Well, that was an interesting playtest of 4e’s combat system.
I ran a quick game for the first group last saturday, consisting of Christine, Heineken, Alvin, Pilo and Mappy. Unfortunately we only had time for a single combat but it seemed that several things did crop up with regards to 4e’s system:
- Whiffing at level one – Yes. Missing still happens, but it’s not quite as aggravating since the rounds are now faster. Rather than groaning and knowing that it will take twenty or so minutes before you get to do anything again, most of those that missed just shrugged it off and started planning again.
- Roles work – the Paladin was a real defender, able to draw two of the opponents to him without breaking a sweat. While his overall damage was not exactly top tier, he was able to hold his own and keep enemies otherwise occupied and Flank-able. The team’s Striker was able to dish out the most damage of the team, and the Controller fried all the Minions in the playing field in the first turn. The two Leader types were still getting the hang of their characters but it was pretty interesting to see them at work.
- Skills are fun - I haven’t been able to implement a skill challenge to the group but it was good to know that the +5 Trained Skill bonus was there to stress the respective specialties of the group. The Wizard was the go-to girl for Arcana and History, while the Ranger pulled off some phenomenal Perception rolls.
Overall I’m very happy with how it’s worked, and while there are a few hiccups, like the fact that the game really does encourage out of character tactical discussion, and quite a bit of handwaving to ignore the game-y aspects of the powers, it’s still a fun game.
I’ll save my immersive GMing styles for nWoD and Exalted. 4e will still have character development, but I’m still learning the ropes, so tragic stories might not have a place here yet. I’ll have more on this later when I get back from running the other team, which is more build and tactics oriented. Should be interesting to see how that group functions.