Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Catch All

Although I couldn't roll a Monk (too lazy to try the suggested work around) I really enjoyed playing on Monday. Karla did a great job of putting everything together and as a DM kept the night interesting. I was surprised at how crazy the damage can get in 4.0. We only did the one combat encounter and for a few minutes I figured I was going to die for sure I was taking a beating, but low and behold it all worked out and the group managed to finish the fight in pretty good shape. I can't wait to continue and am looking forward to playing some at Gencon.

Awesome stuff. Enjoyed the blog and look forward to future installments.

Having just returned from a wonderfully long vacation, full of sun and emptying of wallet, I was pleased to see my boxed set of 4th Edition Corebooks was finally delivered. I've just cracked the covers at this point, but I can already see some interesting changes that look to be for the better. After reading the impressions here, I look forward to seeing the rules in action more than ever.

I have always viewed skill checks, as they relate to role-playing, as a tool for variability in thinking. While I endeavor to think “in character” for all the NPCs I DM, it’s impossible to give them true depth on short notice, therefore I find using dice as a way to randomize their personality. If the situation calls for a skill check related to non-combat interaction, I’ll roleplay the encounter out and then award bonuses or penalties based on how I think the event proceeded. If the dice alter an otherwise successful interaction, I’ll adjust my thinking for the NPC to reflect some bias or aspect that displeased them. Perhaps the guard is a chauvinist who thinks little of “adventuring” women. Maybe the Mayor lost loved ones to a dragon attack and has extended his distrust to dragonborn. Etc. The reverse can be true when the dice favor the players when otherwise I thought they handled the situation poorly. I find using skill checks as a way to make things fresh for even me, as a DM, and add a little unpredictability to any situation.

As for multiple success skill challenges, that sounds like fun. A good way to compartmentalize a roleplay and give it some ebb and flow. Regardless, though, I think the RPing throughout should be fun, interesting, and important to the chances of success or failure.

Can’t wait to experience it all on either side of the screen!

Skill checks for social encounters can help when you have players who are smooth talking diplomats in real life but are playing Half-Orc fighters with CHA of 3. On the flip side, they help people who want to play the party "face" despite having trouble expressing themselves in person. I agree with Shaderavens take on how helpful a shot of randomness can be in a social situation as well.

KingMob wrote:

For example, they needed to figure out a number of things about the ghost before they could decide what to tell him in order to get him to let them past - at first they were doing Insight and History checks, later on Diplomacy was more important - but I kept track of the number of successes behind the scenes as I ran the conversation.
If you were there, what could have gone better or worse in your opinion?

I had no idea. It seemed to run pretty smoothly to me and I just figured we weren't asking the right questions...until we did. So Kudos for running that new game mechanic right under my nose. I never would have even known that that part was different!

KingMob wrote:

Also, I know you were there last night for the puzzle / trap combination - by combining a puzzle skill challenge with a nasty trap, I was able to make the 600xp I wanted for the challenge without drawing it out too long. But again, I didn't officially announce it was a skill challenge, just asked players what they wanted to do and suggested they tell me what skill they were using as they went along...

I thought the trap/puzzle went fairly well, though my character isn the brightest so he couldnt help all that much. I think the biggest thing is to keep track of what everyone is doing and the rolls tey are making for their actions. Easier to keep track of face to face, a bit harder online as everybody is talking and moving and emoting and rolling and things tend to scroll by pretty fast and get lost.

When Dirge said "Wait a second. Lodin, you're a Kalton family member. Get over here and enter the dang Kalton Code" and we were all like, "Yeah! Dont you remember your own family's crest/code thing?" <--Best Non-combat campaign moment yet!

As I said before its running smoother and smoother each time we play as everybody gets used to the FG2 quirks. I'm looking forward to next week!

Benticore
Out

Benticore wrote:

When Dirge said "Wait a second. Lodin, you're a Kalton family member. Get over here and enter the dang Kalton Code" and we were all like, "Yeah! Dont you remember your own family's crest/code thing?" <--Best Non-combat campaign moment yet!

You missed the point in Game I where he broke the encounter with the ghost by pretending to be a Kalton descendant in the first place... I found the place in the chatlog so I'll just quote it

july9chatlog wrote:

Lodin: Well, by Pelor. If it is the Kalton birthright you seek, then I can help you. I am Lodin Kalton. Last heir of the Kalton name.
Lodin -> Skill [Bluff] [22] [1d20+7 = 22]
Campaign saved.
Benticore (Tsurras): ruh roh
GM: [17] [1d20+8 = 17]
Tsurras backs up
Ghost: Well, in that case, I must let you pass. But why have you returned here?
Gerund: gets ready to flee

At this point I said over Vent "OK Kolbo, this is double or nothing. Either you get the next one or you're in BIG trouble" - mentally I had given him an extra success for his first bluff check, but was planning to give him an extra failure for a failure on the next one, which would have failed the skill encounter for everyone -

july9chatlog wrote:

[w] Tallis -> Lodin: I'll be sure to "visit" your widow...
Lodin: emote eyes dart to Tsurras for a moment as he sees him moving back
Tsurras arches and eyebrow...and shrugs
Haiku (Estavir): notices the tension and fingers his bow . . .
Kavan (whispering): to free him
Tsurras (whispers): You're here to see that the last defender of the manor of Kalton is finally set free...
Haiku (Estavir): holds up cue cards
Haiku (Estavir): blissfully ignores the fact
King Mob: Estavir's cue cards are upside down and misspelled anyway
King Mob: They read "Sey u r sry"
Tallis: Ouyay astlay altonKay, eway ouyay ackbay.
Lodin: I have returned to right the wrongs of my father and to bring closure to all of the suffering begat by my father.
Lodin -> Skill [Bluff] [18] [1d20+7 = 18]
Haiku (Estavir): believes that is the greatest spelling job ever!
Ghost: [17] [1d20+8 = 17]
Ghost: [17] [17]
Kolbo (Lodin): so ominous to just see the shadow of the DM dice
Benticore (Tsurras): WHOA
Ghost: I believe you are a descendant of the Kaltons. And I will tell you more after you lay me to rest.
Nosferatu (Tallis): when you see 6 d20 go rolling by you knwo we'
"You've convinced me of the sincerity of your purpose. I'm glad someone has finally come to let me rest. But beware... I believe there may be some vermin trapped in my resting place."
Nosferatu (Tallis): we're in trouble
Ghost: The ghost shimmers and disappears.

Hey all, 4e errata released already:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x...

Supposed to be some significant changes to skill challenges in the DMG. Entire paragraphs removed or replaced.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Hey all, 4e errata released already:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x...

Supposed to be some significant changes to skill challenges in the DMG. Entire paragraphs removed or replaced.

Wow, two errata docs in like two months. At first glance, this one includes the changes made in the first errata doc.

I've yet to actually read through these books and there's already a lot of rule clarifications and changes, it appears.

Curious, how do others handle updating the corebooks and including the errata? I thought about just inserting the errata in the back of the appropriate books and adding tabs to appriopriate sections.

Depends on how severe it is. When I was ramping up to run a Spycraft (1e) game, I decided to check the errata. There was something like 20 pages of it. But I really wanted to run the game and run it well, so I started making notations in the book itself. Striking out lines that had been removed, making notations to check the errata, writing in the rule change if it was minor enough and there was room. Sadly I burned out before I could finish, so my Spycraft remains yet unplayed.

Some of these D&D4e changes are small enough that I'd write them in if I owned the books. Some I'd probably include as index cards or post-its wedged into the appropriate page.

KingMob wrote:

Ghost encounter recap.

Yeah, I appreciate you letting me go outside any kind of resolution path you may have had for the ghost encounter. I felt like I may have gone around your original intention for how we would solve the encounter.

Benticore wrote:

When Dirge said "Wait a second. Lodin, you're a Kalton family member. Get over here and enter the dang Kalton Code" and we were all like, "Yeah! Dont you remember your own family's crest/code thing?" <--Best Non-combat campaign moment yet!

Yeah, that was great. I couldn't stop laughing to think of something witty to deflect that kind of question in character. Touche' Dirge, touche'.

Where is 4dSwissCheese and his gullible mage.

I could've sworn you'd said, in character, that you were a Kalton descendant.

However, it was very much Dirge going "Oh, stop screwing around and fix things, human."

Argh, they nerfed the skill checks.

You're right, they've made extensive changes to the DMG stuff about skill checks, looks like they'll be a bit easier now for players to pass. Guess I'll withhold judgement until I've run some games under these rules.

Rubb Ed wrote:

I could've sworn you'd said, in character, that you were a Kalton descendant.

However, it was very much Dirge going "Oh, stop screwing around and fix things, human." :D

I'm sure I did. Lodin decides to throw things like that in when it useful to him. This time of course he was caught off guard.

Again, perfect timing.

They've also nerfed the players though...

“On checks that aren’t described as group checks, consider limiting the number
of characters who can assist another character’s skill check to one or two. The
goal of a skill challenge isn’t for the entire party to line up behind one expert but
for the entire group to contribute in different and meaningful ways.”

That makes more sense to me. It seemed odd the other night with 5 people helping out with the history checks, but much more right when only Dirren tried to help with the stealth check for opening that big warehouse door.

Yeah, there's a certain amount of situational common sense that needs to be applied to any good RPG, and 4E is no exception. A good DM will adjust the rules towards that end.

However, with a new game/version or with new players there comes an adjustment period where people are just trying to see how the rules flow and get comfortable with each other so it's understandable if a bit more "playing it by the book" happens.

Eventually, it will all settle in well and the rules will flow invisibly behind the scenes as everyone just enjoys the game.

After a long delay I finally recieved my books from Amazon and I am looking to jump into a Gwj game. If someone can point this old man in the right direction it would be a great help.

Start here and go outwards - also, harass people who are currently playing to start up games already

I'm hoping to jump in my first DM chair after KingMob's game is over with. We'll see how things turn out.

Yay stupidhaiku - you said it on the internet, therefore it must be true!!!

Anyway, everyone should look at this now. docbadwrench entertains with stories of his home campaign.

Karla updated her D&D blog after our latest session last night!

http://brennildandd.livejournal.com/

Certis wrote:

Karla updated her D&D blog after our latest session last night!

http://brennildandd.livejournal.com/

Fun stuff! Good read.

Okay tip for any beginning DM's- buy an assortment of tabs you can bookmark pages to. That might be 1001 but to a new DM it becomes crucial.

That's a very good recommendation, Zen. Even those of us not new can sometimes brush up on the classics. A 3-pack of multicolor post-it flags costs around $5 and saves a lot of time when you're fielding questions and running a battle.

I will also say that there are some very good DM Screen sheets out there for downloading that gives you a wealth of information at hand (Pozas is the one I use, I think). Having quick look ups for skills, item costs (including room and board), transportation speeds, all the skill uses, combat charts, and much more, is quite handy.

ShadeRaven wrote:

I will also say that there are some very good DM Screen sheets out there for downloading that gives you a wealth of information at hand (Pozas is the one I use, I think). Having quick look ups for skills, item costs (including room and board), transportation speeds, all the skill uses, combat charts, and much more, is quite handy.

Thanx that just helped me immensely.

I caved in a bought a Fantasy Grounds II Full License, so I could use someone with experience with the software to give me some pointers in using it, preferably as both player and DM. I think I might make a go at running with Dungeon magazine's Rescue at Rivenroar (part 1 of their planned Scales of War campaign) when I know what I'm doing.

Why don't you lurk on my next session? Or ask Liquidmantis, Rabbit, or anybody in my game if they have time to run a demo for you...
Check the Shadows of Witchlight thread for session times, or else send PMs to anybody in my game that you know? Or ask on this thread.

It will be great to have another DM in the GWJRPG community if you decide you want to throw in with us... the only requirement is you pretend your game starts in Fallcrest (the setting in the back of the DMG). Otherwise we're pretty flexible.

I expect I will finally be able to lurk in on you all this weekend, too, King. Between losing power 2 weeks ago and this past week being a 15th anniversary, I've not been able to make either. Barring further acts of God or my goddess ;), I should be hiding in the shadows this Wednesday.

Zen Mutty wrote:

Thanx that just helped me immensely.

Quite welcome. A few people have asked me about it, so here's a link I think will work for access to the one I use: At ENWorld Here. His should be at the top.

I have a website dedicated to the campaign world I am hosting, if anyone is interested. There's some discussion surrounding general 4E game play, character variants, and the like that might be interesting to some. Here is the Valley of Shrouds web site.

I was thinking something today as we delved into our adventure in the Kobold Ruins (back of the DMs Guide). Why didn't Wizard release three ring binders of the books? I might even cut the pages out of my guides and place appropriate tabs into separate partitions, one for classes, one for saving throw rules...etc. The paper partitions could hold page numbers of the texts based on importance (or an index).

You could then swiftly turn to what section you wanted instead of mindlessly sifting through pages. The DMs Guide could then serve as a screen as well if you printed simple important info about Combat Advantage and effects...etc on the inside of the front and back cover. Making copies of in-book maps and character sheets would be easier because you wouldn't have to fold the book in some crazy fashion to get it to work on a copier. You simply unclip the 8X11 sheet and place it easily in the copy machine. Of course this is all available online but I'm talking the physical books as if you couldn't download the PDF.

Character sheets and scrap paper for marking effects and whatnot could be clipped into the binder as well. If you wrote down a magical item, treasure, or hot chick you met at a tavern on standard notebook paper you could then clip it inside your Players Guide with ease. I don't know why they didn't think of it.

They tried something along those lines in the 2nd Edition with the Monster Manual. My guess is that it was an additional cost to production and not overly well received by consumers (for folk who like to stuff their books into a backpack or toss them about, they weren't very durable or compact). Personally, I thought it was nice to be able to buy expanded creature manuals and then be allowed to slip them into their alphabetic (or whatever sorting one preferred) position. However, it might have been a bit easier with a MM as you could keep all pertinent information on the front and backs of a single sheet. For something like the DM's guide, where rules might not fit so easily onto a page or two, this would be a designer's nightmare.

No, in the end, the simplest and most cost efficient solution is probably what we end up with. A book that the design team does their best to design for the easiest reading and a DM's Screen we buy (or make/DL) to have all the important rules easily referenced.

I am with you, though. I don't see any reason why there couldn't have been a built in reference table that would have all the information on a few pages. Of course, that would mean they couldn't make money on sales of a new 4E DM Screen.