Demo Discussions

Next Saturday is Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day, the official launch of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. For the past two weekends, I’ve been spending my Saturdays at Imagine Games and Hobbies here in Winnipeg, running demos from Keep on the Shadowfell and answering what questions I can about the new system.

It’s been a lot of fun.

The more I run the new system, the more I like it. In the quick-start rules, anyway, it’s wonderfully clean and flows nicely. Situations are very easy to adjudicate, factoring in the various defenses and abilities. Low-level combat has a much more dynamic feeling than in 3.5, with lots of shifting for position and more movement overall. The lack of iterative attacks speeds things up immensely.

And the way monsters work is just beautiful.

The fact that kobolds have flavourful tactics and abilities that make them stand out from goblins, for example. Kobolds get to shift one square as a minor action instead of a move action. Good for bugging out of tight situations. They also get a +1 to attack rolls for every other kobold adjacent to the target. Great for mobbing folks. Together, it adds up to a fairly cowardly creature that will, nonetheless, swarm you like a ham on an anthill if they get the chance.

Goblins, on the other hand, get a free one-square shift every time someone misses them with a melee attack, giving them the feel of quick, agile little buggers who are constantly running around you to evade your attacks.

Minions also work nicely. They talk in detail about them here. You get to throw a whole fistful of monsters at the characters, have them be a real threat, but not overwhelm them. It was great last night to see the looks on the faces of the 3.5 players when I put 13 minis on the battlemap for one of the encounters.


Next Saturday I’m going to be back at Imagine for the last round of demos. This one is a little different, though; Wizards of the Coast sent out a big pack of free stuff for folks who come down to play. There’s a new adventure, new pregenerated characters, minis, dice, maps, the whole shebang. The adventure looks to be about a 2-hour run, so I figure start at 11:30, and see how many we can cram into one day. We’ve got enough stuff that I think everyone who comes to play will be able to take home their mini and a d20, at least. Maybe we can sweeten that a little.

The adventure, though short (four encounters), has a neat mix of things, and should give everyone a bit of a taste of the game. There are, in fact, two different fighters in the mix of pregens, with different builds that show the kind of variety you can get, which I found very interesting.

So, if you’re in Winnipeg next Saturday, come on down to Imagine Games and Hobbies, try the game, and take home some free stuff.

It’ll be fun. Promise.

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