My post tour thoughts…

I’ve been gaming for over 20 years, I’ve played basic d&D, ad&d 2e, 3e, 4e, Next. I’ve written tons of homebrew stuff for my games over the years, and i’ve also been involved in the support of other roleplaying systems like SLA Industries and All For One. Yet I always come back to D&D because it feels like home…

I recently posted an article over at DailyEncounter about the public playtest from around march/april time. This article is still getting views and comments and was included in a professional article as an exmaple of the D&D Next rules failing… Hmmm…

So, anyway, I was sat waiting for a coach, and thingking about the games I’d run during the tour, and that I’ve been involved in recently, and I think I can make the following statements:

1) D&D Next is a great ruleset that captures the essence of D&D perfectly.

2) D&D Next is nowhere near ready for release and will take many years before it contains as much useful material as previous editions

3) D&D Next is poor to DM, its monster maths is unbalanced, and the constant changing of packets, rules, spells, classes etc make designing adventures and balancing them difficult. Fights seem very swingy, they might last 1 or 2 rounds, or 6 or more, with very similar creatures. Accuracy sucks, and damage varies from extremes, with most attacks barely dealing anything, to attacks that are so powerful they can kill a monster 10 times over… The spell system plain old sucks…

4) D&D Next is my favourite edition to play at the moment… I’ve had more memorable games during 18 months of private playtesting than in 18 years of gaming…

5) I hate building D&D characters, unless they are 4e ones using the character builder. The ability for 4e characters to be totally unique via the selection of feats, theme, powers and equipment mean you can easily turn a defender into a healer who can fight etc.

6) For sheer ease of DM’ing, both when playing and when explaining rules to new players, 4e is unbeatable.

My experiences during the tour really hit this home, the games I loved the most were the lair assault and kalarels revenge, both 4e adventures that pushed the boundaries of what was considered normal in 4e.  The Next game was ok, nothing to write home about, and I think thats because player knowledge is too essential for the game. Come across a cave full of bats, and its obvious to an experienced players that a web spell on the roof is the savior… As a dm, I hate that.

Of course, me making such statements is bound to upset people, and even while on the tour, I encountered serious hostility to 4e. At the time, I had said ‘4e is still perfect FOR ME ‘ , while I didn’t shout the last two words, I want to emphasize them… The player who started ranting about them had no idea about my gaming history, or my disability, and for all intents and purposes ignored the 2 words. I wasn’t saying 4e was perfect, hell it has obvious flaws from its combat focus to broken maths at higher levels, to samey accuracy and damage… What I was trying to convey is that FOR ME, I find the game hits all my needs, easy to teach to new players, easy to run, enjoyable…


3 thoughts on “My post tour thoughts…

  1. Interesting stuff. I think you’re right about Next – it’s still nowhere near ready. I wouldn’t switch from 4e or Pathfinder for that matter to the current system. We’ve had a lot of fun playing it but it’s still not right.

    I ran my first 13th Age came last night – write up here I think you would like it – there is a lot of 4e stuff in there but it plays fast.

  2. Interesting feedback mate, and you more than anyone in the week that was, know how these things sit side by side. Certainly I’d agree Next feels unfinished as yet, and it’s tempting to like the cool stuff just out (13th Age) for us 4e DM’s who are a bit jaded with 4e (that would be me then) but I have hopes for next and if that sadly fails, its looking like 13th Age might be where I lay my hat. However I am hopeful its doesn’t need to be either or, but both and. In any case it was a blast reading your tweets on tour, its sounds like a lot of fun – thanks for sharing, as ever mate.


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