One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
I read some time ago that fireball no longer consists of 1d6 per level. It appears that they got rid of the idea of rolling multiple dice in order to either save time or fit some new mathmatical scheme of theirs. I was bummed. Sure it takes extra time, but you know what, when I am DMing and the wizard throws fireball and we all have to wait a several extra seconds for her to find the dice, roll, and add em up, its worth it just seeing the look on the player's face, regardless of whether she rolls well or not. It was part of the fun of playing a wizard.
Now the wish spell have been removed. I wish it was back. It may have not been the most balanced spell in the game regardless of which edition you played. But it can be tweaked, polished, and shined up. Not dumped to be gone for good or removed and put into another book down the road to help sell it.
What a disapointment. Maybe I shouldn't browse the other forum, it just makes me want to shake my head.
Agreed on all counts. Then, again, when I play 3x I still use my 2e spell compendiums! I didn't pay for those suckers not to use them - FOREVER! Still, one more shaking of the head at 4e. _________________ GVD
I agree with you GVD, money spent on the product is best used. I'm a collector, not just of D&D but other things as well. Guess I'm not happy if I don't have something I'm stocking up on. It's just the way I am.
As I spent money building up a library of 3.5 books I eventually started feeling kinda foolish when looking back at the money involved. Surely I will never use all of that information, or even a fair amount of it.
With the announcement of 4th edition I went through various stages of irritation (to put it politely). Now I am glad I spent the money, because like you, I will still use it. Not caring for the 4th edition marketing and the ending 3.5 products, and WOTC in general, along with the snippets of rules and changes of 4th edition we have been allowed to see (spells are just another of those disapointments), it has become easier to dismiss WOTC from my collecting habit. This in turn, makes my 3.5 library finally really useful. Collections almost complete (save for a few I won't buy at all) so in the next few years I can really rip into them since I won't feel like I have anything to keep up with. Kind of liberating in a way.
Of coarse I'll still go on to collect. Working on a new one now. Actually its the very first thing I started with as a kid. Kinda my first love. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
I'm with ya, folks. Lots of 3.5 bargains on amazon too. Just bought Complete Champion for less than £10.00 and Lords of Madness (got no idea what it's like, but at this price?) for £5. Those gaps in my 3.5 library will soon go at this rate.
Of course, I might have no money left for 4e
By the way, does anyone know if the Spell Compendium's worth a look? I've yet to see a review here.
Not so much of a review but here's my take on it. It repeated a lot of spells from from previous books (which I expected) but it did seem to have a lot I didn't recognize as well.
I read today that WOTC felt that it was kinda heavy handed when it came to balance within the game particularly when it comes to clerics (kinda a sales pitch for making 4th edition changes). This is strictly second hand information though as I read it on a forum and it wasn't a quote.
I have had the book for awhile and use it when we play, bought my kid one as well because I thought it was one of the better books.
My campaign is run differently with spells because of all the extra books they published. Rather than giving every cleric the same spells I make the ones in the Players Handbook universal, everyone has access to them. The other books are treated differently. I take these spells and break them down according to the religion.
For example, I worship Istus and therefore only receive the spells from the Divination school as well as others which apply to my deity's domains such as those providing a luck bonus, that sort of thing. We have another cleric that drops in once or twice a year who worships Herioneous. This individual obviously gets spells relating to war, justice that sort of thing. The other spells in the books are out of reach for them.
I have been trying to make a list of spells for each religion but have found it nearly impossible to keep up on because of all the books published with spells in them plus WOTC had this bad habit of renaming spells and goofing up my lists. Essentially, Wee Jas, Hextor, Heironeous, Istus, Kord, etc. all give unique spells to their clerics. I found that it makes each cleric/religion very different from one another because of the vast number of spells all directed so strongly towards the focus of the deity. Now I will finally be able to catch up since there are only a couple of books out there that I have left to buy that are on the "will buy" list.
With wizards I do the something similar. The spells in the Players Guide are those that are taught in most universities. I tend to favor schools rather than private masters (though I have both in my world).
Many of the schools have unique directions for magic, say such as conjuration, abjuration, etc. Others go for stylized methods of arcane casting such as war, that sort of thing. I try and have a few generic schools and the rest more specialized, plus I scatter them throughout the world so their are failry easy to access. Then I take the universities that they have hinted at or fleshed out in some of the non-core D&D books and fit them into the world as well. These learning institutions teach what is in the Players Handbook plus spells from sourcebooks which would apply to their teaching methods. Depending upon the nature of the university I may remove some Players Handbook spells to keep I tighter grip on the feel of the university and what they teach.
Other ways wizards get access to these spells is by finding them in a long lost dungeon or library, or even creating them. Basically they are not common knowledge amongst arcane users.
I found use for the Spell Compedium but applying the ideas above also means that I haven't used most of it, and I haven't evaluated it from cover to cover. But overall, I had a positive impression of it. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Thanks, Eileen. Sounds like it's worth buying at a good price.
I run my access to spells in a similar way to you. Phb spells are "common", the rest are rarely available or need to be researched. I limit the number of spells a caster may know at any one time, very similar to the old 1st edition rules, including divine casters. This, coupled with the fact that wizards must be specialists, makes all spellcasters IMC slightly different from each other. Clerics of a given religion tend to have a handful of spells at each level which are generic to the deity, but the rest tend to focus on a specific portfolio associated with the god. A cleric of Heironeous may have half his/her spells be the usual war and combat type, but the other half may be devoted to the detection or destruction of undead, whether because of previous experiences or a desire to develop the character as a hunter of Death Knights or slayer of the undead cohorts of Hextorians, for example. The player gets to fill the list anyway they want and can replace old spells with newer ones they have discovered at a cost in time and money. So, if a cleric has a "life-changing" experience and wants to change their focus, they can. It's not immediate, however.
I'm not sure I understand what Wotc means when it says game balance as applied to clerics. Are they too strong? Too weak? And, compared with whom?
I had the impression from the forum that WOTC thought that it gave the clerics to many powerful damaging spells. Keep in mind that I was reading this on a forum and it wasn't a quote either. I pretty much just tossed those comments out the window. I found the book rather useful, especially if you get the discounted price.
WOTC kinda reminds me of someone who plays characters for min/max and power play reasons or that they think the majority of their audience is this way. If this is the case, slapping things together in 3 books is not the answer because the market eventually becomes saturated again. Thus back to the same old problem.
In my opinon, the game system isn't broken, the problem has more to do with how people incorporate all of the information. I think if they took time to teach creative world development and roleplaying rather than min/maxing and power play, a lot of their problems would go away. If you don't teach people how to manage choices, they are going to have problems. If you let the player have whatever they want from any book, the game is going to start breaking down because of to many options.
Most of us cut our teeth on 1st edition where you didn't have market saturation. Once the game became saturated we had already learned what not to do from trial and error. When I starting playing 3rd edition, I sat back and decided in advance how I would handle the market saturation problem before incorporating tons of new information. I think that people who spend a lot of time on campaign development eventually learn how to deal with large volumes of information. Our discussion of how to incorporate the hundreds and hundreds of mics. spells is a good example.
My guidlines to incorporating the sourcebooks included some basic questions:
Does it have a Greyhawk feel to it? Does this remind me of 1st edition (and therefore D&D for me)? If I add this does my world eventually get bogged down with a bunch of random things or will it stay focused? If it wasn't helpful I put that information on the shelf for the time being. If and when I find a way I like, I will reconsider incorporating it. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Having had a chance to look at spells in the 4e PHB now - boy you must be shaking you head a lot?
The whole concept of wizard has really moved to battle mage. I like the idea of always having something minor spells to use. I like rituals as a concept. But the wizards use to be to do cool stuff that affected the game, rather than just act as mobile artillery. Fly is now 16th level - wow.
My main characters point of difference was that he favoured force spells over all other attack types - usually to his detriment. It seems like half the attack spells in the new PHB are force spells. Damn - I'm not special anymore.
The blandness of spellcasting is definitely one of the biggest problems with 4th edition. Hopefully, later supplements will enliven things.
However, for the purposes of the Greyhawk world, the 4th edition spells may actually make more sense. Given the effects a wizard was capable of in each previous edition of the game, it often became difficult to justify the medieval mileu. However, with 4th edition spellcasting, the medieval framework is hardly threatened at all.
However, with 4th edition spellcasting, the medieval framework is hardly threatened at all.
Exactly right. It is pleasing from that point of view. And there is plenty of scope to produce spells that dont break that concept and add some interesting effects. I suppose they couldn't fit everything in the first PHB.
The almost complete removal of charm and mind control spells is disappointing to me. The game revolves more around combat then subterfuge and manipulation. I like use spells like Geas and Sequester in my campaigns and they aren't in any of the books I have(or at least I haven't seen them) and they are good tools for my game style. I, like the others posting in here, hope that they make some marked improvements in further releases but I am a bit disappointed that the focus upon initial release was all overt and no covert.
To simplify matters they reduced the number of 'effects' that can come into play in combat so there is a more limited number of practical combat spell combinations that can be produced. However, there is nothing to stop you re-tooling the fluff of existing spells to fit in with descriptions from earlier editions or converting the non combat spells to rituals.
I certainly think that we are going to see a lot more rituals showing up in Dragon as time goes by. I love the flavour but I'm not so keen that players can access them without restriction if they get their hands on them and have the cash. Using up residuum is a good mechanic to limit usage more so than gold.
We have already had illusion spells appearing in Dragon - and quite an odd bunch they were too. I suspect that we may see a few charm and summoning spells in due course.
You should feel more pity for me though. I had to wait until Tome of Magic for my 2e shadow mage to get any proper 3e attention and I only played her twice before they announced that 3e was going out the window! While admittedly the shadowcaster mystery progression formed the basis for the new 4e system, I'm a bit too thick to be able to convert them to a warlock shadow pact striker type format. Plus the shadow power source has been bumped to PHB3 so I will get to play her properly twice in 4e before 5e comes out. Yay.
Yeah until I get a better feel for the balance of the system I am a bit intimidated at converting old standards to the new system but I suppose with time either WotC will offer story telling game players some spells that are not so combat driven or I will get more familiar and convert stuff myself. Maybe they released this stuff in a baby step approach. "Here's combat for now and we will give you more content to further story lines later." But I am just concerned about the order. Maybe I am old school but I want story stuff first. Combat is a part of my campaigns but it supports my campaign, it doesn't define it. Just me maybe.
This thread on ENWorld - http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=236804 - has a buttload of conversions of old spells into 4e rituals. Me, I like there being less spells, although to be fair, now you have to keep track of all the martial powers too, so it's probably not really that much easier. I am having a lot easier time house-ruling stuff for 4e that I ever did for 3 and 3.5, especially when you have people on ENWorld that are doing half the work for you. Despite that it seems much less complicated to me at least. Of course I'm making it harder on myself by trying to bring 4e to GH whereas most other people seem to be trying to bring GH to 4e. That's not a value judgment on my part. All I can say is I can't be having with any dragonborn in my GH, but then again the closest I ever came to a a half-dragon template was making up a kobold tribe who were descended from a kobold queen who had mated with a white dragon, very small white dragon mind you.
Having used 4e for my Greyhawk campaign since it released all I really need say is WOW! 4e is IMO better in every way than any previous edition with the possible exception of castles and Crusades.
edit to add
I don't allow dragonborn in my GH campaign and most tiefling are descended from the infernal worshiping nobility of the Great Kingdom with some coming out of the lands of Iuz. I find Greyhawk has ample examples of demonic/devilish interbreeding with humans producing cambions and one could assume tieflings.
Not more spell lists... In character terms, what's the point to spend lots of years of learning and be able to cast only ONE fireball a day ? What does it means to reach the 11th level and cast only Disintegrate once a day ?
Sure, having lots of minor spells could be useful... but for low level mages. For high level magic-user characters, it is just frustrating.
A way to test if the 4th rules are good or not is to see how many House Rules will be used by players and DM alike... IMO too many to "update" to the 4th ed...
However, I must allow at least one credit to the 4th edition : it made me laugh for couples of minutes when I read the character progression table. So munchkin... _________________ What does not kill us, makes us stronger. Friedrich Nietzsche
I'm very much with people on the utility spell issue. It is frustrating to see only a few (so far) of our favourite non-damaging spells and then only be able to choose from a tiny handful. I don't really agree on the fireball/disintegrate issue. Most old school wizards would only have revised disintegrate once/day in any event and there are per encounter fireball-type spells available as the rules stand. Further, there are paragon paths and magical items that allow you to regain powers at higher levels.
I have playtested a few combat sessions and they were tremendous fun - much more so than under any previous rules set. We haven't tried out a wizard yet but our grey elf fighter-mage-thief is going to be converted to an eladrin wizard/ranger build and I'll let you know how he turns out.
In terms of house ruling we've just made up approximations of our characters pre-existing magical items and I've added one extra power to each character to reflect their 18 year history e.g. the grey elf gained true seeing after being Tested. My own pc was a 2e shadow mage who was 'touched and tainted by blackflame' which I have re-tooled as an infernal pact warlock (with fluff reflecting her background rather than a formal pact with a devil) whose fire powers also have the necrotic property at the expense of a healing surge. Sure I used to love being able to levitate and use mage hand largely for show but I will be waiting to see what crops up in Dragon before I house rule anything much.
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