I'm a big fan of 4e and the Points of Light setting was a big reason why. Rob Schwalb did a blog post about one of the reasons the game was poorly received back in the day (I'll do a post about it this week that will include the archived link because it's "gone" now). That reason? The layout which was shockingly different than prior editions and used notation similar to Champions and Card Games (including keywords etc.). This gave players a sense that the game was more "gamist" and "simulationist" than prior editions and that it wouldn't support "narrativist" play. The thing is, page 42 of the DMG is one of the best "theatre of the mind" pages of rules ever written. You can run an entire campaign with just that and a 3x5 "Monster Manual on a Card."

Did the game have tactical rules? Yes. So did 3.x, which was the first game I ran where my players demanded we used miniatures because the flanking rules and attacks of opportunity were very strict, actually stricter than 4e's.

Anyway, the Points of Light campaign was really interesting and so were the transition away from the traditional planes model to one with the Feywild and Shadowdark. Those added awesome elements.

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Aug 27Liked by Red Dice Diaries

I know a lot of us run our own setting and worlds but one of the reasons D&D, ShadowRun, 40k and the like are so successful is the concept of a shared and known setting and lore. Many smaller games like Blades in the Dark use this to great effect. Players can settle into the world an find their place in it almost instantly, there is a common language and knowledge between players/characters from the first game. People can read about and know about the world…this is often forgotten and underestimated. If I throw up a quick pen shot in a well known setting like mystara, greyhawk or a game like blades, there is a good chance players at the table start inhabiting their characters and the world from the second we sit down…they are comfortable they “know” they their characters would know already and this is a world they have lived in. Having a baseline like this in 4e is definitely an underestimated boon, even if I understand why many malign a game that includes a setting.

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