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Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 06:25 AM
I now am falling quickly in love with it. After finishing up a session (well finishing up the session 5 hours ago at the time I wrote this), I can say that it was the most fun I've had playing D&D, ever. I approached it the same way an animal approaches an unfamiliar setting, with caution and reserved curiosity.

I sat down with the DM and few of the players a couple of days ago to look over the material. We discussed some party tactics (without realizing that we were missing half the party) and picked out our races and classes.

Looking over the racial selections and seeing the old champs (but missing a few old favorites[Half-orc]:smallfrown: ) and seeing some promising new faces, my hopes picked. I completely ignored the tiefling, I flipped right to the Dragonborn to whine and complain about how overly powered they were. To my surprise they weren't. Well not completely overpowered. I mean, a plus 4 to the amount you heal with a surge? Outrageous! :smalltongue:

(As a side note: did anyone else notice that all the races have a positive modifier to a Physical stat, along with having a bonus to a "magical" stat?)

So I browsed through the other new races and decided on trying the Dragonborn (still ignoring the Tiefling). I then went onto the most daunting aspect of making a character: choosing a class. Dun Dun DUNNNNNNN! :smallbiggrin:

Well, as I browsed through the classes one thing really stuck out at me; all the powers for a particular class were right there, smack dab after the class description. Really useful for when your looking for things on a particular class, horrendous for when your looking up a different class. Really couldn't do that for the classes that had a lot of options *cough*spellcasters*cough*
since there description took up-I'm going to go with-hundreds of pages worth of material including the really useful things and the novelty, but ultimately useless, abilities.

And speaking of powers, they're are some many neat (note I didn't say good) things that you can do with these. Even as a striker (uh, wait am I allow to use that word and/or all thing relating to or about it :smallamused:) you have some cool none-damaging combat things you can do.

Speaking of strikers, the fact that they've defined what everyones role should be in the party, is very helpful in teaching players, who had only taken orders from other party members, in picking out what they want to do in the party.

Well, I finally settled on Warlord.

I'll fast forward through to last night and the boring plot exposition that took place and I'll skip right into our two combat encounters. The first one took place in 40x30 or 40x40 room with 9 skeletons spread across the space. First reaction (after I being shocked and appalled that I fumbled on initiative) was: "Alright, give the wizard some space, let him clear the room."

Not so much.

In fact the people who did most of the killing, were the people training to handle 1-on-1 targets, namely the rogue (who still did a fair amount of damage, despite not being able to sneak attack) and the dual-wielding ranger. The party warlock didn't get to do a whole lot of killing, however he cursed a bunch of people and was able to shift (I think) around the room, which was pretty cool. In fact, the only person who didn't get to do a whole lot was the idiot Warlord who fumbled his initiative.

This was a complete reverse for out next fight. Specifically, the 15x120-130 foot room with skeletons in. Every. Square. Thank goodness for the wizard and the Dragonborn Fighter with a breath weapon (but, you know, not the Dragonborn Warlord who got a two for initiative, despite being the first one in the room). We haven't cleared the room yet, since we got in that particular room at 1:30 and most needed some sleep for work in 5-8 hours, so we cleared half the room and called it a night.

So that is my experience with 4e so far. I've just written the longest, non-homebrewed, post on this site and had the most fun with one of my favorite hobbies doing something that I swore I would never, ever play. How about 'dem apples.

Morty
2008-06-20, 06:34 AM
That's great for you. But did we really need another thread on this? No offense, but you could've just voiced your opinion in another thread just like so many people did.

nagora
2008-06-20, 06:38 AM
I'll fast forward through to last night and the boring plot exposition that took place and I'll skip right into our two combat encounters.
Is that a quote from the WotC 4e design meeting?

Scintillatus
2008-06-20, 06:40 AM
Unfortunately, the positive 4e thread is long since dead, and never had the 10+ pages of the negative one.

Interesting bit of opinion, I'd like to see a progress report when you finish the next session.

Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 06:48 AM
@nagora: I can't tell if your being a smart-ass or being serious. But if really you want to know the awkward plot exposition that took place between 3 quiet guys, 1 who doesn't know how the roleplay well, and two outgoing people who where trying to break the tension, particularly when half of us haven't met the other half before I'll be sure to send you a wave. If your are just being a rude and inappropriate, I'll send it to you anyway.

@Scintillatus: I'm not quite sure when were getting together again. I probably am going to start pestering the DM for the soonest time possible. I wanna not be useless.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 06:52 AM
@nagora: I can't tell if your being a smart-ass or being serious. But if really you want to know the awkward plot exposition that took place between 3 quiet guys, 1 who doesn't know how the roleplay well, and two outgoing people who where trying to break the tension, particularly when half of us haven't met the other half before I'll be sure to send you a wave. If your are just being a rude and inappropriate, I'll send it to you anyway.

@Scintillatus: I'm not quite sure when were getting together again. I probably am going to start pestering the DM for the soonest time possible. I wanna not be useless.

First off, a minor nitpick on the OP: Not all races have both a physical and a mental boost, just look at Tieflings or bugebears.

Now, on to this. Remember, as a warlord, you're not supposed to be a kickass warrior (Though properly built, you very well can be). Your job is to make your other allies better, and THEN add some secondary punch. Don't be surprised you don't kill that much. You're still vital, and your teammates will love you when you bail them out with your inspiring word.

nagora
2008-06-20, 07:02 AM
@nagora: I can't tell if your being a smart-ass or being serious.
I'm just pointing out that pretty well every defence of 4e quickly zeros in on how fantastic combat supposedly is. Nobody wants a bad combat system, but really there needs to be more (and replacing social interaction with dice rolls ain't it).

I'm sure it's a better combat system than 3ed - how could it not be? - but I'm more interested in how easy or hard it was to play out an interesting plot with interesting characters. Combat systems are a minor issue (when they work: they become a major issue when they're borked).

I also notice how few 4e players seem to talk about their character as a character rather than combat roles or classes or jobs. For example:


Now, on to this. Remember, as a warlord, you're not supposed to be a kickass warrior (Though properly built, you very well can be). Your job is to make your other allies better, and THEN add some secondary punch. Don't be surprised you don't kill that much. You're still vital, and your teammates will love you when you bail them out with your inspiring word.
It all seems very flat and dull.

Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 07:10 AM
I know that I'm not supposed to be kickass warrior, but I would like to do something! :smallfrown: The way the second fight played out would be:

1. I would role for initiative and come in last.
2. The tank ran forward and blasted the first three rows with fire breath, killing them instantly
3. Lucian, our wizard, went forward and blasted the next two rows with, I think, acid arrow.
4. The rogue and ranger ran forward and killed one skeleton each.
5. The halfling warlock Eldritch blast the last one in the row.
6. I ran to the front of the pact, used my breath weapon, missed, cursed, then swung my falchion, killed one at that was the end of the session.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 07:18 AM
Nagora: 4e is a case of being better than it sounds. Just play it and you'll find out.

As for the combat system, well, that's because combat is the biggest part of the game, most of the time, as it has been for every edition. But even out of combat, 4e does better than 3.5 did, since it doesn't reduce everything to a single die roll, instead making out of combat actions as interesting and dramatic as combat via skill challenges.


Osiris: that's a combination of bad luck and being out of your depth. Warlords have exactly ZERO crowd control, plus you blew your rolls. It'll all look much better once you're done facing minions and enter a fight with standards, elites, and solos.

Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 07:43 AM
I have a small degree of crowd control, with my breath weapon and my Arcane Initiate feat (i.e. I'm sub-classed as a wizard)

tumble check
2008-06-20, 08:55 AM
OP, there are several parts of your post that really disturb me and do much to color the kind of bias you may have to begin with...





And speaking of powers, they're are some many neat (note I didn't say good) things that you can do with these. Even as a striker (uh, wait am I allow to use that word and/or all thing relating to or about it :smallamused:) you have some cool none-damaging combat things you can do.


And what about out-of-combat? Hmm, perhaps you don't care about that, as you later said...





I'll fast forward through to last night and the boring plot exposition that took place and I'll skip right into our two combat encounters.

Boring?

I can see why you like 4e.

Xelen
2008-06-20, 09:08 AM
6. I ran to the front of the pact, used my breath weapon, missed, cursed, then swung my falchion, killed one at that was the end of the session.

You get a separate attack roll on every target. Did you truly miss everyone and the fighter hit every target?

Mjoellnir
2008-06-20, 09:38 AM
Boring?

I can see why you like 4e.

It would be possible, that he meant, that it would be boring for us to read two pages of plot exposition, when he tries to tell us what he likes about 4E which is out of combat nearly identical to 3.X. Oh, by the way this story (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0001.html) also starts without any boring plot exposition. Evil huh?

Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 09:47 AM
Hey, Tumble, bud, hey I played last night, with the intention of never buying the books for 4e and had full intention of coming into threads such as this and being an ignorant boob such as yourself. I do not own the books nor do I know what every power for every class does. I'm sure there are a few non-combat powers

Like I told nagora, if you really want the knitty, gritty details of how we're railroaded into becoming a party by meeting inn dining area I would happy send them to you, if you really must know.

If anybody thinks I'm being antagonistic, I AM! Only because I did nothing to warrant being called stupid, even if they did not use that word, that was still the attitude of the post.

My whole purpose for this thread was to give a new side of the argument by at least trying out how the game was, giving my feedback and to try and convince people to give the game a chance, and not be, "RAWR, THE GAME IS EVIL. I'M NEVER GOING TO PLAY IT.", like I was.

Back on topic: Xelen, I think your right and I might bring that up next game. However, I'm only ever going to use the breath weapon for use against multiple targets. It'll just slow down combat for everyone else if we roll 6-9 reflex saves against a bunch of monsters that have identical stats for one attack.

Storm Bringer
2008-06-20, 10:33 AM
having just bought the books after perusing them at a mates, I can say that theirs a few things that i liked which i saw on the frist flip though. I'm sure more will become apprant once I've actaully played a game, and i withhold my final judgment on the system until that time.

but, in the interim, I must ask a question to nagora about the way he create characters.

When i start a new character, particularly i first level one in a unfamilar system, iI don't really add that much 'depth' to him, in that I do percieve him as being a dwaven cleric/Gungan Jedi/whatever race-class combo i choose. Once i start playing, the character rather naturally gain a personallity and traits as he adventures.

an example:

In our first DnD 3rd ed game, my character was a dwarven cleric. that was the full extent of his character at the off.

However, a few seesions and a few levelslater, He was a charming, witty person, good with people, but overly trusting and slow to spot danger. He was proud to a fault, and willing ot die for his creed, but able to make crompromises in a pinch. He aquired a Dislike of halflings and a respect for Kobalds.

He, in short, had grown. How? by letting the events of his career guide his personality. A few good diplo rolls, a lot of failed spot checks, One bloody annoying halfing NPC and a few freindly kobalds, and he was an intresting person that I am extremly fond of and whould never have been able to dream up form scratch.

now, my questions to nagora is this:

Have you never made a character for a game that was nothing more than Race-class combo at the start? And did you still view him as a race-class combo at the end?

Pinnacle
2008-06-20, 11:15 AM
I'm just pointing out that pretty well every defence of 4e quickly zeros in on how fantastic combat supposedly is. Nobody wants a bad combat system, but really there needs to be more (and replacing social interaction with dice rolls ain't it).

I'm sure it's a better combat system than 3ed - how could it not be? - but I'm more interested in how easy or hard it was to play out an interesting plot with interesting characters. Combat systems are a minor issue (when they work: they become a major issue when they're borked).
Combat powers are for combat, that's how it works. It's a role playing game, but the role we're playing is that of heroic adventurers--adventure, especially combat, related abilities are a huge part of playing that role. Roleplaying =/= talking to NPCs. You can fail to roleplay in that setting, and you can roleplay perfectly well in a fight.
Roleplaying works pretty much the same regardless of the system. Interesting characters and plot are not dependent on game rules. Combat is.


I also notice how few 4e players seem to talk about their character as a character rather than combat roles or classes or jobs. For example:

It all seems very flat and dull.
When they're talking about the game rules, yes. The same is true of threads about 3E or most other roleplaying systems.

Blackfang108
2008-06-20, 11:30 AM
Are you playing a Tactical Warlord or a Combat Leader warlord?

I'm planning on playing with an Elandrin Tactical Warlord, Multing to a Fey pact Warlock, and using the Warlock Paragon Path for Slashing Wake.

Human Paragon 3
2008-06-20, 11:38 AM
Hi guys. I'd like to address the above complaints by posting my first 4e character. He's a 1st level dragonborn rogue named Sugartooth.

The idea started with a class/race combo. I liked the idea of using the rogue's forced movement abilities in conjuncture with the dragonborn breath weapon to set up enemies next to eachother then hitting them with dragon breath.

Then after that I started thinking that a dragonborn rogue is atypical, because they are normally so big, domineering, valient, honorable and regal. So Sugartooth became the opposite. Small, sly, cunning and self interested. The name Sugartooth is an ironic nickname that he either gave himself or earned "Cause my breath's so sweet." He breathes acid.

Using his dragonborn charisma, he bluffs, feints, confuses and tricks, begging borrowing and stealing to stay alive among stronger enemies (and allies). Strength is his dump stat, since he relies so heavily on dexterity, and this also fits with his personality.

As you can see, he has roleplaying aspects and combat aspects which are separate, yet intermixed. The rules of 4e in no way inhibited my ability to flesh him out. In social situations he will be fun to RP, sneaky, underhanded, not too bright but with a good sense of people. In combat, he'll be fun to play AND fun to roleplay. Unassuming but deadly, and not a little cowardly when faced with stronger opposition. In all aspects of his life he relies on guile, not power.

I hope that this has helped put some of the doubters to rest, though I suspect many will just ignore it.

Yakk
2008-06-20, 11:41 AM
It is one to-hit roll per target, and one damage roll for everyone.

(Instead of the 3e one save roll per target, and one damage roll per target).

Second: sneak attack should work on undead in 4e. Instead of hitting the target in the guts, you break a key bone. :)

Xelen
2008-06-20, 11:50 AM
Back on topic: Xelen, I think your right and I might bring that up next game. However, I'm only ever going to use the breath weapon for use against multiple targets. It'll just slow down combat for everyone else if we roll 6-9 reflex saves against a bunch of monsters that have identical stats for one attack.

Yep, there it is, PHB, p 271 under "Multiple Attack Rolls but one Damage Roll". Of course, like everything in D&D, rule 0 applies.

Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 11:51 AM
@Blackfang: Tactical Warlord. I should be an inspiring warlord instead because my Charisma is higher then my int anyway.

@Yakk: Like I said I'll bring it up and the next get together. I'm all for giving myself opportunities to not suck as bad, the DM is probably going to go with the One Save for everyone.

It's strange, that for a system designed to streamline combat that they'd have something like that that would slow it down.

Out of curiosity, would someone mind telling me how much they spent on a PHB?

veilrap
2008-06-20, 11:59 AM
I'll chime in by saying I also was pretty skeptical of 4e and just played my first game last night.

One particularly entertaining scene involved me (elf wizard) and friend (doppelganger warlock). There were two goblins across a 5x10 pit blocking the path further through a cave. Our doppleganger shifted to goblinoid form and tried to make hand signals at a distance attempting to lure the goblins into OUR trap instead of theirs. After rolling a great bluff check the goblins were rather confused by this goblin who doesn't speak goblin. In order to help with my friends deception I decide to send in my tensor's floating disk around the corner. On the disk is of course my ornately crafted silver chest. At the sight of the chest and the beckoning goblinoid the two goblins leap across the chasom and charge at the chest. Of course I then step out from behind the corner blast a thunder wave at the goblins thus hurling them into the pit.

FoE
2008-06-20, 11:59 AM
Glad to see you enjoyed your first session, Osiris. Hope you update us on how things progress. I'm particularly interested to see if the interest can be maintained beyond the lower levels.

Some other points I'd like to hear about: did your DM use traps? Terrain? Minions?

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 12:11 PM
Minions?

Apparently, the enemies were nothing but that. Else, they'd all be really, really dead.

Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 12:12 PM
Our first fight was 8 minions and one (I'd assume) standard monster that we weren't expecting. The target we actually had to change tactics slightly since the standard hit and run wasn't going to work.

The second fight, like I said earlier is nothing but minion level skeletons so far. Were in for some trouble soon because we found a room that had claw marks that spanned a full square. With them drawn to scale. And were coming up on the end.:smallfrown:

No traps, at least not yet.

As for terrain, we're in the stereotypical-recently-undead-infested mansion so not so much.

nagora
2008-06-20, 12:16 PM
now, my questions to nagora is this:

Have you never made a character for a game that was nothing more than Race-class combo at the start? And did you still view him as a race-class combo at the end?
The simple answer is "no". I've never thought "I'd like to play a {race} {class}".

The complex answer is "sort of". I've quite often started with an idea like "A Paladin who does not worship a god", or "A dwarven fighter who is obsessed with unarmed combat", but even then the core idea is what it is about the person that might make them interesting to play in the context of a particular race and class.

Also, since I roll the character's ability scores randomly, I don't know what I'm going to quaility for beforehand anyway, and the scores canspark ideas in themselves. I don't think I've ever sat down in any game for any system and not had some idea of the person I want to play in mind. As such, I have some idea why they're a fighter or thief or whatever and race and class shape my ideas but I don't think either is important or interesting enough to build a character around on their own.

Archetypes (ie, well-defined classes) are a good foundation but a character needs more to make them memorable or desirable to play and for me that doesn't mean selecting from a list of further mechancal feats and bonuses, it means background, likes, dislikes, foibles, family, alignment, religion and piety, hair colour, height, taste in clothes, hobbies and stuff like that. Imagine describing a real person: you'd cover most of the dull but important stuff with a class ("Computer programmer", "Accountant", "Student"), perhaps mention race if it's different from the local norm, and then physical appearance, then personality. Same with a PC.

These days, our groups mostly play with characters handed out by the DM/GM without any player input, partly because we all know each other well and partly because it's a nice challenge to play someone you didn't come up with youself.

If we're not playing a specific system then the character "sheet" may consist of a small booklet of information about the character, including their age and a photograph (usually culled from some on-line site like a modelling agency or lonely hearts site or something similar), then four or five pages about their history up to the current point and some information on where they live. Skills are often expressed with notional terms like "Professional" or "Skilled" or "Beginner" or as levels of real-world qualifications rather than numbers.

AD&D 1ed lends itself to that style quite well, with only a minimal amount of the character defined in numerical terms and combat quite free and easy, which is why I prefer it to later editions. Although it's still pretty rules-heavy compared to much of our other playing style.

Chronos
2008-06-20, 12:35 PM
As for the combat system, well, that's because combat is the biggest part of the game, most of the time, as it has been for every edition. But even out of combat, 4e does better than 3.5 did, since it doesn't reduce everything to a single die roll, instead making out of combat actions as interesting and dramatic as combat via skill challenges.Yes and no. Previous editions of D&D were exactly as focused on combat as the players chose to make it. If your groups have typically focused primarily on combat, then it's only natural that you'll judge a different game primarily by how good the combat system is. But if your groups have typically focused on non-combat aspects of the game, as was also well-supported in previous editions, then you'll judge a game based on how well it supports non-combat play.

Now, I haven't yet played 4th edition. It's possible that it does do a better job than 3rd edition for out-of-combat play (it's not enough for it to just do as good of a job, because then there's no reason to switch). But frankly, when I hear so many people say "The combat is great, and that's what D&D is all about anyway", that implies to me that the non-combat portions of the game aren't all that great.

FoE
2008-06-20, 12:42 PM
Our first fight was 8 minions and one (I'd assume) standard monster that we weren't expecting. We actually had to change tactics slightly since the standard hit and run wasn't going to work.

The second fight, like I said earlier is nothing but minion level skeletons so far. We're in for some trouble soon because we found a room that had claw marks that spanned a full square. With them drawn to scale. And were coming up on the end.:smallfrown:

No traps, at least not yet.

As for terrain, we're in the stereotypical-recently-undead-infested mansion so not so much.

Hmm ... I'd like to hear from you after you faced a group of "standard" monsters. I don't knock minions I love 'em, in fact but I want to know if your enjoyment would be the same in a longer fight against tougher opponents. Or if the environment mattered more, ie. there was a big hole in the corner or a pillar had fallen across the centre of the room or a bunch of sharp rocks scattered across the floor to make the terrain difficult.

Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 02:10 PM
There are types of terrain that affects your in game statistics. One type increases your critical threat range, actually.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-06-20, 02:36 PM
Now, I haven't yet played 4th edition. It's possible that it does do a better job than 3rd edition for out-of-combat play (it's not enough for it to just do as good of a job, because then there's no reason to switch). But frankly, when I hear so many people say "The combat is great, and that's what D&D is all about anyway", that implies to me that the non-combat portions of the game aren't all that great.

Use skill challenges right, and it does a better job.

But if it does just as good a job out of combat, and makes the combat parts fun too, I'd say that's a reason to switch.

Frost
2008-06-20, 03:16 PM
Use skill challenges right, and it does a better job.

Skill challenges are terrible. They model nothing well, result in picking a player to roll several times and ignoring everyone else, and genuinely demonstrate that WotC sucks at Math because they seriously can't figure out what you are actually rolling.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 03:22 PM
Skill challenges are terrible. They model nothing well, result in picking a player to roll several times and ignoring everyone else, and genuinely demonstrate that WotC sucks at Math because they seriously can't figure out what you are actually rolling.
{Scrubbed}

nagora
2008-06-20, 03:47 PM
No, you read it wrong.

It works like a combat. The players HAVE to take an action, whether they like it or not, so no picking a "face", everyone has to risk it.
A truly stupid idea in itself. What possible reason is there for that?

And if you don't like it, then you picked the wrong game, because skill challenges use the same basic system as combat, and are basically combats that do not require fighting.
Yes, because all social interactions are just like combat :smalleek:

Skill challenges for social situations have got to be the worst idea I've ever seen in game design. And I've used the Traveller computer rules!

Indon
2008-06-20, 04:01 PM
Yes, because all social interactions are just like combat :smalleek:

I punch the Duke in the face... socially!

marjan
2008-06-20, 04:04 PM
A truly stupid idea in itself. What possible reason is there for that?


Engaging all players in it.



Yes, because all social interactions are just like combat :smalleek:


Not, necessarily, but can happen. Try telling a girl she's fat. That is combat situation.

Storm Bringer
2008-06-20, 04:12 PM
Yes, because all social interactions are just like combat

Correction, all combats are merely social interactions by other means. I know this because a dead german dude said something like that .:smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Frost
2008-06-20, 04:13 PM
No, you read it wrong.

It works like a combat. The players HAVE to take an action, whether they like it or not, so no picking a "face", everyone has to risk it.

You really didn't even take your time to read it, right?

And if you don't like it, then you picked the wrong game, because skill challenges use the same basic system as combat, and are basically combats that do not require fighting.

Yes, and since they would automatically fail, they instead choose to aid another the party face. {Scrubbing. Please leave the modding to the mods.}

Roderick_BR
2008-06-20, 04:16 PM
A truly stupid idea in itself. What possible reason is there for that?

Yes, because all social interactions are just like combat :smalleek:

Skill challenges for social situations have got to be the worst idea I've ever seen in game design. And I've used the Traveller computer rules!
Imagine the party's face trying to convince someone of something. It's not something he'll say in a few seconds an the target will just go "... ok" and move on. It may have more things to do, and there's always the chance someone can say something stupid at the wrong time. That's what it reflects. Yes, telling the dumb fighter to "wait outside while I handle this" works, like keeping a weak character out of combat.
You need to read it carefully to understand how it works, since it is a whole new set of rules, like the new combat system.

Crow
2008-06-20, 04:18 PM
Correction, all combats are merely social interactions by other means. I know this because a dead german dude said something like that .:smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Carl von Clausewitz (sp?) :smallwink:

I really have not had much success using skill challenges for social "combat". It is just too difficult to take into account what your players actually say. If your players want to leave it up to the dice, fine. But my players don't. As far as everybody participating...why? Sometimes a player wants to stay out of the conversation, believe it or not.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 04:23 PM
Frost: Nope, they DON'T fail. Again, did you read the rules? Going by the DC's by level, EVERY character, even an untrained one with an 8 in the score, has a chance of success. It's literally impossible to be so bad so as to autofail, unless the DM lets you take a 1 in an ability score and slaps a small penalty on you for good measure. And Aid another actions cannot be taken in a skill challenge, unless there's a skill check specifically for it, in which case the face needs to go right after you because the bonus only applies to the NEXT check , which means that if a third person goes after you and does another Aid Another, he just gets a bonus to it.

Nagora: Try doing diplomacy. Unless you're an aide or something (And then, you are below an insect in importance, truth be told, which an adventurer never is), you're expected to help defend your ideas. Imagine what happens when the duke asks the fighter about the ideas his team presents, and tell him to elaborate. Imagining that YOU yourself, with your own personality, were put in that situation, would you stay silent? No. At the very least, you'd try to answer quickly and then redirect the questions to that chatty guy that always seems to have everyone eating from the palm of his hand in social situations.

And yes, skill challenges ARE similar to combat. They're a succession of rolls and decisions, where you have to succeed at it before you do too many mistakes to pay for them (AKA, missing enough times for that Tarrasque to kill you with its hits). That is even the design philosophy behind them, to make it so out of combat interaction is interesting and has the same risks and rewards as combat, instead of being a simple roll.

nagora
2008-06-20, 04:31 PM
Imagine the party's face trying to convince someone of something. It's not something he'll say in a few seconds an the target will just go "... ok" and move on. It may have more things to do, and there's always the chance someone can say something stupid at the wrong time.
Yes, well the players can handle all that, and if they can't there's little point in them trying to play a role. Believe me, I've seen my players say something stupid at the wrong moment many times.

The whole design philosophy of skill challenges (in social settings, that is) is to remove the need for the player to roleplay - they are reduced to simply interpreting what the dice say. Calling this roleplaying is like calling the combat system actual combat - it's simply not. Now, most people are fairly happy not to have real combat in their games but when you systematise the roles you've made a fundamental change to what activity you are engaged in; it has become just a complicated boardgame.

Indon
2008-06-20, 04:33 PM
Frost: Nope, they DON'T fail. Again, did you read the rules? Going by the DC's by level, EVERY character, even an untrained one with an 8 in the score, has a chance of success. It's literally impossible to be so bad so as to autofail, unless the DM lets you take a 1 in an ability score and slaps a small penalty on you for good measure. And Aid another actions cannot be taken in a skill challenge, unless there's a skill check specifically for it, in which case the face needs to go right after you because the bonus only applies to the NEXT check , which means that if a third person goes after you and does another Aid Another, he just gets a bonus to it.

Thanks to how skill challenges work, it's better to try to use a skill you're good at than to attempt something that might directly help your group.

So, between "I help the party search for the enemy citadel," which might fail because you don't have high Wilderness Lore or whatever, you'd go, "I swim around in the lake nearby just in case the citadel is actually underwater," to instead cater to your much better Athletics score.

Pinnacle
2008-06-20, 04:38 PM
Yes, because all social interactions are just like combat :smalleek:

No, many of them are peaceful, with nobody trying to get anything out of them or convince anybody of anything.
You don't need rules for those.

nagora
2008-06-20, 05:14 PM
No, many of them are peaceful, with nobody trying to get anything out of them or convince anybody of anything.
You don't need rules for those.

And, since the DM knows what the NPCs want, there's no need for them in the other situations.:smallsmile:

Yakk
2008-06-20, 05:17 PM
The dice exist to help determine what happens. Instead of "What? There is no way the Duke wouldn't fall for that bluff", or "I swing my sword at the Kobold and hit him, cutting his head off, and knocking it into 3 other Kobolds, killing them too".

What if your character is a clever lair, but you personally suck at it? With a skill system, you can say what your character is lieing about -- roleplay it! -- and then the die roll can determine how well your character (who has a silver tongue) managed to fool the NPC.

Same with Diplomacy -- your character is a diplomatic expert, schooled in dozens of schools of ettiquitte. Or is able to follow nuances of other people's attitudes almost supernaturally.

Now, you could start the roleplaying session with "I roll Diplomacy -- what is the approach that will work best. I roll insight -- how does this noble's social desires differ from standard ettiqute.", and spend time using your character's talents (remember, you are roleplaying someone with different talents) determine things.

Or you can pull off a bit of game-authoring, have your character with kick-ass insight and diplomacy stats speak in a particular manner that would most intrigue the NPC in question. How well did your character's diplomatic skill and insight impact the situation?

You are speaking of dice as if it has no choice but to take away agency. Instead, dice can add roleplaying agency. Yes, you can use dice in a way that removes roleplaying -- but you can also use dice, and dice resolution systems, to provide a structure to roleplaying.

So instead of saying "I hit the Kobold", "no you didn't!", "yes I did!", you say "I swing at the Kobold", roll a d20, "and my axe cleaves right through the Kobold's neck, striking the side of the Kobold to her left."

Frost
2008-06-20, 05:20 PM
Frost: Nope, they DON'T fail. Again, did you read the rules? Going by the DC's by level, EVERY character, even an untrained one with an 8 in the score, has a chance of success. It's literally impossible to be so bad so as to autofail, unless the DM lets you take a 1 in an ability score and slaps a small penalty on you for good measure. And Aid another actions cannot be taken in a skill challenge, unless there's a skill check specifically for it, in which case the face needs to go right after you because the bonus only applies to the NEXT check , which means that if a third person goes after you and does another Aid Another, he just gets a bonus to it.

A 40% chance of success isn't good enough when you need twice as many successes as failures. And that's what most of the party has. So chain Aiding each other is the rule of the game, because succeeding in a way that doesn't matter is better then failing. And that's why you take all the chances to not make successes and instead help others, so that people with real scores can actually succeed on what you need. Need to open a door that's jammed (not locked)? Rogue checks for traps instead of pulling because if he fails, then he punishes the team, if he succeeds on something useless he at least doesn't hurt. Wizard meanwhile plays chess or something, and the Cleric and Fighter actually open the door.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 05:24 PM
That's actually a VERY bad tactic. Since you have a less-than-even chance of success, you have a high chance of dragging your teammates down with you as -2 after -2 is applied to them, making their rolls more difficult. Much better to actually try for a skill, at the very least, unless every other skill is a Hard one, which is the only case in which it's worth it.

Blackdrop
2008-06-20, 05:25 PM
I have always used this particular philosophy when DMing.

"If I don't like the mechanic, I don't use it"

Simple as that. I have no idea behind how Skill challenges work and I won't pretend too. But from I heard hear, I probably won't be using it ever because it sounds like an over complication of a relatively simple mechanic.

Cainen
2008-06-20, 05:45 PM
I have always used this particular philosophy when DMing.

"If I don't like the mechanic, I don't use it"

Players playing 4E are likely to expect you to use the core rules, and this especially doesn't work when you're just a player, not the DM.

Frost
2008-06-20, 05:45 PM
That's actually a VERY bad tactic. Since you have a less-than-even chance of success, you have a high chance of dragging your teammates down with you as -2 after -2 is applied to them, making their rolls more difficult. Much better to actually try for a skill, at the very least, unless every other skill is a Hard one, which is the only case in which it's worth it.

So you think that an 80% chance of giving +2, or a 20% chance of giving a -2 is stupid, and that having three party members fail, thus losing the challenge before the people with actual roles can even go is smart?

Why are you trying to fail?

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 05:49 PM
A 25-35% chance of success, you mean. Without training and a 10 in the skill, an easy DC gives you a 25% chance of success. Essentially, since you're going to fail at it most of the time, it's best to just go for the big one. If you have Jack of All Trades and a good stat, though, it probably IS better to take the Aid Another check.

Cainen
2008-06-20, 05:57 PM
It works like a combat. The players HAVE to take an action, whether they like it or not, so no picking a "face", everyone has to risk it.

Why are these good things?


And if you don't like it, then you picked the wrong game, because skill challenges use the same basic system as combat, and are basically combats that do not require fighting.

Because everyone's going to have a system tailored to their wants that everyone is willing to play, right?

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 06:01 PM
Cainen: Because it promotes people acting, instead of "meh, let us let the Batman Wizard handle it and rest". Never saw a player who was happy to be alienated from combat, and the same goes for interaction (At least, for good roleplayers). This gives everyone a chance to act.

And yes, everyone is going to have a system like that. Three, at that. Freeform, Savage Worlds, and GURPS. :smalltongue:

Cainen
2008-06-20, 06:09 PM
Cainen: Because it promotes people acting, instead of "meh, let us let the Batman Wizard handle it and rest". Never saw a player who was happy to be alienated from combat, and the same goes for interaction (At least, for good roleplayers). This gives everyone a chance to act.

And if they don't want to act due to circumstance?


And yes, everyone is going to have a system like that. Three, at that. Freeform, Savage Worlds, and GURPS. :smalltongue:

Still doesn't give me any quarter since my groups tend to have a fetish for systems I hate, and new groups I end up in tend to be worse than the worst.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 06:12 PM
Then, if they can present a good RP justification, they can get out scot free. If they cannot, they also get out, but score a failure for the team in the process. I believe the DMG said something like that.

As for that...PbP. You're bound to get some good people someday.

Cainen
2008-06-20, 06:22 PM
Then, if they can present a good RP justification, they can get out scot free. If they cannot, they also get out, but score a failure for the team in the process. I believe the DMG said something like that.

I don't see how scoring a failure for twiddling your thumbs because the more intelligent person took the lead on the debate and presented points that none of the others could grasp would score a failure. There are tons of reasons, some of which aren't particularly solid as far as RP goes, that people could stop without getting failures.


As for that...PbP. You're bound to get some good people someday.

I would rather sleep in a bed of rusty nails than play PbP games.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 06:26 PM
Possibly. But in many other situations, there's no way to weasel out without consequences. If you ever had to defend an essay or the like, you know what I'm talking about, but in a bigger scale.

As for PbP, why not? With a good DM, it's possibly better than normal tabletop, and you can have a real-time session using maptool and the like.

Cainen
2008-06-20, 06:33 PM
Possibly. But in many other situations, there's no way to weasel out without consequences. If you ever had to defend an essay or the like, you know what I'm talking about, but in a bigger scale.

I don't think the duke would mind if the other person was being quiet while the first person was speaking. There would be more situations that would call for a skill challenge that really wouldn't punish someone for not doing anything - it's false involvement for the people who don't want to be involved with that.


As for PbP, why not? With a good DM, it's possibly better than normal tabletop, and you can have a real-time session using maptool and the like.

PbP assumes a forum game. It's not any fun at all because I do not like spacing out game time the way it's usually required, and because I'd rather just play in real-time in the first place.

If we're going to be on at the same time so I don't have to space it out, there is no point in playing over a forum.

Frost
2008-06-20, 06:42 PM
A 25-35% chance of success, you mean. Without training and a 10 in the skill, an easy DC gives you a 25% chance of success. Essentially, since you're going to fail at it most of the time, it's best to just go for the big one. If you have Jack of All Trades and a good stat, though, it probably IS better to take the Aid Another check.

You aren't paying attention. The Rogue checks for traps instead of pulling on the door because it uses his primary stat and he is trained in it. So even though it isn't a success, it isn't a failure. If he was stupid enough to go for the actual pulling of the door, and was the rest of the party, then every party would fail every skill challenge every single time, which was my point about WotC not understanding math. If you need 6 successes before 3 failures, and you have an average success chance across the party of at best 50%, then you fail every time.

If however you have the people who suck at what you want to do find creative ways of not acting ("I check for traps!" "I attempt to find Arcane Symbols!" "I do backflips to prove how awesome I am!") then you actually stand a chance at succeeding. But you have to actively subvert the spirit of the rules to do so.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 06:47 PM
Not really. Pulling a door wouldn't be a skill challenge in the first place. It'd be just a Strength check.

Now, if we're talking about GETTING PAST an enchanted door loaded to the brim with powerful defensive enchantments, then yes, THAT is a skill challenge, and the rogue will have an use in disabling some traps. Do not confuse simple skill checks that everyone tries with skill challenges.

Indon
2008-06-20, 06:49 PM
"I do backflips to prove how awesome I am!"

This is a poor one. You'd be much better off with, "I attempt to scale the walls to closely examine the ceiling for signs there could be a trap."

Frost
2008-06-20, 07:28 PM
Not really. Pulling a door wouldn't be a skill challenge in the first place. It'd be just a Strength check.

Now, if we're talking about GETTING PAST an enchanted door loaded to the brim with powerful defensive enchantments, then yes, THAT is a skill challenge, and the rogue will have an use in disabling some traps. Do not confuse simple skill checks that everyone tries with skill challenges.

Or the guy with the diplomacy could roll over and over while everyone else trys to creatively "I use knowledge History to know the name of his father!" "Streetwise to know his connections!" "Insight to X!" "Anything but Diplomacy, please don't make me roll that check!"

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-20, 07:31 PM
Of course. That's pretty much the skill challenge that is described in the DMG, so it should work.

Titanium Dragon
2008-06-20, 07:34 PM
@Yakk: Like I said I'll bring it up and the next get together. I'm all for giving myself opportunities to not suck as bad, the DM is probably going to go with the One Save for everyone.

It's strange, that for a system designed to streamline combat that they'd have something like that that would slow it down.

The reason for this is quite simple:

It avoids swingyness. If you shoot your breath weapon at nine people, you never miss all of them and you never hit all of them (well, almost never). The game was balanced with this in mind; you're making combat a lot swingier by doing it that way.

And really, it is really easy to roll for many foes at once - just grab a handful of d20s and roll them. That's what I do - I just predefine d20 colors and roll.

I have 5d20 for this exact reason as DM.

You only make one damage roll for all the foes, so it isn't that hard to do.

Yahzi
2008-06-20, 07:54 PM
Correction, all combats are merely social interactions by other means. I know this because a dead german dude said something like that .:smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:


War is a continuation of politics with other means.
:smallbiggrin:

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 12:00 AM
You aren't paying attention. The Rogue checks for traps instead of pulling on the door because it uses his primary stat and he is trained in it. So even though it isn't a success, it isn't a failure. If he was stupid enough to go for the actual pulling of the door, and was the rest of the party, then every party would fail every skill challenge every single time, which was my point about WotC not understanding math. If you need 6 successes before 3 failures, and you have an average success chance across the party of at best 50%, then you fail every time.

Pulling open a door is not a Skill Challenge. If you don't understand that, then you really don't know how Skill Challenges work.


If however you have the people who suck at what you want to do find creative ways of not acting ("I check for traps!" "I attempt to find Arcane Symbols!" "I do backflips to prove how awesome I am!") then you actually stand a chance at succeeding. But you have to actively subvert the spirit of the rules to do so.

How is it subverting the spirit of the rules to do something so clearly within the scope of the rules as written? This seems to be a simple clouding of judgment due to your overarching dislike of 4e.

Frost
2008-06-21, 01:04 AM
Pulling open a door is not a Skill Challenge. If you don't understand that, then you really don't know how Skill Challenges work.

No, but pulling open a door, in which you must get two successful pull checks is part of a skill challenge that was used in the playtests.


How is it subverting the spirit of the rules to do something so clearly within the scope of the rules as written? This seems to be a simple clouding of judgment due to your overarching dislike of 4e.

How about, because when everyone is forced to roll, and you really don't want to, and you spend everyone else's turn trying to come up with reasons why your role should not be counted, that's counter to the system's intent.

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 01:10 AM
No, but pulling open a door, in which you must get two successful pull checks is part of a skill challenge that was used in the playtests.

Ah, okay. Why would the weak Rogue be the one to pull the jammed door? That's a job for the stronger folk, no?

If the Rogue is equally adept at pulling jammed doors, then there's no argument to be had.


How about, because when everyone is forced to roll, and you really don't want to, and you spend everyone else's turn trying to come up with reasons why your role should not be counted, that's counter to the system's intent.

Like I've stated in other threads on this topic before, that's metagaming. If you want to play that way, go right ahead, but I don't advocate it.

Ideally, the RP should come first, and the rules adjudication should flow from that.

Frost
2008-06-21, 01:47 AM
Ah, okay. Why would the weak Rogue be the one to pull the jammed door? That's a job for the stronger folk, no?

If the Rogue is equally adept at pulling jammed doors, then there's no argument to be had.

Yes, but the Rogue has to do something, so he has to convince the DM that standing around "looking for traps" isn't failing. Because other words they wont' succeed and the door will magically seal shut forever.


Like I've stated in other threads on this topic before, that's metagaming. If you want to play that way, go right ahead, but I don't advocate it.

And that's my point. If you don't metagame, you aren't even playing the skill challenge. When you are trying to convince the King of Y, and one guy says, man, you should Y because of X, and then the DM asks you what your Int 8, Wis 8 Cha 8 Minotaur has to say, and you say "Nothing." you take a fialure for the whole team and the King says no just because the Minotaur in the corner didn't talk. That's stupid.

And once again, if you just do whatever you think you should do as a character, you will fail. You will fail every single time. You will never even once pass a single skill challenge. Ever. Because WotC is that bad at Math.


Ideally, the RP should come first, and the rules adjudication should flow from that.

This doesn't even make sense. You are making a non-statement that sounds pretty. You can't RP before the rules, the rules are right there. Everyone has to take turns talking, no one is allowed to sit down and take a nap. No you can't say something smart, you just rolled a 1 and/or your mod is too low to be that smart. In RPGs, you can either depend on the players to role play and determine how things turn out, or you can judge success based on die rolls. These are mutually exclusive methods of adjudicating results. And we use die rolls in combat because no one ever wants to lose.

Thrud
2008-06-21, 01:48 AM
As for the combat system, well, that's because combat is the biggest part of the game, most of the time, as it has been for every edition.

Umm, no, I have to disagree with you there. 3.x was the first D&D where combat was NOT the biggest part of the game. Now it has gone back to being the biggest part again. I am at my 4th session in a row DMing without a single combat. (O.K. I fib a bit. there have been 2 bar fights and a tournament. The first two took under 5 minutes of game time, the third about 15.) I just don't see that as possible in the new system. I LIKE the complex skill point system, I think it enhances all the non-combat aspects of the game to where I can provide an entertaining game without endless hack and slash. It is the fixation on combat the 4th brings back that I disagree with so wholeheartedly, since every character build consists of 95% 'this is all the stuff I do in combat, and 5% 'oh yeah, and I can do this too, just like every other single character in the game.'

That is why for the most part older gamers like me are peeved at 4th ed, just as for the most part younger players like it. C'est la vie. Just different preferences.

edit - oops, I screwed up the quote tags. d'oh. fixed now.

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 02:17 AM
Yes, but the Rogue has to do something, so he has to convince the DM that standing around "looking for traps" isn't failing. Because other words they wont' succeed and the door will magically seal shut forever.

There is no "convincing the DM". The players choose their character's actions, and the DM adjudicates the rest. You seem to think that D&D is some player vs. DM contest where the players have to plead their cases; I don't play that way. I'm sorry if you do.

You completely missed the section in Skill Challenges that says that failure of the challenge should not lead to irrevocable change, such as the door "magically sealing shut forever".


And that's my point. If you don't metagame, you aren't even playing the skill challenge. When you are trying to convince the King of Y, and one guy says, man, you should Y because of X, and then the DM asks you what your Int 8, Wis 8 Cha 8 Minotaur has to say, and you say "Nothing." you take a fialure for the whole team and the King says no just because the Minotaur in the corner didn't talk. That's stupid.

That's not how skill challenges work. The DM should be creating a reason for why the Minotaur's lack of response matters. A failure on the DM's part to use the Skill Challenge system properly is not a failure of the system. For instance, the King may turn to the Minotaur and say "What do you think of the situation, beast-man?" If the Minotaur just stands there like a statue, ignoring the King's question, that would count as a failure in my book.

Like I've said before, if you don't know how to use the system properly, or you simply don't like it, don't use it.


And once again, if you just do whatever you think you should do as a character, you will fail. You will fail every single time. You will never even once pass a single skill challenge. Ever. Because WotC is that bad at Math.

If your characters aren't actively trying to succeed at the skill challenge, then sure, they will fail every time. There needs to be motivation to succeed for success to be possible.


This doesn't even make sense. You are making a non-statement that sounds pretty. You can't RP before the rules, the rules are right there. Everyone has to take turns talking, no one is allowed to sit down and take a nap.

If lying down and taking a nap or doing nothing is what you want your character to do, go ahead. It's going to either count as an Aid Another action or an attempt at the skill challenge with an off-skill. The DM has to give the player a reason for it to be their turn, though; you can't just pluck these things out of the air willy-nilly. That's improper use of the system.


No you can't say something smart, you just rolled a 1 and/or your mod is too low to be that smart.

Well, yeah. That's roleplaying. If you want your character to be smart and good at talking about history, they should have a high Int score and be trained in History.

Just because you the player are smart does not mean that your character is smart.


In RPGs, you can either depend on the players to role play and determine how things turn out, or you can judge success based on die rolls. These are mutually exclusive methods of adjudicating results.

It's not mutually exclusive at all. You base it on die rolls and roleplaying together; that's what circumstance bonuses are for, after all.


And we use die rolls in combat because no one ever wants to lose.

:smallconfused: