Retrospective on D&D 4e, part 1

Having completed my 140-session D&D 4e campaign (I know, I know, I’ve mentioned this last time; I’m still proud, shut up), what have I learned? While I’m done with the system, perhaps you aren’t. So let me be your guide. We’ll take a look at 4e itself in this post, and then at the ideas […]

Psychodrama on the battlemat

Reviewing DramaSystem and analyzing how it handles inner character conflict got me thinking of how I’ve handled this in my 4e campaign. The fact of the matter is, 4e and D&D in general offer little to no support for creating drama. They provide rules for actions, but how character motivations inform those actions, and how in turn […]

A Fistful of Gold Pieces

Come in son, take a seat. Lets talk about money. “Money” is an incredibly complex idea, one that permeates our society and influences many aspects of our life. Its roles are many, its mechanics are arcane, its biases are poorly understood by most of us. Generally, we accept that the more of it you have the better, […]

Inconsequential Combat

A while back I wrote a post on the inconsequential nature of most fights in D&D. Summarizing (and by all means, do read it, it’s probably the best post I have here), combat is inconsequential because its purpose is resource ablation. Originating in the dungeon crawling roots of D&D, this default approach allows the party […]

Duty is Eternal

On the heels of the previous posts, another bit of our long-running game. Not a play report or monster stat blocks this time, but a way out of a tricky situation. The Patient One was defeated, and not everyone was left standing. Dead were two of the three characters who’ve been present since the start […]

Patient Two

In the previous part, after months of preparation the party had delivered their oldest enemy, the lord of madness called Patient One, to the one place where it could be destroyed. They ventured down into its prison, dragged it out of hiding and watched it burn. Just as it looked like it was about to […]

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…