4E Effects

Using Effect Features in Your Game

Effects in the 4E ruleset can be very complex, once you decide to take advantage of all of the functionality available. Many features provided in this section can be handled manually by calculations done by the players and GM, just like sitting around the gaming table. It is recommended that you slowly add effect capabilities to your game until the comfort level of you and your players has been reached.

While effects can be entered manually, the effects system was also designed to pull the effect information directly from the power description text by parsing the words. Just enter the text in the exact same format as the core rulebooks, or drop the powers from your own data modules.

The effect system was built to handle 90% of the situations. 4E can be a very complex game, as it is built using exception-based game design principles. With all the exceptions that are defined by powers, and the primary focus of the effects support was for the core rulebooks (PHB, DMG, MM); there will be some powers and effects that will not be able to be represented in the current version of the ruleset.

For example, effects that expire on the target's initiative will need to be adjusted manually, since applied effects always use the effect originator's initiative.

Campaign Effects

In addition to the basic label and visibility fields, the 4E ruleset adds a few more capabilities. The effect label can contain one or more modifiers or conditions that adjust rolls made by that CT actor. Additionally, an effect expenditure toggle button and duration fields

  • Expenditure: By default, an effect is applied to all future rolls until the duration expires. The expenditure button can be toggled to Action, Roll or Singles as well. If set to Action, the effect will be applied to the next relevant action (set of rolls)(i.e. area of effect attack rolls as a set). If set to Roll, the effect will be applied to the next relevant single roll. If set to Singles, each component of the effect will be applied once when relevant, then removed. (See below for effect label components.)

  • Duration: By default, an effect never expires. The duration field can be toggled to Save, Encounter, End of Next Turn, Start of Next Turn, and End of This Turn. These durations correspond to the durations used in the 4E game system. An additional duration field will appear when the main duration field set to Save (as a save modifier).

Combat Tracker

When an effect is applied to an actor in the combat tracker, in addition to the fields added in Campaign Effects, a few additional fields have been added.

  • Active State: By default, an effect is set to always be active (i.e. On). The active state can be toggled to Skip or Off. If set to Skip, the next application of the effect will be skipped, and then the effect will be set to On again. If set to Off, the effect will no longer be applied to rolls, but will remain in the CT.

  • Duration: When the main duration field is set to Start/End Turn values, an additional field will be shown to track the initiative number when the duration should start/end.

  • Applied By: The active actor will be used as the source actor of an effect, and shown in the lower right of the effect entry. If no actor is active, then this field is hidden. To set the source actor of an effect, drag the name field of a CT actor onto the label field of a CT effect entry. The source is usually just informational, but may occasionally be used to support advanced effects (such as Marked). Click on the Applied By field to clear the source actor.

  • Targets: By default, effects are applied to relevant rolls for all targets. However, some effect components can be targeted (such as attack and damage modifiers). A targeting button is shown next to each effect entry, and can be dragged onto a CT entry or CT-linked token to specify that the effect is targeted to a specific actor or set of actors. Additional options to target all allies or enemies are available by right-clicking on the targeting button. The Targets field is hidden unless targets are defined. Click on the Targets field to clear the targets.

Effect Label Features

In the 4E ruleset, conditions and modifiers can be embedded into the effect label in order to modify rolls made by the actor.

Each description, condition or modifier needs needs to be separated by a semi-colon within the effect label, and these are called effect components. Effect components that do not start with a modifier tag or a condition tag are treated as descriptive text only.

Conditions

  • Not case-sensitive.

  • Do not stack.

Condition

Modifiers Applied

Notes

Condition

Modifiers Applied

Notes

Actions

Balancing

GRANTCA

 

Climbing

GRANTCA

 

Running

GRANTCA; ATK:-5

 

Squeezing

GRANTCA; ATK:-5

 

Combat Advantage

CA
(Applied to attacker)

ATK:2

(T)

GRANTCA

DEF:-2

(T)

Uncanny Dodge

 

(T), Negates CA/GRANTCA

Status

Blinded

GRANTCA; SKILL:-10 Perception

 

Dazed

GRANTCA

 

Deafened

SKILL:-10 Perception

 

Dominated

GRANTCA

 

Grabbed

 

 

Helpless

GRANTCA

 

Immobilized

 

 

Insubstantial

 

Half damage from all sources

Invisible

CA; TCONC

(T)

Marked

ATK:-2

Only when source actor not included in attack.

Petrified

RESIST:20

 

Phasing

 

 

Prone

GRANTCA; DEF:2 ranged; ATK:-2

GRANTCA is only applied for melee attacks

Restrained

GRANTCA; ATK:-2

 

Sanctioned

 

 

Slowed

 

 

Stunned

GRANTCA

 

Surprised

GRANTCA

 

Swallowed

 

 

Unconscious

GRANTCA; DEF:-5

Prone effect should be applied separately

Weakened

 

(T), All damage rolls are halved.

(T) = Effects can be targeted to only apply to conditions against certain opponents

Modifiers

  • Format: [tag]: [dice/number] [descriptors]

  • Case-sensitive

  • If colon missing, assume no dice, numerical modifier or descriptors.

  • Modifiers stack as long as their bonus type is blank or unique. If two modifiers have the same bonus type, only the larger value will be used.

  • When applying effects from PC sheet powers, bracketed ability tags ([STR],[DEX],...) can be added to the modifier dice and numerical portion to adjust by current PC attribute modifiers. The ability tags can be set to negative ([-INT]), half ([HWIS]) or double ([2CHA]).

Modifier

Value

Descriptors

Notes

Modifier

Value

Descriptors

Notes

ABIL

(D)

[bonus], [ability]

Ability checks

ATK

(D)

[bonus], [range], opportunity

(T), Attack rolls

CONC

(-)

[range]*

(T), Concealment
(ATK: -2 vs. ranged/melee only)

TCONC

(-)

[range]*

(T), Concealment (Total)
(ATK: -5 vs. ranged/melee only)

COVER

(-)

[range]*

(T), Cover
(ATK: -2)

SCOVER

(-)

[range]*

(T), Cover (Superior)
(ATK: -5)

DEF

(N)

[bonus], [range], opportunity

(T), Defenses (all)

AC

(N)

[bonus], [range], opportunity

(T), Defense (AC)

FORT

(N)

[bonus], [range], opportunity

(T), Defense (Fortitude)

REF

(N)

[bonus], [range], opportunity

(T), Defense (Reflex)

WILL

(N)

[bonus], [range], opportunity

(T), Defense (Will)

DMG

(D)

[bonus], [range], [energy]*, critical

(T), Damage rolls

DMGW

(N)

[bonus], [range], critical

(T), Damage roll weapon multiples

DMGO

(D)

[energy]*

Damage (Ongoing)

DMGTYPE

(-)

[damage type]

(T); Adds damage type to all damage rolls.

HEAL

(D)

-

Healing rolls

IMMUNE

(-)

[energy], all

(T), Immune to damage type.
Assumes all if no [energy] descriptor.

INIT

(D)

[bonus]

Initiative checks

RAGE

(-)

[rage name]

Rage tracking. Informational only.

REGEN

(D)

-

Regeneration

RESIST

(N)

[energy], all

(T), Resistance to damage type.
Assumes all if no [energy] descriptor.

SAVE

(D)

[bonus]

Saving throws

SKILL

(D)

[ability], [skill]

Skill checks

SPEED

(N)

[bonus]

Speed. Informational only.

SWARM

(N)

-

Swarm creature type.
Half damage from melee/ranged.
Bonus damage from close/area.

VULN

(N)

[energy], all

(T), Vulnerability to damage type.
Assumes all if no [energy] descriptor.

(D) = Dice and numbers supported for value attribute
(N) = Only numbers supported for value attribute
(-) = Neither number nor dice supported for value attribute
(T) = Effects can be targeted to only apply to modifiers against certain opponents

[bonus] = racial, power, feat, shield, item, proficiency, enhancement
[range] = melee, ranged, area, close
[energy] = acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, poison, psychic, radiant, thunder
[ability] = strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, charisma
[skill] = any skill name

* = Multiple entries of this descriptor type allowed.

Special Components

  • Examples: FAIL, AURA, ...

  • Unique format for each tag

  • Case-sensitive

Special Tag

Notes

Special Tag

Notes

IF: [condition OR conditional operator]

Ignores the remainder of the effect components within the effect label, unless the source actor has the specified condition.

IFT: [condition OR conditional operator]

Ignores the remainder of the effect components within the effect label, unless the opposing actor has the specified condition.

AFTER: [expiration]

Components after this tag are ignored. Components including and before this tag are removed when the effect expires, instead of removing the effect entirely. The expiration of the revised effect is set to the value of the expiration value, if any.

FAIL: [expiration]

Components after this tag are ignored. Components including and before this tag are removed when a saving throw against this effect fails. The expiration of the revised effect is set to the value of the expiration value, if any. Since the Failed Save clause only triggers for saving throws made at the end of a turn, this clause will only trigger on saving throws made using the auto-save option.

AURA

Denotes that the source power is an aura. If no expiration defined for effect, it will be set to "start" of current initiative when applied.

ZONE

Denotes that the source power has the zone keyword. If no expiration defined for effect, it will be set to "start" of current initiative when applied.

TRGT

When applied, denotes an effect that appears to be targeted to specific entities. In the combat track quick effect view, it is used to identify effect targets.

[expiration] = start, end, endnext, save, encounter

Conditional Operators

Not case-sensitive

Operator

Notes

Operator

Notes

ALIGN ([alignment])

If the creature indicated by the conditional effect has the given alignment, then this operator returns true.
Neutral is assumed for creatures where not specified.
True neutral checking is not supported due to necessary assumptions to make this feature work for majority of cases automatically.

SIZE ([size])
SIZE ([>= OR <= OR > OR < OR =][size])

If the conditional effect target is of the correct size or larger/smaller based on the size greater/less than operation, then this operator returns true.
Medium size is assumed for creatures where not specified.

TYPE ([creature type]*)

If the creature indicated by the conditional effect has the given creature type, then this operator returns true.
The humanoid creature type is assumed for creatures where not specified, and for PCs.

Wounded

If the conditional effect target has any wounds, then this operator returns true.

Bloodied

If the conditional effect target has wounds greater than or equal to half its hit points, then this operator returns true.

[alignment] = LG, LN, LE, NG, NE, CG, CN, CE, lawful, lawful good, lawful neutral, lawful evil, neutral good, neutral evil, chaotic, chaotic good, chaotic neutral, chaotic evil, good, evil
[size] = T, S, M, L, H, G, tiny, small, medium, large, huge, gargantuan
[creature type] = aberrant, elemental, fey, immortal, natural, shadow, animate, beast, humanoid, magical beast, air, angel, aquatic, cold, construct, demon, devil, dragon, earth, fire, giant, homunculus, living construct, mount, ooze, plant, reptile, shapechanger, spider, swarm, undead, water

* = Multiple entries of this descriptor type allowed.

PC Specific Notes

When applying effects from the Actions tab of the PC sheet, special tags can be inserted to provide numerical bonuses based on the PC's current attributes.

PC tag

Notes

PC tag

Notes

STR

PC Strength bonus

DEX

PC Dexterity bonus

CON

PC Constitution bonus

INT

PC Intelligence bonus

WIS

PC Wisdom bonus

CHA

PC Charisma bonus

H[other tag]

Half of the other tag bonus

2[other tag]

Double the other tag bonus

- [other tag]

Negative the other tag bonus (including half and double)

Examples

Good

  • ATK: 2 power

  • SAVE: 1

  • DMGO: 2d6

  • DMG: 1d6 cold

  • RESIST: 5 fire; RESIST: 5 cold

Bad

  • RESIST: 5 fire,cold

PC Sheet

  • RESIST: 2 [WIS]

  • ATK: [-DEX]

  • DMG: 2d6+1 [CON]

More

Power Text

Effect Label

Other Effect Fields

Power Text

Effect Label

Other Effect Fields

+1 to next d20 roll this turn

ATK:1, DMG:1, SKILL:1, ABIL:1, SAVE:1

(Expires End This Turn)(Expend on Roll)

+2 to your next attack and damage roll before the end of your next turn

ATK:2, DMG:2

(Expires End Next Turn)(Expend on Single Usage)