D&D through 4E AD&D | RPG Review 3

3.0 was so entirely, horribly broken that I can’t even believe, for a single minute, that they even bothered to playtest the dice they advised using in this lump of horsecrap. A archaeologist friend of mine got bored one night and created a half-orc paladin who could dual-wield halberds. At first level. Know what a halberd is? It’s an eight foot shaft tipped with a foot-long blade that is used for defending against charging fucking horses and crap. He had one in each hand. Without any negative effects.

You can’t get a negative crit. So I am not giving a crit level to this system. It’s heinously borked, and we’ll leave it at that.

3.5 came out shortly after when they realized how fucked the system was. Did 3.5 unfuck the system? No, not really, but it did make it more palatable to people who liked to focus on roleplay instead of playing a Cuisinart half-demon half-drow half-giant sorceress/fighter/bard/lawyer who specialized in being a laser-gun sniper dude.

The precise problem with both 3.0 and 3.5 was that they took out all the stops. Roleplaying games are all about building your character into something awesome when they start out as something that can get pwn’d by a damn housecat. You think I’m kidding? Take a human mage from 2nd edition. Give them a dagger. Put them in a 10 by 10 room with a housecat that is aggressive towards said mage. See what happens.

I ated his brainz sos I can do magicks. Fucking lolcats.

While 3.0 and 3.5 did make being a human amazingly more survivable at lower levels, it also had some serious problems. Like some skills that hinged directly off of stats… and those stats being entirely too high for the creature that owns it.

Example: Wolverines are completely fucking badass. I’m not talking adamantium claws snikt/snikt/snakt wolverines, but the furry not-fucking-cuddly kind that hangs out in forests deep and dreary. You know, the bastards that aren’t even two feet tall when on all fours? Those ones. Wolverines in 3.0 have a charisma of 21 (on a human norm scale of 1-18.) Charsima is the ‘OMG I wanna fuck you’ stat. It’s for social interaction. Since wolverines are intimidating little motherfuckers (I’d sure as hell run if I saw one in the wild), they had to have a high charisma so they could be intimidating. Some genius at WoTC (Wizards of the Coast, who now owns DnD and all things therein) didn’t think “Hey, lets give the critter like a +10 to the skill roll.” No, they just gave the damn wolverine 21 charisma! So now, after it makes your 8th level fighter crap his chain mail pants and run in fear, it will turn to your fighter’s sorceress wife, walk off with her back to the burrow, and raise some half-wolverine half-drow-elf sorceress/fighter/assassin/rangers who it will train to come kill your ass for crapping all over its lawn.

Realizing how completely fucked 3.X was, WoTC left it for dead and plowed forward into the catastrophe that is 4th Edition.

Holy fuck, I look gooooooood... See how sleek I am? I must rule!

I realize I may have just lost some of you. Let me explain my opinion on 4th Ed.

It’s a great game for systemic massacres. Every class has ‘powers’ which are called feats and talents. Each one of these feats or talents has a preset amount of time it can be used per-game or per-day. They are easily hand-printed or even machine printed off the intarnetz for use during your game on note cards. Each one has a recharge time, a damage code, perhaps a special effect like damage over time, negative modifiers to your opponent, or beneficial modifiers to your team mates.

You can even, if you wish, arrange them at the bottom of your character sheet in a row so they’re more easily manageable. Like so:

4th Edition is the latest in the continued dumbing-down of the playerbase. Back in the day, you had to have some real brain power to play DnD, not to mention Rolemaster or Traveller systems, which I’ll do a review on later. These badboy games made nerds into supernerds. You could cross-correlate tables without looking at them, all while doing doublenegative superfractional quantum fucking math and stuffing your face with more Doritos.

In short, DnD made you fucking smarter.

Now? Not so much. Now all the tactics are carefully parcelled out. Every power/feat/talent/moneyshot has a designated ability and can’t be modified because to do so would zomfg break the damn game. Roleplaying is about stepping outside of the rules, about doing things you can’t normally do, about looking at situations you could never be in and figuring out how to conquer them or save the whole fucking world.

That being said, the system, as I mentioned before, is masterfully designed. It works like fucking clockwork, because it has so little wiggle room. It is a machine of dice-rolling and results. There’s no soul, because it is so mechanically perfect.

Due to these factors, I give Fourth Edition a lackadaisical 4 crits out of 10. That’s right, it scores LOWER than the original DnD which was written on napkins and old, mildew scented notebooks in Gary Gygax’s (may he rest in the upper planes forever) fucking basement.

However, if you’re a WoW player, it’ll easily score a 9.5 out of 10 for you. I don’t decry your enjoyment, by all means, go buy yourself a copy, rip it open, and lap it up. The more money you throw at WotC, the more likely roleplaying will continue in the future as an excellent source of inspiration for socially-awkward people who will grow up to write books, tv shows, movies, and whatever else we come out with to waste our time with. The more money you throw at gaming, the more gamers will grow up, and the more we’ll own the fucking world.

Respect the Original Gamester. Rest in peace, Gary.

Thanks for everything you gave us, Gary. You looked at all of the socially-awkward smart people in the world who didn’t have a place to go, and you created a place that didn’t exist where they could be whatever they wanted to be. Through this, you helped them learn how to interact, how to solve problems, and how to become more than they ever dreamed of being.

I can’t thank you enough, sir, for the change you have brought to my world.

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