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    Canonfire :: View topic - How Not to Die in 4th Edition
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    How Not to Die in 4th Edition
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
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    Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:42 pm  
    How Not to Die in 4th Edition

    Dying and death have somewhat changed. Characters still die, but now there is a whole larger window before your dead. Apparently they found ways to keep high level characters alive but not low levels ones. Seems to me it was the low level characters that suffered the most. I did see some positive ideas here but I don't think it was quite the way I would have chosen to "change/improve" the death and dying aspect of the game. I am glad they are making an effort in this area though. I just wish they had taken a different approach.

    A couple things of interest from the article.....

    Under the right conditions, an unconscious individual may suddenly stand up and have one-quarter of their hit points back (see step 3 at the bottom of the article). Does this mean they can get back up and fight some more? I would hope not!

    They do offer a house rule to help simulate the idea into a 3.5 game. They state that the simulation isn't exactly the same but it should be pretty darn close, enough to give you a feel for the idea. I would love it if a few folks decide to try this system as written and offer their experience by reposting on this thread.

    Here's the link for those that would like a sneak peak at WOTC new dying and death rules for 4th edition.

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20080201a

    For final mention, there is an interesting side bar which I'll post below. What I understand is that the author is asking people to not judge the new rules unless you were in on the design (at least that's what I think he meant). I took it as kinda a poke (maybe I took it the wrong way). I also found the last sentance kinda ironic. In short, perhaps WOTC should follow their own advice.

    Quote:
    Side note to all those would-be game designers out there: When you hear yourself making that claim, you might be in danger of losing touch with reality. Sometimes you’re right, and your innovative game design concept just needs a little time to sink in. (The cycling initiative system used by 3rd Edition D&D is a good example of that—back in 1999, some very vociferous playtesters were convinced that it would ruin D&D combat forever. Turned out that wasn’t exactly true.) But every time you convince yourself that you know better than the people playing your game, you’re opening the possibility of a very rude (and costly) awakening.

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    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
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    Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:10 pm  
    Re: How Not to Die in 4th Edition

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    For final mention, there is an interesting side bar which I'll post below. What I understand is that the author is asking people to not judge the new rules unless you were in on the design (at least that's what I think he meant). I took it as kinda a poke (maybe I took it the wrong way). I also found the last sentance kinda ironic. In short, perhaps WOTC should follow their own advice.

    Quote:
    Side note to all those would-be game designers out there: When you hear yourself making that claim, you might be in danger of losing touch with reality. Sometimes you’re right, and your innovative game design concept just needs a little time to sink in. (The cycling initiative system used by 3rd Edition D&D is a good example of that—back in 1999, some very vociferous playtesters were convinced that it would ruin D&D combat forever. Turned out that wasn’t exactly true.) But every time you convince yourself that you know better than the people playing your game, you’re opening the possibility of a very rude (and costly) awakening.


    I think you took it the wrong way. It refers to this sentence
    Quote:
    A few times, we even temporarily settled on a solution, claiming that the playtesters only needed time to get used to our radical new ideas.
    It's a poke, but at WotC and the game designers, not the general public.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:23 pm  
    Re: How Not to Die in 4th Edition

    NOTE: Nellisir snuck in his response just before me... Saracenus shakes his fist at Nellisir!

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    For final mention, there is an interesting side bar which I'll post below. What I understand is that the author is asking people to not judge the new rules unless you were in on the design (at least that's what I think he meant). I took it as kinda a poke (maybe I took it the wrong way). I also found the last sentance [sic] kinda ironic. In short, perhaps WOTC should follow their own advice.

    Quote:
    Side note to all those would-be game designers out there: When you hear yourself making that claim, you might be in danger of losing touch with reality. Sometimes you’re right, and your innovative game design concept just needs a little time to sink in. (The cycling initiative system used by 3rd Edition D&D is a good example of that—back in 1999, some very vociferous playtesters were convinced that it would ruin D&D combat forever. Turned out that wasn’t exactly true.) But every time you convince yourself that you know better than the people playing your game, you’re opening the possibility of a very rude (and costly) awakening.


    Eileen,

    I would say you need to dial down your sensitivity a bit as I have noticed that you have been taking much of what WotC has to say very personally (both here and on other forums). It has clouded your responses, in my opinion.

    It sucks when we are not the target audience anymore. Don't get me started on how old music makes me feel. I can sense CBS's inexorable pull as I age up in demographics, and Eileen you can shoot me when I start waxing poetical about Matlock reruns.

    I didn't see a dig at all but a very self aware comment that sometimes as a designer that you think your crap doesn't stink, and you would be wrong.

    It was connected with the paragraph with this sentence on the end, "A few times, we even temporarily settled on a solution, claiming that the playtesters only needed time to get used to our radical new ideas."

    As for the irony, well this sidebar does give me a warm glow. When someone can be so sage about a topic and yet be so guilty of the same, it is well, delicious.

    I actually like the mechanics involved. They are elegant and more dramatic than the death and dying rules in 3e, ones that I was never satisfied with. I will probably use the suggested house rule in my next home game to see if it does indeed work better.

    I have already done things like make Smite a once/per combat ability. I have also instituted a rule that rogues can sneak attack undead, scouts can do plants, and spell thieves can do constructs. I have worked on some feats that allow them to add the other two one at a time to their SA.

    If anything, 4e is going to provide me with a bunch of ideas to fix the shortcomings I see in my 3.5 game. Who knows, if I like the mechanics enough I might convert...

    In Service,

    Bryan Blumklotz
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    Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:38 pm  

    Nellisir wrote:
    Quote:
    I think you took it the wrong way. It refers to this sentence
    A few times, we even temporarily settled on a solution, claiming that the playtesters only needed time to get used to our radical new ideas.
    It's a poke, but at WotC and the game designers, not the general public.


    Saracenus wrote:
    Quote:
    I would say you need to dial down your sensitivity a bit as I have noticed that you have been taking much of what WotC has to say very personally (both here and on other forums). It has clouded your responses, in my opinion.


    After reading Nellisir post (I was reading his while Saracenus was posting) I can see where your ideas come from. If I had felt that I was positive the author was refering to us players I would have not stated that I may have taken this the wrong way. I stated that because I was unsure of the intent. That said, I have been riding WOTC hard lately, you are correct about that. Seems to come and go in phases. I don't think it is so much that I take it personally, its just that I think the work they are doing is so unecessary. Either way, I meant no offense to other posters, had that occurred. I will turn down the sensitivty dial 4.7 notches if you like. Not a problem! Offending others is the last thing I want to do.
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    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
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    Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:10 pm  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    I will turn down the sensitivty dial 4.7 notches if you like. Not a problem! Offending others is the last thing I want to do.


    Eileen,

    You are NOT being offensive.

    If you where being offensive I would have said something stupidly insensitive like, "Toughen up buttercup." Wink

    It is just hard to watch someone you like and respect in pain. At least that is the impression I get from reading your posts, that there is betrayal and pain from what WotC R&D has done to the game.

    When I said dial it down, I was not talking about posting, by all means keep posting. I was talking about your sensitivity to what folks from WotC are saying.

    Your responses have lost all traces of humor and you seem to be looking for the worst possible interpretation of whatever is being said. You need to find your smile again Eileen, and laugh at the absurdity of what WotC has been doing (fumbling around like a drunken ox in a china shop) because really it comes down to whether you are going to either laugh or cry, and I think I want to laugh...

    In (Buttercup) Service,

    Bryan Blumklotz
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    Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:35 pm  

    This strikes me as utterly ridiculous and waaaay over the top. I agree with Eileen's sentiments: if ever I play a 4e character he's going to have tights and a cape over his armor and maybe even a mask.

    I dealt with the inequities of the -10 hp = death problem in my own campaign some time ago: A character is unconscious and dying if his hp total is -1 - -10 OR -10% of his max hit point total, whichever is higher. Badabing, badaboom, problem solved.

    I can accept the 0 hp = unconscious and dying rule, though I dont think it was heinous enough to bother changing. In fact, I kind of like the idea of a character at 0 hit points desperately trying to make his way out of danger and knowing that one slip-up could mean his death. It's happened IMC, and it was both tension-filled and a lot of fun.

    The whole idea of suddenly waking up with 1/4 of your hit points back is utterly ridiculous. Sure, people in the real world wake up from comas all the time, but they don't strap on armor and charge into combat as soon as they step outside the hospital.

    The real flaw behind 3.x's death and dying rules was that it was far too easy to get reincarnated/raised/resurrected. IMC, this was another easy fix - the price for any life-restoring spell is 10 x the price listed in the PHB and the deity bestowing the spell (or his clergy) must approve. Again, badabing, badaboom, problem solved.

    I applauded the thinking behind 3.x's various statements concerning realism's place in D&D, because at the time I thought they'd finally realized that no mechanical game system is ever going to adequately approximate reality. But this is going too far. It's not even believable, much less realistic.

    I scoffed when the old 2e folks said 3e would promote munchkinism. I've since learned that I was wrong to do so, and I think what we're seeing here is the logical result of allowing that degree of munchkinism into the game. The 4e death and dying rules as described are thoroughly ridiculous, IMO - you munchkins out there can have it.
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    Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:11 pm  

    Bubba,

    I can't quit you. (Too soon?)

    I have to say that I really disagree (I hear what your saying and I acknowledge it) but really you are arguing the degree in which reality is warped by the underlying assumptions of 3e (and eventually 4e).

    Lets face it, once you get to about 5th or 6th level, the average PC can soak up damage that would put real humans on permanent disability. Weapons that would kill my PC in a single blow, now will barely scratch him.

    Don't even get me started on falling damage (a place where all editions fall apart).

    What I want from my game is consistency and and fun. If I wanted brutal reality I would play harnmaster where if the combat itself doesn't kill you, the infection rules will.

    Once again we are given a slice of the rules to reflect upon. Only a slice, which we invariably compare to what we know, 3e. But rules in D&D don't exist in a vacuum, they twist and turn in and around each other in one big interconnected mass.

    I will agree with you that if I dropped the rules described into 3e without considering the changes, it would be jarring. But we haven't seen all the rules and how these rules interrelate and balance the other rules in 4e.

    To make a blanket statement that this is all "munchkinism" and clearly inferior to our more "ideal" and "reasonable" version of the game is a gross distortion, and quite frankly asking for someone to flame you because you are name calling. I will refrain.

    I too have not seen all the rules and until I do, I am going to reserve judgment. In the meantime, I am going to go play test the 3e version of the new death and dying rules to see if it is fun for my players and makes my game smoother. If it is yes, it stays, if no, it goes.

    In (Reserved Judgment) Service,

    Bryan Blumklotz
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    Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:27 am  

    I must admit, when the article mentions how a dying PC will slow play down to a crawl, and how the steady 'hit point countdown' can prevent the arrival of the drama that life-or-death combats should have.

    So do I like this system? Worth a shot at any rate. As Bubba stated the jumping up with 25% health is a bit silly, but then again there is to be a certain amount of silly stuff in D&D. As a means of speeding up game play I like how it looks on paper, but I can't pass final judgement untill I try it for myself.

    For a 'realistic' injury and death system, how about the one from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay? In a nut shell, when a PC loses his last wound, you roll on a critical hit table, which can result in a gory instant death/a gory maiming/a gory crippling that can result a gory and undignified death next round/a temporary but no less gory handicap.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:11 am  

    Saracenus wrote:
    Bubba,

    I can't quit you. (Too soon?)

    I have to say that I really disagree...

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus


    Sar, I'm truly sorry to upset you (again), but I have to stick to my guns this time.

    Characters have to get to -50% of their original hit point total before they die, and even then there's a chance (a good one, btw, IMO) they'll suddenly spring to life with 25% of their hit points intact. Also, there's the idea that any degree of healing magic applied to a dying character brings that character back to a positive hit point total. That's like dropping an aspirin down the throat of a man just hit by a truck and then expecting him to walk away from it.

    Flame me if you must, but these things = munchkinism to me. Sorry if that bothers you, but that's the way it is.

    I agree that falling damage and various other aspects of 3.x and other editions can get silly, but these proposed changes are downright ridiculous. Furthermore, the problems with the current and all previous editions have been dealt with over and over again. This is just another example of a game company slapping the patient into a neon-colored electric traction cast when all that's needed is a bandaid and a pat on the head.

    By the way, Bryan, you're starting to remind me of myself during the 2e/3e transition...
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    Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:06 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:


    What I want from my game is consistency and and fun. If I wanted brutal reality I would play harnmaster where if the combat itself doesn't kill you, the infection rules will.



    hah. This happened to me in the one harnmaster campaign I played in (favor to the DM..he plays in our campaigns, so we endured one of his). My character (pretty much a blacksmith drafted as a militiaman) got wounded by a gargun, IIRC. Wound festered, other characters had no particular chirurgy skill. Someone did try cauterizing the wound, but it didn't work (don't recall why). So we wandered around lost in the wilderness and my character died about 10 miles from the hidden home of the uberwizard we were looking for.

    Not the most edifying of game play experiences.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:19 am  

    IMC we allow characters, and monsters, to drop to minus their con score before death, whether that is lower or higher than -10.

    These new 4e rules look worth trying out initially, but I have to say I loathe the idea that this applies only to characters and not monsters, indeed the designer says that "monsters are for killing", so lets not complicate things by giving them equal rights. This, undoubtedly is munchkinism. As for "spring to life with 25% of your hp", well there's only a 5% chance of that occuring so I'll try it out, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander; foes get that opportunity too.
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    Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:03 am  

    Ragr wrote:
    I loathe the idea that this applies only to characters and not monsters, indeed the designer says that "monsters are for killing", so lets not complicate things by giving them equal rights.


    Good point. But I'm sure that that can be fixed easily through an across the board application of more favourable rules in your campaign. It's not like the WoTC Thought Police are going to force you to play their way. Wink

    Rules are not for following, but for bending and warping to suit your own personal style of play and to maximise the fun.
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    Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:33 am  

    DavidBedlam wrote:
    Good point. But I'm sure that that can be fixed easily through an across the board application of more favourable rules in your campaign. It's not like the WoTC Thought Police are going to force you to play their way. Wink


    I'm not sure that's entirely true.

    Obviously they're not going to come to your home, but what about the D&D online game table? I wonder if it's going to be able to accommodate all the rules tweaks that people keep suggesting. I know only a relatively small number of gamers are going to be using it, but that segment is going to be the most visible to WotC designers and execs. They're going to have an inordinate amount of influence over the way D&D is developed in the future. I suspect there will soon develop a sort of "trickle down" effect, and I bet that's what WotC is counting on.
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    Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:06 pm  

    Happy ...oh boy! I have to get in on this one...

    In my opinion....

    These "new and improved" death and dying rules for 4th Ed are sad, and only confound and complicate an issue that should be, for ease of the game mechanics, straight forward and basic and as close to being fair to any level a PC may be. Basically, the way it is already. Confused

    I've the house rule that your constitution score determines the amount of negative hit points you can go before dying. IE: someone with an 18 Con would survive longer than someone with an 8 Con. But it’s a house rule, like so many out there.

    I've even played with the idea of trying to incorporate the RoleMaster's HP system. The PCs start with, for example, 98 hp, and that’s it. Now certain classes or racial or your Constitution (stamina) score could influence the final score, plus any serious injuries or disease or magical interference incurred during game, but it begins to get complicated and I decided I might as well just use the RM rules then....so I shelved that...gee another “fantasy genre” game, like D&D. Wink

    Thing is, why change something that, overall, doesn’t need to be changed.
    The way it is now works. It may not be the greatest approach, but that’s the way "D&D" has been played since the beginning, and it worked. I, like many others, identify it with the rules for D&D, just like I can identify certain rules conversant to other RPG systems, like GURPS, RoleMaster, HarnMaster, Cthuhlu, etc....

    Go changing it and you’re going to have to review the Armour Class issue then, because to some degree in the whole mechanics of it, HP is influential to AC...

    In essence, changing the mechanics of the game so that it isn't the same as previous D&D rules, makes it more of another RPG system out there, like the many others. It’s no longer D&D in nature, ONLY in name.

    So, does this mean I am damming the 4th Ed, No. I'll wait and see what this new game system has to offer. Heck, it could be a fantastic new way to play a fantasy RPG.

    I am disappointed on the idea that they are calling it D&D.... even if they wanted to call it such, then subtitle it, with the "Next Generation" or a similar articulated manner and cater to the D&D "Classic" rules, keeping both the aged gaming population who grew with the original based system and the Newer gamers of today.

    So....this new approach to death and dying....great for another system.... in “my” view a new edition is adjusting the rules to match errata and introduce additional material that has been determined to be conducive to better pre-existing and established materials (i.e.: workable feats/skills, new sensible spells, etc...).

    BUT and its a Big "But", let’s wait and see... so far though, it’s not coming across well.... to me and a "few" others.

    ....in my humble opinion. Happy

    AncientGamer Cool aka BusterBudd.
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    Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:47 pm  

    Oh ya! Exclamation Eileen, you keep it up girl! Wink Your opinions, interpretations, views, and passions count just as much as anyone else. How you see something dosen't mean the same for everyone else, thus, an opinion, your view...

    If you "feel" a certain way about something, then, in a respectable way (which you do), voice it! That's the premise, the reason, for a forum. Don't apologize.

    Happy Days! Happy


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    Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:02 pm  

    Since this discussion has grown to include alternative ideas, both house rules and those from other games, I thought I would point out that a have seen a lot of people use the "Con score = negative HP" variations. This seems to be really popular. I remember a time with older editons where the populace would in general house rule things a certain way and eventually, when a new edition or book within an edition came out the idea was adopted because everyone was using it. There was a reason everyone was using it, because it was good. Example, natural 20 for a critical hit and a natural 1 was a fumble. If memory serves correctly, 1st edition had no inclusion for critical or fumbles. I was using hte idea of non-weapon proficiencies before Gygax came up with them in 1st edition. My rules were not as good as his (and they had a different name) but the basis was there. I was trying to figure out how to make homemade mats with squares years before they came out. Anyway you get the idea. I miss these days when the gaming company caught up with the house rules.

    Again, since we mentioned other game systems ideas, I would like to post the rules I came up with for my Top Secret/S.I. game. I realize that you can't just slap it on to D&D as is and that using such rules changes almost everything in D&D. I post it to show that in my opinion better ways can be made in an RPG. The complexity I designed obvuiously requires some slower play but once you learn the rules, like most things, you know what to roll and when. As you learn the rules, things speed up.
    90% of what I list below are my rules. The only thing the original rules offered were the concept of damage boxes (10% of your CON score and that is it) also the idea of bruise, wound and CON damage. So for better or worse, everything else is what I came up with. If you read the rules, try and twist it around in your head and say "well if you take that idea and structure it for D&D would we have something worthwhile". I can't include everything because my rules consist of several pages, but I will try and highlight the ideas.

    Here we are....
    Each of the character's body area can take damage equal to 10% of his or her CON score (rounding fractions up). (Bonuses are added for having a high CON score as well as "tougher" body areas acquiring a few more points each). These are the "Full" damage boxes. All actions are tried normally when you have these boxes available. Take the number of full damage boxes and divide by two, this is the number of half and quarter boxes you have (if you got 20 full boxes, you got 10 half and 10 quarter, a total of 40 boxes). Finally, vital areas (the head, chest, and abdomen) having 5 critical life boxes as well).

    Once your agent fills in all of their full damage boxes a resistance roll is made to determine how well they handle the pain. The spy must make another resistance roll when all ½ damage boxes are filled in and again when all ¼ damage boxes are eliminated. A failed resistance roll reduces skill, attribute, and sense checks to that damage level. If the resistance roll succeeds, no reduction applies. For example, an agent in full damage boxes is reduced to ½ boxes and they fail their resistance roll. Now the spy makes all skill, attribute, and sense checks at ½ ability. A spy lowered to ¼ damage boxes makes these die rolls at ¼ ability. If your agent uses a body area that is damaged to ½ or ¼ ability, they make attribute, skill, or sense rolls at this ability level, even if they made their resistance roll for that level of injury. If you use the injured area, your character suffers the consequences of making their die rolls at the reduced level ability.

    When your spy heals at least one damage box back to the previous injury level all attribute, skill, and sense checks raise to the new damage box level. For example, say Agent Paradise is in half damage boxes and heals just enough to restore one full damage box. Because that single full damage box is available, the ORION agent no longer makes their skill, attribute, and sense checks at ½ ability, they increase their die rolls back to full score.

    Agents taking injuries to the head, chest, or abdomen are susceptible to unconsciousness and all locations could reduce movement. Any body location can be injured so severely that spies suffer from broken bones, internal bleeding, or worse. These dilemmas do allow a resistance roll to avoid the damaging effect. Characters who have lost all their ¼ damage boxes in the head, chest, or abdomen mark additional damage in their critical life boxes. Your character's head, chest, and abdomen each have five critical life boxes. These few boxes are all that remain between life and death. When an agent has their last critical life box filled in, they are dead!

    When injuries reduce your spy to critical life boxes, they are incapacitated. Agents with this condition are unable to take any kind of action. A resistance roll for unconsciousness is made, the RRF being ½ CON, plus any WIL modifier the agent has. (See the Wound Damage Chart). If the agent remains conscious, the only thing they can do is manage to speak. An incapacitated operative continues to lose 1 critical life box every five minutes until they are stabilized. The damage results from shock and blood loss and continues until a ¼ First Aid skill check is made. If the attending person has additional training in medical treatment they can make a ½ Medicine or full Surgeon skill check. Once the medical check succeeds, the individual is stabilized and will not lose any more critical life boxes.
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