Sunday 10 March 2019

What I love about: 4th edition

I consider myself an OSR chap, but today I wanted to take a look at the oft maligned Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition. Specifically, the stuff on really like about it. Onwards with the heresy.

Encounter building
Look - I don't believe that every combat should be balanced for the players. That said, 4e makes it super easy to put together appropriate (or inappropriate) fights. Everything just slots together nicely. Minions add some cinematic flavour to combat, with one hit kills and the roles allowed for a multitude of monster types.

Attack variety
While I do think that all the utility, daily, encounter and at-will powers were ultimately too much, I love the way that they make every class feel powerful and exciting. I don't hate bards using charisma for attacks, I really don't. You're never just thwacking away with your sword. I feel Gamma World got it right with just a few powrrs. If I were to clone 4e, I'd use GW as a template.

Simple rules
Going from 3rd edition to 4th, you can see how much effort they made refining and making the rules clearer. The 3e books are dense, with small type and easy-to-miss rules. 4e is formatted much more clearly and got refined some of the more confusing elements of 3e.

Stat blocks
Having everything you as a DM need in a stat block is time saving gold. There's no looking up spell lists - the mechanics are right there for you to use. I can't tell you how much of a relief this was when I first took 4e to the table.

Casters a relevant at low levels
Time was that you had a squishy as hell caster that would shoot off a couple of spells and be done for the day (I'm not against this - I'm an OSR chap, remember). In 4e casters could do awesome things every combat, casting rituals that don't run out. For those new to the game, this made much more sense than Mr Vance nicking your only spell for the day.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

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