Why everyone will soon be playing 4e

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I have a feeling that after its release, it'll soon be difficult to find a D&D game that isn't running 4th edition. And that's a good thing.

I don't think the switch will happen because we are all good little sheeple following our Overlords Of The Coast wherever they may lead. I don't think it'll happen because of pure neotism (that is, love of new things purely for the sake of their newness).

Rather, I think the change will happen because of the improvements that are only visible from behind the screen. As Rodney Thompson discussed in his blog, and based on what I've heard from literally every review by a DM, the real changes didn't happen for the players, but in making it so much faster and easier to design and run a campaign. So I think most players will switch, not because of their own opinions, but because the DMs will begin to resist running 3.x games, and it will become increasingly difficult to players to find a DM who will give up the Corvette for the Hyundai.
I would drive a Japanese car any day over an american one.

I dont want a fast and easy system. I want one that works and so far 4e doesnt work for my DM style, neither does 3.5 really but I've made the changes I need to it. That might not be as easy with 4e.
I have a feeling that after its release, it'll soon be difficult to find a D&D game that isn't running 4th edition. And that's a good thing.

I don't think the switch will happen because we are all good little sheeple following our Overlords Of The Coast wherever they may lead. I don't think it'll happen because of pure neotism (that is, love of new things purely for the sake of their newness).

Rather, I think the change will happen because of the improvements that are only visible from behind the screen. As Rodney Thompson discussed in his blog, and based on what I've heard from literally every review by a DM, the real changes didn't happen for the players, but in making it so much faster and easier to design and run a campaign. So I think most players will switch, not because of their own opinions, but because the DMs will begin to resist running 3.x games, and it will become increasingly difficult to players to find a DM who will give up the Corvette for the Hyundai.

Unless they made changes, the Corvette still sucks at gas mileage to be a viable car.

Incidentally, I already made this entire argument on another thread.
Im not sure how often everyone else on here switches DM and playing groups, but I havent really ever left my original group. I play with a few friends not in the main group every so often on off days for my home group, but pretty much its been the same core group since the beginning.

That being said, our group will play 4e if it is good, and if its not, we wont. having to find a DM to run 4e is not an issue, and finding materials is not an issue. (look for materials for the previous editions of D&D. They are still in good supply). I think that many folks will continue to play 3.5 because they want to.

Now at cons and gamedays? Who knows, but I can guess that WotC will try and drive older editions out of those events, by offering incentives to players and retailers who make those events happen. But that is the way of marketing.

Hell even in 4e is the cats meow of gaming, my group will still likely play 2AD , and 3.5 alongside it. If the DM mechanics are as you say, the corvette of gaming, then it will have earned a place at the table. But to be honest, its not wether its easy to run that makes or breaks a game (IMO), its the fun factor, and that varies from group to group.

be good.
Now at cons and gamedays? Who knows, but I can guess that WotC will try and drive older editions out of those events, by offering incentives to players and retailers who make those events happen. But that is the way of marketing.

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I would drive a Japanese car any day over an american one.

I dont want a fast and easy system. I want one that works and so far 4e doesnt work for my DM style, neither does 3.5 really but I've made the changes I need to it. That might not be as easy with 4e.

Onegai o-hime, I ask of you to wait and read the 4E DMG before you finalize that decision.
I have a feeling that after its release, it'll soon be difficult to find a D&D game that isn't running 4th edition. And that's a good thing.

When playing 1e and 2e came out, we blended the two.

When 3.5e came out, I played only 3.5e with no 2e or 1e remaining.

I don't think it is fair to say that the majority of people will play 4e with no blend of 3.5e mixed together. I don't even think it is fair to say that all will even play 3.5e mixed with 4e.
I think people will do what they want to do and play what they want to play.
Go where they want to go, and say what they want to say.

If people move on, they move on, if they don't, they don't. Everyone will find something to like and hate about everything.
if the head goes, the body goes. DM's will ultimately bring along their pc's. although if the groups are a bit more diverse and have many DM's and strong opinions, there might be divides.

personally i think it shouldn't be too hard to convince them. i agree completely with what Rodney says in that blogpost, 4E seems to be the DM's wet dream.

The question is, will players who like to create advanced builds and kick posterior, enjoy the new, somewhat thinner, rules? hopefully will the base classes have enough differences that people can try the different types out enough times to find interesting combinations. hopefully the game will be transparent enough that i as a DM can quickly make new options like races and prestige classes if the need arises.
Some time after 4e's release (a year to 18 months, maybe) sticking with 3.5 will require a level of commitment and dedication that most players don't have.

Not that 4e players won't be committed and dedicated, but they'll have the luxury of being able to rock on up to their gaming store and buy the latest & greatest 4e supplements. The content on the Wizards site will be geared towards them. Also, they'll always have new material to look forward to. 3.5 players will have to trawl through secondhand sections and eBay for material, which will never be added to, unless some third party companies do so.

Of course, there will be groups who are happy to keep playing 3.5 despite any inconvenience from being left out of the loop. But those groups will find it harder to replace people who leave - most prospective new players will want 4e - and there's always the prospect of group members trying 4e and finding they prefer it. What's more likely, a 3.5 player trying 4e and liking it better, or a player whose first introduction to D&D was via 4e being introduced to 3.5 and liking that system better? In my opinion, the first is more likely, in spades.
Unless they made changes, the Corvette still sucks at gas mileage to be a viable car.

I knew somebody was going to complain about my choice of models. Just go with the obvious intent and don't try to pick apart the metaphor. :P

if the head goes, the body goes. DM's will ultimately bring along their pc's. although if the groups are a bit more diverse and have many DM's and strong opinions, there might be divides.

I just get the feeling that if the new game is as DM-friendly as it sounds like, there'll be a lot of people trading out for it just so they can write an adventure in a fifth of the time.

The question is, will players who like to create advanced builds and kick posterior, enjoy the new, somewhat thinner, rules?

I think they will. The addition of lots of powers that feel a lot like spellcasting will open the door to finding fun combos, especially when you take those action points into account. I don't doubt that the CO boards will soon find breakable stuff, but I expect to see a lot more of combo attacks that have to do with combining two characters' abilities and/or using action points to bring in a double-whammy. They talked about that in the last podcast, a bit, how it's a cool moment when you pull off a series of good moves, and just when everyone's saying "That was awesome!" you say, "...and, Action Point..."
...because we'll be forced to?

No really, I'm not complaining. I ran a few skirmishes with the sample characters from DNDXP and my players are foaming at the mouth for more. I drew up the encounters BETWEEN encounters right at the table with two minutes prep max.
That's crazy goodness!

(Especially since my players never go down the path you preplan a week in advance and draw the map for and generate treasure for etc...I'm sure that NO other DMs have this proplem, though.

I've really been looking for something that would give me more time to plan roleplaying sessions instead of having to focus on the crunch mathematics before hand and I think 4e is going to do that for me.

After playing at Epic level in 3.5 and dealing with four page stat blocks for critters I'm happy to see the monsters get fewer abilities per encounter, but still be able to fight the PC's on even footing (TPK with the black dragon!!!)

Thanks!
I think people will do what they want to do and play what they want to play.
Go where they want to go, and say what they want to say.

If people move on, they move on, if they don't, they don't. Everyone will find something to like and hate about everything.

Indeed. 4Ed is (seems) different enough from 3.5 that we will not try to change editions, so most likely the slow PbP campaigns will remain 3.5 a long time, while my tabletop game will convert pretty much as soon as I get the 4Ed books in my grubby little hands. ;)
I just get the feeling that if the new game is as DM-friendly as it sounds like, there'll be a lot of people trading out for it just so they can write an adventure in a fifth of the time.

Thats my predicament aswell. As far as i know, the biggest say-nayers right now is the guys who like to optimize and build characters for weeks before the game. My more casual players are more skeptical to learning a new ruleset, they will be as easy to convert as taking candy from a baby :D

I think they will. The addition of lots of powers that feel a lot like spellcasting will open the door to finding fun combos, especially when you take those action points into account. I don't doubt that the CO boards will soon find breakable stuff, but I expect to see a lot more of combo attacks that have to do with combining two characters' abilities and/or using action points to bring in a double-whammy. They talked about that in the last podcast, a bit, how it's a cool moment when you pull off a series of good moves, and just when everyone's saying "That was awesome!" you say, "...and, Action Point..."

yeah, i have no doubt that 4e's combat will be at least just as interesting for players as 3e was to them. the stuff i saw in modern and Saga is any judge of what is to come, i have great hopes. having characters with abilities that allows for interesting teamwork combos will also be interesting to see in action. and Rodney's claim that you can do suboptimal choices without being all too suboptimal reminds me of one of my better sessions ever(best intro to a game ever, big stupid bodyguard to sorcerer, rogue spots the fancy-looking sorcerer, tries to make the bodyguard go away by saying someone said he was stupid, bodyguard thought rogue said he was stupid... hilarity ensued).
I don't plan to consider fully switching to 4E until at least the second series of books comes out. I'm sure that a lot of the changes will make the game better for some groups and some styles of play, but as of right now I don't honestly feel as though the changes that will be available upon the initial release will make my current group's game any better. It will be different, but that doesn't necessarily mean better. I could be totally wrong, and maybe -just maybe- I'll be so blown away by 4E that I burn my 3rd Edition books as I dance around the resulting fire. However, I feel that the most likely series of events will be that I continue to play 3rd Edition for a long time, and I can honestly say that I feel that 3rd Edition will continue to be played at my local gaming store for a long time. I feel that it is unrealistic to believe that 4E will make finding a 3E game impossible. Many people I know are using 4E as a way to purchase 3E products at a lower price. Like I said, for me personally, I don't plan to consider fully switching until the second year of 4E; even if I love 4E, most of the things I enjoy in the current edition will not be available until at least the second PHB. Also, I haven't seen many good signs that 4E will be as kind to my style of play as 3E currently is.
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Also, I haven't seen many good signs that 4E will be as kind to my style of play as 3E currently is.

Just out of curiosity, what sort of style is that? What is it that you've heard so far that makes you think 4e doesn't cover what you like? From what I've heard, it doesn't really seem like a huge shift unless you're into all-powerful high-level wizards or something -- and I can't buy into arguments that 4e is either pro- or anti- RP, honestly.
Like I said, for me personally, I don't plan to consider fully switching until the second year of 4E; even if I love 4E, most of the things I enjoy in the current edition will not be available until at least the second PHB. Also, I haven't seen many good signs that 4E will be as kind to my style of play as 3E currently is.

Agreed. While I am optimistic about 4e, I'm fairly sure I'll be playing 3e even after release and won't be picking up the 4e Big 3 until I can look them over at my FLGS. Most likely I'd have to see how the first set pans out.
Agreed. While I am optimistic about 4e, I'm fairly sure I'll be playing 3e even after release and won't be picking up the 4e Big 3 until I can look them over at my FLGS. Most likely I'd have to see how the first set pans out.

"FLGS"? Translate, please? (I'm sure I'll just go "d'oh" when you do it, but I'm really sleepy now and not able to decrypt that.)

I've already preordered my 4e books (US$72 for International Delivery is just too good to let slip), so I'll at the very least have them available. My main problem will be getting my nay-sayer friend (who happens to also be a DM - we take turns) to go for the change. I had some hope until the point where I was praising the fact that wizards seem to get more survivability and less über-power (in short, they're more balanced), when he goes "that sucks, I always loved the fact that wizards can destroy anything, but if something reaches them, they're go down in a single hit".

In any event, maybe I'll start a playing group over DDInsider (if it lives up to expectation). Care to join, Eldritch_Lord? :P
"FLGS"? Translate, please? (I'm sure I'll just go "d'oh" when you do it, but I'm really sleepy now and not able to decrypt that.)

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And I'll probably start playing 4th edition pretty much immediately after launch, either as a DM and/or as a PC, though most likely online.
Totally agree with the OP. 90% of the people I DM for would rather buy the 4ed PHB than take a stab at DMing. And the other 10% would crash and burn miserably, then realize how much easier 4ed would be to run. :P

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

I would drive a Japanese car any day over an american one.

I dont want a fast and easy system. I want one that works and so far 4e doesnt work for my DM style, neither does 3.5 really but I've made the changes I need to it. That might not be as easy with 4e.

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Hyundais are Korean.

Since people on thse boards like to argue semantics so much *S*

And for the record...Dodge Charger all the way.
I dont want a fast and easy system. I want one that works and so far 4e doesnt work for my DM style, neither does 3.5 really but I've made the changes I need to it. That might not be as easy with 4e.

I'm interested to know what DM style this is that doesn't work in 3.5 or 4E.

In any case, from what I've read about 4E so far, I cannot wait until it come out.
<\ \>tuntman
Just out of curiosity, what sort of style is that? What is it that you've heard so far that makes you think 4e doesn't cover what you like? From what I've heard, it doesn't really seem like a huge shift unless you're into all-powerful high-level wizards or something -- and I can't buy into arguments that 4e is either pro- or anti- RP, honestly.

4E covers a lot of what I like; it just doesn't cover it quite as well as the current edition. Pretty much everyone in my current gaming group enjoys the complexity that 3E has. 3E is based on a very simple mechanic - roll a d20; however, it has enough parts to it that you can get your hands dirty and dive further into the gears of the game if you want to do so. I think streamlining and fixing the game is a great idea, but there are a few areas of the game which I'm still not convinced are broken. To paraphrase what the designers have said in a recent interview: "simulationist" and "gamist" are two terms for play style which have been used a lot lately. 3E was close to a balance between the two, but it was still somewhat on the simulationist style; 4E is close to balance as well, but it's more on the gamist side. At a first glance I feel as though they took it slightly further into the gamist side than I would like to go. As for what I like to play? Sorcerers for one

Like I said, I could be completely wrong about 4E, but even if I love it, a lot of the things I want to be able to play as or be or do in 4E will not be available at first, so there's really no motivation for me to switch right away even if I completely love 4E.
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I just get the feeling that if the new game is as DM-friendly as it sounds like

I am curious by what you mean? Someone else said 4e is a DM wet dream. I mostly DM, and I honestly don't see how 4e is good for me at all. It is a more complicated mechanics than 3.5e. It has each player with complicated and unusual mechanics (like the Ranger's DEX+DEX to hit with no DEX damage Careful Shot; inconsistent.)

How does making it so that the DM needs to know every character's abilities intimately make it good for the DM? In 3.5e, I need to know the rules (Grapple, Charge, etc) and I need to know the generally less complex feats someone might have (Power Attack) and spells that haven't changed in a while (Fireball), but I don't need to learn wildly different abiliites a single character may have for each character.

I see 4e as vastly more memorization work on the DM compared to 3.5e.
To paraphrase what the designers have said in a recent interview: "simulationist" and "gamist" are two terms for play style which have been used a lot lately. 3E was close to a balance between the two, but it was still somewhat on the simulationist style; 4E is close to balance as well, but it's more on the gamist side.

I guess I can see that - do you have any particular simulationist aspects that come to mind as things you'd hate to lose?

I admit I'm entirely gamist, so my point of view will obviously be different from yours.

A brief discussion of GNS theory for those not familiar:
Show
GNS theory is the idea that all RPGs have a playstyle that their rules advocate, and that style could be graphed somewhere inside a triangle with the three points representing three basic play styles: Gamism, Simulationism, and Narrativism.

Simulationism says that the most important aspect of a game is accurately representing the real world (or the game world, as it were). Simulationsim tends to dislike abstractions and adds specificity whenever it's possible. The most simulationist games are usually wargames -- which are, indeed, D&D's roots -- where distances are measured using a scaled ruler (as in "1 inch = 5 feet") rather than a grid, and damage is usually tracked according to body parts, with various wound penalties for different body parts -- or else each marker representing a unit that takes "casualties", individuals who are unable to continue to fight. Battletech is a simulationist game -- "you take four dots of damage to your left torso" -- as is Warhammer.


Gamism feels that the most important element of a game is fairness and balance -- that everyone should have the same chance to succeed (though different characters may have different specialties) -- and is willing to sacrifice "realism" to gain "fairness". Gamism tends to add abstraction to a game. The most extreme gamist games are pure "games" -- Monopoly, Chess, and so on; an extremely gamist RPG system would be one that has a complicated point-buy system that lets anyone gain any ability so long as they stay within their point limit.


Narrativism gives up fairness and realism in favor of "telling a cool story". Narrativist games generally don't mind that one player succeeds far more often than another, or that choice A is far superior to choice B, so long as the story is being told well. Vampire tends to be a pretty narrativist game, but the most purely narrative games tend to be more recent Indie games. Narrative systems are generally light on rules and dice rolling, and give benefits for "playing along" or "doing cool things". The most narrative systems don't actually have any resolution system at all -- it's more like cooperative storytelling than a game.

Most systems fall somewhere between the extremes -- BESM tends to be Gamist and Narrativist, for example. D&D has been getting steadily more gamist as it ages, giving up simulationism as it goes.


As for what I like to play? Sorcerers for one

Huh. Well, I mean, from a mechanical standpoint wizards ARE sorcerers. In fact, I really don't know that the flavor side is incompatable -- if you want to say you learned magic from pure instinct, that's probably something you're allowed to do.

...a lot of the things I want to be able to play as or be or do in 4E will not be available at first, so there's really no motivation for me to switch right away even if I completely love 4E.

You mean like Druids or Bards? I can see that.

Though, for me, the motivation is that I don't have to spend two evenings of work to prepare for one evening of gaming!
Though, for me, the motivation is that I don't have to spend two evenings of work to prepare for one evening of gaming!

As an DM, I fail to see how that will be the case.

Unless you are using the online system.


You will still have to create NPCs, an story arc, a BBEG, treasure tables, encounters, and maps...

How does 4e eliminate that?
Yeah, I have a theory that DMs are looking forward to 4th Ed more than many players, considering 3rd Ed did have a bit of a player pleasing/DMs go screw themselves vibe, IMO.

I would hate to think that many of those resistant to 4th Ed are players who won't be able to get away with their encounter/campaign ruining shenanigans they have loved for so many years.
I am curious by what you mean? Someone else said 4e is a DM wet dream. I mostly DM, and I honestly don't see how 4e is good for me at all. It is a more complicated mechanics than 3.5e. It has each player with complicated and unusual mechanics (like the Ranger's DEX+DEX to hit with no DEX damage Careful Shot; inconsistent.)

How does making it so that the DM needs to know every character's abilities intimately make it good for the DM? In 3.5e, I need to know the rules (Grapple, Charge, etc) and I need to know the generally less complex feats someone might have (Power Attack) and spells that haven't changed in a while (Fireball), but I don't need to learn wildly different abiliites a single character may have for each character.

I see 4e as vastly more memorization work on the DM compared to 3.5e.

I think most of the dreamy wet DM stuff that 4e will be good at is along the encounter design and preperation theme. Combat looks like it will still be as complex (if not moreso) than 3.5.
I am curious by what you mean? Someone else said 4e is a DM wet dream. I mostly DM, and I honestly don't see how 4e is good for me at all. It is a more complicated mechanics than 3.5e. It has each player with complicated and unusual mechanics (like the Ranger's DEX+DEX to hit with no DEX damage Careful Shot; inconsistent.)

How does making it so that the DM needs to know every character's abilities intimately make it good for the DM? In 3.5e, I need to know the rules (Grapple, Charge, etc) and I need to know the generally less complex feats someone might have (Power Attack) and spells that haven't changed in a while (Fireball), but I don't need to learn wildly different abiliites a single character may have for each character.

I see 4e as vastly more memorization work on the DM compared to 3.5e.

I think you missed the point WotC is trying to make. The point is: You don't need to know what your players can do. They're trying to make the game run smoothly independently of what classes are on play and what powers each class gets.

Also, I would like to know how do you handle 3.5 games without knowing everything your players can and cannot do. I mean, let's take a look at a 12th-level group. They might face:

- a beholder;
- four bodaks;
- a 12th-level bard;
- a 12th-level rogue;
- two 10th-level fighters;
- a mature adult white dragon.

Now, without knowing what your players are capable of, how do you choose which of these encounters are right for them? Which are too weak, which are too powerful?

In my personal DM experience, I find myself constantly checking my players abilities to make sure I don't give them "piece of cake" fights, or unexpected TPKs. Once, I just threw a clay golem at them with a quick look at the golem's abilities and thinking "hmm, they will handle it". I forgot to consider that the sorcerer's most powerful spell was an Acid spell, and therefore would heal the thing. All of the other magic available to the group was ineffective, the rogue couldn't Sneak Attack, and the melee characters, although they managed to deal damage over the creature's DR, didn't have the right weapon to bypass DR 10/bludgeoning and adamantine. They survived, barely. And it was supposed to be a relatively easy encounter.

On the other hand, I can no longer put undead in the game, unless I want them to show up and go *poof*, because the Cleric has specialized in Turning and can get some 7 Greater Turns a day, with crazy bonuses.

So, in short, I'm more than ready to embrace 4e's "everyone is balanced" phylosophy.
I think you missed the point WotC is trying to make. The point is: You don't need to know what your players can do. They're trying to make the game run smoothly independently of what classes are on play and what powers each class gets.

So, you are saying that in 4e we can have a 5 person party consisting only of 15th level wizards, and they can go through the same dungeon that was designed for 3 15th level fighters and 2 15th level clerics?

With NO adjustments to be made at all?


If the abilities do not matter... Are you saying that a 10th level rogue can go through a purely undead campaign with the same exact chances as a 10th level cleric?

Again, not making any adjustments?



I find this hard to believe...
So, you are saying that in 4e we can have a 5 person party consisting only of 15th level wizards, and they can go through the same dungeon that was designed for 3 15th level fighters and 2 15th level clerics?

With NO adjustments to be made at all?


If the abilities do not matter... Are you saying that a 10th level rogue can go through a purely undead campaign with the same exact chances as a 10th level cleric?

Again, not making any adjustments?



I find this hard to believe...

They've said that they're taking out (or greatly reducing the importance of) anything that basically takes a PC out of a fight before it starts; Immunities, Non-critable enemies, High magic resistance, etc. In effect, there aren't going to be anymore times when you're deadweight because of your weapon/spell/ability selection.

With 4e it should be much simpler to say "it's an on-level challenge, they can take it" without micromanaging to the point of "the Wizard usually prepares X, and it autowins this encounter, but if he doesn't have it I don't think they'll make it."
I have a feeling that after its release, it'll soon be difficult to find a D&D game that isn't running 4th edition.

So true. It's the reason that so many people who "hate d20" play d20 anyway.
So, you are saying that in 4e we can have a 5 person party consisting only of 15th level wizards, and they can go through the same dungeon that was designed for 3 15th level fighters and 2 15th level clerics?

With NO adjustments to be made at all?

Despite the fact that you're exaggerating on what I've said, I'll try to answer (always remember that these are all conjectures and beliefs, based on what WotC has said about the game or the little that has been released).

So, first thing we have to clarify is that a dungeon designed for 3 fighters and 2 clerics is not really a "general dungeon". If you design with those classes in mind, you will probably try to focus on ranged attackers with strong "brutes" to keep the fighters at bay. Maybe some skirmishers to try and get to the clerics.

In any event, I do think that yes, you can send a group of 5 wizards against a "general dungeon". They will have some trouble keeping monsters at bay without defenders, they will lack the extra healing of leaders and they won't be able to chop down single tough monsters as well as strikers. BUT they will have loads of area attacks, and as long as they manage to control the battlefield they could manage.

If a group of 5 wizards did this in 3.x, they would either get slaughtered (if they're all evokers or something), or they would not even sweat (if each wizard had a different specialization and all that).

If the abilities do not matter... Are you saying that a 10th level rogue can go through a purely undead campaign with the same exact chances as a 10th level cleric?

Again, not making any adjustments?

Now, now. I never said that every class will get the same exact chances as every class. What I meant is: a 10th level rogue can go through a purely undead campaign. He will have more trouble than a cleric, I suppose (although Turn Undead got a big nerf). But he will be able to do it, unlike 3.x, where a rogue was useless against undead and constructs.
I think you missed the point WotC is trying to make. The point is: You don't need to know what your players can do.

I would like to know how do you handle 3.5 games without knowing everything your players can and cannot do.

I'm more than ready to embrace 4e's "everyone is balanced" phylosophy.

I'll respond to all three:

I didn't miss the point, I will need to know what each player can do. I will need to learn more information than I do now in 3.5e about each player.

I know everything my 3.5 player can do, because what they can do is more limited. The work it works together makes more sense and in general is more similar to other characters. In 4e, each character is wildly different. The abilities are not straightforward (an example is Careful Shot is 2x Dex to hit with no Dex to damage.)

As for balance, 4e may be more balanced (it isn't proved yet since Rangers i'd say are considerably more powerful than Wizards and Clerics for instance.) But 3.5e was not that badly balanced in my humble opinion. I know I may be a minority in that opinion. But from the groups I've seen the most powerful characters are the Bard, the Warmage and the Crusader not the Cleric or Druid.

So, you are saying that in 4e we can have a 5 person party consisting only of 15th level wizards, and they can go through the same dungeon that was designed for 3 15th level fighters and 2 15th level clerics?

With NO adjustments to be made at all?

I find this hard to believe...

I can answer that. From my DDXP 4e play experience, this may in fact be true. There is no DR. There is very little to prevent the wizard and fighter from dealing the same damage each round. There is little more a Cleric can do to undead that others can't do.
I would also like to point out that at 1st level, it is hard to tell if the game is balanced or not.

I hope that WotC did a better job of balancing the game, but thier track record does not bode well...
As an DM, I fail to see how that will be the case.

Unless you are using the online system.


You will still have to create NPCs, an story arc, a BBEG, treasure tables, encounters, and maps...

How does 4e eliminate that?

Well, that's the one night.

It makes NPCs much easier to create, BBEGs easier to stat out, treasure easier to calculate, encounters easier to balance. Can you imagine being able to put together encounters with four monsters of totally different types in like thirty seconds? Mike Mearles was doing that in the Podcast a coupla months ago, you just flip to the appropriate monster list and start figuring -- "Okay, so, I want this to be a jungle encounter and they're 8th level, so... I'll take a lycanthrope annnd two elf archers, and okay, I'll add an encounter trap, some assassin vines, as the fourth." Or maybe, "Okay, the lycanthrope is a 9th level elite, so the other two monsters should be weaker, so I'll pull these two 7th level evil fey..." You don't have to figure out ELs and calculate XP totals and all that garbage.

Treasure tables aren't a big deal usually, and it sounds like they've been streamlined so you don't have to flip lots of pages to get them worked out. (And anyway I prefer to give little or no treasure for several encounters and then reward the third or fourth with a horde that adds up to the value of all the previous ones together -- which makes horde creation a lot easier. And I like to have the hordes have a few valuable treasures rather than a huge pile of moderate stuff -- I love to give the players flavorful stuff like a beautiful rug or a pure gold statue instead of just 5000 gold pieces or something.)

What I'm saying is, if it takes me 10 minutes to build an encounter instead of an hour, then I can get the encounters built and work out my story -- I can get a game night ready in one evening instead of two, or I can spend an evening just figuring out cool story instead of numbercrunching the NPCs.
In 4e, each character is wildly different. The abilities are not straightforward (an example is Careful Shot is 2x Dex to hit with no Dex to damage.)

But do you need to know that your Ranger is capable of "Careful Attack" to build an encounter? Does that ability, in fact, need to impinge on your consciousness in any way?

What makes you think it's critical to the DM's role to know precisely what each character is capable of? Rather, you need to know in very general terms that this guy is a controller and that guy is a defender, and this guy is a striker who took some Leader cross-training so he can heal better.

Coincidentally, do you have any evidence that Careful Attack is double-dex to attack and [W] damage? The character sheet I saw could as easily have meant "+4 attack, -4 damage", and it just-so-happened that his Dex was +4.
I'll respond to all three:

I didn't miss the point, I will need to know what each player can do. I will need to learn more information than I do now in 3.5e about each player.

I know everything my 3.5 player can do, because what they can do is more limited. The work it works together makes more sense and in general is more similar to other characters. In 4e, each character is wildly different. The abilities are not straightforward (an example is Careful Shot is 2x Dex to hit with no Dex to damage.)

As for balance, 4e may be more balanced (it isn't proved yet since Rangers i'd say are considerably more powerful than Wizards and Clerics for instance.) But 3.5e was not that badly balanced in my humble opinion. I know I may be a minority in that opinion. But from the groups I've seen the most powerful characters are the Bard, the Warmage and the Crusader not the Cleric or Druid.

Hmmm, I don't really like when a discussion starts to go back and forth without extra people giving input, but I think you got me wrong (or maybe we're having communication breakdown both ways, whatever).

About needing to know what the players can do: I repeat, you will not need to know. You might want to, and that's okay. I myself like to dissect players' character sheets to make sure they're "within the norm", and will probably keep doing that in 4e.

But the key word here is "need". I don't think I'll need to do that, if I don't want to. If someone says "okay, let's play an Epic game", I think that I won't need to wait for the players to get their race/class/powers all sorted out before I can start planning on what they are going to go against.

The second point, about knowing everything a 3.x character can do: I think you're contradicting yourself here. First, you said that 3.5 was better because all you needed to know was some specific rules (like grappling) and feats (like power attack), and you could run the game just fine. I was honestly intrigued by that, and exemplified with anecdotal points that I don't feel the same way. You now reply that 3.5 is better because you know what everyone can do.

Allow me to also discuss a bit about Careful Strike. As far as I remember, it is not 2x Dex to hit, but a plain +4 to hit. In that specific character, it ends up being the same, but I believe it was in a playtest report that a WizO said he was ****** off because Careful strike got changed from "roll two dice, choose the best" to "roll with +4". Also, it adds Dex to damage (1d10+4, in the DDXP example).

As for balance, I'll grant you that sometimes you don't have the "über-classes" dominate the game, but that's often the exception rather than the rule. In my play experience, this depends heavily on the players, rather than the characters. I've had powergamers play fighters or monks and turn them into wicked combat machines, and roleplayers play wizards or clerics and make them less powerful, or rather, less optimized.

In any event, I would still like to know how you manage to handle 3.5 without keeping tabs on your players' powers, if that's indeed what you meant before.
Well, that's the one night.

It makes NPCs much easier to create, BBEGs easier to stat out, treasure easier to calculate...

I have not played the game or seen the full rules, but I still fail to see how that is the case...

Can you elaborate on how 4e will do the following?


1. How are the NPCs easier to create?


2. Make the BBEG easier to stat out...

3. What makes it easier to calculate the treasure?


Can you imagine being able to put together encounters with four monsters of totally different types in like thirty seconds?

No. Please expound.

Are you using a digital system to do this? Does it require the online subscription?

Can it be done in 3 minutes offline?


"Okay, the lycanthrope is a 9th level elite, so the other two monsters should be weaker, so I'll pull these two 7th level evil fey..."

You don't have to figure out ELs and calculate XP totals and all that garbage.

It sounds like you just did....

BTW, do the NPC's not get to choose their abilities and feats? Do they not to get to pick daily powers?

Do they not require stats? Are the pre-generated in the books?
I guess I can see that - do you have any particular simulationist aspects that come to mind as things you'd hate to lose?

I admit I'm entirely gamist, so my point of view will obviously be different from yours.

A brief discussion of GNS theory for those not familiar:
Show
GNS theory is the idea that all RPGs have a playstyle that their rules advocate, and that style could be graphed somewhere inside a triangle with the three points representing three basic play styles: Gamism, Simulationism, and Narrativism.

Simulationism says that the most important aspect of a game is accurately representing the real world (or the game world, as it were). Simulationsim tends to dislike abstractions and adds specificity whenever it's possible. The most simulationist games are usually wargames -- which are, indeed, D&D's roots -- where distances are measured using a scaled ruler (as in "1 inch = 5 feet") rather than a grid, and damage is usually tracked according to body parts, with various wound penalties for different body parts -- or else each marker representing a unit that takes "casualties", individuals who are unable to continue to fight. Battletech is a simulationist game -- "you take four dots of damage to your left torso" -- as is Warhammer.


Gamism feels that the most important element of a game is fairness and balance -- that everyone should have the same chance to succeed (though different characters may have different specialties) -- and is willing to sacrifice "realism" to gain "fairness". Gamism tends to add abstraction to a game. The most extreme gamist games are pure "games" -- Monopoly, Chess, and so on; an extremely gamist RPG system would be one that has a complicated point-buy system that lets anyone gain any ability so long as they stay within their point limit.


Narrativism gives up fairness and realism in favor of "telling a cool story". Narrativist games generally don't mind that one player succeeds far more often than another, or that choice A is far superior to choice B, so long as the story is being told well. Vampire tends to be a pretty narrativist game, but the most purely narrative games tend to be more recent Indie games. Narrative systems are generally light on rules and dice rolling, and give benefits for "playing along" or "doing cool things". The most narrative systems don't actually have any resolution system at all -- it's more like cooperative storytelling than a game.

Most systems fall somewhere between the extremes -- BESM tends to be Gamist and Narrativist, for example. D&D has been getting steadily more gamist as it ages, giving up simulationism as it goes.


Huh. Well, I mean, from a mechanical standpoint wizards ARE sorcerers. In fact, I really don't know that the flavor side is incompatable -- if you want to say you learned magic from pure instinct, that's probably something you're allowed to do.

You mean like Druids or Bards? I can see that.

Though, for me, the motivation is that I don't have to spend two evenings of work to prepare for one evening of gaming!

I see your points of view, and I agree with many of them; however -as you yourself said- you are more on the "gamist" side of the spectrum. So all that proves is exactly what I said in my previous statements: 4E will probably be a great game, but it may not fit my current play style as well as the current edition. Now, does that mean I feel that 3E is perfect? No, it doesn't mean that at all, and there are plenty of changes that I have made in my own games. I would probably say that I feel that a little bit more of a gamist feel should have been added to 3rd Edition, but I would have preferred that 4E been made as being closer to a balance between the two extremes and not need to be so far on one side or the other.


I myself have had times when I didn't have time to prep something, but -overall- the majority of the people I play the game with usually take a lot of time to prepare their characters, stories, and etc anyway. Even with the new concepts added to 4E they would still take the same amount of time simply because that's what they like to do.

I'd list some more of the "simulationist" things that I enjoy, but I've done that in 4 or 5 other threads, and all that leads to is "well then you shouldn't be playing D&D." Apparently I'm playing D&D the wrong way? That's one of the things which turns me off of 4E as well: the attitude from much of the 4E community (and even a few of the designers) which seems to feel that my style of playing the game is less valid than theirs.

I had asked in one of those such threads which game I should be playing, and the answer was interesting to me. IIRC, Shadowrun was cited as the game to play for better skill usage, and (again, IIRC) Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay was cited as being more "simulationist." The reason I found this answer interesting is because the answer includes two different games. The reason I like 3rd Edition (even with its flaws) is because it could encompass all of those things and all of those styles. It may not be the number one top notch game for each of those aspects, but it manages to include all of those aspects of play in a relatively competant and fun manner. I could have 4 different players sit at a table with completely different styles of play and put together a campaign which had something to interest and challenge all of them. (on a side note, I was under the impression that Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay had been cut?)


Like I said, I could be completely wrong about 4E, and maybe it will be able to do everything that I could do in 3E; maybe it will even do those things better, but I'm not going to blindly buy the books without knowing. Also, as I said, most of the things I am looking forward to in 4E won't be available until at least the second year. I also feel that waiting that long will give me a chance to see how the 4E system ages and what it looks like after having players and DMs beat on it.


Wizards are mechanically similar to sorcerers, but definately not the same, and you also mentioned druids and bards which are popular among the groups I play with...psionics and a few other things as well.
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I'll try to address these:

I have not played the game or seen the full rules, but I still fail to see how that is the case...

Can you elaborate on how 4e will do the following?

1. How are the NPCs easier to create?

NPCs, unless you specifically want a PC-ish NPC, follow the same rules as monsters. That is, they don't have powers to track, they have few unique abilities, there are easy templates to use, and so on; they're much more modular than PCs.

2. Make the BBEG easier to stat out...

Since PCs in general have fewer powers known, fewer necessary items, and more uniform abilities, it will be as easy to stat out BBEGs as it is to stat PCs...if you want to go that route instead of using the monster rules.

3. What makes it easier to calculate the treasure?

That, I don't know

No. Please expound.

Are you using a digital system to do this? Does it require the online subscription?

Can it be done in 3 minutes offline?

Before the DDI was up and running, without any online stuff at all, one of the devs created an encounter during a podcast while, they were recording, with just the MM open.

It sounds like you just did....

Figuring EL involves messing with CR; calculating XP requires the tables. 4e monsters are much more standardized and have XP right in the stat blocks.

BTW, do the NPC's not get to choose their abilities and feats? Do they not to get to pick daily powers?

Do they not require stats? Are the pre-generated in the books?

Nope, nope, sorta, and sometimes. Again, NPCs don't follow the same rules as PCs. You might want to look at the "Humans as monsters" thread on the Monsters board, where some human NPC stats are up.
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