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 5e AKA D&DNext.

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Garthanos
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:38 am

What I really like about the 4e fighter was his ability to pose the Damned if you Do and Damned if you don't question to enemies. (giving a question both answers of which are good for you and your team and quite bad for team monster).

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:06 pm

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
I understand both arguments but what I don't understand is how is 1 fighter attack effecting the entire narrative of the game, or one spell for that matter? Neutral
In 4E daily powers can often swing the entire flow of a fight. Wizards can choose which big power they want to use and when they want to use it so that it can have maximum narrative impact. Fighters with flexible attacks cannot. They can't even select which flexible attack they wish to use until they roll a die to randomly determine which (if any) flexible attacks they can make use of that turn. That's the OPPOSITE of narrative control, that's being entirely subject to vagaries of a random number generator for what you can and cannot attempt each turn.

If the game is supposed to be a shared narrative story-game then everyone should have the ability to direct the flow of that game to the same degree. 13th Age doesn't allow people playing fighters to choose when they get to have an impact on the narrative by means of their powers (ex. Come and Get it!). It does allow people playing wizards to choose exactly when and it what way they get to impact the narrative with their powers. That's not fair, not fun and not a bit like 4E.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:50 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
In 4E daily powers can often swing the entire flow of a fight. Wizards can choose which big power they want to use and when they want to use it so that it can have maximum narrative impact. Fighters with flexible attacks cannot. They can't even select which flexible attack they wish to use until they roll a die to randomly determine which (if any) flexible attacks they can make use of that turn. That's the OPPOSITE of narrative control, that's being entirely subject to vagaries of a random number generator for what you can and cannot attempt each turn.
The thing I find odd about this is that every Wizard spell that can make a save or attack roll is still "subject to the vagaries of a random number generator for what you can and cannot attempt each turn": Be it spell resistance, fortitude saves, saves vs. petrification, Reflex defense or Mental defense, the moment you can at least make a good guess on the target number required to make your spell work, you're already subconsciously limiting your options in order to determine how to best approach the opponent you're currently facing. This is exactly why the optimal spells in any edition or variant of D&D always involves spells that bypass the vagaries of a random number generator, or at least minimize the impact of said random number generator... and currently, only Magic Missile bypasses said random number generator, and to a certain extent several cantrips and utility spells as well. Otherwise, Wizards with their 10d10+1 Fireball might do impressive 101 damage when they choose to evoke the said spell, but

  • they still need to hit,
  • they can't control how many they actually hit due to the fact that they still need to roll the number of enemies they target, and
  • by that time Fighters are already dishing out 5d10+5d6+9 (19 ~ 89) damage with Power Attack [an average of half of what they just did with an encounter + daily] plus they still get to add stuff to that attack based on the die roll, anywhere from inflicting ongoing damage to an additional attack (which, when stacked up with the daily Champion feat of Power Attack, means that the Fighter could readily match or even surpass the Wizard's most powerful evoked daily at the said level, though admittedly it's limited to just one target [which Cleave and the like thankfully compensate with]).

The problem with powers/spells is that you're setting yourself up for a possible moment of disappointment: when you pick a power, and roll the d20, then find that your power did not perform as advertised, that breaks the narrative you were trying to achieve.

From my point of view, flexible attacks alter the narrative in a completely different manner: instead of the normal paradigm of powers, you simply make the basic attack, then based on the result add something to the narrative.

So instead of "I cast Ray of Frost... *rolls* and I just do 1 damage (instead of 3d6 cold damage)," it becomes, "I swing my sword... *rolls* and I just do 1 damage but because I missed, I anticipate the next crit against me with Brace for It".

I'd actually argue that

  • flexible attacks have a better method of maximizing the narrative, because of the fact that you take control of not only the narrative involving hitting or missing (as seen in spells), but also in the narrative on how well you hit or how poorly you miss.
  • the concept of flexible attacks is littered throughout 13th Age's system (and only brought out into the open with Fighters and Bards) because of the fact that there are so many conditional stuff found in the various elements of the system: from the Ranger's Double Melee Attack, to the Sorcerer's Chain spells, to the way Ray of Frost's adventurer feat adds an effect to said spell when rolling a natural even. In all of these cases, you're executing the exact same thing being done with Flexible Attacks, in that you're adding special effects based on the result of the natural d20 attack roll. The ONLY difference is that Fighters and Bards get to pull them off as part of basic attacks during their turn, in addition to other stuff that they get.

Chris24601 wrote:
If the game is supposed to be a shared narrative story-game then everyone should have the ability to direct the flow of that game to the same degree. 13th Age doesn't allow people playing fighters to choose when they get to have an impact on the narrative by means of their powers (ex. Come and Get it!). It does allow people playing wizards to choose exactly when and it what way they get to impact the narrative with their powers. That's not fair, not fun and not a bit like 4E.

  • Come and Get It can readily be reproduced in 13th Age via a Charisma check; personally I've always felt that while the concept of the said power is fine, the execution has been awkward at best (I mean at the conceptual level, really, Weapon attack vs. Will? I'd rather have it as Bluff vs. Insight/Will/MD [with the same effects]). Come to think of it, I'd say that Come and Get It is the very idea behind the Rogue's Shadow Walk class talent, given how that's exactly how the talent works: Charisma vs. nearby enemy with the highest MD, success = enemies can't find him, next turn *boom!* double damage! [[ Now that I think about it, Come and Get It is an excellent thematic choice for swashbuckling characters, and in 13th Age it's the Rogue who is the archetypical swashbuckler. ]]
  • Fighters in 13th Age do get to have an impact on the narrative by means of their "powers": Class talents and class features are also powers, and so are the benefits that feats grant as well -- a nod to how pre-4E martial classes relied on feats and class features to perform stunts well beyond the capabilities of normal folks; after all, the only real reason why the Fighter was so bland wasn't so much of their lack of powers as the fact that it was so easy to pilfer the few Fighter-exclusive feats (plus they didn't really progress much beyond "guy who gets lots of feats").

Flexible attacks do not define the Fighter, they simply add on to their already-awesome class talents and class features Smile

And about people choosing exactly when they get to impact the narrative with their powers: again, the d20 still decides when Fireball hits or not, so no people still don't get to choose exactly when they get to impact the narrative just because they choose their narrative before they roll their attack (or their enemies roll their saves).

[[ Another way to look at flexible attacks is that they work like Immediate Reactions during a player's turn: you don't actively get to choose when to trigger it, but the ability to trigger it is definitely there. ]]

Garthanos wrote:
What I really like about the 4e fighter was his ability to pose the Damned if you Do and Damned if you don't question to enemies. (giving a question both answers of which are good for you and your team and quite bad for team monster).
13th Age Fighters aren't pushovers in this regard either.


  • Threatening (class feature) makes it harder to disengage from the Fighter by an amount equal to his Constitution or Dexterity modifier. Even a 16 CON or DEX means that they need to roll a 14 or better just to get away from you (and with a fellow Fighter tagging the same opponent with the same stat, that's 11 + 3 + 3 + 1 [for having an additional opponent engaged to him] = 18, making it near-impossible to get away from two Fighters). Its adventurer feat punishes enemies for trying to get away from you.
  • Skilled Intercept (class talent) makes you an even better enemy blocker, because while normal intercepting only works A) while you're disengaged, and B) the enemy is moving past you, this talent lets you intercept enemy attacks, forcing them to direct their attacks against you. If you wear heavy armor, the attack's damage is halved (this is the "damn if you do" part).
  • Heavy Warrior (class talent) makes it harder to kill you by halving damage dealt to you while you're wearing heavy armor (combined with other talents, this could very well be the "damn if you don't").
  • Counter-Attack (class talent) allows you to attack whoever attacked you in melee.


The fun part is that they all stack, so you end up with the following scenario:


  • You hit me, you deal half damage and I hit you back.
  • You try to get away from me and fail (and you likely will), you automatically take damage even if you decide not to continue to move, and if you do continue to move I get to make an opportunity attack (which, with the Punish Them maneuver, has a chance to negate your continued movement as well).
  • You try to attack my ally with melee, you attack me instead. And I can halve or even quarter that damage you deal to me.
  • You try to attack my ally with ranged, guess what: opportunity attack from me.


Then add these:


  • You use the Wizard's Blur spell to turn my hit into a miss? Guess what: I still get to use my miss maneuver.
  • You negated my crit? Sad on the damage loss, but I still get to use one of my other maneuvers. Oh look, A Dozen Cuts, take ongoing damage.
  • You're a tiefling that turned my natural 5 into a natural 1? Sorry, my Carve an Opening still works on a natural 1.


I'm pretty sure that's a lose-lose situation for the enemy any way you slice it.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:15 am

chaosfang wrote:

And about people choosing exactly when they get to impact the narrative with their powers: again, the d20 still decides when Fireball hits or not, so no people still don't get to choose exactly when they get to impact the narrative just because they choose their narrative before they roll their attack (or their enemies roll their saves).
This is something we do with skill rolls where you state the general goals ahead of time - but don't elaborate the details of the performance till after the roll establishes failure and success. Its not the ordering of the roll (or that spells have to hit/saved) nobody is talking about that - its the fact that   The fighter he has a set of effects he cant do in a given round because of an additional random factor independent and in addition to the limits created by "to hit or saves".

A rule that had you rolling each round to see how the ley lines and stellar correspondences aligned.. from round to round to tell what sub set of your spell list you could use... would be analogous.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:59 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Its not the ordering of the roll (or that spells have to hit/saved) nobody is talking about that - its the fact that the fighter has a set of effects he cant do in a given round because of an additional random factor independent and in addition to the limits created by "to hit or saves".

A rule that had you rolling each round to see how the ley lines and stellar correspondences aligned.. from round to round to tell what sub set of your spell list you could use... would be analogous.
This. This. So much THIS!

The issue I (and my friends) have with flexible attacks is that they take elements of the decision making out of your hands. The 4E equivalent of flexible attacks would be... you want to use "Tide of Iron" this round, but because you rolled an odd number you can only use "Accurate Attack."

And yes, the analogy of spellcasters having to roll for cosmic alignments each round to see which spells they can cast on a given round is precisely the same as what Flexible Attacks do to the martial style characters and I'm pretty sure that level of control loss over their action options would NEVER be tolerated by a wizard or cleric player unless they're deliberately building some sort of chaos mage.

The issue is not that whether we hit or miss is random. The issue is whether we can even ATTEMPT the action on the turn when it would be most advantageous for us to do is random. There's no tactics involved in trying to position yourself so your close burst will have as many targets as possible because you can't even guarantee your close burst will even be available that turn until after you roll to attack... you might have just gotten yourself surrounded for nothing.

Basically, for everyone in the three 4E campaigns I play in, flexible attacks were such a deal-breaker that we've agreed to NEVER play 13th Age. I get that some people love them (or love 13th Age so much they're willing to overlook them), but around these parts they're considered more awful than anything in Next (and that's saying something because we consider Next so much of a horrible retro-mess that we opted to start a RIFTS campaign instead playtesting it).
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:44 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
The issue is not that whether we hit or miss is random. The issue is whether we can even ATTEMPT the action on the turn when it would be most advantageous for us to do is random. There's no tactics involved in trying to position yourself so your close burst will have as many targets as possible because you can't even guarantee your close burst will even be available that turn until after you roll to attack... you might have just gotten yourself surrounded for nothing.
Except most of the actions you can perform anyway isn't random, it's just that these are bonuses to basic attacks.

Normal action: you miss with an attack, you deal your level in damage
Flexible action: +2 AC, turn crit to normal damage, deal additional damage, etc.

Normal action: you force an enemy to pop free from you (Strength check vs. PD, a.k.a. Bull Rush), or you disengage from them (especially with Skilled Intercept)
Flexible action: you hit the enemy with a basic attack, and get to knock him away on top of that.

The only maneuvers I've seen that are even remotely "use for tactical consideration" would be... Shield Bash and Punish Them**. All other maneuvers seem more of a mechanical spin on "narrative advantage" (as done through the d20) than "tactical advantage" (as done through terrain, positioning, distance, timing, etc.; that's what the class talents are for).

As for battle cries, the Bard gets a feat that bypasses the random nature of flexible attacks at the cost of not making attacks... and frankly I see no reason why you couldn't just charge the same fee for the Fighter: if that element of choice is so important to you, just spend a feat so that as a standard action you can simply perform the 1st to 3rd level maneuver available to you, no attack required. It'd make Punish Them and Carve an Opening much more powerful in the long run, but at least you don't have to froth in rage against the random nature of flexible attacks, without having to actually introduce new game elements.

The way I see it, tactical play is turned down in 13th Age in favor of narrative play, so you don't need to worry so much about positioning or the like (e.g. most of the time "close burst" attacks are either against engaged enemies or nearby enemies).

** and even then, Shield Bash functions very differently from Tide of Iron because Tide of Iron pushes the enemy 1 square and lets you shift 1 square, something that can easily be done through narrative of the basic melee attack in 13th Age due to the fact that combat in 13th Age assumes that everyone is on the move, so the only time this actually matters is when trying to shove an enemy away from an ally, which is what the Intercept action and the Skilled Intercept class talent would be for. It might also apply when trying to shove enemies into disadvantageous or hazardous terrain, but that's what skill checks against environment DCs are for.

Forcing the enemy to stay is mostly achieved through the Threatening class feature anyway, making Punish Them a bonus and not a "must have".

- - - - -
EDIT: This is already getting way out of topic anyway, so final remarks please from Garnathos and Chris24601 before we have to go back to discussing D&D Next. We can continue the discussion in the appropriate forum.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:44 pm

I am currently noticing that I dont know sufficient about either maneuvers or the general game function. I mean this--
Normal action: you miss with an attack, you deal your level in damage
is normal?

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:25 pm

I think so...I'm not an expert, but I have read through 13th ages' core book (sort of), and, yeah. It seems fighters have the class ability to do their level in damage on a miss, all the time.

I don't mind it myself, but I've noticed that on the WotC forums a ton of people are really hating on any idea of 'damage on a miss' for 5e.

Something about it ruining verisimilitude and peeing in their morning Cheerios while punching their grand mothers in the back of the head....
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:23 am

seti wrote:
I think so...I'm not an expert, but I have read through 13th ages' core book (sort of), and, yeah. It seems fighters have the class ability to do their level in damage on a miss, all the time.

I don't mind it myself, but I've noticed that on the WotC forums a ton of people are really hating on any idea of 'damage on a miss' for 5e.

Something about it ruining verisimilitude and peeing in their morning Cheerios while punching their grand mothers in the back of the head....
So normal for a fighter...

I'm fine with it just a bit surprised: "to me it means if this heroic combatant is focusing his attack on a subject they don't just miss... the enemy had to expend some deeper effort or perhaps have some special defense(damage resistance) to completely negate it" -- It's  consistent with the assumptions of character competence which I find quite familiar

In fact it is that assumption of competence for which I think old school fanatics hate it. (not just that it challenges there internalized model)

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“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:23 am

I have been paying close attention to D&D Next.  I liked the first few play packs.  From what I saw, they were still on the 4E mental train and at that point and the packs looked like 4E with different names for stuff and some older elements from previous editions added back into the system.  And at the time, the negative reactions were small and people seemed to approve of what they saw.  I am not a fan of the latest packs and I will look at the PH when it comes out to see how it turned out, but we will see.

I do like the rout they are going with Encounters where they are getting more detailed with campaign books and letting folks download the edition material for monsters and other mechanics so they can play with every edition from 3rd to Next.  My game group has been loving the Murders in Baldur's Gate adventure and the campaign book has enough adventure ideas to easily run my party above 20th level.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:40 am

thanson02 wrote:
I have been paying close attention to D&D Next.  I liked the first few play packs.  From what I saw, they were still on the 4E mental train and at that point and the packs looked like 4E with different names for stuff and some older elements from previous editions added back into the system.  And at the time, the negative reactions were small and people seemed to approve of what they saw.  I am not a fan of the latest packs and I will look at the PH when it comes out to see how it turned out, but we will see.

I do like the rout they are going with Encounters where they are getting more detailed with campaign books and letting folks download the edition material for monsters and other mechanics so they can play with every edition from 3rd to Next.  My game group has been loving the Murders in Baldur's Gate adventure and the campaign book has enough adventure ideas to easily run my party above 20th level.
I too liked the first few play packs, especially the first one, even though it had a host of problems as well, so I was still able to give both criticisms as well as suggestions. Not sure how that went, but eventually I've simply lost interest in the system as a whole; right now all the D&D Next packets from day 1 are sitting in my Google Drive, tucked away for historical/documentation purposes only.

My main focus related to D&D at the moment: finishing Living Forgotten Realms. After that it's mainly going to be a juggle between 13th Age and D&D 4E, because honestly while I am aware that D&D Next may have (or at least have been trying to introduce) innovative elements, the overall design of the system is... lackluster, and other systems are even better at what they've been attempting without even trying; one of them being freely available on the Internet even.

For example:
  • Bounded Accuracy -- Dungeon World does it better, by simply denying any vertical progression on HP: each level gives you more abilities, but the basic combat related stuff is always the same, which yes even if you have a level 1 Fighter playing alongside a level 10 Wizard, the Wizard will always be as frail as he'll ever be, and the Fighter is still able to meaningfully contribute (though if it's any concern DW is highly narrative and so wizard spells aren't really "daily" in power, so while levels increase their versatility, even with level 9 spells the actual ability for wizards to render Fighters meaningless is virtually nil).
  • Downtime and other non-combat aspects including skills -- let's just say I can name at least five systems that do these better than D&D 5E, depending on how rules-heavy or rules-light you want to go.
  • Race Design -- this is where I think D&D 5E really dropped the ball; in an effort to make humans the no-brainer race while adhering to the original "+1 to saves" human advantage seen in older editions, they went for what I consider the dumbest move ever and just gave them +1 to all stats, as if making humans statistically and consistently better than all other races makes them would be appropriate thematically; 4E's approach was significantly better, even if it did make "weird" assumptions like an 18 STR Gnome being as strong as an 18 STR Human (which isn't really weird when you factor in size and the fact that Humans can still make that 18 into a 20; that Gnome might be the strongest of his race, but he's still no Minotaur in height and weight, which still gives the Minotaur an advantage).
  • Introduction to tabletop roleplaying -- Um, NO. If I were to introduce tabletop roleplaying to any newbie, especially one who has absolutely no experience with roleplaying games in general, there are only three systems I would use to introduce them to the world of TRPGs: Dungeon World, D&D 4E, and 13th Age (not necessarily in that order). Though honestly it doesn't really matter which of the three I'd teach, as long as it would be easy for *me*, the GM, to run an adventure or three with said newbie, without having to worry that said newbie would feel unimportant, left out or weak relative to those who will be playing with him. So group dynamics are also important here.

You can extrapolate my grievances from there.

[ Off-topic: Yes the base assumption of 13th Age is that Fighters and most other combatants are so competent that even if the enemy did get to block or evade or resist their attack, they are still able to slightly fatigue them or take advantage of the situation; and as the fight continues they're less and less likely to miss because they get to learn their enemy's fighting style and know when to anticipate their enemy's vulnerabilities (Escalation Die). Not all combatants are capable of all this -- Rangers and Rogues get to do miss damage with both melee and ranged attacks, while Fighters need a talent to do the same, and Paladins & Barbarians do miss damage with only melee attacks, and Wizards simply can't do miss damage with any of their basic attacks. ]
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:07 am

To chaosfang:  I have been snatching adventures from LFR, especially for my Neverwinter group, who just started a couple weeks ago.  It is a great adventure resource!

For non-combat stuff, I have falling back to Skill Challenges.  Once I finally figured out how to structure them and use them, I realized that they were a great way to run scenarios that were not covered in the DM guide.  I have also added situational powers that characters can use in the challenges to add more flavor and options to the players.  And I am not sure what people's views are about Skill Challenges, but I found them to be a great tool to make the game any way you want!  I have been loving them.

As for 5E, eh...  I share your grievances.......
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