Saturday, February 12, 2011

Making D&D 4e Fun (link)

...not that it isn't fun right now. I'm sure it is. I haven't had the experience of playing the Fourth Edition rules yet but I've read through parts of it. The Dungeon Delve book is a great idea. My only experience of actual play comes from the flamewars discussions about it that I've read online. Some people love it as a great new method of play with low prep and easy player buy-in, others decry it as a complete sell-out to the MMORPG way of play and short attention spans, a betrayal of "role-playing" in favor of "roll-playing".

The situation isn't helped when even WotC doesn't know how to market the line. What is "Dungeons & Dragons" today? Is it the three core books? Is it D&D Essentials? If the Starter Set is intended for people who have never played before, why use the nostalgia factor of the Mentzer Red Box artwork and trade dress?

Beyond these questions, on the actual subject of playing, The Chatty DM recently wrote about a D&D Essentials game that he ran for a group of media professionals working on geek-related TV shows and/or websites (part 1, part 2). Most of them were new to tabletop gaming. It turned out to be one of his best D&D games due to the energy level of the players, his design decisions, and some ideas that he incorporated into the game (one idea from Burning Wheel). It isn't necessarily about the mechanics, it's about play style and having fun.

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