Monday, December 27, 2010

House Rules for 4e?

I thought the whole point behind 4e was that it was a complete, interlocking system of finely tuned rules.  Tweaking one part of it has the potential to unbalance the whole thing.

Yet, I keep reading about house rules for 4e in the blogosphere.  What's up with that?

I mean, if you want to make a lot of house rules, wouldn't it be easier to start with a slimmer, less restrictive, less mechanical system?

I know this post sounds like trolling (or flame war fodder) but I really don't mean it that way.  I'm actually posing a question -- why play 4e with all its errata and multiple gigantic rulebooks and beta online character generator (and subscription service) if you are going to house rule the whole thing anyway.

What's the upside?

5 comments:

Joseph said...

Technically, you could say the same thing about 1E, 2E or most other games. I'm not sure it's an argument that applies explicitly to 4E...

Sean Robson said...

I guess, because players just can't resist tinkering with rules. I know I can't (maybe that's why I love S&W).

But, yeah, 4E is not a tinker-friendly system so if that sort thing is your bag then a different system might be in order. When I was playing 3E I found that tinkering with the rules was like pulling a loose thread on a sweater - the whole thing started to unravel. And from what I've seen, 4E is even more tightly woven than 3E was, and therefore much harder to house-rule.

Jim Pacek said...

@Sean -- maybe that's where I was going with my comment. It seems like the more you house rule 4e, the more likely you are to break it. I agree with you -- I can't resist tinkering with the rules either. I'm enjoying the freedom to do that that S&W gives me...

imredave said...

Actually I have been threating to write a Lite edition 4e, since I didn't like the direction they went with essentials. Adding new character classes that don't conform to the guidelines set out by the old rules, is not simplfing it's complexifing. The fact that the new classes are straight-jacketed with few options just makes them less fun to play. Until the frabulos day when game companies and I see eye-to-eye on how games should be played, I'll keep houseruling them so they are more to my tastes.

Gaptooth said...

I run the D&D Encounters game at my local game shop, and although I enjoy it, the 4e play style doesn't suit me very well. But I'd rather stab my eyes out than try to house-rule it— or better yet, play something more flexible like Tunnels & Trolls.

I don't have a problem with any specific rule or system in Type IV D&D— it's the philosophy and creative agenda that the entire design serves. The reward for tampering with the rules in 4th Edition is breaking what the game does well. If that's not the game you want to play, there are a whole bunch of other games out there!