4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

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sunsteel
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4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by sunsteel » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:27 pm

Hi Fellow D&Ders,

I haven't played a game of D&D in many many years. I mainly played 1st ed. AD&D and started with the Moldvay Basic set.

4E seems much different than previous editions. I bought the 3E D&D PH way back in 2000 but never used it and found it way more complex than 1st and 2nd eds.

I really like the all the stuff I've been reading about Pathfinder but I don't think the revised 3.5 system is for me.

I have always been more into the fluff than the crunch anyways. Is 4E for me?

Opinions?

Thanks,

Patrick

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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by agathokles » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:36 pm

Hi. If you enjoy a lightweight rules set and are not too interested in the balancing of combat prowess of the various classes, you should stick with the Classic D&D game (the direct evolution of Moldvay's basic set).
If you cannot locate a Rules Cyclopedia, you could try Green Ronin's Dragon Age game, which has the same degree of rules complexity.

As for D&D 4e, you could give a try to the Essentials edition, but I wouldn't recommend the Core version, which might be too rules heavy for your tastes.

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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by Philosopher » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:54 pm

4e is great for tactical combat with minis, but unless your game focuses on that, I wouldn't recommend it. You can certainly do other things than tactical combat with 4e, but in that regard it does not really shine in comparison to other games.

I would agree with agathokles that if you want a rules-light game, 4e may not be for you. In addition to his suggestions, I would recommend Castles & Crusades, which uses the streamlined rules of 3e but without any of the complexity. In fact, it purposely has the feel of 1e and Basic. If you google their quick start rules, you should be able to find a free download.

I don't think Essentials is any lighter on rules than regular 4e. The only sense of simplicity it has is in having less options to choose from (although there a still a fair number of products you need to get started).
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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by agathokles » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:00 pm

Philosopher wrote: I don't think Essentials is any lighter on rules than regular 4e. The only sense of simplicity it has is in having less options to choose from (although there a still a fair number of products you need to get started).
Indeed. However, much of the complexity of 4e (much like 3e) is in character creation, which in the Essentials version is drastically simplified.

G.

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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by Dragonhelm » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:31 pm

4th edition, IMO, is simpler than 3e in a lot of respects. Some have called it "dumbed down" while others call it complex. So I think that's a matter of preference. If you're looking for a simple rules system, I would recommend Castles & Crusades as well.

As far as fluff, the core 4e isn't as good on that as it could be. From the point of Essentials on, WotC has improved dramatically.

Plus, don't forget that you can steal fluff from anywhere. I may use 4e's kobold rules, but I steal the fluff straight from Pathfinder.

Combat is very tactical. I like that movement is done in squares, but it can be a limit for one's creativity. However, don't think that all magic is about tactics, as they have cool rituals. Honestly, 4e was the first time I felt like I was able to play an honest-to-goodness mage who never stopped being a mage due to spells running out.

Skill challenges...I'm not sold on them. If you want to use them for a game element, great, but you can just as easily ignore them.

If you want to get an idea of what 4e is like, I'd recommend getting Heroes of the Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms. Those have the basic core 4e rules ready for use.

BTW, welcome to the Piazza! :)
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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by sunsteel » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:44 pm

Thanks for all the great feedback. I've been listening to lots of RPG podcasts (The Tome, Mirage Arcana, and of course Dragonlance Canticle) and realize I miss gaming.

Even back in the days of 1st ed, I houseruled the heck out of the system.

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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by Havard » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:01 am

Dragonhelm wrote:Skill challenges...I'm not sold on them. If you want to use them for a game element, great, but you can just as easily ignore them.
I really like the idea of skill challenges, but I have never seen an example where they are used in a way I would feel happy about. Basically, my main beef with skill challenges is that when they occur, they usually appear as a meta-game activity. I prefer mechanics to be linked to something that makes sense from a story based perspective as well. I was thinking, do skill challenges need to be tied to individual encounters? Perhaps they would seem more natural if allowed to run over the course of an entire session, with skills being checked when it seems natural to call for them?

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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by agathokles » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:39 pm

I've used skill challenges primarily in Star Wars Saga, so my opinion may be biased by the implementation therein.

First, skill challenges can be used across an entire session, or even an entire adventure. E.g., an investigation skill challenge may last for an entire adventure.
They can be interrupted by other encounters. E.g., an overland trek skill challenge can be interrupted by a "random encounter", as the result of a failed check.

What is important is that the challenge must be woven within the adventure, and affect the gameplay. In the example of the overland trek, individual skill check failures may slow down the party, result in random encounters, cause fatigue (i.e., loss of healing surges in 4e), while individual skill check successes may lead to shortened travel times, favourable encounters (helpful hermits, travelling merchants, etc.) or other effects.

This is not very different from the standard usage of skills in unstructured situations, but is useful to assign experience, treasure, and other mechanical effects that may depend on encounters.

However, there are other occasions where a more structured and faster paced type of skill challenge is needed. A typical example is the chase -- where the PCs are chased by some powerful enemy, the reverse is usually less effective, as it is better to let the chase end and stage a combat encounter. In that case, you need a turn structure to constrain the number of actions that can be undertaken by the PCs (essentially, on major action and one minor action per PC per round).

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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by Bonetti » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:16 pm

I've been cautious in using skill challenges (in part because there aren't too many examples which seem to be both good and appropriate to my game). However, without sharing the exact mechanics with the players, I've inserted mini-challenges here and there as part of their role-playing when solving mysteries or accomplishing tasks. For instance, when they were trying to rescue someone trapped in a Shadowfell portal, I allowed a mixture of Arcana and Religion checks from characters who explained how they used their backgrounds reasonably, and described successes/failures as improvements/setbacks.

I like the travel time/random encounter idea, and may incorporate that idea.

Dungeon Delve had a couple specific (small) skill challenges which were set up as part of specific encounters, such as the one where the party is both battling a demon and trying to close the gate it is guarding at the same time.
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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by RobJN » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:12 am

Havard wrote:
Dragonhelm wrote:Skill challenges...I'm not sold on them. If you want to use them for a game element, great, but you can just as easily ignore them.
I really like the idea of skill challenges, but I have never seen an example where they are used in a way I would feel happy about. Basically, my main beef with skill challenges is that when they occur, they usually appear as a meta-game activity. I prefer mechanics to be linked to something that makes sense from a story based perspective as well. I was thinking, do skill challenges need to be tied to individual encounters? Perhaps they would seem more natural if allowed to run over the course of an entire session, with skills being checked when it seems natural to call for them?

-Havard
By my reading of the 4th edition Skill Challenge rules (which I have not played), I'm seeing a nearly wholesale lifting of Alternity's complex skill check system (challenges I have designed and run at the gaming table). My experience with running a complex skill check has been to always have it tied into the storyline and/or overarching goal of the given encounter or scene. The breadth of the challenge would seem to me to be linked to what it is you'd like the heroes to achieve. Disarming the master control system for the automated defenses in the City of the Gods would probably be only a single scene's worth of challenge -- not something you'd want to relegate to a single pass/fail roll. Now, getting the defense system shutdown sequences from the five different computer systems scattered throughout the ship could be an overarching series of challenges, complicated or simplified by which systems have already been "interrogated."
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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by Philosopher » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:36 am

agathokles wrote:
Philosopher wrote: I don't think Essentials is any lighter on rules than regular 4e. The only sense of simplicity it has is in having less options to choose from (although there a still a fair number of products you need to get started).
Indeed. However, much of the complexity of 4e (much like 3e) is in character creation, which in the Essentials version is drastically simplified.

G.
Agreed.
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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by rabindranath72 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:40 am

Welcome to the Piazza!
I would suggest first to look at the Quickstart rules which come with the Keep on the Shadowfell module, available for free on Wizards of the Coast website. Those pieces give a very good overview of 4e, so you can judge for yourself.
Also I would suggest to stick with the first three 4e core rulebooks (PHB, DMG and MM) rather than the new Essentials series: with these you get less contents, spread over more sources (three books and two boxed sets) at a not really good price/content ratio since there is lots of redundant material (e.g. the "Heroes of" books have for about 50% the exact same material.) Overall, you get fewer monsters, fewer magical items, fewer powers/spells, no rituals (one of the best ideas in 4e) and a definitely inferior dungeon master-only content (the DMG is instead an excellent read.)

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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by ghendar » Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:14 pm

sunsteel wrote:
I have always been more into the fluff than the crunch anyways. Is 4E for me?

Opinions?
You're only going to find that out by playing it. I tried it for almost 8 months and It most definitely was not for me. I'm also a fluff guy from way back. Loved the fluffy content of 2E, but cut my teeth on Mentzer basic. My understanding of 4E is that it is very fluff light.
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Re: 4th ed for someone who mainly played 1ed

Post by BotWizo » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:34 pm

sunsteel wrote:Hi Fellow D&Ders,

I haven't played a game of D&D in many many years. I mainly played 1st ed. AD&D and started with the Moldvay Basic set.

4E seems much different than previous editions. I bought the 3E D&D PH way back in 2000 but never used it and found it way more complex than 1st and 2nd eds.

I really like the all the stuff I've been reading about Pathfinder but I don't think the revised 3.5 system is for me.

I have always been more into the fluff than the crunch anyways. Is 4E for me?

Opinions?

Thanks,

Patrick

Patrick,

As Ghendar said try it out.

I am a player that went from 1E/BECMI to 4E and love it.
I am probably the minority.
I felt 4E plays much like 1E, but we use lots of fluff from our old days, so I don't need the fluff since we already have it.
3E wasn't for me it was too complicated coming from 1E, but this is me, 3e plays fine for many others.
I felt 4E was a simpler ruleset when compared to 2e and 3e.
What i really like about 4e is the variation of classes and races.
I also like the way magic/clerical classes spells play.

As most know here I do not work for wizards.

What is best for you I do not know, what I am thinking lately is that it is the group you play with that makes the edition, rather than the edition overly affecting the group.
I think if the current group was playing 3E I would have liked that to, but I suppose it is because we have great DMs that can make any edition work.

good luck in finding a newer edition you like, and if you don't keep playing 1E.
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