Haaldaar Examines 4th Edition Spell Descriptions

Trask may be weak after his long journey, but Haaldaar is a mighty haruspex. He bravely steps forward to blog in my stead. Today he examines the latest tidbit on spell descriptions from “Wizards of the Coast.”

Trask, The Last Tyromancer

Hello Livingdice faithful…

As the resident 4E propagandist (hey, I like what I see so far) I want
to bring to your attention the latest post on the WOTC website:

4th Edition Powers

It is pretty straightforward, fairly simple, and yet close enough to 3.5 spells that people will know how they work; almost intuitively.

Here is what I like:

Spell levels that match PC levels. Gone will be the day when you have to look up what level caster can cast a 6th level spell. Thank goodness!

Keywords! I think this will be the biggest deal that gets the least amount of attention. Keywords, which are akin to tags or META information, give a basic run down on spells and powers. The first part of the keyword area is a no brainer. It is At-will, Encounter, or Daily. AKA, how often you can use them. But the second part of the keywords section is where the amazingness sets in. For example, if the keywords are “Cold, Arcane” You know right away that stuff like Knowledge (Arcane) is what is needed to know about it. Resistance to cold is important. That is a basic example, but it takes all the “debate or look-up time” out of the game for these issues. I am starting to see why they say that playing, and especially DMing, is easier in 4E. You can read the article for more info on how this works.

Damage Types. You have all the traditional elemental types: Acid, Cold, Fire, Force, Lightning, Holy (now called Radiant), and Poison. Thunder (shock waves) have been given it’s own type and Psychic (psionic attack) too. But I am most looking forward to the new Necrotic type. It is described as “purple-black energy that deadens flesh and wounds the soul.” Man, that just sounds fun as all heck.

Implements! Low level wizards have reasons to carry staffs again! Not Quarterstaffs that we call wizards staffs. Something that helps us a bit until we can get that staff of doom-to-all-who-oppose us.

Now onto the Bad… Power Cards

Not that I think Power Cards are bad, or a bad idea. In fact, I kind of like them. They have been around for Eons. Remember the old Spell cards you could by in the AD&D Days that had all the spells on them? They were sweet.

What I don’t like about it is that it will give all the nay-sayers some ammo (even though they are ignorant if they use it) to say “See 4E is just like a game of Magic, or a game of D&D Minis. I think these cards are a good idea, especially if you are a caster. But this was the wrong time to talk about them and show pictures. The haters are in full force and they pull any kind of rumor or spew anything that can be twisted to their cause, to say 4E is the devil.

The entrails have spoken…

Haaldaar – The Holy Knight of Haruspice



Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.