Long-Term Test: 4e D&D, Part Four

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. Dice Monkey says:

    I’m really enjoying this series you’ve got going on.
    I’ve found that the power system is very maleable, giving you the ability to mix it up and have a very unique character based on the powers you use. A Fighter with a sword and shield using the shield powers to enhance the concept, whereas a great-sword fighter feels quite different. Seeing those two types of fighters at the table without knowing they were both fighters, you would assume they were different classes.
    .-= Dice Monkey´s last blog ..Traveller: Where to begin? =-.

  2. Adrian says:

    One thing that I think gets a lot of people is that powers = combat stuff. And some of the names are kind of silly.

    But powers can be reskinned any way you want — ultimately, as long as the mechanics stay the same, the balance is the same.

    And you can also use powers outside of combat. Not following the game mechanics, per se, but using your imagination they can do some neat things. E.g., take the rogue at-will attack Sly Flourish. The very brief flavor text screams to me that this rogue is good at knife tricks. So perhaps juggling, twirling, the Bishop’s knife trick from Alien, could all be part of this power. The wizard’s ray of frost could become an instant drink chiller, while scorching burst could start campfires (or forest fires).

    Of course you want to be careful how you allow your players to use the powers, but letting them be used outside of combat to add a little color and fun to the game is only a positive thing, IMO.

  3. Elda King says:

    I couldn’t agree more that most people (well, at least the 4E haters) misundestand the powers. But I believe it’s mostly because of the name: people read “powers” and think about super heroes, anime characters, electronic rpg’s artificial melee powers.
    Exploits are the least understood of all. People fail to see that they are the same as old feats like Whirlwind Attack and Shield Bash.

    However, there are disadvantages of the system. One of them is repetition: as powers don’t scale the way spells did (1d6/level), there is plenty of powers that are just high-level versions of one same thing. And they are too bound to class, so you also have repeat amongst classes. A side effect of repetition is bad naming.
    Other disadvantage is that most powers are made mostly for combat, even if they could be used in other ways. I miss the time when illusion spells said what you could create instead of how much psychic damage it does.

  4. Thunderforge says:

    I think part of the reason things start looking the same is because it’s hard to conceptualize the different powers. We know that a dagger and a great sword look different and lead to different fighting styles that define a character. But to say “This rogue can stab you while he moves around (shifts)” and “This rogue can stab you while pushing you away” doesn’t really seem all that different because they are two simple fighting maneuvers, neither of which define a character. As Elda King noted, many of the powers are just “you stab better” powers, which again makes them feel rather similar and superficial.

    Flavor text goes pretty far with concrete, visual stuff like weapons, but not as far for abstract stuff. Luke Skywalker using a lightsaber to slash someone is different than Conan slashing someone with his sword, even if they do it in the same manner. But give them both the same weapon and it’s pretty much the same, even though Luke is using the Force and Conan is using his barbarian awesomeness (and even if it lets them slash differently).

    So maybe that’s the root cause. Weapons and spells feel different because they visually look different. But combat maneuvers are more abstract and imprecise, so it’s hard to visualize them and they look the same. Even “I cast the green spell, then the red spell” feels more flavorfully different than “I slash him right to left, then left to right.”

  5. Thasmodious says:

    That’s kind of Greywulf’s point, though. Spells feel different because of convention. But there is plenty of repetition there. Monster Summoning I-IX, Cure x Wounds, Fireball/Delayed Blast Fireball/Meteor Swarm, Lightning/Chain Lightning, etc.

    When compared with what came before, “I attack with a flourish” and “I give a great big overhand swing” are miles more specific than “I 5′ step and full attack, again, just like the last 10 rounds”.

    Something you don’t hear in 1e but could if you apply the same ruler:
    “I attack with my broadsword”
    “Again? That’s all you ever do!”

  6. Elda King says:

    There’s a huge difference between a Tide of Iron and a Cleave. The point is that there’s little difference between Brute Strike (Fighter Daily 1), Hack’n’Slash (Fighter Encounter 23) and No Mercy (Fighter Daily 29). Or a Sure Strike (Fighter At-Will) and a Careful Attack (Ranger At-Will).
    And even among spells, Scorching Burst, Fireball, Fire Burst, Combust… all are simply bursts of fire, with different intensities.

  7. Elton says:

    Actually, Elda, what you are describing takes all the fun out of D&D. Well, half the fun. :)
    .-= Elton´s last blog ..Introduction to the Known Lands =-.

Leave a Reply