Tuesday, February 19, 2013

4th Edition D&D: experience after first outing

This past weekend I played my first outing of 4th Edition.  Yes, I know, I am late to the game.  You might notice from looking around this blog that I was a long time player of AD&D, then of 3.5E.

First off, it was a nice group of people I got to meet and play with for the first time.  We are playing the Zeitgeist adventure path.  I am not going to tell the adventure story, but there could be spoilers.

One of the complaints against 4E I have read repeatedly on the web is how it discourages or makes difficult role playing.  I just don't see it.  Sure, 4E is much more tactical, and I cannot see running a 4E game in Theater of the Mind.  However, you either will role play with the DM encouragement, or you will not.  I did not experience anything I found discouraging in the rule set to keep me from role playing.  Sure, I have been doing it for 30+ years anyway, so it would take a lot to keep me from role playing anyway.

As noted in a previous blog post, I have the controller role as a Wizard (arcanist).  In the first round of the first encounter I was able to use a spell to effectively end the encounter by pushing two of the three antagonists off a bridge and into the water.  The last antagonist, being outnumbered (and discovering he was facing a wizard as well) surrendered.  I found a first level character to be very powerful and the system to be very tactical.  I am not saying that is good or bad, it just is.

In the next encounter we were pretty much outgunned, and I think the DM pulled his punches.  Fair enough, two of the four players had never played 4E before, and this group had never played together.  Regardless, we just barely managed to come through.  As a controller I was able to knock prone, push (repeatedly) and render unconscious the bad guys until help arrived.  At that it was close as my Paladin ally was unconscious and on fire.  I don't recommend that combination.

Not surprisingly for any edition, I noticed quickly you need to make wise decisions about which spells to use against which opponents. A good variety of spells which attacked will, fortitude and reflex defenses proved essential to the limited success we saw.  Also, not surprisingly, splitting up the party creates hazardous conditions.  I can see the huge synergies already by having the well balanced and complimenting party all together.  Split us up and we are sadly lacking.

4E is quite a different game from its ancestors, but so far I don't see this as an obstacle to fun.

The dice never lie.

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