Archive for August 5, 2008

Gming Analysis: 4e

Posted: August 5, 2008 by pointyman2000 in Roleplaying Games
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I’d like to think that I’ve had some experience running different types of games, but given the fact that I haven’t actually run a long campaign of D&D, 4e seemed to be a good place to start.  So far, from what I’ve run, these are my observations with regards to the way 4e seems to play out, given the way the game is laid out.

  • Low Immersion – Players in a 4e game seem to be more comfortable with the “distance” from their characters rather than being immersed in them.  Unlike systems like nWoD or L5R, which actively encourage the idea of Role being of more significance than Build, 4e seems to flip this in reverse.  Having played Warhammer Fantasy Tabletop before, there is the sense that there’s a more game-y approach over that of a narrative one.
  • Casual – 4e is all about beer and pretzels gaming.  Not that it can’t do serious roleplay and drama, but that’s what the players bring to the table.  The tone of writing and the default assumptions for what an average game is like tends to favor an approach where everyone comes to the table expecting a dungeon crawl.
  • Consistent – One thing I appreciate about the game is that it’s fairly consistent.  Sure they took out a lot of the nitty gritty including disarm and trip, but the game is balanced and it shows.  Some characters are better than others in certain things (as defined by their role), but no single character outstrips the others so completely as to make them useless.

From what I can see, I’ll have to alter my default GMing style when it comes to things like combat.  Instead of going full on cinematic, I’ll have to turn on my Warhammer Brain (which admittedly isn’t my forte.  My brother kicks my ass on a regular basis on tabletop wargames.)

Still I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the campaign and how it shapes up.  I’m finding my sea legs, and we’ll see how this goes later on.