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 Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm

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Garthanos
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PostSubject: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:41 pm

One of the criticisms of fourth edition that struck a nerve to many folk was that the presentation of the game was lacking. This ranged from the use of the largely anachronistic term "power" to not including improvisation (alah page 42) in player facing examples.

Do you have ideas which could be improvements perhaps for new games based on the 4e paradigm.

I don't even like the word clone because one of the features of 4th edition was a willingness to advance beyond what came before.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“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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Felorn Gloryaxe
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:07 pm

First off don't pull a 4e Announcement...

4e had a horrible launch. With a combination of a ridiculous amount of elitists, WotC-made trailers mocking older Editions, and old fans just not willing to change... It was doomed to be hated by many players.

Second based the game off the OGL of course. Allow people to use your system for making their own things. This was also a major 4e downfall. Since 4e used the GSL it was not very 3rd Party friendly. Also there is the fact that WotC never actually gave any 3rd Party companies (Like Paizo) the 4e ruleset so they could design anything for it.

Remove the Term Power. The term power is to generic and video gamey. Change it to things like, Maneuver, Exploit, Prayer, Spell, Attack, Strike, Etc.

Rework the way the manuals read. Though some may consider this a feature I consider it a con. It's the way 4e manuals read. The read like... well... manuals. One of the biggest enjoyments I get out of D&D is just flipping through the books and taking it all in. But in 4e that is/was drastically less fun. Sure some books had more lore, and flavor, but a lot of the books had the minimal. Keep it brief, but keep it interesting.

Rework the way classes act. This was a big problem with 4e (one that I can deal with to an extent), and one that Essentials tried to fix. A lot of the classes play very similarly. If you know how to play a fighter you pretty much know how to play a wizard. I feel that each class needs it own unique mechanics that follow a similar design. But not to the extent that 4e has done. I would follow a way more similar to 13th Age. Though I'm still not certain whether I like the Fighters Flexible Attacks. So if your making a 4e based system give classes their own little thing/mechanic that make them unique.

Put more emphasis on out of combat scenarios. Maybe not more rules, just a little more to do with them. People complained about 4e talking a lot more about combat.

More emphasis on Rituals/out of combat magic. I like me some rituals... Free form magic is cool to though if you have basic rules for that.

Don't give Classes roles. I understand that this has no effect on anything mechanically (Beyond power design), and wizards were always controllers, fighters were always defenders, etc. But a lot of people hated being "tied down" to this label. Just ditch them... The wizard can still be the controller without having it labeled as such.

And finally make Magic Gear a little more interesting than what 4e did. It can either give mechanical bonuses or bonuses in terms of the story. Just try and hold back from making every magic item a +(Insert Number), and a daily attack/buff. Try to design every item like it's a wondrous item.

Though this came out as more of a how I would do things differently with 4e kind of thing, I think it still hits some of the main topic tongue

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Last edited by Felorn Gloryaxe on Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:09 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:52 pm

Dont agree with all your take at least some of it was in topic range ...

Pretty sure for instance my defenders each have a unique marking mechanic and are in general far more unique mechanically than all those full attack spammers and one trick ponies of the past. Razz

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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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Felorn Gloryaxe
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:13 pm

No doubt the 4e martial classes are more interesting. They aren't just spam bots like you said. And while the marking mechanic may be different for each defender it isn't really unique or cool (IMO). Each defender (Minus Essential Defenders) has their own variation, it isn't something that just belongs to one class.

I also think I misunderstood your original post. Are you asking what could be improved upon from the 4e system itself, from it's design philosophies, or am I completely misunderstanding what you mean by the "4e paradigm"?

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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:48 pm

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
No doubt the 4e martial classes are more interesting. They aren't just spam bots like you said. And while the marking mechanic may be different for each defender it isn't really unique or cool (IMO) ?
My swordmage plays nothing like my fighter  - Alek Codaeron the shielding sm kites the enemies about the battle to me that is cool my sons swordmage blinks around he can run behind enemy lines then blink back to the front.


I was asking for presentational elements for instance (they are generally distinct from functional changes)  Wrecan wrote up powers using natural language, that's presentational. Calling maneuvers - maneuvers.... Reorganizing things like pulling some of the class specific maneuvers in to martial maneuver might be an organizational shift but it doesn't change fundamental function. Labeling some maneuvers tricks and having a rule that allows them to be repeated but only at a penalty is changing a function but might only be a subtle one.

Depriving some classes of climactic capabilities is contrary to the 4e design balance paradigm in my opinion.

But in general a game with the same design goals, could have very distinct implementations and still be within the scope.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:55 am

An example of a presentational change I have considered is defining powers as tricks, subtle tricks, exertions and greater exertions it could be used to act as power keywords and something could be both a trick and an exertion, The idea being to replace the artificial seeming designations as encounter powers, reliable encounter powers and dailies. Then a trick might by default to being an action allowing a repeat with a penalty, like -5 on to hit? due to subject(s) building up resistance. A subtle trick only incurs a penalty if it succeeds. And it might be possible sometimes to repeat a power use against a distinct enemy without penalty within the same fight at the DM's discretion. Some repeatable encounter powers might even be just an exertion. A Daily might be both a greater exertion and a trick.

I think certain flexibilities were removed in 4e because the designers were over cautious putting that flexibility back in seems a common house rule.

NOTE: I want to collapse dailies/heroic surges/action points as well but that is a simpler is better thought which sees them all as the drawing on the same deep resources it is also beyond being just presentational.  So when I talk about exertions I am talking about spending this resource. It can recover partially between encounters like action points (or more since it can also incorporate encounter powers.) as well as based on long rests.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:50 pm

The way I see it, issues in D&D 4E included:

  • Keywords
  • Roles
  • Fluff vs. mechanics
  • Level progression
Spoiler:
 

Now if you're going to create a new system based on the D&D 4E paradigm rather than based on the D&D 4E mechanics, then I suggest you to focus on just five things:
  • Opportunity balance for both in and out of combat
  • Customizability
  • Rules clarity
  • Clear character progression
  • Out-of-the-box competency instead of disposable PC who has to earn his competency, or having to houserule the system just to acquire even baseline competency


An easy example would be Gamma World (though the out-of-the-box competency part is hurt really bad when your player rolls low on all the rollable stats and ends up having to put his highest non-primary/non-secondary stat -- an 8 -- on CON). Another example in my opinion would be 13th Age; though obviously some don't like the randomness of the system (especially when it comes to Barbarians, Fighters, Rangers and Sorcerers), I feel it otherwise adheres very well to the D&D 4E paradigm, because of how backgrounds work, and how the system is written overall.
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:36 pm

Roles are specializations of ability, allowing all classes more flexible capability with regards to the role makes for fewer broader classes but  I think being able to hot swap role to the circumstance would also be valuable.  I am protecting my allies now and making a target of myself but later I might be sniping the enemy or convincing an ally on the edge they can push on.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:38 pm

I think presentation in power blocks seem to make it take up more space than it all has to.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:41 pm

Yes having scaleable abilities and abilities for power sources to cut down on internal repetitions as well as skill specific stunts/feats going across those class boundaries - we can ditch the term "powers" which is barely genre appropriate for a small subset of abilities.

In some cases I dont think its using key words the issue seems to be using ones that really dont convey the right flavor.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:58 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Roles are specializations of ability, allowing all classes more flexible capability with regards to the role makes for fewer broader classes but  I think being able to hot swap role to the circumstance would also be valuable.  I am protecting my allies now and making a target of myself but later I might be sniping the enemy or convincing an ally on the edge they can push on.
True, some people want to play as more well-rounded folks, while others prefer a more specialized approach. Both should be equally valid, but to retain the "D&D"-ness of the system, the concept of classes should be placed into serious consideration (personally I feel that D&D 3.x leaves a bad taste in my mouth because classes seem less like actual classes and more like a classless system giving lip service to classes, so if I was to go retro, I'd pick any other edition except 3E/3.5E... but that's for a different discussion altogether Hide ).

So the question now is: how do you represent classes in a way that makes each of them stand out, while allowing players to modify classes in a way that makes them feel validated?

[ Swappable class features as done in pre-Essentials, as well as subclasses as done in Essentials, seem equally valid approaches on the subject. ]

Garthanos wrote:
I think presentation in power blocks seem to make it take up more space than it all has to.
Personally I don't think this is the case; save for powers with fairly long texts, the fact that most power blocks have enough space to include your attack and damage rolls for each power suggests that the space is adequate for most situations.

Though if they released a free, readily available font that contains the icons used by monsters to represent melee, ranged, melee basic, ranged basic, etc. and the cards used a few more images and a bit more Magic: the Gathering style in presentation, we might be able to put even more content with less space consumed Very Happy

Garthanos wrote:
Yes having scaleable abilities and abilities for power sources to cut down on internal repetitions as well as skill specific stunts/feats going across those class boundaries - we can ditch the term "powers" which is barely genre appropriate for a small subset of abilities.

In some cases I dont think its using key words the issue seems to be using ones that really dont convey the right flavor.
Exactly. The mechanical write-ups of the various powers, and to some extent some of the mechanics themselves, fail to synch up with the desired intent. That "dissonance" is a failure for mechanics to produce the dynamics needed to deliver on the game's aesthetics, and it's that where I feel D&D 4E fell short and what games based on D&D should learn from.
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:57 pm

chaosfang wrote:
Garthanos wrote:
Roles are specializations of ability, allowing all classes more flexible capability with regards to the role makes for fewer broader classes but  I think being able to hot swap role to the circumstance would also be valuable.  I am protecting my allies now and making a target of myself but later I might be sniping the enemy or convincing an ally on the edge they can push on.
True, some people want to play as more well-rounded folks, while others prefer a more specialized approach. Both should be equally valid, but to retain the "D&D"-ness of the system, the concept of classes should be placed into serious consideration (personally I feel that D&D 3.x leaves a bad taste in my mouth because classes seem less like actual classes and more like a classless system giving lip service to classes, so if I was to go retro, I'd pick any other edition except 3E/3.5E... but that's for a different discussion altogether Hide ).
a system designed to be classless in the first place instead of a borked class system would have done it better; I picked up wheel of time book for 3.x and the characters were such a barrage of different things pasted together it felt like wait? and this was designed around the characters in the books?
chaosfang wrote:

So the question now is: how do you represent classes in a way that makes each of them stand out, while allowing players to modify classes in a way that makes them feel validated?
Roles validated classes for me and quite honestly i feel more like transmigrating them to other games like Hero or Fate and basically any other I pick up. I had become anti class back in latter 1e era and for many many years, but then along 4e completely rescued the idea of levels, classes, advancing hit points, the base 6 attributes, a single attribute being used for a single action (representing a style of performance), Eureka I felt it very much fixed D&D, the games open-ness to reflavoring cracked open the same kind of creativity I had seen in other games.

If presentation is improved it needs improved in a way that doesnt break what has been gifted.

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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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:57 pm

Garthanos wrote:
chaosfang wrote:
So the question now is: how do you represent classes in a way that makes each of them stand out, while allowing players to modify classes in a way that makes them feel validated?
Roles validated classes for me and quite honestly i feel more like transmigrating them to other games like Hero or Fate and basically any other I pick up. I had become anti class back in latter 1e era and for many many years,  but then along 4e completely rescued the idea of levels, classes, advancing hit points, the base 6 attributes, a single attribute being used for a single action (representing a style of performance), Eureka I felt it very much fixed D&D, the games open-ness to reflavoring cracked open the same kind of creativity I had seen in other games.

If presentation is improved it needs improved in a way that doesnt break what has been gifted.
Personally I would prefer a validation for those who want either the class-based and classless approach, by baking the various roles and popular archetypes into the classes, while being flexible enough to allow players to ignore classes and just get right down to building their characters from the ground up (like in 13th Age and, if your group/DM isn't a super by-the-rules sort of person, D&D 4E)... either that, or build the system classless then present the system with archetypes as classes (as done in Shadowrun and to a certain extent Dungeon World), and each "class" would have the various mechanics needed to fulfill a party's role.

In short, I'd rather that role be the recommended guideline and not the absolute straightjacket.
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:54 am

If I were to create a 4th ed inspired game, it would basically take all of 4th ed's good ideas and go from there. 4th ed definitely improved as it progressed so I'd aim to take advantage of that.

Races:

  • Go Pathfinder style write ups for the races. One page, one race. You could easily fit all of the 3.5e races and 4th ed races by doing this.
  • Include flexible stats. One static, and then a choice between two. To help make flavour better fit with mechanics, include subraces (or alternate racial traits). This would make it more flavourful and you could have alternate racial powers.


Classes:

  • Include subclasses. They did this with the power series of books, bring it in as a core mechanic for the initial book release.
  • Divorce role from class. Put it into the subclass. IMO this was the greatest cause for the rejection of 4th ed by 3.5e players. It restricted them in a way that they hadn't been in 3rd edition.

    Despite popular opinion, roles aren't actually a 4th ed innovation. They existed in 3rd edition. The Barbarian role was a frontline melee specialist. The cleric role was the primary healer, diviner and defensive specialist. What 4th ed did differently was that it hard coded these roles into the game much more strongly then before. Where a fighter's role was "melee combatant" which itself is fairly vague, you could still build archer fighters. IMO 4th edition went too far.

    Also it allows options not even conceived of in 4th edition. A transmutation specialist wizard could enchant weapons with magical effects as well as PCs, making them a leader. An Abjuration specialist could specialise in protecting its allies and providing a marking mechanic for the wizard.
  • Divorce power source from class and put it into subclass. The 1e - 3.5e Ranger class was a divine caster. Until 3.5e PHB2 came out and a martial Ranger was provided. IMO a big hurdle for 4th  edition was keeping the power source tied to the class instead of the subclass (a side effect of not having the subclasses codified properly in PHB1 and waiting until Martial Power). This way the classical Ranger could have been provided as an option in a later splatbook.
  • Combine powers. I've done an analysis of the Fighter/Ranger powers in PHB1 and they're mostly compatible with each other. The power levels could easily be used for either classes without much change. As such I would combine all of the powers for the classes into one single unified list. Then grant access to certain powers based on the character's class (much like 3.5e spells are given to different classes). I initially considered splitting them up into power source, however given that some classes may have access to multiple power sources depending on their subclass, this doesn't work.

    An advantage of unifying the powers is that it takes up significantly less space. I've managed to combine the PHB1 Ranger and Fighter powers into 8 pages (excluding utility powers). This is in stark contrast with PHB1's power lists for both classes taking up 17 and a half pages. As such I can support more archetypes in the same page count. For example Fighter archetypes that I'm supporting include Archer, Dual Weapon Fighter and Myrmidon (default 4th ed Fighter). 4th ed never supported an archer fighter (possible only by divorcing role from class) and needed PHB1 and a splatbook to support the default fighter as well as the Tempest fighter.

    This does come with the problem of some classes (e.g. Warlord, wizard) having most of their abilities housed in their power rather than a separate mechanic (quarry, mark). This can be worked around by including a keyword to the powers called "Augmentable." Certain powers (sneak attack, mark, quarry, curse) are known as augmentable powers. You can only use one augment ability a round. This way you can't sneak attack and mark someone at the same time. This (IMO) is a more elegant and diverse solution then the PHB3 hybrid solution of quarantining class abilities to class powers.

    Finally with powers I would include the ability to upgrade them at later levels. Rather than force people to retrain their level 1 encounter power at level 8, provide 2 lines that increases the DPR of the level 1 power so they can keep the same power. This helps reduce the sameness of powers by reducing how many of them are the same except with different damage values.


Feats:
  • Rejigger feats. Feats in 4th ed serve two purposes (much as they did in 3.5e): Increase the power of a character and give them more versatility. An example of a power boosting feat is Weapon Focus which is a straight +1 to damage. An example of a versatility feat is linguist.

    In PHB1 alone there weren't that many power increasing feats. So characters were able to invest in feats that make them more versatile. However as the power creep set in with additional power increasing feats being released in splatbooks and dragon (some of which were math fixes, others which were simply power creep) the number of power increasing feats grew and so it felt like there was less and less ability to take the versatility feats.

    I would fix it by removing the power increasing feats and only including versatility feats. Horizontal development rather than vertical development. That way I can take linguist and learn abyssal and infernal because I've started summoning devils and demons rather than "+1 damage to fire damage spells."
  • Open up multiclassing: Requiring 1 feat per power swapped IMO was too costly. Once you multiclass just allow powers to be gained from either class as desired. I'd keep classes determining armour proficiencies, weapon proficiencies, bonus to defenses, HP and healing surges. Multiclass feats would grant you access to a single mechanic from a subclass (mark, quarry, sneak attack).

    This way your base class has a strong effect as it warrants the majority of your class features. Multiclassing simply opens up your access to more powers and grants you a single mechanic.


Math Overhauls

  • Remove mandatory math boosters: Enhancement Bonuses, Ability Score Boosts and the "Expertise" feats were seen as necessary by a significant portion of players (in the case of enhancement boosters the developers fully admit they're mandatory). Due to the fact these are mandatory I'd prefer to simply include them in the core math and not worry about the boring bookkeeping.
  • Increase base competency. I've heard 4th edition was designed so that monsters would be hit 50% of the time. This caused anyone who didn't have the correct stat bump from their race hitting less than 50% of the time. This helped contribute to long combats and helped cause more than a little bit of frustration (I believe it was aggravated by implement users as NADs were meant to be lower than AC but it rarely seemed they were).
  • Reduce combat lengths to 4-6 rounds (keeping in mind daily powers and action points will cause this to fluctuate). This is done by severely reducing monster HP and increasing their damage (a common house rule). This would be a change on the monster side only to keep it transparent for players.

    This ensures players get to use all their encounter powers, one daily per battle (on average) and only have a couple of rounds using at-wills. This helps cut down on boredom.


Magic Items

  • Scaling Magic Items: Removing enhancement bonuses is only half the battle. I want to keep my necrotic resistant armour for all levels because I got this from the body of a paladin after his ghost animated and gifted it to me. However while it was a big boon at level 1 with its resist necrotic 5, that resistance has become fairly meaningless. I'd instead like to see scaling magic items. The armour would be Resist Necrotic 2+1/2 level. Those who insist that this makes no versimilitude sense can simply decree that level bonuses are for the item not the PC and call it a level 10 item, making the resistance static.


Rituals

  • Take a good look at rituals: At this stage I'm inclined to merge them into utility powers. Some utility powers have two versions. An encounter power version and a daily version. Once you use the daily version you cannot use the utility power for the rest of the day. E.g. Water walk (Encounter): A single target can walk on water for the rest of the battle. Water walk (Daily): Up to 5 people can walk on water for 1 hour.

    The reason for this is it seems widespread they weren't used to full effect, partly (IMO) because it cost so much money. With enhancement bonuses no longer required magic items can be given or withheld as desired so rituals being balanced by gold no longer makes sense.


These are my thoughts at least Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:29 pm

Interesting ideas! Smile If it's alright with you, I'd like to provide a few suggestions based on your input:

  • Personally I think stats should be both class- and race-granted, so that players aren't forced to take a race just to be in-synch with a class, plus it further enforces the importance of class in the character-making decision.
  • Since we're divorcing role from class and placing role into subclass, and because subclasses are usually just tweaks of the original class (much like Pathfinder's archetypes/alternate class features), why not have subclasses as variable class features, which you can combine into various builds that have specific roles? An archer fighter might want the same features that toughen up a defender fighter, who might be picking up damage-boosting features based on the principle that "the best defense is a good offense".
  • Why not have power source tied to powers? The default assumption could be that let's say Fighters and Rangers can take from the martial pool of powers, but a class feature or maybe a multiclassing feat may allow them to pilfer from the divine pool instead. The only problem I see with this is that it may cause certain classes (e.g. Paladin vs. Cleric, or dual wielding Fighter vs. dual wielding Ranger) to lose distinction, but I think that could be mitigated through better enforcement and delineation of class features.
  • I'd recommend rebuilding the whole structure from scratch, as we have five game elements that provide the benefits of skills and perks as listed in TV Tropes -- skills, class features, feats, powers and rituals -- so why not have these elements tackle different facets of character development and world interaction in a way that minimizes or avoids overlap?
  • Rather than remove "mandatory" math boosters, why not make them optional and/or situational? Inherent bonuses as an optional alternative should've been available from the start, then have level boost attacks + defenses + skill checks instead of half level. Slowing down the ability score boosts and perhaps making defenses the lower of the two stats rather than the higher of two stats would also help, as long as the monsters are designed with the intent of being hittable 50% of the time on a 14 base stat (taking into mind the discrepancies between a 20 base stat and an 8 base stat).
  • Rather than add mechanical juggling to the whole magic item scaling, why not simplify the magic item design instead? Rather than "Resist Necrotic 2+1/2 level" for instance, we'd have resistance be "half damage if the enemy's natural die roll isn't high enough to beat the target number", then if you have Resist Necrotic 12+, that'd halve all necrotic damage from attacks whose natural attack roll is 11 or lower. So at high levels you're still getting a LOT of mileage from that magical armor.


Admittedly a lot of these suggestions are from 13th Age, but I think they're worth considering if we're going for a new 4E-inspired system Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:37 pm

chaosfang wrote:
Interesting ideas! :)If it's alright with you, I'd like to provide a few suggestions based on your input:
Of course.

chaosfang wrote:
Personally I think stats should be both class- and race-granted, so that players aren't forced to take a race just to be in-synch with a class, plus it further enforces the importance of class in the character-making decision.
I've removed the hard coding of stats from the powers and put a variable in its place I'm calling "attack bonus" (not the best name, but it's what I'm using thus far). Your subclass determines what the default stat is for different types of attacks (strength for melee and dexterity for ranged are the typical defaults). An example is:
Stay Back (Once per Battle)
Class: Fighter
Pre-requisite: Martial training
Action Type: Standard.
To Hit: Attack Bonus vs AC
Damage: 2dW+attack bonus and an adjacent creature can move 10 ft without provoking an AoO.
Traits: Augmentable, Melee

Fighters by default use strength for melee attacks (whereas rogues use dexterity). You can take a Weapon Training feat to change the default to the stat of your choice (charisma, wisdom, whatever). This was initially designed to help out multiclassing, but does have the effect of opening up more races to more classes.

chaosfang wrote:
Since we're divorcing role from class and placing role into subclass, and because subclasses are usually just tweaks of the original class (much like Pathfinder's archetypes/alternate class features), why not have subclasses as variable class features, which you can combine into various builds that have specific roles? An archer fighter might want the same features that toughen up a defender fighter, who might be picking up damage-boosting features based on the principle that "the best defense is a good offense".
This was initially planned as a point buy system. However I stopped it as it felt like too strong of a departure from 4th ed. Also it makes it ripe for abuse.

As for the features granted by class vs subclasses. Here's the fighter write up:

Fighter
Some take up arms for glory, wealth, or revenge. Others do battle to prove themselves, to protect others, or because they know nothing else. Masters with their weapon, a fighters power comes in the form of the maneuvres it performs with its weapon. Some will learn to master the use of a single weapon while others will keep a versatile array of weapons that they can use when the situation calls for it.

Standard Fighter Class Features
Hit Points: A fighter starts with 15 + constitution score HP at first level and gain 6 HP every additional level.
Heroic surges: Fighters have 9 + constitution modifier heroic surges.
Armour Proficiencies: Fighters are proficient in the use of leather, hide, chainmail, scale, light shields and heavy shields.
Weapon Proficiencies: Fighters are proficient with all simple and martial weapons.
Defence Bonus: Fighters gain a +2 bonus to Fortitude.
Trained Skills: Fighters start with 4 trained skills from the following list: XXX.
Archetype: Fighters choose 1 archetype.

Archetypes
Archer
Role:
An archer is focused on offering covering fire and attacking those whom their companions cannot reach.
Class Talents: You gain the Martial Training and Improved Weapon Focus class talents.

Dual Weapon Fighter
Role:
A dual wielder is able to gain a greater degree of control over the battlefield. They can focus their attacks against a single enemy and concentrate on bringing that enemy down, or attack multiple foes to keep them occupied and away from the fighter's allies.
Class Talents: You gain the Martial Training, Warrior's Challenge, Stand Still and Dual Weapon Specialist class talents.

Myrmidon
Role:
The Myrmidon is a career soldier. Although they typically favour one weapon over others, it isn't to such a single purpose degree that they feel crippled when required to use a different type of weapon. They are also able to place themselves in front of their allies and attack those who attempt to get around them with debilitating strikes.
Class Talents: You gain Martial Training, Warrior's Challenge, Stand Still and Weapon Focus.

Class Talents
Here are the class talents that the fighter can gain access to.

Dual Weapon Specialist
Benefit:
You gain an additional +4 bonus to attack rolls with weapons that have the light property.

Improved Weapon Focus
Benefit:
You gain a +5 bonus to attack rolls.
Traits: Augment Ability

Stand Still (At-Will)
Trigger:
Attack of Opportunity.
To Hit: Attack Bonus + Wisdom Mod vs AC
Damage: 1dW+attack mod and the target doesn't move.

Warrior's Challenge
Benefit:
Once per round you can challenge an enemy, promising them retribution should they not face you. Until the end of your next turn if that enemy moves no more than 5 ft or attacks someone that doesn’t include you they take a -2 penalty to the attack roll and you get to make an attack against them first as an immediate action.
Traits: Augment Ability

Weapon Focus
Benefit:
You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with one of the following categories:
• Ranged weapons
• One-handed weapons
• Two-handed weapons

chaosfang wrote:
Why not have power source tied to powers?
As shown above in the examples the default assumption is that they are tied to power sources. However some powers/spells traditionally have been cast by multiple classes. For example Obscuring Mist would fit well with either a controller wizard or a weather themed druid. 4th ed gets around this by just creating multiples of the same type of power. I'd rather just grant the same power to multiple classes, which means assigning it to multiple power sources.

chaosfang wrote:
[*]Rather than remove "mandatory" math boosters, why not make them optional and/or situational? Inherent bonuses as an optional alternative should've been available from the start, then have level boost attacks + defenses + skill checks instead of half level. Slowing down the ability score boosts and perhaps making defenses the lower of the two stats rather than the higher of two stats would also help, as long as the monsters are designed with the intent of being hittable 50% of the time on a 14 base stat (taking into mind the discrepancies between a 20 base stat and an 8 base stat).
Everyone I've seen talk about 4th ed seems to think that inherent bonuses were a wonderful idea that should have been in the core 4th ed. After playing 4th ed and Pathfinder I'm personally over using magical items to fix math holes.

chaosfang wrote:
for instance, we'd have resistance be "half damage if the enemy's natural die roll isn't high enough to beat the target number", then if you have Resist Necrotic 12+, that'd halve all necrotic damage from attacks whose natural attack roll is 11 or lower. So at high levels you're still getting a LOT of mileage from that magical armor.
To me this seems more complex then rubbing at a 13 and replacing it with a 14.
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:53 am

JohnLynch wrote:
Everyone I've seen talk about 4th ed seems to think that inherent bonuses were a wonderful idea that should have been in the core 4th ed. After playing 4th ed and Pathfinder I'm personally over using magical items to fix math holes.

In PoL it seems C4 effectively did make inherent bonuses the default and also removed assumed attribute advancement collapsing them.

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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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:45 am

Garthanos wrote:
JohnLynch wrote:
Everyone I've seen talk about 4th ed seems to think that inherent bonuses were a wonderful idea that should have been in the core 4th ed. After playing 4th ed and Pathfinder I'm personally over using magical items to fix math holes.
In PoL it seems C4 effectively did make inherent bonuses the default and also removed assumed attribute advancement collapsing them.
I've done much the same thing after working out all the boosts effectively added up to +level to attack rolls. IMO boosting ability scores was a 3.5ism that 4th Ed didn't shed which IMO is unfortunate as the math assumed you'd boost your to hit with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:29 pm

JohnLynch wrote:
Garthanos wrote:
JohnLynch wrote:
Everyone I've seen talk about 4th ed seems to think that inherent bonuses were a wonderful idea that should have been in the core 4th ed. After playing 4th ed and Pathfinder I'm personally over using magical items to fix math holes.
In PoL it seems C4 effectively did make inherent bonuses the default and also removed assumed attribute advancement collapsing them.
I've done much the same thing after working out all the boosts effectively added up to +level to attack rolls. IMO boosting ability scores was a 3.5ism that 4th Ed didn't shed which IMO is unfortunate as the math assumed you'd boost your to hit with it.
1e may have tied attribute enhancement in with discovering items - I know for some games that girdles and wishes had similar but very "unreliable" impact.

Boosting Attribute scores seems useful to enhance not just attacks but more generalized things... so you can do feats of strength beyond just killing things better. (ie not just a damage boost).

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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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:41 pm

[quote="Garthanos"][quote="JohnLynch"][quote="Garthanos"]
JohnLynch wrote:

Boosting Attribute scores seems useful to enhance not just attacks but more generalized things... so you can do feats of strength beyond just killing things better. (ie not just a damage boost).
Same can be achieved through skill powers.
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:10 pm

JohnLynch wrote:
Garthanos wrote:

Boosting Attribute scores seems useful to enhance not just attacks but more generalized things... so you can do feats of strength beyond just killing things better. (ie not just a damage boost).
Same can be achieved through skill powers.
Potentially or stunts can be allowed by improvisations and page 42 (which is tied to skills) or Legendary Boons (like the strength of ten or the suns might - or Khords blessing)... however advancing attributes in some fashion implies the capability of extremes that go beyond mundane, where as static stats not so much and might make the skill powers seem like they need to also be rather mundane.

Its rather like the discussions about how can you restrict the warrior to doing only things you can picture the guy at the local gym doing then expect them to kill the castle sized dragon. (It just loses its plausibility).

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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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:13 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Potentially or stunts can be allowed by ... Legendary Boons (like the strength of ten or the suns might - or Khords blessing)...
I do like this idea quite a bit. Mostly the evocative names Wink

Garthanos wrote:
however advancing attributes in some fashion implies the capability of extremes that go beyond mundane, where as static stats not so much and might make the skill powers seem like they need to also be rather mundane.

Its rather like the discussions about how can you restrict the warrior to doing only things you can picture the guy at the local gym doing then expect them to kill the castle sized dragon. (It just loses its plausibility).
If we accept that as you level up you become capable of feats far beyond what mere mortal men can do, attribute boosts are irrelevant.

If having Strength 25 means you're more than a mere mortal it's important to look at what causes you to have Strength 25. In OD&D-2e it was through magic. In 3.5e it was a combination of level+magic. In 4th edition it was purely through level.

So if level grants you Strength 25 which makes you capable of feats beyond that of mere mortals, that means your level makes you are capable of feats beyond mere mortals. You shouldn't need the "25" written next to your ability score, because that (to me) seems to be unnecessary bookkeeping. What really means you're so strong (or skilled) is your level.

By removing the ability score boosters and bringing it down to level, you have everyone on a more even playing field. It means if you're a god then you're just capable of things Level 1 humans can't do. It doesn't matter if you have Strength 8 or Strength 25. 4th ed start going down  this road with a static 1/2 level boost to skills. It took away the hyperspecialisation of 3.5e and made it a more generalised power boost. Removing ability score boosts is the next step down this road.

Now that said, does this mean you HAVE to remove the ability score booster completely? No. You could do something where your attack is equal to:
+1 Strength at 4, 8, 11, 14, 18, 21, 24, 28
+1/2 level
Proficiency Bonus: +1 at level 1, and then an additional +1 every 3 levels (this is in addition to the proficiency bonus that weapons grant)
Paragon Bonus: +1 at level 11
Epic Bonus: +1 at level 21

Optional Rule: Instead of granting ability score boosters you can remove them and instead grant players magical weapons that have an enhancement bonus. It's recommended they receive them at the following rate: +1 by level 8, +2 by level 14, +3 by level 21, +4 by level 28

----
Personally this is a whole lot of bookkeeping for (IMO) no real benefit. The strength based character is still going to have to wait until level 24 to perform feats beyond that of mere mortals, just as the character who only receives +level as a bonus rather then the myriad of bonuses above. It's just now he gets to do it with considerable more bookkeeping when he levels up.

I don't see what ability score boosters brings to the table. Either humans are capable of reaching such epic heights without magic. Or they're not. The ability score seems largely irrelevant unless you have multiple sources that are boosting it (ala 3.5e)
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PostSubject: Re: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:18 am

JohnLynch wrote:
Garthanos wrote:
Potentially or stunts can be allowed by ... Legendary Boons (like the strength of ten or the suns might - or Khords blessing)...
I do like this idea quite a bit. Mostly the evocative names Wink
Kind of my forte really... Very Happy 
JohnLynch wrote:

Garthanos wrote:
however advancing attributes in some fashion implies the capability of extremes that go beyond mundane, where as static stats not so much and might make the skill powers seem like they need to also be rather mundane.

Its rather like the discussions about how can you restrict the warrior to doing only things you can picture the guy at the local gym doing then expect them to kill the castle sized dragon. (It just loses its plausibility).
If we accept that as you level up you become capable of feats far beyond what mere mortal men can do, attribute boosts are irrelevant.
you also have to forgo usage of attribute checks directly... or scale down difficulties whenever you do.(which seems clumbsy).

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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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:52 am

At one point I considered the idea of inverse attribute generation you choose background (or more precisely skills) and you choose class and these things determine attributes... the blacksmith, athlete, forceful fighter will have high strength. This idea came to mind in the GURPS era actually.

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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: Bettering the Presentation for new games based on the 4e paradigm   Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:55 am

Garthanos wrote:
you also have to forgo usage of attribute checks directly...  or scale down difficulties whenever you do.(which seems clumbsy).
True, but this is true for both 4th Ed and 3.5. The last edition that could use attribute checks was 2nd edition.
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