Reposts from the DM Talk thread:
I think it'd be funny to retool things in the term of social combat and debate. Change HP to represent how much it takes until you've lost the argument. Death saves are you stalling for time trying to find some kind of defense for your argument.
Strength: How hard you can drive your point home
Dexterity: Ability to find holes in your opponents argument
Constitution: How solid your argument is
Intelligence: How smart of an argument you can make
Wisdom: Ability to keep the bigger picture in mind
Then all the healing things is bolstering the parties argument rather than arguing down the other person.
When you grant combat advantage, you're fumbling over your words for some reason. Say, you're dealing with two different people at once.
Retool the keywords in powers to things like Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate, Volume, Insults, etc. Makes more sense than using lightning, cold, etc.
Hm...weapons...represent traditional argument tactics. Martial characters specialize in the traditional argument tactics which have been perfected over many generations. Thus, their arguments have the higher bonuses to hit, but since weapon attacks tend to target AC, the opponent may be aware of the classical defenses against each power.
Meanwhile, the spellcasting classes use different, less tried-and-true methods, but it's less likely for the enemy to be versed in the defenses.
Then with the monster roles, brutes have many holes in their arguments, but just never know when to quit. Soldiers have more sound defenses for their arguments, but know when to quit. Artillery can argue from far away (oh shit, high volume!), and controllers are good at making it harder for the PCs to argue.
Attacks of Opportunity are just taking free shots at people who are doing something else.
Okay, the defenses:
AC=AC (Argument Class)
Fort is logos because a good argument (a high argument class) is going to be pretty logical. Reflex is pathos since there are quite a few powers that target reflex, and a lot of ads on the telly try to appeal to pathos. Ethos, let's face it, how many things target will? A few, but not a lot.
For power sources, I want arcane to become abuse. Like Scorching Burst or Flaming Sphere are personal attacks implying the target is gay. So many arcane powers target reflex and insults try to draw a pathological response, it seems like a nice fit. Then you have this whole school of wizardry that targets ethos (illusionists targetting will), so I just see wizards doing personal attacks implying that the monsters are bad people for not donating to charity.
I'm thinking I want the martial characters to be a lawyer power source or something. Not too sure about the name, but I see this group of people having arguments that are hard to counter, due to high AC, and hard to make a logical argument against, due to high logos, but they tend to exclusively target AC with tried-and-true debate techniques.
It's a joke. 4e combat is so abstract, I decided I could arbitrarily re-fluff combat to become debate. Actually makes healing surges and second winds become a bit more believable. And because I can't think of some things that have good parallels, I'm keeping them in. Like armor.
"Why couldn't you argue with him?!"
"He was wearing platemail and had a heavy shield! I was intimidated."
And then thinking of kick-down-the-door style gameplay. Enter the room, see a beholder, the party has surprise. All the melee fighters charge forward, yelling out debate points. Meanwhile, the casters stand back and yell things at the beholder from a distance.
Oh, and I decided to change intelligence. Having a well-thought out argument kind of bumps up against Strength's "having a strong argument". So intelligence becomes "knowledge of your debate opponent." What this means for the abuse is they try to find the target's buttons and push them.
Also, for Flaming Sphere's damage at the start of the turn: when an adjacent creature first has the floor, the sphere says "gaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaay." dealing 1d4+int modifier damage
-- Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:08 pm --
Divine characters get their powers from a divine source. Divine sources are considered to be outside sources, so therefore divine characters are ones that have done a lot of research. Works well with their leader or sub-leader role, as they can use their superior knowledge of the topic at hand to boost their friends' arguments.
Since they get their powers from outside sources, divine characters have a plethora of powers containing the Research (Radiant) keyword. As zombies are considered to be mindless masses, they are especially vulnerable to arguments containing the Research keyword.
The status effect of Prone would be somebody saying something that floors somebody else. Depending on the amount of damage done by the power, you can assume it was either brilliant (High damage) or incredibly stupid (low damage). So the shaman daily "Wrath of the Spirit World" is the shaman making a stupidly brilliant remark that floors the opposition with its 2d10+Wis. Contrasting, the wizard encounter "Icy Terrain" is a dumb insult (wizards draw from the abuse power source) that floors the opposition in a "I can't believe he said that" sort of way.