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I've seen the Fourth Edition PHB and MM


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Author Topic: I've seen the Fourth Edition PHB and MM  (Read 3661 times)
randalls
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« on: May 28, 2008, 06:04:20 pm »

I had a very brief look at the Fourth Edition Player's Handbook and Monster Manual this afternoon -- about 20 minutes with each book. It's nothing like the D&D I've known and loved the past 30+ years.

OD&D, CD&D, and First Edition AD&D all felt like 100% D&D to me. 2nd Edition AD&D too was 95-100% D&D feel (but 75% to 80% with all the kits and especially with player options books). D&D 3.0 was about 50%-60% D&D feel to me. D&D 3.5 was maybe 35%. From my brief look at the 4E PHB and MM, I expect D&D 4 to be about 15% max D%D feel to me.

Oddly enough, it looks like D&D 4 may be a very nice fantasy RPG, especially for those who like lots of rules crunch and detailed tactical combat, but it is D&D in name and general concepts only.

Battle mats and miniatures seem almost impossible to do without unless one is willing to rewrite the combat system completely. Combats still look to be very time-consuming. I'm told the DMG suggests one encounter per hour of play, max but haven't seen this myself. I suppose this is an improvement on 3.x time-wise, but it is still far too slow for me.

Many of the character powers seem to have very little basis in reality and a lot of basis in MMORPGS. However, as I don't play MMORPGS I am merely going by what I've read about them and from listening to people talk about them.

Like 3.x, the game still seems to be more about building a character with lots of crunch rules and then trying to use those rules to best effect in play.

The art isn't as bad as I expected, which is good as there is a lot of it. I even liked some of the art.

All-in-all and as expected, D&D 4 is not my style at all. I will definitely not be buying this retail. However, if I see the books at a garage sale some time for a few bucks each, I'd probably get them just to have copies.
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Greyharp
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2008, 06:35:34 pm »

I will definitely not be buying this retail. However, if I see the books at a garage sale some time for a few bucks each, I'd probably get them just to have copies.

My thoughts too. Although I am not happy with how the game has evolved, I am interested.
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King_Barrowclaw
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2008, 09:04:11 pm »

I've seen them now as well Randall and I think you have called it fairly. They are very pretty to look at but there's not much of the same feel as the earlier editions.

They have all the names in there, heck the DM's Guide even has the "Invulnerable Coat of Arnd" in it. But there's this overpowering feeling of "dungeonpunk" badboy about everything. You half expect one of the characters to say "Yo yo yo whut up dawg? I got some fiiiiine eldar steel here gonna cut your sorry death knight heinie." j/k

But seriously, it has changed quite a bit. I'm not sure if it's for the better but it's sure for a different target group IMHO.
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randalls
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2008, 06:51:28 am »

I'm still waiting to get a look at a 4E DMG. I want to see if Rule Zero is still there and prominently mentioned. I also want to see just how these skill sequences I've read about work. By the sound of it, I'm afraid they have turned all sorts of role-playing situations (negotiating, for example) into a series of skill rolls.
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randalls
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2008, 09:34:36 am »

I forgot to mention that the Monster Manual looks like it is almost totally combat focused. Monsters that had all sorts of interesting abilities that were not directly useful in a hack-n-slash encounter in previous editions don't seem to have those abilities any more, or at least they aren't mentioned/listed in the ones I looked at. Lots of monsters like dragons and demons look to have been up-powered somewhat combat-wise but stripped of abilities that made them very useful monsters outside of direct combat. Heck, monsters who used magic in previous editions seem to have lost that ability in 4E. Perhaps the DMG covers adding character classes to them or something, if so no hint of that appeared in the monsters I looked at in the MM.

Reminder: my look was very brief so I could have missed something.

[Edit: bad typo fixed]
« Last Edit: May 29, 2008, 12:45:05 pm by randalls » Report Spam   Logged
Richter_Bravesteel
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2008, 04:31:03 pm »

My fears are substantiated, it seems.
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randalls
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2008, 06:00:58 pm »

My fears are substantiated, it seems.

Having read this on RPGPundit's blog...

Quote
1. No Rule 0. Yes, GMs can create house rules, but it does not appear that they can make rulings on the spot. In fact, in the section on how to deal with Rules Lawyers, one of the things that is most notable is that it DOESN'T tell you that you can just tell him to shut up or **** off, or that you as GM overrule his knowledge of the rules. No, apparently you're supposed to apologize if you've made an error, or you're allowed to put off discussion till the end of the session, and the rules lawyer is allowed to take all the time he wants to look up the rule while his character exists in a limbo (and cannot be harmed by the monsters or anything else).

...my worst fears have been apparently been realized. I should see the DMG this weekend to confirm this for myself.  Cry Cry Cry
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King_Barrowclaw
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2008, 07:43:05 pm »

I have now seen a copy of the dm guide and what the pundit says is true. I'll paraphrase/quote so that I don't get into trouble passing on info from a book that's not been released yet. One of my friends for some unknown reason has received his copies early. Don't know why, don't want to know.

Here's the pertinent passage: dm guide page 32. If the game come to a halt while a rules lawyer tries to find a particular rule invite him to take as long as he wants to search for it.....his character essentially  steps out of game for as long as that takes. Monsters don't attack him and he can delay indefinitely.

The purpose for this is so that the rest of the players can keep playing without him.

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King_Barrowclaw
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2008, 07:55:05 pm »

But I think this is the most telling section.

"Playing without a DM"

It's entirely possible to play D&D without a DM. For fun and exciting combat with no plot or purpose a random dungeon and encounter deck is all you need.

It goes on from there. Opinions?
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randalls
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2008, 08:14:58 pm »

Here's the pertinent passage: dm guide page 32. If the game come to a halt while a rules lawyer tries to find a particular rule invite him to take as long as he wants to search for it.....his character essentially  steps out of game for as long as that takes. Monsters don't attack him and he can delay indefinitely.

The purpose for this is so that the rest of the players can keep playing without him.

LOL. I know how I would use that. "You can pull your character into limbo for as long as you want to rules lawyer. Nothing bad -- or good -- will happen to him.  When you are ready to accept the way the rest of us want the rule to be interpreted, let me know and your character will rejoin us." I'm a huge believer in rule zero.
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randalls
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2008, 08:20:18 pm »

It goes on from there. Opinions?

That option has been there since almost the very beginning.

Quote from: THE STRATEGIC REVIEW, Vol 1, No 1, Spring 1975
SPECIAL FIRST ISSUE FEATURE!
SOLO DUNGEON ADVENTURES
by Gary Gygax, with special thanks to George A. Lord
Preliminary testing: Robert Kuntz and Ernest Gygax

Although it has been possible for enthusiasts to play solo games of
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS by means of "Wilderness Adventures",
there has been no uniform method of dungeon exploring, for the campaign
referee has heretofor been required to design dungeon levels.
Through the following series of tables (and considerable dice rolling)
it is now possible to adventure alone through endless series of dungeon
mazes!
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Richter_Bravesteel
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2008, 11:57:36 pm »

Wow, someones response to that blog you posted really irked me.

He said that with rule zero gone, DMs "No longer have the right to cheat". Its amazing how the point of that rule has been missed- but it seems like that line of thinking is what led to 3rd edition and beyond.
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randalls
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2008, 07:01:02 am »

He said that with rule zero gone, DMs "No longer have the right to cheat". Its amazing how the point of that rule has been missed- but it seems like that line of thinking is what led to 3rd edition and beyond.

There have always been players (and even DMs) who thought like this. As far as I can tell people who see it like that tend to fall into two major categories:

1) People who see D&D (and RPGs in general) as competitive games with the players trying to beat the DM and vice-versa. Naturally, if you are trying to win a competitive game, strict adherence to the rules is generally going to be important.

2) People whose early experiences with RPGs were with truly bad DMs: those DMs who are either totally incompetent or, worse, DM because they enjoy the power it gives them to mess over others (e.g. DMs who always see that the party dies no matter what it takes to kill them).

But yes, catering to these folks seems to be responsible for a lot of rules bloat. However, I think there was another reason for it. If one doesn't have to make any rules decisions let alone develop homebrew campaigns and adventures, it is probably easier to DM. Since sales really depend on having lots of DMs, WOTC was interested in making it easier for the average person to jump right into DMing without as many chances to goof up. Unfortunately, they chose lots of firm rules over lots of good advice and examples.
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Richter_Bravesteel
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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2008, 09:32:44 am »

I suppose I can see the motivation to make Dming easier, especially since its a rather tedious task in 3.5. Regardless, its also made the whole thing a lot less fun. A bigger problem with DMing in the new editions is that its practically impossible to fairly challenge players.

Considering what I've heard about 4th- the DM is actually just setting up bowling pins for the PC's to knock over.
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randalls
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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2008, 11:55:30 am »

Considering what I've heard about 4th- the DM is actually just setting up bowling pins for the PC's to knock over.

That certainly seems to be the general thrust of the rules I've seen. That idea is boring as hell from my point of view -- both from a DM and a player point-of-view. Why not just play some like Heroscape if that's what you want out of the game? It's less work and far less rules.
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