4e is Here

On Friday I got my box from Buy.com containing the D&D 4th Edition Core Books Set and I’ve bee reading through the Player’s Handbook over the weekend. Some of my preconceptions have been corrected, but I still reserve judgement for when I’ve read them all.

I have to say I really hate that lackluster (really, the completely unexistent) marketing campaign that went into 4e. I really wanted to like this game, honestly; I like D&D, and I wanted to be excited about the new edition and whatever improvements it brought. But Wizards didn’t sell me on it, and the bits and pieces being released over blog posts, forum posts, news and cryptic articles were just not enough, and in fact damaged the whole game in my mind.

What I’m seeing so far is a very tight game focused on tactical combat (yes, I know there are other parts to it, but at page 101, all I’m seeing are tons of combat powers). It even looks kind of exciting at parts. We’ll see once I get to skills and feats how the general focus fares.

Will this game be D&D for me? At this point, no, I don’t think so, but it can still be a cool game. I actually hope it is, for what I paid for it.

I can tell you that I have already seen a few things that I will definitely change/expand:

  • Dragonborn will not be mammals. This was a stupid concesion, in my opinion. In my book and world, dragonborn are warm-blooded, egg laying reptiles. The females will be differentiated by a having a more lithe build than the males, and they will certainly not have breasts.
  • Halflings receive a +2 History racial skill bonus. By default they get +2 Acrobatics and +2 Thievery, which matches the (1e-3e) pre-conceived notion of halflings as sneaky bastards, but then the background goes into how halflings are nomads and collect stories and how they are so awesome at being able to know bits of lore and legend about pretty much anything they encounter. So where’s the mechanical reinforcement for that? Shoddy design work. In my book and world, they get the skill bonus to History over Thievery.
  • Warlocks will get more pact choices. I like the Fey, Infernal and Star pacts in the book, but I want more out of the box. I’m going to check if there are some fan-designed pacts I can add to my notes, and if not, I’ll design a couple more.

I already have an idea for a character, but I’ll post it once it’s done.