John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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4E Really Looking Bad Now... :( [gaming]

Y'know, lots of the WotC staff and playtesters keep saying things like, "Having been on 4E for a while, I just can't stand the idea of going back to 3.5 -- 4E is so much faster/simpler/whateverer!" This is a statement to which I'm somewhat sympathetic, as it's sorta how I feel about SWSE vs. 3.5, so with that in mind I was really hoping that, even though they killed the magazines [1], I might at least come to like 4E.

Well, unless something really unexpected comes up between now and then, that ain't gonna happen.

If you're wondering what I'm basing it on, it's primarily a "fan created" PHB based on preview materials released so far, including the "preview play" games handed out at the recent D&D Experience convention. I recommend that if you're interested in 4E at all, you download it and take a look.

First of all, there's the races. Tieflings are a core race. Eladrin have a 5-square teleport as a racial ability.

Then, the classes. Every vaguely-magical class is firing off spells with a flash and a bang all over the place. Paladins do smites that make magic shields appear in front of buddies. Rangers shoot arrows in two directions simultaneously. And this is all at first level!

Basically, it's all "Turn it up to 11!!!!!1"-ified, with all of the worst annoying D&D cheese cranked right up at first level, with the promise of worse things to come.

If you're still interested, you might also want to check out this monsters compilation. In particular, as a ferinstance, check out the "Hobgoblin Soldier" on page 8 of the PDF. As the name implies, he's a hobgoblin armed with a flail, so far so good. What does a flail do? Damage, of course. But a successful hit also slows the target.

Um ... why? The 4E answer seems to be "BECAUSE THAT'S KEWL!!!" Or something. 0.o

This is followed by "Formation Strike." This is a power in which the hobgoblin attacks, does damage, and then moves one square. Okay. But only if he ends up next to another hobgoblin. Ga-buh? No hobgoblin, he's stuck and place and can only wail on you with his amazing slow-bestowing flail. But with another hobgoblin, instead of slowing you, HE moves instead.

Um ... why?

And this is a 3rd level monster. A mook. They've all got stuff like that. The "Goblin Picador" sticks you with a harpoon and you can't move away from him. Kobolds get +1 if there's another kobold nearby. Gnolls do more damage if there are 2 more gnolls nearby. Just lots of random effects scattered all over the place. I grok that it makes for more diverse combats than just "roll, do damage, roll, do damage" -- but unless there's some underlying system for it all, it's also a nasty mess of the "every monster is its own rule" variety.

(One of the things that laurie_robey often bemoans about D&D is that every spell is its own rule that you have to know on top of the core mechanics. 4E has expanded that so that every friggin' creature is its own rule. 0.o)

So ... yeah ... not liking the direction this seems to be moving in. Looks like I may end up doing Sword-and-Sorcery SAGA from now on...

-The Gneech

[1] No, I still haven't forgiven them.
Tags: dungeons & dragons, gaming
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