member, 19 posts
 DnD 4e Apologist
 -5 GMT // USA
Mon 29 Jul 2019
at 21:03
IC: D&D 4e Arena-style PvP w/ Possible Side-Stories?
Kind of a broad idea here that I had been having, but figured I'd toss the idea out to the masses in general to see if it would be something others could be interested in.

System --
Dungeons and Dragons 4e

Concept --
Characters start out as established 2nd level adventurers who are attracted to this %GENERIC FIGHTING ARENA&% for reasons they define during character generation. Certain rules are defined during character gen and limits placed around potential magical items allowed. Fights are done 1v1 in the typical PbP fashion with the moderator stepping in for the intro, and fight rewards. EXP is given to both sides on win/loss, and constant records are kept as the matches progress.

Eventually, as and if the game grows, possible Westmarches style adventure adaptations can occur on the site where adventurers just say "Hey, we want to take a break and just go do stuff, like take this mission billet that says this group needs assistance clearing an abandoned manor of it's kobold infestation." Easy to run side-plots that don't interfere much with the main idea of the game, but allow for possible carrot-on-a-stick bonuses to be brought back into the PvP world.

Maps would be done using the code tags to create ASCII boards, and player turns would have them indicating their actions, a brief RP description, any rolls, and updating the ASCII board with their new movement, or any AOE attacks.

Other arena games exist, but I didn't see any currently running for DnD 4e yet -- The system works perfectly for this kind of 'squares and lines' setup, and the ASCII maps can be altered quickly and easily to allow for some flavor to exist between them.

The idea of persistent record keeping and the opportunities for personal glory, testing out character ideas and playing the field to either be a super dominant arch wizard / sorcerer, or to play that super flavorful Eladrin Barbarian all the way through the levels that you've always wanted to try and get to a table.

AFK can be announced and a 'pause' put on matches for when you know you'll be away for a time. Any non-announced vacation from the game would be given a kind of 'count out' situation where they're given a set number of days before the match is auto-forfeited.

But Why?
DnD 4e is known as that system that made combat first, and story/RP second. The combat, though, is terribly fun and with the different abilities available, it's almost like a video game into itself that you can interact with at your own pace. It could be a fun opportunity to explore some of the system's lesser used classes and skills, and give players the opportunity to really flex some of their descriptive combat RP muscles!

Definitely post below if you have any ideas to throw into the mix, or if it's something that you'd be seriously interested in!
 member, 723 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Wed 31 Jul 2019
at 19:27
Re: IC: D&D 4e Arena-style PvP w/ Possible Side-Stories?
DnD 4e is known as that system that made combat first, and story/RP second.

It's known for that, yes, but even brief exposure to the game can show how that's an uncharitable oversimplification.

As for the PvP concept, have you had any experience running PvP in 4th Edition? As I see it, it's not designed for that and would result in some strange and potentially annoying side-effects. But maybe you've seen differently.

I'm interested in the "side-missions," though. I don't need an arena-type game in order to be willing to try less-than-optimal character concepts, I just need to know that I'm not going to be utterly sidelined if I don't min-max.
 member, 450 posts
Wed 31 Jul 2019
at 19:54
Re: IC: D&D 4e Arena-style PvP w/ Possible Side-Stories?
  I've seen non-PvP versions of this work - the arena is PCs vs NPCs/monsters rather than a PvP thing (which 4E is definitely NOT set up for - really, none of the D&D editions have been). Arena activities might or might not be linked to other elements of the plot.

  As for the 'combat over roleplay' bit, that was exactly the same complaint leveled against 3E by 2E diehards when it first came out. (Variations of "It's just a Diablo clone!" were a common refrain on Usenet at the time...)

  Ultimately, any edition will be as roleplaying-centered as a group cares to make it.

This message was last edited by the user at 19:55, Wed 31 July 2019.

 member, 838 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Wed 31 Jul 2019
at 21:20
Re: IC: D&D 4e Arena-style PvP w/ Possible Side-Stories?
A 4E arena game would probably be best as a 'heroes vs. big monsters' set-up. This is partly because most characters have very powerful once-per-day abilities, and if they come into a fight knowing it's going to be just the one that day, they're going to fire off their best stuff early.

It would be best to vary the formula. Make some matches against a wildly overpowered monster (something with a CR 4 over the party level, for instance), or a big critter with a pack of minions. Make a later match against a swarm of low-level enemies to test their crowd-control skills. And another one might be a set of three fights, each tougher than the last.

Granted, that last part basically mimics the method used in the Dungeon Delve book, and I ran that myself through most of the heroic tier.
 member, 19 posts
Thu 1 Aug 2019
at 01:37
Re: IC: D&D 4e Arena-style PvP w/ Possible Side-Stories?
Yeah, 1v1 PvP tends to be the domain of glass cannon striker builds as damage output trends to trump any other effects.  Defenders don't get to capitalize on their primary class feature, leaders only end up delaying the inevitable, and controllers have trouble surviving anything long enough to capitalize on the combined status effects.

However, I think a gladiators arena is a great concept.  There are options to designate co-GMs, so there could be a rotation of each player taking turns as the "ringleader" deciding what the next encounter is while their character takes an extended rest (or they roll up a new character, if one dies).  Maybe on a pocket plane, entertaining powerful archfey, liches and demigods?
 member, 90 posts
Sat 3 Aug 2019
at 01:19
Re: IC: D&D 4e Arena-style PvP w/ Possible Side-Stories?
There were a few of these that ran for many years here. 1v1 does not even really need a GM for anything other than admin, record keeping and disputes.

You trend toward a certain type of player with these type of games. And it burns out the other types of players pretty quick plan for high turnover.

Works fine for what it is. Even 5e can do it with some houserules.