DND 4.0 vs 3.5

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Natha
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by Natha »

Full Bleed wrote:
aku wrote:that has more straight-forward comparisons between edition game mechanics.

Comparing fireballs or magic missile doesn't really make sense, imho, or any other "detail" if you don't look (or know) the big picture : the whole mechanics of the system.


As a previous player and DM of D&D (B/X/M), D&D3 and D&D4 (I skipped the whole AD&D era), some things I can mention as very good things in 4E (imho) :

- unified mechanics : no subsystem for combat, magic, unified defenses system

- simple and easy too learn rule basics

- self contained, player side, "subrules" : as a DM, you had to learn lots of things in 3E and players often rellied (spelling) on you to handle and know consequences and rules of their character's capabilities (spell etc.). In 4E, powers (on cards or not) and feats are simple too undestand, unifeid in mechanics so the player knows and tells how his character is performing things. Less work the DM. And the "mathmatics" for balancing difficulties is really good and simple. So again, less work the DM.

- power cards suck ? : no way. Having cards mean no need to flip constantly through rule books (as previous editions forced you to : a lot of spells were some kind of subset of special rules), with (again) self contained informations that keep the player "in charge" of his technical side of the game. It's clear, organized.

- "pulp" rate adventuring / ressources : yes, the characters start stronger than in previous editions and have more ability to heal, but that enables epic adventures, in a pulp style (badly hurt !?! Amolst dead !?! No ... next scene the hero comes back all fresh ! ;) ) and leave the choice to players (considering their "ressources" : healing surges, daily powers etc) to go on through the dangers, or be more subtil etc.

- tactical combat : yes, combat is tactical in 4E and ressemble more of a skirmish mini game than a "roleplaying game". My players and I like it. But outside of combat ? It's roleplaying all the way ! No rules for "guiding" roleplaying. I like it.

- MMO-ish ? AS for what ? The "pulp side of it" ? (healing rate). I don't see why. Other RPGs before handled the healing in this fashion. Because of the "cooldown" of encounter and daily powers ? I found it a very easy way to know how and when your character's special capabilities will be available or not. What's the difference between daily "prayer"/"meditation" to "learn back your spells" ? Or "laying hand x times a day to heal" ? None, rule wise. And imho, it's far more easy to manage for players the 4E way (flip card etc. ).

Does this means I thing that 4E is better than 3E ?
No. I think they are different and I understand why some D&D fans could have been disappointed by some (radical) changes to their old ways.
As "grognards" from OD&D and D&D1 can be "horrified" by AD&D2 or 3E.
As I remember the horrible flamewar that erupts when 3E was just printed and some AD&D fans hated it for the same reasons : too many changes, loss of Thac0 etc ...

Do I like 4E better ?
Yes. It suits me fine. Even if I did some minor changes in the rules to suit me even more.

Apples and oranges.
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by Full Bleed »

Natha wrote:Comparing fireballs or magic missile doesn't really make sense, imho, or any other "detail" if you don't look (or know) the big picture : the whole mechanics of the system.


Well, to be fair, no one wants to sit down and read 8-9 manuals to get the "whole picture" so that they can accurately compare the editions in every way. And even if they did, someone will come along and say, "They are different, you can't compare them." But if you put out small snippets of bare mechanics, you can avoid interjecting as much opinion and let the reader come to their own conclusions within their own context. One can look at those bare comparisons and make some fair assessments (particularly if they have some experience with one of those systems and have a basic understanding of how those components felt in a game.)

That said, since you brought up opinion...

Speaking for myself, I've played D&D, AD&D (1e), AD&D 2nd, D&D 3rd, D&D 3.5, & Pathfinder extensively over the last 30 years. 90%+ of the time as a DM/GM. And despite being eager to try out 4e and embrace their digital initiative, after reading most of the core books I set them aside knowing that it wasn't for me. And, yes, I can point to simple things like 6 hour natural healing, square fireballs, healing surges, and homogenized "power" mechanics across all classes (making them all seem like casters to me) as being contributing factors. It simply does not feel like pnp D&D to me.

For some, especially those who grew up in a MMO and computer RPG world, those 4e mechanics might not be a very big deal. They might even seem like they "make sense." But to many who've played (and enjoyed) earlier editions those mechanics do make a PnP game feel more like a computer game. Magic the Gathering, the D&D Miniature game, and Computer/MMO RPG games do seem to have had a significant impact on what 4e ended up being.

For some that's a good thing. For others, not so much.

But, again, that's just opinion and we can go back and forth with that forever... which is why I was just putting up the bare mechanics.


At any rate, I think looking at the mechanical changes grouped all in one place is fun. :P
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by Natha »

Full Bleed wrote:Well, to be fair, no one wants to sit down and read 8-9

That's right.
But I meant at least the PHB (1).
If you don't know how the core mechanics work, what the fireball description will tell you ? Not much imo.

That said, since you brought up opinion...

It's all about opinion when there's "vs" in the topic title ;)

For some, especially those who grew up in a MMO and computer RPG world, those 4e mechanics might not be a very big deal. They might even seem like they "make sense."

I'm gonna turn 40 next year.
But it makes as much sense to me as did the "wizard casts a spell and forget it" (that's just an example) in my redbox back in 1983, or any other "weirdosity" of any edition of D&D.

Magic the Gathering, the D&D Miniature game, and Computer/MMO RPG games do seem to have had a significant impact on what 4e ended up being.

As much as D&D and RPG of the 70's and 80's had impact on "rpg" computer games and then MMORPG.
It's kind of a circle of life ;)
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by think01 »

Natha wrote:Comparing fireballs or magic missile doesn't really make sense, imho, or any other "detail" if you don't look (or know) the big picture : the whole mechanics of the system.
[...]
- self contained, player side, "subrules" : as a DM, you had to learn lots of things in 3E and players often rellied (spelling) on you to handle and know consequences and rules of their character's capabilities (spell etc.). In 4E, powers (on cards or not) and feats are simple too undestand, unifeid in mechanics so the player knows and tells how his character is performing things. Less work the DM. And the "mathmatics" for balancing difficulties is really good and simple. So again, less work the DM.
[...]
- tactical combat : yes, combat is tactical in 4E and ressemble more of a skirmish mini game than a "roleplaying game". My players and I like it. But outside of combat ? It's roleplaying all the way ! No rules for "guiding" roleplaying. I like it.
[...]

Yes! Great! I totally agree, with all you've said but expecially for these sentencies. I was reading the whole thread going to the end eager to write exactly what you wrote here.

I really don't understand why 4e should have to be less rpg-ing.

After this, I agree too with who says a comparison is much a matter of opinion. But I think the "self-containment" of the rule set of 4e is an objective feature (that can be liked or not, of course).

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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by dorpond »

Bwahaha, I will join in on this too! :)

I am Eli Witbaum. I am a Bard. I have been a Bard in 3rd edition and I am also a Bard in 4th edition. While I used a whip well in 3rd edition, I pretty much sucked at stuff, but Dorpond made me REALLY cool by the way he played me. He proved that as sucky as I was at stuff, I had a place somewhere in the party.

(I other words, I roleplayed him very well)

One day I woke up and I was in a different place. Those around me call this place 'the 4th edition'. At first I thought they were saying "the 4th dimension", but the looks I got from the locals proved otherwise.. That day I woke up, I forgot how to use my whip - it was like I was smashed in the head by a large rock - it felt totally out of place in my hands, but what I did find was that I was better at multitasking. I could actually mess with peoples heads while on the battle field, sing songs that help heal and I was able to attack well! Who was this new Eli? I really didn't feel like me anymore but I didn't feel bad either.

While I was wandering around all confused and feeling out of place, Dorpond came to me and showed me how to use the whip again. Actually, he showed me how to use it better than before, even though the others here said I had no chance. He also explained to me that even though I was in a far away place far from home, I didn't have to forget who I was. He was right, so I grabbed my Mule Donkey Herbert, packed up my 6 bags of clothing, pots and pans, food, rare drinks, slippers, tobacco, did I say clothes, and blankets; and I travelled off into the distance to introduce myself to the diplomats of neighboring realms.

(It was a long story, but my point is this - a character is how you make it. I could make Eli Witbaum in Savage Worlds, Star Wars, D&D 1,2,3 & 4, Heroes - whatever, and he will still be Eli Witbaum, because of me, not the rules. I think many people look too closely at the rules. Some people need a half page spell description to help them roleplay, whereas others just need a sentance. An RPG is what you make of it.)
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by think01 »

dorpond wrote:Bwahaha, I will join in on this too! :)
[...]

OH MY GOD! Your avatar moves! ... or, I think, maybe, sort of... I'm not totally sure. :D
Anyway.
Yes, as a DM (now it's... 22 years, gosh) I always have seen my players roleplaying with very little rule set or very huge one (for me, they are DnD 1e and 3.5e - I find 4e someway slimmer). Rules are only a tool: it depends on how you use it. This being said, I can agree that with 3e or 4e it's very easy to do a battle after another, totally focused on AC, HP, damage and weapons and spells and still having a quite fun and angaging play, while with the first edition it's not so easy to do only battles and not to get bored after the third... It's only a matter of resisting to the temptation :)

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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by skester »

We play Pathfinder 3.5 rules, and it seems to work for our group.

I've read through the 4th edition rules and like them, but my players don't want to switch to a new rules set anytime soon, plus they aren't a fan of all the books that keep coming out. (Another players handbook?)

They've accepted the Advanced Players Guide into the rules set, but I don't think any other splatbooks will be used. They want to just minimize the books, no new rules and keep to what they know.

They also like the spell system - especially for wizards and clerics, the flexibility of being able to cast new spells (and for the wizard of learning new spells).

That being said, I have friends that play 4th edition and love it. I don't think it overly matters what edition you play as long as it stimulates your imagination and you have fun with it.

Most of the "epic" adventures that we played were in 2nd edition - those are still the ones we talk about. Were they awesome and memorable because of the rules? No. Maybe a few dice rolls (getting that 20 when you need it is nice). It's more of the people you play with and the stories generated. As long as that's still happening and you are having fun, that's all that matters.

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Suspension of What?

Post by Full Bleed »

Natha wrote:
Full Bleed wrote:Magic the Gathering, the D&D Miniature game, and Computer/MMO RPG games do seem to have had a significant impact on what 4e ended up being.
As much as D&D and RPG of the 70's and 80's had impact on "rpg" computer games and then MMORPG.
It's kind of a circle of life ;)


Yes, but to my mind, I understand why computer games aspire to be like pnp RPGs. A good RPG helps a GM establish a meaningful suspension of disbelief that supersedes typical board/card games and computer games. All great works of fiction, be it a book, a movie, or even a role-playing game have one thing in common: they do exceptional jobs of suspending disbelief.

But, at some point (most notably in 4e) the paradigm between PnP and derivative card and computer games seems to have shifted. The PnP game started to emulate the emulators. PnP began to worry less about suspending disbelief and more about becoming more predictable, balanced, homogenized, and "unrealistic" for the sake of expediency (even where expediency wasn't really needed.) It's hard to weave an engrossing story with strong elements of drama, simultaneously destroying and creating hopes and dreams for the characters... and then turn around and wipe out any semblance of your fabricated "reality" by saying something like, "Ok, 6 hours has passed and you've gone from clinging to within an inch of your life after fighting the demon lord to being born again and in perfect health... no magic needed." Basically, we're not even taking about mortals any more. Everyone in 4e is actually some kind of uber regenerating race of creatures that just sort of look like the mortals in previous versions of the game.

It's like watching a boxing movie and seeing the boxer beaten to a pulp in Scene 1, and then showing up in Scene 2 (a few hours later) without a scratch on him. If the movie was trying to make me "believe" in what's going on, they would have failed.

And that's just one tiny example from a book filled with new mechanics that would, imo, be fine for a board/card/computer game where I place very little emphasis on suspending disbelief.

So, yes, RPG Mechanics-->Computer Games Mechanics-->RPG Mechanics has become circular, but that's not the way I hoped my favorite PnP game would go. I wanted to see it become more focused on the things that a computer doesn't do well and adopt mechanics that were more true to the original ideas that I already loved. I wanted it to help me suspend disbelief... not re-engineer the entire system for a computer-like expediency. If I was overly worried about expediency I probably wouldn't be playing a pnp RPG to begin with. I'd play a computer game or a CCG. ;)

But, so as to not paint too broad a stroke, I'll end with pointing out a mechanic in 4e that is an example of something that I feel did help with the "suspension of disbelief": the Bloodied State and it's ability to affect a wide range of abilities. If there were going to be major changes to the game, that's an example of the kind of mechanic I was hoping to see. But, unfortunately, I think Pathfinder did a better job of being truer to the original system and still making the game more "playable" (combined skills, Combat Maneuver Attacks and Defenses, base XP for monsters instead of encounter CR xp, variable leveling speeds, simple class Archetypes, etc.)


Anyway, I've *never* seen one of these discussions end with anyone changing their mind. ;) And, for me, the truth is that the D&D game I had the most fun running (from a DM's point of view) was a 1e/3.5 fusion game I ran a few years back. It was surprisingly easy to pull rules from 3e that would enhance 1e without getting caught up in all the fiddly stuff that can make running 3e games a chore. And if I was to go back and run a similar game again, there is a lot more from Pathfinder that I would look at borrowing than I would 4e.
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by Full Bleed »

skester wrote:Most of the "epic" adventures that we played were in 2nd edition - those are still the ones we talk about. Were they awesome and memorable because of the rules? No.


For me I'd say that my most "epic" games were 1e games (with a bit of 2e) and I'd say that the rules did, in fact, contribute significantly to that sort of game being possible. I agree that the story and the group were the most important things, but by 3e the complexity and situational specifics of the rules began to play a much larger role in what characters did and how they did it. Even something like "Attacks of Opportunity" changed the way people conducted themselves in combat ("Oh, wait, can I do that without getting an AOO? Oh, well then I won't do that!") Things we took for granted in 1e/2e became constrained by rules. A player might come up with an great social or role-playing action, but have it hampered by a poor "bluff" check... or, conversely, instead of coming up with an otherwise epic in game character action, they'd lean on just rolling the dice to "use diplomacy" or "intimidate." There were times when player used disguises without having to making "Disguise checks" or were just expected to have a certain understanding of the wilderness because they were a Ranger/Druid/Barbarian without have to make a "Wilderness Lore" check.

I think many of the rules of future editions removed some of the organic flavor of a 1e/2e game (or at least made the GM/Player work harder to interject them), and there are many memorable encounters in my most epic campaigns that would have had very little chance of ever happening in future editions. And sometimes, when I play with some of the old-skool players, I see them struggling to do things that they would have just done without much second-guessing in 1e/2e, but that they now have to "mechanically define" or calculate ahead of time because the randomized success/fail rate is too large a factor to ignore. The same game is still there, behind the rules and mechanics, but the fact that there are so many more situational rules does, in my experience, change how people play the game.
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Re: Suspension of What?

Post by think01 »

Full Bleed wrote:"Ok, 6 hours has passed and you've gone from clinging to within an inch of your life after fighting the demon lord to being born again and in perfect health... no magic needed."

Mmmhh... why not to say: "Ok, six hours ago you fought against the demon lord, putting into the battle every single drop of your energy, courage and strenght. You were exausted and badly wounded but victorius. And you knew, from the first istant after the battle, that that was not the end, that another bigger and more dangerous challenge awaits you, a challenge from which depends the destiny of your whole life. So, recalling your ancestor's inspiring words and thinking deep about your mission and your final goal, you ware able to still find a new energy, a refreshing light switching on into you, and after few hours of rest, you're now ready for the final battle."

Please excuse me my poor english, but I hope to have make the idea.

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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by dorpond »

One thing I don't miss about 3rd edition is the invisible flying spell caster who drops fireballs all over the battle field.
I don't miss spending way too much time figuring out my Druids specs after turning into an animal (thank you again DMGenie for getting me through!).

I do miss how with previous versions of D&D, the classes did feel different, whether or not you roleplayed or not. With 4th edition, if nobody roleplayed and just threw dice, you'd never know what class the players were playing.
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by patoace »

dorpond wrote:I do miss how with previous versions of D&D, the classes did feel different, whether or not you roleplayed or not. With 4th edition, if nobody roleplayed and just threw dice, you'd never know what class the players were playing.


I must say, as DM, my fighter feels pretty sticky, everybody is saying "thank you" to the bard, I really hate when the wizards throws a wall in middle combat field, and the warlock is always dealing too much damage.

I don't know if two classes with the same role would feel the same for the players, but at least the roles feel different, IMO.

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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by Natha »

patoace wrote:I don't know if two classes with the same role would feel the same for the players, but at least the roles feel different, IMO.

Yep. I agree. The roles are the "real" classes (4, as in "basic" D&D ;) ) and classes are flavors of theses roles.
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by dorpond »

Yeah, I can agree with that too. There is a different feel between roles but not so much between different classes of the same role.
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Re: DND 4.0 vs 3.5

Post by aliasmask »

Yeah, there are plenty of opportunity to step on each other's toes in 3.5 as far as archetypes go, even though they could be completely different classes. That's why I usually try to define characters by archetypes rather than listing their classes to the other players.

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