Wizards of the Coast released a new 20 page PDF of Errata on July 7th, and not surprisingly, this new set of so-called “errata” has created quite a buzz on the 4E blogsites and message boards. In case you have not downloaded a copy yet, you can get it here.
The new D&D errata cover a variety of rules in all three of the Player’s Handbooks, as well as Martial Power, Arcane Power, and even Adventurer’s Vaults. And with the new changes to monster damage-output that we saw in Monster Manual 3, the Dungeon Master’s Guide tables governing setting damage, defenses, and “to hit” accuracy also underwent some changes. While many of the changes to Players’ rules have already hit Character Builder, Dungeon Masters will have to wait for the new damage and defenses for their “homegrown” monsters to show up in DDI Adventure Tools.
It would seem that the biggest topic of discussion is about the change to the Wizard’s Magic Missile power. There is no longer an attack roll associated with this power, and while the damage has been reduced, it essentially equates to an auto-hit/auto-damage at-will attack! Over at Greywulf’s Lair, his recent blog, 4e errata update: Wizards and Rogues do happy dance suggests that this new change is going to make a big difference in 4E games everywhere:
…but only does a teensy amount of damage (2 + INT modifier in the Heroic Tier). That’s enough to auto-kill a fleeing Minion or take down a Villain down to his last Hit Points in the most insulting way possible (expect “I finished Orcus with a Magic Missile!” T-Shirts at a store near you), and not much else.
Dude! It’s an auto-hitting At-Will Power! The potential for serious abuse at the game table is vast. Or it would be, if I could think up specific examples. But I’m sure there are some out there. Vast, I say!
As previously mentioned, the message boards have been rampant with speculation into the possible ramifications of the errata to Magic Missile, as well as other other changes. For instance, on the EN World Forums, at the time of the writing of this blog, the post count in the July Errata Is Up thread was already over 150 replies. The argument about Magic Missile being “game breaking” or “finally fixed” seemed to be slightly tilted toward the “finally fixed” side, with most posters seeing the new and improved Wizard power as being a good idea. Although one poster on the EN World Forums, Aegeri, pointed out that there was one 1st Level Daily Wizard Power – Wizard’s Fury – that made Magic Missile a Minor Action for the rest of the combat encounter! Certainly, there are some Dungeon Masters which might be taken a bit off guard the next time their Wizard Player-Character unleashes that combination of powers.
The changes to Magic Missile also sparked a bit of Twittering from Chris Sims, one of the original 4E Design & Development Team members. Chris (@ChrisSSims) had several comments regarding the changes to Magic Missile:
It’s valid to change a power because it’s weak, but doing so is unusual for the update process. Several weak powers receive no such favor.
Anyhow, the change is fine, and those who like it are not wrong. I’d just have preferred a different change for better reason.
*To make sure my position is clear (no fence-straddling), though, I am not in favor of any default auto-hit powers.
It’s certainly interesting to see how one change to a rule can spark so much lively debate!
Another big rules errata change was to how Free Actions are handled. The new rule states:
Free Action: Free actions take almost no time or effort. You can take as many free actions as you want during your or another combatant’s turn. There is an exception to that rule: A creature can take a free action to use an attack power only once per turn.
This change also has some 4E Gamers concerned, as there are some classes, such as Rogues and Barbarians, which get a number of free action attacks based upon situational criteria which develops during an encounter. It’s clear from reactions on the boards, that rules changes like these, well after Characters have been established, can tend to upset Players’ enjoyment of the game.
Inevitably, there were a number of changes to the new rules that were just released in Player’s Handbook 3. In fact, 20% of the errata pages dealt with updates to powers for Ardents, Battleminds, Monks, Psions, and Seekers. Many of these changes seem to have been greeted with open acceptance, although a few posters still felt that Psions needed “more work”.
In my own game, I know that the new rules change to the Rogue’s Tumble Utility Power will be hailed with great approval, as who doesn’t want to ability to shift one’s entire movement! The Avenger, however, in one of my campaigns will be a might disappointed with the change to Improved Armor of Faith, which has now become an “untyped” bonus, but no longer scales with Tier Advancement.
Thankfully, I do not have to worry about Wizards in either of my 4E Campaigns, although with the changes to Magic Missile, it might be a tempting Class to consider “re-rolling” into!
So how do these recent changes in 4E Rules Errata affect your campaigns? Are you pleased with the new rules, or concerned about them? Your comments are always welcome, and I look forward to your feedback!
So until next blog… I wish you Happy Gaming!