Wednesday, May 14, 2008

d20 UTH: 4e musings

I read a great remark that echoes some of my concerns over 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

"I don't want my game to become Sailor Moon meets Kill Bill."

One of the things I've been doing in my current D&D game has been downplaying the "sorcery" in favor of "swords". Magic is not (in my campaign) supposed to be so easy that one can fling it around casually. To quote Steven Brust, "No matter how subtle the wizard, a dagger between the shoulder blades will cramp his style."

In 4e, magic becomes less of a resource, especially with At Will powers. Wizards will be able to throw an endless number of magic missles (as an example), never needing to fall back on a staff or dagger.

At least until I get my hands on the rules.

Of course, there are several considerations to take into account when I "nerf" magic. To be fair, if I limit wizard's At Will powers, I should do the same to other classes. I don't have a problem with this, because over all, the whole At-Will power concept seems a little too wahoo. There is no reason not to use them.

One of the limitations in my current rules is that casting spells slow your initiative, with the higher the level spell the more you are slowed. While that has some potential, changes in the rules will require an change in application, as spells no longer have the same distribution of levels. So instead of losing the spell level from your initiative, it might be a flat amount like -2 or -4 (as I type this the thought of -4 but have a feat available to reduce the penalty to -2).

If I went that route, I'd be inclined to come up with a different limitation for martial maneuvers. The first notion that springs to mind is give a +2 bonus to basic attacks, meaning they'd be more likely to hit but wouldn't have the special effects of the powers.

Another line of thought would be to place a limit on how many times at will powers could be used in an encounter. A couple of thoughts require expending healing surges to activate powers (the sample dwarf fighter from Keep on the Shadowfell has 12 per day, the sample human wizard has 7. My other thought is to link it to the stat bonus for that Power Source, such as 1 + Int Bonus for wizards.

I get the books (hopefully) 48 hours before I run the next occuring session of the game.

Nom nom nom.

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