Dungeons And Dragons The Gathering


I tossed out a throwaway comment in reply to The Alexandrian’s rather excellent post about 4e D&D’s Dissociated Mechanics. I said:

I agree 100%. Large chunks of 4e D&D just don’t make sense, and for me that weakens the game. I want to role-playing is a world where the role I play is reasonably logical.
Of course, D&D has never been exactly simulationist, but 4e has completely dropped the ball. Just ask “Why?”, and the whole thing falls apart.
The more I see, the more it looks like Magic++.
They’ll be suggesting we “tap” our miniatures next……..

After reading through Merric’s analysis of the Halfling Rogue and Dragonborn Paladin, I’m even more convinced that 4th Edition owes more to Magic the Gathering than it does to E. Gary Gygax. Combat is going to involve players taking it in turns to select powers, calculate effects and crossing off uses. All they need to do is create Booster Packs with Stat Cards, and we’re there. Oh, wait……..

With 4th Edition, it looks like D&D has become Advanced Magic the Gathering. It’s Magic with Miniatures and a bit of plot to surround the card battles. That’s cool if you like Magic (I do!) and want something with a bit more depth and complexity. Think of it as Magic where the all but one player gets just a single card, but they can create it themselves. Their task is to gang up and defeat all the Creatures belonging to the other player. Cool, yes, but role-playing it ain’t.

Heck, there’s even interrupts. Here’s one of the Halfling’s abilties:

Second Chance Halfling Racial Power
Luck and small size combine to work in your favor as you dodge your enemy’s attack.
Immediate Interrupt Personal
Effect: When an attack hits you, force an enemy to roll the attack again. The enemy uses the second roll, even if it’s lower.

If’s that’s not pure Magic the Gathering, I don’t know what is.

I’m not sure whether this shift is intentional or just a by-product of Wizards being the home to both D&D and Magic. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a conscious decision, and wouldn’t blame ‘em either. Consolidation of the two product lines makes sense, and would certainly be a Good Thing for D&D. Imagine being able to buy D&D scenarios, minis and more from the same place you can buy Magic decks. Here in the UK at least, you’re lucky if just one bookstore has a single shelf of role-playing goodies in your local town, but Magic cards are available anywhere. Heck, I’ve seen ‘em for sale in gas stations. How cool would it be for D&D to be available there too?

The only problem is……. I’m not sure it’s the kind of D&D I want to play.

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