4E is dead. Long live 4E.

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Ryven wanted to say one last bit.  He caught all the stuff I’m a bit too emotional to say, and is my chief co-conspirator, so definitely letting him in!   -Quinn


As At-Will closes down in its current incarnation, I wanted to take a few moments to say my piece about the state of D&D, especially 4th edition.

I’m just basically done with D&D, at least for now. Quinn cited problems with the community in his sign-off post and while I sympathize with his experiences, that’s not the issue for me. My pivot point is more systemic. We explored combat goals with Paths to Victory. We blew open the doors on skill interpretation with Serious Skills. We expanded the rewards mechanic with Penniless but not Powerless and gave ideas for fine-tuning the individual personality of a character with Off The Grid and the many Theme articles. We turned skill challenges from awkward, forced-feeling constructs into epic battles in the Elemental Sea. In short, we exposed as much of the guts of the system as possible and exploited them to the fullest. Looking around at the ‘workshop’ as it were, I don’t have anything left to tinker with. It’s time to pack up the tools and go somewhere else.

In a way, that’s where 4E itself stands right now as well. 5E is clearly on the way, even if we have no timetable or solid info on it yet. Its arrival is inevitable and any new innovations in the game will begin there. If the Legends and Lore articles are to be trusted, the game may actually be taking some steps ‘backwards’ so to speak – whether that’s a good thing or not is very subjective and not worth detailed discussion at the moment given the lack of real information. We’ll see some new powers and feats, to be sure, but the design space of 4E is full.

I should also state here that I still enjoy playing 4E, and D&D in general. I’ve found over the last year of running a regular game, though, that it’s really not my style. I’m highly improvisational and not much for writing out long involved plots, which D&D requires to maintain narrative continuity. The designers left intentionally left the storytelling almost solely in the hands of DMs and while that’s a perfectly legitimate choice, I grow tired of it. I need a new space in which to get my gaming kicks – one better suited for me.

I want to thank everyone who commented on our articles, be those comments praise or constructive criticism; I hope you all will stick around to see the new stuff we have brewing behind the curtain. I want to thank Quinn, David, Jeff, Jared and all those who have wrote for this site for letting me play in your backyard. Lastly, thank you to WotC for writing the game.

It’s not you, D&D, it’s me. You understand, right?

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About the Author

Ryven Cedrylle was introduced to 2nd edition D&D by his father at age 8 and has been hooked ever since. When not out somewhere with his nerd-loving wife, he spends an inordinate amount of time staring at small objects - primarily beakers, stars, books about religion and virtual gaming miniatures. Follow him on Twitter for previews of upcoming material and random nuggets of wit! There's also a guy Ryven knows who's trying to adopt a baby. Take a look at the site, see if you can help him out.