Monday, March 23, 2009

D&D Game Day: 4E and I May be Done

I want to say thanks to everyone that turned out for my 4E game at Games Plus this Saturday. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. I have to say that as for me, however, I left the game feeling somewhat disillusioned about what 4E D&D has to offer.

What really did me in was the fact that the first encounter took over TWO HOURS to complete! I know that four of the five players were new to 4E and the characters were 9th level - but that's ridiculous. I don't think the players took excessive time to choose their actions and the game flow was ok. It just took way too long to grind the monsters down. The second encounter was not as bad, but I made a stupid error when I forgot the beholder's aura. We never got to the third encounter.

I am definitely going to take some time to mull this episode over and try to decide whether or not I am going to sink any more time and money into 4E. I play roleplaying games because they are FUN and based on the amount of time that I put into preparing and running the game Saturday, I can't say I got much fun in return for my investment.

10 comments:

Zachary The First said...

Sorry to hear that, Anthony! But, hey, look at it this way—there are dozens of well-deserving RPG systems out there, and plenty of strong communities for the same (though not as big as the 4e community right now, I’m sure). This might be a chance to get acquainted or re-acquainted with some of the other games out there. You can always start a Great RPG Hunt/Review! :)

blackpharaoh said...

http://blackpharaoh.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/world-wide-dnd-game-day-2009/

Ike said...

*nodding* I'm having similar feelings about 4E, and I'm working through my issues with the game a post at a time with the help of my readers. I'm definitely leaning towards gaming a different system, and long, grindy battles are contributing.

Tom said...

It was a bad idea for Wotc to use paragon tier for an event like this; way too much for new players.

It took our group a bit over 4 hours to do the whole thing - 3 encounters and the skill challenge. Not experts at all, but not new either.

Maybe you're just POd, but I think you're being a bit over dramatic. Quitting the game entirely after running a pre-gen with a pickup group is silly.

MJ Harnish said...

4E has a very sharp learning curve, especially in terms of the pace at which combat turns run; the fact that you started people off players with 9th level characters couldn't have helped matters. I had similar issues early on and still do anytime we introduce the game to new players, hence why my upcoming con event will probably focus on low level characters.

That said, 4E is sort of a mixed bag for me - I've had fun running it but I can think of a lot of other RPGs that I enjoy more.

anonynos said...

In general I've found combat to always take longer than you'd think or like in any system I've tried. Higher levels of 3.x were soem of the worst culprits but Shadowrun had its' moments. I can't speak directly to 4e since I've the highest I've seen was 7 or 8 in a con game, and that didn't feel to grindy... but I could see where it might bog down.
That all said I do think that a "Welcome to DnD" game with paragon level characters might not be the best way to judge it.

vulcanstev said...

Length of the encoutner seems to be the prevailing theme. Yeah it took us 2.5 hours but we didn't realize it until we actually looked at a clock.

http://vulcanstev.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/world-dd-day-2009-at-the-core/

Rob said...

Hey there Anthony. I didn't know you were running or I might have made the trip up to Games Plus.

Just out of curiosity, what was the composition of enemies in the first encounter? Was it heavy on Brutes or Elite Soldiers? I have noticed that the hit point totals given to those creatures tend to slow things down more than they probably should.

Believe it or not, the few times we have played our mid-paragon 4E game up at Lords of Tyr it seemed to speed up the game! That might have been a fluke though, as I have not seen the same effect at the lower level 4E games we have played.

AnthonyRoberson said...

The composition of the first encounter was:

1 Deathpriest of Orcus (controller)
5 Crimson Acolytes (skirmisher)
2 Battle Wights (soldier)

I think 2 more wights eventually showed up through the shadow portal because the encounter lasted so long...

DM Payne said...

Hmmm, strange, I guess you guys had a different scenario than the game day session I attended. Still, if you and 4th ed are done there's an up side if you're going back to 3rd ed at all: You can find a lot of stuff nice and cheap. I've been picking up Realms supplements for $10 including shipping and handling when once that would have cost me $30+ even on amazon.com.

That being said I wish you luck in your hunt for a new system. I've found myself paging through alternate RPGs at my FLGS, even ones I'd never considered a few years ago. Not as a replacement for D&D but something to give me a break from it. Hell, I've even considered that free update of AD&D that's floating around (forgot what the heck its called) but still can't wrap my head around the idiocy of Racial Level limits.