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Messages - Dogfish

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RPGs / Re: My Gripe with 4th Ed.
« on: March 03, 2010, 08:22:03 AM »
I think a lot of the balancing complaints about thrid edition got fixed and fleshed out not by a change in errata and splat book classes and feats but by the increasing wealth of monsters to fight. This allowed a GM far more options in what to throw at their party with a little bit of work. However what 4th edition has done well is make monsters an incredible malleable resource of the dungeon master. They have also made damage significantly more uniform. What this means is that it is far more easy to make encounters more balanced even if the character classes aren't. I think a DM that puts a lot of effort into their encounters in 3.X could achieve this same result but it would require a lot of reading to know the full ability of each little spell-like ability etc.

I have to say that I am not a fan of 4th. Ed. I think the combat heavy focus in the books (compare player handbooks of 3.5 and this and tell me how many pages have a combat dedication) just leads new DMs down a dark path to rail-roading. Now this may seem like a bit of a leap but let me explain. You need to plan encounters thoroughly in 4th ed. There is no escaping this fact because of the greater amount of 'tactics' and wargaming involved in how the combat mechanic works. This means a DM has already invested an awful lot of time into something that, with a good story and an intelligent party, could be avoided completely. However, in my experience, what ends up happening is that these new DMs find they can make the exact combat encounter they want time after they want every single one to be played. Ultimately this will cut into the story and player options.

This isn't to say that I don't think a good party, led by a good DM could easily overcome this problem. I'm trying to approach the 'problem' from the point of view of someone new to the game, which could simply be someone used to playing other systems because they never 'got' D&D or someone new to role-playing all together.

As an analogy. Many podcasts back Tom read a letter written by his mate about a new guy that joined a hopeless pirate campaign. A kid had in his spare time wrote up a nautical druid. This kid then in battle with another ship poly-morphed into a dolphin, swam over to the enemy ship and then proceeded to cast wood warping spells at the hull. Now the fate of this player is a sad one and shows a 3.5 flaw. However you show me how you could show that ingenious turn of logic in 4th ed. The only ritual cast in the 30+ New World campaign games is the water ritual which was plot centric. These rituals were supposed to do what the wizard (etc.) bag full of tricks would do in 3.5 but they never get used. The reason for this is obvious, they are dreadfully implemented.

Well of this went on longer than expected, this I guess is my gripe with 4th Ed.

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