4E problems summarized

I often talk here about the problems with fourth edition. I’ve seen some great rants about it in various places online. I have seen informative comments from various players and even some of the people who design the game.

But I have never seen anybody explain it so beautifully and succinctly as this (pay particular attention to the last sentence):

It’s pretty clear to me that the rules-heavy nature of 4th edition creates a very complicated game. With every power adding a new rule it is impossible for anyone to understand how all these things will act together. At last count there are 55 player classes, 3,000 feats, 7,400 powers, and 8,800 magic items. That combination of tweet-sized mini-rules is almost collapses in on itself.

I long gave up trying to figure out what abilities and combinations the PCs had or how they worked. Near the end, there wasn’t any bad roll that couldn’t be boosted up by five points using some combination of forgotten feats, situational bonuses, magic items, or triggered actions. People would say things like “deep rumble strike” and then hit an invisible monster for 130 damage. Another would say something “astral wintersgate” and then negate an entire monster’s round of damage. There wasn’t a way in hell I could tell if they had a real power or were just making up nonsense words and then doing whatever they wanted to do.

Mike Shea – What I Learned Running a 1 to 30 D&D Campaign

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