So, basically, whenever I'm on deadline I suddenly get the idea to post in my blog. I finished up PH 3 last week, and between that deadline and my last post I've had zero time to even look at this blog. Of course, that's when I get 28 responses to something I write.
So, let's tackle some of the things that came up in the comments:
Noism: I agree that painting WFRP as heroic is crazy, but that's how we played it. With a lot of RPGs (most notably Shadowrun) my high school group houseruled the hell out of them on the fly. In a lot of ways, we ran all our games (even AD&D) almost entirely by fiat. I vividly remember ignoring AD&D's combat rules left and right. I'd pick a number that a player had to roll to hit, and if that's what they got, that was enough. We did the same thing with almost every game we played.
2e's Goofiness: Perhaps it's the Greyhawk DM in me, but I direct you to Child's Play (the crappy module, not the charity), Gargoyles, and Terrible Trouble at Tragidor. Case closed! Or not, since one man's goofy is another man's form of government. I'm willing to accept that if you were an FR fan in 1989 (or passed on GH), that goofiness passed you buy.
And now, the meat of this post: I am calling complete bullshit on everyone who wants to try to tell me that 4e obsesses about combat to the detriment of everything else. Does it have comprehensive rules for running fights and building encounters? Sure. Just like every version of D&D that's ever existed.
Are characters built to excel at combat? Obviously, yes, just like how the skill system is built to allow any character at least a shot at making any skill check. 4e seeks to make sure that nobody is ever 100% helpless or useless due to player decisions made outside of a game session.
The truth of the matter is, though, that if you read the DMG, it talks a lot about working with your players, building plots, and roleplaying. I think the perception that 4e is an endless series of fights could come from the preview articles, which focused on the mechanics of encounter building because those are areas where 4e features a lot of improvements. I could easily see that happening if you read the articles and only skimmed the DMG. I admit that's what I'd do, because I've been playing D&D long enough that I rarely read D&D books cover to cover. I tend to skip around and read the bits that I need to run the game.
However, I find the idea that the DMG pushes a combat-combat-combat agenda an untenable position. It goes out of its way to talk about props, roleplay, puzzles, and catering to a diverse array of play styles.
Kalamazoo Day Two
2 days ago