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D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?

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I have disposed of all of my 3.0++++ books. I love the 4E rules. Combat is so much more interesting for all of the characters. It is important to let go of some of the definitions of our traditional D&D terms. For instance, there was a complaint about fighters not being uber archers. If you want a fighter focused in archery you go with the Ranger, multiclass a few feats to get better martial skills. Heavily armored archers don't make sense anyhow, so using a Ranger template works very well.

 

New concepts like Marking, can seem cumbersome and awkward while reading, but it has changed nearly every combat I have ran. It has saved and cost lives and changed the tide of battle. Seeing the minis move across the board, the players look at their environment and all of the combatants moving during the combat makes it much more exciting. Tactics and teamwork make or break a combat. No more my character is just my magical equipment.

 

There are things that could be done different, but this is much closer to what I wanted than 3E. It is simple to put together an encounter. No more spending 20 minutes creating a classed monster to have it last 5 minutes in the game.

 

I can't believe I hear people defending 3.X skill rules. The game where only the rogue could do anything and I do mean anything, especially if it was a versus skill. The new skill system allows all characters to participate and for character to improve. If you have athletics, you will consistantly get better at climbing, swimming etc as you get stronger and more practiced. Instead of 1-2 skill points a level for most classes.

 

As a DM, i can throw bridges and balance checks in because there is a chance the party can succeed and not just one character, especially as they raise in level. You could not really use these challenges in 3.x due to the lack of skill points for most classes.

 

This game has been a ton of fun. Most of the complaints are from people who have not played and want to hate the new system and have strong opinions. The good news is for the next two years you can keep playing 3.x with 10,000 feats and classes that were not at all tested for balance, can spend hours statting up NPCs and watching the high level magic users do everything in the game.

 

Also, all social situations were resolved with dice in 3.5, at least by the RAW, every action, piece of knowledge, even walking up a ladder while being chased was roled. D&D has not had a lot of room for DM finesse in many years. Now I am just rambling.

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Each (MMORPGs and PnP RPGs) has also drawn from the other as long as both have existed.

 

I don't agree with that at all. Do you have any evidence to back that statement up?

Well, for some quick examples:

The leveling system where overall power increased and old major obstacles became minor is a direct mirror of D&D.

 

The race and class limitations that are very common both for PnP and MMORPG play also follow a lineage initially developed with D&D. Tolkien's wizards could wield a sword without issue, and a human warrior wizard was not strange in a lot of fantasy. It took D&D to limit a mage's allowable weapons or even assign a specific delineated class to a character.

 

Diablo and Neverwinter Nights both acknowledged drawing from D&D. Neverwinter Nights to a much larger degree, with Diablo based more around class and skill constraints. Diablo is not directly an MMORPG, but it was a progenitor of online adventuring games that became MMORPG's.

 

Diablo, Everquest, and WoW have had OGL and official D&D supplement books devoted to them so PnP players could enjoy those worlds without MMORPG constraints.

 

People are very quick to point out areas where 4th draws from MMORPG's for inspiration, and a few will acknowledge feats with an MMORPG feel exist in 3rd.

 

Those are quick examples, but certainly suggest the correlation exists.

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It is important to let go of some of the definitions of our traditional D&D terms.

 

Which is in no small measure the problem. D&D has always been a type of game with a certain flavor and style. There are dozens of RPG systems available, most of which are based in a fantasy world. If you want to remove traditional D&D terms and concepts - why not just remove D&D. Part of what makes the game what it is is the quirks and mechanics.

 

People are very quick to point out areas where 4th draws from MMORPG's for inspiration, and a few will acknowledge feats with an MMORPG feel exist in 3rd.

 

My contention has always been that the train went off the track at 3.x and now with 4 it has completely derailed and took out a neighborhood with a hazardous waste spill.

 

Anywho, fluff is quite a different issue than the change in mechanics which occurred in 4. You can find computer based D&D all the way back to the SSI days (for those who remember titles like Pool of Radiance and others). Computer games in the RPG genre have followed the PnP trails for years...getting to be decades. However now PnP D&D is following computer games - it is new in the manner it is happening.

 

Most of the complaints are from people who have not played and want to hate the new system and have strong opinions.

 

I don't want to hate the new system - it just is no longer D&D. It is something else. If you were to put the book down without the D&D brand in front of a group of gamers. They wouldn't likely make the connection. The same holds true to D&D 3.x to a large extent though.

 

The new skill system allows all characters to participate and for character to improve. If you have athletics, you will consistantly get better at climbing, swimming etc as you get stronger and more practiced. Instead of 1-2 skill points a level for most classes.

 

Harvested in no small part from Palladium's skill system. You choose a variety of skills and those skills increase every level. Certain physical skills provide you with certain abilities (the acrobat skill allows you climbing, balance and a few other things), others modify your physical traits (running gives you an increase in your speed trait and I think a bonus to your endurance). Again though, when I want to play that type of a game - I grab those books. When I want to play a game where the rogue climbs the castle walls...I play D&D. Both are fun, but both lead to different types of games.

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Reading that last post for some reason the evolution of Civilization popped into my head. From original concept Boardgame (1st Edition by Hartland, 2nd Edition by Avalon Hill) to computer game (Sid Meier's Civilization by Microprose to Sid Meier's Civ IV by Firaxis & 2K games) and then a boardgame again (Eagle Games) based on the computer game. So based on that life cycle 5e should be a moved back to the original white box version of D&D so we can start all over. ::D:

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- The whole idea of Rituals being usable by anyone bothers me. That goes against the low magic style of campaigns that I prefer. Which is one of the reasons I don't particularly care for D&D in the first place, I guess.

On the contrary, it allows you to make a lower magic world than before. Instead of the town having to need a 9th level cleric who can raise dead, and other clerical duties, now you only need a priest NPC who doesn't have access to much other than a few rituals that you think the town (and PC's) may need access to.

 

 

- I'm of mixed feelings on the encounter design system. On one hand, they make it REAL easy to design balanced encounters. OTH, it looked too formulaic for me. There seemed to be some types of encounters that weren't easy to do - like sending hordes of low level orcs against a small party of high level PCs. Of course, I didn't spend more than 15 minutes browsing that section, so I'm sure I didn't get more than a brief impression of it.

Actually Minions are built precisely for that purpose. You can indeed send dozens of them at the PC's. They are easy to run for the GM, and still provide a meaningful threat to the PC's.

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My overall impression, now that I've hunkered down a little on the DMG, is that the rules for the PH is more geared towards combat situations.

 

Which gives a fair amount of leeway for non-combat situations.

 

I hate it when characters are defined by their stats, or by what they can do in terms of feats, skills, spells or their class. I have one particular gamer in my group that does precisely that. And, oh, it bugs me, especially when he throws a temper tantrum because he didn't roll the three 16s he needed for his optimized Warlock. Ahem. My big thing is more on the character themselves, rather than their numbers. The PHB, on the surface, looks to focus only on the numbers, but that's to make combat - a large part of the game - a simple, easy way to manage. All non-combat situations are now, essentially, up to the DM to run and create with little worries that the rules won't allow your town guard to have Spot, or you have to have Appraise as a skill in order to find out how much an item really is.

 

I dabbled in Shadowrun for a couple of weeks before RealLife kicked in, and I loved how you can choose your skills according to your character. If you don't have skill points in a skill, that doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means you're not that proficient at it. 4e does something similar. No longer do you have to be boned by giving up two skill points to gain one skill point in a non-class skill. That sucked especially for my Dragon Shaman that had Listen but not Spot, a rather modest intelligence that only gave an extra 2 skill points for all of 6 skill points a level. Seriously; how much more useful was Spot than Listen?

In 4.0, if your class doesn't have a skill you want, you can tap into the multi-class feat to obtain it with no penalty. THe feat progression is a lot quicker - I think it was every second level rather than every third or whathaveyou.

 

Classes and races are a little less restrictive. You can have a wizard that likes to wear leather armour and swing a spiked chain because the feats allow that kind of customization, instead of having immense restrictions for doing that, especially for spellcasting.

 

Overall, it appears as if the characters can be more customised according to how you want to play them. The powers for each one seem only to tap into combat situations, which is where most of them tend to lie anyway (my first character was a non-combat sorceror and people thought I was mad to give myself "see Invisibility" instead of Fireball; that is, until, the enemy was notorious for always being invisible). The rituals are for the non-combative stuff, and super duper helpful for that.

 

 

I have the next three sessions mapped out, and there is a lot of roleplay rather than rollplay. It's not because of the book, but rather how I run things. I don't see how this edition has changed anything in regards to roleplay; it just eliminated some of the rules that dictate it. It has now made character creation more flexible, and ultimately, more enjoyable instead of having to worry that you cant create a half-orc sorceror without having to absorb that negative to charisma.

 

 

I like the changes, I like the layout of the books, I like how they've created a system for customization of characters. The choices of feats are pretty poor at the moment, but I know they're going to boost it with supplements and the online system.

 

I'm highly looking forward to DMing this game.

 

That's my opinion :)

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- The whole idea of Rituals being usable by anyone bothers me. That goes against the low magic style of campaigns that I prefer. Which is one of the reasons I don't particularly care for D&D in the first place, I guess.

On the contrary, it allows you to make a lower magic world than before. Instead of the town having to need a 9th level cleric who can raise dead, and other clerical duties, now you only need a priest NPC who doesn't have access to much other than a few rituals that you think the town (and PC's) may need access to.

Ok, fair enough. I'm still bothered that any PC could have access to them, unless as a GM I house rule they can't. Then there is the whole issue of the PCs magical abilities from their classes. This isn't really a beef with 4e though, I've always felt D&D was too high magic for my tastes in any edition. Better for me to use a different ruleset than to try and house rule D&D to what I'm looking for.

 

And speaking of house rules - 4e looks harder to house rule than 3.5e because of how much has been integrated into the PC classes, and tweaking with those could disrput the balance.

 

- I'm of mixed feelings on the encounter design system. On one hand, they make it REAL easy to design balanced encounters. OTH, it looked too formulaic for me. There seemed to be some types of encounters that weren't easy to do - like sending hordes of low level orcs against a small party of high level PCs. Of course, I didn't spend more than 15 minutes browsing that section, so I'm sure I didn't get more than a brief impression of it.

Actually Minions are built precisely for that purpose. You can indeed send dozens of them at the PC's. They are easy to run for the GM, and still provide a meaningful threat to the PC's.

I didn't spend a whole lot of time in the book overall, nor that section, so I must have missed the Minions stuff. Care to elaborate on how they work?

 

Overall, I wasn't left with the impression that 4e is a bad game, just one that it wasn't the game for me. But I've felt that way about D&D for a long time (since I was introduced to WFRP, in fact), so that's nothing new. The new edition simply reinforces that it isn't the game for me. I can certainly see how some people (and styles of play) would be drawn to it. I'm actually kind of glad that they released the new edition, I have some fellow gamers whom I know will hate the new revisions, and I'm going to be able to get them to finally consider other game systems. OTH, I'm part of another RPG where they're probably going to convert to 4e. At that point, I'll play it and make my final determination.

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I haven't had a chance to test drive the rules yet, And while I like what I've seen, I've gotten the impresion it's a love it/hate it system - and a good 50% of the haters decided they'd hate it before they played it anyway. I'm sure you know the type.

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I've been toying with the idea of running a little PBP game of D&D 4th edition to try it out. Just a basic dungeon crawl (which could potentially expand and extend if we're having fun). Wouldn't have the same feel as a real time game, but it might give me a chance for have a more informed opinion (which is somewhat academic anyway since I don't have time for a real life game).

 

Yes, the animated ad amused me when I saw it early this morning.

 

Ron

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Oh, and check this out:

http://www.reapermini.com/

 

HAH! Brilliant!

 

 

And without rebuking the opinions of others and pointing out that it's lame to to poo-poo a new edition just for the sake of poo-pooing a new edition, I'll echo the sentiment that my 3.0 + 3.5 books are history (much the same way that my 1st edition and second edition books went the way of the second-hand-shop Dodo...). I love 4.0. LOVE. To the point where for the 1st time in 6 years, I'm DMing.

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I haven't had a chance to test drive the rules yet, And while I like what I've seen, I've gotten the impresion it's a love it/hate it system - and a good 50% of the haters decided they'd hate it before they played it anyway. I'm sure you know the type.

 

 

I haven't seen a whole lot of love/hate here at all just a lot of love/not for me. In fact many of us who have negative comments about the game and have decided not to buy into it have had positive things to say as well. It was a fun game, very miniature oriented, fast paced. In fact the kind of game I like but I'm not willing to shell out $35.00 each for three books when I can download (I'm not talking about piracy but paid downloads) or buy similar games much cheaper that are just as fun. It was good just not good enough and that's what a lot of people here seen to be saying. Again how much time an money should we invest in a game to give it a fair shake? $35.00 each for three books. That's like two to three months of miniature budget for me and over half that budget usually goes to you guys and quite often all that budget goes to Reaper.

 

Great add by the way even if I'm not playing 4E I'm certainly still buying Reaper minis I'll just be using less expensive and just as fun game systems to play games with them.

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This game has been a ton of fun. Most of the complaints are from people who have not played and want to hate the new system and have strong opinions. The good news is for the next two years you can keep playing 3.x with 10,000 feats and classes that were not at all tested for balance, can spend hours statting up NPCs and watching the high level magic users do everything in the game.

 

As if 4.0 won't have a cascade of splat books, supplementals, erratas, and "products" releaseing 10,000 feats, powers, rituals, spells, super elite magic stuff, and blah blah blah.... It's coming and I doubt any of it will be more tested than 3.5 products. This is WotC we are talking about here =)

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This game has been a ton of fun. Most of the complaints are from people who have not played and want to hate the new system and have strong opinions. The good news is for the next two years you can keep playing 3.x with 10,000 feats and classes that were not at all tested for balance, can spend hours statting up NPCs and watching the high level magic users do everything in the game.

 

As if 4.0 won't have a cascade of splat books, supplementals, erratas, and "products" releaseing 10,000 feats, powers, rituals, spells, super elite magic stuff, and blah blah blah.... It's coming and I doubt any of it will be more tested than 3.5 products. This is WotC we are talking about here =)

I see 4.0 has both an advantage and a disadvantage in this respect. Since most of the stuff appears to be really limited to a single class or two, it will be harder for min-maxers to find exploits using combinations, thus potentially reducing the need to playtest every possible combo. OTH, it's very likely that some classes will show up that are overall "superior" to other classes because they weren't playtested well. From a GMs perspective, that may be an advantage, because they can simply ban a class if they feel it's unbalancing to their games.

 

The flip side of the coin is that there is the potential for D&D classes to become analogous to the GW WFB/40k army books - each new army book released gives that army an advantage over all that came before it, which creates the situation where a new edition is almost required in order to reset the game back to a level playing field. I could see the same thing happening with classes if WotC isn't careful.

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I haven't had a chance to test drive the rules yet, And while I like what I've seen, I've gotten the impresion it's a love it/hate it system - and a good 50% of the haters decided they'd hate it before they played it anyway. I'm sure you know the type.

 

 

I haven't seen a whole lot of love/hate here at all just a lot of love/not for me. In fact many of us who have negative comments about the game and have decided not to buy into it have had positive things to say as well.

 

Same here. Plus I have to wonder if 4e would be seeing the same amount of love it is if it were a system produced by someone else and/or not called D&D? I think a lot of the reactions on both sides are precisely because it's D&D.

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