Friday, January 27, 2012

today's experiment

I want to talk a little about today's game outside of the usual "here's what the drunken henchman tells you" context.  As you may have heard one of the claims being made about the new edition of D&D is that it will accomodate characters from previous editions.  My impression from the early presentation was that you'd be playing a 1st edition assassin and your buddy next to you would have a 4e warlock and it would somehow all hold together without the DM going insane or you lusting after the warlock's feats and powers.  I think the folks at Wizards have backed off this claim slightly in the past couple of days.  The real deal seems to me that the default PC will look a lot like a 1st or 2nd edition character, but lots of 3e and 4e fiddly bits will be available as options.  I dunno.  I have no direct info.

Either way, I got to shooting my mouth off about wanting to try running characters from divergent editions side by side, as sort of a control group.  Can an ordinary DM make this work without benefit of a 5e rulebook telling him how to get it done?  Zak made me put up or shut up, so here's the roster from todays game:

Niles Calder ran Louie le Mouche, a 3rd level rogue made under 2nd edition Advanced D&D
Arthur Fisher ran Clark Clarkson, a (2nd level?) half-orc cleric of Hieronymus Bosch, a 3e character
Zak Smith ran Vortullak the Untamed, a 1st level Warlord made with 4e
Mike Fernandez ran Tufi, a 1st level Gungan Jedi made with Star Wars Saga

Mike was a last minute sub.  Originally Peter Robbins was going to play a character from the World of Azamar, a fantasy rpg I know nothing about, but he had to cancel.

The real trick to making this hodgepodge group was deciding which mechanics were owned by the PCs and which were owned by the DM.  For example, when the dragon breathed fire everyone used my save chart.  What their Reflex save was didn't matter one bit.  But when they cast spells they used the rules for their own edition as best as we could.  The only place this felt strained was when Zak used one of his Warlord powers to swap places with a giant golden spider that was trying to kill them.  That felt really dissociated and like it had nothing to do with my game.  I explained it away as some sort of secret anime powered weeaboo magic, but it still felt a little grating.  Zak's potential damage output was also hella higher than the 2e and 3e guys.  The jedi just sliced through all kinds of shit, as would be expected.  He came real close to beheading the dragon.

So anyway, I'm now convinced that something like WotC's plan is feasible, assuming the 4e stuff is toned down a bit to bring the numbers more in line with previous editions.