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4e "Old School Style" One Shot

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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.

Joseph said...
April 19, 2010 at 10:09 PM  

You can't trip a Gelatinous Cube no matter what the power says.

But I can trip the giant centipede, right?

Jorge Leandro said...
April 20, 2010 at 12:32 PM  

Sounds interesting. Maybe it will make 4e playable. Is it possible to share the house rules?

Randall said...
April 20, 2010 at 1:00 PM  

I don't know if the house rules are written up or are just some of Bill's scratchy notes. If this works at all, I'll try to get Bill to write something up that others can use.

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