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Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

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Buford

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I'll start this off by saying... yeah, I'm a D&D geek. (You know, if the thread title didn't tip you off.)

I started with 3rd Edition right around when it came out, and have always stuck to the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. When 3.5e came out, it was a minor upgrade that didn't drastically alter anything but made some things that were clunky in 3e work better, and our group switched over almost immediately.

I've been a player in a lot of campaigns, and have been co-DMing a two-player campaign with my wife for three years, so I'm pretty familiar with the ins and outs of the 3.5e system.

So, Wizards of the Coast has just released the 4th Edition of D&D... and I'm less than enthused. After doing rudimentary playtesting of the combat rules it looks like they are turning it into a pencil and paper World of Warcraft. The alignment system is dumbed-down, the old spellcasting method is completely gone, and everything you can do is based on a limited list of granted "powers" by your class that fall into a sort of tech tree. Granted, this makes wizards useful at low level, but it takes away their versatility. No more spell schools and school specialization, no more pure RP or utility spells, and no distinction like 3e had between sorcerer and wizard - all wizards can cast at-will.

The barbarian, bard, and monk classes are gone. Some of the new base races are twinked - tiefling used to have a level adjustment in 3e; and some are a case of "what?"... like elves not having an affinity for magic.

It's much harder to die in 4e than it is in 3e. 1st level characters are nowhere near as weak as they were in 3/3.5e, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. Saves and AC are now based on the better of two stats rather than one core stat which makes your stats less important in my opinion. And skills... skills are broken. Skills have been consolidated (not a bad thing in itself), but no longer do you take ranks in a skill - you're just "trained" or not. "Trained" is a flat +5 to a skill... and your bonus in all skills is 1/2 your level. This means that every character's skillset is practically identical and a high level character is good at doing everything. It's power inflation.

Monster stats are done a little nicer, as the old CR/EL system was terrible at best for estimating a monster's strength, so I do have to give it that.

Despite an attempt to simplify they managed to throw combat modifiers all over everything, which can get incredibly confusing. There used to be only a few standard non-class-specific modifiers that cropped up on a regular basis - charge, +2 to attack, -2 to AC until next turn; flatfooted, lose Dex bonus to AC; and bonuses from spells that last several rounds like a bard's song, etc. Now practically every class has a special power that grants a +2 to a particular target, or a +1 to damage until next turn if the character takes damage during the same turn, a +2 to AC only on Tuesdays with the purchase of a large drink, etc. Okay, I exaggerate on that last one, but it's a lot of one-round bonuses to keep track of that every class can pull out, and nothing is the same among them.

Anybody else play D&D, particularly 3.5e? Any thoughts on 4e?
 

Homercidal

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Wow, I wasn't in love with 3, having played mostly in AD&D rules, but this new version looks like crap! What are they trying to do?

I dont' get most of the changes. The old rules were simple, and left a lot to the DMs and players to work out, which might be good or bad. But some of what you are describing dont' really make much sense.

I basically gave up on it after 3. When we have played, we basically just role-play and work out the details as we go. If we were more serious, we'd probably stick to the rules more, but there seem to be so many that we just agree on what makes sense (unless I want to kill a player, then they are SCREWED! MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!111
 

blacklab

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Just curious - don't they have video game versions of these now? Woudn't you rather play those rather than the die/paper version?
 

adrock

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I also started playing D&D back in the AD&D days, and through 3rd edition. I haven't played in years, but am a little disappointed that they got rid of the monk as a base character class. IMO that was the best upgrade of 3rd edition (and the best class).

On the whole it sounds like they've dumbed down character construction (the real role-playing) and made combat too complex. Not a good combo for us nerds that like role-playing.

To answer your question blacklab, there are video game versions of D&D games; some of which do a rather good job staying faithful to the D&D rule system.........but no video game yet has been able to offer the near-infinite possibilities of a good ol' paper and dice game. Besides, it's a great way to get together with your friends in the real world, assuming you're all nerds.
 
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Buford

Buford

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I've heard one description say that 4e is a great board game, i.e. it's designed almost entirely for combat and everything else is an afterthought. You could almost say the same for 3e too though, as most rules revolved around combat there as well. At least there was a halfway decent skill system to back up roleplay of characters.

One thing that really weirded me out looking through the book was that all classes now use one table for getting abilities and whatnot, the abilities just differ by class. I haven't tried making a multiclass character in 4e, but it looks like it would be about as fun as pulling teeth.

Saves are handled kind of like AC now. Instead of the defender rolling a save vs. the attacker's spell save DC, the attacker rolls something like INT vs. the defender's save value. It seems like a simplification, but in practice it's just confusing having to list out what the attack rolls are for everything (as opposed to just knowing a certain spell forces a particular save or is a ranged touch attack with no save). I do have to chalk a lot of that up to just knowing the old system (e.g. knowing right off that a Fireball - a 3rd level wizard spell - has a minimum range of 400 ft and does a d6 fire damage per caster level up to 10, and forces a reflex save for half damage; or that a Magic Missile is a d4 for every other caster level up to 5 dice, automatic damage with no save or or attack roll necessary).

The old spell system WAS complicated. But then again... wizardry isn't meant to be an easy path. 4e reduces it too much.

The new alignment system annoys me. No longer is there a two axis system of law/chaos and good/evil with nine alignments - now it's Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Chaotic Evil. That's simplifying too much. D&D has had nine alignments since 1e, if I'm not mistaken. Perhaps with the lesser emphasis on pages and pages of spells, some of which affect chaos, law, good, and evil differently, they just didn't feel it was important anymore. Still, though, a lawful neutral judge and a chaotic neutral crazed berserker are nowhere near the same in moral outlook but 4e lumps them in Unaligned.

Practically everything goes up with level. Not just obvious hit points, which are flat per-level now as opposed to rolled, but skills and even AC goes up with your level (and can get a bonus from Int now). For some reason a 6th level wizard with an int of 16 would have the same armor class as a 4th level fighter with a dex of 18 if both weren't wearing armor. That doesn't make sense to me. I may be forgetting if fighters get some random AC bonus, but the base numbers just don't register.

Supposedly the new "dispute resolution system" or whatever it's called that involves particular skill checks in a "get 4 successes before 2 failures" is mathematically broken. Honestly I don't know, but I've seen comment that the probabilities are way off.
 
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Buford

Buford

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Just curious - don't they have video game versions of these now? Woudn't you rather play those rather than the die/paper version?
Video games are fun, but nothing compares to sitting around smoking a shisha and drinking beer with friends while running an old-fashioned pencil and paper game. It's open-ended in ways that compter games can't be unless there's a human at the helm. Supposedly Neverwinter Nights 2 was a good mix - could play it as a video game with a human DM with D20 rules, but I prefer the good old dice.
 

malkore

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Just curious - don't they have video game versions of these now? Woudn't you rather play those rather than the die/paper version?
its not the same though. They have AD&D online that's an MMO but i hear it sucks bad. without that level of player interaction, its a 'serious' video game and not the 'campy' game full of vorpal bunnies and girdles of femininity.

more on topic: I only play 2nd edition rules. WOC hosed the whole system with 3rd ed if you ask me.
 

TexLaw

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its not the same though. They have AD&D online that's an MMO but i hear it sucks bad. without that level of player interaction, its a 'serious' video game and not the 'campy' game full of vorpal bunnies and girdles of femininity.

more on topic: I only play 2nd edition rules. WOC hosed the whole system with 3rd ed if you ask me.
I agree on almost all counts. Third edition became too complex and bulky. Second edition, wasn't bad, but I missed how they did not incorporate the Unearthed Arcana classes from AD&D. We brought them in, ourselves, though.

The only point on which I do not entirely agree is that I would prefer to play the AD&D rules. Part of what made D&D so great when I first started was how it only really set up the basics for the world and gave the players some room to customize. The more complicated it became, the less the players could tailor the rules to their own enjoyment.


TL
 
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Buford

Buford

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Necro-posting here, but since 4e is out now I've had a chance to look through the books. From the looks of it, I don't think I'll be playing it anytime soon, or at all. It may be a decent system in and of itself, but it just doesn't feel like D&D to me. Spellcasters are completely different, and the system just doesn't gel well with what I know about how the Forgotten Realms setting up to this point works.

There are just so many modifiers to keep track of in combat, and I thought 3.5e was bad about that. In the guise of simplifying the system it just added more accounting during combat.

3.5e has its own issues, but we've house-ruled enough things that were a little wonky in the standard rules over the past few years that it is decently playable without changing up the basic D20 system too much.

Recently, I wrote up some alt death and dying rules for 3.5e that, while taking a cue from 4e's handling of it, still feels like 3.5e.
Alternate Death and Dying House Rules for 3.5e
 

jezter6

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Buford,

I'd recommend using True20 or something like Castles and Crusades.

go back to that 1e feel without the gazillion modifiers of 3rd or 4th edition.
 

ohiobrewtus

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This thread makes me feel old. I haven't played since I was a kid, and I still have all of the first edition hardcover books to prove it (Fiend Folio, DM Guide, etc.).
 

chortly

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Seems like they're just trying to ride the WoW wave now. I miss 2e, minues THAC0s.
 

mattmcl

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I started back with the blue Basic book in about 1979. I recently started playing again with 3.5 rules, which I really like. I looked at 4th and it looks terrible. I might be willing to give it a try, but I'm not going to shelve my 3.5 books and buy new ones. I'm playing a modern d20 campaign now, and nobody in that group plans to switch either. With all the 3.5 content out there, why bother?
 
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Buford

Buford

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The 3.5e books are dirt cheap now as well. We've been grabbing any useful ones since the switchover.
 

Zul'jin

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Man, I haven't played on paper since I was on the younger side of teenage. It was great fun, but like kids do, I switched interests.

Then, something happened. We wanted to play again. Some D&D shops had opened around town and re-sparked our interest. It seemed like good news for D&D fans, but no. It quickly became more about buying expensive figurines, designer dice, fancy maps and high dollar story books than it was about playing. One place didn't even sell graph paper. That was the old cheap way. They acted like you couldn't even do that anymore. Meh.

Then came better video game consoles. Then I learned me some computer. The only reason I even bothered was to play D&D type games. I'd be lost sitting at a table top now.

I am a huge WoW fan and do admit it is not D&D. Flat is not. If you do want a PC game more similar to D&D, try the Elder Scrolls games. Baldurs Gate is good, too.
 

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Man, I miss playing D&D. All my nerdy friends have moved on to other places, or we've lost contact, or they're too busy with real lives. Growing up sucks the big one.

...Baldurs Gate is good, too.
I think Baldur's Gate (along with all its sequels) is the most true-to-form D&D game I've played. What an awesome game! That's it, I'm reinstalling it. BTW, Neverwinter Nights and Icewind Dale are also good, though their plot may be less complex and interesting, on the whole.
 

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This thread makes me feel old. I haven't played since I was a kid, and I still have all of the first edition hardcover books to prove it (Fiend Folio, DM Guide, etc.).
I have those in my basement and remember how cool it was when the fiend folio came out. haven't found anyone to play with for years, but I still have all my 30+ year old dice in a 30+ year old Chivas Bag.
 

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I havent played d&d since something like 80. back then we used a grease pencil some plastic and one of those pattern cutting mats. we also all had our own peuter figurings for our characters. allowed us to draw out our maps and know what was going on with the qwest. tried the computer games and didnt like it.
 
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