Role-playing Mechanics: The Third Way

Recently Chris Youngs at Wizards of the Coast wrote an editorial pointing out that people can role-play in D&D 4th Edition just fine without any rules actually governing said role-playing:

Fourth edition doesn’t include some of the mundane mechanical elements of character building that 3rd Edition did. For example, certain skills (I’m looking at you Craft and Profession) enabled a player to feel like his character had some sort of grounding in the “real world” of the campaign. Odds were good that you never made a Craft or Profession check in your game, but having ranks in that skill made you feel connected to your character’s background. In 4th Edition, those skills are gone. Why? Because we feel like a character’s statistics don’t represent the absolute truth of a character’s story. That’s right — one of the reasons those skills (and other such elements from other editions) are gone is that we felt they hindered roleplaying.

This elicited some “Hear! Hear!”-style posts from gaming blogs:

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Game Day: Mistaken Death, Barbaric Dwarves, Constructible Star Wars, SILVER Heroes, Savage Swords

It’s Game Day, meaning that in about seven hours, a horde of geeks will descend on my house and we’ll spend 4-6 hours hacking, slashing (and yes, role-playing) our way through a variety of humanoid menaces. Alternatively, we may be vying for world domination playing Risk 2210 or trying to prevent the Rise of the Sheeple in Settlers of Catan. Regardless of the game, you can be assured we’ll be playing something.

Game Day’s a big deal for me (and for everyone in the group), as it’s a chance to blow off steam, relax away from the family and significant others, joke with friends and generally have some fun. With that in mind, I’ve decided to start writing a weekly “Game Day” column dedicated to all things gaming and geeky as a way of ramping up for the night’s adventure.

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