Scott Betts wrote:
I think that Todd's incorrect. It's just something that is getting repeated (a meme) without actually being true.
As it stands, on July 6 this year, there were 56,523 members of the DDi group. As I write this, there are 63,987 members. It was 62,396 almost exactly one month ago.
It's going up fairly steadily...
I like how PF has three different "epochs" of play, low, mid, and high levels, and how play at those three levels is fundamentally different. 4e's tiers are more codified but less different. I'd want 5e to bring that difference back.
4E tiers are a lot more different than you might assume by just reading the rules. There are some really, really significant difference between heroic and paragon tier, which ties into how they play. The difference between Paragon and Epic isn't quite so pronounced, but it is there.
I've run a campaign from 1st to 28th level (and continuing) in 4E. While the epic characters might be hitting on similiar percentages to the low level characters, they don't play the same.
I object to simulationist because there are people here are using it in the wrong context. You're meaning symmetrical (it's not quite right, but it's closer).
When the rules for creating NPCs and PCs are the same, you have a symmetrical ruleset - at least for that part of it. It isn't necessarily simulationist. 4E actually simulates parts of the fantasy genre better than 3E, such as with minions, but minions don't simulate all fantasy genres. (And other parts 4e simulates worse.)
Good that 4E inspires you as a DM. It has some good points. I only read brief parts of their mythology and I was so thoroughly disappointed with the quality of their Forgotten Realms books that I didn't delve deeper into their fluff. I almost quit playing D&D over 4E and if not for Pathfinder, probably would have still been playing 3.5.
Well, in a way, you're still playing 3.5E! :)
Thankfully, I became disaffected with the Realms back in the early days of 2E when TSR messed up the cool Grey Box set I loved... (heh) so the 4E idiocy concerning the Realms didn't bother me. Well, it did - but not so much. (I know why Wizards did some of what they did, and I can sympathise with the reasons, if not the result).
Next year, I expect I'll be running an AD&D campaign and a 4E campaign, and we'll see what happens from there.
Oh, and yes, I do collect the Pathfinder APs. I'm missing 1-12 (Runelords and Crimson Throne) due to lacking money at that time; I have the rest (plus the old Dungeon APs) and I'm looking forward to the Runelords TOME.
At present, I'm running the closing stages of Prince of Undeath, and the 4e mythology is in full swing.
Once upon a time, a shard of pure evil fell into the Elemental Chaos, forming the Abyss and giving rise to the demons. No power a demon possesses can affect that shard, but once there were powers that could: the primordials.
Orcus has found such a primordial; resurrecting him from his forsaken tomb on Death's Reach, and bound him to his service (the Prince of Undeath does have some powers). And from that shard, the primodial shatters a splinter, with which Orcus will kill the Raven Queen.
The adventure is about the group's pursuit of the primordial into the depths of the Abyss, and ends with them fighting Orcus before the throne of the Raven Queen, with the Goddess of Death already pierced by the splinter of evil.
The HPE adventures have a lot of problems in their construction; they're greatly hampered by a pathetic mindset of "let's make them mostly combats" (which comes from above, not from the designers). But the idea behind them is great.
Madness at Gardmore Abbey also looks pretty strong, btw. But there aren't enough good adventures from Wizards - and it's a failure from the top. I hope now that Bill S. is gone things start looking up again.
One of the really, really weird things about both 3E and 4E is that their initial releases really cut back on the story. Look at both the 3E and 4E monster manuals, and they're really light on for anything but combat stats. (There are hints of more, but that's it). Both editions went a lot stronger towards story/background/ecology as they progressed...
They have such a creative bunch at Paizo that share many of the same interests we weird gamers share. They base much of what they're doing off classic ideas of horror, mythology, and fantasy with a touch of the modern thrown in here and there, it's hard not to find something to love in the game system be you a new or old gamer.
One of the really strange things about this whole PF/4E split is how much more I prefer the 4E mythology and background than that of old 3E and how PF approaches it.
It was pretty amazing seeing Wizards fail to sell it, though, with their "Oh, and the succubus is now a devil" pitch. Urk!
It's not part of the DDi tools. There is no book to help you judge the power of monster abilities. It's something you have to learn yourself during play. The advice in the DMG is to compare the powers to the ones in the MM to get an idea of balance.
I mean, if I wanted to create a Orc leader, I'd just use the basic stats from the DMG (well, the errata) for a 3rd level brute:
Orc Leader. Standard Brute 3. Init +1.
That took about 2 minutes. Obviously, more complicated monsters will take longer but - with the values on my DM screen - I can actually do a lot of it on the fly.
If I were doing the same in AD&D, it'd be simpler. 2 HD. Roll hp. Assign damage code and speed. Done. (And most special abilities would be modelled on spells).
What 4E gives you are the typical numbers for every monster at every level. They aren't complicated equations. Since the attack and damage codes are known, you just have to pay a little attention to the additional effects.
3E... building a monster takes longer, with numbers deriving from HD, ability scores, size, etc. (And it's quite breakable. See Grappling).
One of the big differences in D&D through the ages is in what levels it's built for.
In AD&D, once you reached 9th or 10th level, it was time to retire and start a new character. The game really wasn't designed for play past there. In 2e, a few level limits were raised for demi-humans (so they could play with higher level characters), but the game wasn't rewritten with them in mind, and high-level play had (ahem) problems.
3E came along, and inherited a lot of things from AD&D. There's a lot of legacy design in 3E from AD&D which doesn't really work as a system once you get above (say) 14th level. During the 3E era, I ran one campaign to 21st level (Age of Worms) and two campaigns to 16th level, so I got to see a lot of the problems in play. The designers managed to patch some of them (fighters being problematic at high levels was made much better with PHB2), but the underlying maths doesn't really work.
(Consider the thief. A +2/3 BAB makes a lot of sense when you only go to 9th level. It's not so good once you reach 20th level).
The one thing the 4E designers got absolutely right was identifying that the underlying maths had to work. Unfortunately, they got their sums wrong. The recent patches have made a difference - one of my 4E games is at 28th level, and is playing pretty well. (We got through 5 combat encounters in a 3.5 hour session last weekend).
So, come 5E (whenever that is), the maths will have to work. It's also an issue for PF 2E.
Saga edition I played from 1st to 20th level (all through Dawn of Defiance) and it had significant underlying problems. Bad class design, bad power design. Skill checks vs defenses just didn't work at all - the maths was completely wrong there. And lack of healing made things much worse. Don't get me wrong: there were a lot of good things there, but the system needed more development. (A 2nd version of Saga would have been great).
3E/PF emphasizes player character creation and development (a great contrast from 1e and 2e, and handled very differently from the options in 4e, although 4e developed significantly past its initial release). It does this at some cost on the ease of DMing - NPCs in particular can be a bear to create and run. Having good etools makes a great difference to creation, but running them is always likely to be an issue.
Meanwhile, 4e emphasises ease of DMing and play. It has a large number of missteps. In particular, 1 hour combats at every level tend to be far too long at lower levels. And, let's face it, combat length in both 3e/PF and 4e can be greatly detrimental to story pacing. (Still, I'm glad to not be taking 2-3 hours for one high-level combat, as I experienced in 3.5E).
The trouble for 5E lies not so much in "getting players back" as in just doing a really good system with so many competing demands on it. Consider the converse: can Paizo gain the 4E players with a new edition of Pathfinder while maintaining its current player base? It's tremendously difficult.
If 5E were actually to be a brilliant edition of D&D (the best ever!) you'd get people playing it, and some Pathfinder people would move over. Others wouldn't for their own, quite legitimate reasons. The same goes for 4E players: some would change, others wouldn't. You have people who are dissatisfied with aspects of their current system (this certainly applied to me and 3.5e, which is why I embraced 4e), and conversely you have people who really like the system they're using and don't experience the same problems as other people.
I don't believe there is anything wrong in releasing a new edition of the game, even if it has massive changes. The big problem is being able to analyse why you're doing it, and to analyse what succeeded and failed after it's done.
Hard to tell. There are a *lot* of advantages to plastics, which mainly come in the "ease of use and transport" columns.
Erik Mona wrote:
Hehe. I'm certainly not betting against the Paizo/Wizkids miniatures succeeding. I hoping they succeed really well and Paizo will be able to offer some really nice minis to complement their RPG line.
The trick is to judge the market right, and unless you've completely lost your senses...
...this won't turn into The DragonDice that Killed Paizo. (DAH DAH DUUHHH!!!)
Yup - I remember a discussion on the old maxminis boards about this and plastic was indeed more expensive - as weird as that sounds.
As I recall, plastic has a much, much higher set-up cost, but the ongoing cost per unit is much cheaper.
Make 10 figures, and metals are cheaper.
Of course, with the increased price of oil, the numbers will have changed. Plastics do save you on transport (lighter), which helps. But then you make them prepainted and the price increases again!
One caveat about my law is that it assumes that the miniatures are otherwise identical; if you try to compare metals to plastics, it doesn't apply, or painted to prepainted. :)
Wouldn't that fit Merric's "Law of Miniatures" and be a successful business model? I know that it would get people of my mindset to buy what I consider to be "forced collectables". Something that I am excessively loathe to do because it feels like a scam. (Yes, MtG feels like a consumer scam to me because the rarity of cards is pre-determined instead of being a happenstance by-product of printing realities. I'm not saying that it isn't a genius business model or unethical, I just don't want to consume it. ;) )
It fits the Law, but the Law doesn't say anything about whether such a line will then succeed! That's dependent on other factors.
One of the most interesting things about the decline of the DDM line is how Wizards scrambled to try things to make the line more interesting for consumers, but were ultimately defeated because there really was nothing they could do about it. The key factor here lies with the saturation of the DDM-buying public. Once someone has 20 orcs, do they need another 20 orcs? It's pretty unlikely.
(This applies to all mini lines, btw).
These sort of lines work best when new consumers replace the old at a fairly constant rate. The initial sales of DDM were so high because there wasn't such a product line before and there was the demand. By the time you reached Year 5, the demand level would have been pretty close to the ongoing level they could expect from then forward.
An interesting drawback of DDM is that new models were mixed with "old" pieces - well, the new orc models were new sculpts, but in the end they were orcs, so that although the set might have new material in it, the bulk of it wasn't as interesting to old collectors. Thus, DDM needed the rate of new people entering the line to be fairly high to keep sales up.
One attempt to gain new purchasers was the "visible mini" booster, which suddenly threw out most of the benefits of the random boosters. Why are random boosters such a powerful tool? It's because you don't have the problem of all those unicorn boosters sitting on the shelves. Every booster is potentially good. Compare to the difference between completely visible boosters: I don't want that unicorn, I'll buy the troll instead.
So, stores having a lot of unicorn boosters on shelves didn't restock their boosters (since they didn't have a choice of boosters - they had to buy the set), and although there would have been an initial surge of interest, ultimately it actually hurts the line.
The DDM Heroes line had fascinating flaws. It looks pretty close to the Paizo/Wizkids product, actually, but Paizo has one huge bonus that DDM Heroes didn't have: Paizo are selling new minis. DDM Heroes had this fatal flaw of trying to sell minis that were already available - and quite cheaply on the secondary market. So, their potential market was much, much, much worse just to begin with. The other potential problems of the line (Do you really want these hero minis?) is something that the Paizo/Wizkids product will have to deal with. My prediction is that the initial offering will do rather well, as will certain monster sets, but hero sets will do less and less well.
So, to return to your Undead-themed packs: would they work? Yes, I dare say they would. Well, mostly. They'd have a basic problem in today's market of being nowhere near as affordable as the original DDM line (which was insanely cheap); you'd also have to deal with the existence of the other zombie/skeleton figures through previous DDM purchasers, the DDM secondary market, and Reaper's Legendary Encounters.
However, once the initial sales go through, you regain the problems of the DDM line. In effect, you're showing the "commons" of your pack, whilst keeping the rare figures hidden. DDM might not have shown the commons, but they were generally known. After a while, more common undead really aren't that attractive to the person who has enough. Ungained rares will only help for so long... and you get into the requirement for a refreshing pool of purchasers.
It should be noted that DDM common miniatures (including Skeletons and Zombies) likely ended up selling on the secondary market for _less_ than they cost to produce. Astonishing, but that's what the rarity system does for you. Meanwhile, the price of rare figures was far higher than they cost to produce! Supply and demand do very interesting things. For those buying minis on the secondary market, DDM were great for everyone who wanted common monsters. If you wanted a Beholder... less good.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
*it no longer looks like there will be books like a Players Handbook 6 - at least not anytime all that soon (no PHB 4 has been announced this year) but their was some indication that this was the original plan.
The actual reason for this is because shopkeepers were stocking only the PHB3, thinking that because it was the latest PHB, it was the one players would start with and thus the only one they'd need!
They also used other people's stuff in Unearthed Arcana, one of the really interesting tomes from Wizards.
The OGL may now work the way Mike hoped it would, but it took Wizards making 4e and the GSL to do it... oh, and yanking the license for the magazines from Paizo. May yet be one of the best decisions they made. :)
No, they can't.
You can only declare as IP material that is yours. The GSL assigns no rights for Wizards to use *any* of your material. It's far better than the web licences they've posted.
If I were to write a Druid class and post it, Wizards couldn't then just take it all and print it themselves. If they did, they would be in breach of my copyright.
What they *could* do is post their own Druid class, and assign the "Druid" as a System Reference. At that point, your Druid class (called "Druid") is in breach of the license because it redefines what "Druid" means.
What's really troubling about that is that it could happen inadvertently. You don't even need Wizards to act maliciously for you to suddenly be in breach of the licence!
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I already did. :)
Section 10.3 says you aren't allowed to take suit against Wizards' Intellectual Property.
Thing is, if they've stolen it from you, it isn't their IP, it's yours.
So, you're free to sue them in that case. :) If they terminate the license, well, would you want to keep using it?
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I'm going to disagree with Chris Pramas in his view on how this should have been handled. Now I think he makes a lot of good points in his review basically until I get to the following two paragraphs, where he seems to outline not so much what was wrong with the PHB but goes into how, presumably he would have handled it if he had been in control of WotC.
Great post, Jeremy!
Their original "version" of the GSL from December or so included a $5,000 fee just to get the rules. They removed it because of the backlash...
Actually, they removed it because the GSL wasn't ready in time. The original thought was that the fee would be an early adopter's fee and it'd be free later on. But the GSL got delayed...
Rambling Scribe wrote:
Hey Merric, haven't seen you here for a while, good to see you.
Nice to be here. :)
Rambling Scribe wrote:
Can you give us a link to your gleemax comments?
Here you go:The Failure of Gleemax
Ken Marable wrote:
You should see my reaction to the Gleemax blogs that was on EN World recently...
Although I'm generally quite forgiving of Wizards - and I do like 4e - I'm astonished at the levels of stupidity involved in the GSL. I don't think it's all intentional. For instance, I really don't expect they meant the license to mean a later publication of theirs to make a bunch of previous products illegal due to unintentional name duplication. However, they should have. They really should have.
Someone upthread suggested that the license was really designed to only allow adventures to be written under the new system. Well, possibly. Unfortunately, by eliminating the ability to print the full stat-blocks of any monster or NPC that uses an ability from the core rulebooks, you really, really limit their usefulness.
Clark Peterson has said on EN World that he's pretty sure that this license will kill dead his Tome of Horrors 4e (he's doing a full colour Pathfinder version? Cool!)
To be able to put Clark off-side with you is inventing new levels of stupidity that are beyond the dreams of wordsmiths in coming up with new terms to describe them!
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Well, given Dragon Online and Dungeon Online will be free for several months yet, we'll get a good view of what they offer.
The price is superb for international subscribers, btw. It's very close to the price of a subscription to *one* magazine, and also provides timely content. Paizo's ability to ship the magazines internationally in a timely fashion sucked.
I really don't like how you have to subscribe to the entire package, however. I wouldn't be surprised if that changed as we got closer to the "go" date. It makes no sense for players to have to get Dungeon Online.
I just received Dragon #352 in a brown paper envelope (with a paizo address sticker and my address pasted on).
This was a bit of a surprise to me, as #349 only arrived last week in its regular polybag (and I assume #350 and #351 are "in transit" as always - I'm yet to miss an issue).
I was just wondering if there had been a problem that I didn't know about that Paizo had kindly corrected and somehow had the issue arrive a lot sooner than normal. :-)
Cheers & thanks,
Tim Thurman wrote:
I'm new to the d20 system in general and it seems as though even an idiot like me can figure out 3.5, why would they need to make a 4th edition? won't that just mean that all the source material i've spent my hard earned hourly pittance (in a cubicle, mind you!!!) for no good reason?
Being new to 3.5e, you don't have the experience with it to see what problems it still has, and there are several.
However, I expect that any changes in 4e will be more in the vein of tuning up the system than revamping it (certainly nothing like the 2e to 3e change). It may well be that the supplements don't become totally obsolete.
This is going to sound odd, but...
I've just got my issue #140. I'm in Australia. For me, this is a record for swift delivery. Indeed, it's so swift that #140 has lapped issue #139 which hasn't arrived yet. (I'm not yet worried; Issue #137 turned up one day after #138 last time.)
Mind you, just a note to the Paizo people out there: a recent mailing label had been misprinted so that the left-hand letters had fallen off the left side of the label.
was enough to reach me. I foolishly threw away the label before I could scan it to show you. (Stupid me!)
Hey, is that sorcerer on black dragon mini a single piece as cast or is the sorc. removable?
It's not a single cast, but the sorcerer isn't entirely removable. The legs and waist are part of the dragon mold. So, if you manage to cut off the top half, you could theoretically put an armoured figure on top. (I wonder if anyone has done so?)
The DDM line is at its best for those just starting a miniatures collection - a few dozen boosters, and the purchaser has many of the staples of D&D adventuring - PC types, orcs, goblins, ogres, skeletons, zombies, etc. Of course, you need to pay attention to what figures appear in which set!
The line also works well when there are several purchasers of it in the area, thus allowing trading or borrowing of the figures you need for a particular encounter.
I've got slightly over 2,000 of the figures at present. One great advantage of them over metals is their near indestructability and thus ease of transportation. Given I need to travel 30 km (20 miles) to each game, this is essential!
It's interesting to see how they influence my adventure design. There are times when I select monsters based on the miniatures I have available rather than the other way around. :)
Also, AD&D's wandering monsters, IIRC, scaled downward four levels and upward some, so you could run into monsters from different (lower or higher) levels but not the whole inclusive range. In fact my brother's NPC, while guiding a newbie party within Greyhawk Castle while EGG and I co-DMed the adventure ran into a Balrog on the 4th level, and he was only a zixth level fighter and the newbies were 2nd levels.
Heh. And _then_ what happened, Rob? Don't leave us hanging like that! ;)
(As a side note, it *is* possible to run into a Balrog on the 4th level of the dungeon using the 3.5e encounter tables, although very, very unlikely).
My players should be getting the idea by now that they should think up their own PC names, or I'll invent them for them - in a typically Greyhawkian fashion. The bard Nerie (Ernie), the fighter Tarmin (Martin), and a few others grace my version of Greyhawk due to such lapses in creativity.
(The personage of Cirrem is an entirely creative endeavour, of course!)
Oh, if only they'd done that miniature instead of the Sorcerer on Black Dragon... (and then had Paizo distribute it as a promo.) Erik should have pushed for it! :)
Erik Mona wrote:
Aspect of Hextor (I got mine just too late for Age of Worms!)Warpriest of Hextor
Bugbear Champion of Erythnul
Cleric of St. Cuthbert
Rob: Good luck with your current projects!
Just a (happy) note that my Sorcerer on Black Dragon repaint has finally arrived! (Now, if only I had a regular SoBD to compare it to...;))
Of course, I'm yet to see the first magazine of my dual-subscriptions, but you've got to love the US postal service. And the Aussie postal service. And the (so-called) connections between the two. Dragon #345 should be the first to arrive, I think. Hmm. Oh well, I'm not panicking yet.
Thanks to everyone at Paizo for setting up the SoBD promo. It's something I'm very happy to have.
I've been running AoW with 6 players. I haven't been scaling, and it's worked really well. (A couple of deaths due to player stupidity, but nothing that couldn't be fixed).
The PCs generally come into the adventures one level lower than they should be (so, they entered "A Gathering Of Winds" at 10th level, when it's written for 11th level), but the extra characters balance it out.
Hmm. I could call it "Cruelty to players"... (one trick is that if a player doesn't come up with his or her next action within about 5 seconds when it's their turn, they do nothing that turn. It helps.)
Just checking my records...
Session #1: 22 July 2005 - The Whispering Cairn
All sessions run between 3-4 hours, with 1 DM and 6 players/PCs. (I hope this is useful feedback for the Dungeon crew).
I have occasionally noted that I seem to run combats faster than other DMs. (Well, at least the ones that complain about combats lasting a long time in 3.5e!) This may also apply to the Age of Worms campaign - not that I'm complaining that much.
My group gets to play once per fortnight, for about 3.5 or 4 hours a session.
After 18 sessions, we are halfway through "A Gathering of Winds", with the 6 PCs at the brink of 11th level (if they aren't there already).
It's been a lot of fun, but I was wondering if you're taking the campaign faster(!) or at a more leisurely speed then we are.
Marc Radle wrote:
I think Weapons of Legacy is great - there are currently 7 active Items of Legacy in my two campaigns, and another couple are on my way. The players and I love them.
They are balanced, they offer the ability to be significant items throughout the PCs careers, and because they keep gaining new powers (often unknown to the players before they get them), there is always a sense of mystery about them.
Timault Azal-Darkwarren wrote:
A 14th level thief or mage has all the ranks he needs to pick the really hard lock or cast the really powerful spell. The 7th level thief / 7th level mage cannot [ick the lock or cast the spell.
There is a reason for the Arcane Trickster.
I can think of a player in my campaign who will *love* this feat.
Soulblades are incredibly weak against constructs. Their ability to Psychic Strike doesn't work against them. The actual mind blade is dealing a extremely small amount of damage. Spending a feat to correct this lack is very welcome.
I agree that it may be a little on the low-level side, but it doesn't bother me overmuch.
Argh. Another month until it comes into Ballarat!
Reach weapons use the ranged weapon rules for determining cover.
Jeremy Walker wrote:
Take two melee characters (say a fighter and a rogue) in a five-foot corridor against a monster. The fighter is in front, and the rogue is 10 feet behind the fighter. The rogue goes first, but he can't attack, as the fighter is in the way, so he delays. Then the fighter goes, takes a full round of attacks, and takes a five-foot step back (into the empty space between the fighter and the rogue). Then, the rogue goes (he was delaying remember) and moves up into the space between the fighter and the monster and attacks the monster.
That's a nice way of doing it, Jeremy.
What gets fun is when the monsters are *also* doing it. Say you have two monsters: the fighter takes a five foot step back, and then both the rogue and the second monster compete to get into that square!
If you have one or two five-foot corridors in an adventure, you have a chance to be creative.
If every single corridor is five-foot, then it is dull and frustrating.
Timault Azal-Darkwarren wrote:
Well, even if there are more than 5' corridors, the monsters would be mad to follow them.
First tank attacks, takes 5 foot step back. Second tank takes 5 foot step forward and attacks - repeat. To really make this work you'd have to use delayed actions and refocus to get the best initiative.
Use reach weapons.
Fire into melee.
Amal Ulric wrote:
That's what made the Vecna maze in TFE work - multiple avenues of approach, and enemies approaching from both ways. It was great fun.
However, I've seen too many maps of late that are 5' corridors with monsters only able to attack from one direction (especially when the dungeon is linear). A 5' corridor that exits into a bigger room can also cause problems if a melee monster wins initiative. Suddenly the way into the room is blocked off, and the back-up fighter and clerics in the party are going "what do we do?"
Casting buffing spells isn't that interesting. It palls rapidly when combat after combat is in these 5' corridors. Using missile weapons when you're firing into combat and there is cover and you don't have precise shot (as many PCs do not) is frustrating.
In theory a rogue can tumble into the room, but that's often a recipe for disaster. Apart from needing a DC 25+ Tumble check, suddenly the rogue is on his own against whatever other monsters are in there. That's not good.
The 5' wide corridors don't make the adventure more difficult; they exclude players from the game. This is a problem.
If you have two melee-based PCs (many groups may have more), then only one can actually do what they've been built for.