4th Edition Success

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Games, Tabletop

I haven’t blogged much about my gaming habits in awhile, so I’m going to give a brief catch up. The last time I was seriously involved in a tabletop RPG game it was Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition. I’ve played in some 3rd edition games since then, and also played in some 4th edition games, but none of them have survived for very long.

I do like 4th edition, but there are some things that bug me about it. Some of those problems are part of the system, and some of those problems are just issues that arise from how players approach the game. That said, it’s fun, easy to pick up, and entertaining enough. This post isn’t about the merits and flaws of 4th edition though, so I won’t get into much more detail there.

Lately I’ve been running a D&D 4th edition campaign using the Keep on the Borderlands adventure. This campaign was initially being run by another player, but I’m a perfectionist and I felt I could do better, so I stepped up to the plate. Due to attendance issues, players in our group are not always near the same level, so it’s been a bit challenging getting the difficulty level for our players just right. Fortunately, adjusting the difficulty of encounters downward is usually quite easy – Remove a creature or some minions and you’re good to go.

This week’s session, we actually had a full group of players, including a new player. This posed a different problem for me, as I felt the group was actually substantially more powerful than had been accounted for in the published adventure. So before the session began (I was only aware we had a new player joining us when I arrived), I had to quickly do some sheet-margin math to adjust the encounters the players would be facing to ensure they’d be challenging. One of the the encounters for that night was actually against a young black dragon, so I wanted to make absolutely sure that monster was a fearsome and challenging foe.

The thing that impressed me was how easy it was to adjust the attributes of a monster upward in 4th Edition. For every level you’re increasing the difficulty of the monster you: Increase hit points based on the creature’s role, and increase all its defenses. For every two levels increase damage. When I saw that I was kind of shocked, in 3rd Edition D&D building opponents can be a very time consuming process. Granted, this is very simple adjustments of one level, and the 4th Edition DMG even notes that this works best for level adjustments of 5 or less, but I was still impressed.

Due to my adjustments the session went great and was a challenging and rewarding experience instead of the pushover it may have been otherwise.

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