[4e] Seekers of the Sun Stone

John Harper ran a scenario for seven (7!) players in the second-to-last GPNW slot this year. I prolonged my stay just to be able to play in it. I'm glad I did.

We played through two encounters, (sadly) skipping the skill challenge in between. In the first encounter, we had to cross a rope bridge to charge the kobolds that were slinging at us from the other side. We were boosted to second level after that, and had to face a young white dragon and its kobold protectors. It took us four hours to get through explaining the rules and completing both encounters. That's awfully quick for DnD, or any other tactically-focused game, for that matter.

The game, as a tactical game, is impressive. It finally delivers on the long-standing promises: you actually CAN go into dungeons and kill dragons right from the start, and have a lot of fun doing it. I would actually sum up DnD's design philosophy in this edition as "Fun Now!"

Every character played a vital role in the conflicts:

The warlord let other people have extra attacks instead of doing his own. Albert used this ability very well, and also managed to place a mighty strike on the dragon that also gave us all +4 to hit it for the rest of the encounter (and yes, that's a first level power). In fact, we had lots of "Kickass!" moments when the players whipped out their special powers for the first time.

The dragonborn Paladin jumped up on statues and rained down his acid breath weapon on groups of minions (Me: "So Jackson, what's your special ability?" Jackson, casually: "Cubic Buttload of Damage.").

The cleric patched us up while dishing out damage at the same time. Alan always made sure to check with the group about who was in need, so he could play well to the team.

The rogue shifted kobolds off the edge of cliffs and flanked the dragon to give others combat advantage (and 2D8 backstabbing pain). Chris also put jumping and other skills to good use.

The fighter had some bad rolls for his cleaving, but John managed to use his best move to finish the dragon off, splitting its head (John: "Damn, I ruined the trophy again."). I should have supported him and the other tanks better in the first conflict.

The ranger was the only one who was any good at shooting across the bridge, and Jeremy played the ranged support role very well. There's nothing like a first-level ranger shooting halfway across the map with two arrows at once to take out two kobolds at the same time. (I had a bad experience trying to get my kids to play, years ago, after watching LOTR. It didn't work out well in 3e because a first-level ranger is no Legolas. This guy, in 4e? Completely different story.)

And finally, my warlock was the second ranged support guy, but I played him much more gung ho. What can I say, I'm an occasional Instigator, and I tried to see how badly the kobolds could hurt me (turns out the answer is: pretty damn badly if I charge them with no tactical sense). I was much more careful and team-oriented in the second fight.

In the fight with the dragon, I managed to put Witchfire on him, giving him an attack penalty. That saved several people from his breath weapon, which felt like a big accomplishment. I loved the warlock's cursing ability, gaining free teleports and added damage, and the whole visual of him shifting into concealment just by walking.

Toward the end, I used the Aid Other action for three out of my four final rounds. This action is much better now that you can apply it to virtually anything; I bluffed the dragon to support other characters' uses of their encounter or daily abilities. I'm really glad to see this expanded support for group tactics.

What that did, though, was make me forget all about the stunts! After the first encounter, I was just too focused on helping the other characters, thinking of myself as support rather than solo attacker. I was cursing myself ten minutes later, in my car, for not zapping one of the stalactites with my eldritch dart and making it crash down on the dragon. Thanks to DMG p. 42, that would not only have been a viable option, but a damn good one, once I ran out of encounter and daily powers. Yay for narrative-based stunts that are actually preferable to basic strikes!

I also realize now that those damn shifting kobolds (coming out of cover, slinging, shifting back) were just asking for us to use Ready Action. So there still are plenty of other tactical options to explore.

Overall, since my 2e experience, this is the first time that I'd consider joining a DnD campaign again. With the right players, much use of skill challenges, and some tweaks (like John waiving the action point spending limit and letting us use it for Aid Other actions after another character had already made a roll), I can imagine it being great fun even in the long run.

Comments

  • I gotta be honest...I fly up to Seattle to play indie games all weekend. And every meal I'm at, someone is talking about freaking D&D?!? So finally I give in and ask to get into one of the games being run on Sunday.

    I was in this game with Christian, and it was honestly the first time I played D&D since first edition like 20 years ago.

    And damn if it wasn't good. The stunts really gave your character options during play. And the mere concept of being able to help other characters kept everyone immersed in the scenes. As first level characters, it was really FUN to watch the other characters take their actions because you knew they were going to do something f**king COOL. It felt a bit like a fantasy Spirit of the Century with miniatures. And I mean this in a good way.

    I loved the tokens given out that allowed a character to step in a take an action out of turn or to give someone that +2 modifier they needed to get the job done.

    I (heart) John Harper for running this.
  • edited June 2008
    I am in pretty much the same situation as Chris: I played DnD last time 18 years ago and...

    ...curse you, story gamers! I ordered the base gift set! :)
    *shakes fist*

    (and thanks amazon.co.uk for the huge discount and good exchange rate with the GBP... 50 euros for the three books is not half bad...)
  • This is going to come off snarky, and I don't mean it as snarky.

    But... well, maybe unlike some of the story gamers, I ran a lot of 3.0 and 3.5 and d20 -- a couple simultaneous 3 and 4-year campaigns, so a lot of the 'glorious return to the system emotion' that I'm seeing, I felt that when I played 3.0 for the first time, so maybe the fact that I've already *been* there and since burned out... maybe that's coloring my view.

    Anyway, I've read a lot of posts in the last couple weeks about DnD 4, and I have to share my impression.

    It seems to me that everyone is really, really impressed that the new version of DnD has, in a nutshell, provided players with all the options (in combat - I've heard nothing about skill contests with that same level of detail and immersion) that Spirit of the Century brought to us a year ago. I mean, just taking from this post... combat actions used to give others a bonus to their rolls, putting aspects on the scene for others to use.... token given out that let you give others a +2 modifier or let you act out of turn?

    It all sounds *exactly* the same as SotC, right down to the tone of the posts -- and *that* is the part that's weird because... I mean, this isn't any of it *new*.

    Dunno. Someone enlighten me as to why there's so much golly-gee going on when we've had a game that did all this for a year or more. Is it just that crotchety old bastard down the street lost forty pounds and joined a band, and good for him?

    Because, seriously, good for him, but is that it?
  • Posted By: DoyceIt seems to me that everyone is really, really impressed that the new version of DnD has, in a nutshell, provided players with all the options (in combat - I've heard nothing about skill contests with that same level of detail and immersion) that Spirit of the Century brought to us a year ago. I mean, just taking from this post... combat actions used to give others a bonus to their rolls, putting aspects on the scene for others to use.... token given out that let you give others a +2 modifier or let you act out of turn?
    SotC isn't a wargame. I love it, but positioning and tactical vision: They're not part of the SotC equation.

    The thrill of a war-game is the accidental or intentional reveal: "Okay, so my goblin takes a shift ... wait ... I can't shift there, I'll get into the AoO zone of the fighter. Hoookay, I shift ... uh ... no, can't shift there, I'll be one Deft-Strike away from sneak attack damage by the rogue. Wait, I got it! I'll shift HERE and set up for my charge next turn." "Cool. Now all five of your guys are in range for one Burning Hands spell. Way to herd him, guys!" "NOOOOO!"

    Things are encoded implicitly into the board-space, and the token relationships, that are not explicit when an effect is listed. Burning Hands doesn't say "Throughout the course of the combat, prevent your enemies from forming a cohesive defensive phalanx." But when you've got Burning Hands at your disposal, any defensive phalanx that forms is just a great big target.

    The marriage of the elements you've seen in SotC with the game-space and maneuvering of a wargame is why there's so much golly-gee going on. Does that help?
  • Posted By: DoyceThis is going to come off snarky, and I don't mean it as snarky.

    But... well, maybe unlike some of the story gamers, I ran a lot of 3.0 and 3.5 and d20 -- a couple simultaneous 3 and 4-year campaigns, so a lot of the 'glorious return to the system emotion' that I'm seeing, I felt that when I played 3.0 for the first time, so maybe the fact that I've already *been* there and since burned out... maybe that's coloring my view.

    Anyway, I've read a lot of posts in the last couple weeks about DnD 4, and I have to share my impression.

    It seems to me that everyone is really, really impressed that the new version of DnD has, in a nutshell, provided players with all the options (in combat - I've heard nothing about skill contests with that same level of detail and immersion) that Spirit of the Century brought to us a year ago. I mean, just taking from this post... combat actions used to give others a bonus to their rolls, putting aspects on the scene for others to use.... token given out that let you give others a +2 modifier or let you act out of turn?

    It all sounds *exactly* the same as SotC, right down to the tone of the posts -- and *that* is the part that's weird because... I mean, this isn't any of it *new*.

    Dunno. Someone enlighten me as to why there's so much golly-gee going on when we've had a game that did all this for a year or more. Is it just that crotchety old bastard down the street lost forty pounds and joined a band, and good for him?

    Because, seriously, good for him, but is that it?
    I've already bought 4E and played 11+ games (and played years of 3E). I've definitely been a part of the enthusiasm. But I'm starting to feel slightly disingenuous with the ever increasing hype even though I've constantly said I've had problems with the game.

    The rules aren't innovative. But the streamlining and focus of the rules is very innovative for D&D. And given what a lame progression 3 to 3.5 was, 4E is impressive to me just in the degree that they have changed the rules to match their goals.

    Wizards is insanely smart. Brilliant even. There is a reason they released a module with pre-stated 1st to 3rd level characters before the actual rules were released. Every level is fun to play now compared to previous editions. But 1st level is highly front loaded and especially fun to play. Just looking at the difference between a 1st level wizard in 3E and 4E is going to elate anyone and inspire people to open their wallets!

    But 4E is now what 3.5E tried to be. Feats and powers are magic cards. It's also believed by some that the people who buy the most core books are the DM and people who like to play wizards (too much to keep track of). So now everyone is a wizard (although giving everyone powers and more choices is definitely worth doing this beyond the extra benefits). 4E is Descent the boardgame plus elements of World of Warcraft plus elements of 3.5E that can easily fit on a map or a virtual computer world. It's without a doubt a war game. The skill challenges are by far no Burning Wheel Duel of Wits. Character motivation and backgrounds are no Shadow of Yesterday Keys or Burning Wheel beliefs, instincts and traits.

    And as someone who has played 4E quite a bit now and loves war games, 4E suffers from some of the many problems that other war games suffer from. After leveling up a few times, it just feels like the same old same old after you get over the euphoria of the initial levels. The winning strategies start to become obvious. And the powers become repetitive (now your new power has a different name and does 2 points of extra damage!). With most war games, learning the strategy and mastering it is what keeps us excited. So we like to jump from game to game to game. I can't see myself playing 480 hours of any war game to go from 1st to 30th level. I'm also not sure that a 320 page book is the right format for a game like this. I would rather have a deck of cards and a light rules reference.

    I have other nitpicky complaints as well. But that being said, I think a tactical war game is an easy sell for many people and the audience is quite large. I suspect 4E will sell very well! I just don't want the hype to turn into something where everything is perfect and flawless. This isn't the game for everyone. No game is.

    Rock,
    John
  • Actually, it sounds like a very good wargame. Too many minis games are kinda bland, and fail to really take movement into account in any fluid sense, or ignore the potential of environment so much that you wonder why they even bother to use minis.

    Everything I'm hearing indicates that the designers of this edition have really given some thought to those issues.

    On the flip side, I tend not to play the way Tony does from his description, so I remain at least a little unconvinced.
  • Posted By: jenskotBut I'm starting to feel slightly disingenuous with the ever increasing hype even though I've constantly said I've had problems with the game.
    Well, the other thing to remember is that this is a huge event in gaming in general. It's not going to be this hype-ful(?) in 2 months, 6 months etc. I figure by then the honeymoon will be over, and people will be relaying their experiences more in play, hacking up the system, problems and questions, and less "OMG New And Awesome! And This is Awesome Too! And That!".

    Seriously, if there was a tabletop gaming forum that wasn't all a-buzz this week (books come out this week), I'd kinda question them as a gaming forum.

    It's a wave, and it will pass in time.
  • The golly-gee for me is the combination of intense complexity and fine tuning and game balance.

    Spirit of the Century is fine tuned and balanced and thoroughly playtested. It also is a fraction as complex as D&D 4e. Prior editions of D&D were as complex -- perhaps more complex than 4e -- but they were poorly tuned and balanced.

    For the first time ever, I feel like D&D's designers really understand the game design factors underlying their rules. I feel they have done the math, made hard decisions, slain sacred cows where necessary yet preserved the flavor and philosophy that makes D&D the game we all copied over and over.
  • Andy, great point. With all the new honesty stuff, I didn't want to confuse issues. But you are totally right.
  • Posted By: Adam DrayFor the first time ever, I feel like D&D's designers really understand the game design factors underlying their rules. I feel they have done the math, made hard decisions, slain sacred cows where necessary yet preserved the flavor and philosophy that makes D&D the game we all copied over and over.
    I think this is what excites me the most (geek that I am) is they seem have done the math. This is just awesome. Unfortunately, anyone who want to fiddle with the rules will be reverse engineering (and probably miss a few things) or walking around in the dark. Given the much larger pool of potential players I still want to hack in as much story goodness as possible.
  • I'd like to front-end-load this with saying that i haven't read the rules, and i've just played in the one scenario that John Harper ran.

    my thoughts:

    It is not only as if the aging man from down the street has lost forty pounds and joined a band, but that i personally like the music. this facilitates my relating to more traditional gamers as i shall inevitably have conversations about 4e in shops, at parties, etc.

    As Christian related very nicely, the different classes are all supporting each other; the feeling of fellowship at that table has surpassed any d&d experience since my highschool days, which was well before 3e. (and in highschool the co-operation wasn't really rules supported, here it is.) i mean, the comraderie was also because everyone at the table was full of joy and wonder at the fun we were all having- speaking for myself, i didn't think d&d would be fun again. i HATED 3.5, really really really. and so this was nice. it's not the second coming of christ (talk to brendan adkins about that), but it's greatness where i didn't expect to see it.

    oh, and John was saying how they put in the rules that everything has to be right on the table. if an enemy has "marked" you (game mechanic where it will enjoy an extra effect if it hits you), then the DM has to tell you that it marked you. and the rules disallow weenie stuff like having the warlock class buy a bag of mice and keep killing the poor critters to teleport around (check back to christian's post at the top if this is confusing).

    the idea of "here is the letter of the rules, and here is the SPIRIT of the rules, now you're well equipt to know what we were going for when we made this game" is awesome.

    also, i really enjoy the DMless play option.
  • Posted By: jackson tegualso, i really enjoy the DMless play option.
    Hold on a second.

    What?
  • As excited as I am to get an play 4E, I'm even more excited by what this means for gaming over the next few years. WotC is the 800 pound gorilla of role-playing. For them to come out with a game this tight, this focused, this aware of what it is and not ashamed to be that thing...bodes well, I think. Much of the crust of traditional gaming was crust that was inherited from D&D roots. Perhaps 4E by its very existance will help other designers shake off even more of that crust.

    There's lots of game designers out there who've not been influenced by indie/story games culture. But maybe they WILL be influenced by 4E, and I look forward to seeing what that looks like.
  • Posted By: jackson tegu

    also, i really enjoy the DMless play option.
    Wait. What? DMless? Can you say any more about this?
  • Now you've all done it. I've gone and put the 3-book set with slipcase on pre-order at Amazon.

    Curse you all

    :D
  • In the back of the DMG is an option to play without a DM. They're even a bit tongue-in-cheek about "finally revealing" the DMless option they've been hinting at.

    It's similar to the DMless options in older books. You use random dungeon creation. You set up a deck of monster cards of reasonable encounter strength. You shuffle them. You explore the dungeon and draw it as you go, using the random tables. You determine what's in the rooms by drawing a card from the monster deck. Someone runs the monsters, or you rotate or split the monster-running duties.

    The rules admit that it's not the usual play experience. It's not GMless play like, say, Polaris is. They basically say it's a good way to fight some monsters over your lunch hour without all the story crap getting in the way.

    Still sounds fun!
  • edited June 2008
    also, i really enjoy the DMless play option.
    which is to say that i like rumor-mongering and gossip.
    and it sort of turned into a drinking game, where Ryan had to drink anytime anyone said "DMless" but only if the speaker provided the liquid neccesary.

    thanks for abiding my silly tiredness!
  • edited June 2008
    Thanks for that post John! I've been wondering if all was sunshine and rainbows.
    Posted By: jenskotAfter leveling up a few times, it just feels like the same old same old after you get over the euphoria of the initial levels. The winning strategies start to become obvious. And the powers become repetitive (now your new power has a different name and does 2 points of extra damage!).
    This is something I've been wondering about specifically. It sounds like they've frontloaded things too much, and maybe hurt one of the core fun parts of the game: levelling up. Somebody who's not stuck waiting for the official release date want to tell me more about this? Are all the new powers just the same stuff only better? What kind of things do we get to unlock?
  • Thanks Jamey!

    From what I can tell, it would be really fun to unlock the Paragon and Epic levels. You gain unique abilities when you go from Heroic to Paragon and Paragon to Epic plus additional feats, powers, and +1 to all your stats! In general, your character evolves at those levels. Which is definitely very cool!

    In terms of the powers, many of them are very cool. But some remind me of those list of feats where you take 2 different but related skills, add +2 to both and give the feat a cool name. That being said, they have taken many feats that I always thought should just be things you can do anyway and made them class powers which is very cool. Cleave is a Fighter power for example. You know, the more I look at this, the more I really like the Fighter's power list! When I played, I played as a Warlord and a Wizard.
  • I'm with Ralph. The exciting thing about DnD is not only that it's a good game in its own right, but that it's going to (hopefully) bring more self-awareness and open-mindedness to a large section of the roleplaying community. Sure, SOTC has a lot of these things and then some, and TSOY still has a IMO superior experience system for story gaming, and so on. But how many more people is 4e going to reach than all indie games combined?
  • edited April 2010
    I'm going to talk about the actual session we played at GPNW. I hope that's alright with you guys. :-)

    I decided to run D&D4 because of Jason's AP and the fact that I had access to the books early. It was a mini-challenge to myself: with virtually no real D&D experience (except the scattered contact with the game that no gamer can avoid), can I run a D&D game for 7 people with 2 hours of prep?

    Answer: Yes. Easily, in fact. I ended up doing only about an hour of prep, and spent the rest of the time making counters for the PCs and monsters, since I have no minis.

    I read the PHB and DMG. These books actually told me how to play the game (emphasis on game). I was stunned by how practical, simple, and direct the books are. Then I marked the pages in the Monster Manual for the bad guys I needed, and I was ready to go. The PCs were the pre-gens from the Keep on the Shadowfell module.

    Game prep and setup reminded me of Memoir 44, and was actually more simple than Battlelore. This is the big win for D&D4, for me. It's a tabletop wargame that is as easy or easier to set up than the DoW stuff, plus an RPG.

    Anyway, about the actual session.

    It was a hootin' and hollerin' good time. Christian covered the main elements: a fight across a rope bridge over a semi-frozen river, then a showdown with a dragon in the caves behind the waterfall. The system was so easy to use, I had 50% of my brain free to remember to do all the fun stuff:

    - Narrate the color for what's happening, and elicit it from the players. None of this: "18, I hit, 9 pts. of damage." We had witchy fire burning foes from within and sucking out their souls, arrows slicing through necks, acrobatic swings on ropes, brave challenges issued, pushing enemies off high places, and bone-crushing blows all around.

    - Infuse some story into the fighting. Why do the crocodile men (kobolds) have white hand-prints on their faces? Why is there a frozen river in the jungle? Why do the crocodile men seem to hate the Dragonborn character so much?

    - Always ask who is helping whom. Is this roll really critical? Who wants to use the helping rule to improve the odds? Who needs that healing surge? (Alan the cleric was all over that one!) Anyone want to spend an action point?

    Like John S. said, a wargame can get boring after a while. But an RPG is a different story. The tactical wargame of D&D4 is fun in its own right, true, but the battles are about something. They're tied in to specific story about these specific characters in this situation, and what they're doing to make a difference in their world. The outcome of the battle isn't just one side winning, its a village saved or doomed, a tribe of kobolds destroyed, a Dragonborn finding a destiny, a young dragon dead or fleeing with thoughts of revenge.

    That's the key part, for me. People talk about D&D as if it's only a wargame and I'm confused in the same way when people talk about "playing the dice game" of Dogs in the Vineyard. D&D isn't chess or go. It's an RPG. You're using that wargame as a means, not as an end. The fact that the wargame is fun to play is important (just like the dice game in DitV is fun) but if that's all you're doing, I think you're missing the point.
  • Anyway, back to our session. There were several highlight moments for me and I want to record them here for posterity.

    - Christian leading the charge with his Warlock, cursing enemies left and right and tossing witchy fire, then realizing that front-line fighter is not his role and teleporting back to a safe position. But he set the bar high for heroic action and colorful narration and the others followed suit.

    - Chris's Rogue running and jumping across the treacherous ice floe, and then ham-stringing the kobold lieutenant and sending him falling from the rope-bridge into the deadly waters below.

    - John Powell's Dwarf arriving at the head of the battle and showing everyone what Cleave is for, cracking crocodile-men skulls left and right with his mighty maul.

    - Jeremy's Ranger running along a vine over the river shooting arrows across the whole map into the eye sockets of very surprised crocodile men.

    - Albert's Warlord bringing the super nova strike awesome against the Dragon, spending his action points to erupt into a firestorm of power and then give the Dwarf two tries at his most powerful move to finish the beast off. This was a wonderful union of player genius and cool system bits.

    - Alan's Cleric getting divine intervention and the hand of his god appearing in a shower of light to swat attacks aside, then burning the unholy with his divine flame. He was a beacon of divine power in the darkness.

    - Jackson's Dragonborn Paladin, Bright Land (the only character name I remember, due to its awesomeness). I could write a whole post about Bright Land. But his shining moment was when he realized he was the only hero who could possibly save the Sun Stone from being dropped into a bottomless abyss, and crossed nearly the whole map in a flurry of action points to knock over a stalagmite onto the crocodile-man shaman, splattering him, and also forming a bridge to run across and snatch the Stone before it could vanish forever.

    - My young white dragon, overmatched and dying, draws himself up in his pride and meets the eyes of the heroes who are about to destroy him. "Get on with it, then."
  • I agree that a huge part of 4e's initial attraction may be that 1st level is now no longer a "tense period to make it through before you get to be interesting", it's got choices and flexibility out the gate. You're already a hero (backstory wise that likely needs to be accounted for more, e.g., you're not a new recruit into the army, you're already an elite veteran). Having only DMG not PHB and not having played can't say if the shiny will wear off over time (though I'm only planning to run Heroic Tier so far anyway).

    What I love about the above is that it sounds like people brought descriptive energy to the table, spoke to actions and motivations with flare, none of this "I 5' step and Power Attack for 5" yawning crap.

    It also sounds like John was using the DMG advice and table about setting DC's and damage effects on player stunts to allow more freeform actions.

    Those are two of the things I really, really want to see happen at my table.

    Rob
  • edited June 2008
    When I finally get around to making custom 4e sheets the p.42 DMG table is going right on that sucker.
  • Posted By: John HarperAnyway, back to our session. There were several highlight moments for me and I want to record them here for posterity.

    - Jeremy's Rangerrunning along a vine over the rivershooting arrows across the whole map into the eye sockets of very surprised crocodile men.

    - Jackson's Dragonborn Paladin, Bright Land (the only character name I remember, due to its awesomeness). I could write a whole post about Bright Land. But his shining moment was when he realized he was the only hero who could possibly save the Sun Stone from being dropped into a bottomless abyss, and crossed nearly the whole map in a flurry of action points toknock over a stalagmiteonto the crocodile-man shaman, splattering him, and also forming a bridge to run across and snatch the Stone before it could vanish forever.

    - My young white dragon, overmatched and dying, draws himself up in his pride and meets the eyes of the heroes who are about to destroy him. "Get on with it, then."
    These three make me cry with the happy.
  • Posted By: John HarperI'm going to talk about the actual session we played at GPNW. I hope that's alright with you guys. :-)
    Haven't had this much fun reading an AP thread in quite a while.

    I have a minor technical question: As DM did you do open dice, or roll behind a screen?
  • edited June 2008
    Open dice. I don't like screens.

    And open monster stats. I did keep the dragon's Bloodied power a secret, but I told them it had one. In a campaign, I'll probably ask for Dungeoneering rolls to know monster info, like you're supposed to. But AC and the like will never be secret.
  • Posted By: John HarperWhen I finally get around to making custom 4e sheets the p.42 DMG table is going right on that sucker.
    Perfect idea! I'll do the same thing. Or more likely, I'll just steal your sheets.
  • Posted By: John Harper
    I read the PHB and DMG. These books actually told me how to play the game (emphasis on game). I was stunned by how practical, simple, and direct the books are.

    This has been my big question. I remember you made some comments about true20 a few years ago that greatly colored the way I looked at games. Your key complaint was (if I remember correctly) that the game didn't actually tell you how to play the game. It's good to hear that D&D 4 has addressed this problem.

    J
  • Something i really enjoyed in the session was John "the DM" Harper's questioning the players why their powers had the cool effects that the game provided. i mean, sure, the rules tell us that this effect occurs, but what does that look like? we, the players, decided.
    and thus Chris' Halfling Theif (who had a cool long fantasy-novelesque name which i totally forget) got to shift opponents a few squares after striking them because he had a rope attatched to the end of his dagger and would just yank them over cliffs, and Christian could teleport after striking foes because he drew on the power of their departing souls.

    that was something i enjoyed. Both of those scenarios were very much alive, and i could see getting tired of the mechanics of 4e after awhile, but luckily i have a whole pile of other games sitting here waiting to be played. and doubly luckily, none of them -And I Mean Nary A One- has "d20" written anywhere on it.
  • and how alan described his assisting me to knock over the pillar as his character praying and a hand of god coming down and tipping the still-teetering stalagmite.

    and how, as john powell finished off the dragon with an incredible two handed over-the-head blow, four or five other players put their hands up above their heads miming a sword, bringing them down in slow motion with faces strained. that was really awesome. we were all so invested in a roll of the dice to finish a foe, i was totally mainlining nostalgia at this point.

    thanks again.
  • Posted By: jake richmondI remember you made some comments about true20 a few years ago
    More of an angry rant, but yeah. :)

    D&D4 does indeed tell you how to play the game. And not only that, but what sort of game it is, why you might find such a game fun, how to tweak it to your own tastes, and what pitfalls and mistakes to watch out for. The books aren't perfect (the bit that condones dice roll fudging is rather lame, for example) but they are very good in many ways.
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