Monday, June 16, 2008

In Conclusion

Having spent most of a week talking about 4th Edition D&D, I am now tired of it. Only time will tell if the conditions dictated by Hasbro were brilliant or sheer folly.

That said, I now offer two final parting shots.

First, Geek Related (which is rapidly becoming my go-to source for 4th ed insight) offers this excellent article on why grognards maintain that 4e isn't really roleplaying. A snippet:
All this is just so you understand what the real issues are when someone says “4e sucks donkey balls because it’s not a roleplaying game!” What they usually mean is “I like simulation and am used to D&D catering to that approach! This new D&D doesn’t and thus it fulfills my needs less!”
At this point, whenever someone asks me about 4e I think I'll just point them to Geek Related and be done with it. The writer is intelligent, thorough, and clearly "gets" what I like because his criticisms of the new system touch on those points. Accuse me of being lazy if you like, but it's nice to be able to say "I have people handling that for me now."

Secondly, if you're in the camp that thoroughly hates 4th Edition, may I humbly suggest Pathfinder? Written, published, and supported by Paizo (the company that used to publish Dragon and Dungeon magazines), they have decided to capitalize on Wizards/Hasbro's abandonment of the 3.5 engine and, through use of the Open Game License, have decided to publish their own book of rules. This quite deftly sidesteps certain legal issues -- they are not competing with WotC, because this product uses 3.5 rules -- and furthermore they are taking the opportunity to patch certain parts of the engine which are broken, kludgy, or otherwise suboptimal.

It is, in effect, Dungeons & Dragons 3.75e. It looks very good, and has the full backing of Monte Cook -- the guy who, along with Johnathan Tweet and Skip Williams, actually wrote Third Edition and thus might have some valid insights in how best it could be improved.

The Alpha version of Pathfinder is available, free for download, here. It is essentially a combined version of the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide. Come August, it will be released in softcover as the Beta version ($24.95), and August of 2009 will feature the polished final copy, in hardcover, for $34.95.

Oh, and there are already scads of Pathfinder products already published: adventure paths, modules, a campaign setting, and all sorts of other stuff. If you want to keep playing D&D without ever giving another cent to Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast, this is your game.

Hopefully, I'm now done with this topic. Thank you, and goodnight.


  1. Ponytastic.

    But yeah, it looks like Pathfinder is shaping up to be a winner for people who like their D&D in the 3.5 variety.

    I'd consider it more seriously if I didn't already enjoy the stripped down version of 4e. But if 4e fails to deliver over the long haul, its definitely a valid fall-back option.

  2. Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad people are finding my analysis useful.

  3. I think you should acquire this item


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