The campaign I’m playing in currently has given me an opportunity to reflect on a lot of the problems in the game. Not balance problems, which I’ve obsessed with for years as a game master — problems with the game. Player problems.

I owe a lot to our GM. In his own way, he enjoys playing by the rules and encourages others to do so. He might be the first GM I’ve played under who cared not just about playing by the rules, but tries to also run a fun game.

That sounds really basic but it’s hard, believe me. A lot of GMs talk big — myself included — but ultimately run either By the Book OR according to Rule of Fun. Unless of course they’re total newbies or they’re just no good at all.

I’ve played with a lot of people.


So what on earth is the post title about?

Well, one of our players has an 4e Executioner — an alternate version of the Assassin class — which strangles things with a garrote.

I took an intense, possibly unhealthy (but brief!) interest in strangulation, and my research led me to the conclusion that the Thief or “Rogue” class should probably default to strangulation in its classic or archetypal form.

If one of the “core classes” took a “special interest” in one of the more convoluted and frequently under-utilized combat maneuvers such as grappling, then it could be streamlined for regular use. It could be expanded upon, optimized — you could have specialists without the crippling complexity.

Why does that matter?

Well, it led me to the supposition that if you could do it with one such combat maneuver — you might be able to do it with more of them — maybe even all of them. 3e and 4e have had problems with charge attacks, like the Ubercharger.

Anyone can move and attack with the action system. That’s part of the reason why attacks are a Standard action and maneuvers are a Move action.

So why can everyone use charge attack?

I think at this point, it’s more a legacy rule than anything else. But there are character types that would benefit from a charge attack — the Barbarian, for example. Why not make “charge attack” a Barbarian at-will power?

I’m sure the other combat maneuvers could probably be distributed to various classes — and perhaps the entire “combat chapter” could be disarmed and distributed throughout the “character creation” chapter.

Charging could be a barbarian thing. Disarming could be a duelist thing. Flanking could be a field marshal/warlord thing. Grappling — you get the idea.