The video game “Fable” featured a “Heroes’ Guild” that was a center of learning an training for Heroes for hire. In the game the player’s character entered the guild after his family was killed and is trained in swordmanship, archery and magic. During the game there were many quests and often the player was able to choose if he wanted to take the good or evil route. The guild’s members were not forced to be “good”.
Could such an institution work in a D&D setting for example? I say: “why not?”. In most campaigns the players’ characters are some kind of mercenaries, hired swords, treasure hunters or soldiers of fortune. But every party is usually on its own. So why not introduce some kind of “Heroes’ Guild” or “Adventurers’ Union” to the game that helps adventurers to organize, enforces some regulations and represents the adventuring part of the population at the royal court?
I think the name “Adventurers’ Union” is much better than the slightly cheesy “Heroes’ Guild”. So, let’s go with that. Ok, we have settled on a name let’s make up some more details of our new faction. It makes sense that the union has offices in all the major towns, so that interested hero-wannabes may sign up and join the union. As a member of the union you are allowed to wear the official union badge and take on union-sponsored quests. You also have to pay some percentage of your income to the union. The union will make sure that you get paid when you’ve done your job and will provide places where you can rest, train and socialize with other adventurers.
There’s a war going on the internet. In blogs, forums, chats etc. players all over the world are entrenched in their positions and untiringly attacking their enemies. The fight is about what edition of D&D is the best. Especially the 3E advocates are using several arguments to attack the 4th Edition of D&D that obviously come from the lands of myths and fairy tales. And no, I don’t want to tell you that 4E is better than any other version of D&D but I try to bring some rationality into the discussion.
- D&D 4th Edition makes it harder to roleplay your character
That’s a common argument against the new edition and it’s the most silly one. No game can actively hinder you from player your character. Heck, back in the days, we even roleplayed games like Diplomacy. You don’t need a special set of rules for doing roleplaying.
- The 4th Edition is just not D&D anymore
That’s a harder nut to crack. If D&D it’s all about the rules for you, then this is probably true, but I always thought D&D was about dungeons, dragons, brave heroes, swords, sorcery, epic adventures and things like that. And you still can run adventures in the 4th Edition that are about all that and even more. The latest edition also brings back the epic destinies, something that harkens back to the earliest editions.
- You can’t play 4E without miniatures
If you were able to play D&D 3.0 or 3.5 without the use of minatures you should be able to pull this off in 4th edition too. Some classes (like the Warlord) for example benefit from using some kind of combat map, but you are not forced to use miniatures. I played in several D&D sessions and we never used aminiatures.
- [Enter class name here] is missing from the PHB, it’s not D&D anymore
Remember the first D&D? No? Then let me tell you that the first D&D had only three classes: Cleric, fighting man and magic-user. When the above is true, the original D&D is no “real D&D” either since classes like the thief, druid, barbarian, paladin etc. are missing. And there’s another point: the “missing” classes will come back in the coming Players Handbook 2. And the barbarian was already released for playtesting.
- D&D plays just like WoW now
So you probably never played 4th Edition or World of Warcraft before, when you think this is true. At first it’s obviously the other way around: WoW and other fantasy MMORPGs were inspired by pen&paper and single-player computer RPGs. And even if there were some similarities in the game mechanics, the gameplay is (or at least should be) vastly different. And if it’s not you have a very unimaginative DM.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to force you to switch to D&D 4E. Just play the game you enjoy playing. If you don’t like 4th Edition, don’t use it. The earlier editions of D&D are great games and especially for D&D 3.5 the third-party support is still strong. But there are a lot of misconceptions about 4E floating around on the internet and I wanted to help clearing some things up. Comments are as always welcome, so please let your voices be heard!
UPDATE: I’ve noticed that someone rated this article 1 star without commenting. If you think I am wrong, it would be great if you could give me some hint what you don’t dislike about the post. Is my logic flawed? Is the writing bad? Please use the comment function of the blog.
UPDATE #2: Wow, I think I really opened a can of worms here. This obviously is still a very hot topic and the discussion in the comments is starting to get heated. What astounds me the most is the hate that some people bring down on D&D 4E, people who actually like it and the people at Wizards. Please don’t forget, it’s just a game!
I am currently having some trouble with my internet connection at home. From yesterday evening on, my ADSL and phone line are down. Stargazer’s World will return with some new posts when the technical issues are solved by my telecommunications provider.
Have a nice day!
UPDATE: Everything is working again.