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I received this question from a group I'm a member of on facebook, and whilst I'm not sure how appropriate it is for me to ask this, I'm going to anyway.

Anyway the poster said this

Marking. I love this mechanic from 4e. It makes defenders able to do their job. But friends of mine who are used to primarily playing earlier editions (2e, 3e) would struggle to understand it, and never use it when playing defenders. Is there any way to simplify it?

I'd also wonder if this is the case with other people they know who have migrated from earlier editions, and how they help them adapt.

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Well, exactly. Speaking as a 2e/3e player who refuses to play 4e specifically because of mechanics like marking, the problem is that it's a gamist construct that often has no legitimate explanation in the game world. Fixing that is the problem, not the "complexity" of the mechanic. – mxyzplk Jan 14 '12 at 23:55
@mxyzplk: In the vast majority of cases in our game, marking has an extremely legitimate in-character explanation. What do you find to be inexplicable? (Or is that another question?) – Tynam Jan 15 '12 at 23:38
Are you waiting for a better answer for the green check mark, or did you just forget to give one? – Jason White Jan 20 '12 at 22:01
@JasonWhite A litte form column A, and a littlr from column B. Thanks for reminding me. – Pureferret Jan 20 '12 at 23:13
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Since the actual rules for marking are fairly simply, I'm going to assume they don't understand what marking represents in real-world terms. As I understand it, marking represents a creature's anxiety at turning away from the defender. The big noisy, heavily-muscled fighter has just swung a battleaxe at it, and that gets the creature's attention. They can't quite ignore that threat and attack someone else, without a glance back at that fighter, hence the -2.

It makes a little less sense when the fighter isn't adjacent to the marked creature, but it could still be that glancing-over-its-shoulder worry that accounts for the attack penalty.

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I thought marking was more like "taunting" the enemy, causing them to be distracted if they didn't engage the marker. – F. Randall Farmer Jan 17 '12 at 2:49
That's a valid way to look at it as well, although I don't consider my fighter to be spewing taunts with every swing of his axe. – Jason White Jan 17 '12 at 4:34

Marking is already simple. My primary issue is representing marks on the grid during combat.

If they have marking abilities and aren't using them, let them do that. Another way to introduce marking and show its utility would be to pit the players against enemies that are marking them.

share|improve this answer
+1 for creatures that mark them – Jason White Jan 15 '12 at 2:31

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