Friday, July 04, 2008

4e: reader response

I got some good comments to the previous post about my 4e run. Today I'm going to respond to one of them. Here's devan:
Don't play the pregen adventures, as they suck. I played one and was wholly underwhelmed. Then, last weekend, I played an adventure my friend made up, and had an enormous blast.

People who say it's more limiting are lacking in imagination. My group was fighting some dwarven soldiers holed up in a barn. There was one blocking the doorway, nearly immovable, fighting the dragonborn paladin. The wizard of our group was doing her best to rid us of the crossbow firing dwarves peeking out of the second floor window. My cowardly, city-rat-kid-turned-conscript rogue was doing his best to appear useful while not taking any heat, until he took a bolt to the shoulder. I built him in the direction of avoidance and mobility, figuring he was never much a fan for fighting fair, more for running away. I used an ability that let me move two squares before an attack, opting to make those two squares vertical. I made the acrobatics check to perch in the window frame upon my moving those two squares, and attacked the dwarf. Next round, after nearly being knocked unconscious and pushed out the window, I scurried in and used an ability that moves an opponent squares = to my Cha mod. Dwarves always move one square less for pushes, but I still got one square out of him; enough to trip him out of the rafters and onto his buddy downstairs, knocking them both unconscious.

So yeah, you can absolutely do fun, creative things with this system, you just have to learn this system. I urge you to play for a while to get in the swing of things before saying "Eh, it's not for me, cause I didn't learn exactly how to play the way I want in two games." It's different, it takes adjusting, and it really is leaps and bounds more fun than previous editions, as no one is sitting around waiting for their turn with nothing to do anymore. There are fun things to do and keep track of on nearly everyone's turn.
I know you are trying to be helpful, dude, so don't take this the wrong way. Do you know how many people have told me "Don't judge the game by the pre-release hype"? This despite the fact that Wizards obviously wanted people to judge the game based on their hype machine. And then a bunch of people said "You can't judge this new D&D by the text alone, you need to play it!" Now you're telling me I have to play several sessions before I judge the game AND that I can't use the adventure Wizard's obviously wants me to use.

Exactly at what point do I stop giving these guys a break? When do I get to trust my own instincts on this one? How many hoops do I have to jump through before I'm allowed to have an opinion? I'm starting to get a little tired of people who lay out prerequisites for me before I'm able to have my say. Again, I'm not trying to call you out, here. I'm just highlighting this annoying trend I see everywhere among 4e boosters.

Your brief play report sounds like a good time and I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from having a good time with any game they are digging. But you and a zillion other gamers liking the system doesn't automatically make it a good fit for me. And like my adventure Wednesday, I don't see much fun stuff that couldn't have happened under a different edition or a different game.

Reader asmodean66 may have put his finger on the problem "I think the main change is that 4e is not a "simulation" of adventuring, like previous editions of D&D, but rather, it is a game about adventuring. The mechanics enforce game balance and playability over real world physics." Now, D&D has never been an exacting simulation of anything, but some of the changes make the game look less like an RPG and more like something else that I don't want or need. People have accused D&D of being a minis game or a video game in RPG drag. To me, it looks a little bit like a Euro style boardgame: an exquisitely balanced abstract game about nothing in particular with a whitewash to give it a little context. In this case the whitewash is "D&D but not the boring old D&D you've loved for 30+ years".

Finally, I'll end this post with S. John Ross offering a little perspective on the situation:
My reaction to 4E is pretty much exactly the same as 3E and it goes like this: If this game didn't have the D&D trademark attached to it, it would pass mostly unnoticed as yet-another-D&D-like-game. Nobody would feel obligated to try it, nobody would feel obligated to give it a chance, nobody would feel any need to have an opinion about it, and it would sink or swim (or, more likely, just sort of coast into a quiet place on the shelves) like everything else.

The most interesting thing about 4E is, IMO, exactly the same as the most interesting thing about 3E: it's another game with the Dungeons & Dragons trademark legally applied to it by those who purchased said trademark.


  1. I wish the 4e fans would direct the same amount of energy that they put into learning this new system into learning really new systems that deserve a proper crack of the whip. Like, I dunno, HARP or something. They might find that not every game requires elaborate explanations as to why it's better, and how you need to spend the time to get to know it; a fair few games can just stand on their own merits.

    It seems unfair that 4e should get a pass just because of grandfathering.

  2. Being solidly in the 'try it don't read it' school of thought, I think one or two tries of the packaged adventures (pre-gen or not) is enough to judge it based on your gut reactions.

    I like 4e so far and I am adopting it because it answers the needs I put forward before I read about it.

    My needs are not everyone's and I'm way cool with that.

  3. It is indeed getting a little tiresome, but passions run high with D&D editions. I haven't yet played 4e, only read the rulebooks and the Treasure of Talon Pass adventure module. I intend to give it a fair shot, but so far it seems pretty 'meh' to me.

  4. "To me, it looks a little bit like a Euro style boardgame: an exquisitely balanced abstract game about nothing in particular with a whitewash to give it a little context."

    My feelings exactly. And I have played 4e for a month now.

  5. Oops, posted the above with my wife's login.

  6. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Regarding real-world physics and 3rd edition, there's a wonderful article I encourage you to read at:

    It shows that real-world physics were at least part of the calculations in the design of the 3rd edition ruleset, and that the game functions the way you would expect things to in the real world - at least at the lower levels. 4th edition dumps that completely. A quick comparison - I tried to look up how much can you carry in 4e. The answer - 10 pounds per point of strength. Simple, doesn't make much real world sense, but works well for the game - that's the 4e design philosophy.

  7. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Hey, if you don't like 4E after playing several campaigns, you need to put on this rat mask until you do start liking it. ;)

  8. Anonymous1:33 PM

    You can't just move up. I bet his DM fixes that real quick.

  9. Anonymous2:02 PM

    My own view of 4E is that it's the ASL of DnD. Do we really need 50,000 pages of rules to play an frp game? Whatever happened to people making their own rules as they go along?

    Personally, I like rules-light games (which is whay I'm running a dnd campaign using a basic dnd with a few bits added in from 1e). I don't want to have to number-crunch my way though an enormous amount of unecessary rules to have fun :)

    I wonder how long it takes to play through a combat in 4e?

  10. In this case the whitewash is "D&D but not the boring old D&D you've loved for 30+ years".

    Which suggests, of course, that you don't need to adopt the new one (so I don't see why people push so hard for you to do so).

    On the other hand, I understand pushing the idea that this new edition might be a good thing in general, as a counter to the "this edition sucks and can't do anything worthwhile" thread that's been running around on message boards and such. For me, it's never been "the...D&D you've loved for 30+ years." Instead, it's always been "the D&D you've read, tried to play, and completely failed to like for ~23 years" (I think that's when my older sister handed off the Red Box she'd bought to me).

    4e is the first edition of D&D where I've looked at the game rules and been very excited by them. I'm already envisioning a game of bronze-age heroes moving around like the characters in Avatar, cutting down swathes of minions amid acrobatics and lens flare.

    In the past, other options have always won out over D&D for fantasy gaming. I've played extensive GURPS and Ars Magica, and both were easy wins over prior editions of D&D. With 4e, I see the D&D rules doing something that genuinely excites me, and interests me in using them for a certain style of play.

    Also, considering what noism said:

    They might find that not every game requires elaborate explanations as to why it's better

    I don't think 4e requires elaborate explanations -- I think these come from people who keep trying to convince the largely unconvinceable that the game is better. Again, that's foolish.

    I think 4e is exciting because it has a clean and easy power system that I find intuitive, it has an enemy system that enables a kind of fantasy adventure I've been itching to run, and I think it'll adapt to that kind of adventure better than anything else I've encountered so far.

    Or, shorter - 4e is exciting because it lets me run the kind of action fantasy game I want to run.

  11. Anonymous2:11 PM

    "I wonder how long it takes to play through a combat in 4e?"

    In my experience, between 30 minutes and 1 hour. That's including time we spent doing some flipping through the books, and we've only played a handful of times. That's basically how long it takes to run low-level combat in 3rd edition, and much faster than it takes to run high level combat in 3rd edition.

    BTW, I didn't mention the very best thing about 4e (IMO) If you write all your powers down on index cards, you don't need to have your rulebook at the table at all! The DM is going to need the DMG and the MM, and you might have to refer to the PHB once or twice, but on the whole, you don't need to have a rulebook handy to play 4e. That's the best improvement they've made to the game.

  12. My own view of 4E is that it's the ASL of DnD. Do we really need 50,000 pages of rules to play an frp game? Whatever happened to people making their own rules as they go along?

    People who make up their own rules don't need to buy anything at all. I've written rules and done rule-less freeform gaming, in addition to liking various games over the years. You buy rules because you like how they work or don't feel like thinking about it.

    I'd say that D&D is the ASL of D&D. My Cyclopedia is a charming bundle of unrelated systems and special case rules. The full corpus of, say, 1e, is even more ridiculous.

    (But at least in all editions the combats run faster than ASL.)

    People keep asking what happened to rules-light, "make it up as you go" gaming. I'd just answer, "Sage Advice." You may be among the crowd who just wants to wing it (an approach I heartily approve of), but a huge chunk of people (1) buy rules more than setting and (2) were willing to write in to Skip Williams and wait months for a published reply, to figure out how a given situation was "supposed to work." I heard an interview with Skip where he said how odd he thought it was that people wanted "official" rules answers, but they did.

    I think most people just don't want to make it up as they go. Crunch sells.

    For me, I like the freeform approach, but there's very little difference between "making it up as I go" and "tossing pieces overboard when I don't like them." So I'm not put off by waves of crunch that sell books to the greater population of gamers.

  13. If it plays better than it reads, it needed to be written better.

  14. "Now you're telling me I have to play several sessions before I judge the game AND that I can't use the adventure Wizard's obviously wants me to use."
    Funny now you mention it: a couple of years ago I was getting (Classic) Traveller and was somewhat underwhelmed by it, especially by its introductory adventure (Mission on Mithril).
    Settembrini took offense on that and said something along the lines of 'playing the game isn't enough, you have to understand it *properly*' and 'the *campaign* is the king of all gaming- anyone who hasn't played a campaign with it doesn't have the right to say anything".

    So the "argument" (or shall I say idiocy?) exists on both sides of the RPG-fence.

    Sticking to what you like and letting the other stuff be seems to be as good as an advice as any concerning new RPGs.

  15. Anonymous7:59 PM

    I've never played 4th edition.

    I've never played 3.x edition.

    I played 2nd edition once.

    And I'm happy with all that (except for the fact that I played 2nd edition once).


  16. Anonymous1:23 PM

    And the edition wars continue!

    My answer: If you're happy with third edition, stick with it. Fourth does several core things quite differently, and while that has its advantages, each of us has to weigh that against the disadvantages (learning a new system, abandoning a lot of D&D tradition, and so on).

    I'll go into more detail on this with a blog post later.

  17. The Different Strokes theme song had it right.

  18. I feel like I've sort of come to the same point as Jeff with it. I mean, I don't have anything against 4e, but I can't see it being my game of choice. Would I play more demos? Hell yeah!

    But as far as a regular campaign, as I've said before:

    Folks will always say [for parts you don't like], "Hey! You can just wing it! Make up random stuff--its your game!" Yeah, it is. But there comes a point--as I've found with my current campaign of Rolemaster--where you have to ask yourself, if you have to wing/fix this much shit, what's keeping you tied to this game, this sytem, versus going with something that works better for you? In the case of 4e, nothing.

  19. of amusing about all the "what happened to all the winging it back in the day?" comments. I think a lot of people realized they were making ad hoc decisions when they wanted rules, and gravitated toward the rules.

    On that note, Rolemaster's crit tables are fun to read, but playing anything in that system was among my most unfun experiences in roleplaying (caveat - it was MERP, which, for all I know, is lamer than normal Rolemaster).

    I once bought Star Strike, goggled at it, then played Silent Death instead. :)

  20. Hmmm. That posted weirdly. I think the intent is clear, tho'.

  21. Anonymous10:23 AM

    alexandro: Everyone has at least a general idea, if not firm foundation of how a long-term fantasy-gaming-campaign might run.

    Most people don´t have an idea of how a long term campaign in a modern and complex non-anarchic society runs.

    Add to that, that I was the first person on the planet predicting that there´l be unforseen (I predict them to be bad, YMMV)consequences for campaign play in 4e. And discussing these: nobody is able to do that right now.

    Also there is a difference between being allowed to dislike something, and being allowed to talk knowledgably about it.

    And for Traveller, I can only repeat that playing a bit of Mission on Mithril just doesn´t cut it.
    You have understood Traveller good enough to talk with the cool kids, if you´ve run your own module/situation. maybe you can even get the vibe just by reading CotI or the TML, but getting an idea and transferring it to Traveller, or being inspired by the subsystems is the Initiation-Moment. Either it clicks or it doesn´t. Mearls failed this test too, so you´re in good company.

    But you may wholely dislike it for aesthetic reasons even without playing it.

    Mutlidimensional is reality, and the stuff Jeff is talking about is not the same we wer back then. Traveller as Strategic Gaming Vehicle is obviously totally something else than D&D.

    There´s stuff you can say without even playing, some stuff after a single game, and some other stuff after a campaign.

    It´s the gamewrights job to lead from one stage to the other. For me, the Chracter Generation and the essays in the Traveller Bookl alone did that job.

    For 4e, Jeff and I are actively discouraged by text and experience to pursue it further. It is not clicking. Worse: it´s actively insulting (for any fan of D&Disms) and or boring, bland and pointless to play 4e.

  22. Well, I said that the "argument" is not really an argument, so if Jeff is discouraged by text and experience he is- of course- right and 4e isn't really for him (I am not really that keen on it either- its fun to play, but (like 3.x, RIFTS or Traveller) I wouldn't really want to run it, if I could avoid it. I *could* run it, of course (like I have done with 3.x, RIFTS and Traveller), but I wouldn't enjoy it.

    As for Traveller: I actually have gained a fairly complete understanding of how the game works, and that it works best when you "kit-bash" your own setting, but some of its elements (the skill tests, the cumbersome starship-construction rules, the designers laziness of just copying equations without translating them into game terms...) really *stiffle* my enthusiasm of doing so, rather than encouraging it.

  23. Apropos of all the thoughts on 4e, here's something fun from Jonathan Tweet:

    "4E is easy to freeform. Like Conrad's Fantasy/Sword of the Empire (and no, I don't expect you to be familiar with that incredibly obscure RPG), it has the characters all doing the same sort of thing (using dailies, making skill checks, and losing healing surges in this case), which provides a free-form structure for the DM to work with. In 3E, there would have been no way to equate what a fighter does (swinging sword over and over with no loss of resources) to what a wizard does (expending daily spells). Giving each player one narrative-heavy, free-form action in a large, free-ranging encounter plays a lot like Everway, in which blow-by-blow actions such as rolling to hit is out of the question from the start."

    From this blog post.

    Incidentally, in what way is 4e "insulting" to fans of D&Disms? Simply by not including them? Or do you feel that the designers somehow managed to actually include explicit an explicit "screw you, earlier edition fans" into the rules (rather than just making a new rule set that isn't the old rule set)? That just seems weird to me. I didn't feel insulted when Shadowrun 3rd edition made characters less capable and downpowered magic, even though that diverges from what feels like "essential Shadowrun" to me. Their design goals being different from my prior game experience is just a difference.

    Or is there some intro text ragging on the older editions that I missed?

  24. To me, 4E is the lego of RPGs. You get some colorful blocks for prepackaged forms. More modular than you think, and the result will be durable, if a bit blocky.

    To me, it's a better D&D game than 3E. There are better D20 variants, but that's because encounter-based games and dungeon crawling aren't my preferred game form. So any D20 game that comes close to a RuneQuest-like system is better for me.

    As with 3E before it, I note that most of its detractors are steeped in previous editions, so most complaints carry huge loads of nostalgia and ill-defined terms like "D&Disms". As someone who never liked AD&D or OD&D that much, I always feel like an outsider to such grognard talk. Kinda reminds me of the guys debating whether Kansas or Styx are "prog" or not...

  25. Anonymous11:28 AM

    John S Ross' quote is true of any game. Catopoly anyone? Its Monopoly but instead of property you buy cats.


  26. Anonymous1:16 PM

    The system is not the point. The point is building relationships with people. The game is only a tool for that. If your friends play traveller then that is the game you guys play. If its OD&D, then thats the game. For some groups its the latest and greatest, for others its a stable of game they remember from when they were younger. My group plays 4e because a few of us work at Wizards and for us the books are generously free.

    I think the mistake that most gamers make is that they assume that the good time they had when they were however old was because of a game system. But in reality the reason you had a good time is because of the people you were playing with. I think thats why everyone remembers fondly winging it. When you (wung?) it everyone was cool with that. The lack of a rule didn't matter because you were with your cool uncle, best friends, beloved parent or grandpartent, or sibling. If we are real with ourselves we can all find a time when we played in a game using our favorite system that absolutely stunk. Thats why old familiar systems work so well. Everyone is familiar with them. When you take a group of friends and try to learn a new system, you don't yet know what you can let go and what you can't. This raises the stress level and the game is not as fun, because it is not the game that is the source of the fun but the interaction with the people that is.

    As a system I like 4e about as much as I liked 3e. Its a different game but the group I play with is the same and I think we would all have fun playing OSRIC if we wanted to. Its the relationships, not the system.


  27. Anonymous1:22 PM

    anoan, let´s say, there is a gfame, that everybody knows, and that let´s you TRANSFER experiences based upon a shared clture.
    So that it´s not single groups, but more like a NETWORK.

    Now 4e just destroyed the old Network. Can it build it´s own? I´m sure. But there was no need, no need indeed.

  28. And how is fucking leaving them out not insulting? It´s not D&D without D&Disms, OBVIOUSLY. So 4e is less D&D than any other edition before.

    It's D&D because it's "a hodgepodge of popular contemporary fantasy tropes as turned into game rules by some folks." I mean, I've seen the games Jeff describes (which sound like a wild and fun time), and they involve a boatload of fighting. Yet over on RPGnet, someone is arguing that classic, classic D&D is all about avoiding fights, disabling traps, and finding treasure.

    So is Jeff insulting the memory of Gygaxian D&D because he doesn't play games about giant groups of adventurers and their hired help going in to get stuff out of a dungeon and avoid fights if at all possible?

    Seriously. That's stupid.

    Now 4e just destroyed the old Network. Can it build it´s own? I´m sure. But there was no need, no need indeed.

    4e adds a new network, just like 3e added a new network, just like the various handbook thingies added a new network to 2e, just like 2e added a new network, just like basic D&D and 1e were confusingly different networks in parallel.

    Given the drastic changes between 3e and 4e, I guess I'm just perplexed by how much you're whining about this edition.

    Given the incredible power of online interaction, "older" networks are more durable than ever before. There's no way that 4e is "destroying" this old network when people can go online and discuss the joys of Red Box D&D, etc, etc.

    I mean, even if D&D meant "just 2e" back when I tried a couple times to play 2e, it still didn't mean I was playing the same game as the people I tried to play with. They wanted to murder a dungeon room by room and get stuff, and I wanted to have, you know, an adventure.

    Both are fine, but nothing about 2e being 2e helped us be at all on the same page. Similarly, I figure lots of people will be murdering dungeons room by room with 4e, whereas I want to Wuxia it up in the bronze age with 4e. As far as I can tell, neither one of these games is a Jeff-style game either, and that disparity in style is edition-independent.

    And D&Disms is super vague. Which things are D&Disms anyway? Memorized spells? Fragile low-level characters? Clerics that can (or can't) use magic at first level? ThAC0? Feats? A unified D20 mechanic? Special-case rules for everything? 18/xx strength? Nonhuman races as classes? Nonhuman races as races? Dungeon crawling? Planescape?

    I've owned and read Red Box, Cyclopedia, 1e, 2e, and 3e, and I don't know off the top of my head which things are supposed to be core D&Disms.

    Maybe the idea of classes and levels. That's pretty constant. Otherwise, I'm baffled.

  29. Hey Sett...

    Using your network analogy, one can say that the whole shared expeirence thing began splitering somewhere in the late-'80s, and has NEVER come close to recovering.

    How? Let me explain...

    Back in the old, grognard days, RPGs were new, kinda wierd, and the player base was WAY smaller than it is now. Back then, not a lot of people really knew how to put together an adventure on their own, so many DMs relied on published modules to give their groups something to do. At the time, the number of published adventures was small, as was the aforementioned player base. As a result, when someone ran into new players of the game, they would quickly find themselves comparing notes on how their respective groups did in The Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, or The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, among others.

    As the game and the player base grew, the network may have become larger, but the shared experience diminished as there were more adventures available, as well as more DMs confident in running there own stuff. In short, it kind of became a guerilla network. One overall goal (play the game) with a number of barely connected-cells (playing groups) achieveing said goal in their own unique ways. I play D&D... you play D&D... but the chances of us actually being able to compare "cool stuff" is almost nil as anymore, especially with the advent of 3.0/3.5 and the OGL, the amount of published adventures out there is STAGGERING.

    You say that 4.0 destroyed the old network. I counter that the network was well on its way to drifting apart and was completely shattered by the OGL.

    As for D&D-isms being left out destroying the game or being insulting, the same can be said for bringing new stuff in. Case in point, THAC0. I *HATE* THAC0 with a passion. I don't know why, and it's probably irrational, but I do, and it (among other things) killed D&D for me for a time. Third edition left a out THAC0, a well-entrenched D&D-ism by that time, and nobody was running around screaming that they had killed the game.

    I consider myself an old fart and a grognard... I have played this game in its various incarnations from 1975 onward. Does 4E shatter D&D to me? No... It's not what I grew up with, but I can still see the roots, just like I could see the roots with 3.0/3.5.

    All this said... the game has changed and evolved. The last two full editions (3.0 and 4E) have been ground-breaking in their changes to the game, 4E especially so. If you don't like the changes though, you have to play the new version. It's that simple.

    Finally Settembrini, please remember that at the heart of it all, it's just a game. A game with a lot of deep meaning for a lot of us, and one that stirs up a lot of passion in some of us, but ultimately, still just a game. There really is no need to fly off the handle with the "f-bomb", especially when you have shown yourself to be more than capable of having a reasonable, well-meaning discussion on several topics in the past without ever having to resort to it before.

    peace... RHM

  30. All this said... the game has changed and evolved. The last two full editions (3.0 and 4E) have been ground-breaking in their changes to the game, 4E especially so. If you don't like the changes though, you have to play the new version. It's that simple.

    err... don't have to play the new version... my bad... =P

    peace... RHM

  31. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Its really about friends and people, not the game. When you put people first, it really doesn't matter what game you play. Life is too short to play a game with someone you don't like.

  32. Anonymous3:50 PM

    That last one was mine.


  33. Anonymous5:19 PM

    That guy's example story bugs the hell out of me.

    He moved vertically? Bwah?

    The Dwarf's stability prevents them being from being moved by a CHA-based effect? Howzat?

    4E sounds less and less like a game I want to play the more people defend it.

  34. But that example was awesome. :)

    Obviously, that kind of thing is pure YMMV. The very first thing I read that tilted me toward appreciating 4e was the declaration that one of the Rogue powers lets you double jump in mid-air, which sounds just, well, fun.

    It's also probably pretty inimical to many styles of fantasy gameplay. Naturally. :)

    I think I should start recording my captchas for posting on this blog. This time it was "Myumk," which is either a sound effect or a Fiend Folio creature. Maybe a sound effect made by a Fiend Folio creature.

    "Run! The Myumks are coming!"

    "Myumk. Myumk myumk myumk. Myumk."

    I imagine they're like Dire Smurfs.

  35. John S Ross' quote is true of any game.

    Given that the majority of games never get more than a single release, it's literally impossible for it to apply, in any degree, to most games, let alone any game.

    At the D&D level, it is true only of D&D. Nothing else comes remotely close.

    At a much weaker level - several orders of magnitude down the ladder - it is [potentially] true of only a tiny handful of games with established fan-bases (Traveller, RuneQuest, Vampire, etc) or of new games marketed on a licensed trademark (DC Heroes, a Star Trek RPG, etc).

    After that, you're left with hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of games for which it doesn't/cannot apply at all.

  36. I wish when they were mentioned campaign settings, they'd have mentioned Greyhawk. Just jumped right over that one, eh?

  37. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Thank you for your reply, Jeff. You are of course absolutely correct in that, if you really just didn't enjoy it, and what you want is more "gritty struggle to survive the wilderness" sort of gaming, 4E probably isn't the system to adequately handle your desires. Who knows, maybe someone will run a game of it that will change your mind down the line, maybe you'll just keep enjoying what you play now. Either way, you'll be in the right, cause it boils down to what you want out of a game.

    On another note, since so many people seemed to be confused by my anecdote, allow me to throw in a bit more explanation. I didn't move vertically through magical game-loophole nonsense. Here's what I did:

    In 4E, players have three actions per round; standard, move, and minor, in descending order of priority. You can trade down priorities for different actions, i.e. you can take another move instead of a standard, or three minors or whatever.

    I took my move to get a running start at the barn wall, I used my standard which allowed a "shift" of 2 squares in a creative way, saying that I was using my momentum and trained acrobatics skill to clamber up the wall and perch in the window for a dagger thrust.

    As for the pushing of the Dwarves, in 4E, Dwarves always move one square less from push effects. They're hearty, thick, stable, and strong, and anything you do to try and get them to move when they don't want to is just going to be less effective because, well, they're Dwarves.

    The ability I used is part of a branching path rogues can choose at the beginning of their career. If you want, you can lean more towards the "brawny rogue" style, being sort of a thug, or towards the "artful dodger" style, being more of a trickster type. The ability I had used allows you to shove an opponent back a square, and if you were an "artful dodger," to instead push by a number of squares equal to your Charisma mod. The logic being that you were using your bluffs, feints, and generally elusive demeanor to mix it up a bit more and strike when they were distracted, thus pushing them further. So, in effect, my wiliness tripped the Dwarf, but still not as far as would a human, because the Dwarf is more resistant to being moved.

    Hope that clears things up. In hindsight, my lack of in depth explanation may have mad 4E seem really damn strange, but that's more a factor of the "shadows on the cave wall" syndrome than anything. Only getting glimpses of the system through what I was reporting would indeed make it seem quite odd.

  38. I have been playing 4e since June 7th, or whenever the release day was. I like MMO's, I like MtG, I like a lot of stuff better than 4e. I will continue to play it (sigh), because my group enjoys new things and D&D4e is simple if you have ever played earlier editions. Also, I have a hard time getting my group to go back to Deadlands HoE/CoC/Gmmaworld/Hackmaster

    They have all said they would try Dark Heresy, but they don't really respect the emperor enough to commit