This post about D&D Fight Club over on How to Start a Revolution in 21 Days or Less couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve been thinking about how we could turn 4th Edition D&D into a game we could actually play – with the minimum effort, of course! Y’see, 3rd Edition D&D pretty much nails it when it comes to our fantasy RPG needs with it’s hundreds of classes & races and thousands of fully stated critters. 4th Edition is even more of a combat engine and less of a role-playing game to the point where it barely needs a GM at all. All of the decisions are right there on the character or monster stats, and it’s 100% battlemat and minis driven. That’s good for combat, but creates an almighty disjoint between the combat encounters and the immersive role-playing parts of the game. What to do?
Taking it a little further, Gladiatorial Fight Club!
I’ve cracked open my much loved copies of Dungeon 96 and Dragon 303 complete with the Arena battlemat. I’m going to plonk it straight into Ptolus as the scenario and location is an almost perfect fit for the Oldtown Arena from page 315 (Districts vol 2, pg 45) so the players have a familiar setting. Players generate 3 characters each and the players can issue challenges to each other and will gain Fame Points for victories in the Arena. Refusing a challenge costs 3 Fame Points for cowardice!
Each combat is at least 2-on-2 and can be between multiple players. For example, one player could pit his three characters against two other players’ toughest gladiators, or even battle 6 against 6 with four players in a spectacular free-for-all. Fame Point rewards and Spice (twists to the normal Arena rules) are agreed beforehand. The winning team splits the Fame Points for victory evenly in addition to any gained in-combat for signature moves and crowd-pleasing stunts. XP are awarded for defeating opponents as per 4e rules.
I’ll be playing characters too as just another player (yay!) but will also steadily advance the plot as per the Pandemonium in the Veins scenario, allbeit at a much slower pace. There’ll also be a few special monster and NPC battles in there too, for a little variety. I’ll post up a league table for the players so they can see who’s heading up the Hall of Gladiatorial Fame. Hehe.
Hopefully this will get us more familiar with 4e’s quirks and foibles and well as give us a chance to experiment with different class and race combos without feeling too much loss if a gladiator bites the sand. We’ll also be able to work with 4e’s emphasis on teamwork and tactics too so we’re all geared up when 4e is all growed up and finally able to replace 3e as our key fantasy game. That’s a way off yet though.
So what do you think? 4e D&D Gladiator Fight Club? Good idea, or what?
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