Still More D&D 4e Previews

Along the lines of the last ones…  Weapons and Skill Challenges!

Weapons. They kept simple/martial/exotic categories but renamed them simple/military/superior because different is good in D&D 4e. Although I’d be hard pressed to call some of the exotic weapons that exist “superior” really… But let’s not pick nits. You can wield two weapons but that doesn’t give you any extra attacks unless you have a power for it. Weapons are broken up into groups, which is fine (e.g. axe, spear…). And what would it be like without a bunch of fiddly modifiers for each weapon, like reach, versatile, high crit, etc. They handle different sizes of characters and weapons as badly as every previous edition, by adding a “Small” descriptor to e.g. a shortbow indicating that though it’s two handed a Small character can use it. But does a normal longsword become “versatile” (you can use it two-handed if you want) to a small character? I suspect no. 3/5 just because D&D has always sucked in this arena and it doesn’t seem any worse than 3.5e.

Skill Challenges. Less a new concept and more a rebranding of complex skill checks, a skill challenge is when you need multiple successes to get the job done. I like how they crow over the fact that “doing something else can be as detailed as COMBAT!!!” They must have given Jonathan Tweet a f***ing lobotomy to go from such brilliant concept games like Over the Edge and Ars Magica to this. That boy’s lost his damn mind. Anyway, challenges have an arcane classification system:

Complexity: 3 (requires 8 successes before 4 failures).

Methinks the “3” could just go away here. But they have a nice little format to indicate what skills are in play – in their sample of dealing with a duke, you can use Bluff, Diplomacy, Insight, and even Knowledge: history, but Intimidate gets you failures. I hope it’s not perceived as a straitjacket by DMs – “Oh, sorry, it doesn’t mention Knowledge: royalty, nothing for you there!” I’ll give this a 4/5 for effort; a little bit of an improvement over 3.5e!

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