"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I guess I kinda owe 4E an apology

I was recently flipping through the 4E PHB and the DMG and I think I have to apologize for the direct or implied criticism I made back here and here that 4E is not a rules-light game.

In looking a little closer at the rulebooks I would say that it is in fact a rules-light game. The core rules a DM needs to know to run it appear to only be about 70-80 pages in the PHB and another 100-ish pages in the DMG. The pages and pages of character racial and class powers - which make up the bulk of PHB and PHB2 - and the monster statblocks in 4E are not really rules the DM needs to know to run the game. They can just be referenced as needed. That is just a little bigger than my beloved B/X (of course the 128 pages of B/X do include monster statblooks).

So my apologies 4E. I am still not too sure what I think of you otherwise but I do now consider you rules-light.


  1. My main problem w/ 4e has never been its rules heavy they have actually done a decent job of simplifying the system from 3.0/3.5. My main complaint is that it just feels like a different game. Its alot of fun but its not quite D&D to me. The only other complaints is that combat is still a little slow but better than 3.5 and that out of the box it is a very High Fantasy game and doing a Sword and Sorcery gritty fantasy game takes a bit of work. Dming 4e is definately easier however I have heard complaints from players more than DM's. Mine complain about lack of player options however I do not see that. Overall 4e is fun just a differnt game. When I want to play D&D I perfer Oed these days. If I want a High Fantasy high powered game 4e would be a good option to turn to.

  2. You don't owe 4E anything! You paid for the books, right?
    ; )

  3. I've been running/playing 4E for over a year now. If you print out the conditions chart and make sure the players have some sort of power cards, then you really never have to open the rulebook in play. (I subscribe to Insider, so I just open Compendium windows to get my monsters' statblocks.)

  4. Meh. 4e isn't really rules-heavy, it's just not very flexible. The trouble with it is entirely in the PHB: Basing your character around a double handful of extremely specific combat powers just doesn't cut it most of the time.