There’s a lot of buzz going around about the soon-to-be-released 4th Edition D&D Adventure Keep on the Shadowfell, some people even did a ridiculously thorough read through of it, though Phil does provide a great review / preview there for it. One thing that he mentions is the hit points of monsters at such low levels, one level 3 elite brute having over 100 hit points for example. From the looks of it 1st level characters in D&D will have between 25-35 hit points starting out, but what has changed is that they only gain a small number (under 10) each level. The result is that by levels 4 or 5 it looks like a 3.5e character with good rolls will be about even, and then by level 7 or so 4th Edition characters will actually have less hit points then in previous editions.
In chatting with Phil about this, because he’s known for doing that, he reminded me that this was one of the efforts towards extending the ‘sweet spot’ of the game, ramping up the early game a bit and allowing the late game to taper off much less. The result that I foresee, and am very much in love with, is the idea that this may prevent the numbers in later games from becoming too ridiculous. What do you guys think about the numbers game of D&D? Do these kinds of changes seem to be in the right direction, or is the early game just becoming ridiculous as you’re thrust into larger numbers right off the bat?
For those of you who haven’t read the 4th Edition excerpt on Epic Destinies (levels 21-30), head over to the Wizards site and check it out. We’ve heard, even first hand accounts, of many of the Wizards staff loving the games they’re in at the office. However, one big thing I noticed was that they all talked about their level 1 to level 5 characters. I suppose part of this is because of a hold on information regarding late game play until the system is released, but it gives me a sense of unease about how much playtesting has really been done for the late game versus how much is being done for early game. I suppose it’s not that big of an issue, as it will take a few months for any of us to get there (typically) and any issues could be addressed by then. Almost needless to say, I can’t wait!