#RPGADAY: Favorite RPG Never Get to Play

At first I thought it said "Favorite RPG You Never Got to Play", which seemed kind of strange since if I never got to play something, how would I know if it's my favorite, much less if I even liked it? Even so, I was going to answer 5th Edition Shadowrun, since I seemed to enjoy 3rd Edition Shadowrun "back in the day".

However, given that I have never actually played it (came pretty close though...maybe someday Stonewall the troll shaman will go on a run), today's winner goes to...

4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

This is easily the most flexible, elegant, intuitive, and robust edition of Dungeons & Dragons, 4th Edition gave the game a much needed mechanical face lift.

Here was an edition where any race could be any class and still be competent, any class composition worked without specialized builds or DM fudging, every class was useful at every level (including fighters), you had an insane amount of customization, magical healing was neither necessary nor even assumed, only a portion of overall character resources were based on "the day", encounters could be built on the fly with precision difficulty (and so could even complex monsters), and so, so much more.

The game still has it's share of problems. If you play by the book encounters can drag due to hit points (and even simple encounters can take a while if you set up entire maps), everything pointlessly scales, skill challenges required some extensive experience and/or know-how to make them work well, magic items were often not particularly noteworthy, and magic still didn't make any sense.

Honestly I could play this again at almost any time: I have enough experience with the game to easily run Melissa through a solo campaign, though I am sure I could scrape up a few players online. Mostly it's just that I've been pretty busy with two weekly games and a weekly board game hangout. Since we are moving in a couple days, we're going to pare things down to one weekly game, so if anyone wants to try my particular brand of 4th Edition lemme know!

12 comments:

  1. Do you allow Essentials classes?

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  2. Oh yeah. In fact, when I was running Sundered World in 4th Edition one of the players made a kind of "Essentialized" warlord.

    I think Essentials was a good example of how classes with different resource management schemes could interact without creating balance issues, and honestly I wish WotC would have approached 4th Edition (and 5th Edition) with a "fiction-first" mentality.

    Like, martial powers having encounter/daily limitations makes perfect sense, but I don't think it was the best way to handle them.

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    1. Yeah, I never really got on the 4e train, but I would have been much more tempted if the PHB had looked more like Essentials.

      Fiction-first would have helped a lot, but I think the bigger hurdle for us was your resource management point. Our group aren't fans of "Vancian" magic, but there are always other options, all the way back to the white box. Not liking AEDU left us up a creek.

      5e... is like a funhouse mirror reflecting what I want from D&D. I can tell what it's supposed to be and that looks good, but no individual component looks right.

      Which is super frustrating, because it feels like it should be close, but it'd actually be easier to get my preferred experience by hacking 4e, Pathfinder, or Iron Heroes... or even just starting from a blank sheet of paper.

      I don't think that's a mechanics-first vs. flavor-first thing, though. I think it has to do with their compromises between conservatism and innovation. I understand their need to have some classic things and some new things, but it feels like they put everything halfway in-between.

      Cheers!
      Kinak

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    2. There were other spellcasting models that far back? REVEAL THIS TO ME!

      I agree that it would be easier to hack 4E to be my idealized D&D. Same with a blank sheet, which is what I am doing (which I'll start talking about after Sundered World: first things first, damnit).

      I agree that they perceive a "need" to have classic things, but I think it just hurts the game. D&D no longer exists in a vacuum so, in a world with numerous official editions and clones of various quality, I'd be curious if 5th Edition meets whatever metrics they have in mind.

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    3. Sorry to get your hopes up. I didn't mean alternate casting methods, just non-Vancian characters. Many a fighter or rogue has been spawned at our table by people not wanting to screw around with Vancian wizards or clerics.

      That said, Eldritch Wizardry (Supplement III) introduced non-Vancian psionics in 1979. So the same vintage as the druid class, mind flayers, and demons.

      But even that wouldn't get blown out to a full casting class until 2nd Editon. It saw a lot of play at our table back then, though, just because of the Vancian issue.

      Cheers!
      Kinak

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  3. I loved 4E as it really saved D&D for me, 3.5 was broken as hell with so many resource books that made earlier options obsolete, and after I played 4E, pathfinder seemed like a step backwards to me. I was really big on 4E for a long time, running games and playing in too few for my tastes. I mostly ran adventure paths as my own stories often seemed convoluted or i spent way too much time planning (seriously, I tried to think of every alternative and planned what would happen until I went crazy.) This is why dungeon World was such a saving grace for me.

    I have even less spare time in my life than I did before, so I can't run games but once or twice a month, but I would live to try to play in a 4E game again, especially since I like the manner in which you write, I feel like you just "get it" more than WotC does. Unfortunately, when I fell out of love with D&D for my new mistress, Dungeon World, I sold all my books, player and DM. The only things I kept were adventures for inspiration. I would need a little more than a character builder demo if I wanted to play.

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    1. Have you tried Dungeon World or FATE? Those are more "develop as you go", which is what I really started doing with D&D after a time. I would start using adventures as vague plot blocks and just use them or lose them as I go.

      I think 4E works really well with this since you can precision plan how difficult everything is. I guess we are going to try a DW game of some sort next Weds ifin you are interested in at least giving it a shot.

      Otherwise, what would you wanna do in 4E?

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    2. All the characters play and feel the same. I hated 4th because a fighter should not be about to do supernatual wizard/cleric moves. It annoyed me plus the spell and abilities played more like a vid game.

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    3. You read the fucking book, or just parroting things you read in the internet?

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    4. @Darcy: Don't waste your time, if staylor couldn't bother to read up on all of this unfounded circa 2008 "rhetoric" by now, he/she isn't going give you anything approaching a discussion. I mean, assuming he/she bothers to check back.

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    5. Maybe so, but he's just a petty troll that is too pathetic to even come up with his own material. I mean, that shit was disproved over six years ago.

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