Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

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Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby rabindranath72 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:56 pm

Hi all,
as my previous thread didn't get any replies, I designed such a system myself. I have playtested it for a few sessions, and I haven't found any major problems; I have two players, one had played 4e and didn't like it in the least (again, doesn't like minis); the other is more or less a newbie to D&D (but we played a longish 5e campaign.) I didn't tell them we were playing 4e, as I didn't want to bias their perception. By the end of the first session, the big reveal: we had been playing 4e with a few house rules :) They were enthusiastic, and now crave for more.

Feel free to comment and (constructively) criticise.
Thanks in advance,
Antonio


D&D 4e revised combat rules
The purpose of this document is to describe an alternative framework to combat on the grid. Using some 13th Age-inspired mechanics, I rewrite the way powers work when they reference the grid, thus removing the need for counting squares either in relation to range, or to areas of effect. Please refer to the 13th Age SRD Combat rules chapter for details. Where halving of a number is required, always round down. In the following, X will denote the number of squares or the size of an effect in a 4e power description.

Ranges
- All ranges of 10 or less squares are considered Nearby. All ranges of 11 or more are considered Far Away.
- Missile or thrown weapons with long range of 10 or less can only be fired Nearby. Those with long range >10 can be fired Far Away at -2. Those with short range >10 can be fired Far Away at no penalty.
- Reach X weapons or effects allow an attack at non-engaged targets by succeeding at a saving throw, with a bonus equal to base Dex modifier+X. Creatures with the Threatening Reach trait can attack within their reach without need of a save.

Movement
- A Move action allows a character to move everywhere Nearby. Characters with Speeds of 6 or more can move to Far Away range by spending two Move actions. Characters with Speeds of 5 or less (either naturally, or because they wear Heavy armor for example) must also succeed at a saving throw with Speed bonus; failure means the two Move actions are expended but the character is still Nearby (next round however a single Move action will allow moving Far away). In general, if spending two Move actions results in a total Speed >10, then movement to Far Away range is possible without a saving throw.
- A Run action (PHB p. 291) allows a character with Speed 4 or 5 to move Far away with two Move actions, and no save required.
- Movement in difficult terrain requires succeeding at a saving throw with Speed bonus as a Move action (Terrain Walk traits allow a creature to ignore the save.) Failure means the creature expends the Move action but doesn’t reach its objective this round.
- Effects that push, pull, or slide a target X squares are interpreted according to the relative positioning of attacker and target, and to the tactical effect they can achieve. The DM should pay attention to the environment, and adjudicate forced movement attempts based on the intent of the move (e.g. a character might want to push a monster off a cliff.) A successful saving throw at a penalty equal to X means the target is not forced to move. A failed save means the target is forced to move as a free action. Some notable cases:
o An effect that pushes a target adjacent to an attacker, results in the target Popping free.
o An effect that pushes an Engaged target, followed by a movement of the attacker, allows the latter to move as a free action and Engage the target again.
o A pull effect can force a target to Engage the attacker. As a free action, the target immediately moves toward the attacker, attempting to Engage it or get as close as possible to it.
o A slide effect can be interpreted as a push or a pull. Slide effects on adjacent allies can be used to grant Combat Advantage.
- A shift effect allows a character to Pop free from an enemy on a successful Disengage check (a saving throw). The bonus on the saving throw is equal to the number of squares. So, “shift 3” should be read as a +3 bonus. If the shift is part of another effect, the Disengage check is generally a free action.

Areas of effect

- Close Burst 1: all engaged or close targets.
- Close Burst X: all engaged or close targets, plus 1d4+X/2 Nearby targets.
- Area Burst X: 1d4+X/2 targets in a Group within the stated range (Nearby or Far Away).
- Close Blast X: 1d4+X/4 Nearby, engaged and close targets in a Group. The latter are counted off the total (as we don’t know the exact position of the targets around the attacker.)
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Re: Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby Big Mac » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:44 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:Hi all,
as my previous thread didn't get any replies, I designed such a system myself. I have playtested it for a few sessions, and I haven't found any major problems; I have two players, one had played 4e and didn't like it in the least (again, doesn't like minis); the other is more or less a newbie to D&D (but we played a longish 5e campaign.) I didn't tell them we were playing 4e, as I didn't want to bias their perception. By the end of the first session, the big reveal: we had been playing 4e with a few house rules :) They were enthusiastic, and now crave for more.

Feel free to comment and (constructively) criticise.
Thanks in advance,
Antonio


Are these the only changes you have made to your "stealth 4e campaign" or have you played further adventures and added more 13th Age house rules?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Re: Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby rabindranath72 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:56 am

Big Mac wrote:
rabindranath72 wrote:Hi all,
as my previous thread didn't get any replies, I designed such a system myself. I have playtested it for a few sessions, and I haven't found any major problems; I have two players, one had played 4e and didn't like it in the least (again, doesn't like minis); the other is more or less a newbie to D&D (but we played a longish 5e campaign.) I didn't tell them we were playing 4e, as I didn't want to bias their perception. By the end of the first session, the big reveal: we had been playing 4e with a few house rules :) They were enthusiastic, and now crave for more.

Feel free to comment and (constructively) criticise.
Thanks in advance,
Antonio


Are these the only changes you have made to your "stealth 4e campaign" or have you played further adventures and added more 13th Age house rules?

Those were the only changes, but then the game folded for unrelated reasons. I started a new game with more players, but it didn't go well; one thing that the conversion really can't handle well is 4e's reliance on fine movement on the grid; areas of effect are fine and can be adlibbed, but fine-grained movement can't; or at least, it can't without scrapping or wholesale changing a lot of powers (both for PCs and monsters.) In the end, we decided to scrap the game and go with 13th Age, which does 95% of the stuff we like about 4e, without the stuff we don't like (or need.)
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Re: Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby Big Mac » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:45 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
rabindranath72 wrote:Hi all,
as my previous thread didn't get any replies, I designed such a system myself. I have playtested it for a few sessions, and I haven't found any major problems; I have two players, one had played 4e and didn't like it in the least (again, doesn't like minis); the other is more or less a newbie to D&D (but we played a longish 5e campaign.) I didn't tell them we were playing 4e, as I didn't want to bias their perception. By the end of the first session, the big reveal: we had been playing 4e with a few house rules :) They were enthusiastic, and now crave for more.

Feel free to comment and (constructively) criticise.
Thanks in advance,
Antonio


Are these the only changes you have made to your "stealth 4e campaign" or have you played further adventures and added more 13th Age house rules?

Those were the only changes, but then the game folded for unrelated reasons. I started a new game with more players, but it didn't go well; one thing that the conversion really can't handle well is 4e's reliance on fine movement on the grid; areas of effect are fine and can be adlibbed, but fine-grained movement can't; or at least, it can't without scrapping or wholesale changing a lot of powers (both for PCs and monsters.) In the end, we decided to scrap the game and go with 13th Age, which does 95% of the stuff we like about 4e, without the stuff we don't like (or need.)


Thanks for the reply.

Perhaps someone else might go further than you, in the future, and extract the entire grid-based combat system from 4e, and replace it with something else (maybe not even something from 13th Age).

It was good that you did this experiment, as it's helped you learn that you can't chop out that specific section.

I think there is a good chance that we can pick and choose our favourite bits of different D&D editions, but as some things are linked, it's going to be important to work out how sections can be extracted.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Re: Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby Tim Baker » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:12 am

rabindranath72 wrote:Hi all,
as my previous thread didn't get any replies, I designed such a system myself.

Hi there,

Thank you for posting this. I hadn't joined the Piazza when you wrote this, so I missed it until the new comments appeared. Like you, I started on my journey to 13th Age by using its subsystems to house rule my 4e campaign. This was very successful for us, and lasted about 9 months, before the campaign came to an end. At that point, I did the big reveal and let the players know that the game they'd been playing was closer to 13th Age at that point than to 4e. We've been happily playing 13th Age ever since.

rabindranath72 wrote:Areas of effect
- Close Burst 1: all engaged or close targets.
- Close Burst X: all engaged or close targets, plus 1d4+X/2 Nearby targets.
- Area Burst X: 1d4+X/2 targets in a Group within the stated range (Nearby or Far Away).
- Close Blast X: 1d4+X/4 Nearby, engaged and close targets in a Group. The latter are counted off the total (as we don’t know the exact position of the targets around the attacker.)

If anyone else were to use these rules in the future, I thought I'd mention that the number of targets seems a bit high to me. 13th Age spells and abilities generally target 1d3 or 1d4 enemies, and I seldom see a bonus. I recall seeing numbers as low as 1d2 and as high as 1d6 before, but again, there's always that chance that the player (or GM, if it's a monster) is going to roll a 1 and only hit a single target. I might try something like close burst 1 is 1d3 engaged targets, close burst 2 is 1d3 nearby targets ("nearby" also covers engaged), close burst 3 is 1d4 nearby targets, and close burst 4 is 1d6 nearby targets.

At first, this might seem like a decrease in effectiveness, but when you're playing without a grid, players will take advantage of using their spells to attack fairly arbitrary targets -- targets that wouldn't be valid based purely on positioning as it's represented on a grid. Lowering the number of targets covers the cases where they're targeting something much farther away than would be permitted by the 4e spell description (there's a big difference between 10 squares and 2 squares on a grid, but they're effectively the same in 13th Age's relative positioning).

rabindranath72 wrote:In the end, we decided to scrap the game and go with 13th Age, which does 95% of the stuff we like about 4e, without the stuff we don't like (or need.)

I hope you've been enjoying your 13th Age game. I'd be happy to have future 13th Age discussions with you, if you can think of any topics.
Last edited by Tim Baker on Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:25 am

It was a useful experiment indeed; I didn't want to throw 4e away without trying to salvage what I could. I still keep a few of the sourcebooks since they have nice background elements, and the rules bits can easily be ported to 13th Age; but I have been selling the rule books since I can't really see using them, and space is at a premium (besides, 13th Age covers essentially the same niche as 4e, as far as the gaming experience goes, and given that I don't have a lot of time to play, I need to focus on only one game.)

@Tim: as soon as I have time I'll post my Dark Sun conversion notes; I have been using the 4e sources for setting and rules bits, and the original 2e boxed set for further details; I have run the original scenario A Little Knowledge, and this Saturday the PCs will head towards Tyr, where they should get involved in the Freedom scenario.
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Re: Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby Big Mac » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:01 pm

It would seem to me that the two of you are more on the side of using 13th Age, with a bit of 4th Edition, rather than using 4th Edition, with a bit of 13th Age. If you two both like 13th Age that much, you might want to consider making a few [13th Age] topics in The Crunchy Bits.

If you can find just three more 13th Age fans, you should eventually be able to qualify for the 5-10-1 rule, so that one of the two of you can put in a formal request for a bespoke forum, once the five fans have ten topics on the go.

:-)
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Re: Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:50 pm

Big Mac wrote:It would seem to me that the two of you are more on the side of using 13th Age, with a bit of 4th Edition, rather than using 4th Edition, with a bit of 13th Age. If you two both like 13th Age that much, you might want to consider making a few [13th Age] topics in The Crunchy Bits.

If you can find just three more 13th Age fans, you should eventually be able to qualify for the 5-10-1 rule, so that one of the two of you can put in a formal request for a bespoke forum, once the five fans have ten topics on the go.

:-)

I have been thinking about this exact thing for some time. As soon as I have more spare time, I'll make sure to get more active :D
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Re: Replacing the 4e powers framework with the 13th Age one

Postby Tim Baker » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:53 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:I have been thinking about this exact thing for some time. As soon as I have more spare time, I'll make sure to get more active :D

Sounds good. I've linked to a few 13th Age-related topics in the G+ community and Facebook group, before. I also pinned a link to the Piazza at the top of my G+ profile (as several folks who circle me are 13th Age fans). So I'm doing my best to generate awareness. Perhaps you could try some of these approaches. If you have other ideas to get the word out, let me know if I can help with that, too.
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