Simulation vs. Cinematic

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Simulation vs. Cinematic

The type of role-playing game that you choose to play can excel either as open-world simulations or cinematic representations of uber-heroic deeds.

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Um... you guys do know you can have Cinematic Sandbox games and Railroaded Simulationist games right? That at the end of the day it mostly comes down to how much work the GM is willing to put into building a Sandboxy Open World?

Well I have to say in watching the 4th ed game podcast series done with the Robot Chicken gang, 4e definitely had a more video gamey sort of vibe to it. With Healing surges and the encounter powers and daily powers etc, it seemed weird to me. Keep in mind, the last edition of D&D I played was 3rd. I could still see the D&D mechanics at the core, but it definitely had a whole lot of new paint to it.

I will say for all the hours spent in various editions of D&D, it definitely suffered from an inherit sort of class progression gap. Where fighters/paladins/clerics/barbarians are viable right from the start, they sort of maintain a steady pace. Where as, once those casting classes hit 5th level and get those 3rd level spells (Fireball, Lightning Bolt etc) their capabilities make a HUGE jump. Rogues had sort of a average progression step until they could start bluffing people into being flat footed by feinting. Then you have the really late bloomers like Monks, who eventually can be just absolutelty fucking ridiculous to deal with at the higher levels. Finally, you had the stepchild, the single-class Bard. I hardly remember anyone ever playing a bard in any campaign.

As an aside, I was recently introduced to the true D20 fantasy system and that seems like it has some interesting twists on the traditional D20 D&D system.

I don't know if I could ever hang with a group that dissallowed metatalk at the table. Whats DnD if not a great story with lots of little points where I can point and laugh at the guy across the table for failing one way or another.

Though to each their own and I can't say that I don't see the merits of hardcore focused gaming.

So yes to new players I have to agree, try it all. You never know will draw you in.

in my group of friends, there was a similar vehement response when 3rd edition was released... I'm not sure why... I think it has to do with the investment people put into the game.. People who had all of the core rule books, and a plethora of extra books, were suddenly being told that those rules were null and void, and the world at large was moving on whether they liked it or not.

Honestly, I can sort of see where they're coming from in that respect.

*sigh* Ilve always considered the violent and angry response to a new system as kinda dumb. Your books are not "null and void", it's not like Wizards or whoever is breaking into your house and burning all your books, it just means the system is done, complete, nothing new will be officially added to it and if you have that much of a problem with the "official" ruling on the system, I'm sure you'll find plenty of friends on the internet who think the same and are producing some great (and not so great) fan material.

I really can't get behind 4th edition. They made it only about the fighting. They give you no abilities that can be used outside of battle, and the effects of the abilities are a lot more rigid, everything is just "it deals is much damage to this many thing and may cause this status effect". Now 4th combat is better, but it only works in campains that are liner fight after fight types. It doesn't allow for creative solutions using more practical abilities. And my biggest problem is that it doesn't have to, why can't they give me non-combat abilities? I just cant see the the point of playing a slow paced video game with next to no visual elements replacing freedom of choices. If it is going to be that racially different, then why stop printing 3.5? That keeps us from even having the choice.

It is definitely a battle for the ages. Sometimes you just want a straightforward torrent of squishy enemies and shiny loot, and sometimes you want a Byzantine plot with memorable NPCs and shocking turns of events that may or may not lead to epic battles.

Some systems & GMs lean one way, some the other. I don't think both camps will ever be entirely pleased with something that tries to appeal to both. It'll just be too mediocre to please everybody.

As an aside, Alex's OD&D game sounds like a fantastic time to my old-school ears.

Right, but neither of those things are either cinematic or simulationist. D&D has, quite frankly, always sucked at simulationism, given that the attitude towards balance requires creating a world that makes no sense without a certain degree of mental gymnastics. People are more angry that the cinema being created is a different one than they're used to.

Similarly, arguments will rage over whether keeping super-powers combat-based strengthens or weakens political intrigue. As someone who's run a lot of Exalted, I can tell you it's kind of aggravating to set up a complex byzantine plot with memorable NPCs and have one player go "Perfect lie detection, ask a couple of questions, stab a dude, case closed." I've had to get really, really creative to allow much political stuff to develop over the long term.

(Personally, I prefer 4e to 3.x, because it's more honest. 3.x mostly diluted its dungeon-crawling roots in an attempt to make a not-very-good simulationist layer. 4e feels more like older stuff in that the dungeon is where your stats apply most, and things that are interesting for RP only don't cost points.)

Friv:
Right, but neither of those things are either cinematic or simulationist. D&D has, quite frankly, always sucked at simulationism, given that the attitude towards balance requires creating a world that makes no sense without a certain degree of mental gymnastics. People are more angry that the cinema being created is a different one than they're used to.

Wow! Saying D&D sucks at simulation is fighting words around here. ;)

What do you mean "attitude towards balance"? Are you referring to D&D 3.5's challenge ratings? Because OD&D's attitude towards balance is pretty agnostic and I haven't had any issues with it. What's an example of a game that you think does a GOOD job at simulating a fantasy world? Maybe we're simulating different things...

I've played D&D since 1974. I've moved forward, sometimes grumbling and foot dragging, with each new edition. Until 4E. There was too great a difference between 3.5 and 4E. Little to no "backwards compatibility" and I've run the same campaign world since 1974. Simulation of a world is what I've been doing for 35 years. So, it's Paizo's Pathfinder RPG for me. 3.5 with some improvements. New material that can be integrated without too much dislocation. I don't have a problem with 4E as a game, but it's not a game I'd enjoy running or playing.

The thing is... even in the splashiest action movie, if it's worth its salt, the action will make a kind of sense. It may stretch credulity (to put it mildly) that every police officer and criminal seems to have the parkour skills of a master, or that the hero survives being that close to the shockwave of a massive explosion, or that someone comes back to win a fight after injuries that realistically would add up to multiple broken ribs and a concussion... but as long as it's consistent with the world itself and entertaining, it's remarkable what we'll let by.

What it sounds like is the abilities of 4E aren't consistent with the world that's created. And that's a problem. It increases the risk that the rules will get in the way of immersion, rather than aiding it. And something that jerks the audience out of its suspension of disbelief can't accurately be described as "cinematic".

Now I'll be the first to recognize that many "old timers" (a class in which I must grudgingly place myself, I guess) may spite 4th Edition out of the sense that the young punks are getting to do the fun stuff without having to do any of the hard work of slow levelling and calculating THAC0 and so forth. There's nothing wrong with a game that plays smoothly and quickly and lets players just roll the dice and have fun with it.

But that is a distinctly different experience from what the earlier players were working with, and I wouldn't leap to say it's a superior one. Different, certainly. Shallower? Maybe- though a lot will of course depend on the particular gaming group.

There's also a somewhat disturbing sense that WotC, more than earlier possessors of the franchise, treats D&D as a product, for better or worse- that the changes aren't necessarily tied to making a better game, but one that they can sell to more people, having filled the coffers as much as it was possible to do with the proceeds of the previous generation.

If nothing else, it will be amusing to watch the players of this generation bitching about 5th and 6th Edition.

Because I'd bet my right arm that there will be a fifth and sixth edition.

Archon:

What do you mean "attitude towards balance"? Are you referring to D&D 3.5's challenge ratings? Because OD&D's attitude towards balance is pretty agnostic and I haven't had any issues with it. What's an example of a game that you think does a GOOD job at simulating a fantasy world? Maybe we're simulating different things...

Well I could point to Burning Wheel/Mouseguard or REIGN as presenting a good fantasy world AND a set of rules that aids in conveying the fantasy of said world.Burning Wheel has it's lifepaths, it's gritty "FIGHT!" system, it's duels of wits, it's BITS system and it's extremely realistic "Advancement" system all of which are simplified but impoved upon by Mouseguard and REIGN's every element is tied into its extremely interesting fantasy world.

But honestly the BEST Simulationist game I've ever seen is "Aces and Eights" a Western RPG that presents a picture perfect Wild West Setting in all its gun fighting, horse trading, bar brawling, cattle rustling, prospecting, gold mining, plague catching, impromptu trial running, pick something you'd want to show up in a wild west game glory. It's so realistic it's both awesome and painful, presenting some seriously intense, deep and fun rules/minigames to add a playable facet to almost every aspect of Western Life. Now what it ISN'T is easy, but it has a modular rules system that allows you to add or drop sections at will, so you could play a simple game of Gun Fighters, or an extremely complex game that nearly accurately simulates life in a Wild West Town.

It's surprising just how simplified a lot of things were in 4E. I loved playing rogues/thieves, but some of the simplifications seemed a bit.. weird when trying to picture what was going on with a character.

I haven't played D&D for awhile though, mind you (do own a full set of 2E and 4E [as well as 1E AD&D] books) I did read a bit of 'em recently. One of the things I understood was that "move silently" and hiding in shadows were combined.

Bah, I don't know where I stand. If someone likes playing on the 4E ruleset, all good for them. Maybe I'd like it too if I could actually find people to play with. However, my best memories will still be with 2E.

PedroSteckecilo is right, D&D has never been a simulationist type game its always been on the gamest side. The world of D&D is pretty clean compared to what a fantasy world would look like. You don't get a gouge in your arm that gets infected and goes septic causing you to lose the arm which may in itself kill you. You tend to lack the factors that make medieval fantasy medieval which tends to make the whole setting fall down under scruitiny.

People tend to be tolerant of random groups of strangers from different races walking into their town instead of instantly suspicious of such a group and likely racist towards those not sharing a species. People who live in medieval type towns would much more likely have medieval type attitudes.

I've recently seen Aces and Eights as a friend has got it and that game looks to simulate. Combat goes down to fractions of seconds to allow people to do quick draw shoot outs, locations include groin and neck to name a few. D&D does a hit and a wound, no other effects, you are either fine, incapacitaded or dead. Going from incapacitated back to fine has nothing in the way of perminant effect, actually same goes from going from dead to fine.

I play WFRP 2nd Ed and that has an altogether more honest Fantasy setting (I would consider 3rd ed but the game just has too many holes at the moment), racism is rampant, class is everything, disease is prominent. In WFRP you are as likely to die from getting stabbed in a drunken bar brawl as you are to die fighting a monster. Wizards are treated with suspicion, anyone that raises people from the dead is hunted down, elves are treated with conempt and fighting the monsters will probably lead you to become corrupt and insane.

Even that isn't really a simulation of a fantasy setting, it doesn't attempt to treat weapons as accutate representations of their capabilities or do use mechanics that would support simlulationist play.

D&D is fun if you like the gamist type of rules set it gives you but it most certainly is not a simulation unless the DM makes a large number of changes to the game. For those who want to know about the difference between gameist, simulationist and narrativist games they should look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_Theory.

Kaihlik

drisky:
I really can't get behind 4th edition. They made it only about the fighting. They give you no abilities that can be used outside of battle, and the effects of the abilities are a lot more rigid, everything is just "it deals is much damage to this many thing and may cause this status effect".

This is the reason I don't like 4e. I'm not going to stop other people playing it if they want, that would just be stupid, but our group won't be playing it because it's so very limiting in what you can do compared to 3.5e (although I can't compare it to the earlier rules, I only started playing at university and never used 3e or earlier).

I also don't agree that 3.5e can't be cinematic - my group has been together for 5 years now, we've played a few big campaigns, most of which have been very gritty and realistic (especially the Eberron one), but every single week we have a few ridiculous cinematic moments, without breaking the realism very much at all. I think your (and WotC's) assumption that realism and cinematics are mutually exclusive is incorrect, and this is where my problems with 4e lie.

Finally, I also think that low level weak characters like wizards and rogues can still be fun and useful in combat - they're going to have high Dex, so give them a ranged weapon or some wands. My favourite character in the 5 years of playing was an elf wizard with a crossbow called Bug, who grew up in a poor mining town but was very positive, and enthusiatic about magic to the point of obsession (much to the irritation of our high level wizard patron). He was so much fun to play, and I never felt like I had nothing to do, even after he ran out of spells and stopped running around and started shooting his crossbow instead.

I hadn't really thought about the whole dissociated mechanic of the martial dailies. I'd always thought that the reason you couldn't do it more than once wasn't because your character physically couldn't do it but because it only really worked to it's full extent when other factors came into play. Maybe your opponent overbalances just slightly on their last swing or something and it's allowed you to deliver that crushing blow.

I would have to completely agree with this article. When I started playing D&D a couple of years back it was on the old 2nd Edition because my friend's brother had tons of books for it. We played and I DMed using my own homebrew campaign world. We had loads of fun and as you say it it was more a struggle for survival than a cinematic action fantasy. Then later on 4th edition came out(We skipped 3rd, though I have played it quite a bit) and we decided to buy it and upgrade to a newer and better system. After getting accustomed to the rules we continued were the previous AD&D campaign ended. It was fun, everybody was powerful, monsters were dying left and right but something was missing.

Players were more trying to maximize their characters using the various feat and power combos, trying to break the game, be even more powerful and all that put a less of an emphasis on roleplaying and more on it being a single player game.

And one more thing that annoys me about the newer versions of D&D. The monsters. Everything simply has to be more and more epic, greater, bigger, more powerful and more over the top. My PCs are going through a desert and I'm scouring the MM for a desert type monster I could use as an encounter and everything I found is either completely ridiculous or just won't fit in. There is nothing normal in the newer MMs. I must drop a picture or two to prove my point.

Just check the comparisons and see the difference.

Simulation vs. Cinematic?

No, it has always been simulationists VS gamists.

The latter prefer 4E, because it's a more streamlined and balanced game, ever since WotC decided to stop trying to cater to both.
The simulationists prefer 3E to 4E, but cannot enjoy themselves with either game.

Then there's also a dying minority of old TSR fans who hate everything that came after 2E out of principle.

Friv:

Similarly, arguments will rage over whether keeping super-powers combat-based strengthens or weakens political intrigue. As someone who's run a lot of Exalted, I can tell you it's kind of aggravating to set up a complex byzantine plot with memorable NPCs and have one player go "Perfect lie detection, ask a couple of questions, stab a dude, case closed." I've had to get really, really creative to allow much political stuff to develop over the long term.

Well, if the one behind the plot is a mortal or dragon-blooded, that's true, but those are the grunts of the setting and solars are supposed to beat them hard. Solars and sidereal are another matter entirely.

Well, a solar/abyssal will not so much make a byzantine plot since he can just brain-wash everyone and be done with it. Lie-detection against a solar's henchmen usually won't work because he thinks he's telling the truth.

Also, foiling the plans of a prepared sidereal is really a pain in the ass. How can you foil someone's plan when fate itself is removing your memories of that guy? How can you interrogate someone who doesn't remember the guy who told him to assassinate you? Sidereals have been ruling creation for thousands of years through manipulation. They're good at this. That's why I told my players they're not in the game (until they unmask one).

But yeah, characters in Exalted are supposed to be the Lawbringers that can see through the villain's lies then turn him into pulp for the glory of the Unconquered Sun. They ARE perfect in what they do, but not in what they are and that's where the fun begins. Dragon-Blooded fit better in a political game.

I'm sure you know that anyway since you said you're a veteran Exalted ST.

Anyway, I prefer DnD 4th because it's more cinematic (like Exalted) than previous versions. Like others said, a game can be cinematic while being in an open world. In the DnD game I'm currently in, my character is an exiled human warlord that's coming back to his corrupted country to try to prevent it from being used in the blood war as a recruitment ground for the demons. Enemies are at the gate and we have to avoid killing because every soul lost bolsters the demons' ranks.

I am not going to move into discussing the GNS Model other than to say that, like any social science model, it's imperfect. In certain cases it can be helpful for analyzing certain elements of a game, but by and large I have not found it useful for determing which games I like, why I like them, or how they work.

PedroSteckecilo:
Well I could point to Burning Wheel/Mouseguard or REIGN as presenting a good fantasy world AND a set of rules that aids in conveying the fantasy of said world.Burning Wheel has it's lifepaths, it's gritty "FIGHT!" system, it's duels of wits, it's BITS system and it's extremely realistic "Advancement" system all of which are simplified but impoved upon by Mouseguard and REIGN's every element is tied into its extremely interesting fantasy world.

I read Burning Wheel and found it to be an impressive and elegant system. I haven't had the opportunity to play it, though. It definitely has a lot of really sexy systems.

D&D, at least in its original incarnation, is much more of a bottom-up simulation; it doesn't have Lifepaths, duels of wits, and so on. But it tracks coin, ammo, weight, movement rate, time, distance, and so on, in detail, and then scales upward. It leaves the integration of the bottom-up simulation with the world in the hands of the DM. I found that if you take the base assumptions of D&D, it works when applied across a large setting, though you have to make some small changes to the cost of non-adventuring goods (food, clothing) and the wages of mercenaries (for those interested, reduce the price of non-adventuring goods by a factor of 10, and increase the wages of mercenaries by a factor of 10). I actually did the work involved via a lot of spreadsheets to create every domain in a kingdom, tracking the incomes of everyone from peasant to king, cost of goods, etc., and then compared it to historical prices, incomes, manor sizes, and so on, and it turns out that D&D works just fine as a medieval simulator. This shouldn't be surprising, since the game descended from medieval wargaming and its co-creator was an insurance actuary... This is why I was curious as to your comments about "balance" etc.

I think you've got the 3rd ed. vs 4e debate pretty much nailed. Even if hit points didn't make a lot of sense, they were a simple way to say "you're dead".

Simulation vs. Cinematic is a pretty easy situation to read in rules, but I think how much we like the games we play are more based on HOW those rules are interpreted and that is more subtle than simple rules. All D&D rules imply relatively simple stories: kill monsters, get loot, be a hero. The rules don't say that but that is how they are easiest to use. ShadowRun has a different basic story idea: get the job, do your homework, something goes wrong, you get betrayed. The rules of ShadowRun support this idea, with extensive rules for realistically tracking down information and dealing with the law since you are a criminal.

Both ShadowRun and D&D 1-3 are simulation-ist, even if ShadowRun is a little more hard-core on this end, so what is the real difference? I would say it is story complexity. ShadowRun doesn't allow you to take matters for granted, even if they are routine for your characters. Every run needs legwork. You could play ShadowRun as a SWAT team and D&D as political intrigue backstabbing extravaganza but you would at least ignore significant amounts of the rules in both cases just from lack of use.

Greg, I'd like to hear your views on the basic difference between a D&D style (simulation or cinematic) and your average angst fueled World of Darkness game or criminal underground ShadowRun game. Do you see this as a story difference supported by the rules or as just a matter of players?

Major kudos to this article. It's nice to see someone allowing "live and let live" (or "roleplay and let roleplay", I suppose,) be an option in an ideological dispute.

PedroSteckecilo:
But honestly the BEST Simulationist game I've ever seen is "Aces and Eights" a Western RPG that presents a picture perfect Wild West Setting in all its gun fighting, horse trading, bar brawling, cattle rustling, prospecting, gold mining, plague catching, impromptu trial running, pick something you'd want to show up in a wild west game glory. It's so realistic it's both awesome and painful, presenting some seriously intense, deep and fun rules/minigames to add a playable facet to almost every aspect of Western Life. Now what it ISN'T is easy, but it has a modular rules system that allows you to add or drop sections at will, so you could play a simple game of Gun Fighters, or an extremely complex game that nearly accurately simulates life in a Wild West Town.

except the wild west is mostly an anachronism, so basically you're simulating a cinematic genre :P

Chaya:
Players were more trying to maximize their characters using the various feat and power combos, trying to break the game, be even more powerful and all that put a less of an emphasis on roleplaying and more on it being a single player game.

Just a couple things.. Players have always been trying to break the game.. 4th does a LOT better job of balancing the game and keeping games from getting broken then 3rd/3.5 did. Heck, even with Epic Destinies, they developed into the game a way for the character to end. 3rd had no such concession.. if you played an epic character, they could concievably level to a million.

and another thing.. yeah, those pictures are pretty badass, but really, you can describe the monster however you want. It's your game, it's your world.. if you want to put a crocodile in, it can just be a simple crocodile.. If you want a new race of creatures on the fly, and they're small and warlike, take goblins and describe them completely differently.

You're putting too much emphasis on what the book is telling you to do, without actually reading the part that says "These are just guidelines, it's your game, do what you want with our blessing"

Tolerant Fanboy:
Major kudos to this article. It's nice to see someone allowing "live and let live" (or "roleplay and let roleplay", I suppose,) be an option in an ideological dispute.

Haha, i think i have just discovered a tolerant fanboy.

Thanks man!

For those of you arguing about realism in a game about magical medieval-style worlds, really, take a deep breath.
You have no idea what it would be like as there's no precedent for it. Having magic would change everything, regardless of whether the magic is common or rare.

Despite attempts to argue otherwise, it comes down to style and what a given group of players are looking for. Nothing else. One is not inherently better than another. One is not somehow more "truthful" than another. They simply are games, designed for entertainment with, at best, a nod at realism.

Besides, any decent DM is going to change things around to suit their idea of the game they want to run, and if the players are okay with that, then they continue to play, and if they don't, they leave. Free market indeed.

Not sure I agree 0over0, but perhaps we could dispense with the word "realism". Versimilitude would be a better word choice: Truthlikeness, or the degree to which one false theory is closer to the truth than another.

We can certainly assess the versimilitude of a particular rules set with regard to what it claims to be simulating. For instance, most of the myths and legends of ancient and medieval times assume that magic worked. So in a sense, the ancients themselves are telling us what they think life would be like in their times, with magic. We can certainly assess whether or not a game results in settings are truthlike with regard to those portrayed in myth and legend. That's why Ars Magica impresses, for instance.

We can likewise assess whether or not a game results in setting similar to those portrayed in literature. For instance, Exalted does not create characters or outcomes that in any way resemble those portrayed in Lord of the Rings, and would lack versimilitude as a rules set for Lord of the Rings. Call of Cthulhu would be an equally bad choice for Dragonball Z. But CoC is an impressive rules set for "realistic" encounters with the Great Old Ones...

Altorin:

and another thing.. yeah, those pictures are pretty badass, but really, you can describe the monster however you want. It's your game, it's your world.. if you want to put a crocodile in, it can just be a simple crocodile.. If you want a new race of creatures on the fly, and they're small and warlike, take goblins and describe them completely differently.

You're putting too much emphasis on what the book is telling you to do, without actually reading the part that says "These are just guidelines, it's your game, do what you want with our blessing"

Yeah, I know and that's what I do. Just wanted to point out the more than obvious direction they are taking. Also, while the newer system is more balanced it makes, as the article says, the players something a bit too powerful. But yeah, to each his own, if some like it that way and many do as far as I can see they can play like that. I like my way of keeping the players as human as possible. Er, or elven or dwarven or whatever they want to be, but normal in a sense. So that there's a bigger emphasis on roleplaying and less on building your powers.

And note the difference in info given in the 2nd edition and in the 4th edition as seen in the picture I posted. The latter just assumes that nobody wants to know anything about monsters and that your only link with them is your desire to have them dead. Whereas the former gives even the monsters more life and depth while still making them challenging.

Chaya:

Altorin:

and another thing.. yeah, those pictures are pretty badass, but really, you can describe the monster however you want. It's your game, it's your world.. if you want to put a crocodile in, it can just be a simple crocodile.. If you want a new race of creatures on the fly, and they're small and warlike, take goblins and describe them completely differently.

You're putting too much emphasis on what the book is telling you to do, without actually reading the part that says "These are just guidelines, it's your game, do what you want with our blessing"

Yeah, I know and that's what I do. Just wanted to point out the more than obvious direction they are taking. Also, while the newer system is more balanced it makes, as the article says, the players something a bit too powerful. But yeah, to each his own, if some like it that way and many do as far as I can see they can play like that. I like my way of keeping the players as human as possible. Er, or elven or dwarven or whatever they want to be, but normal in a sense. So that there's a bigger emphasis on roleplaying and less on building your powers.

And note the difference in info given in the 2nd edition and in the 4th edition as seen in the picture I posted. The latter just assumes that nobody wants to know anything about monsters and that your only link with them is your desire to have them dead. Whereas the former gives even the monsters more life and depth while still making them challenging.

You seem to have been under a rock during 3rd. That's fine, but this discussion is between 3rd/3.5 and 4th.. Comparing 2nd to 4th is a bit silly.. but if you enjoy 2nd, more power to you.

3rd was the most broken Piece of Work I've ever experienced in my life, and that's the gold standard that every D&D player seems to be adhering too.. Balance is DEFINITELY not what people are concerned about when it comes to the discussion between 3rd and 4th.

4th is balanced. It gives each player more power, but that doesn't mean it's unbalanced. The fact that characters cycle out their powers in 4th is a good example of how it's balanced. Removing race abilities and allocating them into feats, is another example of how it's balanced.. each race is more or less balanced against eachother.

The role system allows different classes to be balanced against eachother, and in the long haul, they seem pretty balanced. I mean, I'm sure a real munchkin could figure out how to make their rogue MOAR POWARFULL then any ranger could possibly hope to be, but that's not that bad of a problem.. It's only the munchkins are finding the broken parts in 4th edition. EVERYONE was breaking the game in 3rd, that was the whole point of it.

Altorin:
It's only the munchkins are finding the broken parts in 4th edition. EVERYONE was breaking the game in 3rd, that was the whole point of it.

That's an interesting point, Altorin. I do think it's one of the failings of 3.5. Everyone I played with was so obsessed with gaming the system that they multiclassed endlessly and planned what prestige class they were going to take from the onset, picking the appropriate skills from first level.

I played with one player whose character took 5 different classes in the first 5 levels he advanced. I think he was a barbarian/ranger/fighter/exalted soul/douchebag. That's an extreme case, but 3.5 allowed and therefore encouraged that weird kind of experiment.

At least with 4E, you know what kind of character you are going to play.

Greg Tito:

Altorin:
It's only the munchkins are finding the broken parts in 4th edition. EVERYONE was breaking the game in 3rd, that was the whole point of it.

That's an interesting point, Altorin. I do think it's one of the failings of 3.5. Everyone I played with was so obsessed with gaming the system that they multiclassed endlessly and planned what prestige class they were going to take from the onset, picking the appropriate skills from first level.

I played with one player whose character took 5 different classes in the first 5 levels he advanced. I think he was a barbarian/ranger/fighter/exalted soul/douchebag. That's an extreme case, but 3.5 allowed and therefore encouraged that weird kind of experiment.

At least with 4E, you know what kind of character you are going to play.

Nothing seems so ridiculously unbalanced in 4th.. I mean, I'm sure it will come, and it will be broken in a strictly competitive sense, however, I doubt you'll feel weak by NOT abusing the system, even when it's easily breakable. That's what it was like in 3rd edition and 3.5, you felt weak unless you were some ridiculous thing.. You can pick a simple wizard that prestiges into Archmage in 4th and be happy.

One big complaint is that rules for roleplaying have been cut down.. I don't see that.. I see that most of the skill rules have been pruned down to their bare essentials.. I actually find it a lot EASIER to roleplay in 4th edition, and identify with a character, and I LOVE the Dragonborn/Tiefling... My only 2 4th edition characters so far were a Dragonborn Warlock and a Tiefling Warlord.. they were fun as heck.

edit: and if you think roleplaying is dead in 4e, my Dragonborn Warlock was a Star Pact, and had spent 300 years of real time (60 years of percieved time) trapped in a Fey Realm.. He came out whimsical yet grumpy with a distaste for the boastful pride and hubris of his race.

my tiefling warlord was obsessed with removing his demonic heritage. Every battle he went into had to be leading him on that path. Even if it was just to get more powerful, but most often he had a better reason for fighting. He couldn't just fight for fighting's sake. He refused to use his class powers unless he had a reason to be in the conflict above the most basest primal aggressive urges.

And my sister played a dwarf that had his (yes, his, lol) village destroyed while he was being a truant guard. He was sleeping at the time, and could never sleep again unless he was blind drunk and tired out from fighting. So he fought specifically to tire himself out. And he would always order "Goats Milk and Ale" as a nightcap - "Just like mom useta make"

So yeah, Roleplaying is still alive and well.

Hmmm. Greg wrote an article comparing Original (1st ed) D&D to 4th edition D&D, and it STILL turned into a 3.5 versus 4th edition war!

Arguing about 3.5E v. 4E is like arguing about who got the Silver and the Bronze at the Olympics. 1E gets the Gold!

My main issue with 4E was how schizophranic it seemed. Some mechanics seemed to come from left field. And this is left field in the Elemental Chaos to boot.

I have heard arguments of this type before, and I do not buy it. This idea that OD&D players(which are probably 3.5 players) are "simulationist" strikes me as a failed attempt to understand why there are so many OD&D holdouts. 4E lacks depth, but this is more in terms of what the PC are able to do within the available game mechanics than with an accurate simulation of the game world. Some of what was lost in the transition to 3.5E to 4E is gradually being restored through supplements, but the number of supplements needed to do many of the things that could be done with the old core 3 rulebooks(for example, having a Druid that summons animals), makes an edition transition far too expensive.

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