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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:38 pm    Post subject: Universal 4e Thread Reply with quote

I have asked for a 4e forum to be created to contain all the 4e threads, so we can organize them.

In the mean time I am going to post 4e info in this single thread.

To kick it off here is something from Chris Perkins blog yesterday:
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=906394#post13817152

Quote:
Re: D&D Story
There's a thread on our message boards stemming from a really interesting question: Why muck around with the D&D "story"?

The short answer is that the R&D team would only be doing half its job if we just focused on mechanical innovation. In addition to being a great rules system, D&D is a rich intellectual property. We would be remiss if we didn't put a certain amount of flavor in our core rulebooks. People relate to proper names (Pelor, Vecna, Ioun, Hommlet, the Temple of Elemental Evil, etc.), even if they don't include these names in the lore of their home campaigns.

We're also storytellers, and we have folks on staff whose primary job is to develop the "story" of D&D. Thus the D&D world, in the generic sense, is receiving as much scrutiny as the D&D rules. The primary goal of this exercise is to inspire adventures. We also want to integrate new elements of the game into the lore of the world and contribute something new and exciting to the D&D world.

Inspiring Adventures
Going back to 3rd Edition for a moment, I don't think the warmage class was negatively impacted by the inclusion of Tarth Moorda, a warmage academy, in the class description (see Complete Arcane, page 12). In fact, I've used Tarth Moorda in my games because it's a cool adventure site. The 4th Edition "points of light" concept (discussed here) inspires adventures in a different way, by giving DMs the flexibility to build their campaigns on the fly and make sure that the heroes don't know what awaits them at the end of every road.

The D&D cosmology — largely unchanged since 1st Edition — is receiving its share of scrutiny as well. We're making revisions to the cosmology so that the planes work better as adventure sites. Case in point, the individual Elemental Planes (as decribed in 2E and 3E) aren't the most interesting adventure locations; their inhospitability, vastness, and uniformity discourage exploration, and the creatures that dwell there are predictable and easy to thwart if you're packing the right spells. (Of course, these planes don't hold a candle to 2E's hilarious Plane of Vacuum, which is truly the antithesis of fun.) In the Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters book, we'll present in more detail 4th Edition's alternative to the Elemental Planes of Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. My hope is that the cosmological changes will excite players and actually encourage DMs to set adventures in these far-flung locales.

Integrating New Elements
We have new stuff in the core rules. For example, as many of you know, the tiefling now appears as a core race in the Player's Handbook. Tieflings have a dark edge to them, and they have some fun new game mechanics as well. Their story is a particularly interesting one, involving diabolical pacts and ancient tyrannical empires. Of course, whether you choose to adopt that story or create a different origin story for your campaign is entirely up to you.

The tiefling's inclusion in the core rules compelled us to imagine what the D&D world would be like with tieflings around in greater numbers. It also gave us added incentive to include the warlock class in the Player's Handbook, since tieflings and warlocks are an excellent match story-wise and flavor-wise. (Just so we're clear, tieflings can belong to any class in 4th Edition, not just warlocks. I'm playing a tiefling cleric in a current 4E playtest. His name is Zade Shadowhorn, and he worships Erathis, the goddess of civilization.)

Contributing Something New
The new edition isn't just about new rules that improve the quality of game play; it's about new ideas to help DMs build their campaign worlds and their adventures. We can't keep revisiting the same places and re-using the same names, cool as they might be.

One of the joys and privileges of working at Wizards of the Coast is the ability to expand the story and lore of our games. When Dave Noonan writes a D&D adventure and makes reference to a new demon lord named Mu-Tahn Laa, he's giving DMs everywhere something from his home game that they can pillage for their own campaigns. He's also added something to the ever-growing wellspring that is D&D. Gary Gygax did the same thing waaay back in the days of 1st Edition, populating his published work with elements from his Greyhawk campaign.

Many of these purely "flavor" elements are still around in 4th Edition because they resonate with us and with fans. But there's also new stuff. (As far as I can tell, Mu-Tahn Laa doesn't appear anywhere in the 4E core rulebooks, but I know Dave's working on the DMG right now, and he's a sneaky guy.)

Everyone Has Opinions
In tinkering with the "story" of D&D, we want to make sure that we don't turn it into something that's not D&D. That's a bit of a trick, because everyone has their own opinions about what's D&D and what's not. No specific example illustrates this point better than psionics, which has been in the game since 1st Edition (and was even in the 1st Edition Player's Handbook). However, some people rebuke it, saying "that's not medieval fantasy!" Maybe they're right. The story team assigned to 4th Edition is committed to making it work. (That said, rules for building psionic characters don't appear in the Player's Handbook. However, we are building these rules now so that they're integrated with the core system.) Naturally, a DM can still choose to disallow psionics in his or her campaign; I heartily empower all DMs to make the call that's right for them and their players. That includes scrubbing the D&D cosmology, the D&D core pantheon, or whatever else doesn't work in your home game.


This pretty much sums up why WotC and D&D R&D is messing with the sacred cows of D&D's story...

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Bryan Blumklotz
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Vormaerin
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't it have been shorter to say "because we can"?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind them messing up with the story, I'm reassured by the last part:
Quote:
...I heartily empower all DMs to make the call that's right for them and their players. That includes scrubbing the D&D cosmology, the D&D core pantheon, or whatever else doesn't work in your home game.

If it can be changed, then it's ok. Like the eladrin thing, if their story doesn't work for my game I can just change it, I can just call them grey elves and voila! A nifty difference between grey and high elves... or scrub them all together.

The same with tieflings. I can just ignore they exist for my home game, or I can make up an event that brought them to Oerth in large quantities. In the end, if it can be changed without breaking the game then I am at ease.

It's wizards that have me worried, I'm not liking (or not understanding) the wizard changes, and changing how the wizard works myself most probably will break the game.
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Ragr
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, but I don't buy any of the fluff spouted by Chris Perkins.

Are they changing things because they are broken? Are they changing things because they have better ideas?

What came first I wonder? The chicken; "Guys, we at R&D have looked at "our" game and decided that we can come up with something better and more enjoyable". Or, the egg: " Guys, we need more sales, we need a new audience to buy new stuff so we'll have to change a lot of things in order to achieve this."

I have no problem with the latter, but for heavens' sake don't insult your existing customers by dressing it up as something it isn't.

When 3x was originally proposed I think there was a feeling that 2nd edition was fatally flawed in a good few areas and that a thorough revision was called for. 3x, however, is in no way fatally flawed or broken. To quote GVD from another thread, it feels "complete".

I've read and re-read the design & development postings on insider and all I can see is a bunch of gratuitous fluff, simplistic concepts, pointless add-ons (Elves and Eladrin; please, could you come up with a lazier idea), and changes for change's sake.

I know it's early days and things will develop further, but if this is the starting point, abandon all hope of any quality.

Finally, I would quite willingly have purchased the 4e phb when it was released just to see where the game had been taken and to see if there was any substance to the claims of "really cool stuff", but that isn't going to happen if Wotc continue to introduce ideas that an 8 year old could come up with, and treat existing customers as if they were the same age.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ragr wrote:


When 3x was originally proposed I think there was a feeling that 2nd edition was fatally flawed in a good few areas and that a thorough revision was called for. 3x, however, is in no way fatally flawed or broken. To quote GVD from another thread, it feels "complete".



This, I have to respectfully disagree with. While I'll concede that certain elements of 2e *coughcoughplayersoptioncoughcough* broke the system, 3e definitly has it's share of broken elements as well. If you're not in the 'sweet spot' your game can spin very quickly into a TPK. One combat can last an entire session, and the CR system. . . well, don't get me started on that! Happy

I will agree that it feels 'complete', but only in that it feels the books have come full circle. I have eveything I could ever want out of 3e, and now look forward to seeing what 4e brings.

That said, I do expect this to be as big a change as second to third edition was, and (this from one who has a hard time moving on with gaming) I like the way 4e is moving. To me, mechanics-wise, it actually feels more akin to older editions. They've promised us simpler mechanics, quicker gameplay, and smaller stat-blocks (yay!).

But, I don't really see people complaining about the mechanics as much as the changes in the flavor. At this point, I'm looking at it as having moved from reading one series of books to reading another series. They are about the same type of world, and it promises to be as action packed, political, role-playing filled as the last series you read, only there are some subtle differences.

That's all I have for now . . .

YMMV
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Ragr
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with your disagreements, Michael. I don't use the CR, EL or the experience system as written. And I agree that the combats can be long drawn out affairs, something that in my campaign we have remedied by taking a looser approach to the rules.

You're quite right that it's the flavour that I don't like and that's pretty much all we're being fed at the moment. That and "spin". The problem is, I love the flavour as it is.

If the designers devoted all their talents towards making the game mechanics more elegant and playable, especially the elements you noted, then happy days for all. Sadly though, they seem to be addressing things that need a small amount of tweaking to make them suit a home campaign and are being Draconian by making the whole thing incompatible with 3x
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MichaelSandar wrote:

<SNIP>
They've promised us simpler mechanics, quicker gameplay, and smaller stat-blocks (yay!).
<SNIP>


Michael,

Having talked to a WotC employee about the idea that 4e is going to be simpler, don't get your hopes up. Streamlined != Simpler. There was some cringing when I repeated the "simpler" meme from GenCon. As this person has played 4e and seen pre-beta 4e and I trust their opinion.

While 4e will be better organized and rules will be streamlined, there is still going to be a learning curve for new players not familiar with D&D rules.

Those of us used to 3e conventions will have an easier time adapting but and I think that the shock (basic mechanics wise) will be less than the 2e to 3e jump.

If WotC delivers on the promise that my prep time will be reduced and that the sweet spot is spread out over all levels (rather than 3e's 7th-13th level) I will prolly adapt to 4e.

Right now I prep a minimum 1/2 hour for every 1 hour of play time. I definitely agree with the wag that said D&D is "20 min of fun played in 4 hours."

At the very least I will mine the 4e rules for fixes to my 3.5 campaign (grappling, simplifying skills, more robust social interaction rules).

I have a pretty complete 3.5 collection (including the excreble Cityscape, quite possibly the worst 3e book EV-ER!) so I can play for a long time without buying another WotC book. I also have some 3rd party books I will mine for my home game if 4e doesn't pan out...

My Two Coppers,

Bryan Blumklotz
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warlocks and Tieflings. Big mistake. I hate them both. The 4E pendulum has swung the other way for me again. I hope they tinker D&D to death and its a critical flop (much like movies it'll be a commercial success just out of hype).
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too was very disapointed in the class and racial changes. Sure doesn't feel like Greyhawk. Of coarse with all the strangeness of races and classes they threw into 3.5 I'll just have to leave most of it out. If it doesn't feel like 1st edition Greyhawk to me, it goes BYE BYE. If I say BYE BYE to many times, WOTC loses another 3 generation player.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Alternative" to the elemental planes.

Shocked

Mad

Sad
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:38 pm    Post subject: Iggwilv's Legacy and Campaigns Starting Reply with quote

From Greg Bilsland's Blog on WotC:
http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=13849270&postcount=4

Quote:
Iggwilv's Legacy and Campaigns Starting

A motley assemblage of tasks has comprised my past week, beginning with my completion of Iggwilv’s Legacy (The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth) and ending most recently with development work on a G-creature. I’ll discuss the intervening projects in a moment, but I’ll begin with Iggwilv’s Legacy, which has dominated my time for the past five weeks.

I began working on Iggwilv’s Legacy—the three-part adventure that will appear in DDI next month—on my first day. As the shock of 4th edition’s imminent release dissolved, it was replaced by dread—dread that on my first day I was to begin immediately editing a 40,000-word adventure by myself. Sure, I knew my stuff. I could cleave dangling modifiers, blast rogue punctuation, but I was still only moderately accustomed with the plenitude of R&D styles and formats that were soon to inundate my brain. The task was, to say the least, a bit daunting.

Three parts constituted Iggwilv’s Legacy: “Iggwilv’s Horn,” “The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth,” and “The Hollow of the Horn.” The first and third parts were addendums to the original S4 1st edition adventure by Gary Gygax. I soon discovered that Iggwilv’s Legacy was a less-than-traditional 3rd edition adventure in several ways. As a tip-of-the-hat to the antediluvian 1st edition adventures, Iggwilv’s Legacy contained many now-extinct conventions, typical of the Gygaxian era. In this way, it is a nostalgic tribute to days gone by and cannot be approached as one might a more recent adventure. The aim of the adventure was to update the 1st edition rules while maintaining the spirit of the original publication.

Although technically the editor of the adventure, I ended up doing some amount of writing and development. A different freelancer worked on each of the three sections, bringing in a fresh and unique perspective to each part. On the other hand, some disconnect existed between the sections and it was necessary to bridge these together. The result is an adventure that harkens to the early 80s in style but still brings to the table a more revitalized and streamlined set of rules.

On an ironic note, the original “Caverns of Tsojcanth” adventure came out in the year I was born. As a more recent proselyte of DnD, I was only vaguely aware of some of the conventions and assumptions that informed 1st and 2nd edition. I had the pleasure of working with Kim Mohan at the end of the process, and he was able to offer wisdom and perspective that I was otherwise lacking in my consideration of the adventure. I felt a little bit like Luke Skywalker, listening to a sagacious Obi-Wan Kenobi offer an edifying explanation of the Force. Only the Force was Gygaxism.

My adventures in the Caverns finished, I was slated to begin three weeks of glorious playtesting. Alas, it was not to be. Besieged by work, the designers and developers were unavailable to conduct playtests for the editors. Several weeks back, however, Chris Sims had offered to run a lunchtime game, and so hope remained. Some scarce talk had arose among my fellow editors over who would play what. I had no opinion on the matter, though, happy to play whatever class we deemed necessary to round off the group.

And, let me tell you, it was a good thing that I was of that opinion. Our party was pitifully short of defenders or anything with hit points and armor class, so answering the call of duty, I decided to play a warhammer-wielding warforged fighter. Unfortunately, character creation was about as far as we got. Most of us (the editors), were creating 4th edition characters for the first time and so it took some time to choose from among the new options available to us and then to read up on what ability scores, powers, and gear might be appropriate for that class/race. However, I am hopeful that next Monday we will dive fully into Chris’ campaign setting, which looks and sounds very interesting.

Similarly, I will be starting my own campaign on Tuesday nights with players Chris Tulach, Logan Bonner, Peter Schaefer, and Sammy; there’s still one player tbd. I intend on writing up some playtest reports for DDI, so I won’t say much of the campaign here. I am very excited to be gaming again, though, and eagerly await next week, which also brings the return of Heroes!! (on an unrelated note)

I have more miscellaneous tasks to discuss, but as this blog is running long , I think I’ll save some for later. Besides, I need to get back to developing the G-creature because apparently I’m going to the developer’s meeting this afternoon and not tomorrow. Until later.


=== Who Hoo! ===

In Service,

Bryan Blumklotz


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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow I wonder how well a person who was born in the year The Lost Cavarns of Tsjocanth came out is able to make it feel like 1st edition. I'm sure he's a good writer, but if you weren't alive yet or just a kid at the time how do you recapture the moment when you never played the moment. This is one of my biggest complaints about WOTC, everyone is to young, thus little to none appreciation for old school gaming. Just an opinion.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! That's a very interesting slant on things, Eileen. I've been quite troubled by how annoyed I was getting with all the news coming out of Wotc. I'm normally not at all concerned by changes to the game that I didn't like; I just refused to use them and moved on. This, however, felt different, almost a personal attack.
I initially put it down to my total aversion to corporate b*******, but in truth, I hadn't even considered that there was a generation gap between the folks frequenting this site (rude as it maybe to speculate on their ages), and the game designers.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Somehow I wonder how well a person who was born in the year The Lost Cavarns of Tsjocanth came out is able to make it feel like 1st edition. I'm sure he's a good writer, but if you weren't alive yet or just a kid at the time how do you recapture the moment when you never played the moment. This is one of my biggest complaints about WOTC, everyone is to young, thus little to none appreciation for old school gaming. Just an opinion.


That was exactly my reaction. I fully accept that I am an "old geezer" from the standpoint of a lot of D&D fans, but there seems to be a regretable lack of context for a Greyhawk centered adventure if the designer is more amused by the "quaintness" of the Gygaxian approach than with a faithful rendering of the adventure into a different rule set. I hope I am just reading too much into this aspect, but a someone who was already playing D&D the year The Lost caverns of Tsjocanth was first published, I am edgy about the conversion.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ragr:

I apologize if my post came across as a personal attack, it wasn't intended to. I do not know the author of the upcoming Lost Cavarns of Tsjocanth at all. I do think many of WOTC employees such as the game designers and people making decisions are from a younger generation and as a result we are seeing the difference today. They understand the younger audience better because they are part of it. Thus their desire to incoporate computers into D&D and psuedo make a D&D experience online. I think the younger ideas are quite present in 3.5 as well. Not to say that they are all bad...not at all.

My point was that a generation gap exists and thus people think differently at various ages. Tough to recapture the moment for if you didn't live it. No personal attack here....wouldn't do that.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's me who should apologise, Eileen, for not being clearer in my previous post (probably tired and emotional).

What I meant to say was; I felt that each release of information from Wotc felt like a personal attack on how I played the game and I couldn't work out why I felt so annoyed by it all. The announcements came across as overconfident, bordering on arrogant, and it really got my back up, which in turn lead to me being really negative about the whole 4e thing.

The fact that some of these guys were probably much younger than I and would say things differently hadn't occured to me. So I'm really grateful for your posting because I've now "chilled" a bit (notice, "bit").

So, I apologise for making you believe you had offended me and hope I haven't soured relations for the future.

Ragr
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soured relations? Not at all, just leave your donation at the temple and all will be well. Sometimes it is difficult for me and others to convey what we are thinking in a paragraph or three. In addition, readers can easily get a different message as well. Not a problem, thanks for getting back to me. Have a great day!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if younger player means you can't get the right feel for the Caverns adventure. I ran Caverns in Ebberon as part of a much larger campaign (which tanked because of certain key players quitting/moving, etc). I admit I changed large parts of it (mine was set with the entrance in a "good" sahuigan city, and there was an exit from the center to the outside to the coast of Xendrik. I count myself as a younger player (I'm 32), mainly because I never really started playing until well into 3.0, and not too long before the first rumblings of 3.5. My only brush with 2nd edition was a short lived Dragonlance game session my ex-wife ran for me where I was a kender. I understand 2E rules, since I owned the book, but had no one to play (which of course meant I read it a lot), but that's about the extent of it. Thankfully the guys who trained me on the true art of DMing were old school players, who taught me both how to use, abuse and ignore the rules when it fit my purpose.

All that said (and please, no offense is meant to anyone), I for one am very excited to see what is in store for the Iggwilv legacy. I still call my behir mini (well not so mini miniature, heh) Lludd. (my spelling is off, sorry). Worst case scenario, I will ignore it and loot and pillage it for material.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, they can probably make it a cool adventure though WotC's track record in that isn't so hot. Its more the developer's apparent mindset of "oh, we'll do all these 'cutesy gimmicks' that'll make it feel like Gygax wrote it." Pastiche is extremely hard to do well and if you aren't even familiar first hand with what you are doing a pastiche of? Its just not the sort of thing that inspires confidence. Pastiche very easily turns into parody in unpracticed hands.
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