Before I start ranting about Fourth Edition, here’s an article from GeekDad over at Wired that I completely agree with and think has some wonderful ideas
Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition
I’d like to preface this by saying: I am not an expert on RPG’s I’ve played D&D 3.5 almost exclusively for the past five years.
With that said I haven’t enjoyed fourth edition. It seems stiffening for both the GM and the players.
I absolutely adore the big table at the end of the character creation chapter; it’s something that I’ve always wanted for 3.5. I also really like the idea that every race has pluses and no minuses to stats.
I enjoy rolling statistics for my character and this version really doesn’t encourage it. I sorely missed rolling hit points too.
The feats in this version are watered down and have some interesting effects but overall everyone’s reaction, that I’ve played with, what that there were too little feats to choose from and way too many needed.
A lot of the rules have been simplified and some have been thrown out completely. I learned quickly that falling was dangerous. (d10 damage instead of d6 like 3.5.) I enjoyed the idea that shooting into melee didn’t incur penalties.
I like the combination of certain skills like Spot and Listen into Perception. (To be noted that Pathfinder is still working with 3.5 rules and have done similar things to skills. http://paizo.com/store/downloads/pathfinderRPG)
Overall the rules seemed streamlined for combat and should have moved play along quicker.
The idea of powers was an interesting one. At first I love it, fighters would finally be balanced. After fighting numerous combats I started getting frustrated. By level 30 everyone has a base of 2 at will powers, 4 daily powers, 4 encounter powers, and 7 utility powers. Add to that a myriad of item, race and cross class powers. This sounds like a lot till you realise that a 15th level fighter in 3.5 would have 4 attacks per round with almost as many special feats as the 4 edition powers.
For someone who’s always preferred playing clerics this was a huge drop in things I could do.
This should streamline the combat right? I mean there’s less things you can do. Wrong, everyone has to look over there powers because they’re all so darn similar. Memorising them would take a mind better then mine, so everyone looks through their PHB (Players Handbook) and tries to decide on their next turn.
Making combat feel ten times longer then it ever did in 3.5.
I didn’t get the chance to do skill challenges but I’ve used similar ideas before and I don’t always like it. If it’s disarming a trap or repairing a sword, then that’s great but the minute you have to role too many checks for diplomacy or other social skills then you loose the role-playing aspect of the game in favour of more rolling.
It really feels like the constricting character creation and the lengthy combat takes away from the game. I’m sure that there are ways to homebrew fixes to the more annoying aspects but for the minute I’ll stick to 3.5.
I’ll pick up the Eberron books next year but I doubt I’ll use them for more then their world history and story content.
I give D&D 4th edition 4 out of 10.