Hi all,
You shouldn't start with an apology but I am going to. This is a thread will ramble because it is ideas popping into my head about my first 4E campaign post-run in the shower

So 4E, IMO, is a great rule-set for a gritty world. Now this sounds a bit weird with the way characters, NPCs and monsters are portrayed but stick with me.

I like my campaigns to be dark and dangerous. My campaigns have always been like 4E PoL. My maps are 70 to 90% wilderness with kingdoms etc scattered about and travel in between dangerous. I also like lives of the populace of my worlds to be, in the words of Thomas Hobbes "poor, nasty, brutish, and short.". Dark dank cities full of the sick and poor, peasants scratching a living etc. It is a bit hard when CLW et al are there to take away injury, the remove spells get rid of disease etc, and many other spells provide fountains of knowledge to the all seeing authorities (detect alignment, zone of truth etc)

So how does 4E solve this dilemma? Well it doesn't really, but with a bit of tweaking (almost house ruling but more house interpreting) the rules will be great. And it is all thanks to simulaitionist nightmare that is hit points, healing surges etc.
nb. These are all thoughts which may well be modified once I have seen the full rules.

The way I am going to achieve this, mechanically, is to take 4E's interpretation of HP to the MAX...awesome dude. The rules are different for PCs (and important NPCs/monsters) and everyone else. For heroes, some monsters and whomever else I bloody well want (I am the DM after all!) HP will be totally divorced form health/injury/physical damage apart from cinematic 'I want my guy to have some blood dripping from minor cuts and a few bruises' type stuff. As in the Troy movie fight the will lose luck, energy, whatever. No real physical damage will be taken until the final fatal blow.
However for Joe Commoner he doesn't have HP like that (maybe he has Health Points instead of Hero Points? I dunno). When he takes a blow, falls from is horse, whatever he injures himself, normally badly, and will probably die. He will probably die for many reasons.
1. They won't have many HP. How I will work this exactly I won't know until I got the minion rules in toto in my hot hands
2. When they drop to 0 or less HP they won't be auto dead (like mooks in a fight) but they maybe be unconcious, lingeringly badly injured, whatever I feel is appropriate. I will write up a couple of tables if I fancy rolling it. If they take a heap load of HP damage then, yes, they are dead (hit by a PCs encounter power? woo-hoo off goes his head in a cinematic spray of blood!)
3. All those lovely 'healing' powers of leaders only effect Hero Point type HP. They can get you back on your feet if you are a gutsy fighting type, but they cannot close up a sword slash through the stomach!
4. Real healing (wounds, disease, etc) will (may) be available through (expensive and time consuming) rituals. More info on rituals required, especially healing ones!

So what does this mean? Life will be dangerous for Joe commoner. Disease and long term injuries for the poor schmoes in the background of the campaign will be common. My world will not be a nice place to live, if you are a nobody!

So what else needs a little creative re-interpretation?

Rituals: Normally expensive, (will prob need adjusting when I see the rules) but your average village priest will have a ritual he can do daily to help crops and animals along. He won't have healing word! Conversely it is also easy for anybody to learn a ritual to harm those sort of things. Suspicion and distrust of magic users will be common, accusations of witchcraft common- have a bad crop..must be beacause some one cursed it! Anybody can do these rituals with a little training so unless you are trusted member of the community, if you are wielding magic don't expect much lovin'. I really like the idea of twisted Joe Commoner cursing his neighbours calves after a slight to his wife; eventually falling deeper into depravity and summoning demons if he is not caught....

Paragon and Epic healing magic (Epic et al!): I don't really know how I am going to work all this. We probably won't play Epic anyway (all a bit crazy). But we shall see when the rules come out reference resurrect, remove disease etc etc.

So that is my ramblings on my gritty 4E campaign to come. My PoL will be dim with evil ritualists behind many doors and where they are no baddies accusations and distrust will be there anyway. The Children of the Light from the Wheel of Time type groups (both overt and covert) will be common.

So any thoughts, additions, criticisms?