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

AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered 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:
Races

Dragonborn
Dragonborn are probably one of the more controversial of the races
introduced in the original PHB, much fun has been had in my various
groups over the “To play a dragon” part in their description. Overall
they are one of the races best supported in 4E, with numerous feats,
options and a really solid base class. Like any self-respecting
dragon/man creature they have a breath weapon that is hugely
expandable by feats.

Additionally
they have an entire supplement book dedicated to them, further
expanding their options in the game and several DDI articles.


Dwarves
One of the best races in the game for a defender due to their general
resistance to forced movement powers and also suit a wide range of
divine classes. One of the most iconic races in Dungeons and Dragons
it was good to see them in the original PHB. They also got themselves
a bit of a size increase to medium, though still overall shorter than
a human (As you’d expect).

Eladrin
The Eladrin were formerly the “High” elf archetype of previous
editions but this time they’ve been linked closely to the feywild. The
feywild being a mirror plane of the natural world where nature is
rather crazy and more vibrant than normal. As a result they’ve picked
up the ability to teleport a short distance, making for numerous
arguments about how you’d build a prison for individuals who can
teleport. Overall they manage to pull off a significantly different
feel and flavor from standard elves – so justify their inclusion
fully.

Did I mention they can teleport as a racial power? Because they totally can.

Elves
Elves are basically as they are from their portrayal in Lord of the
Rings, somewhat tall light humanoids that make perfect rangers among
other classes. They have an excellent racial ability to reroll a
failed dice roll, but are otherwise pretty much the iconic elves of
Dungeons and Dragons – minding of course the lack of strength or
constitution penalties from earlier editions.

Half-Elves
Half-elves are basically a combination of humans and elves, with
generally a friendly atmosphere to them and the ability to take feats
from both elves and humans (as well as having some of their own). They
make excellent diplomatic characters due to their inherent racial
bonuses and their racial power to take an at-will from another class
is extremely handy in the right situation.

Halflings
Halflings are one of few races in 4E with the small size category that
lets them run through a large creatures space – something that can be
rather handy from time to time. They are quick witted, resourceful and
can force an enemy that attacks them to reroll the attack – especially
useful if the attack was a critical hit! They are the poster child for
“classic rogue” in 4th edition as well.

Human
Hey that’s us! As in many fantasy stories, most 4E settings assume
human civilization is typically on the rise and overrunning older
“wiser” races that scoff at the fast generation times and ingenuity of
humans. As a race, humans have some excellent features such as picking
up an additional at-will power from their class, can choose what one
stat they improve and gain an extra feat at first level. Overall an
extremely solid race and can fit anything you want to play easily.

Tieflings
Tieflings are the descendants of an ancient race that made pacts with
infernal beings for power. They have a somewhat inhuman appearance
with huge horns on their faces, tails and sometimes even goat legs!
They recently received errata that changed their core racial power and
feats as well, making them one of the only races I can think of that
has been drastically changed since publication.

Like
dragonborn they are also getting a book dedicated to them that will be
jam packed full of options.


Classes

Cleric
Role: Leader
Power Source: Divine
Description: The cleric is the stalwart of dungeons and
dragons, serving a god (or sometimes gods) and generally performing
the role of party medic. In 4E, Clerics can hold down an offense as
well as heal their allies, making them a very versatile and fun class
to play as opposed to being the guy everyone got mad at because he
wanted to attack instead of heal. It’s a very solid class and can
stick it out in melee as well as standing back from the rear playing a
supporting role.
Stats required: Wisdom primary, Strength or Charisma secondary.

Fighter
Role: Defender
Power Source: Martial
Description: It’s worth noting this is the most loved class in
all of 4E. Copious excellent paragon paths, feats, powers and options
await the player of the fighter, backed up by some of the best core
class features in combat superiority and combat challenge in the game.
Enemies fear shifting, moving or even remotely having you look at them
funny. A front line defender that hits things dead while preventing an
enemy from leaving the area around them, fighters are one of the best
(if not the best) defender in 4th edition.
Stats required: Strength primary, Dexterity, Constitution and
Wisdom secondary.

Paladin
Role: Defender
Power Source: Divine
Description: A very capable defender, as he is the only one who
has immediate access to plate armor from the start without needing
high stats and a feat. Although not as directly sticky or powerful as
a fighter, their mark inflicts damage without an attack roll and they
are super effective against undead (as it does radiant damage). As an
added bonus, paladins can do a bit of healing on the side as well
helping out the frazzled leader of the party in a tigher situation.
Stats required: Strength or Charisma primary, Wisdom secondary.

Ranger
Role: Striker
Power Source: Martial
Description: Effectively this is the class to go to if you like
shooting things with arrows a lot or want to wield two weapons to
murder things. The class is largely built on a power called “twin
strike”, which lets them attack twice a round and by the late periods
of a campaign can deal considerable amounts of damage. They also have
copious options for attacking outside of a round (during the monsters
turns basically), meaning they can keep doing considerable damage even
outside of their turn. Due to some of their powers, they actually come
very close to being the martial controller in 4E (as one doesn’t exist
as of yet).
Stats required: Strength or Dexterity primary, Wisdom secondary.

Rogue
Role: Striker
Power Source: Martial
Description: The classic “sneaky” class, the rogue relies on
getting combat advantage over his opponents and stabbing or shooting
them in extremely sensitive places. They favor using light weapons
over bulkier ones and can be extremely damaging strikers in the right
situation.
Stats required: Dexterity primary, Strength and Charisma secondary.

Warlock
Role: Striker
Power Source: Arcane
Description: The Warlock is one of the oddities in 4E, although
it is a striker it actually functions best as a single target
controller that does some damage on the side as well. Depending on the
pact (as Fey, Infernal and Star in the original PHB, expanded to
Vestige, Sorcerer-King, Dark and others later) the Warlock gets
different utility out of their powers and core class features.
Stats required: Charisma or Constitution primary, Intelligence secondary
Warlord
Role: Leader
Power Source: Martial
Description: The warlord is a leader who focuses on
manipulating his allies and the battlefield. Although not as strong at
healing as other leaders, the Warlord has a single minded focus on
boosting his allies attacks and initiative considerably, allowing his
allies to go well before their enemies and destroy them before healing
is even required. The warlord is definitely the leader for the
tactically minded in 4E.
Stats required: Strength primary, Intelligence and Charisma secondary.

Wizard
Role: Controller
Power Source: Arcane
Description: This is the class that focuses on exploding
enemies violently with various area of effect spells. They have some
excellent powers that deal automatic damage to other enemies and can
severely hamper opponents by penalizing their saving throws (making it
harder to escape from their effects). Wizards also have excellent
damage potential with many of their spells, meaning they can stop
enemies in their tracks and still blow them to pieces. Just don’t
expect them to be completely game breaking like they have been in
previous editions: Reality check is Wizards are an excellent addition
to a group but won’t win encounters for you by themselves.
Stats required: Intelligence primary, Wisdom and Dexterity
secondary.

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

Deva
Tall blue supermodels, the Deva are touched with divine blood much
like how Tieflings are descendants of those with infernal blood. The
Deva are the most overtly “good” race in 4E and undergo an eternal
cycle of reincarnation. Those that go bad end up becoming a Rakshasa
after their next reincarnation. They’re pretty tied into the divine
power source – being half angels and can boost their own dice rolls
through experience from their numerous lifetimes.

Gome
Second of the short people in 4E DnD, Gnomes are a curious lot from
the feywild who are cunning and quite tricky. They have the ability to
turn invisible when potentially hit by an attack, which is a rather
handy ability and are generally good at most arcane classes. Gnome
barbarians are possible as well with some changes to two handed
weapons, so rejoice!

Goliath
Huge humanoids from the mountains of the world, Goliaths are
extraordinarily tough and very strong – especially as they have a
racial power to give them general damage reduction. They are pretty
strongly interlinked with the primal power source and so favor classes
like the barbarian. They also double as the half-giant from Dark Sun
as well.

Half-Orcs
Proving once and for all that human beings will have sex with anything
(or that a wizard did it – depending on your interpretation) is the
Half-Orc. Mixing the primal brute fury of orcs with the great
adaptability of humans – the half-orc proves to be an extremely swift
and handy fellow in a fight. Just don’t ask him where he came from.

Shifter
The shifter is as close to playing a genuine lycanthrope as a PC that
you can get in 4E. They are part man and part feral beast, with the
interesting choice of a different racial power and even stat boost
depending on which ‘strain’ of shifter you want to be. They generally
tend to be excellent primal characters as a result.

Classes
Class descriptions by Terrendos.

Class: Avenger
Classification: Striker
Power Source: Divine
Primary Abilities: Wisdom, Intelligence, Dexterity
"My god has words for you. This blade will show you to him."
Avengers are excellent at isolating and eliminating single targets.
Other followers do what should be done. You do what must be done. Pro:
roll two attacks under certain circumstances. Con: Reliant on enemies
for static damage boosts.

Class: Barbarian
Classification: Striker
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities: Strength, Constitution, Charisma
"My strength lies in the fury of the wild."
Barbarians are savage warriors, channeling primal energy through
themselves and their massive weapons. Darting back and forth across
the battle, your fierce shouts make the enemy quake in fear. Pro: Big
damage dice, lots of damage potential. Can fly into mighty rages. Con:
Rages are daily powers, so don't expect to use them a lot. Also low
defenses that get lowered during certain attacks.

Class: Bard
Classification: Leader
Power Source: Arcane
Primary Abilities: Charisma, Intelligence, Constitution
"I play the song of my ally's victory over your corpse."
Bards are artists, channeling magic through unbelievable skill with
music, drama, or poetry. Your skill with blade, book, and hymn are the
stuff of fables. Pro: lots of fancy rituals to help in conversation.
Can take as many multiclass feats as she wants. Con: Comparatively
less healing than clerics, and less effective hazing abilities.

Class: Druid
Classification: Controller
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities: Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity
"I am the seeker. I am the stalker. I am the storm."
Druids are the most effective and purist channelers of primal fury and
embody all aspects of nature, from the calm of the still leaf to the
fury of the thunderbolt. Pro: Alternates between caster form and wild
shape for effectiveness in every situation. Con: Too many At-Will
choices, fewer burst options than Wizard/Invoker.

Class: Invoker
Classification: Controller
Power Source: Divine
Primary Abilities: Wisdom, Constitution, Intelligence
"Mighty Pelor! I beseech ye! Smite these wicked foes with your
unending light!"

Invokers are invested with a pure spark of their chosen god, rather
than being merely ordained by corrupt priests and weak rituals. They
are the purest of their god's mortal agents. Pro: Arguably a better
controller than Wizard, plus gains access to the sweet Channel
Divinity stuff. Con: Less overall damage potential, less powerful
rituals, and lacking the utility spells that make wizards such good
generalists. Also I'm not that fond of the PP choices.

Class: Shaman
Classification: Leader
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities: Wisdom, Constitution, Intelligence
"The spirits surround me, guiding my movements and obeying my commands."
Blessed with a mighty spirit companion that aids his allies, the
Shaman is a primal, spiritual force. His mighty companion serves as
both a focus for his attacks and as a shield to protect both him and
his allies. Pro: Protector spirit makes an excellent backup Defender
or Striker. Con: You have to give up your actions to command it.

Class: Sorcerer
Classification: Striker
Power Source: Arcane
Primary Abilities: Charisma, Dexterity, Strength
"The difference between you and me? You wield magic. Magic wields me."
Sorcerers are natural founts of arcane power, resulting from either a
history of dragon's blood or a product of mysterious, chaotic forces.
Either way, you practically bristle with barely-contained magic,
parcelling it out as needed in battle. Pro: Potential for very high
damage and lots of cool effects. Con: Those effects are typically
random, some of which can hit your allies.

Class: Warden
Classification: Defender
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities: Strength, Wisdom, Constitution
"Get past me? You might as well try to push the mountain aside."
Wardens are protectors of the earth, drawing on primal spirits to
protect their allies from harm, and the natural world from the
encroachment of those who would corrupt it. Pro: You are a brick wall,
but harder to hit and probably more resilient. Con: You're not
supposed to wear heavy armor, and marking all adjacent enemies means
you're going to need all that toughness.

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

Githzerai
Everyones favourite astral monks are back and now a player race! They
make pretty decent monks (as you would expect), and their stat spread
make them okay for many other classes. Additionally they have some of
the best racial feats in the game, making them even better.

Minotaur
Yeah, minotaurs are now a playable PC race, probably inspired off the
more noble and civilized minotaurs of dragonlance. They haven't
changed much since their dragon racial write up, but do get strength
and their choice of con or wisdom - making them more flexible in what
classes they can play.

Shardmind
These are the leftovers of a defensive gate from the Far Realm that
shattered, leaving them behind. Sentient crystal people like
constructs in a similar vein to Warforged, they can split themselves
up into a swarm of sentient shards. Definitely a bit … out there even
for the existing bunch of races.

Wilden
Plant People from the feywild who are a "young" race that has arisen
to fight the abominations of the far realm – which forms a general
theme of the third players handbook (especially given Githzerai were
originally enslaved by Illithids and Shardminds were part of a barrier
that sealed in the far realm). They have several different racial
powers and like all PHB3 races a fixed stat and a choice between two
others.

Classes

Class:Ardent
Classification: Leader
Power Source: Psychic
Primary Abilities: Charisma, Constitution and Wisdom.
"By carefully manipulating my allies minds, I shall make them fight
better without them even realizing my presence!"

This is a psionic version of the warlord, but not as mechanically
strong as the warlord and again has the same general PP flaw that all
three of these psionic classes share. They do have a lot of close
burst and similar powers that have interesting effects on allies and
they do like sticking it up close to enemies as well. Of the three
psionic classes, they're not too bad and I think was one of the better
thought out power point using ones.

Class:Battlemind
Classification: Defender
Power Source: Psychic
Primary Abilities: Constitution, Wisdom and Charisma
"Those that ignore me will be burned by their own attacks with the
power of my mind!!!!"

The battlemind is the psionic defender and has similar issues to the
psion as it shares the same PP system. Unlike a fighter its mark isn't
as easy to enforce, albeit can be highly damaging in the right
situations and I think they will be a good secondary defender.

Class:Psion
Classification: Controller
Power Source: Psychic
Primary Abilities: Intelligence, Charisma and Wisdom (I think)
"I am Mentock the Mind Taker and I am here to take your mind!!!"
The first psionic class shown that uses a power point system to
"augment" at-will powers into encounter powers using power points
(PPs). The class seems to suffer from numerous problems, such as
higher level at-wills not being equivalent to some lower level powers
that scale better and due to taking less PPs can be used far more
often in an encounter. Personally I feel the experiment with PPs was
not a good decision.

Class:Monk
Classification: Striker
Power Source: Psionic
Primary Abilities: Dexterity, Strength and Wisdom.
"HYAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!"
The Monk is a great new striker with unprecedented mobility in 4E.
Like the name would suggest they are masters of unarmed fighting and
if you've ever wanted to punch a dragon in the face with your iron
fist of pure Bruce Lee inspired rage - this is definitely the class to
play. They can get a pretty solid unarmed attack and using ki-focuses
means they can turn any part of their body into a lethal weapon.
Any.

Part.

:winky:

Overall this seems like a solid addition to the striker family of classes.

Class:Runepriest
Classification: Leader
Power Source: Divine
Primary Abilities: Strength, Constitution and Wisdom (IIRC)
"The runes are the language of the gods and I am the interpreter of
their words through my hammer into your skull."

A new leader with some pretty strong all purpose party buffs. They get
different "runes" that apply either a damage bonus to the party or a
large defensive buff. Seem pretty handy and they like stirring it up
in melee. I will say I love this class, but I must honestly feel bad
for the strength cleric who has been almost kicked in the gut with the
nerf to righteous brand and this class just outdoes it in every way as
a close up divine melee leader.

Class:Seeker
Classification: Controller
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities:
"My arrow flies straight and true to pin the enemy down and punish
them for their transgressions..."

A ranged controller that uses a bow and is pretty interesting. In many
ways there is some overlap with the ranger here, though the seeker is
unusual in that it has a lot of ranged basic attacks that are
encounter powers and similar (they play nicely with a warlord that can
grant ranged basic attacks as a result). Many of their powers create
zones and similar around a target they hit and it's certainly an
interesting idea.

Then there are the races and the class from the campaign setting
books. First Forgotten Realms:
Drow
Classic villains turned into PC races by the popularity of Drizzt,
essentially another kind of elf with some different powers. I will say
they make amazing rogues because of their darkfire and cloud of
darkness racial powers.

Genasi
Half-elemental planars who join the ranks of the Deva and Tiefling as
being plane touched PC races. They make good wizards and depending on
your elemental type they can suit a wide range of classes. They also
make good swordmages.

Class:Swordmage
Role: Defender
Power Source: Arcane
Description: A defender that focuses on using arcane energies
to entrap attacking enemies or reduce the damage they do to his
allies. They have some good burst and blast powers for dealing with
minions and grouped up enemies as well – though not quite the raw
damage of a defender like a fighter. Overall a very solid secondary
defender, with some excellent tricks to help them keep up.

The Eberron players guide added further races again as well as a new class!
Changeling
These guys, when you want to be derogative that is are classically
known as "Dopplegangers" but most people to be polite call them
Changelings. Like the name suggests, they can change how they appear
and they make terrific rogues or wizards (they get a choice of stat
boost!). On the other hand, as a cautionary note they are probably the
worst supported race in 4E for whatever reason.

Kalashtar
These are a humanoid race who have bound themselves to dream spirits
called Quori. They have some racial psionic talent (communication by
telepathy for example) and should obviously fit in well with the Psion
and other psionic classes.

Warforged
People usually refer to them as robots but these guys are more of a
metal and plant "cyborg" than a robot. They have pretty strong racial
abilities and make fantastic fighters and especially barbarians.

Class: Artificer
Classification: Leader
Power Source: Arcane
Primary Abilities: Intelligence, Constitution and Wisdom
"Let me just help you with your wounds in a minute, right after I
finish making this...."

The Artificer is a really solid leader, capable of taking other
characters healing surges and making his healing powers out of them.
This helps to spread around the parties healing surges so everyone can
keep fighting longer. They can use a variety of weapons and fighting
styles (ranged, melee and binding constructs like a summoner wizard),
making them pretty flexible in general.

And now DDI is adding more options to the game as well – insider
exclusive (that is they won’t be printed) to boot!
Revenant
These guys have come back from the dead or were prevented from dying
by some other force (the Raven queen in the default cosmology).
They're unique because they actually have the undead subtype and can
take feats that make them fully undead. Fun with a cleric in the party
that's for certain! They make for decent assassins (another new class
coming out in DDI), rogues and warlock.

Class: Assassin
Classification: Striker
Power Source: Shadow
Primary Abilities: Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma
"Please don't mind while I stab you with my Fullblade here - oh you
were expecting a dagger? Well that can be arranged after I'm done
disemboweling you..."

The Assassin is the first "exclusive" DDI class to be published and is
pretty interesting. They can apply "shrouds" to enemies that they can
use when attacking to inflict greater damage on their enemies. They
also have a wide variety of weapon proficiencies and can teleport
between creatures at-will. It's a pretty solid class for a DDI
exclusive effort, with the only real flaw being they don't have their
Ki-focus elements out just yet.

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.

The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
Aegeri on
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Posts

  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered 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
    Adventurers
    Vault


    This is an excellent book for anyone, with a huge swathe of new
    awesome magical items and other things to bling your characters out
    with (or so you don't find yourself handing out bags of holding every
    single game as a DM because you can't think of anything else). This is
    a fantastic book.

    Draconomicon

    This is an excellent DM resource or just for anyone who loves dragons
    as well due to the artwork. A nice smattering of new monsters,
    especially in the heroic tier as well as new options, new chromatic
    dragons and ideas for running encounters with Dragons. I highly
    recommend this book for any DM, but it doesn't have much utility for
    players.

    Manual
    of the Planes


    Good resource for DMs and a useful introduction to the planes. There
    is a new "race", Bladeling in the book and some Paragon Paths, but I
    wouldn't buy this if you're a player primarily. The book makes a lot
    of assumptions about the cosmology that may conflict with the
    Forgotten Realms and Eberron as well, which can make life something
    confusing if you're using those settings. Despite this, it's still
    useful and will provide plenty of ideas for running planar campaigns.

    Martial
    Power


    This is the best supplement for players released since 4E came out.
    Has a lot of new, interesting and fun options for martial characters,
    namely Fighters, Rangers, Rogues and Warlords. Good balance as well
    and has lots of great new paragon paths and more. I can recommend this
    book to absolutely anyone.

    Open
    Grave


    IMO, hands down the best supplement for DMs released thus far if you
    want your campaigns to have anything at all to do with the undead.
    Good adventure hooks, a wide array of excellent new monsters from
    filling out low level undead to providing even more high level undead
    monstrosities, this is an absolutely terrific book. Of course, if you
    don't like the undead much you won't find anything of interest in here
    and in a similar manner to the Draconomicon, there is nothing here for
    people playing in games to really make much use out of.

    Dungeon
    Delve


    Delayed somewhat and contains a large bunch of adventures of various
    levels and such. Is actually fairly interesting and really handy if
    you need an adventure now to put into your game in rapid time. I
    recommend this actually, especially if you have a collection of
    Dungeon Tiles.

    Players
    Hand Book II


    I think this was a big moment for 4E in many ways, a really good
    balanced and thought out book would vindicate many of the decisions in
    4E as well as really add some more depth and variation. A bad book
    however would probably really derail the success 4E has enjoyed thus
    far and the general verdict is it's an excellent book. It's well
    balanced with the first book, a couple of feats and epic destinies
    aside but everything in general is really well thought out: most
    especially the new classes are great and so are the new races. It's
    really added a lot to the game and IMO is one of the best supplements
    (and most important) supplements in 4E. I would almost say if you're a
    player this book is as much a must have as the original.

    Arcane
    Power


    This is an excellent book if you like the pew pew style of classes.
    The summoning wizard is a great option and the new wizard at-wills are
    amazingly good. Tomes are a terrific new addition to implements and
    every arcane class got some more new and awesome feats, powers and
    paragon paths. I highly recommend this book, but be aware that like
    Martial Power there are some things in here just a bit out of whack
    power wise. Nothing game breaking though, but certainly more powerful
    than core book options.

    Monster
    Manual 2


    Overall this is a very solid book and seems to have taken some new
    directions with regards to solos and minions. Solos have less HP and
    defenses, but do more damage and seem to have more actions per round.
    Minions have been given control functions or do plain annoying things
    on death (like immobolise whoever killed them). Has a bit of a sense
    of humor as well compared with other supplements (Bullywug and such
    are notable for being a bit out there).

    Divine
    Power


    This has given a really substantial power increase to divine classes
    (for example Clerics now clearly rule the roost in terms of healing
    potential), Strength paladins now don't suck as much and it again
    provides lots of new options. It does feel a little on the power creep
    side in some ways though.

    Adventurers
    Vault 2


    This is a pretty solid book in terms of new magic stuff. It doesn't
    manage to go as overboard in my opinion with the power levels of many
    items as the original adventurers vault did as well. There are always
    going to be specific items that will be problematic in certain
    campaigns, but it's a nice addition and can really expand the variety
    of items you can give out to your PCs.

    Dragon
    Magazine Annual


    I don't own this, but it is my understanding this has some changes and
    altered material from stuff previous published in Dungeon (Punisher of
    the Gods got some alterations I hear). The articles in it are some
    pretty decent ones though, so if you want a print version of some of
    the better dragon articles I would suggest getting it. Or just get a
    subscription and get more stuff for cheaper - I dunno (I'm trying to
    sound unbiased but I don't really see the advantage in this over
    getting a subscription for a month and downloading the compiled
    issues).

    Dungeon
    Masters Guide 2


    This is a really nice book, detailing updated skill challenges, adding
    some new options for campaigns that want to reduce the number of
    magical items (temporary boons for example) and has a wonderful
    section on Sigil: City of Doors for planar based campaigns. The
    updated monster creation guidelines are also very appreciated and this
    is a really solid book if you're running any game of DnD.

    Primal
    Power


    This is basically the same sort of affair as all the other "X power"
    books. Most of the new options are pretty good from a cursory look and
    its definitely added some more versatility to some classes that needed
    it a bit like druids. The new swarm druid build is pretty good and
    everyone who wanted Diablo 2 like dual weapon barbarians will
    certainly be pleased.

    Draconomicon
    2


    This is an excellent book of as high quality (or better) than the
    original Draconomicon. Lots of references to the Catastrophic dragons
    in this book as well and it's pretty clear it works as a resource to
    be used in conjunction with the original book. The new metallics are
    very nice, one of which has an interesting breath weapon that makes a
    minion and it does indeed have stats for Bahamut. Expect someone bored
    to put a fight club with Bahamut vs. Tiamat - though Bahamuts 2 levels
    may be the key difference. It also has a big bunch of other monsters
    and indeed is a great resource for DMs.

    The
    Plane Below: Secrets of the Elemental Chaos


    Plane Below is very awesome, though some of the monsters don't come
    off as well as I would like. But once again it's another source book
    jam packed with useful information and should find a use in any
    paragon/epic campaign. It doesn't really feel like something you can
    easily use in heroic tier though.

    Players
    Handbook Races: Dragonborn


    I've not got this or read it, any comments on this book would be
    appreciated (and still would be!).

    Underdark

    Firstly, this book is most notable for the most horrific pieces of art
    in 4E DnD. Poor Torog – he is one twisted wee puppy. Additionally the
    book introduces a fantastic concept:

    Doors. With. Giant. Teeth. I mean, what's more horrifying than a door
    that eats you? That just ain't right. Other than this it’s another
    excellent DM resource and has numerous ideas on running a campaign in
    the underdark.

    Martial
    Power 2


    This has expanded the options of Fighters, Warlords, Rogues and
    Rangers even further! Some of these options are pretty mechanically
    neat as well, like a fighter that focuses on grabbing enemies and
    providing a neat new ranger build that focuses on using thrown
    weapons. Again this is just a good book for generally anyone.

    Players
    Handbook 3


    I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but this book has been Wizards first
    real misstep with fourth edition in my opinion. While it has numerous
    good new elements, like hybrid classes, skill powers and some new
    classes like the monk and seeker – it has overall disappointed me in
    the new races and psionics it introduced into the game. Three of the
    four psionic classes introduce a new power point (PP) system to 4E:
    This unfortunately has a side effect that many of their low level
    at-wills become “spammable” at high levels. As some of these powers
    scale poorly, doing ridiculous effects like penalizing all of an
    enemies defenses by a huge amount (-8 for example) they cause
    considerable issues.

    The
    Plane Above: Secrets of the Astral Sea


    On the other hand compared with the recently released Players Handbook
    3 this book instantly returns to the excellent form that most books
    released have had. If you're planning on running a planar campaign IMO
    this book is almost indispensable.

    http://www.amazon.com/Hammerfast-Dwarven-Outpost-Adventure-Site/dp/0786955341/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275532768&sr=8-1Hammerfast
    : A Dwarven Outpost Adventure Site[/url]

    I don’t have this book yet: Comments/impressions would be appreciated.

    Player’s
    Strategy Guide


    I don’t have this book yet: Comments/impressions would be appreciated.

    This is notable again because it has art from Gabe of this forum for
    it. I'll probably be buying it for that. Yeah I'm such a whore,
    WHATEVER. Albeit with so much stuff coming out in the next two months
    I’ve put this aside for now…
    Monster
    Manual 3

    This is probably the definitive monster book in 4E now. Firstly, it
    introduces a massive change in the way monsters powers are designed
    and how much damage they do. At paragon and epic level, monsters have
    vastly increased damage and now have improved powers as well. Many of
    the solos in this book are the best in the game, like Lolth (on the
    cover) and the return of the classic Kraken. Possibly what I love
    most about this book is the addition of many standard epic and
    paragon monsters, which was very dominated by elites/solos previously.
    Players
    Handbook Races: Tiefling

    I don’t have this but it has a hell of a lot of really good feats and
    such apparently.
    Vor
    Rukoth: Ancient Ruins Adventure Site

    I haven’t had time to fully digest this, but the poster map is plain awesome.
    Demonomicon
    First: I am horrifically biased. Second: Bearing in mind I am
    horrifically biased this is my favourite book in all of 4E. I love
    daemons and this book gives me a whopping 70 more daemons across all
    tiers of play. It gives new options to make daemons more dangerous and
    unpredictable opponents and lots of fluff on the abyss. Frankly, if
    you like daemons this is a must buy.

    Psionic Power

    Still reading this, but my first impression is it is absolutely
    excellent and really surprised me. Bear in mind I almost completely
    hated the original psionics, so coming from me this means a lot.

    Released Adventures
    The H series of adventures are essentially dungeon crawls
    with varying quality. To be honest, you're expected to do the footwork
    in writing the background and story for many of these, which are often
    somewhat flimsy.

    H1:
    Keep on the Shadowfell


    This is a straightforward dungeon crawl. It's worth noting that it can
    be downloaded for free now and in an updated form
    here!
    Like many of the adventures in this series, I am certainly not kidding
    when I say that it really is a very long dungeon crawl. It has a lot
    of combat encounters and a loose story connecting them, so it does
    require some work in that department. Still the fold out maps are nice
    and its a decent adventure (especially with the improvements in the
    downloadable version).

    H2:
    Thunderspire Labyrinth


    This is a really solid adventure and is one I enjoyed a lot. It's
    again, a dungeon crawl (but you should expect that from all of these)
    but has some really fun encounters and some interesting traps.

    H3:
    Pyramid of Shadows


    Personally this is the one I didn't really like all that much after
    running it. Although it's a zany adventure it has a few problems with
    some encounters being fairly poorly balanced and I felt it was way to
    long to have my PCs stuck somewhere. I ended up cutting it short by a
    lot.

    P1:
    King of the Trollhaunt Warrens


    This was a really fun adventure and was a good introduction to the
    paragon tier. I also liked the backstory behind it and the general
    design of the dungeons. It also has by far one of the most useful maps
    that I own, which is a small section of a town.

    P2:
    The Demon Queen's Enclave


    Again I really enjoyed this map and the backstabbing between the
    various Drow factions and politics that you can potentially insert (if
    you so desire). It has my least favourite of the fold out maps, but
    still a nice adventure anyway and they really are doing well with
    making interesting encounters.

    P3:
    Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress
    .

    One of the main reasons for buying this was so I could see the stats
    of Shadow Dragons and while they are okay, they don't really do enough
    damage and can be very tedious to fight (blinding people constantly
    for example). The adventure itself is still pretty nice though and I
    approve of it.

    E1:
    Deaths Reach
    .

    I haven't really had a lot of time to read this in depth!

    E2:
    Kingdom of the Ghouls
    .

    By far, this has the greatest final encounter in any of the modules
    that I've seen. It's also awesome all the way through and is by far
    and away my most favourite module out of this series. – I have decided
    to leave this here for a while, because after actually playing said
    adventure you quickly realize the flaws of that final encounter.

    E3:
    Prince of Undeath


    This is the final of the adventures and should be coming out next
    month; highlight is new (hopefully non-sucky) stats for Orcus. I am
    very curious to see if Orcus has friends or not for that fight
    and its EL. Personally I must concede that I am going to be buying
    this partly for the new Orcus stats. It's out next month =D

    There is also another series of adventures coming out after this
    starting next year. The first of these has been released:

    HS1:
    The Slaying Stone


    Excellent from a cursory look. Although it is substantially
    shorter than the original H/P/E series – it is more open in its design
    and gives advice to the DM and feels much less like a linear series of
    encounters (which the original series can feel like at times).

    There are also larger "super" adventures too.

    Revenge
    of the Giants


    Oddly this was a hardcover book compared with the previous softcovers
    for the other adventures. It's a very nice adventure though, has a
    good length and can be easily adapted to fit into FR or Eberron.
    Personally I will be running this in my IRL game later on in the year
    because I like it sufficiently enough. I am hoping the Tomb of Horrors
    super adventure is of similar quality.
    HS2:
    Orcs of Stonefang Pass

    This is another short, simple addition to the HS series of modules and
    introduces one of my favourite new monsters to 4E DnD – The
    giant archerfish. If being shot by a giant fish that shoots
    water isn’t a horrifying concept, then I don’t know what is. Unlike
    the Slaying Stone this isn’t as interesting or open an adventure. It’s
    more of a series of linear encounters and that is a bit disappointing
    compared to the original HS module. Still, it’s a short and cheap
    module with an excellent reusable poster map and I recommend this.
    Tomb
    of Horrors

    This book is fantastic for use in a campaign or as the basis for an
    entire campaign. Most of the tombs can be taken out of context and fit
    into a campaign in other means. It has very solid encounters, puzzles
    and monsters (like some solos). I recommend it even if you are not so
    keen on using the whole tomb.

    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.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
  • 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.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • 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.

    Terrendos on
  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered 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.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
  • 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?

    Kay on
    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.

    Turkson on
    There are many Oglaf avatar's, but this one is mine stolen!
  • smeejsmeej Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Not posting in this thread until Gary gets recognition.

    smeej on
    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.

    Terrendos on
  • Mr_RoseMr_Rose 83 Blue Ridge Protects the Holy 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.

    Mr_Rose on
    ...because dragons are AWESOME! That's why.
    Nintendo Network ID: AzraelRose
    DropBox invite link - get 500MB extra free.
  • TurksonTurkson Near the mountains of ColoradoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Our hobby attracts the strangest of people.

    Turkson on
    There are many Oglaf avatar's, but this one is mine stolen!
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Distinct lack of sand sharks in the OP.

    Tofystedeth on
    steam_sig.png
  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered 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?

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic 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.

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

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  • ChanusChanus Sugoi! ^_____^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.

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  • 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.

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  • ChanusChanus Sugoi! ^_____^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.

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  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered 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.

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

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

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  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered 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.

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  • 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.

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  • ChanusChanus Sugoi! ^_____^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.

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  • ChanusChanus Sugoi! ^_____^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.

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  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat 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 Heretic 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.

    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 Heretic Registered 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 Heretic Registered 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 Heretic Registered 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 Fake Gamer Goat 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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