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View Full Version : OMG .... WOTC does it again



delgondahntelius
06-11-2008, 06:20 AM
http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/insider/gametable

They just can't leave anything alone.. now they have to come in and try to corner every single part of the market...

:x:x:x :((

This really doesn't make me happy for some reason ... maybe its just me.. maybe its that last proverbial straw...maybe... just maybe... WoTC is the DEVIL....

bleh

torstan
06-11-2008, 06:52 AM
Well, you can't blame them for wanting to get in on an obvious market. It's just the natural extension of Heroquest which was always quite close to D&D. They have a problem though as the free apps and cheap apps appear to be superior in function to the gametable they are putting forward. The only thing they have got going for them is the eye-candy 3D effect. That will get them a decent following I'm sure, as will the fact that they have the 4ed rules built in.

The eye-candy cuts both ways though. If you want to do something that can't be built in their 3D app then it is going to be harder to get your players to suspend their disbelief and go along with a verbal description that is at odds with the 3D views they are used to.

I think the 2D apps actually have the edge in this one as no-one expects the 2D top-down views to be anything more than representative. Also, they are rules agnostic and appeal to broader markets than WotC. Also, as far as I can tell, trevor from rptools and Redrobes (of here, and ViewingDale) are not actually physical incarnations of EVIL and so probably have an edge there too :)

PS Just to appeal to all the anti-WotC among us (I'm a 3.5 player so don't actually have that much of a problem with them) - they recently screwed up by releasing a 'screenshot' of gametable where they had just stolen the dice from a screen-grab of Fantasy Grounds. Whoops.

Sigurd
06-11-2008, 07:25 AM
Torstan I agree with your point but dont share your faith in the members of the market. ALOT of sales are just bought for someone else or impulse purchases based on reputation and hype. WOTC will have the most of both.

Personally I think they'll have a long way to go before they can compete with the openness of the other VTT's.

I know what delgondahntelius means when he says this makes him mad. I really want Maptools and Fantasy Grounds to succeed. (I don't have experience with the others) They're plucky startups that filled a need when nobody else would.

I really really hope users of the VTTs reach out to other people and help the programs grow. Esp in RPtools case where I think the Open Source thing is a big philosophic plus.

I am fundamentally biased against anything that WOTC adds to this market, doubly so if they expect a monthly fee. I think the bigger problem for WOTC is that the market may not be big enough to justify their interest. If their efforts are not successful enough it could hurt their rep and video game licenses.


Sigurd


I'd love to see the market 'correct' and kick out the big players (including WOTC). This should be about story telling not sales.

torstan
06-11-2008, 07:53 AM
WotC has to be about sales unfortunately as they are a business. However I don't think it is quite as bad as it sounds. The gametable comes 'free' with the subscription which also includes Dungeon and Dragon magazines and a rules compendium. I think other people do elements of all of those better for free. However it still seems a decent package for the cost of 2 print magazines a month so I don't feel WotC are being completely unreasonable with the pricing they are using for these products. However that may just be because I am looking on from the perspective of the UK pound which makes $15 pretty affordable :)

As this is only a subscription service, I don't see how this being bought by someone else as a gift, or as an impulse buy really affects this. Anyone who impulse buys a monthly subscription and is disappointed will drop it after a couple of months and go elsewhere. The other apps just need to reach these disaffected users with advertising, good word of mouth and pretty screenshots so the disaffected know what they are missing elsewhere.

As for rptools succeeding, I think they already have. There is a solid and loyal user base for what is first and foremost a hobby project. As I understand it maptool was never intended to be a business. It is a fun free app developed for fun and the love of a type of gaming. Trevor is happy to keep coding it as long as people give him fun and challenging extras to code in and (most importantly) post good feedback whenever a game goes well with it. I can't see users migrating away from maptool given we seem to have a developer who does it for love, gives it away for free, tries to incorporate specific requests into the programme on the time-scale of a month or so and is willing to talk directly with any user experiencing problems until those problems are resolved. When WotC provide that level of service for free there may be a question but I can't see that being too cost-effective!

The paying apps are a different matter as they are actually in competition with WotC.

Redrobes
06-11-2008, 08:15 AM
Gametable is old news though recently released. Its been talked about a lot right back to iCon 2007 no less. Theres a lot of chat about it on FUM but ill summarize the salient points.

1. Its a pay per month subscription type model which is the primary beef for just about everyone who has ever commented on it.
2. It uses these 3D tokens of which you cant build them yourself.
3. You actually have to pay extra on top of the monthly subs to get more tokens over and above the 2D ones.
4. All players 3D tokens are pooled for the session but if a player leaves for one week then his token goes away.
5. Nobody has ever seen a real wilderness screenie so far. Alright if you like dungeons.

( The details are not clear so I might have some errors in there ).

In terms of VTTs there are about 5 really good ones of which just a few are pretty popular and of them MapTool is the most popular because it is good and free. If MapTool declared that somehow they wanted to charge then I think things would be different. Of the 5 good ones I think all the others charge. Then there are some really popular not so graphical tools like (what is it ?) OpenRPG (?) plus another 30 something VTTs of some kind or another.

WotC is playing catchup and though they have money and legal IP on their side I think the game is over for as long as MapTool keep up the pressure. Traditionally WotC software has been rubbish but this looks better than previous outings.

Theres going to be some people who will use official stuff no matter what but methinks that you would need a hole in the head to want to use gametable - if not then expect a hole in the wallet at any rate.

I don't think that WotC really get that RPG's are predominantly a user generated concept. Its hard to monetize it beyond the core rule books. This is particularly true now that desktop software can make great maps, printers can print them and the write up to commercial standards and the internet allows you to deliver them to anyone on the planet.

Redrobes
06-11-2008, 08:22 AM
I'd love to see the market 'correct' and kick out the big players (including WOTC). This should be about story telling not sales.I think ole Del here makes adventures. Gamerprinter is writing and printing them. The Cartographist is making stuff. It's happening already. Theres no future for WotC - its a done deal and this is basically just death throws which is why I have always been happy to acknowledge the good MapTool is doing despite it kinda competes with mine. I would rather anybody comes up with a decent VTT which becomes popular before WotC expire than nobody makes a popular version or mine was partially popular and then trailed off so that there was no D&D after. It will continue whilst there is a mechanism to play and people want to. People always want to and in the last few years there is now a mechanism - actually a bit of a plethora.

Talroth
06-11-2008, 08:56 AM
Did anyone look at the system requirements to that thing? What are they doing with all that processing power? Cracking NSA encryption codes?

I would have to look into it more, but the 3D tabletop might be fun to play on, provided there was a large enough pool of 3D minis, and it was made easy enough to import your own custom ones, or allow users to upload their own custom creations to a common's pool, because there is no way any popular company can outproduce their fans these days in content.


In all honesty, I think WotC needs to get cracking on getting developers to license more D&D PC games, especially with 4th edition rules which will translate very well to the PC I think. For them to attempt to rely on tabletop games as their bread and butter is something likely to kill their business.


Lack of Mac and Linux support, and rather insane system requirements for what is shown, suggests that their online tabletop isn't going to take off as well as it could. I personally don't relate "Likely to use windows" and "Likely to be willing to fork over hundreds of dollars for D&D" as two qualities common in a single person. (This said, I do tend to use windows most of the time simply because I keep forgetting to get around to installing linux)

NeonKnight
06-11-2008, 10:04 AM
Ok, time for me to either shine or fall based on my COOL inside knowledge.

The 'table' utilises all of the current Dungeon Tiles products as well as will incorporate future products.

Outside maps seem to be limited to mostly a topdown view of the current D&D Miniature maps. I would not be surprised if some sort of means is provided to allow someone to scan in hand drawn maps.

As to the minis, I know that all of the miniatures that will initially be provided for the table will be the same miniatures as those found in the current Dungeons of Dread D&D Miniatures in Stores now. These minis are the first of the new line of minis to be produced from 3d Art software, and so will all future miniatures. This means that at minimum, the miniatures for the 3d table will be updated three times a year with 60 more miniatures. I do not know if the old miniatures currently out will be scanned in or whatever.

The system looks cool, but is not something I personally would use.

Talroth
06-11-2008, 10:18 AM
Well, looking at the other tools they're offering.
"The D&D Character Visualizer is client application that allows you to build the character you want to play, either for your D&D tabletop game or for your game on the D&D Game Table. You select your race, gender, class, and equipment, and this tool allows you to customize your character as you see fit. Once you've built a character you like, you can create a digital miniature of the character for the D&D Game Table or include a snapshot of the character on your D&D character record sheet."

That actually doesn't sound half bad really. I likely wouldn't buy a subscription myself, unless it was like $30 a year or something, in that case I might be willing to drop a bit of cash for it.

GlennZilla
06-11-2008, 10:36 AM
I likely wouldn't buy a subscription myself, unless it was like $30 a year or something, in that case I might be willing to drop a bit of cash for it.

It's $10 a month if you prepay for the year in full. So it's $120 a year for everything.

The Character Creator is the only app that I am excited about. Being able to quickly (Please God!) select a few options and print out an NPC or new PC would help me greatly.

The Character Visualizer is nice if you've never heard of Daz or Poser. The output looks about like Poser a decade ago.

The Rules Compendium is expected to be the first app released. And according to the Gamer Radio Zero Podcast it's probably going to take the form of excell spread sheets. Too late, I got a player building an access database for me of all the races, classes, skills, feats, powers, equipment, and monsters. She really likes that kind of work and it helps her with memory and comprehension of the rules. God Bless her!

The Dungeon Builder sounds neat but it's probably going to end up being dungeons only, I dunno how much I'd use it. It's a natural extension of the tile mapper WoTC released before.

Dungeon and Dragon magazines will now be online and electronic versions. They seem to drop the ball on collecting the issues into one single PDF file. The last one I saw was Dragon #360. That's disapointing, but not a deal breaker. I have enjoyed the content so far since they took them in house, somewhat. But frankly, I miss the ads from the Paizo days. Now I have to try to find out what Crystal Caste is pushing directly.

Valarian
06-11-2008, 11:17 AM
PS Just to appeal to all the anti-WotC among us (I'm a 3.5 player so don't actually have that much of a problem with them) - they recently screwed up by releasing a 'screenshot' of gametable where they had just stolen the dice from a screen-grab of Fantasy Grounds. Whoops.
I notice that they've now corrected this error on their website. The dice are now blue, rather than red and showing the same numbers and orientation as the Fantasy Grounds screenshot.

delgondahntelius
06-11-2008, 11:28 AM
Sorry ... I kinda lost my cool back there... I'm not cool or hip or whatever the kids are saying these days, to what goes on or whats coming out, so it was news to me... here I am ... working on an adventure (3.5) for print/PDF and battlemaps and tokens to go with it (primarily to be used with map tools... but I'll hopefully be able to get them working with Vdale as well.) ANYHOO ... working a little extra hard, so much so that I hadn't even stepped foot into the challenge this month... and there is WotC ... with a little itty bitty teensy weensy link for a (3d even) VTT .... I almost puked on the desk...

I love D&D, been at it since I was a pup. After NK posted up that little comic ... I decided to suck it up and go ahead and give 4e its due ... and quit b!#$$*&% about it. Even to the degree of jumping on the bandwagon and developing the favorite flavor of the month "Point Of Lights" idea... (Posts to come later on that) I love the game .. I love to map.. I love RPG's ... but I LOATHE WotC ... and sure.. its business... if I owned a quadzilliongazillionaire company .. I'd want more!.. Monopolies are a tradition in this country, but quite frankly .. I hope they choke on it... I think RRobes may be right though, WotC doesn't really want to corner the VTT market .. if they did.. we'd all be suited up in our virtual chairs, walking around in some MMP RPG killing things.... oh wait.. Blizzard already beat them to it .. :D

All for one... None for Them!

Torstan.. how is 4e going to affect MAPtools? what kind of impact will it have?

jfrazierjr
06-11-2008, 11:51 AM
I love D&D, been at it since I was a pup. After NK posted up that little comic ... I decided to suck it up and go ahead and give 4e its due ... and quit b!#$$*&% about it. Even to the degree of jumping on the bandwagon and developing the favorite flavor of the month "Point Of Lights" idea... (Posts to come later on that) I love the game .. I love to map.. I love RPG's ... but I LOATHE WotC ... and sure.. its business... if I owned a quadzilliongazillionaire company .. I'd want more!...

Ditto your first sentence.

I personally would expect that 99% of the strong arm tactics comes from the Hasbro lawyers rather than the executives from WotC. Remember that they were the ones who opened up the core rules in 3.x in the first place. I believe WotC understood the importance of the fans and giving them choices to play the game in the way that best suites the players, while allowing the company to be innovative and still make money.



Torstan.. how is 4e going to affect MAPtools? what kind of impact will it have? I don't think that much. I know the movement rules will have to be customized for the new diagonal rules. Perhaps someone will want to use the deck tool (not sure how it works) to kind of store up a players powers in some way and that would probably need some work to accomidate. I really can't see any hugh changes needed by Maptool based on what I know of the 4e game at this point.

Joe

torstan
06-11-2008, 12:08 PM
The developers over at maptool have added in the diagonal measurement rules for 4th edition that can be swiched on/off in preferences. There are discussions about using the deck tool for power cards and a load of people have been creating their own macros for the 4th edition powers. The tool itself won't change much but it has the flexibility for users to ad 4th edition content just as Hero gamers or Savage worlds people can adapt the tool for those systems.

I think the diagonal movement rules were the only thing that actually required a coding change and that's already in (but the path finding algorithm is still being tweaked to deal with it - non-Euclidean geommetry unsurprisingly screwed with it a bit!).

As for gametable - I was pleased to note that none of the rules are hard-coded in. In principle this means you could use it for 3.5 or even 1st edition if you wanted. This surprised me a little from WotC. Okay, so its not exactly system agnostic, but it's better than I expected.

delgondahntelius
06-11-2008, 12:37 PM
I think it was a choice of bogging down the game with hard coded rules... or hitting it fast and loose ... which 4e pretty much does... once a DM gets his bearings that is...

Those who loved all the rules of movement and combat and how the mechanics of 3.x covered everything from sneezing to water hockey ... are going to have the hardest transition into 4e (and probably whine the most ... you hide and watch) this time at least they got the part about fast play in ... (not fast character creation... )

As a DM ... I found that Monsters are a bit harder to deal with ... its a lot of info and things changed up .. vastly in some areas... I can't open my MM and find Kuo Toa's to throw at a couple three second level players... cause they level off at 15th .... ?? things like that... I don't care much for their Encounter Generation Method... (confusing at first, buying your creatures like you would buy an army ... for a miniatures game... ) ... still its all mechanics ... just a different way to deal with game functions...

I"m just gonna come up with my own System.... Market that.. lol

Valarian
06-12-2008, 02:29 PM
More on the WotC dice graphics piracy. SmiteWorks have issued a cease and desist order on WotC, who responded by saying that they were from an "early design document" and that they used "3d models not 2d images".

Links:
http://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8457
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1043881

Interesting "apology" from Scott Rouse at the end of the gleemax thread

NeonKnight
06-12-2008, 05:44 PM
I think it was a choice of bogging down the game with hard coded rules... or hitting it fast and loose ... which 4e pretty much does... once a DM gets his bearings that is...

Those who loved all the rules of movement and combat and how the mechanics of 3.x covered everything from sneezing to water hockey ... are going to have the hardest transition into 4e (and probably whine the most ... you hide and watch) this time at least they got the part about fast play in ... (not fast character creation... )

As a DM ... I found that Monsters are a bit harder to deal with ... its a lot of info and things changed up .. vastly in some areas... I can't open my MM and find Kuo Toa's to throw at a couple three second level players... cause they level off at 15th .... ?? things like that... I don't care much for their Encounter Generation Method... (confusing at first, buying your creatures like you would buy an army ... for a miniatures game... ) ... still its all mechanics ... just a different way to deal with game functions...

I"m just gonna come up with my own System.... Market that.. lol


I will admit, the game is FAST, way FASTER to play than previous editions. I tried to create a 1st level Paladin PC last night, and I will admit, I scratched my head a few time to try and find correct answers to some internal questions as some things just did not seem very Intuitive.

As to the Monsters and building encounters based on an 'XP Budget' as they called it. It makes an internal sense to the game concept. The game is built around 10 encounters (on average) providing enough experience for a PC to level up. You take the number of players in your group and multiply that number by the XP value for a standard monster of their level to get your encounter budget.

So, if you have 6 1st level players, an average 1st encounter should provide 100 XP to each PC, so each encounter should have 600 XP worth of monsters. I too took a few minutes to digest that, but it became clear when I sat down to adjust the encounters for my players knowing that sometimes not all of them show up, so I needed to figure out how to scale each encounter based on their being anywhere from 4 to 7 players.

I honestly think this new game is at first glance mush more balanced than previous editions. I still have a hard time figuring out the 3.5 Challenge Rating versus Encounter Level concepts to build challenging encounters for my PCs.

GlennZilla
06-12-2008, 05:56 PM
I will admit, the game is FAST, way FASTER to play than previous editions.
I agree. We've played the Keep on the Shadowfell and it's certianly a lot faster. We got through about 4 encounters in a session. Before it might be 2. This is after the learning curve, by the way.

I honestly think this new game is at first glance mush more balanced than previous editions. I still have a hard time figuring out the 3.5 Challenge Rating versus Encounter Level concepts to build challenging encounters for my PCs.
Herein lies my concern. It seems like it's one kind of abstract math to balance the encounter versus another, Challenge Rating versus XP Budget. I haven't had a chance to try to make any encounters yet, so I'm witholding judgement until after I've run a few.

I must admit that currently I'm liking 4e. Every character has something they can do. The level progression is steeper but each step has something to offer. First level doesn't feel underpowered at least. We've only played up to 3rd level. So we'll have to wait and see what it's like when we play higher levels.

NeonKnight
06-12-2008, 06:15 PM
Herein lies my concern. It seems like it's one kind of abstract math to balance the encounter versus another, Challenge Rating versus XP Budget. I haven't had a chance to try to make any encounters yet, so I'm witholding judgement until after I've run a few.

I must admit that currently I'm liking 4e. Every character has something they can do. The level progression is steeper but each step has something to offer. First level doesn't feel underpowered at least. We've only played up to 3rd level. So we'll have to wait and see what it's like when we play higher levels.

Not really, if you look at a 1st level monster, it is pretty much equal to a 1st level PC in terms of powers/abilities. The PCs have an edge in that they have Healing Surges, second winds etc, but on the whole, a 1st level goblin is pretty equal to a first level fighter, with the edge going to the PC. Ergo, it makes sense that 5 of them is a good challenge for 5 PCs, because the PCs have abilites that give them an edge over the monster (marking, healing surges, action points, etc).

Now, compare a 15th level Monster vs a 15 level PC, again, much the same abilities between the two (keep in mind compare skrimishers/soldiers with Fighter types, Artillery with Rangers/Wizards, etc). No matter what, the edge always goes to the PCs, and a balanced party will have an adequate challenge in each encounter.

Again, I feel this is way more balanced than a 3.5 1st level Fighter vs a 3.5 Orc that scores a critical with it's great-axe!

Sigurd
06-12-2008, 07:21 PM
Well almost any speeding up of the game mechanics is welcome. They consume way too much DM time in 3.5.

The big question though is not "are fewer rules an improvement" but are these the right reduced rules.....


Sigurd

Redrobes
06-12-2008, 09:00 PM
That post about stealing the dice image is a laugh. Death throws I tell ya...

Had a bit of a giggle about protecting 3D rolling dice too. I mean its been branded as virtual table tops and you don't think anyone should have rolling dice on it.

I'm not sure about this balancing by math either. I just stick monsters in the areas I think they would be and if the PC's think that wading into the jaws of death is a good idea then I would hope they brought some blank character sheets. Problem solved - self balancing. Just give em plenty of opportunity not to fight and a way to back out of it.

Midgardsormr
06-12-2008, 10:16 PM
Didn't you know that all the monsters have to do is mouseover the PCs to learn what level they are? If they're too low, the monsters won't bother with them; not enough treasure or xp. Unless they're griefing, of course.

Sigurd
06-13-2008, 02:01 AM
I'm not sure about this balancing by math either. I just stick monsters in the areas I think they would be and if the PC's think that wading into the jaws of death is a good idea then I would hope they brought some blank character sheets. Problem solved - self balancing. Just give em plenty of opportunity not to fight and a way to back out of it.


I agree completely. I don't want to gimp all the real dangers in the world just in case my players are too brave or stupid. Discretion and running away are formative experiences :).


Sigurd.

NeonKnight
06-13-2008, 03:34 AM
I too fully agree that not every encounter a PC faces should be tailored to them. I certainly would not expect that after taking 3 months of Tae Kwan Do that every single person I meet on the street is going to be either a white belt or untrained. So I tell my players: "Beware, there is an Ancient Red Dragon dwelling in this cave" and they insist on going in, so be it.

But with the format of 3.5 and greatly improved in 4e is the ability to ensure that I can trust most encounters my PCs face will be a challenge for them; it won't outright kill them, but at the same time, it isn;t a push over either.

RPMiller
06-13-2008, 12:13 PM
Update on the effect DDI is having on MapTool... We are starting to see new members coming over to start using MapTool because WoTC is missing its release dates... We even had our first new member tell us straight up that that is why they were there.

:snicker:

Redrobes
06-13-2008, 12:26 PM
Update on the effect DDI is having on MapTool... We are starting to see new members coming over to start using MapTool because WoTC is missing its release dates... We even had our first new member tell us straight up that that is why they were there.

:snicker:At the iCon2007 round table this was predicted - well predicted that GameTable would be tried, and discarded in favor of the existing VTT's - but people mentally groomed with oodles of marketing lolly to expect play over the net would eventally find the best resources to do that job. I have always maintained that WotC doing a VTT is good news. If it does indeed turn out to be absolutely brilliant then, well, thats great too - actually probably the best possible outcome. I just cant see a down side to them trying, other than if they balls it up so bad that it ruins the whole experience so much so, that the game dies with it, taking everyone down with it - and I think thats really unlikely.

helium3
06-20-2008, 08:42 PM
Herein lies my concern. It seems like it's one kind of abstract math to balance the encounter versus another, Challenge Rating versus XP Budget. I haven't had a chance to try to make any encounters yet, so I'm witholding judgement until after I've run a few.

I've found that the real advantage of DM'ing 4E so far is that when you couple the XP budget method of encounter generation with the way they want you to quantize everything into "quests" you sort of innately get a feel for "pacing." It's a lot easier to realize "this dungeon is way too large" right off the bat.

High level encounters (only done one at 10th so far) are SSSSLLLLOOOWWWW if your players haven't figured out how to "optimize" their characters. What's odd is that I don't mean optimize in terms of character builds, I mean in terms of the actions they choose to take in combat.

It seemed like it was harder to do that in 3.5 for some reason.

GlennZilla
06-24-2008, 10:42 AM
I've found that the real advantage of DM'ing 4E so far is that when you couple the XP budget method of encounter generation with the way they want you to quantize everything into "quests" you sort of innately get a feel for "pacing." It's a lot easier to realize "this dungeon is way too large" right off the bat.

Well, I've only built and run two adventures with 4e. I'm still wrestling the 3e rules out of my head. Like deciding ahead of time what a magic item is, since there's no random chart to consult mid-game. (I've since added an excell sheet to take care of that for now)

I find that the pacing does work itself out quite nicely in 4e. And I have enjoyed the new thinking in encounter design. Not having to assemble a statblock for a monster also helps greatly. So far as a DM 4e is nice and in practice runs a lot closer to my usual style. So the adjustments are simply breaking old habits. Of course, YMMV


High level encounters (only done one at 10th so far) are SSSSLLLLOOOWWWW if your players haven't figured out how to "optimize" their characters. What's odd is that I don't mean optimize in terms of character builds, I mean in terms of the actions they choose to take in combat.

It seemed like it was harder to do that in 3.5 for some reason.

Well I am waiting until everyone has the difference between "Burst" and "Blast" down before I try running a higher level game.

I have run a couple of encounters myself just to see how a level 19 Great Weapon Fighter goes against a Level 19 Umber Hulk I adjusted up. That was slow and cumbersome since I was trying to read every rules that came up to make sure I had it all figured out. I certianly hope things go faster when I get a chance to run that in the future.

All things considered, the only part I'm not enjoying about 4e is my inner grognard hates the simplification. I have a little masochistic voice in my head that feels that I should grab a pile of d8's when a random monster comes into play and roll his hit dice right there at the table with the players crossing thier fingers for bad rolls. But the rest of me enjoys simply grabbing a monster stat block from the MM and plunking a monster onto the table and proclaiming, "Roll initiative, he's here and he's attacking."

Torq
06-24-2008, 03:03 PM
As some of you may know I've been ranting a bit about the changes to the OGL and the "selling out" of small third party publishers, many of whose ideas are now clearly printed in the 4e Players Handbook, and I'm still a bit bleak about that aspect, but I DMed my first game the other day and I think the game is fantastic.

When 3.5 was at its height the most commonly levelled criticism was that the game was so technical, particualrly at higher levels, that noone had time to roleplay. Now everyone's shouting thats it too simple and they feel like they are being babied. My experience has been that the simplifications do one thing and one thing alone. They increase the pace. The powers provide a quick "in" to the roleplaying aspect with their descrpitions and are simple to use and understand. Single mechanic is a godsend too.

The other complaint was that as your character got to higher levels s/he became defined by the magical items they carried. Now you can have a hugely powerful 30th level character without a single magical item. I think thats excellent as I have a penchant for gritty low-magic settings and games. The same people who are now complaining that the powers at high level are cartoonish felt there was nothing cartoonish about a +6 Defender weapon dancing in the air to protect its weilder.

I think if your game is defined by the Rules as written in the books, then your 4e game will be simpler. But if your game uses the rules as a starting point, this version gives you a far wider field for high octane adventure and deeper role-playing.

At the end of the day I have been amazed at the level and ferocity of some of the criticism I have read on the net about 4e. I believe that much of it comes from the simple fact that people fear change and fear that their monopoly on the knowledge and detail that they built up for 3.5 is being challenged. IMHO.

Torq

jfrazierjr
06-24-2008, 03:35 PM
As some of you may know I've been ranting a bit about the changes to the OGL and the "selling out" of small third party publishers, many of whose ideas are now clearly printed in the 4e Players Handbook, and I'm still a bit bleak about that aspect, but I DMed my first game the other day and I think the game is fantastic.

When 3.5 was at its height the most commonly levelled criticism was that the game was so technical, particualrly at higher levels, that noone had time to roleplay. Now everyone's shouting thats it too simple and they feel like they are being babied. My experience has been that the simplifications do one thing and one thing alone. They increase the pace. The powers provide a quick "in" to the roleplaying aspect with their descrpitions and are simple to use and understand. Single mechanic is a godsend too.

The other complaint was that as your character got to higher levels s/he became defined by the magical items they carried. Now you can have a hugely powerful 30th level character without a single magical item. I think thats excellent as I have a penchant for gritty low-magic settings and games. The same people who are now complaining that the powers at high level are cartoonish felt there was nothing cartoonish about a +6 Defender weapon dancing in the air to protect its weilder.

I think if your game is defined by the Rules as written in the books, then your 4e game will be simpler. But if your game uses the rules as a starting point, this version gives you a far wider field for high octane adventure and deeper role-playing.

At the end of the day I have been amazed at the level and ferocity of some of the criticism I have read on the net about 4e. I believe that much of it comes from the simple fact that people fear change and fear that their monopoly on the knowledge and detail that they built up for 3.5 is being challenged. IMHO.

Torq



I agree 100%. I have to say that I was highly reserved about moving to 4E. I have been playing since the mid-early 80's off and own, mostly as a DM, but recently as a player in a 3.5 game using spell points instead of traditional D&D magic rules . I LOVE our current magic system, but our battles (thanks to people not always paying attention or having to look stuff up all the time and some rules ambiguity) take way to long. Typically, one battle may last 3+ hours even with only 4 people, and much longer if all 7 show up.

Anyway, I got the PHB and had just glanced through it over past 3 weeks. Last weekend, I was over on the maptools forum and there was a post for a "pickup" game just to learn the rules so I signed up. There were only 3 "players" +GM but only one of the players had played before (and he had only GM'ed 4E once) and the GM was also trying it out for the first time also so it was a learning experience for all. We got some pregen characters and started playing (after learning a bit more about how to get maptool set up.)

I have to say it was LOADS of fun. The powers were varied and descriptive and the flavor text really added to the feel of the game play as you were playing. I am now at a point that I want to start a mini campaign once a week at work during lunch I enjoyed it so much.

As Torq said, in previous editions, a 20th level wizard would eat a 20th level fighter for lunch 99% of the time, especially if there were no magic items on either side (or even just the fighter had some). However, 4E now makes this combat SOOO much more interesting and balanced. The game mechanic is a lot more simplified, but now that hard choice is what race/class/power/feat do you choose as there are so many great choices. Likewise, I never played anything other than human characters as their "lame" racial abilities rarely made up for some of the extra stuff you get as a human. Now, that is no longer the case. I am keen to try each race at this point just because there are so many different cool things each race can do that is not tied directly to "you are a x, you get some minor ability and no matter what level you are as a x, nothing else changes but your class stuff" Now, you race can get race specific feats that make the choice of that race mean something as you get higher levels.

All in all, I had an awesome time and would suggest any "haters" to at least give it a try once.
Joe

GlennZilla
06-25-2008, 11:15 AM
All in all, I had an awesome time and would suggest any "haters" to at least give it a try once.
Joe

I wholeheartedly agree. You can't hate it until you've played through it.

While I am still worried about the impact on the OGL/GSL changes, I suspect that we'll see that shake out in October when publishers can release stuff.

NeonKnight
06-25-2008, 06:52 PM
From what I understand with the licenses is it a case of one or the other. And really, I have no problem with that. It is a license after all. WotC is saying I allow you to use our rules our work to sell you product. We only ask that you pick either Column A or Column B. Oh, you want to do both? OK, you can, but you need to publish for Column A under the XYZ name, and publish for Column B under the ZYX name.

GlennZilla
06-26-2008, 10:49 AM
From what I understand with the licenses is it a case of one or the other. And really, I have no problem with that. It is a license after all. WotC is saying I allow you to use our rules our work to sell you product. We only ask that you pick either Column A or Column B. Oh, you want to do both? OK, you can, but you need to publish for Column A under the XYZ name, and publish for Column B under the ZYX name.

My primary concern is simply a question of what will the 3rd party publishers actually publish. I've read the OGL and GSL and frankly after the first few paragraphs my head starts to spin. I simply don't have a head for reading contracts.

However I have a contract lawyer in my gaming group. (A Doctor too, if anyone is taking notes.) He informs me that some differences between the OGL and GSL that will affect how a 3rd party book will be written.

Assuming that the 3rd party doesn't leave thier OGL lines, will I see an OGL copy of Green Ronin's Skull and Bones setting and a GSL copy of Green Ronin's Rebranded Pirates Setting next to each other? I'm curious as to how they might handle this situation.

It's not really a concern about the wording of the contracts but how the 3rd parties will use them.

delgondahntelius
06-28-2008, 09:14 PM
I know we gotta wait till Jan 2009 to publish anything 4e unless publishers bought the overly priced publishing kit....


Oh... and I incidently had my first 4e TPK .... that was fun... for both me and the players interestingly enough....

I'm kinda thick most of the time.. but it wasn't until halfway through that battle I realized that you can't actually use a healing surge as a standard action ... which brought alot of things into focus and started making some of the abilities of say the 'cleric' a little more ... can't find the word..... un-obsolete...

I have to admit along with all the other 'at-first skeptics' that I really like the system... but it can hardly be called anything but D&D... at least another edition ... it is wholly another system unrelated to any of the previous rules other than some basic in-game functions and mechanics.... i'm not saying this is a bad thing.. i'm just saying that its not D&D as any gamer of any of the previous systems would be able to say hey .... this is all very similiar to xx.x edition. This is most apparent with no conversion system from 3.x ... because it is so alien from any of its predecessors that there isn't any reasonable character conversion.

You know.. I was really hoping I wouldn't like the system...

and does anyone else find that the dragonborn, while not inherently broken in anyway is just plain munchkin?? I found it so because they are the only race that have an actual attack as a racial (encounter) power.... other races have some combat oriented racial powers, but they have the only actual power that is purely damage based.... (oh and the cute little note at the bottom... play a dragonborn if you .... 'want to play a dragon' ... lol)

sorry for the interruption on the OGL and the GSL ... but I just ask my wife who was a legal secretary for 16+ years to go over all that stuff and tell me if what I plan to do is 'legal' or not :D... and if she don't have the answer.... I can just ask Torq :D :) :lol:

Torq
06-29-2008, 04:26 AM
;sorry for the interruption on the OGL and the GSL ... but I just ask my wife who was a legal secretary for 16+ years to go over all that stuff and tell me if what I plan to do is 'legal' or not :D... and if she don't have the answer.... I can just ask Torq :D :) :lol:

Thanks for the compliment but I'm not really sure, if it boils down to a choice of law issue, that the South African Laow of Copyright is going to be all that relevant.;)

Torq

delgondahntelius
06-29-2008, 06:04 AM
Wait....

What's a law?

jfrazierjr
06-29-2008, 10:40 AM
Wait....

What's a law?

hmmm just noticed your sig.... I guess I will have to become the tree trunk police....:D

delgondahntelius
06-29-2008, 10:59 AM
lol... i just added it last night .... was poking fun at torstan... but I do see quite a bit of no scale that goes around... of which I've been guilty of many times myself..

I did fix my tree trunks tho... I thought they looked alright ... underneath the green carpet... :D

Robbie
06-30-2008, 03:31 PM
We started our 4E campaign last night...we managed to play 2 encounters from Keep on the Shadowfell, and the basic reaction from my players was: "Holy hell, these are some tough kobolds!"

2nd encounter saw the paladin unconscious with the cleric scrambling to revive her while avoiding the shifty kobolds.

Game went very smooth though...had some issues with Marked targets and remembering what modifiers applied and when they ended...Shifting and OA's gave us a little bit of grief too, but not too bad...

As a GM I enjoyed it...50% of my players are pretty sure they like it...the other 50% are still on the fence, but not turned off yet.

torstan
06-30-2008, 03:43 PM
I'm having my first full run through on Wednesday (hence the new regional map). We had a brief shot at a combat encounter last week. One of my old D&D group (from 1ed) was a bit down on 4ed - saying that it looked to him like wizards had been screwed in the conversion. So he played a wizard in the fight and quickly changed his mind. First level wizards are heavy artillery - they're amazing! His quote - 'that's the first time I've played a wizard that actually felt like a proper wizard'. So Vancian magic goes out and suddenly the spell-slingers are happy.

The kobolds are tough though - I mean come on. More hit points than a 1st level paladin? That's taking the mick.

delgondahntelius
06-30-2008, 03:57 PM
We started our 4E campaign last night...we managed to play 2 encounters from Keep on the Shadowfell, and the basic reaction from my players was: "Holy hell, these are some tough kobolds!"

2nd encounter saw the paladin unconscious with the cleric scrambling to revive her while avoiding the shifty kobolds.

Game went very smooth though...had some issues with Marked targets and remembering what modifiers applied and when they ended...Shifting and OA's gave us a little bit of grief too, but not too bad...

As a GM I enjoyed it...50% of my players are pretty sure they like it...the other 50% are still on the fence, but not turned off yet.

Shifting is basicaly your standard 5' move from 3.5 save for the difficult terrain addon... course kobolds get extra shift so they can be dangerous ... I ran the adventure from the back of the DMG the first game a few weeks ago.... they are dangerous...

I refuse to call them Opportunity Attacks... that's just STUPID ... and it trips me up everytime I'm reading it out loud.!!!! to me its awkward to say and tho I could just say O A .... I prefer the long hand Attack of Opportunity.... :D

For marked targets... get some poker chips (these worked for us) i even took a marker and put the bonus on it ... and they can move thier chip under the mini or next to it (works with six sided dice as well... I have little mini mini mini sixxer's I use to place on a mini base to remind me of bonuses and what not)

that's what worked for us, thought i'd share :D

NeonKnight
06-30-2008, 04:26 PM
Yep, people were cursing them shifty kobolds in my game on Saturday night too. They move adjacent to one and IT SHIFTED AWAY. so, now they need to move closer. Made it tough for the fighter to get cleaves ;)

As to the comment that a 1st level Kobold has more HP than the paladin, I actually like that. An example is this:

A Party of 5 PCs can dish out around 8 points of damage each (averaged across the board based on Powers & Weapons), and if they concentrate this damage on one enemy that is 40 damage, or enough to take out one per round of combat, or 5 rounds of combat for a Solo Monster (averaging 200 HP). Again, this assumes every attack hits.

That same monster can only attack ONE PC at a time, and will deal often less damage per attack.

So, the High HP kobolds means a battle truly feels like a threat no matter what the level.

Additionaly, as someone mentioned before the game is scaled so a PC needs around a 8-12 to succeed at something. Look at a PC attacking a similar critter with a BASIC attack. They will have an attack that is made at 1/2 Level, + Abililty + Class + Proficiency + Feat + Enhancement (Magic) + Misc. Usually this would mean something like:

1st Level Ftr with 16 Strength with Longsword:
0 + 3 (Str) + 1 (ftr 1-handed weapon talent) + 3 (Prof Longsword) = +7 attack.

His foe's AC is calculated:

10 + 1/2 level + Armor* + Ability* + Shield + Class + Feat + Enhancement + Misc

* Heavy Armors do not allow for Ability bonuses

So, the above figther attacking a 1st level foe in Plate Armor with a large shield would be:

10 + 0 + 8 + 2 for an AC 20

So the fighter needs to roll a 13 to hit this buffed opponent.

The Beauty of the system becomes apparent when you look at the same people over level.

Lets assume the fighter is now level 10, and as he increased in level, he bumed his strength from a 16 to an 18. Nothing else has changed for him, No Magic or additional abilites to boost his attack. He is now:

5 (1/2 level) + 4 (Str) + 1 (ftr 1-handed weapon talent) + 3 (Prof Longsword) = +13 attack.

His same opponenet is now also level 10, and has no Magic armor and is still equipmed with Plate & Large Shield, so he is now:

10 + 5 (1/2 level) + 8 + 2 for an AC 25

The fighter now needs a 12 or better to hit. He has imporved his chances by +1.

As can be seen, as the PCs go up in level improving their attacks, the defense go up at pretty much the same rate allowing for combat to scale appropriately. High level PCs are not missing only on a 1, monsters are not slaughtering PCs because their Attacks are higher than a PCs AC can be.

I like it.


A lot!

Robbie
06-30-2008, 04:43 PM
Yeah Wizards are quite awesome...when the party was down and out in encounter 2 The ambush...the wizard fired a magic missile at the wyrmpriest and dropped him, then fey stepped from one side of the combat to the other, and then spent her action point and thunderwaved the nearest kobold and knocked it back 2 squares, plus doing damage...she was BEAMING! If you can picture that happening in a 6 second span of time:

*zot* *kobold priest falls dead* *wizard disappears* *reappears 25' across the battlefield* *BOOM* *kobold goes flying backward into the rough terrain* *Wizard does football style goal dance*

jfrazierjr
06-30-2008, 05:22 PM
"Holy hell, these are some tough kobolds!"

"What do you want from me? You can daily power and get 2-20 HP damage plus your strength at first level if you picked your powers right."

Joe

delgondahntelius
06-30-2008, 05:43 PM
I like the fact that kobolds, goblins and such at an encounter level of 1 aren't typically going to just fall down dead because the nearest PC just hit it with a dagger for 3-5 damage...

I believe this was probably one of the mistakes that contributed to the TPK, the players of course .. used to old edition standards and seeing goblins they plowed into three goblins and with two wolves thinking oh ... fairly simple warm-up battle... this will be done in 6-24 seconds ... alas... this was to be a learning experience instead... :D

someguy
07-21-2008, 02:59 PM
http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/insider/gametable

They just can't leave anything alone.. now they have to come in and try to corner every single part of the market...

:x:x:x :((

This really doesn't make me happy for some reason ... maybe its just me.. maybe its that last proverbial straw...maybe... just maybe... WoTC is the DEVIL....

bleh

No its not you, they are. 4.0 is junk. They made a system that is completely repugnant to this Role-Player.

Tancread
07-21-2008, 05:09 PM
No its not you, they are. 4.0 is junk. They made a system that is completely repugnant to the Role-Player.

I guess it is a matter of taste, I am an old school roleplayer, started in 1976 and the fourth edition is what has brought me back to D&D after a looong break. The rules are the best written D&D I have ever read. They still aren't great, I spend a lot of time trying to find where things are hidden, but they are much better than the white box or the first AD&D books. As for roleplaying I think that goes down to the DM and the players. The rules are just a way of keeping things organized, it is all down the ref and the players to tell their stories.

I have played three sessions of 4ed D&D and they have all been fine. There is a bit of miniatures game feel to the combat, but it moves quickly and is fun for everyone even at level one. A real achievement in my view. I certainly had more fun than the one session I tried of 3ed. The players in the 3ed game I was in were all about the rules, multi-classed Ninja/Woodchuck/Paladins with psionics that were mowing down all the poor DM could throw at them. If that is what people are missing from 3ed I can give it a miss. As I said, 4ed isn't perfect, the fact that they won't even sell you the bloody toy soldiers unless you buy them in random boxes is madness and even the new rules aren't easy for kids to pick up, but I am enjoying it and would describe our group of old fogies as pretty role play heavy.

As far as the electronic tools they seem to be vaporware so far, I think they got into a deeper pool than they thought they were getting into and are now trying to figure out what promises they can actually deliver on. I will happily give it a look when it comes out but I expect I will be puttering away at my maps just as I did in the seventies, only with much more expensive electronic markers than the old colored pens I used then.

someguy
07-31-2008, 09:35 PM
I guess it is a matter of taste...

My big problem is that you made the characters even more cookie cutter. This fighter is just like that fighter over there. I hate cookie cutter game.


There is a bit of miniatures game feel to the combat, but it moves quickly and is fun for everyone even at level one. A real achievement in my view.

I took part in the World Wide Gameday WotC thew back in June. It felt like they made an MMO for the table top to me. And to make matters worse, they put the RPGA rules in the PHB.


I certainly had more fun than the one session I tried of 3ed. The players in the 3ed game I was in were all about the rules, multi-classed Ninja / woodchuck / Paladins with psionics that were mowing down all the poor DM could throw at them.

That's the GM's fault for letting munchkins run wild on him. I don't invite rules lawyers, munchkins, or hack masters back to my game table, they just aren't my cup of tea.

I'm there to have fun and players like tht rob the game if it.

Whats missing in 4th isn't whats missed, its what they added. All those shades of gray. PC Demons and Dragons? Giving a wild card ability to any race other than Human? What was WotC thinking?


As far as the electronic tools they seem to be vaporware so far, I think they got into a deeper pool than they thought they were getting into and are now trying to figure out what promises they can actually deliver on. I will happily give it a look when it comes out, but I expect I will be puttering away at my maps just as I did in the seventies; only with much more expensive electronic markers than the old colored pens I used then.

I take everything WotC says with a grain of salt. They have a bad habit of making promises they can't keep. Like the $19.95 game books promise they only upheld for a think a year.

Then there was e-tools.

The Cartographist
08-01-2008, 06:53 AM
someguy - I own the core books...haven't played yet, but I've done a lot of reading. For the most part, all things considered, I like the new game.

Anyway, some things you said confuse me:

"...made the characters even more cookie cutter..." and "...its what they added. All those shades of gray."

I see those two statements as diametrically opposed. I mean, how can one complain of cookie-cutterishness and then turn around and complain of too many shades of gray?

Now, you are COMPLETELY entitled to believe that "4.0 is junk." I am just curious to know why...

GlennZilla
08-01-2008, 10:29 AM
I find that the selection powers in a class increases the variety of characters. It's easy to grab a few illusions or several (When we get several) to control the type of wizard the character becomes. There's no need to multiclass into another caster class as it's already available as a progression of powers.

The streamlined rules make the game WAY faster at our table. It's also easier for me to prep each game as well as improvise at the table. This makes our gaming much more enjoyable. Ultimately that's all I wanted.

NeonKnight
08-01-2008, 12:42 PM
For me as a DM, it's all about the scaling. As I said earlier, it doesn't matter what level you are, to succeed you need to roll between an 8-13. Because AC scales just as attack bonuses everything keeps even.

Further because of this in my group if only 3 of the 6 players how up, I can scale the encounter appropriately no matter the level and ensure they still have a challenging fight that is neither a push oer, or in danger of killing them outright.

I also understand easily how to scale a monster by creating one out of thin air so to speak, by determining role, quickly calculating HP, AC and attack powers and a special power. Very easy once you read the tables and create a few on the fly.

SO, I say thank you WotC.

Oh, and not to name drop here, but because I have actually sat down at breakfast or lunch with a lot of the WotC guys from Jonathan Sweet and Monte Cooke through to Andy Collins and company, I know these are guys who want to do what they can to make this a GOOD GAME. It's not just a business for them, but it IS their hobby as well.

jfrazierjr
08-01-2008, 12:47 PM
I find that the selection powers in a class increases the variety of characters. It's easy to grab a few illusions or several (When we get several) to control the type of wizard the character becomes. There's no need to multiclass into another caster class as it's already available as a progression of powers.

The streamlined rules make the game WAY faster at our table. It's also easier for me to prep each game as well as improvise at the table. This makes our gaming much more enjoyable. Ultimately that's all I wanted.


I agree 100%! It is way faster and a lot more streamlined. For the most part, combat should be resolved in half the time or less.

For those who think it's all about making the game into more of a MMO, and less of a roleplaying game, I have to say I have never learned how to act or roleplay from a book. My thought is that you learn how to act/roleplaying from ACTING and there is no book that will really make you do that. The point of any game is to give you the mechanics, it is still up to the players and GM to infuse life into the game. A group of good roleplayers can play almost any game and have fun. For example, keeping track of various durations for spells and effects may have been a bit more realistic, but DAMN it slowed things down WAY to much and I am glad to have it gone and am surprised someone (ie, me) did not think about doing this before. Likewise, the stat blocks in older versions was just tons of information to keep track of. Adding monster levels was a pain.

Honestly, I was VERY reserved about 4E(even after getting and reading parts of the books), but after playing it a few times, I feel that it is now 100 times better than previous editions.

someguy
08-01-2008, 07:00 PM
...some things you said confuse me:

"...made the characters even more cookie cutter..." and "...its what they added. All those shades of gray."

I see those two statements as diametrically opposed. I mean, how can one complain of cookie-cutterishness...

System wise, how many ways can you build a class? If its less then 10 its cookie cutter. With out varying the race, I found only three or four ways under the new system. Race doesn't count because you will have those tricks no mater what class you take.

I had the PHB for several weeks, but it was just to limiting in character build.
the chances of having an identical character at a small game day is vastly higher with this system.


and then turn around and complain of too many shades of gray?
As for shades of gray.

My son at the game day bought the PHB, after thumbing though it he returned it. His reason was that he wasn't going to play a game where a demon what a standard race.

Where have all the hero's gone? They have been replaced with demons!

In all the history of D&D you have never had a Demon in the PHB, Let alone as a PC race. Its bad enough that they were an option in 3rd, but now to legitimize the morally depraved in the PHB?

No, the system is too cookie cutter, and the setting is morally depraved.

This is the last bit of time I will waist on this subject.

Tancread
08-01-2008, 08:19 PM
For my kids game I just said 'no tieflings or demonic warlocks'. In my game for grown ups I am actually much tighter, only humans allowed, at least at the start and no warlocks of any type as it is in a quasi-historical setting. The DM has always had control over the setting and tone of the game. Anyway, if you don't like, you don't like it and there is nothing wrong with that regardless, plenty of other options out there.

As an amusing side note, while I was buying some minis for the game I got lectured by an eighteen year old at the store who told me that I didn't understand the game's 'inner core' and that is why I liked 4th ed. I pointed out that by the time he was born I had already been playing on and off for fourteen years. He was gracious enough to admit that I had 'some' background knowledge at that point.

Play what you enjoy and enjoy what you play!

Midgardsormr
08-01-2008, 08:26 PM
I hope that isn't really your final word because I wanted to talk about your "morally depraved" comment briefly. Yes, the tiefling race is descended from demons, but there is a point made that many of them make an effort to be more and better than their demon blood tempts them to be. In my opinion, that opens the door for really exploring what it means to choose righteousness and good. The tiefling may be tempted by a darker nature, but because the game specifically emphasises heroism and discourages evil PCs, I think that the triumph over not only the external evil of monsters vanquished but also the internal evil of the tiefling's heritage is a very natural way to play things.

I am a bit more leery of the warlock class, but there's plenty of room there, also, for stories of heroism and redemption. I am a poster on the Christian Gamers' Guild (http://www.christian-gamers-guild.org) listserv, and we've discussed these same topics at pretty great length. Obviously, as Christian roleplayers we are very aware of moral issues in games, D&D in particular. The conclusion I came away from those conversations with was that the presence of the tiefling and warlock in the PHB actually increases the possible moral depth in the game.

And concerning the cookie-cutter bit, I tend to agree, and that's going to be one of the first things I houserule. I don't want every single rogue in my game to wield a dagger just because of an essentially arbitrary rule that makes using anything else sub-optimal. Even a player who doesn't generally min-max (me) has a hard time justifying not only giving up that bonus but also wasting a feat in order to use, say, a quarterstaff.

GlennZilla
08-04-2008, 11:16 AM
Yes, the tiefling race is descended from demons, but there is a point made that many of them make an effort to be more and better than their demon blood tempts them to be. In my opinion, that opens the door for really exploring what it means to choose righteousness and good.

I concur. The Tiefling player in my group is exploring just how the grandson of "the debil" can manage his own redemption. He's taking the route of a bad guy trying to become good. It's interesting from a role playing standpoint, and it wouldn't have happened with a Gnome. And a Half Orc probably wouldn't have cared.


I am a bit more leery of the warlock class, but there's plenty of room there, also, for stories of heroism and redemption. I am a poster on the Christian Gamers' Guild (http://www.christian-gamers-guild.org) listserv, and we've discussed these same topics at pretty great length. Obviously, as Christian roleplayers we are very aware of moral issues in games, D&D in particular. The conclusion I came away from those conversations with was that the presence of the tiefling and warlock in the PHB actually increases the possible moral depth in the game.

I chopped up your post so that I could confess to something. I've always raised an eyebrow at your sig line and the link to Christian-Gamers-Guild.org. Having lost the first set of my D&D books to honest to goodness book burnings I've always been a little less than open about my hobby. Comments that the inclusion of a demon-looking race sullies the game and the morality of the people playing it just remind me of those days.

Owning a store and having the, "Your kid is not learning magic or demonology at my store." discussions made me more gunshy about religion and gaming. For the record I made almost three times as much money on Pokemon cards than D&D books. So by all logic the kids should be shoving their pets into plastic balls and forcing them to fight before they begin to worship Orcus.

With the release of 4th ed I began to dread the confrontation that would come when some fundamentalist saw me carrying my 2 year old and a DMG out of the bookstore. Instead the only people I hear decrying it are online safely anonymous and distant. Even here in the middle of the bible belt where people get into fistfights over the mention of gay marriage, no one has batted an eye when I read my Monster Manual on lunch breaks.

We've come a long way to realizing that the use of certian imagery to portray the antagonist as evil does not idolize the imagery. But I still have a copy of the Jack Chick tract on D&D my parents gave me as a reminder.


And concerning the cookie-cutter bit, I tend to agree, and that's going to be one of the first things I houserule. I don't want every single rogue in my game to wield a dagger just because of an essentially arbitrary rule that makes using anything else sub-optimal. Even a player who doesn't generally min-max (me) has a hard time justifying not only giving up that bonus but also wasting a feat in order to use, say, a quarterstaff.

I fully expect that future release will expand the builds and options for each class instead of swamping us with new classes. I think that tossing out a game system because they couldn't provide enough variety is a merely a justification to grouse over some imagined slight.

Midgardsormr
08-06-2008, 01:58 PM
I chopped up your post so that I could confess to something. I've always raised an eyebrow at your sig line and the link to Christian-Gamers-Guild.org. Having lost the first set of my D&D books to honest to goodness book burnings I've always been a little less than open about my hobby.
<snip>
safely anonymous and distant. Even here in the middle of the bible belt where people get into fistfights over the mention of gay marriage, no one has batted an eye when I read my Monster Manual on lunch breaks.

We've come a long way to realizing that the use of certian imagery to portray the antagonist as evil does not idolize the imagery. But I still have a copy of the Jack Chick tract on D&D my parents gave me as a reminder.

Yes, the venerable Dark Dungeons tract. I've gotta admit that I downplay my love of fantasy and gaming at my own church. It's amazing how hurtful some of those otherwise loving, caring people can be. That's why I spend a lot of time at those other communities I've mentioned. It's nice to be able to talk about my hobby without having to try to justify it for an hour.



I fully expect that future release will expand the builds and options for each class instead of swamping us with new classes. I think that tossing out a game system because they couldn't provide enough variety is a merely a justification to grouse over some imagined slight.

I do hope so. I probably won't buy any of it, though. I've already spent quite enough on this particular game. I've never really bought into the subscription model that Wizards peddles. I prefer to buy a game once, or maybe twice if it's as enjoyable as Settlers of Catan. So maybe I'll pick up the second PHB.

loogie
08-18-2008, 02:10 AM
the dnd game table hasn't even made me think twice about using maptool... its "snazzy" 3d graphics, which are really only the objects, not even the tiles, only make map building more difficult for the DM, having to find (and in WoTC's case, BUY...) more 3d objects, monsters and tokens for use in the game. "Creating" your character is going to be little more then dressup, changing colours, adding some base equipment you can toggle... nothing special, and no way to truely customize.

maptool is an amazing tool, with amazing features... and its free. Trevor (the main dev) gets it... DM's need a tool that can help them share their vision of a campaign to the players, without limiting them, or bogging them down with visuals that will cause more problems then solutions. Maptool is moving into the a new version as well in the near future, and is going to begin some very big changes, to solve some of the initial issues overlooked by the original game design... he's also always looking at his 3d options... but i've talked to him extensively, and in all honesty... a true 3d system (not this flat tile, 3d token crap WoTC's has) adds to much detail to make it worthwhile for a GM... and 3d tokens limits GM's and PC's alike from using any picture or any image they can find (or draw) as their own character... i don't know bout anyone else... but i'm not willing to pay for a game which has less features, with its only benefit to be some 3d tokens i have to pay extra for.

that and i can't stand the dnd system. :P

RPMiller
08-18-2008, 11:10 AM
the dnd game table hasn't even made me think twice about using maptool... its "snazzy" 3d graphics, which are really only the objects, not even the tiles, only make map building more difficult for the DM, having to find (and in WoTC's case, BUY...) more 3d objects, monsters and tokens for use in the game. "Creating" your character is going to be little more then dressup, changing colours, adding some base equipment you can toggle... nothing special, and no way to truely customize.

maptool is an amazing tool, with amazing features... and its free. Trevor (the main dev) gets it... DM's need a tool that can help them share their vision of a campaign to the players, without limiting them, or bogging them down with visuals that will cause more problems then solutions. Maptool is moving into the a new version as well in the near future, and is going to begin some very big changes, to solve some of the initial issues overlooked by the original game design... he's also always looking at his 3d options... but i've talked to him extensively, and in all honesty... a true 3d system (not this flat tile, 3d token crap WoTC's has) adds to much detail to make it worthwhile for a GM... and 3d tokens limits GM's and PC's alike from using any picture or any image they can find (or draw) as their own character... i don't know bout anyone else... but i'm not willing to pay for a game which has less features, with its only benefit to be some 3d tokens i have to pay extra for.

that and i can't stand the dnd system. :P

*Stands up on chair and begins the slow clap shaking his head at how right the words are*

Amen brother, amen!! To every point!! Praise the developers!!

:lol:

This latest build (b40) may have just knocked the ball out of the park regarding features. It is absolutely gorgeous and now has the initiative panel built in and some really awesome token specific macros.

loogie
08-18-2008, 06:27 PM
i LOVE coming home from the weekend to a new build... and one of this caliber... SWEEEET!

loogie
10-14-2008, 10:17 PM
i have to say, i am in no way a fan of dnd, and tho that is where my rp experience started, i moved away and never looked back... until now, all this new talk has me very interested, and i will be fore sure borrowing some books to see how its played.

torstan
10-15-2008, 04:42 PM
Yep, it's actually going pretty well so far. I'll be interested to see how the supplements go as they expand the game, but at least they've started off with a solid core game.

zyblex
11-10-2008, 03:50 AM
Update on the effect DDI is having on MapTool... We are starting to see new members coming over to start using MapTool because WoTC is missing its release dates... We even had our first new member tell us straight up that that is why they were there.

:snicker:

Sorry to dredge up an old post, but yeah... this is why I registered here today. WOTC got our gaming group thinking seriously about online RP, but between the vaporware factor and subscription fee, here I am. We've been playing around with MapTool, and I've re-installed GIMP and dug out my old texture library - looks like our first session is this Thursday.

Our group actually has 3 fairly competent java coders, and there are already some mutterings about possible contributions if time allows. So yeah, well done Wizards! ;)

A side note, TokenTool is one of the nicest pieces of software I've seen in a while. Does its job quickly, intuitively, and well, good stuff!

I'm not going to touch all the 4th edition debate stuff, I learned that game system preferences were a deeply personal matter back in the 80's. :P

Valarian
11-10-2008, 03:54 AM
On a slight tangent ... Dragon Warriors, the original d20 system, is back. Mongoose have released the core rulebook under their Flaming Cobra line, and there's a Bestiary due out soon.

RPMiller
11-10-2008, 09:02 AM
Sorry to dredge up an old post, but yeah... this is why I registered here today. WOTC got our gaming group thinking seriously about online RP, but between the vaporware factor and subscription fee, here I am. We've been playing around with MapTool, and I've re-installed GIMP and dug out my old texture library - looks like our first session is this Thursday.

Our group actually has 3 fairly competent java coders, and there are already some mutterings about possible contributions if time allows. So yeah, well done Wizards! ;)

A side note, TokenTool is one of the nicest pieces of software I've seen in a while. Does its job quickly, intuitively, and well, good stuff!

I'm not going to touch all the 4th edition debate stuff, I learned that game system preferences were a deeply personal matter back in the 80's. :P
That's awesome! Definitely make sure to post in the member introductions threads both here and the RPTools forums. Welcome to the Guild!

loogie
11-10-2008, 10:07 AM
yeah thats great... i'd take maptool over wotc's vtt anyday... and yes the tokentool is great... saved me a lot of time.

NeonKnight
11-10-2008, 12:45 PM
Well, not to sound like a WotC Fanboy or anything, but the purpose of their VTT is not so much a top-down token on a flat table, but it is supposed to be representative of a 3-D environment. Cool if they can get it going, not so sure otherwise.

RPMiller
11-10-2008, 12:59 PM
Well, not to sound like a WotC Fanboy or anything, but the purpose of their VTT is not so much a top-down token on a flat table, but it is supposed to be representative of a 3-D environment. Cool if they can get it going, not so sure otherwise.
I think its actually more like an isometric token on a 2D plane. Do you have any screen caps of a 3d environment? I haven't seen any, but would love to see some if they have been able to get to that point.

NeonKnight
11-10-2008, 01:10 PM
I think its actually more like an isometric token on a 2D plane. Do you have any screen caps of a 3d environment? I haven't seen any, but would love to see some if they have been able to get to that point.

Yes, I have indeed seen it, at least the pseudo Beta.

It is supposed to work inconjunction with this:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/insider/charactervisualizer

You can build a full 3-d Version of your PC here, and then import it into the Game Table.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/insider/gametable

Which you can see from the Screenies is panable.

Of course the DM uses the Dungeonbuilder:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/insider/dungeonbuilder

To build the various encounters etc for the PCs to play in.

RPMiller
11-10-2008, 01:37 PM
Yea, those are all the same images I've seen. Other than being able to move the camera around and a few "3d" objects I'm still only seeing a single plane for the actual gaming surface and why I said isometric tokens on a 2d plane. I can see that there are some edges here and there, but I would really like to see some true elevation examples of tokens on two different levels at the same time. I can tell that the engine can probably do that. I just haven't seen any examples. I'm also not a big fan of the whole MMORPG appearance of everything, but can appreciate that that is what is popular these days.

On a total side note, my daughter was talking to one of her friends at school and he mentioned "GM" and he went on to try to explain what one was. She stopped him mid sentence and not only told him that she knew what one was, but went on to say that I was a GM in some games, but that they were "Real Roleplaying Games". :D She made me so proud when she told me that. Her friends reply was "how can you have a roleplaying game without a computer and only with paper and dice?" :roll: She tried to explain it, but the poor kid couldn't figure out what she was explaining. It makes me sad that imagination is going the way of the Dodo. :((

torstan
11-10-2008, 01:54 PM
Edit: RP posted while I was writing this.

Yep. From the screenshots on the Gametable page (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/insider/gametable) you can see that it is not isometric (note the perspective) and that the camera view is movable (see the last screenshot on the left for one that is almost from above).

However, the floorplan is essentially a 2D image that is pasted down that the 3D v-minis exist on top of. The maps are not 3D, but the objects that are placed on it are (and cost you money).

I guess the question is whether they will allow for the purchase of 3D components for map building, rather than just 3D set decoration. I can see that being something they might be able to do further down the line but I'm 100% certain that's not where it will be at release (whenever that is).

Redrobes
11-10-2008, 02:23 PM
I cant remember if I mentioned my general issue with the whole thing but its stayed the same for several years whilst we wait for the real app to launch.

My issue is that for me role playing games should be something you create and make your own. It has infinite diversity limited by just the imagination. Now making a map in 2D limits you a little to your art skills but anyone can draw something and get it into the PC. My issue is that with 3D, whist undoubtedly its better, its also waaay harder to get custom stuff made for it. You are now limited to what a few expert people have made for you. So basically a 3D role playing app really limits you as to what you can do with it. For one thing your back to generic blocks for all monsters that you don't have the 3D model of.

A good example of this is all the links above. If the character is a minotaur then your stuffed. They have a dungeon builder but I have yet to see even a glimmer of a wilderness creator. Also, towns and buildings which are probably the easiest to do I haven't seen yet. But really it does not matter because at some point your gonna want something that isn't provided for you and your gonna want to make it yourself.

I think its the intention of WotC that its hard and that they will provide them at a cost. I can understand that and don't disagree with it, but it would not be something that I would want to lock myself into. If I couldn't easily add and expand the models and range of stuff I could do with the app then its not in the spirit of what role playing was all about.

I think if they had done this pre VTT's and pre iTunes etc where people didn't fully understand the concept of DRM then I think it might have worked but I just don't think its going to float now.

torstan
11-10-2008, 02:29 PM
As for the wilderness and town maps - you can import any map you want as the base image - so you can have your 3D mini walking around on any map you like - the base image is not limited to things you can make with the dungeon builder.

The rest is entirely true. You only get the flashy 3D stuff if they have got around to making it, and if you are willing to stump up the cash for it. I agree that you should not limit players options on the basis of what you've got the v-minis for. Though that never stopped my players when we had lead models - you just pick another one and imagine it's your character. I'm sure the same will apply for most DMs with this.

Redrobes
11-10-2008, 02:45 PM
Well, not to sound like a WotC Fanboy or anything, but the purpose of their VTT is not so much a top-down token on a flat table, but it is supposed to be representative of a 3-D environment. Cool if they can get it going, not so sure otherwise.


As for the wilderness and town maps - you can import any map you want as the base image - so you can have your 3D mini walking around on any map you like - the base image is not limited to things you can make with the dungeon builder.

You can see how these are two opposing points of view tho eh ? Right now, from all that I have heard it not very 3D for the environment and the interaction your character gets with it. Guess we'll have to wait a bit longer and see tho. If its not fully 3D then I see no benefit with it being 3D tokens on top. If it is fully 3D then they had better make it possible to create wilderness / buildings (and anything else you want) in proper 3D. Its the 2.5D ness that is bothering me where they are trying to sail this thin line between it being usable and cool at the same time where as I see it one has to compromise one for the other.

torstan
11-10-2008, 02:51 PM
My impression was that they never intended to go fully 3D - rather they want to have 3D minis on 2D maps just as you would on a table top at home. I would be astonished if they decide to go fully 3D and really astonished if they allow other people to make custom 3D items.

I can see the appeal of making it 2.5D as it does look cool. A number of people I play with - including a few RP professionals - said that if maptool could do that then they saw no reason to ever to to Wizards Gametable, but without it they could still be tempted away. I was amazed, but I guess I should learn never to underestimate the appeal of eye-candy over functionality.

Redrobes
11-10-2008, 02:57 PM
Agreed and yes I am amazed too ! I guess if its got plenty of eye candy and is exceptionally good then sure, why not. But I wouldn't make much in the way of trade offs for it.

NeonKnight
11-10-2008, 03:57 PM
Yeah Torstan has pretty much hit it on the head.

The DM's Table is supposed to be a representation of a Minis on a Table. My Battle map is flat 2-D but my minis are 3D as is some of the additional stuff (chests, pillars, etc).

Do I think I would use it? Myself, no, as I play in person with a bunch of friends. Would I use it otherwise? Hard to say.

jfrazierjr
11-10-2008, 11:53 PM
And now for the Good news, WotC released it's Character Builder to Beta today. In other news, it does not work on Mac, Linux, oh yea and Vista 64 bit!

RPMiller
11-11-2008, 09:54 AM
And now for the Good news, WotC released it's Character Builder to Beta today. In other news, it does not work on Mac, Linux, oh yea and Vista 64 bit!
Good for them for not pandering to those "other" operating systems! :roll:


;) Honestly I'm not surprised that they wouldn't be able to get in support for those especially Vista 64 bit, and honestly from a business perspective I wouldn't have bothered with Vista 64 bit either.

Redrobes
11-11-2008, 10:28 AM
Why not Vista 64 ? I mean it will run 32 bit apps quite happily right ? Even if you dont build a 64bit app it should still run a 'normal' 32bit one. It would take considerable effort not to support Vista64 because it would mean that they are writing a device driver. There is only one possibility that I can think of that would require that and that is that they would load a kernel based filter driver on the machine and there is only one reason to do this and that is to bork your machine and run a DRM encryption system on it like Sony's infamous root kit which was installed via inserting some CD's. They would be in big trouble if that was the case. So basically - I don't believe it.

As for no Mac and Linux - well maybe not for now but they might later. Of course, if they use DirectX as their 3D API then they are stuffed in the non MS OS dept.

Oh just checked - it *is* DirectX and its .NET too. So yup, your all stuffed.

RPMiller
11-11-2008, 10:39 AM
Actually Vista 64 isn't as compatible with 32 bit apps as was first thought. I think I posted some links elsewhere regarding that. Basically there are some serious compatibility issues with it even with M$'s own products such as Office. The gist is that Vista 64 recursively updates the registry with keys and and values and ends up heavily bloated with millions of duplicate entries. Note that it isn't a complete incompatibility with all apps, but it is serious enough that some of the big voices in the IT world are staying away from V64 like it is the plague.

NeonKnight
11-11-2008, 12:08 PM
And now for the Good news, WotC released it's Character Builder to Beta today. In other news, it does not work on Mac, Linux, oh yea and Vista 64 bit!

Yeah, so far it it is....well, a little non intuitive the first time I fired it up, but I got the hang of it really quick.

jfrazierjr
11-11-2008, 02:54 PM
Why not Vista 64 ? I mean it will run 32 bit apps quite happily right ? Even if you dont build a 64bit app it should still run a 'normal' 32bit one. It would take considerable effort not to support Vista64 because it would mean that they are writing a device driver. There is only one possibility that I can think of that would require that and that is that they would load a kernel based filter driver on the machine and there is only one reason to do this and that is to bork your machine and run a DRM encryption system on it like Sony's infamous root kit which was installed via inserting some CD's. They would be in big trouble if that was the case. So basically - I don't believe it.



Well... I don't know the "reason", but it is true. I downloaded it myself and got an error, check the message boards and there were litterly 10's of people who all use Vista 64 and are getting the problem. The error when trying to start up seems to revolve around a .Net call to getFont(it goes away after 2 seconds and I did not screenshot it). One of the WotC staffers said they have reproduced the issue and are working on a fix.

nolgroth
11-16-2008, 05:47 AM
I got curious and went to look. And then I laughed. Wizards wants me to pay $5 a month to install incomplete development code on my computer. Where in the Nine Hecks does this make sense?

Not that there was any question, but I'll stick to the OpenRPG/MapTool cocktail that I currently use.

Robbie
11-16-2008, 11:00 AM
It also didn't work on xp x64...so I also had to wait for the fix, which came two days after initial beta release. I must say, I think the character builder is quite nicely done! I can't wait to see the rest of its capabilities...its really going to shine when you get to do your homebrew stuff. I hope they make that useful.

I especially like the way you can customize the layout and placement of sections on your character sheet...to include making it landscape.

torstan
11-16-2008, 11:04 AM
Hmmm, I might actually have to have a look at that. The $5 a month I'd pay for the magazines - but I haven't had time to read the free ones yet, so it's not really worth it for me right now.

Robbie
11-16-2008, 11:51 AM
the magazines are chocked full of great content...I definitely think they're worth the sub fee personally. At least just for the magazines. I wish they'd fix their website login issues though...I cannot login under firefox at all, and I'm hard pressed to get in undere IE sometimes. They definitely need to work on making the subscription content easier and more intuitive to access.

NeonKnight
11-16-2008, 12:15 PM
Yes, that is INCORRECT information.

For your $5 per month you currently get:

A years Subscription to DRAGON magaizine
A years Subscription to DUNGEON magazine
Access to the full version of the D&D Compendium
Access to the Encounter Builder
Access to the Monsterbuilder
Access to the ability generator (this is a BIG WHOOP to me :?: )

AND access to the FULL character generator which should be available within at the least a month. The Level 1-3 BETA is to ensure the software coding is working BEFORE the release a full generator, and not providing something for free to the masses they want to sell.

redbeard
12-03-2008, 08:12 PM
the magazines are chocked full of great content...I definitely think they're worth the sub fee personally. At least just for the magazines. I wish they'd fix their website login issues though...I cannot login under firefox at all, and I'm hard pressed to get in undere IE sometimes. They definitely need to work on making the subscription content easier and more intuitive to access.

Huh. I did have to set wizards.com to permanently allow in the NoScript firefox add-on, but I don't have any login issues besides the 30minute time out.

I was digging the free dragon content, but didn't subscribe until the character builder beta was released. I did the year since it was the most affordable. I play in Living Forgotten Realms so altogether it seemed like a good deal by the dozen if not by the month.

The character builder looks like it really is GOOD. And I say that after having been a real critic of previous WoTC software. While 4e is not the headache that 3.x was for character generation, the Character Builder does make creating a character a breeze. The data files are in XML and I'm hoping that some folks get their heads together to do something creative with character sheets or importing into maptool :)
Now if WotC can finish the CB and get all the data in it correct.....

I also got a shot at the Character Visualizer and... I wasn't impressed. But it isn't something I was really interested in. If I want a pic to show an npc, I usually login to Deviant Art and do a few searches. Often that's inspiring actually.

I agree with others that the WoTC game table has really steep competition from Map Tool. Now, if all of us throw a few bucks to put our money where our mouth is.... :)

Robbie
12-30-2008, 11:23 AM
This past sunday I sealed the deal in my own mind about 4E's niceness...I really like the system. I ran a "court trial" for treason. The trial was treason for the lord high chancellor who was being accused of some stuff...the accuser was his assistant who was in cohorts with the bad guys.

The PCs had evidence that not only relieved the chancellor, but incriminated the accuser. I ran this is a complexity 5 skill challenge and it REALLY got the PC's to thinking about what their characters could do WHILE promoting role-playing.

One of the hardest things I've found to get players to do is to roleplay their characters not themselves. Its really hard to separate what you would do in a situation versus what your character would do. When running a skill challenge of a high complexity level for complicated roleplaying scenarios, forcing them to think of creative ways to use their trained skills (and help other players use their skills through group skill checks and aid another) REALLY got them playing their characters. i was most impressed, and with a little tweaking of the way I ran the skill challenge, I think the players really will become MUCH more attached to their characters as characters not just vessels for their own decision-making.

So DMs, if you have players that always seem to play themselves as opposed to their characters, check out 4E skill challenges in the DMG, and read the "Running Skill Challenges" articles. From Dragon 369 and the followup in Dungeon 161 (dunno why they mixed em up)...VERY helpful

Redrobes
12-30-2008, 11:36 AM
Sounds good. Santa put a 4e PHB in my stockings :!: so ill be checking out the new system now.

Robbie
12-30-2008, 01:46 PM
get you a DMG...its one of the best written DMGs evar.

jfrazierjr
12-30-2008, 02:06 PM
get you a DMG...its one of the best written DMGs evar.

I agree that it's one of the best versions of this tome overall, but I actually find most of it not worth the price IF you are an experienced DM. It has some excellent pointers on creating a world, creatures, cosmology,handling various player types, handling different campaign types, etc, but for me as a DM of 20+ years, that's stuff I already know about. For a new DM, it's a nice little gold mine but for me, there are only a few pages in the book that really make it usefull to have. You might want to skim through the book at a local bookstore to see if it really can benefit you or not before you purchase(or try to get a discounted version from an online store)

Robbie
12-30-2008, 02:32 PM
Eh, thats sorta true...there's some useful tables and guidelines for treasure parcels (I found out I was WAY under-rewarding my players by going off of what I knew to be true from 3rd Ed), the encounter building guidelines and Non-Combat encounter guidelines are also must-haves. But you're right, 50% of the book is how to be a good DM...

jfrazierjr
12-30-2008, 02:44 PM
Eh, thats sorta true...there's some useful tables and guidelines for treasure parcels (I found out I was WAY under-rewarding my players by going off of what I knew to be true from 3rd Ed), the encounter building guidelines and Non-Combat encounter guidelines are also must-haves. But you're right, 50% of the book is how to be a good DM...


Bah... I give the players what I want them to have, bwahahahaha>:)

Yea, there are a few things that make it worth it, that's why I said get it from an online retailer at a discount if you can. Heck, unless you really want that new book smell, I would have settled for a used copy at 65% off cover.

Here's what I like about it that you can't find elsewhere:



Diseases
Encounter building (though DDI has a way to do this "online")
Treasure parcels
Running Skill challenges

But, as I said, I pretty much give the players what I want them to have. In my upcoming game, it won't matter if they find 500 or 5000 gp per level since there is hardly any place to spend any money, much less buy magical items which is one of the primary reasons to accumulate gold in the first place. Heh.. they can hoard the gold to pay for a castle, but good luck finding someone to build it for them, at least for a while.

TheElf
01-16-2009, 09:06 AM
First of all: I don't like 4th edition. But I see it changed to be better in certain areas. To me the worst time was when they released 3rd edition, and it wasn't because balance consideration.

That was the point where we got overly complicated tactical combat, that has rules for everything, even if those rules aren't logical. The complexity of rules won't allow fast combat (and a combat scene should be fast and maybe cinematic).

We got tactical character building, and who builds a stronger character became one of the challenges in game. The differences in power level became a problem and not a roleplaying opportunity. Several builds I would like to try were either inefficient, or very hard to implement.

Even with the not so flexible 2nd edition I had better results at playing what I would like to play.

Also: Balanced encounters instead of reasonable world building was a change I hated.

Strong focus on combat encounters was another change I hated.

And soon I seen problems with community limits (you can't build a house in a small village acording to some guidebooks), about free market for magical items, about everyone having armor made of rare material. And speaking about finances: The income and the suggested wealth / level were created without thinking about money spent by the character, without the costs of potions, item charges, etc. used in encounters.

About some side effects of tactical character buildings: Where the characters multiclassed in ways they couldn't explain with a story. And when people suggested: That if I want to play some healer, I should forget about lower level healing spells, and just bring a "wand of cure light wounds" like everyone else was also a point where I said: enough is enough, I don't like this game.

I was quite fed up with the fact that after "streamlining" you had a game that is slower than the previous edition. Preparation was much slower. And the "easy to memorize" rules was built around the idea: you memorize raw data, feats, classes, etc. and use this information to make strong builds if you don't want to copy an existing one. Ohh, and potential new players who were intimidated by the amount of core books before seen the same amount of core material, so attracting new players this way didn't help.

They changed races, they changed monsters (including some of my favorites), they changed settings and eliminated quite a few. And I asked: I see these problems, but I buy a game to have fun, and it isn't providing that. Why should I choose it?

So for now: I play D&D, when the group insists on using it, but otherwise try to avoid it.

With 4th edition WOTC had a good chance to get me playing D&D again. Elimination of tactical character building was a good thing, and I like it. Skill challenges are good things. Making combat faster is a good thing. Elimination of encounter levels, etc. is a good thing. Changes to in game economy is a good thing. The fact that when they say magical items and items of rare material are meant to be rare and fantastic and not everyday comodities they make sure it is reflected in the game is a good thing.

Still 3 "well written" rulebook, when you don't need most of them isn't good for attracting new players. They have reduced the price for the core, but they are still intimidating for newbies.

And I see why people love these changes. I would love them, if there wouldn't be any deeper problem that makes me say No to D&D4.

Changes to world, Points of Light, square grid and their geometry, "square shaped fireball", changes to races, elimination of some monsters, elimination of some concepts (like Blood War)... The fact that many characters with valid story still can't be built (system doesn't model characters well), still there are odd results when the system tries to model the world.

Still, the magic system is presented in a way that your magic users probably won't discuss how their spells work, since WOTC decided such differences aren't important (and it can hurt your chances with some stories).

But I think, if we get tools to build character images...
If their virtual tabletop is good for other editions and games...
If the information on the subscribtion site can be useful even if you don't play D&D.

5$ a month isn't much for the service they plan to offer.

RPMiller
01-16-2009, 11:26 AM
TheElf, it sounds like you would really do well to look at point based "generic" systems rather than the leveling class based setting specific systems. Assuming you haven't already that is.

Recommendations would be in no particular order: Savage Worlds (extremely fast character creation and combats), GURPS (crunchy, but no specific setting, build almost any character you could want, combats are long), HERO (same as GURPS, but even more flexibility in character design), Action! System (fast character creation and combats, free download if you can find it, generic like the others with a lot of flexibility, no "official" rules for "powers/spells" but there are some third party ones out there).

There are quite a lot of D&D gamers using MapTool now as their VT since WotC's release keeps falling through. In fact the latest version of MT has become so powerful that fans have built pretty much the whole system into it via macros and the like. You may want to check it out. Oh, and it is free. (link in my sig)

esmale
01-17-2009, 09:38 AM
You forgot Chimera :)

Very fast, customisable, and easy to learn. Plus, there's a rumour that the author is working on version 2.0 of the game, which is touted as even faster (frex, 20 minutes to create a character).

Cheers,
-Erin

Midgardsormr
01-17-2009, 11:30 AM
20 minutes? That's absurd! Try Risus.

TheElf
01-17-2009, 02:35 PM
Right now, I am working on my own system, which might be quite interesting :)

I think there are 3 things that keep me trying to play D&D.

Some settings (ok Planescape is an AD&D 2nd edition setting...)
Some character concepts I have for PCs and NPCs
D&D people tend to love maps, and I love maps too :P
And also it would be hard to get a HERO group there.

But I love many other systems / gaves as well :)

RPMiller
01-17-2009, 03:24 PM
And also it would be hard to get a HERO group there.

That's easily solved by asking in the right places. ;)

TheElf
01-22-2009, 01:08 PM
How? I think it would be hard to fix that :)