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    Default Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    My group's considering experimenting with 4th ed this time, though the DM's expressing some apprehension since he's heard bad remarks about this system.

    My first impression after reading the core books: the system's more hack n' slash than 3e was and there are several other concepts in it that would make this system markedly different from 3e. The players seem to have better survivability and the only really big difference between classes is power selections. Rituals seem to have replaced the utility spells of 3e and looks like everyone could use it which might have a balancing effect between classes.

    Any other differences we should watch for so i could pass this on to the rest of the group to minimize the shock of having to learn a completely different system?
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Pretty much true. However, this statement:
    Quote Originally Posted by fortesama View Post
    and the only really big difference between classes is power selections.
    Needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It isn't obvious at first, but the differences in the function of powers can vary fairly widely within the rules presented.

    A Fighter's powers might routinely knock down an enemy, or deal a fairly large amount of damage in a single blow, while a Wizard's will clear out a large group of weak enemies (want to cleave through dozens of mooks in a few cuts? Ask the DM to include minions!) or reposition them to where the Rogue can more easily flank the enemy.

    The Cleric can call down lasers from heaven and pray for divine blessings to bolster his allies, while a Warlord tells the Barbarian exactly where and when to strike. A Swordmage could teleport across the field to bring arcane lightning on an enemy who dared attack the Druid, but the Warden calls on nature to bind a fleeing foe to the earth.

    However, if the DM is apprehensive about the system, have him look through it and talk it over with people who actually like it. Otherwise, if all he's getting are the "4e? More like Dungeons of DragonCraft!" people complaining that the new D&D edition isn't the old D&D edition and blaming it on other popular games. (Apparently, 3.X is Dungeons & Diablo, or something...)
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    One thing that is really easy to miss are little changes such as opportunity attacks.

    In 3.5 Attacks of Opportunity are only 1/round unless you take combat reflexes.

    In 4e you can make an opportunity attack 1/turn. So you could make one on enemy#1's turn and then on enemy#2's turn. This means it is always a risk to just move around. Fortunately this is offset by shifting (which is similar in concept to tumbling and the 5-foot step in 3e).

    Unlike in 3.5 you can trade any higher type of action for lower actions not just down to move actions (in 3.5 you could not trade a standard for a swift action but you can trade a move action for a minor action in 4e).

    Defenses are important in 4e. Unlike in high level 3e your AC can remain competitive without being cheesy and you are in fact advised to do so. Even wizards can have nice AC with some investment.

    Read things carefully as it is easy to assume that the rules are the same (such as in opportunity attacks). If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Movement is much, much more important in 4e than in 3.5. It is nearly impossible to play without a battle mat, because it's way more of a tactical game.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    I like playing with a grid more but I have a group that plays without a battlemap all the time. The game is a lot more fun with one but it certainly is not required.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Games don't necessarily need to be hack n slash, but the system assumes that you will have at least one combat per session. Combat also takes longer (both in-game and out), but it's fun and fast-paced.

    Also worth pointing out is that the 15 minute workday arguably a bigger problem in 4e, since each and every PC will have powerful daily attacks that can quickly trivialize encounters.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox Box Socks View Post
    Games don't necessarily need to be hack n slash, but the system assumes that you will have at least one combat per session. Combat also takes longer (both in-game and out), but it's fun and fast-paced.

    Also worth pointing out is that the 15 minute workday arguably a bigger problem in 4e, since each and every PC will have powerful daily attacks that can quickly trivialize encounters.
    I don't know if I call this a problem as everybody runs out of steam at the same time, unlike in 3e where the caster is out of steam and so you need to stop but the rest of the party is still good to go. Further you don't need dailies that much. Lastly RAW a 15 minute work day is really much longer since there are rules for how long you need to wait before having an extended rest. If you really like twiddling your thumbs for hours before you even take your extended rest more power to you I guess.

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    Default We can has edition war?

    You should post the same question in the 3.5 subforum and compare responses. Or ask a mod, I don't know if there's a rule about that.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    4th edition is very tactical. I think anyone who likes Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea or any similar games would really enjoy the tactical feel to it if they can get over that it is even less like D&D than 3rd edition.

    Also, 4e isn't so much hack and slash as the rules focus on combat. Depending on the DM a game can still be run with lots of roleplaying - there was a session with my DM once where we had mostly roleplaying with only one or two very minor, short skirmishes.
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by rayne_dragon View Post
    if they can get over that it is even less like D&D than 3rd edition.
    Except that third edition was very like D&D. It had dungeons and at one point in a dungeon we were attacked by a dragon.
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goonthegoof View Post
    Except that third edition was very like D&D. It had dungeons and at one point in a dungeon we were attacked by a dragon.
    I, too, have had both underground complexes and flying mythical reptiles which breathe various elements in 4th edition.

    Funny how that works!

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    The two biggest differences: combat and skills.

    Combat in 4e is far more tactical. If your players enjoy tactical games, 4e is an improvement.

    Skills in 4e are far more important than 3.x. In 3.x it was all about the spells. In 4e, spells are replaced by actually using the skills. The skill system is much smoother, imo, as it just makes more sense. Move Silently and Hide? It's now Stealth. Also, they've added in skill challenges which I thoroughly enjoy.

    There are many changes. 4e is as different from 3.x as 3.x was from 2e. Just accept that it's a different game and I'm confident your group will enjoy it.
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    The real difference is that 4e combat feels much more "gameist" in a way.... if that makes sense.

    The set up for the powers system feels hard to swallow in a story-related stand point ("what do you mean I can only trip someone once a day?" sort of thing). Much akin to the traditional wizard magic system where certain things can only be done so many times a day. Only now it applies to all classes and has the further breakdown of having once-per-encounter powers as well. So if you accept that like everyone already has long ago accepted (to a greater or lesser degree) the Vancian magic system it's easy to overlook once you get into it.

    In 4e there is much less before-combat-buffing, I find. Which is nice.

    And finally the actual minis-on-mats combat system has finally taken on an aspect of, say, chess to it. Different types of characters can make different types of attacks (lots of points to one target for strikers, multiple close targets like defenders, small group of targets for controllers, and fellow player boosting attacks of leaders) - much akin to how different pieces in chess can make different moves and different attacks, in a way. By getting a group with a mix of these sorts of attacks you can use those to define your combat style as a group.

    You can go with a traditional line of Defenders guarding a Controller, like 2e, or a mix of defenders and strikers on the less stable "front line" (and 4e has much less stable lines to it) with more mobile and capable classes acting from the rear to inflict damage a la 3.x, or finally, the complete mix of just about any combination of characters in 4e. While every party heavily benefits from having a leader-type in it you no longer have to rely on one to heal up between combat if you choose to play that way.

    Mainly I like the way that 4e breaks its own rules without breaking the system all the time to allow for heroic and interesting actions (on both sides) that in previous editions would result in a half-hour rules arguments. There's very little of that in 4e since they have seriously tightened that up in-system.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by fortesama View Post
    Any other differences we should watch for so i could pass this on to the rest of the group to minimize the shock of having to learn a completely different system?
    The main difference between 3E and 4E is that in 3E, the crunch is written based on the fluff; whereas in 4E, the fluff is written based on the crunch.

    For example, if you have a Firebolt spell that deals 3d6 damage, then in 3E the important part is that it acts like you would expect fire to act, and it's okay if it sometimes doesn't deal 3d6 damage. By comparison, in 4E the important part is that it deals 3d6 damage, and it's okay if it sometimes doesn't act like you would expect fire to act.
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Fireball deals fire damage, not just damage. Which means that in 1st to 4th edition, fireball burns things.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaEmil View Post
    Fireball deals fire damage, not just damage. Which means that in 1st to 4th edition, fireball burns things.
    Yes, the difference is that in 4E, it still works against fire elementals, as well as underwater or in a vacuum, and that it doesn't do anything special against trees. That is where it doesn't act like you'd expect fire to act.
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    It works against fire elementals, because they aren't immune to fire damage per se, just more resistant about it (also, smothering fire with another fire is something that everybody knows about), you can use it underwater, making it superheated water (which by rules-definition deals fire damage, because hot damage is fire damage even in prior edition), you can use it in a vacuum, because the magic gives it its own gas to combust, and it does work against trees, which are for the gm to decide how effective it works.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaEmil View Post
    It works against fire elementals, because they aren't immune to fire damage per se, just more resistant about it
    Yes, that's precisely my point. It always deals 3d6 damage, regardless of circumstances, and you modify the fluff as needed to ensure it still deals 3d6 damage. That's the exact opposite approach that 3E takes (where it always works like fire, and you modify the damage as needed).

    A similar example is Sneak Attack. In 3E, Sneak Attack means hitting a creature in a vital spot, and as a result of this fluff, it doesn't work on creatures that don't have a vital spot. Whereas in 4E, Sneak Attack means doing +2d6 points of damage, and so if you try it on a creature that doesn't have a vital spot, then Sneak Attack does something else as long as it deals +2d6 damage.

    I infer from your response that you consider this a bad thing, but I'm not saying that it is.
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    You infer wrong. I'm saying that fluff and crunch are still interconnected in 4th edition regarding attack powers, just as they were in prior editions. Fire damage does fire damage. It burns wood (and flesh). It works underwater, because people shouldn't be penalized for using firepowers while they're in another environment. To justify fireball and the other myriads of fire powers working underwater, it's acceptable to think that fireball still does work underwater, without any major problems because water can deal hot damage if heated enough. Therefore, you let it work underwater.
    Sneak attack means that you attack the weak points of an enemy. In third edition, this only meant arteries and other vital areas of a living creature. In 4th, it's acceptable to believe that the joints of a golem or a skeleton are its weak point to let it suffer sneak attack damage. Of course, 3rd edition also tried to let you deal sneak attack damage against creatures normally immune to it, by having you take feats and class-features allowing you to do that.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by fortesama View Post
    Any other differences we should watch for so i could pass this on to the rest of the group to minimize the shock of having to learn a completely different system?
    Someone already mentioned AoOs.

    I'll add "saving throw."

    Same name, very different concepts though.


    Quote Originally Posted by rayne_dragon View Post
    Also, 4e isn't so much hack and slash as the rules focus on combat. Depending on the DM a game can still be run with lots of roleplaying -
    Yes. This.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    4e lets you do fire damage to fire elementals because it simply can't handle an ability not working in a particular encounter. In 3e you can have the warmage who can't fireball the fire elemental, because he can cast Ice Storm instead. In 4e nobody has that kind of versatility.

    4e classes are all about the same complexity as 3e fighters. Every 2-3 levels you get one new tactical option. This level you get Improved Trip, in two levels you get Shock Trooper. A few classes get more interesting by having more skills, but the skill system isn't any deeper than Non-Weapon Proficiencies in 2e. There are also rituals, but you'll need to houserule a fix for them unless you like sacrificing giant piles of gold to the Balance Gods. (There are some good suggested fixes on this forum.)

    The rituals system has easy fixes but expect to run into problems that don't. 4e went nuts with exception based design. It's easy to make house rules that add things, but you can't change things that matter in multiple cases without changing every case individually. The 4e GSL is in kind of the same vein - third party publishers can add to the system but can't modify any part of it. For whatever reason WotC doesn't want anyone customizing their system. Something to keep in mind if you're used to house-ruling the hell out of 3e.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    My list of differences between 4e and 3.5e for character creation:

    • Skill Points - No longer do you worry about allocating points to certain skills in 4e. Not only has the list been condensed down but usability depends on feats and whether or not you have trained the stat. +5 to skill rolls your trained in, add half your level to all rolls rounded down. If you have athletics you know how to use a rope. Which was one of my least favorite things from 3.5e. I know how to spot danger yet I have horrible listening. The condensed list is much appreciated by me for a fantasy game, while I still like having the ability to juggle skills in Spycraft(Computers, electronics, mechanics, ect...).
    • Abilities - 4e and Essentials breaks down abilities into 3 types: at-wills(can be used all the time), encounter(recharge after an encounter is over) and Dailies(Recharged after an extended rest). There are also two sub types known as Cantrips and Utilities which are used to help out in certain situations, but do not usually deal damage. 3.5e did not have this instead relying on spell books and feats for abilities.
    • Feats - Aside from a few exceptions in 4e, such as weapon proficiencies and channel divinity powers, feats are mostly passive effects that enhance the character. In 3.5 most feats are tied to the class that you chose, such as deflect arrow for monks, and also a dependent number of bonus feats. If I remember right, fighters have the most bonus feats. In 4e it allows for much more customization with feats, imo.
    • Alignment - Good and Evil, Chaotic and Lawful. In 3.5 classes were required to have some sort of alignment; Monks were any lawful class and Paladins were only Lawful Good. Now you could have a Chaotic evil paladin if you wanted. This has changed up my Monk character a lot since in 4e I get to roleplay my character while in 3.5e it seems more like I am going to have to play my Class.


    I have two characters who are identical aside from the edition there in:

    4e is E, unaligned "Drunken" Monk(Drunken only outside of combat). He is a follower of the Raven Queen and seeks to bring peace to the dead and destruction to the Undead. He has crippled his enemies, setup great combos, and even dispelled a dark curse.

    3.5e is E, Lawful Neutral "Drunken" Monk(drunken only outside of combat). He is a follower of Weejac(sp?) and seeks to bring peace to the dead and destruction to the undead. He has a half-ling companion who he has sworn an oath to protect. So far he has punched two tentacles, noticed an arcane ward, and almost got killed by a demon(only out of the good graces of his DM).

    Note: I fail to mention the times my character has been injured by traps only because there is nothing I can do besides pray to the dice gods that I save or notice it fast enough. Also one of the campaigns I have rolled straight Critical Failures.

    Both are around level 2 and so far I would say 4e E is closest to how I depict him in my mind. Maybe because its the setting or the DM, but I have finally realized how I was roleplaying him wrong.
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    Monks do not have to be wise or stuck up, for example a lot of monks I see in movies and on anime are just travelling hand to hand fighters.

    Occasionally they say something profound but most of the time they are on a journey to find themselves, either spiritually or in a more abstract way(like in Siddhartha where he becomes a gambler, ferryman and a noble). Siddhartha is about spiritualism but from where I look it is just experiencing life.


    Out of respect for the DMs I won't bash any of their play styles. Both are veteran DMs, one from 1st edition and one I am guessing 3e.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by stainboy View Post
    4e lets you do fire damage to fire elementals because it simply can't handle an ability not working in a particular encounter. In 3e you can have the warmage who can't fireball the fire elemental, because he can cast Ice Storm instead. In 4e nobody has that kind of versatility.
    4e has immunity and resistance. 4e can have versatility. In fact, everyone can be versatile, not just casters.

    On a side note, I think that's the first time I've ever seen warmage and versatile together in a sentence.

    4e classes are all about the same complexity as 3e fighters. Every 2-3 levels you get one new tactical option. This level you get Improved Trip, in two levels you get Shock Trooper.
    In 4e, every class gets something at every level-up: a new power, feat, something.

    I don't think the OP wanted to start another edition feud. Why are you instigating one?
    Last edited by Sinon; 2011-03-19 at 06:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinon View Post
    On a side note, I think that's the first time I've ever seen warmage and versatile together in a sentence.
    Its still more versatile than a 4E wizard. Metamagic feats, advance learning, much more spells known, ect.
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinon View Post
    On a side note, I think that's the first time I've ever seen warmage and versatile together in a sentence.
    I typed wizard at first and realized it wasn't a useful comparison. "4e wizards are less versatile than 3e wizards" doesn't tell you much. "4e wizards are less versatile than 3e warmages" tells you 4e is a fundamentally different game.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Some things I've noticed that your DM may like:

    Encounter balance is much easier - generally, the DMG guidelines for encounter size and levels match what PCs should be capable of pretty well. Early manual (1-2) monsters tend to do weak damage and have too many HP, but that's boring rather than broken, and easily fixed even on-the-fly.

    Monsters are built using different rules than PCs. They are built to have a limited selection of powers with the intent that they can use pretty much everything they have over the course of one fight.

    Trap design in 4e is built around making traps that allow multiple PCs to participate, rather than HP tax. It's more work though.

    Encounter setting and layout matter more in my experience with 4e. I will often design the terrain of a combat encounter based on what would look awesome in an action movie.

    And a couple of caveats:

    I love the concept of ritual magic and skill challenges, but they aren't perfect as-is. A lot of rituals have too high a cost and/or too long a casting time for most people. (As a DM, I love the category "ritual magic" for "plot magic")

    Using skill challenges is a bit of an art. The DMG2 has good advice on handling skill challenges, and the magazine articles have some good stuff too.

    Don't try to convert 3e to 4e - especially not at first. The two behave and feel very different.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Another thing I think should be mentioned is healing:

    For a start each character has a number of healing surges healing surges a day, this lets the characters heal themselves between encounters or, with certain powers (such as the ubiquitous second wind), during encounters.

    Also most healing powers (second wind being a notable exception, except for dwarves) only cost a minor action which means a healer doesn't have to spend their whole turn, breaking the momentum and flow of the encounter, to heal.
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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    Re: Boci and stainboy on versatility:

    Yes, wizards and druids and clerics of 3.5 have virtually unlimited versatility. Some other classes were decent.

    And many others have none at all.

    4e lacks the extremes, high and low, of 3.5.


    Quote Originally Posted by Drglenn View Post
    Another thing I think should be mentioned is healing:
    Excellent points all.

    Also, no matter the source of healing (individual effort, potion ,healbot) you're limited on the number of times per day you can get it. A 3.5 party with a wand of healing didn't have to think about after-battle healing issues much.

    That's not true any more.

    Also, this isn't really playstyle, much, but I think your party will see this, but you don't have to be a god's lackey to heal in 4e.

    Every power source (divine, arcane, primal, psionic) all have a healer, leader class.
    (I guess almost every. Haven't seen anything for shadow yet.)

    Anyway, I think it does change the feel of party dynamics quite a bit.

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    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    The point is they play differently because one was desgined to be streamlined easy to grasp so new players could easily join and play well still being enjoyable to old players and any individual afterwards.

    4e is less I take 1level of this and 3levels of this and now I can breath fire once every 1d4-1 rounds. To be a game were my character can be good at his classs even if he is not ment to be.
    They removed the -2modifiers along with LA's but that is for players to have more fun so you can play that Bardic, Half-Orc

    The difference is they are supposed to show a evolution by being different; unique and thats probably 4e's greatest asset

    Thats my take as a guy that only played 3 & 3.5 several years ago never bought books but decided to go back and jumped straight in with 4e
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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Playstyle differences between 3.5e and 4th?

    If your DM already has access to the DMG, reading it may help his apprehension. It and the DMG2 are some very well-written books that try to offer suggestions on HOW to DM rather than just throwing out a ton of game rules. It's not perfect (skill challenges can easily become a mess, even with the attempts they've made to tweak them), but I think any DM can find useful ideas to consider for almost any system.

    Except Paranoia. Paranoia's practically about being a BAD DM but it's ok because everyone's along for the ride on purpose.
    Now with half the calories!

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