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Fears of 4e

   Posted by: Avaril   in RPG

This post over at Critical Hits really struck a chord with me.  Not because it reminded me of my group’s adoption of 3rd edition.  We actually had quite the opposite reaction.  For years, we had been playing 1st edition with some 2nd edition tacked on.  We only had two Player’s Handbooks, and most of our books were in rough shape.  Most of our materials were treated as carefully as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

When 3rd Edition hit, and we saw how good it was, we all bought a copy.  Finally, we had enough PHB’s for everyone.  It was joyous.  There was some initial resistance to 3.5, but after seeing the improvements it made, and the broken things it fixed (remember 3.0 Rangers, anyone?), we eBay’d our 3.0 books and upgraded.

Now, in a little over a month, I am going to try to run my group’s first 4e game.

Most mentions of 4e are met with derision, even at the time when we first heard about it.  Admittedly, there is some things I don’t like about 4e (mosly about having to shoehorn new things into our game world), but there’s quite a bit I do.  I feel it’s important to stress to my players that this is a new rules system, and comparison to 3.5 is not exactly comparing apples to apples.

There’s a few things that I know already won’t go over well.  It’s funny how I haven’t heard these mentioned as negatives anywhere else, but nonetheless will cause groaning at our game table:

  • Not adding con bonus to HP every level - adding their full con score to HP at first level may throw them for a loop, though.
  • Fixed HP at each level - the more I think about this, the more I like it, especially since I’m always the guy who throws a ‘1′ on my HP roll.  It’s gotten so bad that I usually have other people roll for me.
  • WTF is an Eladrin? - I’m not too sold on them, either, and I’m not really sure how they’ll fit in my game world.
  • Why is the cheese-tastic Dragonborn now core? - We may be able to put these people in somewhere, but for the most part they will cause women to scream and babies to cry if they show up in our established villages.
  • No Druid or Barbarian (yet, anyway) - I was usually the Druid player, but we had quite a few that liked to play a barbarian.

What they may like, if given a chance.

  • More balanced classes.
  • More options in combat.
  • Interesting terrain, playing a bigger role in fights.
  • Skill challenge system, for situations bigger than a single DC.
  • The Warlord.

So, I’ll keep you updated as to how it goes.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 10:30 am and is filed under RPG. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 comments so far


Eladrin? Dragonborn?

Don’t exist. Never heard of them.

No Druid? No Barbarian? What was WoTC thinking?

October 15th, 2008 at 11:43 am

They said that it was about getting all the ‘roles’ covered in the first pass, and that the Druid shapechange ability and Barbarian rage needed some work.

The barbarian playtest for PHB II is out now, it was a free PDF.

October 15th, 2008 at 11:47 am

Not adding con bonus to HP every level

Yeah, that definitely throws people at first. But it makes it so that Con isn’t an absolute requirement for every character regardless of class. But it does take some getting used to.

Fixed HP at each level

This is what will throw my group the most when they first level up. But it’s such a common houserule (and for good reason) that I can’t blame them for doing it.

It also means that my Barbarian will never have less HP than the Warlock, except maybe at level 1, which is sweet.

WTF is an Eladrin?

If you had the common High Elf/Wood Elf split in your campaigns, then Eladrin fit in well as High Elves.

If not, you can also just remove the name and call them Elves as well. A player who plays an Elf then gets to choose whether he plays a more physical/woodsy elf, or a more mental/wizardly elf (Eladrin). Both look the same, and both are called Elves.

They also fit well as a distinct fey race, which may or may not be a common PC race. You can easily use them in a similar fashion to Nymphs and Dryads. As a warrior/mage race from whatever Fey realm you use.

Or you could leave them out altogether.

Why is the cheese-tastic Dragonborn now core?

Mostly to allow DMs to let players be draconic without going to the level-adjustment races of the past.

Really, if you haven’t had at least one player (often a new player) ask to play a half-dragon, you’re a rarity. :P

No Druid or Barbarian (yet, anyway)

Aside from the Barbarian playtest, one of my players is actually playing a Druid in our current game.

Not just a nature priest, but a full-on Elemental Witch style Druid.

All we did was use Wizard as the base class and rename/reflavour the powers. It’s been working quite well, and I should have a post up about it soon.

October 15th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Something is being lost here…

Fixed hit points at each level… we no longer have weaker or fighters any more? Why not just lose all dice roles and give us stock characters instead? Perhaps this is because creating characters has got so complicated and time consuming that getting 1 hit point and losing the character is just too expensive (in terms of time to make a new character) for a player to contemplate… because the rule system has become too complex in the first place! Just a thought…

Anathema! Burn the witch! hehe ;-)

October 19th, 2008 at 2:31 am

Nobody in our games would ask to play a Dragon-born, we would mock them mercilessly. :)

Even some of the oddball classes are kind of frowned upon. Heck, one of the GM’s hates Bards. :P

October 20th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

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