D&D 4th Edition Followup

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I was following my referrer logs the other day and came across some links over from ENWorld. Specifically, I found a link to a thread a commenter (Agent Oracle) on my 4th Edition Wishlist post made. It’s interesting to see the breakdown of people over at ENWorld agreeing or disagreeing with me.

From my general impressions of the opinions of people in the thread it looks like a majority of the people agree with me on at least one point, about half seem to agree partially, and about a quarter want something like I want. I figure that’s a pretty good result, especially since my ideals for a D&D 4th Edition were intended, at least partially, to be pretty dramatic.

Since I’ve spent a lot of time perusing the ENWorld forums over the past week, and since there are some major shakeups in the D&D world at the moment (which I hope I can get around to writing about later), I want to elaborate a bit more about what my general attitudes and ideas are and how that informs what I want a new edition of D&D to look like.

D&D 3.X Isn’t Going Anywhere

Pretty much the most important thing, in my mind, when considering what a new edition of D&D should be is to look at what D&D currently is. If Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast stopped existing today, D&D would continue on just fine. Not only are there hundreds of official Wizards of the Coast books to explore, but the Open Gaming License insures that new content can be made by anyone. There’s virtually endless amounts of 3rd party content to use, and even if all of the current 3rd party publishers fold or give up on d20, the fans can keep the game alive as long as there’s interest.

I Don’t Want D&D 3.75

When D&D 3.0 came out, it really rekindled my interest in D&D. The same happened for plenty of other people. I tend to be very conservative with my purchases, but I know other people who spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on 3.0 material. Fast forward, what, two or three years and we get D&D 3.5. It’s been about four years since D&D 3.5 has been released and we’ve seen more broken material come out since 3.5 than existed in 3.0. Sure, 3.0 had some issues with things like Haste, the +Stat bunch of spells with durations over 24 hours, and so on and so forth. Virtually everything meaningful that 3.5 did could have been handled with errata.

Are errata ideal? No, it’s another step in the “Look up the rules” process. But when it comes down to using an errata or having to buy all of the core books again, I’ll take the errata. In my opinion, D&D 3.5 turns out to have been one of the biggest hoodwinks I’ve ever seen in gaming. Wizards tricked so many people into paying twice for the same content… Simply put, if 4th Edition doesn’t deliver substantial changes, I won’t bother buying it.

The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

Most of the objections I’ve seen to my proposed changes come from the camp of, “D&D wouldn’t be D&D without X mechanic.” Considering the number of changes that took place from 3nd Edition to 3rd Edition, I find that a pretty laughable stance. THAC0 is gone, Armor Class counts up, the entire game usies a unified conflict resolution mechanic, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

What’s kind of interesting to me is the comments to the effect of, “If you want to play such a game, go play X.” The obvious riposte is “If you don’t want to play such a game, keep playing D&D 3.X.” I’d be perfectly happy with a state of affairs in which D&D 3.X retained a substantial playerbase. At the same time, I think if D&D implemented some variations on my suggestions it’d make for a better game, a better game system, and attract a wider audience to D&D.

If it weren’t so tedious dealing with the grognardism that says, “Because X, Y, and Z mechanics are part of my conception of ‘D&D’ means they shouldn’t be scrutinized or improved uponfor a new version” it’d be funny. I think gamers as a whole are a pretty conservative and stubborn lot, resistant to change and attaching a lot of importance to things they’ve invested mental energy in. I also think gamers, being a fairly brainy lot, tend to overcome their prejudices quickly when they encounter something legitimately better. So even though there’s a fair amount of resistance towards changing things up for 4th Edition, with this or that or the other thing being at least someone‘s sacred cow, I think a lot of the resistance would fall away once people played the game.

Although that’s not all I have to say, I am going to wrap this one up here and possibly follow up with another post sometime soon on this topic and other developments in the D&D world.

One Response

  • January 1, 2009: D&D 4ª Edição « Lobos de Ferro

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