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Lichbane 25th March 2008 10:29 AM

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.

fantomas 27th March 2008 08:33 AM

Unlimited Magic Missiles!?!!!?!!

From your description it certainly sounds like they turned D&D4e into a MMO style game. Personally I enjoy the fact that the RPGs I play are not like MMOs. Oh well I guess it fits in with the instant gratification youth of the day.

When I was a lad......

Zhul 27th March 2008 10:34 AM

I've been getting a lot of 4e information from EN World and I have to admit, I'm excited about it. I haven't been this excited about a new edition since I looked over the 2nd Edition Player's Handbook in the gaming store way back in the day.

There's a lot of people out there with negative attitudes about a new edition - and I can understand where they're coming from. When 3e came out I wasn't happy about it because I had well over $500 invested in the 2e books. I didn't want to see them become obsolete and didn't want to try to convert to a new ruleset. However, having played 3.5e for over a year now, I can say that a lot of the core rules used in 3e I had already house-ruled into my own 2e game.

4e is getting a pretty serious rules overhaul. I'm sure some of them will be fantastic and others will be horrible, but the key will be whether or not it is fun to play. With the new powers system, I'm hoping that the game changes from the current system of the 1st level Wizard popping his one magic missile and then sitting out for the rest of the fight, the cleric just being there to be the party bandaid, and the high level fighter being constantly overshadowded by the mage destroying an entire army with Meteor Swarm.

I'm hopeful that it will be a system that makes the game fun for everyone in any situation. I've been playing D&D for almost 30 years, so changing things up a bit is refreshing - and if I ever feel nostalgic I still have all my old books to run a campaign with.

fantomas 27th March 2008 02:27 PM

If it manages to convince non-pnpers to try it out, I'm all for it. Especially if they then go on to check out the other games out there. I moved away from playing lvl based games many years ago & prefer the non-lvl based systems. On the other hand if the game gives the tools for a DM to run a good story & one of my mates picks it up & decides to run it because he likes a setting/scenario/campaign for it, then I'll give it a shot.

StoneRhinoLotD 2nd April 2008 05:44 AM

I'm not a real DnD fan, personally i prefered ShadowRun,Battletech, Robotech and i believe 2nd edition starwars over dnd 2nd and 3rd edition. I remmeber going to barnes and nobles to pick up a copy of the 2nd edition players handbook since I had just started talking to a friend i hadn't seen for a few years and he was with a group of others playing this game. I ended up picking up a Battletech Conpendium:RoW and drooled and never looked back at the dnd book again but stil lplayed it.

I gotta say that I don't care for mmo rpg games, its missing the skeleton of a real rpg game, which is paper and dice in my opinion. Theres never any true story to mmo's so they lack the heart of the game. They lack the brains of the game as character creation is just clicking away a few points and thats it. They don't have the backstory to the game and rarely do they show the true differences between different classes.

Yes the story is the biggest part of the game but i always liked the details of the games. I remember what was the first account of a speed based rpg game I had played which was a marvel game. It used cards and all players were given a hand and you used it against the hand of the GM for the npcs for combat. I know back then it was a blend of CCG and RPG instead of an mmo/rpg hybrid but it was speed/flow based. THere was just something lacking and that was a depth of both characters as well as combat.

It was fun for a while until I started to realize the differences and the newness started to fade. Had my friend that bought it not joined the AirForce soon after, chances are the game would have been shelved anyways. The same was true for a starwars CCG that was also flow based which was based off the newer movies. It lacked the depth of other CCGs....damn i miss the Battletech CCG.

What it sounds like is the new edition is going to be the "clickyTech" version of DnD. Much like the mageknight version of Battletech ("mechwarrior") was designed for speed and ease of learning the game, its likely to be missing the depth that is a true tabletop wargame, a true version of Battletech. It was watered down and simplified which old players are likely to always hate. THe idea of trying to speed things up to get new players into the game doesn't mean much if it drives off older players and there is no dual support for the streamlined game and the older style with all of its intricate aspects. Theres no chance of a graduation from fast and simple to true and detailed.

Will making paper and dice games into paper versions of mmos cause pnds to lose their soul? Will it result in new players thinking its a game trying to be wow on paper ,who then decide to just go back to the mmo games? Theres making changes to make the game better and theres changes that could in fact destroy the game itself.

What i think PnDs need most is marketing and attempts to break into the mainstream. By that I mean getting their starter products put into video game shops. Ive seen a GamesWorkshop and Wizards of the Coast stores in some of the local malls but the end up dieing within 1-3 years and theres virtually nothing used to draw in non players. Wotc lined the front of the store with variations of monpoly and other classic board games. GW used ultra bland white walls and normal sized mini posters on the windows at best with their big suit of marine armor facing into the store instead outwards or even outside the door.

Both failed at marketing their games to non players. Both failed at luring in curious costomers by offering visuals and audio to help draw them in. Wotc failed to show the "community" aspect of the games by having zero game tables set up. GW failed at making the game look interesting by offering white walls and bland looking table tops in a crammed enviroment. Of course having nothing but annoying 13 year olds buzzing around didn't help.

Of course I live in california which is similar to a desert when it comes to rpgs and reasons to play them. it seems like everyone is about going to clubs and getting drunk off their asses and getting laid. It seems like areas that have actual seasons and less clubs appear to have more rpg stuff going on. At least going by the forums i used to go to and seeing the players looking for other players in certain areas.

Yrsa 9th April 2008 02:04 AM

Aside from one change a friend mentioned, these are the first positive things I've heard about 4E - of course, I don't haunt ENWorld or the Wizards forums anymore, either.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind checking it out... but I'm not in a position (and won't be anytime soon) to go buy yet another set of books. It took me a long time to embrace the sweeping changes in 3E (and those only after most were refined in d20 Modern) - just haven't had the heart to drop more cash on 3.5 or the upcoming 4E.

I'll follow this, though - if it actually is worth it, we just might give it a go :cool:

cougar75 10th April 2008 05:05 PM

Making pen and paper RPGs like MMOG's..... I can see why they've done this as the RPG world has really taken a big knock in terms of players either migrating to or taking up MMOG's instead of the "traditional" RPG but I'm just not sure if this will work. Maybe I'm getting old and crotchety in my not quite doteage but I like pen and paper RPGs because they are so different from MMO's.

I suppose elements of the MMOG has always been apart of pen and paper systems in that you can only cast so many number of spells per day but that was part of the fun. The discussion with the party of "Well the fighters are nearly dead, the rogue is unconcious and the cleric has one cure light wounds left and the wizard can create glowing stones so we really need to rest but here is too dangerous so we have to leave or at least get some where safe but there's that noise coming from where we've just left that sound like 1000 terrible things coming this way what do we do?" That I loved especially about D&D and you can get similar experiences in countless other games. To then go to a system where in this case it may be case of If we can wait 10 mins all will be well" then I think we may have lost something but as I've not seen anything about 4th Edition I could be wrong, I hope.

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