The difficulty I see with FR is the familiarity that so many people have with it. If your players know about this villian or that plot, then the mystery of the world is lost.
It's like a great book that you re-read. Just not as good the second time. Sure you might find something you missed last time, but you know what's going to happen; the suspense is gone.
As for those who are devoted to the Realms "the way they were": they've been done to death. Apart from rules conversion, what could they possibly sell us? All of the setting has been detailed.
With proper execution, this new FR should feel like the friend you knew in University that you meet on the street twenty years later: familiar, but completely different. Change too much and you feel like you never knew them, and they might as well be a different person.
Well, ultimately the saying "This isn't your father's D&D" has never been more true. One thing that I'm still working through is the balance question. The hints in the DMG are pretty vague: you must be careful when giving powers to monsters, etc, etc. Well, that's great: they codify how individual monsters are going to react on one hand (with the tactical combat encounters) but on the other don't really give any guidelines for balancing powers, etc. This means for the GM who wants to put the work in and give his players something else to work with or try for, well, it's going to be an ungoverned balancing act.
My wizard-player is going to miss the scroll-hunt. He was a fanatic in past games: hunting down scrolls to fill out his spell book. To a certain extent Rituals might replace this obsession, but I'll have to wait to see it in action. In reality, differentiating games will probably distill down to roleplaying. But for me, I'm going to miss the days of looking for a master or trading spells with another wizard.
Following my next game, with my own setting, I'll post and let you know how it goes.
Fake Healer wrote:
It didn't come across as rude. I was responding to the thread title: Gut Reaction to 4E. Since my first running was both tied to 4e and KotS, it was natural that both would be hit by my opinions.
Our group is older (we played KotB - when it was released) and there were a number of references to that module and the similar feel.
In answer to your question: we're going to find out. My group is not desirous of continuing with KotS; so I'll create something of my own and try it. Suprisingly, the backdrop to KotS, as printed in the back of the DMG is what I will probably use.
House rules as asked for by the table: an elimination of Minions and a return to a straight double damage mechanic for criticals. They were not so much concerned with things being tougher: the disjointed feel of "bubble monsters" really got to them (and honestly, me).
First reactions to play.
Our group gave it a shot last night. We played KotS with a dwarf ranger, an elf warlock, a half-elf wizard, and human cleric and paladin. It was interesting, and it definitely has more of a war-game vibe than a role-playing vibe.
Some interesting reactions from my players:
1. "So basically, most characters look the same?" in regards to the streamlined character creation. They liked the idea that characters were easier to create, but found even with feats, kinda looked the same.
2. "Whoa, is this a real monster or a bubble monster?" (in reaction to the 1-hp minion rules).
3. "Holy crap, how many HP does this kobold have?" (in reaction to the 24-30 HP the first encounter kobolds had.)
4. "So this fella is really any "class"?" (in reaction to the description of NPCs as monsters.)
5. "Man combat takes a long time." (in reaction to monsters having more HP in relation to the relative combat damage of the players.
Overall, it was fun. We enjoyed the streamlined combat; and it was easier to understand. However, my gut (and my party) has some concerns:
1. Attack powers really don't grow in relation to the power of the character. Kobolds were the cannon fodder of the gaming world, and with the advent of the new HP system, they seemed inordanately tougher than before. Granted the minion rules help with that, but our reaction was that it seemed very artificial, and a little off-putting. My party has already titled minions as "bubble monsters".
2. Character do seem very similar. You can vary the race, but not really the capabilities of the classes. This does have a positive aspect: all characters are now "combat ready". (Try running a published module with a druid, a bard, a wizard/rogue and a monk/cleric. :))
3. As a GM I really rebel against the production of "adventures" as a series of tactical combat encounters. The individual room maps and description of tactics kinda eliminates any need for creative GMing. And really, they are crap when you have a thinking party. Even the first session, my characters lured kobolds and goblins from their supposed starting combat areas. As well, they patiently waited them out and ambushed them. The combat area maps and encounter descriptions seem like fluff to me, am I alone in that thought? I'd rather have a short description, but more adventure area and better surroundings development.
Any way, my 2 cents.
I have found Stone of Seers in Magnimar, the Acadamae in Korvosa.
I understand there is a magic guild in Kaer Maga, but I don't know it's name.
What is the name of the magic guild in Kaer Maga?
PS: If you could suggest a more appropriate location for this thread, I'd appreciate it.
For the record, I bought the first two Pathfinders in PDF. Then, I found them in their printed glory at my local gaming store.
Alas, the first two, printed out on my wax laser printer on glossy paper still do not approach the quality of the printed versions.
I also live in Canada, and the shipping was an issue for me. Thankfully, with the product I ordered (Pathfinder subscription) there was a 30% discount and that covered the cost of shipping. As well, if you are stuck on the price, amazon.ca offers Paizo products and if you can save up to buy, shipping is free.
Two cents, for what it's worth.
A couple of questions, a couple of points of view.
Will 4e be open?
I want to be a fan of d20, but I struggle with it as many of my players are "rules lite". We are an older crowd, and so poring through rule books for understanding is secondary to telling stories. And between games there's kids, wives, business travel... Looking at the stat block for a 10th or 12th level characters requires a lot of reading and a knowledge of some fairly arcane rules to understand why certain feats are valuable and others are not. More than many "beer and pretzels" players are willing to invest. For introducing new players d20 is a write-off. Too many options, rules, modifiers, exceptions.... It takes the focus off what (I believe) is really important in gaming: adventuring.
Hopefully, 4E will eliminate some of these issues.
Unfortunately, the cost of 4e will be challenge because for a new generation of players is looking to purchase it. The core books will probably come in at $45-50 a pop, meaning an investment of ~$150 just for the rule books. Stack that with the cost of settings, miniatures, battlemaps, dice, etc and it's well beyond the reach of an "exploratory" 'tween. This is compared to 1st Edition which I purchased for $15 and it included the rules, a module (B1: Keep on the Borderland... ah, the crawl) and dice. At the time, it was cheaper than Monopoly(tm).
Somehow, all of the rule additions and crunch hasn't improved the hobby. For myself, I use Savage Worlds and convert d20. My players were recently able to pick up the Explorer's Edition for $10 and have a set of rules of their own.
Not arguing a point, just putting in an opinion.
Does anyone know: for purposes of sending this publication into Canada is it considered a magazine or a book?
When I purchase publications from other companies, I pay customs fees, but I don't on magazines.
From the discussions here, I would really like to have a physical copy, but alas, between $20 + shipping + customs vs ~$14 for just the PDF...