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 "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"

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Tequila Sunrise
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PostSubject: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:57 pm

As many of us here do, I maintain accounts on several D&D forums, and frequently find myself wanting to shout the thread title at the geeks debating the problems of other editions. Of course I don't, because it's a terrible way to win friends and influence people. But it's true.

I'm thankful for 4e because it solve so many problems!

For example, there's a current thread raging right now in which the OP complains about how imbalanced his edition is. Most of that community is shouting him down with the ol' "It's not that bad" and "Wide power ranges is a feature, not a flaw" arguments, but some have suggested he try a different game/edition. And I just want to shout:

I ANSWERED YOUR QUESTION ON PAGE 1: I AVOID THE PROBLEMS YOU'RE HAVING BY PLAYING 4E!!!

...Ah, that was cathartic! How about you?

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PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:14 pm

4E still has some problems...Tracking conditions can get too complex, for example. Solos have too many HP, for another example. But they are pretty minor, compared to the 20+ other ttRPG's I've played over the past 25 years.

But, as someone who likes succinct rules, balance, and flexibility coupled with ease of prep (for DMs and PCs) 4e wins for me.

I've stopped trying to tell people that, however. Unless they actually ask me. Funny thing I read just yesterday in EN world's 3x/pathfinder forum. A heated debate about caster vs. fighter 'balance'. Didn't know if I should face palm, laugh, or cry. So I had a beer.

I do enjoy the 5e discussions sometimes...Especially when the devs at WotC put in something blatantly influenced by 4e (or 13th age), but worded completely differently. And people who were yelling '4E SUCKS!!!!11' a few seconds ago then say 'oh, that's a good idea'.

I do want 5e to become something I'd buy/play/pirate the pdfs of.
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PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:05 am

I've seen 4E's glaring problems first-hand, so I can relate. But compared to the problems with Pathfinder -- the supposedly more balanced D&D 3.5E -- and other editions of D&D? I agree: 4E fixed a lot of things, and most of the problems of 4E (namely presentation) are easily fixed, as done in 5E (read: repackage by rewording).

While I do see that 13th Age isn't for everyone, there are a number of good ideas worth mining from said system and integrating into D&D 4E, namely:
  1. Zone-based distances (wrecan before jokingly commented that 13th Age stole his SARN-FU idea, but based on my own research the concept has been around even before D&D 4E, as found in an indie RPG)
  2. Backgrounds/Background points instead of skills
  3. Escalation Die (for the group that's not optimization-savvy at least)
  4. The idea that recoverieshealing surges aren't set in stone and can be adjusted to set the tone of the campaign
  5. The modifications to death saving throws, and saving throws in general (a lot of the tracking is fixed by allowing the player to make one saving throw for all save ends effects, and the imbalances between "end of next turn" and "save ends" effects a bit more equalized by having ongoing damage etc. take effect at the end of a character's turn immediately before saving against it)


I could actually transfer D&D 4E characters into 13th Age with virtually no adjustments necessary (save perhaps MD & PD, and tiny tweaks here & there), so the only thing I'd really want to see brought from 4E to 13th Age would be the Action Point.
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PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:51 am

chaosfang wrote:
I've seen 4E's glaring problems first-hand, so I can relate. But compared to the problems with Pathfinder -- the supposedly more balanced D&D 3.5E -- and other editions of D&D? I agree: 4E fixed a lot of things, and most of the problems of 4E (namely presentation) are easily fixed, as done in 5E (read: repackage by rewording).

While I do see that 13th Age isn't for everyone, there are a number of good ideas worth mining from said system and integrating into D&D 4E, namely:

  1. Zone-based distances (wrecan before jokingly commented that 13th Age stole his SARN-FU idea, but based on my own research the concept has been around even before D&D 4E, as found in an indie RPG)
Positioning that is abstracted in the first place likely reads better than trying to leverage it onto one that is less so.
chaosfang wrote:

  • Backgrounds/Background points instead of skills
  • Escalation Die (for the group that's not optimization-savvy at least)
  • Nods the adjustment to more cinematic pacing as well is nice but its within a single fight it now occurs to me something like it needs to be done rather like the ed but for encounters. Ie isnt that basically a function action points sort of provide? Though action points have a resource management element.
    chaosfang wrote:

  • The idea that recoverieshealing surges aren't set in stone and can be adjusted to set the tone of the campaign
  • Think that has been suggested as viable house-ruling in 4e more times than I can remember, it seems a natural impact
    [quote="chaosfang"]
  • The modifications to death saving throws, and saving throws in general (a lot of the tracking is fixed by allowing the player to make one saving throw for all save ends effects, and the imbalances between "end of next turn" and "save ends" effects a bit more equalized by having ongoing damage etc. take effect at the end of a character's turn immediately before saving against it)

  • congealing durations is on my suggestion list...

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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: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:24 am

    I know exactly what you mean... The pre-misconception that 4e is just an TTMMO is pretty much the only reason I avoid telling people about 4e. They automatically assume that 4e is WoW on paper (3e had the WoW setting). And frankly, I don't feel like arguing with grogs for hours on end as in their mind they will always win the argument. What really needs to happen is they need to try the game for more than 1 session as 4e tends to grow on the players, not immediately stick to them.

    But like the others above have said 4e does have problems, and some are more obvious than others. Mainly a lot of tracking, overly big HP monsters, a horrid presentation, and a few other nit-picky details (like arguably less cool magic gear). But unlike previous editions the problems aren't so deeply ingrained in the system they can't be pulled out.

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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:43 am

    Yeah, 4e definitely has problems, but compared to other editions, solving them is a walk in the park.

    By 2008, I had compiled a seven-page pdf of Essential House Rules for 3.5. And those are just the house rules I consider absolutely essential to make the game DM-able; I could have filled a book with all my house rules.

    But my house rules for 4e never got beyond one hand-written page. And when I discovered the Complete 4th edition, I was able to cut most of that page down to "Play C4 instead of 4e RAW."

    (I never house ruled 2e, but that was because I was young and naive, and assumed that all of RAW was there with good reason. If I had to go back to DMing 2e, I'd end up rewriting the whole damn thing!)

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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:22 am

    Garnathos wrote:
    Nods the adjustment to more cinematic pacing as well is nice but its within a single fight it now occurs to me something like it needs to be done rather like the ed but for encounters. Ie isnt that basically a function action points sort of provide? Though action points have a resource management element.
    Action Points can work side by side with the Escalation Die without a hitch, not only in terms of mechanics but also in cinematic pacing Smile the main issue in implementing the Escalation Die however, is that at higher levels its usefulness is greatly diminished by the fact that when groups have at least one decently optimized buffing leader, you can see bonuses like +8 to hit, +15 to damage (+33 if you spend an action point) and all sorts of other combinations that make that leader look cool and buff up everyone to great effect.

    If you're finding that the group's having trouble ending encounters quickly because people are missing way too often, the gradual 30% boost to accuracy from Escalation Die could help mitigate that, and combined with the ability to reuse Second Wind with a saving throw (as seen in the "rallying" action, which requires a few more tweaks to make it compatible with the powers that recharge Second Wind) would reduce the "must have a clericleader" mentality that's plagued D&D.

    The main difference in narrative between Action Point and Escalation Die?
    ED: You gradually learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies
    AP: Spotlight moment, baby! Yeah!

    They're two very different approaches to the "action hero" style both systems get to portray (the former more subtle than the latter), so I can readily see both of their iterations in either system. However, I've read somewhere that D&D 4E's AP is a watered down version of D&D 3.5E Eberron's Action Point system, and will try to look it up some time; given the lack of Prestige ClassesParagon Paths in 13th Age, I might be better off implementing the original AP system.
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:48 pm

    The thing I like about the escalation die is that it forces players to consider when to use their strongest powers. Rather than dropping all your encounter powers up front, you might hold something for when you have an improved chance to hit and maximize the effects.
    It breaks the rule of using all your encounter/daily resources first before using at-wills. I think that is worthy of use. Although, for balance, I like to give the monsters something based on the escalation die too. Things like better chance to recharge a power or an additional triggered power, although it depends on the level of monster. Minions never get anything, solos and elites always get something. The rest, just wing it during the battle. If it looks like a sweep for team player, and I want to challenge more, I give more to team bad guy. If it's going the other way, I might forget.

    It makes the players feel good as the battle continues, but I also get a new way to balance encounters and challenge players, when I want to. Not every encounter needs to be challenging though.
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:54 pm

    chaosfang wrote:
    Garnathos wrote:
    Nods the adjustment to more cinematic pacing as well is nice but its within a single fight it now occurs to me something like it needs to be done rather like the ed but for encounters. Ie isnt that basically a function action points sort of provide? Though action points have a resource management element.
    Action Points can work side by side with the Escalation Die without a hitch, not only in terms of mechanics but also in cinematic pacing :)the main issue in implementing the Escalation Die however, is that at higher levels its usefulness is greatly diminished by the fact that when groups have at least one decently optimized buffing leader, you can see bonuses like +8 to hit, +15 to damage (+33 if you spend an action point) and all sorts of other combinations that make that leader look cool and buff up everyone to great effect.
    Hmm a mechanic which is that in your face fading (not scaling well) is indeed problematic... perhaps there should be more than one use for the escalation die such that the user can say things are reliable without it so I want to use it for damage (not a grand example )
    chaosfang wrote:

    If you're finding that the group's having trouble ending encounters quickly because people are missing way too often, the gradual 30% boost to accuracy from Escalation Die could help mitigate that, and combined with the ability to reuse Second Wind with a saving throw (as seen in the "rallying" action, which requires a few more tweaks to make it compatible with the powers that recharge Second Wind) would reduce the "must have a clericleader" mentality that's plagued D&D.
    Must have healer/leader is an issue.. I have a tendency towards as a DM providing a party without one.. a npc lazylord, ie a girl worth fighting for (insert Mulan music) or a perceptive codger, or kid who needs protected etc
    chaosfang wrote:

    The main difference in narrative between Action Point and Escalation Die?
    ED: You gradually learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies
    AP: Spotlight moment, baby! Yeah!

    They're two very different approaches to the "action hero" style both systems get to portray (the former more subtle than the latter), so I can readily see both of their iterations in either system. However, I've read somewhere that D&D 4E's AP is a watered down version of D&D 3.5E Eberron's Action Point system, and will try to look it up some time; given the lack of Prestige ClassesParagon Paths in 13th Age, I might be better off implementing the original AP system.
    Yeh I guess the Action point is encouraging pushing on and the ED is accelerating the ending of this phase.. so they are also having distinct impacts in that way.

    I also recollect Eberron Action points... I personally have a fondness for Fate and considered leveraging some of Fate Points instead -- Its nice having mechanics which can make weaker characters periodically more potent than potent characters so that its nicely balanced, ie Frodo and Gandalf are equals in fate.

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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: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:44 pm

    chaosfang wrote:
    I've seen 4E's glaring problems first-hand, so I can relate. But compared to the problems with Pathfinder -- the supposedly more balanced D&D 3.5E -- and other editions of D&D? I agree: 4E fixed a lot of things, and most of the problems of 4E (namely presentation) are easily fixed, as done in 5E (read: repackage by rewording).
    You might have to make an argument showing how 5e is repackaging 4e they seem to get the functionality wrong at every turn. (another thread perhaps).

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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: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:39 pm

    Garthanos wrote:
    chaosfang wrote:
    I've seen 4E's glaring problems first-hand, so I can relate. But compared to the problems with Pathfinder -- the supposedly more balanced D&D 3.5E -- and other editions of D&D? I agree: 4E fixed a lot of things, and most of the problems of 4E (namely presentation) are easily fixed, as done in 5E (read: repackage by rewording).
    You might have to make an argument showing how 5e is repackaging 4e they seem to get the functionality wrong at every turn. (another thread perhaps).
    Perhaps in the D&D Next thread Smile Sadly though, even if the concepts of D&D 4E can be found in D&D Next, I concur that the execution is shoddy at best, and downright insultingly bad and not worth looking at at worst (IMHO), because mechanics alone don't make 4E what it is.

    Oh and one more other thing I've taken from 13th Age and inserting into D&D 4E: replacing recharge rolls with flexible attack-like effects. The downside is that the actual math involved with recharging powers changes, but on the upside I no longer have to remember when to roll that blasted d6, especially when the enemy has multiple rechargeable powers.

    Example: Instead of having to roll two d6s (hoping to get a 4 ~ 6) to determine which rechargeable power works, I just change the basic attack so that a natural even would get me one power back, and a natural odd gets me another power back. Less rolls made, and I get to fire a special ability every other turn, even though I've altered the recharge mechanic to the point where having both powers recharge is 0% instead of 25% Smile
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:22 pm

    "Oh and one more other thing I've taken from 13th Age and inserting into D&D 4E: replacing recharge rolls with flexible attack-like effects. The downside is that the actual math involved with recharging powers changes, but on the upside I no longer have to remember when to roll that blasted d6, especially when the enemy has multiple rechargeable powers." -chaosfang

    You roll those d6's? I never have, lol. I make monsters recharge when I want them to...Depending on how the battle is going. Although, I do toy with PCs by randomly, and for no reason, rolling dice behind the DM screen...

    No offence meant, of course. You're just the first person I've heard say they follow that rule.
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:53 pm

    seti wrote:
    You're just the first person I've heard say they follow that rule.
    Living Forgotten Realms -_-
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:31 pm

    Ah, yes. I've never done organized play DMing. Of course, you gotta do everything RAW then or people might stone you to death.
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:23 am

    Yeah Organized play can be quite rough I hear.

    I was thinking of doing some 13th Age organized play here locally since everyone thinks 4e is the spawn of the devil here.

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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:47 pm

    seti wrote:
    No offence meant, of course. You're just the first person I've heard say they follow that rule.
    You're the first person I've heard say they didn't follow that rule.

    Is this a common house rule on the WotC forum or somewhere I'm not aware of?

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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:22 pm

    Tequila Sunrise wrote:
    seti wrote:
    No offence meant, of course. You're just the first person I've heard say they follow that rule.
    You're the first person I've heard say they didn't follow that rule.

    Is this a common house rule on the WotC forum or somewhere I'm not aware of?
    Not that I know of. I just like to keep tracking stuff down to a minimum. And when I DM, I like to decide when a monster   uses a bad-ass power. More often if the PC's seem to be winning too easily, less often if the PC's are getting pounded. And, of course, at specific times for dramatic effect. Like a push power to cause an important NPC to be dangling from a cliff.

    I also forget to roll those d6's sometimes lol...I tend DM pretty loose/casual. I only play with friends now; never at cons or at FLGS's anymore.

    Although, (as I've given up on 4e with strangers) I'd love to join in on 13th age sessions at a game store...If the one near me did that. They mostly run pathfinder, MtG competitions, and 5e playtests. And tabletop wargames with tons of minis.
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:52 pm

    Ah, gotcha. Seems reasonable. In fact I'm kinda surprised that I've never considered this particular way to fudge things, myself.

    (The solution I arrived at to avoid tracking recharge powers is to increase the recharge range by 1, and treat them as use-or-lose powers. I.e., monsters don't begin encounters with 'em, and lose 'em if the monsters don't use 'em. Smile)

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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:16 pm

    I'm new here but have been kicking around various forums for abut 13 or so years and have to say I love the fact you can post a thread like this, with that title, and NOT see it devolve into a ridiculous flame war in 3 posts. I may have finally found a real home.

    I've loved 4E since the day I brought home the core set - it may have read like stereo instructions but the game played better and faster (no, really! we used to have 3 hours combats in 3E at 10th level - they only lasted about 3 rounds of course and took 6 hours to prep! Sad ). 4E is not without its problems but when fixes are along the lines of "add +1d8 damage/tier to brutes to make them more dangerous" I really don't have a any problems with that! It is also the first edition of D&D where the entire Monster Manual could be distilled down into 2 tables (DMG pg 42). Spice to taste and you're off (I can't begin to count the number of times I've used just those tables to run an ad hoc adventure when the party wants to explore outside my prepped stuff).

    Y'know this feels weird - I honestly expect to see someone flaming away telling me how stupid I am for having badwrongfun with D&D. This may take some getting used to.
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:13 am

    You have badwrongfun with D&D!Hide 

    Kidding. I'm pretty new here too, and I like this forum a lot. It's nice to talk about 4e. I love it myself. Yes, it's not the best ever, but no game really is. I agree, though. The main complaints I hear over and over again about 4e either haven't come up around my table, or are actually complements to me. 2e and 3x combat was slower in my experience...ANd the one where people say 4e is like a video game doesn't bother me. The relationship between D&D and video games is a two way street...They should influence and inform each other. Besides, many video games borrow a lot from D&D over the decades, and many digital RPGs have good ideas that could be applied to TTRPGs.

    Anyway, have fun here. The one thing this forum needs more of is people!
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:17 pm

    Hi, Holy Bovine! I'm growing to love this forum too, although quality games like 4e are a mixed blessing to 'net forums.

    We can talk in peace about how great 4e is, we can talk about how to streamline where it's not so great, and we can talk about other stuff...but tragically, at the end of the day, problematic games create more discussion. (Read: threads and posts.) Take Giant in the Playground, for example. They have a running joke about the forum's thread schedule:

    Samurai Sundays
    Monk Mondays
    Alignment Tuesdays
    Wizard Wednesdays
    Paladin Thursdays
    Fighter Fridays
    Core Saturdays

    People are much more likely to post about problems with their games than about good quality, which pretty much leaves 4e in the dust. I mean, we do have the whole math hole controversy, and some of us have strong feelings about the faux-essential books, but these topics are as candles in the face of the burning sun of controversy that is 3.x.

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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:35 pm

    Tequila Sunrise wrote:
    Hi, Holy Bovine! I'm growing to love this forum too, although quality games like 4e are a mixed blessing to 'net forums.
    Again - that freaks me out even reading that - I expect a gang of PF or 3E fans to descend enmasse upon the thread and flame it out of existence! I never even realized how much I missed positive comments about 4E. Very Happy 


    Quote :

    We can talk in peace about how great 4e is, we can talk about how to streamline where it's not so great, and we can talk about other stuff...but tragically, at the end of the day, problematic games create more discussion. (Read: threads and posts.) Take Giant in the Playground, for example. They have a running joke about the forum's thread schedule:

    Samurai Sundays
    Monk Mondays
    Alignment Tuesdays
    Wizard Wednesdays
    Paladin Thursdays
    Fighter Fridays
    Core Saturdays
    Oh that is too funny! I have to say I *really* do not miss the seemingly endless arguments that arose from most of those (never really followed much on the Samurai stuff unless you are including Katana debates in that). Getting back into 4E after running PF for the last 2 years I hav found I have to get used to not worrying about PC builds nearly as much anymore. One player, who has had endless problems with her PC in the PF game is running a psion in 4E and absolutely kicking ass with it. She has gone from near complete frustration and an over reliance on magical items to a battlefield master (she has always been an excellent role player so it really puts the lie to the '4E isn't a role players game' thing too).

    Quote :

    People are much more likely to post about problems with their games than about good quality, which pretty much leaves 4e in the dust. I mean, we do have the whole math hole controversy, and some of us have strong feelings about the faux-essential books, but these topics are as candles in the face of the burning sun of controversy that is 3.x.
    Heh - nice analogy! What is the 'math hole controversy'? Is that similar to the 'feat tax' debate?
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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:47 pm

    Numerical fade as monsters gain more as they go up in to high levels than pcs gain.(yes its the source of the Feat Taxes).

    I dispute the math hole is unintentional ;-p

    Both starting out and at the highest end you want a wider range fo viable enemies than just your level... so at level 1 you get atleast two or 3 more levels of viable enemies and at 30th level you get 2 or 3 levels. of more viable enemies. (level 30 is the highest monster in the MM1... apparently after giving math fixes.. they needed to add more levels of adversaries, I wonder why)

    Shrug ;-p

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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:08 pm

    Garthanos wrote:
    Numerical fade as monsters gain more as they go up in to high levels than pcs gain.(yes its the source of the Feat Taxes).

    I dispute the math hole is unintentional ;-p

    So if I understand you correctly people would say that because monsters (in general I assume?) get more powerful per level increased than the PCs is a flaw? How on earth do you determine the average party strength for high level 4E PCs though? With the myriad bonuses that can be dished out I would say high level monsters *need* the power increases just to keep pace! Never really heard of this one before though so I'm not exactly doing a detailed analysis or anything Cool 

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    PostSubject: Re: "JUST PLAY 4E!!!"   Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:51 pm

    Holy Bovine wrote:
    So if I understand you correctly people would say that because monsters (in general I assume?) get more powerful per level increased than the PCs is a flaw?  How on earth do you determine the average party strength for high level 4E PCs though?  With the myriad bonuses that can be dished out I would say high level monsters *need* the power increases just to keep pace!  Never really heard of this one before though so I'm not exactly doing a detailed analysis or anything Cool 
    Yes. Specifically, the math holes exist in PC attack bonuses and NADs. (Non-Armor-Defenses, if you haven't yet heard that bit of 4e slang.) Over the course of 30 levels, PCs lose 4 points each, relative to monster attacks and defenses. NADs lose out even more, depending on build.

    Some people, like Garthanos, say that the holes are intentional. Other people, like me, say that even if they were originally intentional, the 4e team clearly thought better of challenging the PCs in this way, and with good reason. Sure, making PCs hit and dodge less often makes things harder for them; it also makes combat boring. There are much better ways to make monsters challenging than making them increasingly harder to hit and to dodge. Say, with more monster damage, which was exactly what we got after the first two MMs.

    More likely is that the game math changed sometime during playtesting, which resulted in the math holes. Near the end, everyone was rushing to meet publication deadlines, and so the holes weren't caught. (There was a 4e Q&A at the 2008 or 2009 GenCon in which a fan asked about the math holes, and was told "We're working on it.")

    The Player's Strategy Guide explicitly says "PCs should get +1 to attacks and defenses per level." Now there are of course ways to [roughly] achieve this via leader bonuses, items, and feats. But those things require players to know of and to choose very specific character options in order for the game to play as intended. In other words, they require system mastery: something that 4e is intentionally designed to limit.

    In any case, I suspect that 4e fans who argue against the idea of math holes and feat taxes as a bad thing do so for three reasons: First, they see the issue as a weakness that 4e-haters use to score points, and so they deny the issue's existence. (4e fans have told me exactly so.) We see this in politics all the time; "Hold the official party line!"

    Second, it's not that big a deal, so long as everybody knows to pay their feat taxes. Heck, if you never get beyond the heroic tier, as is the case with so many gamers, you probably won't even notice the math holes.

    Third, we tend to think that game devs are intentional with everything they write, and we want to believe that our game is perfect. It's the power of the written word, and of emotional inertia.

    As a real point of comparison: I can't count how many times I've encountered the air-headed idea that 3e's math is A-okay just because the devs didn't write about it, and so the fans assume that it all works out. Despite the fact that common playstyle variants (monty haul campaigns and low-wealth campaigns) have a huge and direct effect on combat and game balance. But to many fans, "It all works out because WBL is just a guideline."

    As a hypothetical point of comparison: If 4e had been written with the same attack bonus and defense advancement for monsters, and no attack or defense advancement for PCs, we'd still have fans arguing that "It's totally intentional! Just pay your feat taxes, or have an optimized leader in your party! Stop saying it's bad game design!" Not as many of these arguments, mind you, but fans will say crazy things in defense of their favorite game.

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