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Welll, that didn't go well....


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King_Barrowclaw
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« on: May 27, 2008, 08:46:04 pm »

Sorry I've taken so long to post anything about our 4e playtesting but I decided to let the group grapple with the rules for several sessions just to be sure.

It didn't go well.....at all. Tongue

And I think that's the end of this group from what I've seen. Cry

I've got company over tonight so I'll post tomorrow.
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Greyharp
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2008, 09:08:26 pm »

Got me curious.  Smiley
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Richter_Bravesteel
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 10:34:01 pm »

Yeah, I want to know too...
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randalls
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2008, 08:36:55 am »

It didn't go well.....at all. Tongue

Oh dear. Sad

I'm definitely interested in more details when you have time.
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King_Barrowclaw
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2008, 08:52:41 pm »

Well, I'm not trying to be mysterious or anything, the games were just a debacle. I'll just start with my impressions as a DM.

4e is not the D&D I've known and enjoyed in it's several incarnations. It wants to be, but too many things have been changed. The way that the rules are set up and designed for combat and interaction it seems to be more of a type of board/miniatures game along the lines of say, Warhammerquest or Descent in its execution. Characters have specific Moves, Powers and Abilities that are all "key-worded" so that you know when you are allowed to use them. By "Key-worded" I mean like "interrupt", "at-will", etc. There are rules for how to know when each of these things get "triggered" by the actions of the other players or NPCs. And, let me tell you now that the secret to succeeding in this game is knowing your tactics cold and knowing your "place" in the "tactics chain triggers".  I'm reminded of playing "Final Fantasy Online" with a friend and finding out that there were these things called attack chains. When one person attacked with a special move, someone with another special move could use it at the right time and set off an "effect" like an energy blast or something that would do 10x the damage as normal. It reminds me of that.

Now, I know that we had incomplete rules, but holy cow, we had some serious scraps over interpretation. I have since visited other forums and found people arguing about the same things and expressing 5 differing opinions about how to run them. Like the kobold encounters. They have been given a "shifting" power that allows them to effectively move out of the way when attacked. We argued about that all night on or off each time we played. The rules were not clear enough for us to settle it conclusively and it caused some aggravation around the table.

More later.
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randalls
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2008, 09:56:59 pm »

There are rules for how to know when each of these things get "triggered" by the actions of the other players or NPCs. And, let me tell you now that the secret to succeeding in this game is knowing your tactics cold and knowing your "place" in the "tactics chain triggers".

This is what I liked about early versions of D&D, combat was very abstract so being a tactical wizard wasn't very important to character success as a player, nor was it required to run an enjoyable by combat-loving players combat as a DM.  This was very good from my POV as I have ALWAYS been horrible at tactics. I'm pretty good at strategy (heck, I was winning with Japan in a War in the Pacific boardgame long after Japan should have been losing) but at tactics, I literally suck.  I suspect I would not be a popular player in modern version of D&D as not only am I not really interested in hour-long combats, but I suck at tactics.

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They have been given a "shifting" power that allows them to effectively move out of the way when attacked. We argued about that all night on or off each time we played. The rules were not clear enough for us to settle it conclusively and it caused some aggravation around the table.

This is anther thing that bothers me about rules-heavy games like modern D&D, such problems don't seem easy to solve by a few minutes of discussion and a DM decision on how the rule will work in that DM's campaign. That's how we used to solve them but that doesn't seem to happen as often any more. Probably because the rules have become the game. The rules aren't what you use the frame the adventures (which are the real game), the rules and player mastery of them often seem to be the core of the modern rules heavy game (and adventures exist so player can show their rules mastery).
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King_Barrowclaw
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2008, 11:29:33 pm »

I agree with what you are saying randalls. In point of fact the OD&D, 1e and 2e players kept complaining that the rules were too rigid for them to do anything that they wanted to do in a fight and succeed. And that's a key point. Sure, you can do something a little off the wall but you're not going to be helping anybody else's tactics and use of daily/per encounter/at will powers which will do more damage to help you win the encounter.

I think that the thing that bothers me about the high profile tactical rules is the lack of abstract combat. See, to me it's like the rides at Disneyland. Now we all know about the animatronics involved with some of the rides that makes dead presidents, pirates and ghosts come to life. If you take the "skins" off of those animated figures they're just metal frameworks with hydraulics, wire and what have you showing. They stop being presidents and pirates etc. I prefer my rules to be well hidden so that they don't interrupt the "suspension of disbelief" that rpg's run on. If your rules are too high profile it can become a game of Yahtzee  with d20s. (IMHO)
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