Back to D&D after two years

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Hello, friends!

I'm coming back to DMing after one and-a-half years away from D&D. Back in early 2012 I wrapped up a 4-year story arc and moved on, wanting to GM and play other games. I walked away from this community, canceled my DDI subscription and deleted D&D blogs from my RSS reader. I really needed to play something else.

Now I'm back. I'll be running that old campaign from where it ended, beggining this weekend. I'd like to know what has changed in D&D 4e these past 18 months. What should I know? Which good books were released? Were there any relevant rules changes? I don't even know what's the present campaign setting (that's how "off" I was).

I'll be happy with any intel you may offer me.
Well, you should know that WotC isn't really making anything new for 4th Edition, and are working on D&D Next, which appears to be an effort to take everything back several editions. You can sign up for the playtest, though, and draw your own conclusions.

Here on the board we've often been discussing blocking, alternate goals, Session Zero, and player buy-in. Please join in.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Thank you, Centauri. So, no important rules changes? No relevant DM books were released?
I don't think a great deal has changed as far as 4e goes. You're best off getting DDI again if you want back into the game. I wouldn't bother buying any new books.

Out of curiosity, what have you been playing in the meantime? 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | The Art of Pacing (Series) | Improvisation Guide | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character
Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!
Check Out My D&D Next Playtest Campaign: The Next World

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Here are some things that may help you out as a DM:

- Sly Flourish's Lazy DM Cheat Sheet

- Sly Flourish's 4e Game Session Checklist

These two have been extremely helpful. His eBook is also very good.
I like the D&D Next rules, especially the lowering of attack bonuses and items. Makes attack/armor class actually matter, even at higher levels of play.

I don't understand what happened to saving throws though. I haven't played it but I scanned it a few times, and I approve. It isn't perfect but it will get better. When complete, I might make some adjustments to my own homebrew game.

Within; Without.

I'm also digging the D&D Next material. I highly recommend you check it out as well. My Wednesday night game is going to be converting full time to the rule set once this "last" season of Encounters is over. A lot of folks says it's like 2e, which I never played. Next is fairly simplistic right now, but I like that abut the rules.
Thank you for the links, jbmorga! They're gonna be very helpful.
I don't think a great deal has changed as far as 4e goes. You're best off getting DDI again if you want back into the game. I wouldn't bother buying any new books.


I won't re-subscribe to DDI yet. I don't know if I'll come back for good; heck, I don't even know I'll run more than one session. But it's gonna be weird not being able to check rules on the Compendium.
Out of curiosity, what have you been playing in the meantime? 


I've been running a lot of Savage Worlds (WWII + Lovecraft being the go-to scenario) and also Eclipse Phase, Hellas, and I was about to start a Unhallowed Metropolis scenario before I switched to D&D. I run a game for four to six sessions, wrap it up and then begin another one. The one game I didn't run but played was a Primetime Adventures horror/sci-fi four-session game. As you can see, I've been out of the fantasy genre since I took some vacation from D&D. I must say I don't regret it and this game I'm about to run's gonna be my... "test of fire" if you will, to see if I really want back.

Don't get me wrong, I love the game, it introduced me to RPG way back when and got my present group together. But I sometimes felt I was missing out on other fine games 'cause everything I wanted to run was D&D. My relation to this game is on probation — that's one of the many, many reasons I'm not interested in D&D Next. It's not the first time, though. It happened one other time during the Rules Cyclopedia days (I was also running way too much D&D).

I'm rambling. Gonna stop now.
I would struggle mightily if I didn't have the Compendium. It's ingrained into everything I do at this point. Probably a dumb move on my part in the event they shut it down.

I've heard a lot about Savage Worlds but haven't had the opportunity to play it as yet. I haven't heard about the others, despite making a concerted effort to try new games. I'll give them a gander. Thanks for sharing. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | The Art of Pacing (Series) | Improvisation Guide | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character
Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!
Check Out My D&D Next Playtest Campaign: The Next World

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Savage Worlds 

I dream of Beer Head Armies.

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