I’d like to provide a brief entrée while I’m preparing my post on the topic of the TPK. I play in an old-school D&D 4th Edition campaign. I’ve now played half a dozen sessions using the 4th edition rules (having previously played using 3.5E, 3E and 2nd ed.) and I’ve got to say that I think that with 4th edition, Wizards have outfoxed themselves. By making the game system heavily focussed around combat, and by making combat much easier to manage through the use of cards, I really haven’t engaged very much with the game system.
In 3.5 just creating a character would have had me flicking backwards and forwards through my D&D tomes, trying to find obscure passages, cross-checking feats and skill synergies. Now most people would argue this is a poor design for information, and they’d be right; but I will say that I felt a strong feeling of accomplishment by simply creating a character, and another for actually running that character through a combat (even though I would almost certainly have missed or miscalculated some bonus of other). With 4E the basic stats, a quick check of the equipment table and the cards seem like more than enough to get me through – so that’s what I’ve been doing.
Now my first two characters are dead, I have to admit that I don’t really care what my next character is – a decision I might have agonised over in 3.5 for some time, weighing options, and consulting yet more tomes. But in 4E I know that my new character will likely have very similar powers to the departed, and I just have to pick which button to press (card to play) each round - and I don’t suspect it will need much in the way of time or attention to create and run, which I suppose is a good thing, right?
I should clarify that it is early days of playing 4E and that I may yet become more attached to this sleek, plastic thing that’s eaten my old mongrel.