Monday, June 02, 2008

D&D 4th Edition

For the past few years I have had jobs that have downtime. I've had to wait for a call to come in, in order to do anything. My current job is much more hands on, but it also has an element of waiting for things to break — as a result I have familiarized myself with a number of web comics.

One of the comics I read is Penny Arcade. (My only disappointment with PA is that they use strong language from time to time.) The artist and writer are very much involved in Video games and tabletop gaming, though they have very different taste in games. I also read PVP, which is written and drawn by the artist. PVP is video game/tabletop gaming related.

Dungeons and Dragons is coming out with the 4th edition of their rule-set in less than a week now. It's interesting to watch how people respond. Some act with apprehension (My GM for instance, because he has invested in well over $200 on 3/3.5 edition[which I totally understand, this is the very reason I do not even toy with the idea of CCG's]). Others are excitedly anticipating this new upgrade to the most well known Pencil & Paper roll playing game.

A few months ago Tycho and Gabe (a.k.a. Jerry and Mike) of Penny Arcade and Scott Kurtz of PVP got together with some marketing folks from WotC (pronounced wot-see: referring to Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Dungeons and Dragons) and played some 4th Edition D&D. They played Keep on the Shadowfell, which as of this writing is the only 4th edition product on the market. At the time they played it, it had not been released yet.

Background information given, here's what's interesting about all this. They recorded the game. They played for a good eight hours, they are breaking it up and distributing it in podcast form. The first of which has been released.

I listened to the episode. Here's what I found interesting:

As far as experience goes. One of them is a D&D veteran and has been playing for years. One of them is a Noobe and has NEVER played, and one of them used to play back in 2nd edition. They all picked it up very easily.

The magic system has been revamped, and there are 3 types of spells: At will, which can be used as often as wanted; some that can be used once per encounter, and some that can be used per day.

It seems that they have tried to simplify things a bit. No one ever did spot checks or listen checks; it appears they've lumped all such checks into a single perception check.

Healing. Everyone has a number of self heals they can do per day. These self heals are for a certain number of hit points and can be used once per encounter. If you have a cleric or other healer class in your party they may assist during an encounter to set off one of your heals on your behalf even if you have already used one during the encounter.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the podcasts in the series. There is some language though.


  1. I wonder if they'll have 4th ed books at the library, I want to read them.

  2. I listened to the PA D&D Podcast. it was good, and got me even more excited about 4E, I've just placed my order for the set so I'll have it soon. About the Podcast. I am usually a fan of colourful language, I have a bad habit of using it myself at times. That said I was very put off by it in the podcast. The WotC d&d cast has always been clean. I sort of felt that PA were swearing just to swear. I was disappointed with them. I think I'll keep listening, but now I'll know that the show has strong language.

  3. Don't forget that game day is this Saturday the 7th. check out your local gaming store for fun and posibly prizes.

  4. What is this Game Day you speak of? A gaming Holiday of Sorts of which I have not heard tell?

  5. We went to a location hosting game day. It was a bust. But I did watch for a little bit. It's funny to hear how people comment about the "rules"

    My wife heard someone say that the rules have been made so you "have" to buy the maps and miniatures and grids and stuff, everything that has an area effect is measured in squares.

    Honestly, I heard the same things about 3rd and 3.5 edition, and we've only busted a grid out once.

    PEOPLE!! this is a game of imagination. Just equate the squares to a unit of measure that makes sense and go with it. Really, it's not that hard.

    If you need a better view of the scene being described, then ask the GM to map it out for you.

    Seriously though; I cannot figure out why intelligent people who like to sit around and make things up in their head with their free time, have such a hard time with making the rules work for them. — It's not like the WotC Secret Police are going to beat down your door if you don't plop a grid down on the table every time you play.

  6. So you've see the secret police too?

  7. I tried to join the WotC secret police but they would not let me. Any way just so you are aware I do have a grid so we should be safe.

    I do have a confession. I did so research on the 4 edition. I have a set of rules on the way. I think unless they have lost the pakage. Or the WotC police got it.

  8. Sounds like I might have to keep an eye oh ya' all. I have a badge and a gun, and official mapps and minis. remember if you playing 4e you must follow ALL rules. no homebrewing. but seriously what do you think of 4e?

  9. Well, I have not yet had a chance to play. But I like 99% of what I've read about it. Our regular DM picked it up so I'm sure we'll get a chance to play.

  10. Sorry, ya have to homebrew the world. WotC Dosn't have an official campain setting out yet.

    Fourth edition is a departure from the previous editions. It seems that they have give the player Classes a few more teeth. For example first level wizard no longer have to be afraid of Kobolds with vegitable peelers. They can cast magic missle at will at least once per round of combat Yes that's right a first level wizard has an unlimited supply of magic missle. 2d4+int modifer of damge on every hit. that is not the only power first level Wizards can cast at will.

    Every class has somekind of power they can use at will. Looks interesting.

    The have some vauge outlines at a new campain setting it is very different from thier traditional settings. It reminds me of eourpe just after the fall of rome just add magic and monsters. I right more on my own blog