As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons since Basic and 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Through the editions, I’ve seen a lot of changes. Some I liked – for example, allowing the Thief to choose how to distribute his percentage points among his Thief Abilities. Some I didn’t. What follows are some of the changes from 3.x to 4E that I don’t like.
- Alignment changes What is up with this? Sure, some folks consider the old alignment system restrictive and over-simplistic. The truth is, I partially agree with that sentiment. The 9-alignment system was very simplistic. However, throughout the editions, it was a constant. In 3rd edition, they built several mechanics around it, such as the various Detect and Protection spells, magic items, and damage reduction. It wasn’t perfect, but it made sense within the rules. My major problem with the 4E alignments is that they pared them to five alignments. Five. If you’re going to get rid of some, why not throw away the entire construct? In 4E, they have no real effect on the game, other than the options available to divine characters. Throw all of them out, and be rid of them, or, keep all nine, and make the logical connections like in 3.x.
- The Elemental Chaos In prior editions, the Inner Planes were the basic building blocks of the Prime Material Plane, and, sometimes, the rest of the planes. The planes were distinct, there were the Plane of Fire, Plane of Air, Plane of Earth, and Plane of Water. Now, in 4E, we have one single plane consisting of all four of the elements. No infinite plane for each individual element, they are now all stirred together in a huge mess. Sorry, but the classical elements divided make sense to me in this milieu, not a mish-mosh of all. How do “pure” elementals make sense now, if their building blocks intermingle randomly? Answer: they don’t.
- The Outer Planes Rather, the absence of them is a stickler for me. Related to my first point, the absence of the nine alignments necessitates the removal of the Great Wheel. Yes, I want it back, but look at what we have in its place. The Astral Sea, a single plane, wherein we have islands, realms where none other than the gods themselves live. No longer are infinite planes the homes of gods, but little islands where the greatest powers in the multiverse live. Why? Why limit gods to an island? OK, so the earlier editions’ gods ruled over finite sections of the outer planes, or entire layers of them, but there were boundaries there, and not just the “shorelines” of a sea.
- Eladrin Please, earlier editions had elves, and their offshoots, the drow. Why split the line further with another elf? What’s the point? So we can have an elf with different stat adjustments? Allow me to roll my eyes.