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Elves and Eladrin
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gargoyle
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just slightly off-topic here, but... I agree with you GVD. My group is currently working on a shared world campaign, building it from the ground up. We've come to the planes, and the concept is that the Divine Realms, aka the Outer Planes, are the creations of the Gods who dwell there. Their very existence creates the plane they reside in, and the God and the plane are intertwined. The inhabitants of those planes are inherently part of the plane, as well as servitors of the Gods. Thus, eladrins are chaotic good inhabitants of the appropriate plane (in this case the Dales of Pharonis) and serve the lord of the plane (Pareis, God of Hope, Benevolence, Joy, Beauty, Song, and Light). I prefer this take on planar inhabitants, rather than having them spring up from the essence of the plane itself, or come from "somewhere else", and just end up where they are.

Eladrins as elves? No. Eladrins, however much or little you use them, are supposed to be planar inhabitants that superficially resemble elves. Fudge WotC in their ear.

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Vormaerin
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind the new vision of elves on its own, if this were a fresh product. But I don't understand why they would suddenly create a vision of elves that is basically at odds with all the existing visions out there. That just isn't how the vast majority of the players think of their elves. Its actually not that far from how I do things (though mine aren't quite as emotion over reason). So I am well aware of how at odds even a less extreme version of WotC's vision clashes with the conceptions of the playerbase.

Rules changes are lot easier for a DM to deal with than fundamental changes to "setting" material like this.

Regarding the eladrin, I don't use either the Seldarine or the Great Wheel, so in that sense its not a big deal to me what they do with the eladrin. I've already recast the celestials and other Outsiders...

But, again, if they are going to make arbitrary and substantial changes to long standing "setting" material, it really needs to be sensible and serve a useful purpose. Granted, we are just getting bits and pieces so far, so they may have some cool grand vision. If so, fine with me.

What I see so far is either they are tossing out the Great Wheel and Planescape conceptions entirely or they are complete morons. Because the changes they are making are fundamentally incompatible with it.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="GVDammerung"]
Vormaerin wrote:
1st - There are those inhabitants of the Great Wheel who epitomize their home plane or could be said to have grown from the aligned (as in alignment) nature of the plane. These would be indigenous inhabitants.


Just of curiousity, what of the planes in between alignments? Are there to be a whole slew of planar creatures with lawful-lawful-good, chaotic-neutral-good, lawful-neutral-evil, and other hybrid alignments for the planes that epitomize a confluence of alignments?
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To some extent, there already are (demodands in Tartarus, formians native to Arcadia, windblades in Pandemonium, and the whole hierarchy of animals, animal wardens, and animal lords in the Beastlands). Most of the other in-between planes have at least one distinctive race (barghests and vaporighus in Gehenna, lillends, bariaurs, and fensir in Ysgard, maugs and chronotyryns in Acheron). There are others I haven't mentioned. The only one left out is the Twin Paradises, which are stuck with air sentinels and adamantine dragons, neither of which really feels like a native, and things like the ni'aths and ethyks, which are just nonsapient animals.

But yes, absolutely. Giving each plane its own distinctive natives really helps bring the plane to life. With the upper planes, in particular, this is necessary, as the upper planes don't have as much detail.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MichaelSandar wrote:
While I see your point, remember that there have been people feeling this way since OD&D, not to mention those who played BECMI, 1e, 2e, 3e, and now 3.5. When you get right down to it, there are still tons of people who play these (very different) game systems, each with their own take on the cosmology and different races.
Plus, with a little time and effort, I have yet to see one D&D supplement for any edition that wasn't at least marginally compatible with another edition. It just takes a little work Wink


This falls into the category of "if you don't like it you can just change it" comments that I always get when I gripe about WotC. Yes, I know people have always complained and I know lots of people do it differently and I know I can always customize the system. That's not the point. The point is, I have an opinion and I'm expressing it. For the record, ONE MORE TIME, it's not so much what they're doing as it is how they're doing it.

I must also confess that I'm more than a little torn when I complain about such things. From a business standpoint the changes they're making are brilliant. I'm part owner of 4 LGS's and I foresee a tremendous increase in business if WotC can pull off their strategy. On the other hand, I get the distinct feeling that the kind of roleplaying I've been participating in for the last 30 years is soon to be gone forever. It'll probably begin to die out slowly starting just after the release of 4e. This isn't likely to affect me personally, but I hate to see it go. I can sympathize, I think, with all those old cowboys who saw their way of life dying with the invention of the pickup truck.

If my hobby is to die, then so be it. I can deal with that. I just wish it could be allowed to die a slow natural death. The disrespectful and dishonorable way that WotC has gone about introducing 4e is, IMHO, shameful and unnecessary. I think they could've introduced the changes without deliberately sabotaging everything that's been built to this point.

It was an underhanded, spiteful, thing to do. Thus, I say again, "Get bent, WotC."
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
To some extent, there already are (demodands in Tartarus, formians native to Arcadia, windblades in Pandemonium, and the whole hierarchy of animals, animal wardens, and animal lords in the Beastlands). Most of the other in-between planes have at least one distinctive race (barghests and vaporighus in Gehenna, lillends, bariaurs, and fensir in Ysgard, maugs and chronotyryns in Acheron). There are others I haven't mentioned. The only one left out is the Twin Paradises, which are stuck with air sentinels and adamantine dragons, neither of which really feels like a native, and things like the ni'aths and ethyks, which are just nonsapient animals.

But yes, absolutely. Giving each plane its own distinctive natives really helps bring the plane to life. With the upper planes, in particular, this is necessary, as the upper planes don't have as much detail.


From the marketing standpoint of Wizards of the Coast, are they better off concentrating on a design philosophy of a score of different outsider types for each of the planes to satisfy someone like yourself whom is well versed in their interactions. Or are they better off concentrating on angels as good outsiders, demons and devils as evil outsiders for someone like myself that does not take the time to learn the intricacies of the planes?

Quite frankly, I have never used any of the Eladrin through some 7 years of 3rd edition because they do not have a solid archetype, but rather, gravitate toward using the angels for good outsiders and therefore am pretty much using only lawful good because of it. I would be overjoyed if angels encompassed all good alignments.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bubbagump wrote:
On the other hand, I get the distinct feeling that the kind of roleplaying I've been participating in for the last 30 years is soon to be gone forever.


May I ask that you elaborate with specifics on how you see this happening? Basically everything they have hinted at thus far is dead on what I would like to change in the game, granted they have only given hints and no specifics. I certainly plan to keep on playing the same as I have the past two decades and what I have read sounds like it will improve that experience. I cannot say I have heard anything that sounds like the traditional tabletop game will stop being viable.

It is sounding like a Greyhawk game will be able to get a good boost. Adri axe warriors truly specialized in their weapons. Wizards will not have to stop the delve into the Temple of Elemental Evil because they ran out of spells. Everyone stops running back to the good ole magic shop in Verbobonc because magic items are de-emphasized. I will not have to worry about where the heck 3e rules are for Valley Elves when the party goes into the Valley of the Mage because all elves are the same. Hopefully I will no longer have to pull out a Forgotten Realms book just to use the beloved bullywugs. All good stuff.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OleOneEye wrote:
From the marketing standpoint of Wizards of the Coast, are they better off concentrating on a design philosophy of a score of different outsider types for each of the planes to satisfy someone like yourself whom is well versed in their interactions.


The issue isn't what they "concentrate" on; this is something I couldn't care less about. It's perfectly possible to concentrate on angels without saying that races personifying the individual Upper Planes don't exist at all, or are reduced to a kind of "super-elf."

Perhaps an analogy would work: imagine that they decide it's too complicated for the uninitiated to grasp the difference between a hobgoblin and an orc, so they make hobgoblins into orcs with class levels (hobgoblins are orcish monks, while bugbears are orcish barbarians - that sounds like something they'd do). In my mind, it'd be better if they didn't use hobgoblins at all in the core books than shut the door for all future designers who might want to use hobgoblins in the "classic" way.

A similar dynamic's at work here. If they want celestial elves, I'd rather they used celestial elves, and leave the name "eladrin" out of it. At least than I'd have hope that one day a more creative, thoughtful, and respectful designer could reintroduce eladrins in a more intelligent way.

The desire for simplicity and the desire to preserve some vestige of past continuity aren't mutually exclusive.

I do like some of the proposed rule changes. I only wish they'd leave the design of planar matters to someone with a more interesting take on them. I'm not opposed to change so much as I'm opposed to such tedious and banal ideas. It's not a matter of what I do in my own campaign, but of not wanting to see official sourcebooks filled with material that isn't very good.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
OleOneEye wrote:
From the marketing standpoint of Wizards of the Coast, are they better off concentrating on a design philosophy of a score of different outsider types for each of the planes to satisfy someone like yourself whom is well versed in their interactions.


The issue isn't what they "concentrate" on; this is something I couldn't care less about. It's perfectly possible to concentrate on angels without saying that races personifying the individual Upper Planes don't exist at all, or are reduced to a kind of "super-elf."

Perhaps an analogy would work: imagine that they decide it's too complicated for the uninitiated to grasp the difference between a hobgoblin and an orc, so they make hobgoblins into orcs with class levels (hobgoblins are orcish monks, while bugbears are orcish barbarians - that sounds like something they'd do). In my mind, it'd be better if they didn't use hobgoblins at all in the core books than shut the door for all future designers who might want to use hobgoblins in the "classic" way.

A similar dynamic's at work here. If they want celestial elves, I'd rather they used celestial elves, and leave the name "eladrin" out of it. At least than I'd have hope that one day a more creative, thoughtful, and respectful designer could reintroduce eladrins in a more intelligent way.

The desire for simplicity and the desire to preserve some vestige of past continuity aren't mutually exclusive.

I do like some of the proposed rule changes. I only wish they'd leave the design of planar matters to someone with a more interesting take on them. I'm not opposed to change so much as I'm opposed to such tedious and banal ideas. It's not a matter of what I do in my own campaign, but of not wanting to see official sourcebooks filled with material that isn't very good.


I apologize for feeling somewhat piques today, but what the hey.

The analogy to hobgoblins and orcs is not quite the same. Hobgoblins have a mythological history long predating the modern era, and so, have a meaning outside of DnD culture. Largely due to Tolkein, the same can be said of orcs. However, I cannot find a reference to Eladrin prior to Warriors in Heaven c. 1999. At least I had never heard of them prior to the current edition Monster Manual. Hence, the level of egregiousness in eliminating the eladrin's role in the game is less than that of the analogy. Regardless, I am doing nothing more than splitting hairs here.

Mayhaps you could find some satisfaction through wordplay in calling the elves new cousin an Aeladeryn in your home game rather than Eladrin? Certainly any Greyhawker must indulge in some wordplay to avoid things like Nippon or Orc Reich.

On the side, other than the obvious same name as 3e eladrin, has there been anything that suggests 4e eladrin will be celestial in the slightest? Perhaps just a more magical fey?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OleOneEye wrote:
bubbagump wrote:
On the other hand, I get the distinct feeling that the kind of roleplaying I've been participating in for the last 30 years is soon to be gone forever.


May I ask that you elaborate with specifics on how you see this happening?


I'd be happy to. First, let me say that in some ways I agree with you. Some of the changes WotC has mentioned do look pretty good from a rules standpoint. Also, I repeat my statement that it is not the changes themselves that I object to, but rather the way in which they are being implemented.

Also, let me state clearly that I know dozens of gamers who are playing and will continue to play in more-or-less the old-school way. My comments were not meant to imply that after 4e there won't be any more of us around. My own game will remain completely unaffected probably until the day I die. I realize that changing editions doesn't mean all of us must change by a specific deadline or perish.

And though it pains me to do so, I have to admit that WotC's changes seem to be truly brilliant from a business standpoint. Were I more interested in profit than I am, I'd be cheering. But I love my game more than I love the paltry income that comes my way from the LGSs in which I own an interest.

That said, back to the rant. Some indications that tabletop roleplaying in the form that I prefer is dying have already occurred. There has already been a massive shift toward including a heavy emphasis on miniatures. A bad thing? Of course not. It's just a small shift in the way the game is played. Another shift is an increased emphasis on character builds rather than character development. This is part of a greater shift towards an emphasis on combat rather than an emphasis on roleplaying. Another shift that I believe will lead toward the eventual death of roleplaying as I prefer to do it is the shift toward an online "centralized authority" (if you will) that exerts an inordinate influence on the way the game is played. A further change is harder to describe; it is a change in philosophy as demonstrated by newer generations of roleplayers. Spending a little time around WoW'ers, Vampire players, et al, is useful at this point. I haven't the space here to describe the shift adequately; suffice it to say that newer generations don't think - and therefore don't play - the way we did in the old days. All of these factors and more lead me to believe that roleplaying in the future will be significantly different than it has been - different enough to be considered practically a different form of entertainment.

Clearly, it is not necessary for any individual to participate in these shifts. I myself choose not to. However, when WotC and other forces introduce these shifts most people will make the change. As the crowd goes in the designated direction, more and more old-schoolers will either join in or find something else to do. Eventually roleplaying as I prefer it will cease to exist.

So, I repeat my objection yet again in hopes that people will finally stop telling me to just change it if I don't like it: I don't want to change, I don't like the changes that are being made, and I don't see why they had to take deliberate steps toward destroying what has already been built. It would have been cheaper and easier for them to simply introduce a new set of rules without changing all the sacred cows. None of those changes are necessary. Therefore, they must have been done for some other reason; I suspect the reason was to piss off old-schoolers like me and marginalize us so we don't put so much pressure on WotC to dance to our tune as we have in the past. They want new customers who will drink their kool-aid, not old customers who prevent them from making the necessary business-dictated changes. Do I blame them? No. But I think they could have gone about it in a much more respectful and honest way.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OleOneEye wrote:
The analogy to hobgoblins and orcs is not quite the same. Hobgoblins have a mythological history long predating the modern era, and so, have a meaning outside of DnD culture. Largely due to Tolkein, the same can be said of orcs. However, I cannot find a reference to Eladrin prior to Warriors in Heaven c. 1999.


Eladrins first appeared in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II, in 1996. D&D hobgoblins have little or nothing to do with the hobgoblins of folklore (which were similar to brownies and pixies - Robin Goodfellow was called a hobgoblin). The D&D ones're based on Tolkien's Uruk-hai, which means they're more or less just more powerful orcs (without the daylight penalty). Gygax exaggerated the difference between orcs and hobgoblins somewhat, making orcs pig-like and hobgoblins baboon-like, but even so they don't fill dramatically different places in the game. They even had the same alignment until 3e. As such, nobody outside of D&D fandom is going to care if WotC turned them into orcs with class levels.

Nonetheless, it'd be an unnecessary and needlessly alienating change. Better, as I said, to leave hobgoblins out altogether than to use them in a way that would be perceived by fans as "wrong."

Quote:
Mayhaps you could find some satisfaction through wordplay in calling the elves new cousin an Aeladeryn in your home game rather than Eladrin?


As I said, this has nothing to do with what I can do in my home game; that's a canard that really has to stop now. Using the "but you can always change it" argument, it's not legitimate to ever express annoyance at anything WotC does, and it should be obvious that that isn't conducive to an enjoyable discussion.

It seems to me that on a message board like this it ought to be acceptable for someone to say "I like this better than such and such" without being shot down with such a conversation-killer as that.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bubbagump wrote:

That said, back to the rant. Some indications that tabletop roleplaying in the form that I prefer is dying have already occurred. There has already been a massive shift toward including a heavy emphasis on miniatures. A bad thing? Of course not. It's just a small shift in the way the game is played. Another shift is an increased emphasis on character builds rather than character development. This is part of a greater shift towards an emphasis on combat rather than an emphasis on roleplaying.


Star Wars Saga is easier to run without miniatures than OCR/RCR was (other than the horrid measurement system of everything in squares). As I use a blend of sometimes using miniatures and sometimes not, I hope that Saga is a foreshadowing of how DnD combat is to be. As an aside, 1st edition will always hold the warmest place in my heart, as it is where I started. I do not recall much of any rules for outside of combat, so the trend is not unprecedented.

bubbagump wrote:
Another shift that I believe will lead toward the eventual death of roleplaying as I prefer to do it is the shift toward an online "centralized authority" (if you will) that exerts an inordinate influence on the way the game is played. A further change is harder to describe; it is a change in philosophy as demonstrated by newer generations of roleplayers. Spending a little time around WoW'ers, Vampire players, et al, is useful at this point. I haven't the space here to describe the shift adequately; suffice it to say that newer generations don't think - and therefore don't play - the way we did in the old days. All of these factors and more lead me to believe that roleplaying in the future will be significantly different than it has been - different enough to be considered practically a different form of entertainment.


As I have never played WoW or any of the other online games, nor do any of my fellow gamers, I trust your judgement that it is different. Having hosted a few live action Vampire games back in the early-mid nineties, that game was all about roleplaying and had nothing to do with builds or character options. Well, it was really more about flirting with girls in all honesty, not really having anything to do with tabletop roleplaying or affecting it in any way. Perhaps things are different nowadays?

bubbagump wrote:
Clearly, it is not necessary for any individual to participate in these shifts. I myself choose not to. However, when WotC and other forces introduce these shifts most people will make the change. As the crowd goes in the designated direction, more and more old-schoolers will either join in or find something else to do. Eventually roleplaying as I prefer it will cease to exist.


If the changes you see taking place are primarily the result of WoW and similar games, than it is not WotC forcing the shifts, but rather, WotC following the market to avoid future death. Where would the NBA be today had they never allowed the 3 point shot? Games must change with the target audience.

bubbagump wrote:
So, I repeat my objection yet again in hopes that people will finally stop telling me to just change it if I don't like it: I don't want to change, I don't like the changes that are being made, and I don't see why they had to take deliberate steps toward destroying what has already been built. It would have been cheaper and easier for them to simply introduce a new set of rules without changing all the sacred cows. None of those changes are necessary. Therefore, they must have been done for some other reason; I suspect the reason was to piss off old-schoolers like me and marginalize us so we don't put so much pressure on WotC to dance to our tune as we have in the past. They want new customers who will drink their kool-aid, not old customers who prevent them from making the necessary business-dictated changes. Do I blame them? No. But I think they could have gone about it in a much more respectful and honest way.


You present a thoughtful argument, and as it certainly appears you interact with far more new gamers than I, you almost certainly have a more keen awareness of what the new crowd wants. I would be quite interested in what you would consider a more respectful and honest manner of developing 4e.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
Eladrins first appeared in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II, in 1996.


This is why you are my single favorite poster. Your encyclopedic knowledge of the game seems to have no equal.

rasgon wrote:
D&D hobgoblins have little or nothing to do with the hobgoblins of folklore (which were similar to brownies and pixies - Robin Goodfellow was called a hobgoblin).


Undeniably. Unless I am mistaken, the hob- prefix means small, or some derivation thereof.

rasgon wrote:
The D&D ones're based on Tolkien's Uruk-hai, which means they're more or less just more powerful orcs (without the daylight penalty). Gygax exaggerated the difference between orcs and hobgoblins somewhat, making orcs pig-like and hobgoblins baboon-like, but even so they don't fill dramatically different places in the game. They even had the same alignment until 3e. As such, nobody outside of D&D fandom is going to care if WotC turned them into orcs with class levels.


Likewise, nobody outside of DnD fans will care if trolls, bugbears, ogres, and troglodytes are nothing but orcs with class levels either. But each of these has a place in popular culture outside of DnD. The same cannot be said of Eladrin. Hence the slight difference in your original analogy. But as I said before, I am doing nothing but splitting hairs here and not really addressing your true argument.

rasgon wrote:
Nonetheless, it'd be an unnecessary and needlessly alienating change. Better, as I said, to leave hobgoblins out altogether than to use them in a way that would be perceived by fans as "wrong."


I much preferred DnD's original pig-like orcs, and was not terribly happy that they looked like big goblins in 2e. It is quite possible I will not like the new incarnation of the Elves and Eladrin. Guess I will have to wait and see.

rasgon wrote:
As I said, this has nothing to do with what I can do in my home game; that's a canard that really has to stop now. Using the "but you can always change it" argument, it's not legitimate to ever express annoyance at anything WotC does, and it should be obvious that that isn't conducive to an enjoyable discussion.

It seems to me that on a message board like this it ought to be acceptable for someone to say "I like this better than such and such" without being shot down with such a conversation-killer as that.


Fair enough. No slight intended.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OleOneEye wrote:
I would be quite interested in what you would consider a more respectful and honest manner of developing 4e.


It's quite simple, really (I've covered this elsewhere, for those who don't wish to read yet another of my rants). Since none of the non-rules-related changes are necessary to produce a better game system, they must be doing it for reasons other than what they're telling us. (I've explained why these changes are unnecessary above and elsewhere; I won't go into it here.)

Therefore, if they want to do things in a more respectful way they could simply tell us why they're trying to piss us off - or better yet, they could just stick to producing a good rules set and leave the fluff so many of us love alone.

It would be much easier to take if they simply said, "We believe the game needs to go in X direction in order to remain economically viable. Therefore, we're making Y changes. We know some of you won't like it but we feel it's necessary," or something to that effect. I may not like the changes or the reasons behind them, but I can at least accept it as fact. But telling me that eladrins need to become elves because it makes D&D easier to play? Please - that's the flimsiest smokescreen ever. Either they're really stupid or they have other motives (and whatever I may think of WotC's designers, I don't think they're stupid).

To answer your question in clearer terms: They should at least give us a greater degree of disclosure when it comes to the reasons behind their changes. They should also be more forthcoming when they tell us why 4e is coming so soon. You simply can't convince me that 3.5e is so broken that it requires another edition already. Additionally, I'm still pissed about the way they "surprised" us with 4e. There was no reason to do so unless they were deliberately trying to keep the gaming community's direct involvement to a minimum. If they wanted to keep us out of it (and personally I can see how that could be a good thing), then they should have simply come out with 4e without the song and dance routine. Finally, they should drop the "the game remains the same" schtick. Clearly, it doesn't. They should tell us the truth if they tell us anything at all.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If eladrin replace grey elves that would actually work out ok in Greyhawk. It could justify the otherworldly detachment of Celene and the elves of the Timeless Tree. The Kingdom of Sunndi might need a bit of work but generally speaking, grey elves are already a bit 'out there' in the Greyhawk setting.
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