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View Full Version : D&D 4th Edition from an Old Gamer after 4 months playing



HowwwwL
12-19-2009, 02:31 PM
Hi everyone, I thought I would come back and follow up after 4 months of DMing 4th edition. This is to revisit my initial review and see if my opinion has changed since that time.

After playing for 4 months, my group who consists of 6 players (5 PCs and 1 DM) are split on 4th edition. There are 2 players who dislike 4th edition with a passion, 2 players who love 4th edition and prefer it over 3.5, and 2 players who are indifferent.

I've compiled what my players like or dislike about 4th, comparing it to 3.5. It seems it always comes back to that doesn't it?

Players in favor of 4th edition.
These players likes:
1) Character Builder
2) Ease of making characters and leveling them up
3) Speed of combat
4) Tactics in combat
5) Roleplaying not sacrificed for better combat rules

Players against 4th edition.
These players dislikes:
1) Character Classes too 'vanilla'. Abilities and power effects not different enough or unique enough from each other.
2) Leveling - when choosing new powers, it feels like the same old power with some minor differences
3) Rules too 'dumbed' down or simple
4) Classes do not have roleplaying elements built into them (like Paladin losing powers, etc.)
5) Multiclassing is not good. The multiclassing feats do not bring the element of the class into play. (note: I think WoTC realizes this, because I see HYBRID classes being beta tested right now. I do agree with this assessment myself).
6) It doesn't have the same feel as the classic earlier editions, too generic.

The ones who are indifferent are myself and one other person. We like aspects of both games.

Because of this (and to keep peace in our group), I've done some investigation into Pathfinder (also known as D&D 3.75). I've been very impressed by the changes they have made to the 3.5 system. So much so, I am going to offer it as an option to my group tonight.

The major things the pro 4th edition people disliked about 3.5 was the unarmed combat rules (grappling, overrun, etc) which bought combat to a screeching halt when it happened, some races/classes were underpowered in comparison to the others (balance issues), and they mentioned some other minor things here and there that I cannot remember due to my old age, heh heh.

I think after reading through the changes in Pathfinder, this might be an option for my group here in town, based on the changes I see in this Core Rulebook.

I still think 4th edition is a solid system in itself. Again, it is not for everyone. The people who liked it the most in my group, were the people who learned how to play D&D by playing, not reading. They found 4th edition very simple to understand and combat was easy. They found 3.5 too cumbersome. I think 4th edition does this perfectly. It provides a solid game system for new players very well.

Roleplaying was similar for us in both editions, but of course everyone has their preferences with respect to rules...

Anyways, I thought I would follow up with our experiences playing it!

Grandore The Giant Killer
12-19-2009, 04:17 PM
This is why my DM implements rules from other divisions. Like for classes he holds restrictions like Paladins can't use blade weapons because it's against the creed. Druids have major restrictions in our game. For one you can't tell anyone you are a druid or touch anything made out of metal because you'll lose your powers.

The beauty part about D&D is the ability to mend and mold rules to how you feel.

wizarddog
12-19-2009, 09:07 PM
I have found that the players who were more new to D&D like 4e better. It was easier for them to keep track of powers and they could build tactical strategies easily.

Those that disliked 4e it seemed more upset that they couldn't exploit it as easily. They disliked having certain things delegated to powers: trip, tumbling, disarm, etc. The fancy power table matrix things gives it the impression it is all crunch and no fluff.

I used to hate 4e as well...but I got over it once I decided that I would concentrate on the story telling aspect rather than battles. Freed me up to try new things with the system. I also just use the fluff from my 3.5 stuff to fill in the gaps. I rather have players comfortable with a system than limiting themselves because of complexity.

A crazy thing I just did was re-read 1e rules and wrote and stated an adventure for it. The biggest challenge in that was their is no mechanics in 1e for things like not slipping off a surface. I had to use some creative use of the saving throws to work it in.

HowwwwL
12-20-2009, 11:29 AM
Yeah I personally do not have a problem with 4e. Seems to be no different for me from a storytelling perspective. And you are right the people who like 4e the best are the people who dislike reading the rules and are not looking to exploit or find combo opportunities.

I do think though that what Pathfinder did to the classes in their game was an improvement over the 3.5 version. When I left 3.5 I swore I would never go back, because of the fiddly things in the rules that annoyed me. But Paizo I think has done a good job of improving the rules. I just about switched systems to Savage Worlds...

I passed it by my group last night, and they all are willing to give Pathfinder a try, so we will see how that goes. We will be playing 4th edition probably until spring (to give us time to transition and get a campaign together). One of our other DMs is taking over the reigns for a few months starting at the end of January.

I really do not understand why there is such a polarity between people who like/dislike 4th edition. The ones who like it are fervent zealots who think 3.5 is evil and there is no other game people should play other than 4th. Same with the people who think 4th is like an MMO, and won't touch it with a ten foot pole. They are just game systems, lol. THey are so different it is like you are comparing Hero System to Savage Worlds. It is like comparing apples to oranges.

It is a game. It does what it does good. But some people in my group still argue that the 4th edition character classes removed a lot of the flavour that used to be there when playing these classes. There are 3 DMs in our 6 player group (we rotate), and one of our DMs refuses to DM 4th edition he hates it so much...

Hopefully our switch to Pathfinder ends up being a good one for our group.

Webhead
12-20-2009, 09:13 PM
...the people who like 4e the best are the people who dislike reading the rules and are not looking to exploit or find combo opportunities...

While I think that statement might work as the vaguest of generalizations, I also don't think it's entirely fair. Afterall, I am generally what most folks consider to be the opposite of a "power gamer" and I gave 4E a chance and decided it wasn't the game for me. I also have no particular love of any previous edition of D&D. Just a thought.


...It does what it does good...

I can agree with this assessment. Personally, what I perceived that 4E does well is just not the kind of game that I enjoy. That's the great thing about our hobby. There are so many different games out there that you're never "trapped" into playing one or another...assuming you can find players, of course. Finding non-D&D gamers tends to be the greatest challenge...but not impossible by any stretch.

Hiraevun
12-20-2009, 09:40 PM
A crazy thing I just did was re-read 1e rules and wrote and stated an adventure for it. The biggest challenge in that was their is no mechanics in 1e for things like not slipping off a surface. I had to use some creative use of the saving throws to work it in.

I haven't tried 4E, have barely even looked at it in the store. I came to D&D through the Red Box in the early '80s, then moved on to 1e AD&D. Mostly what I did was read the books, generate characters, and make adventures, although I did do a bit of actual playing with that system. When 2e came out, I was able to play in groups here and there. After that, I got out of gaming until about a year ago. Right now I am running a homebrew game (http://semnavoldt.wikispaces.com/) using 2e rules. I've got a 3.5 PHB and have run one game using the Pathfinder system when it was in beta. I think Pathfinder is a good system, although all of the 3e stuff is a bit foreign to me.

There's a huge variety of systems out there. Right now my most experienced players are most comfortable with 2e, which works well because that is the system I'm most comfortable with as well. There are things about the d20 system that I like better than 2e--mainly the consistency of the core mechanic. To this day, I get thrown by the variety of mechanics used in the old AD&D systems: for some things, a high roll is good; for others, a low roll. This can slow things down a lot during a game; i.e. Player: "Wait! What? I want to roll low on initiative? But how does my Dexterity reaction adjustment help me then?" or DM: "Um, you want to bash the door? Okay. What's your strength score? I need to cross-index on this table. Roll d20. You got an 18? That's great! The door flies o--oh, wait, no it doesn't. It's not great. Your high roll is bad, it sucks. The door is still stuck. Your shoulder hurts now."

Pardon the ramblings of an edition-crossed DM. I must be confused. :laugh:

HowwwwL
12-20-2009, 10:36 PM
While I think that statement might work as the vaguest of generalizations, I also don't think it's entirely fair. Afterall, I am generally what most folks consider to be the opposite of a "power gamer" and I gave 4E a chance and decided it wasn't the game for me. I also have no particular love of any previous edition of D&D. Just a thought.

When I said 'people' I was referring to people in my specific group, not people in general.

Grimwell
12-21-2009, 08:13 PM
Pardon the ramblings of an edition-crossed DM. I must be confused. :laugh:

...and that right there is the greatest crime a system of rules can commit. :confused:

Webhead
12-21-2009, 11:06 PM
When I said 'people' I was referring to people in my specific group, not people in general.

Ah...okay. Carry on, then! :cool: