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Subject: TAS #009 - Thoughts on D&D rss

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Scott Alden
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In this episode of The Aldie Show #009 I recorded a conversation I had with fellow gamer Randy Shipp about our latest excursion into D&D 4th Edition from a board gamer's perspective:

60 Minutes


Direct Download:
http://www.thealdieshow.com/audio/TAS-009.mp3

http://www.thealdieshow.com

RSS:
http://www.thealdieshow.com/feed
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Do I detect a slight recurring theme in your microbadges? Lemme roll a d20 to see if I pass the "detect the obvious" check.
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Time to get ready for RolePlayingGeek.com.
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SwedeLad wrote:
Time to get ready for RolePlayingGeek.com.


Just don't turn BGG.con into RPG.con.
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L Myrick
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mdp4828 wrote:
SwedeLad wrote:
Time to get ready for RolePlayingGeek.com.


Just don't turn BGG.con into RPG.con.


If you did RPG Con I'd be all over it.
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Kristian Madsen
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mdp4828 wrote:
SwedeLad wrote:
Time to get ready for RolePlayingGeek.com.


Just don't turn BGG.con into RPG.con.


I think you can see D&D 4th ed. as a (complex) skirmish miniatures game if you want to.

Roleplaying, of course, is up to the game group, just as in any Fantasy Flight or Games Workshop dungeoncrawl/miniatures game.

I did enjoy my playtest game of the new D&D -- a lot cleaner than 3.5 in many ways, but also somewhat limiting as to what is covered by the three core books. I also like that you only need to get the PH as a player now.

/kgm
 
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Dave Riedy
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mdp4828 wrote:
SwedeLad wrote:
Time to get ready for RolePlayingGeek.com.


I also like that you only need to get the PH as a player now.

/kgm


You always only needed the PHB as a player. And you only need the 4e PHB, unless you want to play one of the classes they decided weren't "core enough."

I haven't had a chance to playtest 4e, but from having read the core rulebooks, and being a DnD-er from wayyyyy back, they seemed to have tried to fix a lot of things that weren't broken and by doing so turned DnD into something that wasn't DnD. It's like when they changed the formula for Coke.
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L Myrick
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muzzynyc wrote:
mdp4828 wrote:
SwedeLad wrote:
Time to get ready for RolePlayingGeek.com.


I also like that you only need to get the PH as a player now.

/kgm


You always only needed the PHB as a player. And you only need the 4e PHB, unless you want to play one of the classes they decided weren't "core enough."

I haven't had a chance to playtest 4e, but from having read the core rulebooks, and being a DnD-er from wayyyyy back, they seemed to have tried to fix a lot of things that weren't broken and by doing so turned DnD into something that wasn't DnD. It's like when they changed the formula for Coke.


It's still D&D. Lot's of D&D goodness. If you don't dig it, just keep playing 3.5, or 2, or whatever it is you're playing. But those who claim it's not D&D anymore or you can't 'role'play with it anymore are just dredging up the same tired whines that got trotted out when 2 came out, and 3, and 3.5.
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Dave Riedy
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lmyrick wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
mdp4828 wrote:
SwedeLad wrote:
Time to get ready for RolePlayingGeek.com.


I also like that you only need to get the PH as a player now.

/kgm


You always only needed the PHB as a player. And you only need the 4e PHB, unless you want to play one of the classes they decided weren't "core enough."

I haven't had a chance to playtest 4e, but from having read the core rulebooks, and being a DnD-er from wayyyyy back, they seemed to have tried to fix a lot of things that weren't broken and by doing so turned DnD into something that wasn't DnD. It's like when they changed the formula for Coke.


It's still D&D. Lot's of D&D goodness. If you don't dig it, just keep playing 3.5, or 2, or whatever it is you're playing. But those who claim it's not D&D anymore or you can't 'role'play with it anymore are just dredging up the same tired whines that got trotted out when 2 came out, and 3, and 3.5.


Thanks for lumping me in with everybody who disagrees with you, but I don't actually think I'm whining.

I would love for them to fix the problems that exist in 3.5 (we're playing a hybrid of 3.5 and 3, btw), of which there are many and various. It appears that they have gone some direction in doing this -- streamlining turning, etc. -- but from what I've READ ONLY it sure seems like they're trying to make it more like WoW, to change the kind of experience that you get playing DnD. Again, I've not had a chance to playtest it, so this may not be true. But I immediately bristled at the removal of certain races and classes. They've changed the world it takes place in, as well as the mechanics of how that world is expressed. And, from the outside looking in I don't see why.
 
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Brian Beyor
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It's funny...to me it feels MORE like I'm playing D&D than 3-3.5 did.
 
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muzzynyc wrote:

You always only needed the PHB as a player. And you only need the 4e PHB, unless you want to play one of the classes they decided weren't "core enough."


There is really no way you could get away with only the PHB as a player in previous editions. 3/3.5 was probably closer than previous editions, but you still really needed the DMG.

Quote:
I would love for them to fix the problems that exist in 3.5 (we're playing a hybrid of 3.5 and 3, btw), of which there are many and various. It appears that they have gone some direction in doing this -- streamlining turning, etc. -- but from what I've READ ONLY it sure seems like they're trying to make it more like WoW, to change the kind of experience that you get playing DnD. Again, I've not had a chance to playtest it, so this may not be true. But I immediately bristled at the removal of certain races and classes. They've changed the world it takes place in, as well as the mechanics of how that world is expressed. And, from the outside looking in I don't see why.


Some races and classes were removed basically because if they had included everything the PHB would have been 500 pages long.

As in previous editions, the vast majority of the rules are focused on how to run combats. If it different? Yes. Does it borrow from the way powers work in games like WoW? Yes, but I fail to see how that is a problem. On a basic level, combat is still: on your turn you roll some dice and hit stuff. They have taken what they learned from DnD minis and made combat much more tactically interesting and have taken one more step towards getting the classes balanced.

My only worry is that the classes/levels will all start feeling to same-y (I'm running Keep on the Shadowfell and the party just hit 3rd level). It hasn't happened yet, but the mechanical similarity of the powers makes me wonder if 15th level is going to be just like 3rd level, but with bigger numbers. As a DM, I can say that the traditional "kill the Wizard first!" strategy seems to have been replaced with "kill the striker (Rogue/Ranger/Warlock)!"

But really my favorite thing about the game is how incredibly much easier it is to run and play. My wife tried out 3.5 a couple of times and was just totally lost. It would be her turn and she'd stare at her character sheet and just have no idea what to do (when in fact, she really only had one reasonable option - walk up to something and hit it). In 4e, she actually understands what her character can do, and she actually has *more* options on top of it.

Also: I tried running 3/3.5 a couple of times, and frankly, I just could not do it. The amount of prep necessary to keep a game running smoothly (i.e. without looking up some spell, item, or what-have-you every 5 minutes) is, to say the least, daunting, and it gets many times more difficult at higher levels. Running 4e, despite not being *nearly* as familiar with the rules, is absolutely a joy, and I'm able to do a lot of what is supposed to be fun about DMing: thinking about what the bad guys do, surprising the characters with plot twists, giving character to the NPCs, etc.).

I think the experience you get from playing DnD still is almost entirely dependent on your group. If your group likes a lot of diplomacy and role playing, you will still do that. If your group likes a bunch of puzzles, riddles, and traps, that is still an option (and the skill challenge system gives you some interesting options for these sorts of things), and if your party likes wading hip-deep in the blood of their enemies while taking their stuff, well, that's still an option too.

OK. Rambling now.
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Ok, I guess I'll ramble a little bit on 4e. In my reading and one play, 4e is easier than 3e and more accessable if you have played any recent on-line MMOs such as City of Heroes or World of Warcraft. The first thing that really jumped out at me was how the pc classes were changed. It used to be that about half of the players handbook was taken up by spells (cleric, druid, wizard, ect.) If you were playing a fighter, you just needed a heck of alot less information. Now, each character class has a range of powers that can be used at well, once per encounter, or once per day. 4e makes it a point to give something new at every level. Your fighter is not always just going to be saying, "I swing at the orc." There is some diverse abilitys they can pick up. Also, chracters seem to have something they can do each round unlike other editions when your mage ran out of spells the player wouldn't have much they could do to affect the combat. The mage is going to be able to make a ranged magical attack each round, but what you lose alot of utility and role playing powers for spell casters. The powers feel like something you click on your screen for an MMO, but it isn't bad. Party mix isn't as important as before, but it still helps. Just because each class can do some minor healing doesn't mean life isn't much easier with a cleric in the party. You still need fighter types to look after your mages, ect. The rewrite of the cleric to make it more than just your walking healer is nice as well.

Combat is a little simplified compared to 3e, and works reasonably well. I've always played DnD with a battlemat, so it hasn't been a large change for me. You can play this edition, as well as you could any other, without a mat, but I think the game is far better when you treat combat like a board game with a map and something to represent the combatants.(I highly recomment glass crafting beads. You can write on them with wet erase markers. You can number them, use a color for the same monster type, ect. Not as cool as figs but a heck of alot cheaper. Maybe WoTC will be nice to us and release DnD minis in cheap non-collectable packs like 20 orcs) Tactically, there are alot of options starting even at first level in this edition to make combat more fun. Also, there is also an interesting dimension in the ability to pick powers that target a save other than AC.

Things I don't like. They made sure to have wild, normal and high elves but couldn't figure out gnomes. Tieflings are there, but aasimars are not. Do we really need a dragon pc race? Sure gnomes made it in the MM but those are brownies not gnomes. Conjuration/summoning is not in the game. Yes, before someone pops up and tells me that this class power is labled conjuration, it is not in the game like it was in other editions. You can't cast monster summoning I and make some centipes appeare and fight for you. This edition also leaves out alot of the illusion school and charm. My understanding is that they have not finished work on conjuration as they are trying to balance it within the game system due to fears that extra creatures allow for extra actions that can be unbalancing. Illusion has always had difficulties with how it is defined, and, I think, they are keeping the charm and mind control powers out of wizard/warlock to allow psionics to be the mind effecting magic.

Bard and druid are missing from the initial PhB, but there are some interesting fan created versions on enworld already. Monk is missing as well. Palidin mounts and familures are missing but that isn't a huge deal. Warlock has been added and it is basicly a single target wizard class, and Warlord is a fighter with abilities to effect others in battle. Think of a tactical leader class. Ranger could be considered as an archer class or duel weapon class.

I like 4e so far. Its far from perfect but I suggest you give it a try.
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Matthew McCloud
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Now that you have got the role playing bug does this mean you are almost finished with RPGeek?
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Bob
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My group doesn't have the books yet, but we've been following the various lines of discussion. It seems there are standard actions, move actions, and minor actions a character can perform on his/her turn.

Anyone familiar with these and how they work?

Thanks!
 
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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
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Geez, Chapel! Why'd you have to schedule our game session so far in advance?! I'm damn near feverish!
 
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Great Episode Aldie.
Question: Where did you go to print out the helpful power cards if D+D 4e isn't an entry at BGG?
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cferejohn wrote:
There is really no way you could get away with only the PHB as a player in previous editions. 3/3.5 was probably closer than previous editions, but you still really needed the DMG.


Such broad and sweeping statements are always wrong. (*)

I've been playing D&D since the original first 3 books came out. In all the years of the existence of a DMG as a separate book, I've never read one. At first I was forbidden, but in the decades since that DM came and went, I've never found a need to. I've never really read the Monster Manual, either, though I have read individual entries here and there. In general, and I'm mostly talking 2E here, I only read the player books, leaving all other source books to the man that makes it happen. That's his job, after all.


(*) Yes, I purposely worded it that way.....
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jgerman wrote:
You're allowed to take one each of three action types per turn.

1. standard action (most attack powers, charging, etc)
2. move action (walking, shifting)
3. minor action (described as enabling actions, unsheathing a sword etc, but some powers fit here too)


You can trade your standard action for a move action, you can trade your move action(s) for minor action(s). So you could take two move actions and a minor instead of one of each. Or 3 minor and not take a standard or move action at all.


OK, that clears up another question we had. Thanks! thumbsup
 
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ironcates wrote:
Great Episode Aldie.
Question: Where did you go to print out the helpful power cards if D+D 4e isn't an entry at BGG?


I did some google searching, and found the cards they're referring to.

http://thegamerdome.com/power-cards-character-sheet-etc-for-...

They're printer-friendly, easy-to-read, and have spaces to write in your own values (each player has a calculated to-hit for their power, based on whether they're proficient with the weapon, etc., so you'd write in your own to-hit, your own damage, etc.)

If you want to get a little more into it, you can download more graphically spiced-up versions if you go to the forum entry and download the utility and fileset. This will enable you to edit the cards, add different pre-set graphical templates (there are apparently different graphical file overlays), and so forth.

But at least start with the print-friendly full set. I downloaded it to see what the fuss was about, and immediately saw that it was a must-have.
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Mark Zielinski
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Alright, something to listen to on my way to Origins tomorrow.

I am on the fence with 4e. I am a long time D&D pre-first ed player and I was not much of a 3e or 3.5e fan, so we shall see.
 
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Randy Shipp
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cferejohn wrote:
My only worry is that the classes/levels will all start feeling to same-y (I'm running Keep on the Shadowfell and the party just hit 3rd level). It hasn't happened yet, but the mechanical similarity of the powers makes me wonder if 15th level is going to be just like 3rd level, but with bigger numbers.


I mention near the end of the podcast that I have some niggling worries about 4E but that, at the moment, they're not serious enough to detract from my enjoyment of the game. You've basically hit the nail on the head here. Even at first level, I'm having a hard time not feeling like the warlock's Eldritch Blast at-will power is mechanically just like an archer's shot or something like that. It doesn't feel different or special. And as for classes seeming "samey", try this: the Ranger's "Hunter's Quarry" ability lets you mark the nearest enemy to you, and you do 1d6 extra damage when you damage it. The Warlock's Curse lets you mark the nearest enemy to you, and you do 1d6 extra damage when you damage it. The Ranger gets a handy ability called Prime Shot, which says that if you're closer to an enemy than anyone else in your group, you get a +1 to attack rolls against it. The Warlock gets a handy ability called Prime Shot, which says that if you're closer to an enemy than anyone else in your group, you get a +1 to attack rolls against it.

My worry is that in their fever to "balance" the classes, they'll have reduced them all to pretty much the same underlying skeleton with just a different skin stretched over it. It's as if they're planning to have big MMO-style PVP tournaments for cash prizes and needed to make sure that every class worked about the same.

All that being said, I'm still looking forward to playing. I just think the game would have made more sense if they'd called it the World of Warcraft RPG.

Randy...
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rshipp wrote:

All that being said, I'm still looking forward to playing. I just think the game would have made more sense if they'd called it the World of Warcraft RPG.


I just don't see this. Did they borrow some mechanics from WoW and other MMPOPGs? Of course, they'd be fools not to have. WoW is the most popular (and profitable) video game in, I'm pretty sure, the history of time. Actually, scratch that, it's the most popular *game* in the history of time. I think adapting the things that make it popular can only be a good thing if it is done well.

And from a practical standpoint, Hasbro owns Dungeons and Dragons, not World of Warcraft. Rejecting gameplay choices that they (or rather WotC) think are good because "it would make us too similar to the most popular and profitable game in the history of time" would be poor business strategy.

In any case, there are similar powers at some levels, but let's remember that in previous editions every non spellcaster had basically the same options - walk up to things and hit them, or stand back and fire from a distance. While the Warlock and Ranger are similar, they are both strikers, so you'd expect them to be somewhat similar. In any case, their other powers differntiate them pretty well.
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lmyrick wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
mdp4828 wrote:
SwedeLad wrote:
Time to get ready for RolePlayingGeek.com.


I also like that you only need to get the PH as a player now.

/kgm


You always only needed the PHB as a player. And you only need the 4e PHB, unless you want to play one of the classes they decided weren't "core enough."

I haven't had a chance to playtest 4e, but from having read the core rulebooks, and being a DnD-er from wayyyyy back, they seemed to have tried to fix a lot of things that weren't broken and by doing so turned DnD into something that wasn't DnD. It's like when they changed the formula for Coke.


It's still D&D. Lot's of D&D goodness. If you don't dig it, just keep playing 3.5, or 2, or whatever it is you're playing. But those who claim it's not D&D anymore or you can't 'role'play with it anymore are just dredging up the same tired whines that got trotted out when 2 came out, and 3, and 3.5.


It isn't really D&D anymore. They changed the alignment system, the base races, the planes of existance, basically everything. It is not D&D at all anymore. That isn't really a bad thing because I think the rules are better overall (more game-based) but it really has lost a lot of flavor.
 
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I don't quite understand the hand-wringing in regards to the WOW-ification of Dungeons and Dragons. It's just a ruleset; for the old-timers like me, the fun comes from interacting with friends and creative, inspired role-playing. It's not as if Wizards somehow rendered these pleasures impossible with a manual.

For the young bucks, they want more tactical combat and 'munchkin' characters. Good on them, and welcome to the show. They've got their "I CRITZORZ TEH ORC AND PWN HIM!" while my buddies and I have our "I attempt to disarm the orc with a quick flick of the blade as I circle around to place my back to the wall."

Homogenization of classes isn't really a problem as long as the player role-plays well enough to make his character distinctive.

Of course, my inner cynic suspects that the classes will be fleshed out eventually... by a bunch of well-made, fabulous expansion books you can buy for just $14.95!
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