Thanks a lot, mate. Awesome work, as always. :)
Scott Betts wrote:
Some styles are more conducive than others to making sure that the other people playing have fun, too. Someone might enjoy a game where you take turns picking up the only game piece (a wooden plank) and hitting each other upside the head with it, but that doesn't mean it makes for a good game.
It's just a wordier way of saying "my playstyle's better than yours".
Nothing new under the sun.
Yes, if you could do that Cosmo, that'd be awesome.
A specific breakdown of high-level game play, with the usual suspects breaking the game for most people (teleport, buffs and how to practically handle them, mord's disjunction, find the path and similar low-level plot killers, etc.), as well as ways to handle them, explaining how the game play itself changes from low-level games, will go a LONG way towards tailoring DMs expectations and confidence, and thus preventing most of the issues people were complaining about with 3.5 high-level games.
Please include this in there. The DMG was sorely lacking in this department.
Stefan Hill wrote:
Yeah, Pax is more "pro-retro" than anything else, but man, aren't you right here: we know where this is going, folks, because we all know each other.There's no surprise here, is there?
But... what am I saying! We ALSO know Scott can't help but flame threads he perceives as flames versus "the edition which can do no wrong", therefore making pretty much all the pseudo-conversations he participates in ten times worse than they otherwise would have been. I also suspect he takes an immense pleasure in doing this, since he keeps doing it over, and over, and yet over again, year after year after year.
Aawww... shoot. I may be in the minority but I liked the set pieces.
I too liked set pieces. This is useful role-playing material right there.
What I absolutely do not care about (and I understand I very well may be in the minority here) is the fiction. If I want to read a piece of fiction I buy a book. In a role-playing game product I want role-playing game materials. Not pieces of fiction.
My first thought reading it is "make it up for yourself". Don't wait for official statements, and don't worry about remaining within the confines of what Golarion is in someone else's head. Try to be creative, and build your own Ustalav for you and your players.
You might listen to your players feedback, or let the setting detail itself as need be through actual play and come up with stuff on the fly that you keep track of on a notebook, or you might fish like here for some opinions on the web and then detail the setting top to bottom between sessions, but my bottom line is this: make Ustalav your setting. Answer the questions according to your own tastes, needs, wants and imagination. The campaign will be better for it.
System VS. Setting?
This really is a false dichotomy in my mind. It just doesn't compute with me. I guess that each game product is its own beast in the matter. Some products will be defined by the mechanics they use (RoleMaster), while others will push a setting to define them (Serenity RPG).
There are no rules in that respect but what each game product is built for and used for in the first place. You can take apart a product, and at some point, it won't be how the product was first intended to be used, but that point will vary in specifics each and every single time, with each and every single user, probably.
Pax Veritas wrote:
There are several retroclone incarnations of OD&D worth checking out. Swords & Wizardry, both in its original version and White Box version, Spellcraft & Swordplay (here's a review on RPGnet, too), which incorporates 2d6 mechanics for attribute checks and is more in line with Chainmail, and Epées & Sorcellerie (with review on Grognardia), the French OD&D retroclone. Each represents a different take on the original game. They're all very good.
I favor S&W in its original form at the moment, because it integrates among other things some rules of Supplement I Greyhawk which I would have used anyway, and its character-power baseline is a tad higher than its White Box version, which suits my purposes well at the moment.
Pax Veritas wrote:
Assuming these aren't just modern modules (aka supposedly "balanced", involving tons of checks for everything, targeting the characters rather than the players' wits) with 1e mechanics but 1e modules in design, through and through, I have a GREAT level of interest in the matter, personally.
I don't think 2nd ed needs a retroclone of its own, to be honest, when the changes between 1st and 2nd ed could be covered by an OSRIC supplement of relative small size and scope. I know I'm not the only one thinking this, but I also know that some would really like to see a full blown 2e game not because it's "needed" (such a loaded word), but rather because they love the game and would like to see it in print, just like for other retroclones. That's a valid wish, IMO.
Michael D Moore wrote:
Much welcome, Michael! Have fun!
Don't hesitate to ring the bell again, we're never too far away. ;-)
Michael D Moore wrote:
There is a quick question I would like to ask. Do you guys, who have played 1e and OSRIC, C&C, etc. feel that someone mostly unfamiliar with the rules could get a good game out of it? It wouldn't be about the nostalgia for me (well maybe in the small way of "Hey, Gary Gygax played like this!") since I haven't played before. Could a new guy get as much out of it as an older fellow?
Complete agreement with Pax: 100% yes. There's a reason why these games were so inspiring and grew the hobby at large, and that wasn't because they would have been the only games on the market place (as a matter of fact, they weren't, but for OD&D obviously).
As for printing the rules, same thing (again!) as Pax: Only the DM needs to have a copy of the rules. Especially with OD&D, AD&D and retroclones, it's much better if the players don't know the DM's rules (DMG for AD&D, DM chapters of Mentzer boxed sets, etc). That's part of the magic of the game.
I encourage you to download the free PDF authored by Matt Finch, A Quick Primer on Old School Gaming. It will make a lot of the stuff we're talking about here a lot more obvious.
By the way, speaking of OD&D: That's the way I'm now going for my next campaign! That "itch" I was talking about earlier spawned a whole lot of thinking on my part and encouraged me to go back to the roots of the game. With OD&D and Supplements, as well as clones like Swords & Wizardry, Spellcraft & Swordplay and Epées & Sorcellerie (in French), I couldn't be happier right now!
See here on RPG.net.
Wizards of the Coast has instructed us to suspend all sales and downloads of Wizards of the Coast titles. Unfortunately, this includes offering download access to previously purchased Wizards of the Coast titles. We are in discussions with Wizards about their decision to change their approach to digital sales of their titles and will post more information as we have it. If you would like to let Wizards know your opinion on offering D&D titles for download, we suggest the D&D Message Boards found here.
Also here on WotC's boards.
My question: Has WotC asked the same thing from Paizo?
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Right. When you're done with the b~+$#*!& humor and done being an ass, we can have a conversation.
Look. I'm going to go a bit further: Here we have an interview of Rob Heinsoo that basically lines up the reasons why there were so many drastic changes to the D&D game.
I find that there is incoherence in, on one hand, acknowledging that there are drastic changes to the game, and on the other hand, refusing to understand that to some people these changes dramatically affect the way the game feels and will ultimately constitute dealbreakers. What is so hard to get here?
Surely we can all acknowledge that to some people, these changes are welcome and at the same time, to other people, these are not welcome. That's the bottom line here. That's all there is to it.
Just because some people enjoy something, doesn't make it a 'good ' feature or aspect of the game.
The reverse is also true: just because some people do not enjoy something doesn't mean it is a "bad" feature or aspect of the game.
You don't enjoy it? I'm sorry you feel that way and happy you found other game systems which avoid this.
Do not tell me that it would objectively constitute "badwrongfun", however (take a taste of your own medicine here - and by the way, I'd appreciate if you were not calling my tastes "retarded". Civility, anyone?).
Oh, by the way: the situation I talked about (turn the corner, died) did indeed involve some tactical acumen on my part: I should have been more cautious, check around corners and such. It was my mistake if my wizard died. Just because it doesn't involve game mechanics doesn't mean there aren't tactical elements to game play. One of the biggest difference between the first editions of the game and later ones is that the tactical challenges were directed primarily at the players, not their characters.
And yes, I'm one of these guys who do not believe in the notion of objective "improvement" of role-playing games. What you've got is an evolution according to the changes in tastes and inclinations of customers which in turn affects these tastes and inclinations and makes them change some more over time. One later system is not an "improvement" over an earlier system. It's just different. It's an evolution to fit the gaming interests of the moment and ultimately? Sell more books./
Scott Betts wrote:
Hm. Nope. Not necessarily. I understand why some players might get bothered with this, and it's great for them to now have a version of D&D that takes that into account, but that's not automatically true of all players of D&D.
My first game was playing a Wizard with 4HP and a Light spell in an AD&D game. I turned around a corner in some catacombs and was backstabbed by a skeleton... which killed me instantly. I was hooked.
Later, I would have a lot of 1st level characters die. When I finally made it to second level with a character it was an achievement. You see, back then, part of the pleasure of playing the game was to decide when to confront some enemies and when not to confront them (or run outright). It was also about being cautious, looking behind your back, take care of the backs of the other players. In other words, it was a game that was directed towards the players actions, decisions, tactics. If the player failed then the penalty was ultimate.
Now, I'm just telling you: you've got a way to play D&D and not have to fear this one critical hit that will kill you outright. Great for you! I, personally, love to have the Sword of Damocles hanging above my head. I like to be scared for my 1st level PC's life. I too have a game system that gives me that. Lucky me!
Just don't tell me that's objectively some sort of terrible feature of older editions. To you, maybe. Not to me.
My conclusion? Enjoy your game!
My next campaign will definitely be either OD&D or C&C, maybe a blend of the two. I just discovered Swords & Wizardry (which really is OD&D with a bunch of elements from Supplement I - Greyhawk), and intend to build upon it as of this day.
By the way, I have a new blog about my return to the roots.
The Citadel of Eight. Check it out!
What Fabes said.
Honestly, I think it comes down to "do I want to play 1st ed, including descending AC, rolling 1d6 to force doors open, and all this 'quirkiness' (by modern standard) that makes the game awesome as it is; OR do I want to play 1st ed in vibe yet with a unified mechanic, ascending AC and other d20 stapples that make the game 'smoother' to look at?"
OSRIC really is 1st ed. through and through.
N.B. I know I said I was myself decided on C&C, but I'm starting to doubt LOL. I'm itching for some AD&D or Swords & Wizardry action, especially after reading through Holmes again.
Charter Member here!
The site is AMAZING. There are tons of free stuff for people to preview the site, like the six first encounter areas, the maps of the first level, the blog and design... it's like spotting the surface of an immense iceberg!
I wonder what the future will bring on DaD.com, but it can only become greater from here on! This is SWEET.
This is a very good point indeed: the evolution of the marketing itself meant selling to players, and selling to players meant that the DM's role as referee would slip away from its grasp towards the actual rules of the game.
I'm in complete agreement on this.
The term "game balance" used time and time again is very revealing of this evolution. What "game balance" actually means is "rules balance". There is something of a Freudian slip here in equating "rules" to mean "the whole game". This definitely reveals the way rules have gradually become the final arbiter and centerpiece of the game. Where, in older editions, the DM would override the rules by his judgment calls we now have the rules overriding the DM's judgment.
To some players, if you don't abide by the rules, then that means you are a "bad" DM. These players did exist a few decades ago already, but that tendency has only been growing since then. This is linked to what we're talking about here.
Post Scriptum - by the way, I'm not trying to put blame on 3.5/Pathfinder either. I think this is a fair assessment of the evolution of the game, and different editions will serve different objectives at a game table. To choose which version of the game to use for which game table, I think it is critical to understand each system for what it stands for and tries to achieve. I too love 3.5 and Pathfinder. It is a very different love than the one I have for older editions and variants of the game.
It's extremely well done and it has a vibe of its own. There's extra attention put towards mechanical effects of things like oaths and rites. The gamut of races and classes sort of mimics the one of the D&D core books, but each time with each own twist that makes the game play different in the end.
You can perfectly use 3.X and AE side by side, accounting for just tiny differences between one rules set and the other (there's basically one feat of difference between AE and D&D characters - You decide which one you want to apply and go with it. Same thing about some precise points of the rules, like whether Keen and Improved Critical stack or not, and such details. It's really not that hard).
The Diamond Throne setting is detailed enough to make you understand it, but sketchy enough as to let you do with it as you will. That's sort of the point of it all.
Arcana Evolved is basically the reprint of Arcana Unearthed + The Diamond Throne supplement, but I suppose you knew that already.
All in all, one of the best OGL variants out there that truly plays like D&D.
I think what it really comes down to is the trust and understanding there is between players and DMs, and between players themselves.
There's been a gradual shift in D&D towards the rules being able to provide all the answers. This, and a general dislike of "DM fiat", i.e. arbitrary adjudication.
I don't really know if we can blame this on the hobby growing over time and players ending up at game tables with DMs they don't know and therefore wouldn't "trust" in terms of adjudication. Maybe it also has to do with too many instances of abusive AD&D DMs over the years (you know the kind I'm talking about: the ones worshipping Tomb of Horrors to such an extent any module they run has to be a killer-adventure, who just negate players abilities on the spot because they don't want them to work, et cetera).
I don't mean to say that trust at the game table can't exist with modern rules set. Not by a long shot. But this is a staple of the old school experience. You've got to have trust in the capacity of the DM to entertain the table and be a fair referee (the original term for a "Dungeon Master", after all), and trust in the other players to not run the show at every turn (particularly players of magic users at mid/high level) for the experience to be truly fulfilling.
By contrast, modern editions of the game rely on the rules to provide the game's fairness. This is NOT what for instance the 3rd edition DMG advises, but the insistance on "game balance" in its very rules created a further deviation from its original intent in this regard. You can visit the WotC message boards and see the miriads of topics on this being "balanced" or "unbalanced".
Certainly, these concerns did exist with older editions of the game, but never to that extent.
I assume this also has to do with the way 3rd edition empowered DMs with their own stuff - "game balance" between classes for instance allowed DMs to come up with their own base classes relatively easily. Prestige Classes. Magic Items. The list goes on. There's a loop here: you need game balance to make the rules accessible for the users, and this accessibility created a necessity for clear game balance players and DMs could judge by the blink of an eye.
Similarly, that's not to say that a DM or players can't come up with their own stuff with older editions of the game. But there again, I think there is that trust that comes into the equation, since designing new classes and such for an older edition is more a matter of eyeballing the relative fairness of the new design rather than a clear science (not that it ever was in 3rd ed, it could have been much clearer than it was, but it was more so than in previous editions of D&D).
In the case of your friend, Digitalelf, I think he doesn't really see the point because the trust is already there. I think that's flattering to your DMing, because it basically means "I really like your DMing. Why change the rules at all? That's what matters to me."
Okay. Got an answer from Peter Bradley (the author of pretty much all the art of C&C):
When is the 4th printing hitting the stores?
No one knows. When its ready too, it will be announced, not before.
What are the differences between 3rd and 4th printing?
New cover design, larger font, a revised barbarian and illusionist class, some more spells, some different art, and further cleaned up errata.
So really, what's sort of important here is that the illusionist gets more spells and the barbarian is revised. I don't know how much exactly. All I can say is that I'm very happy with my 3rd printing and expect the specifics of the differences to be found on the internet sooner or later.
I hope this helps!