Patient One

In the interest of keeping up with semi-weekly posts as well as running my weekly D&D game, I’ve decided to post some of my notes for said game when there’s no other topic I’d like to discuss. They’ll probably range from separate monsters to encounters to adventures to house rules and system hacks. I’ll also provide […]

Tactful tactics

The old dungeon crawl philosophy of going from room to room, kicking down doors and dealing with whatever’s inside one encounter at a time is very prevalent in the design of 4e. In some ways, it is even more pronounced. Whereas in older editions, to successfully overcome a particular encounter you might have needed something […]

Self-defeating strategy

The previous post was, in essence, about letting combat influence story. But, as a friend pointed out while discussing it, there’s another side to this issue: letting story influence combat. I can’t think of any other RPG where this comes up regularly, but it is definitely a problem in 4e. What happens when players outwit their enemies, […]

The unbearable inconsequentialness of combat

This post is for DMs’ eyes only. If you do not DM, close it now, as it contains a trade secret that may change the way you look at the game. It might even ruin it for you, though it probably won’t. Ok, players gone? Oh, who am I kidding…

Practical Applications of Power

This is a follow-up on the previous theoretical post, in which I claim the link between character’s power and character’s level is much weaker than we imagine, especially in 4e. If you disagree with the idea, I’ll be happy to discuss it in that post. Here I’ll offer one possible model for explicitly separating these […]

Power vs Levels

Today’s post concerns itself with character level, a subject I’ve already pondered in the first incarnation of this blog, back when it wasn’t so 4e-centric. You can tell it’s been rattling in my head for a while. Lets start with definitions. ‘Level’ is the number on the character sheet. It determines access to powers, number […]

Collision of Perfect Spheres

This is the third part of the two-part series on interactions between characters and encounter elements. Having discussed in some length how DMs can design compelling terrain powers and how players can be encouraged to interact with terrain, I now move on to the other significant element of encounters – monsters. Unlike the aforementioned posts, this one won’t […]

I kick sand in his face!

In the previous post I’ve discussed a method to make environmental effects and terrain powers more engaging to the players, making the battlefield itself matter. Still, those are somewhat big things, and it’s not always easy to come up with an appropriate terrain effect to a given encounter. And not every encounter needs them. All too often, […]

Perfectly Spherical Adventurers in Vacuum

4e adventurers can do a great many things on the battlefield, arguably more than in any D&D edition before. They dart, fly and teleport; taunt, pummel to the ground and plow through. Due to the nature of character powers, they can do so anywhere and anyhow. What works on a swaying ship in a storm […]

Unwieldy Contraption

What happens, when you put a crazed dwarf in a neogi-designed battle suit? This guy: Very fiddly for an elite, but so much fun with underlings he can inadvertently step on. Not very happy with the wording, and Plow Through is somewhat mangled – couldn’t find a better way to make it in the monster […]