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    2009-12-06: I finally put my finger on it

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    Chris
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    Join date : 2009-11-20
    Posts : 290

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    2009-12-06: I finally put my finger on it

    Post by Chris on 2009-12-06, 19:41

    Its been bugging me since the first time I ever looked at the 4th ed. Player's Handbook but I haven't been able to figure it out until now:

    D&D 4 is a pre-fab game.

    Don't get me wrong, I’m not one of those guys that hates anything new (Windows 7 is great by the way). I don't, by any means, hate 4th ed. I've had fun playing 4th ed. and I own all the 4th ed. core and power books.

    I like playing 4th ed. and, other than keeping track of recurring effects and marking and all the other bureaucratic bullshit they added, running it is a breeze. No, what I don’t enjoy is making a character.

    Maybe I’ve just gotten too old to enjoy the simple things in life like I used to, but in my formative years, I could spend hours making a character, picking feats (or non-weapon proficiencies), buying gear, drawing a character sketch, whatever. Now, you can crank out a 4th ed. character, complete with adventurering kit and character portrait, in a matter of minutes (maybe less if you’re using the Character Builder software). This means you can get right down to playing, without spending the campaign’s first session making your character, and I guess that’s the point.

    I know what the counter to this opinion is: a game and a character is only as good as the players, and I agree with this. The problem is that ease breeds laziness. Older, more complicated, character building processes, suggested or demanded backgrounds and character concepts, but more than that, they gave you time to think about it. What’s lacking now is time. There’s no foreplay, no time to get to know your character before throwing him into a fight.

    To be fair, I’ve never really relished RPG combat. Typical RPG combat sequences are always a bit monotonous to me. I’ve heard a complaint about 4th ed. that there are no basic attacks, every class has kewl powerz to use. On the surface that seems great, but truth be told, I find it even more monotonous. Sure, class powers make it so basic attacks are rarely used by PCs, and each PC may use a different power every turn of combat, but the conditions set down in the powers makes it so their use is almost obligatory, when most advantageous. The only interesting part of the equation is the mindgame played between the player and the DM over encounter frequency and complexity (should I use my encounter power now, or is something bigger coming).

    This isn’t just a problem with D&D, however. Cookie-cutter gaming has become ubiquitous in the last ten years. There are so many published modules and easily a half-dozen companies make pre-generated maps. Is running a Dungeon Crawl Classic on Dungeon Tiles easier than writing my own adventure and drawing my own maps? Probably, but where’s the love?

    I’ve always said that any game you play, if you’re having fun, great! More power to you, but for me personally, ease is breeding laziness


    Last edited by Chris on 2010-01-16, 20:51; edited 1 time in total


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