Somewhere in here – I don’t recall exactly – I expressed my displeasure with the upcoming (summer ’08) 4th edition (or 4ed) of D&D. And the more I learn about it, the less I even want to think about it.

What brought this on was a post over at Warcry. Actually, it was two posts, but the second, about some class changes, is the one that caught my eye. That, in turn, drew me to WOTC’s D&D site, where I finally tracked down some further information.

From what I read on Warcry, it appears that the Rogue is getting heavily beefed-up for combat. Aside from the usual extra damage for the beloved sneak attack, there will be other ways for the Rogue to dish out big damage as the fight progresses.

Then there’s the fighter, who apparently is now going to be the big obstruction, keeping enemies off the weaker party members. In the MMOG world, this is called aggro, where you annoy the opposition to distract them from your weaker allies.

Even worse, from what I saw on the WOTC site, is that fighters are going to be defined by their weapons. Used to be, fighters were trained to handle any typical weapon: sword, hammer, axe, etc.

Now, it seems, they’re going to specialize in just one type of fighting, which will give them certain benefits unique to that style. So you’ll have the sword & shield guy, or the axe-wielder, or the hammer-swinger, or the two-hander, etc.

Yeah, I can see this working real well the first time that axe guy comes up against something immune to a cutting weapon. Bet he won’t be able to handle a mace or hammer with any degree of expertise. Then again, who knows? Maybe WOTC has made all enemies vulnerable to all weapon types. Haha.

They’ve made a change to the critical hit system, too. First, they dropped the second roll requirement, so a natural 20 is back to being the crit hit we remember. Only now, instead of double damage, you’ll only do max damage. Boy, what a critial hit that is.

There were other things on the WOTC site that didn’t exactly thrill me, either. But it isn’t so much the paper & pencil rules. After all, I’m not going to buy them, and I sure wouldn’t play in a live game that used them.

My real concern is that, once this new rules set is published, future D&D computer games will be based on them. That is the stuff of nightmares. Then again, going by NWN2, maybe I won’t be missing much, at that.

Yeah, there’s no doubt in my mind now that 4ed is aimed directly at the MMOG crowd. Which is a shame. The rules did need some tweaking, but this is going too far for my taste. And I thought 3ed was over the top.

Some Class Changes on Warcry

D&D Development Archive