Well, I figured it was a matter of time when I saw them in a game of the new Gamma World being run at a local game shop. D&D 4e now gets collectible cards. Yep, you buy booster packs with cards of varying rarities, construct a deck, and use them along with your D&D character to give you all kinds of bonuses and whatnot. It’s a desperate attempt to convert D&D into a Magic: The Gathering kind of revenue stream.
Oh, they’re not “mandatory”, they say (except for D&D Organized Play games of course). You can show up and not have this super cool character boost. So of course, the more you spend the better your character is. Perfect.
It’s more gamist dreck. We shouldn’t be surprised. 4e powers have already given up on trying to have any in-game-world justification. “I get to reroll this saving throw… Because I have a card that says so!” And they’ve been careful to remove any oversight by DMs as to what rules/powers/etc. are allowed in the game, which is convenient when new rules can be thrown out on cards DMs and other players don’t have access to.
I would never, under any circumstances, allow the use of these in any game I ever ran. Essentials had somewhat tempted me to consider looking at 4e again, but this confirms to me “never mind, they are intent on running the concept behind a roleplaying game into the ground, then peeing on it, then stomping on it, then running off squealing.”
It’s antithetical to:
- DM-led dramatic pacing
Yay. Unfortunately this really makes 4e D&D cross the line. They should have listened to Robert Downey Jr’s advice – you never go full retard.
[Edit: For all those out there saying "Well but the cards, you could use them as DM-given bennies or as a common deck or something and then they're not bad" - well, no shit, Sherlocks. But if you would bother to go read the actual Wizards of the Coast link on how the cards are to be used, that's not their intended use and the use that WotC will be enforcing in Organized Play. Decks are per-character, player-provided, and constructed, EXACTLY like having a Magic: the Gathering deck as part of your character sheet. I know you wish that's not the case, I know I do, and maybe you will be using them differently, but that's not a reason that WotC's intended use isn't a painful distortion of RPGs.]