Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

Posted by: Reinhart Faust

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition - 07/22/08 11:44 PM

WARNING: The post below contains gratuitous use of Dungeons & Dragons jargon, and even those who do not understand that particular dialect can have their geek factor raised by as much as 40% just by reading it.

What I like about D&D 4th ed.

1) There are actually differences between races. Instead of a couple racial stat bonuses and racially enhanced vision with an additional minor aptitude or two (none of which usually compensate for the lack of a 1st level bonus feat which only humans enjoy) there are actually definitive differences between races and each race has distinct advantages. There are no more gnomes and half-elves in the sense that there are now no races that inherently suck. (In reality gnomes were actually eliminated as a PC race, while half-elves, greatly improved, are still there)

2) There are no dump stats. Charisma isn’t next to useless any more. Now each stat has multiple classes that rely heavily upon it. Why was Charisma useless, you ask? Because of our next point:

3) There are no dump classes. Why was Charisma useless? Because the only classes that used Charisma stank. A Paladin was basically a mix between a Fighter and a Cleric, only not as good as either one. A Bard was basically a mix between a Rogue and a Wizard focusing on the enchantment/illusion schools, only not as good as either one. And a sorcerer was basically a dumbed down Wizard. Now every class is useful.

4) But not too useful. There’s a nice even balance between the classes that comes through in just a perusal of the rules, with no one class unbalancingly powerful. A decently strong Fighter with multiple attacks per round under 3.5 rules was a juggernaut who could hack and slash forever or at least until knocked to negative HP. Whereas a Wizard who used up his spells for the day essentially became ballast until the next day. With battle powers and abilities divided into at-will, per encounter, and daily categories, and multiple attacks per round incorporated into those powers, it balances the classes so that every character grows weaker as the battle rages on, but never so weak that they’re useless.

5) Dramatically improved/streamlined rules. Prestige classes, grappling, trip attacks, bull rushing, saving throws, base attack bonus, turning undead, hit point totals, and a variety of other rules that were either overly complicated or difficult to execute have been simplified in ways that save time both in and out of game, but don’t neuter the system. It doesn’t make players less versatile in battle. On the contrary, it makes players more versatile by making them less likely to eschew courses of action based on the complexity of the rules governing them. When was the last time you wanted to grapple, but didn’t because the grappling rules are so damned complicated? No more.

6) Healing. This point is really just an elaboration on the previous one, but healing is one of the most important aspects of D&D mechanics as well as being one of the most dramatic changes, so it gets its own paragraph. All classes are now capable of a certain amount of self-healing out of battle, and even a small amount of it in battle, in addition to the ability to heal others displayed by Clerics, Paladins and the new Warlord class. And with a few minor exceptions healing is now exclusively based on increments equal to 25% of the max HP of the character being healed. Simple, effective, and it allows lone clerics to avoid becoming heal-bots if they don’t want to be.
Posted by: Scottie2Hottie

Re: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition - 07/23/08 09:43 AM

people still play that game??
Posted by: ANAMCHARA

Re: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition - 07/23/08 04:04 PM

RF: What do you think about the game Magic the Gathering? My son plays in a tournement every Friday.

I'm just now starting to get the jist of it..
Posted by: Reinhart Faust

Re: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition - 07/23/08 05:04 PM

Never cared for it. A very expensive hobby, and it lacks the aspect of improvisational theatre and role playing that D&D has.
Posted by: ANAMCHARA

Re: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition - 07/23/08 05:13 PM

I know the expensive aspect. I collected the cards for years because I loved the artwork. Now, all of the cards I spent my hard earned money on, my son uses in game play..

Oh well, at least they're getting used.
Posted by: AnneSmile

Re: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition - 07/24/08 01:58 AM

I always wanted to check the game out but never found people that played. Unfortunately all I know is what ever was in the movie where the character Tom Hanks played lost it.

The game sounds like fun.
Posted by: Reinhart Faust

Re: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition - 07/24/08 02:45 AM

It's more social than any video game and requires more imagination and creativity than any board or card game. It's equal parts strategy, chance, and improvisational theater. If you're with a good group of fellow players it's a blast.