Friday, March 6, 2009


I played in my first RPGA game last night. A few things struck me about it. The role-playing element still seemed to be part of the game. Sure, it's kind of tacked on and it seems to be more spoon fed, but most players took it seriously and rose to the occasion. Some of the characters had in depth backgrounds that they tried to use in various situations. It's all a thin veneer of role-playing, but for those who find it important, it exists. Part of this is you don't die permanently in RPGA, which I think encourages backgrounds and flavor.

This was my first high level game and what struck me were the various combo moves. At times it felt like a game of Magic, one of the original criticisms of the system. Interrupts and various daily power combos seemed to dominate our last combat. Granted, it was the boss monster and it only happened a couple of times, but as a low level DM and player, it was a little bewildering. I suppose it's just different. Rather than some massive, one shot, do or die Meteor Storm like spell, you get a series of devastating abilities. Like any version of D&D, players took pride in their character-fu, with knowledge of the rule system and the various synergies prized highly.

What has struck me about RPGA players though, is they seem to know most of the major powers for all character classes. Perhaps they've played them all, or maybe they just need to know how each character works quickly, to work with that character in each new game. In fact, that was one of my problems playing a warlord. The warlord is a leader character that assists the other, and it took me a while to grasp the group dynamics. Instead, the players would often cue me on opportunities, which showed their depth of knowledge and experience with a game that's only seven months old.


  1. The combined effort is one of the things I really like about 4e.

  2. I just realized something.

    I played a lot of organized and team sports when I was a kid, and American football in college.

    I get the same kind of team effort pride from some of the D&D 4e combats that I would get from those games.

    There is a similar tinge on the comradery.

  3. So 4e is D&D for jocks?

    [grinning, ducking and running]

  4. One power gamer I know loves the fact he's getting support from the "leader" characters. There's an acknowledgment in the game that the "strikers" are your hard hitting MOFOs and should be supported as a team effort. In past editions, everyone just did their thing, in a vacuum, except for things like sneak attacks.