Monday, September 21, 2015

One Character, Nine Systems: Part 9

Last week, I proposed an experiment of generating the same character in nine different editions/variations of the D&D game. In the first post we introduced Junco Eliade, now it's time to give him some crunch. In this iteration we'll use:


The 4th edition of the Dungeons and Dragons game gets a lot of hate from players of pretty much every other edition. We don't care about that here. What we do care about is the rules. 4th edition includes a large number of splat-books, but not nearly so many as 2nd or 3rd edition. For the purposes of Junco, we will define the scope of his 4th edition build options as including the Players Handbook 1, Players Handbook 2, Players Handbook 3, Arcane Power, Divine Power, Primal Power, Psionic Power, Martial Power 1, Martial Power 2, Dungeon Master's Guide, the various Monster Manuals, and the Rules Compendium. Given the existing constraints in race and class, much of the material in books other than the Players Handbook 1 will be irrelevant (since the major purpose of 4th edition splat-books is the introduction of new races and classes), but we will keep them in scope for reference sake.


Race: Dwarf
Unlike AD&D (either edition), 3rd edition, or Pathfinder, 4th edition does not concern itself with alternate racial abilities or subraces. A dwarf is a dwarf.
Class: Hybrid Cleric-Fighter
4th edition has very closely defined and constrained class "roles" and as such, does not support multi-classing as strait-forwardly as previous editions (at least it does not have racial limitations on available classes). Multi-classing in 4th edition can be handled in one of two ways.
The first (presented in Players Handbook 1) involves taking one class and then "dabbling" in a second by taking a "Multi-class feat", which gives you limited access to some of the skills and one special feature of the second class. This method is particularly lack-luster, as the best you can manage is a Cleric with a handful of fighter moves, or a Fighter with a once-per-day minor healing ability.
The second (introduced in Players Handbook 3) involves creating a "Hybrid Class". This is also a far cry from advancing in two classes simultaneously (or even alternately). Instead, this gives the player guidelines for building what is effectively an entirely new class with a mix of features from both parent classes, in some cases heavily altered from the original feature in order to fit the new hybrid role of the character.
Given that Multiclassing has been a significant aspect of Junco's build since his earliest incarnation using the little brown books (OD&D), we will use the Hybrid Class rules to define this incarnation. If we wanted to make things easier on our-self, we could go with Cleric and pick up the Fighter multi-class feat, since Cleric is clearly the dominant class in many of his builds (especially 3rd edition and Pathfinder), but the Hybrid option feels more true to the character so far.
Level: 3rd
Minimum XP: 2,250
Alignment:  Unaligned
Ummm? So 4th edition, deviates from both the three-alignment paradigm of OD&D / Basic D&D, and the nine-alignment paradigm of every other edition. Instead, 4th edition presents 5 alignments, which do not fit in with either method: Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Chaotic Evil. Clearly they are trying to stress a Good vs. Evil paradigm, mostly eliminating the Moorcocking Law-Chaos axis of earlier editions, but they fail to eliminate it completely, instead using Law and Chaos to express further extremes of Good and Evil.
So, the alignment options used by every previous version of Junco--either "Lawful" or "Lawful Neutral"--no longer exist. While Lawful Good includes the word "Lawful" it is clear from the descriptions and the other options in the paradigm that the "Good" is much more important than the "Lawful" here. Since I see Junco as much more "Lawful" than Good, the only viable option seems to be "Unaligned", which is to say, he really doesn't care about getting dragged into this Good vs. Evil nonsense.
Hit Dice: N/A
Characters in 4th edition do not gain "Hit Dice", nor otherwise roll dice to determine their hit points, instead gaining a flat number of hit points at 1st level and each level thereafter. As a Hybrid Cleric-Fighter, Junco gains hit points at 1st level equal to 13 plus his Constitution score, plus another 5 hit points for each level thereafter.
In addition to his hit points, Junco gains a number of "Healing Surges" per day equal to 8 plus his Constitution modifier (11 per day). These constitute a pool of readily available healing. At any time outside of combat, a character can spend a Healing Surge to restore one-quarter his maximum hit points (10 hit points per surge in Junco's case).
Average Hit Points:  40
Stats:
  • Str: 9 -- -1 modifier
  • Dex: 16  -- +3 modifier
  • Con: 17 -- +3 modifier
  • Int: 16 -- +3 modifier
  • Wis: 13 -- +1 modifier
  • Cha: 8 -- -1 modifier
Dwarves in 4th edition gain a +2 bonus to Constitution and Wisdom, with no racial penalties to offset them. Also, interesting (but irrelevant to this experiment), 4th edition is the only version of D&D that makes rolling ability scores an after-thought. The first two options presented for ability score determination in 4th edition are:
  1.  Assigning numbers from a standard array: 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10
  2. Point buy. 
Not until "Method 3" do ability scores involve rolling dice, and then the method presented is 4d6, drop lowest, six times, and assign as desired. So, technically, using 3d6 in order for ability scores is completely outside of the rules for 4th edition (no hate here, just the facts). 
While 4th edition does not have any minimum ability requirements for classes or class-based abilities, almost all class "powers" (including things that would be considered spells) require an attack roll. In the case of Fighter and Cleric powers, most of these are based on Strength or Wisdom, which will leave Junco trailing behind more intentionally optimized characters. 
 Dwarf Abilities:  
  1. Vision: Low-light
  2. Languages: Common, Dwarven
  3. Skill Bonuses: +2 Dungeoneering, +2 Endurance
  4. Cast-Iron Stomach: +5 racial bonus to saving throws against poison.
  5. Dwarven Resilience: You can use your second wind as a minor action instead of a standard action. Second Wind allows the character to use a Healing Surge (see above) during combat, once per encounter.
  6. Dwarven Weapon Proficiency: You gain proficiency with the throwing hammer and the warhammer.
  7. Encumbered Speed: You move at your normal speed even when it would normally be reduced by armor or a heavy load. Other effects that limit speed (such as difficult terrain or magical effects) affect you normally.
  8. Stand Your Ground: When an effect forces you to move—through a pull, a push, or a slide—you can move 1 square less than the effect specifies. This means an effect that normally pulls, pushes, or slides a target 1 square does not force you to move unless you want to. In addition, when an attack would knock you prone, you can immediately make a saving throw to avoid falling prone.

                                                          Hybrid Cleric-Fighter Abilities:
                                                            1. Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, and chainmail
                                                            2. Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged. military ranged
                                                            3. Healer's I.ore: Your study of healing allows you to make the most of your healing prayers. When you grant healing with one of your cleric powers that has the healing keyword, add your Wisdom modifier (+1) to the hit points the recipient regains.
                                                            4. Healing Word (Hybrid): Once per encounter. Minor action. You or one ally within 5 squares can spend a healing surge to regain 1d6 hit points.
                                                            5. Combat Challenge (Hybrid): Every time you attack an enemy using a Fighter power, whether the attack hits or misses, you can choose to mark that target. The mark lasts until the end of your next turn. While a target is marked, it takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls for any attack that doesn’t include you as a target. A creature can be subject to only one mark at a time. A new mark supersedes a mark that was already in place. In addition, whenever a marked enemy that is adjacent to you shifts or makes an attack that does not include you, you can make a melee basic attack against that enemy as an immediate interrupt.

                                                            Cleric-Fighter Powers:
                                                                          All classes in 4th edition gain a set number of powers, defined as "at will", "encounter", "daily", or "utility". The number of powers gained is the same for every class. As a 3rd-level character, Junco has access to 2 at-will powers, 2 encounter powers, 1 daily power, and 1 utility power. As a Hybrid character, these powers may be selected from either the Fighter or Cleric lists. In cases where he has access to 2 or more powers in a given category, they must be evenly split between his two classes. Junco's power selections try to emphasize his scholarly tendencies and his preference for tricky/strategic attacks using a staff.

                                                                          • At Will Powers:
                                                                            • Astral Seal (Divine Power): At will. Standard action. Wisdom attack (at +2) vs. Reflex. Until the end of your next turn, one target within 5 squares takes a -2 penalty to all defenses. The next ally who hits it before the end of your next turn regains hit points equal to 2 + your Charisma modifier (1 hit point).
                                                                            • Footwork Lure (Martial Power 1): At will. Strength attack vs. AC. Deal damage with a melee weapon (weapon + Str). You can shift 1 square and slide the target into the space you left.

                                                                          • Encounter Powers:
                                                                            • Shield Bearer (Divine Power): Encounter. Wisdom attack vs. Reflex. One target within 10 squares takes 2d8 + Wisdom modifier radiant damage. You conjure a shield bearer in an unoccupied square adjacent to the target. The shield bearer lasts until the end of your next turn. The shield bearer occupies 1 square, and allies can move through it as if it were an ally. While adjacent to the shield bearer, any ally gains a +2 power bonus to all defenses.
                                                                            • Spinning Sweep (Player's Handbook 1): Encounter. Strength attack vs. AC. Deal damage with a melee weapon (weapon + Str), and you knock the target prone.
                                                                          • Daily Powers:
                                                                            • Beacon of Hope (Player's Handbook 1): Daily. Wisdom attack vs. Will vs. all enemies within 3 squares. Affected enemies are weakened until the end of their next turn. You and all your allies in the area regain 5 hit points, and your healing powers restore +5 hit points until the end of the encounter.
                                                                          • Utility Powers:
                                                                            • Legend Lore (Players Handbook 3): Encounter; Free action; You can make a History check in place of a knowledge check that would use a different skill.

                                                                          Attack Rolls:  varies
                                                                          Attack rolls in 4th edition are always equal to 1/2 the character's level, plus the relevant ability modifier (as defined by the "attack power" being used).
                                                                          Saving Throws:
                                                                          • Fortitude Defense:  15
                                                                          • Reflex Defense:  14
                                                                          • Will Defense:  13
                                                                          4th edition makes two big changes from previous editions where saving throws are concerned. First, it keeps the three-save-system from 3rd edition (Fort, Ref, Will), but turns these into static defense numbers, similar to Armor Class. Various attack forms may target these "defenses" in place of Armor Class. All "defense scores" start at 10 + 1/2 the character's level. Fortitude uses either the character's Strength or Constitution modifier (whichever is higher), Reflexes uses higher of Dexterity or Intelligence, and Will uses higher of Wisdom or Charisma. 

                                                                          In addition to these Defenses, some ongoing effects allow a "saving throw" at the end of your turn to negate the effect. In these cases, the save is a flat 1d20 roll, with a 10 or higher succeeding. This roll is typically unmodified, though some powers, feats, or racial traits may affect it. Junco gains a +5 bonus on saving throws that are related to ongoing poison effects.

                                                                          Skills: 
                                                                          Characters in 4th edition gain "training" in a number of skills (typically 3) selected from a list for their class. All skill checks are made with a bonus equal to 1/2 hour level, plus the relevant ability modifier, plus 5 if it is a skill the character is "Trained" in. These may be further modified by racial bonuses or feats.

                                                                          As a Hybrid Cleric-Fighter, Junco's available class skills are: 
                                                                          Arcana (Int), Athletics (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Endurance (Can), Heal (Wis), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Religion (Int), Streetwise (Cha)
                                                                          His Trained skills are:
                                                                          Healing (Wis), History (Int), and Religion (Int)

                                                                          Feats:
                                                                          Feats in 4th edition work exactly like those in 3rd edition. Characters gain 1 feat at 1st level, and another every even-numbered level thereafter. Thus Junco has access to 2 feats.
                                                                          • Linguist: Choose three languages. You can now speak, read, and write those languages fluently.
                                                                          • Weapon Focus (Staff group):  Choose a specific weapon group, such as spears or heavy blades. You gain a +1 feat bonus to damage rolls with your chosen weapon group. At 11th level, this bonus increases to +2. At 21st level, it increases to +3.
                                                                          Characters in 4th edition gain one or two languages based on their race, but no additional languages from skills or high Intelligence. The Linguist feat helps restore some of the multi-lingual talents that Junco had in previous editions, but not enough to compete with the 8 or more languages possessed by some of his previous incarnations.