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Thread: 4e Essentials

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    Default 4e Essentials

    I have never played or DM'ed 4e, even though I have collected all the PDF's of all the books. I think I was so bummed by the drastic departure from 3x that I never really dived in. I found Pathfinder that held me over till 5e.

    I was always puzzled by the Essentials line. What exactly was the point? Was it supposed to be a means of making 4e more palatable to D20'ers? Did it allow some variance from the strict level/power pegging of "real" 4e? I think I remember seeing that wizards actually had spell books (gasp!)

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    4e wizards always had spellbooks, so kindly take your condescension elsewhere. Though yeah, if you're looking for a D&D edition that makes martial characters progressively more terrible as they gain levels while the more magical types get an ever-expanding tool of broken tricks, Essentials was the release that introduced that concept to 4e.

    Anyway, the primary purpose of Essentials was, depending on how cynical you are, either a simpler introductory product for new players who got lost in the complexity of AEDU powers, a desperate attempt to backpedal on every good change 4e made in order to appeal to a bunch of people who had already sworn ten thousand years of unwavering hatred upon it, or a nefarious scheme cooked up by Mike Mearls to prematurely kill the edition that he personally didn't like so he could get the green light to make a new one. (I suspect it's a combination of the first two, but the conspiracy theory is much more fun.)
    Last edited by Lanaya; 2019-08-17 at 02:35 PM.

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    I pretty much agree with Lanaya's take. It was also an attempt at a softer reboot than 3.0 to 3.5. The goal was to make a new introductory point that never explicitly invalidated the previous content. Sure, there was a lot of errata as part of it, but there was always a lot of errata. The trouble was the writing never really knew how to play well with what came before. As a result, you had multiple versions of classes loosely repackaged as subclasses of each other that often retroactively needed to be renamed as such.

    The biggest example, for me, of this difficulty reconciling post-Essentials and pre-Essentials is the Bladesinger, which came out in the Neverwinter Campaign Setting guide. Now it's not the greatest class, but it manages to emulate the sword and spell gish feeling pretty well. Now, the Swordmage came out several years earlier in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. It's not the same, by any means, but it's certainly as close as any Essentials class to it's o-version. But the Bladesinger isn't a Swordmage, it's a Wizard. I understand it has been a Wizard build in just about every other version of the game, but those versions don't have Swordmage as a class to share feats and powers with.

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanaya View Post
    4e wizards always had spellbooks, so kindly take your condescension elsewhere. Though yeah, if you're looking for a D&D edition that makes martial characters progressively more terrible as they gain levels while the more magical types get an ever-expanding tool of broken tricks, Essentials was the release that introduced that concept to 4e.

    Anyway, the primary purpose of Essentials was, depending on how cynical you are, either a simpler introductory product for new players who got lost in the complexity of AEDU powers, a desperate attempt to backpedal on every good change 4e made in order to appeal to a bunch of people who had already sworn ten thousand years of unwavering hatred upon it, or a nefarious scheme cooked up by Mike Mearls to prematurely kill the edition that he personally didn't like so he could get the green light to make a new one. (I suspect it's a combination of the first two, but the conspiracy theory is much more fun.)
    I was trying to be funny, not condescending. And I fully admit ignorance of 4e. I'm sorry if I offended.

    My impressions of 4e were that all abilities got shoe-horned into the AEDU "powers" framework, and that at every level, everything got pegged at that level, regardless of your class. I recall when 4e was announced, it was proclaimed that 4e would provide something D&D had never had: "perfect game balance." It just struck me that "perfect game balance" worked out as "perfect lock step". If that wasn't the case, by all means, educate me.

    That said, what were the best things about 4e? Was the Essentials line really that bad?

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    Good / Bad - as always, is a thing decided by the beholder.

    What Essentials did (as objectively as I can):

    (A) create some new forms for some classes
    Some [martial] classes were vastly simplified and lost [Daily] powers - the purpose... well, that can go from : an interesting take on making the classes simple and more stream-lined for players wanting fewer options when building their characters and at the table during play... all the way to : appease the haters by making [martial] strictly inferior to [arcane]

    Most [caster] classes kept the same level of complexity, and some even got buffs! (that were not required, like, at all) BUT! later on, we got the Element Sorceror which is a very straight-forward caster (~same complexity level as Essential [martial]).

    All these new classes worked very well together and with past ones IF you stayed in the Heroic Tier. After that, some cracks start to show up in many cases.

    General player agency was brought down : particularly in the form of Rituals being removed from assumed play

    Some of the BEST monster books EVER : Threats to the Nentir Vale isn't worth 200$+ on eBay for nothin' - same for DM box... Wish I'd bought two of each!

    Some much, much better adventure design : Reaver's of Harkenwold is a top tier adventure by any metric

    Create a good deal of involuntary(?) "chaff" : they introduced many options that were, straight-up better than anything that had come before. This had the side effect of making many previous options "traps"

    Introduced a completely new Magic Item acquisition/management paradigm
    Before, all items were available to be crafted (depending on DM setting parameters - a point often glossed over...) and or sold/bought with regards to their power level as the only variable.

    Players had a number of available activation of [Daily] powers, no matter how many items they possessed.

    Most items were fairly narrow in their power offerings - most items did the one thing.

    With essentials : a new system of "rarity" was introduced where only [Common] could be crafted or bought. So a new metric, orthogonal to Level. (Full disclosure: I was not happy with this...)

    Selling / disenchanting items gave a different return based on rarity.

    Pretty much everything from before Essentials became [Uncommon] - which can pose some problems...

    You can activate as many things as you possess, there is no longer any character-based limit.

    [Rare] items are often much more powerful (at the same level) as [Uncommon], and the same for [Common] - but not always (which leads to problems...)

    Important note
    Any and all of the changes brought had positive and negative effects. On the whole, I like what they did for many classes, loved the adventures, really liked the items they added, hated the rarity system (like... hated that), greatly disliked the removal of Rituals.

    Also, I disliked the new presentation - so much white space! SO MUCH! And the books... Augh!
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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    Just to add to MoutonRustique's comments- the new item rarity (and item distribution system in particular) was so bad that several of the devs recommended against actually using them.

    The item issue clearly fit into the same category as some of the Essentials classes- designed to make 4e more palatable to players of previous editions, but in the case of items, it was designed to make them more palatable to DMs who wanted more control over the items that PCs got. The items themselves are fine, the rarity piece was bad, and the distribution system, terrible.

    It should also be noted that the most common method of organized play- Living Forgotten Realms- had its own item distribution system. It made some accommodations for item rarity, but gives the players a lot more choice as to what items they got versus the official recommendations.

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    To answer the other question (what are the best things about 4e):

    Race actually matters: 4e races are readily apparent during play, largely because of their racial encounter powers. The dragonborn's dragon breath, the eladrin's fey step, the elf's elven accuracy, and the tiefling's hellish rebuke, different races play differently compared to 3e/5e where mostly you get some passive benefits that you write down and forget about (mostly ability / skill bonuses).

    Everyone contributes: As long as you put your highest ability score in whatever is favored by your class, it is really hard to make a bad character in 4e. Everyone has abilities that do more than "I deal damage", like moving the enemy around, granting bonuses/penalties, stunning, etc. The role system (Defender, Striker, Leader, Controller) means that everyone has an area that they are good at, which was a problem for some classes, like bard, in other systems where they are sort of ok at everything, but never as good as someone else. Outside of combat, the broader skills and the extra skills helps everyone to have areas where they can contribute.

    Less reliance on a cleric: The healing surge system means that your endurance is not tied to a healer who can restore your hit points. Hit points represent your short-term endurance whereas healing surges represent long-term endurance. Leaders help with the former, but not as much at the latter, so your adventuring day is roughly the same length regardless of whether you have a leader or not. Also, besides the divine leader (cleric), there are also martial leaders (warlord), arcane leaders (bard), and psionic leaders (ardent) and all of them are pretty good at healing, so there are other options for healers besides just the cleric or druid. The warlord in particular emphasizes all of the nice things that martials could get, but don't in other editions.

    Easy Encounter Building: Simply pick 1 monster per PC of approximately their level and you have a balanced encounter (with 4 minions being equal to 1 monster and elites being 2 monsters). Multiple monsters is the default. This makes it really easy to scale to more/fewer players and you don't have to worry about any of that fussy multiple monster multipliers that you have in 3e/5e.

    Don't need to look up stuff: PCs can usually fit the extra information they need about their class / powers on a single sheet for reference (and many people use index cards for their powers) and its rare for them to need to lookup anything else, even at higher levels. Everything for a monster is contained in its stat-block so you don't need to lookup how the mephit's heat metal works (to use an example from my last campaign). This helps keep things moving.

    Also, there was a thread started recently about the differences between 4e and 3e/5e over here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeda View Post
    Everyone contributes
    This is probably the single most important advantage of 4e (with the possible exception of easy encounter building making the DM side of things much easier), and I think it bears elaborating on.

    4e powers seem similar at first glance, partially because they've all got a similar power level compared to other classes. However, what look like subtle differences in the powers behave very differently in play, and this opens up a lot of synergies ripe for player cooperation (this is why 4e has the best tactical combat of any edition). So the dragonborn can use dragon breath on an area, but in preparation for that the Fighter can drag an enemy into the blast radius, the Warlord can slide the Fighter back out of the blast radius, and the Ranger can hit the boss with an arrow in the knee both to do massive damage and to make sure he can't get out of the way quickly enough.

    Now sure, you can cooperate like that in any edition. But 4e makes it both easy and effective. I'm not exaggerating when I say the party will pull of a trick like the above in almost every fight of the campaign (though that was a slightly elaborate example), and sometimes multiple times per fight. (Pro Tip: lining up minions so someone can push one into another, causing them to knock each other out (or shatter in the case of skeletons), may eventually stop being hilarious, but my group never reached that point. It's bowling for minions!)
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    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    My impressions of 4e were that all abilities got shoe-horned into the AEDU "powers" framework, and that at every level, everything got pegged at that level, regardless of your class.
    If you look at the class features of any other edition, they all had a lot of very similar wording. In 5e, you'll see a lot of features that you can't use again until you finish a short or long rest, and in 3.5 a lot classes had features that were daily or had a certain number of uses per day. 4th edition codified that language into an easier framework in the AEDU structure. Now the rate at which classes attained features was uniform, but the features (powers) were unique and defining in a way that 3.5's BAB and bonus feats never could be.

    3.5 did not have as much class identity as 4th.
    Last edited by bloodshed343; 2019-08-18 at 05:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    I was trying to be funny, not condescending. And I fully admit ignorance of 4e. I'm sorry if I offended.

    My impressions of 4e were that all abilities got shoe-horned into the AEDU "powers" framework, and that at every level, everything got pegged at that level, regardless of your class. I recall when 4e was announced, it was proclaimed that 4e would provide something D&D had never had: "perfect game balance." It just struck me that "perfect game balance" worked out as "perfect lock step". If that wasn't the case, by all means, educate me.

    That said, what were the best things about 4e? Was the Essentials line really that bad?
    I certainly agree with a lot of the other posts. Everyone contributes, ease of DMing, accessibility of info/not having to look things up. The one other thing about the AEDU system that I really enjoyed was that character concept was no longer linked to complexity of play. For most of D&D, and most RPGs, frankly, the recommendation is for new players to play martial types because they're easy. Magic is a system on top of the basic system that you get to play once you've mastered the basics. Now, I'm not opposed to simpler and more complex classes, but I'm really tired of easy martials and complex casters. 4e gave me Fighters and Wizards that were equally accessible to my new players and equally engaging for my advanced players in a way no other edition has.

    As to "perfect balance," I think that's an exaggeration that was never really meant. "A lot more game balance" is certainly the case. The unified power structure is only part of that, however. A lot of it comes from the rules being written in a more effects-based manner. This means more of what is out there can be measured with an apples to apples comparison.

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    I always disliked daily powers so a class like the slayer fighter really worked for me as getting all sorts of minor abilities and things that boost basic attacks was really cool. Now if you could just give it free access to fighter encounter powers it would be pretty sweet (that and change fighter encounter powers to essentially be the same but use basic attacks which probably be a good idea if they thought of it from the start but oh well).

    The line would have been better received if it had come first. By the time this line came out a bunch of 4e fans had put a lot of value in AEDU (at will, encounter, daily, utility powers) design that when they started to experiment with going outside of it, such as by making two fighters with no daily powers, there were a bunch of people who decided this was going to be 4.5 (thus invalidating the older material) or a concession that they were "going to go back, to something done previously.

    Personally I find them as the design team experimenting with new design ideas much like how in 3e you started to get things like warlocks, incarnum, ToM, and ToB.

    One good thing about many of the classes released at that time and later is that they tend to have a higher optimization floor while also having a lower ceiling so they tend to be pretty good but you will not be making most of them into the most powerful stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoutonRustique View Post
    Good / Bad - as always, is a thing decided by the beholder.

    What Essentials did (as objectively as I can):
    Good list. I'd like to add,
    • Gameplay of most classes other than the wizard revolves around melee basic attacks. This is not meant as an insult; WOTC noticed that certain players prefer this.
    • Restoration of some sacred cows, e.g. that magic missile autohits, all blast-type wizard spells deal half damage on a miss, or that hours-lasting buff spells exist now.
    • A couple of spells that have effects decided by the DM, such as Charm Person. This proved pretty controversial.
    • In addition to the flavor text (which describes what a power does) and its name (which also describes what a power does), each power now gets an additional paragraph of description (which, again, describes what a power does).
    • The promise that certain non-book material (e.g. a dice set and some map tiles) would FOREVER be available in stores. Nobody cared, and it was quietly removed from stores.
    • Almost zero material for paragon or epic tier, because according to WOTC, pretty much nobody played that. There are no paragon or epic feats any more.
    • Magic items would not be bought or crafted (except commons), but only found in randomized packages. As stated, this rule was SO BAD that the devs themselves adviced to not use it.
    • The new rule for skill challenges says that they can only have two outcomes: either the PCs win, OR the PCs win with a minor penalty to the next combat. Of course, good DMs ignored this change.
    • Numerous splatbooks were promised and then quietly withdrawn; this had not happened earlier except to the PHB Races line.
    • Some of the worst classes ever printed. Where most e-classes are fine, the books also include the much-maligned binder, sentinel, and vampire...
    • Class powers and items, as a whole, are clearly weaker than in the earlier books. While that's not a problem if you're playing just essentials, it has the effect that (e.g.) a PHB1-wizard will basically ignore HOFL, whereas a HOFL-wizard will want as many PHB1/AP spells and items as possible.
    • They actually tried a second simultaneous organized-play program, focusing on shorter sessions and disallowing older books. This, too, was largely ignored.
    • A new introductory boxed set, that was released early and turned out not actually compatible with the new books.
    • And let's not forget: Fortune Cards! You could get a deck of random bonuses with your character, which would imbalance the game, slow down combat, and prove hugely impopular. Whoops!
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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The new rule for skill challenges says that they can only have two outcomes: either the PCs win, OR the PCs win with a minor penalty to the next combat. Of course, good DMs ignored this change.
    My read of that rule was actually more of a "fail forward", e.g. "Failing the skill challenge does not stop/prevent progress of the plot; failure advances the plot in a way that is not ideal for the PCs". Extremely often, in 4e SCs as-written, the plot doesn't move on until the skill challenge is won (which is dumb because why should failing thrice reset your progress if you're traveling unless there's something super weird that teleports you back, like the Mournland or Traveler's Curse in Eberron). It seemed to me that the "errata" there was more in line with telling GMs that this design was a dumb thing: if your players need to unlock a complicated trapped door in order to progress, success means "we got through without it blowing up!" while "failure" means that all of the traps blow up at once, bringing the door down with them (rather than blowing up in the PCs faces and forcing them to try again).

    In general, while I love SCs, pretty much none of the SC rules as written were useful to me. It's an awesome idea with a terrible implementation that they never bothered to create better iterations of (e.g. they tried to update the rules rather than write a completely new set of them).
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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    "removed" as I've said this before, we'll all said this before ;) - but didn't want to just delete it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePurple View Post
    In general, while I love SCs, pretty much none of the SC rules as written were useful to me. It's an awesome idea with a terrible implementation that they never bothered to create better iterations of (e.g. they tried to update the rules rather than write a completely new set of them).
    The Skill Challenge is such that the only way to properly convey how it works is with examples - exactly like encounter building, adventure building, etc. Process discussion is important, once you want to become better. But, to start out, mimicry and inductive reasoning are the way to go.

    And then, we got offered what we were offered. (KotSF...)

    Obviously, as with all things, some will have an "instinctual" understanding of how to use it well - but that's not the paradigm you want when teaching something...
    Last edited by MoutonRustique; 2019-08-19 at 10:50 AM.
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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    Ok, so I get why some players (especially with completely-martial characters) really liked 4e. The "powers" are way more colorful and descriptive (and more power-ful) then when they get even in 5e. I do like fighting style tho :)

    Has there been an attempt at folding some of the 4e-ish "exploits" back into 5e? Hopefully in some sort of balanced way.

    I'm trying to get (re)familiar with 4e, as I'm coming up with a bit of a "Frankengame" using the best elements of all versions.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    Ok, so I get why some players (especially with completely-martial characters) really liked 4e. The "powers" are way more colorful and descriptive (and more power-ful) then when they get even in 5e. I do like fighting style tho :)

    Has there been an attempt at folding some of the 4e-ish "exploits" back into 5e? Hopefully in some sort of balanced way.

    I'm trying to get (re)familiar with 4e, as I'm coming up with a bit of a "Frankengame" using the best elements of all versions.

    Thanks!
    You might have better luck asking that in the 5e board. Not all of us here follow 5e design.

    That said, I do know that Rob Schwalb made a 5e version of the Warlord. I haven't actually read it, though, so I don't know exactly what it brings to the table. Find it here: https://schwalbentertainment.com/201...s-the-warlord/

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    Yeah, warlord is (anecdotally) the most popular thing to port from 4e to 5e. People love the hell out of the warlord.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    Yeah, warlord is (anecdotally) the most popular thing to port from 4e to 5e. People love the hell out of the warlord.
    I was thinking more of the various exploits that a fighter gets. Something to make a "plain" fighter not-so-plain.

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    That sounds like the battlemaster fighter. Can you go into detail about what's missing from battlemaster?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    That sounds like the battlemaster fighter. Can you go into detail about what's missing from battlemaster?
    I'm not a big fan of the "superiority dice", or other mechanics that have just been bolted-on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    That sounds like the battlemaster fighter. Can you go into detail about what's missing from battlemaster?
    Battlemasters' limited resources (Superiority Dice) work great for their offensive tricks because they're an extension of their already offense-oriented shtick. A Warlord is the opposite; support shtick with offense on the side, so limited Superiority Dice do a poor job of replicating that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    Battlemasters' limited resources (Superiority Dice) work great for their offensive tricks because they're an extension of their already offense-oriented shtick. A Warlord is the opposite; support shtick with offense on the side, so limited Superiority Dice do a poor job of replicating that.
    That's true, but the OP was interested in Fighter, not my side commentary:

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    I was thinking more of the various exploits that a fighter gets. Something to make a "plain" fighter not-so-plain.
    So, Paladinn, you want something more tactically interesting for all fighters to do? Or are you thinking a new fighter subclass? If it's the first, I'd be concerned that it'd throw off balance against other classes. For a new subclass without tacking on new mechanics ... ooh, that's tough. How could you generate more options without going outside the existing framework of the game? I may still be misunderstanding what you're looking for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    That's true, but the OP was interested in Fighter, not my side commentary:



    So, Paladinn, you want something more tactically interesting for all fighters to do? Or are you thinking a new fighter subclass? If it's the first, I'd be concerned that it'd throw off balance against other classes. For a new subclass without tacking on new mechanics ... ooh, that's tough. How could you generate more options without going outside the existing framework of the game? I may still be misunderstanding what you're looking for.
    Fighter subclasses (especially ranger and paladin) have always been viewed as superior to "generic" fighters, especially in OSR games. I'm trying to glean the best elements of multiple versions to graft onto an OSR-style chassis. I've heard that 4e has been the most fighter-friendly, so I'm trying to see what I can grab from there too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    That sounds like the battlemaster fighter. Can you go into detail about what's missing from battlemaster?
    Battlemaster's not conceptually all that different from a 4e fighter, but there is a gigantic difference in execution, namely that battlemaster is entirely limp in comparison. Where's the Come and Get It, the Rain of Steel, the Anvil of Doom, the Dust Storm Assault? Battlemaster gives you a bunch of 4e fighter at-wills (and a couple warlord at-wills, I suppose), and then makes you pay encounter resources to use them. Its ceiling of cool, the maximum amount of awesome the class is allowed, is equal to the 4e fighter's floor.

    So for the OP: look through the fighter's power list and see the kinds of stuff they can do in 4e. Give them that kind of stuff in 5e too. And for goodness' sakes give them higher-level options, that's one of the things that cripples the whole battlemaster concept. You get all your best tricks at level 1, then spend the rest of your career picking up maneuvers that weren't good enough for your starting character to want them. High level wizards get access to cooler tricks than low level wizards, fighters deserve the same.

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    Oof. That's a tall order. I think you'll find that a large portion of what makes Fighter good in 4e violates the OSR preference for verisimilitude, for physics that are mostly believable when magic isn't involved. (And sometimes even when it is. I mean, AD&D Fireball spell talking about pressure and cubic footage is ... yeesh.)

    What makes 4e Fighter good ... Well, right off the bat, 4eF is way more skilled than previous editions. "Athletics" being a single proficiency rather than separate climb/swim/run/jump/etc. makes that difference all by itself, and that's far from their only noncombat skill. 4eF is sticky; escaping from her reach will hurt if you can even accomplish it at all. 4eF has control of a combat, able to change positioning for herself, her allies and her foes; knock prone; restrict movement; take away enemy actions. 4eF can focus on toughness very easily, using nothing but class abilities. 4eF looks competent right from first level.

    4eF benefits from the edition's much stronger focus on interaction between characters, too, and her ability to take advantage of her allies' maneuvers will also leave a positive impression of the class -- but that's not something that you can port to an OSR game without changing everything.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    I'm not that familiar with the destination system, but marking plus mark punishments seem very portable to me even for a realism-based system. So does some amount of forced movement (pushing, slides adjacent to the fighter) and proning, and maybe even some sort of dazing/stunning analogs (via blows to the head).

    I don't see Come and Get It making the cut, but making a class with good damage output (especially if enemies try to ignore them), good toughness, and a lot of influence over their immediate surroundings seems very doable.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    I did notice that a lot of 4e fighter "powers" (still sounds weird saying that) have a lot to do with the mat: pushing back so many "squares", etc. I want as little to do with a mat as possible. OSR games weren't mat-dependent, nor is 5e (hypothetically).

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    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    I did notice that a lot of 4e fighter "powers" (still sounds weird saying that) have a lot to do with the mat: pushing back so many "squares", etc. I want as little to do with a mat as possible. OSR games weren't mat-dependent, nor is 5e (hypothetically).
    Calling them "powers" is a bit weird; if it bugs you, the specific term for martial powers was "exploits".
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    Calling them "powers" is a bit weird; if it bugs you, the specific term for martial powers was "exploits".
    I'd prefer "tactics", but whatever..lol

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: 4e Essentials

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    I did notice that a lot of 4e fighter "powers" (still sounds weird saying that) have a lot to do with the mat: pushing back so many "squares", etc. I want as little to do with a mat as possible. OSR games weren't mat-dependent, nor is 5e (hypothetically).
    I think a lot of that can be handled with engagement manipulation. E.g. the fighter is able to forcibly disengage the monster from his archer buddy so the archer can easily reestablish range, or the fighter can swing the monster around so it's engaged with the rogue as well as the fighter.

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