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D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?

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It hardly seems goofy to me to have a fixed number of hit points! Hit points are such an abstraction anyway, and there are many other games that have a fixed number, or that are calculated from the characteristics, and they are anything but goofy. Before, when hit points were rolled, you always had someone who rolled low, and the GM would usually just roll again or raise them. If he didn't, that character was significantly weaker, not just for one round or one encounter, but for a long period of time. And if he also rolled low on HPs next level... Something as important as a character's long-term survivalability shouldn't be entrusted to random rolls!

 

Ishil

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I just thought I'd comment on my experience with the new edition so far.

 

I'm playing in a 4e campaign that has just started. We're doing the intro adventure in the DMG and will be following it up with Keep on the Shadowfell. My group are good fun and 4e seems fairly good fun to play as well. It should be a great stop-gap game before we move on to something else, but I have some serious issues with it as a RPG. It plays more like an elaborate board game such as Hero Quest or something. It's more like the Expanded D&D Minis rules.

 

I made a 1st level human cleric, and it was very difficult to give her any individuality mechanically. From what I could see, she is going to be pretty much the same as any other 1st level cleric.

 

*edit* Adding a few more comments to my character creation process:

 

When I came to pick my skills, because of the tiny skill list, I discovered that my choice of skills came down to the choice of which one I DIDN'T want. Likewise, with my choice of at-will powers.

 

Also, when I came to pick my weapon, I discovered that the bastard sword was superior in all ways to the greatsword. It was more versatile, and actually does more damage than the greatsword. The only difference is that the bastard sword is a "superior" weapon (the new name for exotic I guess), but I had to take a feat to use either anyway, so it was the logical choice.

 

Related to the above, the skill list was serverely cut down, and there are no skill ranks. It seems your level determines how good you are at a skill rather than how much emphasis you put into it yourself. And some of the skill consolidation is a bit much I think (stealth is good, perception is good, but thievery?).

 

The classes have clear roles, which kind of restricts where you can take them, but, everything and everyone feels the same. It's as though balance has overridden all other concerns. There's very few skills to choose from. Everyone gets the same attack bonuses, power and feat progression. Looking through the powers and comparing them to other classes, it seems most people get something that will do the same as what your power does, just by a different name. For example, the Clerics Lance of Faith, but most other classes will have some kind of 5 square range 1d8+Primary stat power.

 

On the other hand, some classes are just very restricted. For example, fighters now must use to a melee weapon in order to do a whole lot. Making a ranged-weapon focused fighter isn't really practical because none of your powers can be used with ranged weapons. I've heard some people say that fighters "are more fun to play because they get more options beside charge and make an attack", but I'd argue the opposite. All the fighter powers (at least early one) are simply just very slight variations on "on hit, does 1[w]+Strength damage". The difference is, now you don't have the options to make a fighter anything other than someone who does that.

 

The MMO/WoW influence is striking. Having played WoW and a few other MMOs, it's pretty easy to spot things that have been influenced by it, or are just directly taken from it.

 

Overall, it just seems very very combat orientated. Everything is geared for combat, and almost all the things that don't aid a character in combat in some way have been stripped out. Hence the earlier comment I made about it being very boardgamey. The game is very much geared towards the dungeons part of its title, which means it is great if that's what your group likes.

 

 

There's plenty of other stuff too, some just minor things that irk me, or other issues I have with the system itself. I could go on for ages, but I imagine many people have heard some of this stuff before.

 

It's by no means a bad game though in my opinion. It does what it sets out to do pretty well, but it doesn't do what me and my group prefer.

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Overall, it just seems very very combat orientated. Everything is geared for combat, and almost all the things that don't aid a character in combat in some way have been stripped out. Hence the earlier comment I made about it being very boardgamey. The game is very much geared towards the dungeons part of its title, which means it is great if that's what your group likes.

Yep. Directly pointed towards the online gaming group. Combat and lots of it.

 

What part of ROLE PLAYING did they not consider when scrapping all the old rules and making these? Combined with your earlier comments about the lack of individuality in character creation this is a ruleset that I don't see myself using. I certainly don't see myself spending any of my money on it.

 

I'll be interested to see what happens with sales a year down the road.

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4th is different, but to say it isn't really an RPG after just the promo adventure is very premature. Players and the DM make an RPG. A quick start adventure is only a teaser. If the DM wasn't trying to show the options, which would be hard without having had the options available, the game would have to be simplistic compared to the full game.

 

I've been playing D&D for over 20 years and in that time I've played dozens of other RPGs as well as several miniature war game skirmish games and even a few MMORPGs. I've had the Saga edition rules for Star Wars for several months and it's the exact same system so it just could be that I do know enough about it to have an informed opinion. If you want to go all fanboy and shoot down honest opinions I can't stop you. The game isn't all bad it's just not what I would consider a fully fledged pen and paper tabletop RPG and it's way more than I want to spend right now on a bear and pretzel dungeon crawl game miniature game when there are several good ones on the market already that cost much less.

 

Oh and out of the six players who showed up to play the demo at 9am Saturday morning three of us were regular half orc ROLE players and one guy even had a half orc t-shirt on. There were several other players who showed up during the day who played half orcs as well. I would say with the Orc race in WoW that orcs and half orcs have become more popular as choices rather than less popular. There are constant request for half orc miniatures on this site. Not everyone wants to play sexy all the time.

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Looking at the book some more and thinking about things, the D&D 4th edition is essentially a different game. A WoW version of D&D geared to appeal towards that crowd and geared towards helping to support their online initiative.

 

The WoW influence really is pretty striking (and ironic). WowDD? WoWD&D? WoWDuD?

 

The changes are similar, in a way, to what Microsoft did with most of Office 2007 compared to Office 2003. The menus in Office 2007 are gone and replaced with the "Ribbon" user interface. Things are more visual and pretty, but if you like the old style, you're out of luck (unless you you get a 3rd party tool). Microsoft figures that people will adapt and they'll pick up more new customers.

 

Reaction has been mixed. People generally really like the new UI, hate it, or tolerate it (grudgingly). Some people see no reason to change from earlier versions of Office. But, over time, by shear weight of numbers and time marching on, people will switch.

 

The same thing probably will happen with D&D 4th edition.

 

As far as the game not supporting role playing. How much did the 1st edition and 2nd edition (pre skills) support role playing? The mechanics were geared around combat then as well. The role playing comes from what the players do with the characters outside of combat.

 

Something else to consider is that comparisons should be made against what D&D 3rd edition was when the first 3 books came out, not what D&D 3.5 is right now. Other books and materials will come out, though some may only come as part of their online content.

 

The online part of 4th edition is probably the real potential money source in the eyes of WOTC management. Getting people to pony up $X a month as a recurring and consistent revenue stream has got to be pretty attractive.

 

It will be interesting to see how things play out, particularly since Paizo is giving people an alternative with Pathfinder.

 

Ron

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To be fair Ironworker, SAGA Star Wars is NOT the same system! Although 4e and SAGA share some of the same characteristics, SAGA is much different...more a hybrid of 3xe and 4e, and a better one at that. Still dislike SAGA's skill system, but making a character in that setting feels less like a pidgeonhole...

 

Damon.

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Just curious for anyone that has the book, but the online thing, do you get a free month first & then start paying or is pay right as you sign up?

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Just curious for anyone that has the book, but the online thing, do you get a free month first & then start paying or is pay right as you sign up?

I don't know (I didn't see pricing in the book). The online tools are not ready, and the website has no pricing information that I could find.

 

I did find a "preview" on another website which mentioned $15 a month (presumably for a single month) or $10 for a subscription.

 

Also, if you use the "D&D Game Table" (their online tool for playing a game over the net, you get a basic set of "virtual miniatures", but I understand that there are plans to offer additional "virtual miniatures" for purchase. If you don't want to pay for that vampire "mini" that you need, you have to settle for what generic symbol.

 

Ron

 

PS: No, I haven't seen if the virtual "minis" will be randomized or not. :;):

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To be fair Ironworker, SAGA Star Wars is NOT the same system! Although 4e and SAGA share some of the same characteristics, SAGA is much different...more a hybrid of 3xe and 4e, and a better one at that. Still dislike SAGA's skill system, but making a character in that setting feels less like a pidgeonhole...

 

Damon.

 

It is the same core system though. I do like the SAGA system a bit more than what I've seen of 4E but I don't really feel I've gained all that much buying into the SAGA rules. Sure they look easier to GM but I hate the grid system and the skill system is very off putting. Star Wars characters have always been a bit more varried than D&D but both saga and 4E seem pretty restrictive like I'm choosing my character on a vid screen rather than out of the book and there isn't much I can do to have a unique character. In a true ROLE playing game the character is everything to me and having less options makes the game feel less like a true RPG and more like a table top sim of a vidio game. Those kinds of games can be fun and I do play them but none of the light RPG miniature games I play require me to buy three or more $35.00-$40.00 books. .45 for instance downloads for $8.00 and is even simpler to play when I want beer and pretzel pulp adventure. I've been using No Limits and No Quarter from Wargames Unlimited to play such games and those rules are free to download and they are highly customizable. Further none of the other miniature adventure games out there are set up for grid maps with rules that make it difficult to convert to 3d terrain. It's not a matter of 4E being a bad game it's a matter of what they expect me to be willing to pay for the rules for that kind of game. I'm just not interested.

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Hi all,

 

Most of my group is moving over to D4 and are liking it quite a bit so far. We've played through two pre-release games and parts of Keep on Shadowfell. We're staring our "for real" campaign next weekend. I very much like the new powers system and recognize how it's very ripped straight from WoW. A few of us, current and previous WoW players, even commented on how we could visualize a small arrow above the head of the marked monster. I don't like the lack of fluff and think that the choices of what to put in MM1 were kind of hit and miss. I'm also not a fan of the artwork in 4e. A lot of is it recycled from 3e and it just doesn't sing to me very much. As a whole, I'm pleased though.

 

Mark, FR

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4th is different, but to say it isn't really an RPG after just the promo adventure is very premature. Players and the DM make an RPG. A quick start adventure is only a teaser. If the DM wasn't trying to show the options, which would be hard without having had the options available, the game would have to be simplistic compared to the full game.

 

I've been playing D&D for over 20 years and in that time I've played dozens of other RPGs as well as several miniature war game skirmish games and even a few MMORPGs. I've had the Saga edition rules for Star Wars for several months and it's the exact same system so it just could be that I do know enough about it to have an informed opinion. If you want to go all fanboy and shoot down honest opinions I can't stop you. The game isn't all bad it's just not what I would consider a fully fledged pen and paper tabletop RPG and it's way more than I want to spend right now on a bear and pretzel dungeon crawl game miniature game when there are several good ones on the market already that cost much less.

 

Oh and out of the six players who showed up to play the demo at 9am Saturday morning three of us were regular half orc ROLE players and one guy even had a half orc t-shirt on. There were several other players who showed up during the day who played half orcs as well. I would say with the Orc race in WoW that orcs and half orcs have become more popular as choices rather than less popular. There are constant request for half orc miniatures on this site. Not everyone wants to play sexy all the time.

I'm neither a fanboy, nor am I trying to shoot down opinions. I simply think some of the opinions are premature, and some people are going into 4th with an adversarial attitude that makes seeing any of the good it offers nearly impossible. Rather than deny people their opinions, I'm trying to point out the opposing view, that 4th has potential a group can use to good benefit. No game will appeal to everyone, but 4th can offer a lot for a group to use.

 

If players are happy with 4th, 3.5, 3rd, 2nd, original, the alternate Basic D&D, or only some other game, they should play what they enjoy. If they want to create a mix of all of them, rock on. We do this for fun, and there are a lot of good options out there.

 

4th is not my favorite RPG, nor was 3.5. I'm not as fond of leveling systems where a new character can't simply join a group. D&D has been fun for me since I found it back in 1978, but I have a large library of other RPG's I play as well, and more frequently.

 

As I noted, I know there are half orc and gnome players out there, but I've met only one in thirty years of gaming. Most of the people I've heard commenting on the lack of those two races in the new PHB had the same reaction. Any group that wants to can add them back in, so I don't see that as a major loss. Role playing is versatile, and limited only by the players.

 

If you have a lot of half orc players in your area, that could be an interesting start for a campaign. I've simply never found many players that even had interest. Again, that does not negate the existence of those that do, it only illustrates that some areas did not have any that I found.

 

While 4th borrows from online sources, I find that appropriate, as so many online sources have borrowed heavily from D&D through the years.

 

In the end, though, a MMORPG is not a PnP RPG, even if they share similarities. A PnP RPG has the ability to add the role playing element that is not present in an online game. When they put out the Diablo D&D sets, people were not playing Diablo without a computer, they were playing D&D in the Diablo setting. The same occured with the Everquest and WoW RPG books. Even if the mechanics become more similar, the full role playing aspect currently exists only in PnP games. The players will make the role play, not the game.

 

Before GURPS became GURPS, it began as two map based board games. Players that liked the system started using it for role play before it became GURPS.

 

Before D&D became an RPG, it was a tabletop miniatures game (the original Chainmail). Players turned it into an RPG.

 

Rules are only mechanics to resolve situations. Players make it an RPG, and their game is only limited by themselves.

 

Like any other rules system, 4th will only be as limited as the players make it. Use the rules, alter the rules, or play other rules, and the end result will still depend on the players.

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How much time and money do you suggest one should invest in a game to give it a fair trial? First impression is everything even with a product. I really don't care about 4E and didn't care enough about it to be interested or opposed to it when I went to the demo. I never even picked up 3.5. What I saw in 4E is nothing I couldn't get out of other games for a lot less money. I'm no longer that impressed by big expensive books that cost a bunch of money just to play the basic game with the core rules. So right now even as just a player I would need a phb and a mm1 at about $70.00 to play half orcs which I play often or I would have to mooch of someone. I just didn't find the game fun enough to justify that expense.

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Before D&D became an RPG, it was a tabletop miniatures game (the original Chainmail). Players turned it into an RPG.

 

Rules are only mechanics to resolve situations. Players make it an RPG, and their game is only limited by themselves.

 

Like any other rules system, 4th will only be as limited as the players make it.

So... what you're saying is that anyone who wants more roleplaying in Fourth Edition D&D will need to reinvent prior editions of the game -- or simply not upgrade.

 

I think people are trying to be respectful here in saying they would rather just not play.

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I hope they (WotC/Hasborg) choke on their own greed.

 

I'll peruse the pdf of the books (for free, I won't give them a cent now), but my campaign group has already decided that we won't be going to 4th. I play WoW and enjoy it, but I don't want my D&D game to turn into it.

 

~v

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I play WoW and enjoy it, but I don't want my D&D game to turn into it.

 

This I think is an important statement for me. When I helped a friend review HALOClix, my reaction to it was that it was a simulation of the Xbox game (more specifically the deathmatch game) and therefore did not give me a new experience. 4e D&D feels the same way. Oh sure, you can have GREAT RPing with it (recall in other posts I advocate you can do as much RPing using Rock-Paper-Scissors as any other game), but then you also have to LIKE the mechanics too. 4e doesn't offer me anything that feels different from WoW (which I will admit I became bored with after a while), and while some people might enjoy that, I don't.

 

Ironworker's point about "how much should one spend" to give it a fair shake is a very telling one. My group is taking a serious look at converting, even running a short-duration campaign (with "Conan-esque" jumps in storyline to try different levels). The 4ePHB costs $35 (I actually got it at discount at my FLGS as I'm a regular), and thus had an opportunity costs of not buying Mongoose's Traveller edition. First impressions ARE important, and if a game does not grab you with that impression, sure it might be good if you delve further into it, but then there's a good chance it might NOT be, and now you regret having bought it...

 

Damon.

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