A thought on 4th Ed

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I've been playing since the White boxuntil 2nd Ed a missd out on 3rd and 3.5 (damn ex wife) and just picked up 4th ed to play with my son. Over all I am enjoying it but I have one gripe.

There is little encentive to roleplay. Admittedly I've only played in one group in 4th but it is a decent one (no one thinks they are their character in real life) but I've also noticed on the forums every one is min/maxing. You never see a TWRanger with twin short swords or maces but only twin long swords or scimitars with the associated feats. With the AV everyone upgrades to craghammers or ex axes. It is similar to the power/item creap in WoW (one of the reasons I quit WoW)

I understand it is up to the DM and all but were do the devs see the gaem. I miss roleplaying, having cool back storys etc. Now it just I need more spellpower/block/AP...err Brutals/high crit/AC bonuses

Help me out here
Well, 4th does take away quite a bit that can help with roleplaying, but you can still roleplay in it. It's focus on combat can make someone only get into that aspect of the game. You could go to a previous edition, or just talk to your DM and ask if there can be more rolepalying in it. You could also force more roleplaying in. In one game that was a dungeon crawl, one of the other players had his character say stuff in his sleep like "mmm. Look at the biceps on HER" like how a guy would talk about a woman's body. So just find ways to put little bits of it in. Good luck with it.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/6.jpg)

This generally entered the game in 3rd editions, where there was always an optimal choice and people went with that usually, 4th allieviates this somewhat with different weapon properties (fighters tend to vary a lot in their choice in my experience) although the martial strikers tend to pick the same weapons repeatedly.

Roleplaying and backstory are up to you as ever, other editions had some rules for this, but aside from a few things 4e hands you the ball to run with as much or as little as you like. We've played since 2e and haven't noticed a change in roleplay at all. Combat on the other hand is vastly different(more tactical) which some don't like, many do.
I understand what you are saying. I and my son RP quite a bit in the group. Sometimes I think I'm going to kill him if I here him shout "BY BAHAMUT, I CHALLENGE YOU!" everytime his paladin switches targets.

I recently switched characters from a 1/2 elf infernal lock to playtest a Orc Barbarian. I had to come up with a backstory in my mind just to explain how a group of Dragonborn (gods how I hate that addition) say ok, come on in mr. smelly orc mans.

My concern was did the developers and writers want to put in role playing or it was just a minitures game first and roleplaying game second
Oh. I get you, no the priority was always the roleplaying, several of their new adventures demonstrate this quite well. The 4e DMG is largely comprised of roleplaying advice, much of which is useful even to seasoned DMs. The reason so much of the PHB is comprised of "combat stuff"(including powers , etc) is because thats what it took to create balance(one of their primary goals with this edition was that every class would be effective in and out of combat) and the combat stuff is the most difficult to balance.
I've been playing since the White boxuntil 2nd Ed a missd out on 3rd and 3.5 (damn ex wife) and just picked up 4th ed to play with my son. Over all I am enjoying it but I have one gripe.

There is little encentive to roleplay. Admittedly I've only played in one group in 4th but it is a decent one (no one thinks they are their character in real life) but I've also noticed on the forums every one is min/maxing. You never see a TWRanger with twin short swords or maces but only twin long swords or scimitars with the associated feats. With the AV everyone upgrades to craghammers or ex axes. It is similar to the power/item creap in WoW (one of the reasons I quit WoW)

I understand it is up to the DM and all but were do the devs see the gaem. I miss roleplaying, having cool back storys etc. Now it just I need more spellpower/block/AP...err Brutals/high crit/AC bonuses

Help me out here

the incentive to tole play is that it's a role playing game.
your seeing the char ops because that's what people do in forums as a general rule.
my last game i ran of 4th had one minor fight all night.
the last game i was in last week had no combat all night.
My concern was did the developers and writers want to put in role playing or it was just a minitures game first and roleplaying game second

Well, one would think that just looking through the books would show that it's been designed as a computer game 1st (or haven't you noticed that anything requiring actual human adjucation has been removed? It's ALL presented in computer friendly form.), a minitures/board game 2nd, and a ROLEplaying game somewhere after that.....

Having critiqued 4e such.... I must point out that it's combat 1st orientation isn't really any different than those initial rules of yesteryear (I know because I played them then & still occasionally play them). Sure, there was RP involved, or there could be, but the early editions were pretty much all about the fighting. That changed a bit with AD&D, a bit more with AD&D 2nd, and (potentially, depending upon group) alot more with 3.x.
All 4E has done is come full circle.
Personally I still think the old Basic/Expert sets & 1st ed AD&D are superior to much of what came after.
Well, one would think that just looking through the books would show that it's been designed as a computer game 1st (or haven't you noticed that anything requiring actual human adjucation has been removed? It's ALL presented in computer friendly form.), a minitures/board game 2nd, and a ROLEplaying game somewhere after that.....

Having critiqued 4e such.... I must point out that it's combat 1st orientation isn't really any different than those initial rules of yesteryear (I know because I played them then & still occasionally play them). Sure, there was RP involved, or there could be, but the early editions were pretty much all about the fighting. That changed a bit with AD&D, a bit more with AD&D 2nd, and (potentially, depending upon group) alot more with 3.x.
All 4E has done is come full circle.
Personally I still think the old Basic/Expert sets & 1st ed AD&D are superior to much of what came after.

Computer game first? Page 42 for improvised actions, the early chapters focusing on character personality, and roleplay enhancing powers and rituals (like Ghost Sound or repel dirt) really fit into that idea.

Please, I can appreciate you liked the ways things used to be, but intellectually dishonest statements like this old horse are uncalled for. (hasn't every edition had at least 1 video game for it?)
well there are games for 2nd ed. and 3.5, but I'm not too certain about 1st, and I'm pretty sure that there isn't one using 4th ed. mechanics. . .yet.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/6.jpg)

You can roleplay with 4ed but I do find that it's harder for players. (My seven year old daughter just asked if we could go back to 3ed! although she didn't phrase it that bluntly). I've tried dumping a whole load of stuff from 4ed to make players' characters feel like people (e.g. the idea that a first level fighter can take 24 times the damage of the innkeeper).
It may just be that I knew the older versions better, but I can turn her imagination into stats more easily for earlier editions.
I love the balance of 4th Edition and hate it too. When I can use it to tell the stories I want it is great, but it doesn't allow me to do the classic roleplaying plot of "weak ingenue gains great power and great responsibility".
This is one of those gripes that I just don't understand. Example of why:

Last 3.5 game I played was mostly just a dungeon crawl, as that's what we were in the mood for. Ran through Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, and had a blast with minimal roleplaying and lots of hacking. Even some slashing too! And we killed a bunch of monsters. Took their stuff.

First 4E game I played was with the DM's girlfriend, and it was her first time playing D&D. First session was little combat as she wanted to RP encounters with the town guards, the lady selling flowers, the innkeeper, the stoic elven woman... she was just all over the RP action, and we had maybe one combat encounter the whole night. It wasn't what I had been anticipating, but I went with it and it was fun.

The RP that is at the table in 4E is the same as you bring to the table, just like any other edition. This particular edition just features more advice on how to do it than any previous edition alongside its extensive combat rules (in fact, it was the DM's girlfriend who re-sparked my interest in actually having a real personality and quirks to my characters again, after years of just wanting to do dungeon crawls without caring about the RP aspects too much).
Resident jark. Resident Minister of Education and Misinformation.
I've been playing since the White boxuntil 2nd Ed a missd out on 3rd and 3.5 (damn ex wife) and just picked up 4th ed to play with my son. Over all I am enjoying it but I have one gripe.

There is little encentive to roleplay. Admittedly I've only played in one group in 4th but it is a decent one (no one thinks they are their character in real life) but I've also noticed on the forums every one is min/maxing. You never see a TWRanger with twin short swords or maces but only twin long swords or scimitars with the associated feats. With the AV everyone upgrades to craghammers or ex axes. It is similar to the power/item creap in WoW (one of the reasons I quit WoW)

I understand it is up to the DM and all but were do the devs see the gaem. I miss roleplaying, having cool back storys etc. Now it just I need more spellpower/block/AP...err Brutals/high crit/AC bonuses

Help me out here

Seriously?

I have a PDF of the White Box. It does NOT emphasis roleplay more than 4E. I would say that it does it even LESS. Roleplaying is hardly ever mentioned. I can probably find more references to Chainmail (which I also have a PDF of, and which is a fine game) than I can to roleplaying.

There were no "incentives" to roleplay. Not in the rules, anyway. The incentive did, and still does, come from the players and the DM. The incentive is, and always has been, because the PLAYERS want to. For fun.

If you can't roleplay in 4E, that is not the fault of the system. I am sorry to say it, and I don't mean any offense, but it is the fault of you and your group. Nothing limits roleplay in 4E. Hell, before they even start talking about any sort of numbers, they have a large section dedicated to nothing but MAKING A PERSONALITY FOR YOUR CHARACTER.

One problem that I have seen people have (and it seems to apply to you) is that when they see a fully fleshed-out, highly tactical combat system like 4E has, somehow they assume that that means that you can only do combat. That is a silly notion, but it seems that people do occasionally believe that tactical combat system = no roleplaying. This is not the case.

My advice: Try playing again. This time, ignore number crucnhing. Ignore opteimizing. You don't need those to have fun. Just focus on roleplaying and having fun. Give your character a personality. Even in combat, roleplay your character, what he does, how he fights, anything he says. Roleplaying doesn't end when combat begins.

Good luck, and no matter what you chose, have fun. It's a game. That's all it's good for.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
for d0d5 sake I m going to puke if someone else bright that dmn pag 42 as a fix it all thing...

now on topic to the OP... be4 some people turn this into some sort of editions wars... (please stay focus people)
well as other have said the roleplay is the one the players put into it... but is also true that there are not RAW mechanics to reward roleplay, withewolf games with will power for exampleis a mechanic that rewards roleplay...

But honestly, I played only a little of AD&D tough and the true is on no D&D games so far we had somethign in the RAW that rewards roleplay directly, still my personal opinion is that 4E is not as roleplay friendly as previus ones, things like characters having 20X times the HP of the innkeper as someone noted, or how stats are not evenused as aguideline for RP the chars (I use to RP my chars based on the stats amdis hard when your chars have stats 2X the average), is a personal thing butthose are big turn offfor me inthe roleplay aspect of the game...
The idea that 4e encourages roleplaying less than any other edition of D&D is simply silly. Roleplaying doesn't need rules, and starts to happen as soon as someone says "Sure, I'll help you kill those orcs". Some people get in character naturally, and some people are more used to computer games where there is no character building, and all they think of is kewl loot. Combat *needs* to be balanced, as do classes and races. I have never seen rules for talking that I have any use for. People min/max all of the time because that what people do, to everything. After Magic, Diablo, WoW, and countless other games, many gamers are used to (and enjoy) optimizing their characters for one thing or another. And really, I have nothing against that. If they stay in character, and don't play themselves, only with +2 broadswords, I don't mind if the guy sitting next to me has played three rangers named Bob, Bob II, and Bob III. I'm also unsettled by the notion that one thing is roleplaying, and another isn't. If I want to play Crogdor, the Minotaur barbarian who is the strongest warrior in all the land and can crush an ogre's skull in one blow, I need to min/max my character in order to get that obscene damage output that is my character concept- and that is roleplaying. I wanted to play a character on the scale of Hercules, and there is only one way to achieve that.

I will say that the visual representation of the the battle mat and minis pulls me out of the game and turns on my wargamer engines. In other games I quite often do non-standard things with my fightery characters (like climbing up a giants back so I can strangle it to death), but I just don't think of those things as much when I have a solid piece in front of me telling me how everything is. However, once I get used to the system I am fully confident I will stop playing a wargame.

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

I understand what you are saying. I and my son RP quite a bit in the group. Sometimes I think I'm going to kill him if I here him shout "BY BAHAMUT, I CHALLENGE YOU!" everytime his paladin switches targets.

I recently switched characters from a 1/2 elf infernal lock to playtest a Orc Barbarian. I had to come up with a backstory in my mind just to explain how a group of Dragonborn (gods how I hate that addition) say ok, come on in mr. smelly orc mans.

These indicate that your problem isn't that the game lacks Roleplaying, it's that you don't like the roleplaying your group is doing.

Well, one would think that just looking through the books would show that it's been designed as a computer game 1st (or haven't you noticed that anything requiring actual human adjucation has been removed? It's ALL presented in computer friendly form.)

Wrong. The transferal between minions and standard monsters, resolving NPC interactions (including shopping), and serval other non combat options have been returned entirely to the GM and require human adjucation. Unlike 3rd ED where almost everything could be plugged into a table of numbers and resolved (poorly). In 3.5 you can use the rules to roll out how long it takes a house to catch fire. It sucks, and you'd need a computer to calculate it out without dying of boredom, but you can do that. 4th ED gives that back to the GM.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
The idea that 4e encourages roleplaying less than any other edition of D&D is simply silly. Roleplaying doesn't need rules, and starts to happen as soon as someone says "Sure, I'll help you kill those orcs". Some people get in character naturally, and some people are more used to computer games where there is no character building, and all they think of is kewl loot. Combat *needs* to be balanced, as do classes and races. I have never seen rules for talking that I have any use for. People min/max all of the time because that what people do, to everything. After Magic, Diablo, WoW, and countless other games, many gamers are used to (and enjoy) optimizing their characters for one thing or another. And really, I have nothing against that. If they stay in character, and don't play themselves, only with +2 broadswords, I don't mind if the guy sitting next to me has played three rangers named Bob, Bob II, and Bob III. I'm also unsettled by the notion that one thing is roleplaying, and another isn't. If I want to play Crogdor, the Minotaur barbarian who is the strongest warrior in all the land and can crush an ogre's skull in one blow, I need to min/max my character in order to get that obscene damage output that is my character concept- and that is roleplaying. I wanted to play a character on the scale of Hercules, and there is only one way to achieve that.

I will say that the visual representation of the the battle mat and minis pulls me out of the game and turns on my wargamer engines. In other games I quite often do non-standard things with my fightery characters (like climbing up a giants back so I can strangle it to death), but I just don't think of those things as much when I have a solid piece in front of me telling me how everything is. However, once I get used to the system I am fully confident I will stop playing a wargame.

EPIC WIN.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
You can roleplay with 4ed but I do find that it's harder for players. (My seven year old daughter just asked if we could go back to 3ed! although she didn't phrase it that bluntly). I've tried dumping a whole load of stuff from 4ed to make players' characters feel like people (e.g. the idea that a first level fighter can take 24 times the damage of the innkeeper).
It may just be that I knew the older versions better, but I can turn her imagination into stats more easily for earlier editions.
I love the balance of 4th Edition and hate it too. When I can use it to tell the stories I want it is great, but it doesn't allow me to do the classic roleplaying plot of "weak ingenue gains great power and great responsibility".

no its not, what we have here is an issue with dm & players.
my group role plays just fine in 4th
for d0d5 sake I m going to puke if someone else bright that dmn pag 42 as a fix it all thing...

now on topic to the OP... be4 some people turn this into some sort of editions wars... (please stay focus people)
well as other have said the roleplay is the one the players put into it... but is also true that there are not RAW mechanics to reward roleplay, withewolf games with will power for exampleis a mechanic that rewards roleplay...

But honestly, I played only a little of AD&D tough and the true is on no D&D games so far we had somethign in the RAW that rewards roleplay directly, still my personal opinion is that 4E is not as roleplay friendly as previus ones, things like characters having 20X times the HP of the innkeper as someone noted, or how stats are not evenused as aguideline for RP the chars (I use to RP my chars based on the stats amdis hard when your chars have stats 2X the average), is a personal thing butthose are big turn offfor me inthe roleplay aspect of the game...

starting characters are actually weaker then standard human guards or bandits.
as for the stats thing, thats sounds like you have a roll play issue not a role play issue.
stats have nothing to do with role play, other then trying to acurately protray paticularly high or low cha, int or wis
back to the original poster's point:

In my experience, 4E doesn't stop role-playing but it doesn't encourage it either.
Because the game is soo tactical and focused on combat, there is a tendency to focus on that aspect only if you don't watch it.

You haave to know to overcompensate to bring the RP in.
I wish they had actualllly made this last point clearer in the rule books becuase I don't see how a WOW player or someone new to D&D is going to know enough to do this.
I've been playing since the White boxuntil 2nd Ed a missd out on 3rd and 3.5 (damn ex wife) and just picked up 4th ed to play with my son. Over all I am enjoying it but I have one gripe.

There is little encentive to roleplay. Admittedly I've only played in one group in 4th but it is a decent one (no one thinks they are their character in real life) but I've also noticed on the forums every one is min/maxing. You never see a TWRanger with twin short swords or maces but only twin long swords or scimitars with the associated feats. With the AV everyone upgrades to craghammers or ex axes. It is similar to the power/item creap in WoW (one of the reasons I quit WoW)

I understand it is up to the DM and all but were do the devs see the gaem. I miss roleplaying, having cool back storys etc. Now it just I need more spellpower/block/AP...err Brutals/high crit/AC bonuses

Help me out here

I've never understood how creating a character who did good damage forbade me from role playing him well. I mean... it kinda is in the title of the genre (role playing game). As to actual incentive... yea, I give incentive. I call it XP and structuring encounters so the party can survive them at least mostly well, but without making them too easy (except when I need to for plot reasons).
back to the original poster's point:

In my experience, 4E doesn't stop role-playing but it doesn't encourage it either.
Because the game is soo tactical and focused on combat, there is a tendency to focus on that aspect only if you don't watch it.

You haave to know to overcompensate to bring the RP in.
I wish they had actualllly made this last point clearer in the rule books becuase I don't see how a WOW player or someone new to D&D is going to know enough to do this.

how about the decent amount of information on roleplaying ..more in fact then previous versions?
there is no need to over compensate
So what's the difference?
starting characters are actually weaker then standard human guards or bandits.
as for the stats thing, thats sounds like you have a roll play issue not a role play issue.
stats have nothing to do with role play, other then trying to acurately protray paticularly high or low cha, int or wis

do you notice, that you are contradicting yourself in that last pharagraph, do you?
the thing is we ar enot presented with an average stat, and due to the sistem characters tend to have at least one stat above 20, in the case of int wisor cha, that really complicate representing those acurately, adn let`s not forget many players will dumb int so they would have toroleplay quite slow characters.
Also while int, wis, cha play an important role as guidelines to roleplay a character, str dex and con play they part too, one maybe more eager to solve ways with brute force, or might have a weak constitution makinghim be extra carefull of colds, and sorry but even thinking about a char with a CON higer by quite a few points than a worhose things get a bit out of hand.

is just that I can`t see clearly the guidelines to roleplay chars based on theyr stats on 4E, and as you might notice most ignore them...

even the game mechanics tell you toignore things like thefact that an int 8 char might nto be as good as learning new things as a char with int 20 (save counted exceptions)

well hope things have been clear out, when I say roleplay i mean roleplay not roll play...

and well I hardly would say the chars are weaker than a bandit at the same lvl... but the gap betwen PC and a commoner still abismall...
do you notice, that you are contradicting yourself in that last pharagraph, do you?
the thing is we ar enot presented with an average stat, and due to the sistem characters tend to have at least one stat above 20, in the case of int wisor cha, that really complicate representing those acurately, adn let`s not forget many players will dumb int so they would have toroleplay quite slow characters.
Also while int, wis, cha play an important role as guidelines to roleplay a character, str dex and con play they part too, one maybe more eager to solve ways with brute force, or might have a weak constitution makinghim be extra carefull of colds, and sorry but even thinking about a char with a CON higer by quite a few points than a worhose things get a bit out of hand.

is just that I can`t see clearly the guidelines to roleplay chars based on theyr stats on 4E, and as you might notice most ignore them...

even the game mechanics tell you toignore things like thefact that an int 8 char might nto be as good as learning new things as a char with int 20 (save counted exceptions)

well hope things have been clear out, when I say roleplay i mean roleplay not roll play...

and well I hardly would say the chars are weaker than a bandit at the same lvl... but the gap betwen PC and a commoner still abismall...

not in the least, the only effect stats have on role play is in the very general.
ie big guy, smart guy, rash guy etc.
the actual stat is not relevent.
4th is no diffrent to roleplay in then 3rd or hero or gurps or wod etc.
the 2 games I am involved in 1 as dm 1 as the female elidrin "sidhe" both have a lot of role play.
last weeks game had 1 combat in the game I ran, and that was the drunk fighter picking a fight with the gaurd & dying for it when the party said screw him.
And the other had no combat.
failure to roleplay in 4th is player / dm issue not game issue.
heck 4th actually has more to include role play then previous core books of d&d.
also a slight correction on your statement about a over 20 stat being normal.
In the 2 games I am in I am the only charicter with a stat higher then 16 in the one I am in.
in the one I am running there is 1 player with an 18,
most have around a 16 for prime and a 14 scondary.
It could be that your players are really excited to explore the dimensions of combat in 4ed. Once they discover some good combat combos and get some nice weapons, they'll probably start exploring characterization.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

I feel the need to bring up the Stormwind Fallacy:
Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean he cannot also roleplay well. Just because a character plays his character well does not mean he cannot be optimized. As a corollary, characters who are min/maxed are not automatically played worse than those who are not, and characters who are deliberately handicapped are not automatically played better than those who are not. It's easy to imagine players who are good at either one of those things, or bad at both, or good at both.

As for which edition facilitates roleplaying better, that's up to the DM and the group at large. Any edition can be used for straight up hack'n'slash, while any edition can be used for pure roleplaying. Personally, I got the feeling that, since 4e is much more balanced and has rules for everything (including Page Forty-Two, rules for making up rules when have no rules), it's more rigid and encourages more rigid, tactical thinking on the part of players. On the other hand, it doesn't make roleplaying any harder, it just makes hack'n'slash easier.

I got out the two editions of PHB I have, 3.5 and 4e, and looked to see what each said about roleplaying, and developing a character. I went to Chapter 6: Description in 3.5, and was astonished to see most everything was mechanical effects or had mainly mechanical differences, such as alignment, deities, and age; or had no real RP advice, like height and weight. All I could find was half a page on page 110 about Looks, Personality, and Background.

In 4e, I flipped through a similar section, Roleplaying, page 18. Alignments aren't really mechanical anymore, but to keep it fair I didn't count them or deities. It got into the fluffy bits starting at page 23, and goes on for 1.75 pages, 2.5 times as much information as 3.5, with Personality, Mannerisms, Appearance, and Background. Make of that what you will.

I had some really fun characters that I enjoyed playing in 3.5, and that little half a page of text didn't limit me on what I did with them.
It could be that your players are really excited to explore the dimensions of combat in 4ed. Once they discover some good combat combos and get some nice weapons, they'll probably start exploring characterization.

you made me snort out my ice tea.... do you know how much that .... stings?
I'm also just getting back into D&D in the 4th edition. (having last played AD&D 2.0 in the 90's).

So far my thoughts: I like it so far, haven't gone though all the material yet. Just finished reading the players manual.

I'd say, you can roleplay it as much or as little as you want. Its really up to the DM to set the tone and pace of the game. Its certainly still supposed to be primarily a roleplaying game. Sure, its designed to crack out the miniatures when you battle, but for a proper balance (in my opinion), there should be a healthy dose of roleplaying between actually setting up for X combat.

-at least, thats how I always DM'd back in the day. From past experiance, we'd only get a couple of combats out of a session anyway, the rest of the time was split between roleplaying, and joking around eating salty snack foods. :D

I purchased H1 Keep on the Shadowfell, and reading it.. has a nice amount of roleplaying aside from using the miniature posters (which was a nice touch btw).

Lets face it, roleplaying is as much about roleplaying as its about having fun socializing.
Roleplaying is not something you rule and dictate, it is something you inspire.


The greatest inspiration comes not from the core rules, but from the setting. In Faerun, you are motivated to stand atop an ancient spire of a floating city. In Eberron, you want to ride the Lightning Rail, fight across the airships and ride dinosaurs over the plains. In Planescape, one dreams of hopping across the multiverse, delving into the mysteries of the realities. In Spelljammer, one hopes to rock out in a massive magical spaceship, complete with giant space hamsters. In Ravenloft, you try not to die.

The core books are there to provide the rules, the crunch. The setting, the fluff, is there to make you say "....Now that's what I want to play! "
In the spirit of understanding, I think a lot of this is more "edition shock" than anything else. Presented with a lot of new rules and new options, most of us will simply have a harder time thinking in character and focusing on pure story elements. As we get to know the game and stop having to look stuff up or think about rules, it will get easier to take the focus back to non-mechanical issues. Pretty much every time I've picked up a new game, there's been a learning period. Sometimes I've even noticed this with new characters- if someone is used to playing a rogue, cleric mechanics might cause him to spend more time thinking about the game elements than the story elements. It seems pretty natural to go through this with each new edition.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

I do think the way HP/Healing works now takes a lot out of RP almost killing it in some instances.

For example = DM-"the dragon bites you delivering a terrible wound nearly taking your arm in the process, its now your turn" Player-"Ouch, going to use my second wind, hmm back to full HP guess it didn't bite me so bad?" DM-"er yeah it was just a flesh wound you shrug it off and continue to battle"

Not to mention all wounds seal up and heal if you take a 6 hour rest, thinking this is one of the main reasons people compare 4e to video games. Its also odd to think of someone healing you by using a martial attack power. Pretty sure warlords get a few, its not magic closing your wounds they just offer some advice as they attack that makes you feel better? (This has lead to many jokes around the game table about how combat is just a series of insults and compliments)

You could argue that Hit Points don't represent you taking actual damage anymore but that hurts role play also as you never know when you or the creature your attacking gets hurt. Do you only actually get hit when you get KO'ed now? If I shoot a critter with my crossbow does it leave a blood trail only if I killed it?

Not trying to be anti 4e here but this is certainly an issue that can hurt RP that I don't believe was a problem in other editions. I keep trying to get people in our games to pretend it makes sense but its an up hill climb.
I do think the way HP/Healing works now takes a lot out of RP almost killing it in some instances.

For example = DM-"the dragon bites you delivering a terrible wound nearly taking your arm in the process, its now your turn" Player-"Ouch, going to use my second wind, hmm back to full HP guess it didn't bite me so bad?" DM-"er yeah it was just a flesh wound you shrug it off and continue to battle"

Not to mention all wounds seal up and heal if you take a 6 hour rest, thinking this is one of the main reasons people compare 4e to video games. Its also odd to think of someone healing you by using a martial attack power. Pretty sure warlords get a few, its not magic closing your wounds they just offer some advice as they attack that makes you feel better? (This has lead to many jokes around the game table about how combat is just a series of insults and compliments)

You could argue that Hit Points don't represent you taking actual damage anymore but that hurts role play also as you never know when you or the creature your attacking gets hurt. Do you only actually get hit when you get KO'ed now? If I shoot a critter with my crossbow does it leave a blood trail only if I killed it?

Not trying to be anti 4e here but this is certainly an issue that can hurt RP that I don't believe was a problem in other editions. I keep trying to get people in our games to pretend it makes sense but its an up hill climb.

It was a problem in previous editions. In real life, people can't take as much damage as an elephant can - the elephant has more body mass to disperse kinetic energy through so hydrostatic shock affects it less than it does a human.

Shoot a human with an elephant gun, center of mass, and they die. Period. Yet elephants have been known to take several hits, center of mass, from that same weapon before dying.

In 3e, a high-level Fighter might have more Hit Points than an elephant. Does that mean that he can take more physical damage? No, it doesn't.

Hit Points have always been an abstraction in D&D. They represent luck, skill in 'rolling with the punches', and morale, as well as actual physical toughness. A Warlord's inspiring word may not make his ally's wounds close up, but it'll give him back some of his fighting spirit - which is represented mechanically in D&D with Hit Points.
In the spirit of understanding, I think a lot of this is more "edition shock" than anything else. Presented with a lot of new rules and new options, most of us will simply have a harder time thinking in character and focusing on pure story elements. As we get to know the game and stop having to look stuff up or think about rules, it will get easier to take the focus back to non-mechanical issues. Pretty much every time I've picked up a new game, there's been a learning period. Sometimes I've even noticed this with new characters- if someone is used to playing a rogue, cleric mechanics might cause him to spend more time thinking about the game elements than the story elements. It seems pretty natural to go through this with each new edition.

I think this is the problem I'm seeing. The DM is shilling for a comic book owner so he is trying to get new players involved. We spend alot of time explaining rules.

Someone else said he saw the game (for now) as a wargame and I think that is my problem too. Like him I think I will go back into my role playing self. Hell, I had a CN drow bard in 2nd Ed who "music" was comedy. Let's just say the stroll thru the 9 Hells was CRAZY.
It was a problem in previous editions. In real life, people can't take as much damage as an elephant can - the elephant has more body mass to disperse kinetic energy through so hydrostatic shock affects it less than it does a human.

Shoot a human with an elephant gun, center of mass, and they die. Period. Yet elephants have been known to take several hits, center of mass, from that same weapon before dying.

In 3e, a high-level Fighter might have more Hit Points than an elephant. Does that mean that he can take more physical damage? No, it doesn't.

Hit Points have always been an abstraction in D&D. They represent luck, skill in 'rolling with the punches', and morale, as well as actual physical toughness. A Warlord's inspiring word may not make his ally's wounds close up, but it'll give him back some of his fighting spirit - which is represented mechanically in D&D with Hit Points.

Think your a bit off, they where always somewhat of an abstraction but now they are total abstraction. Never in any edition could you simply sleep off your injuries in 6 hours and there was always at least a sense that you where being hurt in combat. Getting back some of your fighting spirit wont pick you up after that elephant gun blows your guts out, not to mention the 5 min rest after the battle where your wounds do close up without any healing (spending some surges). As you said its a mechanical representation, at some point in a 4e battle it should represent you bleeding right? Are you bleeding when your bloodied? Will a shout of encouragement grow your leg back? What magic is there in sleeping that heals broken limbs? In 4e its a rather silly cartoon style representation and to me that stifles a certain amount of role play.
I find that the skill challenges and basic skill checks are where I incentivise roleplaying.

They say they want to roll a check, I say "okay, what do you say?"

They know a well-roleplayed answer will have an easier DC than a poorly roleplayed one. (not that I give them a free pass, just that I give them a +2 or maybe even knock the DC down a notch from hard to moderate or something.
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I just want to throw in my three cents (one for each point I feel needs to be made).

First, incentive to roleplay sounds like a good thing, right? We all know that offering rewards for certain behaviors leads to those behaviors occurring more often. However, I'd like to point this out: not everyone likes to roleplay as much as others. And I'm not talking about one group who lives and dies for the dragon's loot as opposed to the other group who lives and dies for the people their characters love and protect. In individual game groups there will be different playstyles. One of the guys in my group min/mxes out the wazoo; he's the one causing headaches for the DM as he can easily leap over monsters' heads with his rogue or never be touched with his amazingly-armored fighter. But he roleplays a lot, probably the second most roleplaying-intensive person in the group. Another guy, however, works as a rehab counselor. After working all week, he's tired of talking. He comes to the game, picks up his weapon, and silently lays the smack down on monstrous foes as an elf ranger whose only character traits are his name, homeland, and the fact that he likes bows. If the system rewarded roleplaying, that means that the people who roleplay more will get more rewards than the people who roleplay less. While this may drive the people who roleplay less to flesh out their character a little more, it also creates a power gap between PCs. Even worse, when everyone else is receiving a reward and one player does not, the end result looks pretty much like a punishment to that one player. He may then enjoy the game less or maybe not play anymore. Roleplaying should be its own reward, done for the enjoyment gaind from the act itself. If a player doesn't roleplay, then he probably doesn't like to (or is getting used to it, in which case give him time). We shouldn't indirectly punish people because they don't play the game for the same reason we do.

Second, the game rules do look similar to computer programming language. That doesn't mean it was based off of computer programming language. My guess is that the two systems were developed as such because of a third thing they adhere to: logic. The D&D rules were always meant to arbitrate situations when needed. I, for one, am glad that conditions are now much more well-defined. The only time I look up the rules and numbers regarding conditions is when I can't predict their effect, which is ninety-nine times out of a hundred during combat (how well can I dodge a sword when shackled to the ground?). For non-combat portions, it's not hard to roleplay being shackled to the ground without referencing rules. Besides, what's not to like about a system grounded in logic? It's easy to understand and even predict answers to problems because we're capable of the same logic. How many times did you see illogical rules examples in 3.5 discussed on the forums? Now most of the arguments are simply about misunderstandings or incorrect readings of the rules.

Third, and finally, if you want to find roleplaying rich posts, browse the Character Development forum. If you want to see people roleplay with D&D 4e, you're going to have to get a gaming group and play it. Since this group of boards doesn't include the Play-by-Post, it isn't the place to roleplay what your character Garvin the Paladin of the Raven Queen does when he discovers a hidden Orcus cult.
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Think your a bit off, they where always somewhat of an abstraction but now they are total abstraction. Never in any edition could you simply sleep off your injuries in 6 hours and there was always at least a sense that you where being hurt in combat. Getting back some of your fighting spirit wont pick you up after that elephant gun blows your guts out, not to mention the 5 min rest after the battle where your wounds do close up without any healing (spending some surges). As you said its a mechanical representation, at some point in a 4e battle it should represent you bleeding right? Are you bleeding when your bloodied? Will a shout of encouragement grow your leg back? What magic is there in sleeping that heals broken limbs? In 4e its a rather silly cartoon style representation and to me that stifles a certain amount of role play.

There's just as much of a sense that you're being 'hurt' as there ever was; it's still just numbers on paper. You still don't lose effectiveness from losing hit points - in fact, some characters *gain* effectiveness from being bloodied - and you still start dying at 0 HP or fewer.

The player characters are Heroes of Legend. That means the action is supposed to be fast-paced. It's hard to have fast-paced action when you have to spend days or weeks recovering from wounds. Even in 3e, that rarely ever happened; healing was too easy to come by.

The elephant gun example was by way of pointing out the folly of saying Hit Points represented physical damage in prior editions. That sort of wound in 4e would be a character at their Bloodied value in negative hit points - which you *don't* sleep off, you need a Raise Dead ritual for.

As far as tracking statuses which have no mechanical effect like "Is he bleeding?", then yeah... I'd use Bloodied to represent the first actual 'wound'; everything up to that is just scrapes, getting the target more off-balance, and other 'abstractions'. At least against normal monsters. Elites/Solos would probably take a 'wound' for each crit, one at Bloodied, one at 1/2 Bloodied, and of course the 'death blow'.

PCs should only take 'telling wounds' *if there is a dramatic, story-driven need for it*. These should be scripted events - possibly a chance for a skill challenge - that add to the ongoing story. Random broken limbs do nothing to heighten dramatic tension; they just annoy people.
There's just as much of a sense that you're being 'hurt' as there ever was; it's still just numbers on paper. You still don't lose effectiveness from losing hit points - in fact, some characters *gain* effectiveness from being bloodied - and you still start dying at 0 HP or fewer.

False, a 5min or 6hour rest can heal all wounds, much less sense that you're being 'hurt'.

The player characters are Heroes of Legend. That means the action is supposed to be fast-paced. It's hard to have fast-paced action when you have to spend days or weeks recovering from wounds. Even in 3e, that rarely ever happened; healing was too easy to come by.

Even Heroes of Legend have their off days some would even say the things that make real heroes is there mortality and overcoming their flaws.

The elephant gun example was by way of pointing out the folly of saying Hit Points represented physical damage in prior editions. That sort of wound in 4e would be a character at their Bloodied value in negative hit points - which you *don't* sleep off, you need a Raise Dead ritual for.

I know very well what the elephant gun example was intended for, it works well to illustrate my point as well. Lets say the fellow unlucky enough to be shot with it is put to negative but not past his bloodied value. The Warlord says a word of encouragement and he regains consciousness? The elephant gun victim then spends 5min healing his god awful wound (spending surges) with not even a bandage? This is very different from any other edition, dreadful wounds in the past either took time to heal or magic.

As far as tracking statuses which have no mechanical effect like "Is he bleeding?", then yeah... I'd use Bloodied to represent the first actual 'wound'; everything up to that is just scrapes, getting the target more off-balance, and other 'abstractions'. At least against normal monsters. Elites/Solos would probably take a 'wound' for each crit, one at Bloodied, one at 1/2 Bloodied, and of course the 'death blow'.

There is a mechanical effect, if a target has a bloody gaping wound its much more easy to track said target. Blood may even pool on the ground creating slippery terrain. Blood from an arm wound could run down to the weapons grip and lead to one dropping their weapon. But perhaps WotC didn't want blood in the game anymore and perhaps the bad guys just poof when they die.

PCs should only take 'telling wounds' *if there is a dramatic, story-driven need for it*. These should be scripted events - possibly a chance for a skill challenge - that add to the ongoing story. Random broken limbs do nothing to heighten dramatic tension; they just annoy people.

Dramatic scripted events? This is D&D not an anime movie, sometimes the most dramatic events happen with no script or guideline from the DM. Battle used to be part of the RP and now its more like a break from the RP entirely.
Random broken limbs can do much to stimulate dramatic tension especially when its a leg and moving fast is a priority. I once had a character chop off his own leg so the entire party could make weight for a teleport spell, it was a big sacrifice but he did it for the greater good of the party and no the leg did not grow back with a 6 hour rest.
Well, one would think that just looking through the books would show that it's been designed as a computer game 1st (or haven't you noticed that anything requiring actual human adjucation has been removed? It's ALL presented in computer friendly form.), a minitures/board game 2nd, and a ROLEplaying game somewhere after that....

I wish people would stop making the claim that 4E=computer game. 4E actually bears very little resemblance to a computer game. For example, 4E deliberately eliminated cascading math and reduced the number of rolls and calculations that the DM and players need to make. Computer games don't care about those kind of things. A computer can instantly recalculate a character's stats and easily roll a hundred times for every attack. So, it is more accurate to say that 4E was optimized for tabletop role-playing at the expense of making a good computer game.
Forge:

HP IS NOT GAPING WOUNDS.

HP HEALING IS NOT CLOSING SAID GIANT WOUNDS.

GETTING ALL HP BACK AFTER AN EXTENDED REST DOES NOT REPRESENT SEWING YOUR ARM BACK ON.

HP is and always has been a heavy abstraction blah blah blah. Getting it all back after a rest simply means that you are rested enough that you are focused and alert and ready to survive getting swords swung at you.

Did you ever ACTUALLY see the slow-as-a-snail healing in other editions as "realistic"? Did you really think that your Fighter took 5 sword blows and still performed at 100%? Did you really think that it was logical that the healing system cause Wizards to regenerate those apparent giant gashes faster than the 20 CON Barbarian?
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I will say that the visual representation of the the battle mat and minis pulls me out of the game and turns on my wargamer engines. In other games I quite often do non-standard things with my fightery characters (like climbing up a giants back so I can strangle it to death), but I just don't think of those things as much when I have a solid piece in front of me telling me how everything is.

Quoted for truth. I think we all both gained something and lost something when the D&D rules became so precise that 95% of the actions you can take in combat are fully covered by rules. I remember when my choice of actions was entirely dictated by the scene that I imagined unfolding before me. Now I find myself counting squares and thinking in terms of the minor actions, move actions, and standard actions that I currently have in my repertoire. I don't see anything in my little deck of powers that would allow me to climb up a giant's back to strangle it, so I would never even think to attempt it. At best, my DM would rule it a melee basic attack or a grab, both entirely suboptimal choices in combat, thereby completely deterring me from using my imagination and keeping me focused on the little deck of power cards sitting on the table in front of me. I love a game of chess as much as the next guy, but, lately, I find it all a bit stultifying! I'm actually somewhat surprised to find myself saying this, since I have generally been a huge advocate of 4E, and 3E before it.
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