Is D&D 4th Edition a “reboot” of D&D

When I was reading an article on io9 about J.J. Abrams Star Trek being a “reboot” it struck me. Isn’t that the same thing we have experienced with the latest edition of D&D? So, what’s a reboot?

Take the latest James Bond movie “Casino Royale” for example. Not only the actor playing Bond has changed, we also see the whole series restarted. James Bond isn’t 007 yet, and there are no signs of fancy gadgets and even Q. The whole movie is darker and more violent than most of it’s predecessors. I believe the same thing could be true with J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie. The ship and the crew are the same (played by a younger cast of actors of course) but there will probably be massive changes to Star Trek lore.

Now let’s look at D&D 4th Edition. The developers have taken a lot of the elements that made D&D and arranged them in new ways. They reintroduced concepts from eras long gone (like epic destinies) and took other concepts out completely (like Vancian magic for example). When you look at the new Forgotten Realms you can perhaps see it more clearly what I mean by reboot. It’s still the Realms in a way, but there has been some world-changing event that turned it into something new.

When you take this in consideration, you can understand why some people hate the new edition so much. It’s the same reaction I first had, when I heard of the changes they made in “Casino Royale”. “That’s not James Bond anymore… how could there be 007 without Q and his gadgets… this is just another action movie” these were my words. But when I gave the movie a chance, I was positively surprised.

But of course, there will still be people who are not content in the way things turned out. But that’s the way things work. And don’t forget: even if the “powers that be” reboot James Bond, Star Trek and D&D, nobody will take your “Goldfinger” DVD, your Star Trek Classic VHS collection or your AD&D 2nd Edition PHB away from you.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

5 thoughts on “Is D&D 4th Edition a “reboot” of D&D”

  1. Pretty good comparison, at least in that all fanbases mentioned have been stuck in a lot "They Changed So It So Must Suck" garbling and warbling. Me, I look forward to JJ Trek (and I disliked old Trek), I don't care for Bond (and I disliked old bond) and like D&D 4e (and I disliked 3.5). Hmm. Maybe there's a trend there.

    <abbr><abbr>Wyatts last blog post..I Belieeeeeve I Can Fly… (Lesbo Jet Fighters Review)</abbr></abbr>

  2. The shift away from the masochistic pre-game prep (that made all my players avoid DMing like a poking from a poop covered stick) has been a delight!

    4E has revolutionized my own gaming experience. So for me, it becomes more about the fact that my game is once again, working for me – not the other way around.

    Rebbot or not, it has been a breath of much needed fresh air, I was reminded again of that after playing in a 3.5/PFRPG game last night.

    Donny_the_DMs last blog post..F*** the edition wars. Sometimes you just need to play, Part II

  3. Food for thought.

    I think both 3e and 4e were reboots. The question is really whether we needed another reboot with 4th Edition. What 3e needed was more streamlined rules to make life easier for the GM. 4e has certainly got that spot on, but is perhaps paying the price for meddling too much with the overall tone of play.

    Could it be a reboot too far? That's something only time will tell; it's certainly dividing opinion right now, that's for sure.

  4. *shrugs* Fair enough on all fronts, but I’d certainly agree with Greywulf’s comment the most; a reboot is great if you’re looking for one.

    I liked 3X, and I’m not liking 4E that much, but the real shame is that support for 3X from WotC is obviously taking a serious hit here, and that makes me sad. I really, really hope that Pathfinder has strong support for a long time to come.

    RPG Ikes last blog post..A Better Way to Craft Wondrous Items

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