Author Topic: What mechanics are new to 4.0?  (Read 4457 times)

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Otto the Bugbear

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What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« on: April 27, 2011, 04:51:15 AM »
The other day I was thinking some about 4ed and got to thinking -- always dangerous, I know -- about what new mechanics were introduced for 4ed. As the three 4ed books I have are still packed away (PH, DMG, MM), I can't really verify what exactly really is a new mechanic, rather than just a re-imagined/regurgitated mechanic from one of the previous editions or something that had been alive on dozens of message boards/blogs for years prior to 4ed's release (like the consolidated skill list). I should also clarify that I only have experience with the three initial books. If other new mechanics were introduced in later 4ed books, that's fair game too, I just have no actual experience with it and haven't read about it.

Not that I'm expecting the list to be huge. I recognize the legacy and just how many things are/should be played forward to the latest edition. This is mostly a curiosity thing.

Going from memory, the only one I came up with is:

Minions

So help me out. What else am I missing? I know there has to be more mechanical elements that were introduced for 4ed.

veekie

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 05:48:39 AM »
Actually Minions aren't really new, they already existed in Exalted.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."


Bozwevial

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 03:48:31 PM »
Possibly the milestone mechanic? It was, at least, a relatively innovative attempt to tackle the problem of resource management by letting things like action points and magic item powers regenerate based on the number of challenges encountered so far.

veekie

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 04:52:40 PM »
Existed in 3.5 in the form of /encounter abilities, and for ACTUAL milestones(that is, landmark events, not something that happens thrice a day), the old Action Point systems and things like FATE or Burning Wheel have those covered.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Bozwevial

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 07:36:09 PM »
Existed in 3.5 in the form of /encounter abilities, and for ACTUAL milestones(that is, landmark events, not something that happens thrice a day), the old Action Point systems and things like FATE or Burning Wheel have those covered.
Per-encounter abilities really only appeared near the end of 3.5's life, though. The Tome of Battle in particular was a mechanics test for stuff they were planning to include in 4e. Milestones were more notable because they tried to tackle the five-minute workday (although crippling the potential to nova helped) by providing action points and magic item powers as a way to keep going so that even if you were forced to continue instead of resting, you weren't just marching to your death.

veekie

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2011, 08:54:13 PM »
Still debuted in 3.5 anyway. Not entirely new to 4e.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Solo

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2011, 08:56:18 PM »
Per-encounter abilities really only appeared near the end of 3.5's life, though.
Barbarian rage :p

"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down!"

The Legend RPG, which I worked on and encourage you to read.

Bozwevial

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2011, 09:46:59 PM »
Per-encounter abilities really only appeared near the end of 3.5's life, though.
Barbarian rage :p
Daily limit. :p

Solo

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2011, 09:51:49 PM »
Some racial SLAs like the Tiefling's Darkness.

"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down!"

The Legend RPG, which I worked on and encourage you to read.

Bozwevial

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2011, 11:32:10 PM »
Some racial SLAs like the Tiefling's Darkness.
I thought that was once per day.

Solo

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2011, 11:34:08 PM »
... I thought that was what you meant by "Daily limit".

"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down!"

The Legend RPG, which I worked on and encourage you to read.

Bozwevial

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2011, 11:38:29 PM »
Oh, no, I was referring to the fact that although rage is only usable once per encounter, it still has a daily usage limit.

veekie

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 01:12:38 AM »
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

bkdubs123

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2011, 09:00:14 PM »
I think the posters in this thread are going about this in the exceedingly wrong way. If you're going to say that any potentially "new" mechanic used in 4e isn't actually new because a different mechanic already exists in 3.5 or some other RPG that accomplishes a similar goal/task, then you could say that about every mechanic in just about every RPG since AD&D 2nd Edition.

I would list Minions, Milestones, and that dice recharge mechanic for monster powers as "new" mechanics to 4e. I haven't looked at 4e in a while, so I'm not sure about other stuff.

veekie

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2011, 09:12:09 PM »
Quote
rather than just a re-imagined/regurgitated mechanic from one of the previous editions or something that had been alive on dozens of message boards/blogs for years prior to 4ed's release
Well, from this bit I assumed he was looking for the more original parts of it, except very few game mechanics are truly unique and revolutionary. Mostly every game uses a new spin on an old trick.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Otto the Bugbear

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2011, 03:47:58 AM »
I initially thought up this thread after posting something about using saves as defense as a 3.5 house rule. It was pointed out to me that this idea already existed in Unearthed Arcana. When I went looking through UA, I also found an option for no skill points, which reminded me of the direction 4.0 had gone.

So I got to thinking, what exactly was invented for 4.0?

Some stuff is of course original by the most narrow definition, but don't really count toward the question. For instance, I immediately discounted Dragonborn because that's just a set of modifiers, abilities and fluff applied to "generic pc capable race". That's not the sort of thing I was looking for.

Without access to my books, I could only think of one thing; minions. Veekie rightly points out that other games also have had this concept for some time. I played in one steampunk type game that had a minion-type system where the minions acted as a sort of ablative armor for bosses... used all d6s... can't remember the name of the game though.

Perhaps I should have worded it more carefully. I'm looking for mechanics that were newly introduced to D&D during the 4.0 era.

I would count minions as something newly introduced to D&D during the 4.0 era. [edit: Forgot about oslecamo mentioning MM5]
Dice Recharge mechanic for monster powers is found in the Dragon entry for 3.0, so that's a no-go.
I guess I simply don't remember enough about Milestones to judge them.
Magic Item's recharging based on encounters that day is something I also forgot about.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I'd rather see something listed with justification of how it's new than have a poster omit something for fear of it being labeled "too similar to mechanic X from 3ed". Sure, I'll classify certain mechanics that way, but that's just one goblinoid's opinion.

For instance, I'd say the skill check system nearly makes the cut, but not quite. It's just the UA version slightly modified. Having said that, I recognize the argument that it's not identical so some people will feel it is a new mechanic. I'm not going to attempt to "correct" that line of thinking. Plus I'd say the UA version is actually a better mechanic.

This is the same thing which disqualifies 'per encounter'. While technically not 100% identical, the ToB recharge mechanic is not exactly the same as 4.0 (IIRC) it's close enough that it doesn't count as introduced new to 4.0. It nearly makes the cut for a new to 4.0 mechanic but not quite.

Mostly it's just an interesting diversion of a conversation.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 04:20:11 AM by Otto the Bugbear »

bkdubs123

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2011, 06:09:07 AM »
Oh. Healing Surges seems to be one of 4e's defining "new" mechanics. I never had access to Dragon magazines, so I didn't know about that dice recharge for monsters (something I really like in general actually). If Healing Surges, or something terribly similar, was in a previous edition of D&D I'll be quite surprised.

veekie

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2011, 06:59:16 AM »
Healing Surges, yes. Thats one I don't think can be attributed to a predecessor. Systems with part of health recovering between encounters exist, but they typically go further(FATE's stress system fully recovers after encounters, save for any non-minor consequences already resulting, likewise for some implementations of wound points)
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Otto the Bugbear

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Re: What mechanics are new to 4.0?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2011, 01:32:11 PM »
Good call on Healing Surges.

That brings up ... the part where extra stuff happens at 1/2 hit points. I forget the name. Bloodied? I can't recall anything from 3ed at this early hour.

I didn't mean Dragon Magazine. I meant the dragon entry in the 3ed monster manual. Their breath weapon has a recharge time dictated by a die roll. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/dragonTrue.htm

I should probably also clarify that I meant WotC published material. While I enjoyed Dragon Mag and a few 3rd party products, that may open the door too much.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 01:33:42 PM by Otto the Bugbear »