Twin Cities Roleplaying Association Message Board TCRA Main Forum › Why 4E isn't a Role-Playing system...

Why 4E isn't a Role-Playing system...

Troy S.
SkullThrone
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 36
I totally agree with what most people are saying here, but I really think we're saying the same thing about 4E...which really is "You don't need to play it exactly how the rules state"...which is my point, in order to get 4E to function you have to "break" the rules that they have laid out, or you have to lay the encounter out as you "intend" it to be played, rather than simply setting the stage and let the players drive the story.

My argument isn't that you CAN make 4E into a Role-playing game if everyone in the campaign agrees to "go with the story" or the DM continually pushes the group in that way. I'm saying show up at a Con and play or try to run an RPGA 4E event that way and you'll spend the whole time defending yourself against the players, that really are just wanting to play a game as it was written.

So going back to the "Guard Scenario"...Do the players first Magic Missile the guard as a "minion detector" to see if "That's what they were supposed to do", or risk sending the Rogue in to find out the oops after they spent a daily and and encounter action point, the guard isn't even bloody...Then they realize they are doing the encounter wrong, and probably will be punished by the rogue now dying.




4E has really spelled out things to a very fine degree, which I think their intent was to minimize arguments, but I can't tell you how times with how many groups we've had arguments about whether someone "dying" is "bloodied" for the purposes of an effect. Granted "as written this doesn't leave much a window for argument, until realize "as written" seldom means that much in 4E.

As an example the power Inexorable Pursuit, Standard Action Melee weapon, Effect: Before the attack you gain phasing until the end of your turn and you can shift 3 squares, Target: One creature, Attack: Wisdom vs. AC, Hit: 2[W] + Wisdom modifier damage...Well, what happens they phase this far and there no target? Do the forfeit the attack or do the simply not get to use the power at all? And if that's the case then how would they know without first phasing to realize no one is there? Or if they heard someone phased then realized it was a little girl or someone they didn't want to attack, what then? Setting any arbitrary boundaries on this seems ridiculous, until you realize if you don't then the party will phase and rest, and phase and rest all over the dungeon...4E has countless of these powers that simply lend themselves to arguments...This also goes back to my earlier argument about phasing and teleporting in 4E being OP, and a huge reason why Avengers were the first outlawed class in my campaigns.




...I agree with you that the CRAP encounters that Wizards put out is ultimately what soured my taste for 4E to the point I almost am afraid to play it...Up until then I was DM and I would take the liberty with the rules, as I describe above (linked below). Then after a TPK, schedule conflicts ensued and we fell back on Encounters as our RP for the week...and it sucked.

Here's link to half of what I descibed, I still need to find my Hit Point/damage article: http://opengateways.b...­


At least with Lair Assault you knew what you were getting into, but everyone showing up with a Warden totally min-maxed wasn't all that fun either...Normally the group would try the encounter a few times before winning though.
mark
user 88605722
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 4
I didn't mean to start crap about different systems. After doing a good amount of research on other systems I have found 4e to not have a lot of utility spell-wise for the out of combat scenarios. I am not saying I hate 4e but the other thought about 4e is that it's combat system takes too much time and requires miniatures to resolve. Not that miniatures are not used in some form in most games. The rules just seem to be more miniature heavy in resolution.
Joe
user 9715440
Hopkins, MN
Post #: 71
You need to bend, break, ignore, and create rules for EVERY system. there is no perfect system out there that does not need this..

An example is Star Wars Saga Edition. HORRIBLE rule system, yet when the group sits down and works to create new rules for it.. well it can be awesome.
Steve W.
wilcoxon
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 74
@Troy, Inexorable Pursuit does seem to be a poorly written power. Phasing is an effect that happens before the attack so phasing kicks in, shift 3 happens, then the power is expended whether the Avenger makes an attack or not (that much is pretty clearly spelled out in the rules). The problem comes if a player decides to abuse it and use it as a phased move of 3 or 3+speed squares and then rest each time. If I was a player in such a game, I'd suggest the Avenger stop doing that. If I was a DM in such a game, I'd punish the Avenger after warning him to stop abusing the system (up to maliciously killing his character).

The phasing powers I've seen in play are not nearly as abusable as Inexorable Pursuit. I'm not sure what your issue with teleports in 4e is - there are far fewer than in 3.5/PF and they are far more limited - most are daily (with almost all encounter teleports being limited in some way) and all teleports require line of sight (this is the biggest limitation in practice).

Encounters is definitely not the best modules Wizards has done. Some of the LFR modules (not technically written by Wizards) are quite good (others not so much).

You seem to have had very different experiences playing 4e than I have. I regularly play LFR locally (I play other games at Origins/GenCon) and I have yet to see anything close to your example of everyone showing up with min-maxed Wardens. People just play whatever they think will be fun (for some, it's role-playing potential in a character - for others, it's combat effectiveness - for others, it's something else).
Troy S.
SkullThrone
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 37
A few more disjointed thoughts...as I re-read some of the above items.

I know all games have issues with "wording", but there are a lot of abilities in 4E that seem to be exploitable, much more than previous editions or other games, and I think it simply the faster recharge that lends itself to players that want to exploit...4E really plays like Champions where every time a hero acts they could do their powers if they want to (I'm ignoring the 5 min rest, but typically you get this after every encounter).

I made the mistake early on in 4E when I was trying to run adventures similar like a ran them in other systems, and a lot of the time saying things like "You can't do that...can you?", "That can't be right...?" after the players would plan combo's that just wrecked the encounters original design, or teleporting around like Nightcrawler.

One example of this was a hobgoblin encounter where they get benefits for fighting next to each, and their primary job was to protecting the boss, by bottle-necking an narrow hall with four of them. Only to have the two Fighters both use "Get Over Here" to pull them now only out of the way, but away from each other...

To me some powers just don't "make sense", I understand how Thunderwave can push opponents, and almost any arcane/divine power for that matter cuz, well...It's Magic...But Martial Powers I struggle with what it going on...Apparently even without speaking the language the hobgoblins got so mad they left their post and forgot that they are much better at fighter when they stay together.

I realize they are "trying to balance" the classes, but again this is where I struggle with 4E. As I had to constantly plan around these things, as the Warlock is teleporting around the battle field nearly every round the the party is pushing and shifting the minis around, as a DM I just felt like "why am I here, I could just as easily be a player, except of the occassional box text, trap or secret door that needs to be accounted for."

I saw in "good" adventures like Revenge of the Giants, they simply had story combat outlined, that nothing the party could do would stop the opponent from getting the piece of the Divine Engine, or they had other events that simply just said, its too cold to extended rest...I just thought all of these were "discouraging" ways to get the party to act the way you wanted them too...Granted in 1st ed. the way they did it was to just kill the character, or save at a -4 or die, which wasn't a whole lot better...In most of these cases the party was able to "go along" with it, and just understand that it made sense to the story, but it still bothered me.

The issue many of the Encounter adventures seemed like each of the "Encounters" were written by a different staff member and then they were pieced together to form an "adventure"...Now many other systems take it to the opposite extreme, where there is so much story that it's hard to even realize its a module and not a novel, but at least the GM has a lot of information to "wing-it" if that's what they want to do...

Just wondering if anyone has an example of a "good" 4E adventure...for me Keep on the Shadowfell comes to mind, as does one of the Game Day adventures, trying to recall the name...Lonely Tower or something...I'll have find the one I'm thinking about to confirm this.
mark
user 88605722
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 7
I don't mean to sound like someone that has all the answers or even critical but... I do think that when wizards of the coast does products it is often written by a group of people with all different takes on the game system. That again is easy to change. Create all your own stuff. It is very time consuming but that way you can know everything you need to and put in a lot of story or leave some of it out. The thing about early dungeons and dragons was that other than Dragon magazine and few and far between modules that came out, it forced DM's to do a lot of work. That being said it doesn't have to be tons of work all at once. You work on one small area the group starts and add to it and after years of playing you will have a whole world that you built. As far as the game system choice, its really up to you. The main reason I am changing is because melee character(mostly straight fighter) gets the shaft in 1st edition other than having more hit points. Also I like the skill system better than what I was running and makes it easier for newer players. Feats can even be a lot of fun but some of the feats were sort of addressed for me even in 1st edition by players wanting to disarm so I just applied -4 attack as a base to their attack. I think its important to have some realism in a game. But also keep in mind it is fantasy.
Steve W.
wilcoxon
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 75
Just wondering if anyone has an example of a "good" 4E adventure...for me Keep on the Shadowfell comes to mind, as does one of the Game Day adventures, trying to recall the name...Lonely Tower or something...I'll have find the one I'm thinking about to confirm this.

I know I've played other good ones but recently I've liked CALI4-1 to 4-3 series (CALI4-2 has one encounter that is stupidly hard if you actually fight instead of the alternate but it should be obvious to players) and ADCP4-1 (one of the battle interactives) was really good. You can download most LFR modules from livingforgottenrealms.com (unfortunately not the ADCP ones).

For a tough module, Tomb of Horrors has a lot of good ideas and individual encounters but has some annoying bits (through one section, the party (around AL12-14) is chased by a level 20+ solo) and the editing is horrible (the original author posted multiple pages of errata just for the first third of the module and even that didn't fix all of the issues).
Troy S.
SkullThrone
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 44
I think your right their are a lot of great LFR adventures and the Ashes of Athas crew had some great modules written for the 4E Darksun setting. Though, I think the DM I had GenCon two years ago really wreck'd probably the best skill challenge I'd seen in 4E, by giving the "You guys are entering a Skill Challenge" speech.

This was in a great Ashes of Athas adventure, I could tell the adventure and story arc were excellently written, but the DM sort of diminished the quality of the work.

I think we've sort of beat this one into the ground, but I would be interested in chatting face-to-face on this if anyone catches me at a Con or a Meetup. I was searching my 4E database and I realized "Why I liked it", and I did see reasons for not giving it up (sort of like what I and others described above)...but I think my regular group will never play it again. I am using it as teach aid for my kids, who love Legend of Drizzt, and figure 4E is the next step for them, but I think with house rules and simple agreements the game can work if the players and the DM want it too
Joe
user 9715440
Hopkins, MN
Post #: 72
In some instances I have said, ok guys, we are entering a skill challenge. This usually takes place very rarely, or when people start trying to attempt 4+ actions as once. Otherwise there are simpler and easier ways to start a skill challenge.

One of my old DMs used to tell us every encounter that he was trying to kill our characters. No matter what we did, we would stomp his encounters he had set up, and he would get so irritated. I chuckled, but then when it came to skill challenges he would announce every single one of them. We still had fun, and stuff, but sometimes when announcing something like that, it can really kill the mood.
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