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Massawyrm Reviews D&D 4E Part 2!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. So, now that I’ve got all the basics and the impressions out of the way. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What was it like to run a game in 4E? Pretty freaking awesome. All this talk of simplicity goes out the window once you begin to talk about RUNNING a game. Sure, the rules are simple, but the combat tactics become a whole new ballgame for us DM’s. But those simple rule changes do make life a hell of a lot easier. During our first game, my intrepid game designer buddy decided to throw a monkey wrench into the works by having his character dive under a table and kick it out from under two guys fighting on top of it. He smiled devilishly, looked at me and asked “How are you gonna rule that…DM?” I glanced at the book for a moment and realized “Strength check against their reflexes.” Huh. He shook his head. Made sense. He made the attack, hit the numbers and all of a sudden he had two opponents prone on the floor. The rules are so straight forward now, on the fly decisions are total cake. And when slightly more complicated rule calls come into play, don’t worry. The way they’ve set up the rule chapters are simple, clear and pure genius. Everything in the combat chapter is alphabetized. You need the grappling rules? Turn to the G’s. How about Charging? C. And once you’re there, you’ll find that all the major rules are listed as bullet points. Any and every instance for a rule is listed separately in its own bullet point and there aren’t any more of those infamous important rules buried at the end of a paragraph somewhere in the middle of chapter 9. The biggest change you’re going to notice is that combats are RADICALLY different than they ever have been. The idea of the single, lone monster fight is almost entirely gone. 4E is about mobs. It’s about the Gnoll hunter traveling with two Gnoll warriors and 3 hyenas. It’s about Goblins on Worg-back with a spellcaster bringing up the rear. It’s about ambushes and strange locations. It’s as much about how you’re fighting as it is what you’re fighting. Setting up the fights mechanically is a breeze. Every monster level has an XP total and there’s a simple chart that tells you what XP an encounter of a party size of X level equals. For example a 7th level party of four characters is 1200 experience points. A standard 7th level monster is 300 XP. 4 monsters of the same level equal a standard challenge for the party. But the biggest revolution is game design for 4E is the fact that the monsters scale PERFECTLY. And so do the PCs. The amount of damage they deal and can take moves up appropriately so multiple monsters of a lower level is EQUAL in damage output and the amount it can take as a single monster of a higher level. A level 1 monster is 100XP. So 12 level 1 monsters would make a suitable encounter for a 7th level party. And yes, for those of you thinking ahead of me, this means it is very simple to mix monsters of different levels. That same party would be equally matched by a level 9 monster (400XP) and 4 level 5 monsters (200XP each.) Doing the MATH of each encounter takes seconds. The challenging part becomes being creative. How exactly will you mix and match your monsters, how will they interact together and where will you place the encounter to make it easier or tougher than the straight numbers would intimate. That right there is where things get really fun for the 4E Dungeon Master. The new rule set allows you to be positively devious without risking the dreaded TPK (total party kill.) 4E rewards the inventive DM by giving him a wide range creatures with a large range of abilities and combat roles, then turns him loose to try and find the nastiest, most dastardly ways to harass his players. But don’t get too cocky there, Jeeves. The players have all sorts of new tools and tactics to dismantle even the cleverest of traps. Rangers SUCK. Not in the 3.x way in which they’re silly and underpowered. As a DM, you will learn to hate them because with a well placed shot they can drop your back field controller before he gets a chance to really harass your players. The days of taking it easy on the caster or ranged fighter are done and gone. You need to learn quickly how to put pressure on the party’s back field fighters or else you will watch encounter after encounter go down the same way as the tank draws fire while the healer stands him up (while doing damage herself) and the ranger/wizard blasts key opponents out of the picture. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. No. Simple, straight forward encounters comprised of four of the same monster are the way to ruin. The system may encourage complicated tactics and encounters…but clever players will simply require them. And at the same time, character death isn’t as easy as it used to be. Level 1 characters are front loaded with hit points and abilities, so the old accidental crit by the goblin archer won’t actually kill a player. It’s a slight bit tougher than that now. And it becomes even tougher if there’s a cleric in the group. A strong, smart healer can stand up near death characters several times before they actually risk permanent death. This is going to be a big change for some folks, as the weekly “Who do we have to pay to get raised this week” becomes much less frequent (until Epic, when pretty much everyone can Res for free, on a daily basis. You get abilities that let you do cool things when you die. Swear to Pelor. Epic is weird.) XP works a lot differently now too. EVERYTHING you do can pretty much get you XP. The big change is that Social Encounters will net you xp. Traps and puzzles are XP based rather than just CRs. And taking a tip from WoW, there are even QUEST REWARDS now. The DMG even includes suggestions on how PC’s can instigate their own quests. These are no longer vague rule suggestions – but are instead hard and fast rules that allow you to really control the rate of level progression without feeling like you’re just lumping XP on the PC’s. At the same time, the new system allows you to take the players from one level to the next without ever having to swing a sword. Not that you’d necessarily want to, but all of a sudden courtly intrigue and puzzle quest heavy campaigns are just as viable XP wise as straight hack and slash. And it’s all based on the same simple mechanics. And nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, takes away XP anymore. No more level loss. No more XP to fuel abilities or make magic items. Nothing. In fact the book encourages you to award XP to absent players, just so everyone always has the same amount and is playing at the same level. I’ve been doing this, and the players love it. That lame idea of reward for attendance gets outweighed by the reward of everyone being equally useful. Besides, loot for attendance works just as well. Another great aspect of 4E is the new abilities versus feats delineation. Abilities are something that the player can do ACTIVELY. This includes casting a fireball, using a tricky bow shot or healing another character. Feats on the other hand tend to modify your stats or affect what you can do PASSIVELY. The abilities are all very carefully set up with level dependant damage and scaling. You no longer have the ability to pick and choose from a number of prestige classes (thus no stacking weird combinations of class abilities), and since bonus stacking is very simple and easy these days, the chances of nasty, disgusting, broken combos is going to take a LOT of future bonehead game design and a lot of work on the part of the players. There are plenty of ways to optimize your characters – but straight up broken combos are going to become a thing of the past. One of the things the rules stress in the DMG is to get used to saying “YES” to players. Let them try weird things and how you should try to find ways to allow it. And the ruleset seems to allow it while remaining incredibly stable. Stable really is the best way to describe it. We’ve spent four months trying to break it and we can’t. There have been a few iterations of rule interpretations that have created oddities, but the playtesting did an incredible job of tweaking those down to make sense. Hell, there was an interpretation of Stealth early on that allowed you to use another player to hide, then jump out and gain COMBAT ADVANTAGE (the 4E version of catching a character flat footed.) This led to a series of comments (and jokes) about a Halfling Rogue in the fighters backpack and ultimately led to a note from the lead developer that read “It shouldn’t work like that. We’ll fix it.” They did. Remember all that simplicity stuff from part 1 of the review. As a DM you’re about to see why they had to make the rules so simple. It’s because your toolbox just got a lot bigger. And any more complicated and it just wouldn’t work. The great thing is that most of your preparation doesn’t involve books and math. It involves brainstorming and figuring out how to make encounters unique, fun and, yes, devilishly effective. Then of course you have to figure out loot. Who doesn’t love loot? Well, in 4E there’s a hell of a lot less of it. It also doesn’t affect a lot of the things it used to. But it is still as important as ever. The loot rules pretty much give players a new magic item every level. And the gear gives you new abilities, protection from abilities or simply modifies your attacks or defenses. There are no more stat bump items, nor are you expected to have magic loot at certain levels. The result is a system that allows low or no magic campaigns without a lot of heartache or rule tweaking. Magic items all do COOL things. Armor doesn’t just protect you, it also gives you things to do in combat. Items you wear give you options, not bumps. And the abilities things grant make them useful for levels beyond what loot used to. There are items I can imagine being just as useful at level 20 as it was at level 4. The overall result of all of these loot changes is a system more about fantasy, character and story than it is about Min/Maxing. There’s a lot more “This is the cloak given to me by Queen Soandso and a lot less “Dude, why are you still wearing that +2 Periapt of Wisdom. You’re level 12 now.” Oh yeah. And there’s no such thing as a magic item shop anymore. Which is fine, because they’ve finally made Crafting rules that actually make sense and don’t require calculus or the loss of XP. If you want a certain magic item, learn how to make it, and spend the gold to make it. Crafting magic items is what the gold cost is for now a days. All in all, the game plays and runs very differently than before. It still has that classic D&D feel, but your focus as a game runner really is going in new and exciting directions. You’ll send most of your time dreaming things up rather than tallying things up. And it makes all the difference. Tune in tomorrow for the third and final installment of this review in which I talk about the new monster manual, how monster work and my few (nit picky) gripes about the new system. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 29, 2008, 7:47 a.m. CST


    by greyspecter

    D&D. isn't that so 90s?

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 7:50 a.m. CST


    by chrth


  • Feb. 29, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST

    I really like the sound of

    by chrth

    "The new rule set allows you to be positively devious without risking the dreaded TPK (total party kill.) 4E rewards the inventive DM by giving him a wide range creatures with a large range of abilities and combat roles, then turns him loose to try and find the nastiest, most dastardly ways to harass his players. "

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Bitch, you don't get off that Easy!!!

    by Bill Brasky

    "Lighting Bolt! Lighting Bolt! Lighting Bolit!"

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 8:04 a.m. CST

    And I really like the idea of...

    by Bill Brasky

    ...sitting in the back of some old musty comic book shop or 'gaming store' after business hours with a bunch of 30 or 40 something losers who reek of B.O. and who still live in their parent's basement, all while trying to listen to some lame, balding pudgy guy talk about how beautiful his female half-elf Cleric is and how high her Charisma is (19!!!!), and how lethal her 'Mace of Tranquility' is (+4 vs. all Evil/Chaotic characters.) Whatever dude, you missed the boat, the decade, the girl, the point, etc., etc., etc., of everything that was posted yesterday. You should have just licked you wounds and moved on.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Lenny8: You must've missed the point yesterday

    by chrth

    That he plays with his wife and a designer for the game.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 8:42 a.m. CST

    Nerds GOTTA EAT!!!

    by BGDAWES we go again.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 8:49 a.m. CST

    WOTC rips WOW

    by MonkeyBoy88

    It really seems like Wizards of the Coast is simply copying World of Warcraft and other MMOs. It's a bloody tragedy that WOTC seems to sacrifice role-playing for roll playing. To each their own, I suppose.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 8:53 a.m. CST

    “How are you gonna rule that…DM?”

    by Lone_Wolf_McQuaalude

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 8:56 a.m. CST

    This sounds like shit...

    by Pariah74

    First of all...that whole dive under the table thing could have been done just as easily in 1st edition, so I don't know what you're jerking off about. And second, it sounds to me like they jacked up the power of the PC's and homogenized the monsters. Sounds like every munchkin who loves to power-game in 3.5 will be in hog heaven in 4.0 I bet the same old RPGs that have been better than 3.X will continue to be better than this. You that PCs are expected to have a new magic item every level and then say that low or no magic campaigns are no problem...derr ack! Oh DM's you should just say YES to your players! Let them have everything they want! Doesn't matter cuz the monsters are all push over pinatas now, anyway! Hooray! My character can now kick out tables!!! Wait a second? I could always do that?

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Can we get a link to part 1?

    by wato


  • Feb. 29, 2008, 9:15 a.m. CST

    I long ago gave the d20 system

    by Mr Willi

    There are so many simpler systems out there that accomplish much the same thing without the needless complexity. Savage Worlds for one, and its core book is only $10. D20 may be more popular because of the D&D license, but I wouldn't recommend it to most gamers.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 9:15 a.m. CST

    by Chronic Insomnia

    WOTC is ruining role playing games and turning them into paper versions of video games. It's all about the big boss man at the end of the level and who has the most advantages. ROLE playing has been replaced with ROLL playing. If you want to tell a story then don't use this huge pile of liquified crap, go back to what works and has always worked, 2nd Edition. WOTC is all about the money and they want you get rid of your 3.5 books and sell them at Half Price Books for peanuts and spend your money all over again. It's a vicious cycle of retarded thinking. 4.0 is going to be a pile of crap and just deal with it. It's rules stacked on top of rules. To hear something like, "4E rewards the inventive DM by giving him a wide range creatures with a large range of abilities and combat roles, then turns him loose to try and find the nastiest, most dastardly ways to harass his players." or "As a DM, you will learn to hate them because with a well placed shot they can drop your back field controller before he gets a chance to really harass your players." That sounds like a game of Warhammer rather than actual ROLE playing. It sounds like a new video game with a conveyer belt encounter system and a matching numbers game with party experience and number of monsters. What a load of crap. WOTC have taken all the creativity out of the gaming experience and place in some really crappy rules to satisfy the new gamer who can't put down his xbox controller and actually take one the personality of a character and instead just wants to "Level Up" all the time. Have fun with that. I'll keep my money I spent with TSR and have more fun.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST

    This may be.....

    by 20 inch Pythons

    The geighest review I have ever read. You may have purged the nerd right out of me.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Just coz no one has said it yet...

    by OnusBone

    Thanks Massa. I appreciate the series.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 10:40 a.m. CST

    D&D Mini's

    by kboleen

    How will mini's fit into 4ed?

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 10:49 a.m. CST


    by greigy just wanted to say

    ...who have more of a social life.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST

    There is nothing so vicious

    by OnusBone

    as Nerd on Nerd violence. And we all know that to be the ubernerd, to truly be the geeks geek, you need to play D&D. If it weren't for us, who would give you a false sense of smug superiority? Oh yeah. Everyone else.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Risk of death in 4E

    by BillyPilgrim

    Massa with the new rules will the players have a real fear of death in combat? Cause its starting to sound like there isnt. I have a real problem with that if it's true. As a DM I dont want players running around without some fear that they could wander into the wrong room and get diced up. Otherwise you end up with a paper version of EQ where fear of death is non-existant. <p> Hey Bill B! You didnt give us the name of your half elf cleric. Can I guess that its Galadriel or Luthien? Could it possibly be a transgender half-elf that looks like Tom Cruise circa 1986 (Legend)?

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:06 a.m. CST

    AD+D: idiocy since 2.0

    by ArcadianDS

    The reason AD+D is still releasing books and other formats are long gone (gurps?) is because it was SIMPLE. It let the DM function as a STORY TELLER. It let the players functions as CHARACTERS IN THE STORY. Ever since version 2.0, it has been an excercise in book keeping and data management.<p> If I were running a game, and some guy says to me, "I dive under a table and kick it over so that it knocks down the opponents." I would say back to him without a moment's pause, "awesome move. YOu manage to knock two guys completely onto their butts and a third guy staggers back but braces himself against the wall. He lunges for you and attacks *roll die* and hits you for 8 points of damage.<p> It sounds like this version has taken a very colorful and energetic moment of combat and boiled it down to a serious of mathematical die checks. Its stupid. If a character wants to climb a ladder, GO CLIMB IT. Making them roll against a dexterity number to see if they can successfully climb a ladder is complete stupidity, and only serves to destroy the idea that this game, and this hobby, is NOT ABOUT ROLLING DICE. It is about experiencing an ever-evolving story.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST

    thanks, massa

    by LegoKenobi

    keep the D&D love flowin'.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Role- vs. Roll-playing Arguments

    by thedarklinglord

    Did you dickweeds not read the actual article? Massa said that DMs could run less combat-intensive campaigns, campaigns based on puzzles and quests and story/NPC interaction and that 4th Edition actually supported this by detailing how XP could be given out based on the PCs actions. While that doesn't strike me as being particularly innovative (since most DMs have been doing similar things for years now, using only their own judgment on how and how much XP should be rewarded for appropriate roleplaying), Massa made it clear that the new edition fully supports that style of play. Which means you drama club douchebags can still sit around the dinner table in your home-made costumes, jabbering in your wannabe voice actor dialects, performing uber-gay, ultra-lame dinner theater with your buddies and have it pay off by earning your fantasy personae XP for level advancement. I miss the good ol' days when nerds were actually intelligent.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:41 a.m. CST

    grr me hate D&D

    by Staldo

    I'll roleplay as a level 16 overcompensating RPG Hater: "me hate D&D. Adults can't play "let's pretend", they should be investing in stock options and real estate and banging hos or their lives are automatically worthless grrr me hate thems nerds and their higher paying jobs than me arrr.some gross people play D&D and some gross people attend Nickelback concerts but I'll go to a Nickelback concert because me love the music. grr. arr.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Nerds Vs. Geeks Vs. Jocks Vs. Aliens Vs. Predator

    by Reel American Hero

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a cool film

    by smorgasbord

    When does it open?

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST

    The D&D hate

    by malcolm_mccallum

    More creativity goes into an evening around a tabletop RPG than went into the entire production of something like 'Transformers' the movie. At least we're not Furries. What troubles me most (besides the video-game mechanics, descent into darkness and non-heroic characters, and the wretched artwork) is that it is all about the combat mechanics. What are the mechanics for social interaction? What are the mechanics for puzzle solving? What are the mechanics for families? I suspect that the rules don't go beyond all NPCs having a diplomacy number that is the amount that any characters must roll higher than on a diplomacy check to gain reputation in their faction.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST


    by MonkeyBoy88

    I've heard that too ("D&D 4.0 supports all kinds of play"). However, it doesn't change the fact that the biggest selling point for the system is the combat and the action. All I've heard about is how great and wonderful and the action has become. I've seen some write-ups of the character classes... it was all about the action. It didn't grant any bonuses or "special abilities" when interacting with other NPCs (other to kill them or knock them out.)

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 12:09 p.m. CST

    the mechanics of sex

    by Staldo

    there is even a third-party book all about the mechanics and rolls of sex and erotic thralldom. Like, what happens if a half elf Ranger wants to get it on with his female halfling monk companion and they get into bondage afterward? how does it work? what are some magical STD's? I guess I'd rather not meet the people who would actually use a book like that. Dear sweet god.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 12:32 p.m. CST

    the worst Dorks/Nerds of all

    by Kloipy

    LARPers-homely, smelly, loser nerds how make weapons out of cardboard, glitter and glue<br> Sports Stat Nerds-useless information about stupid games. Too in love with big sweaty men. Don't realize that they can't please their wives will the jackhammer away in missionary position staring at their 'fathead' poster of Peyton Manning<br> and last Furries-loser bi-sexual acne ridden fatasses who like to pretend they are Meercats and give each other blowjobs in the bathroom at the Anthrocon. Losers

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Kloipy! Hey Whatap!

    by micturatingbenjamin

    Actually, Larpers make weapons out of PVC pipe and foam and duct tape. And are losers of the loseriest stripe.<p>Yeah, me and my gang of friends play D and D occasionally. Nothing in 3.5 says you can't do any of the things that are being touted as 'hooray for 4.0' in this article. But, the information not being spread out within the article like a byzantine version of Myst on paper is pretty tempting, as well as quantifying some of the XP rules for encounters and stuff.<p>I like the idea of 4.0, and will probably buy it because I have plenty of disposable income and time to play.<p>Nerds, per capita, make more money than 'cool' people. Sad, but true.<p>Also, I'm curious enough now to want to pick this up. It does seem like 'Playskool's My First Dungeons and Dragons' but the thing that puts people off playing is all the nerdcore math and superfluous dice rolling.<p>I'll buy it.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 1:10 p.m. CST


    by Kloipy

    I never really played D&D but had friends who did, so that didn't ever bother me. But LARPing is fucking stupid. If you LARP over the age of 15, there is no hope for you

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 1:40 p.m. CST


    by wato

    Evidently "Hardcore Math" is now defined as division with whole numbers.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Aye ...

    by Metrolang

    So, Massa, from what I gather you've been playing D & D for a while now. What did you do before to resolved the dreaded kick the table out from under people? You couldn't figure out something before? You need the book to 'splain it to you? You couldn't discuss it with the group and think, ok, the guy kicking can roll his strength to see if he knocks over the table and the guys on top can either roll to see if they fall or maybe the DM just rewards a good STR roll with the NPCs falling? Is that hard? Does that need an entire revision of the books? No, no it does not. WotC needs to sell books, I get that and they couldn't come up with any more bullshit supplements for 3.5 so they said fuck it! Lets scrap the whole thing and make these suckers buy a whole new fuckload of useless books and rules. Lets dumb down the game for the video game generation and make sure that they are always just slightly more powerful than the monsters and situations they face. Crap, crap, crap. How much has WotC given AICN for this review? Are you even actually playing 4E or just writing this review based on notes given to you by WotC? Don't write the third part of this. What are you going to tell me about the monsters? That they have a list of the moves that they'll do so that the DM doesn't even have to think of what is next, just like a scripted fight in a video game? Or that all monster damage is non-lethal so that no one dies and every one farts fairies in this version of D & D? I can't wait to read your ass kissing review or 4.5 or 5E or whatever bullshit WotC pulls out of their ass to sell new books. One last thing, are the new 4E books going to have that same crappy design and layout and over all look? Find out if there is a rule for that.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 2 p.m. CST


    by Gungan Slayer

    I agree with you 100% of the way man.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Here's a link to the first post

    by wato

    If anyone else is interested.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Kloipy you forgot the WORST dorks/nerds...

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    ...The ones who still post "first" on internet talkbacks. Fucking tools all of them.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 2:18 p.m. CST

    'First' on the TB

    by Kloipy

    Last at everything else in life

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 2:38 p.m. CST

    mark IV internets

    by whatyoufear

    from now on, can we get a die check for all the FIRSTS around here?

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:01 p.m. CST


    by Staldo

    Has anyone seen the episode of Flight of the Conchords where they're filming an LOTR music video and they're sitting in a public park dressed as hobbits among used condoms and styrofoam cups? that's LARPing. The fantasy? People get to effectively pretend to be RPG characters and nobody dies. the reality? fatness and joblessness all around, a bunch of really sad people wear outfits made of their grandmothers' clothing and run around in public parks ignoring the portajohns.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:23 p.m. CST

    WHAT THE...

    by metaluna

    why does this crap deserve TWO talkbacks??? Please enlighten me? This is neither 'cool' nor 'news' (mind you - not that it stops some on here).

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Bring on the escapism

    by Staldo

    Has anybody ever made a scenario in Neverwinter Nights where you put a white, a gold, a red, a black, a blue and a green dragon in a cave and then run it just to watch them kill each other? Great stuff. I play RPG's to be the hero of the land, kill shit my way, have a 15 foot tall Baator Fiend familiar and take the mythic +6 sword of unholy painful death from the Orog commander after I incinerate him and his private mercenary platoon .(what was he doing with that sword? I don't know or care) not to suffer humiliating deaths, seduce the barmaid or have to take a nap after using up my spells. I'm all about turboing, leveling up and doing silly shit I can't do in real life. To me that's the whole point of RPG's and why 4E sounds cool to me. Anybody who has posted on this forum? welcome to using an escape from the real world. I don't care how you do it. There is but a thin veil separating you and the most pathetic furry LARPer. AND SINCE THIS IS A MOVIE SITE, I must ask WHY OH WHY HAS NO FILMMAKER YET ENDEAVORED TO MAKE A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT FURRIES? To me, this would be more morbidly fascinating than Supersize me or the doc about the vampire satanist who ran for Governor in Minnesota.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:33 p.m. CST


    by Kloipy

    I'm not pretending to be a movie

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Do you still roll for initiative?

    by BilboRing

    I loved that.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:43 p.m. CST


    by Staldo

    I submit that you pretend not to exist for an hour and a half and make the movie your reality.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:45 p.m. CST


    by BilboRing

    It's not a law that you can't still play version 1, 2, or 3. If you hate 4, stick to what you like. Me, I loved version 2 and would still play that if I could even play at all anymore.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:49 p.m. CST


    by Mullah Omar

    I LOVE IT! <br> <br> Dudes who obsess over films, comic books, and video games talking down to dudes who obsess over pen-and-paper games! <br> <br> I can't wait for more sequels to the original thread!

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Hey I know I'm a geek

    by Kloipy

    but I still think people who dress up like animals or elves, and pretend to fight in their 30's need to get a fucking life

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 4:30 p.m. CST

    by Pariah74

    I may be an RPG playing geek but at least I'm not a judgmental, hypocritical prick with nothing to do but whine about movies not being made your way.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 4:34 p.m. CST

    I always forget to title these things.

    by Pariah74

    I may be an RPG playing geek but at least I'm not a judgmental, hypocritical prick with nothing to do but whine about movies not being made your way.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 4:39 p.m. CST


    by rune_spell

    I didn't realize AICN branched off into tabletop gaming until reading this post. But, I guess a site by geeks for geeks might do well to diversify itself. So let it be written, so let it be done! D&D ruuules!

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Does DnD4E have ruleset for

    by LordTwinkie

    nutshots. is that a strength check?

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 5:09 p.m. CST

    I play MAGIC...should I get into D and D?

    by Brians Life

    ...just started. I'm 27 and my buddies that got my into it are in their 30's. So what?<br><br>We all also pay our bills on time, live in our own apartment with our own credit cards and keys and most of us bang rather attractive women on a regular basis.<br><br>This bashing on geeks who enjoy card games IS hypocrisy.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 5:13 p.m. CST

    We are in a Golden Age for Geeks, People...

    by Brians Life

    In my circles, this shit is all socially acceptable. I have no qualms telling some one that I'm spending my Friday night w/ 5 dudes playing MAGIC.<br><br>This is one of the last sites where I should hear "you guys gotta get a life"...if you're ON AICN your probably already a geek.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 5:17 p.m. CST

    so, the entire cast of LOTR

    by Staldo

    the entire cast of LOTR needs to get a fucking life then. They actually rented out land in New Zealand and did that shit for three years. They would look in the sky and pretend there was a nazgul beast, but there wasn't they just added it in later with a computer. And they FILMED it! sad. Yes I know they were paid. I guess nothing is worth doing if there isn't money involved, right? But yeah, that's why you get that dressing up shit out of your system as a child unless you're hideously maladjusted. Like actors.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 6:56 p.m. CST

    Thanks Massawyrm

    by Zulithe

    I appreciate your review. A group of my friends HATE 4e and have since it was first announced. As for me, I see they are actually making it more of a *GAME* where everyone gets to have fun, instead of forcing restrictions on people for the sake of "realism." It's a game, people should have fun, or they'll just go play WoW, as droves and droves of D&D players have in recent years. Why? Personally I feel it is because D&D doesn't focus enough on doing cool and fun things, instead as your article stated you worry too much about things like finding someone to resurrect you. What's so fun about that? It looks like 4e may fix a lot of this. I already have it pre-ordered on amazon. They have a really good deal on the 3-book set in the slipcase. Check for yourself!

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 7:09 p.m. CST

    Okay, one comment about DMs...

    by Mullah Omar

    "One of the things the rules stress in the DMG is to get used to saying “YES” to players. Let them try weird things and how you should try to find ways to allow it." I think back to the days when I used to play pen-and-paper games and I always thought that the purpose of a DM *was* to find a way to say "yes" to players while not giving them constant free passes or randomly killing them. I know that put pressure on a DM to be a quick thinker, but I don't know why anyone would play this sort of game otherwise. Seeing the fallout from wacky improvised tactics offered some of the most memorable moments of my pen-and-paper days.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Tonight I spice my food with Goblin blood.

    by Vesuvio

    Amen ArcadianDS. SAGA system forever (but not for me). And what the fuck is a LARP anyway?

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 8 p.m. CST

    Brians Life

    by Pariah74

    Do yourself a favor. Buy an RPG but not D&D 3.5 or 4.0. Try something like Palladium Fantasy, GURPS, D&D 2nd Edition, or Warhammer Fantasy RPG. * Better yet, go but a copy of one these three Shadowrun, Star Wars (West End Games Version) or Rifts and play one of those. You'll probably never need to buy any other RPGs ever...let alone a D20 turd.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 8:46 p.m. CST


    by Dreamfasting

    Most people I know have come to the conclusion that tracking experience by action is just as dysfunctional as counting it by a body count - instead most people run that every session is worth 1/4 of a level for the highest-level character (or 1/6 or 1/10th for a slower campaign). This way, everyone can focus on playing the characters and the story rather than worrying about accumulating a checklist of powerups.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 9 p.m. CST

    That's how we have done it for years.

    by Pariah74

    I reward good roleplaying with success at whatever they are trying to do. Like the "diving under the table and kicking it up" thing would go over well with me and probably not require a dice roll if the character was an Errol Flynn type. Players who come up with voices, catch phrases, fighting styles, etc do well in my campaigns. Players who every melee say, "I attack." and then are only concerned with what items they acquire have their fate bound to the dice. I have played in so many D20 campaigns with no imagination. It's just as exciting to fight a lone Goblin as it is a horde or vampires...if the party fights the lone goblin on a sinking raft, or a burning bridge. 4th edition holds no interest to me so far and I am still waiting for Mass to explain how it encourages role play more than any other edition.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 9:18 p.m. CST

    I like this talkback...

    by Blud

    Because everybody postin in it I can beat up!!

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 9:38 p.m. CST


    by Pariah74

    ...the fact that you posted that probably means you can't fight your way out of a wet paper sack. Doouche. I bet you get loads of exercise bitching about X-men films. lmao!

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 9:41 p.m. CST

    Thanks! I'm Sold :)

    by BlindOgre

    Thanks for the review, Massawyrm! This is the kind of editorial I've been looking for ever since the announcement of 4e. I'm a 1e/2e grognard who bought, but never liked 3e. Looks like 4e fixes what I loathed about previous versions. Your review has convinced me to preorder the core book set. I look forward to part 3 of your review. Thanks again! p.s. Never mind the jibes of unwashed heathens. Their spiteful taunts are born of voluntary ignorance and fearful conformity with the lowest common denominator :)

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Mass

    by Scorpio

    Kudos to onusbone and blindogre and the very few others yesterday and today who bothered to thank M for his review. Class. I mean, I know it's AICN, but some of you, sheesh. Regardless about how you feel about WOTC, D20, D&D, or RPG in general, show the man a little respect, and remember that there are those of us in the world who are interested, even this 40+ year old who hasn't bought or played the game since before WOTC. Personally, I'm a bit sold based on this review. Damn shame is that I generally can't stand the players, lol.

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:11 p.m. CST

    Geriatric Ward Gaming Club

    by BlindOgre

    Scorpio - From what I can tell, there may well be a resurgence of interest among the 40+ crowd. Our kids are mostly off to college, our incomes are fairly stable and we have more recreation time. And, 4e seems quite appealing to our sense of nostalgia. If this goes as well as expected, I can imagine groups of middle-aged gamers continuing to play well into their 60s, making nursing-home gaming clubs entirely plausible... that'll be a hoot! Beats the hell out of checkers :)

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:28 p.m. CST

    re: Geriatric Ward Gaming Club

    by Scorpio

    I've been holding out for the return of The Fantasy Trip, heh. Now *that* was a game!

  • Feb. 29, 2008, 11:46 p.m. CST


    by malcolm_mccallum

    Melee! Wizard! 4E is making me want to break out Chainmail (the game) and get back to basics with skirmish level fantasy wargaming.

  • March 1, 2008, 3:29 a.m. CST

    Looks and sounds interesting, but..

    by Chadhulhu

    What I want to know, is it mini oriented, alot of gamers have lives and families where we can not buy the minis. Is this game needing those? If so, I am avoiding this cash grab, and working on my own game. Also these are interesting reviews, but no gripes about it, It can not be that perfect, nothing is. To all the haters of this scene, don't bitch on about D7D larps, Bitch about that emo V:tm larping.. "I'm Invisible!" crap. That is what killing RPGs. And MMoRPGs.

  • March 1, 2008, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Vampire Larps

    by Pariah74

    A couple guys I know dressed as Judges or Slayers or whatever they're called (Vamp killers) from some expansion book, and crashed a larp event. I only wish they had video taped it. They were kicked out, but I was surprised that they even made it in the door.

  • March 1, 2008, 2:26 p.m. CST

    Lamer than Lame

    by oak

    The only thing more annoying than a bunch of fat smelly idiots playing DnD are a bunch of even fatter, more rancid fools spouting pseudo-intellectual gibberish in response to an article about it. Thanks for the article, Massawyrm. You're ok. For a fat and smelly nerd.

  • March 1, 2008, 2:48 p.m. CST

    And funnier than that

    by Pariah74

    Is someone who doesn't realize he just described himself.

  • March 1, 2008, 4:22 p.m. CST

    i'm on a break.....

    by TheLaughingJuggler

    Anyone coming out for a fag ?

  • March 1, 2008, 10:10 p.m. CST

    No shit.

    by oak

    No kidding, Pariah... You don't quite understand self-depreciating irony do you? I thought you fat and smelly cunts were clever as well.

  • March 2, 2008, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Lame save

    by Pariah74

    I'm sure it was all a big set up so you could make us all laugh at your new self-depreciating comedy routine...and not a lame attempt to snipe at people online so you could bask in a sense of superiority until your mom makes you take the trash out.

  • March 2, 2008, 1:21 a.m. CST

    Why not both?

    by oak

    Why can't it be both? Self-depreciating and sniping go together like patronizing and online pseudo-intellectual twattery.

  • March 2, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST


    by Pariah74

    You don't have enough talent to make it clear that it was both. Yawn... Wake me up when you die.

  • March 2, 2008, 1:37 p.m. CST


    by Bill Brasky

    ...are you from Jax?

  • March 2, 2008, 10:30 p.m. CST

    No, sir. I am not.

    by Pariah74

    I don't know what, where or who Jax is.

  • March 2, 2008, 10:48 p.m. CST

    Baseball think factory

    by Staldo

    I see your Baseball think factory and raise you a "kids who talk about dragonball powerlevels and who could kill who all the time" they were around when I was a teenager and they still persist today. These baseball stat nerds seem to be blue-collar,grownup versions of that shit, only they're talking about real guys in a sport only surpassed by soccer in its dullness. And thank you for acknowledging my previous work on the Transformers talkbacks and love for giant robots. That was touching.

  • March 3, 2008, 12:27 a.m. CST

    vamp larp

    by Staldo

    guys dressing up as vampire slayers at a vampire LARP? genius. The only thing better would be to dress up as British police, crash a swords and sorcery LARP and start arresting people, Monty Python and the Holy Grail style.

  • March 3, 2008, 6:04 a.m. CST

    Not ready to convert

    by Calastir

    My wife an I are 3.5 D&D'ers but haven't been persuaded by these reviews however, in fact they confirmed our suspicions that simplifying the rules and empowering the players only contribute to a more videogame style of play. One interesting example I find is where Massa explains a situation in the game which according to him would be impossible in 3.x in which 2 NPC's are standing on a table which a player wants to kick from under them in order to get them prone. Under 4.0 you'd rule that situation as "your strength against their reflex". However, under 3.x I'd rule that the player in fact attacks the break DC of the table and if that succeeds, a tumble check for the NPC's. A much more realistic situation sketch in 3.x than in 4.0 IMHO.

  • March 3, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST

    I would rule...

    by Pariah74

    ...that it just succeeds because it's not only clever but exciting too. It's what every player should be trying to do in combat. No way am I gonna punish creativity by leaving it up to fate! (that said I may have them roll dice for no reason just to make them think I have loads of calculations

  • June 16, 2008, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Are warlords useful?

    by Antiquated Tory

    I was reading another review of 4ed at, and he raised a number of issues with the system, esp the PHB side of it. One of his biggest gripes was the uselessness of the Warlord class--why would anyone take it when a cleric does pretty much the same thing and is more useful in general? And how many melee-reliant classes do you need? I have to say that while the Warlord has some interesting stuff, it's the last class I'd play or expect someone to play, especially in a small party. On the other hand, I rather miss Druids and Bards. (Monks always struck me as a bit out of place in a Western fantasy setting.) How about Massa's party? Did anyone play a Warlord? How useful was he/she?

  • July 27, 2008, 4:10 a.m. CST

    Where is Part 3?

    by Stranger Things

    Found this on a Google search, and really enjoyed it. But where is part 3?

  • Feb. 20, 2009, 1:44 p.m. CST


    by DaBUU

    For the love of Bale, we were ambushed i tell ya

  • Feb. 20, 2009, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Ok, I found it.

    by STLost

    Bale help us. Bale help us all.

  • Feb. 20, 2009, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Yes I'm here.


  • Feb. 20, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST

    The Fat Man was watching all along

    by DaBUU

    He let us get that close then shut it down. BY the grace of Bale some of us made it.

  • Feb. 20, 2009, 1:54 p.m. CST

    We need to hijack a TB

    by DaBUU

    with low posts. It will be a new alter......

  • Feb. 20, 2009, 1:55 p.m. CST

    They might have clicked some option

    by STLost

    in the code for these talkbacks to limit at 10000.

  • Feb. 20, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Remember "Gone"

    by STLost

    Remember that book that they were posting 1 chapter a day? Do they still have those talkbacks? Hijack that, get our 2000, then proclaim "mission accomplished".

  • Feb. 20, 2009, 2:10 p.m. CST

    They're fucking trashing our scene!

    by eggart

    That's what that is man!