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Attacked by Gorillas  |  Improve Yourself, The Attacked by Gorillas Way!  |  Computers & Gaming  |  Dungeons & Dragons 4e: Player’s Handbook 2 « previous next »
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Author Topic: Dungeons & Dragons 4e: Player’s Handbook 2  (Read 1452 times)
Axel Night
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« on: March 21, 2009, 01:54:05 AM »

http://attackedbygorillas.com/2009/03/21/dnd4e-phb2/
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 07:34:57 PM »

If you still play DND (sorry if that's a stupid question, I know I would be like WHAT?! OF COURSE I PLAY DND) which do you prefer 4 or 3.5? And for what reasons?

Only reason I'm stuck on 3.5 is because I haven't had the time to learn 4.0, but I'm not against 4.0 by any means. Just ignorant, of the details.
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Othgar the Flamboyant
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 08:29:05 AM »

I was curious initially now I am downright wanting to try 4th edition.  Im wanting a shifter shaman!... alliteration aside, I may be close to a nerdgasm
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Axel Night
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 08:57:10 PM »

Indeed I do play.  I currently DM 4th ed semi-occasional for room mates and the like.  The hardest part of moving to 4e was getting out of my head the way 3.x made me think of classes.  Third Edition introduced a great deal of freedom.  Feats and very liberal multiclassing (including prestige classes) allowed us to create something unique compared to someone else's character.  The problem with classes were (aside from maybe the fighter, who was just a pool of feats) they were nothing more than a series of static abilities gained level to level.  To combat their static nature, we'd take different combinations of classes, aiming for the abilities we wanted from each.  Feats helped customize even the non-multiclassed, but most had requirements, often in the form of other feats.  No one wanted to take Expertise or Power Attack, but you had to if you wanted lots of the good stuff.  My rogue couldn't even take Weapon Finesse (that feat necessary for him to hit things) until level 3.  Multiclassing also had problems in that most classes didn't synergize well.  If I wanted to be a melee caster, I had to suffer both substandard casting and a heavily penalized attack bonus.

I point out these annoyances (which we certainly had no problem with, back when we played 3e), because it's probably where 4e shines best.  It's argued that multiclassing in 4e sucks.  It does.  Diversity costs you, probably unfairly.  That is to say, diversity outside of your class costs you.  Where 4e shines is diversity within classes.  So much so that I really don't miss multiclassing that much.  If I pick Fighter, I get, right up front, a few bonuses such as adding my Wisdom modifier to Opportunity Attacks and the ability to mark targets with my attacks.  (Marking is a mechanic that encourages an enemy to attack you, rather than your friends, by imposing some sort of penelty for doing so.  All marks impose a -2 to attack for not attacking you, but fighters also get things like free attacks if they try to 5-foot step away or attack other people.  How's that for being a meat shield?)  Beyond that (ie, I get all my "ooh, I'm a fighter aren't I cool" abilities up front, no waiting), all of my fighter stuff I get beyond that are in my power choices.  The powers I might pick for a sword fighter would be different than an axe fighter, which would be different from a dual-weilder, or I might just pick whatever sounds cool and ignore my weapon's theme entirely.  Just what I pick as my powers makes me very different from another fighter, but I also get a lot more feats than I would in 3e.  Also, gone are the "feat trains".  Most have very basic requirements, and so I get to start picking the cool ones right off.  Lots of passive abilities like Evasion are now feats, so I don't have to multiclass rogue to get it.  I just have to be level 11.  Those feats are also how multiclassing works.  I never stop being a fighter.  But, if I have the intelligence, I might play with taking some feats and trading out a few of my fighter powers for some wizard ones.  Multiclassing is more about dabbling, than being a full-boar hybrid.

Is 4e god's answer to RPG?  No.  It answered a few of my prayers, but it isn't everyone's cup of tea.  When I DMed 3e, my secret was to improvise a lot on the fly.  I broke a lot of the conventional rules to make things dynamic and fun.  Monsters had abilities that weren't necessarily conventional.  I did my best to make environments and terrain dynamic and a factor in the fights.  The good news is that this is pretty much the standard in 4e.  Monsters work on very different rules than PCs and have some amazingly interesting abilities.  I'd also let players get by with breaking the rules, if they could impress me with dramatic ideas.  If the roleplay impressed me, I'd let it slide.  While 4e sort of encourages this in the text, I find it harder to implement in the rules.  Because the players' powers often do these sort of interesting things all on their own, its hard to let a player come up with something interesting and let it slide, when another character might have such a feat of acrobatics as one of his basic abilities.  Ironically, 4e basically steps on toes by making examples and rules of things we used to bullshit, while making things more interesting in other areas by giving us the freedom to bullshit them where there used to be rules.  I figure 5th Edition will be the perfect D&D, by just giving us a blank book and letting us make it all up as we go along.

In short, I do enjoy 4th Ed, but not everyone will.  I think the races and classes are far more customizable and flavorful than they used to be.  But, there will be things that bother some, because it is a significantly different way of playing.  I think I do like 4e more than 3.5, simply because I went back to Neverwinter Nights 2 (a 3.5 based video game) and found myself frustrated with the limitations I'd grown used to ignoring when designing my ideal character.  Sure, I could do a lot more things by combining a variety of classes, but a lot of them just weren't effective in a fight, and I had to wait several levels before I was "cool".  There's also a lot to be said for unlimited magic missiles per day.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 09:02:26 PM by Axel Night » Logged

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Othgar the Flamboyant
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2009, 09:37:12 AM »

The bullshit on the fly mechanics of the game are the most enjoyable to me.  Hell I have guns in my world but they are steam powered and don't have a very high range.  When gun powder was invented I made the mechanics of something similar to a sawed off shotgun.  Ammo is limited of course but still whipping out a gun to shoot an ogre is fairly fun. 

With what you say about the way the rules work in 4ed. makes it sound like that will be the make or break for me.
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Axel Night
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2009, 05:16:26 PM »

The bullshit on the fly mechanics of the game are the most enjoyable to me.  Hell I have guns in my world but they are steam powered and don't have a very high range.  When gun powder was invented I made the mechanics of something similar to a sawed off shotgun.  Ammo is limited of course but still whipping out a gun to shoot an ogre is fairly fun. 

With what you say about the way the rules work in 4ed. makes it sound like that will be the make or break for me.

That it will.  Mainly, I find the problem is that 4e has an inherently balanced edge to it that 3e did not.  If you made up a new custom element for 3e, it just had to sound fair.  If it did, it probably was, because D&D was just an unfair environment.  If you were a wizard, you sucked at level 1 and melted faces with your mind at 20.  Rogues were shamelessly amazing 50% of the time, and utterly worthless the other 50%.  Bards died, and we laughed.  Clerics were perpetually pwning machines, but it was cool, cuz their god kept them in check.  Barbarian rage was never that good, but we used it anyways, cuz yer fuckin' ragin' man!  Making things up for the game wasn't that hard.  It didn't have to be exactly fair.  D&D wasn't fair.  Life wasn't fair.  That's how it rolls, and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that.

Enter 4e, and there is an obvious effort made to make sure everyone is always useful, cool, fun, and fair.  There are mechanics that seem to be invisibly looking over your shoulder and making sure that no matter what hair-brained scheme you come up with, you don't end up with someone hopelessly broken.  And where it doesn't, the books are more than happy to give useful building and roleplay suggestions to put you off on the right foot.  So, at least for me, it's hard to just up and throw together some custom player option out of fear of damaging what was obviously crafted with the utmost care.

That is for players, though.  When it comes to monsters, I feel free as a bird.  Once I figured out the basic numbers, making my own monsters on the fly was super easy and rewarding.  The simplified mechanics make throwing strange and new attacks and obstacles at your PCs with little prep time really easy.  If it's a little over or under powered, well, they're just going to kill that monster in a few rounds, and a variety in challenge is good to have.

For example, the group's first adventure took them to a cursed circus.  One encounter had them facing the Fire Eater, the Strong Man, and the Fat Lady.  I roughed up the numbers for a typical trio of 2nd level monsters (+1 level wouldn't be too bad, since they were out numbered).  The Fire Eater was the frail artillery.  He could lob highly damaging balls of fire that left the target taking continuous burning damage.  I also gave him two sword attacks per round as an option, in case he was forced into melee (which is pretty powerful, given that multiple attacks per round are pretty much gone).  The Strong Man was a generic, beefy guy.  Lots of hit points and damage with a poor chance to hit.  The Fat Lady took up a 2x2 block of squares, and had a special attack she could use once that rolled over everyone in a line.  Each player that had their Reflex defense (it's a defense like AC now, no longer a save) beat would be rolled up inside her, taking damage each turn until they could roll to escape her grab.  The encounter took about a minute to mock up and have ready, once I had the ideas.
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Giving birth is a lot like jury duty.  It's well and fine in the right hands, but we mostly leave it up to the people too stupid to get out of doing it.
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