guns at the first sign of trouble and then end up with nothing but at wills and encounters for the tough fight:D)

I absolutely love how characters work at level 1. For the first time my hero is a hero from day one, just the way it should be in my opinion. At last my wizard can cast cantrips at will and not need to worry about spells wasted on dazzling the yocals. And Magic missile is there for me every round if I need it. A wizard shouldn't need to resort to dirtying his hands with a dagger attack!

But, at the same time, I have super fond memories of that level 1 fighter from 2nd edition who literally ran from trouble and hid behind the rest of the group for protection because he had 4 hp. :D

All the editions have that thing that makes them radical. You just gotta love them for what they are and not compare them to the edition that they are not. If you can't, sell your 4th edition books for as much as you can and go back to the edition that you kept comparing it to. As long as you have a group of like minded friends to play with, edition shouldn't matter.
I agree that the way that 4e makes combat either too powerful or not even a challenge is a serious problem. However, no one ever wants their character to die and pro 4e are typically driven by their desire to dominate with no risk of failure. So it's just a good business decision for attracting that customer base.
Eh. 1st level shouldn't mean the PC's are already powerful. That's half the fun of having pride in having a character survive. of course, when it comes down to it, it's the DM's job to run the type of game he wants. So often I've ahd great story lines with good character/player intrest, then in a stupid moment I've fallen back on store-bought material due to tiem comstraints and mangeld a promising campaign.

Also part of the fun for me was rolling for scores and taking that random nobody that had average abilities and making them someone great. Starting out as a hero already jsut sems like a lot of game play lost where the character doesn't have to earn his way in the world and already is a hero like Hercules. He had his 12 labors, but still stronger than 10 men so was challenged by little for a mere mortal.

Making a hero from a normal person is much more fun than just playing a hero.

Good luck with your game on Sunday.
The one big issue I do have with 4E is the names of some of the powers. Sly Flourish, come on. I quickly came to the conclusion that getting the characters to describe their attacks, even a paraphrase of the little description, sure beat the Pokemon sense of I choose you "Twin Strike".

If the OP's problem with 4e is the "Power Rangers feeling" or the "Pokemon feeling" as Puma put it, I think this is the right suggestion. Instead of calling out "Brute Strike!", you say "I'll hit him with all my might."

Renaming powers to fit your taste also works wonders.
Also part of the fun for me was rolling for scores and taking that random nobody that had average abilities and making them someone great. Starting out as a hero already jsut sems like a lot of game play lost where the character doesn't have to earn his way in the world and already is a hero like Hercules. He had his 12 labors, but still stronger than 10 men so was challenged by little for a mere mortal.

Making a hero from a normal person is much more fun than just playing a hero.

Good luck with your game on Sunday.

But here's the question: how did you make them great? If they mechanically suck they mechanically suck. What you did was inject personality into a mechanically mediocre character. Personality is edition proof and requires little to no mechanical support. You didn't, however, turn the character into the world's greatest swordsman because mechanically the character started with inferior materials and there's a hard cap on what you can peak at.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

You didn't, however, turn the character into the world's greatest swordsman because mechanically the character started with inferior materials and there's a hard cap on what you can peak at.

Admittedly, the world could just have low quality swordsmen. I do, however, wholeheartedly agree. Personality and roleplaying are mostly independent of game mechanics.
But here's the question: how did you make them great? If they mechanically suck they mechanically suck. What you did was inject personality into a mechanically mediocre character. Personality is edition proof and requires little to no mechanical support. You didn't, however, turn the character into the world's greatest swordsman because mechanically the character started with inferior materials and there's a hard cap on what you can peak at.

It's comments like these which make me wonder if the pro 4.0 crowd have ever actually played a game of 3.5, or are just taking the 3.5 bashing from WotC at face value. Hellmute didn't say takin Mr. Suck and turning him into something great, although that would be an interesting challenge, he said taking Mr. Average and making him great. While more challenging then 4e --as everyone starts out as Mr. awsome -- it is not impossible.

To the OP: The Beta is out....It's full of awsomeness. If you do decide to go to PF (which I hope you do) then I recomend using he slow XP progression, and maybe go with just the material in the Beta and web enhancement.

I honestly don't think you will be able to shake the feeling of power rangers. For gamers like you, me, and Hellmute hereos are the goal, the pinical if you will. In 4e hereos are the beginning, and godhood is the goal. 4e is like playing the video game oneasy mode so you can rvel in your uber godlyness. It's fun, but gets old fast.
I would like to know what specifically in-game makes one feel like their overpowered, or "Power Ranger"? I honestly for the life of me can't figure it out.

The heroes are dying just as often by the same kind of enemies they did in previous editions, they still suffer through hardships and hell their less likely to gain magical items in 4e (which makes them seem less epic in that their using more common items).

If it is the idea of Powers, I don't see how it is overpowering or "power rangery" that a person knows some basic moves. Hell, a kid understands that a heavy swing of a sword is different from lots of fast stabs.
However, no one ever wants their character to die and pro 4e are typically driven by their desire to dominate with no risk of failure.

Ironically enough, thats what i miss about 3E sometimes. Characters were just so much more powerful than in 4E, what with everyone flying around polymorphed with unhittable ACs, unsurvivable save-or-dies and spells/charging combos that deal thousands of points of damage. If i ever feel like i want to run a superpowered game where no one can die and everyone is uber, ill deffinately break out 3E. In fact, Pathfinder looks likes its even more of a super heroes game than standard 3E so i may try that if i want to do a god-mode game.
It's comments like these which make me wonder if the pro 4.0 crowd have ever actually played a game of 3.5, or are just taking the 3.5 bashing from WotC at face value. Hellmute didn't say takin Mr. Suck and turning him into something great, although that would be an interesting challenge, he said taking Mr. Average and making him great. While more challenging then 4e --as everyone starts out as Mr. awsome -- it is not impossible.

Except of course your average town guard is right up their with the PCs. Heck a well fed Kobold is the equal of your PCs, maybe even their better. It's just not a game of rocket tag to see who hits with thier save or die (known as the greatsword) first. That's what was lame about 1st level. You weren't weak. You could rule a small village as a 1st level party. But you just died with a stiff wind. Tactics and skill just didn't matter once initative was rolled.

Claiming that a global increase in options and HP makes your characters uber powerful is about as ridiculous as a Vampire player claiming D&D is for powergamers because their average strength is a 10 instead of a 2.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
Er, not to make this an edition battle, but Pathfinder boosted 1st level characters as well, but didn't change the opposition at all.

In either 3e or 4E, a 1st level party can be challenged by kobolds. I'm not so sure in pathfinder this remains true.
I would like to know what specifically in-game makes one feel like their overpowered, or "Power Ranger"? I honestly for the life of me can't figure it out.

The heroes are dying just as often by the same kind of enemies they did in previous editions, they still suffer through hardships and hell their less likely to gain magical items in 4e (which makes them seem less epic in that their using more common items).

If it is the idea of Powers, I don't see how it is overpowering or "power rangery" that a person knows some basic moves. Hell, a kid understands that a heavy swing of a sword is different from lots of fast stabs.

It's simply TPK on his daily Pathfinder soapbox. Find one person that is unsatisfied with any part of 4E, and TPK will sniff them out and pimp PF to them relentlessly. If he isn't on their payroll, he really should be. As far as Pathfinder goes, if I wanted to play a glorified, altered 3.5, I would have stuck with my 3.5 houserules. There's not much difference between them.
OP: Please report back after running KotS and the Irontooth encounter. I don't think you/your players/ your characters will feel so uber afterwards.
It's simply TPK on his daily Pathfinder soapbox. Find one person that is unsatisfied with any part of 4E, and TPK will sniff them out and pimp PF to them relentlessly. If he isn't on their payroll, he really should be. As far as Pathfinder goes, if I wanted to play a glorified, altered 3.5, I would have stuck with my 3.5 houserules. There's not much difference between them.

Yeah Pazzio will never get a single penny of my money. Simply rehashing what WOTC did, and calling it their product is seriously bad.

Besides 4E is a new eddition, which means that things are going to change. I love that characters have real options, because anyone not a caster in 3.5 was made of fail.
Yeah Pazzio will never get a single penny of my money. Simply rehashing what WOTC did, and calling it their product is seriously bad.

Besides 4E is a new eddition, which means that things are going to change. I love that characters have real options, because anyone not a caster in 3.5 was made of fail.

Noncasters were not "made of fail" as you say.
Yeah Pazzio will never get a single penny of my money. Simply rehashing what WOTC did, and calling it their product is seriously bad.

Not to mention just plain pathetic.

I'm gonna ride the coattails of a well-known company until they dump my butt in lieu of an actual better product, then I'm gonna change a couple of things about the old dumped one, call it my own, and make millions...MILLIONS I tell you! HA HA!!!!
But here's the question: how did you make them great? If they mechanically suck they mechanically suck. What you did was inject personality into a mechanically mediocre character. Personality is edition proof and requires little to no mechanical support. You didn't, however, turn the character into the world's greatest swordsman because mechanically the character started with inferior materials and there's a hard cap on what you can peak at.

I am pretty sure my 2nd edition human wizard would whoop the ass of any of your 4th edition characters with only one ability score above a 13.

So where is the "mechanically suck" really at?
Not to mention just plain pathetic.

I'm gonna ride the coattails of a well-known company until they dump my butt in lieu of an actual better product, then I'm gonna change a couple of things about the old dumped one, call it my own, and make millions...MILLIONS I tell you! HA HA!!!!

Yeah, i saw pathfinder when i hated 4th ed, and even then i thought it sucked.
Noncasters were not "made of fail" as you say.

After level 5 casters will always beat non casters, they have more options, higher damage output, as well as spells that ignore AC entirley.
I am pretty sure my 2nd edition human wizard would whoop the ass of any of your 4th edition characters with only one ability score above a 13.

So where is the "mechanically suck" really at?

Your contradicting yourself... Before, you were saying 4th edition characters are too strong, too heroic, for level 1 characters. Then, you say your 2nd edition wizard would destroy the 4th edition character. So, which of them is stronger? Which of them can kick more ass? If your assertion is true (and it might be, I dunno, I've never played 2nd edition), then your lvl 1 2E wizard is muhc more heroic the the 4E lvl 1 wziard; After all, he can kick the 4th edition character's ass!
After level 5 casters will always beat non casters, they have more options, higher damage output, as well as spells that ignore AC entirley.

That's what playing a wizard was in 3.5. I have extensive experience with said class.

DM: "Here's an encounter!"
Me: "I cast this spell and beat it."
DM: "But you don't have that spell prepared!"
Me: "Wizards get scribe scroll for free, that's what all that talk about me making scrolls in my downtime is about."
DM: "..."
Except of course your average town guard is right up their with the PCs. Heck a well fed Kobold is the equal of your PCs, maybe even their better. It's just not a game of rocket tag to see who hits with thier save or die (known as the greatsword) first. That's what was lame about 1st level. You weren't weak. You could rule a small village as a 1st level party. But you just died with a stiff wind. Tactics and skill just didn't matter once initative was rolled.

If you haven't played the system, then you shouldn't comment on it. I don't comment on 2e. Why do you feel the need to talk uot of arse about 3e?
Claiming that a global increase in options and HP makes your characters uber powerful is about as ridiculous as a Vampire player claiming D&D is for powergamers because their average strength is a 10 instead of a 2.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if you've played 4e...It was a decrease in options, and increase in HP. But your right, they did increase monster HP as well, and the number of themyour expected to fight...So now fights dragg on forever, as players blow their encounter in round one, and spam at wills while wondering id they should use their daily, or is a dragon hiding behind the next door.


Er, not to make this an edition battle, but Pathfinder boosted 1st level characters as well, but didn't change the opposition at all.

In either 3e or 4E, a 1st level party can be challenged by kobolds. I'm not so sure in pathfinder this remains true.

A party can still be challenged by kobolds in PF. The power increase a) takes place over many levels, and isn't really noticable at level 1, B) only puts core characters to an equal power leevl with splat book characters -- actually its a little under, but hey and C) adjustemnts were made to the encounter claculator, not the monsters. -- that way it remians backwards compatible.

As for it being just a few house rules -- well any idoit can comment on a system they've never played. A trol is a troll be they for or against 4e, I guess. But I will also comment on the hypocracy of *****ing someone out for commenting on 4e with out trying it first. But it is ok to comment on PF with out playing it...but I don't expect much from trolls.
I am pretty sure my 2nd edition human wizard would whoop the ass of any of your 4th edition characters with only one ability score above a 13.

So where is the "mechanically suck" really at?

Considering that 10 has always been an average score in D&D, some who has other attributes 13 or lower isn't necessarily average.

Come back when you wanna show us your awesome Wizard with an 11 intelligence (above average) and 10 or so in every other attribute, and then we'll see how great an average hero truly is.

Or hell, invert the usual random style, and go with 4d6 drop the highest on every attribute. See what you make with the final numbers.
Your contradicting yourself... Before, you were saying 4th edition characters are too strong, too heroic, for level 1 characters. Then, you say your 2nd edition wizard would destroy the 4th edition character. So, which of them is stronger? Which of them can kick more ass? If your assertion is true (and it might be, I dunno, I've never played 2nd edition), then your lvl 1 2E wizard is muhc more heroic the the 4E lvl 1 wziard; After all, he can kick the 4th edition character's ass!

No I am saying that in 4th you start as a hero, while in other edition you work your way to that status.

Ability scores mean much more in 4th than other editions even with the rate of modifier bonuses. The standard array ever starts with 2 scores above 13 doesn't it?

16,14,12,11,10,10

I don't have that index card handy to look, but isn't that the standard array?

No I will not load up the silly bonus tool just to look it up either.

So 4th already starts with someone more powerful, so there is no where to gain, but older editions you had to earn your keep.

It is more fun to earn heroic status, than just begin with it.

As mentioned the levels are all sweet spots, but it seems that the OP does not think so as they are appearing to be all the same and not that enjoyable. The roller coaster of the past has changed to a trolley ride on flat ground the Mr Rogers land of Make Believe. You don't have the lows from slow levels, but you also lose the highs from the other levels.

Be sure to say hi to Henrietta Pussycat for me.
Simply rehashing what WOTC did, and calling it their product is seriously bad.

IMAGE(http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll46/chris_king1976/PZO1110AE_500.jpg)
No I am saying that in 4th you start as a hero, while in other edition you work your way to that status.

Ability scores mean much more in 4th than other editions even with the rate of modifier bonuses. The standard array ever starts with 2 scores above 13 doesn't it?

16,14,12,11,10,10

I don't have that index card handy to look, but isn't that the standard array?

No I will not load up the silly bonus tool just to look it up either.

So 4th already starts with someone more powerful, so there is no where to gain, but older editions you had to earn your keep.

It is more fun to earn heroic status, than just begin with it.

As mentioned the levels are all sweet spots, but it seems that the OP does not think so as they are appearing to be all the same and not that enjoyable. The roller coaster of the past has changed to a trolley ride on flat ground the Mr Rogers land of Make Believe. You don't have the lows from slow levels, but you also lose the highs from the other levels.

Be sure to say hi to Henrietta Pussycat for me.

15,14,13,12,10,8

Glad to help.

By the way, it's interesting to see other's violently rejecting 3p.

"It's not like your books are being taken away from you..."
"Play the edition you like..."
"If you haven't played it, you can't comment on it..."

HA HA HA HA HA
If you haven't played the system, then you shouldn't comment on it. I don't comment on 2e. Why do you feel the need to talk uot of arse about 3e?

Based on his description, it sounds like he did play 3e. My experience with 3e, at early levels, was also a game of roe sham bo. The first player or NPC to hit won the fight. There was no skill or tactical element to the game whatsoever. Furthermore, I did not see 4e remove any options. I DID see 4e ADD a good deal of options. For all complaints from 4e haters about its lack of options, I call bull on the claim. In 4e you might use your at wills most often, followed by a few per encounter powers, and occasionally a per day power, but 3e only allowed melee characters about one or two options: I stand still and commit to a full attack action was the one used most often. Occasionally you could add some "I use power attack" or some such to the action. However, as most of these bonuses that you could add to the action in no way altered the tactical position of any character on the map, they still felt like making a regular attack. Only spell casters were truly given the ability to make choices, or commit to tactical activity, in encounters (combat or otherwise).
Yeah Pazzio will never get a single penny of my money. Simply rehashing what WOTC did, and calling it their product is seriously bad.

Besides 4E is a new eddition, which means that things are going to change. I love that characters have real options, because anyone not a caster in 3.5 was made of fail.

I find this staement really odd. Perhaps it's author is just missinformed. Firstly there 3p isn't just a rehash of 3e, check it out...(snip) Secondly there isn't a single new mechainc on 4e, Further more everyone in 4e uses the same mechanics refluffed, how is one "option" any different from the other. And lastly, "anyone a non caster in 3.5 made to fail" is only true if your playing with douchebags. That may be true of your gaming group, but not mine. -- I don't need the system to artificial force a failed balance system on my games...I play with friends whom are not *******s. (not that 4e is balanced, or fixes the ******* problem it claims to)
Based on his description, it sounds like he did play 3e. My experience with 3e, at early levels, was also a game of roe sham bo. The first player or NPC to hit won the fight. There was no skill or tactical element to the game whatsoever. Furthermore, I did not see 4e remove any options. I DID see 4e ADD a good deal of options. For all complaints from 4e haters about its lack of options, I call bull on the claim. In 4e you might use your at wills most often, followed by a few per encounter powers, and occasionally a per day power, but 3e only allowed melee characters about one or two options: I stand still and commit to a full attack action. Occasionally you could add some "I use power attack" or some such to the action. However, as most of these bonuses that you could add to the action in no way altered the tactical position of any character on the map, they still felt like making a regular attack. Only spell casters were truly given the ability to make choices, or commit to tactical activity, in encounters (combat or otherwise).

You do realize of course, that the game is not played one on one right? Also, you know the DM has the final say on what you can and can't do? So, um, short of a duel between two players... this should NEVER be a problem. You know that right? Or did you guys just play without a DM.

Also, refer to TPK's statements about players being bastards. As long as the players and DM are reasonable, these problems should never occur.
... What?! How does having ability scores above 13 make a difference? Hell, there could be a game where you start at ability scores at 100, if it is balanced then there is always room to grow.

4e is balanced and there is lots of growth in powers, feats, rituals, items, etc. You can easily start off as a street-urchin with a shank and who knows how to survive a street fight and grow into a demi-god. Now if that isn't growth I don't know what is.
No I am saying that in 4th you start as a hero, while in other edition you work your way to that status.

Ability scores mean much more in 4th than other editions even with the rate of modifier bonuses. The standard array ever starts with 2 scores above 13 doesn't it?

16,14,12,11,10,10

I don't have that index card handy to look, but isn't that the standard array?

No I will not load up the silly bonus tool just to look it up either.

So 4th already starts with someone more powerful, so there is no where to gain, but older editions you had to earn your keep.

It is more fun to earn heroic status, than just begin with it.

As mentioned the levels are all sweet spots, but it seems that the OP does not think so as they are appearing to be all the same and not that enjoyable. The roller coaster of the past has changed to a trolley ride on flat ground the Mr Rogers land of Make Believe. You don't have the lows from slow levels, but you also lose the highs from the other levels.

Be sure to say hi to Henrietta Pussycat for me.

Um, except, that mechanically if you rolled low on your HP or stats in older editions, you never "earned a heroic status." You just sucked for the rest of the game due to random chance. I regularly saw players get frustrated with their characters, and suicide them, in both 2e and 3e, because of ill fate and luck. One of the first house rules that made it into my games (as far back as 2e) was the removal of rolling hit points or stats, and using a flat average (for hit points) or point buy (for stats). Also, your claim about the power gain of 4e is not accurate either. You repeatedly ignore the fact that power, in any game, is relational. In 4e you are relationally of equal power to a kobold at 1st level, just like you would have been in 3e, or 2e. As you gain level the creatures that you are relationally equal in power to are the same creatures of higher levels from earlier editions. There is no real change. The only difference is that in 4e early levels are not quite as swingy, and higher levels are not quite as broken. This means no death to one random roll (with no tactics involved), and at higher levels no broken characters who can defeat every encounter with an "I win button." If you like deaths based on random rolls and I win buttons, more power too you... but, personally, I thought those features in earlier editions were poor game design.
You do realize of course, that the game is not played one on one right? Also, you know the DM has the final say on what you can and can't do? So, um, short of a duel between two players... this should NEVER be a problem. You know that right? Or did you guys just play without a DM.

Also, refer to TPK's statements about players being bastards. As long as the players and DM are reasonable, these problems should never occur.

Of course, everything you wrote here is actually total bull. For example, nothing in the post you quoted talked about duels. It talked about what options were afforded to characters in 3e if they were melee characters. They did the same thing over and over: I move up to target a, commit full attack action, every round, until target a is dead. Then I move up to target b, do the same, every round, until target b is dead. Over, and over, and over again. That has nothing to do with a duel. Furthermore, despite playing the game with a DM, the game still turns into a "first person to hit wins." If the orc hits a player first, that player is going to die. If the player hits the orc first, the orc dies. At least, thats gameplay at level 1 to 3 or so. Claiming that this is not the case is a (provably) mathematical lie. The only way that you can avoid this scenario is to regularly have the DM fudge the roles. A game, based around creating a coherent narrative, that requires that a DM "cheat" (between level 1-3) in order to maintain a narrative that does not regularly feature deaths, due to random chance and not poor player decision, is not a well designed game. This has nothing to do with players or DM's being reasonable, it has to do with a game that is poorly designed, and requires that reasonable players and DMs intentionally fudge die rolls, or don't play up to their characters full potential. Once again, if a spellcaster has to intentionally not do everything that he can (by the rules) so as not to overshadow all the non-spellcaster players, the game is poorly designed. If the game requires that a DM regularly fudge rolls, because the mechanics of the game indicate a very high level of deaths (from level 1-3) due to random chance (and not poor player decision) the game is poorly designed. 3.5 is poorly designed.
Based on his description, it sounds like he did play 3e. My experience with 3e, at early levels, was also a game of roe sham bo. The first player or NPC to hit won the fight. There was no skill or tactical element to the game whatsoever. Furthermore, I did not see 4e remove any options. I DID see 4e ADD a good deal of options. For all complaints from 4e haters about its lack of options, I call bull on the claim. In 4e you might use your at wills most often, followed by a few per encounter powers, and occasionally a per day power, but 3e only allowed melee characters about one or two options: I stand still and commit to a full attack action was the one used most often. Occasionally you could add some "I use power attack" or some such to the action. However, as most of these bonuses that you could add to the action in no way altered the tactical position of any character on the map, they still felt like making a regular attack. Only spell casters were truly given the ability to make choices, or commit to tactical activity, in encounters (combat or otherwise).

It was my experience that 4e had lots of options, at first, but after awhile they all seemed the same. And then after looking at the books, and trying different things, I realised they all were the same. You esentially have 5 powers to choose from, 5 lasses to choose from, and on the DMs side of the screen, you have 8 different monsters with whcih to string together encounters.

Now 3e has a lot of problems, forchunately 3p solves a good deal of them. Now you mention tactical position...3e does have this to an extent; flanking, bull russh trip, etc. 4e certianly adds more, 1 of the powers moves enemies, and 1 moves you. But a lot of 4e's movement seems like movement for the sake of movement, and doesn't really serve a narrative or tactical point. Further more there is more to tactics then simply movement. Now 3p does add more to a non casters tactical options, a lot more. But not as much as the book of nine swords. (which is basically the difference in the level granularity of what your doing in combat) If 4e was more like that, or saga edition, I would not be claiming 3p is better then 4e.

As for the rocket tag comment. I can see were this is meritted. But I disagrre that it discourages skill and tactics. I would argue that it makes effect skill and tactics even more important, but in a different way then the minis skirimish that is a 4e combat. Further i would also point out that becuase the risk is greater, the stakes are higher, the sense of reward and accomplishment is going to be much higher as well. Lastly 3p offers options for building in more HP. Simple things any character can do, like taking toughness at first level, or options for the whole, like race HP bonuses, or the like.
Well, try as I might I am having a hard time liking 4th Ed. Powers. I've got a game coming up sunday, and if I can't shake the power-rangers feel this system gives me, I guess I'll move on to Pathfinder. There's a lot I like in 4E (I'm the FIRST guy in line who hates cherry picking gazillion prestige classes, and the first to say balance is great. I prefer low-magic).

A few things: First, I'd encourage you to give it a shot. You don't have to shout the name of the power when you use it. The cleric in my game does, but he shouts his powers out in latin, so that's a little different. Our rogue just describes what he's doing, and what the effect is. Sometimes I have to ask what power the player is using, but at 1st level in particular, if he says he does damage, then moves the monster 3 squares, I know he's used Positioning Strike.

Second, remember that these are games, not religions. If it turns out 4e isn't for you, then it isn't for you. I've never played 3.x, but I've heard good things about it, so if you and your group prefer it, then by all means go with what's fun. The goal here should be to have fun, and if you're not having fun, play a different game.

4th edition was supposed to make you feel like the 'sweet spot' in levels at every level. I don't know. Characters feel too tanked up at level 1. Anyway, I'm playing KotSF, and bought the follow up, so I'll try and keep an open mind while I run them. I did invest in the books, so I owe it to ME to try it for a while.

KotSF, in particular, is designed to start players off with an easy encounter or two before throwing the more difficult stuff at them. The module is written as a primer for the rules as much as anything else, so they don't throw you directly into the deep end. As someone else mentioned, the Irontooth encounter is more than a little challenging, and the final encounter (I won't spoil it) is a little gross. I'm really interested in seeing how my players handle it when they get there.
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