Oh, the irony…

I spent most of the day down at Dragon’s Keep playing D&D 4e. Played the starter adventure all the way through as a Rogue, and then DM’ed the same adventure’s 2nd half for a group whose DM had to leave before they finished.

It’s a lot more fun than I remember my first 3.5 experience being. This game has play. It helps to forget some of what you think you know. Just roll with the new rules. I love the fact that there are very simple (and very COOL) options for blade-wielding types to make attacks with. You can attack against AC, fortitude, reflex, and will — saves are not rolled by the defender. The attacker just has to beat an AC-like score, whether he’s swinging at you or firing off a spell. Cool.

Anyway, I played for about 5 hours, and then headed home. I have the adventure and the figs, and I was contemplating running the kids through it.

All four were in the back yard, ages 5-13, plus two neighbor children and one cousin, same age bracket. They had assorted padded implements including five boffer swords and one funoodle, and were alternately laying seige to or defending the “hill” we have in the yard. My youngest ran back from the hill to the far side of the yard, and then shouted charge as he ran 80 feet to where he started. Sandra explained… he has to go back there to restore his hit-points.

I don’t need to teach these kids D&D 4e. They need to teach ME whatever THEY’RE playing. It looks more fun.

35 thoughts on “Oh, the irony…”

  1. don’t you just wish you had the energy and agility to play the games kids do? I think the great Gary Gygax invented D&D for those who were to old to play monsters and trolls in the back yard.


    1. Dude, tell that to the greybeards in my LARP society. I can tell you for a fact that young and relatively fit as I am, some of those guys I still can’t catch.

      1. The thing with the greybeards in mine isn’t catching them, it’s what do you do once you’ve caught them?

        (Although, TRIPPING a guy running at you in full plate is, while seriously painful on the shin, MUCH more painful for them. 🙂

        1. That’s just cruel, dude. One guy slid down a hill in full plate last game I was at.. twice in a weekend. Once with someone riding him, toboggan style.

          And I swear it’s cheating going to a boffer larp with years and years and years of experience in medieval weaponry. How the hell are us poor NPCs meant to win against that? (besides going for the healers, who are typically the fainting flimsy lady-types)

          1. heh. My first day? I managed to take down a higher level person, just by being a better swordsman then him.

            And he was PISSED about it. And demanded arbitration from a GM. My response was something along the lines of “Dude. It’s my first day here, but I’ve been getting attacked by crazy people with sticks for 20 years. Get over it.”

            ETA: And, as for it being cruel, well..he claimed that the only reason that I was able to beat him as often as I was, is that there was a ‘no physical combat’ rule, so he couldn’t shieldbash me. I felt that tripping him, then limping over and poking him in the back of the neck before he could get up counted as sportsmanlike behavior. Listening to him bitch about the fact that it would have broken my shin if I’d done that in real life was kind of funny, however. “Umm..it hurts, but it ain’t broken…”

          2. So unfair 😛

            Haha, demanding arbitration for a GM for getting owned at fighting is stupid and would only get you laughed at by any GM I know. I like my GMs.

          3. Yeah, that was pretty headscratching for me, too. I mean, had I been an unarmoured peasant on a battle field, I probably wouldn’t have had good thick boots and heavy leather shinguards/vambraces…but I also probably wouldn’t have spent 20 years learning how to sweep the rear foot of a charging opponent, so… *shrug*

  2. I need to teach my kids a game like that when they’re a little older. I’d be out of breath in three minutes, but dang that sounds like fun.

  3. I’m thinking of introducing my daughter (7 years old) to D&D this summer. I last played about 15 years ago, with my original AD&D hard cover set. So, should I intro her to original D&D (three brown books) or should I break down and pick up the new 4th Ed. Box set? What do ya’ll (HT and his readers here) think?


    ps: I have been gaming with GUPRS and Hero Systems but think character creation will be more fun with a bunch of weird shaped dice.

      1. BTW you had better establish with your 7 year old that the code of conduct means not throwing a fit every time the roll fails or you won’t get through one battle. It took my nephew until age ten to get that.


        1. Luckily, daughter is pretty good about losing gracefully. We’ve been doing bored games and a few computer games. She’s already internalized the bit about the fun being in playing and not necessarily in winning.

      2. I don’t have my AD&D hard covers anymore but I do have the three brown books. That might be the simplest to start from. I’ve missed out the entire 2/3/4 versions. Sounds like things have gotten mighty complicated.

        1. Yes and no.

          Things have been simplified quite a bit in terms of gameplay, once you internalize the new rules, but there is a lot more stuff that you can do, if that makes sense at all.

        2. The original AD&D 1st ed, while charming, is horribly complicated and inconsistent compared to later editions. 2nd ed is a nice cleanup, but basically the same system. 3rd and 3.5 are still recognizable – instead of THAC0 there is BAB, but it’s pretty much the same deal as before, only with cleaner mechanics and a few more options. 4th ed is an entirely new system, even cleaner and with fewer base mechanics to remember, but with more possibilities for what characters can do.

          Basically, in 1st ed everything is an exception and works differently, and you have to learn it all before you can play without constantly running into rule arbitration. In 4th edition everything (almost) follows the one basic principle (attack stat vs. defense stat) and you can get started very quickly and easily and add more complication as you see fit.

          1. 4th Ed. sounds like the way to go. I understand the whole exception thing, from miniature war gaming, where the real war is looking up rules and figuring out interpretations. Will be interesting to check out a system designed to avoid such issues. Thanks!

    1. My advice, unequivocally, is to go with 4e. It’s simple, and it’s cool. The calculations are very straightforward – no tables required. The hardest part is character generation, and there are plenty of pre-gens to start with.

      I’ve played AD&D, Basic D&D, D&D 3.5, and now D&D 4e, and fourth edition really has been the most fun.

      1. Man, so 4th Ed. really sounds good. Amazon has a three book starter set for $57.00; sounds the way to go. This is actually kinda exciting, thinking about getting back into D&D. Cool! Thanks!

        1. You won’t get it for more than a month and a half, just to let you know. I canceled my order and got it from my FLGS. (Amazon tore me away with the bargain, but I couldn’t wait.)

  4. Can I ask a stupid question? How many people do you need to have a ‘fun’ game? I’ve moved to a new city and haven’t met many people who seem like they’d be into D&D but the wife and I have always wanted to try it out.

    1. In my (very limited) experience, I’ve found that the best group size is about four players, not counting the GM. Exceptions exist where talented GMs are involved, but 3-6 seems to be the general rule.

    2. The sweet spot is 3-5 players plus a GM for most rpgs.

      You can play with less then that, but it’s just kind of boring. Half the fun really is in getting together with your mates and rolling dice into a pizza box. Also, with only two people, the adversarial feeling of the GM is much more pronounced.

      I would recommend hunting down the local gaming shop and trying to find a gaming group (also, a great way to make friends. My oldest friend and I met through a random gaming group back in junior high, well over 10 years, and most of a continent ago.)

    3. Me and my friends play with a core group of 4 (rotating, 3 of us playing and one GMing, depending on whose game is being run that week) with another.. ooh, maybe 3 people who sometimes come for a few weeks. It’s just the four of us mostly though.

  5. Question for you: I have not had a chance to read the 4.0 books yet. (I hope to pick up the PHB soon since I never picked up the 3.5 books) I was talking with a friend over the weekend and he described it as “World of Warcraft in paper form.” He thought it was too simplistic to try to attract the MMORPG crowd to the paper game.

    Would you agree with this? Is there a huge difference between 3.0/3.5 to 4.0?

    Thank you

    1. Amusingly, that is the way I feel about 3.x (though I still play it because noone I know who still lives in the area is running 2ed). The Feat Trees and Prestige Class Prerequisites and Battle Maps all became far more important (or at least more prominent) than the characterization and antics of the player characters. Quite sad really – it’s still fun to run as a world simulation, but it’s just not as engrossing and entertaining somehow. As I read on the net somewhere, you stopped having “characters” and started having “builds.”

  6. We gamed on Sunday using 4e rules, and I’ll be damned if the combat sequences weren’t streamlined beautifully. It was very fast paced, and the things you can do with a twin blade wielding Elven Ranger is simply sick.

    Of course, there’s still the whole “what are they going to do about Druids?” discussion we had afterwards, but all in all I am satisfied.

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