Fights take too long.
There’s no roleplaying.
It’s a videogame on paper.
Blah blahblah blah blah blahblah.
I had a wonderful time on Sunday night with 4e, and I feel like blogging about it. Why? Because that session reinforced the true strength and selling point of 4e: simplicity to run. I was asked to run a game for my friends on Sunday night, they were hanging out and felt like playing some D&D, so they asked me and I agreed. They decided they’d make 7th level characters, so I went into the Wiki page for Dungeon adventures per level, and selected “Danger at the White Lotus Academy” as the adventure I’d run for them. It was a 7th level one and it looked simple enough. I didn’t get a chance to read it because I was stepping out with my family all afternoon.
Why is that important? Because I was able to sit in front of the adventure for 10 minutes, get all the important stuff, make some quick notes and run it. The 4e stat blocks, a battlemat, & the tactics for the encounter are all that you need, quick thinking and a good imagination will provide the rest.
Not only that, but there were only 4 pc’s, as opposed to my regular 7. Guess what? We went through 4 encounters and a skill challenge in three and a half hours. We were breezing through the encounters. I didn’t even have maps ready! I had to draw them then and there… Were we playing the same game? What the hell was going on? I believe we found the sweet spot.
4 PC’s was such a joy to run, that I encourage those of you with big parties to try it. It’s going to feel like a different game. As another experiment, try picking an adventure from Dungeon and running it off the cuff, with little or no prep. You’ll see it’s not that difficult to do.