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Top 10 reasons D&D4E will be the worst RPG ever

Written by Expy - Published on November 28, 2007

Online tools

I remember the character generator software that was included in the 3.0 PHB. Enough said.

WotC’s best promotional effort is a slideshow?

Even Commodore did better when they launched Amiga 22 years ago.

The rules are dumbed down

Streamlined mechanics is the official term, but I’m skeptical.

Constant leveling takes away from roleplaying and backstory

30 levels? How many do we really need? The constant leveling moves the focus of the game from roleplaying and character development to uber-crunchy characters. And how many of us have actually played games from level 1 to 20 in the past? Probably not many.

Character will have defined roles

What about solo adventures or 2 characters sessions?

New books

It’s going to make a small dent in my monthly budget, and I’m probably going to shell out 10$ for Gleemax.


First of all, what the hell does Gleemax mean? It’s a horrible name. They still have a few months to make the concept work. So far I am non-plussed by Wizards new community site. As long as the website color scheme isn’t some shade of sickly green, I’ll be alright.

Online tools – part II

How much effort will go into making the online tools fit the game – or worse, make the game fit the online tools – and will the tools be flexible enough to allow for house rules?

D&D minis

I’m not a D&D minis player but I hear they’re changing the rules of the strategy game too and collectors are somewhat getting screwed.

Less diversity

After years of running 3.0 and 3.5, there’s an endless array of prestige classes to choose from and dungeon masters have a good feel for what’s balanced. 4th edition won’t offer as many choices – at least for a while.

What are you dreading in D&D 4E?

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108 Responses to “Top 10 reasons D&D4E will be the worst RPG ever”

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  1. ws Says:

    ‘Gleemax’ is the name of the supposed creature that controls the ‘Magic: the Gathering’ developers.

    Not sure why they decided to make it into a website. But if it would actually *work* and you could access *anything* other than getting ‘access denied’ and ‘page not found’ errors that’d be great.

    A side note: many users of the WotC forums have already fled the place in terror after they amended their terms of use to say ‘we own anything you post on here’.

  2. Yax Says:

    I didn’t say anything about the forum giving an access denied because I thought I had forgotten my password or something. I’m glad to know that I’m not just incompetent.

  3. rekres Says:

    Gleemax is their online forums… they took the D&D forums, the MTG forums, and everything else they had going and smashed into one big mess called ‘Gleemax’ (stupid name!)

    Right now, D&D Insider is part of Gleemax and its all free (for now). Eventually, down the road, D&D Insider is going to be ‘premium’ content (means you gotta pay monthly fee) and Gleemax will still have the freebie stuff.

    Everything that used to be in the Dragon and Dungeon magazines will now be offered via D&D Insider. From what I’ve seen so far, it really won’t be worth it. So far their monthly ‘articles’ have been a half page of fluff, no crunch whatsoever…. granted there’s only so much they can do until the new ruleset officially comes out, unless they wanna re-hash 3.X material…

  4. Yax Says:

    Thanks for clearing that up. I was lumping Gleemax and D&D Insider together – which isn’t exactly how it is.

  5. ws Says:

    I was around back when everyone was dreading the switch from 2nd edition to 3rd. There was the usual anxiety about a new system, and the usual concerns about ‘cashing in’ on revising a lot of the old material.

    That doesn’t even compare to the worry about 4E. I think a lot of people are going to be sticking with 3.x or moving to another game system. The question is: how far will the 4E sales fall?

  6. Yax Says:

    I doubt the 4E sales will fall. I actually think that 4E will more than make up for the lost 3.X Christmas sales.

    I played my first D&D game just before 2e was released so I’ve played all three (and a half) version and so far D&D got better with every major release.

    Is the extra anxiety and bad press generated by a more active, open community (thank you internet)? Or should we be legitimately worried that WOTC is slaughtering a great game?

    We’ll see.

  7. Heartless_ Says:

    I am still ho-hum about 4E. The online aspects intrigue me, but honestly, WotC is YEARS behind on this stuff and it’s sad we are waiting for a new edition to launch before we get proper online support.

    I firmly believe 4E is not going to revive much in the D&D scene without some major shifts in WotC’s style and marketing. They are struggling to sell these concepts to their core base, which is a troubling sign in my book.

  8. Argokirby Says:

    Are you serious!!!

    All of your issues with D&D 4th Edition have been hashed to endless minutia on the WOTC/Gleemax Site.

    All of the info boils down to these two points:

    Everyone hopes D&D 4th Edition will be good, signs point to yes, but we will wait and see.

    The second point is that what they did to Dragon and Dungeon completely blows. Unless they seriously improve D&Di no one is going to pay for it. But, they say they are still having problems with it and when it launches for real it will be amazing. Once again we will wait and see.

    For all your nay saying…there are two concepts you should keep in mind. You don’t have to play 4th Edition, there is plenty of stuff out there for 3.5.

    Also, how is your complaining on this sight making anything better. At least if you complain at WOTC you have a chance of someone at WOTC caring, this web sight to me is a place for creativity and shared D&D DMing ideas. For that purpose its one of my favorite sites.

    Just complaining about the possible future of D&D is just a waste of pixels.

    Finally, don’t forget that everyone at WOTC is a gamer and they play D&D, they also like the game. They are some of the most talented minds in gaming. They are not going to ruin what they love. Will i be perfect…Are you perfect?

  9. Yax Says:

    Oh! I think I pissed someone off! :)

    Feel free to read: “Top 10 reasons D&D4E will be the best RPG ever!”

  10. Robert Says:

    Yeah, I thought this particular thread was just a couple of friends talking about the weather – we know we’re not going to be able to change anything, we just like to talk.

    I am excited about 4th ed. I personally will wait 6 – 12 months before buying anything, waiting to see what amendments are made. I will continue playing 3.5 for years. I have a lot of time and characters invested in it.

    But I hope that 4th ed will be easier and streamlined. I will be running a RPG club for High School students from next year and anything to make it easier to introduce will be very much appreciated. At the same time, I have few troubles teaching 3.5 to newbies.

  11. mbd Says:

    Look up non-plussed in the dictionary.

  12. Yax Says:

    I looked it up and it’s not what I meant apparently. real definition:

    bewildered, completely puzzled.

  13. dberg_usa Says:

    Awesome Yax! You’ve taken a Blog and turned it into a Forum. Kudos and great topics btw.

    I’m with Robert. Its wonderful when great minds get together and discuss points of view. As for changing stuff, he’s probably right. However, I’m betting that, if WOTC really plans to compete in the online marketplace and maintain its place among the ever increasing number of gaming systems around, they have people reading stuff far beyond their Gleemax forums. Its really important to do market research when spinning off such enormous endeavors. To be successful, Gleemax, D&D Insider, & 4E are going to need to take a close look at what’s out there and do their best to learn from it.

    I’m hopeful, but like many I’ll wait and see.

  14. Robert Says:

    Good point, dberg, I hope that they are reading far and wide. I imagine that like any DM with a computer and an internet connection they do read widely, and the also follow links from site to site. I’d think that with the number of links I’ve seen to DungeonMastering, they are reading this right now.

    Spooky, huh?

    I feel that I should place the metal colander back on my head to protect me from the spy satellites. ;-)

  15. Robert Says:

    oh – and I think you should have looked up Double Un-Plussed in the Orwellian dictionary.

  16. Gmanicus Says:

    I’d like to take this time to recommend Silhouette and World of Darkness. Because they’re better. And don’t apples-to-oranges me, you know full well I’m talking about mechanics, and that each of you crank out new gameworlds every few months.

  17. Yax Says:

    I know of at least 1 WotC employee who reads this blog! :)

  18. sylvain Says:

    actually, correction: Gleemax is an incredible name, though somewhat of a inside-joke if you don’t know what the background/history is of the all-powerful Gleemax. The product (the website) on the other hand, is doomed to failure: gamers look for a concentration of people who play the game they’re specifically interested in. By nature, gamers tend to be internet loners, thus they aren’t looking for fellow gamer camraderie, they’re looking for how to make that Barb/rogue multiclasser work, or how to unlock the unholy demon-sword in some MMORPG (pronounced Mo-More-p’guh).

    Of course there are exceptions, but on the whole, if you’re a gamer, and you’re on the internet, you’re looking for help on what game you would normally be playing.

  19. sylvain Says:

    I’m thouroughly convinced that, while people may argue that yes, indeed, the developers do love the game and don’t want to screw it up, it is also their job, their bread on the table. consequently, we’re (my play group) going to play with what we’ve got now, and wait for 4.5 to come out.

  20. Musings of the Chatty DM » Blog Archive » Mini-Fluff: Chatty’s Top Fluff sources! Says:

    […] These books reek of fluffy goodness about where fiends come from and what are their agenda. While I prefer the near-perfect synergy of Crunch and Fluff of FC I, I absolutely loved reading about Asmodeus’ schemes in FCII and I am actually looking forward to read about his ascend to godhood in 4e (which incidentally, some people seem unable to decide if it will rock or suck). […]

  21. Yax Says:


    Great comments. I agree with the internet gamer / loner thing.

    I’m not sure inside jokes are great names for corporate products though.

  22. rekres Says:

    “or how to unlock the unholy demon-sword in some MMORPG (pronounced Mo-More-p’guh).”

    Ahh Great MMORPG lies dreaming awaiting the time of awakening when the stars are right…

    No, wait… that was CTHULHU…. wrong Mythos Monster…

  23. Musings of the Chatty DM » Blog Archive » Mini-Links: Evil Editions and Keen Superstar Scandinavians! Says:

    […] in the RPG fans’ pool this week. He posted another dual piece on the perceived pros and cons of […]

  24. Micah Says:

    D&D (and all other tabletop RPGs) are about getting around the table with friends. If 4e makes that better, then I’ll buy the books and be happy. If it doesn’t, I’ll just continue the 3.5 campaign I’ve been running for 4 years (click my name to see our website).

    Heck, I’m getting more and more fed up with D&D the older I get. I’m drifting toward the story based games and away from the dice rolling. I’d rather just sit with friends and come up a story than trying to describe “you just lost 7 hit points”

  25. Jonathan Drain's D&D Blog Says:

    “Worse marketing than Commodore”. That’s harsh!

  26. El Guapo Says:


  27. jeffx Says:

    I am recently returned to gaming and am playing with the 2ed Rules. Simply because that is what I have. I wasn’t going to run out and buy 3.x rules with a new edition’s release in the pipeline. I did pre-order the 4e stuff.

    Reason 1: the pre-order prize for all 3 books is cheaper than I am going to find them for later. If I delay, what is probably going to be inevitable, I will end up paying a lot more.

    Reason 2: I don’t think rules make the game. I can’t imagine that a rule about leveling is going to take away from character development. In fact, if the combat rules are simplified…..woo hoo! Combat is, and always has been, a logistics nightmare. So much so that I my sessions would become split: story session and combat sessions.

    There are some things that make me a little worried about the new 4e stuff.

    First worry: are the modules all going to be hardbound and as I result more expensive? I don’t buy a lot of modules but I wanted to buy one with me 4e stuff….the price seems a bit high.

    Second worry: If I don’t want to pay the monthly fee to the online content am I going to feel like I am missing something? Possibly another worry, is the online content going to work with “other” computer operating systems?

    Third worry; Miniatures may be necessary increasing the cost of game play.

    Fourth worry: the rules don’t include enough to cover non-combat situations. This is the thing I have heard the most in people’s complaints. The game is simply to WoWified.

    To sum it up I worry that I learn an ~$70 lesson about pre-ordering game product.

    Love the site.

  28. Xaaon Says:

    Well I feel 4e isn’t going to be great either…

    I’m doing the Alpha play-test for the Pathfinder RPG over at Paizo.com. It’s what 4e SHOULD be, backwards compatible and the Alpha and future Beta PDF downloads are FREE. Paizo has already taken PLAYER feedback and made a v1.1, incorporating many of our responses to broken mechanics.

  29. Bird Says:

    i will never make any of my campaign gnomes monsters. but i betcha it will be the same as with the elves in the 3.5 monster manual with all the sub races and what not.

  30. D&D: Still Kicking Ass After Forty Years Says:

    […] folks are skeptical, I get it.  Some folks are convinced 4E will be the worst game ever.  But, others think it will be the best game ever.  I get that some folks think of WotC as the […]

  31. Mcsiam Says:

    i’ve only been RPing for about 2 years… done some white wolf, some vampire, and ALOT of D&D

    Played 2.0…
    Played 3.5…

    But it seems to me 4.0 is making all the classes what they are in wow… and frankly… i think wiz is trying to get the vet players out of D&D… and it pisses me off

  32. Kevin Says:

    I love TSR. As far as I am concerned Wizards fucked it all up! They changed it from a role playing game with SOME minis to a minis game with SOME role playing. Fuck every thing after 2nd edition.

  33. rekres Says:

    Wait a minute. Originally D&D was a miniatures game with some role-playing tacked on.

    We have come full circle.

  34. Chadarius Says:

    There is nothing in 4th Ed that forces you to use miniatures anymore than 3.5 or even Basic Edition from 30 years ago. As for 4E degrading the story line. I have to say that after playing the H1 adventure just released last week, I find that the more streamlined battles that you can fit MORE roleplaying and story into each night of gaming than before.

    We usually end up with about 2 battles being fought over an 6-8 hour session. However, with 4e we easily fit in 3 battles and were able to move the storyline along that much faster as well.

    I also thought that the battles were much more interesting (especially for 1st level characters) than in previous editions. Our battles were flowing with lots of movement. With the new abilities we had, there was a real sense that you had to make your actions count strategically for the group.

    I still have concerns. After all, I’ve only played 4e for about 6 hours, but my first impression was that the game makes combat more fun and faster, thus giving us more time and ability to sink our teeth into character development and story line. I just hope it holds up that way going forward.

  35. Kynesis Says:

    You’ve got to be struggling to hate it if those are your best reasons.

    I’ve played dnd since 1st ed (and other RPG’s – Whitewolf storytelling especially) DM’ing, playing and creating my own worlds, customized rule systems/ supplement rule systems.

    I’ve also played WoW extensively for the past few years and feel that experiencing our game in an MMORPG setting really is eye-opening; there are tons of lessons I’ve learned from it and as a result developed a full set of house rules based on those lessons.
    4E sounds alot like what my solutions and potentially alot better in many ways (though I still hope my dynamic combat system is better than theirs ;)

    Book-keeping and note-keeping has always been the bane of new players and of bringing in casuals or friends who just want to join in… and hey, if the rules being easier to understand and manage helps DM’s gather groups more easily and entice people who wouldn’t normally cope with the complexities all the better.

    Tabletop RPG’s face serious competition just to remain relevant with the gloss of online games.
    Making them more playable doesn’t just help pnp players like us but the gaming industry as a whole – pnp games are where people learn real role playing – the values and challenges of experiencing situations and cultural/social roles they’d never even consider otherwise, and innately begin to understand game theory.

    The guys at WoTC are doing their level best to keep gaming in the hands of the people (rather than letting big companies roll us into subscriptions purely as players of cliche settings).
    If you don’t like all the books, don’t buy them or just grab the DMG & PHB and make up the rest yourself.

    long live the revolution ;)

  36. mcsiam Says:

    Your reason for why 4th edition is going to be good is retarded…


    and frankly after playing wow…
    i know that wow is the worst thing to ever have happend to RPGs
    How dare blizzard even call that piece of shit an rpg
    all you do in wow is the same bullshit till you hit level one million or what the fuck ever then you go raid to get all you “epic class” bullshit thats a fucking carbon copy of every other rogue/paladin or what ever the fuck you play…

    ya know what ?

    i love D&D BECAUSE of the complexity…

    and if you can’t keep up with your characters inventory, or abilities then you dont deserve them…

    ’nuff said

  37. rekres Says:

    Uhm? You might try NOT swearing every other sentence.

    If WotC is dumbing down D&D they’re obviously aiming for trolling morons like you.

  38. Matt Says:

    I have looked at the rules, and I feel that roleplayers have been left out in the wind.

    Some of the concepts are really nice, but its clear that it is menant to appeal to Online Gamers and it is primarily about combat, and less about roleplaying.

    I love world of warcraft, and as a computer programmer myself, I respect them greatly, HOWEVER, they are not the competition with roleplaying games, and they shouldnt be the target audience. I love my X-Box 360 as well. Neither take the place for an entertaining pen and paper game. And pen and paper doesnt take their place either.

    No matter how good a onlne game is, our creativity always trumps it from a storytelling aspect. Stifle said creativity, on the other hand, and a pen and paper game is plain worthless. Its important that people understand this. They are DIFFERENT forms of entertainment, and while you can learn from them to make each one better, they arent really the competition. In fact, in some ways they are complementary. In all my years of gaming, I have yet to meet a player who says ‘Im not going to pen and paper any more, im going to play computer games’. I think it might seem thay way, but people who would try either a paper or computer game has grown massively over the last 20 years, so I think if anything, computer games have helped improve D&D’s popularity. If anything they have made it more acceptable. Still, its important to understand how they are different forms of entertainment.

    Its obvious that this is going back to “Dungeon Crawl”. Some things like auto healing after one night of rest. Only getting action points after going through two combats without resting, etc.. All of these make great elements of a fast paced video game.

    Its a little disheartening really, because a lot of concepts such as the new healing system make lots of sense, but this really is a lot of step backward. When D&D first came out, it was unique, and its ok that there was only a little improvement over miniature wargaming, as its what it came out of. Over time, people realized more and more roleplaying and storytelling became involved. (At one point 2e, i believe, there used to be an intro to roleplaying and what it meant to tell a great story in the PHB… i notice that section has slowly been shrinking). Even though its certainly the most well known, and in some ways the most popular, there is a reason D&D is in some ways the joke system for many roleplayers. Ive always defended it as just a system, but this is just too much.

    I like the way not everything is a spell, and i like some of the actions, but as a whole, this is a tep backwards.

    I did not feel that way about 3.0, or 3.5

    Its just disheartening, but I suppose the target audience has changed. Maybe Ill play another game that understands the concept of roleplaying better. Or stick to 3.5

  39. Kevin Says:

    I still say wizards FUCKED IT ALL UP. I grew up on first and secind edition. I really dont think wizards is doing any good with d & d. they need to get in touch with it’s roots. Why make a table top version of WoW? The games just don’t feel the same when playing 3, 3.5 or any thing after 2nd for that matter. D & D isn’t what it used to be and all you people who think 4th edition is so great obviously have never played a real session. I end this rant with how it started, Wizards FUCKED IT ALL UP!! If any one disagrees my email is mybabyjen@hotmail.com. I’d love to hear why.

  40. rekres Says:


    If you want anyone to take you seriously I’d suggest two things….
    1) Stop swearing… especially in ALLCAPS.
    2) Try spelling your words correctly. Or at least use a spell checker.

    “and all you people who think 4th edition is so great obviously have never played a real session”

    Eric Morgan, local game store owner/manager and long-time gamer, as well as one of the best DM’s I know posted this to his shop’s website.
    “We are gearing up for D&D! This revision has been about 8 years in the making. The return of Dungeons & Dragons in it’s fourth incarnation has created quite a buzz here @ Critical Effect. And rightly so. This new edition simplifies combat and creates an environment that is a bit more dramatic and lends itself to better role-playing. It seems much easier to DM and personally I am extremely excited about this release. I have not been giddy about D&D since the release of the 2nd Ed. AD&D rules book!”

    So obviously he’s never played a ‘real’ session…. after having run AD&D 2nd edition, D&D 3.0/3.5, Iron Kingdoms, Hackmaster, etc…

  41. Dire Hamster Says:

    D&D 4th Edition, OR…
    …How Many Times Can We Re-Invent The Wheel, brought to you by Wizards of the Cash! Man, what a scam! AD&D (aka v2.0) sucked! v3.0/3.5 is great and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
    Besides, think about the timeline here: The OG D&D came out in, what? 1974? Then though the early 80’s and 90’s it was AD&D. Now we’ve had v3.5 for 5 short years and Wizards has already cooked up some new edition (which, from what I’ve seen so far, totally blows) so we all can run out and buy the exact same library of books…again….but this time with a 4th Ed. cover? Yeah, right!

  42. Miracle studios -- web design company Says:

    I think the game is searching for a brand identity ……

    Its concept is quite stale

  43. Kevin Says:

    Dice hamster has a good point. I prefer second edition, but still agree. Why fix whats not broke? I am not spending 35 dollers for the same thing I already have. And besides what ever they are doing new I can probably find on the internet. The thing I hear people talking about the most most is the simplified battle system, so why didn’t wizards just make a supplement for that? They want your money. Screw wizards. TSR for ever.

  44. ws Says:

    One important thing to remember: TSR was just as bad about moneygrabs as wizards is. They didn’t, however, see fit to gut an entire system in order to make it more ‘mainstream’

  45. Kevin Says:

    Thank you. TSR may have been money hungry but they did it right. You didn’t need minis for their editions, but when I’m playin 3.5 or what ever I feel like the minis are a must. Which just leaves me to believe that wizards wants your money more. If you HAVE TO use minis then how can you role play on the fly? What about the battle grids? what ever happened to the generic battle grids? I personally use a rather large sheet of poster that I drew a grid on then laminated and some dry erase markers. It’s just easier that way for when I do use minis.

  46. rekres Says:

    “TSR may have been money hungry but they did it right.”

    How? By pushing more and more books in the hopes that someone might buy them? AD&D 2nd Edition? AD&D 2.5? Player’s Options? Monstrous Compendium? Complete Fighters/Thief’s/Wizard’s/Cleric’s/Ranger’s/Paladin’s/etc Handbook? Complete Book of Elves/Dwarves/Gnomes/Halflings/Orc/Goblins/Etc?

    They are now, what they have always been…. a publishing company. They make money by publishing books. If you don’t want to buy the books they are currently publishing, they don’t… but please stop deluding yourself.

  47. Kevin Says:

    Deluding myself? I guess my main problem is like I said before, they tuned it into a game that focuses on the minis aspect of the game instead of making the main focus on the role playing itself

  48. rekres Says:

    I think you meant ‘turned’ instead of ‘tuned’… but perhaps tuned is a good word for the situation.

    They are competing in the market place against all the other RPG companies. They looked at D&D and decided instead of trying to be generic or universal, they focused the game on what it did well and cut out all the things other game systems did better. Why try to compete where you are weak?

    You keep harping on the minis aspect of D&D. The game has always included the miniatures, just there were optional rules for those who didn’t want to use them. D&D was originally a minis game with the roleplaying rules built on top of that. With this edition the cleared some of the role-playing clutter in order to let the basic game shine through.

    WotC doesn’t send out hit squads if you decide to play without the minis. It’s always been this way, nothing in this edition changed that fact. The minis make it cleaner and clearer, they are a GOOD thing… ;)

  49. Kevin Says:

    I did mean turned, but tuned does work well there. Thanks for the correction. Don’t get me wrong, I use minis, as a matter a fact I have a shit load of ’em. It’s just that I find my self, as the dm of all my friends (when did that happen?) Sitting around the table and focusing mostly on the role playing and the discriptive aspect of the game and using the minis mostly for the battles, pub scenes, and of course the dungeon crawling. I use a blank 28×36 laminated grid that I made, and if i draw every forrest they travel through or every town they are in it would just take to much time out the session. I just find it easier to show them the town on the graph papper that i drew it on. “This is where you are, the shop you need to go to is accross the street here.

    Now over the last couple years I have been pushed to use those minis I have more and more when ever I run a 3 or a 3.5., But not so much when running 2 or 2.5. I know the minis have always been there, I own the original dungeons and dragons game(the box set with zanzars dungeon as the starter adventure) I just don’t like feeling like I have to use them, and wizards gives me that feeling.

    I was told that the only real good thing about 4.0 is the new battle system. I have been told that they made it a lot more simple. How did they make it simpler? I would like to know so maybe i can encorperate it into my next session.

    “and all you people who think 4th edition is so great obviously have never played a real session” It just makes me mad that they came out with 3.5 in 03 and already have a new system out? It’s only been 5 years That makes me think they are insecure with their own system, they didn’t really give 3.5 a chance to flourish. Over the last couple weeks my dislike of wizards has died down a bit as I have been studying my 3.5 more closly, but i still prefer TSR.

  50. LEONIDOS Says:


  51. rekres Says:

    I have a question: If AD&D was so great, why then did I never see anyone playing it as written? Every campaign I played in, the DM had house rules, often times a great many house rules. If the system was so great, why then did nobody play it ‘properly’?

    Granted I’ve only experienced a minute fraction of all the AD&D games that were played… but I can recall at least a dozen different games/campaigns. Now, I don’t know the reasoning behind what other people set up as house rules, when I ran the game there were things that seemed broken or unrealistic. Other things just seemd kinda bland, so I used house rules to spice up… or to experiment with.

  52. Alphadean Says:

    House Rules were and are a staple of D&D. No matter who’s game I’ve played or what incarnation of the game. I’ve been aound D&D for over 30 years now and I can tell you 3rd edition on its own was the best since AD&D, because it allowed for that flavor again. It was something inherently cool about getting a new DM and him laying down his house rules.

    You see gamers come in a few breeds:
    The Veteran- He’s the guy whose been doing it and doing it well. He logged more D&D hours then some of you have been alive. He’s the guy that knows the pages to DMG and PHB as needed. He’s creative, innovative and highly adaptable…he still gaming because he enjoys the social aspects as well as the stroy and creative proccess.

    The Second Ager: These are the kids who were introduced to D&D via second edition. They like alot of rules, charts and loved to Min/Max.They like to roll he dice and even when they roll a 1 or a 2 they can tell you why they hit. We also loving refer to them as the Rules Lawyer.

    The Post Modern Player: These are the droves of mindless button masher, who need everything spoon fed to them. They coudn’t imagine there way out of a wet paper bag. If some one isn’t putting in a glossy picture or CGI graphic, then they can’t get it.

    I bought 4th edition and guess what? i got House Rule, not because they are needed…cause I could play the game as is, but I think its better my way. That why house rules exsist, not because one ganes better or worse the las one

  53. Mr.Roboto Says:

    Well, I’m gonna throw down my whole thing on the switch, and it all boils down to this, me and my group are comfortable with 3.5. Its that simple. We own a bunch (prolly more like an ass-load and a half) of 3.5 books, we’re used to the system, and we have fun with it. We don’t have any real reason to change unless we’re gonna say “OMG NEW EDITION!” and we’re just not like that. Hell, I prolly would have stuck with ADND had it not been for the people I hung out with in high school having been pushed into 3.0 by their former gaming groups.

    Thats all, and thats my point. Whether it rocks or it blows, or just floating in the middle, 3.5 works for me, and I don’t see a real reason to change. (We can always convert stuff to 3.5 if new awesome ideas appear.)

  54. Kevin Says:

    The way I feel is that the game would not be the same if no one did house rules. But it does seem to me that every one i have ever met who role plays (including my self) takes a system and trys to make it their own. Which leads to a lot more fun in my opinion. Now I do not think it was needed when they gutted 3.5 and came out with a new edition.

    And for the record AD&D is the best system in my opinion. Now alot of you may not feel that way, and thats fine. To each their own. I just prefer it because that is where I started and that is where i will ……stop? I have no problem with
    trying out new things when it comes to role playing, but why did we need a new system?

    Maybe it is not a bad thing though, Since the release of 4th edition every one I know is digging out their AD&D books and materials and have been role playing alot more just in spite of 4th edition. I mean look at how many role players it woke up.

  55. rekres Says:

    I recently converted my 3.5 Newbie DnD game over to 4th ed. We had our first session just today (Thurs).

    I’m not convinced that DnD4 will be the ‘Worst RPG Ever!’ It’ll take a lot for WotC to hit that low. I’ve got the Synnibarr RPG… and that is one I consider the worst ever.

    I do think DnD 3.5 needed a tuneup. I’ll admit that 4th ed is kinda like taking your car in for a tuneup only to discover the mechanic completely replaced the engine and transmission. Its not what I would have asked for, but now that I’m actually digging into the 4th ed rules, they aren’t that bad.

    My main gripe about the 4E PHB is the organization of the powers. If you know which class and level a power belongs to then great. If you only know the name…. good luck trying to find it quickly. (fortunately my PCs are only 1st level, so this isn’t a problem yet)

    And the default 4E char sheet sucks. Need LOTS more room to fill in details. All of my players needed an extra sheet of paper just to write out the details of their powers, so that they wouldn’t have to keep looking them up in the middle of play. Since we only had the one PHB (durn missing player!) we did a lot of passing the book back and forth.

  56. Kevin Says:

    Hows the battle system? How did they simplify it?

  57. rekres Says:

    I’m gonna wait until after the 2nd session to answer that question. 1st session was just a lil too disorganized. Gotta give the players (and the GM) some time to get used to the new rules and what all the characters can do.

    We did find one oddity in the rules. If you’re going to take an extended rest, burn off your healing surges to heal up before the rest…. you’ll get them all back after the rest period and if your rest is interrupted you’ll be a full health. Since one healing surge equals 1/4 of your total HPs, you should only need to spend 4 surges. And every character will have at least that many per day.

  58. ws Says:


    This tactic (in similar form) is also used in 3/3.5E for spellcasters to dump all of their remaining healing spells before resting :)


    I don’t think the battlesystem was simplified at all. Though, decreasing the complexity of the grappling rules might count :S

  59. Kevin Says:

    Wow it’s been a minute since you posted a comment. Where have you been? Thanks for answering that for me. I just keep hearing all this stuff about the new battle system and how much more simple it is. But if the only simplification is on the grapples then whats the point? I’m still holding off on getting the 4th edition untill I know a little more about it. Hell I just got my first 3.5 not to long ago. I’m still playing AD&D 2nd edition. But now heres one, How do you get a newbie to stop viewing their charcter as a bunch of numbers and higher numbers means better character, and start viewing them as more then that?

  60. rekres Says:

    Okay…. ran the 2nd session of my new D&D 4E campaign… “Hellgate”

    Player observation overheard: “Okay, combat may be smoother in 4th ed, but ambushes still suck!”

    2 sessions/3 encounters and I realized all 3 encounters I used were ambush scenarios. The one today was with 7 1st level PCs…. so I figured on a 700 XP encounter… (7 PC x 100XP)…

    I use two Kobold Wyrmpriests at 150 each (misread that, thought they were supposed to be 200 each).
    200 x 2 = 400…. 700 – 400 = 300. I filled out the rest of the encounter with 25XP skeleton minions… 300/25 = 12 skeletons.

    Okay, minions in 4th ed are a bit weird. They are tough but fragile (designed that way). Each minion has only 1 hitpoint…. which is a little strange on the upper levels…. even a level 30 minion still only has 1 hitpoint. So while these skeletons hit hard, they tend to drop whenever anyone hits them.

    Another odd phenomen… I was rolling really high for the skeletons…. in one round of combat I rolled hits for 11 out of the 12 skeletons. At 4 damage per hit… against 1st level characters. While in 4E, PC are a bit tougher at first level usually averaging about 20-26 hitpoints. I dropped the fighter, who stood his ground…. not once but twice during the entire combat. First time he went to -2 hitpoints before the cleric could heal him. Then later only he went to zero hps, before the cleric could once again heal him.

    Alright. The initial setup…. the game was delayed in starting cause two new players had to generate characters… that took about an hour and a half for both. Fortunately, he had 3 copies of the PHB so there was no waiting for the book to be passed. Once we were almost done with those two… several of the others decided to break for supper… (argh! They had gone out to fast food before I had even realised they had gone!)

    So two hours after our scheduled start time we actually started into the session. We had 7 PCs. 4 from the previous session: Tiefling Warlock, Dragonborn Warlord, Humand Wizard, and Elf Ranger (2wep). They had ended the previous session camping on top of a hill about 200 feet from the road underneath the only tree on the hilltop. The elf had a habit of sleeping in trees, so it worked out that he was also their lookout. The 3 new PCs (2 regular, 1 was a one-shot): a Dragonborn Paladin, Elf Cleric, and Human FIghter (ohe-shot/NPC-tobe).

    The new guys stumble across the numerous kobold corpses and overturned wagon left by the road after the first session. The Dragonborn Paladin runs up the hill to investigate the other party members, while the Cleric and Fighter inverstigate the wagon. The two at the wagon get ambushed by skeletons springing up from the bushes… 4 skeletons the first round. The cleric, fighter, and ranger-in-the-tree were the only ones aware of the skeletons and the only ones to act first round. The ranger starts running downhill to join the fight. The fighter wades into melee with the skels and misses completely. The cleric (not understanding how the new Turn Undead rules worked, thinking it was one-target only) backed off, waiting for the others to come down the hill. The 4 skels attack the fighter 3 of 4 hitting (4 damage per hit).

    Second round, everyone is aware of the fight so everyone gets to act… Those on the hill spend their actions on double moves (4E you can trade a standard action for a move action, and if you run you get +2 speed for your move)… most are speed 6, so double-move running for 8+8 = 16. The hilltop was 200 feet from the road (40 squares/inches). Se there was problem one… 2 out of 7 PCs having to face the first combatants alone. This round 4 more skeletons show up along with one of the kobold wyrmpriests. The skels roll low init, but the kobold rolls higher than all the PCs… so he fires an orb of fire at the fighter… hits and does 9 damage. The rest of the second round dissolved into a cluster as half the party was running towards battle, the other half running away, except the fighter who stood his ground and paid dearly for it.
    7 of the skeletons on the fighter… the 8th just couldn’t fit in there… not enough movement.

    Round Three the other kobold wyrmpriest shows up with the remaining 4 skeletons. The fighter had gone down last round up was up again cause the cleric healed him. This round was a little better cause the ranger with high speed and running finally got into range… plus the fact that I stressed that these were minion skeletons…. the two-weapon ranger decided to use throwing daggers instead…. Twin Strike power targeting two skeletons… taking both out. Fighter stood ground and started using Cleave… took out two more. (note 4E cleave, you attack one target if you hit you deal secondary damage on adjacent enemy). After explaining to the cleric-player about Turn Undead and how burst areas worked… he waded back in and took out 5 skeletons. Looking better but the fighter goes down again.

    Round Four. The rest of the runners finally get into the fight. The ranger takes out kobold wyrmpriest #1… using a daily power to get it to bloodied (half hitpoints), then spending his action point to finish the job with a Twin Strike…. 36 points of damage to a critter with exactly 36 hitpoints… go figure. The cleric, fighter and warlock finishing off the remaining skeletons… with help from the warlord: One of his abilities is to have an ally make a basic attack… so the cleric got an extra attack in that round.

    Round Five. 7 PCs versus 1 kobold wyrmpriest. Correction 7 really pissed off PCs itching for a fight against 1 little kobold spellcaster….. end of fight!

    1) Enemies can be killer when the DMs dice constantly roll hits!
    2) Ambushs suck big time!
    3) DM will try to avoid split party attacks in the future.
    4) DM will not gang up on the poor stupid fighter in the future… maybe.
    5) PCs do 100% better once they understand what their powers can do.

    Those from the 1st session had a leg up on the new guys in 2nd session… they already knew what most of their powers could do, what the area effect rules were, and once I *EMPHASIZED* that there were minions afoot understood what to do. (Hello! Clue-by-four!)

    Yes, D&D 4E looks and plays more like an MMO. I like this fact, others might not. Yes, DnD 4E is more combat-centric then past editions… non-combat skils are almost non-existant (plus no more skill points.)

    In the future, if more people are interested in my sessions and commentary on them… I might set up a blog instead of posting in the comments section here. If I do decide to blog it, I’ll post a link in the comments here…. :D

    – Enjoy!

  61. rekres Says:

    Pondering my 1st DnD 4E house rule: All minions get hitpoints equal to their level. For a level 1 minion this won’t change anything… but a level 20 minion will get a little bit tougher. A high damage attack will still take it out, but weak shots won’t auto-kill them.

    Like I said, I’m pondering this… haven’t decide one way or the other…

  62. CinnamonPixie Says:

    rekres – so at what point do you NOT pull out the D&D Miniatures rules to play this game? Everything you described (from having the XP points “budget” to plan bad guys with) sounds much more like an MMORPG and the D&D miniatures game and less and less like the RPG many of us gamers know and love.

    And I disagree with your comments that 4e is “combat centric.” It isn’t “centric” it’s basically “combat, combat, combat” with no serious fear of death (healing surges, 55% chance to end ANY ongoing effect for ALL saving throws!?, etc) and a lot of “flashy” powers to do more and more damage… Heck I expect to see the 2nd set of core books (since they’re releasing a new set of core books annually (PHB2, MM2, DMG2 next year, the following year will be PHB3, etc) – what a load of “screw you, sit down, shut up, and give us your wallet, NOW!” BS!) to come with a board so you can play the board game that this is truly becoming (please, TRY to tell me that various attacks (like “wall” areas that sweep all around the character so many of the 8 surrounding squares) and the combat movement like “push,” “pull,” and/or “slide” are NOT designed to sell their minis by making the game “minis-required” as much as they can)!

  63. rekres Says:

    Wait for my next session report to see how ‘combat-centric’ DnD 4E is. I am planning an entire series of encounters with *GASP* no combat whatsoever! (*GASP* NO!!!!)

    As far as miniatures goes…. gee, I’m running my DnD just like I always have…. with a laminated grid and dry-erase markers… same as I did for 3.5, same as I did for 3.0…. while I admit for AD&D 2 I used a large tablet of graph paper, some pencils and a LOT of erasers.

    What is WotC? Hmm? A publishing company. They make money by selling books. Guess what? So is every other hobby-game company. They make money by selling game books, or miniatures, or playing cards, or whatever. What company DOESN’T want you to guy more of their product?!?

    They took a look around at what worked. World of Warcraft works. A LOT of people enjoy it. WotC took a look at that and tried to encorporate some of that into DnD…. and you know what? IT WORKS. PEOPLE LIKE IT…. A LOT.

    I know this may not represent the gaming community as a whole, but our FLGS as seen a lot of upswing in requests by people looking for more 4th Edition games. One DM didn’t really advertise his game and he’s already got 6 players and about a half dozen more on a waiting list (including me). I stated that my campaign could handle up to 8 players, well I’ve got 6 so far with several more potentials…. so far only one player is shared between these two games.

    I can understand that you may be resentful. You’ve got this huge stack of books and you think someone is trying to tell you they are obsolete. They aren’t. Pull them out, play with them…. no one is going to come and take them away from you.

  64. rekres Says:

    “no serious fear of death”? Have you even played the game?

    The Fighter went down….. twice! He would have died, if it weren’t for the cleric who risked his own life in the face of almost a dozen skeletons with swords (and a DM who was rolling hits left and right).

    If I had wanted to I could have easily killed the party last session, but I took pity on them after the poor fighter got pin-cushioned…. I started pulling the punches of the monsters. I didn’t put it into the write up, but I declared a few ‘misses’ even when the skeletons should have hit.

    Go back and re-read the DMG. When you get to the section on Skill Challenges and Traps & Hazards… then you can come back and say something reasonable.

  65. ws Says:

    I’ll intercede here:

    D&D 4E is something that a lot of people evidentally do have strong feelings about, and I get the feeling that people who like combat-oriented sessions OR MMORPGs will like it, but everyone else will have something to say about it.

    There is no way that this edition is not *miniatures-mandatory* if you’re doing any amount of combat. The game seems to require too many miniatures, and lots of people object strongly to that, too. I’m one of them. I have no desire to spend $1000+ on miniatures in addition to buying a half dozen new books every year. WotC is worse than TSR ever was with regards to putting out tonnes of mandatory ‘optional’ stuff.

    The great novelty of D&D 1E was that you could play it with a plain piece of paper, a pencil, some dice and something to write on. In the last 3.5E campaign I wrote, the party’s fighter had over a dozen sheets of paper. The cleric: two dozen. After a certain point, the game is too complex to enjoy, particularly at higher levels.

    At least you don’t have to kill boars for 20 levels like WoW.

    @CinnamonPixie: “sit down, shut up, and give us your wallet, NOW!” <– best description ever

  66. Kevin Says:

    I am one of those who still have mixed feelings about 4th edition. I am waiting to get the books untill I know enough about them, and so far they are not really catching my eye. If some one I know gets them I’ll probably borrow them so I can see what their all about but as far as purchasing them my self…. I have my 2nd edition set ( which is my favorite might I ad).
    I may apply some of 4th edition as kind of a “house” rule so to say. But untill then, Long live A D&D.

  67. Hellgate 03 « D&D 4E - Hellgate Says:

    […] Note: After someone on another blog made the following comment “And I disagree with your comments that 4e is “combat […]

  68. rekres Says:

    Witness a nearly combat-less 4th edition session.

    I just wrote up the third session for my Hellgate campaign at that site. The one encounter that involved combat was by player choice, they could have bypassed it, they could have communicated with the creatures…. but they decided to ambush them…

    You can also read the first two sessions. Any and all comments welcome.

  69. Kurtis Says:

    Ok then, you have all had some great points made. However I would like to point out one question and with that my own answer. Question: What do you consider a Game Master/ Dungeon Master? My answer: The Game Master is the one who controls what goes into the game and how the game is played. If you feel that a “minion” is to week, then change the minion, yes you can do that as a Game Master. I have 20+ years as a Game Master, it is what the game Gary Gygax created was meant for, to be able to enter into a fantasy realm and create a campaign/adventure that friends could enjoy playing. If you have a player who is “rule happy” do you not find a way to “teach” the player that you are the Game Master and that you control the game play? Over the past years (lord i’m getting old) I have found that with any of the editions that have come out, there are always the availability to make the campaign/adventure more to your liking. I have met a lot of good Game Masters in my time but there was only one great Game Master, May God Rest Your Soul, Gary Gygax.

  70. rekres Says:

    WS: “There is no way that this edition is not *miniatures-mandatory* if you’re doing any amount of combat.”

    “The action of the game takes place mostly in your
    imagination, but you still need a few “game pieces” to
    play D&D.
    * Player’s Handbook
    * Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual (DM needs)
    * DIce
    * Character Sheet

    You might find some of the following items and accessories
    useful at your game table.
    * Miniatures
    * Battlemat”

    Note: Useful, but NOT required.

  71. Dire Hamster Says:

    I’d have to agree with CinnimonPixie, WS, Kevin, and the rest of the people who are complaining about how this edition is a wanna-be World of Warcraft but in board-game form, how they are trying to cram the whole “you need minis” down our throats, how 4th ED is basically a shady WotC hustle (because 3.5 sales were dropping and something needed to be done, dammit!), etc, etc.

    I have to admit that I DO like the printed terrain maps and dungeon tiles that WotC and other companies have released for v3.5. Most of them look pretty darn good, and they are just such time-savers. I mean, I could say to my PCs: “OK everyone, go take a break…for about 40 minutes…while I get a damp paper towel and erase the 40 room castle we just raided off of this laminated grid and then sit here with dry erase markers and draw the all the trees, rocks, undergrowth (light and heavy), streams, druid grove, and other crap in the forest we’ll be adventuring through next. I’ll wake you when I’m done.” Yeah, right…that would go over like in turd in a punchbowl! So since that’s just not practical (and I’m a crappy map artist to boot), it’s WAY easier to just unfurl a printed (and laminated) map of some enchanted forest and, BAM: “OK PCs, as you leave the castle, you find yourselves in a dark forest…”. Yeah, way more smooth…
    That being said, I still think you are all correct that WotC’s “you gotta buy our minis” scam is ridiculous. It seems that with 4th ED they are trying to move more towards a strict tactical battle game (that is damn near impossible to play without minins) and moving away from the roleplaying aspect of D&D, which is half the fun!

    BUT…this is a game about using your imagination. And although I’ve admitted that I’m a sucker for the pretty, glossy maps, I can do without the minis. Sure, they are really fun, cool, and helpful if you’ve got piles of extra cash lying around to blow on minis. But since I and my players do not, we’ve invested in a handful of nice, metal (like we’d buy the cheezy WotC plastic ones? Please!) figures and we use our imagination on the rest: Poker chips for trolls, dimes and nickels for hobgoblins, etc.

    OK, I guess I’d just be rambling now. –End transmission–

  72. rekres Says:

    Note: Useful, but NOT required. (Because some people just don’t read)

  73. ws Says:


    WotC can say all it wants about how ‘miniatures are not required’, but the fact is the rules are written in such a way to make a miniatures-free game nearly impossible.I say ‘nearly’ because some people are capable of playing entire chess games in their heads (both sides!) and these are the types of people who are likely to be able to play 4E without miniatures.

    Have you ever played warhammer 40k?

  74. Dire Hamster Says:

    Note: I didn’t say it was impossible to play without minis (or that they were required), I said that it seemed “damn NEAR impossible” without them. (Because some people just don’t read)

    WS basically summed it up: The game is designed be played with minis, despite what WotC might say. Oh sure, you could get by without them…but the new edition is set up to make that pretty difficult.

  75. Kevin Says:

    If you ask me, 4th edition is more or less supposed to appeal to MMORPG fans, and thats not D & D!

  76. rekres Says:

    Okay…. love it or hate it, D&D 4th edition fails the ‘WORST’ RPG ever test. It is still pretty fun and it still appeals to a great many people. In my limited experience, people who love it outweigh people who hate it.

    Now for WORST RPG EVER!!! I can think of at least two…. and WotC would have to try pretty hard to stoop to that level.

    #1 worst RPG ever: F.A.T.A.L. – the game so gross only a psychopath could love it. Prominent features – randomly rolling your characters genitalia size, comprehensive rules for rape and murder…..

    #2 worst RPG ever: World of Synibarr – the game that turns the planet Mars into a giant spaceship, hurls it several dozen millenia into the future and then tries to pretend that 4 wildly different char creation systems are equally balanced. Gee… I can play a god, a cyborg, a spellcaster, or a talking raccoon??? The book that claims to a one-book only RPG, then tries to cram as much stuff into one book as possible… giving a brief taste of dozens of different rule system, but not delving too deeply into any of them.

  77. ws Says:

    Something interesting from the RPGNow Newsletter, regarding 4E:

    “The section regarding classes is the longest part of the book. It’s also where you’re likely to begin fully realizing the game’s orientation as a tactical combat game. There are eight classes (loosely categorized into four “roles” that they’re supposed to fill on the battlefield); the cleric, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue, warlock, warlord, and wizard. Each has a broad suite of powers available, with different powers being selected as you gain levels. For spellcasting characters, the spells are listed right there as part of the class powers. This part is also emblematic of how big of a paradigm shift the new D&D is from older versions. Here, along with blatantly super-heroic powers for all classes, the sheer focus on tactical combat is overwhelming. Everything is about doing damage, setting things up to do damage, or protecting yourself against damage.”

    tactical combat…. aka miniatures

  78. Chadhulhu Says:

    Again as a mini game it isn’t as $ sucking as Warhammer (ugh!). That doesn’t bother me, what bugs me is that players are too overpowered and creatures not so much, not want TPK’s but to give the player’s a workout, and stories to tell. ie ” I fought a gorgon with my party, two player died. But after ressurecting them, we rocked on. ” Not ” we keep facing level 3 goblins. What is up with that??” But ultimately all rules are there if you want to use it or not.
    I hate by the book rules. Too anal. Yeah I went there.

  79. Mike The Merciless Says:

    After playing 4E for about two months now, there are some things that have piqued my ire. One thing that I didn’t like right off the bat was how static the classes seemed. You’re locked into just a couple of choices where your classes are concerned, and the book itself isn’t very helpful giving you an idea of what to take. What’s more, the Paladin is now less of a divine bestowment as it was before. The book doesn’t say that a deity can take away a Paladin’s powers for unauthorized behavior, but says that the devout of the faith will set out to punish the Paladin. Now, I know I could simply have a deity retributively remove the Paladin’s abilities, but then what has he got to fall back on? Used to be if I took away a Paladinship, the character would simply revert to Fighter status.

    Since WotC took over D&D, I’ve noticed something of an antipathy toward Paladins. They were all but neutered in the 3rd Edition, getting access to a fraction of the perks that a Fighter or Barbarian might get over the course of leveling up. I didn’t like how Paladinship was now not so special anymore, not something to be earned or even sought after. Allowing other races to become Paladins didn’t bother me, but the fact that there was no prerequisite stats anymore other than having a Lawful Good alignment implied that the creators of the 3.x edition didn’t understand what a Paladin was supposed to be.

    In 4E, I was also disturbed by the fact that they don’t get access to Athletics as a Trained Skill, unless they take the Skill Training Feat. What gives? They listed Religion twice under the class list. Does that mean he gets to be doubly trained in Religion, a tactically worthless skill? I don’t see how it is that the Warlord, Fighter, Ranger, and Rogue get such access to that skill but the Paladin doesn’t. Makes absolutely no sense, but leave it up to players like me to correct their stupidity.

  80. rekres Says:

    WS: “tactical combat…. aka miniatures”

    And this is new because??? Each edition of D&D/AD&D so far has been a miniatures game with some roleplaying thrown in….

    Mike the Merciless: “They listed Religion twice under the class list.”

    Actually, they only list it once in the class skills. First they list any skills that the class is automatically trained in, then they list the class skills for that class. If the class is trained automatically in a skill, it will also appear in the class skill list.

    It would be rather weird if the class was automatically trained in something that wasn’t on the class skill list.

    The paladin doesn’t get athletics without taking a feat. The tradeoff? Paladins are the only class to be proficient in plate mail without having a take a feat. Not even the fighter can claim that.

  81. Mike The Merciless Says:


    First, I see what you’re getting at, but it should’ve been better clarified.

    Second, being able to use Plate Mail and not have the training necessary to function in it without looking like you need a life-jacket is just plain idiotic. Surely, people who train Paladins have to know that their pupils are going to encounter lots of water that they have to negotiate. Otherwise, they’ll drown if the boat capsizes, and nobody’s going to help a guy who weighs in at over 200lbs. non-buoyantly. At the very least WotC should grant Paladins access to Athletics without burning a Feat.

    The benefits of the Fighter having to burn a Feat slot to wear Plate doesn’t equal to burning a Feat in order to negotiate an obstacle course without having the drill sergeant shout at you the way he did to Private Pyle. Just not balanced; not at all. A Fighter may go his entire career and not ever wear Plate and do just fine. Perhaps a Paladin might do just as well without Plate, but he’d still have problems if he wears Chain or anything with a Check Penalty. Without access to something so fundamental, the Paladin becomes a burden, which is antithetical to what a Paladin is all about.

    It’s as though WotC believes that Paladins do nothing but pray and fast, and on occassion train. Would they really be so out of shape to the point that they would be denied access to something so basic, so useful? At some point the Paladin is going to have to go alone into the world and fight, and bring justice to the lawless. But then, that would mean that the Paladin would have to be superior in many respects to other classes, and we can’t have that. Can we?

  82. rekres Says:

    Mike the Merciless – That very question was raised on WotC’s Defender forums.. “Why no Athletics for Paladins?”


    Quick and dirty answer: All those with martial power source got athletics, those with divine power source got religion.

    SO apparently yes… the paladins do nothing but pray and fast, and a little bit of combat… but no athletics… *shrug*
    Sounds like a good spot for a house rule… ;)

  83. Kurtis Says:

    OK, every one is saying how the 4e is targeted towards the Minatures. Well here’s an excerpt from page 4 of DMG3.5:
    The D&D game assumes the use of miniature figures, and the rules are written from that perspective. This book contains a battle grid and other tools to help you visualize the action.
    The poster-sized sheet in the back of the book has a 1-inch grid on one side, and a collection of rooms that can be used to represent areas in a dungeon on the other side.

    So even in V3.5 Miniature figures where intended, doesn’t mean you have to use them.

  84. Mike The Merciless Says:


    WotC gave me something of a very arrogant answer to why they chose to castrate the Paladin in this way, saying that they had the best players and designers opining about it and that I should pour over 4,000 posts to find out what they were thinking. In other words: They weren’t thinking.

    They were in some sort of groupthink lockstep, with the overriding purpose to make the Paladin “fit” in a group dynamic that must hammer PCs to blend synergistically so that no one player’s character seems “inferior” to another. No longer are Paladins special – because of this, there is no longer any sense of having them.

    I, for one, reject this paradigm. But I do have something of a solution. Instead of making a Paladin a Class, make it a Bestowment. Any PC, regardless of Class, may aspire to be a Paladin, which confers special abilities in return for steadfast devotion of service to a deity or philosophy that only grows stronger as the PC progresses. If the PC behaves inappropriately enough to transgress the nature of the Paladinship, the Bestowment will be removed, and he will simply fall back on the abilities of his chosen Class. A PC may even begin with a Paladinic bestowment (a Feat) if he meets the prerequisites. How’s that for a House Rule?

  85. Dire Hamster Says:

    “#1 worst RPG ever: F.A.T.A.L. – the game so gross only a psychopath could love it. Prominent features – randomly rolling your characters genitalia size, comprehensive rules for rape and murder…”

    Yeah Rekres, I’d have to agree with you there: Although I think 4ed D&D seems very lame, especially when compared to previous editions, the game known as FATAL is infinitely worse! I’ve never played it…Why would I?!? (Why would ANY sane person, for that matter?) But I’ve seen enough of it and read enough about it to know that it totally, completely, and in all ways SUCKS ASS! The demented 12-year-old sociopath who created FATAL should have his butt kicked for the crime of bringing such a immature, moronic, disgusting, perverted, retarded game system into our world.

  86. Jason Says:

    Curious as to the people saying 4E took out the role playing and put in more combat. As a person who loves good role playing, I’m happy with 4E. They streamlined a lot of rules so we could spend more time role playing and less time rules playing.

    More to the point: What could they possibly put in the rule book to help role players? Rules? Seriously, any role player worth the title doesn’t need someone else dictating how to play his character. WotC hit the nail on the head. Focus on the core mechanics, stream line the rules portion of the game, and leave as much role play ruling out of it as possible.

  87. Atmos Says:

    Simply put, D&D 4th Edition is the tabletop equivalent of World of Warcraft.
    It’s universally loved and hated by those in the community: and it has these chippy mechanic based roles like WoW.

    Striker – Ranged attacker. “DPS” for those who insist.
    Disabler – Fear
    Commander – Healer/priest
    Tank – It should be obvious where this is going.

    Ignoring mechanics, 4th Edition D&D looks like it has been streamlined for the combat gamer rather exclusively; which depending on how you look at it, is either a boon or a curse.

    It’s a boon in that the “useless” fluff has been removed from the books, and it makes it much easier to look up rulings.
    It’s a curse in that it kind of sucks the life out of your character’s flavor.
    Though good players and DMs can most certainly ignore and overcome this, most players are simply not up to the task.
    It’s also stupid to be referred to as “the tank” and your job is to “pull aggro”, though I largely blame WoW for this stupid lingo, the fact that WoW is pretty much the first thing I thought of when I opened the book doesn’t help.

    There are benefits to starting fresh: though there is “less diversity”, the relative unknown of the game is welcoming, and you don’t have to worry about X player taking Y feat from Z expansion. I am unfortunately cursed with a group of uber power gamers who, to put it crudely, have a wang-waving contest that ultimately escalates into finding some lesser known ruling to gain an advantage.
    The relative newness and “simplicity” of the actual rulebooks is refreshing that if I have to satisfy the blood-thirsty rule-lawyer (~OBJECTION!!!) I can search 3 books instead of…well. It WAS the d20 era. Indulge your imagination.

    As for Gleemax: I am one of those who have made their exodus from WotC. And by goodness I will not miss it.
    When White Wolf published their statement that anything you use in their game system becomes their intellectual property, well, it was a brief (and probably understated) scare.
    The fact that Wizards has taken this similar turn puzzles me. I’m guessing that they want to use their website as a source of player-inspired content, but without the legal problems. Don’t quote me on this, it’s only a guess.

    Their actual Insider content is certainly not worth your money if you have a good DM. And their interface is completely replaceable by a number of existing character systems (sourceforge and Python both have quality multiplayer character programs, just poke around).

    I do not see D&D 4th edition flopping. And not because it’s “a great product” as claimed, but because of player curiosity.
    It will probably thrive even in the wake of 3.5’s departure, if only because of all the combat wombats who are starting to dip into the tabletop market. The system caters very much directly to that kind of player.

    The rest of us, well, we’re SOL for now. Most of what I’ve seen from 4th ed sessions quickly degrade into “Spank that down!… OH NOES!!…. Healing Surge!… Ok we win!”. Lots of paperwork.
    Personally, I cannot wait to get away from 4th ed.

  88. Life's a Game, R U GM or player? Says:

    I have been playing games for along time. I play and enjoy every type of game I can find (e.g. I am currently enthralled in a battle with Gigas from Earthbound :). I also have been developing games, both professionally and as a hobby, for over 20yrs. Few understand and appreciate a game until they have made one. It is like the difference between a player (never GM’d) and a GM. Your understanding goes far deeper in most cases. People are forgetting the most important aspect of gaming: fun. That is the sole purpose for any game with very few exceptions (E.G. Elmo’s 123…lol). What is fun however, is subjective to the player, obviously. Fourth edition isn’t for everybody. Of course not! Just like Monopoly: Star Wars Ed. isn’t for everybody. The point is that WoTC came up with new concepts that they thought people would appreciate, and they implemented those into 4th edition while making a grip of cash at the same time. Of course they are going to make shit-loads of money off of it because that’s their job. If the promise of money wasn’t involved it’s creation, you people would have never been able to play D&D in the first place. Now I understand a certain level of frustration. I have spent over $3000 on 3.0/3.5 books. Its a harsh reality to realize that they mean nothing to 4th edition. However, were you so naive to think that this day wasn’t going to come? Seriously? Can you honestly blame WoTC for doing what they do best: being creative? They made an honest attempt to address issues that arose commonly with previous editions while adding new creativity the mix. Of course it won’t be perfect. Of course some will prefer old versions. However, does that give you the right to insult the people that made your love of D&D possible? If you don’t like it don’t buy it, but don’t talk shit until you’ve played it enough to make an actual educated decision. Combat is simpler and moves along much smoother. Of course this will upset rule Nazis, which is fine. There is nothing wrong with your love for detail, but don’t insult others who prefer other aspects of the game than just combat. It’s sad that such a highly intelligent category of people can bring themselves to such a close-minded approach to a game that they love. As far as a relation to WOW, I disagree, which I know is only my opinion. I do think though, that to make such a comparison really is unfair. It’s like comparing a truck and a car. It doesn’t work very well at all. D&D spawns the most creative, open-minded people I have ever seen in my life. It helps people develop ingenuity and opens door ways to a very broad opportunity for learning that few fail to acknowledge. Why I ask, are you willing to throw away everything this game has taught you, just because you’re afraid of change? Any design that more efficiently combines all aspects of a game produces a more efficient way of playing that game. Finally, I’ll end my long-winded :) response with this: In all my years (professionally or not) of producing and playing games, I have learned at least one thing. The worst thing that can happen to any game in any way is a close-minded approach.

  89. Wylum Says:

    To those concerned with minis…
    I suggest using an old chess set instead.

  90. rekres Says:

    RE: minis

    I found it kind of funny that I had been using tiles from an old Scrabble set as miniatures… then someone on the RPG bloggers network also made that suggestion.

    Currently I’ve been using one of those laminated fold-up battlemats from Paizo (I think, got it as a Christmas present) along with a set of cardboard counters from Fiery Dragon, which I bought years and years ago. 400+ high quality artwork on 1″ square cardstock… everything from PC portraits to a variety of monsters. So I don’t really use the scrabble tiles much, occaisionally I’ll use them as terrain markers…

  91. James Says:

    Don’t forget Goblins get +2 CHA…. seriously… WTF?

  92. rekres Says:

    All PC–playable races get two stat boosts with the exception of humans.

    Which two would you prefer Goblins to have? Well, Dex is probably safe. But Str? No! Int? Wis?
    Hobgoblins have Con and Cha, so I wouldn’t want Goblins to be the same… the only other choice is Cha.

    About the only other option would be to just give them +2 Dex and then some other boost to compensate… but what would be reasonable?

  93. Mike The Merciless Says:

    From my own knowledge of 4E, putting it into Cha was probably based strictly on game mechanic and not on the features of goblins themselves.

  94. Nightmare Says:

    Its a board game, not an RPG. Well, its a Board game with RPG elements. We already have that, its called Hero Quest

  95. GroovyTaxi Says:

    What did they do to the races? No more gnomes? They were my favorite race, and they also removed half-orcs! I have to admit they weren’t such a big loss for most players, but what they really did wrong was adding those new WoW-style races. Tiefflings… with horns, red skin, fiery eyes? So they didn’t want us to play orcs, but they want us to play demons? Dragonborns? It used to be cool to be half-dragon until they made it an actual race. What’s the point of being a half-dragon if you meet another half-dragon everytime you cross the street? Anyway… nothing’s as bad as eladrins. Anyone else noticed how they’re just like those homo blood elves from WoW? I’m tired seeing weird flashy races in online games, but now they reached D&D. Where did all the classics go?

  96. Mike The Merciless Says:

    Where did the classics go? Obviously they’re coming out in more books for you to buy. In their efforts to attract new players to the hobby, they’re simultaneously patronizing them primarily because Wizards believes a good many of them are WoW players. One might surmise that Wizards doesn’t think too highly about the MMO player’s ability to understand that an MMO and a table-top RPG are not the same, and wouldn’t be since you can do infinitely more with your character on table-top games than you can with an MMO.

    That’s why they made 4E more in line with an MMO. Some perhaps view this as a gate-way drug into role-playing, like Kurt Wiegel did in his YouTube review, but like him I am concerned with how these new players might respond to what else might be out there in the hobby. Already, when I started a new game of Conan with a player who only played 4E so far, he found playing Conan harder than he’s used to. I wouldn’t dare try him out on Legend of the Five Rings. If he thinks Conan’s tough, Rokugan would be too overwhelming.

  97. Jason Says:

    Complaining that 4E is too easy?

    So much focus on the rules. What happened to role playing over roll playing? Easier rules makes it easier to ignore the rules and deal with the theme and the characters and the story. And seriously, if 4E was 1E, would you really want to buy it all over again?

  98. Mike The Merciless Says:

    I didn’t mean that the rules were harder to understand for Conan or L5R. I meant that the game itself was harder in general in that it’s easier to die and harder to heal wounds. In Conan RPG, for instance, there are no healing spells and magic works differently. In L5R, if you get hit once by a weapon or a damaging spell, you could be killed, at almost any character level. In both games, there is no raising a dead PC to life.

    I think a player who’s only played 4E might understand the rules of 1E and 2E fairly well. He might also find it more flexible, since the classes aren’t dedicated to any particular “role” as they are in 4E.

  99. Eddie Says:

    I hate 4E I tried it and hated it. also they got rid of my favorite race half orcs. Unfortunetly i may have to switch to 4E for a number of reasons number one being that my payers want to play the new edition istead of 3.5

  100. Simon Moore Says:

    The great novelty of D&D 1E was that you could play it with a plain A3 piece of paper, a pencil, some dice and a page from your note book.

    Character Gen was like 5 minutes, you didn’t wine when it got hard, because it was always hard. You expected it to be. You had a party when your hero actually survived the adventure. Getting to level 5 was another deal all together. But you really had fun.

    It wasn’t about the number of books you had, or the list of mega powers, your, fighter/wizard/avenger had or your collection of flash figures.

  101. Greg Barron Says:

    4e will cost me another fortune…just lke 3 and 3.5 did. I’m sticking with 3.5…’cuz I’ve already got over $1K worth of books!

  102. Runedro Says:


    The only thing 3E, 3.5E and now 4E are good for is for new material to adapt to 2nd Ed.

    2nd Ed. FOREVER!!! :)

  103. Jason Says:

    Instead of adding onto the comment, I just wanted to link to an article on my own website about the topic:


  104. Ludus Novus » Blog Archive » The Space Beyond the Rules Says:

    […] the previous version of the game. I’ll spare you the details, as it’s been discussed ad absurdum elsewhere. It did get me thinking, though, about the role rules play in tabletop roleplaying […]

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