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  #1  
Old August 28th, 2014, 01:38 PM
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A Theory I'd like to test: D&D Roles in Heroscape

I am writing this article in hopes this concept hasn't been fully discussed before, and since a search on the site isn't showing me this topic on a thread I decided to take a shot at it.

Basically after having had the chance to run as a DM for Geekfest, I noticed something interesting in the Player Handbook that made me wonder if the same principle was utilized in Heroscape. If this is true, then this might help players find interesting and more potential powerful ways to use the D&D heroes in traditional combat settings. Of course this theory needs testing, as all theories do.

The thing of mention is the concept of combat roles that were introduced in the 4e manuals.

Now I want to mention all 4 roles, but be able to focus a post on each role in particular, and I would like the community to respond with their experiences and gameplay (being able to play a game fielding these units to test this theory would be really helpful). I'm going to try to field my own games with these units in traditional settings to see if they are able to live up to the roles, and make it easier to use them.

The D&D 4e roles:
Controller: Control and Area Offense
Defender: Defense
Leader: Healing and Support
Striker: Focused Offense

Now the roles are embodied by the character class, as stated in the Player Handbook. It also lists the classic adventuring party as being one character of each role.

Controller: Wizard
Defender: Fighter
Leader: Cleric
Striker: Rogue

It is interesting because the first adventuring party released for Heroscape embodies this standard to the tee. Can you use them in a combat setting, that embodies the principles of standard Heroscape warfare, instead of adventuring party standards? Let's start with the first role.

Controller:
Controllers deal with large numbers of enemies at the same time. They favor offense over defense, using powers that deal damage to multiple foes at once, as well as subtler powers that weaken, confuse, or delay their foes.

So the Controllers that were introduced to Heroscape were Erevan Sunshadow, Sharwin Wildborn, Estivara and Pelloth, and Heirloom. Interestingly enough, the sorcerer class is first a striker role, then secondarily a controller role. So I'm going to list Kurrok under strikers, and see how it works.

Any thoughts? Using the Player Handbook description text of the controllers, and the powers they have in Heroscape, can they fit the entirety of their role in a Heroscape setting, like tournament style play or otherwise? Or did their role not translate into the traditional Heroscape metagame?

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Old August 28th, 2014, 04:48 PM
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Re: A Theory I'd like to test: D&D Roles in Heroscape

I was the cleric for my first and only game of DnD. I forgot that I was the healer... things didn't go so well....

Anyway, I think this was already done with @Jexik 's Whats in an Order Marker. Unless there is some aspect I am missing.
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Old August 28th, 2014, 05:05 PM
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My Thoughts

My very limited 4e experience has told me that 4e has a really good combat engine and defines party roles really well. (It's not my cup of yes but that's neither here nor there) However previous editions of DND didn't necessarily break it down like that. I've seen campaigns where at least one if not several of those roles were missing (granted these campaigns tend to be decently dysfunctional so it's more the nature of the beast). That said, those roles really only work well for heroes (e.g. I'd classify Nilf, Tandros, Raelin, and Krug as good example of current heroes that fit your descriptions) but I guess you could classify onto squads but yeah there's probably a fair bit of overlap between this and Jexik's thing.

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Old August 28th, 2014, 11:43 PM
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Re: A Theory I'd like to test: D&D Roles in Heroscape

It certainly holds true for a number of the D&D units--many of the D&D expansion heroes fill this role as well (i.e. Sharwin controller, Rhogar healer, Brandis striker, and Siege defender). Still, many of these heroes don't do their job all that great (and that's probably why so many overlook this aspect of D&D Scape and instead focus more on their point values and what not).

Even so, I'd bet you could easily categorize all of the D&D heroes (except maybe uncommons) into these categories. It is certainly an interesting point.

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Old August 29th, 2014, 07:11 PM
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Re: A Theory I'd like to test: D&D Roles in Heroscape

Well this is interesting. I was never big on 4e D&D...it felt too much like WotC was trying to make a WoW-ish rpg. (but by all means check out 5th, it's sweet!).

That said, I see one glaring difference in the use of 'roles' in Heroscape and D&D.

When playing D&D, the combat round includes one turn for every character in the encounter. So, in this case, the above-mentioned party would allow its defender to tank some damage while the controller and leader regulate the battlefield. The striker simultaneously spends each round seeking targets of opportunity (Darrak Ambershard, for example). Every character has an equal chance to shine each round.

In a standard game of Heroscape, you're limited to just three OM's per round, but you can arrange these however you wish. So, you could therefore put all of them on the healer if you wish, or on the striker or whatever. You could not, however, take a turn with heroes which represent all four roles.

An argument could be made that the defender doesn't actually need an order marker, but to my mind the old 'What's in an order marker' thread better breaks down the use of roles in Heroscape.

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Last edited by nate the dawg; August 29th, 2014 at 07:12 PM. Reason: omission
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Old September 8th, 2014, 11:35 AM
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Re: A Theory I'd like to test: D&D Roles in Heroscape

I only have a few minutes before I need to head off to interpersonal communications, but I can give you a little of my wisdom (in whatever capacity it may be). I have been playing 4e dnd for 2 years and always the groups I played in were disfunctional in some element largely due to too few or too many players and a dm who didn't know how to control the situation (often that dm was me). Yes the roles are well defined, but, as in heroscape, the roles are so well defined that no one class can sufficiently make up for the absence of another class. A striker cannot step in for a rogue, nor a rogue for a cleric. A sorcerer couldn't even make up for an absent wizard, at least in late game. In heroscape, heroes are dying all the time, and because of the limited nature of their development (no flexibility or customization), it is impossible for one class to cover for a fallen other class. It is my personal opinion that dnd should never have been brought to heroscape. The minute heroscape became a crappy version of dnd it began its downfall, and less than 2 years later it was completely murdered. Here's what I think, it's a good theory, but the nature of heroscape which made classic scape beautiful and dnd scape horrifying will defy your attempts to make such tactics work.

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