There are a lot of people talking about the D&D Next open playtest, and one of the subjects I hear about a lot is the way Advantage/Disadvantage are currently working. The general opinion I’ve heard is that it is overpowered when compared to the +2/-2 bonus we’re used to from previous editions of D&D. My gut reaction to hearing that something is overpowered isn’t to jump into the mob and swing my nerf-bat around, it’s to look at as much data as I can and figure out if I agree or not. So that’s what I’m going to do!
Today’s D&D Next post at the Wizards site by Bruce Cordell is titled Time to Heal and discusses the role of the Cleric class and how it relates to healing through the life span of Dungeons & Dragons. There’s a nice little recap of how healing and the Cleric class have both worked in previous editions, and then there is a poll asking how people prefer the mechanics to be handled. Reading about how healing worked in previous editions brought forward some experiences that I am dying to share with you.
The 4th Edition of D&D brought about the only long campaign I’ve ever managed to run, and I attribute a large part of that to the ways the new edition changed the role of being a Dungeon Master and the tools it provided. After D&D Next was announced the online RPG community went crazy, and I saw a number of people sharing lamentations that 4th Edition was now “old” and “going away”. I’ve finally managed to wrangle my thoughts about D&D Next, and they are overwhelming in their hope that whatever D&D Next is it allows me to continue running 4e D&D.
I started playing and running 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons right as it was released. I started my current ongoing campaign back then with a party of 1st level characters and now three years later I’ve run over 50 adventures and the party is up to 24th level characters. The campaign has had its share of rough spots and tough times, but overall I’d say it has been an incredibly fun experience and something that I look forward to every other weekend. Dave was also running a campaign that was on the same track as mine only slightly ahead, but due to a myriad of reasons a few weeks ago we ran a day long, jointed finale that closed his game out in style and unrestrained awesomeness. What I’m discovering more and more over the last few weeks is that running epic level 4th Edition is some of the most fun I’ve ever had running or playing in any D&D game.
Last week I looked at some issues I’ve been experiencing with magic items in 4th Edition D&D and some possible solutions. This week I’d like to talk about some other possible solutions as well as just some general concepts related to magic items that hopefully generate some interesting ideas for how to handle magic items in your D&D campaigns. There were some fantastic comments on last week’s post and I’m going to incorporate some of the topics or ideas brought up there into this post as well.
I’m sure that magic items in D&D have been talked about for countless hours, but with Wizards of the Coast finally releasing Mordenkainen’s Magical Emporium for 4th Edition in September and my home campaign nearing the middle of the epic tier I’ve been wanting to talk about them here. The handful of times that I ran 3rd Edition D&D I was guilty of handing out items of a much higher level than the party, but I would try to balance it out with concepts like staves only having a small number of charges. The players/characters always loved it, but I would hear from other D&D players outside of the game that they didn’t like what I was doing and that they had the impression it was “contrary to the rules of the game” or something like that. I didn’t mind them much, but was very intrigued by what they were saying.
Not every D&D campaign or world map includes nations or regions that break the larger mass into more digestible pieces, but this is one of the features that I’m glad I chose to be a primary element of my current D&D campaign. Inspired by a 3rd Edition D&D campaign run by our friend Dennis (aka The Main Event) where the nationality of the PCs became one of the most memorable parts of the game for me and ended up factoring into the ongoing plots in interesting ways, I decided to present my players with a world divided into various nations each with a unique flair and often divided by racial distinctions. However, one of the elements that I failed to strongly present to my players and that I’m going to discuss today is the idea of giving a unique design and feel to each of those nations when it comes to locations and buildings.
Last week my first appearance ever on the Tome Show podcast was posted (on my Birthday, no less!) and the topic that I was very pleased to be invited in on was Planar Advice for 4th Edition. Thank you to Jeff for the invite, and if you haven’t listened to this episode or if the Tome Show in general then you should head over to his website and check it out!
We were extremely fortunate to get an early copy of the upcoming D&D boxed set called The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond to unbox and show you all today. It comes packaged in a thin box the same size as the Red Box starter set and comes with a very sturdy 127 page paperback Campaign Guide, a 31 page Encounter Book, two sheets of cardboard tokens, one poster with a map of gloomwrought on one side and an encounter map on the other, and a Despair deck of 30 cards.
The book Player’s Option: Heroes of Shadow is the first real print product we have seen for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons since the Essentials line and also marks what I hope is the end in what I perceived as a lag in print products for the game. Heroes of Shadow was delayed from March until April so that it could be printed as a hard cover book instead of a smaller format paperback, and I am very pleased with having a larger sized hardcover in my hands with 4E content in it after months without one. What this book contains is exactly what you would expect from a book focusing on player characters that tap into the shadow power source and draw their inspiration from the darker corners of your D&D universes. Its contents range from entirely new classes to new builds for existing classes to new races and more than a handful of new options for characters of all types that want to have a bit darker tilt to their abilities.