Dungeons and Dragons 4: First Thoughts

I know I’m pretty late to the party, but I’ve finally had a chance to read through my new copies of the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide, and I’m pretty impressed with them.

The rules are presented clearly and are well explained, and the system has been streamlined from the Third Edition. Everything is less random, from the creation of statistics through to the number of hitpoints and on to the allocation of skills. This makes is quicker and easier to create a character.

I’m not sure how the system will play, but it seems to have been focussed more on the combat, especially the use of miniatures to deal with the positioning of PCs and NPCs. I think you will need to be careful not to foucs on the combat to the exclusion of all else, but roleplaying can happen no matter the rules system.

As a GM I’d be careful how I use maps and figures, making sure to only bring them out after combat starts, or to use them throughout a dungeon. Suddenly bringing them in to play at the start of an encounter would be a hint that it’s a combat, and it’s best not to railroad people into these outcomes.

So, my initial feelings are that it’s goning to make the game easier to get into (and so drag people away from Warcraft and its ilk), but could lose some of the depth previously available, which the GM will have to work to replace.

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