Terrence Marks (unlikeminerva) wrote,
Terrence Marks

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So, I picked up D&D 4th edition a week ago. I used to play first edition AD&D, and have followed the second and third editions. What do I think of the new one?

Day 1: Whargbl! They killed Dungeons & Dragons! What happened to lawful neutral? I can't build an int rogue! Two kinds of elves? That's either too many or not enough - maybe both!

Day 2: Wait a minute. They've already ported over bards and gnomes. There's a lot of setting fluff and some of it is quite good. They'll probably bring over everything else that got cut, eventually. Or a third party will make a supplement. I mean, that's what happened with Ravenloft and Planescape in the third edition. Or you could just use the old settings and adjust things yourself. I'm sure that in two more years, they'll have added a dozen types of elves back in, and only a hardcore elf-nerd could actually tell you the difference between High Elves and Grey Elves.

Day 3: I still don't understand warlocks. Are they like sorcerors? Or are wizards like sorcerors now? Spell memorization is gone, right? You can cast magic missle as many times as you want? Is that legal? But it never was that fun being the wizard with one spell who had to stand in the back while the fighters did all the fun stuff. Or, ten levels later, being the fighter who still did 1d8+2 damage while the mages did all the fun stuff.

Day 4: I mean, I never really got gnomes. I mean, as far as race archetypes, I'm totally drawing a blank. I understand dwarves, elves, halflings, goblins, kobolds, and two or three different types of orcs. But gnomes? Ask me to describe gnomes, and all I've got is "short". Not that dragonborn look like a winner at the moment, either.

Day 5: Action points? Neck slot items? Defender and controller character roles? Picking character stats instead of rolling 3d6? Is this D&D or a pen-and-paper version of a MMORPG? It doesn't feel like D&D. But what is the D&D feel? Twenty mildly different types of polearms, monsters attacks that have a 30% chance of killing you (saving throw? not this time. Flat percentage chance for everybody.), and psionics rules that give you a 3% chance of having a massive advantage. I mean, on one level it's the same as replacing "Players have a 40% chance to find the hidden lever" with actual mechanics for spot checks. But seriously, neck slot items? And there are terms they don't define until a hundred pages later. I read about powers doing [W]+3 damage and can't figure out why thieves are hitting things using Wisdom.

Day 6: I still miss lawful neutral. I'm sure modrons will be back, but I want to play a hero who stops the lich-king from destroying the universe because the lich-king hasn't filled out Form 837/b (Removing a Tree from Municipal Property), on the grounds that destroying the universe would remove one or more trees.

Day 7: I realize that all of this, and more, has been discussed by online over the past year or so. If you look at my taste in music, "one year behind the times" is as close as I've gotten in the recent past. I really ought to actually roll up a character - wait, I mean stat out a character using one of the chosen attribute blocks. Yes, I know - the alternative is you end up gaming with the guy who swears he rolled all 18s. I want to like it, but it seems strange. The advantage of waiting a year is that I can see that other folks seem to like it, so it can't be all bad. D&D seems decidedly not-dead at present. When I get time, I'll give it a shot
Tags: dungeons & dragons, games, rpg
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