Category Archives: D&D fourth edition

Character roles appear in 4th edition D&D, disappear in 5th

In original D&D, thieves ranked as the least effective character on the battlefield. However, when the party explored, thieves took the biggest role. Early D&D players spent most of their time exploring, so who cared if thieves only rarely saw … Continue reading

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Converting Scourge of the Sword Coast from D&D next to fourth edition

The regular players at my regular Dungeons & Dragons Encounters games include a mix of fourth-edition loyalists and folks indifferent to edition. Although I would happily run D&D next, I have bowed to the group and still run Encounters in … Continue reading

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Fourth edition gives traps a new design

When the fourth edition designers rethought D&D, they saw traps as posing two core problems: Traps can frustrate players Traps can slow play to tedium Problem: Traps that challenge player ingenuity can lead to player frustration. This problem arises when … Continue reading

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Two reasons D&D Next’s inspiration mechanic fails to inspire me (and why the designers don’t mind)

From what we have seem so far, the Dungeons & Dragons Next design sticks close the game’s tradition. This makes the inspiration mechanic the design’s biggest surprise so far. D&D’s top dog, Mike Mearls, revealed the mechanic in “Roleplaying in … Continue reading

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Which two D&D roles are too effective?

When designers of fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons devised the roles of controller, defender, striker and leader, they focused attention on granting characters of each role equal time to shine. At this, I think they succeeded. Despite this success, the … Continue reading

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As a player, I enjoy action points, so why do I dislike them as a dungeon master?

In my post Immersive vs. gamey in D&D Next, I mocked action points as a metagame resource that forces players out of character. “Perhaps action points are like that surge of energy that brings Rocky off the mat at the end … Continue reading

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D&D Next trades to-hit bonuses for enhanced damage

(This post continues a discussion I started in “What does D&D have to do with ironclad ships?”) As I discussed in “Riding the power curve,” the next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons attempts to straighten out fourth edition’s logarithmic power … Continue reading

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Bounded accuracy and matters of taste

(This post continues a discussion I started in “What does D&D have to do with ironclad ships?”) In my last post, I wrote about how to-hit and damage bonuses contributed to Dungeons & Dragons’ power curve. When we compare D&D … Continue reading

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Riding the power curve through D&D’s editions

(This post continues a discussion I started in “What does D&D have to do with ironclad ships?”) In the very first set of Dungeons & Dragons (1974) rules, every weapon dealt 1d6 damage. Short of magic, characters could only improve … Continue reading

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Example: Finding the hidden chambers from Halaster’s Last Apprentice

(Part 6 of a series, which begins with Evolution of the skill challenge.) The first D&D Encounters season, Halaster’s Last Apprentice, included a skill challenge that works perfectly within the original conception of the skill challenge rules. “You make a perilous … Continue reading

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