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D&D Essentials Red Box

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So for Saturday, I attended the D&D Redbox game day at Game Empire, Pasadena. My goal was to take a look at the red box system mostly to see if it would serve as a good easy system to use for my program for after school activities. So, in may case, I was interested only on how it would work in that setting with beginning gamers.

In this game, I played the pregen Dwarven Fighter Slayer, which had an interesting set of powers. Most notable of the character was the lack of dailies, the reduction of only 1 basic melee, two at will stances (minor) that either added +2 to damage or +1 to hit with melee attacks, an encounter (Free) that added an extra die with a hit with your weapon, and an encounter which added 5 temp hitpoints if you turned bloodied (Minor). All the other standard dwarven abilities were present (Dwarven resilience, Cast iron stomach, etc.)

As far as roles, the fighter was basically a striking class, having a good hit and damage potential. In around, you could deal significant damage. What was gone was marking, combat superiority, etc.

As far as the dynamics of the group and play, I believed the removal of defender role makes the game less like iconic 4e. For my purposes for my program, which wants to heighten the "teamwork" in the game, I found, IMO, that elimination not so good.

As for our group of 2 fighters , a wizard, and a warpriest (Basically a cleric/pally) we met out end at the last battle against a blackdragon and its orc minions. We slew the dragon (not before the wizard bit it) and were taken out by overpowered orc minions that got a standard action if they were dropped to 0 (The DM would have them charge us if we shot them from distance, and we would take about 12 points of damage).

While like the simplification of PC powers, I am a little hesitant to invest in this route if the role criteria is basically whittled down. I felt the 4 roles provide a better framework for discussing and utilizing strategy at the combat level. Perhaps seeing the actual rules set and PC creation options would give a different opinion.

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  1. Otakar's Avatar
    So how's it working out for the "after school" activities. What route did you go?
  2. wizarddog's Avatar
    After seeing the material in the actual books, I found some good stuff for beginning players that make it feel more like 1e. What is gone are the many choices you have on PC creation. That may be a better approach to get Players into the game. Too many choices can overwhelm beginners. I may experiment in giving 6th graders in the program exclusively the essential characters options while giving the 7th graders and 8th graders all of the options (8th graders learn how to DM and create their own adventures). When the program is up, we can see how fast the students can assimilate the game. Since it does not exclusively use just 4e (Starwars and other games will be utilized) we may find this "tier" system unwieldily and let those who master the system use what ever they want.