Melissa's First 4th Edition D&D Game

  • Dwarf slayer (axe-based, of course)
  • Dwarf mage (evocation)
  • Human warpriest (sun)

Hired by an aging veteran of a war between humans and elves to retrieve his sword, we'd managed to track them to a kind of garden, maintained in a small valley.

While exploring we fought some elves and their various elemental companions, ended up burning most of the garden down with the mage's magic, and eventually found a small fortress in the back, covered in dead plant-life and patches of ice.

Inside we fought off a few more elves, before confronting a white dragon. Predictably it wouldn't part with the sword peacefully, but we managed to slay it, albeit barely. In addition to the sword, there was a heap of silver pieces. Not much, especially since most things are priced in gold, but certainly better than nothing.

Behind the Scenes
Melissa is writing a post comparing her experiences and thoughts running both Dungeons & Dragons and Dungeon World. That'll be out some time this week.

It's been a while since I played 4th Edition proper. We stuck entirely to Essentials, as it would be easier for everyone if we only used one book to make characters. Not wanting to spend too much time on feats, I just gave everyone the ones that give you a to-hit bonus. Since my warpriest was a human, I actually bothered to pick one out, going with whatever feat makes you heal more with healing word.

We didn't really bother with strategy, until Melissa mentioned one of the elves having some kind of combat-advantage-damage-kicker. I told her what that entailed, so then we all started maneuvering to gain flanking bonuses. In my previous group, everyone played everything really strategically, which bogged things down.

This time we'd just run up to monsters, then slowly creep around 5 feet per turn until we got the bonus. Easy, and turns still went by pretty damned fast.

The heap of silver pieces was due to bad random treasure rolls, using the tables in the back of the Dungeon Master's Book. It was Melissa's first time, and she didn't plan for very long (like, 10 minutes). All things considered it was fun, I think she did a great job (especially having not read the rules or anything), and the kids wanna play again.

None of the characters had names, because we didn't think it'd be anything more than a one-shot. I guess we'll have to name them now.


Hacking the Game
One my projects is making my own D&D/d20-esque hack, using 4th Edition as a foundation. After playing it again, my immediate thoughts are:

  • Feats can just go. Seriously, fuck picking a race and class, and then picking little things on the side. Going "by the books", you want to start with the +x to hit feats anyway, which can be "fixed" by reducing monster stats. Speaking of which...
  • Obviously monster hit points need to be reduced across the board: one of the elves took like, 5-6 hits to take down, and the dragon took way too long despite Melissa shaving a quarter of its hit points off beforehand.
  • I will say that I like how solos get extra actions (definitely makes them more dangerous than Dungeon World solitaries, and without GM-fiat to boot), but I don't think they need all the immediate reactions/interrupts. Melissa didn't notice the white dragon's immediate action that triggers when it gets bloodied, and it was still plenty dangerous.
  • As I said before, we didn't really deal with tactics. I personally don't think that flanking and opportunity attacks are things really worth keeping. Well, maybe not opportunity attacks. Could be something relegated to fighter/warrior types as an option.
  • Definitely going to reduce XP. No point in forcing characters to rack up thousands of XP.
  • Also going to switch things to a silver standard.
  • I want to give fighters the option to use maneuvers, but I'm not sure how I wanna do it. Dragon Age has a die that you can roll to see what you can use, and 13th Age lets you pick something, but only have it work on a certain roll (even or odd). Maybe something that triggers if you beat the monster's defense by a certain amount?

After only a couple hours of design and writing, The Swordmage is good to go. If you want a solid fighter/wizard hybrid with twenty-five advanced moves to choose from (in addition to some other extras), pick it up.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out!

Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance!

Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

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