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Frankthedm

D&D 4E seems to be looming ahead.

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"The 4th Edition rules emphasize faster game play" Rackham said that about their new Confrontation, and uit is a completely different game then before.

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1.) Getting away from the ridiculously overcomplicated THAC0 system.

 

THAC0 - (roll on a d20) = AC Hit.

 

My monster has an AC of 3. My player has a THAC0 of 18, rolls a 12. Suntracting 12 from 18, he says "I hit AC 6". 6 is not as good as 3, so he missed. This is somehow "ridiculously overcomplicated"? Man, I will never, ever get that. At any rate, you could completely ignore THAC0 for both 1E & 2E and just use the charts.

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Which is easier

 

AC = 16 - Roll D20 Add/Minus modifiers is result >= 16 You Hit

 

AC = 4 - Roll D20 Subtracts result from THAC0 then Add/Minus modifiers <= 4 You Hit

 

The first one removes a stage making it simpler. I wouldn't call THAC0 "ridiculously overcomplicated" but it is more complicated than it needs to be.

 

Companies have to make money, otherwise they go out of business. For gaming companies this means release new books, trouble is they can't keep adding new expansions because not enough people will buy them. Core book sales are where WOTC make their money. It is no different to any other business. Look at fashion, cars, consumer goods, computers they are all doing the same thing. It is down to you the consumer to decide whether you want this product or not. Reaper does it as well - I mean do we need more than one figure of a knight in full plate with a sword ?

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I am so glad I bailed on this game at 3.0. If anyone is looking for a good generic system that can be used across multiple genres, try Unisystem. It is what I use now and I have never looked backed.

 

Anthony

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I'm tired of D&D's constant "new version" releases. They're as bad as Microsoft. <_<

 

 

Like anvil, I haven't been happy with D&D 3rd ed in general, and miss Hero System and GURPS (I prefer GURPS for fantasy as they do magic better than Hero). I think I'll be working with those systems more and more.

 

 

HERO is still alive and kickin'. Fifth Edition Revised is a bit massive, but there's also Sidekick. My favorite RPG system, almost to the point of "you mean there are other RPGs out there?"

 

Lookie here.

 

 

I know about Hero still being out there, but haven't been able to find a group who is willing to play it around here. They're all D&D or White Wolf, neither of which I'm completely interested in.

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There are things to like about the 3/3.5. Rolling to hit is easier (mostly), saving throws are much better than the old Rod/Staff/Wands days. I even like that skills are useful. I hate almost all of the other combat mechanics. Reading up on when an attack of opportunity was positively grueling. (You get an attack of opportunity if the target leaves your area of control defined as the squares around you, but only if you are facing him except on days that end in Y, or it is a full moon and your report card has more than one "A"). And some peolpe love em, but I HATE HATE HATE feats. The whole thing seems munchkin to me. The game was aimed at stacking benefits...stack stack stack. Urggh!

I suspect that I am too old to learn another system. I don't fault WotC for revising the rules, really I don't. I will most likely not buy them. I don't have room for all the RPG material I have now. When my Savage Tide campaign ends I will have to seriously condsider my role playing future.

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A decade between first and second editions, and another decade between second and third. In the past few years, we've seen another major (?) revision to the core rulebooks, and they're planning another release. I'm no expert on D&D, and may never actually have played 3.5, but a fourth edition next year is way beyond Microsoft's planned obsolescence. Wizards seems not to understand, or to care, that Knights of the Dinner Table's Hard Eight Enterprises was invented as a joke.

 

Three different editions in six years or so? Thirty years after the invention of D&D, can they really not decide on what it is they're selling? By now, I feel rather secure in this particular prejudice: WotC needs us to buy some more books, and soon. They can promise full support for the new line, of course, until they get bored with it again or until sales lag.

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Ok, can someone please explain to me WHY y'all were so unhappy with 3.5? I think it's a good system that allows for a lot to go on in the game. I started gaming with 3.0 and 3.5 and have always heard bad things about them but I've gone back to look through first edition and second and they aren't that great . . . in my opinion. I really think the system is fine as is. I don't see major problems with it and really don't see the need for a 4th edition

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Ok, can someone please explain to me WHY y'all were so unhappy with 3.5? I think it's a good system that allows for a lot to go on in the game. I started gaming with 3.0 and 3.5 and have always heard bad things about them but I've gone back to look through first edition and second and they aren't that great . . . in my opinion. I really think the system is fine as is. I don't see major problems with it and really don't see the need for a 4th edition

 

I agree in that I also don't see a need for 4e either. However, some elements in 3.5e appear to have been changed not neccessarily to make a better game (though some are quite obviously improvements) but an effort to change it enough to encourage new book purchases. Compare spell descriptions, FREX.

 

My question is, how will this effect 3.0/3.5 SRD? There are already publishers putting out essentially reprints of 3.5SRD. What's to stop them from continuing to put out these reprints, and supporting the game happily? Will WotC yank that license or something (hard to do AFAIK since its already out there)?

 

Damon.

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My question is, how will this effect 3.0/3.5 SRD? There are already publishers putting out essentially reprints of 3.5SRD. What's to stop them from continuing to put out these reprints, and supporting the game happily? Will WotC yank that license or something (hard to do AFAIK since its already out there)?

 

That's an easy one. They can support 3.0/3.5 all they want but since 4.0 will be the only official rules it will limit the market for the older rules support. If you go to cons you won't be able to use it, plus the WotC worlds FR and Eberon and such will still be copyright so they will only be able to do general support.

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Ok, can someone please explain to me WHY y'all were so unhappy with 3.5? I think it's a good system that allows for a lot to go on in the game. I started gaming with 3.0 and 3.5 and have always heard bad things about them but I've gone back to look through first edition and second and they aren't that great . . . in my opinion. I really think the system is fine as is. I don't see major problems with it and really don't see the need for a 4th edition

I made the switch from 2nd Ed to 3e primarily because of my involvement in the RPGA's Living campaigns at the time. It was either upgrade, or stop playing. I grew to like a number of things about the 3e system though, and eventually converted my personal campaign to the system. The 3.5 released irritated me to no end, however, for pretty much two reasons. First, the *.5 was an admission that they were not only not completely ready to have released 3.0 to begin with, bu that a 4th edition would not be too far in the future (as has been born out by this announcement). Second, most of the things that got "fixed" really weren't broken to begin with; because of the major changes to the system, many people weren't prepared to deal with some of the possible "munchkin" combinations that the system allowed for. Good GMs (yes, you know who you are) had no problem with it and for those people, the majority of the changes in 3.5 amounted to nothing more than a reason for WotC/Hasborg to sell us more books.

 

The jury is out on 4th Ed for me; either I'll have to be drawn back into a Living-style game that requires it, or the mechanics will absolutely have to wow me.

 

Good luck. <_<

 

~v

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I am so glad I bailed on this game at 3.0. If anyone is looking for a good generic system that can be used across multiple genres, try Unisystem. It is what I use now and I have never looked backed.

 

Anthony

 

All Flesh Must be Eaten is my second favorite RPG. (it would be my first, but an extended campaign is... difficult. Either the problem gets cleaned up quickly and the campaign ends, or everyone gets wiped out and the campaign ends, or they find someplace and get enough supplies stocked and the area secured well enough that they can live out the rest of their lives in peace and the players get bored and the campaign ends)

 

Keeping in mind that I've only seen Unisystem as used in AFMBE, I'd think that the system is too unforgiving for heroic fantasy style combat. I mean, one or two hits will kill almost any PC character. Is that a problem?

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3.0/3.5 isn't all that.. the only genius to the rules was the ogl and srd. Nothing was that original in fact a lfair amount of the mechanics were used from other systems.

 

However it stole players from other systems and unified roleplaying games.. You can move from one d20 to another and no generally how to play the game.

The kicker is that in 2000 nobody sayw the cross over between chain mail and d20.. then dndminis / 3.5 came out now 4ed and XXX each closer and closer cross over between the two.

 

The other thing Wotc recognizes is the entertainment dollar is shrinking and the travel dollars to conventions is shrinking. I expect them to release a lot of electronic content and the price to fluctuate initially as they try to figure out the sweet spot on that sort of material. Look for subscriptions...

 

 

If you like d20 or don't like d20 it's ok.. I just ask players and DM's to consider other options.. Don't fall into the hype that you need every book wotc puts out.. most are not worth it..

judically look at your game play is d20 meeting your needs or are you just playing because everyone else is.. both are valid reasons for buying thier materials... I am not a wotc hater.. I just choose not to buy thier products, because well quite frankly it doesn't feel like dnd any more to me.

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I agree in that I also don't see a need for 4e either. However, some elements in 3.5e appear to have been changed not neccessarily to make a better game (though some are quite obviously improvements) but an effort to change it enough to encourage new book purchases.

 

Quoted from another thread (by a very clued up guy).

 

I do not get it, why do games need so many versions - is it just marketing? This will be the sixth version of DND (at least), then there are the numerous WH versions - why not stick with something?

 

Well, as you probably already guessed, there's more to it than that. And no, it's not all about "Evil Corporate Empires" and the like, despite what a lot of people tend to think. I have a fair number of acquaintances, and even some pretty good friends, who used to be employees of WotC and have since written freelance for them. Now, that said, it's probably worth also pointing out that I don't have a high opinion of a company that complicated the lives of my friends, so please pardon me in advance if some of what follows seems to be rather "mixed".

 

First of all, the essential problem of (and challenge for) any RPG publishing company is you can only sell a single book to a single person one time only. However, equally essential is the fact that no company can function without continued revenue being generated from year-to-year (the only exception I've ever encountered in my professional experience were diamond prospectors). Especially not a game publishing company, which inherently always has the overhead from hell anyway. If one ever wonders why so many gaming companies are, at best, "one-hit-wonders", the problems I've described here generally lie at the core of the reason.

 

Further, keep in mind I say "revenue" and not "profit". One has to be able to pay people to work for you even before you, and any shareholders, get to enjoy things like profits. If you cannot do that, then you will fail in a fairly short period of time. This is a major problem for any publisher, gaming or otherwise, because you have to pay people well in advance of the work they are producing actually generating any revenue. More on this below.

 

Even if your sales figures are as high as WotC's are reputed to be, you are always going to be faced with the railroad track ending abruptly at the edge of a cliff. There just comes a time where everyone has already bought your primary revenue generators. It's inevitable. It might be possible to put it off for 10 years, or 5, or perhaps only 1. But it is inevitable. Ironically, with all the innovations that exist in the way in terms of online ordering (particularly through generally-accessible retailers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon, just to name two), downloadable product (both legal and illegal alike), quick shipping, and the like, inevitability comes faster than ever before.

 

For WotC and D&D 3.x, those primary revenue generators were the Player's Handbook, the Dungeonmaster's Guide, and the Monster Manual. That's it. Yeah, I know. WotC published more than that, right? All those class guides, those multiple monster manuals, and those special-interest supplements. And what about Forgotten Realms and Eberron? Don't they sell?

 

The answer to that question is yes, but only a conditional yes. The sales figures (and therefore revenue generated) for all of those supplements are just never in the same ballpark as the primary revenue generators. For every one obsessive person that buys everything a company like WotC publishes, there are going to be ten or more that don't (whether due to lack of funds, a fact that fits a lot of people I know; or perhaps due to personal preferences, which is why I do not have, for instance, a lot of WotC-published game books on my shelves). Those subsequent products rarely do much to keep a company going for year-to-year, though particularly successful ones might help.

 

And that brings me back to something I mentioned earlier. If it's inevitable that every railroad eventually leads to a cliff, then the only thing one can do, if one wants to keep going, is to build a bridge that hopefully reaches to the other side and continued safety. However, to continue this metaphor, the time to build that bridge is not when you come to the edge (at that point, desperation replaces care and you probably only get partway over the ravine before the bridge you hastily build collapses and you fall anyway). It has to be done ahead of time.

 

For the gaming industry, that bridge is, in all honesty, typically represented by a new edition. Only a new edition of the core rules of a game system is generally going to sell on the level of a primary revenue generator and buy the company (and those who work for that company) another period of solvency (whatever that period might be).

 

However, something else I mentioned earlier still applies. Publishers have a real challenge in needing to pay those that work on a published work in advance (often a long, long time in advance) of that published work ever actually generating revenue. And that means a certain amount of guesswork. The management has to guess when they aren't going to be able to survive anymore (without knowing what the economy may do in the future), guess how long the creation of a new primary revenue generator will take, and hope that everything works out. It's a perpetual gamble; made more complicated by the fact that, all too often, a new edition is often no more welcome to those working for the company than it is for us gamers. So, in a nutshell, the management has to guess a point for a new edition that will allow them to keep going and yet not loss potential revenue generated by the primary revenue generators by ticking off too many "known" buyers.

 

Needless to say, in the absense of reliable prophecy, most gaming companies are left with guessing. Some guess right, and continue (though most stumble at some point in time). Others guess wrong and fail (which makes it rather difficult for writers and game designers to not starve).

 

I know there are a lot of other reasons that various gaming companies and various gaming professionals offer for this phenomenon, and I know that at least some probably would disagree with some of what I posted above. I also can't speak to how gaming companies outside the US might function. But most all of what I just described has been described to me by the aforementioned friends and acquaintances that either do...or did...work for the game publishing industry (and not just WotC). I also have my own past experience writing for the gaming industry. As an example, several years ago I was paid for a manuscript that was never published, and therefore never generated any revenue to compensate for my being paid my freelance writing fee. I know that interior artists, layout folks, and a couple other writers also worked on the same product and were paid for at least some, if not all, their time and effort. I imagine that happens more than just occasionally.

 

Does the world really need another DnD game? I think 3.5 (the 3rd edition's corrected version) came out less than 4 years ago.

 

*chuckles* As one might gather from my previous essay, that's not really the question, in my opinion anyway. A new edition is never published because "the world" needs it, at least in my experience.

 

As for the new edition, I've heard that some companies (GW) need to keep producing new editions to renew the copywrite on their existing stuff.

 

Such is not an issue on that level in the US, though perhaps it is in the UK. I will say that I have heard and read a lot of different justifications for the crafting of new editions of games. Some are full of more holes than others.

 

Thanks for that insight, Maerin. It basically had me nodding my head to my initial thoughts of "job justification" and "reinventing the wheel".

 

Thanks. It puts in perspective the general negativity associated with expressions like "job justification" and "reinventing the wheel". We all struggle with real life, and so understanding is often easiest when it is put in terms of peoples' life and livelihood.

 

Now, most of the people I know who have worked in the industry did so because they sincerely wanted to. Even at its best, these folks don't make a lot of money, and so there really does have to be something else there. And yes, there have been more than a few occasions where that "something else" has resulted in the kind of change-for-changes-sake that is known for driving us batty. But, in the end, one still has to get more from any job that just a love of it. Medical insurance is expensive. So are food, car payments, and a roof over one's head. If a job can't pay for those things, then you can't work at that job, no matter how much you might love it. I know the "starving artist" is one of those more common cliches, but there is far more truth then falsehood to it. Particularly in the gaming industry.

 

And that's assuming both the industry, and the companies that make up that industry, are at their best. Unfortunately, "their best" is not always the case and that does shade my points of view of certain gaming companies out there (including the one we are presently discussing).

 

I hope that helps you to understand the situation from a broader perspective.

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