Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

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Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Ozymandius » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:53 am

Alright, now that I've played everything online save for some of the content at The Summoning I wanted to ask a question that has been nagging at the back of my head for a while. Apparently after I got the newest books for 4th Edition I realized that this game is "Dead on Arrival." It doesn't really provide any challenge, it's boring and the stories are not even engaging, the Living Greyhawk system at least kept me somewhat interested.

Don't get me wrong I like the 4th Edition "mechanics system" just not the campaign setting. I mean Forgotten Realms is supposed to be complex and convoluted not simple and trite. Unfortunately that is what it has been reduced to and it really does not inspire me to continue playing after the Summoning.

So the question I'm going to ask is simple:

"If the game is so radically different why does every module follow the same format: 'Introduction' 'Skill Challenge' 'Fight' 'Fight' 'Rest' 'Fight'?"

I mean come on at least Sean Molley's module had more than that it was fun because it was not the same formula, what is going on here?
- Philip Slama

"Sex is like the death penalty. One outcome, multiple ways to carry it out," -Stephen Colbert.

"OMG I can't believe I just got censored on LC.net!!!111 IS ADOLFO SEEING THIS sh*t!!!" -TheWorldsGreatestWarrior.

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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Needles » Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:46 pm

I think someone turned in a mod that was somewhere around 60, or 70 pages, and someone in Wotc said it would be greater mod if it were 32 pages. That is what I have heard. You can start a group of people flaming wotc about how terrible the stories in the mods are. As it stands, the mods are easy to DM and that is what wotc is going for. IMHO
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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Ozymandius » Tue Sep 30, 2008 3:17 pm

That was Sean Molley's module.
- Philip Slama

"Sex is like the death penalty. One outcome, multiple ways to carry it out," -Stephen Colbert.

"OMG I can't believe I just got censored on LC.net!!!111 IS ADOLFO SEEING THIS sh*t!!!" -TheWorldsGreatestWarrior.

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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Dwraith » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:53 pm

i am really not expecting much of the campaign for a while. Was LG good when it first started?
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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Needles » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:16 pm

You've got a point, the mods where not as complex as they were in the end of LG compared to the beginning. They are about the same in complexity as they are now with LFR. Swamp things and the like were not much to DM. Like LFR, they were simple to play. :D
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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Ozymandius » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:03 am

What? I remember having to run SO many PoU and Core modules for Ralph, The Godfather of DnD in Miami, when I started back in 2001 and the games at least had an intriguing plot that didn't put me to sleep and the modules weren't all designed with the same procedure.

Besides, you should expect more from LFR...

Why? Because the same people who ran LG are running LFR in many place and the Circle members are entrenched in the new system, they should know better than this but they do nothing. We'll see what happens.

After MegaCon I'm going to submit a one rounder to the Waterdeep region complete with background, story and what not and see what happens to it. I'll let you all know.
- Philip Slama

"Sex is like the death penalty. One outcome, multiple ways to carry it out," -Stephen Colbert.

"OMG I can't believe I just got censored on LC.net!!!111 IS ADOLFO SEEING THIS sh*t!!!" -TheWorldsGreatestWarrior.

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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Dwraith » Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:21 pm

i also have a plot i plan to submit. Still working out location, but i plan to write a series with the hopes of one mod to become a special... we will see...
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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby thetrickygnome » Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:59 am

Mario, I do not want to dash your hopes but having seen some documentation sent to me from
someone on the inside with regards to the requirements for writing for LFR, I would not go for
a series. It was specifically stated in the document that based on the guidelines and the number
of regional mods to be done per year, planning a series is not conducive to getting your mod ideas
approved. Your best bet is to go for a one-shot mod. Trust me on this.

I would love to write a mod as well but I think that 4.0 does a poor job of design control for NPCs
that are underlings. It's like that mod where you had the NPC called the "Bigger Bossman" or something
from the bar. The guy has abilities that are nto found in any specific books, does not subscribe to
any specific template. He is apparently made up to be unique in what he can do. The problem I have
with this is that without some template or base to go by, how does a writer create and adjudicate
the abilities that these "unique NPCs" can have? If you give them PC abilities then the NPC becomes
an elite creature, thus throwing off the whole XP scale for the encounter because of the XP pool that
is allowed. On average, when you take an NPC that is an average challenge and make him an elite
creature, the XP you get for defeating him doubles. D&D 3.5 may have been a statistical nightmare
for statting out and advancing creatures but I enjoyed the fact that there were templates to follow &
justify what you gave them. In 3.5, at least you could reverse engineer the math to see how you got
from point A to point b xlearly. In 4.0, with unique NPCs, this is not the case and it's pretty damned
annoying.

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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Warduke » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:11 pm

If you give them PC abilities then the NPC becomes an elite creature


Cbeck out the DMG pages 187-188. You can make an NPC with PC abilities without making them an Elite.
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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Ozymandius » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:18 pm

I agree that you should not bill it as a series, it is a deal-breaker in the writing world of WotC. Instead write a stand alone episode that COULD be used as a lead in to the next module. Yes it is not an official series but instead you keep many of the NPCs the players have already come in contact with.

Sort of like what was done in several of the Blackmoor modules. We keep introducing Malanthias over and over and over even though he's not involved in several of the series, but it's someone you know and how they would react. That's just the basis.

Stand-alones work better, and if its a success then you can attempt to tie it to the next episode you write if possible.
- Philip Slama

"Sex is like the death penalty. One outcome, multiple ways to carry it out," -Stephen Colbert.

"OMG I can't believe I just got censored on LC.net!!!111 IS ADOLFO SEEING THIS sh*t!!!" -TheWorldsGreatestWarrior.

Email: Finn_Durandall@Hotmail.com

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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Needles » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:26 pm

I think that in 4E the designers had the idea that at one level you use such and such creatures, and at the next level you use a whole new set of creatures. Another idea is to add more powerful creatures to the mix as you scale up in levels, Instead of scaling the creatures.

The idea that you can scale a creature to new CR's is gone. I think the reason is for something like this. In 3.5, if you scale a creature that was a 6 CR to 14. The creature is unbalanced, characters easily die, and people complained. Scaling creatures is not easy. misteak's happen and characters get killed more often that way.

I think if you make a Drow module for instance, to make it many different levels so many characters can go through it. You need not to scale the creature's, but make each encounter for each different level with more creature's as you go up in levels. That way, as you have different levels, the Drow have more powerful creatures with them as the levels increase. That is thinking in 4E terms from what I get reading the books.
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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby thetrickygnome » Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:27 pm

Cbeck out the DMG pages 187-188. You can make an NPC with PC abilities without making them an Elite.


I have and I understand what you are sayign but I am tlaking about specifically unique creatures with
unique abilities and powers that do not conform to any template or book out there and again I refer
to the big bossman thug from the bar in one of the modules. The guy had around 200-300 hit points
and an ability to stun you, knock down multiple PCs with a flurry of attacks, and then attack you again
if you met a special condition that could result due to one of his previous attacks. I wish I had a copy
of the mod so that I could explain it to you guys better but I hope some of you reading this understand
where I am going with this. Another example is the Monster Manual - look at the examples that deal
specifically with NPCS that have special arcane powers or unique attacks with specific weapons like the
halberd that PCs do not get. My point is, how does a writer adjudicate what kind of power to give an
NPC if the for example, I wanted to give an NPC a bad ass special attack with a quarterstaff that is
not in any of the books? Furthermore, there was a mod where some fighter types had a special power
that allowed them to immediately attack anyone with a basic attack if that person either missed them
or just attacked them ( I forget which one it was ). That ability is not specific to the creatures race as
it is listed in the Monster Manual so it is not a racial power and yet it had it. As a writer, it's good to be
given free reign to be mroe creative but you still need some structure and for special NPCs with unique
abilities, the system set up to build them really sucks and makes it too much of a guessing game and I
really don't like that.

I know how to advance monsters in 4.0 already. It is way easier than 3.5 but special NPCs is another
story entirely. In the latter, they dropped the ball IMHO.

Signed- Rene' Alfonso

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Re: Can Someone Explain the Insanity?

Postby Ozymandius » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:26 am

I know the module you are referring to Rene and when I ran it I laughed my ass off when I got to that boss. Every player looked at me and called me a cheater, said I wasn't playing fair and that the bad guy didn't have those abilities.

I looked them straight in the eye and handed over the module and let them look at him. They were surprised that he could actually do all that. Then I said to them, why is it so hard to believe that a guy like this exists in 4.0? I mean we did this to you all the time in 3.5 in Blackmoor (i.e. Stissel Lixx, Garthropods, Raddan Goss, Trophimus, Malanthias, Col the Clockwork Inquisitor, Afridhi, Baron Morley, etc.) and you took it all in stride while you complained because you also got to knock them around.

All of a sudden in 4.0 when you come up against an enemy with "UNKNOWN" powers and abilities you cry foul and claim the game is cheating you? Deal with that sh*t people because it's only going to get worse as they continue to build more and more uniques.

Look at it this way:

I'm afraid of the Beholder, Nightwalker and the Avatar of Death in the new Monster Manual. But I'm even MORE AFRAID of UNIQUE BOSSES that the authors can come up with because their attacks and powers are unique and unknown to me. I can't predict them, I know nothing of them and that scares my rational mind and my ability to predict their actions. You guys don't realize you are truly playing a game of World of Warcraft in this new edition. Right now you are learning how to fight the SCRUBS of the system, but when you get into the instance (the big fights) you have to fight the big boss who is UNIQUE with UNIQUE POWERS and UNIQUE ABILITIES and he won't pull punches on you.

I just think it's funny as hell.

I got complaints out the ying-yang, as I'm sure Rene did when we did this in 3.5 because "it didn't conform to the game" but in 4.0 this is how the game works (at-will, encounter, daily, utility powers) and you still complain even knowing it.

You guys gotta get over it, soon your character is going to have to bite the bullet and take it int he keister and die. It's going to happen, no question. The real question is are you going to bitch like a woman (no offense Monica) or are you going to take it like a man (no offense Ralph, The Godfather of DnD in Miami,)?

Trust me, once you break into the Paragon tier death will be commonplace for you. How does that saying go?

If at first you don't succeed, build another character that will?
- Philip Slama

"Sex is like the death penalty. One outcome, multiple ways to carry it out," -Stephen Colbert.

"OMG I can't believe I just got censored on LC.net!!!111 IS ADOLFO SEEING THIS sh*t!!!" -TheWorldsGreatestWarrior.

Email: Finn_Durandall@Hotmail.com


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