D&D 4th Edition compared to . . . EXALTED

4th Edition

Silver Crusade

If there was a roleplaying game I could compare 4th Edition to, now readily, it would be White Wolf's EXALTED. Both 4e and EXALTED are based on the same design idea -- expression of your character in a particular idea.

After playing EXALTED for a while, I got the feeling that 4e was trying to be EXALTED, while trying to be D&D at the same time. In fact, I think 4e was skitzoid, trying to fulfill two approaches to it's design but it never got there.

To complete the comparison:

D&D 4e has powers; which you can presumably spam per encounter, per round, and per day. EXALTED has charms which allows it's D&D esque characters to summon things and to affect parley, and to do a number of things.

Having played EXALTED for longer than D&D 4e, EXALTED has probably, for me, satisfied it's design goals. D&D 4e is chasing two rabbits at the same time and failing to get any rabbits -- it has never satisfied it's design goals for me. EXALTED and its charms do work, and although overpowered (as some players say) the fights have never been too bad for me to keep track of. It actually took a while, but now I see EXALTED as superior to 4e.

I know this is half-baked, but if anyone has experience with EXALTED and 4e, feel free to say you have a difference of opinion. Also say why your opinion is different.

It would not surprise me in the least to find out that 4E took some design or mechanical ideas from Exalted but I doubt it was trying to be exalted. 4E quite clearly took a bunch of ideas from a large number of different games.

Andy Collins in particular stated that he was a huge indie game fan and that this had significant impact on his contributions to 4E and I definitely see lots of indie game influences on 4E.

In fact I'd go so far as to argue that what 4E was in some significant way was a kind of mass market indie game version of Dungeons and Dragons. It does often feel like this indie game that suddenly got all the support that a mainstream title normally gets. I also think that helps to explain its not particularly sterling success. Indie games are often indie games for a reason. Good ones might have a small base of very loyal fans that think the game is just the best but they usually fail to appeal to the broader stream of the genre's players. I think that does a reasonably good job of explaining 4Es appeal. A lot of players tried it and where turned off. A whole bunch more gave it a good run through but in the end it just was not for them. But their is a sub set who played it, like myself, who really fell in love with it.

Would not really surprise me if 4E was the last version of D&D I ever play. In its way it is a very unique take on D&D and its pretty clear nothing like it will ever be put out again.

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