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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Lightbulb [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    A few of us dudes currently play 3.5e, I am a PC in the campaign. The current DM mentioned that we are nearing the end of his campaign and that he would like to play next time and trying 4th ed. I have been wanting to DM a game and I think 4th ed would be a lot better to start off with (never DMed before). I am not very good with super specific rules and technicalities, I just want a good story with interesting plot lines and allow players to make super cool characters but not weird stuff. 4th edition has a ton of books and I was hoping to just stick to some core books, because I am sure there is a lot of shadey fluff going on in the supplements. So far I have selected PHB1 & 2 and DMG1 & 2. I have not fully read through them yet but they had pretty colors on the cover so I bought them. I don't think I am interested in allowing PHB3 characters, they are a little too out there for my taste. I was also considering using Adventurer's Vault stuff.

    As a DM who is not super concerned with super technical rules, loopholes, and such what sort of content should I use and what should I limit? Trying to KISS (keep it simple stupid).


    I am not really interested in you telling me how much 4th ed sucks, that is not really helpful for me.

    I am also not too concerned with players trying to powergame, to an extent. I would make up for any super-strengths with more complex roleplay challenges.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    You're going from 3.5 to 4th edition so here are some gotchas that got me.

    Opportunity Attacks are simpler: 4th edition OAs are only provoked when an enemy moves within threatened reach or when a ranged attack is made within threatened reach.
    OAs are NOT provoked when: Standing up, using an item, pulling out a weapon...well, anything else.

    On that note: 5 foot steps are now called Shifting. Shifting typically gives you a 5 foot step (1 square) but can sometimes let you move more. Shifting only provokes OAs if the enemy or player has an ability that explicitly says so (like Fighters marks)

    Diagonal movement only takes 1 square, not 1.5

    Classing system works differently. You choose a base class which you level up, you can multiclass but it simply takes a feat and just gives you access to certain powers/abilities from that class. You will, forever, gain levels as your base class.

    Start at a level no higher than 3, this is your first game.

    For monsters, if you're using MM1 monsters they may seem very...hardy but not very threatening. If you find this is true, reduce monster HP by 33% and increase all monster damage by 33%.

    You chose good books to start with (get a monster manual btw), PHB 1 and 2 are fairly similar while PHB 3 adds Hybrid classes (which gets confusing). Just make your players stick to them until you understand the game better.
    Last edited by Sipex; 2010-12-06 at 01:24 PM.

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    Joseph Silver's Avatar

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    From a 3.5 perspective, all of the classes fall within Tiers 3 and 4. There isn't really anything downright broken in 4e as long as you stay current with rules updates (a.k.a. errata). Even without errata, 4e is reasonably well-balanced compared to 3.5.

    Most classes have a primary role and one or more secondary roles. There are some classes which are almost purely one role, like the ranger (pure striker), and there are others who are about even in the primary role and their secondary role like the warlock, which is a striker/controller.

    Martial classes tend to deal more damage than other power sources, Arcane tends to be more controllerish, Primal tends to have more HP, Divine has better healing, while Psionic is basically the psychic version of Arcane. Shadow doesn't have much content, but it feels close to Arcane and Psionic.

    Try to play according to RAW, and try to resist making knee-jerk house rules to fix nonexistent problems. To think outside the box, you need to learn how to think inside the box first.
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    More tips! (I post them as I think of them)

    Dual wielding works differently. Most classes can use any one handed weapon in their main hand but in their off hand they need a weapon with the 'off hand' key word (daggers, short swords, etc).

    Initially, this does nothing, you just have the option of using weapon A or weapon B when attacking.

    You can beef it up with feats though (called Two Weapon <something> feats) which give you bonuses for wielding two weapons.

    Then, you have certain classes and class builds which can actually use both weapons at once. The best example of this is the Ranger who has powers which use both weapons (like Twin strike), these powers explicitly spell out that they use both weapons.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Silver View Post
    Try to play according to RAW, and try to resist making knee-jerk house rules to fix nonexistent problems. To think outside the box, you need to learn how to think inside the box first.
    This is good advice. I dont want to go ahead and change a bunch of things when I dont understand the big picture stuff.

    I have never used Psyonics before. Does 4e make it easy to understand?

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Stanlee View Post
    As a DM who is not super concerned with super technical rules, loopholes, and such what sort of content should I use and what should I limit? Trying to KISS (keep it simple stupid).[/B]
    If none of your players have ever played 4e, there's no need to go beyond PHB1 and 2, really. Your players will be a bit limited in choices, but it's your first game, so I don't see a problem with that. If you only buy one MM, make it MM3. You miss out on the iconic monsters, but they are better balanced.

    If you haven't purchased it yet, you could probably do without DMG2. However, read through all of the DMG1. Especially page 42 where it deals with skill challenges.

    Really, the powers books and other books are really nice, but they aren't necessary. They just add a lot of options that are extra.

    There's no content that needs to be limited, though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stanlee View Post
    I have never used Psyonics before. Does 4e make it easy to understand?
    Yes, Psionics are easy to understand if you have the PHB3. They work a little differently, but honestly, it's not a huge difference.
    Last edited by tcrudisi; 2010-12-06 at 01:40 PM.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Sipex View Post
    More tips! (I post them as I think of them)
    Yay!

    From all the things you have listed thus far it kind of seems like a lot of the stuff I saw in WoW. I used to play WoW but I quit and started playing D&D because I wanted to see real peoples faces, lol. But I am familiar with that sort of mechanics and think I can work with stuff like that.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    The thing that I found to be a big paradigm shift in 4e is that your players will know more about their characters than you do. Coming from 3.5, I was used to encyclopedic GMing, where you had to know everything. 4e is organized differently so that you only really have to look at the powers for your class. This means that the players are much more focused in their own classes and they will progress in ways you can't predict. This is not a bad thing, it's just something that takes some getting used to.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Oh, another tip: 4e doesn't have rules for everything. If your player...say...wants to use Ray of Frost to freeze a path across the pond decide for yourself if it's plausible.

    I find everything works better if you think like this, keep an open mind and you'll have a lot more fun.

    Also, grappling is a lot easier than 3.5, it's now just a simple attack vs defense sort of check.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    What does "RAW" stand for?

    I also saw mention of "ROE" or "REO" or something like that out there.

    I was in the army for 7 years then I worked as an aviation engineer for a few years after that. Forgive me if my brain is completely fried when it comes to acronyms. My brain just does not process them anymore, lol

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    RAW = Rules as Written

    The second one you're thinking of is RAI which represents Rules as Intended

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    "Rules as written."

    The expanded books don't have any shady content. WOTC actually erratas the bad stuff now. Dragon magazine has one or two things though.
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Sticking with the first two player's handbooks is good, there are lots of fun options with all of the iconic races, plus a few extra races. While there are tons of powerful effects, no one is going to be able to just end an encounter with one shot. Everybody's characters should be balanced enough to keep everyone having fun.

    For a new DM, I recommend studying the combat section of the DMG, the part that explains monster roles in detail. 4e encounters are fairly easy to set up once you understand what it means by Brute, Soldier, etc.

    I'd also look for errata on anything you currently have. This isn't a must, of course, but errata could potentially quash a few minor issues before they exist.

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Honestly you can open up all supplements without too much worry of being overwhelmed. They did a good job at restricting every build to a set amount of options, so as long as you're familiar with the characters they won't throw you for a major loop, which is the main thing you want to avoid as a fresh DM.
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    Sang Real's Avatar

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Silver View Post
    From a 3.5 perspective, all of the classes fall within Tiers 3 and 4. There isn't really anything downright broken in 4e as long as you stay current with rules updates (a.k.a. errata). Even without errata, 4e is reasonably well-balanced compared to 3.5.
    Yes, this.

    There are no uber classes or gimp classes in 4e like there were in previous editions. There are power differences to be sure, but they're minor. There are a few wonky powers that have been errataed, but even in their original forms they're just a bit overpowered--not utterly broken like Polymorph of 3e. So don't worry about banning stuff for balance reasons.

    If your players are new to the game, you might want to ban hybrid characters for a while. Only because it's easy to gimp yourself if your two classes don't have matching stats. Multiclassing is simpler, more balanced and, in my opinion, better all-around.

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    Seerow's Avatar

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Sang Real View Post
    If your players are new to the game, you might want to ban hybrid characters for a while. Only because it's easy to gimp yourself if your two classes don't have matching stats. Multiclassing is simpler, more balanced and, in my opinion, better all-around.
    Indeed, just advise your characters to stay away from Paragon multiclassing. Whose idea it was to make paragon multiclassing give no class features at all I don't know, but 99 times out of 100 it's not worth it.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    If everybody is new, learn the rules, especially combat basics as best you can. WotC also offers the Quick Start Guide, with the basic combat stuff and some sample characters. Have a session with your players, using pre gens BEFORE your campaign starts, so you can learn combat, the action economy, and or skill challenge stuff together. That way the game will go smoothly when you do actually start your campaign. Also the players will learn the roles and how those roles interact and why they are there. The players will be able to make better informed decisions about race and class. That way the guy playing wizard, but actually wanted sorcerer without knowing that, will choose sorcerer, because he understands what the dfference between strikers and controllers are.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by gurban View Post
    If everybody is new, learn the rules, especially combat basics as best you can. WotC also offers the Quick Start Guide, with the basic combat stuff and some sample characters. Have a session with your players, using pre gens BEFORE your campaign starts, so you can learn combat, the action economy, and or skill challenge stuff together. That way the game will go smoothly when you do actually start your campaign. Also the players will learn the roles and how those roles interact and why they are there. The players will be able to make better informed decisions about race and class. That way the guy playing wizard, but actually wanted sorcerer without knowing that, will choose sorcerer, because he understands what the dfference between strikers and controllers are.
    They are all pretty experienced players, I would actually say I am the newbie between them all. But I think this is a good suggestion as none of us are familiar with 4e mechanics.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Sipex View Post
    Start at a level no higher than 3, this is your first game.
    Agreed with all of this advice, but I'd take it a step further on the level - if it's your first time DMing, and your first time with 4e, start at level 1. Level 1 characters are far more hardy and, *in general* (there are a couple minor exceptions) have many more options than level 1 characters in any prior edition.

    Level 1 4e is much closer to level 4 or so in 3.x.

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Party composition is rather important in 4E, as a lot of it depends on specialised roles working together. Pay attention to the four roles, Striker, Controller, Defender and Leader. I won't say that you need all four roles to have a fully balanced party, but you can't survive at higher levels without a good leader.

    You also need to remember not all of them are about doing lots of damage, like controllers and leaders. Controllers are about holding enemies down and killing the little ones quickly, leaders heal, buff and assist and hardly ever attack.
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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    DMing for 4e is a whole lot easier from my experience, feel free to just make up checks if your players want to do something that you think is cool. Also, as said above, make sure your party isn't a druid, a wizard, a cleric and, I dunno, a bard, make sure you have a fairly balanced party composition. Otherwise battles may end up taking a VERY long time.

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Katana_Geldar View Post
    Party composition is rather important in 4E, as a lot of it depends on specialised roles working together. Pay attention to the four roles, Striker, Controller, Defender and Leader. I won't say that you need all four roles to have a fully balanced party, but you can't survive at higher levels without a good leader.

    You also need to remember not all of them are about doing lots of damage, like controllers and leaders. Controllers are about holding enemies down and killing the little ones quickly, leaders heal, buff and assist and hardly ever attack.
    I pretty much want to disagree completely with what Katana said.

    The 4 roles are good guidelines for new players (and by "new" we have been meaning "new to 4e". So even though they've been playing RPG's for a long time, they are still new). However, the 4 roles can be completely ignored by experienced players. I recently played an entire weekend with 3 of my mates. We had 2 controllers, a striker and a defender. I was the defender and never came close to dieing. In fact, I was pretty much worthless. The 2 controllers did their job so well that we breezed through everything.

    Depending on what your controller does, he'll out-damage the rest of the party hands-down. He'll just do it spread over a lot more monsters, so while he's doing 10 damage to 5 monsters, your striker will do 20 damage to 1 monster. It's all in how you perceive it. Yes, your controllers job is to hold the enemies down, but the Leaders? They will always attack. Always. Everyone attacks. Healing is an after-thought. Buffing and assisting? That's done with your attacks. They are built in.
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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Sipex View Post
    OAs are NOT provoked when: Standing up.
    I was thinking about this the other day, is it true?

    Because standing up is a move action, its not a shift and moving in a threatened square prevokes an AoO.

    Am i missing something? (sorry at work so no rule book on hand.)

    EDIT:

    And pro's Tips;
    solo monsters arn't.
    PC's will destroy an evenly balanced encounter with out brakeing a sweat unless you play crafty.
    If you wan't to make players work for the exp/loot prevent them from takeing extended rests to often.
    Item powers per day seems like a silly rule early on but it is worth having after say level 15.
    Last edited by Kaun; 2010-12-06 at 06:24 PM.
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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    One big thing to keep in mind is that 4E is much more focused on the group, rather than the individual. This goes for both PCs, and Monsters.

    When you design encounters, it's done around a group of Monsters, not individual monsters. Some monsters are designed to be heavy hitters on the front line, some are designed to sneak around and attack your flanks, some are designed to stay in the back and hurl arrows or fireballs or something

    When you design PCs, some of the classes that may appear "weak" are actually very strong, because they're designed to be used as part of a group. While it isn't "necessary" to have all the roles filled as part of a group, it helps people identify what their class is supposed to do. That way, if someone is playing a class with a role of "Defender," they know that their job is to be the front line, and protect the others; not to do damage or be heal-bots or whatever. If a class is designated a "striker" than that person knows that their class is designed to do damage, not to be the party tank. If someone is a leader, than their primary job is to make everyone else awesome. If someone is a controller, their job is to make the DM's monster's lives hell.


    As far as what books to get, I'd say the PHB1 (and 2 if you have the means). The Essentials DM Kit/Essentials Rules Compendium for the most up to date, simple, and errata'd rules. (That being said, if you go with the origional DMG, you'll be fine, especially at lvls 1-10).

    As far as which book to get for monsters, I cannot recommend enough the new Monster Vault book that just came out. Basically, it covers all the classic D&D monsters, but the developers had 2+ years of 4E experience to refine and improve on all of them. By far one of the best monster books (and you don't need to do any tweaking to damage


    TL;DR

    - 4E is group based, not individual based
    - PHB1, Essentials DM Kit, Rules Compendium, Monster Vault.

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaun View Post
    And pro's Tips;
    solo monsters arn't.
    Except for some dragons. Tiamat is "Ah, add in an Ancient Gold on the heroes' side and you're even" strong, Blacks are "Your controller has Sleep prepared and a bunch of ridiculous save-killers, right? Or at least an area stun power?" Reds devour your body and soul... hope you brought some fire resist, because it brought the ketchup.
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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaun View Post
    EDIT:

    And pro's Tips;
    solo monsters arn't.
    PC's will destroy an evenly balanced encounter with out brakeing a sweat unless you play crafty.
    If you wan't to make players work for the exp/loot prevent them from takeing extended rests to often.
    Item powers per day seems like a silly rule early on but it is worth having after say level 15.
    The game is really designed around 4 or so encounters per extended rest - as such, encounters by the book tend to *not* be designed to kill the players, but to reduce their stock of dailies/surges. If you let players take an extended rest after every encounter, they will *decimate* encounters as written.

    To make this work, you need to either not give out appropriate places for extended rests all the time, put in a reason to *not* take an extended rest (time limits, etc.), or bump up encounters so that they're challenging even if the characters blow every daily power in it.

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Or you can interrupt their extended rests.
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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    The game is really designed around 4 or so encounters per extended rest - as such, encounters by the book tend to *not* be designed to kill the players, but to reduce their stock of dailies/surges. If you let players take an extended rest after every encounter, they will *decimate* encounters as written.

    To make this work, you need to either not give out appropriate places for extended rests all the time, put in a reason to *not* take an extended rest (time limits, etc.), or bump up encounters so that they're challenging even if the characters blow every daily power in it.
    Very much this. I ran a dungeon crawl in 4e where they couldn't quite make a getaway after the 4th encounter, due to time sensitivity, but the wizard ran flat out of healing surges, a couple other members were down to 1-2, and only one party member had a daily left. It made the last encounter feel much more challenging just knowing how much more restricted they were on the healing, even though the encounter itself was similar in power level to the others. It was that situation that sold me on 4e being a good system.

    Also the way that immediately afterwards the players were looking for anything they could find to prevent such a situation from cropping up again. They began to be much more conservative in using their healing powers and dailies, and specifically sought out items to help with healing surge conservation and manipulation (such as the belt that lets you take a healing surge from one party member and use it to heal somebody else).


    If you try to send a solo at the players as their first encounter of the day, and expect that to be their only encounter, expect that solo to get blown up in no time flat, unless you make it several levels above the party (and then expect cursing from the players as they continuously miss and the encounter drags out). Remember, an on level solo is not a boss encounter, it is the same as throwing 4(5?) standard monsters at them. If you don't expect 4 kobolds to give them a lot of trouble, don't expect the level 2 young ice dragon to give them much either.
    Last edited by Seerow; 2010-12-06 at 06:53 PM.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Katana_Geldar View Post
    Or you can interrupt their extended rests.
    Yeah, I kind of intended to imply that with the "no safe area for an extended rest," but it definitely deserves to be brought up as a point on its own.

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    Default Re: [4.0] New campaign, new format, new everything

    You get one immediate action, whether reaction or interrupt, per combat round. So once the fighter uses his Combat Challenge attack, he can't use it until his turn comes up again.

    You get one opportunity action per turn. So the fighter gets to make OAs against every enemy that provokes one.
    Last edited by Excession; 2010-12-06 at 09:08 PM.

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