My review of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is up on SCIFI.com. I gave it a B.
Without a doubt, this was one of the hardest reviews I've ever written for SCIFI. It's hard to remain objective about a game that I've been playing, in one form or another for 20+ years, all the more so when the latest edition of said game doesn't fit with my current campaign or style of play. Although it may be difficult for longtime players to accept, 4th Edition does have its merits and advantages over 3rd Edition. I worked hard to balance those advantages against what I felt were the very real shortcomings of the new system, both as a game on to itself, and as the inheritor of the Dungeons & Dragons name.
It was made all the more challenging by writing it on the road; the rough draft of the lede and first few paragraphs were written at a hotel in New Hampshire the night before my nephew's baptism, the rest was banged out on my brother-in-law's Windows Vista laptop using Word 2007, also in New Hampshire.
Yes, Word 2007. Truly I'm willing to suffer greatly to get you, my noble reader, the best damn review possible.
Today's the official start of our Dungeons & Dragons 4th mini-campaign, Planetorn. It's our testbed for 4th edition, and I expect the campaign to run about five to eight sessions, or until the end of the summer, which ever comes first.
Since this is the first night of the campaign I don't have time for a proper Game Day column, but I figured I'd post a few 4E friendly links:
My gaming group held our first 4th edition playtest this week, pitting a group of first-level characters against a wandering band of goblins. The battle took place among a couple of low hills, with the adventurers surprising a band of goblins eating roasted dog around a guttering campfire. There was no role-playing component to the encounter; this was strictly a mechanical test.
Setting up the Skirmish
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is upon us. I've spent last two weeks or so readying through the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition core rule books, and my gaming group had our first character creation session two weeks ago.
In this article, the writer argues that WotC's new virtual gaming table and suite of online services called D&D Insider should be following an hourly, rather than monthly, model for online play. He notes that RPG gamers tend to play once a week, four 4-5 hours at a time. At that rate, they can't easily justify spending $75+ dollars a month (as a group) to pay for an online service.
Ok, maybe "love" isn't the right word. "Tolerate" might be better, but the sentiment is the same: for the first time in months, I'm looking forward to my gaming group's playtest of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition.
First, some background. My gaming group's been together for 12 years and we've played in the World of Greyhawk that entire time. We've had a bunch of different campaigns, adventuring in our home grown city of Obsidian Bay, dealing with the rising threat of the Temple of Elemental Evil, and liberating the Grand Duchy of Geoff from the giant menace, but all that time we were in Greyhawk.
So yeah, our gaming group has some serious history.
D&D 4E is upon us ... and I've created my first character for the game. If I’ve learned one thing about the game in doing this, it’s that the 4E's mechanics don’t fit easily into the old fantasy molds. To that end, I’ve been building out my own 4E campaign setting called Planetorn (detailed in a previous "Game Theory" post), in which a terrible war is ripping through the planes, destroying worlds and tearing people from their realities.
Field General Zhoran is the first 4E character I’ve created for this setting, but he’s not the first character for the campaign setting: that honor belongs to Zilanderan the Second, the Book of Nine Swords swordmage I created for our D&D 3.x campaign.