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It's all in the wrist

In the D&D demo yesterday, I played the half-elf rogue. "It's all in the wrist" was his strapline. Obviously, the players being English, half the banter was inneundo and smut and this didn't help one little bit.

But on to the game. The character sheet is as busy as ever, two sides of A4 with stats, stat bonuses, saves, racial and class abilities, hit points and healing surges, normal attacks on one side and the other side completely taken up with powers, each of which has about as much information as a spell used to have. It's a lot of stuff to remember and quite difficult in the semi-dark for those of us who are long-sighted. And that's just at first level, at fifth or tenth level I imagine it runs to several pages.

The game play was fairly smooth. The combination of at-will, encounter and daily powers mean that the characters always have something to do and the new hitpoint rules make characters much less likely to die at low level. That said, we had a casualty in our group against only two opponents - but I think they hit every round for about 20 damage.

The play was also very slow. We killed two hobgoblins, four skeletons, 2 statues and a wizard of some kind, in about 3 hours play. Admittedly the wizard did only last three rounds, mainly due to the rogue's scary damage dishing possibilities when using his daily powers.

I'm assuming that the mook rules will speed this up but it all smacks a bit of artificiality. Dungeons will probably have to be designed more around the characters than for their own sakes and most of the time will be spent micromanaging fights. Overall, more than anything else, the new game resembles early Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

We didn't get to see the experience system in action and I didn't buy the books but as with WoW, when you go up levels, everything goes hp, saves, stats etc. Which is all a bit tedious. You don't make the character more involved in story you make them more capable of giving and receiving damage.

We will be playing 4e but I have no particular long term interest in the game, per se. I do hope, on the other hand, that it rekindles some interest in roleplaying generally and that this spreads into the darker niches of the hobby - which, let's face it, is everything else that is not WotC.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 8th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
I'm happy that 4e has more crunch, and gets back to D&D roots of being a tactical wargame.

This leaves the field open for indie games, for any sort of real roleplaying!
Jun. 8th, 2008 07:26 am (UTC)
Let me sell you a fine copy of Questers! (Or, later, Jaws.) ;)

I bet that FATE > Starblazers > fantasy thingy will do some cleaning up when it appears. I'm also keeping an interested eye on Adamant's Odyssey project.
Jun. 8th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
I have a fine copy of Questers in my IPR stack. I enjoyed playing T&J so no doubt this would work too. It is a bit light on names though.

Let me explain. One of the things I do like about D&D is the multitude of powers. I love the spells in AD&D that have weird names and no game balance. It is partly the crunch, I guess, but D&D takes forever to resolve anything.

I didn't know about Starblazers, the comic or the RPG. I was a 2000AD fan but I'd moved to France before Starblazers came out. I looks interesting. SotC worked pretty well and it seems to be a similar product.
Jun. 8th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
Starblazers is being published by Cubicle 7 (Angus & co), and Fred Hicks from Evil Hat is involved in the project. I *think* they're shooting for a GenCon release - fairly soon anyway. It's likely to be the biggest RPG book in existence (possibly bar Ptolus) - shorter players guide thingies coming later.

Apparently the Starblazers comic also contained fantasy stories, so the next project is to do a standalone product based on those.

Hmm, spell names... have to leave that in my backbrain and see if a QMR mini-supplement bubbles up!
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
As you level, you mostly replace old powers with better ones, gaining very few extra powers known. Hopefully, that will stop the sheets bloating too badly.
Jun. 9th, 2008 09:26 am (UTC)
That's a pretty good way of dealing with the bloat.

How does it deal with wizards choosing their spells each day?
Jun. 9th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
I'd forgotten how much I liked hitting things and scrablling around for loot:)

Agreement on the game as far remembering character information, playbilty, dying at low level, slowplay, rogue's damage, plot involvement, micromanagement.

But I did enjoy thumping things and scrablling around for loot:) even if I felt the GM winged & fudged to ensure that the launch game waa a positive game for everyone. Wherefore new rules then?
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )