So, it had been a while. I’ve been busy, but no more! On to the next chapters.
CHAPTER 6: FEATS
Well, first of all, there are a lot of feats. They come in three tiers, namely the Heroic, Paragon and Destiny tier, and can be chosen once you reach these tiers and meet some other prerequisites. Some are really strong (Like the Jack of All Trades feat discussed above), some are pretty lame (Two-Weapon Fighting adds a +1 damage bonus to damage rolls with your main weapon… Huh?). I really have to play test a lot of characters to see if all the feats are interesting to pick and some point, but I guess they play-tested the feats pretty well. The biggest pro of 4th edition is the number of feats you can choose. You’ll end up with 18 feats at level 30, which is way more then 7 at level 20.
On to the next chapter.
CHAPTER 7: EQUIPMENT
Hmmm… Well… I’ve got mixed feeling concerning this chapter. First of, the art is crap. Especially the drawings of the armor. Weapons are okay except that as always, they didn’t look at the real thing before they started drawing. But what to make of the equipment?
Let’s start with armor. The basics are good, I think, but what troubles me are the special versions of any armor. These can only be found with a minimal enhancement bonus already in place. To replace your leather armor, you’ll find, at some point in your career, the upgraded versions of feyleather and starleather. The only real difference is that their base armor bonus increases from +1 (for normal leather) to +2 and finally to +3. I don’t see why this is even cool. It would be cool if you had a leather armor that was made out of feyleather if the fey part gave you some cool benefit, not just an increase in armor class. It would have been better is you could have just gotten a Paragon feat that gave your plate armor an additional +3 armor bonus and an Epic feat that gives it a +6 bonus. Instead, you’ll be wandering around in a warplate (whatever that is) and finally a godplate (!). In 3rd edition, certain materials gave you some special benefit. Mithril armor lightened your armor and adamantine armor gave it more strength. Some armors even lowered your spell failure chance just because they were made of some special material. Starweave armor, starleather armor, darkhide armor, spiritmail armor, elderscale armor and godplate armor are just silly excuses to scale the game better rather then cool, uniquely flavored new kinds of armor.
As we come to weapons, the rules really start to hurt. If the rules could be offensive, that is. Weapon size is somewhat out. Yes, a halfling is restricted once more to all those weapons that are already of a smaller size. Which is, of course, stupid, because halflings will ecrtainly have their own smiths. The silliest text I could find can be found under the weapon properties part:
Small: This property describes a two-handed or a versatile weapon that a Small character can use in the same way a Medium character can. A halfling can use a shortbow, for example, even though halflings can’t normally use two-handed weapons.
This is followed, somewhat later on page 220, by the following text:
Weapons and Size
The weapon tables assume a Medium wielder, which includes almost all player characters. Characters and creatures that are smaller or larger than Medium have special rules.
Small characters use the same weapons that Medium creatures do. However a Small character (such as a halfling) can’t use a two-handed weapon. When a Small character uses a versatile weapon, he or she must wield it two-handed and doesn’t deal any extra damage for doing so.
Large, huge and Gargantuan creatures use weapons that are specially sized for them. Each size category larger than Medium increases the weapon’s damage die by one size.
Now, am I by now the only person who thinks that the halflings must be pretty retarded for not making their own weapons and fitting them to their size? Any other size category of creatures does is. Very, very weird and totally redundant. It’s one of those things that I’ll change for certain.
But, it gets even more stupid when we read a bit further:
You cannot sell mundane armor, weapons or adventuring gear unless your DM allows, in which case you receive one-fifth of an item’s market price. Art objects or fine goods that have a specific value, such as a dagger worth 100 gp, bring their full price.
Uhm… What? Shouldn’t that have read:
You can sell any item you hold unless your DM prohibits it. Selling an item wins you about 50 percent of the market price, but you can haggle to increase this amount. A very good and charismatic rogue might even sell his goods for more then they are really worth. Bad hagglers might even decrease the amount they might have gained for the item if they would have kept their mouths shut. Art objects or fine goods that have a specific value, such as a dagger worth 100 gp, might bring their full price, but small communities might not be able to afford such a treasure and no manner of haggling will increase what they want to give you for the item if they just don’t have the gold to buy it.
Yes, D&D is a game, but certainly some logic is still involved? If the one selling you the armor can ask for its full price, then so can you. A fifth of the price is something no sane person will agree on. But the one-fifth part of the market price is integrated with the whole D&D economy to such an extend, that this will be quite hard to change. House-ruling seems in order here.
Which brings us to adventuring gear. 38 lines of adventuring gear, including 2 for category description, 3 for ammo, 2 for whole packs and 4 for implements, leaves us with 27 cool things to buy… 27. Huh? Why? Where is my good old D&D store which I like to peruse whenever I get some new gold? Where are the pole and the signet ring? How much is a good pair of boots worth? Why? Please tell me why? A friend of mine could build his character quick enough and would then spend a couple of hours going through a list of items, like fishing hooks, an tweak till he got all the right stuff. No more, I guess, and for no apparent reason but to slim down the book. They could have copy-pasted the 3rd edition equipment or even the second edition, but no. It’s a pitty.
On to magic items. Magic items are now included in the PHB, which is pretty handy. Identifying them is out. It isn’t fun to identify items anyway. O? well, let’s give them that (grumble). Items are priced according to their level, which is kind of handy. Everything is scaled to fit 4th editions linear progression and everything looks the same in that respect. Wow. Cool. I guess? There are quite a lot of magic items in the book and a character can be given that unique feel by applying them. Yet, somehow, they lack flavor. I guess that this is so, because many items seem to add to the powers of the classes too much. These items have no real power of their own. But some items are pretty cool. I need to play test them more to form a better opinion.
The strangest thing that I find missing is character wealth by level. If you include all magical equipment in your PHB and all the other rules for characters up to 30th level, then why not include that table?
This is it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read. The final chapters will be appearing soon enough.