|D&D 4th Edition Post - Gamers Only!
||[Mar. 12th, 2008|10:50 am]
It's struck me recently whilst reading all of the D&D 4th Edition News and tidbits that have trickled out over the last few months - 4th Edition puts the players at the centre of the story in a way that 3rd Edition never did.
3rd Edition excelled at being a consistent system - if a Wizard fired three Magic Missiles at you, you knew he was either 5th of 6th level. A skill check was always the same, regardless of how success or failure would affect the story. Characters had to live by the rules of the world around them.
However, in 4e Edition this is not quite so true. For example, we've been introduced to some changes relating to healing. Put simply, once per fighter any character can heal themselves for an amount of damage - it's called Second Wind, and reflects the character taking a moment in a fight to recover themselves and keep on going. Characters that take a Short Break (5 minutes) can use their own healing to heal all the way back up to full (although you only have a certain amount of personal healing per day). Taking an Extended Break (six hours) heals you back up to Full Hitpoints, regardless of the amount of healing you have left.
At first glance, these all seem a little odd. But when you think about how it serves the story of a group of heroes fighting through tough situations, overcoming trials and accomplishing great deeds it makes perfect sense. Does Conan need to be healed by a Cleric every time he takes a couple of sword blows? Does John McCain in Die Hard get any healing at all? No - the story dictates that these characters can keep on going without magical assistance, and it makes sense that Player Characters (being the central part of the story, as they surely are) should be able to do the same.
Of course, there are still options for magical healing. We've seen abilities of both the Cleric and the Paladin that allows them to heal others (or themselves) and from what we've been told the Warlord will have similar abilities (more along the lines of "Get up and fight!" than "The power of my God shall heal you!").
I think this is a brilliant move. It places the characters (and thus the players) at the centre of the story, meaning their actions are important. Not everyone in the world heals completely overnight, but allowing the characters to do so avoids a lot of problems of campaigns being derailed by PC's heading back to the village every two days to get healed up.