Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Catch All

I spent the afternoon with a DM who was pretty familiar with Fantasy Grounds. The program is certainly very powerful, with a lot of features that aren't intuitively obvious. It seems geared more toward making the program convenient for those who know all the shortcuts than for the aspiring newbie, but within an hour I was manipulating windows and swapping stats with style. How much that had to do with having someone willing to sit with me for 3 hours answering questions is up for debate, though I'll certainly say that learning the DM side is much easier when you can ask the other player specifically what they see.

For our purposes, it will definitely function and then some. The guy that was showing me around seemed pretty knowledgeable about online RP tools, and said that it's a "character-focused" client, as opposed to a map-focused one. Basically that means that (from his view) this would be a better client for storytelling and roleplaying as opposed to putting the emphasis on tactics. I'm just mimicking what he told me here, as I am clueless about such things.

It's not necessary to learn all of the features, as dice rolls, chat, and grids/minis can be handled very easily. The labor of learning the advanced features falls most heavily with the DM, who will be juggling numerous windows, personae, and states of player update (for example revealing a section of the map). The biggest concern here is that it might actually be overkill until we get a more established group. Though I was convinced and plunked down the $40, I don't expect everyone to be as reckless as I am :).

I echo Haiku. It's a good system.

Farscry wrote:

Alright you filthy enablers.

Copy and paste that (oops, just did.)

While I was writing my post about how I'd probably stick with Risus, The Missus bought the 4th ed box set for me for Christmas. She also ordered me a set of deluxe dice.

I'm so glad I married a nerd. So is she, I expect.

I'll admit I'm pretty rusty as far as tabletop goes, and even worse when it comes to running a game, but it seems to me that 4e has a bit too much going on per turn, since everyone seems to have super-extra-special uber attacks each round (each with multiple different and sometimes redundant modifiers), even at first level. That, in turn, means players have to do a lot of waiting for each other during combat.

I'm sure it runs just fine if you use their online stuff to calculate and roll everything, though.

It wasn't a bad time, but I think I prefer earlier versions, where you see more standard attacks.

wordsmythe wrote:

It wasn't a bad time, but I think I prefer earlier versions, where you see more standard attacks.

So you got a chance to play this over the weekend, I take it? Was this others you normal play with or whom you've had some experience with using 3.5E?

I am curious, because all accounts of 4E from other sites seem to imply that 4E is supposed to speed up combat and make the game flow faster allowing more focus to fall upon the storytelling.

My fondest memories are still from "back when" where combat was quick and exciting, leaving us plenty of time to roleplay or move on to the next encounter.

ShadeRaven wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

It wasn't a bad time, but I think I prefer earlier versions, where you see more standard attacks.

So you got a chance to play this over the weekend, I take it? Was this others you normal play with or whom you've had some experience with using 3.5E?

I am curious, because all accounts of 4E from other sites seem to imply that 4E is supposed to speed up combat and make the game flow faster allowing more focus to fall upon the storytelling.

My fondest memories are still from "back when" where combat was quick and exciting, leaving us plenty of time to roleplay or move on to the next encounter.

I played with one of old D&D vet and two noobs (McChuck and Grenn). The vet was likely cheating, and I had to do some work to keep McChuck alive, and Grenn realized late in the day that he had some sort of auto DPS Ranger thing that would have been useful in keeping McChuck from being swarmed by kobolds.

Overall, I think what made it seem cumbersome was that every character had some sort of special attack every round. While that means more damage gets dealt in fewer rounds, it also looks like nobody has a turn of just rolling the d20 against the monster's AC, rolling damage, and passing the die. Especially with newer players (the vet spent most of the time reading the new rule books, only looking up momentarily when I old him he was taking damage), the special attacks means a lot of shuffling around character sheets, looking for something to do. I'm much more accustomed to combat turns of "I attack the ugly one with my sword," followed by two die rolls and a couple strokes of the pen behind the DM screen.

I think the monsters are generally beefed up more, as well. I think that was intended as a balance to this weird "healing surge" system--the motive for which still eludes me.

I think my attacks went pretty quickly. For most it was either just that multiple enemies strike or the strike that benefits from marking a mob. Both of those are just rolls vs. AC followed by damage rolls. Also, my attacks were quick because I didn't hit a damn thing so it was just the attack roll.

I am getting together with my old table top group on Wed to give this a run.

Thanks, guys, for the insight into how the game played. I've GMed RoleMaster (for about 8 years), so I can appreciate complexity in combat, but as I age, I begin to yearn for the simpler times. Injecting a little extra sensibility and story into the setting, I might have enjoyed taking friends through the Caves of Chaos (and beyond) in good old Blue & Red D&D as much as anything that followed. Steps towards action, simplicity, and story would be welcome indeed.

I have to wait for my books to get delivered, so I'd love to hear more impressions.

ShadeRaven wrote:

Thanks, guys, for the insight into how the game played. I've GMed RoleMaster (for about 8 years), so I can appreciate complexity in combat, but as I age, I begin to yearn for the simpler times. Injecting a little extra sensibility and story into the setting, I might have enjoyed taking friends through the Caves of Chaos (and beyond) in good old Blue & Red D&D as much as anything that followed. Steps towards action, simplicity, and story would be welcome indeed.

I have to wait for my books to get delivered, so I'd love to hear more impressions.

Bravo, sir, Bravo. I'm impressed you GM Rollmaster. I absolutely love the system because the characters are completely flexible in ways that most systems simply aren't, but with that flexibility comes a miasma of charts. Still, there's no better adrenaline rush than watching your 10th level guy smoke something waaaaay higher in levels because you got lucky and rolled a '66' for your crit, or you open end a large-creature crit. Sexy. (And the downside of that -- having a GM roll openly on the table. Avoid 'A' Tiny crits like the plague -- I've lost an eye to a spider (-100 penalty!) and had my achilles tendon severed by a rat and watched as my character died by a million rat pecks in probably the most grisly display of death ever) Really makes you choose your battles, as opposed to D&D in which combat is 100 times less lethal.

We've got it down now where we simply copy the spell pages we need, the weapons we use and their crit charts and heavily assist the GM at the table with any charts. Cutting out some of the superfluous rules too (such as stamina and the like and running it much more loosely) has helped more than a ton.

BlackSheep wrote:
ShadeRaven wrote:

Thanks, guys, for the insight into how the game played. I've GMed RoleMaster (for about 8 years), so I can appreciate complexity in combat, but as I age, I begin to yearn for the simpler times. Injecting a little extra sensibility and story into the setting, I might have enjoyed taking friends through the Caves of Chaos (and beyond) in good old Blue & Red D&D as much as anything that followed. Steps towards action, simplicity, and story would be welcome indeed.

I have to wait for my books to get delivered, so I'd love to hear more impressions.

Bravo, sir, Bravo. I'm impressed you GM Rollmaster. I absolutely love the system because the characters are completely flexible in ways that most systems simply aren't, but with that flexibility comes a miasma of charts. Still, there's no better adrenaline rush than watching your 10th level guy smoke something waaaaay higher in levels because you got lucky and rolled a '66' for your crit, or you open end a large-creature crit. Sexy. (And the downside of that -- having a GM roll openly on the table. Avoid 'A' Tiny crits like the plague -- I've lost an eye to a spider (-100 penalty!) and had my achilles tendon severed by a rat and watched as my character died by a million rat pecks in probably the most grisly display of death ever) Really makes you choose your battles, as opposed to D&D in which combat is 100 times less lethal.

We've got it down now where we simply copy the spell pages we need, the weapons we use and their crit charts and heavily assist the GM at the table with any charts. Cutting out some of the superfluous rules too (such as stamina and the like and running it much more loosely) has helped more than a ton.

There are few better things in life then watching some one get triple 20'd by a badger.

WiredAsylum wrote:
BlackSheep wrote:
ShadeRaven wrote:

Thanks, guys, for the insight into how the game played. I've GMed RoleMaster (for about 8 years), so I can appreciate complexity in combat, but as I age, I begin to yearn for the simpler times. Injecting a little extra sensibility and story into the setting, I might have enjoyed taking friends through the Caves of Chaos (and beyond) in good old Blue & Red D&D as much as anything that followed. Steps towards action, simplicity, and story would be welcome indeed.

I have to wait for my books to get delivered, so I'd love to hear more impressions.

Bravo, sir, Bravo. I'm impressed you GM Rollmaster. I absolutely love the system because the characters are completely flexible in ways that most systems simply aren't, but with that flexibility comes a miasma of charts. Still, there's no better adrenaline rush than watching your 10th level guy smoke something waaaaay higher in levels because you got lucky and rolled a '66' for your crit, or you open end a large-creature crit. Sexy. (And the downside of that -- having a GM roll openly on the table. Avoid 'A' Tiny crits like the plague -- I've lost an eye to a spider (-100 penalty!) and had my achilles tendon severed by a rat and watched as my character died by a million rat pecks in probably the most grisly display of death ever) Really makes you choose your battles, as opposed to D&D in which combat is 100 times less lethal.

We've got it down now where we simply copy the spell pages we need, the weapons we use and their crit charts and heavily assist the GM at the table with any charts. Cutting out some of the superfluous rules too (such as stamina and the like and running it much more loosely) has helped more than a ton.

There are few better things in life then watching some one get triple 20'd by a badger.

You're quite right. They certainly make for some funny gaming stories, those Rolemaster Crits. One of our party was stuck in a giant spider web.. well we killed the spider, but everyone loathed to go in after him and save him and cutting the bottom strands didn't free him...so we burned it. He took an 'A' Heat crit and the GM made him roll it himself. Needless to say, he killed himself with a natural 100.

While we were splitting up our treasure, he was busy rolling up a new guy.

I freakin' loved Rolemaster, and yeah, even though it had a plethora of charts, it made for some VERY eventful encounters. I remember this big story moment I'd built up to, and the party was getting chased down in the wilderness by this mutated (HOW it was mutated was a significant part of the mystery) wolf-creature. They initially thought it was a werewolf until the first time they encountered it in the village where everyone had been slaughtered, and realized "that's no werewolf... that's a -- what the &$#@ IS that thing?!"

Anyway, I'd built it up to this big battle, they had barely escaped it in the village when they weren't prepared to fight it. It chased them down out on the moors, and they set an ambush to try to take it down. I was expecting at least one player to die (this was a big story moment in the campaign, several sessions in, and the first time I was going to make sure they earned their victory ;)). The wolf-creature charged the fighter right off, and rolled a crit that tore his chestplate off (ruining it in the process), slashing him horribly in the process across his torso (splattering the mage behind him with a big splash of blood, woo!) and leaving him kneeling on the ground, stunned. Everybody's jaw (including mine) dropped at that. "Oh, he's so &[email protected]" was the general consensus. Then the ranger took a slash at the beast, rolled another crazy crit, and just up and lopped its head off in one massive sweeping slash.

They all cheered, while I silently wept inside that this big, dramatic encounter I'd built up to ended in two attacks (only one attack on the party's side). But it was memorable, the players loved it, and as you can see that session remains a tale that I can enjoy telling even years later.

On 4th edition, I read through big chunks of the PHB Saturday night, and I have a lot more delving into it to go, but my initial impressions are fairly positive. It's different, very different, but when I think about balance and variety and playability, I like it even if it's not the D&D I'm used to.

Ironically, when I mentioned Fantasy Grounds to my old buddies as a possible way to give 4th Edition a try (we are scattered, literally, to the four corners of the country), two of them wondered if it would be capable of running a RoleMaster campaign.

I've got so many of my own stories for that system that are too numerous to mention, but there are certainly extremes in RM that can't be matched by other RPGs. SpaceMaster was even more of a bloodbath. We'd play that on occasion just as a break from the high roleplay in fantasy.. and it was a lot of fun, though survivability was at an all time low.

At any rate, the launch of 4E certainly has a bunch of us enthused about finding a way to PnP RP again over the 'net.

I'm pretty happy about 4e so far. I've been going through the PHB and have drummed up interest with the old group. Looks like my local group will be getting together a couple of times before the baby (mine) arrives. I'll also get to run an adventure for my friends that used to play in high school when we get together over the 4th of July. Hooray for pen and paper RPGs!

Wow. It's really out. It's really half price... Should I buy the books 50% off or see if I like it at GenCon?

It's been a loooong time and I have, literally, no one to play with... I've moved so far north of Chicago recently I'm ready to ask if anyone on this thread is in south eastern Wisconsin.

I'm in Racine.

TheWanderer wrote:

Wow. It's really out. It's really half price... Should I buy the books 50% off or see if I like it at GenCon?

It's been a loooong time and I have, literally, no one to play with... I've moved so far north of Chicago recently I'm ready to ask if anyone on this thread is in south eastern Wisconsin.

Half price? Where?

I'm in Chicagoland now and have stumbled into an 6+ person group. I haven't had the chance to talk to them about online opportunities yet though. I'm still learning the area (though I do work downtown) but maybe we can all find a central location some day.

Fyedaddy wrote:

Half price? Where?

On Amazon. See the original post.

Also, for those looking for an online tool, we might want to look into this

Oh you filthy enablers! I bought the 3rd Edition in a fit of nostalgia but never played. I've ordered this as well -- also likely only to collect dust unless something can be arranged for more casual online play.

Fyedaddy wrote:

a central location

I'm sayin'.

I have never played D&D outside of the group of guys who got me into the game.

I wonder if how we do things is the "right" way etc.

Anyone had any luck playing with strangers etc?

WiredAsylum wrote:

I have never played D&D outside of the group of guys who got me into the game.

I wonder if how we do things is the "right" way etc.

Anyone had any luck playing with strangers etc?

I hate playing with strangers. Generally.

Our group is pretty damned insular as well. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I was one of the last two guys admitted (through much, much trial) about, oh, 12 years ago. There used to be about 15 in all, but life got in the way and now there's really about 6 that are still left after attrition.

I feel lucky enough for my group because two of our gamemasters are mentioned, credited, and thanked in some Rolemaster books.

I need to get my hands on the DMG and MM, wish I'd used that Amazon dealio, because I don't want to pay retail for 'em.

Mordiceius wrote:
Fyedaddy wrote:

Half price? Where?

On Amazon. See the original post.

Also, for those looking for an online tool, we might want to look into this

Works for the group I play with, and has a nice token tool that drag and drops pics off the net into it.

The Amazon dealio originally wouldn't ship until the 16th, now the 17th

stupidhaiku wrote:

The Amazon dealio originally wouldn't ship until the 16th, now the 17th :(

Mine shipped this morning.

It keeps getting pushed back because they keep selling out. It's July 7 now for new orders apparently.

Brizahd wrote:
Mordiceius wrote:

Also, for those looking for an online tool, we might want to look into this

Works for the group I play with, and has a nice token tool that drag and drops pics off the net into it.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it looks like that works as a tool for "around the table" play, but not for connecting people remotely to tools that will allow them to play over the 'net.

I am hoping my boxed set is delivered here soon, too.

As for playing with strangers, doing so over the internet using some interface tools would certainly be a simpler way to get to know people and get comfortable with various play styles. After all, a lot of us at least know each other in a cursory sense (Ventrilo, Forum Posts, in games) that I know I'd feel much more open to playing with Goodjers.

ShadeRaven wrote:
Brizahd wrote:
Mordiceius wrote:

Also, for those looking for an online tool, we might want to look into this

Works for the group I play with, and has a nice token tool that drag and drops pics off the net into it.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it looks like that works as a tool for "around the table" play, but not for connecting people remotely to tools that will allow them to play over the 'net.

RPTools wrote:

MapTool virtualizes the battle map, miniatures, and wet-erase markers. In combination with Voice over IP software this allows GMs and Players to get together virtually and interact much like they would at a session around the table.

The virtual tabletop in MapTool can do things that the classic battle map couldn’t easily do. Prepared maps from other software can just be dropped into the background and tokens moved over the top. You can also save the entire campaign at any point to resume later.