RIP Hunter

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cracking the Spine: first thoughts on pages 1-60

Very brief first thoughts on the first 60 pages.

After flipping though the book a bit, I could understand some of the comparisons to MMORPGs, one of the original criticisms I had read was that 4th ed had become the equivalent of playing a video game Rpg vs a traditional pen and paper Rpg. A PC now seems to gain notable character upgrades on even levels much like the leveling curve in World of Warcraft.

Use of grid maps and figures seems to be almost mandatory since the 3rd Ed. This seems to move away from the cinematic role playing element at first but given that Gary Gygax designed the original version to focus on a single character per player vs the old larger scale war games.

Class roles: clearly the ideas of a tank, healer and dps are not new but were never really focused on the way they are in this edition, expanding it to include crowd control and Area of Effect attacks. Parties must be set up a lot like WoW instancing groups.

Powers: Abilities with cooldowns instead of the old spell pool or having to state what spells you are specifically memorizing for the day. I am sure this is deeper, I just haven't read that far yet.

Alignments: From 9 very good almost all encompassing personality concepts down to 5. All 5 seem to be attempting to shoehorn you into being a good, lawful, both or apathetic type of character. Why? What was wrong with the old way? The only thought is too many Munchkins playing Chaotic Neutral for the "I'll do what I want, whenever I want" factor. I still don't understand why Chaos = Evil in as such that it is too potent to let the PCs play that alignment.

Deities: The set of standard gods vs the ones that are usually setting specific seems to fit pretty well. After all pallys and clerics will need someone to call too. Again, no expanded outlines on any gods devoted to evil or chaos.

Leveling Tiers: 3 tiers, seems very cinematic, the rising scope of powers and abilities lends it self to an epic trilogy, pretty well.

Races: being an old school player, I am used to the Lord of the Rings races being the standard. However, playing the bad guys be they, drow, orcs, or any other creature in the Monster Manual has always ended up being included in one supplement or another. The inclusion of Dragon Born and Tieflings is sure to stimulate some interest beyond the vanilla, and I know that the trend of adding classes and races continues in the 2nd and 3rd volumes of the Players Handbook. Interestingly to me, they have removed all stat minuses from all the races. The inclusion of a specific racial ability helps make tuning a specific character concept a lot more enticing.

Power Sources: not sure what the point is yet, hasn't been explained this early in the book.

Paragon Paths: similar to MMO speccs, a way to greater tune your abilities to a firm concept. Might be somewhat limiting compared to the wide open possibilities of the previous editions. However, the specific paths may give a big power boost in the desired direction.

Powers: seem better organized and easier to know exactly what you can and can't do, when and how often.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Administrative note

Blog posts relating to sessions may run as long as the intro, but alot of the observations and musings will be much shorter and more frequent.
For example: Alot of people have compared 4th Ed to MMO's, I am just starting on the book but I can see it a little.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Level One: bring on the kobolds

I was about 8 years old when I first got the D&D red box, and by the time I graduated from high school I was playing RPGs about 4-5 nights of the week. Different groups, different games, houses and shops. Yeah, I was a geek, but hey, I had no interest in drugs or alcohol, televised sports, or going clubbing. Instead, I had a social group of between 30-50 friends and another 25 associated folks in the scene. It was a pretty good peer group to associate with, people coming from all walks of life; all ages, social, economic and racial backgrounds. One day, while playing a homebrew Ranma 1/2 inspired game I met some boff LARPers. I eventually ended up losing much of my weekends to Live Action Role Playing or LARPing (think Role Models LAIRE, but with better sites and less budget for costuming) on the geek scale it was sort of a lateral move, perhaps even a level or three down since you have to own and wear some funky stuff. At least with LARPing, you are getting out in the fresh air and getting some exercise. The group I was with was pretty tight so we would still pen-and-paper RP during the week, but as the years stretched by and I had more and more ex-girlfriends around the game it started to get old. World of Warcraft was already 2 years old by then, and most all of my friends had already fallen under its sway. I had avoided it, having once lost a summer to Everquest and not wanting to repeat the process. Eventually, I stopped LARPing and was only RPing with my roommate and a group of girls at a local liberal arts college. When I was offered a chance to roll a toon in WoW by one of my girlfriend's pals, I gave it a shot. Within the next week, I had my WoW account and was slowly on my way down the MMO path. Now I assure you the first guild I was with was great, very active and social. Good people; fun to talk to, very supportive, but not quite the same as interacting with people offline. On top of that, a social guild that does not raid gets a bit old. So I left my old guildies in search of "Phat L00tz" and ended up in another good and social guild that did at least some raiding. After getting myself "epiced" up, the guild hit a stumbling block and started to fall apart. Without the social interaction aspect my interest in the game began to dwindle, until I eventually stopped completely. After a year off WoW and the release of another expansion, I returned and still play, but in a very limited way; a few hours here and there, no raiding. On a leap of faith, I sent a Facebook message to a friend of mine that I had known since high school but had fallen out of contact with, and he offered to let me join his weekly game. This blog is intended to track my thoughts on reconnecting with that aspect of my life.