Breaking News: Roleplaying finally possible in D&D 4th Edition

When D&D 4th Edition was released a lot of people argued that it wasn’t not D&D anymore, that it was more like a boardgame and that the rules actually hinder roleplaying.

But today Ryan Macklin, the guy with a Master Plan, has finally solved this problem. From now on roleplaying in D&D 4th Edition is just as easy as using any other power!

Behold the “Dramatis Personae” power:

Dramatis Personae

Wow! That’s truly amazing! Roleplaying is possible in D&D 4th Edition after all! Wahoo! 😉

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.

19 thoughts on “Breaking News: Roleplaying finally possible in D&D 4th Edition”

  1. Roleplaying is possible — just as you are equally capable of roleplaying any of the tokens in Monopoly. The problem is if you want any structured rules for anything other than combat. Want to run a stealth game? Tough for you. Want to run a social intrigue game? Tough for you.

    Sure, you can just make up stuff on the spot. But we call that activity "let's pretend", not an RPG.

  2. Yeah, 4E certainly has no rules for stealth or social interaction. Come on, if you insist on pushing this little edition war at least read the books you're purportedly criticizing.

  3. How droll.

    Of course, you can already role-play in Monopoly, without the benefit of special rules.

    "Welcome, good sir, into my Baltic Avenue Hotel! I see you have parked your fine roadster in our ample luxury parking lot. Will your friend with the terrier be staying with you as well, or will you require a double suite?"

    So Monopoly has one up on 4E, I guess…
    .-= Joseph´s last blog ..Real-Life C.H.U.D.s! =-.

  4. @Walker, @Pangalin: Guys, come on! Don't tell me you didn't realize that this was a JOKE! Please note the Humor category under the post!

  5. *sigh*

    "just as you are equally capable of role-playing any of the tokens in Monopoly."

    No, not really. Hyperbole aside, 4E is perhaps not designed to simulate the kind of role playing game you like (i.e. it's designed for a high fantasy/magic action adventure setting), but it is still a role playing game.

  6. Sure, you can just make up stuff on the spot. But we call that activity “let’s pretend”, not an RPG.

    I wonder what that says about we lot playing, say, the pre-3e editions. I did and do "make stuff up on the spot" all the bloody time; that's rather the appeal.

    In other words, no.

  7. @Stargazer

    I did get the joke, yes, but I was silly enough to scroll down to the comments and my intolerance for stupidity got the better of me.

    My apologies.

  8. @Pangalin: No need to apologize. I think these edition wars make people a bit thin-skinned.

    @King of Geeks: Sure, too much roleplaying mars the perfectly fine skirmish game… 😉

  9. "The problem is if you want any structured rules for anything other than combat. Want to run a stealth game? Tough for you. Want to run a social intrigue game? Tough for you.

    Sure, you can just make up stuff on the spot. But we call that activity “let’s pretend”, not an RPG."

    So people were playing D&D wrong for decades? I never knew they weren't playing RPGs back then. I mean, I have my own beefs with 4th edition, but I can't agree with you at all, Walker. Social intrigue hardly needs rules, and the systems that support it in-depth always clarify that the rules should never get in the way of drama or story, so there is no real consistency, only the illusion of it.

  10. If only fixing the problems of 4e was so easy.

    Monsters are for killing. Suppose you encounter a monster and chat it up instead of cutting it up for XP. You might want it to accompany you on an adventure, and you give it some equipment to ensure its survival. How does it work? It doesn't. Monsters no longer have equipment, they are just sprites that drop loot MMORPG-style.

    Diplomacizing a monster no longer works.

    Not only that, any sort of social intrigue does not accomplish anything because there's nothing to accomplish. If a castle is gained as skill-challenge encounter treasure (and that's the only way to integrate social resources under the current resource management scheme), having a castle permanently cripples your character and is about as enjoyable as repeatedly punching oneself in the dick. If a social system complete with rewards like armies and bases of operation needs to be designed from the ground up, why the hell are we paying for 4e?

    It's even more insulting because Mike Mearls wrote the excellent AEG Empire, so it's not like he's just retarded: the "high fantasy" component was deliberately not included.

    Anyway, fun power.

  11. Oh yawn, it's the same old tired assertations.

    Monsters can be diplomanced, if the DM is willing to let it happen; this is absolutely no different than it was in prior editions.

    Just because a monster's stat block isn't the same as a PC's, doesn't mean it can't be used as a companion. Hell, there's even rules for equippage in the DM's toolkit; yes there are cautionary statements, but nowhere does it say "thou can not doeth that, neener". Some of this is assumed in the monster's level and magic adjustments, but you can always expand past that.

    And as for rewards that aren't monetary wealth/magic items, they mention those (including things like titles, real estate and the like) also in the DMG, and no, they don't count against your expected wealth guidelines. You earn it, you keep it.

    Please stop spreading disinformation.

  12. I'm not sure this is the correct place to continue the holy war of 4th edition "likers" against the rest of the world, but I totally agree with helgraf and Pangalin.

    Most of the negative comments on 4th edition D&D (and on 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) derive for a misinterpretation of the rules (at best), or by a selective blindness at worst. And I think this blindness is driven by personal taste ("I don't like it, so it should be faulty"), by wearing other's opinion as personal ones ("Hey, that guy said 4th ed. sucks! He's so cool, it sucks for sure!"), or laziness ("Of course… powers… blah blah blah… skill challenges… blah blah blah… yawn. Let's look to tables and skip all this paragraphs that make my head ache").

    Again, I repeat: rules are tools. They are designed to help you doing some work. If you want to use the wrong tool for the right work, don't blame the tool.

    Some people need tools for everything, some refuse to use most of them because they don't fit their gameplay; someone other, aren't be able to speech if there is no tool telling they can. DRAMATIS PERSONAE is especially designed for this kind of people 😉 (and it's an amazingly smart joke).

  13. I have got the 4th ed books and am still reading them, but will chuck in my 2 cents anyway… I grew up on role playing the first game I everplayed I didn't have the books so we made up all the rules. If 4th ed turns out to be just a system of combat I'll be estactic because I found all the rules that were added in advanced and in 2nd ed then to be chqanged and expanded in triplicate in 3 only added to the rolling in the game and detracted from the playing of the game if i wanted to do that i would play roll master where everything is covered by a roll and you can sit around all day playing with your dice. But I would rather play the game not roll dice….

  14. I decided to ad my 2 cents after seeing all the posts.
    Roleplaying in fourth is possible but both the players and the DM have to agree to use it and know how to incorporate it into their game. If you have a player that doesn't want to roleplay, the system fails.
    However, the system also fails in any other system if players don't want to roleplay and the DM does. It turns into one player doing all the legwork outside of combat.
    I once made a skill challenge for the players where the purpose was for the players to realize that the evil dwarves were trying to prevent a world shattering artifact from falling into the wrong hands and had no intention of using it because it was so dangerous. 4/5 players got the message and left.
    I've always said that the best book they published in Fourth Edition was the Dungeons Masters Guide. I have both the 2nd and 3rd edition dungeon masters guide and unlike them, the 4th book was actually useful.
    As for the holy war, my group came to the conclusion that 4th edition is not Dungeons and Dragons… but it is still a strong game with strong rules. Just not our cup of tea.
    Loved the new power by the way.

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