Integration, how far do you think it will go?

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Now, the designers have been hinting at the game becoming very integrated, with different parts "speaking" to each other more than they ever have in the past. We mostly assume this applies to individual rules, I want to take a step back and wonder how much of this will actually be crossing over among classes.

Let's take a minute and consider, we have been told that all calsses wil have a number of things to do with all of their actions (Standard, Swift, Immediate, and maybe move). We've also been told that all characters will have a "Power Source" which thus far we've pretty much assumed to be a fluff idea explaining where characters get the ability to do supernatural things.

I've been following the discussion of what people think Magic will be like, and here's the idea I'm pretty much getting right now: You have manapoints and a limited number of spells. These spells are at a basic level, and can be scaled up to a higher level and take more points (hence 30 levels of spells). You then have to decide how often you want the spell. As a default, they have a 'per day' limitation. But you can put more points in it (ie raise the spell level) to have the spell on a 'per encounter' basis. Or you can put still more points in it, to have it at will. So from there you divvy up all your spell points, determining how you want your spells to go. You can have a lot of one shot low level spells, a handful of one shot high level spells, a handful of at will lower level spells, a moderate number of per encounter low level spells, or some mixture of the deal.

It seems kind of complex to set up, but it seems like the sort of thing that once you got comfortable with you'd be able to play without thinking too much about it, with your per day things becoming trump cards, but most of your spells being the per encounter or at will variety, so that you always have a number of options at your disposal.


So, that works great for magic. It even works for Psionics when they get implemented. But it leaves everyone begging "What will the martial system be?!". To that I answer, "It's the same thing"

That's right, I'm predicting that the martial system will end up being a very close port to the magic system this time around. That's why the idea of "Power Sources" needed to be introduced, because while it was always abundantly clear for casters, martially suited characters generally got the shaft because they had no -reason- to have any sort of special power or expendable ability.

Now, I'm not saying it'll be EXACTLY the same, but my prediction is that we'll see the same basic setup. You have your maneuvers that you know, and you distribute them accordingly based on how often you want to use them. We may see most maneuvers have a base of 'per encounter' rather than a base of 'per day' with only a few -really special- powers being limited to per day, but the basic chasis would be the same. You have so many points to distribute to have so many maneuvers, and how often or what maneuvers you can use is dependent on how and where you invest them.


Now does this make martial maneuvers spells with another name, as so many people claimed ToB did? Well... yes and no. It depends, would you define Divine Magic as Arcane Magic with another name? If so, you will probably think that this is the case.

On the other hand, I see each power source as a limitation. Each one defines what you can and cannot do with that power. You won't be using the Martial maneuvers to create fire balls and teleport across the world. However you might see it used for short range teleporting (explained as moving faster than anyone could track) special modes of attack, and that sort of thing. Martial maneuvers would remain unique from magic in the same way that Arcane and Divine Magic remain separate-it has different requirements to use, and accomplishes different things. They might overlap in some areas, but they each clearly have their own strengths that make them valuable on the team.

Why should it be this way? Because it makes things infinitely easier to balance if all classes have the same core chasis. It's easier to balance, in 3e, a Wizard to a Cleric than it is to balance a Cleric to a Fighter. Simply because Wizards and Clerics operate on a similar system, while Clerics and Fighters work on completely different spectrums, making it impossible to compare/quantify their relative contributions.



Now, I realize that this thought probably won't be welcomed with open arms, and I could well prove to be wrong. However, I think it would be a great step in the right direction, and the signs I'm reading from looking around the last few days seems to be pointing at something like this.
Dumb down the game, make the classes all the same with only slight differences.

This is WOTC intention to make the game easier for 12 year olds to play. They are currently playing MMOs that in fact do the same thing with the classes in WOW EQ etc.

The real lemon in the eye is with the fighter classes. Why the hell should a fighter have the magical ability to do anything?

Its ridiculous and makes the game more like a video game (WOW, EQ) instead of a fantasy reinactment of medieval europe.
Dumb down the game, make the classes all the same with only slight differences.

This is WOTC intention to make the game easier for 12 year olds to play. They are currently playing MMOs that in fact do the same thing with the classes in WOW EQ etc.

The real lemon in the eye is with the fighter classes. Why the hell should a fighter have the magical ability to do anything?

Its ridiculous and makes the game more like a video game (WOW, EQ) instead of a fantasy reinactment of medieval europe.

Oh joy, first response... and pretty much what I expected. Ill-based arguments and comparisons to WoW.

1) It's not 'dumbing down the game', it's making the game more balanced. Hell if anything, it makes actual gameplay more involved, as everyone has options to play with, as opposed to one or two people having a ton of options and the others going "Do I want to hit orc1 or hit orc2?"

2) Having a balanced system is MMO-esque? If that's the case D&D should have been taking notes out of their book a -long- time ago.

3) Why should the fighter have the ability to do anything? Because if he's not doing anything, why should he EXIST? I don't know where you're getting the magic from. The martial power source is clearly nonmagical in nature, just something so that you have a quantifiable reason that the Fighter exceeds your average person in pretty much everything.

4) A fantasy reinactment of medieval europe? Okay guys, I got dibs on the serf farmer! You can have the merchant or the beggar.

Seriously. It's FANTASY. People are supposed to be doing FANTASTIC things. Your Fighter is doing things that nobody realistically can, because by level 5 he's already done everything that you can realistically do. There are terribly few examples of good high level martial characters, so people assume that low level equivalents must be high level. This kind of mindset is ridiculous.

And as for it being more like a video game... honestly, why is this a bad thing? Video games have evolved far faster than PnP games because they release more often, can be patched more easily, etc. But mechanics behind them are fundamentally the same, and were actually taken from D&D in the first place, then evolved into something more. D&D taking back from this experience, and streamlining its own system to become easier to play isn't a bad thing.

After all, the thing that separates D&D from computer games is two things: First, and foremost, role-playing. Second, user generated content. Having a more streamlined system doesn't get in the way of either of these, and if by borrowing from video games it becomes a better game overall in its mechanics, -why are you complaining-?
Dumb down the game, make the classes all the same with only slight differences.

Except they're not.

They're defining classes so they're more different, as opposed to the Sorcerer and Wizard.

They're also avoiding things like the Bard problem.

This is WOTC intention to make the game easier for 12 year olds to play. They are currently playing MMOs that in fact do the same thing with the classes in WOW EQ etc.

WoW and EQ are emulations of D&D already.

They're just making the D&D system make sense.

The real lemon in the eye is with the fighter classes. Why the hell should a fighter have the magical ability to do anything?

They're not magical, and if you assume so, you have no idea what you're talking about.

The abilities use a resource management system, yes, but that doesn't make them magical. If that were true, your car would be magical.

Its ridiculous and makes the game more like a video game (WOW, EQ) instead of a fantasy reinactment of medieval europe.

"Fantasy Re-Enactment of Medieval Europe" is, itself, silly.

D&D was never about medieval Europe. Or re-enacting. It's based on war gaming mixed with Tolkien, Vance, and other fantasy writers that were popular in the 60's and 70's. It has since expanded into all aspects of Heroic Fantasy, a genre that includes, but is not limited to, Herakles, Conan, and the Fantastic Four.

It just happens to have the 'classical' fantasy tropes; sword and sorcery.

If it was based on re-enacting medieval Europe, there would be no monks, no class would have money except for the Cleric, all Paladins wouldn't be holy knights but bankers and bodyguards, and Bards would be burned at the stake for being pagans.
Now silliness aside, does anybody agree that having all classes having the core chasis for defining their limited use abilities being the same is a good idea?
Now silliness aside, does anybody agree that having all classes having the core chasis for defining their limited use abilities being the same is a good idea?

Depends on the chassis. It's potentially a good idea, but that central core has to be rock-solid, granite-solid even. All 4e classes that will ever be written should ideally fit onto this core. If there's numerous exceptions, that core chassis will start looking a little rusty.
...

I think my brain just died because of Venjam.

Anyway, Seerow. I find your idea to be fairly interesting and, actually, probably right. I do think that the idea that Fighters should have higher "ability endurance" in the amount of times they can use them per day than a Wizard, but that's more of a personal preference.

In fact, however, in comparison to what Wizards of the Coast seems to think about the Fighter's role in 3.5, it might occur that it will take less of a cost to move a Martial character's per day abilties to per encounter than it will to take a Wizards per day abilities to per encounter, so that while wizards will still be useful in every fight, Fighter's will still kill in an endurance fight.
Depends on the chassis. It's potentially a good idea, but that central core has to be rock-solid, granite-solid even. All 4e classes that will ever be written should ideally fit onto this core. If there's numerous exceptions, that core chassis will start looking a little rusty.

So refer to my OP as an idea of what the core chasis would be like. Then smatter in a handful of class abilities that are more general use that everyone of that class has to differentiate the classes, and have the classes have different spell/maneuver lists to make them even more different. ie a rogue might get maneuvers that require skill checks and give really awesome skill related stuff, like at high levels balancing on a drop of water or some ****. While his other class abilities would be more in line with what we see in current D&D, uncanny dodge, evasion, maybe some bonus feats, and either sneak attack, or have sneak attack as a maneuver. (people have complained about no sneak attack for other classes that it suits, like Ranger. having it as a maneuver lets you do that)


Basically imagine the system for spells/maneuvers I outlined above taking every class. You can then flesh out the flavor of the class via special abilities, much like the non-core 3e spellcasters did, and via what spells/maneuvers they have access to. So characters will be fundamentally the same, but the base system itself is flexible enough to encompass any of them.
Now silliness aside, does anybody agree that having all classes having the core chasis for defining their limited use abilities being the same is a good idea?

It is an interesting idea, but in the end no. I think the loss of flavor that would inevitably result would do more damage to the game then the gain in balance would provide.

The idea that balance is making every class equally good at all things is destructive. Nor does balance mean that every class has an equal chance in a one on one battle. Balance is making every class equally fun to play.

Jay
It is an interesting idea, but in the end no. I think the loss of flavor that would inevitably result would do more damage to the game then the gain in balance would provide.

The idea that balance is making every class equally good at all things is destructive. Nor does balance mean that every class has an equal chance in a one on one battle. Balance is making every class equally fun to play.

Jay

You miss the point. They wouldn't all be equally good at all things. Each would have their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of the limits of what they can do. A martial maneuver is still fundamentally different from a spell.There's a pretty big difference between hitting someone with your hammer and knocking them back 30 feet into a wall and throwing an orb of force at the enemy. There's different things that each discipline is better at.

Let me put it this way, did Clerics lose their flavor because they had the same spellcasting system that Wizards used? Of course not, because their spell list was completely different from a wizard's, the two classes play completely differently. And this is BEFORE you consider things like primary stats, skills, or class features outside of that spellcasting system.

This would end up along the same lines as that, except expanding it a bit further, to now include those whom up 'til now have had -no- semblance of special abilities.
It is an interesting idea, but in the end no. I think the loss of flavor that would inevitably result would do more damage to the game then the gain in balance would provide.

The idea that balance is making every class equally good at all things is destructive. Nor does balance mean that every class has an equal chance in a one on one battle. Balance is making every class equally fun to play.

Jay

I don't think you're understanding what the possibilities are. While the "chassis" provides a basic architecture for all the classes. Now, all that means is that each class gets some abilities for use in the "at will", "per encounter", and "per day" categories. Which really isn't any more terrible than saying "All classes have hit points, a BAB, and a number of Skill Points that they get each level."

The differentiation in 3.5 comes from all the deviations in the basic architecture, its also where all the problems come in. Its very difficult, especially when you pile on templates and prestige classes to know or predict which piles of random class/template abilities either become useless, wonky, or broken. *

Instead, the 4e idea (if we're right) is to funnel all of that variety into the same structure, so that we can better examine, prepare, and shortcut it. So Fighters will have even more flavor, diversity, and capacity based on their selections as they level up. If its anything like SWSE, the characters will be far more unique and specialized than they are in 3.5. Far from making every class equally good toe-to-toe or bring all things to everyone. We'll be making interesting choices at each level about what direction our characters develop.


Now silliness aside, does anybody agree that having all classes having the core chasis for defining their limited use abilities being the same is a good idea?

Yeah, I think it is.


*Aside: Previous editions didn't have this templating/prc issue, because they didn't do it. So when the idea first arrived it was wonderful. Need a new monster/npc? Just tack together a few specialization. This wasn't seen as a problem, because the options were so limited. As time went on, and more and more prestige classes and more and more templates arrived...well, lets just say a strength became a weakness.
To get an idea on how the martial power source makes a PC Fighter differ from an NPC Warrior is 4e, compare Captain America to an ordinary street tough. It isn't magical ability, or possibly even supernatural, just supreme physical training coupled with the will to use it.
The above two posters get the point :o
I think it sounds like a great idea. Whether or not that's what they're aiming at is still up in the air.

I've been longing for a bit of balance(not similarity) between the classes for a long time.
3.x just got to the point that in order to even try to balance an 18th level wizard you needed two 10th lvl. fighters and a bunch of PrCs.

I'd like to see a consistent architecture from class to class so that a wizard and a fighter have an equal chance to kick each other's butts if they're both the same level.
...Y'know, I think what they're doing may be something, but not quite like that. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't people going "Why didn't we think of that a couple of years ago?" in WotC right now.

It's really a very nice idea.
Let's say they make the world's most elegant system. It is able to capture all characters in all their richness and depth and do it with some really simple rules - rules so simple your grandma with Alzheimer's and your little snot-nosed brother can quickly understand and, even better, those rules can be wrote out on the back of a napkin in five minutes. Let's say they print those rules.
What next? There would be no more rules to print. So, what would they sell? Campaign settings? More monster manuals? More miniatures?
You have to understand that it is not in the interest of WotC to publish simple, elegant rules, because as soon as they do, they put themselves out of business.
-Good- integration (and I assume we all know the difference between good and bad integration) creates an elegant system which is not in WotC's best interest.
Silly - they do as they've done thus far. Create more content for the system.

New classes using the chassis, as you said campaigns and monster manuals, new feats, spells, trait trees, ETC. ( which is where the power creep will come from... T_T ), new prestige classes, new items, new traditions....
Dumb down the game, make the classes all the same with only slight differences.

This is WOTC intention to make the game easier for 12 year olds to play. They are currently playing MMOs that in fact do the same thing with the classes in WOW EQ etc.

I started to play this game with 12 years old. What is the problem with getting 12 years old players that stay loyal to the game for 20 years?
It's a great deal imo.

Whenever i read someone complaining about making all the classes all the same, i somewhat think "this guy normally play wizards or clerics "
Except they're not.

They're defining classes so they're more different, as opposed to the Sorcerer and Wizard.

They're also avoiding things like the Bard problem.

It seems that all classes will have same sort of combat-focused 'power sources' that are mechanically almost equal -- whether they are "martial" or "arcane" or "divine" in nature.

WoW and EQ are emulations of D&D already.

They're just making the D&D system make sense.

Uh, I don't know about you, but I have a hard time trying to imagine a peasan't son calling himself a "warlord" ("Ma and Pa, I'm now a Warlord, and I'm gonna have a real army one day!") -- maybe he will start gathering his forces by recruiting the neighbour's old shepherd and his four lame sheep. ;)

They're not magical, and if you assume so, you have no idea what you're talking about.

The abilities use a resource management system, yes, but that doesn't make them magical. If that were true, your car would be magical.

'Semi-mystical' might be a better term for them -- I can't fathom how a fighter or a Warlord would provide an AC bonus for everyone, for example. Note that one of the designers admitted that they border on supernatural on the Epic Levels (yes, so did some of the Epic Level Feats in 3E, and I didn't like it one bit).
Uh, I don't know about you, but I have a hard time trying to imagine a peasan't son calling himself a "warlord" ("Ma and Pa, I'm now a Warlord, and I'm gonna have a real army one day!") -- maybe he will start gathering his forces by recruiting the neighbour's old shepherd and his four lame sheep.

I wasn't aware that characters referred to themselves by their class name? I mean, classes are a metagame concept. Characters shouldn't know what a class is, or anything of the sort, they just know what they are capable of.

So your peasant Warlord may just be a pretty charismatic kid who's out to find his way in the world. He wouldn't actually go around saying he's a warlord, just like a Fighter wouldn't go around saying he's a fighter. Just like some mish-mash of classes wouldn't be referred to as that mash of classes, but as what they're trying to represent.

Yes you CAN call yourself by the name of the class, but if that doesn't suit your character concept, you call yourself by something else when acting in character.

In any even, that's a fairly weak argument.

'Semi-mystical' might be a better term for them -- I can't fathom how a fighter or a Warlord would provide an AC bonus for everyone, for example. Note that one of the designers admitted that they border on supernatural on the Epic Levels (yes, so did some of the Epic Level Feats in 3E, and I didn't like it one bit).

At epic levels you ARE supernatural. Period. There's no ifs ands or butts about it. You are doing things that make those of us living normally shake our heads in awe and wonder.

As for how to provide an AC bonus, who said that was something they could do? Still, I can see something like a stance or maneuver granting morale bonuses to those close to you (Like the Marshal does. Or are you going to say the Marshal was magical?), or if it's more confined you might be able to say share your shield bonus to AC with an ally adjacent to you.

There's plenty of ways to justify things even without stepping into supernatural areas, if you have an open mind rather than going into it with a "No, that's not possible" mentality.




That said, I want to see a good smattering of supernatural stuff going on at high levels. I want to see a Fighter who hits the ground with his hammer and knocks everyone within 30 feet of him prone. I want to see the Fighter who shoots an arrow/throws his weapon and causes a sonic shockwave in the line until it hits its target, and deals extra damage against that target. I want to see a Fighter who moves so fast that it seems like teleportation to the untrained eye.

Why? Because those are the sorts of things epic heroes do. It's the sort of thing interesting characters do. Why shouldn't my martial characters be able to do interesting things?
Now, the designers have been hinting at the game becoming very integrated, with different parts "speaking" to each other more than they ever have in the past. We mostly assume this applies to individual rules, I want to take a step back and wonder how much of this will actually be crossing over among classes.

Let's take a minute and consider, we have been told that all calsses wil have a number of things to do with all of their actions (Standard, Swift, Immediate, and maybe move). We've also been told that all characters will have a "Power Source" which thus far we've pretty much assumed to be a fluff idea explaining where characters get the ability to do supernatural things.

I've been following the discussion of what people think Magic will be like, and here's the idea I'm pretty much getting right now: You have manapoints and a limited number of spells. These spells are at a basic level, and can be scaled up to a higher level and take more points (hence 30 levels of spells). You then have to decide how often you want the spell. As a default, they have a 'per day' limitation. But you can put more points in it (ie raise the spell level) to have the spell on a 'per encounter' basis. Or you can put still more points in it, to have it at will. So from there you divvy up all your spell points, determining how you want your spells to go. You can have a lot of one shot low level spells, a handful of one shot high level spells, a handful of at will lower level spells, a moderate number of per encounter low level spells, or some mixture of the deal.

It seems kind of complex to set up, but it seems like the sort of thing that once you got comfortable with you'd be able to play without thinking too much about it, with your per day things becoming trump cards, but most of your spells being the per encounter or at will variety, so that you always have a number of options at your disposal.


So, that works great for magic. It even works for Psionics when they get implemented. But it leaves everyone begging "What will the martial system be?!". To that I answer, "It's the same thing"

That's right, I'm predicting that the martial system will end up being a very close port to the magic system this time around. That's why the idea of "Power Sources" needed to be introduced, because while it was always abundantly clear for casters, martially suited characters generally got the shaft because they had no -reason- to have any sort of special power or expendable ability.

Now, I'm not saying it'll be EXACTLY the same, but my prediction is that we'll see the same basic setup. You have your maneuvers that you know, and you distribute them accordingly based on how often you want to use them. We may see most maneuvers have a base of 'per encounter' rather than a base of 'per day' with only a few -really special- powers being limited to per day, but the basic chasis would be the same. You have so many points to distribute to have so many maneuvers, and how often or what maneuvers you can use is dependent on how and where you invest them.


Now does this make martial maneuvers spells with another name, as so many people claimed ToB did? Well... yes and no. It depends, would you define Divine Magic as Arcane Magic with another name? If so, you will probably think that this is the case.

On the other hand, I see each power source as a limitation. Each one defines what you can and cannot do with that power. You won't be using the Martial maneuvers to create fire balls and teleport across the world. However you might see it used for short range teleporting (explained as moving faster than anyone could track) special modes of attack, and that sort of thing. Martial maneuvers would remain unique from magic in the same way that Arcane and Divine Magic remain separate-it has different requirements to use, and accomplishes different things. They might overlap in some areas, but they each clearly have their own strengths that make them valuable on the team.

Why should it be this way? Because it makes things infinitely easier to balance if all classes have the same core chasis. It's easier to balance, in 3e, a Wizard to a Cleric than it is to balance a Cleric to a Fighter. Simply because Wizards and Clerics operate on a similar system, while Clerics and Fighters work on completely different spectrums, making it impossible to compare/quantify their relative contributions.



Now, I realize that this thought probably won't be welcomed with open arms, and I could well prove to be wrong. However, I think it would be a great step in the right direction, and the signs I'm reading from looking around the last few days seems to be pointing at something like this.

If WotC does something similar to this it would rock. :D Depending on the 'customizable' special abilities. It seems that such a system could allow for a great amount of different kinds of build in the martial or spellcasting classes
The impression I got from the "martial power source" thing was more of a "heroic spirit" sort of feeling than a God of fighters or superhero theme.

Along the lines of why Beowulf was able to do the things he did. Just thought I'd clarify.
The impression I got from the "martial power source" thing was more of a "heroic spirit" sort of feeling than a God of fighters or superhero theme.

Along the lines of why Beowulf was able to do the things he did. Just thought I'd clarify.

Yes, that's pretty much what it is. But Beowulf wasn't exactly a 20th-30th level character either.
I've been following the discussion of what people think Magic will be like, and here's the idea I'm pretty much getting right now: You have manapoints and a limited number of spells. These spells are at a basic level, and can be scaled up to a higher level and take more points (hence 30 levels of spells). You then have to decide how often you want the spell. As a default, they have a 'per day' limitation. But you can put more points in it (ie raise the spell level) to have the spell on a 'per encounter' basis. Or you can put still more points in it, to have it at will. So from there you divvy up all your spell points, determining how you want your spells to go. You can have a lot of one shot low level spells, a handful of one shot high level spells, a handful of at will lower level spells, a moderate number of per encounter low level spells, or some mixture of the deal.

I don't think it'll go that way. I think certain spells will be balanced better by saying "If you get this spell it'll be on a per day basis. If you get this spell it's going to be on a per encounter basis. If you get this spell, it's going to be on an at will basis.

It's much easier to balance something when you don't put teirs - otherwise you would need to nerf the at will abilities significantly. I can imagine three power levels of abilities for a level, and they will be balanced by only being usable in that own category.

That's right, I'm predicting that the martial system will end up being a very close port to the magic system this time around. That's why the idea of "Power Sources" needed to be introduced, because while it was always abundantly clear for casters, martially suited characters generally got the shaft because they had no -reason- to have any sort of special power or expendable ability.

I agree. I believe this is what they are doing too. It makes it much easier to streamline and balance when they work the same way rather than taking two different things and using trial and error until you finally get something. I'd say the only game I've ever seen accomplish a sense of balance with completely different abilities is Starcraft, and even it uses the same chassis for balancing, and further differentiates off that.

Now, I'm not saying it'll be EXACTLY the same, but my prediction is that we'll see the same basic setup. You have your maneuvers that you know, and you distribute them accordingly based on how often you want to use them. We may see most maneuvers have a base of 'per encounter' rather than a base of 'per day' with only a few -really special- powers being limited to per day, but the basic chasis would be the same. You have so many points to distribute to have so many maneuvers, and how often or what maneuvers you can use is dependent on how and where you invest them.

On the other hand, I see each power source as a limitation. Each one defines what you can and cannot do with that power. You won't be using the Martial maneuvers to create fire balls and teleport across the world. However you might see it used for short range teleporting (explained as moving faster than anyone could track) special modes of attack, and that sort of thing. Martial maneuvers would remain unique from magic in the same way that Arcane and Divine Magic remain separate-it has different requirements to use, and accomplishes different things. They might overlap in some areas, but they each clearly have their own strengths that make them valuable on the team.

Again, agreed. The power source will determine the types of abilities you'll have. The arcane power source will feel more like magic, the martial power source will be more of amazing physical skill, while divine magic will be divine in feel - and ability. I wouldn't say they'd go as far to call Martial powers "maneuvers" but they are powers, abilities, or the like. It's what makes them special, or good at what they do.

Why should it be this way? Because it makes things infinitely easier to balance if all classes have the same core chasis. It's easier to balance, in 3e, a Wizard to a Cleric than it is to balance a Cleric to a Fighter. Simply because Wizards and Clerics operate on a similar system, while Clerics and Fighters work on completely different spectrums, making it impossible to compare/quantify their relative contributions.

Not only easier to balance, but it also streamlines the understanding of how characters function. If they use the same mechanic, you don't have to learn different combat rules and different spell rules. They are different in flavor, function and capabilities, but in declaring how you use them, they are the same.

I agree, it won't be welcomed with open arms. People are going to equate a similar core mechanic to lack of different flavor, which i don't think will be the case.

...then again, almost all change is accompanied with doomsday predictions, so it's no surprise to me.
Why on earth do so many people scream" blah blah blah dumbing down" "Blah Blah Blah genric blah with lack of flavor!"

I am so tired of hearing how having an insanely complicated rule system "weeds out the weak" or something. Sure, the rules (most of them) are easy enough to understand once you've been playing for a while. But they outright suck for new players. It's hard enough to find stuff on your char sheet, much less pick through a spell list when you first start. Ask my fourteen year old.


Isn't flavor something best added by the DM and players...I mean sure use Ravenloft or Ebberon or Forgotten realms, but a character, any character is just a collection of numbers on paper with no flavor whatsoever until you make it live.

/ rant off...sorry
I don't think it'll go that way. I think certain spells will be balanced better by saying "If you get this spell it'll be on a per day basis. If you get this spell it's going to be on a per encounter basis. If you get this spell, it's going to be on an at will basis.

It's much easier to balance something when you don't put teirs - otherwise you would need to nerf the at will abilities significantly. I can imagine three power levels of abilities for a level, and they will be balanced by only being usable in that own category.

Yes, it probably won't work that way, but I do think it'd be better if it did.

Assuming the core chasis is something like Psionics (read: A scaling point system) then you could do thinks like make per encounter and at will things simply require more points to assign. It'd be possible also to work to avoid siloing, but it'd be a bit harder. Say you have all your spells available to you, and you have X points that recover per encounter or whatever mechanic is used. You can cast any of your spells using this pool, but only if they're low enough level. (ie no casting a 20 point Fireball as a per encounter spell at level 20. Maybe a 13-15th level, but not 20).

It accomplishes pretty much what you described, but it streamlines the system quite a bit. Because now instead of needing Fireball(per day), Fireball(Per Encounter), and Fireball(At Will) with the Per Encounter fireball being a higher level spell, at At Will being an absurdly high level... you just have them all as one spell. (Also see: my post in the Spell Templates topic in the magic forum)

You could even have the enhancement to per encounter and at will declared in the spell description, so that some spells simply can't be brought into the next tier, or are done at a much higher level than others. (For example: Magic Missile going per encounter at the cost of a 5th level spell I don't imagine causing too many problems for most people. Wail of the Banshee going per encounter at 21st level however, probably would. As would utility spells like Knock, spider climb, etc. So some spells if intended to be more restricted in use would cost much more to bring up a tier, if it was possible at all)
It seems that all classes will have same sort of combat-focused 'power sources' that are mechanically almost equal -- whether they are "martial" or "arcane" or "divine" in nature.

And how is this a bad thing? It's a game design decision, to encourage strong game design.

That doesn't make them all the same. It just means that they all follow the same physics.


Uh, I don't know about you, but I have a hard time trying to imagine a peasan't son calling himself a "warlord" ("Ma and Pa, I'm now a Warlord, and I'm gonna have a real army one day!") -- maybe he will start gathering his forces by recruiting the neighbour's old shepherd and his four lame sheep. ;)

Class names are not character titles, they're flags for certain skill and ability packages in the game system.

All of my Fighters have been 'soldiers', 'mercs', 'bodyguards', 'brawlers', 'veterans'...

If you call your Cleric a Cleric instead of a more approrpiate hierarchial title, if your Rogue goes around advertising as such, or if your Barbarian is going around calling himself such, you need more imagination.

'Semi-mystical' might be a better term for them -- I can't fathom how a fighter or a Warlord would provide an AC bonus for everyone, for example. Note that one of the designers admitted that they border on supernatural on the Epic Levels (yes, so did some of the Epic Level Feats in 3E, and I didn't like it one bit).

Charles, the Warlord of the party, parried the goblin's axe and backed into the cluster that was his party. "Shore the line! Keep one foot back and let Maria stand forward with her glaive!" As he shouted, he tugged Verian, the mage, and Hopskotch, the rogue, out of the way of an orc's axe blow. "And for Pelor's sake, step off from melee with the orc!"

Charles, the Warlord, rallies his party, providing a +2 Dodge AC for the tactical cover Maria, the Fighter, provides, while pulling other members to safety or realligning their footing.

Good thing all those numbers are abstractions, huh?
I wasn't aware that characters referred to themselves by their class name? I mean, classes are a metagame concept. Characters shouldn't know what a class is, or anything of the sort, they just know what they are capable of.

So your peasant Warlord may just be a pretty charismatic kid who's out to find his way in the world. He wouldn't actually go around saying he's a warlord, just like a Fighter wouldn't go around saying he's a fighter. Just like some mish-mash of classes wouldn't be referred to as that mash of classes, but as what they're trying to represent.

Yes you CAN call yourself by the name of the class, but if that doesn't suit your character concept, you call yourself by something else when acting in character.

In any even, that's a fairly weak argument.

That was thinly-veiled sarcasm, because I don't like Warlord becoming a Core Class -- in my opinion it should be a Prestige Class. Well, Monks are pretty odd, too, but so far they've been reserved for NPCs in my gaming group. Let me state here that I did not like any of the "gish"-type of classes in the game either (Eldritch Knight and Duskblade felt especially broken). And no -- my characters never refer to themselves as 'clerics' or fighters' ;)

At epic levels you ARE supernatural. Period. There's no ifs ands or butts about it. You are doing things that make those of us living normally shake our heads in awe and wonder.

As for how to provide an AC bonus, who said that was something they could do? Still, I can see something like a stance or maneuver granting morale bonuses to those close to you (Like the Marshal does. Or are you going to say the Marshal was magical?), or if it's more confined you might be able to say share your shield bonus to AC with an ally adjacent to you.

Yes, some Prestige Classes have some Extraordinary features that border on the supernatural, and it has bothered me sometimes. Note that I'm not against Supernatural or Spell-like Abilities if there is a reason for them -- such as in Paladin's case (for example). I haven't ever seen the Marshal class, so I can't say anything about them or their abilities, but I must note that just by taking a peek at Bo9S I became concerned about 4E taking the game where I don't want it to go (either thematically or mechanically).

As for characters becoming "supernatural" with Epic Levels -- that is not actually true. Druids and Monks may be "supernatural" (or Outsiders) in nature, and some races (Aasimar and Tiefling, for example) qualify as well. One does not just step into the world of "supernatural" as he attains the 21st level -- at least I don't think so.

There's plenty of ways to justify things even without stepping into supernatural areas, if you have an open mind rather than going into it with a "No, that's not possible" mentality.

That said, I want to see a good smattering of supernatural stuff going on at high levels. I want to see a Fighter who hits the ground with his hammer and knocks everyone within 30 feet of him prone. I want to see the Fighter who shoots an arrow/throws his weapon and causes a sonic shockwave in the line until it hits its target, and deals extra damage against that target. I want to see a Fighter who moves so fast that it seems like teleportation to the untrained eye.

Why? Because those are the sorts of things epic heroes do. It's the sort of thing interesting characters do. Why shouldn't my martial characters be able to do interesting things?

Well, "interesting" is pretty much a matter of opinion or taste (I dare presume that most likely we both consider different things to be "interesting"). I never had any problems with Epic Monks, Clerics or Wizards, because supernatural abilities are part of their repertoire. As for "martial" characters -- Epic Rogues walking on clouds or Epic Fighters causing earthquakes or shockwaves by hammering the ground -- in my opinion that sort of stuff belongs in the *superhero* genre. not high fantasy (unless you include some anime and manga series in this category ;))
I'm not even sure responding to that point by point will solve anything then. The simplest thing I can tell you is to start hunting for another game. Preferrably one where everyone plays spell casters, because you seem to like the idea of martial characters being completely useless compared to them anyway.
Well, "interesting" is pretty much a matter of opinion or taste (I dare presume that most likely we both consider different things to be "interesting"). I never had any problems with Epic Monks, Clerics or Wizards, because supernatural abilities are part of their repertoire. As for "martial" characters -- Epic Rogues walking on clouds or Epic Fighters causing earthquakes or shockwaves by hammering the ground -- in my opinion that sort of stuff belongs in the *superhero* genre. not high fantasy (unless you include some anime and manga series in this category ;))

High Fantasy is just Superheroes with swords and spells instead of tights and space ships.

Seriously, read some epic myths some time. A 20th level Fighter is easily on Hercules, and Hercules could pound the ground to make earthquakes.

Or look at people who were just warriors. There are myths from India about archers who could fire an arrow from miles away and strike a foe in the eye. Myths from Europe about men who could leap over mountains and fly across the battlefield with their weapons flailing around them in a torrent of iron. There are stories from American history of a man who drove pins faster than a steam-powered piston drill could using a giant sledge in each hand.

These things are, compared to the real world, supernatural. They're also perfectly fine for a Fighter at 20th level.
I don't like Warlord becoming a Core Class -- in my opinion it should be a Prestige Class.

Sounds like you never liked the Bard. Or the Marshal. Or the Cleric(party buffer), for that matter. Which is fine, if you want to limit yourself.
Dumb down the game, make the classes all the same with only slight differences.

This is WOTC intention to make the game easier for 12 year olds to play. They are currently playing MMOs that in fact do the same thing with the classes in WOW EQ etc.

The real lemon in the eye is with the fighter classes. Why the hell should a fighter have the magical ability to do anything?

Its ridiculous and makes the game more like a video game (WOW, EQ) instead of a fantasy reinactment of medieval europe.

I don't know how many games you have played in (different GMs as well) or how many games you have run but all of the games I have enjoyed looked nothing like a reinactment of medieval europe. And most books, short stories, mythology, tv shows, movies, and video-games (yes I said the bad word) are not reinactments of medieval europe the minute they add "fantasy". In a world that has dragons and wizards, how does the purely "mundane" fighter not get regulated to lowly guard? Fighters as adventurers go beyond the norm, as they should.

If you want your fighters to stay in medieval europe, don't let any of them get past 5th level, in 4th Ed or any prior edition for that matter.
Its ridiculous and makes the game more like a video game (WOW, EQ) instead of a fantasy reinactment of medieval europe.

Get your simulationism out of my gamism, thank you.
High Fantasy is just Superheroes with swords and spells instead of tights and space ships.

Seriously, read some epic myths some time. A 20th level Fighter is easily on Hercules, and Hercules could pound the ground to make earthquakes.

Or look at people who were just warriors. There are myths from India about archers who could fire an arrow from miles away and strike a foe in the eye. Myths from Europe about men who could leap over mountains and fly across the battlefield with their weapons flailing around them in a torrent of iron. There are stories from American history of a man who drove pins faster than a steam-powered piston drill could using a giant sledge in each hand.

These things are, compared to the real world, supernatural. They're also perfectly fine for a Fighter at 20th level.

I disagree with your comparison between superheroes and High Fantasy characters. Show me the Epic Fighter that can lift a Hundred Tons like Hulk, or fly at will like Superman, and maybe then I'll agree. Besides, note that 20th level fighter is *not* Epic -- in 3E you become Epic at 21st level ;)

Hercules was the *demigod* son of Zeus, and we're not talking about divine heroes here ;)

I *have* read epic myths from all around the world, but I think you're mistaking these examples of yours with European fairy tales or folk tales. Myths are (supposedly) based -- at least marginally -- on "real" historical events and persons.
Sounds like you never liked the Bard. Or the Marshal. Or the Cleric(party buffer), for that matter. Which is fine, if you want to limit yourself.

I *LOVED* the bard, and I absolutely *hate* to see something like Warlord (supposedly) replacing it in PHB. Warlord seems to be a mix between Fighter and Paladin -- so, it'd be perfectly sensible to rather make it a PrC than a Core Class.

I also love playing clerics (why you'd suggest that I do not, I cannot understand). I know absolutely nothing about 'Marshal', so I cannot comment on it.
The Marshal is from the Minis Handbook, and it's basically a non-magical bard without the music. I expect the warlord to rifle through the pockets of the Marshal, rather than just shadow the fighter. It fulfills the Leader role, like the Cleric. I also hope the Bard shows up as an Arcane Leader real soon.

If your problem is with the name, that I can't help. My suggestion is to not call yourself a Warlord 'in character'.
I *LOVED* the bard, and I absolutely *hate* to see something like Warlord (supposedly) replacing it in PHB. Warlord seems to be a mix between Fighter and Paladin -- so, it'd be perfectly sensible to rather make it a PrC than a Core Class.

I also love playing clerics (why you'd suggest that I do not, I cannot understand). I know absolutely nothing about 'Marshal', so I cannot comment on it.

I *LOVE* the warlord, and I absolutely *hate* to think about something like the Bard (supposedly) taking its spot in the PHB. Bard seems to be a mix between the Warlock and Rogue -- so, it'd be perfectly sensible to rather make it a PrC than a Core Class.






c wut i did thar?
Let's say they make the world's most elegant system. It is able to capture all characters in all their richness and depth and do it with some really simple rules - rules so simple your grandma with Alzheimer's and your little snot-nosed brother can quickly understand and, even better, those rules can be wrote out on the back of a napkin in five minutes. Let's say they print those rules.
What next? There would be no more rules to print. So, what would they sell? Campaign settings? More monster manuals? More miniatures?
You have to understand that it is not in the interest of WotC to publish simple, elegant rules, because as soon as they do, they put themselves out of business.
-Good- integration (and I assume we all know the difference between good and bad integration) creates an elegant system which is not in WotC's best interest.

Sorry you have maybe resolved this but I disagree with your whole premise here. WotC's best interests lie in making a very good game. One with simple, elegant rules because why would I buy a game that didn't work? Your idea stems from the thought that WotC have a limited group of customers as though they are not growing and having more people join the game. Under those circumstances you may be right, but again it does not work that way. I would not buy a product that didn’t work. So again they shoot themselves in the foot. No what is not in there best interest is to create a game with limits in game. For instance the board game Sorry can only go so far. Once the game grows old you can’t add a supplement to the game unless you wish to reinvent the rules. Look the only reason D&D has the following it does is because it made its rules more simple and elegant. Although you and i can not fathom what the future of game design holds never assume that there are not better ideas always coming around; that is the assumption of your claim also; that making the best game they can make is the best game for all time. I thought 3rd ed. was really good, now I can’t wait till 4th.
I disagree with your comparison between superheroes and High Fantasy characters. Show me the Epic Fighter that can lift a Hundred Tons like Hulk, or fly at will like Superman, and maybe then I'll agree. Besides, note that 20th level fighter is *not* Epic -- in 3E you become Epic at 21st level ;)

Hercules was the *demigod* son of Zeus, and we're not talking about divine heroes here ;)

I *have* read epic myths from all around the world, but I think you're mistaking these examples of yours with European fairy tales or folk tales. Myths are (supposedly) based -- at least marginally -- on "real" historical events and persons.

Have you never seen Ripples' believe it or not. Those could by your standards be "real" historical events. Have you never heard of what Tibetan Monks can do. If you hear of those things why is so impossible for my character. You seem to want to favor those with magical power as though that has any base in reality. There is no"real" historical events that magic happened. It sounds like your version of the world is like Harry Potter, a few gifted people have really all the power. Look this is the point, once you have wizards and magic in your world "normal" changes. For game balance you cant have a "normal" wizard be able to do amazing things and have the heroic Beowulf do nothing but slash his sword. Why play any thing but wizards then. And please do give the role-play answer because really it is still a game and if my character can't do any thing but stand in front and get hit half the fun is lost. You might Question why you play the game? i mean if you just want the role-play join a playacting group.
In passing: Rich Baker's blog talks about reviewing a "1st-level power" for a fighter called Wallop, which knocks the opponent down. He then renames it and adds some fluff I didn't care for, but from this and other hints, it sounds like everyone has the chassis of per-day powers, per-encounter powers, and at-will powers. Wizards may call their powers spells, words of power and arcane strikes. Clerics may call their stuff spells, holy words, etc. Fighters may have special attacks and maneuvers.

It does not, in my opinion, sound like they are going for a psionic-like points-based system. I don't know if characters choose their powers in the morning, or if they know a small number and are stuck with those.
...but from this and other hints, it sounds like everyone has the chassis of per-day powers, per-encounter powers, and at-will powers. Wizards may call their powers spells, words of power and arcane strikes. Clerics may call their stuff spells, holy words, etc. Fighters may have special attacks and maneuvers.

I've been kinda thinking that maybe we won't have a separate magic system, that all classes will partake in some kind of universal "powers system". Although, perhaps the casting classes will have access to some "Spell Training" feat that grants them min-powers, which we would recognize as spells.