Main difference of 4E D&D from 3.5

I’ve started DMing a little bit of 4E D&D.

4E is commonly reviled by fans of other editions as not being “real D&D.” There are good reasons for that. 4E changed a lot of things about how the previous editions worked and 5th edition was largely a reversion of those changes.

One of the biggest changes was making every class function in essentially the same way.

In 3.5 and previous editions, every class had subsystems in the rules for how their specific abilities were used and how those abilities progressed as your character got stronger. Those subsystems varied from extremely simple (fighters and rogues) to extremely complex (wizards and clerics).

That variation in complexity came along with a variation in power. At higher levels fighters are still doing pretty much the same thing and aren’t nearly as useful as they used to be at low levels. Meanwhile wizards can now summon a protective warrior that’s about as strong as his fighter friend and still have plenty of magic left over for whatever they want to do.

The problem is usually referred to as “linear fighters and quadratic wizards.” Continue reading

The Final Sessions

I am approaching the final session of the longest D&D campaign I’ve ever run.

The players have made their way through all the challenges I constructed for them. The only thing left to do is confront the final villain and defeat him.

I’m reminded of something I wrote in high school, that people are attracted to stories that excite them regardless of how real those stories are. The world, characters, and stories I’ve built through Dungeons and Dragons aren’t real, but the outcome is as important to me as the outcome of other things in my life.

Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Barakah

Barakah was an NPC with a sliver of a backstory that one of my players adopted as his PC. He greatly expanded Barakah’s place within Cimmeria. While I helped with some parts of the conception, Throgg rightly retains most of the credit and this entry would be incomplete without mentioning it.

Barakah

Barakah is the last of the sand giants and the vessel of Ammutseba the Demogorgon. His life was saved by Hektor and he promised to fight against the Aractrashan wizard’s enemies. He helped Hektor and the Exiles briefly against the Dragovinians, but was overwhelmed by the dangerous beast within him. He consumed his own ally, Zelus, and fled to parts unknown.

Barakah was born several hundred years ago amid a sand giant society that was threatened by outside forces. Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Tagenadi Part 2

Continuing the rather long story of Tagenadi with events after he joined the Second Alliance and worked with the group that would become the Exiles. Link to Previous Entry.

Tagenadi Human
Tagenadi before he became a death knight.

When Tagenadi reached Bradel Fields he asked to join the Second Alliance. The way he carried himself made it clear that he would be of great use to the Alliance Council on special missions. In a practice duel with Gradorian the Hobgoblin General, Tagenadi showed excellent skill with his favored weapon, a kusari-gama. The Xorian outcast was welcomed into the Alliance and immediately sent on missions with important Alliance members.

Tagenadi ┬áparticipated in many of the Alliance Council’s most daring expeditions. He assisted in the reclamation of Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Tagenadi Part 1

Tagenadi

Tagenadi is an undead Council member of the Second Alliance and a melee fighter without peer. He joined the Alliance while still mortal, but became trapped in Erebos while searching for artifacts for the Council. In Erebos, he made a deal with Hades and returned to life as a servant of the Underworld. Tagenadi has always identified with the Exiles and maintains a strong friendship with Amalius. He has broken free from his servitude to Hades, but his undead state remains. Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Salzar

Salzar

Salzar was a Grey Elf warmage. He played a pivotal role in the First Alliance War as an organizer of the Alliance. It was on his urging that the Alliance broke the Golden Covenant that forbade the use of large-scale destructive magic against living targets. Salzar’s actions allowed the Xorians to retaliate and he became a war criminal. Amalgami the Betrayer, fearing that he would be blamed for Salzar’s actions, murdered his companion. Salzar’s life ended prematurely and the First Alliance crumbled soon afterward. Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Korjak

Korjak

Korjak is a half-Orc and is the vessel for the Nordic god, Baldr. Korjak was a Lieutenant in the Rebellion army and he nominally led the four Dragovinian mortals, Gregor, Sivirdm, Stanton, and Wu, during their quest to reclaim the lost pieces of the Druid’s Prophecy. He grew to like his traveling companions more than the Rebellion leadership. After the completion of their quest he resigned his command and left with Gregor and the others to reunite the Orc tribes in the east. Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Gregor

Gregor

Gregor is one of the four Dragovinian Enforcers restored to his mortal form by Apollo. He traveled with Sivirdm, Stanton, Wu, and Sergeant Korjak to recover the four missing pieces of the Druid’s Prophecy for the Rebellion. During this journey Gregor proved to be a ferocious combatant, but often attempted to solve problems with diplomacy rather than violence. After recovering the Prophecy pieces Gregor and his companions parted ways with the Rebellion. They traveled into the east to reunite the Orc tribes. Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Zelus

Zelus

Zelus is the Classical deific embodiment of zeal itself. He encapsulates excitement, eagerness, rivalry, and unwavering devotion to a sworn cause. Zelus is one of the Daimons, the divine children of Pallas and the River Styx. He currently aids the Exiles in their quest to eradicate Dragovinians from the face of the earth.

Zelus has a complicated place in the Olympian pantheon. Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Preta

This one is a PC created by one of my players with the screen-name, Ozymandias. While Ozymandias designed Preta mechanically and ran him during the events of the campaign, I was the one who came up with his backstory as an exiled Persian Prince.

preta

Preta is a Persian Prince, the Arch-Wizard of Aractrash, and a circle magic master. He is the son of Xerxes II and the true-born heir to the throne of Persia. He was a member of the Second Alliance involved in many of the Council’s most discussions and missions. Preta used lethal force during on a riot in Bradel Fields and was arrested. He fled the Alliance and took Hektor’s spot as the Arch-Wizard of Aractrash. Continue reading