The players in my OD&D game finally got to the City-State of the Invincible Overlord yesterday — with their newly subdued young dragon. Now all they have to do is find a buyer for the dragon and they’ll be rich. Or so they hope.
Next week, however, we will be taking a break for my campaign for a one shot “4e Old School” adventure one of the group wants to run. He really wants to like 4e but playing in my OD&D campaign has reminded him of all the things 4e no longer supports well — that older versions of D&D do. So he has tried to change it up to make it possible to run something loosely 4e rules-based in an old school way. We’re very skeptical but are willing to be guinea pigs, especially as it gives me a chance to play instead of DM.
His version of 4e sounds like it will eliminate many of the problems I have with the game, but in doing so it sounds like it will only be 4e in the way characters work. We’ve been promised:
* No minis or battlemats will be needed. He swears that while combat will probably not be as fast as OD&D/1e, it will be 50% to 70% faster than 4e.
* The game will NOT revolve around encounters. There will be encounters, but they will not be a unit of game play to the extent they are in 4e. Encounter-based powers recover when the GM says they do.
* No skill challenges. Out of combat stuff will be handled like it was in previous editions. Skill rolls will use a slight variant of the system I described in this post: Old School Gaming and Skills.
* Sandbox style monster and treasure placement — ignoring the encounter levels and treasure packets advice in 4e.
* Magic items will be flavorful things like in TSR editions, not just math modifiers to make the encounter level system work.
* Game Reality trumps powers. You can’t trip a Gelatinous Cube no matter what the power says.
* Reduced hit points for PCs and monsters, both to speed up combat and to be less superheroic.
* Character races and classes are limited to the standard classes/races from 1e. All characters will have a general skill named after their character class which gives them all the standard out of combat powers of the class from 1e. Rangers can track. Thieves can steal, etc.
* A few more changes that I’ve forgotten.
I have no idea if I will enjoy this at all, but I don’t mind doing a one shot playtest. I just need to download the free version of the character generator from WOTC and create a first level character.