My Lament

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Re: My Lament

Postby grey » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:35 pm

yeah that's why I stayed away from divinatory magic with my lg wizard. being focused in conjuration and necromancy was more enjoyable for me anyways. divination was too easy to abuse.

I got more satisfaction out of doing a rapid enlarge, polymorph(fire giant) and brilliant energy blade of greg walker than just trying to rip the mod apart myself.
sure the horrid wiltings were cool. but i enjoyed that spell combo and summoning monsters. sorry.
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Re: My Lament

Postby Peewee » Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:02 pm

I know what you mean Mario...

I don't know how many times I played Harly and just watched the wizard cast a few spells and end a fight...

I had to ask him to let me kill something... once....

Val was not under powered.. at all.. yet I would see wizards and clerics (Laz's cleric for example) end combats in the first round.. wow that was fun :::yawn::

And to PJ...

Ok see you see Roleplaying diffrenly then I do... A character is not a collection of stats, but the personality behind the stats.. I play Chillhiadrin like the old chillhiadrin if not more reckless... and my Drow is nothing like Chillhiadrin.

Roleplaying is NOT limited by 4e.. its limited by the player
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Re: My Lament

Postby thetrickygnome » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:11 pm

Ramon, this is my opinion and I emphasize "opinion". The reason you could do what you did in 3.5 with
the "no magic items" and "no damage inflict" character in 3.5 is specifically because the 3.5 system at
the higher levels and even to a degree the lower levels was heavily in favor of the PC in terms of magic,
magic items, rules, ect. You could get away with this because if the 5 other people at the table had their
PCs even moderately cranked up powerful, it was not unheard of to buff up a fighter as was done in the
Oasis BI that I wrote, and have him single-handedly plow through some very nasty foes. In 4.0 however,
you do not have the benefit of the massive buffs of 3.5 to make other PCs so incredibly powerful that
your need to enter combat or deal damage or be anything more than a buffer or skills expert is null and
void. In 4.0 and if I am wrong in the future I will admit to being so in my assumption but if you came in
with the same "oh, I'm going to play a non-damaging and purely buff character" you will get your ass
handed to you quickly and often, especially in the higher tiers. I'm not saying you would necessarily die
but I can almost gaurantee that you would not fair as well and probably get beaten down alot more. I am
not saying you can't roleplay and that you are strictly a powergamer but the bottom line is when I sat at
tables with you, you did roleplay alot but you also power gamed like mad.

4.0 even the scales alot more between PCs and foes - bottom line and personally, I like it that way. I like
playing a game where when I get to high levels I am still as important and useful as any other PC,
wizards, clerics, and warlocks included and often times without the need for as many buffs as 3.5. In
this respect, I don't mind a tough fight because at least I know it's balanced.

Lastly Ramon, your view of 4.0, while shared by others, is not shared by all and if it is not for you then
just don't play it. When Greg was running "Rolling Thunder" at my house we were talking about this and
I just said " If anyone does not like 4.0 or any other gaming system then I would rather they simply not
play it than sit at a table of players who want to play it and complain about it and say how much they
hate the game." Greg looked at me, smiled, handed my his bottle of liquoir and told me to take a shot
because that was exactly as it should be.

Bottom line - no one is forcing anyone to play 4.0. Play it if you like it or avoid it if you don't. The merits
and flaws of the system are certainly worthy of debate but for now I enjoy playing 4.0 but I don't disrespect
the opinions of those who feel otherwise and you are certaily entitled to it.

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Re: My Lament

Postby Ozymandius » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:40 pm

Wow Rene, you got taken in by Greg's cool demeanor and response to your comment.

"If anyone does not like 4.0 or any other gaming system then I would rather they simply not play it than sit at a table of players who want to play it and complain about it and say how much they hate the game."


Just because Greg has not said anything publicly about the system that has not stopped him from discussing its merits in private. The reason this discussion is taking place here on the boards is because the 3.5 system has been supplemented by the 4.0 system with the only other options being continuing to play 3.5 or convert to the 3.75 system instead.

I have not complained once at any of the games I have judged or played at, in fact Peter can attest to the fact that I tried to bring the players into the game and gave them more than ample opportunities to roleplay their characters throughout the course of the game.

Ramon and I are making the complaint that because the shift is mandatory it places us in a difficult position as module authors. We could continue writing in 3.5 using the D20 SRD, try to learn the 3.75 rules or write in the 4.0 system. We are looking at this from the perspective of the authors, not the players, because ultimately it comes down to the fact that someone has to write these adventures.

The views that the 3.5 complexity cut down on roleplaying is ridiculous, point-in-case it gave players who were weak in roleplaying more of a chance to develop their character background based on the "mechanics" of their adventurer.

The Blackmoor episodes that everyone continues to talk about simply threw the established rules out the window and several of us operated on three simple rules:

1. Wound the players but don't kill them.
2. Does this story have an intriguing plot?
3. Would I want to play this?

If you can answer those questions when you write a module, regardless of system, you will be successful. However in 4.0 it becomes difficult to implement the first point. Current modules in LFR fail to answer "Yes" to point number two and three. Until their story develops further the campaign will continue to suffer this loss of 3.5 conversion players to other systems.

You can build a player base by drawing upon new players but then again that brings up Ramon's analogy once more:

If I go out and tell you I had the most awesome time playing Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 at the Summoning 2007 and then told all my friends to go to the convention next year and at the Summoning 2008 they all played Dungeons and Dragons 4.0 (never having played in the system before) they would think that the game is AWESOME because they have no other reference point so they could not make a comparison.

That is what is happening here.

We have the players who have experienced multiple systems, campaigns, settings and when it comes to Living Forgotten Realms it doesn't measure up for SOME of us. But for players who have spent little time in the system or have never participated in the major conventions they wouldn't know what they are missing.

If it is a question simply of roleplaying then this thread should be locked because it doesn't matter if the system is 3.5 or 4.0 because regardless of the mechanics of the system you should STILL ROLEPLAY YOUR CHARACTER. There is no excuse for NOT roleplaying or claiming that a person's role is less important because they cannot contribute. In any version of Dungeons and Dragons you should be roleplaying first, rollplaying second.
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Re: My Lament

Postby thetrickygnome » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:57 pm

PJ, stop comparing apples to oranges. My argument is not about which system is better or which one
is right or wrong. It's about making a choice to play or not.

Just because Greg has not said anything publicly about the system that has not stopped him from discussing its merits in private. The reason this discussion is taking place here on the boards is because the 3.5 system has been supplemented by the 4.0 system with the only other options being continuing to play 3.5 or convert to the 3.75 system instead.


If I read into Gregs reaction correctly then he understood my point perfectly. His reaction was not about
what system is better, be it 3.5 or 4.0, or roleplaying more or less, ect. I simply made a point that if you
like playing 4.0 then play it but if you do not like the system then don't play it. The same would apply if it
was 3.5 or if it was something such as liking to play football or not. If you do not like something and it
bothers, frustrates, or causes you angst, then DON"T PLAY IT!!! I fail to see why this concept is so damn
hard to understand. Their is a word for people who contnually do something that causes them to experience
great amount of suffering but nonetheless do it willingly - it called being a masochist. So if someone
does not like 4.0 but continues to play it and complain endlessly about how it sucks and how it makes them
feel wrong then that masochism to me.

It's like sticking your hand in the fire and getting severely burned. How many times does it take for a
person to realize that getting burned is a very bad and painful thing? Some people feel burned by 4.0 &
others can deal with it and enjoy it. So like I said before, play it if you like it and avoid it if you don't. It
does not matter if it's edition 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 4.75, 5.0, ect. It's about free will. Nothing more, nothing
less.

Ramon and I are making the complaint that because the shift is mandatory it places us in a difficult position as module authors. We could continue writing in 3.5 using the D20 SRD, try to learn the 3.75 rules or write in the 4.0 system. We are looking at this from the perspective of the authors, not the players, because ultimately it comes down to the fact that someone has to write these adventures.


Get in line. You don't think I find the 4.0 fluid rules of monster creation and lack of templates annoying?
I'd love to write for 4.0 but I keep asking myself where the heck they come up with the freaky ass creatures
they have in mods? Most of them are not out of any specific template, format design, ect. and the lack of
clarity is a bitter pill to swallow for me as well. What I see happening is that the lack of clarity on how to
create and structure unique monsters will eventually make the scenario creation a very in house thing, thus
taking away from the freelancers opportunity and desire to contribute to the writing process. I am not at
all comfortable when the lack of clarity creates the potential for people being excluded from the writing
process. That's why I'm gonna try and get copies of the mods for 4.0 that I have done and see if I can see
some kind of pattern that matches up with the books. Mind you I am not blaming the people running our
region or anything like that. They are bound by the rules of 4.0 as much as anyone else, for better or worse.

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Re: My Lament

Postby Ozymandius » Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:14 am

Let me save you the trouble of looking for the stuff Rene. There is no rhyme or reason to the madness that is monster selection, creation or implementation in 4.0 modules. There is no steadfast rule between Low and High tier that is immeidately distinguishable just by looking at it.

Really you just have to go guess and that's not a great way to build monsters in a system.

At least with the 3.5 EL rules we had some "idea" about what something could do at a power level. Factor in terrain for more EL and then a chart explaining adding more monsters and it was a work in progress. Here we don't have that and it is frustrating because you don't know if you're going to obliterate the players or have a cakewalk where one shouldn't.
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Re: My Lament

Postby thetrickygnome » Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:32 am

Let me save you the trouble of looking for the stuff Rene. There is no rhyme or reason to the madness that is monster selection, creation or implementation in 4.0 modules. There is no steadfast rule between Low and High tier that is immeidately distinguishable just by looking at it.

Really you just have to go guess and that's not a great way to build monsters in a system.

At least with the 3.5 EL rules we had some "idea" about what something could do at a power level. Factor in terrain for more EL and then a chart explaining adding more monsters and it was a work in progress. Here we don't have that and it is frustrating because you don't know if you're going to obliterate the players or have a cakewalk where one shouldn't.


Sad but essentially true.

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Re: My Lament

Postby Peewee » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:33 pm

Ozymandius wrote:Let me save you the trouble of looking for the stuff Rene. There is no rhyme or reason to the madness that is monster selection, creation or implementation in 4.0 modules. There is no steadfast rule between Low and High tier that is immeidately distinguishable just by looking at it.

Really you just have to go guess and that's not a great way to build monsters in a system.

At least with the 3.5 EL rules we had some "idea" about what something could do at a power level. Factor in terrain for more EL and then a chart explaining adding more monsters and it was a work in progress. Here we don't have that and it is frustrating because you don't know if you're going to obliterate the players or have a cakewalk where one shouldn't.


?

Did you read the DMG?

Monster Creation in 4e
Following these steps won’t result in a fully designed
and developed monster, but they’ll provide a good
approximation.

1. Choose Level. The level of the monster determines
its key statistics, including defenses, attack
bonuses, and hit points.

2. Choose Role. A monster’s role suggests the
kinds of powers it uses in combat. Chapter 4 describes
monster roles more fully, and the Monster Statistics
by Role table on this page shows how a monster’s role
influences the statistics and powers you give it.

3. Determine Ability Scores. It’s helpful to think
of ability scores in pairs, each pair corresponding to
one of the three defenses (Fortitude, Reflex, and Will).
Ability scores also help determine the monster’s attack
bonuses, ability and skill checks, and Armor Class.
On average, the highest ability score of a pair is
equal to 13 + one-half the monster’s level. For example,
the target score for an 8th-level monster is 17 (13
+ 4). However, set the ability that governs the monster’s
primary attacks to be 3 higher, or 16 + one-half
the monster’s level. An 8th-level monster that relies on
melee attacks should have a Strength of 20.

4. Determine Hit Points. Level and role determine
hit points. The monster gains a flat number of
hit points at each level, just as characters do. Use the
Monster Statistics by Role table to set hit points.

5. Calculate Armor Class. A monster’s Armor
Class is based on its level and role. Average AC is equal
to 14 + the monster’s level, but some roles alter this
target number, as shown in the table.

6. Calculate Other Defenses. A monster’s level
determines its defenses. A given defense based on an
average ability score is equal to 12 + the monster’s level.


See the table 184 DMG...

I love the short term memory of some people.. you could create killer monsters on 3.5 that worked well within the EL..

Rene's spiders of doom.. which the only way to survive was 2 spells in the game, didint precast them.. dead.

Build me an Elemental.. need i say more?
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Re: My Lament

Postby thetrickygnome » Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:56 am

Thank you for the spiders comment Peter and I apologize for killing you with them but the
opportunity was just too tempting not to put in a mod. I'm glad you could appreciate the
tactical understanding of the combat.

As for the 4.0 monster creation, yes, the books provide the basics but them how do you explain
the bizarre and weird powers that have no consistency, are not on any form of template or format,
and vary from creature to creature. Example - why is a goblin hexer so different from a kobold
hexer? Why do they have creatures with special manuevers that are so different from one another
even though they do essentially the same thing? Bust out the 4.0 mods and look at the creatures
and you will see what I am talking about. I stand by my words. The creators of 4.0 made statting
creatures and assigning powers to creatures beyond their basic creation a friggin pain in the ass
and as someone who would love to write for 4.0 that just infuriates me.

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Re: My Lament

Postby Highmoon » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:07 am

Think of designing monsters for 4e the same way you'd think about designing a Magic card: self-contained and without any necessary reference to anything beyond itself (maybe to other members of its race, at most).

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Re: My Lament

Postby thetrickygnome » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:00 am

Think of designing monsters for 4e the same way you'd think about designing a Magic card: self-contained and without any necessary reference to anything beyond itself (maybe to other members of its race, at most).


Don't get me wrong. I appreciate having a little leeway in designing and adding powers to the monsters
in 4.0 but 4.0 fails in this regard because I feel the process is TOO unspecified. They went from 3.5 which
was very structured to 4.0 which IMHO is not structured enough. I just find it terribly annoying and
frustrating.

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Re: My Lament

Postby Ozymandius » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:07 am

We were speaking of the episodes currently released Peter, if you read through them you will find powers that are not outlined in any book but were simply made up which then speaks to an unbalancing of the game because these new, custom powers do not fit a model for one to build upon.

The game is also centralized around the main monster and his scrubs. Rene can attest to this, but when you build around the pointman and his minions as a fight sequence the main bad guy ends up suffering because he is the focus of your attacks and while he may be powerful he can't hang on long enough.

Now I've built standalone NPCs who could go toe-to-toe with the PCs and Rene experienced one of those bad guys, but even though he was powerful he STILL had weaknesses.

Even the spider's you speak of were defeateable. The only monster I have ever fought and said to myself, sh*t this thing is invincible was a LA monster. It regenerated so fast that there was not enough damage in the world to destroy it and its only weakness was cold, but because you couldn't roll high enough knowledge checks even with +42 to knowledge arcane because of the HD you were out of luck. After three hours of slugging it out we finally beat it by stabbing it to death with a frost dagger.

I believe the most devestating power was one that I designed for a bad guy called "Eminent Domain: (Ex)" which basically said that if you are on his plane of existence then he could do whatever he wanted on his turn and not face the consequences of mechanics. Several really interesting things happened with this power.

For example a player tried to shoot him with scorching rays and they all turned into fiery butterflies. Another player tried to charge him but as he kept running the land kept streching out further and further in front of him so that he didn't move any squares. But perhaps my favorite was the prismatic spray that was parted like the Red Sea as Moses did. The players freaked out but they killed him because there was limit to his powers and this "Mechanic" was used as a roleplaying device because when he was defeated and then returned later the players knew that he was not a NPC to take lightly or underestimate.

Heh, Rene is right. If I made monsters in 4.0 I would either be destroying people left and right or cakewalking the episodes because I wasn't sure of my abilities versus those of the players. In 3.5 I can judge pretty well what it'll take to burn down a monster I've made and balance that against the majority of players in the system.

That is why in Blackmoor there is the main campaign arcs and then the Dwoemer Realm "High-Level Optional" arcs.
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Re: My Lament

Postby Peewee » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:15 am

Highmoon wrote:Think of designing monsters for 4e the same way you'd think about designing a Magic card: self-contained and without any necessary reference to anything beyond itself (maybe to other members of its race, at most).


Exactly... its an exception based system...

For a home game I had to come up with a new monster a Phantom Hound Master who would fight with 4 Gravehounds..

I wanted to give it a "Pack Tactics" like power so and it ended up something like this

Pack Tactics (minor action; recharge 5 or 6 )
Range 10; the targeted hound can shift 2 more squares and make an attack.

the system alows for some real crativity... another monster I created in my home game was the Cadavar Worm (think of a worm the size of a purple worm made of 100 or so zombies) I wanted to give this monster the ability to prefrom a "Tide of Flesh" where it world become a wave of bodies and bone and flow over the characters, reforming a small distance away

Tide of Flesh (Standard Action, Encounter) - Movment
Close Burst 5; +11 vs Refelex, 3d10+4 necrotic damage; Worm then must shift 5 and end on the other side of the burst.

create what you want but as a Designer you should have a sence of whats broken

So in essence the cadavar worm deals 3d10+4 to everyone in the burst and ends up on the other side, as the GM you discribe what happaned to the characters.
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Re: My Lament

Postby Ozymandius » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:53 am

Rene,

I'll put this much to you, if we decided to write out anything in this system I would be good money we could figure it out and get it working correctly but I can't help but think that the lack of structure is what would cause the most problems.

I am willing to bet that the argument that 4.0 gives you "more freedom" is bunk and that Rene would support that position because it's not the mechanics that hinder you in either of these systems, its your own creativity. I could build the same monsters in 3.5 that I could in 4.0 however the players wouldn't like me very much.

You know what, I think I'll sit on it for now and post up an example of this when I get home just to be sure that the understanding is there. Oh Rene you'll love this one!
- Philip Slama

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Re: My Lament

Postby thetrickygnome » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:13 pm

I'll put this much to you, if we decided to write out anything in this system I would be good money we could figure it out and get it working correctly but I can't help but think that the lack of structure is what would cause the most problems.


Something like that. I have no problems understanding mechanics - I've written enough to have a
reasonably adequate ability in statting. However, I just think that in 4.0, it's like they tell you "here's
a very basic set up for the monster you want to create, now just go ahead and run with it" This is
just to vague for me and tryign to balance things out against this vagueness is IMHO not a good way
to do it. THere is just too much "fill in the gaps yourself and try to get it right" mentality and not
enough "okay, here's a strong foundation and some limited structure and launch your creativity from
here." thought process going on.

I am willing to bet that the argument that 4.0 gives you "more freedom" is bunk and that Rene would support that position because it's not the mechanics that hinder you in either of these systems, its your own creativity. I could build the same monsters in 3.5 that I could in 4.0 however the players wouldn't like me very much.


More freedom is great. Too much freedom is bad and more often than not leads to a disparity in power
level and lack of clarity. The simplistic approach to mechanics is great but at a certain point you need a
bit more structure in place to make sure that your "creativity" is not to outlandish, overpowering, or under
powered. In this regard, 4.0 fails. Creativity is not a probelm for writers in Miami. Excessively flexible
boundaries or lack thereof is the issue with me.

You know what, I think I'll sit on it for now and post up an example of this when I get home just to be sure that the understanding is there. Oh Rene you'll love this one!


This should be interesting.


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