Tuesday, August 4, 2009

4E Rant

Here goes.
First let me give some background for those who may not have read some of my earlier posts. I've been gaming since '79 or so, lots of D&D in its various incarnations, but lots of other games also; Rifts, Star Wars, Chill, Traveller etc... I like to try and play lots of different games/genres, but I always come back to D&D. Fantasy RPGing just feels like home to me.
Anyways I've ran many games over the years, one of my longest running and most successful campaigns was a 3.0 Campaign, then 3.5 came out I resisted but eventually played it, they fixed some things, but I felt the changes were too many and too soon. We had fun, I admit it wasn't perfect, just like with 3.0 running high level sessions was a bit of work at times, we tried some other games, I ran a couple of different Castles & Crusades Campaigns that were quite fun, but my players missed some of the options they had with 3.x, particulary with character customization. So we went back to playing 3.5 and were having fun. Then 4E came out, I will admit at first I was not too keen on it. When I heard what was "left out" of the core book (gnomes, barbarians, half-orcs, druids etc.) , I was aggravated, said I wouldn't play it/buy it. I'll admit I'm something of a Grognard when it comes to change. We played Mutants & Masterminds instead (had a ball by the way). Then 4E tempted me and our group. I decided heck why not give it a try, who knows I might like it. So I got the core books (Noble Knight Games rocks!), studied them, put together an adventure for a playtest session, worked up an area for a mini-campaign from some old notes and went at it. Playtest session went ok. It was mostly a big fight. After all we all knew how to Role Play so we figured Combat was the big challenge. The players seemed to like it. While I wasn't quite convinced about it I agreed to run it some more sessions. After running several sessions another member of our group offered to run some games, just so I could see how it felt to be a player. Fast forward to the present....
So we've been playing for awhile, I've gotten to DM and be a player for 4E.
My thoughts....
4E has some fun things about it. I like some of the ideas it presents, it does seem to take away some of the DM work of running higher level combats. Initially it was cool learning the new powers and abilities and seeing how the players used their abilities. Monsters are fun in surprising ways. I've even created monsters on the fly during an encounter, something that is a bit more challenging to do in 3.5 (but not impossible). Minions are cool. Anyways... I feel that I can now make a fair assessment of my personal stance on 4E, I've actually played it rather than looked/sneered at it from the distance. Mind you this is my personal opinion. Not a bash at others.
Guess you can tell where this is going. I can honestly say I don't like 4E. To me it plays more like a video game than an RPG game. They changed too many sacred cows for me. Alignment...yuck. magic items...blech. Marking....no thanks!, there are others, those are just off the top of my head. My group seems split. A few like it (especially the younger players), but many of us don't. We've decided to wrap up our 4E Campaign next game session and then decide where to go from here (Pathfinder is out soon, we may give it a look). I may keep my 4E Player's Handbook, but I'll be trading in my DMG and MM, I just don't think I'll be needing them.
For those of you who are fans of 4E I wish you the best. I'm not knocking you or your enjoyment of the current edition. It's just not for me.
May all your hits be crits!


  1. I am of a similr mind. My brother is a big fan of 4E and I can see that it would be fun to play. We have had lengthy discussions about it.

    I cannot put my finger on it, but it really doesn't feel like the same game. Too many canned resposes and "coded" effects. Now, one could argue that these are just rules mechanics, but they do not feel like the D&D that I know and love.

    I am really happy with what Paizo did with 3.5. The retooling they did to make their Pathfinder core game seems to have taken some of the ideas of 4E and executed them in a very 3.5 way insead of turning the system on it's head.


  2. Eli thanks for posting. I've gor a reserved copy of Pathfinder due at my FLGS this thursday so I'm anxious to get it in my hands and look at the final product.
    Good Gaming,

  3. Mucho powerfull characters and unbalanced fights really turned me off to 4e. My tips to DM's , bring monsters , lots of 'em! You get 4 players and you got trouble with dailys and encounters doing 2d6 and even 3d8 damage plus ability modifiers per player. I like my 3.5 blanket , its nice and warm. Looking forward to the pathfinder " Beta " test.

  4. I have looked some more at 4E since posting her.e I can honestly say that I could play it. It is hard for me to think of it as D&D and when I do I get a little grumpy, but if it had another name on it and presented its light, fast, furious rules to me, I might buy it.

    As it is, I have read friends' copies only. I much prefer Pathfinder's approach to retooling 3.5. I think they did a good job for it without transforming it into an entirely new world. Add to this the incredible level of style and detail they folks at Paizo put into their products, it's a definite yes.


  5. Eli,
    I couldn't agree more. Call it strange but if 4E hadn't been called D&D, I'd probably have enjoyed it more. 4E just changed too many things that I considered to be "Sacred Cows", to still be called D&D.

  6. I have come to the conclusion that I am unable to discuss 4E rationally. As soon as I begin to look at it's structure and compare it to my preferred 3.5 I just lose it mentally. I fall into this pit of raging hate. Which is sad really. But some things just push your buttons, you know?

  7. Don't be a hater Tetsubo! Just kidding! LOL
    We learned not to talk about 4E amongst ourselves while at the FLGS, there are some definate folks out there who LOVE 4E to the point that if you play anything else they think something is wrong with you. They'd jump into our private conversations to provide their keen insight and knowledge about how awesome and perfect 4E is.