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Best Version of DnD?

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4 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

Meh. I'm old. I worry about stuff. I gripe about other stuff. And I find I don't like it when they change something I liked. Except when I feel otherwise. I like cantrips. First edition cantrips were a bad joke, but fifth edition, they're actually useful powers that make a wizard type worth a drat, as opposed to "shoot your Magic Missile and then hide." But I hated Healing Surges, because to me they seemed like an excuse not to bother with a cleric (it was pointed out to me on this board that if you viewed them as "adrenaline surges or second wind," they made sense; I was just being an old grouch. This is, in fact true.) So I'm old. And picky. I understand this comes with the gray hairs.

I've played every iteration of the game. I've relearned the game more than once. But Fourth was ... I dunno. It didn't feel like D&D. I didn't understand why the game introduced Minions with 1 hp to make things easier for the DM, but then introduced the concept of DOTs (damage over time conditions) that made DMing a bigger headache than ever. It seemed to me to be a scheme to sell little token sets and spell cards and things.

And no DM wants to hear a player say, "All right, we'll do an area damage that'll clean out the Minions, and send in our tanks to draw aggro, then target the hard guys." Yeesh. If I wanted to play "World of Warcraft," I'd get a computer out here.

 

I remember when 4e came out, the group I played with switched. Ours was a private game so we were in the back room at the game store. About 2 months (painful months I might add) of playing and a knock at the door saw a couple we didn't know poke their heads in to watch. The guy was trying to explain D&D to his wife. After a few minutes she looks at him and says "so it's just like WoW but not on the computer". As I had been saying the same thing for a few weeks I laughed and said to the others told you so.

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13 hours ago, Pingo said:

*and now I find myself wondering how much of the upheaval of 4.0 and the seemingly odd decisions made had to do with the worldwide economic crash of the time.

Indirectly, it definitely was - Hasbro changed the target numbers that lines had to meet in order to avoid being marginalized - and D&D was well below that number.

 

So, then WotC panicked, and got stupid - aided by the number of ex-TSR employees that were then involved in the management of WotC. (There were a lot of TSR folks that really, truly, and deeply loathed the OGL.)

 

Looking at just the numbers... if you added all of the profit from all of the third party D20 publishers, D&D could hit that magical number. Hurray! We're saved!

 

Plus there was a loud minority that were constantly harping about the flaws of the D20 system - though often with examples that I would call 'spherical cows'.

 

So, creating a new system that was different enough from D20 that the OGL could not be used to recreate it became one of the design goals, and they could 'fix' all those problems that folks were complaining about. Hurray! We're saved!

 

But this left out the fact that people wanted to play D&D, not a completely different game with the same name.

 

And that the OGL was specifically worded the way that it was because the creators of the license were pretty darned sure that some pointy haired idiot would, at some point, try to kill the OGL.

 

So, sales for 4e were nowhere near projections - and the returns of unsold copies was much, much higher than planned for - bookstores had bought in depth, in anticipation of another huge success, like 3.5 had been.

 

Instead... a heavy load of unsold merchandise was dropped back on WotC's warehouse floor.

 

While initial sales figures showed 4e being a much bigger success than 3.5 had been, those returns reversed the situation - while sales were still higher than the trailing end of 3.5, they did not match the sales from when 3.5 was new - and the drop was both faster and sharper than that of 3.5 had been.

 

Meanwhile at about the same time that WotC was discovering that 4e was not the salvation for the D&D line that they had anticipated, Pathfinder came out - and was what WotC had promised, in regards to being 'D&D 3.75'.

 

And the folks that were not the ones that had been complaining, that did like the 3.X architecture, shouted 'Hurray! We're saved!' and bought Pathfinder - this was not a matter of Pathfinder cutting into 4e sales - these were people that had already been lost as a market to 4e.

 

And there were more of them than WotC had expected.

 

Instead of saving their market in spite of the economic downturn, they had split their market, and were left holding the smaller part.

 

Add to this that they had changed their business model in anticipation of 4e being a huge success - including what had long been the real moneymaker for them - the line of novels. (Yes, for a long time, it was the fiction that made the most money for D&D, not the game itself.)

 

And that the folks that had been buying cases of random D&D miniatures for their miniatures game just did not invest in the same way when the miniatures were intended for 4e.

 

WotC had put all of their eggs in one basket... and then found that the basket had a major hole in side.

 

They had nearly killed their brand, in an attempt to capture all of the market.

 

So, yeah... panic induced stupidity did play a major role, in my estimation.

 

The Auld Grump - gamers arriving... Hurray! I'm saved!

Edited by TheAuldGrump
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I gather novels have been the primary profit driver for most roleplaying games. 

 

I am not certain, but I believe I even heard that about WarHammer and WH40K.

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3 hours ago, Pingo said:

I gather novels have been the primary profit driver for most roleplaying games. 

 

I am not certain, but I believe I even heard that about WarHammer and WH40K.

Which is funny, because I think I've seen maybe 5 books total from those two lines, all of which were 40k based. But I see Salvatore's D&D books everywhere. I've even seen one or two at Wally World, and that place doesn't stock much of anything outside the latest schlock "best sellers" and cheap knock offs of such.

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13 hours ago, VitM said:

@Auberon I normally like Matthew Colville's videos, but that particular video strikes me as an inadvertent indictment of both 4e and 5e.

 

"5th edition is great!  Except the combat; that's kind of dull.  I know, I'll take combat inspiration from 4th edition!  I loved 4th edition!  Not enough to keep playing it now that 5th edition is out, mind you.  But the interrupts!" :rolleyes:

 

 

I don't want to put too many words in his mouth, but another way to put it would be that the pendulum swing that began with 4E went a bit too far with 5E.  To be clear to start, I'm just now learning 5E so I am by no means an expert, but looking through the higher level monsters I can at least see where he's coming from.  Let's put it like this, in 3E some of the higher level monsters could be complex to run.  Some people loved it and that's great, but some people ran into a bit of trouble keeping track of everything (a friend of mine that was an occasional DM would have this issue from time to time).  So for 4E one of the things they said was "a monster probably only lasts for 5-6 rounds, so let's give them enough cool things to do for that many rounds and get rid of the rest."  That gives you the dragon described in the video above for example.  Reading the dragon entry for 5E it looks like they took it one tick further so they no longer quite have enough cool things to do to fill up an encounter. 

 

A d20 system I am more familiar with than 5E is 13th Age.  I love the game and overall it's fun to play, but they did basically cut dragons down to some melee attacks and a breath weapon.  I personally find that a little boring, but fortunately 4E & 13th Age are quite hackable and it's really easy to give monsters more cool things to do without throwing off the game balance.  From what Matthew is saying above, it sound like 5E is the same way.  Given what I've seen so far I will likely be doing the same, but I'll have to report back at a later date.

 

12 hours ago, etherial said:

Well, just about every gaming system has cool ideas that could be mined for other games. Frex I love love love how Psychic Powers work in Conspiracy X and I'm likely to port that system to just about any game where I want to add Psychics. But 4E has the most new different stuff for D&D style roleplay for people running 5E.

 

Yes, exactly.  One thing I've seen, and that game designers freely admit, is that everyone steals from everyone.  They might say "I loved the chase mechanics from Spycraft, so I'm going to figure out how to put that in my game," and that's what they do.  Like any industry that's been around long enough to mature, truly unique ideas become few and far between.  It's become more about combining what is already out there in your own way and surrounding it with interesting fluff.  I would say a prime example of the latter was the old White Wolf World of Darkness games.  Once you stripped it down, there was very little in the die mechanics that actually drove players to a particular playstyle. There was a humanity chart for Vampire for example, but that was about the extent mechanics drove play.  They just did such a good job with the art and flavor that they got across "this is what the world is like." And I've brought up WoD in a D&D thread, which would have been bad news back in the day.  :lol:

 

7 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

Meh. I'm old. I worry about stuff. I gripe about other stuff. And I find I don't like it when they change something I liked. Except when I feel otherwise. I like cantrips. First edition cantrips were a bad joke, but fifth edition, they're actually useful powers that make a wizard type worth a drat, as opposed to "shoot your Magic Missile and then hide." But I hated Healing Surges, because to me they seemed like an excuse not to bother with a cleric (it was pointed out to me on this board that if you viewed them as "adrenaline surges or second wind," they made sense; I was just being an old grouch. This is, in fact true.) So I'm old. And picky. I understand this comes with the gray hairs.

I've played every iteration of the game. I've relearned the game more than once. But Fourth was ... I dunno. It didn't feel like D&D. I didn't understand why the game introduced Minions with 1 hp to make things easier for the DM, but then introduced the concept of DOTs (damage over time conditions) that made DMing a bigger headache than ever. It seemed to me to be a scheme to sell little token sets and spell cards and things.

And no DM wants to hear a player say, "All right, we'll do an area damage that'll clean out the Minions, and send in our tanks to draw aggro, then target the hard guys." Yeesh. If I wanted to play "World of Warcraft," I'd get a computer out here.

 

 

If it makes you feel any better I've discovered while reading the 5E PHB that "healing surges" made it into 5E.  They call them "hit dice" and you have to roll instead of receiving a set amount of HP, but PCs are still able to heal themselves after a short rest.

 

A friend of mine made a little tracker in excel and then printed out a bunch of copies on the index card bricks that you can pick up from your office supply store.  Each player had a version to track PC DoT and the DM had one for just his monsters.  It made DoT conditions relatively painless to track, but I don't know that WotC ever released anything like that.  (Full disclosure, I've never purchased a token pack in my life and don't see it happening in the future.)

 

I've heard aggro come up from time to time and it seems an easy comparison to make, but do the facts actually support that?  In 4E a defender was normally able to challenge one monster, not a group.  You said "Hey buddy, you and me, let's get it on," but the mark didn't actually compel that one monster to attack the burly fighter that just challenged it.  It made it a good idea, but not a requirement. So in an MMO, does the tank aggro only one mob and it says "meh, I'm still going to attack the wizard."?

 

4 hours ago, Lars Porsenna said:

Well, IMHO healing surges didn't mean you didn't have to bother with a cleric; what it meant is that the cleric wasn't there simply to be the healbot. In a lot of our older games the cleric didn't bother with clerical spells except for the bevy of heals, because that is what he would be doing most combats. Healing surges, whether you liked the concept or not, allowed cleric players to do something other than deciding whether to use cure light wounds or cure moderate wounds, etc.

 

Damon.

 

The last time I played a sit-down game of 3.5E, I played a druid.  It's not quite the same as a cleric, but it was still the party's "prime healer."  I cast some healing, but it was in the minority of the spells.  If you help kill something before it can attack, then you don't need to heal anyone.

 

It is certainly true that 4E gave clerics the ability to heal and attack at the same time and having played one I can say it was fun.  I would however disagree that other versions of d20 require the cleric to do nothing but heal.

 

2 hours ago, dwarvenranger said:

I remember when 4e came out, the group I played with switched. Ours was a private game so we were in the back room at the game store. About 2 months (painful months I might add) of playing and a knock at the door saw a couple we didn't know poke their heads in to watch. The guy was trying to explain D&D to his wife. After a few minutes she looks at him and says "so it's just like WoW but not on the computer". As I had been saying the same thing for a few weeks I laughed and said to the others told you so.

 

As I read your post it occurred to me to wonder how much of the MMO thing is a frame of reference notion.  I personally had played war games before I ever played D&D and skirmish games before I met 4E.  When I look at 4E I see a lot of the positioning and tactics from the tabletop.  If you've never played those (or at least not recently) and your experience is 3E & WoW, then you play 4E and say "this isn't 3E" do you make the jump to WoW instead of tabletop skirmish/boardgame because that's what your other reference is?

 

2 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

Indirectly, it definitely was - Hasbro changed the target numbers that lines had to meet in order to avoid being marginalized - and D&D was well below that number.

 

[snip]

 

I had heard the target Hasbro gave was something like $50 million, but I no longer remember the source.  At any rate yes, they were below that target $$$.  It's easy to say in hindsight that they made some bad decisions, but I wasn't in the room when they made them.  I can say that my previous job was at a company that wasn't doing so well financially.  It had had a lot of good years, but by the beginning of this decade was in a bit of a decline.  The board told their sites all over the world "make more money" The pressure came down on upper management and then trickled down to us.  And while I wasn't involved in the decisions, there were some that seemed odd from the ground.  There was even one where a senior engineer said "I don't know where your numbers are coming from, but this isn't going to work."  They did it anyway because on paper it looked good to the board.  Too much pressure does strange things to decision making.

 

So let's say all of us are at WotC headquarters when Hasbro hands down their orders.  We look at each other and say "can we hit our target with book sales alone?"  The answer is no, but in the past we've sold spell cards, and minis, and maybe tokens (can't remember if 3E had them or not), so we say we can sell those.  Do we think it can work?  Maybe not, but when your options are "no chance" and "probably no chance" a 1% chance is better than none.

 

Obviously this is total speculation as to why they pushed all the trinkets so hard, but having seen what people do when they can't hit targets under their current model I can see something similar happening at WotC.

 

2 hours ago, Pingo said:

I gather novels have been the primary profit driver for most roleplaying games. 

 

I am not certain, but I believe I even heard that about WarHammer and WH40K.

 

I have known people who don't game that have read a lot of RPG novels.  The local library in the 90s had all of the D&D books.  I owned some of them, and read Dragonlance even though I never played Dragonlance.  R. A. Salvatore sold a bunch of books about a silly elf for some reason.  Certainly they make money.

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5 hours ago, Auberon said:

As I read your post it occurred to me to wonder how much of the MMO thing is a frame of reference notion.  I personally had played war games before I ever played D&D and skirmish games before I met 4E.  When I look at 4E I see a lot of the positioning and tactics from the tabletop.  If you've never played those (or at least not recently) and your experience is 3E & WoW, then you play 4E and say "this isn't 3E" do you make the jump to WoW instead of tabletop skirmish/boardgame because that's what your other reference is?

 

Not the person that you're replying to, but I feel much the same. FWIW, a bit of my background: I started playing hex and counter wargames in 1974 and D&D in 1976. I've played many different RPGs, playtested for MtG (and other CCGs), I was a very good DBM (miniatures) player for several years and played many other sorts of miniatures games, I've played most sorts of computer games and dozens of American and European board games, and I was editor of Games Quarterly Catalog and Games Annual magazine for years. I think it unlikely that any opinion I have formed is a result of lack of material for comparison.

 

In my educated and considered opinion, 4E was much more like an MMO than it was like anything else.

 

This does not make it bad, but it did not provide enough advantages to me to overcome its disadvantages (including the disadvantage of having to buy and learn yet another set of rules). In a perfect world, 3.5/Pathfinder was and is not my preferred system. But I have a critical mass of other players, I have a great deal of material for the system, I know the advantages and disadvantages well enough to manage, and it's good enough. The result is that I'm playing that system today. Switching would require something not just better than PF ab initio (I have several other systems that already meet that bar, none of which is either 4E or 5E), but something that is enough better to overcome the networking and infrastructure advantages inherent in PF. Haven't seen that so far. YMMV.

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12 hours ago, Pingo said:

I gather novels have been the primary profit driver for most roleplaying games. 

 

I am not certain, but I believe I even heard that about WarHammer and WH40K.

i have at least 20 WH novels myself.

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6 hours ago, Doug Sundseth said:

 

Not the person that you're replying to,

 

[snip]

 

Even though I quoted a number of people the majority of my post wasn't directed towards anyone in particular.  It was mostly just musings inspired on the spot by what I had just read, so feel free to reply to anything.

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17 hours ago, Pingo said:

I gather novels have been the primary profit driver for most roleplaying games. 

 

I am not certain, but I believe I even heard that about WarHammer and WH40K.

This does not surprise me in the slightest - among other things, novels are a lot less labor intensive than games, generally the work of a single author, rather than a team.

 

***

Yesterday was either the next to last game for the campaign, or the one before - the party now knows what is going on with the elves, and have realized that there are two spider gods - a goddess of storytelling and a goddess of deceit.

 

If the party wins both parts of the next bit, then they will drive the goddess of deceit and her followers into the Darklands - and the number of Drow factions will increase - as the evil wood elves undergo the inevitable change....

 

The next two bits are the Battle of the Spider Woods - as the PC's forces help to defend the good, if very scary, spider elves from the evil, and very scary, spider elves.

 

And the other part is the PCs themselves making a foray into the First World - 'traipsing through a faerie ring to interact with the little people'. (That line, right there, is where I first started loathing 4e - because, for me, sometimes D&D is a game about traipsing through the faerie ring.)

 

They need to free the goddess of storytelling and drive out the goddess of deceit. If all goes well, she will be driven into the Darklands - a living avatar of an evil god.

 

And now the party realizes why it was so important to Dispater that the holy weapon was removed from Hell, rather than destroyed - his machinations were as much about weakening the goddess of deceit as it was about getting the sword away from the Hellmouth - he has an easier time dealing with the Chaotic Good elves than with the Chaotic Evil elves - in spite of being Evil himself. And that an open Gate from Hell is equally a Gate into Hell. While the goddess of storytelling has no interest in taking over part of Hell, the same could not be said of the goddess of deceit.

 

Meanwhile, it means that the forest is still going to be infested with chaotic good Woods Driders. :lol:

 

The Auld Grump

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On 4/21/2017 at 2:11 PM, Dr.Bedlam said:

But I hated Healing Surges, because to me they seemed like an excuse not to bother with a cleric (it was pointed out to me on this board that if you viewed them as "adrenaline surges or second wind," they made sense; I was just being an old grouch. This is, in fact true.) So I'm old. And picky. I understand this comes with the gray hairs.

 

 The thing about 4E healing surges was that...

 

A) Although you had a lot of them, you couldn't use them during a fight by yourself unless somebody did something that let you... You got one Second Wind that let you use a surge, and then you had to rely on the healer's spells or the warlord's martial healing to let you use your remaining surges during combat... 

And...

B) Nearly all the healing in the game required you to spend your healing surges. So once you used up all your healing surges, either through receiving healing spells in/out of combat or spending surges on your own outside of combat, you were done for the day as far as healing went even if you were the recipient of more healing spells. Surgeless healing was a rare and powerful thing in 4E.

 

In 1st and 2nd Ed, natural healing was slow, so healing was all about the cleric's limited number of spells and the potential to have a potion or two. In 3.5, the party's overall healing wasn't so much determined by the cleric's healing spells as much as the party's financial ability to carry around a massive amount of cure X wands and some potions for during combat. Healing in D&D has always really been about resource management, no matter how the edition dressed it up. 4E simply codified that fact and put it in writing (and switched the management game to something internal to the player character rather than an external thing).

 

 Which, in a way, was one of 4E's cardinal sins - it tried to be a good game... (And I think we can all admit that D&D has never been a particularly good game.)  When computer RPGs first came out, the programmers looked at the rules for games like D&D and said, "How can we simulate that gaming experience, but in a way that makes for a good computer game?" When 4E was being designed, the developers asked themselves, "How can we make this version of D&D a good game?", and designed it with a good deal of thought toward its playability as a game.

And so one of the big things that elfed off a lot of older players was that 4E took a lot of the meta-game stuff that people were already doing anyway (common strategies (the 3.5 bag of cure light wounds wands), particular playstyles and solutions to issues ("Everyone stop and rest, the wizard is out of spells"), DM tricks (how to run a successful "skill challenge" before they were called skill challenges), etc.) and broke the rules of Fight Club by daring to try to codify and define them and write them right into the game mechanics - basically pulling back the curtain so that all the strings and gears were visible and there was no longer any mystery behind the machine, and then (worst of all) freely admitted, "Yes, this is primarily a game and the rules aren't going to work as a perfect simulation of reality, and when it becomes necessary to choose between verisimilitude and ease of play we're going to go with making the mechanical rules easier to use..."

And so 4E seems to a lot of folks to have more in common with the games that were designed to mimic D&D rather than D&D itself. It's clearly meant to be played as a game, and the rules often read like a technical manual, even if they don't play that way at the table. Some might say that it succeeds more at being a good game (regardless of whether or not it actually does) than it succeeds at being peoples' idea of what "D&D" is "supposed to be".

Which is why, to a lot of people who were looking to get a live bird trained to sing on command, they were instead handed what they see as a cuckoo clock that pops out and sings on the hour...

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mad Jack
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The funny thing about "4E's just doing an MMO" is that the MMO based on 4E, Neverwinter... isn't terribly good.

Well, no, that's not entirely true. It's got a decent action-based mechanic as opposed to the boring-elf "point and click" MMOs like WOW and Champions Online...

But there is no variety in character creation. I can understand class restrictions and all but your chosen class determines the one type of armor that your character can wear, and determines the fighting style (paladins are mace'n'board, clerics just keep away and throw light javelins, wizards spam magic missile and use ice spells, there's two fighter class and one is sword'n'board and the other is two-handed sword, rangers just bow or poorly dual-wield, etc)....

 

I'd like to think 4E wasn't that restrictive in terms of character creation, but I've never played it...

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5 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

And the other part is the PCs themselves making a foray into the First World - 'traipsing through a faerie ring to interact with the little people'. (That line, right there, is where I first started loathing 4e - because, for me, sometimes D&D is a game about traipsing through the faerie ring.)

 

In the wee hours of this morning I was spelunking through some ancient corners of the internet and I found some early pre-release chatter about 4e, including interviews with Hasbro / WotC people, and there was something I ran across which set off an "Aha!" bell about the faerie nonsense and I wish I could remember what it was or where I found it, because it seemed to provide a clue to the peculiar hostility aimed specifically at faeries and prolonged non-combat interactions with them.

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15 hours ago, Pingo said:

 

In the wee hours of this morning I was spelunking through some ancient corners of the internet and I found some early pre-release chatter about 4e, including interviews with Hasbro / WotC people, and there was something I ran across which set off an "Aha!" bell about the faerie nonsense and I wish I could remember what it was or where I found it, because it seemed to provide a clue to the peculiar hostility aimed specifically at faeries and prolonged non-combat interactions with them.

'Dungeons & Dragons is not a game about traipsing through the fairy gates and interacting with the little people. Dungeons & Dragons is a game about combat!'  was the flint & steel for a major backlash against 4e - before it was even released. The game was burning, because a game designer was running off at the pen.

 

***

 

Looks like two more sessions for the current campaign, maybe three - the Battle for the Spider Woods went well - and kep the SCAdians in our number quite happy.

 

No surprise, the dark elves attacked by night, using the darkness to hamper the wood elves' human allies.

 

Opening with bugbear shock troops - always have others do your dying for you, when you have the chance.

 

Julie had control of the unit of goody-two shoes Woods Driders - and Faerie Fire went a long way to negate the problem of darkness for the human allies.

 

When the ogres and bugbears broke, the dark elf army started falling apart - lots of high attack, lo resilience units meant that once it started falling, it fell fast.

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On 4/21/2017 at 4:44 PM, dwarvenranger said:

I remember when 4e came out, the group I played with switched. Ours was a private game so we were in the back room at the game store. About 2 months (painful months I might add) of playing and a knock at the door saw a couple we didn't know poke their heads in to watch. The guy was trying to explain D&D to his wife. After a few minutes she looks at him and says "so it's just like WoW but not on the computer". As I had been saying the same thing for a few weeks I laughed and said to the others told you so.

 

Yup. We tried for a while, we really did. But it came down to "We could be playing WoW on LAN, and it'd be easier on the DM."

 

On 4/21/2017 at 5:18 PM, Pingo said:

I gather novels have been the primary profit driver for most roleplaying games. 

 

I am not certain, but I believe I even heard that about WarHammer and WH40K.

 

Well, the Drizz't stuff has been a big pushy moneymaker. And yesterday, I was surprised to see a wall of 40k novels at Barnes & Noble... as well as omnibus reissues of "The Dark Elf Saga." In multiple volumes.

My main gripe with this is when the tail wags the dog. I liked the 40k Ciaphas Cain novels, because they were FUNNY, to an extent -- more than just grimdark GRIMDARK DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DIE HERETIC, if you know what I mean. The author was allowed some flexibility, and he ran with it. Seems like the last few 40K and D&D novels I've read, this is no longer allowed. In particular, the time skip from 3rd to 4th edition covered a hundred years, turned Elminster into a sad old hermit, and wiped out Drizz't's entire supporting cast; Salvatore had to do some fancy dancing to save popular villain Artemis Entreri. Yeesh! Toy executives need to stay out of the writing decisions; these were the people who thought a Battleship movie would be a good idea...

 

Mad Jack, I ain't gonna quote your large post, but I agree with you for the most part (Heh. "Talking about Fight Club." NICELY put.) D&D is an example of a cultural phenomenon what just GREW, not an example of a well designed game. It evolved from war games by Avalon Hill and the like, and a fondness for miniatures. The first games of D&D I ever played, we didn't even USE minis. They were barely mentioned in the books because the assumption was that you were so immersed in the culture, you WERE using minis, so why belabor the point? And part of the problem is that there's enough old grunts like me left that we didn't WANT a beautifully designed game with lots of moving parts and accessories... we wanted D&D.

Hasbro lost touch with the base, and they paid for it; now they've realized, and suddenly, I can buy PDFs of old books and modules ...as opposed to the old paradigm, which was "If we let them have PDFs, others will just pirate them and cut into our profits. Better to sit on our catalogue and make NO money than to enable PIRATES!"

...which I interpreted as "You're so afraid of pirates, you're going to make certain that the only way to get old product is by piracy?" Fortunately, wiser heads seem to have prevailed. In particular, Tales From The Yawning Portal is just a big love letter to the grognards. 

As to healing surges... yes, I understood the REASON for the game mechanic. And I was aware of the fact that I didn't like it because THAT'S NOT HOW WE USED TO DO THINGS! &%$#@ IT, USED TO BE IF NO ONE WANTED TO PLAY THE %$#@ CLERIC, THE PARTY HAD TO SUCK IT UP! Yeah. Whining. And 4th edition addressed that. And that's one of the reason 4th didn't feel like D&D -- worrying about your hit points, nursing your potions, and when to find a secluded place to camp and heal up was part of the GAME... in my day.

Hell, so were interactions with the gate guards, and the fairies. 4E just tried too dratted hard to codify what was and what wasn't fun... as opposed to earlier editions of the game that just said, "Here's a bunch of rules and other stuff. Use what seems right at your own table, and go have fun."

And there lies the difference between a bunch of grognards turned game publishers... and a multibazillion dollar toy company...

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Aside from the obvious Kobolds, what kind of henchmen could a young white dragon out for revenge coerce/bribe/hire into his service?

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