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 4th Edition Suggestions (players and DM)

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Join date : 2015-11-08

PostSubject: 4th Edition Suggestions (players and DM)   Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:58 am

So I know I'm the only one who really runs 4th edition games currently, but I figure I might as well explain the house rules I use and suggestions I make, in case the curiosity bug bites any of you. Most of this is for the GM of such games, but I will start out with a small guide for the player.

Oh no, I'm playing 4e and I haven't before/for a while, help!
No worries! 4e can be made pretty versatile if run correctly. But here is what you can do as a player to increase your chances of having fun.

  • Know if you should be playing an essentials class.
    Essentials classes were made late in 4e's lifetime, in order to be a bit closer to AD&D and 3.x style of play. They tend to focus on basic Melee and ranged attacks in combat, with less flashy recharge powers. I personally don't enjoy playing as them, but if you wanted a simpler combat experience, and quicker access to utility powers, these are certainly an option!
  • Make sure your part has rituals.
    Rituals are all of the non-combat spells in D&D, and if you don't want to fight anything, they are pretty much essential. They got counterpart later in Martial Practices, which are also pretty good.
  • Remember that 4e is very much a game where you max out 1-2 stats.
    Never let your primary stat fall below an 18, as that is the stat you use for all combat. This is also why there is no stat damage in 4e: A character who's primary combat stat is 10-12 is not likely long for the world.

Ok, I am Alex or crazy and am running a 4e game, what now?
Welcome to the club! When you GM 4e, you should probably keep the following in mind and also use a few house rules in order to maximise the experience.

  • Remember that 4e is different from 3.x!
    While both 4e and Pathfinder are cool elf games about heroes overcoming evil, 4e is much more of a rules-light story game tacked onto a grid-based minis game. This is very different from the everything simulator that 3.x tries to be! As such, there aren't item creation or kingdom building rules, as a GM, you have to make the call as to what you want your players to have, and how they get it. Does your wizard want to help the fighter by making him a sick-rad Magic sword? Sounds like they are going to need to go on a quest to find Muramasa, who maybe needs them to slay an arch-devil and bring him back it's blood so he can bake it into their steel! does your party want a town of their own? Maybe they have to explore some wilderness and clear it out, or run for election against the necromancer-Mafia backed incumbent mayor! As in all roleplaying games, don't say "no", say "yes, but..."
  • Ignore the alignment system.
    The alignment system, much like ability scores, is a hold over from earlier editions of D&D, and is not mechanically enforced. If you really want alignments, use the AD&D/3.x 9 alignment system.
  • Ignore the class skill list.
    Nothing will break if your fighter, a veteran from the Wizard Wars, knows arcana instead of dungeoneering. If there is a good reason for a character to know a non-class skill, let them take that with one of their skill picks.
  • Use themes and inherent bonuses
    These were added with Dark Sun, and just like Dark Sun, they are cool and good. Themes allow a third leg to your character, and open up a lot of versatility, while inherent bonuses basically replace the loot treadmill, opening up for cooler, story reward. Use them.
  • Give out the math fix feats for free.
    Melee Training, Improved Defences and ______ Expertise are all meant to fix the combat math, and all no-brained options for literally every character. Either through story rewards, or by default, make sure your characters end up with these by the time they hit level 5. Doing it without taking up a feat slot means they can spend those slots on cool combat customisation options.
  • Use corrected Monster Math.
    With Dark Sun and the Monster Manual 3, monsters were made to hit harder, and have less health/defences. This makes combat quicker and more brutal. At least use this math, (which should be applied to all compendium monsters by default.) but also consider trying out Nightmare Mode damage or even the brutal Level 1 Forever damage expressions.
  • Use traps AND monsters, not OR!
    A trap on it's own is a skill check. A trap in combat is a hazard, a weapon and a thematic expansion! The answer to "can I push/pull/slide a monster into these spikes/this pit/those blades" is always "Yes!" Also, these don't have to be typical traps, it can be a Dwarven siege engine that fires every other round when operated, or an altar that has a necrotic aura that lowers defences, or magical grenades that can be thrown as a minor action!
  • Choose monsters wisely! Reflavor if necessary!
    Mix monster types, and have them fight accordingly. Have brute types engage on the front while artillery fired from the back and lurkers sneak about waiting for their perfect moment. Generally try to avoid soldiers, as their high-AC and low-Attack makes them a slog to fight. Also, do not be afraid of re skinning monsters to fit into a theme, the mechanical difference of a lion that fights you and lowers your AC by a minor action while a fey Panther sneaks up on you for that sweet flank and prone bonus is intangible from an Alpha Wolf and his sneaky buddy that do the same thing.
  • Do not drag battles out!
    Sometimes, the bad guys lose. Sometimes they lose before all of them are dead. Great! Have them run away, let the players give chase! An Orc scout that escapes can set up an ambush by an Owlbear den later!
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