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On skills in 0e and 4e

February 12, 2010 3 comments

This is from a comment by me on dicemonkey.net:

“I actually agree, for the most part, with the quoted editorial. I think that the further we get from the ’skill lists’ of 3e, the closer we’ll get to role playing. Of course, as a word of caution, I mostly play Swords & Wizardry, which has a combined total of zero skills, so there you go ;-)

I like to handle skills like I handle everything else in 0e campaigns–with panache. Seriously. If a player can’t convince me that his character knows how to build a sword, he’s not getting one built without paying. Whether that means that his background includes a stint as a smithy’s apprentice (with all the negatives that come from spending years as a ‘dirty commoner’) or a member of a dwarvish clan of ironshapers doesn’t really matter.

Role playing, for me, is about consistency, fun, and spontaneity.

I think that 4e is a great step in the right direction for where DnD needs to go, in my opinion. I love the wargame feel of combat in it, and I love the MMO-like character advancement. At the same time, they have abandoned the tome that was the skill list, allowing people to more fully role play their characters while also creating uniform, entertaining combat scenes.”

I stand by what I said. I think that the role-playing combat of the retro clones is excellent, and find that my players and I often have more fun coming up with eccentric combat moves and imagining their effects in our heads while playing S&W, but the case for 4e is strong, and there are times when I definitely prefer playing the structured, balanced game. But in both I love that they’re shying away from the statgrind that was 3rd.