DAZ Studio, no postwork. Click to embiggen. The Ninja Goblin Minions are hiding.
In the good old days of 3e D&D, you knew where you were with your Evil Villains. After all, once you’ve sneaked a look at the DM’s notes and you know they’re a 10th level Evil Elven Rogue, you’ve got a pretty good handle on their abilities, all without seeing beyond that line on their character sheet. Heck, I’ve known unscrupulous GMs to leave inaccurate and downright wrong info just laying around for players to “spot”. Terrible, huh? Not that I’d ever do such a thing. Oh no……….. Tee hee.
Where was I? Oh yes…..
In 3e, a 10th level Rogue is a 10th level Rogue. In 4e D&D, that Evil Villain is unlikely to be a 10th level anything, but rather be something with Powers and abilities straight out of the GM’s fetid mind. Maybe there’ll be a bit of Roguely Power in there, maybe not. Seeing the top line of the Villain’s statblock will tell you nothing about what to expect. This is one of the reasons I’m coming to think of 4e D&D as being even more old-school than 3e. The GM is lord and master of the game again, and positively encouraged to make their own Monsters, Villains and more, all in the name of making the game their own. 3e is pretty good in this respect too, but building Monsters and NPCs was far too time-consuming to be achievable regularly. In 4e, it’s the work of 10 minutes (tops) to build something unique.
Oh, and in 3e, that 10th level Rogue would likely be a solo combatant facing off against the PCs at the end of the scenario. Over in 4e-land, that Evil Villain is going to face off against you with a pair of Stone Troll allies and a horde of screaming Ninja Goblin Minions. Both are fun, without a doubt.
But I know which one is likely to be remembered for the longest time.