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