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Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

[DnD 4E Discussion] Staff Fighter and Pyromancer essentials builds released on time!

AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
edited October 2010 in Critical Failures
ITT people try to tell you the way you like to pretend playing as a fantasy elf or dwarf is wrong. Plus you're probably a jerk. Why are you such a jerk? Also that you are not playing DnD the one true way
and that you're a horrible monster. Why do you hate fun?

Here is a Dungeon:

dungeon-036.jpg

Here is a Dragon:

BlueDragon.jpg

Hence the name. Also, as a bonus picture here is Bane.

372_bane.jpg

He's so dreamy <3.

And no, he's not going anywhere from the OP. He wants you to love his manly pectoral muscles, his huge thigh muscles and bulging tip of the long hard shaft of his spear. The artist who drew this spectacular
visage of our general thread mascot and local god even has a wallpaper of him. All hail Bane!!!!

Speaking of before we go any further here, want to get the perfect way of starting 4E? Don't know where to go though? Try Wizards generously offering both a revised and improved version of Keep on the Shadowfell and the Quickstart rules? What will this cost you?

Absolutely nothing as it's completely free. Download them here.


Dungeons and Dragons is a pretty old game, originally being created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974, both of whom have passed way now. Since then it's had various iterations and editions, with the latest edition being 4th edition, published by Wizards of the Coast. The basic rules consist of three books:

products_dndacc_217367200_lgpic.jpg

As the name suggests, this is for players and also details the games core rules like combat.

products_dndacc_217207200_lgpic.jpg

This book details the various monsters and other things that populate most DnD worlds.

products_dndacc_217507200_lgpic.jpg

This is for the DM and contains useful things like how much experience you have to make an encounter, treasure tables and rules for creating your own monsters.

If you want to play DnD, you usually only need the players hand book. Running a game requires those base three books and should be bought by everyone in general.

Speaking of stuff, what stuff can you look forwards to playing in this wonderful game of Dungeons and Dragons? How about a handy description of the varied options in 4E?

Your wonderful options for Playing Dungeons and Dragons 4E

The first of the core books in 4E reintroduced many core races that are familiar to anyone who has played DnD before, while also introducing some new options like Dragonborn to familiar fantasy
tropes like dwarves and Elves. The main difference in race design in 4E compared to previous editions is that most races gain positive bonuses to stats (no negatives) and are generally more evenly powered
across the board. No ECLs or similar are used here.

Additionally this is the book that introduced many of the core classes back to the game like fighters, rogues and wizards while again introducing new elements like the Warlord. Class design is really
radical in 4E compared to the way 3E handled things, so you should be prepared for a major shock if you’re coming from a previous edition. Most classes have been broken down into a series of roles that determine what they generally do: Defender, striker, controller or leader.

Further most classes have both a power source (that mechanically ties them into certain things) and a collection of individual powers that determines how they can affect combat (usually flavored by the role
the class fits into).

The PHB introduced the following races and classes into 4E:
Spoiler:

Wizards were not finished there of course and released the second
players handbook further expanding the options available!:
Spoiler:

That not enough races and classes? Well have some more thanks to the
third players handbook!
Spoiler:

Then there are the races and the class from the campaign setting
books. First Forgotten Realms:
Spoiler:

The Eberron players guide added further races again as well as a new class!
Spoiler:

And now DDI is adding more options to the game as well – insider
exclusive (that is they won’t be printed) to boot!
Spoiler:

DM/Player Tools and Helpful Links

D&D Insider Subscriptions

D&D insider is probably the best method of keeping up to date with 4th edition at the moment. For one thing, it keeps you up to date with all that pesky errata in a simple way and if you subscribe for a month, then cancel you can get a lot of content for not a lot of overall money! You can preview some of the toys at the links below:

This of course is a subscription service and here are the current prices, with a month subscription for what you can get out of it being quite a steal if you are prepared to deal with not having everything up to date each month.
  • $71.40 for 12 months - $5.95 per month
  • $23.85 for 3 months - $7.95 per month
  • $9.95 for month

To subscribe to the D&D Insider service, click here. Prices went up in July (2009), seems about a dollar an issue for a 12 month subscription.

You can find screenshots of the Character builder here.

Aegeri on
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Posts

  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    A lot of stuff has been released currently as well and I have most of
    it, so I'll give some minor thoughts on each and update as stuff comes
    out:

    Campaign Settings

    Forgotten Realms

    frcg.jpg

    Forgotten
    Realms Campaign Guide

    Forgotten
    Realms Players Guide

    Scepter
    Tower of Spellgard


    This was the first of the campaign settings released for 4E Dungeons
    and Dragons about a yearish or so ago. It marks a significant
    departure from the previous editions versions of the Forgotten Realms,
    which is either something people hate a lot, are indifferent to or
    quite like. It has enough detail that any new DM will find it a useful
    resource for making a campaign and providing an overall world to set
    that campaign in. It does not have the depth of lore or similar that
    previous editions have had, which is what leads to a lot of the
    negativity surrounding the setting. The players guide IMO is a useful
    resource even if you don't actually like the realms as a setting.
    Although a fair chunk of the book is dedicated to the FR, the
    Swordmage, races (Drow and Genasi) and feats make it a worthwhile
    purchase for anyone.

    The adventure is decent quality, but requires a lot of work compared
    to the 'core' adventure series to get fully implemented into a
    campaign. It also starts at level 2, which is a real pain for DMs
    wanting to just jump right into a 4E campaign with the adventure and
    some fresh level 1 PCs. We have a thread for FR as well
    here.

    Eberron

    515WULoa8sL_SL500_.jpg

    Eberron
    Campaign Guide

    Eberron
    Players Guide

    Seekers
    of the Ashen Crown


    We have a thread for Eberron related things
    here.

    Eberron is the second setting released and it's pretty good IMO (maybe
    I am biased though if you read my campaign threads on this forum). It
    has a lot of solid themes to the game, as it's based heavily on a kind
    of pulp action + noir feel that really does work. The books are
    absolutely gorgeous and especially the main campaign guide is worth
    mentioning, because the cartography of the map of the world is truly
    great and its packed full of great ideas and detail about Eberron. It
    is definitely around the top books released for 4E so far IMO. Like
    with FR, I feel the EPG is really worth buying as well just for the
    extra feats and mechanics (dragonmark feats are easily applied to
    other settings with little mechanical fiddling). I will say though
    some DMs may not like the more "magitech" feel to the Eberron specific
    Warforged race and Artificer class, so make sure you check with your
    DM before buying this for your FR or whatever setting game.

    Once again though I must complain that the adventure starts at level
    2. Why on earth do they do that? It's very good though and it's a fun
    adventure, but I still wish they would make these adventures from
    level 1 so you can jump right into the fun without having to make
    further encounters (or starting your PCs at level 2).

    Dark Sun

    dark_sun_cg_b1y.jpg

    Dark
    Sun Campaign Setting

    Dark
    Sun Creature Catalog

    Marauders
    of the Dune Sea (Adventure)
    .

    The 2010 campaign setting and boy does it look like a doozy! It looks
    and sounds like they are doing some major changes to this setting for
    4E, not just in changes from its original 2E incarnation but how they
    approach the setting from a 4E design standpoint. One particularly
    interesting thing with this particular setting is that it does not
    having a player specific book, instead it goes with a campaign guide
    that suggests changes to existing races and its second book is a
    creature catalog of nasty beasts. Personally I like this idea and am
    interested to see how it ends up working when it is released.

    Dark Sun gets possibly one of the best pieces of art in all DnD ever:

    75.jpg

    I mean if you didn't want the creature catalog before, I bet you do now.

    Released books
    Spoiler:

    Released Adventures
    Spoiler:

    Upcoming Stuff
    DnD Essentials! It’s coming out and causing all sorts of controversy!
    It has several different products:
    Red Box (Starter set, designed for new players)
    DMs Kit (Designed for new DMs)
    Monster Vault (Designed for DMs, is an update of many classic MM
    creatures – comes with tokens!)
    Over Expensive Dice
    Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
    Heroes of the Fallen Lands
    Rules Compendium
    A core set of “three” basis Dungeons and Dragons Tiles.
    Essentials is a big change to the game in numerous ways, changing how
    numerous races and feats work, plus a comprehensive addition to the
    rules such as variant class builds that lack dailies and similar.
    Future Release Speculation and Rumours
    Gamma World, which is a pretty zany sounding card based way of playing
    a "DnD 4E light" type game will be out later in the year.
    Useful Stuff Provided By Wizards and other people

    To go with some of the links provided from the previous threads,
    Wizards have an
    Art and Map
    Gallery here.
    This is free and provides a lot of useful maps and
    art for use in your games to pillage at will. The OP dungeon is
    shamelessly stolen from there ;)

    Additionally I recommend this site, which has a
    wide
    collection of fantasy art and such forth
    . Some of it is
    distinctly NSFW however, so consider yourself warned. They love naked
    women.

    Another useful site is the
    Cartographers Guild
    forums. Many talented map artists at this site who make a range of
    maps, both large scale continental maps, town maps and dungeon maps.
    Some of the maps here IMO are a bit too fancy, with excessive mapsizes
    for use with maptools but there are some real gems on here as well.
    Incidentally, the guy who did the cartography for the Cormyr article
    in Dragon Magazine posts here as well.
    Here's
    an example
    .

    Infidel has provided us with a handy
    4E stat calculator.
    Especially useful if you don't have the character builder to do it for
    you. The most common problem I find with 4E games is people messing up
    their initial point buy by a couple of points. In an unexpected twist,
    this is because some people tend to give themselves less points
    overall and accidentally gimp their character as opposed to going over
    the limit.

    He's also produced a handy online character sheet device, which can be
    found here. Seems to work
    pretty well and is very handy and is even becoming a popular
    alternative to Mythweavers around these forums. In further character
    sheet interests, there is also this lovely looking
    Victorian
    themed sheet available
    by Orikaeshigitae.

    Cheap miniatures seems to come up quite often in the thread, given
    that a good mini or three can make 4E a lot easier to run (probably an
    understatement). One place to get them is ebay, but the number and
    quality (even type) may be hit and miss. Another online seller of DDM
    is Dragon
    Justice
    , which sometimes has a good range and sometimes not.
    Really if you look around online you can get a good bunch of models
    for a fairly cheap price.

    There is a general campaign design and advice thread that I have been
    writing for a while
    over
    here
    . If you're a new DM this might be worth checking out.

    I also recommend this fellow called the
    Angry DM. His advice is pretty good
    and he's wrote a couple of really good articles on how to make solo
    fights more interesting.

    Finally, a major collection of the games errata was released recently
    in a big PDF from wizards that you can get
    here.

    Also, as a reminder, don't discuss pirating books in this thread. It's
    not going to get you anything except some infractions and probably a
    ban. So just don't. Plus Chris Perkins is totally going to come around
    to your house and ruin your shit. Not to mention eat your dinner and
    steal your dice.

    We have a general CF IRC channel too if you're that way inclined.
    You'll need some chat client to use it, or something.

    irc.slashnet.org
    #criticalfailures


    Apparently this was SUPERSUGAs idea.

    Penny-Arcade Podcast series!

    Also, given this forum is Penny-Arcade we should in fact note that
    Gabe and Tycho, Scott Kurtz of
    PVP and after the first series
    Wil Wheaton sat down and played some DnD together and recorded
    it. There are currently three seasons and you can find links to
    download them all below for much good times. This is a good way of
    getting new people interested in DnD I've found as well.

    Series 1: Chris Perkins as DM with Jerry (PA), Mike (PA) and Scott
    (PvP) playing some DnD!
    Part
    one
    . Part
    two
    . Part
    Three
    . Part
    four
    . Part
    five
    . Part
    six
    . Part
    seven
    . Part
    eight
    .

    Series 2: Chris Perkins as DM with Jerry (PA), Mike (PA), Scott (PvP)
    and Wil ('s Law) playing some DnD!
    Part
    one
    . Part
    two
    . Part
    three
    . Part
    four
    . Part
    five
    . Part
    six
    . Part
    seven
    . Part
    eight
    .

    Series 3: Chris Perkins as DM with Jerry (PA), Mike (PA), Scott (PvP)
    and Wil ('s Law) playing some DnD!
    Part
    one
    . Part
    two
    . Part
    three
    . Part
    four
    . Part
    five
    . Part
    Six
    . Part
    Seven
    . Part
    Eight
    .

    Series 4: Jerry takes over the DMing mantle in Dark Sun with Mike
    (PA), Scott (PvP) and Kris
    (Krisstraub).
    Part
    1
    . Part
    2
    . Part
    3
    . Part
    4
    . Part
    5
    .

    There is also Robot Chicken's writers playing DnD
    . Also features
    commentary on the game from Chris Perkins!

    There will also be another PA/PVP podcast featuring Wil and Chris
    Perkins back as DM later in the summer.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    If they want you to run, you get to run what you want.

    Then just enforce a "no snarkiness" policy for the first couple sessions so they give it a real shot.

    If they don't like it after that they're probably lost causes anyway.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Oh good, new thread.

    I wasn't looking forward to editing the OP and flavoring it as one of the peon players suffering through your games, Aegeri. Oh, who am I kidding, it was going to be glorious.

    Sig1.png
  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I apologize for the "lateness" of the new thread. I saw that it had slowed down a lot over the weekend so I didn't check it until later today than normal. I will fix the formatting of the second part of the OP later on.

    Edit: Oh Terrendos <3 Always hiding the grain from my fantasy inquisition.

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Oh god I hate making maps. Anyone got any tips on making maptools stuff look awesome and not shit?

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • TurksonTurkson Near the mountains of ColoradoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    That dragon is a silly goose.

    Also, boo for locking the thread! Now we have to go and break this one in proper like.

    "You. Poet. Be sure to write this down."
  • smeejsmeej Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Not posting in this thread until Gary gets recognition.

    IT'S A SAD THING THAT YOUR ADVENTURES HAVE ENDED HERE!!
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    If they want you to run, you get to run what you want.

    Then just enforce a "no snarkiness" policy for the first couple sessions so they give it a real shot.

    If they don't like it after that they're probably lost causes anyway.

    I have a suspicion that the people who refuse to try new games are like the conspiracy theorists who think aliens are watching over them. They've so convinced themselves that they're right and everyone else is wrong that anything you do or say will only reinforce the ideas in their head. They'll be so focused on how much fun they're not having with the system that it won't make any difference how many games they play, they'll still refuse to actually give it a chance.

    Sig1.png
  • Mr_RoseMr_Rose Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Terrendos wrote: »
    I have a suspicion that the people who refuse to try new games are like the conspiracy theorists who think aliens are watching over them. They've so convinced themselves that they're right and everyone else is wrong that anything you do or say will only reinforce the ideas in their head. They'll be so focused on how much fun they're not having with the system that it won't make any difference how many games they play, they'll still refuse to actually give it a chance.
    Having conversed with several of these "conspiracy-nut" type mindsets, I am coming to the conclusion that they are literally incapable of rejecting the 'masquerade' version of events. I mean, I even know one that insists the cold war was faked.

    ...because dragons are AWESOME! That's why.
    DropBox invite link - get 250MB extra free.
  • TurksonTurkson Near the mountains of ColoradoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Our hobby attracts the strangest of people.

    "You. Poet. Be sure to write this down."
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Distinct lack of sand sharks in the OP.

    steam_sig.png
  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    smeej wrote: »
    Not posting in this thread until Gary gets recognition.

    Which Gary? The Gary or the Gary who stole my lunch?

  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    From the last thread:
    I wrote:
    Tell them to stop playing a dead system and move on already. Or throw epic-level wizards at them who cast persistent time stop.

    4E makes rogues, fighters, rangers, and all the rest of the non-caster classes better. The only classes who "suffer" are the dedicated casters, i.e. clerics, wizards, druids, and sorcerers, and that is where most of the 4E whining comes from. Instead of being able to "destroy all who oppose me! Mwuhahaha!" at high level like they used to, now their power levels are more in line with the rest of the party.

    You're not going to convince the grognards of this though. All you can do is say, "I'm the DM, and this is what I'm running. It'll be fun, and I want you guys to play, but if you don't want to participate, it's your loss."

    To continue, I'd suggest not using skill challenges. They suck in their current implementation and are one of the least favorite aspects of the game for most 3E/Pathfinder vets I've played 4E with.

    EVE: Online - the most fun you will ever have not playing a game.
    "Go up, thou bald head." -2 Kings 2:23
  • smeejsmeej Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Aegeri wrote: »
    smeej wrote: »
    Not posting in this thread until Gary gets recognition.

    Which Gary? The Gary or the Gary who stole my lunch?
    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showpost.php?p=16374156&postcount=2476

    IT'S A SAD THING THAT YOUR ADVENTURES HAVE ENDED HERE!!
  • InfidelInfidel Too easy. PiltoverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    delroland wrote: »
    From the last thread:
    I wrote:
    Tell them to stop playing a dead system and move on already. Or throw epic-level wizards at them who cast persistent time stop.

    4E makes rogues, fighters, rangers, and all the rest of the non-caster classes better. The only classes who "suffer" are the dedicated casters, i.e. clerics, wizards, druids, and sorcerers, and that is where most of the 4E whining comes from. Instead of being able to "destroy all who oppose me! Mwuhahaha!" at high level like they used to, now their power levels are more in line with the rest of the party.

    You're not going to convince the grognards of this though. All you can do is say, "I'm the DM, and this is what I'm running. It'll be fun, and I want you guys to play, but if you don't want to participate, it's your loss."

    To continue, I'd suggest not using skill challenges. They suck in their current implementation and are one of the least favorite aspects of the game for most 3E/Pathfinder vets I've played 4E with.

    Don't let them know it's a skill challenge!

    TwitchTV channel: OrokosPA check.php?c=OrokosPA
    Play D&D 4e? :: Check out Orokos and upload your Character Builder sheet! :: Orokos Dice Roller
    The PhalLounge :: Chat board for Critical Failures IRC! :: #CriticalFailures and #mafia on irc.slashnet.org
  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    delroland wrote: »
    From the last thread:
    I wrote:
    Tell them to stop playing a dead system and move on already. Or throw epic-level wizards at them who cast persistent time stop.

    4E makes rogues, fighters, rangers, and all the rest of the non-caster classes better. The only classes who "suffer" are the dedicated casters, i.e. clerics, wizards, druids, and sorcerers, and that is where most of the 4E whining comes from. Instead of being able to "destroy all who oppose me! Mwuhahaha!" at high level like they used to, now their power levels are more in line with the rest of the party.

    You're not going to convince the grognards of this though. All you can do is say, "I'm the DM, and this is what I'm running. It'll be fun, and I want you guys to play, but if you don't want to participate, it's your loss."

    To continue, I'd suggest not using skill challenges. They suck in their current implementation and are one of the least favorite aspects of the game for most 3E/Pathfinder vets I've played 4E with.

    I think whether or not skill challenges work depend entirely on the DM.

    The current system for them is not fundamentally different than any previous one.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Terrendos wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    If they want you to run, you get to run what you want.

    Then just enforce a "no snarkiness" policy for the first couple sessions so they give it a real shot.

    If they don't like it after that they're probably lost causes anyway.

    I have a suspicion that the people who refuse to try new games are like the conspiracy theorists who think aliens are watching over them. They've so convinced themselves that they're right and everyone else is wrong that anything you do or say will only reinforce the ideas in their head. They'll be so focused on how much fun they're not having with the system that it won't make any difference how many games they play, they'll still refuse to actually give it a chance.
    There are certainly some who flat out refuse to give it a chance. Those guys are usually pretty easy to spot by the second or third session.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    So, doods, I picked up the Essentials box this evening.

    It doesn't contain a world-crushing demon of unbelievable pain and suffering... It's actually kinda cool.

    Comes with a ton of cards for all the powers and double-sided tokens for all the monsters and junk needed to run the little adventures in the player book (to make your character) and the DM book (an actual adventure).


    All-in-all... not evil.

  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Hmmm I have hit the character limit on the second part of the OP. So I will need to reorganize and edit things manually back in microsoft word (once I have it again). Curse you character limits, you win this time.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Essentials dropped already?

    I'm gonna have to look around for it then.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Yeah, certain stores are able to sell it massively early just like with the books. Quite a few people already have it.

  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Okay, here's why SC's suck: they are the only active roll by a player where failure is directly detrimental.

    In combat, if you miss with a weapon attack, there usually is no direct penalty to the player, i.e. you don't take damage or lose your weapon or accidentally hit one of your friends. They've taken critical misses out as well because you don't want to punish your players for trying to do what they are supposed to do.

    Skill Challenges on the other hand treat every failure like a critical miss, and if you accumulate three of them among the whole group, you lose. That's the equivalent in combat of having a monster that, if your party hits it six (or eight, or ten, or twelve...) times, you win. But if your party misses it three times, you lose. That is a system of suck.

    It also discourages participation of players, another "bad thing" in RPG's. In old school games, even if your character wasn't particularly skilled at something, you could at least try to contribute. But in 4E's skill challenges, if you even attempt the roll, odds are you are screwing over the rest of the party. In other words, SC's penalize players for participating.

    Edit: that being said, supposedly Skill Challenges have been revamped in the Essentials line, so here's to hoping they don't suck anymore.

    EVE: Online - the most fun you will ever have not playing a game.
    "Go up, thou bald head." -2 Kings 2:23
  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Official release is Sept 7, but yeah... went to my local hobby shop that runs Encounters.


    Thinking about trying out Encounters this time around, actually. My RL group is unreliable at best... I needs me some D&Ds. Daddy's got the shakes.

  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    delroland wrote: »
    Okay, here's why SC's suck: they are the only active roll by a player where failure is directly detrimental.

    In combat, if you miss with a weapon attack, there usually is no direct penalty to the player, i.e. you don't take damage or lose your weapon or accidentally hit one of your friends. They've taken critical misses out as well because you don't want to punish your players for trying to do what they are supposed to do.

    Skill Challenges on the other hand treat every failure like a critical miss, and if you accumulate three of them among the whole group, you lose. That's the equivalent in combat of having a monster that, if your party hits it six (or eight, or ten, or twelve...) times, you win. But if your party misses it three times, you lose. That is a system of suck.

    It also discourages participation of players, another "bad thing" in RPG's. In old school games, even if your character wasn't particularly skilled at something, you could at least try to contribute. But in 4E's skill challenges, if you even attempt the roll, odds are you are screwing over the rest of the party. In other words, SC's penalize players for participating.

    That's why you don't make them absolutely necessary to the plot.

    I would use them as a means to glean a little extra info, or to start a side quest that may have a nice reward, but wouldn't hinder the players if they didn't get to do it.

    Setting up a skill challenge that would "screw over" the party for failing is just bad design.

  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Skill Challenges are probably the worst thing in 4E. At least IMO.

    You have a brilliant combat system that encourages and requires teamwork and ensures that every player has a useful and critical role to play, aaaand

    then you have "roll d20 six times and tell me if you get less than '8' three times."

    I'd love for a skill system that replicated the team-based synergy that is present in combat. Skill challenges are terrible.

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  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    delroland wrote: »
    Okay, here's why SC's suck: they are the only active roll by a player where failure is directly detrimental.

    Skill Challenges on the other hand treat every failure like a critical miss, and if you accumulate three of them among the whole group, you lose. That's the equivalent in combat of having a monster that, if your party hits it six (or eight, or ten, or twelve...) times, you win. But if your party misses it three times, you lose. That is a system of suck.

    It also discourages participation of players, another "bad thing" in RPG's. In old school games, even if your character wasn't particularly skilled at something, you could at least try to contribute. But in 4E's skill challenges, if you even attempt the roll, odds are you are screwing over the rest of the party. In other words, SC's penalize players for participating.

    Edit: that being said, supposedly Skill Challenges have been revamped in the Essentials line, so here's to hoping they don't suck anymore.

    This, and having to try to convince your DM to let you use a skill you're trained in instead of what's being used. "Intimidate, huh? Um...how about I...stealth?...past him to show him we mean business?"

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  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Chanus wrote: »
    Official release is Sept 7, but yeah... went to my local hobby shop that runs Encounters.


    Thinking about trying out Encounters this time around, actually. My RL group is unreliable at best... I needs me some D&Ds. Daddy's got the shakes.

    "Keep on the Borderlands" starts on 9/22, and the original was pretty fun. Hopefully that has carried over into D&D Encounters. It also being their third system, hopefully they have worked out some of the kinks (like murderously difficult combat encounters).

    (Edit: and oh god the terribly designed pre-gen characters!)

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  • NotoriusBENNotoriusBEN Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Chanus wrote: »
    So, doods, I picked up the Essentials box this evening.

    It doesn't contain a world-crushing demon of unbelievable pain and suffering... It's actually kinda cool.

    Comes with a ton of cards for all the powers and double-sided tokens for all the monsters and junk needed to run the little adventures in the player book (to make your character) and the DM book (an actual adventure).


    All-in-all... not evil.


    Heresy, Chanus. Obviously you've been infected by a slaver wasp and you're now in a living hell doing the advocate's work of The Other. :P

    actually, good on ya. I'd probably have to play it at GameDay this month before I'd make the purchase or what not. I played a quick demo of the new Ravenloft and while it certainly is DnD-lite... I dunno... 10minutes is too quick to make a decision. It definitly fits those "I only have an hour to play" situations.

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  • InfidelInfidel Too easy. PiltoverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    delroland wrote: »
    Okay, here's why SC's suck: they are the only active roll by a player where failure is directly detrimental.

    In combat, if you miss with a weapon attack, there usually is no direct penalty to the player, i.e. you don't take damage or lose your weapon or accidentally hit one of your friends. They've taken critical misses out as well because you don't want to punish your players for trying to do what they are supposed to do.

    Skill Challenges on the other hand treat every failure like a critical miss, and if you accumulate three of them among the whole group, you lose. That's the equivalent in combat of having a monster that, if your party hits it six (or eight, or ten, or twelve...) times, you win. But if your party misses it three times, you lose. That is a system of suck.

    It also discourages participation of players, another "bad thing" in RPG's. In old school games, even if your character wasn't particularly skilled at something, you could at least try to contribute. But in 4E's skill challenges, if you even attempt the roll, odds are you are screwing over the rest of the party. In other words, SC's penalize players for participating.

    Edit: that being said, supposedly Skill Challenges have been revamped in the Essentials line, so here's to hoping they don't suck anymore.

    That is not a good analogy because an encounter win versus loss is very different, when a skill challenge pass or fail is much less severe. If a skill challenge fail meant TPK then that would be another story.

    Also, it's not the only penalty in the game, traps much?

    Skill challenges are fine, like most things in the DMG you need to take what you can from it and learn how to weave things in organically.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    See, I just run freeform skill challenges that usually have a set number of successes necessary, but no real autofail condition.

    Player checks determine path and degree of success, but failures aren't going to kill the attempt unless it seems dramatically appropriate.

    And if my players are really getting into it, I'll just stretch it on indefinitely. We had an escape scenario that lasted for a couple of hours, but they loved every minute of it. Even with something like a 15 to 45 fail to success ratio. Damn that shack of invisibility.

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  • InfidelInfidel Too easy. PiltoverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Whole lot of people apparently have seen too many skill challenges taken straight from the rules introduction of them.

    I wouldn't be playing D&D at all if the DM was so transparent with the system overall like yours apparently are with skill challenges.

    The problem is that some DMs are going "oh hey, 4e, lets do a skill challenge now guys!" No, bad DM, bad. Of course that is going to turn people off.

    Skill challenges are just formalizing what pretty much every DM since forever in D&D that I have played with has been doing. Ever track someone? Navigate a jungle? etc.

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  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Infidel wrote: »
    Skill challenges are fine, like most things in the DMG you need to take what you can from it and learn how to weave things in organically.

    You can't expect that of new DM's, though, and that is one of the goals of 4E: to attract the new generation. And most skill challenge failures in published adventures result in either 1) the adventure coming to a screeching halt (NPC doesn't hire you) or 2) the loss of healing surges (which generally results in character death when they encounter the final boss battle).

    On 2) healing surges represent hit point reserves, so by sapping them you are essentially doing damage to the party. For failing a skill check in a non-combat situation. If that is not the pinnacle of lame, I don't know what is.
    Infidel wrote: »
    The problem is that some DMs are going "oh hey, 4e, lets do a skill challenge now guys!" No, bad DM, bad. Of course that is going to turn people off.

    Except that's exactly how they're presented in the DMG, as an alternate encounter to combat. All published adventures have a "let's do a skill challenge now guys!" portion.

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  • smeejsmeej Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Having limits on what skills people can use in skill challenges is awful.

    Requiring skill challenges to be overcome to advance the game is usually awful.

    This is why Wizards is unfit to tell us how to run skill challenges. Sitting down with a list of what the PCs can do is a retarded idea. Group skill challenges are about a hundred times worse.

    That said, there's really nothing wrong with skill challenges as an idea. You just don't want to be a dolt and have it come down to pure dice rolling. If the PCs seek to overcome something, you've got a skill challenge without them realizing it! Have them act out what they do, ask for rolls, and see what happens. Failure should still advance the story, just maybe the PCs have to take the long road.

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  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Skill Challenges need to be a tool to channel the direction of an adventure, not an obstacle for the party to overcome.

    "You guys need to find shelter," is better than, "you guys need to find shelter, and if you don't, take some damage." The first assumes eventual success, the second assumes eventual failure. Skill Challenges in their current implementation fall into the latter.

    Really, the whole "three failures = lose" thing needs to gdiaf.

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  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    delroland wrote: »
    On 2) healing surges represent hit point reserves, so by sapping them you are essentially doing damage to the party. For failing a skill check in a non-combat situation. If that is not the pinnacle of lame, I don't know what is.

    It's not lame. It's a good solution. The loss of healing surges is a great way to explain the rigors of extended travel in harsh conditions and terrain, like a fetid swamp or scorching desert. You sound just like one of the players in my real world game that whines any time anything bad happens to their character.

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  • InfidelInfidel Too easy. PiltoverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    delroland wrote: »
    Infidel wrote: »
    Skill challenges are fine, like most things in the DMG you need to take what you can from it and learn how to weave things in organically.

    You can't expect that of new DM's, though, and that is one of the goals of 4E: to attract the new generation. And most skill challenge failures in published adventures result in either 1) the adventure coming to a screeching halt (NPC doesn't hire you) or 2) the loss of healing surges (which generally results in character death when they encounter the final boss battle).

    On 2) healing surges represent hit point reserves, so by sapping them you are essentially doing damage to the party. For failing a skill check in a non-combat situation. If that is not the pinnacle of lame, I don't know what is.

    I don't put much stock in official encounter design since their idea of attracting new players is apparently total party wipes. D&D Encounters having stupid design and inexperienced DMs doesn't mean there is something wrong with the 4e system itself, likewise badly run skill challenges doesn't mean there is a problem with skill challenges.

    New DM is beside the point, there are plenty of places to go wrong as a GM in any game and skill challenges are not unique to that. If I joined a new table judging a DM, I wouldn't be like "well, it's hard to say so far, I'll need to see how he handles skill challenges!"

    It's simply formalizing a system for what DMs have been doing for decades, and that is not going to somehow prevent people from making a mess of it still.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I don't think the healing surges as a penalty for failure are a huge problem, as long as they're handled properly. Fail that athletics check to climb the wall? You fall and take damage. Fail that theivery check to disengage the trap? It activates and you get hit taking damage. Fail to pace yourself properly for your run, and biff the endurance check? You burn yourself out and need to take some time to recover, taking out a healing surge.

    It basically just makes all environmental damage taken during skill challenges equal to your surge value.

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  • InfidelInfidel Too easy. PiltoverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    If the complaint is that Wizards is telling you to do things in a dumb way, my answer is to ignore them and do it in a good way. :P

    It's not like Wizards is infallible, they make a mess of plenty of things.

    Skill challenge system isn't bad, their skill challenges are bad.

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  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Infidel wrote: »
    Whole lot of people apparently have seen too many skill challenges taken straight from the rules introduction of them.

    I wouldn't be playing D&D at all if the DM was so transparent with the system overall like yours apparently are with skill challenges.

    The problem is that some DMs are going "oh hey, 4e, lets do a skill challenge now guys!" No, bad DM, bad. Of course that is going to turn people off.

    Skill challenges are just formalizing what pretty much every DM since forever in D&D that I have played with has been doing. Ever track someone? Navigate a jungle? etc.

    The problem, for me, is that they have rules for a system that works best when abstracted. The entire concept of a "skill challenge" is backwards, D&D doesn't support it. You can have a fun, skill-focused encounter where players do plenty of interesting and exciting things, but the best way to do that is by completely ignoring the skill challenge rules. They're detrimental to the game.

    If a system is going to have a rules mechanic more complicated than "roll some skill checks to do stuff," that mechanic should be worthwhile.

    Regardless, I'd really like to see a D&D-esque take on skills that focused on what D&D does best: teamwork. Almost every RPG falls into the trap of "party sits around while specialist does cool stuff." How about introducing mechanics that ensure characters without the highest appropriate skill are still relevant to the encounter?

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  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Skill challenges are nowhere near as bad as you people make them out to be. They're a tool for DM's to gauge the overall progress of the group as a whole during the challenge. It also is useful to determine the overall difficulty of the challenge and what the penalties might be for failure.

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