Because I pick at things, examine them, dissemble them, and try to put them back together, I looked at what I had done with Norvendae, and wondered if I could do the same thing with Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Despite all my complaints, I think Dungeons & Dragons will remain a guilty pleasure of mine … forever. But still, I like to pick at things, examine them, dissemble them…

I imagined what Fourth Edition would be like without ability scores — I mean, I kind of like where they are now, only reaching half as far as in Third Edition (where they enabled virtually everything your character did), but are they needed at all? (I looked for an old thread at The Gaming Den about “Fifth Edition” and the necessity of ability scores, but was unable to find it.)

In a similar thought, I imagined what a character might look like before a class were applied to them. To get a clearer picture, I reread the section of the Fourth Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide which describes creating NPCs like monsters, and figured that would be a good place to start. I assumed for a character of the Heroic tier for simplicity’s sake. One at-will, one encounter, one daily, and one utility power.

I wonder if that’s meant to include any racial powers or class features that normally get bundled? Beyond that, each non-player character is assumed to receive one healing surge per tier of play. Oh, I had this other random idea — since Third Edition includes a number of concepts players seem to cling to, I wonder what sorts of things could be incorporated, and what might still be relevant.

Let’s start with this as our chassis, then, and make some adjustments based on what’s necessary to actually play the game and allow it to be fun at the same time. What are the player powers in Dungeons & Dragons? What abilities are always at a player’s disposal, and what are they always allowed to do when it’s their turn?