Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rogue sneak-peak

The latest Ampersand column has a sneak peak at the rogue class traits. Let's take a look.

Role... check. (See how I didn't go on and on and on about how they're forcing roles upon us, and taking away the creativity and role-playing aspect, and how... oh, right.)

Power Source. This makes me wonder what happens if you multiclass. You'll have multiple power sources, right? So ... how does it matter what we put here? Really, does it matter what the power source is called? Don't we just use our powers, regardless of what the source is called?

Key Abilities. Strength? Interesting... sure, everyone likes Strength for extra damage (unless they've changed that!) but it doesn't seem to fit with the archetypal rogue.

Armor Training. Why isn't this "proficiency" anymore?

Weapon proficiencies... same as 3.5? I'm not sure - I never memorized those special-case lists.

Bonus to Defense. Okay, I'll give them that; by putting saves and AC into the same "class" of statistic, it allows an easier way to state the bonuses in one place.

Hit points at 1st level. Wow! If the rogue gets 12+Con, what do others get? This feels like Dungeons and Dragons Online with the extra 20hp you get just to make sure you stay alive long enough to pay your subscription. This change makes me sad, because I'm sure even the wizard is going to have 8- or 10-plus-Con, which really breaks a tradition of a wizard with 4hp to start.

Hit points per level gained. Static gains. Static gains?? Yuck. Why not just give me a chart on a piece of paper, where I can look up my adventure: "Let's see... we're a 5th-level party, we're going to face 11 goblins, a kobold chieftain with some croneys numbering less than 20, and an ogre. Yep, it looks like we'll win. Okay, shall we play some Uno?" Rolling for hp was useful for adding suspense to levelling up, instead of having everything pre-arranged. I bet this gets house-ruled in a lot of campaigns, back to a die roll.

Healing Surges. Yeah, we know what I think about those.

Trained skills. Oo, what's that. Starting ranks, some of which are required? These new skill names are going to confuse me for a bit, but I think even now I get 3.0 and 3.5 ones mixed up (survival? wilderness lore?)

Build Options. Oh. Good. I have two options. Heaven forbid I actually get more choices. Why don't we all just take one of the characters from the back of the adventure -- I'll be Mialee! -- and have the DM write scripts for us on what our characters say and do? And don't let me see the dice, which I think only the DM can use now!

(Sorry, I'm grumpy... someone just walked by my office stinking of eau de toilet (no, I didn't spell that wrong - figure it out.)) It looks like these build options are similar to the packages that 3.0/3.5 had for getting started, with suggestions.

Class Features. Are these just 1st level ones, and more are on the way? Or are these what are all available as class features, and they improve through advancement?
It seems that some do. Wow, and it looks like sneak attack got neutered. I hope some of the other rogue abilities make up for it.

Oo, and some Rogue Powers:

Deft Strike. It's not clear whether the "move 2 squares before the attack" avoid attacks of opportunity; perhaps this is meant to work in conjunction with the First Strike of the rogue, catching everyone flat-footed. "Dexterity vs. AC"? Does this mean that the rogue gets a Weapon Finesse-like feat for free? Very nice. 21st level for a damage increase, though... what an optimistic player that must be.

Piercing Strike. Attack versus Reflex. Very nice. To hell with you armored beasts!

Positioning Strike. Very handy for setting up flanking and such. Wow, two in a row!

Torturous Strike. Now I'm starting to see what they mean by not using basic attacks that often.

These last few have all had "Rogue Attack 1". What does the "attack" signify? A class of powers? Why classify them? Are there things that boost attack powers (versus utility ones)? Allow them to use them when normally unuseable? Are you only allowed to choose them at certain times? One of each?

Tumble. Is it a skill no longer? It *is* conspicuously absent from the class skill list. Does this mean youcan't have a tumbling fighter any longer (since this power says Rogue Utility 2)? Or is there a fighter's equivalent?

Crimson Edge. Dexterity vs. Fortitude. Very interesting. Here's a good example of that continuous-effect-until-they-save instead of lasting-X-rounds which they eluded to, obviating the need to keep track of repetitive things. I like that a miss still does damage.

Over all, the powers look very interesting. I was suspect before about the idea that all a character does is "special moves", and that the old-fashioned swing-a-sword idea was dead. But from this list, it looks like the attacks aren't overly powerful or overly flashy, but rather just better suited to the style in which that class would fight.

Ugh... am I starting to warm to 4e?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been playing 4E rogue now for 6 months. I really like the systems and the class based powers. Even fighters get to be something other than a meat puppet.

The monster encounters are tougher to since they have special abilities for their classes.

Things are less dependent on equipment and more on development of the character and how well you play them with the party. It is really a new breath of fresh air for D&D. Seems to be well balanced too.