4th Edition…2 days and counting

So its been a bit.

Whats the scoop? or Why should I buy this and stop using my 3.5 books?

Well I can say from first hand experience that all the little things about 3.0/3.5/3.xx that I really disliked and constantly was adding house rules to fix or ignoring have been pretty much eliminated from 4th Edition. While I am sure I will find things that will make me need to make changes for my home game in 4th with what I have seen so far those will be minimal at best.

Races & Classes

So if you don’t know yet 8 classes and 8 races make up this first installment in 4th edition. ( I say because the classes you don’t see will be coming in future releases)

Races: Human, Halfling, Elf, Eladrin, Half-elf, Dwarf, Dragonborn, Tiefling

Brave and ambitious, humans are somewhat more numerous than other races, and their city-states are among the brightest spots in a dark world. However, there still exist vast portions of the world where no human has set foot.

Humans are pretty damn sweet. Where as in 3.5 a few extra skill points and a extra feat made them worth playing now they get a bonus to any one ability score of your choice and quite a few other perks.

Halflings, the smallest of the civilized races, are a plucky, quick, and likable people. Halflings gather in small clans in the marshes and along the rivers of the world, traveling and trading widely with the other races.

I have always hated Halflings…until now. The 4th Edition version of Halflings remind me a lot of Kender from Dragonlance. They are no longer toddlers wielding deadly weapons they are now a taller and more well rounded race

Kin to the eladrin, elves dwell in the deep forests of the world and love the beauty of nature. Many elves (and some eladrin, too) live in wandering companies that visit many lands, staying a season or two in each.

Elves are more earthy by nature now. They are the Wood Elf by most definitions. And they are the fastest race and have some really tight racial abilities, one being their ability to re-roll a failed attack.

Eladrin are a graceful, magical race born of the Feywild, the realm of Faerie. They love arcane
magic, swordplay, and exquisite work in metal and stone. They live in shining cities on the borders of the Feywild.

They are the High Elves, masters of arcane magic, and have this pesky ability to be able to teleport out of harms way.

Elves and humans sometimes have children together, giving rise to half-elves. With many of the
best features of both humans and elves, half-elves have capabilities distinct from both races. They are charismatic and versatile.

Half-Elves are cool now…they not only add to your groups social skills in those encounters, they also can dabble a bit in other classes just because their half-elves.

Legendary for their toughness and strong will, dwarves are indomitable warriors and master
artisans. Dwarven kingdoms are mighty mountain citadels, but clans of dwarf crafters can be found in any town or city.

Honestly if your going to play a fighter no race is better suited. Dwarves are just kick ass and tough as nails.

Dragonborn are proud, honor-bound draconic humanoids. They wander the world as mercenaries and adventurers. They are strong and possess dragon like abilities.

At first I was leery…but not any more. The Dragonborn are just cool as hell. With some good stat bonus and some serious racial abilities they

Tieflings are a race descended from ancient humans who bargained with infernal powers. Tieflings are loners who live in the shadows of human society, relying only on trusted allies.

I was personally disappointed that the Tiefling was included and not the Aasimar. However that said they are a solid race which gives me a lot of hope for the 4th Edition version of the Aasimar.

Some of what I find great and different is that your Race matters beyond 1st level and your Class has a more defined role in the game. You will continue to be able to pick up additional racial abilities as your character progress. Which is a pretty huge departure from previous editions. Also no race gets negative ability scores, gone are the days of the -2 to Con for elves, poor frail bastards that they were.

Classes: Fighter, Paladin, Rogue, Ranger, Warlock, Cleric, Warlord, and Wizard

Each Class specializes in one of four basic functions in combat: control and area offense, defense, healing and support, and focused offense. The roles embodied by these functions are controller (wizard), defender (fighter & paladin), leader (cleric & warlord), and striker (rogue, ranger, & warlock).

The classic party includes one character of each role: wizard, fighter, cleric, and rogue. Character roles identify which classes can stand in for each other. For example, if you don’t have a cleric in your party, a warlord will serve just as well in the leader role.

In previous editions if you played the fighter you were the “tank” had a lot of hit points, had a high AC from the heavy armor you wore, and dealt moderate damage to your enemies. However…nothing really defined your ability to stand up toe to toe with the monsters and ensure the safety of your party. A monster could just easily walk around you, it might provoke an Attack of Opportunity and take some damage but it just walks over to the Wizard and bites his head off. Now if your playing the fighter your abilities enable you to stand toe to toe with the monster and Make damn sure that it nevers gets a chance to east your Wizards head. Also roles also serve as handy tools for building your adventuring party. It’s a really good idea to cover each role with at least one character.

And speaking of said wizard. Now a Wizard at 1st level is exciting to play and frankly they aren’t useless once they have blown their daily spell…because they still have full access to all their per encounter abilities and at-will abilities. Yes gone are the days of your adventures waking up…breaking their fast…studying their spells…setting off to adventure and 30 minutes later having to sit down and rest for another 8 hours because the Wizard and Cleric just blew their wad on the first encounter. The really allows for better pacing of adventures and also make everyone at the table feel like they can contribute to the game and not be a liability and drain on party resources.

So I mentioned daily powers, and encounter powers, and at-will powers…WTF?!? You are asking yourself.
So every class gives you access to a suite of attack powers you can use to harm or hinder your enemies and utility powers that help you and your allies. Powers in each of these broad categories are further defined by how often you can use them.

You can use at-will powers as often as you choose. You can use encounter powers many times during a day of adventuring, but you have to rest a few minutes between each use, so you can use them each once per encounter. Daily powers are so dramatic and powerful that you can use each one only once a day.

So what these mean is you have at your disposal a varying degree of things you can do in combat allowing for some really dynamic fights that just fun to run as a DM and fun to play.

Tactics and paying attention are now serious parts of 4th Edition. Player A uses an ability and the rest of the table needs to be paying attention because you never know if what he just did might trigger something you can do as well. Gone I think are the session where your tuned out counting the cracks in the ceiling while some rolls out their round and you just are waiting for you turn to roll. Everyone is interested in what everyone else is doing. Not only because it’s a new system but the gloves are off and everything is new again.

With that…this will be the end of part one of my 4th Edition Review.

Part 2 should be up tomorrow I’ll talk about the rules in general.

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~ by lyoncage on June 5, 2008.

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