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 Community Project: Disscussion

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PostSubject: Community Project: Disscussion   Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:47 am

So, I was thinking about all the things that can be improved in 4E that I could do. I quickly realized that there were way too many for me to get done alone. However, I thought that if I could get a few helpers with some of these larger things it would most likely get done quicker and better. So, I am asking the 4Enclave Forumites for help and ideas.

Now, I've brainstormed on this for a while and have come up with more than a few items that can be improved or expanded upon. Here is a list of the major items...

-----

-----[Allies and Pets]-----
(Companion Characters, Familiars, Mounts, Summons and Conjurations)
--Add more Feat and Magic Item Support.
--More Veriaty of them.
--Additional ways to obtain and use them.
--"Leadership" as a Theme or Perhaps Paragon Path?

-----[PC Stuff]-----
(Class, Race and Theme)
--Feats and Powers for Under-Supported Classes and Builds.
--Additional Feat Support for "Essentials" Class Builds.
--Additional Options for Vampire and Blackguard in particular!

-----[Gear and Magic Items]-----
(Magical Items, Adventuring Gear and Alternate Rewards)
-- More or/and Better Properties.
--More At-Will and Encounter Powers.
--Daily Powers worthy of the Name.
--In short, better Quality in Magic Items.
--More Veriaties of "Double-Edged Sword" Powers on Items.
--Items/Alt. Rewards with both Benafits and Potential Drawbacks.

-----[Encounters and Combat]-----
(Battles, Skill Challanges and Exploration)
--Overhaul and Fix Skill Challange System and Give Better Explainations of their use including Examples!
--Easier way to Use and Apply Monster Themes and Templates.
--Upgrade Existing Under-Powered Themes and Templates.
--Create More New Monster Themes and Templates.
--Upgrade and Improve early Monsters.
--Create and Maintain a Community "Monster Manual" or Repository for Custom Monsters and other DM Content.

-----

So, I would like to ask you for ideas and assistance in making at least some of these happen. Also, if anyone can think of other things to add to this list or ways of doing these things better, please post here!

GF

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PostSubject: Re: Community Project: Disscussion   Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:49 pm

One part of such a project that I'd like to see before adding new feats/items/powers is a serious effort to prune the countless superfluous ones and create more manageable lists in anticipation of the eventual failure of the builder programs (Silverlight has a shelf-life and my friends new laptop requires Win8 exclusive drivers to run and Win8 has proven extremely hostile to the offline builder/cbloader).

In terms of some of your other elements on your list I'd say its time to give up on trying to make Skill Challenges a specific thing. Instead we should just design more specific task resolution systems for extended/opposed tasks for each skill. Some of these would function similarly to skill challenges, but others might work better with a different type of resolution.

As to the power of magic items, one of the important design elements to consider is that because the focus is more on the PC and not the items they carry an item encounter power should only be a class at-will and an item daily power should only be on par with a class encounter power (and most properties are about equal to a feat).

Indeed, that in and of itself might make an interesting basis for a series of items... ones that grant an encounter/daily use of a specific class at-will/encounter power of the item's level... a shield or gauntlets that grants 'Tide of Iron' 1/encounter for example.

Create a normalized list the properties/powers and their level adjustments for items and you could effectively create thousands of potential items simply by applying those elements to a generic item.

I do know that a friend of mine is tinkering around with leadership themes using the fey beast tamer as a chassis. For example, the landed knight theme he's working on would grant free room and board in any allied land and a squire as a follower on par with a summoned monster at level 5.
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PostSubject: Re: Community Project: Disscussion   Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:29 am

Chris24601 wrote:
One part of such a project that I'd like to see before adding new feats/items/powers is a serious effort to prune the countless superfluous ones and create more manageable lists in anticipation of the eventual failure of the builder programs (Silverlight has a shelf-life and my friends new laptop requires Win8 exclusive drivers to run and Win8 has proven extremely hostile to the offline builder/cbloader).
Pruning does seem necessary since WOTC developers obviously overwrote elements.

Although I seem to manage my character builder cbloader fine in win 8.1 - there is certainly a shelf life factor regardless.

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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: Community Project: Disscussion   Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:15 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Pruning does seem necessary since WOTC developers obviously overwrote elements.
You could probably combine some of them too. If not for Essentials insistence upon flavor-text, Heat/Cold/Poison/Etc resistance could have been a single Energy Resistance feat with a "you can select this feat multiple times, each time it applies to a different form of energy."

I'd say somewhere around 60 general feats (not counting the Expertise ones), 10 feats per race, 5 general feats per class and 5 build-specific feats per build would be my ideal target for cleaning up the feat lists. You could probably add a couple more categories in as well (multiclass or fighting style feats for example), but that would put most people's choices down to about 80 for any given character. Still a lot, but actually manageable instead of completely overwhelming like it is now.

Power-wise, my target would be two good power choices per build each time there's an option and looking to combine some of the "high-level replacements" where practical (much like how many of the post-Essentials encounter powers were designed... the level 13 and 27 choices to replace the level 1 powers were just more potent versions of the level one powers, the same with the level 17 and level 3's and the level 23 and level 7's. If there are any of those that could be combined rather like the Dark Sun theme powers were into a single entry you could probably prune a LOT extraneous choices from the trees.

Once that's been done then you can get an idea of where the holes that need to be filled with new content actually are and draw up a plan to fill them.
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PostSubject: Re: Community Project: Disscussion   Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:18 pm

Three choices is a magic number people see three choices as more real... like the imply a gamut without leaving anything out even when simplifying. Its like rock paper scissors kind of... ofcourse you dont have to totally devote to a targetted build so 2 choices are probably ok ;-p

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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: Community Project: Disscussion   Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:49 am

Garthanos wrote:
Three choices is a magic number people see three choices as more real... like the imply a gamut without leaving anything out even when simplifying. Its like rock paper scissors kind of... ofcourse you dont have to totally devote to a targetted build so 2 choices are probably ok ;-p
Right. Every class has at least two different build options to it so your choices at each level would be one of two good build-related choice or one of the cross-build choices.

The main reason I picked two though was because it allows two characters of same class and build in the same party, but with completely different powers and because two per build is a good starting point when looking at what needs to added. There are some builds where there isn't even ONE good option at each level, much less two and that's where the focus should be for new options until everything's at least up to that standard. THEN you can start looking at three options for each.
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PostSubject: Re: Community Project: Disscussion   Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:52 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Garthanos wrote:
Three choices is a magic number people see three choices as more real... like the imply a gamut without leaving anything out even when simplifying. Its like rock paper scissors kind of... ofcourse you dont have to totally devote to a targetted build so 2 choices are probably ok ;-p
Right. Every class has at least two different build options to it so your choices at each level would be one of two good build-related choice or one of the cross-build choices.

The main reason I picked two though was because it allows two characters of same class and build in the same party, but with completely different powers and because two per build is a good starting point when looking at what needs to added. There are some builds where there isn't even ONE good option at each level, much less two and that's where the focus should be for new options until everything's at least up to that standard. THEN you can start looking at three options for each.

nods seems like solid thinking ... get the starting point down.

The princess build warlord while not an official build barely had any levels with more than one choice. Additionally there were some powers that seemed to have arbitrary levels. Friendly fire for instance could have been any level.

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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: Community Project: Disscussion   Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:56 am

The princess build was why I came up with an 'enabling skald' build as part of my Essentials Options. It deserves its own specialized build. In addition to its at-will basic attack granting power it also has a repeatable encounter attack that grants a scaling extra action as a minor action (i.e. starts as a basic attack plus shift or move half your speed and scales up through using any at-will to eventually a full standard + a move action) and the option of using either the skald's daily attack auras or the ability to boost skill/ability checks related to particular attributes (in addition to the usual healing and utility powers).
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PostSubject: Re: Community Project: Disscussion   Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:03 am

The Bard has so many schticks that it seems stealing, although the practice of nobliity - having teachers who were in effect bards has a lot of heritage.

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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: Community Project: Disscussion   Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:32 pm

Okay, I've been going through the feats and good grief are there a LOT of them and so, so, so many of them are completely marginal edge-cases or outright obsolete (ex. I counted at least five feats that gave a conditional +1 or +2 feat bonus to saving throws against certain effects... all obsoleted by the Resilient Focus feat that grants an unconditional +2 feat bonus to all saving throws).

I'm currently throwing together a list of the more solid feats, but the general feats alone are already adding up to well over a hundred (and that's with things like weapon proficiency or skill focus listed as a single feat). I'll get it posted here once I've got the thing semi-organized.

One thing I might suggest and will probably do once I've got my list compiled is that there are a LOT of feats that are rather conditional when they really don't need to be (do we really need separate feats for granting different classes a +2 bonus to opportunity attacks for example) and could probably be combined into a single broader feat. There's also a number that are arbitrarily conditional for no particular reason other than to bloat the feat count.

Since we're now dealing with 4E as a closed system (i.e. we don't have to be concerned with selling new content every month) I would like to propose as part of this larger project that we figure out where such things could be cleaned up and thereby build a solid and reasonably sized feat list that would incorporate what the OP is asking for as a part of it going forward.
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PostSubject: Re: Community Project: Disscussion   Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:01 pm

The sad thing is situationals are so flavorful...

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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: Community Project: Disscussion   Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:36 pm

Garthanos wrote:
The sad thing is situationals are so flavorful...
Not as much as you might think... most of the extremely conditional feat came before they started using flavor text for feats so it were just [Feat Name]: You gain a +2 feat bonus to saving throws to end the dazed, stunned and dominated conditions.

That's not particularly flavorful on its own, even if Resilient Focus weren't available, but was needlessly fiddly in an already fiddly system... which is true of most of the earlier feats that have you adding countless small modifiers to every other check you make to the point you forget half your list of situational bonuses until five minutes after you rolled.

Given the sheer number of feats available to choose from even without the situational ones, I can honestly say 'good riddance' to situational feat bonuses.

That said, if you want the situational bonuses to be relevant, those feats need to be rewritten to provide untyped bonuses so they remain a good choice instead of completely outclassed by more generic feats.
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PostSubject: Re: Community Project: Disscussion   Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:34 pm

So, as an update the list of generic feats is currently sitting at 285 with some more yet to be added. Some of these may be able to be condensed into a 'super' feat akin to Skill Training/Focus where a more generic feat (say one that lets you use a different ability score with a skill... or lets you roll twice with a skill) could replace several more specific ones, but its still going to be a rather hefty chunk without even getting into class specific ones.

I also had a thought regarding the Monster Repository concept. I think the monsters included therein should be designed to be 'level agnostic'. In other words, design them from the start so that when you field one of the critters you just need to add your desired level to certain stats (attack rolls, defenses, damage rolls) and maybe have certain specific upgrades (an extra encounter power at level 11+ for example) so that the critter could be dropped into any adventure a GM would wish to regardless of level.
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