Why I Love Nu-Skool D&D

 A few weeks ago I raved about how great Old Skool D&D is.  At first glance, you may infer therefore that I believe Nu Skool (and 4E in particular) sucks.  While it's really easy to make fun of 4E, I don't actually believe that it's bad. The two games are very different and fill completely separate rolls and niches.  I love them both in different ways, like my iPhone and my wife.

The cool thing about old versions of D&D is that's it's simple, random, and open to endless interpretation and tweaking. That's also one of it's greatest flaws.  The reason many people make up their own house rules is because the rules, as written, don't make a heck of a lot of sense.  And they're stupidly unfair.  Sure, having a wizard with 2 hit points who gets killed by a stray cat is funny the first time, but after dying 8 times in two sessions, that shit gets old. Especially when a significant portion of those deaths were caused by the same f***ing cat.

Three attacks per round.  AC 5. This things' a low-level PC grinder.
Similar annoying stupid rules include over-powered demi-human classes with level restrictions (that most people just ignore), fighters who have literally no abilities outside of swording, and first-level monsters and traps with save-or-die attacks. (What, I got killed by mould again?  Ah, man, if I wanted to be exposed to poisonous mould, I would go hang out at my old high school.)  Fourth Edition fixes these issues by introducing a strange and mysterious thing called Game Balance.  Say what you will about WOTC, they at least tried to make the game more fair and sensical.  This is not a bad thing.  That have made it so structured and well-crafted that when a flaw or imbalance does happen to pop up, the trolls rise up from their dark smelly basements with murder in their eyes and Cheetos on their breath screaming "BROKEN! BROKEN!" until WOTC errata's them back down into their caves.

Structure, in many ways, promotes creativity.  Having more rules forces you to think about how to get the most out of those rules, as well as how to get around them. Figuring out cool combinations of feats and powers can be great fun (albeit, by the definition of people who find algebra fun - and I know a lot of gamers that fall into that category).  The mathematical precision is comforting because you can always calculate what will be better for you in a given situation.  Part of the "game" is the puzzle of making the numbers work they way you want them to.

Of course, if you don't like math, you can, also, you know, just play an elf cleric because the picture in the book is sexy. I know players who have picked characters exactly that way.
People love video games.  They love building their characters in just the right way.  Nu Skool lets you do that, too.  You can plan your character's advancement over time, pick the gear and powers you want, and work towards acquiring them.  You are not constrained by the whim of your DM or the fate of random treasure tables.  You make a kick-ass hero to be proud of.

Random treasure can be fun, but really, how many Apparatuses of Kwalish do you really need?

That's something else that's stressed in Nu Skool:  You ARE a hero.  In old versions of the game, you start out as just some dipshit with a sword, or a newb wizard who knows one spell.  In 4E, even at low levels, you wield considerable power.  You can pull off crazy moves called things like "Inevitable Shot" and "Unstoppable Ninja Killing Strike of Super Awesomeness" (I think I made that one up... I think).  You can take huge amounts of punishment and get right back right back up and brush yourself off.  Hell, even dying is only a temporary inconvenience, since get resurrected only imposes what, a -1 penalty to attack rolls?  (I don't even remember, I've never actually had a character die).  Can you imagine, years ago, if someone told you that your D&D fighter could have hundreds of hit points, crazy magical weapons and gear, and could roll FISTFULS of dice for damage? Fourth Edition is the game that hard-ass old schoolers dreamed about.  Until they got it, of course, and then decided that they were too hip to play corporate-made games.

Whatever.  Though it's a very different game, 4E has its own strengths and I love it for its own merits. I love older editions for the same reasons, B/X in particular.  It's okay if you like something different than me.  It's also okay to like both.  There's way too much hate in the OGBloC. Can we all just get along, rather than argue about our games?  Especially since there are enough people outside the hobby who look down upon or make fun of us for what we do?  There's really no need for us to fight amongst ourselves.

We should be focusing our fire on the boss monsters.
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