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Old 25th March 2008, 10:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default D&D 4E could rekindle P&P for me ....

25 years ago I was introduced to AD&D by bunch of guys at University. It started a lifelong love affair with Role Playing, and made some friends for life. But as things went on, technology got better and people become more scattered, MMO's took over from P&P. We played just about everything from UO onwards. And it was fun. The momputer took over the hack rules and we just played. Well I can't say that people being scattered is so much of an issue as most of my close mates have moved to Canberra with only a couple of exceptions, but we still love our MMOs and we VERY occasionally get together for some good old fashioned P&P role playing.

Well on the Easter weekend a mate of ours, Phil, came down from Sydney and it was a good excuse to put keyboards aside an resurrect our once a year game. But Phil had some other ideas. He'd brought some character sheets and quickstart rules that were distributed at Gencon for that new-fangled 4E D&D.

Now to say we were skeptical is an understatement. Ian's still complaining about how the Mages keep losing more fingers since good old fashioned 1E. We've seen Rogues go from useless to uber in 3E. Clerics being elevated to Godhood in 3E. Warriors finding new reasons to go psionically invisible. And more prestige classes than we knew what to do with. Converting those old characters simply felt stupid each time we even attempted it. D&D had gone through so many incarnations in the guise of improvements that it just wasn't D&D anymore.

So we sat down with a bunch of level 1 characters and looked at the sheets. Hmmm .... "This is not D&D, Phil. What is this crap?", we'd exclaim. "Just give it a try and see how it flows ... and then give me your opinion" was the reply.

Ok. There were At Will powers. Once per Combat points. Once per day powers .... and everybody had them. There were healing surges and all sorts of weird shit we didn't understand. But there were some core stuff there which still made a bit of sense. Ok ... we'd roll with it.

It's funny how games evolve. It's like the MMORPG scene, except new MMOs will try and divorce themselves with the old branding if they are trying to present something new. D&D has kept the same branding and yet the rules have changed so much, they barely resemble what was released in the early 80's. But just like MMOs they seem to have learned how to make the game flow more ....

So anyway we grabbed our new pre-rolled level 1 characters and were faced with a bunch of bandits. The tank charged in with used his abilities to stop the baddies from charging our ranged characters. The Mage complained that he had to roll to hit with his Magic Missile, but at least he had unlimited numbers of them. The Ranger used his Careful Shots to pick off the enemy archer. It was like a P&P game using MMO rules. You had powers with that you could use each combat round, ones that had a cooldown and ones that had a long cooldown. It all felt pretty familiar .... and the whole thing flowed.

So we did another combat. And another. And another. Each time we swapped characters and tried out things from different perspectives. Everybody had their role and everybody had fun powers. The game was simple in concept but had

So we hunted for some more rules to see if we could level up (all to no avail). It left us hungry for more. It's the first time I can truly say that about a P&P game in over 10 years. I'm keen to know what else they have done and how the other classes have been affected by the changes.

Sure it's nothing like the old fashioned D&D of old. But it was FUN. Roll on June.
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