Friday, August 31, 2007

The light goes on

With all the little hints about roles and talent trees and per-encounter abilities, I have been quietly withholding judgement until I saw them in action. With today's Playtest Report, we got a little glimpse, and I think I finally see what they're doing.

The quick battle described in the article definitely describes an interesting flow of battle, with large actions and small. When writing up adventures in story form, I consciously try to blur the line where specific d20 actions are taking place and try to let it read as a battle that isn't under a regimented, turn-based system. From the way that Sims wrote this battle, it seems that the game system itself provides the smaller features that help round out the battle into a smoother event instead of a bunch of discrete actions.

I especially liked the "shout of encouragement" from one character to the others, what sounds like an immediate-action morale boost. This got me thinking to the bard, whose job that typically falls under, and how that would have taken a full standard action to get a song into play...

And then I moved onto today's Design & Development article, which talked about exactly that. Rob Heinsoo talked about how his bard would spend the first two rounds of a battle buffing up the rest of the party, and this is exactly what I see when our group has a bard. This is where the 4th edition idea of roles is finally sinking in with me, when he says "every Leader class in the new edition is designed to provide their ally-benefits and healing powers without having to use so many of their own actions in the group-caretaker mode".

Whenever I play in a party-based game, whether pen-and-paper D&D, D&D Online, or even back in Ultima Online, this is the role I would gravitate to. I enjoy being the one that heals the party, boosts the party, saves the party - while they're saving the rest of the world. I guess I enjoy being a Leader.

That's why I'm the DM.

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