June 19th, 2008


Calling all gamers...

Alright, fundage is down and torrents have failed me... I'm in need of the information about the Drow Judicator, from the Forgotten Realms Underdark book. Anyone out there have the book and willing to give me a hand?

My take on 4e with an emphasis on the Player’s Handbook

I must admit I started out as a fan boy before I got the books. I was like YES lets hope they fix some of the crap I’ve been dealing with in 3.5 for years! I liked the idea behind what I’d seen in the previews and excerpts we had gotten ahead of time and was genuinely excited when the books arrived.

First of all I can’t write this with out a brief acknowledging my own gaming experience. After I left high school in 1993 I stopped playing dungeons and dragons. Not to say I wasn’t roleplaying just that the D&D game had lost it’s interest for me. I wanted a more modern setting or slightly futuristic setting and largely until 2000 I had completely left behind D&D. Then by a series of chances my gaming group had fallen apart and I ended up with a free copy of 3.0 and nothing to do. So I read the product and was hooked on the idea of running a D&D game. I went looking and dusted off old maps and story ideas and embarked on running a game. That was basically seven years ago and I’ve never looked back. My table has a waiting list of people who’d like seats because I’ll only run 5 people at a game maximum.

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Now the part of the product that I think makes it difficult to say I like this game. A lot of people have compared 4e to MMORGs. I think they are wrong. This isn’t a MMORG it’s a board game dressed up like an rpg. There’s no effort expected by the dungeon master to make interesting npcs (heck they took out the npc classes). There’s no depth of character expected from the players. There’s just ‘I’ve got X I can beat this challenge!’ instead of an emphasis on the truly deep stories that can be told with this game. The NPC and Monster creation sections create two dimensional villains. There’s no consideration to those of who are going to throw out some of their core assumptions about the world (pgs 150 and 151 of the dmg) past that you could run something else (the implication is ‘but why would you!?’). I don’t like the idea of villages being points of light in a world of monsters. I don’t like the level of magic assumed in this game. I don’t like that the npcs if they have class levels are going the be player character classes. I don’t like that I feel forced to use the monster manual pre-determined monster builds because the dmg’s explanations for changeling them is so adhoc that it’s almost unusable. While I like skill challenges, I hate the skill system and if I run this game I’m going to have to do a major overhaul on this entire system. The game feels like a rather complicated version of a board game rather than a dynamic world building rpg. They’ve stripped everything that moves the game beyond a board game and into something for telling of mutual stories. Overall I’m disappointed because I feel like they’ve left out the players I game with for an attempt to garner players who largely are hooked to something else and unlikely to want to play a pen and paper game.

Politics, part II

So a couple of people made some very insightful comments about political games, and I'd like to explore those ideas further.  Has anyone ever run what they consider a political game?  How did it work out, and how did you go about setting up the world to foster that type of game?  What did the players do, and how did you assist them in getting there.

I'm particularly interested in games that have a whole bunch of f actions...how do these factions work, how do they inform the setting, and how do they interact with the PC's?

What about world where there are no limits?  Like, a setting where the political actors are, for whatever reason, so far removed from general concepts of law and order that violence is an inherent option.  Is it possible to run a superhero political game?

What are the steps you take in the first handful of sessions to help get the players immersed and engaged in the world?  What do you do if the players get lost or are uncertain of what steps to take.

I ask, primarily because most of the "political" games I've played in have tended to result in player paralysis.  The various other actors and factions tend to be too competent* and mysterious, and the players don't even know who they are maneuvering against, let along HOW to maneuver against them.

*An example of what I consider "too competent"--an NPC wanted the players taken out, but could not do so directly due to the law.  He manipulated 3 other NPC's to provide false intel to a 5th NPC, who the manufactured false evidence, which, the first NPC then arranged to have ANOTHER NPC given to the Prince of the city.  The intel and evidence was just enough to cause the Prince to turn to the original NPC's ally for help, who told the Prince the best way to get rid of the players, and when to do so.  The players were exiled and had no idea why.  One their way out of town, they were assassinated.  When I asked the GM what the players were supposed to have done about this plot, since it was so perfectly arranged that they were never aware of it existing, and the various NPC's knew exactly how to manipulate the people they wanted to manipulate, the response was "they shouldn't have pissed off the first NPC, should they?"

Competent NPC's are fun.  NPC's that can never make a mistake, are not.
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

Cool New Things


What new games, other than D&D Fourth Ed, are people excited about coming out soon?

For my money I heard that there was a second edition of Wild Talents and re-print of Beyond Mountains of Madness.

Cuteness and DnD 4th

Just wanted to show everyone a thread I just read. Some guy playing 4th with his seven year old son. With lego minifigs. And 5 characters. All controlled by the kid.


It's a really cute post. Great reading.

Also, I'm getting irritated by how many times I've heard detractors talk about how 'hardcore' the game is, and how steep the learning curve is. I'd like to submit this as decent proof to the contrary.