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A Few More 4E Thoughts

Just posted this on ENWorld, but I wanted to copy it here for my own reference.

Originally Posted by "Thread Title"
Name exactly what 4E is "missing"

Well, it's missing gnome illusionists and half-orc monks for a start.

But I think one of the other current threads (I forget which one now, alas) is getting very close to it in regards to the lack of support for different playstyles. I see people on the boards here saying that 4E could easily support a low-magic game, or an all-warrior game, or what-have-you, but when I look at the books themselves it sure doesn't seem that way. Heck, the chapter on encounter design explicitly says to "magic it up" because that makes an exciting encounter.

Well, for those who like "magicked-up" encounters, no doubt it's true. On the other hand, for those (like me) who balk at things being turned up to 11, especially at 1st level, it's not just wrong but 180-degrees from what I want.

"So go play some other game!" always comes back the snarky reply. Well yeah, that's what I'm doing. So why do I care about the state of D&D? Because love it or hate it, D&D is the 900-lb. gorilla of the gaming world and depending on your circumstances may be the only thing going. In previous editions, there was enough support for my favored style of play that I could at least come close enough to what I wanted and enjoy myself, while the player across the table who wanted neon-lit wuxia could have his fun too.

Now, at least if you go by the books, anything that's not neon-lit wuxia need not apply.

That's what 4E is missing -- inclusiveness -- and I think that's why the people who dislike it are so vehement about it. Once upon a time, if you wanted to play something that wasn't already in the game, the philosophy was "Okay, we'll shoe-horn it in somehow!"

4E? "Don't want to play something from Column A or Column B? Then get the #&$@ out."

-The Gneech


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 7th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
The 4E barbarian illustrates that point perfectly. Instead of giving people ideas for playing the class, Wizards defined the "right" way to play it.
Oct. 7th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
i had to google wuxia. It sounds about right, though. Previous editions left your class open to about as much specialization or focus in certain areas as you wanted. 4th ed pretty much promises that a crowd of 5th level $particular_race &particular_class characters will always (and only) be available in chocolate, vanilla, and maybe strawberry, with the same abilities and etc.

The "your class is your role in combat" also feels kinda stiff, even outside of the roleplaying element. I'm sure it makes combat flow more smoothly, but... If i wanted that, i'd just play WoW for another night, rather than on a tabletop.
Oct. 7th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
Along the same vein, I see some serious role-play problems arising, since the way that barbarian entry was written defined not only the abilities and form of the class, but the attitude, outlook on the world, and motivations.

This is excellent if the class is written to the role you want or are cast in, and absolutely useless and detrimental if you want to stray at all.
Oct. 7th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
people who want to dispute me can use against me the whole "never played it yet" thing, but whenever I look at 4e, all I see are powers. So, yeah, you're right, it's a superhero game with a fantasy dressing. If I want to be a superhero, I'd likely have all kinds of fun using the system. Problem is, I want to play a fantasy game, which I have trouble finding when I look at 4e. Oh, I see one there, but it isn't my fantasy game. It's someone else's trying to tell me theirs is the only one I should be using. -Frisk
Oct. 7th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah. They don't need to hand you a plot, but they're pigeonholing some previously quite versatile classes, both in style of combat, and in style of play. A previous D&D version barbarian might be used for anything from a tribe of feral pre-humans, to a warrior from a tribe in africa, to a marauding hun, to a highland scottish warrior, to Conan, to every dwarf who has taken drunken, improvised, astonishingly effective double-fisted axe-flailing to a professional level.

All of this marvelous roleplaying potential in both combat and social interactions would be discarded in favor of one blanket explanation which reads kinda like a thinly veiled attempt to justify "Fighter mana".

Fuck, just admit copying from WoW and call it "rage". That would at least make *sense*.

can't have that.

Oct. 8th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
I really wanted 4E to work.
I mean, I really did ... and some bits I like, first time I've been in fights in an RPG that I've enjoyed (but at that, they are very formulaic) and I really love the new art style ... books are shiny ...

But, it's one very specific game that you can play, and if you want to play something else, well, play a different game. In the grand cause of 'play balance' they have made everything the same, and that's just no fun.

Also the style of writing just hurts. It's like they took a 'my first RPG' approach, and then added more bland, and when it couldn't yet kill people from pure boredom, they added even more bland. There is, I think, one joke in the entire PHB, one sign that somebody involved in the making of it might have a sense of humour, the rest of it is about as much fun as reading stereo instructions.

Marketing. Marketing was responsible for this.

Ah well, the Pathfinder game is going well.

-- Brett
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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