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4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons – Part 1

In the last month, the internet has been aflame with news of 4th Edition. Well, I decided “what the hell” and started my geek blog and where better to start running my mouth than on the game system that helped make me the geek I am today. Father’s Day was the day I got all three current core books, and after checking them out, I have formed my opinion, and it ain’t pretty.

First, no suspense. I do not like 4th Edition at all. Some do, and that’s their headache, not mine. Me? I’d rather play 3.5 instead. Here’s the first part of my multi-part series dealing with 4th Edition and why I don’t like it.

One of the big reasons is the new approach to skills. As opposed to the skill point system in 3rd Edition, which was far from great, the new approach lets a character have X number of skills per their class. They can burn a feat for an additional skill that’s not a class skill for them, but that’s about it. Not only that, but the skill list has been chopped worse than Britney Spears’ self-done haircut. Say goodbye to craft and profession skills, and cherry picking thief skills is gone as well (they’re all lumped up into Thievery…a class skill for rogues and WARLOCKS of all people). Also gone are the various Knowledge skills that I was so personally fond of.

Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) apparently wanted to streamline the process, and they succeeded. Unfortunately, I find fault with their approach. First, skills exist as a game mechanic to support the idea that Player X’s character can do Y. They allow a player to add depth to their character by adding in various skills that their character would have, and the mechanics of 3.5 support this. But in 4th Edition, to develop a character with game supported depth, you’re pretty well out of luck. Instead, 4th Edition seems, to me at least, to be supporting the idea of one dimensional characters who are nothing more than Fighter or Wizard.

Then, we have skill challenges. From what I understand, there are groups that actually need something like a skill challenge to get involved in non-combat stuff. The skill challenge supposedly encourages role play. Granted, it bugs me a little that role play needs to be encouraged in a role playing game, but so be it. My issue with the skill challenge is that it gives a false impression, one that says this is the only way to solve an issue. While experienced players will figure out that it’s only needed in certain instances, new players will assume this is how WOTC expects them to solve problems. Yeah, it’s a minor annoyance, but since I’ve never been in a group that needed crap like this, it’s hard for me to grasp that someone needs to be encouraged to role play a role playing game.

Previous editions of Dungeons & Dragons has always built upon the previous editions. 4th Edition, on the other hand, is a complete and total revamp with little surviving the purge. Ability scores remain the same, and there is still Armor Class and hitpoints, but little else remains. To some this is a good thing, to others, it ain’t.

Part 2 will deal with classes.

July 14, 2008 - Posted by | RPG |

1 Comment »

  1. […] Not only that, but the skill list has been chopped worse than Britney Spears’ self-done haircut…. Source: 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons – Part 1 […]

    Pingback by Britney Spears | 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons - Part 1 | July 16, 2008 | Reply

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