Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Don't Give A Damn About Red Box 2010

[WARNING: A RANT FOLLOWS]

By nature, I have a slow boiling point.

I realize how hum-drum edition wars can be, but I just can't hold it in any longer.

I've owned the 4E rulebooks and I've played it enough, even in a Gencon tournament, to know that I really can't stand it.

This is not Gygax's D&D. Hell it isn't even your older brother's D&D. Mearls et al. can try to make it look like D&D they can try to make it quack like D&D but, as an old football coach told me, "you can't make chicken salad out of chicken feathers." It is what it is...and it isn't D&D. I really have no idea how Mearls can sleep at night.

I can't stand the renaming of goblins and trolls and such just so they can IP, trademark, and/or copyright everything.

I don't recognize the monsters, I don't recognize the game, I don't recognize the aesthetic. My D&D is medieval fantasy, not fantastical.

Are these splatbooks, editions every couple years, and the fragmenting of the fanbase ultimately good for D&D? Hell no. D&D should be classic like monopoly, or scrabble. It has the same name-power as these classic games and yet we as D&D fans can't talk to each other anymore because of the direction Mearls and Slavicek have taken the game. We need to start asking the same question as those vested in baseball interests, "Is this good for D&D?". Looks like even Goodman Games has bailed on 4E.

All I'm trying to say here is that the whole thing is a damn shame. It's my game too, and I really dislike what has been done to it and the shameless use of classic art recently to sell their lame excuse for D&D.

It's not my D&D and I won't teach it to my kids.

...wait. That doesn't go far enough.

If the last version of D&D on earth was a 2010 Red Box, and that Red Box was on fire, and all I had was a full bladder, I wouldn't even piss on it to put the fire out. I'd just start over.

There. I'm done.

92 comments:

  1. I have little interest in playing 4E.

    Having visited several 4E sites, they seem quite enthused about the new essentials line.

    Endless combat holds no appeal to me, and I don't understand what the payoff is.

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  2. Hey DJ,

    The thing I don't understand is that to have a new version of D&D - without a specific line of entry products available right from the get-go - makes zero, did I say ZERO, sense from a business standpoint alone. It makes them look like a bunch of dumb-asses. Too little, too late. They've already dropped the ball.

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  3. Oh my god! You have a negative opinion of a product from a line you decided you don't like! Your feedback is appreciated. And your blog is removed from the reading list.

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  4. I wonder how Wickedmurph watches the news.

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  5. If you squint your eyes and look at this from a different angle, you could say that, in a roundabout (and completely unintentional) way, 4E has been good for real D&D. Without the backlash it has caused we probably wouldn't have the resurgence of interest in older editions of the game or the proliferation of retro-clones that we now enjoy.

    I know you mean that it is bad, in general, for the brand, and has fragmented the D&D community into armed camps - I'm just trying to find a silver lining in all this.

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  6. Check out this interview with Mike Mearls at The Escapist:
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_271/8109-Red-Box-Renaissance

    They specifically talk about "Old School" D&D, and losing fans when 4e came out.

    I picked up the new Red Box (it's only $13!) and think it's a pretty good deal. I've played a few games of 4e, and there's definitely some "old school" upgrades with D&D Essentials. The Fighter for example feels more like a classic D&D Fighter now and not as much like a Wizard anymore.

    I haven't finished reading the books... but so far (and for $13) I'm pretty happy with it.

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  7. It's actually Mearls' article in the Escapist that was the last straw. I just couldn't keep it in anymore.

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  8. I just don't understand how Essentials has fixed the 'essential' problem, railroads and endless combats.

    WOTC would have been smarter to have simply abandoned P&P roleplaying and built 4E as a computer game, ala WOW.

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  9. "has fragmented the D&D community into armed camps "
    I don't think that's 4Es fault, really. The camps have existed certainly since 3E, and likely before. I mean, look at how old schoolers feel the need to differentiate between various versions of ODnD (Moldvay etc.) 4E is a just convenient rallying cry, scapegoat and easy target now.
    3E generated a lot of hate when it came out, but at the time the online community was much less robust. Honestly I think the uptick in blogging popularity has more to do with how loud the war camps seem now. It's easy and convenient to find a blog to rally around, or failing that, to make your own soapbox to preach from.

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  10. I agree completely. The worst of it is, like you said, we as D&D fans can't even talk to each other anymore. It's the folks at WotC that have done this to us, starting with 3rd ed. but especially now, with 4th. How could they have thought it was a good idea to radically change (remake would be a better word) the game? D&D is just a brand name to them, and they know they'll get more sales for their new game by having it attached, that is all. The legacy, the compatibility, the long term value of that name, seemingly means nothing to them.

    I do not envy Mike Mearls, inheriting 4e and now having to try and "fix it." And yes, I do think he is the man to fix it, if there's any hope at all of the game returning to a place that is recognizable as D&D... but his hands are tied here. At WotC, it's clear they made a mistake, took 4E too far. But on the other hand they can't do an about face, either. This new line is still 4E, and they can't alienate those fans. If Mearls is still in charge come 5E, well, maybe there's a shot D&D can be redesigned back to something resembling itself.

    But as I said at the start, and as you said in your initial blog post... the damage is done, and WotC has permanently fractured D&D and D&D fans to the point where we literally are not playing the same game and share little if any common ground for discussion. If they wanted to make a new game they should have gotten a new name as well.

    Oh, and Wickedmurph, you won't read this, but... thanks for the laugh.

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  11. We aren't the target market for that product anyway. Its for new gamers and it might suit them.

    Interestingly your opinion of 4e is pretty common in my gaming circle. While my D&D/Castlevania idea got some positive feedback (its intentionally a video game played as a TTRPG) in general 4e is not popular at all around here.

    I got a much better response from suggesting 2e in fact

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  12. Actually, the camps formed, not so much due to 3rd edition as it was to the "not your fathers DnD" Guerrilla marketing that was conducted incessantly by WOTC. It became almost insulting to players that had supported the brands for decades. Those same camps fortified when largely due to the fact that just about everyone was putting out better 3 Ed product than WOTC, the WOTC Jumped ahead to 3.5.

    When WOTC turned the last vestiges of DnD into the WOTCMMORPG (Wizards of the Coast Massively-Marketed Off-Line Roll Playing Game)... THAT'S when the weapons shipments started rolling in.

    But, in all honesty we do have to thank WoTC for one thing: Without them making the active choice to "reimage" DnD and alienate the majority of the old player base instead of actually cleaning up and improving DnD we wouldn't have the Old School Renaissance that we have today.

    Seriously, with the borking of 4th, the bastardizing of both the Dark Sun setting and Gamma World, and the blatant coat-tailing of the old school revival with this *new* Red Box abomination... WOTC has pretty much insured I'll never touch the brand again until they and Hasbro no longer have any part of it.

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  13. I think it's kind of silly getting all bent out of shape about this game without even looking at it.

    I just don't understand how Essentials has fixed the 'essential' problem, railroads and endless combats.

    It isn't presented as "endless combats". Within the first half-dozen pages of the DMs book they talk about modes of play with only one of those being "Encounter". That's pretty similar to the Moldvay book I learned with.

    I haven't read enough to comment on railroading - but that's common to modern RPGs in general.

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  14. Found your blog from a twitter post...I am really surprised by the level of your contempt. I mean really? You spent the time to create an entire blog devoted to bashing 4E?

    A game system has gotten you this upset?

    I am not sure that you realize how truly hum-drum edition wars are. But wait a few years and you will understand...this stuff really is tired & counterproductive, does not help grow the community, and does not improve the game at all..

    I hope that your rant made you feel better. More importantly, I hope that your tone did not further diminish your positions validity with the people that are actually responsible for growing our game. In my opinion, we need more discourse and less ranting...

    > It's not my D&D and I won't teach it to
    > my kids.
    I have taught my nine year old and a group of his classmates 4E and they love it. I am not sure what your point is? Am I a bad person for this? Have I bought into some evil corporate scheme to destroy my child's critical thinking?

    > My D&D is medieval fantasy, not fantastical.
    Interesting.

    Thanks, David S.

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  15. Whilst I agree you about 4e - it is not my type of game either [ see http://6d6fireball.com/rpg/it-is-not-the-dd-i-know-and-love/ for my take on it ] I think you are missing a major point.

    The idea that D&D should be a classic like Monopoly or Scrabble is plainly daft. These games haven't changed their rules in 50+ years. By your logic we should all be playing D&D circa 1974.

    Also imagine how ripped off fans would feel if 4th edition was identical to 3.5 except fixing some typos and some new artwork? Games like D&D have to change and evolve and that always means that some existing players will dislike the new version.

    Yes, 4e is a huge step away from the past. Yes it put people like you and me off the game. But that does not make it a bad product or that the designers should be turned into hate figures.

    D&D is a commercial product and 4e is designed to make money. As far as this goes it seems very successful.

    We may not like it but that's life.

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  16. You know what fixes endless combats? A real DM. 4e is no more endless combat than the old basic set with the Keep on the Borderlands (full of combat!) was. D&D has always been heavy on dungeon crawls, not conversation with NPCs. We didn't talk to Lolth at the end of GDQ1-7, we battled her. And when we role-played, it was between combats. Because if there's no fighting, why be a fighter? Why even gather in the basement with dice? Just go upstairs and talk to the hippie actors.

    You know what wasn't Gygax's D&D? 3rd. Pick a class and stick with it. Gary would never take a level of rogue.

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  17. I just don't understand how a system (rule set) "railroads" and makes for "endless combat" the game is what you make it. All the system is, is a framework. You can do whatever you like within it, 4e provides endless possibilities for role playing. Maybe you are (or have had) terrible 4E DM's or maybe you're just blind? Confrontational? Stupid?

    The only thing keeping this hobby alive are the people who actually play it, like it or not 4E has drummed up a lot of new life and interest for Dungeons and Dragons - you should at least be happy about that. Or maybe you aren't since you wouldn't "piss out the fire" anyway.

    You'd start from scratch and build the same game TSR did or....what? I know failed companies that no longer exist are a pretty good sources of inspiration for creating games. Then you and all the OSR / edition war friends can get together and play that new game and fight about that one too! Rejoice!

    Maybe you should dedicate an entire blog to your neckbeard while you're at it?

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  18. Wait, I can't let this pass. What did they rename goblins and trolls to? Because they're still, you know. Goblins and trolls.

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  19. This post had been building for a long, long time. As I said, I had been simmering on this issue.

    I welcome opinions, but don't hate because I stated mine.

    To those on the outside of editions and such D&D IS a classic game. WotC admitted as much with the cover of the 2010 Red Box. If it isn't/wasn't why reach back 30+ years for cover art?

    @Given: Yes, I spent an entire blog post to bash the insult that is 4E. I have passion for TSR D&D. If you don't like it move on. And no, it isn't a simple game system that has me upset, it is, quite clearly, the direction of the game and the style and feel of play, that has me upset. I don't have much confidence in the people running the show either. They might hold the brand name, but they have lost the spirit of the game - and that's what matters most. At least to me.

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  20. Yawgomoth,

    Oh but they aren't. That's straight-up uninformed.

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  21. Jerry LeNeave said...
    I just don't understand how a system (rule set) "railroads" and makes for "endless combat" the game is what you make it. All the system is, is a framework. You can do whatever you like within it, 4e provides endless possibilities for role playing. Maybe you are (or have had) terrible 4E DM's or maybe you're just blind? Confrontational? Stupid?

    Great stuff! Thanks for the laugh. Sure, maybe i'm all three.

    Sorry, but your analysis is flawed. The 4E system is embedded with some very important messages. And those messages are "rolling dice is rewarded", "combat is rewarded", and "completing DM-assigned quests is rewarded". Because those are what players earn "experience points" for doing. Thus, my comment about "endless combats" and "railroading".

    Systems matter. If you want players to role-play, reward them for doing so. Build it into "the system". Why should I have to house-rule 4E to add role-playing experience, and take out the offensive bits, namely that combat is to be encouraged?

    How many of the so-called feats. powers, and the like, are designed for anything other than combat situations? How can I or my players use anything but a tiny portion of 4E, if combats are rare?

    I'm not going to buy hundreds of dollars worth of 4E books, filled with combat feats, powers, and magic items that are only useful in combat situations, if i'm playing a game of exploration, information gathering and problem solving.

    Just to be clear, I don't begrudge that you adore endless combats and railroads. I'm just not interested in that style of play.

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  22. Hey Paladin, which edition of D&D didn't award experience points for killing monsters and taking their stuff? Cuz I'm pretty sure my First Edition Monster Manual had XP values for monsters in there.

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  23. In OD&D, Basic and AD&D, roughly 80% of your experience is supposed to come from the recovery of treasure.

    Where did I say that those early games didn't award xp for monsters killed?

    What I said is the system or rewards tells players how they should spend their time. Therefore, the message to players of early games is that they spend 80% of their time searching for loot, since only 20% of their experience comes from killing monsters. In early versions of D&D, you wanted to avoid combat, since if you could get the monsters' treasures without combat, it did not deplete your precious store of Hit Points and other resources.

    Conversely, the message in 4E is that you should spend 80% of your time in combat, since 80% of your experience comes from defeating monsters, and 20% from completing DM-assigned quests. Once again, proving my comment about 'endless combats". There seems to be no end of hit points in 4E, with all the second winds and healing surges, and resource management is an afterthought, restricted to HP and daily and encounter powers.

    Interesting that you don't deal with the point of my post, which is that 4E is a combat game and quest game, not an exploration and role-playing game. Since it is not the later, I see little value in my owning or playing it.

    Sorry to hear about your shallow understanding of earlier versions of D&D.

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  24. "In OD&D, Basic and AD&D, roughly 80% of your experience is supposed to come from the recovery of treasure."

    I dunno about your games, but ours always involved getting the treasure from the monsters that had it. I suppose we could always steal from the dragon instead of killing him... wait, that happens in 4e too.

    "Interesting that you don't deal with the point of my post, which is that 4E is a combat game and quest game, not an exploration and role-playing game."

    Because I don't buy it. In the actual 4E games I DM and play, there's all sorts of exploration and role-playing. There are times I set up whole encounters -- combats -- and the players roleplay their way out of them. My group spent most of a section going from building to building, talking to people, gathering information, trying on hats, running away from the guards working for the bad guy. They rescued the prisoner by waiting until he was about to be executed and then grabbing him and running away. They throw me curveballs every session, and all within the framework of the 4e rules. (They haven't done much exploring, but that's because my campaign isn't an exploratory one at this point. They're low-level and in a mapped part of the world.)

    Meanwhile, I say again, when was D&D not combat and quests? Check out the promo copy that Goodman Games uses to show how old-school its "Dungeon Crawl Classics" line is: "No NPCs that aren't meant to be killed."

    Maybe your games were combat-light. (Were you playing in middle school?) But D&D as a whole has never excluded, or even marginalized, KILLING MONSTERS and TAKING THEIR STUFF.

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  25. >>Conversely, the message in 4E is that you should spend 80% of your time in combat, since 80% of your experience comes from defeating monsters, and 20% from completing DM-assigned quests. Once again, proving my comment about 'endless combats".

    You don't get exp for defeating monsters, you get it from "overcoming challenges". Which often means stabbing them, sure. Or you could lure them into a room, lock 'em in, and barricade the door--tah dah, challenge overcome! You get full exp for that group of opponents. You also get full exp for any other way to overcome an obstacle to your quest, including getting two groups of enemies to wipe each other out.

    This means that in 4E you get 100% of the exp for not fighting (exp for encounter, exp for quest) while in OD&D you would only get 80% (only the exp for the loot, none for the monsters) so I'm not sure why you think you're discouraged from finding non-combat solutions. The exp rewards are actually better in 4e.

    >>There seems to be no end of hit points in 4E, with all the second winds and healing surges, and resource management is an afterthought, restricted to HP and daily and encounter powers.

    Actually, there's considerably less healing in 4e than level 5+ 3.whatever combat, because healing is linked to a fixed number healing surges instead of the spell pool of the cleric--or worse yet, the wand of cure light wounds. Or the several wands of cure light wounds. Terrible. In practice, this means a party of brutes and thugs can get some down time and patch themselves up, and be ready for the next fight (sporting awesome bandages) without needing to go back to town and sleep for ten days--which frees the party from the tyranny of needing to have a cleric, or indeed any dedicated healer type.

    Actually, that'd bad advice. Try not to have a party without a character capable of healing in combat. You CAN, but it's messy.

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  26. 80% of xp is gained from treasure and 20% from killing monsters? How does one get the treasure in the first place? I have never been in a game where the treasure was laying around waiting to be picked up off the ground, without there being a consequence for doing so. All the games I played in, we killed the monsters first, thus killing monsters was a requirement for 100% of xp gained.
    4E has multiple ways to gain xp beyond simply killing monsters. Traps/Hazards/Skill Challenges, quests, etc. In fact each encounter has a xp total for defeating the encounter. The simple way is to kill the monsters, but clever role-players can defeat the encounter in multiple ways and a good DM lets them use alternate ways, much the same as previous DMs did.
    The thing I dislike about the original post and some of the comments thereafter is the misinformation being put out there.

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  27. Also, there's consumable items in 4e. Skads of them, in fact. Not as many potions, but far, far more whetstones, alchemical devices, dusts, enchanted beers, reagents (that do more than just raise the DC), magical prisons that seal away enchanted locations, and on and on.

    If you miss the existence of scrolls, you also miss the existence of wizards with a trapper-keeper full of 'em who can cast any useful spell four or five times with all the money they save not needing to buy magical arms or armor. As if fighters and rogues weren't useless enough.

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  28. "Kiltedyaksman said...
    Yawgomoth,
    Oh but they aren't. That's straight-up uninformed."

    I'm pretty sure my monster manual has trolls and goblins in it... I get that you are going for something here, but honestly I don't know what it is. Are you bagging on them begin separated into things like "Goblin Hurler" as opposed there just being a single goblin entry?

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  29. Something like "goblin" can't be copyrighted, something like "goblin hurler" or "blade-rager troll" or whatever they are, can. So they are creating and protecting the stuff they are making up. Do you REALLY need "goblin hurlers" to play D&D, no you don't.

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  30. Interesting anecdotes.

    I'm not sure how any of those anecdotes establish that the 4E experience system is about anything other than rewarding the rolling of dice (skill challenges), combating monsters, and completing quests. Every WOTC adventure that I have seen is packed with monsters, meant to be defeated, and quests, meant to be completed. Perhaps you can point me to a published WOTC 4E adventure that is all about exploration and role-playing, with few if any monsters to defeat. I'd be interested to buy and read it.

    The fact that your DMs, using earlier versions of D&D, didn't use the "% in lair", reaction tables, and 'treasures without monsters' game features, to allow for the avoidance of combat, doesn't invalidate that those existed. Those features were there so that players could obtain treasure without having to engage in combat. Sure, we currently participate in combats in our old-school games, but those are not the focus of the adventures.

    To draw an analogy, I suppose I can use a hammer to drive a screw into the wall. But why do that when you could use a screwdriver. In the same way, I suppose I could use 4E as a role-playing game, but that's not what it was designed for. It was designed for combat and quests. Why else would all of the spells, feats and powers be combat-related, and all of the experience come from monsters, quests and skill-challenge dice-rolls.

    In saying all that, I don't begrudge that you enjoy 4E. It's just not the kind of game that interests me. As I said in my review of the 4E Red Box, if combats, quests and magic items is what D&D is all about to you, then 4E is your game.

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  31. Enchanted beers. Good stuff, though isn't regular beer enchanted enough?

    :D

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  32. D&D is, and always has been, a game about killing monsters and taking their stuff. That has always been the focus, and always will be the focus. If you want to run a game where the emphasis is not on killing and looting people who are a different color from you, I would suggest not 4E or OD&D, but Call of Cthulhu or GURPS.

    That being said, the current campaign I am running has the party as a group of robber barons, building train tracks across the untamed wilds of Droam, bringing civilization and culture to the orcs who live there (And mudering a lot of them with sword and disease along the way) and it's going pretty well. Two weeks ago, we had an adventure with no combat--just the party preparing for a seemingly inevitable war with the northern neighbors of Khorvaire. Then last week we had lots of combat against an undead rival rail company at their headquarters, a lost giant city deep beneath the ocean. There was a pretty great climax where they fought a flying ethereal train. This week they will find that an army has arisen from the depths of the earth, where the party has been oppressing warforged labor. They'll need to find a way to stop it...marching directly at the army with swords drawn will result in a greasy smear on the plains.

    Spoilers, I suppose!

    I find arguments that the old system was somehow better for roleplaying disingenuous. The older versions of D&D had nothing besides alignment (death to alignment) and reaction checks, which could be modified with a diplomacy roll. And bluff, I suppose. Terrible. In 4e non-combat roleplaying challenges have been expanded to skill challenges, which are also not great but better than the system we had before. Marginally. Not a fan, personally. But they're an attempt to formalize the roleplaying oriented sections of the game, which means those parts of the rules are (duh duh duh!) designed to promote roleplaying! And there isn't an equivalent in earlier systems.

    I genuinely feel a lot of the bashing of 4e comes just from the fact it's radically different (and better) than its predecessors, so people decide to dislike it before they ever look at it. And when they look at a very tightly made, well running combat engine that's versatile, descriptive, easily customized, and fast, the only thing that's left is what isn't as tightly made, the Rules for Roleplaying. And then people ignore the fact that these rules were even more terrible in the previous editions.

    I'm still waiting to hear what goblins and trolls have been renamed to.

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  33. Sounds like your having a blast with 4E. Keep on keepin on.

    Word Verification: efight -- very apropos!

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  34. First off, I do not believe your contention that 80 percent of XP was meant to come from treasure rather than combat. However, I haven't played 1e since 2e came out, 2e since 3e came out, and so on. So just for the sake of this discussion, I'll stipulate.

    What I don't understand is, what is the substantive difference between a game based on "combat and quests" vs. one based on "treasure and exploration". In 4e, you get XP for completing quests. I'm pretty sure the DM has always been encouraged, at least since AD&D 1e and BECMI, to give XP for quests. If the quest is to get treasure, and you give it out when they get the treasure rather than 5 seconds later when they complete the quest, what's the difference?

    D&D has always been largely about quests, even if they weren't called that. Invade the Tomb of Horrors! Go on an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks! All quests, just like going into the Keep on the Shadowfell.

    I recently had a group that had a Quest to get Treasure. There was a room, there were a bunch of demons lying in wait in the pools of blood, and there was the target on the other side, a magical horn. Or bell. Or something. No matter, because one character cast a spell, summoned an unseen servant, told it to fly over and get the thing, and bam. 1,000 XP, awarded for, um, getting treasure. With combat avoided.

    All that was in a published WotC adventure. H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth.

    By the way, there are other ways to avoid combat. The whole skill system, pretty much. Diplomacy, intimidate, streetwise, stealth, history, arcana, religion. If that's the kind of game you want, it's easy to make in 4e.

    "Perhaps you can point me to a published WOTC 4E adventure that is all about exploration and role-playing, with few if any monsters to defeat. I'd be interested to buy and read it."

    I've heard HS1, The Slaying Stone, leans this way. I haven't read it myself, so I can't swear by it.

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  35. James, I think it's great that you're enjoying 4E. But we're clearly we're not hearing each other. Combats and quests is quite different from exploration and treasure, perhaps we don't have common definitions.

    And rolling against an intimidate skill is roll-playing, not role-playing.

    Sorry you don't believe me about where experience comes from in OD&D, Basic and AD&D. Don't have the books in front of me, or i'd quote one for you.

    Keep on playing the game you like, it's all cool.

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  36. I'm looking forward to that quote from the rulebooks about roleplaying. I'll keep this page bookmarked.

    Still, if you want to roleplay without touching the dice, but to still have the rules give strict guidelines on how to do it? Then you want two explicitly separate things.

    If you still need rules for how to roleplay your character, check out the 4e product for that, http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4news/20100401b

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  37. Paladin, if you're role-playing without using dice, without using your character's stats, are you even playing the game anymore? I'm all for cooperative storytelling, but it's still got to be D&D.

    Personally, yeah, I still use dice to have them use intimidate. Maybe they have a high intimidate score, and it's so high they almost always will do it successfully, because they've spent their resources on intimidate and woven the bones of vanquished enemies into their beards. But sometimes things don't work. Maybe this dude just came from facing down a schoolyard orc bully and you're not going to intimidate him now. Maybe the player is going to roll a 1.

    "% in lair", reaction tables, and 'treasures without monsters' game features -- at least two of those involve dice. Rolling dice is fundamental to D&D. It's not all of it, but it's a huge part of it, and always has been. Just like KMaTtS. Just like the concept of limited attacks per round. Just like having classes.

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  38. Wow, I think there are a couple of you who are legit on the WotC payroll. Either that or you have made it your personal mission in life to be their next spokesperson. Can we please have some independent thought apart from the WotC hegemony?

    @James: Are you serious? Please tell me you are using sarcasm and it just isn't coming across.

    Role-playing is all about YOU the person, not YOU the stat-block. D&D is about what you bring to the character, not the other way around. It involves creativity, problem-solving, and personal expression. We roll dice, but what's the fun in rolling dice for everything?

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  39. While you can prefer an older edition (lord knows why... system mastery, maybe) a lot of the arguments about why 4e is inferior are flat-out incorrect. And how can I let people be wrong on the internet? The very thought!

    If you're complaining that the places where rules don't apply in 4e are inferior to the places where the rules don't apply in OD&D, then the answer is not in the system, it's how you're running the game. Switching systems won't help with that.

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  40. From Basic (Moldvay) D&D Rules, page B45:

    "The DM may place treasures instead of rolling for them randomly.... The choices should be made carefully, since most of the experience the characters will get will be from treasure (usually 3/4 or more)."

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  41. James said...
    Paladin, if you're role-playing without using dice, without using your character's stats, are you even playing the game anymore?

    you don't need dice to roleplay your character. And that you think you do, is why you don't "get" it.

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  42. From Basic (Moldvay) D&D Rules, page B45:

    "The DM may place treasures instead of rolling for them randomly.... The choices should be made carefully, since most of the experience the characters will get will be from treasure (usually 3/4 or more)."



    Alright. Where I'm confused by, is how does having the majority of the exp come from treasure (instead of objectives) make it a more roleplaying oriented experience? I was hoping your quote would clear that up, but I'm still in the dark there. If anything, wouldn't that encourage players to be more interested in monetary rewards than in their ultimate goals?

    In OD&D, exp apparently scales in reflection to treasure gained. In 4e, the treasure parcel system means that treasure scales to exp gained. Either way, the two are growing roughly in tandem, and neither is all that tightly tied to the fact that Kif Middlebrook keeps trying to convince his party members that the gold coins we found are artifacts of an ancient goblin civilization, and should be stored in a museum Kif's cousin runs.

    They haven't fallen for it yet, but he keeps tryin'.

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  43. how ridiculous. Using dice is "roll-playing not role-playing"? Why bother making attack rolls then? Why bother with saving throws? Surely you should just describe how you escape the trap, and the GM will decide if it worked and the damage you take?

    The idea that D&D is not primarily about combat is just ... delusional. It contains no rules for anything except combat, and you get all your experience from killing monsters and/or taking their stuff. If you choose not to kill the monsters, fine, but don't blame your pacifism/cowardice/good sense on the system.

    If you want to argue that D&D4e encourages combat because all the skills and powers are combat-focussed, then you have to accept D&D in all its prior incarnations is even more about combat. In 1974 it didn't even have a stealth rule! In the rules as written there was no mechanism for taking monsters' treasure except to kill them.

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  44. No stealth rule?! How barbaric!

    No mechanism for taking a monster's treasure in the "rules as written" except by force?! How quaint!

    Ever heard of role-playing?

    faustusnotes, you once again demonstrate that you don't "get" D&D, except in the shallowest of ways.

    If you want to argue that D&D4e encourages combat because all the skills and powers are combat-focussed, then you have to accept D&D in all its prior incarnations is even more about combat.

    Nice bit of unsupported revisionism. Of the 24 1st/2nd level spells in Basic D&D, only 7 (less than 30%) are combat-related. And i'm being generous in including spells like Web and Phantasmal Force in the 'combat' column.

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  45. The idea that D&D is not primarily about combat is just ... delusional. It [D&D]contains no rules for anything except combat, and you get all your experience from killing monsters and/or taking their stuff.

    You do realize there are other rules in D&D, don't you? Like character creation? Turning undead? Thieve's abilities to climb, open locks, etc.? Spell-casting? Non-combat related movement? Henchmen loyalty? Treasure placement?

    I appreciate your enthusiasm for and protectiveness of 4E, but aren't you being a tad hyperbolic?

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  46. Erm. All of those are in both 4e and OD&D, so I'm not sure how listing them shows how different the two are.

    Also, yes, the game is all about killing monsters and taking their stuff... especially if you tie EXP to taking their stuff, and not to, I dunno, successfully hammering out a trade tariff with the ogre metalcrafters.

    (My campaign is the best)

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  47. Oooh, correction! Henchmen are gone from 4e, which is good because what kind of hero hires spearholders to stand between him and the enemy? That's completely ludicrous.

    In battles where you DO have allies, you subtract the EXP value of the ally from the exp earned from the fight. In a fight with five orcs, if you have five orcs helping you--no exp earned. Which is fair, you didn't even need to be there.

    Stand alone, jerks.

    So, how does having rules for overland movement promote roleplaying? And how does 4e's rules for overland movement not count? Feel free to replace overland movement with whichever one of those supports your claim that the new version of D&D is more about combat than the original, which was basically reskinned Chainmail.

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  48. "And how can I let people be wrong on the internet? The very thought!"

    I LOLed.

    I think some of you guys are being intentionally close minded and/or obtuse, but I'll weigh in on the "xp for gold" and how it changes the dynamic of the game. Please note that I'm not saying that it increases roleplaying... but I'll end this post by mentioning something in Basic D&D (the older edition I'm most familiar with) that does increase the amount of roleplaying.

    In 3e and 4e, you get xp primarily from defeating enemies. I'm way more familiar with 3e (loved that game), so I know that it's possible for DMs to give out xp for other achievements, but let's face it, when the majority of the game rules are about combat, and there's a very easy xp-for-combat system in place, that's where the majority of the xp is going to come from.

    In that kind of a game, D&D is about killing things and taking their stuff. Especially if, as a player, you have any doubt that the DM will give you full xp for defeating a monster by other means, killing them tends to settle the issue. So that's how "xp-for-dead-monsters" enforces a certain style of play: one that is focused primarily on fighting and killing enemies.

    In Basic D&D, you get 10xp for killing a 1 HD orc. The average orc encounter is 2-8 orcs, or about 5 orcs. That's 50xp per encounter for fighting and killing. Divide that by 4 and you're looking at 12xp per encounter. A first level fighter in Basic D&D needs 2,000xp to level up. That is a hell of a lot more encounters than 3e's 13.3 encounters per level.

    Once a player realizes that, he figures out that it's actually not always a great idea to charge every monster he runs into. (Nevermind the fragility of 1st level characters in Basic!) Suddenly the game is all about scouting out the dungeon, figuring out where the bad guys are and trying to fight them when and where you're at the most advantage, deceiving them, avoiding them if they have no treasure, or eliminating them by other means.

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  49. (Oops, went over the character limit.)

    So I hope that's a convincing argument for why something as simple as where the xp come from changes the kind of game that people tend to play. I'm not saying you *can't* play a xp-for-gold game that is combat oriented, it's just a little harder. Likewise you can play a game of 3e or 4e where all the xp comes from quests or non-combat challenges, but it's harder (4e is easier than 3e, what with the structured skill challenges, etc).

    Okay, so I promised I would mention how Basic D&D encourages more roleplaying (instead of less combat, as I was trying to show above). Here it is: the monster reaction table. Whenever there's an encounter, the DM is supposed to roll on this table, unless there's a compelling reason otherwise (ie the encounter is with guards and the party is clearly not allowed in the area, etc). This means that the majority of encounters (including all wandering monsters) end up on this table. Roll 2d6:

    2 Immediate attack
    3-5 Hostile, possible attack
    6-8 Uncertain, monster confused
    9-11 No attack, leaves/listens to offers
    12 Friendly

    Break that down. ~72% of the reactions are going to be Uncertain, No attack or Friendly. ~25% are going to be Hostile, possible attack. And 3% are going to be Immediate attack.

    That means that nearly 3 out of 4 encounters it's a good idea to try to talk to the monsters, in order to improve their general impression of you, lull them into a false sense of security, or just to get information about who has the loot, their defenses, alliances, etc. Another 1 out of 4 encounters, you've got a shot at convincing some hostiles not to attack. It's only the extremely rare encounter where you get attacked/ambushed/etc.

    Compare that to the average 3e game, where nearly every encounter is a fight. That's how Basic D&D encourages more roleplaying. Throw in some classic adventures like B2, where the entire dungeon is factions at war with each other, and you've got a recipe for Fistful of Dollars, D&D-style.

    Also, if anyone cares, my take on this flame war is linked to my name.

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  50. Alright. Where I'm confused by, is how does having the majority of the exp come from treasure (instead of objectives) make it a more roleplaying oriented experience?

    Sorry, I thought we were talking about reward systems. From AD&D2e (Cook) Players Handbook, page 88:

    "A Player can also earn experience for the player's actions, such as playing the game well. When a player does a good job of creating and pretending to be her character, the DM may give the character experience points for good role-playing. If the player is really involved and takes the major part in the game, the DM can give the player's character extra experience points. If the player uses her head to come up with a really good idea, the DM can give the character experience points for [the player's] contribution."

    Notice that the rewards are given to the character, for the PLAYER'S actions, and that dice-rolling is not mentioned in that section? That's because it's the role-playing of the "player" that is being rewarded.

    You can role-play without a set of rules. I'm not saying you can't role-play in 4E. I'm simply observing that 4E is not designed for it, as it has no built in reward system to recognize and reward role-playing.

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  51. Yawgomoth said...
    So, how does having rules for overland movement promote roleplaying? And how does 4e's rules for overland movement not count? Feel free to replace overland movement with whichever one of those supports your claim that the new version of D&D is more about combat than the original, which was basically reskinned Chainmail.

    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  52. cr0m said...
    Also, if anyone cares, my take on this flame war is linked to my name.

    I care.

    And well said, here and on your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Interesting point about the numbers of enemies who you can talk to if you use a table to determine the opinions of potential enemies. But relying on that table at all is a staple of 80s roleplaying known derrisively as Gygaxian Naturalism... the belief that the best depiction of another world in a role playing game is off of a chart.

    Take the humble orc. In the OD&D system, any given group of orcs has a 72% chance to be open to conversation--irregardless of outside influences. Patrols, guards, workers, holy orcs, all sitting pretty at 72%. Even if the odds changed depending on situation, you've still got a random chance to define their action, not a depiction of their behavior based on the judgement of the DM. In games without a reaction roll, the DM determines how open a group or orcs might be to talking. Orc merchants would love adventurers, who are always buying slaves to use as hirelings. Orc scouts are much more interested in getting back to camp instead of getting into a fight. Guards are suspicious, but will talk first, in case you have legitimate business with the clan. The goon orcs hanging out near the chieftain's hall are hostile because they love fights and hate humans. The divine guards of slaughter who guard their priest of death are bound by holy word and scripture to attack the lesser races on sight, and those around them tend to follow their lead or get an axe to the face.

    Note that in all but one of those examples, the orcs can be spoken to! This would be less true in times of overt war, and more true if instead of a camp you were going into an orcish ghetto. The DM needs to make these calls--leaving it to a table is irresponsible.

    In short, if a DM responds to the responsibility of deciding the attitudes and behaviors of the NPCs by making all of them hostile, that is not a weakness of the system. That is a terrible, terrible DM. If you rely on charts to tell you how your characters work, you are Bad At RPGs.

    Still waitin' to learn what goblins and trolls are renamed to.

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  54. "Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your blog."

    I've been meaning to start one. Maybe I should. A blog dissecting the changes in rules across editions, and the impact they have on the game? It'd be a better place to rant endlessly than this guy's comment field, certainly.

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  55. paladin in the citadel, you can't have it both ways. You're claiming that the degree to which a system encourages combat can be deduced from the amount of rules devoted to combat, and whether xp can be obtained from non-combat actions.

    It is obvious that earlier editions of D&D had the most focus on combat in the rules. From within the rules as written, how can there be a focus on non-combat methods for getting treasure (for xp) if there are no rules for adjudicating stealth or social interaction?

    The answer, of course, is that the amount of such rules doesn't tell you how much a system encourages combat. By which measure, you can't say that 4e encourages combat.

    Alternatively, you can drop your original claim. But you just look silly claiming that a wargame with some acting tacked on is somehow not primarily about combat.

    Oh, and have you noticed this argument style of yours, "you disagree with me"="You don't understand the game" or "You are doing it wrong"? You might like to ask yourself how that is helping you make your points.

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  56. No, to everything you said above.

    I suggest you post on your blog, your specific points.

    Happy gaming to you.

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  57. "I suggest you post on your blog, your specific points.

    Happy gaming to you."

    This seems considerably less encouraging than your previous blog related post---and after I went and started one. Aww.

    Regardless! Done started me a blog.

    And I still want to know about those goblins.

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  58. Read the posts re: the renaming of all the mundane monsters in 4E.

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  59. "Can we please have some independent thought apart from the WotC hegemony?"

    While I don't think you mean it this way, all I can think of is a Life of Brian style cry of "Be independent and think like me!"... it amuses me.

    "Read the posts re: the renaming of all the mundane monsters in 4E. "

    Does this mean you have other posts about this somewhere that I should be searching for? Because I still don't really see the issue, goblins and trolls do exist despite whatever adjective is attached to the stat block, and saying they don't just strikes me as being difficult...

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  60. First, I took a long break and the argument went on without me. Then, I wrote a long response and it got eaten. So, shorter response.

    "you don't need dice to roleplay your character. And that you think you do, is why you don't "get" it."

    No, I don't think that. I think that there is a continuum, on which chess is one extreme and improvisational theater is the other, and D&D is in the middle. If you're not roleplaying, you're not playing D&D, you're playing miniatures combat. If you're not rolling dice, you're not playing D&D, you're playing story time.

    You guys keep pointing to the monster reaction table, which, used as written, dictates the monsters' starting reaction. I prefer to let the DM just determine that outright, based on, wait for it, role-playing -- the mob outside the temple is hostile, the guards are slightly hostile, the leader of the mercenaries is skeptical while his religious zealot aide is openly hostile, and the bears are just unhappy you're in their cave. No table is going to tell me how they react.

    So instead of a DM rolling for NPC/monster reactions, I have the players roll. Why? Because that enforces their characters. Players can just roleplay that they're intimidating, even if they're scrawny human wizards. Or they can roleplay that they're being very convincing, even though they put all their resources into swordplay and none into silver tongue. If the players of the dwarf fighter (18 strength) and the halfling thief (18 charisma) both try to be diplomatic, one CHARACTER should be better at it than the other, no matter how honeyed the words one PLAYER uses.

    Now, I know the comeback here -- they should be roleplaying their stat. The fighter's player should play his character as less suave than the thief. Well, (1) the players are who they are, and sometimes one player's brain is going to come up with something better than the other's, and (2) when they're trying to defeat the monster or outwit him to steal the treasure they need for 80% of their experience, they are naturally going to do all it takes to accomplish it, even if that means being smarter than their character would be. And this ain't work, so I'm not going to tell them to sit down and shut up because their character wouldn't say that.

    So they roleplay their characters, and then they roll a d20 and all their skill to account for both their innate talents and the variability that comes from the NPC they're talking to. If they're actually role-playing their characters well, 95% of the time what they're trying works. (The other 5% of the time, they roll a 1.) To you guys, that's "roll-playing." To me, it's role-playing with dice. That's D&D.

    Wow, that totally didn't end up shorter.

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  61. Re the monster renaming, c'mon, Kiltedyaksman. They're not renamed. Before there were goblins, now there are goblin cutters, goblin hexers and goblin sharpshooters. That's not about copyright. That's about having a goblin with a sword, a goblin spellcaster and a goblin with a bow.

    Now, minions, that's a radical change.

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  62. Due, it so isn't. You need to give WotC much more credit than that. Otherwise, why not just stick with simple "goblins" "trolls" or whatever in the MM? It's all about taking possession and IP. There's a smattering of posts on this periodically on rpgbloggers, I'm not making this stuff up.

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  63. Hear, hear! I agree with you wholeheartedly, although I don't think that 4e is *necessarily* all bad. It's pretty bad, system-wise, and art-wise, but some of the better designers are doing their best to make it work. Mearls being one of them, of course, but there's only so much he can do to make it not suck again.

    Check out my blog to see my response, and also a detailed rebuttal to one "fautus"'s comments, if you like.

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  64. "Otherwise, why not just stick with simple "goblins" "trolls" or whatever in the MM?"

    Because some goblins have daggers, some have bows, some cast spells.

    There may be IP advantages to this. I know that when 3rd came out, WotC made an effort to make dragon appearance standard within colors in order to protect their IP that way. (I traded some Warhammer stuff with a WotC employee and got to talk to one of the artists doing that in the process.)

    But the big thing is -- goblins are still goblins. Trolls are still trolls. They're not renamed. They just come in more flavors.

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  65. Hey Paladin, you said way back when,

    "Combats and quests is quite different from exploration and treasure, perhaps we don't have common definitions."

    What is your definition of "quest" that makes it something that's outside the realm of the kind of game you want to play?

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  66. James, I understand what you are trying to say. The most important thing is that you realize that when you flip to goblins in your 4E MM and you see X-many varieties that there are very specific reasons why. It isn't to make the game better, it's just so that they can take possession of their/your fantasy.

    Goblins come from folklore and can't be IPed or copyrighted, those goblin hurlers can. That just isn't cool to me. If it's what you want in your gaming, that's up to you. I won't support it.

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  67. Yak,

    What about beholders then? Are you pro beholders? That's been IP since they were invented.

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  68. Yak,

    "It isn't to make the game better, it's just so that they can take possession of their/your fantasy."

    I think this is why you and I will never agree. You're convinced that their motives are bad, and for that reason what they do is bad. You seem to see them as IP-lawyer-driven control freaks.

    I accept that they have IP rights they want to protect (and always have, back to 1974), and I also know that they want to sell me books so they can pay their staff, give dividends to their stockholders and pay hookers for the executives.

    But I have a certain amount of power here, in that I don't have to give them my money, and I won't if what they make isn't awesome. If all they do is create a bunch of variations on goblins and that doesn't make my game better, then all the IP control in the world will do them no good, because I don't buy the next book.

    By the way, goblins may be from folklore and not trademarked, but you can bet your last d20 that the stat block for every goblin Gygax ever published was copyrighted.

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  69. Certainly you can look to past editions and make your argument. The difference is the control in extreme that you see with 4E.

    (btw this blog does condone hookers for executives) :)

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  70. Actually, their tightening of the open game license was not a 4e oriented thing. Check out the dates--they sharply limited the Open Game License shortly after the Book of Erotic Fantas came out, and the rules for making content for the new system is more tightly controlled than that. It's not a financial grab--they just didn't want their IP associated with another company's shovelware smut.

    Furries ruin everything!

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  71. Wow, I'd heard that this one got out of control, so I made a liar of myself and came back to see. This is like '08 all over again!

    I'm glad there was a laugh to be had, and I watch my news by reading it, thanks very much - North American news is for fear-addled crackheads.

    Yak - your hatred and fear of WotC is both amazing and somewhat saddening. Did a staffer run over your puppy? There is no direction that the game is going - if you DM, you pick the system, theme, tone and style of your game. So why all the drama, llama?

    Paladin... you seem like the kind of person I would love to have in my game. The rules-lawyery, thinly-veiled contempt and constant implications that if someone doesn't have a blog, they aren't worth listening to are refreshing, and would make a pleasant change for the usual friendly banter I expect around the gaming table.

    This was a pleasant read, but I can't see that we're getting anywhere on it. Seems to be turtles all the way down for both sides.

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  72. You're right, this isn't going anywhere, which is rather serendipitous. We, all of us, can't talk to each other because of where WotC has taken the game. We no longer have a common frame of reference for the game, and as I said in my original post, that's just a shame.

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  73. I thought your idea with "Discourse and Dragons" was to be a bit more academic in your analysis.

    This post and the "Edition Warz!!1!" banner aren't really doing that... but tomorrow is another day, and maybe you'll return to the old format. :)

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  74. no kittedyaksman, "we" can't talk to each other because some of "us" are busy telling the rest of "us" that we don't know how to role-play because we use dice to determine our stealth results.

    Also, "we" can't talk to each other because some of "us" have a paranoid conspiracy theory about a company that sells "us" products (well, not me, I don't use D&D anymore), and thinks they're trying to copyright trolls and destroy role-playing. The rest of "us" are probably best served smiling and backing away slowly from that kind of tin-foil talk.

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  75. Quite right re: bringing some academic material on RPGs forward. With a young family and little help I haven't been able to get there. I have a sabbatical coming up next spring so perhaps that will give me some more time to bring some of that material forward.

    Again, I have a slow burn. It took a year and yet another set of useless products for me to let fly. Mearls article in the Escapist was just the last straw. This is a place where I can express my opinion, so I did.

    @faustusnotes: Role-playing is one thing and roll-playing is another. If you don't like my opinion, or Gygax's D&D, or whatever, then please exercise the option to go somewhere else.

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  76. Wickedmurph said...
    Paladin ... your rules-lawyery, thinly-veiled contempt and constant implications that if someone doesn't have a blog...

    I'm sorry you see it that way, but have no control over your perceptions. Good gaming to you.

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  77. @Paladin, @Kiltedyaksman

    Just a belated "thank-you" for bearing the banner and drawing the fire. Hopefully in the fleshiverse your patience and clarity will be better rewarded than they were here.

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  78. Why is it that old-schoolers are prone to filibustering and hyperbolic arguments?

    "Ohhhh...4th Edition ruined the game forever...all of my previous gaming experiences have been retroactively sodomized. I now know exactly what it means to be a victim of genetic cleansing in Darfur. By proxy. Because of 4th Edition."

    That's number 1 on my list of stupid old school arguments that I hate.

    Number 2:

    "It's not roll-playing...it's ROLE-playing."

    All because latter editions of the game have included things like fleshed out mechanics for social interactions and skill checks, like say, disabling a suspension bridge.

    Well hold on there, Crusty Withercock...neither term is actually correct. The term is "roleplaying GAME".

    See, the "game" part implies a chance of success or failure which is impartially adjudicated through things like rules.

    So the first question this leads me to, is what exactly, is the practical...and I stress PRACTICAL...difference between a player rolling his/her diplomacy skill and the DM rolling on a reaction table behind the screen and adding reaction adjustments? Since both use game rules to determine outcome, both would be considered "roll-playing" by the aforementioned standards.

    "Oh but Shazbot...our group eschews such rules and the DM simply decides how each interaction plays out."

    Super. Fantastic. But well, that's not really a GAME then, is it? That's a magical tea party wherein the DM arbitrarily decides if your efforts succeed or not...based on how his/her day went, or whatever.

    Hell, this was how just about everything worked in OD&D, because there were absolutely no rules for anything that wasn't swinging a sword or casting a spell, so everything was either hand-waived or the DM pulled houserules out of his/her ass that inevitably changed week-by-week.

    OD&D, and you can't get anymore old school than the old 1974 white box, you started at the entrance of the dungeon, and your character probably didn't even have a NAME before 5th level...let alone a detailed and compelling backstory. Yeah...that's role-playing right there.

    From there, things devolved into a battle of wits with an adversarial DM, laden with semantic booby-traps.

    "You said you were checking the floor and the chest for traps...not the chandelier...so now you're crushed. Now get me another Blue Nehi."

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  79. which brings me to number 3 on my list of stupid old-school arguments that I hate:

    "Dwuh? Healing surges? Action points? Daily attacks for fighters??? Bu-bu-but...verisimilitude!"

    Okay...tell me how much verisimilitude is in this regular old school occurrence:

    "So your unnamed Halfling thief companion has just been crushed by a falling chandelier. Luckily another Halfling just happens to wander through the door."

    Bob: "What-Ho, fellow adventures! Having lost your companion a scant few moments ago...it seems that you are in need of another hand, similarly skilled in the larcenous arts as luck would have it!"

    Party: "My! What a fortuitous bit of random happenstance! Why yes stranger, we would be privileged to include you into our merry band! Forsooth!"

    A revolving door of interchangeable characters in what amounts to a dungeon fantasy vietnam who, by the end of the adventure, would have absolutely no personal stake in the quest?

    Uh yeah...verisimilitude.

    Fine...let's use another example. XP derived primarily through collecting treasure and not, in fact, overcoming challenging foes or completing quests.

    Please explain to me how picking up coins translates to casting more powerful spells.

    In any case, one wonders why adventurers would go adventuring at all, when the safest and most efficient road to god-like power is running a successful business. Also, wouldn't wealthy merchants ALL be high level characters?

    Oh, I forgot...PC's don't follow the same rules as anyone else...because they're "heroes".

    We know they're heroes, because PC's do heroic things, like robbing tombs of their wealth and hiring commoners to run down corridors and set off traps for them.

    See here's the thing...roleplaying games aren't meant to simulate reality...grandpa Gygax said that himself in the 1st edition DMG...no roleplaying games are meant to emulate fiction.

    Now tell me, in which Conan story did the Cimmerian get incinerated by haplessly stepping on the wrong floor-tile only to be immediately replaced by Conan the II.

    Regale me again with the story of Sir Percival resorting to cowardice and skullduggery to overcome an otherwise worthy foe.

    Tell me again about the time Merlin the Magician ran out his daily allotment of spells at a critical juncture.

    Sorry...but the only fantasy that old-school D&D emulates is old-school D&D. It's become a genre in and of itself...and in my experience this sort of thing makes for terrible reading.

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  80. And finally...number 4 on my list of stupid old school arguments that I hate:

    "WotC D&D is too videogamey/anime/superheroic/durple"

    Because apparently any fighter not wearing a buckskin mini-skirt and a horned helmet is obviously ported straight from a Final Fantasy game.

    Someone here has said that D&D should have remained a classic game that has never seen a revision...like Monopoly.

    Bull. Shit.

    Even if Gygax should have been the final authority on all things D&D, he himself revised OD&D into Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The original White Box wasn't a game as much as it was a proof of concept. An experiment..

    D&D has gone through a series of revisions over the years because D&D has NEEDED to go through a series of revisions over the years. Anyone who can honestly say that the mechanics haven't improved over the years, is probably going to write a silly rebuttal, log out, smear poop on their face, put on a bicycle helmet, and promptly ride the short bus to school.

    Over the years, game mechanics have evolved to become more efficient, intuitive and user-friendly...like technology, Even though you may not like the aesthetic direction that newer versions of D&D has taken, as in actually becoming a game centered around adventuring and telling heroic stories, instead of a random menagerie of cheap death traps...you cannot reasonably argue that the actual game portion doesn't function better with each iteration.

    And you know what? D&D still has a long way to go before it reaches a sublime state of mechanical nirvana. But it's slowly crawling there.

    Stupid old-schooler argument number 5: And now we come around full circle...back to hyperbolic filibustering...

    "WotC has destroyed the SOUL of D&D"

    Yeah...no it didn't. The soul of D&D isn't in anyone edition. It isn't in the rules...it isn't in the art. The soul of D&D is still where it belongs...in the players.

    Maybe you don't like what the players are doing these days...whatever. You've got your own game...now it's their turn.

    Because if you honestly believe that a GAME like D&D is more about some bullshit, imagined ideology that you've applied only in retrospect, than it is about actually having fun...then your head is stuck so far up you're own ass, you'll be eating your lunch a second time.

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  81. @Yak: Why don't you qualify your statements? For example, why is it bad to for the game to divorce itself from what Gygax did so long ago?

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  82. It isn't that long ago lol

    The hertiage of D&D is so rich, why would you want to divorce yourself from it?

    Do you know where D&D came from? An understanding of the history of the game will help inform your approach to it, regardless of your edition preference.

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  83. Dungeons & Dragons came from an idea that Dave Arneson had about taking individual units from Chainmail, a miniatures wargame from TSR, and taking them on adventures. The collaboration between Arneson and Gygax culminated in the original incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons (1974).

    In it's initial iteration, D&D was more of a wargame than a roleplaying game as we understand the concept, as there was no support for social roleplaying, world-building, or really anything outside of show up at the mouth of the dungeon and fight, and fight, and fight. Still, the idea was fresh and novel enough to be expanded upon eventually.

    Assuming that people know nothing of the history of the game because they disagree with you is fallacious.

    D&D was based around popular pulp fantasy works of the day, such as those by Lieber, Howard, Moorcock, etc. with a healthy sprinkling of Tolkien, Lovecraft and real world mythology.

    In subsequent decades, fantasy literature has expanded exponentially and we have many more influence from other forms of media such as videogames and film. Much of which has been absorbed into modern D&D, meaning that the current iterations of the game are FAR more rich than the games heritage.

    If you want to disregard latter influences, then fine...but stop trying to justify the idea that the game is richer without the influx of newer influences, because you are embarrassing yourself on your own forum, quite frankly.

    Keeping D&D in an unchanging time capsule for the sole purpose of adhering to tradition will only lead to stagnation. I can guarantee that if the game had never evolved past AD&D 1st edition, then only a scant few would still be playing it on a regular basis.

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  84. @Shazbot,

    The problem with your logic, at least from what you posted, is that you have effectively bought into the need for editions. Sound like you are drinking the kool-aid. You can't possible justify the need for constant editions and the fragmenting of the fanbase? You think that's good for the game? Seriously?

    BTW I also think you totally misread my point. I did not suggest that we need to be mindlessly focused on the past. D&D, from its inception, has been parasitic on popular culture. I think asking the question of why should we follow Gygax's D&D was a strange one and I responded that if you need to ask the question, then perhaps you ought to go learn the history of the game.

    I'm here all week, try the veal.

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  85. Actually, your statement doesn't make much sense because you question my questioning of moving away from what Gygax did, yet then move on to state that "[D&D] from its inception, has been parasitic on popular culture." Popular culture changes with the times, so...?

    Additionally, while you mind find the heritage rich, not everyone did, or still does. Frankly, if you like the invented history or backstory of various D&D elements, nothing stops you from reusing it in new editions. Mostly this is about mechanics.

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  86. The problem with YOUR logic, is that there isn't any. All you've been able to do thus far is make specious, huckster arguments like "You've just been drinking the kool-aid. Durp"

    I could just as easily counter your argument by saying that you are just a cainotophobic, cultural hermit who reflexively derides anything that came out past your gaming prime.

    You have yet to offer any actual, quantifiable reasons WHY older editions are superior to new ones.

    Here's the thing...Gygax himself spear-headed the update from Original D&D to Advanced D&D, so apparently HE agreed that further revisions of the game were necessary. Even after that he published Unearthed Arcana which featured even more revisions.

    Furthermore...somebody would have come up with the idea of ascending AC if D&D had never done it. Someone would have come up with the idea of unifying subsystems to make the game easier and more intuitive. Somebody would have come up with feats and skills. Somebody would have come up with class powers...all while in your perfect world D&D remained pristine and untouched since 1979.

    What would have happened is that D&D would have become a quaint relic of a bygone era while gamers moved on to newer and better games.

    But the game DID evolve and therefore remains as relevant as it can be in a niche hobby, even if some opinionated fatbeards whine incessantly about it.

    So D&D has come out with new versions...why the fuck do you care? You still have your favorite version. Do you stand outside of popular dance clubs on friday nights and bemoan the fun that they're having? Do you go to amusement parks and sneer at people riding the tilt-a-whirl instead of the rollercoaster?

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  87. @Shazbot: "Do you go to amusement parks and sneer at people riding the tilt-a-whirl instead of the rollercoaster?" No, because he could never fit into a rollercoaster.

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  88. @Antioch...I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he only has the Simpson's "Comic Book Guy" personality, rather than the personality AND the physique.

    Afterall, we've seen the personality actually demonstrated here.

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  89. The Comic Book Guy is way more reasonable and polite.

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  90. You 4E fanboys are highly entertaining. Do you guys write your own material?

    You problably won't believe me, but I'm 6'5, 265 pounds and athletic. Hell yes, I'd like to own The Android's Dungeon. You could swing by for 4E book burnings. Twice on Sundays.

    As I said, try the veal and wash it down with the kool-aid.

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