No, not the blog. We just haven’t had anything to say. If you want to read someone flame WotC, the company has generously provided forums for you to do that on. I’m sure we’ll have plenty to talk about when Neverwinter gets closer, but for now – nothing really exciting is happening in D&D.
Personally, though – I’ve been conflicted for a while now, and I think I’ve come to a decision. By the way, I’ve tried to write this blog for a long, long time now – it just hasn’t come out right yet.
I’m (kinda) done with 4E.
I’ve said for a while now that all the things I dislike about 4E go away once I reach the table. That’s no longer the case. So what happened?
I started playing at Paragon. Or, to be more precise – I’ve been playing at Paragon for a while, and I can no longer BS myself that things are going to get better. Combat grind just makes playing after Heroic tier unenjoyable.
We heard that changes were a-coming… and I was content to make my own modifications to reduce combat grind while waiting. Then eventually the changes did come. Unfortunately, these changes addressed every issue but combat grind. Okay, maybe not every issue – but lots of them. So for a while there I was DMing and chopping off monster hit points to reduce grind time (and increasing damage to balance things out), thinking that the rules updates would finally be released and we’d stop checking our watches during gameplay. Between Essentials and the changes to LFR, we’d be all-good, right?
Well, no. Its irritating as hell. Its not like WotC is unaware of the problem – not if they read their own forums, anyway. The response is just infuriating. I’ve been playing and DMing for years now – don’t tell me the problem is with my table management. Nor should the solution be the elimination of options. *ahem*
The problem with 4e is not “analysis paralysis”, despite WotC trying to tell you otherwise.
The suggestions for speeding up combat are insulting – the table tents on the DM screen are a good idea, but I already have my Gamemaster initiative tracker. Don’t even get me started on a sand-timer. Really? You going to rap me on the knuckles if I go over time? That’s where the game stops being fun, and more an exercise in discipline. Oh, and why add another element (fortune cards) to slow things down even more? Never mind, we know why.
Back on point – the grind is just too much. Its like I’m being punished for hitting paragon. Its not like WotC is unaware – that’s why Encounters and Game Days and all the promo stuff is in Heroic. Leveling Up should be celebrated, and instead it just means you’re one step closer to unplayability.
So yeah, I’m done. Kinda.
I’ll repeat a conversation I had with Eudemonist recently that he probably doesn’t remember. I was (poorly) marshalling the Battle Interactive for Comicpalooza when I told him I had about one foot out the door with 4E. He said something smart-assed about being glad there was someone that was such a 4E fan coordinating D&D for the con.
I told him the “kinda” part I’ve been getting at – that I want to see my friends have fun.
I did the best I could with the comicpalooza gaming stuff – had a sign-up sheet and did what I could to place people at tables they’d enjoy. To my knowledge, only one dude got turned away – and that’s because he came so late to the BI I couldn’t find a place for him. Fortunately, he found some Munchkin and was fine. I DM’d twice and marshalled the BI. Didn’t play anything, but enjoyed everyone’s company. It was a positive experience that I’m glad is over. I’ll talk more about c-pal later. I’ve been trying to get this one out for a while, and I’m finally on a roll.
When I first moved to my part of town, the first thing I did was organize Encounters at the local store, then LFR for my region. I actually like organizing stuff. I like building a community. I like having people over for games in my area – we’ve finally got a really good group. We do it right. Come over early if you want and play some YDKJ (or whatever), we’ll have dinner and bullshit. Its a nice evening with friends – and gaming.
I still go back to the group at my former home-region, too. I enjoy their company.
And the Houston LFR guys are good guys to be around – I really like playing with them.
I love half of our Encounters group. The other half I want to chain to my car and drag down the street.
I’m just tired of 4E’s combat grind. And WotC’s bullshit, too… but that’s “away from table”.
But I want to keep playing with friends – both old and new. So here’s what I decided.
I’ll pop into Encounters whenever I’d rather not be home on a Wednesday night.
If I get a call – like I did for last weekend – and I’m invited to play 4E with friends, I’m in. I had fun last weekend.
If I’m asked to organize or run 4E for friends, I’m in.
But I’d rather play something else.
…and no, I don’t know what “something else” is. I met some Pathfinder guys at Comicpalooza, and I’ve been invited to their one-day mini-con in a few weeks. I’ll try it. But I go in with no expectations of anything. I’d like to play Paranoia once in a while, but its not an all-the-time game. There’s a Shadowrun group, but I think they play during the week – and that doesn’t work for me. I really want to get into Wings of War, but I suspect it’ll just be a game for me and my kid. That’s fine, too. There’s a board gaming group around here that I might check out too. But my first love is RPGs, and after D&D, there’s a significant drop-off of player numbers.
…and I want to play D&D. When I was a kid and an uninterrupted play space was a valuable commodity, I used to say “When I grow up, I’m going to have people over for D&D all the time.” Replacing that with another game title is just… weird.
So I’m still here. Just… elsewhere, too.