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D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?


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Seriously - the Role Play vs Roll Play argument is all about your group. Our 4e group is really into character, cares about the plot only because the module happens to coincide with our personal goals of exploring new territories to find exotic plants (The Royal Botanical & Naturalists Society is our gorups' colelctive name - we're not adventurers, and would laugh at you if you said we were!). Mind you, we've still begun investigating the rumors of the cult near the old ruins, but that's mostly because the old ruins just might be home to some exotic flora and fauna....

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After a month and a half or so, it's now my preferred incarnation of D&D without a doubt.


Re: Skills

At first we thought it was "lacking" as well... but really it's quite liberating actually. I play in a GURPS game (200+ skills) and it's actually quite nice to have a system without all those minutiae. Roleplay or just common sense works just fine. For example, I don't need to roll to see if the character knows how to play the lute or sing a good song... all that matters is the social effect which the skills provided are sufficient. Does it really matter if the character knows how to play the lute or not? We've found a lot of the skills we "relied upon" in other games really were just crutches. Now we roll for the real goal of the roll (social manipulation, revelation of information) not just to roll for the sake of rolling.


However, when we do need a bit more detail... having now used it several times... the "Skill Encounter" mechanic (several different rolls, final results are determined by getting X successes before you get Y number of failures) works fine when used alongside roleplay to represent the different rolls. We've extrapolated the underlying mechanic into big field battles, tournament jousts, a "hunt" (falconry or hounds, etc.), and a castle seige. Works great.


Re: Old Campaigns

I can definately see how some of them won't convert. After all the new edition makes several modifications to underlying assumptions of the genre. However, old campaigns CAN be converted with a real understanding of the system and some elbow grease. I've (for instance) just converted Greg Stafford's Pendragon into a higher fantasy version using the 4th edition and it works great.


In the end, it breaks down to you, your group, and your DM. For me, 4E is a winner. Hands down.

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A little tidbit of news on the 4E front from my Spring 2009 catalog. Dunno if this is on the WotC website yet or not but.... Your 3.5 half-orc barbarian will be able to make the leap to 4th edition in March of 2009 when the Player's Handbook 2 arrives.


Key Selling Points:

This book is aimed directly at players, helping them build more exciting and interesting characters.


The new classes include some long-time favorites of D&D players, such as the barbarian, druid, and sorcerer.


The book features several new races, including the gnome, the half-orc, and the goliath.


I knew gnomes wouldn't be stuffed in the Monster Manual for long ::D:

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3.0 was great. The skills by and large gave the rules a very non-munchkin edge. (But like anything, it can be abused toward powergaming.)


I tried to always drop some points in a Craft or Profession.


Meh. I'm not excited about buying two Player's Handbooks. Er... not again, anyway. Thanks 3.5. I can't tell what what would make me feel sadder: paying twice for the same core classes or switching to 4.0 and ultimately paying four times over for them.

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I suppose to put it all in perspective, I remember a guy who told our group we were stupid for moving from 1st to 2nd.


Sticking to 2nd made sense for us. We had a giant shelf of books, house rules had already fixed any bugs we encountered, and we had a smooth-running machine that catered to the hardcore role-players (like me, all about the story) and those who wanted to just show up and spelunk for some goodies.


I think it comes down to a matter of taste. Our group was divided on third, but most of us didn't like it. Myself, I view the entirety after the WoTC takeover as abominable. Just a matter of taste.


Heck, if people wanted to they could just play the original basic game. The Core Rules hardcover can be found, all you need to run a game.


If people like 4th, that's cool. Nothing wrong with loving it *or* hating it. It's just preference, and it's happened with every incarnation since the first.

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The Core Rules hardcover can be found, all you need to run a game.

...and a group.


Thumbing through the old school dangling-papers message board at the gaming / comic store, or looking for new players online, the number of new edition players very frequently outweighs old edition players - assuming the older ones can be found at all.


Again, I didn't even feel the need to switch from 3.0. Not until looking through want ads for new players.


And it's not really perspective. Buy 3.0 to get a set of classes. Buy 3.5 to get them again, now broken in different ways. Buy 4.0 and the 4.0 PHB mk II to get most of them a third time. My bank account can not, does not, and will not view that subjectively.

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I'm curious to see what all else is in the other PHB's before I poo-poo them, but I do think that not having a lot of the familiar classes all in one book was a bit off. Of course, this is the first D&D edition that makes sense to me in how they treat the different classes and leveling, so I haven't bought any of the older versions (beyond the AD&D set I had way back in the day) and therefore have less material to overwrite than most players.

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Actually, if you look in the old AD&D 1st Edition DMG, there's rules for solitaire play.


I'm not kidding, they're in there.



So I guess... really... you probably don't need a group either.



But y'know... prolly should anyways. But you don't need it. Just a real good idea for mental and social health.

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