We ran through a couple of encounters last night in our new roleplaying campaign. First time we’ve used the 4th edition rules in anger, so all of us were a little slow and spent time referring to stuff in the rulebook.
I have to say, I was surprised it ran as smoothly as it did, the positional issues didn’t affect us as much as I feared, and provided a decent tactical element. The use of powers instead of basic attacks is the real difference, and it certainly gave my character (straight forward fighter) more options during the fight, without having to rely on feats. For example, my fighter has two ‘at will’ powers which are essentially regular attacks. One (Cleave) allows him to hit a second target for a small amount of damage if he hits the first target, and the second causes minor damage to a single target even if the swing misses. So depending on how many targets are adjacent to him, he gets to pick which makes more sense.
Also, we had a Warlord in the group, who has a power which provides additional damage to basic attacks so during one combat round I used a base attack to benefit from that.
All-in-all the combat seems ok, we’ll see how it ramps up. At the moment, I still feel bereft without haste, multiple attacks, dual wield and stat increasing spells (Bull’s Strength!) which were such a strong feature of 3rd edition, but I’m sure we’ll get used to them not being there.
The two major things I learned yesterday about 4th edition,
- You don’t roll saving throws any more, they work like AC (i.e. they have a static value which the attacker has to beat). This is going to take some getting used to. You do still make some saving throw rolls, but they’re a straight d20 and succeed on 10-20 (I think), they’re used when you’re under the effects of spells (for example, sleep).
- Everything about combat has bigger damage numbers, and everyone has more hitpoints. It’s going to take some getting used to. In earlier editions not being hit was key early on, but in 4th edition everyone has far more hitpoints at first level, including the bad guys.
Oh, and being able to Shift in combat makes much more sense, it may only allow you to move 1-square at a time, but at least you can shift through the enemy without incurring opportunity attacks if you need to.