Over the weekend, I spent some time poring over various game mechanics in an effort to get a handle on abstract movement. This came after I finished “codifying” the tools used by each of the Crafts, dividing them into two different types: “held” and “worn.” I think the two categories are pretty self-explanatory. But first, movement.

You know, Wizards of the Coast made a big hullabaloo about dynamic movement and stuff for Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons, so I thought it would be a good place to start looking. For all the attention that forced movement supposed received, seemingly basic types like “push” and “pull” are curiously absent from most classes.

In the Player’s Handbook alone, there between two and three times as many “slide” effects as effects that pull a creature closer, and almost twice again as many effects that push a creature away. While it seems fitting enough that the pull effects are mostly in the hands of the defenders (fighter and paladin), something is missing.

It seems to me that each class should feature a minimum of one low-level forced movement option. And why not? I thought movement was supposed to be a big deal, everyone should be able to get in on some of that “forced movement” action. And yet… Less than half of forced movement powers are available before 11th level.

So, this is looking at the Player’s Handbook, none of the following supplements, and doesn’t reflect the entire game. But still, the limited quantity and distribution of forced movement powers in a game that’s supposed to feature them prominently leaves a bad taste in my mouth. How are they supposed to matter again?

Anyway, I have to go back to the drawing board now. What’s a game that features good and/or interesting movement rules? And I do mean something a bit more than running-jumping-climbing movement. I mean pushing-pulling-sliding movement that effects more than just the player character. Seriously.