D&D 4th E - Level Up Impressions

Have plowed through almost half of Keep on the Shadowfell in our group, and we went through the level-up process before this past week's session.  A few new thoughts about the new rules, which honestly none of us are really all that fond of at this point:

  • The deterministic nature of a lot of the system just bugs the hell out of us.  Gone are Reflex, Will, and Fortitude saving throws...gone are rolled Perception and Insight checks (at least in "passive" situations)...no more rolling for hit points on level-up...it's all based on specific scores.  I'll be honest, I liked the random factors that were in previous editions.  A lot of those are gone now.
  • In another move toward "roll-play" and away from "role-play", skills are no longer an effective method of customizing your character...each class gets 4 skills that they're "trained" in (giving them a +5 to their checks), and all other skills grow at +1 every two levels.  So, while some PCs can be better at skills than others, the benefit doesn't seem that great, and PCs focus less on skills.
  • Attacks of Opportunity are horribly overpowered in this edition.  I think they pretty much were in prior editions as well.  We're house-ruling the entire thing, so that you only draw an AoO when a creature leaves your threatened space, rather than entering it.  We'll try that out next session and see how it goes.
  • Wizards actually appears to have "bent" the rules with their pre-made characters for the Keep adventure - when translating them over to actual character sheets, using the rules in the PHB, there were several things that were completely dropped, ignored, or augmented for no apparent reason (such as the ability of Half-Elves to take any at-will power for any other class and use it as a Daily power).

It's still fun, and we're still trying to see what we like and what we don't...definitely do NOT like using a map and counters/miniatures.  Seems too much like a board game and not like a "true" role-playing game.  I'm also wondering how much of it is due to using the pre-made adventure, which is more of a dungeon crawl than my gaming group is usually used to.  Whether we can effectively build a "real" campaign within these rules is still up for debate right now.  There seem to be a lot of limitations imposed by the rules themselves...so there  may be some chnages needed as we move along.