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Krieg

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PostSubject: Action Points   Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:36 pm

I wanted to have a discussion about action points. During our session today, there was an expressed belief that the DMG differed from the Player's Handbook on how action points are earned. I read up a little, and here is what I found (with emphasis added):

Milestones
Dungeon Master's Guide p. 123 wrote:
If the characters complete multiple encounters without resting, they reach milestones. “Reaching a milestone” means completing two encounters without taking an extended rest. For every two encounters the characters complete between extended rests, they reach a milestone.
Player's Handbok p. 259 wrote:
You gain certain benefits when you reach a milestone—when you complete two encounters without stopping for an extended rest.
So according to both books, you reach a milestone after completing 2 encounters, even if you take a short rest to regain your encounter powers and use healing surges.

Awarding Action Points
Dungeon Master's Guide p. 123 wrote:
When characters reach milestones, they get action points.... Characters have 1 action point when they complete an extended rest. When they reach a milestone, they gain another action point. They gain additional action points after every milestone. When they take an extended rest, they lose any unspent action points and start the next day with 1 action point again.
Player's Handbook p. 259 wrote:
Your character starts with 1 action point.... When you spend an action point, it’s gone, but you can gain more in two ways: by reaching a milestone or by taking an extended rest. Each time you reach a milestone, you gain an action point. After you take an extended rest, you lose any action points you haven’t spent, but you start fresh with 1 action point.
So according to both books, you begin each day (or, at the beginning of the period after an extended rest) with 1 action point. After each milestone, you get another action point.

This seems rather clear to me. Is there a reason why we should only be allowed 1 action point per day, regardless of how many encounters we complete?
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:52 pm

This seems pretty crystal clear to me as well. I was under the impression it was after any encounter without a 5-min rest. With that extended rest information added, it seems we are allowed 1 action point after every encounter.

I suppose it is up to the DM however to identify what an encounter is. For example, when Vhale entered the room and rolled initiative, and then stepped back. Combat ended. That is an encounter, due to initiative orders taking place. (They knew he was there)

However, common sense would say no way is that an action point. This is clearly common knowledge, I'm just laying it down in layman's terms.

So, I would say that every two encounters give us an action point. I think by that count, we should have 2+1, since we've had 4 encounters.(I think)

Up to the DM to decide what constitutes as an encounter, but I'm sure as far as that goes we would probably all agree anyway. That's my two cents.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:54 pm

The part in the DMG that I believe Dean was referring to (and the I was referring to) when mentioning that there was a difference in it regarding the awarding of Action Points was as follows (pg. 123):

Quote :
You're well within your rights to tell players that an encounter doesn't count toward a milestone...

Ultimately, however, after reading this all again, I'm with Matt and Zac on this one. The above statement sounds to me as though it is meant to be an exception, not the rule. He is absolutely correct that both the DMG and the Player's Handbook clearly say, "For every two encounters the characters complete between extended rests, they reach a milestone." And, of course, we know reaching a milestone means an Action Point is earned. There really isn't any wiggle room in that, and I don't think it's even possible to debate the clarity of the rule here. We should be getting an Action Point each time we reach a milestone, and in general we should be reaching milestones after every two battles, unless we do an extended rest. Of course, sometimes Dean can decide the encounters we faced don't warrant such a reward, but if that happens very often, I would say that the battles would then not be getting made to be challenging enough and/or balanced enough. So far, the battles have been challenging enough and balanced enough to warrant milestones, in my opinion.

All this aside, Dean could simply override it and say we don't get it, regardless of what the rules say. I personally don't think getting 1 single extra standard action every other battle is a very big deal, but if the decisiion is to simply not follow the rule as written, I'll accept that.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:17 am

Quote :
This seems pretty crystal clear to me as well. I was under the impression it was after any encounter without a 5-min rest. With that extended rest information added, it seems we are allowed 1 action point after every encounter.

Every other encounter.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:07 am

DMG pg. 123 "You’re well within your rights to tell the players that an encounter doesn’t count toward a milestone."

I am not going to spend a lot of time on this as I don't even see the action points as a huge deal. Not 100% but I am not sure Krieg even used one? Anyways my point is that the first 2 encounters would not count because they were not hard on the players for the most part. The 3rd encounter was tougher and would count along with this one.
The other thing : DMG pg 123 again
"Action points help balance the depletion of character resources (expended daily powers and healing surges) by providing a new resource that can help characters adventure longer before taking an extended rest."

If the characters aren't using their "resources" then I am not going to award one, if you aren't having to use dailies and tons of heals as a party then ya you aren't losing the resources that it is meant to replace. I think 1 person (Vhale) has used a daily and 2 (Kyden and Vhale) that I know of have used a ton of healing surges. Even Amnon I think has gotten most of his healing from his curse powers, I am not sure how many Dravin or Krieg have used.

After reading it a bunch of times I get what they are trying to do with the milestones and in principle it's fine but setting an arbitrary number of 2 (and telling the players its 2 with no more explination) battles seems badly instituted. With that said I still don't even see this as a huge issue but whatever I will award more milestones but I still reserve the right to determine where they are, I think that is fair. With a party of 5 good players who are covering all the class roles you are not going to be awarded the same amount of milestones as a party of 3 doing the same (as you are using less resources).

My final statement is that after reviewing the rules and thinking about action points in general, that I will go by the 2 encounter thing but I decide what counts towards it etc.
If that doesn't seem fair let me know, if the majority doesn't we will just change it
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:33 am

Quote :
My final statement is that after reviewing the rules and thinking about action points in general, that I will go by the 2 encounter thing but I decide what counts towards it etc.

Sounds good to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:49 am

Dean wrote:

My final statement is that after reviewing the rules and thinking about action points in general, that I will go by the 2 encounter thing but I decide what counts towards it etc.

I think we are all in agreement about that. However, might I suggest we get 2 action points per ever factor of 7, as well as 3.66 action points per factor of 13 encounters?
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PostSubject: can't we alljust get along.   Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:23 pm

Well this is a response to everyone and most things in general but goes well within this action point topic as well. There are a couple things I want to express here and I feel able to represent both sides pretty well since I'm a player and i'm the roomate of the DM so we talk about D&D rules and ideas and shit a lot. so here goes...

The first thing I want to say is that in this game of D&D there are a ton of rules set out there, but in the end it is up to the DM to institute those rules and use them as he sees fit. From what I have seen so far this campaign there has been a lot of wasted time and partially flaring angry attitutudes towards on another when it comes to rules and interpretation. Honestly, I think the best way to go about something is to bring up the rule if we players have a question and then leave it up to the DM to make the final call, but without 10-15 minutes or arguing. In the end this is just a game and we are all here to have fun and we don't really get much time to play it each week so let's use our time in game to play and not argue about rules. I know it's funny that this is coming from me since I used to be such a rules lawyer but looking back I just don't think it is worth it.

Secondly, like I said I talk to dean a lot about our game and campaign (not specifics mind you) and I have a pretty good idea of what he is trying here. Pardon me Dean if i step on your toes here but I'm going to speak for you from what I see. I know in the past we all have been super knowledgable on D&D and tend to know everything about the game. Dean saw an opton in 4th edition to keep some mystique about the game and the world. So with that said a lot of times he feels he wants to keep things "secret" to give more of a sense of wonder and what not. The most recent example (maybe not the best) I see was the Skull Swinging attack from the last encounter. It ended up not being a ranged attack but it was a trap activiation so there was no opportunity attack. Long story short, ( i know too late right?) I know dean knows the rules and knows what he wants to do and has everything very well planned out. I think we as players need to just TRUST him as a dm knowing he isn't there to kill us or fuck us, he is there to help us enjoy the game as well as himself.

I think it would just make things a lot more relaxed and comfortable if we just let the DM have some discretion on what he wants to tell us and try and accept his answers without a fight.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:43 pm

Patrick made good points and came across as well as I can about my ideas. With the new rule set etc it was a time when the players might NOT understand every rule in the book and I thought it might be fun if things were more like a fantasy movie or book where things happen and the players try to figure out how to overcome it not WHY it happened. Also going back to the issues of 4E being a war game or battle game, in my mind there is nothing that breaks it down more to a war game than just having dice rolls and arguing rules.

I get the general sense that a lot of times with the rules things the goal is to "catch" the DM doing something. But in my mind (always have felt this way) the Dm is running the show so if he bends/breaks the rules there is a reason, be it to challenge the players or just to have something interesting happen in the game world. Granted I realize that there are DM's out there who make a goal for themselves of "winning" by beating the players...that is not how I think since doing that ends the game and effectively ends the fun. There SHOULD be a risk to players and a chance of death but not going out of your way to do them in. Anyways my fun in the game is seeing players do things and playing out battles and hearing ideas I didn't think of, seeing how players interact with the world to form a cooperative story.

I have said to Patrick before that I am playing to have fun and I really think the attitudes this campaign as compared to last have changed somehow and I am not sure why. As DM (patrick attested this to me as well) if you don't think the game is enjoyable for the players you can't help but try to wonder if you are doing something wrong or badly that is causing players to be unhappy.

In thinking about it, maybe the reason the game has gotten like this is because of the extensive history for most (all) the players and D&D so at this point there is whatever no mystique left to the game it just seems like a lot of times I get the feeling people are going through the motions.

I have no issue with a rule question or discussion but like Patrick said we play for what 4 hours a week usually and if we stop for 15 minutes to fight a rule out well there is 6% of your session if it happens a couple times then you start losing major chunks of time. If it was different and we played like 8 hours a week then well ok it wouldn't hurt but in this case it does.

The Skull example was actually a good referance point because it wasn't a sticking point just kind of "hey can I do this" "ok why not" "ok lets move on". In general I think having the rules discussion on forums is a good way to do it since everyone can take a step back and review all the rules (like in the case of APs) and give well thought out answers and not heat of the moment passionate arguing.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:33 pm

I think you guys actually being a bit sensitive to this particular discussion. This thread was not even remotely about bashing, or flaming, or dissatisfied players, or anything of that. This thread was just a simple rule discussion, nothing more. For that matter it is a rule discussion that is resolved, as far as I can see.

MOST of the time when Dean says x happens, we just take it at face value and carry on (Jon tends to be the biggest exception, but I'm sure he can bite his tongue too). However, we do occasionally have questions about the rules and you have to understand that since this game is so chuck full of rules, and so much of the game is dictated by them. There are going to be questions about them both inside and outside of the game. You really might as well just accept that now because that's how it has always been with D&D and that's how it will always be for a lot of reasons that I don't really feel like breaking down here. In the end this is a game with rules like any other game with rules and so it will be most successful if we all know the rules and can discuss them freely. This also means that the rule set shouldn't EVER be a mystery to us. The rules should ALWAYS be available to everyone, in one way or another. If, while we are in game you get the sense that we are about to get into a long discussion about something and you don't feel like getting into it, I'm sure you can just say you would like us to simply accept something as it is, and that you'd be happy to discuss things in the forums later. Having to say that might take a minute or two out of the game, but again, there are going to be questions so there will also have to be responses, etc.

Now, in this thread in particular, this is a case in which Matt knew the rules were very clearly defined (which they are), and so he planned his tactics, etc. around the rules. Then, somewhat out of the blue, he was tossed a curveball. Suddenly, a clearly defined rule that Matt had come to count on for one reason or another was suddenly not clearly defined. Matt's primary argument was that he saw the rules as written, they were very clear, and he was being told they weren't clear. In response to this, Matt became reasonably confused and asked for clarification. So, he needed to know what the rules were in order to plan his tactics etc around them, which is not a lot to ask.

Lessons to be taken from this:

To Dean...
We don't like arbitrary rules
Such rules leave us not knowing what to expect, unsure of how we should handle our characters, and unsure of how the world will respond to us. If there are going to ambiguous, undefined, or arbitrary things applied to us, those thing should be the exception, not the rule. And, when we are being exposed to such an exception, we need to know we are being exposed to an exception so that we know you are intentionally being ambiguous, undefined, or arbitrary.

To the Players...
There are going to be exceptions
When Dean tosses an exception to a rule at us and, if asked, he tells us we are dealing with such an exception, we need to trust that Dean will work with us and the situation to ensure that it is fun for us and for him in the end. Then, if we have further questions about this exception, we need to be okay with discussion them in the forums, not in while playing.

To All...
Avoid rule and mechanic discussions in game as often as possible
It will happen in game, it will, but we should try to keep it to a minimum. When it does happen in game, if Dean asks us to take it to the forums, we should respect that for the sake of the fun of the game, for the sake of us all.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:47 pm

I understand where Dean is coming from, because I usually sit back and observe the conversations we have. I see why Dean is getting frustrated, because we are pushing subjects that do not need to be pushed at that time frame. Like if Dean says not to worry about it right now, we seem to want to keep pushing the topic, causing drama, and loss of game time.

I think certain rule situations are going to be inevitable to be discussed during the game, which is okay, since it is the nature of the game to discuss rules. However, nitpicking and dwelling on minor details only drags the game down. Let's try playing a little more relaxed, and understand that even tho this is a game, we still have to be cautious of not offending others, because then it is clearly not any fun at that point.

Also don't stand in the way of a massive fucking boulder.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:47 pm

In retrospect, I know why this didn't happen in previous editions/campaigns. I'll use the time when Matt and I DMed 3.0 and 3.5 as an example. Early on with 3.0, Matt and I were the primary DMs. When something like this arose for Matt and I when we were DMing, we would handle it strictly by the book. If a question came up, we all looked it up quickly. If the book said x, we did x, no questions asked. If the book was unclear, we would reach a quick compromise, or we would default to the player's perspective. This approach was simple, it required very little thought or discussion, and it rarely if ever resulted in conflict. It also gave the impression that there are rules and guidelines we all have access to, that we can all count on in order to plan, etc., and that the DM was first and foremost concerned with keeping the game moving along and the players content for the moment. Then, after our session was over, we'd get clarification on unclear rules. If we handled it wrong previously we just made sure to handle it correctly next time. This was all done during the game sessions and even so it wasn't usually an issue, though we played for about the same amount of time back then as we do now.

Next, using our most recent Doomcock campaign as an example. I think Patrick also handled things in a similar manner as Matt and I, though there were times when Patrick just said something like "this is how the rule really works." In those cases, we rarely disputed his call because Patrick had previously earned the title "Rules Bitch" over the course of several years of playing togehter, and we respected his knowledge of the rules so we were comfortable defaulting to them. But again, Patrick had earned the title of Rules Bitch because he too had shown a "by the book" tendency. It just so happened that he had a lot of the book memorized.

In the case of milestones, the rules are clear and we should have defaulted to them. If we had, this thing would have taken 2 minutes and it never would have come up in the forums.

In other words, the rules are written down in books that we all have access to. Let the books solve these debates, and if there is uncertainty, let's reach a simple compromise. That means we all have access to all the rules, and we all give a little when necessary. The players give in a little and the DM gives in a little. We meet in the middle and we move on, then we discuss it later if needed outside the game.

Quote :
Oh, the boulder is going THAT way?
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:09 am

I just had a thought...

I was trying to figure out some way of non-arbitrarily guaging how difficult an encounter is, while also taking into account the number of players in the party. Then it occured to me that experience point rewards take all of that into account. So, what if, instead of basing the gain of Action Points on the number of encounters we play through, and then trying to guess how difficult/simple they were, all while taking into account whatver factors have to be taken into account, we use xp gain to guage it instead? What we could do is say if we gain x number of Combat Encounter XP, if we don't take an extended rest while earning it. We'd have to figure out what the amount of xp would be, but I'm sure we could work out a number we are all comfortable with.

Thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:42 am

I know I'm spamming this thread, but I had some more thoughts...

First, I just want to say that personally, I have been having fun since we started the Fallcrest thing. I really enjoy my character, I've been rolling well with him, which is nice, and I've enjoyed the adventure so far. Personally, I don't have any complaints other than that it seems like for some reason there is some sort of disconnect happening between some of us for some reason. It should also be noted that Patrick and Zac seem to have no complaints at all. There does, however, seem to be some measure of conflict here.

In an effort to figure this out and smooth things over so we can just play and have fun, I called Patrick and was like, "dude, what's going on here?" I spoke with him about this stuff for a while and it seems to me as though at least Matt and I (on and off and at different times) have been experiencing a bit of "culture shock". In the past (Doomcock and before) our gaming sessions have been open-dialogue, open-book, and democratic. If a question came up, we worked through it as group. Conversely, Dean's DMing style is a bit more authoritarian, with him preferring that we take his word at face value during game time, without much in the way of discussion about why things happen. Unfortunately, this seems to be a barrier to just relaxing and having fun, at least for Matt and I on and off, at least to this point. I guess we have just gotten used to having more of an active roll in the game and we are finding it difficult to reign that back.

I can see the value in letting the DM make all of the decisions while we as players hang back and just busy ourselves with reactive to the world, which is what Dean is trying to accomplish. If we could get that to work, it would be much more like we were characters in a story than if we were pieces on a grid map. Of course that sounds appealing to me. However, it is clear that we also need to be able have enough of an awareness about the game and world itself that we feel we can work with it and predict it, which goes for rules, plot, etc. To this point it looks like we had a bit too much mystery and it is not sitting well. What we need is to find a balance here. We need to be able to provide enough mystique to keep us guessing, yet also allow enough awareness that we can have a firm grasp on how things work as far as rules, mechanics especially, as well as in the world we are in.

Of course, Patrick's advice was to just give it more time and let these things play themselves out, but in the mean time we are seeing threads like this one pop up. For all I know, Patrick is completely right and we all just need to give it more time. Perhaps we will find our styles merging together to meet in the middle as we continue to play. That approach sounds reasonable enough to me, really. I mean we're all reasonable people. However, I still wanted to throw all of this out into the open so that we could have a dialogue about it and hopefully smooth some of the wrinkles out now rather than later.
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:08 pm

Well I had a big response typed but I deleted it by accident. So anyways bottom line I will just promise to work on being more open (though I don't feel like I haven't been) and explain newer rules like a monster ability more black and white in terms of rules and not just like the effect on the game world.

On the Action Point thing I will just concede on it to make it easy so players know exactly what to expect and every encounter is worth 1 unless it's obviously easy (fighting 1 kobold or something) or overly hard (worth 2+).
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PostSubject: Re: Action Points   Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:29 am

Just to throw in my two copper pieces, I have always been a rules lawyer as well and I think the problem I am having with 4th edition is I haven't really memorized all the rules yet so I still get confused. However I am so used to being the rules lawyer that I get very passionate about my stance on a rule. (sorry about that) I do try to back down quickly when someone points out I am wrong however. Just so you know Dean I loved the idea of the skull trap as well as the bolder it totally added a different dimension to the encounters and forced us to pay attention not only to the monsters we had to kill but the environment as well. I think you are doing a great job and I am having a TON of fun. I am going to post a new thread about a ranged attack focused Warlord after this so let me know what you think about that as well.
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