Rules exist for when they are needed and not for every situation

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From reading a few other threads I get the impression that some people are like robots. I laugh when they mention page 42 as some great breakthrough. Page 42 exists solely because some people just don't get it yet and they want to encourage the behavior.

A DM should always (and always has in my experience of all 4 editions + basic) exercise judgement. Heres the guidelines...

1. If the dungeon or campaign story needs something to progress then make it happen.
2. If rolling the dice really does not affect things at all then just say it happens.
3. If there is an element in game that is important and its something a character should have to expend effort on, then use the rule or make a rule if its missing.

Examples for 3.
Profession or Craft Skills. If a character wants to perform like a superstar for the King then they need to have made some effort to get good. I've added a new system to 4e that is called the less important skills and these can be improved (with level limits like 3e) by expending time. Since I have made time important in my campaign this is a true resource. On the other hand if a guy just wants to sing in a bar or around the camp fire and wants to roleplay that then I might just handwave it. Non-combat skills though can be valuable out of the dungeon if you run fully fleshed out world.

Business Rules. Some of my characters want to own or run businesses. Obviously they don't want any of the real life headaches but they want to own the local bar where the group gathers in town. I made very simple rules where a bar has a level and it can be advanced by expending time and money. It also returns a modest income but nothing that would hinder the need or desire for adventure. I roll on a random events table on occasion to see if something unusual happens like it catching on fire (a very rare chance). Usually the number of businesses and the effectiveness of each business is driven by a characters ability scores. I might add a business skill but so far haven't.

Organization Rules. So you want to be a master thief in the local guild. How do you achieve that. I find handwaving this even given a player has a character at the appropriate level as boring. So many of these things can make for awesome adventures. So like businesses I let characters expend time and money to advance up the ladder of their organization. If they founded the organization then I allow that organization to grow with them.

Henchman Rules. Henchman are great. If a character dies and can't be raised the henchman is usually close enough in level to take over. They also make fine fill ins when some real player can't show up. I have rules for training henchman up in levels. It costs money and time. On occasion we have a henchman night where everyone plays a henchman, this is handy when we need a break from the current dungeon but don't want to really exit it.

Social Status. You sometimes have to choose a focus here. Depending on the group you spend time and money advancing your social status. One of my Paladin players wants to be viewed as a great humanitarian so he donates all his wealth to the poor of the city. He builds soup kitchens etc.. in bad parts of town. I let him advance his social status with that money so from a metagame perspective he is getting something for roleplaying his character.

Kingdom & Castle Rules. Rules for building, defending, financing, etc... I haven't written these yet because my group is just hitting paragon. But they will likely follow the pattern above.


Also I have eliminated the acquisition of magic items by pure gold. I feel that making gold and magic interchangeable destroys the fun of all the above systems. For the most part I give them out as treasure but there are ways with great effort to search for and find a particular item. But unless its really really needed it won't be worth the effort.

I think a good DMG would have suggestions with various different approaches on the above subjects. These would not be binding rules just examples of how to make a campaign world richer. Maybe a world building book. I've thought of writing a book myself and call it the Missing Manual. It could be game system independent with a little effort.

Anyway I'm not saying that the above is how everyone must or even should play. I will say it is a great and fun way to play; and, tons of players over the years have enjoyed it. I think the above stuff extends a campaigns longevity. Just going from dungeon to dungeon with only the slightest hint of anything else being important in the world would grow dull for me.
From reading a few other threads I get the impression that some people are like robots. I laugh when they mention page 42 as some great breakthrough. Page 42 exists solely because some people just don't get it yet and they want to encourage the behavior.

Some people ARE like robots. If something isn't spelled out in the rules, their programming breaks down (and they complain here). Page 42 isn't the end-all be-all, but it does provide a starting point for adjudicating unforseen actions in combat. Was there something like p.42 in previous editions of D&D (appropriate damage, DCs, etc. by level)?

Interesting sub-system rules. I wonder if similar suggestions might be placed in future DMGs, actually.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Was there something like p.42 in previous editions of D&D (appropriate damage, DCs, etc. by level)?

In places, yes, but nowhere near as thorough or as universal. I do remember the DMG for 3.5 had a chart listing level-appropriate damage for [custom spell X], but nothing all that much more robust than that.
As a DM who makes up rules on the fly almost as often as using the written ones, I only partially agree with you. The point that there doesn't need to be rules for every possible event is obvious. Nobody wants to read, remember, or use that many rules.

However, not everyone is good at thinking on their feet. Even if it only takes them a few minutes to come up with an answer they like, that's a few minutes the game stalls. Also, most newer DMs and some experienced DMs come up with awful rulings. If you need proof, check out the "What's a DM to Do?" forum. Or check out the 3.5 magic item forum, and see how many DMs allowed the sword which cast True Strike at will. The page 42 rules are needed, mostly because newer players will want to know what they're expected to do when a non-ruled situation occurs, but also because it describes the very generic scheme of the 4e rules.

I'm glad that you come up with such imaginative, fun, and truly awesome methods for unforeseen developments. However, try to avoid calling people a "Bad DM" for not being good at coming up with new and balanced rules quickly. I reserve the title "Bad DM" for those people who screw their players over for pleasure (not saying that I can't find some pleasure in my players' suffering, but it's not my goal ;)).
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Some people ARE like robots. ....

Sigh. Your right.

I guess my post is intended to maybe break them out of their robotic ways perhaps in some small way. :-).
Sigh. Your right.

I guess my post is intended to maybe break them out of their robotic ways perhaps in some small way. :-).

Your right.

Your

Page 42 isn't rules for everything. It's a list of appropriate DCs by level with a blurb for new players. You can be an award winning DM and you will still need page 42 if you're new to 4th edition.
Sorry if I misinterpreted. I meant the concept of making on the fly decisions with regard to DCs and saying yes etc... Thats always been a hallmark of D&D and roleplaying games in general. If you have a DM that is married so tightly to the rules that he can never make an executive decision then you might want to seek another DM. At least thats my take based on my game preferences. No offense intended.
I can agree with that. While I hardly think it's a majority opinion, I do occasionally see people mention p42 in the context of it being the 'reason' you can add lib things in 4e. I don't think that's correct.
I had the chance to chat to Steve Jackson (creator of GURPS) a couple of years back at a convention; speaking about his games, he said:

"If I had to play with all the rules all the time, I'd shoot myself."

That quote's going to get a lot less quotable if he's ever involved in a tragic suicide but until that point I think it's a pretty fair summation.
Pretty much works as a Placebo effect. It's easier to invent, because you have something to refer to. It doesn't make you able, just easier.
D&D 4E Herald and M:tG Rules Advisor I expect posters to follow the Code of Conduct, use Basic Etiquette, and avoid Poor Logic. If you don't follow these guidelines, I consider you to be disrespectful to everyone on these forums. If you respond to me without following these guidelines, I consider it a personal attack. I grew up in a bilingual household, which means I am familiar with the difficulties in adopting a different vocabulary and grammar. That doesn't bother me. Persistent use of bad capitalization, affirming the consequent, and flaming bother me a great deal.
Rule that I would change: 204.1b
204.1b Some effects change an object’s card type, supertype, or subtype but specify that the object retains a prior card type, supertype, or subtype. In such cases, all the object’s prior card types, supertypes, and subtypes are retained. This rule applies to effects that use the phrase “in addition to its types” or that state that something is “still a [card type].” Some effects state that an object becomes an “artifact creature”; these effects also allow the object to retain all of its prior card types and subtypes.
"Eight Edition Rules Update" We eventually decided not to change this template, because players are used to “becomes an artifact creature,” and like it much better.
Players were used to Combat on the Stack, but you got rid of that because it was unintuitive. The only phrase needed is "in addition to its types"; the others are misleading and unintuitive.
Some people ARE like robots. If something isn't spelled out in the rules, their programming breaks down (and they complain here). Page 42 isn't the end-all be-all, but it does provide a starting point for adjudicating unforseen actions in combat. Was there something like p.42 in previous editions of D&D (appropriate damage, DCs, etc. by level)?

Interesting sub-system rules. I wonder if similar suggestions might be placed in future DMGs, actually.

BEEP

+++++++ ERROR
Some people ARE like robots. If something isn't spelled out in the rules, their programming breaks down (and they complain here).

Yep. I have a whole list of those people on ignore currently.
Page 42 isn't the end-all be-all, but it does provide a starting point for adjudicating unforseen actions in combat. Was there something like p.42 in previous editions of D&D (appropriate damage, DCs, etc. by level)?

Exactly. Besides that, it's handy to have around for when someone swings off the chandelier and hits the bad guy in the head. makes adjudicating the damage that much easier.

However, not everyone is good at thinking on their feet.

Well, they probably shouldn't DM then.
Well, they probably shouldn't DM then.

Or they should just DM more and get a better feel for the system.

Just because someone's not a great DM doesn't mean they shouldn't DM. If that were the case, I'd say most of us on the boards would be gameless because our DM's weren't born awesome. Some of them had to work at it.
I can be a very story-centered DM who can come up with good stories and adventures, but when it comes to mechanics, I just plain suck. The more mechanics-wise that's already been thought out for me, the easier it makes my job to just pick it up and insert it where it fits in a story. So wherever there's already guidelines for how to do this, that or the other, I don't have to worry about coming up with something that's quite likely to break the game in some way.

For a time, I adored 3E because it seemed to have the answer to everything; at least how to do it mechanically. It was only once 4E rolled around that I came to realize how trapped I'd let myself become by unnecessary mechanics. At the same time, I think 4E has gone too far in the other direction in letting too many things fall to hand-waving them away.
1. The whole "robots" comment is just first rate douchebaggery. By the same token, some people have their head burried so deeply in their own anatomy that they can't see anything but their own ways of "handling" things and how much everyone else's stinks.

2. I hate page 42. I found it a lot more flexible and creatively encouraging in old D&D editions when the DMG had lists of common items/actions with statistics and rules, and I'd just find a number based on what's going on (i.e. a camp fire does X damage, XX if it's a big fire). To figure out anything via pag42 goes like this: "Um, you threw him into the camp fire and it does damge of , um, what level are you? um how big is this? um, what's a damage expression? you think your move should push him ack and knock him down? ok, um, what's an equivalent power...".

Whenever I look at page 42, I lose all the fun of DMing. The difficulty chart is necessary because you need to understand how the numbers scale. But I have to think like a game designer, which I enjoy outside of the game, but not while I'm trying to play it. When i adlib something, I'd much rather benchmark it's relevant stats against a list of common things in the game world, but in 4E we don't get that, we get page 42. And it's a LOT easier to think on my feet when I'm thinking in the world than trying to calculate page 42.

I hear people say 3E had too much statted out, and I can understand that (I skipped 3E). But in 4E, as soon as I look at page 42 the game goes from "I'm running a world!" to "I'm a glorified computer script." that's what makes me feel like a robot!
BEEP

+++++++ ERROR
We are the space robots.
We are here to protect you from the terrible secret of space.
They're not so much robots as people that refuse to learn.

As for McThorin, having suggestions for the target numbers in no way stifles your creativity. It just tells you what's fair. If you want to go back to random guessing at how to do X fairly and clearly henging the integrity of your game on the accuracy of your guess, just roll a 30-sider and use the result as what level you use on p.42.

Some of us though, don't like to bumble through it and BS numbers. Also:

2. I hate page 42. I found it a lot more flexible and creatively encouraging in old D&D editions when the DMG had lists of common items/actions with statistics and rules, and I'd just find a number based on what's going on (i.e. a camp fire does X damage, XX if it's a big fire). To figure out anything via pag42 goes like this: "Um, you threw him into the camp fire and it does damge of , um, what level are you? um how big is this? um, what's a damage expression? you think your move should push him ack and knock him down? ok, um, what's an equivalent power...".

I just wanted to bold these two parts where someone is complaining about something they found flexible and creative when it was done last year.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
I just wanted to bold these two parts where someone is complaining about something they found flexible and creative when it was done last year.

When did I say I found page 42 flexible and creative? I remember an argument here early when i said I didn't like page 42 and Seeker95 jumped in and said how much Seeker preferred it to lists of ocmmon events/items, and Seeker did explain some things I didn't get at first because the page is poorly presented. But I don't remember ever coming around on it.

And frankly, if I did, well then DMing this for about a year has soured me on some of its elements. That's called learning from experience.
Look at what I bolded. You just said that you found comparing what the player wants to existing rules was flexible and creative. You then declared page 42 horrible for suggesing you compare what the player wants to do to existing powers.

Pick one. Either it was always bad, or it's still good. You can't have it both ways because that aspect hasn't actually changed.

The only think that has changed is that you no longer have to stumble in the dark for knowledge of what numbers are actually fair. This is something we worked on for months here ont he boards reverse engineering -- until we realized the skill point system dictated that fair numbers didn't actually exist due to swinginess.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
You're misreading what i wrote, and I think it'll be clear to anyone else.

I'm saying I miss the lists. The secitons in the DMG that just gave you guidelines based on the in-game scenario, not meta-logic based on character level. I don't mind page 42 existing so long as I can DM wihtout it, but the 4E books don't give you those resources.
The secitons in the DMG that just gave you guidelines based on the in-game scenario, not meta-logic based on character level. I don't mind page 42 existing so long as I can DM wihtout it, but the 4E books don't give you those resources.

Huh, that's odd. I distinctly remember a chart with damage dice caps based on character level for custom-made spells. Guess that never really existed. ::cue spooky music::
The secitons in the DMG that just gave you guidelines based on the in-game scenario, not meta-logic based on character level. I don't mind page 42 existing so long as I can DM wihtout it, but the 4E books don't give you those resources.



That's not how page 42 is supposed to be used. You want to know how much a campfire is? Decide what level character should be able to stumble through a campfire with minor injuries. That's the level of a campfire, no matter what level your party is.

I don't know why people think campfires or simple locks, or whatever mundane obstacle exists magically gets tougher as your players gain levels. The rules don't suggest such a thing.

Now, I can understand wanting some lists as to what level certain hazards should be. Basically, that's what the hazard and trap section does. Torch? Level 1. Campfire? Level 5. Bonfire? Level 10. Stuff like that. Just some easy-to-reference charts. In fact, the chart on falling is sort of like that already.

I also think a list of rules of thumb for what level a condition should generally be would be helpful. I.e., blinding someone until the end of your next turn that should be difficult for 1st level characters, moderate for 5th and easy for paragon or above (though that difficulty is of course adjusted by the appropriate Defense of the foe to be blinded).

A dazing effect should be unavailable below 8th level. A stunning effect inaccessible before 14th. Stuff like that can help a DM adjudge quickly whether allowing a player to improvise something like this is appropriate. I could see this ending up in a subsequent DMG.

This isn't a matter of 4th edition lacking rules. It's just that there are tools that could be provided to make things even easier for DMs. Which makes sense, since WotC intends to publish a new DMG each year.
The problem I have with all this is simple. One time situations are rarely that. If it worked it will be used again by players. We are human beings and conditioned to do what works. If the DM is always having to make off the cuff decisions that are very arbitrary then the next time they try the same thing you better have recorded exactly how you do it or the players will be angry if you use a second set of criteria or conditions to determine the outcome if the situation is the same.

The best example of this is all the hand waving around here that goes on about secondary professions in 4th Ed. In most other fantasy games and in older versions of D&D there were rules and information. If my character was a blacksmith before becoming a fighter then that may start out as fluff on a sheet but when the player wants to make a weapon I am going to want to know how good he or she is at making that weapon and however good they are should be set within some sort of standard for repeatability. With no real direction we are left with what invariably happens, a thousand different flavors of house rules for something that should be pretty standard for FRPGs.

This is one of my few problems with 4th ed. I play and DM every week and the uber focus on combat needs some tempering IMO.
The problem I have with all this is simple. One time situations are rarely that. If it worked it will be used again by players.

Which is why page 42 is keyed into levels. If pushing someone into a campfire devastates an orc grunt, it won't be so effective against an ogre crusher, and won't even phase a godforged colossus.

If the DM is always having to make off the cuff decisions that are very arbitrary then the next time they try the same thing you better have recorded exactly how you do it or the players will be angry if you use a second set of criteria or conditions to determine the outcome if the situation is the same.

But that is what page 42 is for! So it's not arbitrary, and yet is still appropriately challenging.

The best example of this is all the hand waving around here that goes on about secondary professions in 4th Ed. In most other fantasy games and in older versions of D&D there were rules and information.

Okay. First, some historical perspective. There were no rules or information on professions before 3rd edition in D&D. In Basic D&D, there was nothing. In 1st edition, there were secondary skills, which were less useful than Backgrounds. In 2nd edition, there were a handful of profession-related Non-weapon Proficiencies which were only marginally more informative than Secondary Skills.

Only 3rd edition had CraPPer skills, and those were either horribly abusable or time-wasters.

As for other games, most games of which I am aware do not have rules for money-making beyond a single stat for "Resources" or "Income". These are usually games that occur in a modernish setting in which people are expected to have day-jobs. Most Superhero games and White Wolf's World of Darkness suite of games come to mind. These rules don't tell you how good you are at making something, beyond telling you how much money you make when you do it. But those are games in which money is only a moderately useful item, as opposed to D&D, in which money is to be parceled out (literally) for game-balance purposes.

If my character was a blacksmith before becoming a fighter then that may start out as fluff on a sheet but when the player wants to make a weapon I am going to want to know how good he or she is at making that weapon

Why do you want to know that? To what purpose? Either you can make the item with the materials available or you can't make the item. Is your DM planning an artisan competition in which you -- a professional monster-slayer in the prime of his youth -- plans to compete against professional artisans who have spend the bulk of their professional careers honing their craft? I don't see the need for Crafting/Performance/Profession beyond this corner case.

I play and DM every week and the uber focus on combat needs some tempering IMO.

I agree that the problem being expressed is focus, but for me the problem I see is people who are focused on the idea that dice dictate story.
Is your DM planning an artisan competition in which you -- a professional monster-slayer in the prime of his youth -- plans to compete against professional artisans who have spend the bulk of their professional careers honing their craft?

LOL! This, the competition example, has always puzzled me. Even in 3e, if you actually used the DMG2 table of appropriate skill modifier for a specialist, the odds should be incredibly stacked against any PC trying to 'out-smith' an NPC professional.

Adventuring is a profession. A risky one, but with large and quick rewards for the bold. :fight!:
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Which is why page 42 is keyed into levels. If pushing someone into a campfire devastates an orc grunt, it won't be so effective against an ogre crusher, and won't even phase a godforged colossus.

But that is what page 42 is for! So it's not arbitrary, and yet is still appropriately challenging.

Thank you for providing examples of situations that page 42 is useful for. Not every moment involves taking damage though. Some need to be skill challenges for non-existent skills in 4th edition.

Okay. First, some historical perspective. There were no rules or information on professions before 3rd edition in D&D. In Basic D&D, there was nothing. In 1st edition, there were secondary skills, which were less useful than Backgrounds. In 2nd edition, there were a handful of profession-related Non-weapon Proficiencies which were only marginally more informative than Secondary Skills.

I refute your perspective. I have played every edition of D&D back to white box, which I still own. 2nd edition had many, many secondary skills. 3rd edition codified this further. 4th edition pretends they don't exist. Look, I like 4th edition. It is combat awesomeness. It just fails at some things because it chose not to address them.

Only 3rd edition had CraPPer skills, and those were either horribly abusable or time-wasters.

This is an opinion. Thank you but I disagree.

As for other games, most games of which I am aware do not have rules for money-making beyond a single stat for "Resources" or "Income". These are usually games that occur in a modernish setting in which people are expected to have day-jobs. Most Superhero games and White Wolf's World of Darkness suite of games come to mind. These rules don't tell you how good you are at making something, beyond telling you how much money you make when you do it. But those are games in which money is only a moderately useful item, as opposed to D&D, in which money is to be parceled out (literally) for game-balance purposes.

I don't remember saying anything about making money. Let me give you a situation. Heroes arrive at a town besieged. The town's blacksmith is dead. In 4th edition the best I can hope for is some character cared so much about his or her background that they may have added 'fluff' that they are trained as a blacksmith. In the unlikely chance that happens, then the player wants to fill in and make and repair weapons to help repel an upcoming attack. I could make a skill challenge against a skill but which one? None apply because there are no secondary skills. All skills now relate directly to adventuring and never may they stray from there. So it ends up being some kind of strength and dexterity check. Which means any character in the party can do it so my Dwarven player who took the time to develop his background is mad that anyone can do it. Or I have to make up my own rules for it.

Why do you want to know that? To what purpose? Either you can make the item with the materials available or you can't make the item. Is your DM planning an artisan competition in which you -- a professional monster-slayer in the prime of his youth -- plans to compete against professional artisans who have spend the bulk of their professional careers honing their craft? I don't see the need for Crafting/Performance/Profession beyond this corner case.

Well just because you do not, does not mean there are not countless situations where others find them useful. I have played RPGS for over 30 years. What is being thrown around as fluff now, has provided some of the most interesting situations in a role playing environment I have seen. More than that, these things are one of the differences between playing a involved enjoyable role playing experience or merely working through a combat simulation. It provides the character with more roles than combat or adventuring skill master. More roles equals more role playing.

I agree that the problem being expressed is focus, but for me the problem I see is people who are focused on the idea that dice dictate story.

Forget dice then. Answer the question please. How good a blacksmith is 4th edition character x. vs. 4th edition character y? And if blacksmith is not your cup of tea I can provide numerous examples of 2nd and 3rd edition skills which had game usage. Even a framework for their usage is missing from 4th edition. That's all I am trying to say. A framework for secondary skills would be useful. Then DM's could provide lists of secondary skills available in their world and the players could use this for background.

I love this game but I don't think that is asking too much. Thank you for listening.

- Michael Tenery
For anyone talking about how helpful Profession, Craft or Perform skills were, can you please tell me the DC for a successful concert performance? Or the craft DC for a chocolate cake?

You can't. Because those skills didn't actually have any rules beside ridiculous craft time rules and combat oriented craft DCs.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
Do those skills having bad mechanics in other editions mean we don't fix them, merely write them off? Or, call them fluff and remove them from our play experience?
My original point was that handwaving and making executive decisions is not new in 4e just because they mentioned it more explicitly in the DMG. Rule 0 was in the 1e DMG and that rule still holds in any campaign I run and my players are glad for it.

I understand why 4e got rid of non-adventuring skills. Because some people could gimp their characters by taking too many of these skills instead of the ones they needed to adventure 99% of the time. I do though think they threw the baby out with the bathwater. I developed a secondary skill system that is independent of the primary skill system. These secondary skills might affect the game (see blacksmith story above) but not real often. They are limited by time spent studying which is somewhat controlled in my campaign.

I think anything worth caring about is worth having a number for. Some believe all the secondary profession, craft, etc.. skills are not worth caring about in their games. Since they feel that way and probably DM their games that way they are right. On the other hand for those of us who like more flavor and background outside the dungeon, we make houserules to cover the loss.

Heres an example...
Suppose I want a character that in addition to being a great adventurer is a fabulous singer. Well in my world nothing is truly free. I don't just handwave that they sing great. Instead I allow them to spend there downtime increasing their perform skill. I limit the amount of downtime they have so they can't learn everything.

Heres the types of things I cover with downtime rules.. The rules are simple but require some expenditure of time and gold.
1. Henchman - they can train up henchman who can on occasion accompany them on adventures when a regular player misses. And of course forms their powerbase when establishing a kingdom, castle, temple, etc..
2. Businesses - running these for profit. Its hardly worth it past heroic tier because nothing pays like adventuring but some do it for flavor.
3. Organizations - thieves guilds, arcane societies, religious heirarchies, etc..

My system is simple enough that it does not impinge on game play over much but during down times my players will call and discuss their plans. Its far more thrilling and fun to save the Kingdom when its yours.
For anyone talking about how helpful Profession, Craft or Perform skills were, can you please tell me the DC for a successful concert performance? Or the craft DC for a chocolate cake?

You can't. Because those skills didn't actually have any rules beside ridiculous craft time rules and combat oriented craft DCs.

If i recall, there were DCs for how good a Perform check was, from "******" to "gods come down and applause." The funny part was that an untrained 1st level character could either impress the angels or cause people's ears to bleed depending on the random die roll.

I understand why 4e got rid of non-adventuring skills. Because some people could gimp their characters by taking too many of these skills instead of the ones they needed to adventure 99% of the time. I do though think they threw the baby out with the bathwater.

I hear ya.
For anyone talking about how helpful Profession, Craft or Perform skills were, can you please tell me the DC for a successful concert performance? Or the craft DC for a chocolate cake?

You can't. Because those skills didn't actually have any rules beside ridiculous craft time rules and combat oriented craft DCs.

Ugh, what does the DC being provided have to do with it? If a DM was to decide that something like that was important in a session, he would decide on a rational DC (with guidance from the books), and ask the players to roll.
Do those skills having bad mechanics in other editions mean we don't fix them, merely write them off? Or, call them fluff and remove them from our play experience?

Yes, the last one.

Ugh, what does the DC being provided have to do with it?

Because there actually are no rules for the vast majority of these skills. There are. NO. RULES. For Perform. It's just a number you have that means nothing in the game unless you're a bard -- and then it's a prerequisite only.

Crafting too has no actually usable rules except for a handful of items. You have the price equals time thing, which is hilarious, true, but without the DCs, you don't actually know what's a fair DC for 'yummy chocolate cake' or how *this* chocolate cake can be better than *this* one.

The rules simply didn't do what people defending them pretend they do.

If a DM was to decide that something like that was important in a session, he would decide on a rational DC (with guidance from the books), and ask the players to roll.

If only we had this exact same system... except with a chart, perhaps on a page in the DMG... that suggested reasonable DCs do the DM didn't have to pick at random... instead of, you know... absolutely NO guidance from the books.*

Hmm... well, a man can dream, I guess. Dream and rail against things he apparently has actively avoided learning anything about. In favor of things he similarly doesn't actually know how they work.

*May not apply to books that are wholly imaginary, such as the book where all these 'helpful' examples people apparently used appeared.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
Page 42 does not cover blacksmithing and that ilk. No amount of hand waving is going to make it so. You can force it to but all that means is everyone's experience of it will vary. I do think you have a point that secondary skills didn't work well and the mechanics were dorked in previous editions. I just think that means we need a better system that works. So that when I sit down in Jim's campaign with my Dwarven fighter with blacksmith I can generally expect the same experience as when I sit down with the same character in Sam's campaign.

Rules are a contract, between the player and the game. Without them it is just anything goes, hope it works out. Rules can be overused as in straitjacketing everything and that point is also well taken. However, if one asks the simple question of how one would resolve checks involving background professions, no clean, clear answer can come because everyone's opinion will vary and the rules don't provide any direct help.
In the interest of curtailing the bickering back and forth, perhaps you could tell us more specifically what situations you'd like rules for? Then we can try to come up with some rules to cover those circumstances.
However, if one asks the simple question of how one would resolve checks involving background professions, no clean, clear answer can come because everyone's opinion will vary and the rules don't provide any direct help.

Well, it's not entirely silent on this issue.

Sometimes you're not making an attack or a skill check, but trying to accomplish a task that doesn't fall into either category. You make an ability check. Ability checks give the DM a way to adjudicate actions when an attack or a skill check isn't appropriate.

If a character tries an action that might fail, use a check to resolve it. To do that, you need to know what kind of check it is and what the DC is.
Other Checks: If the action...is not an obvious skill or attack roll, use an ability check. Consult the Difficulty Class and Damage by Level table below, and set the DC according to whether you think the task should be easy, hard, or somewhere in between.

So, if your background abilities somehow comes into play during an adventure (beyond the bonuses mentioned in the Player's Handbook II), and has both a chance of failing and consequences for failing, the DM picks the appropriate ability score for the task and has you make a check. As per usual, the DM sets the DC for the task.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Not every moment involves taking damage though.

Page 42 provides DCs as well.

I refute your perspective. I have played every edition of D&D back to white box, which I still own. 2nd edition had many, many secondary skills. 3rd edition codified this further. 4th edition pretends they don't exist.

"many, many" isn't the point. The point is what they do. First Non-Weapon Proficiencies did not scale. You either had Cooking or you didn't have Cooking. All characters with Cooking were equally skilled, depending only upon their Dexterity modifier.

And these NWPs did not tell you how masterful a chef you were. You were simply skilled or unskilled. In fact, Cooking only allowed you to cook decent campfire grub. There was no way for you to be a culinary master.

How is that different from choosing a Professional Background from the PHB II? It lets you gain a related skill as a class skill or become traine din it if it is already a class skill. Cooking, for instance, might involve Perception or Nature.

Only 3rd edition allowed for gradations in skill. And that was presumed, since the only actual rules-based ramification of ranks in CraPPer sills was how much money you made. Everything was based on Wisdom or Int of Charisma. A Strength 3 Blacksmith with Wisdom 10 made as much money as an 18 Strength blacksmith with Wisdom 10.

It just fails at some things because it chose not to address them.

It addresses them as well as 2nd edition did and better than Basic or 1st. Through Backgrounds.

I don't remember saying anything about making money.

Then you're not playing 3rd edition with CraPPer skills as written. You're playing a house-ruled version.

Let me give you a situation. Heroes arrive at a town besieged. The town's blacksmith is dead. In 4th edition the best I can hope for is some character cared so much about his or her background that they may have added 'fluff' that they are trained as a blacksmith.

Or a Background!!

But let me address your hypothetical in a few ways.

First, you'd be better off having your party cleric cast Make Whole (level 2) and your wizard cast Mending (level 1).

Second, even though repairing items costs materials equal to 20% of the price of the item to be repaired (rather than the 33.3% for creating an item), the time to repair is still determined by the price of the item. Most martial weapons and armor have a DC of 15 to make. Your basic longsword costs 15 gp.

So you can basically make a longsword in a week. If you try it on the daily basis (1500 cp), and have, say, a +10 on your check, and voluntarily add 10 to the DC, you can expect to make a longsword in 2 days by spending 3 gp.

If your PCs have more than a few days kill while the place is being besieged, I'd be shocked. Under Third edition, your character is going to repair a few swords (but might as well spend the extra 2 gp/sword and make them brand new!).

Why is that more dramatic than simply fudging how long it takes to repair swords in your world and letting the character create a handful? Why must you make your PC sit down and do algebra before feeling useful?

You're the DM. There's nothing wrong with saying, "Barbara has a smithy Background so I'll let her make a handful of swords. Rufus, you don't know one thing about smithing -- you can't make anything."

Well just because you do not, does not mean there are not countless situations where others find them useful.

I dispute that they are useful as opposed to a crutch. They are allowing a DM to substitute math for story. The Craft rules serve no other game design purpose.

I have played RPGS for over 30 years.

Bully for you. I've been playing a mere 26 years in comparison.

What is being thrown around as fluff now, has provided some of the most interesting situations in a role playing environment I have seen.

And I disagree. I think good DMing and resourceful playing makes for interesting situations. Because peope are rolling dice during the process they falsely attribute the excitement to the dice in the same way that people attribute homeopathic remedies taken three days after a cold to their cure, even though most colds end after three days.

More than that, these things are one of the differences between playing a involved enjoyable role playing experience or merely working through a combat simulation.

No, they aren't. Roleplaying allows people to be involved in an enjoyable role-playign experience. Doing math problems to determine how fast you build a sword is not role-playing. It's Mathletes.

You might as well have the following exchange.
"Player: I entreat the king to allow us liberty to cross his land so we can vanquish the Orc King!"
"DM: Okay. Finish this sudoko puzzle."
"Player: What?"
"DM: Look, we can roleplay out a whole conversation, but frankly, the rules really don't tell me why kings agree to let people cross their lands. So instead of just making stuff up without much guidance, you can fill out this sudoko. Since your charisma is only 13, I started you out with 13 of the squares completed. You should have put more points in Charisma dude. If you can solve the sudoko than you have puzzled out how to convince the king to let you pass. Good luck."

More roles equals more role playing.

You're confusing roleplaying with stats on the page. More numbers on the page don't equal to roleplaying. Creating interesting non-combat scenarios equals roleplaying. more numbers just means more number-crunching.

Answer the question please. How good a blacksmith is 4th edition character x. vs. 4th edition character y?

As good as the DM thinks appropriate based on their character histories.

Even a framework for their usage is missing from 4th edition.

Backgrounds.
Ugh, what does the DC being provided have to do with it? If a DM was to decide that something like that was important in a session, he would decide on a rational DC (with guidance from the books), and ask the players to roll.

If he's going to pick an arbitrary number to have the players roll against, why not narrate what happens based on the character background? Or, if he insists on letting dice tell the story, rather than he and the players, just pick a number and tell the character to beat it to succeed on the performance? Why do players have to waster time picking skills if the DM is going to pick an arbitrary number?
Page 42 does not cover blacksmithing and that ilk. No amount of hand waving is going to make it so.

It doesn't need to cover blacksmithing. I've pointed this out plenty of times before - since there is no craft skill, as a DM I let people make whatever they have the materials and time to make. No rolls, no checks.
Page 42 does not cover blacksmithing and that ilk.

Page 42 covers player actions that are not defined by the rules and require dice rolls to adjudicate.

I personally agree that blacksmithing isn't covered there because you shouldn't use dice to adjudicate crafting. But apparently other people do. For them, page 42 provides DCs.
I whole heartedly agree with the topic poster, well said indeed Sir! (Or Madame!)
If he's going to pick an arbitrary number to have the players roll against, why not narrate what happens based on the character background? Or, if he insists on letting dice tell the story, rather than he and the players, just pick a number and tell the character to beat it to succeed on the performance? Why do players have to waster time picking skills if the DM is going to pick an arbitrary number?

Because its not arbitrary, its based on how the DM evaluates the difficulty of a task. I use this rule of thumb for players in the 1-10 level range, easy: DC5-10, medium: DC 10-15, harder DC 20 and above.

Also a lot of posts here, including yours, assume the DM is railroading the path of the PC's. I dont think I am alone here, but I think the best adventures are the ones with a VARIETY of methods for success. Maybe you charm the baron (diplomacy), sneak in through a window (hide, climbing), make a contraption to get you in (craft), coerce a guard to help you (intimidate), impress some people (perform) ect ect ect ECTERA.

The reason DMs have to make DCs on the fly isnt because they are arbitrary. Its because the best adventures lead PC's to come up with solutions that the DM wouldnt even think of.

Also, page 42 is great for this. The only problem is the condensed skill list, there are a lot of things that are just missing for players to roll with. I realize that the many skills in 3e were frustrating, I had some players who didn't bother to even do them. But now, they lack yet another way to differentiate themselves. (This isn't a big deal, its easy enough to houserule btw, just stating something that I think is a step BACKWARDS)