Thursday, 18 November 2010

4e is grinding my gears

Don't get me wrong, folks, I love me a slice of 4e and my players really enjoy it, so I would never quit on them. But lately I've been finding niggles in the system that have grown into giant puss-filled growths that are about ready to explode.

For one thing, combat can really drag. Yes, monsters have some pretty nifty powers, but strategic players can often reach points when they take a long time to decide what the hell to do; and this isn't their fault. The system is just too rigid: "Well if I swap my movement for a minor then I can draw my crossbow, but I need to shift to see the target. If I just move I provoke an attack of opportunity and then I can only put my sword away but not pull out my crossbow." I much prefer combat to be fluid, like in Tunnels and Trolls. I get that some people enjoy the tactical wargaming aspect of 4e, but it can slow a game down quite a bit.

I've also been finding that checks are replacing roleplay. This is a big complaint in 4e but has only recently been annoying me. "I check for traps", rolls dice. But how are you checking? Where are you checking? "I use history to see if I know anything about this place". Should this not be knowledged uncovered in-game from roleplaying?

I don't know. To be honest it's really the way you DM the game and how your players like to play. Some of mine like roleplaying and others prefer the tactical thinking in combat, no matter how metagamey it can be. In the end, the things that annoy me aren't necessarily the things that my players are getting irritated with. If my players are enjoying themselves then both me and the system are doing our jobs.