Hey all hows it goin,
Well I haven’t had a lot of time to do any testing this week so far. Mores the pity, but then again got D&D gaming done and sleep and felt refreshed, so there’s that. So no immediate new videos for Elemental. But I’ll get some more new ones out this week.
Something about D&D 4E that just kinda popped into my mind as it relates to conversations I’ve been having with a friend. And roles in 4e, vs none specified in 3.5.
And this isn’t a case of trashing 3.5 or 4E is WoW.. this is something that was mentioned that got my mind thinking about it.
In 3.5, a group is formed from nebulous parts. Freedom to be whatever they wanted to be within the confines of the class/multiclass etcetera that they chose, backed with ideas that came into form because of Feat’s granting that idea.. (See Gamer’s 2 for an idea on Dex Monkey fighters…)
Now, one thing they didn’t mention ever in 3.5 was an equivalent.. of an unwritten rule. That if a party didn’t have a healer of some kind, their lives would often be very short, and grisly and fast..
But ultimately, a group from 3.5 would contain some variation of Damage dealer, Tank, Controller, and Leader(Healer). They just never codified what they were. But in the evolution of D&D to computer games and MMO’s and it’s predecessor BBS … they ultimately boiled it down into those same very codifications, that exist in all those games.
But back to 3.5 and 4.0… in 3.5 the idea that healing was important to stay alive was obvious and critical.
And in 4.0… having a healer of some kind is also very important. But.. this time they gave all players a chance to do some self healing, not even counting potions. Which took a bit of the healing lifting off the Leader/healer.
My friend had commented in 3.5 these “Meta gaming Roles” for 4.0 wouldn’t be there, and in a sense hamper his choices. But you know thinking about it. That metagame narrative was always there. Sure in 3.5 you could get away with someone who could use a Wand of Cure Light Wounds.. but that in and of itself, was turning that person who did it into a healbot when needed.
Now, obviously in 4.0 they built it with the idea that people are working together as a group. And gave the freedom to let the players run with their choices.. and in some groups they could get away without a Leader/Healer. Not so much in my personal games because I was fixing monsters to do their suggested level of damage as indicated on page 184/185 of the DMG. Which by the way.. *Evil DM Grin & Chuckle* this was updated in the July Errata. To a new baseline which does even more damage.. but was still closer in line to my fixed damage style.
This let’s me transition to that next part, even when I used the older fixed damage from monsters, I found ways to push characters right up to the limit in most fights, where they weren’t sure if they were going to make it. But in a few of them they just didn’t feel like a challenge, like anyone would fear death. Now with the damage being much more in line with an actual threat, players are going to be seriously challenged. Which leads me back to the conversation about roles.
In 4.0 Roles for filling out a group are a useful guideline. Sure you could have a group of 5 Strikers, who dish out massive damage fast enough to avoid the whole getting whacked and beaten to death as a concern… in some cases.. usually having a defender, a leader, and a striker was the real baseline with the other 2 slots to fill in as the group tend to digress towards. Depending on the flavor of the controller, they could sometimes be a good choice. With the usual other slot normally filled by another Striker.
But mixing and matching that idea is the same as providing the same freedom of 3.5 but with a metagame concept consciously thought of when building the group in most cases. But to my mind, in 3.5 groups ended just as fast if they didn’t have a proper mix to facilitate healing and so on.
In short, Roles have always existed. In 3.5 they were always present when starting a campaign, how was the healing going to be arriving. Even if the group was a bunch of independent sources, coming together. Someone always invariably had the healing, or they died, or the campaigns were invariably always short.
The usual kicker is that the person who’s giving out all the healing usually feels that burden, and doesn’t have all the fun of some of the other classes, or roles. Now, there are many variables to making a good “Leader”.. and several flavors. There are the Cleric, Ardent, Warlord, Bard, Shaman, and Runepriest. And hybrid versions that include one of those or both.
Each has a different flavor and different combat style. And method of delivery… damage and healing. The Warlord is one of the many more versatile Martial choices, be it within melee or even ranged. And is usually a force multiplier. Then again almost all choices related to this class are focused on being group dependent. In order to get the most out of the class, the group has to really utilize what the Warlord is delivering. Otherwise, many of their bonuses just go to waste. And in some cases leaving that player a bit burned out. When it happens a few times in a row.
The cleric has a good range of options, but as this was an early class, it has the problem of to many primary and secondary stats, and thus the cleric is diluted, and leaves a lot to be desired. With race and damage delivery.. (Though the new Essential Battle Priest looks like a good alternative.. and I’m hoping they’ll be in the Character builder as well.)
Bards, lots of fun, either in melee or ranged. Shaman, is a bit difficult to play, lots of positioning dependencies, and so on. Ardent’s are more melee oriented, and good at that, Runepriest melee but also very group dependent, and so on.
Now my friend is looking at changing from a Warlord (Inspiring Presence) to a Hybrid Cleric/Paladin. It’ll fit his character a bit better, and give him that connection with the way he plays it a bit better. I’m all for the player finding what works for them.
Now in general this switch is going to put the group down a hair on healing on one end. But they’ll pick up a stronger defensive force to make up for it. The only kicker that I can see happening is that with the new damage adjustments.. missing one healing word for sure, may make a difference.. but I’m not 100% certain.
I think ultimately it’s going to come down to how the group continues to work and deal with their encounters. If they continue to fight the way they have been.. it may put quite a few of them in jeopardy for continued living. But we’ll see how it all shakes out.
Anyhow.. to the Elemental viewers, I’ll get more videos up in the next few days. Keep on checking back.