Abandoning the fans?


4th Edition

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The Exchange

That's a fair hypothesis.

As far as their marketing goes, time will tell. They consciously decided to target their product at GenY-WoW and their success will be in how deeply they penetrate that group.

About half of the 20 people I game with are dumping 4.0 and staying with 3.5. Almost all of them have at least the players handbook. I have never seen that bad of a rate of rejection, not with 2.0, 3.0 or 3.5. Granted, my little corner of the universe is just that... My little corner.

My call has been that the edition will start to miss its sales targets in 18 months or so and then the firings will commence. Only time will tell. Hopefully I am wrong.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:


I hypothesise that at least some of those expressing a feeling of being 'abandoned' may be doing so because 4E is a mechanically new game; a game that that these people feeling abandoned have little liking for the mechanics of the way which it plays- and they are seeing that Wizards of the Coast (besides the dubious marketing approach) stopped making material for a game which they did enjoy playing to make this mechanically new one which they do not like playing so much.

Here endeth the hypothesis. :D

Thing is in the change from 2nd to 3rd the game went from being a Role Playing Game to being a Table Top Role Playing Game. Mechanically I think thats a really big change. Its one that I'm fine with and it continues on into 4E but it was one heck of a change and a lot of people who choose not to convert cited this as being a significant factor.

In 4E the really big mechanical change is dropping Vancian casting and creating the powers system. I agree that this is also a very significant change but I don't believe its actually bigger then making the game into a table top RPG.

Beyond the Vancian casting issue I feel almost all the other changes are mostly small fry or are things we have seen in other editions of D&D.


Now if we are going to play at trying to guess what the root reason why some fans are unhappy and some are not I'll throw in my two cents on that topic. Now I should probably stress that covering everyone with a broad brush (both 3E players and 4E players) won't actually work. For some there will be other answers that are more important then the ones I'm going to stress.

I think that most 4E players are positive because we've become unhappy with some of the complexity of 3.5, especially in regards to unbalanced characters with adventure destroying abilities and with issues in play that seem to make the game take a long time without adding to the excitement. The most common pro 4E complaint about 3.5 is that it begins to fall apart at higher levels and things just get worse the higher you go.

I feel, if you fall into this group, then what Wizards has done, mechanically, is very forgivable. Getting rid of Vancian magic has gone a long way to restoring play balance at all levels and this is the first edition that really feels like it might work at higher levels. Historically, in every edition, once the mages started to get the really good high level spells (wish) the game began to unwind. For players that are unhappy with this the loss of the Vancian magic system is just not that huge a loss. Its the culprit for the game breaking down at higher levels - and it always has been, in every edition of the game.

My gut feeling (here I'm on thin ice - I'm pro 4E) is that the anti-4E players are mostly unhappy with the lack of backward compatibility to 3.x. My main reason for feeling this way is that Paizo stresses again and again that PRPG will work with 3.5 and that they are not invalidating any of the fans collections. They put out the Alpha release which seemed to me to be not that big a divergence from 3.5 and ended up quickly reassuring the fans that they understood that they had gone to far and they'd tone the changes down.

It also seems like many of the other complaints make the most sense in this light. Did the marketing really offend you? If so then I suspect that there is a good chance thats because you were not planning on giving up 3.x. They were insulting you mainly because you were not moving on. Saying '4E will play so much better then 3.5 it'll blow your booties off' sounds fine if your heading for 4E and sounds insulting if your planning on sticking with 3.5. It does not really offend most pro 4E posters, even the ones that played and loved 3.x in their time.

A lot of people also discuss their extensive 3.5 collection. I think for many anti-4E posters their 3.5 collection dwarfs their collection of any other edition, a feeling I understand as I refused to switch to 3.x for many years because my 2nd edition collection was (and is) huge. A lot of D&D fans really came into their careers during the 3.x era and suddenly they had a real disposable income and D&D purchases were pocket change by this point in their lives - but its no longer pocket change when you have two shelves groaning under $6000 dollars worth of 3.x product. Its asking a lot to give that up.

Finally we have the fluff changes. Changes that are mostly either in the monster manual or, of course, changes that come about because of the loss of Vancian casting. Even here I think its investment in 3.x that dictates strongly whether or not this is OK or not.

I'm heavily invested in the fluff of my homebrew. Its been going on for more then 20 years now and I painstakingly write out stuff like a 350 page players book. I am a huge fan of my own longstanding home brew. Really what author is not? The thing is I glance at the 4E books and note that Vancian casting will have to be written out of the homebrew. Thats significant but its OK. I generally expect to make some significant change in each edition. I need the Blood War to come back and I need Angels to always be good. Thing is a quick glance at the 4E Monster Manual assures me that reverting things like angels or changing around the structure of the planes is dead easy. My fluff is basically intact except that I'll consider all their changes, some of them really are inspired and I'll follow their lead on the things I think are good for my personal home brew.

Hence it seems fluff is a significant issue only if your already invested in staying with 3.5. Otherwise its simple enough to make the fluff conform to whatever you need. The whole design of 4E supports the DM pretty much setting things up just how they like it.

The only group of fluff lovers I can really emphasize with are the Realms players. If you had a really good understanding of the Realms and it seemed to grow and evolve under you then I understand were your coming from. If WotC could steal my home brew and force its history forward 100 years (immediately ruining all the campaigns plans that have) I'd be livid too. WotC dropped the ball here (and whats really messed is I think the old Realms was a fantastic IP for use in conversions to computer games - why in the world did Hasbro let WotC damage such a valuable IP?).

In essence when Anti-4E posters start posting that 4E is not D&D I think they usually mean its not 3.x D&D. I find it hard to believe that anyone feels that 3.5 has less in common with 4E then it does with BECMI. Hence, unless one wants to argue that one is not playing D&D if they dig out the red box and put their players through Keep on the Borderlands I think its hard to support a position that 4E is any less D&D then BECMI.

Now I understand the position that many have that 3.5 was a great game. For many the things it allowed one to do, for example in the really diverse character options, are things that 4E has moved away from. If your not willing to give that up and you want your investment in 3.5 to remain fully functional then 4E is probably not for you.

For those that are fans of 4E - well most of us are fans because we agree with most of the choices that WotC has made with the rules. WotC dropped the ball in some areas, sure, and in some cases they made people mad when they took their toys back but fundamentally most 4E posters feel what they are getting is a good deal. I love Paizo's work - I'd be a PRPG supporter if I felt it really was the best course for me. But I've looked at what they were doing and even the Alpha I felt they did not go nearly far enough and everything they have said since the Alpha can be summarized as 'we were really pushing the envelope - don't worry guys we'll tone it down'. Well if that was pushing the envelope then I'm not PRPGs target market because whats reducing the 'fun' at my home table was not being addressed, and it is, generally speaking anyway, being addressed by 4E.


I think that Charles Evans made an excellent post.

I wish I had more time to answer a lot of posts from Dread, Tadkil and others but I could not find the time.

There is still a lot of anger with 4th. If you do not like it don't play it. I do not understand why you still feel the need to attack 4th. You certainly do not respect others that like it. I was a crazy paizo fan till they decided to create PRPG but I never bashed them or vocally told them that I feel betrayed. And having decided the direction I want to take I've never made even one post in the Pathfinder section (You can check it).

So please act reasonably and try to help in the improvement of the game you want to play, rather than trying to bully others' people games.

EDIT. Jeremy also rocks.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

Now if we are going to play at trying to guess what the root reason why some fans are unhappy and some are not I'll throw in my two cents on that topic. [snip]

Did the marketing really offend you? If so then I suspect that there is a good chance thats because you were not planning on giving up 3.x. They were insulting you mainly because you were not moving on. Saying '4E will play so much better then 3.5 it'll blow your booties off' sounds fine if your heading for 4E and sounds insulting if your planning on sticking with 3.5. It does not really offend most pro 4E posters, even the ones that played and loved 3.x in their time.

I think that you missed the first part of their marketing. Posters, saying it's a better addition. That's like Kraft saying their mac and cheese is now cheesier. It's advertising. Word of mouth, maybe but advertising.

But the first marketing they had was a promo video in which they insinuated that people who played the previous editions were so stupid they could not read or follow the rules that are pretty simple in the books. Having played AD&D and 3.x, I know I can find the rule in books that I have used for years. And for that matter can find the index and table of contents. Something the video makes perfectly clear they DO NOT think we can do.

So yes, I'm offended. Please don't call me stupid then expect me to shell out my hard earned money to you. No, thank you.

(Disclaimer: anger directed toward WoTC for their bad marketing decisions. NOT at other posters. Enjoy your game.)


Pookachan wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

Now if we are going to play at trying to guess what the root reason why some fans are unhappy and some are not I'll throw in my two cents on that topic. [snip]

Did the marketing really offend you? If so then I suspect that there is a good chance thats because you were not planning on giving up 3.x. They were insulting you mainly because you were not moving on. Saying '4E will play so much better then 3.5 it'll blow your booties off' sounds fine if your heading for 4E and sounds insulting if your planning on sticking with 3.5. It does not really offend most pro 4E posters, even the ones that played and loved 3.x in their time.

I think that you missed the first part of their marketing. Posters, saying it's a better addition. That's like Kraft saying their mac and cheese is now cheesier. It's advertising. Word of mouth, maybe but advertising.

But the first marketing they had was a promo video in which they insinuated that people who played the previous editions were so stupid they could not read or follow the rules that are pretty simple in the books. Having played AD&D and 3.x, I know I can find the rule in books that I have used for years. And for that matter can find the index and table of contents. Something the video makes perfectly clear they DO NOT think we can do.

So yes, I'm offended. Please don't call me stupid then expect me to shell out my hard earned money to you. No, thank you.

(Disclaimer: anger directed toward WoTC for their bad marketing decisions. NOT at other posters. Enjoy your game.)

But I think I did see this ad. The one were they make fun of the grapple rules right?

Thing is there must be something beyond this ad thats at the root of the issue. I saw it and was not insulted, I suspect most of the 4E posters here saw it and were not insulted and I'm sure that a great many of the guys that hang out on WotCs optimization forums, people so good at the rules that they can make the rules sit up and beg for cookies, saw it and were not insulted.

Hence there is something else here thats causing a different reaction between those of us that saw this ad and laughed and those of us that saw the ad and got really angry. The ad itself was not point blank insulting people that liked 3.5 or we'd all be insulted.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

I found the grapple ad pretty insulting from day one. It misrepresented the game rules in multiple editions, and matched the later spin that 4thE was somehow the first set of the rules that actually worked.

Plus, you can't kill trolls by cutting off their heads. Sigh.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

For me, it's pretty clear-cut that both OD&D and AD&D had more in common with 3rd than 3rd did with 4th. Throwing out the casting system was a pretty big change, and likewise the other editions had continuity of a sort in how damage was handled (namely, that it was difficult to remove damage, whereas in 4E it is relatively easy). The break between A/OD&D and 3E was indeed a big one, but the game still shared a recognizable universe between the two, a universe backed by the way the rules worked. 4E tossed out the baseline rules of the universe, and really has not a lot in common with the old games beyond terminology, some weapon damages, and the use of a D20.


Honestly, I'm glad everyone wasn't insulted by the ad. However, for the ones that were, sometimes that's all it takes.

Would you be likely to buy a hair product that's commercial blatantly told you that not only could you not read the directions of other products, but that you could not even find the directions? Most people wouldn't I would think.

The same is true for the ad. Sure the fake bad french accent was humorous. But the constant insinuation that the people who played previous editions couldn't find their ass from a hole in the ground (and I have many ranks in Distinguish Ass from Hole in Ground) was horribly insulting to the people who had put their hard earned money into a company for years, some decades.


Russ Taylor wrote:
For me, it's pretty clear-cut that both OD&D and AD&D had more in common with 3rd than 3rd did with 4th. Throwing out the casting system was a pretty big change, and likewise the other editions had continuity of a sort in how damage was handled (namely, that it was difficult to remove damage, whereas in 4E it is relatively easy). The break between A/OD&D and 3E was indeed a big one, but the game still shared a recognizable universe between the two, a universe backed by the way the rules worked. 4E tossed out the baseline rules of the universe, and really has not a lot in common with the old games beyond terminology, some weapon damages, and the use of a D20.

I suspect we could post at each other all day but I just don't really see it. Races are classes, No feats, no Skill system, OD&D handles almost all aspects of the game world outside if combat in a very abstract manner, its mechanics light while 3.x is a mechanics heavy game. Chances are there is a rule for most things your likely to want to do.


Pookachan wrote:

Honestly, I'm glad everyone wasn't insulted by the ad. However, for the ones that were, sometimes that's all it takes.

Would you be likely to buy a hair product that's commercial blatantly told you that not only could you not read the directions of other products, but that you could not even find the directions? Most people wouldn't I would think.

The same is true for the ad. Sure the fake bad french accent was humorous. But the constant insinuation that the people who played previous editions couldn't find their ass from a hole in the ground (and I have many ranks in Distinguish Ass from Hole in Ground) was horribly insulting to the people who had put their hard earned money into a company for years, some decades.

As I said before, I don't think its a random distribution. If your prone to seeing 4E in a favourable light then the ad is not insulting, if not then it is. Its all about the viewer's opinion on 4E and not the ad. Certainly we see humour along these lines fairly commonly. Take KoDT (which tends to make fun of gamers in general) and Order of the Stick (which likes to make fun of the rules) for example. Usually neither of these is considered insulting.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


But I think I did see this ad. The one were they make fun of the grapple rules right?

Thing is there must be something beyond this ad thats at the root of the issue. I saw it and was not insulted, I suspect most of the 4E posters here saw it and were not insulted and I'm sure that a great many of the guys that hang out on WotCs optimization forums, people so good at the rules that they can make the rules sit up and beg for...

I thought it was funny, as a reinforcement of your hypothesis Jeremy. Honestly, everything you wrote sounds pretty spot on to me, so well said. :)

Liberty's Edge

Charles...Your hypothesis has merit, however...I disagree with you on the marketing angle.

The game and name (D&D) has enough popularity, that initial sales were bound to be strong, as they have in every single edition. Many of the tried and true gamers would buy the books to make sure what they were hearing was true....Gamers are a fiercly independant breed ;) and wouldn't neccessarily trust someones word that the game had changed that much.

Remember, 90% of the DM's out there, create their own house rules to tweak what they dont like or for flavor anyway...

So to base a marketing campaign solely on whether theyve sold a lot of books doesnt work. The test in their marketing campaign will be 6 months from now as other things are released...how many of those books sell. ;) In comparison with how 3.5 books sold 6 months later...catch my drift?

and furthermore how their sales drop off or don't after Pathfinder is released....

Dark Archive

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

Now if we are going to play at trying to guess what the root reason why some fans are unhappy and some are not I'll throw in my two cents on that topic. Now I should probably stress that covering everyone with a broad brush (both 3E players and 4E players) won't actually work. For some there will be other answers that are more important then the ones I'm going to stress.

I think that most 4E players are positive because we've become unhappy with some of the complexity of 3.5, especially in regards to unbalanced characters with adventure destroying abilities and with issues in play that seem to make the game take a long time without adding to the excitement. The most common pro 4E complaint about 3.5 is that it begins to fall apart at higher levels and things just get worse the higher you go.

I feel, if you fall into this group, then what Wizards has done, mechanically, is very forgivable. Getting rid of Vancian magic has gone a long way to restoring play balance at all levels and this is the first edition that really feels like it might work at higher levels. Historically, in every edition, once the mages started to get the really good high level spells (wish) the game began to unwind. For players that are unhappy with this the loss of the Vancian magic system is just not that huge a loss. Its the culprit for the game breaking down at higher levels - and it always has been, in every edition of the game.

My gut feeling (here I'm on thin ice - I'm pro 4E) is that the anti-4E players are mostly unhappy with the lack of backward compatibility to 3.x. My main reason for feeling this way is that Paizo stresses again and again that PRPG will work with 3.5 and that they are not invalidating any of the fans collections. They put out the Alpha release which seemed to me to be not that big a divergence from 3.5 and ended up quickly reassuring the fans that they understood that they had gone to far and they'd tone the changes down.

It also seems like many of the other complaints make the...

This is an outstanding post. To clarify, I am pro-PFRPG. I want to point out for just a second, that when the 4e announcement was made I was very much pro 4e because of many of the problems you so eloquently pointed out. I was excited about them changing the game to fix the problems that I was experiencing at my table. For me most of those problems were with high level play and the sheer volume of splat books that made it very easy for players to sneak broken race/class/prc combos into the game without me having the time to check all their choices first. It resulted in my banning supplements from my home game for the first time as a DM of D&D in any iteration. Before now I have never had a problem changing editions as I always felt like the changes improved the game.

Now specifically to 4e. For me, the choice to not go to 4e really came down to four or five issues. None of them individually would have been enough to convince me not to convert, but cumulatively they sealed the deal. In no particular order...

1. The Death of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines. It is hard for me to express how important these two publications were to the fun of D&D for me. Especially in the later years under Paizo's direction, these magazines had become the best value for my gaming budget. It had reached a point where each magazine was more useful and fun for me than the splat books being published, and at a more affordable price. For the cost of one splat book, I got both mags. The choice to bring this into a online format in which you only have access to your issues if you continue to subscribe was a horrible one. If they had kept these both in print and used them to market 4e the way they had 3.0 and 3.5, then the transition would have been more pallatable to far more of the core fan base IMHO. I think the reason wizards revoked the license was that Dragon and even more so Dungeon were so much better than anything Wizards was producing in house. In effect, the Mags under Paizo were better than any book WotC published and at a far better price. Instead of raising the quality of their own products, WotC just decided to "eliminate" the competition. The irony of course is that by doing that, they forced Paizo's hand on making Pathfinder. Which created the alternative product and rallying point for those who did not want to go to 4e.

2. The Horrific PR Campaign. I've said this to my friends and wife several times, but the PR for 4e was IMO the worst marketing campaign I had ever seen for a gaming product in my life. The only product PR campaign that I can think of that compares was the "New Coke" disaster. The PR almost singlehandedly took me from very interested in 4e, to utterly disgusted with everything WotC makes. It isn't the fault of the products, but the PR was insulting at best. They promised lots of previews of the new material. Instead they gave us wave after wave of useless articles that all basically said "4e completely rocks and even though we can't tell you anything about it, trust us that it makes 3.5 look like an old can of dog doo doo". That was acceptable at first, but as the months dragged on it got worse and worse. Then they started publishing the web videos that essentially called anyone who wasn't as giddy as a teenager on prom night about 4e stupid old grognards who were foolishly chained to a tradition that only a retarded toddler could like. It was infuriating. Then when people complained on their messageboards, they summarily banned anyone that didn't just gush about 4e. I have said it many times, but whoever handled the PR for 4e needs to be fired or assigned to a totally different position in the company. WotC took a golden opportunity to sell the gaming community on their product and instead used it as a platform to trash 3.5, its players, and anyone who didn't buy into the awesomeness of 4e site unseen.

3. The Ruin of the Realms. I have been a devoted Realms Fanatic for over 20 years now. I loved that setting for everything that it was. I own every Forgotten Realms product made since 2nd edition. I own close to 100 Forgotten Realms novels. What they have done to the setting in 4e has summarily resulted in me committing to never buying another Forgotten Realms product of any kind. They took my favorite world and sacrificed it on the altar of 4e. They could have made the mechanical changes to the Realms without torturing it into being something completely unrecognizable. This one hurt me at a personal level as the very first novel I ever read was a Realms novel. The first D&D book I ever bought with money I had earned (my first lawn mowing) was Forgotten Realms book. Seeing the Realms ruined was like the loss of a loved one for me. I am still bitter about it.

4. I don't like how the game plays. I wasn't sure what to expect out of 4e's gameplay, but I wanted to give it a shot before writing it off completely. I purchased a 4e PHB in order to give it a try by playing with some friends. I mentioned in the earlier post how that game went and what I thought afterwards. I think 4e has some very good strong points. The game just doesn't play in a way that I find enjoyable. There is just too little to distinguish the classes from one another. The PHB talked a lot about the role a character plays in a party, but on the whole I found that to be fairly irrelevant. When it came right down to it, every character did basically the same thing. They all had some attack that did some number of d6's + relevant ability modifier damage, which is rolled against one of four defensive ratings. After 6 hours of play I felt like all the character classes were basically the same. That is great for balance, but not so much if you want your character to feel uniquely different from all the other party members. The group I played with all expressed similar complaints. I know that the 4e PHB isn't all that the game will consist of. I also know that they will be publishing more classes and the like with future PHB's or whatever. I just am accustomed to having many of those options in the PHB already. In 3.5 you can play dozens of archetypes with the right sorts of spells, multiclassing, and the prestige classes in the DMG. With 4e, those options are much narrower IMO. I also don't like that high level battle is basically a very long slugfest in which everyone just attacks the same way over and over and over. I addressed that in my other post, so I won't belabor it further here.

5. Pathinder RPG Exists as an Alternative. IMHO, the biggest mistake WotC made with 4e is that they put Paizo in a position to become the leader of the resistance against converting to 4e instead of their top lieutenant and partner in selling the fans on converting to 4e. As it is, PFRPG is different enough from 3.5 that I feel like they are fixing the problems but similar enough that it is compatible with the rest of my collection with minimal conversions. The Golarion setting captures for me the magic that I lost when they killed the Realms. Reading the chronicles line and having subscribed to everything but planet stories, I feel like I can find a place for any sort of game I want to run in Golarion. The AP's build off the incredible momentum and excitement that Paizo built with the first 3 AP's in the Magazines. PFRPG plays to the nostalgia I feel for the D&D game I grew up playing.

Most important of all though, is that the way Paizo makes me feel as a customer is 100% the opposite of how WotC makes me feel. When I have a problem, they do what it takes to fix it. Their designers are in here with the community for all to see if they wish, working with us to make a great game. Instead of having a select group of playtesters with gag order NDA's and fervantly deleting any negative thoughts on their product, Paizo welcomes the criticism. They let us all talk about what is happening in our playtests and the ways in which it can be improved. Many changes have been made to PFRPG as a direct result of feedback from the community. We hear from the lead designer regularly. The publishers and editors are all here every day talking with the fans and giving us feedback or help with our games. It is a "community" more so than a "corporation".

I want WotC and 4e to be successful, because I want gamers to play table top pencil and paper RPG's. However, I can't bring myself to commit money to what WotC is doing. I have friends that swear by 4e, and I have said repeatedly that I am happy for any fan of 4e that enjoys the game. I hope sincerely that 4e is a phenominal success. I hope the same thing for PFRPG because it is the game I am playing.

Anyway, that was really long. I just wanted to respond to Jeremy's post though because I think he does a great job of presenting that side of this discussion. Both games have their selling points. I just wanted to give a more detailed look at how the decision between 4e and PFRPG happened for me. It wasn't a snap judgement. In many ways, I spent more time trying to come to a good decision (and playing both was an option if I didn't have the issues with 4e I had) than on most things in my life. I feel comfortable with where I ended up though. I love PFRPG and I hope that the 4e fans love that game as well. Hopefully, the war between the fans of each will end soon. There are some really well thought out and reasoned responses on both sides. Some of it gets lost though in the more heated arguments.

Thanks for the thought provoking post Jeremy.

Liberty's Edge

Jeremy- I hate to burst your bubble. If the marketing had been proper and if they had kept some of the continuity I would have bought 4e, like I had every other edition.

I was one of WotC's most avid supporters, as Ive mentioned on several posts...I went out of my way many times to talk people into trying 3e and 3.5. When 4e was announced I was excited. I went to WotC boards eagerly to read about the changes. Even posted quite a few times... about hopes and desires...but quickly found that there didnt seem to be one bit of concern over what folks wanted, they had made their minds up and no amount of discussion was going to change that.

I WANTED TO LIKE 4E.

Unfortnately I don't. The changes were far too drastic for my tastes.

Im glad you like the changes, I hope many people do and it brings a younger crowd to the RPG table...they will either stay with what they like or if it doesnt satisfy their needs move to something else...but they will be playing RPG's ...which is the desired effect.


Dread, any generalization about people is going to have exceptions that defy the generalization. People are crazy like that. ;)

Despite your contradictory experiences, I still think Jeremy's idea is spot on. Perhaps not for you, but in general at least. :)

Liberty's Edge

Brent, Thank you for taking the time to say what probably every single one of us who've gone over from 3.5 to Pathfinder went through.

Jeremy...That is exactly what played through my heart and mind, with the exception of buying the product. I didnt have to...I had seen enough when the PDF was leaked....;)

Liberty's Edge

David Marks wrote:

Dread, any generalization about people is going to have exceptions that defy the generalization. People are crazy like that. ;)

Despite your contradictory experiences, I still think Jeremy's idea is spot on. Perhaps not for you, but in general at least. :)

and I understand that. :D Its probably true that for everyone like myself that tried to like it, there were 3 that just were pissed that another edition was coming out....But as Brents post illustrates, I wasnt alone ;)

Sovereign Court

Brent wrote:

Now specifically to 4e. For me, the choice to not go to 4e really came down to four or five issues. None of them individually would have been enough to convince me not to convert, but cumulatively they sealed the deal. In no particular order...

1. The Death of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines. It is hard for me to express how important these two publications were to the fun of D&D for me. Especially in the later years under Paizo's direction, these magazines had become the best value for my gaming budget. It had reached a point where each magazine was more useful and fun for me than the splat books being published, and at a more affordable price. For the cost of one splat book, I got both mags. The choice to bring this into a online format in which you only have access to your issues if you continue to subscribe was a horrible one. If they had kept these both in print and used them to market 4e the way they had 3.0 and 3.5, then the transition would have been more pallatable to far more of the core fan base IMHO. I think the reason wizards revoked the license was that Dragon and even more so Dungeon were so much better than anything Wizards was producing in house. In effect, the Mags under Paizo were better than any book WotC published and at a far better price. Instead of raising the quality of their own products, WotC just decided to "eliminate" the competition. The irony of course is that by doing that, they forced Paizo's hand on making Pathfinder. Which created the alternative product and rallying point for those who did not want to go to 4e.

2. The Horrific PR Campaign. I've said this to my friends and wife several times, but the PR for 4e was IMO the worst marketing campaign I had ever seen for a gaming product in my life. The only product PR campaign that I can think of that compares was the "New Coke" disaster. The PR almost singlehandedly took me from very interested in 4e, to utterly disgusted with everything WotC makes. It isn't the fault of the products, but the PR was insulting at best. They promised lots of previews of the new material. Instead they gave us wave after wave of useless articles that all basically said "4e completely rocks and even though we can't tell you anything about it, trust us that it makes 3.5 look like an old can of dog doo doo". That was acceptable at first, but as the months dragged on it got worse and worse. Then they started publishing the web videos that essentially called anyone who wasn't as giddy as a teenager on prom night about 4e stupid old grognards who were foolishly chained to a tradition that only a retarded toddler could like. It was infuriating. Then when people complained on their messageboards, they summarily banned anyone that didn't just gush about 4e. I have said it many times, but whoever handled the PR for 4e needs to be fired or assigned to a totally different position in the company. WotC took a golden opportunity to sell the gaming community on their product and instead used it as a platform to trash 3.5, its players, and anyone who didn't buy into the awesomeness of 4e site unseen.

3. The Ruin of the Realms. I have been a devoted Realms Fanatic for over 20 years now. I loved that setting for everything that it was. I own every Forgotten Realms product made since 2nd edition. I own close to 100 Forgotten Realms novels. What they have done to the setting in 4e has summarily resulted in me committing to never buying another Forgotten Realms product of any kind. They took my favorite world and sacrificed it on the altar of 4e. They could have made the mechanical changes to the Realms without torturing it into being something completely unrecognizable. This one hurt me at a personal level as the very first novel I ever read was a Realms novel. The first D&D book I ever bought with money I had earned (my first lawn mowing) was Forgotten Realms book. Seeing the Realms ruined was like the loss of a loved one for me. I am still bitter about it.

4. I don't like how the game plays. I wasn't sure what to expect out of 4e's gameplay, but I wanted to give it a shot before writing it off completely. I purchased a 4e PHB in order to give it a try by playing with some friends. I mentioned in the earlier post how that game went and what I thought afterwards. I think 4e has some very good strong points. The game just doesn't play in a way that I find enjoyable. There is just too little to distinguish the classes from one another. The PHB talked a lot about the role a character plays in a party, but on the whole I found that to be fairly irrelevant. When it came right down to it, every character did basically the same thing. They all had some attack that did some number of d6's + relevant ability modifier damage, which is rolled against one of four defensive ratings. After 6 hours of play I felt like all the character classes were basically the same. That is great for balance, but not so much if you want your character to feel uniquely different from all the other party members. The group I played with all expressed similar complaints. I know that the 4e PHB isn't all that the game will consist of. I also know that they will be publishing more classes and the like with future PHB's or whatever. I just am accustomed to having many of those options in the PHB already. In 3.5 you can play dozens of archetypes with the right sorts of spells, multiclassing, and the prestige classes in the DMG. With 4e, those options are much narrower IMO. I also don't like that high level battle is basically a very long slugfest in which everyone just attacks the same way over and over and over. I addressed that in my other post, so I won't belabor it further here.

5. Pathinder RPG Exists as an Alternative. IMHO, the biggest mistake WotC made with 4e is that they put Paizo in a position to become the leader of the resistance against converting to 4e instead of their top lieutenant and partner in selling the fans on converting to 4e. As it is, PFRPG is different enough from 3.5 that I feel like they are fixing the problems but similar enough that it is compatible with the rest of my collection with minimal conversions. The Golarion setting captures for me the magic that I lost when they killed the Realms. Reading the chronicles line and having subscribed to everything but planet stories, I feel like I can find a place for any sort of game I want to run in Golarion. The AP's build off the incredible momentum and excitement that Paizo built with the first 3 AP's in the Magazines. PFRPG plays to the nostalgia I feel for the D&D game I grew up playing.

Most important of all though, is that the way Paizo makes me feel as a customer is 100% the opposite of how WotC makes me feel. When I have a problem, they do what it takes to fix it. Their designers are in here with the community for all to see if they wish, working with us to make a great game. Instead of having a select group of playtesters with gag order NDA's and fervantly deleting any negative thoughts on their product, Paizo welcomes the criticism. They let us all talk about what is happening in our playtests and the ways in which it can be improved. Many changes have been made to PFRPG as a direct result of feedback from the community. We hear from the lead designer regularly. The publishers and editors are all here every day talking with the fans and giving us feedback or help with our games. It is a "community" more so than a "corporation".

I want WotC and 4e to be successful, because I want gamers to play table top pencil and paper RPG's. However, I can't bring myself to commit money to what WotC is doing. I have friends that swear by 4e, and I have said repeatedly that I am happy for any fan of 4e that enjoys the game. I hope sincerely that 4e is a phenominal success. I hope the same thing for PFRPG because it is the game I am playing.

Anyway, that was really long. I just wanted to respond to Jeremy's post though because I think he does a great job of presenting that side of this discussion. Both games have their selling points. I just wanted to give a more detailed look at how the decision between 4e and PFRPG happened for me. It wasn't a snap judgement. In many ways, I spent more time trying to come to a good decision (and playing both was an option if I didn't have the issues with 4e I had) than on most things in my life. I feel comfortable with where I ended up though. I love PFRPG and I hope that the 4e fans love that game as well. Hopefully, the war between the fans of each will end soon. There are some really well thought out and reasoned responses on both sides. Some of it gets lost though in the more heated arguments.

Brent, outstanding summary of five core issues involving the ordeal that wotc has put us through. The chronology you've written is one I can personally identify with, and you articulate what hundreds of gamers I know have been talking about. I wonder if this is just a local sentiment, or if other gamers across the U.S. have felt/experienced much of the same?

I feel it is important that this community, and this 'generation' of d&d players recognize this is not just another edition war, this is not just business as usual. These five issues are severe, they have permanently damaged the community's relationship with wotc. For these reasons, there is no such thing as "official content" anymore. PAIZO has published, and continues to publish the highest quatlity dungeons and dragons materials in the business. Pathfinder is where 3.5 continues. And at this unique point in the game's history, we hear the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game tagline loud and clear... ITS YOUR GAME NOW.

3.5 Never Dies
PRPG Forever!


Jal Dorak wrote:
  • If the people who are happy with 4th Edition are not bothered by the changes to many things, were you unhappy with previous editions?

  • By extension, if you were unhappy with previous editions, does that mean you actually didn't like playing D&D but like RPGs?

  • And if this last point is true, why do you need a "new" version of D&D - there could have been something great already out there, like True20, Rolemaster, Heroes, etc).

    I would like to hear what a 4th Edition supporter thinks about those questions. It just seems that more people would be happy if 4th Edition was called "Pathfinder RPG" and Pathfinder was called "4th Edition D&D". Everyone gets what they want, and no-one gets upset.

  • These are actually loaded questions. The implication is that you're either pro or contra, that if you're pro one you must be contra the other, and that there's no middle ground. And that's precisely what's so aggravating to me: if I point out something I think could be done better, regardless of which system I'm talking about, I'm immediately labeled a hater. If I point out some things I like, I'm immediately a fanboy who loves everything about the referenced system. This is not conducive to good communication, let alone interesting conversation. People are digging trenches and putting on blinders. It's like watching a particularly sordid election year.

    I like many things about 3E, but I do have a binder of comments and houserules, not to mention a list of things I think are just too wrong to correct without scrapping it altogether and starting anew. I like quite a few things about 4E and expect I'll like 'em even more once the PHB II is released and I'll have what I expect to be the complete core 4E system, but there are also a significant number of things I don't like at all. I suspect that if I were to play 4E for a year or two, I'd end up with as many houserules for it as I now have for 3E.

    I like 3E better than 4E. That doesn't mean I think 3E is the holy grail of RPGs, nor that I think 4E is a steaming pile of excrement.

    To answer your questions anyway:
    1) I'm reasonably happy with 4E, I'm bothered by some changes (eg. skills) and not bothered at all by others (eg. reducing the part magical items play in standard games), was not unhappy with all previous editions (was quite unhappy with AD&D by the time 3E came around, was quite happy with 3E).

    2)If I was unhappy with AD&D, quite happy with 3E and reasonably happy with 4E, should I even try to form a response to the question whether I like playing D&D or not?

    3) Is whether I need anything all that important? I don't need a car, but it'd be nice to have one. I don't need TV, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I don't need half a dozen different RPGs, but I still play them (and more) and would prefer not to drop any of them.


    But that's just it.

    Pathfinder is no more your game than wizzies really

    Here's the test what do you think paizo is gonna do if someone tries to print a free version of the pathfinder ruleset...

    as for the rest

    1. The Death of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines.

    A business decision that they were well with in their rights to do, and probably even smart to do. It counts however because lets face it people are bad with change and it removed a source of marketing for them.

    2. The Horrific PR Campaign.

    If it was so bad why didn't they sell absolutly zip product? Comparing this to new coke is wrong because new coke tanked more or less immediately from what i know.

    Comparing this to other rpg advertising is also a bit of a misnomer, I have never seen a Rpg add for anything but wizzies on the tv, and for the most part never before on the youtube ( I can think of maybe one exception). Advertising is a tricky business, but as I can understand wanting to cut ties with the old edition, and myself genuinely having problems with the old edition, and watching rabid fan boys post genuinely unhelpful, flameful and generally badmannered crap on wizzies board I don't blame them for banning them either.

    3. The Ruin of the Realms.

    I have never been a realms fan before now, but you know I'm reconsidering it. Whereas before I wouldn't even play in the realms. What a difference a clean starting ground and simplified god system can do inorder to facilitate new players/dm into the realms.

    Is it still the same No, Is it removing barriers , yes

    4. I don't like how the game plays.

    This is probabably the best reason I can think of, I may disagree with you, or even some of the things you point out, but at the end of the day if you don't like it, you don't like it...

    5. Pathinder RPG Exists as an Alternative.

    An alternative to what however, Is it an alternative to 4e or 3.5, if it is an alternative to 4th, isn't it essentially just 4th lite and if it is an alterantive to 3rd isn't it moving away from that ogl, gamey subsytemy goodness that is 3.5

    Really, I'm glad you like pathfinder rpg, but honestly I don't buy the backward compatible because I don't think it is, and i find the claim more bs than wizzies telling me what i already know about what a pain grapple was to run and how i never really bothered with high level play. So combat maneuver's newly designed domain's and a whole list of other stuff are backward compatible, sorry derivative from d20 ogl is not backward compatible.

    As for paizo, you know they are not really winning me over, mostly its just the fans who seem to want to b~$&+ about how 4th edition jumped the shark and they don't like it in the 4th edition forum when i would rather be getting on gaming, or maybe its the blatent flame bait from a few, and the passive aggressive (don't respond to it) from the rest that seem to be more or less asking everyone in the 4th edition forum to shut up regardless of intent, I don't take it in a real positive light, I wouldn't mind getting on with my game but hey I'm not the bigger guy.

    As for the community, I'm not find it anything really special, but hey I guess i'm not in the good old boys club right.

    I can't bring myself to commit money to what WotC is doing.

    This is probably the best way to express the above, you gotta respect voting with your dollar, its really all you can do. All of us who love 4th edition, or who are not won over by pathfinder will do the same thing, may paizo be successful in its limited market.


    All these posts seem to galvanize how I have felt off and on about the apparent direction of the RPG scene since WotC announced 4th Edition.

    For myself, I have played two sessions of D&D 4th Edition, although not yet with a group. My wife DMed me through two mini-adventures she made for one player, and I have to say that I had fun. The feel of the game play was very exciting. But then, I was playing a fighter, not a cleric or wizard, so I have no full-on comparisons until I see one of the other classes in action.

    I have a huge collection of D&D material from every other edition, and 3.5 material now burgeons my office at home to the point of pushing everything else I own to the limits of the space I have. I can barely walk from the entrance door to the desk I have so much stuff. I DM a D&D 3.5 setting that will be integrating Pathfinder into it as of the next session. I will likely not DM 4th Edition, and it is not because 4th Edition is not a good game. So far, I have liked it. But the poster who sited the five reasons he turned down 4th Edition was right on. I had the exact same issues. I was very put off by the videos suggesting that grapple was so difficult a maneuver to resolve that all action halted while rules were consulted. I found it problematic that a company could market its new game by telling everyone that the game they were playing now sucked.

    Once the 4e rules came out, I did get a copy to test out because my wife is playing a 4e campaign with another group. I am disappointed with the skill system, though I have found many good ideas in the game. I don't like the dropping of the monster classifications or the ability to customize them by adding class levels to them. The game system seems to be contrary to how I want to run my game.

    But for play, I have found the new game fun so far. It feels better than it looks.

    I look at it this way: Pathfinder OGL D&D 3.5 is a great fantasy RPG. D&D 4th Edition is a fun fantasy RPG. Both are different games with equal merit depending on your play mood.

    All versions of D&D up to 3.5 have been progressive improvements upon the versions before it. Whereas AD&D 2nd Edition streamlined 12 years of rules development in AD&D 1st Edition and D&D 3.x streamlined an entirely baroque game system, 4th Edition created something new and different, not really an improvement over the version before it (although it could not have been made without 3.5), but certainly a game with a fresh feel. I suspect that when all the smoke clears, we will probably have a first in the FRPG scene: players playing two versions of the game at once because they have really sort of branched out in opposite directions that are equally valid for one reason or another. That is just my opinion, though.

    Dark Archive

    Logos wrote:

    But that's just it.

    Pathfinder is no more your game than wizzies really

    Here's the test what do you think paizo is gonna do if someone tries to print a free version of the pathfinder ruleset...

    as for the rest

    1. The Death of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines.

    A business decision that they were well with in their rights to do, and probably even smart to do. It counts however because lets face it people are bad with change and it removed a source of marketing for them.

    2. The Horrific PR Campaign.

    If it was so bad why didn't they sell absolutly zip product? Comparing this to new coke is wrong because new coke tanked more or less immediately from what i know.

    Comparing this to other rpg advertising is also a bit of a misnomer, I have never seen a Rpg add for anything but wizzies on the tv, and for the most part never before on the youtube ( I can think of maybe one exception). Advertising is a tricky business, but as I can understand wanting to cut ties with the old edition, and myself genuinely having problems with the old edition, and watching rabid fan boys post genuinely unhelpful, flameful and generally badmannered crap on wizzies board I don't blame them for banning them either.

    3. The Ruin of the Realms.

    I have never been a realms fan before now, but you know I'm reconsidering it. Whereas before I wouldn't even play in the realms. What a difference a clean starting ground and simplified god system can do inorder to facilitate new players/dm into the realms.

    Is it still the same No, Is it removing barriers , yes

    4. I don't like how the game plays.

    This is probabably the best reason I can think of, I may disagree with you, or even some of the things you point out, but at the end of the day if you don't like it, you don't like it...

    5. Pathinder RPG Exists as an Alternative.

    An alternative to what however, Is it an alternative to 4e or 3.5, if it is an alternative to 4th, isn't it essentially just 4th lite and if it is an alterantive to 3rd isn't it moving away...

    *sigh*

    You seem to have missed my point entirely. I was merely sharing my story. I don't expect it to hold universally for everyone. Yet you still felt the need to trash my experience as being invalid, which really just proves my point about the attitude that is being held towards folks that aren't converting to 4e.

    Liberty's Edge

    Quote:

    Logos wrote:

    But that's just it.

    Pathfinder is no more your game than wizzies really

    Here's the test what do you think paizo is gonna do if someone tries to print a free version of the pathfinder ruleset...

    Quote:

    Brent wrote: *sigh*

    You seem to have missed my point entirely. I was merely sharing my story. I don't expect it to hold universally for everyone. Yet you still felt the need to trash my experience as being invalid, which really just proves my point about the attitude that is being held towards folks that aren't converting to 4e.

    Brent, hes like that...Ive called him out on it already a couple times...He is among the type who don't read or even try to understand whats being said...just that he wants to aggressively attack any point of view that isnt his....

    Ive decided to ignore any Logos posts


    Brent wrote:
    Yet you still felt the need to trash my experience as being invalid, ...

    Where did he make that claim? Looks like he just put his own opinions next to yours.

    Dark Archive

    Pangur Bàn wrote:
    Brent wrote:
    Yet you still felt the need to trash my experience as being invalid, ...
    Where did he make that claim? Looks like he just put his own opinions next to yours.

    He used several phrases along the lines of "thats wrong" or "a misnomer". Mostly it is the tone of saying something like the death of Dungeons and Dragons is a business decision sounds as though he is saying that my emotional response to that loss doesn't make sense because it was just good business sense for them. Thus implying that my emotions are invalid. Hence why I used the term "felt the need to trash my experience as being invalid". That general tone exists in each of his bullet points. Further the need to address my specific post in a bullet point manner implies a need to correct my post specifically on a point by point basis. That further confirms a certain dismissiveness about my points. Again, this shows a view of my thoughts as invalid.


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


    I feel, if you fall into this group, then what Wizards has done, mechanically, is very forgivable. Getting rid of Vancian magic has gone a long way to restoring play balance at all levels and this is the first edition that really feels like it might work at higher levels. Historically, in every edition, once the mages started to get the really good high level spells (wish) the game began to unwind. For players that are unhappy with this the loss of the Vancian magic system is just not that huge a loss. Its the culprit for the game breaking down at higher levels - and it always has been, in every edition of the game.

    I do not believe the Vancian magic was the culprit of any breakdown. Rather, it's the design of the spells themselves. There's nothing about a fire and forget system that makes a game break down otherwise 4e would have the same problem with dailies. It's the spells themselves, I think, that do it when it happens (which, frankly, I'm not convinced of).

    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
    It also seems like many of the other complaints make the most sense in this light. Did the marketing really offend you? If so then I suspect that there is a good chance thats because you were not planning on giving up 3.x. They were insulting you mainly because you were not moving on. Saying '4E will play so much better then 3.5 it'll blow your booties off' sounds fine if your heading for 4E and sounds insulting if your planning on sticking with 3.5. It does not really offend most pro 4E posters, even the ones that played and loved 3.x in their time.

    I was less offended than annoyed. It's not that surprising to see a company lurch from product to product, but the tone was very bad in the way it declared that 3e had its problems. If they had focused on efforts to do better rather than tearing down, the marketing would have gone better.

    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
    A lot of people also discuss their extensive 3.5 collection. I think for many anti-4E posters their 3.5 collection dwarfs their collection of any other edition, a feeling I understand as I refused to switch to 3.x for many years because my 2nd edition collection was (and is) huge.

    My collection of 3e is easily dwarfed by 1e. My 3e stuff mostly fits in a milk crate. So in my case, that's not it.

    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

    Finally we have the fluff changes. Changes that are mostly either in the monster manual or, of course, changes that come about because of the loss of Vancian casting. Even here I think its investment in 3.x that dictates strongly whether or not this is OK or not.

    I'm heavily invested in the fluff of my homebrew. Its been going on for more then 20 years now and I painstakingly write out stuff like a 350 page players book. I am a huge fan of my own longstanding home brew. Really what author is not? The thing is I glance at the 4E books and note that Vancian casting will have to be written out of the homebrew. Thats significant but its OK. I generally expect to make some significant change in each edition. I need the Blood War to come back and I need Angels to always be good. Thing is a quick glance at the 4E Monster Manual assures me that reverting things like angels or changing around the structure of the planes is dead easy. My fluff is basically intact except that I'll consider all their changes, some of them really are inspired and I'll follow their lead on the things I think are good for my personal home brew.

    Hence it seems fluff is a significant issue only if your already invested in staying with 3.5. Otherwise its simple enough to make the fluff conform to whatever you need. The whole design of 4E supports the DM pretty much setting things up just how they like it.

    I think you're missing the point. If it's so easy to change back to the tradition of things from 1e through 3e, then why shouldn't that have been the norm and the burden of change be on the people who want the specific variation? For this, my heavy investment in 1e and 2e is more important than my investment of 3e materials. My 1e and 2e stuff has been quite easily adapted into 3e and I've been running a classic modules campaign for years. The levels tend to be off if I use the same basic creatures and numbers, but a LOT translates directly. 4e is the biggest divergence in this matter as far as I can tell.

    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

    In essence when Anti-4E posters start posting that 4E is not D&D I think they usually mean its not 3.x D&D. I find it hard to believe that anyone feels that 3.5 has less in common with 4E then it does with BECMI. Hence, unless one wants to argue that one is not playing D&D if they dig out the red box and put their players through Keep on the Borderlands I think its hard to support a position that 4E is any less D&D then BECMI.

    Now I understand the position that many have that 3.5 was a great game. For many the things it allowed one to do, for example in the really diverse character options, are things that 4E has moved away from. If your not willing to give that up and you want your investment in 3.5 to remain fully functional then 4E is probably not for you.

    For me, it's not D&D more from the perspective of the traditions from 1e through 3e, which I believe does a much better job of capturing the feel of 1e than 4e has. For my money, 3e has a lot more in common with 1e than it has in common with 4e.


    Brent wrote:


    Mostly it is the tone of saying something like the death of Dungeons and Dragons is a business decision sounds as though he is saying that my emotional response to that loss doesn't make sense because it was just good business sense for them. Thus implying that my emotions are invalid. Hence why I used the term "felt the need to trash my experience as being invalid". That general tone exists in each of his bullet points. Further the need to address my specific post in a bullet point manner implies a need to correct my post specifically on a point by point basis. That further confirms a certain dismissiveness about my points. Again, this shows a view of my thoughts as invalid.

    He said

    Logos wrote:


    This is probabably the best reason I can think of, I may disagree with you, or even some of the things you point out, but at the end of the day if you don't like it, you don't like it...

    It seems to me that he is not dismissing your point of view at all. He specifically states that your experience and emotions are important to you and a good good reason in themselves to feel as you feel.

    I think (my opinion!) that you are a seeing dismissal and condescension where a neutral person would not. You use terms like 'implying' and 'certain dismissiveness' that lead to conclusions that only you can reach.

    The Exchange

    Mormegil wrote:

    I wish I had more time to answer a lot of posts from Dread, Tadkil and others but I could not find the time.

    There is still a lot of anger with 4th. So please act reasonably and try to help in the improvement of the game you want to play, rather than trying to bully others' people games.

    EDIT. Jeremy also rocks.

    You'll note that I am posting my conversions on this site, creating new monsters and posting them and also playing in and running a 4.0 game. I am writing a "classic" for a 4.0 gameday here in Atlanta and will be judging and playing that day. The 4.0 game I am DMing is the one I am running for my kids. Note: I am teaching my kids and their friends 4.0, not 3.5. I also continue to play 3.5, myself

    I find quite a bit admirable about 4.0 and have enjoyed it. I also find quite abit about the way it was conceptualized and marketed repugnant.

    I manage a large marketing budget, and I have written at length about my opinions and experience on this board. I will always speak with candor about issues I see. You'll note I have not been critical about 4.0 as a system of mechanics. I think it fine from that perspective. All my commentary had been a frank discussion of why the fan base is polarizing and why I think half of my play group is "anti-4.0" and half is accepting.

    I am playing and supporting both. I have been frustrated by the way WoTC chooses to do business, and that is evident in my analysis. However, the game is a good solid 6.5 out of 10 in what it attempts to be and I am enjoying playing it and running it.

    Sorry to anyone if I have got snarky. This entire topic seems to bring out the worst in all of us.

    Note: I still wish that Lisa and her team had gotten the R&D dollars to develop the next edition. We would have gotten a better and more respectful product.

    Dark Archive

    doppelganger wrote:
    Brent wrote:


    Mostly it is the tone of saying something like the death of Dungeons and Dragons is a business decision sounds as though he is saying that my emotional response to that loss doesn't make sense because it was just good business sense for them. Thus implying that my emotions are invalid. Hence why I used the term "felt the need to trash my experience as being invalid". That general tone exists in each of his bullet points. Further the need to address my specific post in a bullet point manner implies a need to correct my post specifically on a point by point basis. That further confirms a certain dismissiveness about my points. Again, this shows a view of my thoughts as invalid.

    He said

    Logos wrote:


    This is probabably the best reason I can think of, I may disagree with you, or even some of the things you point out, but at the end of the day if you don't like it, you don't like it...

    It seems to me that he is not dismissing your point of view at all. He specifically states that your experience and emotions are important to you and a good good reason in themselves to feel as you feel.

    I think (my opinion!) that you are a seeing dismissal and condescension where a neutral person would not. You use terms like 'implying' and 'certain dismissiveness' that lead to conclusions that only you can reach.

    Fair comments all. I will point out that the quote you chose is at the end of the post after all the comments I specifically referenced as to why I felt it was dismissive. All that said, I think I am just too emotional on certain aspects of this topic to be completely objective. I try to be, but there are aspects of the change from 3.5 to 4e that have upset me in very personal ways. It isn't the actual change of editions. I have converted from 1st edition to 2nd to 3rd to 3.5 without any problems or major complaints. The advertising, PR, previews, and all of that struck me as very personally condescending to me as a player and anyone else who were questioning 4e for that matter.

    Even talking about it is an emotionally taxing endeaver because as someone else pointed out it brings out the worst in everyone. The whole thing is a powder keg with a short fuse and lots of entrenched soldiers on either side of the battlefield. I do try to be reasonable and balanced in my views. I don't like having every word I utter dissected with a fine tooth comb by a large group looking to find flaws to exploit. It becomes impossible to construct a defense because there are too many varying arguments that blend together. I am tired of it. I think it is time for me to follow my own advice and move on. It is abundantly clear that no matter what I say someone will show up to tell me I am being unreasonable. That is a sure way for me to just get angry again. I will point out I am not alone in feeling that way, so there must be more substance to what I am saying than my detractors admit.

    All of that said, I appreciate you taking the time to point out my lack of objectivity. It is a spot on observation, and one I think applies to every single person that posts in these particular threads on one side or the other.


    Just thought I'd put in a couple more thoughts in line with some of the recent posts.

    4e is a new game. Why? Was 3.5 so irrevocably broken? Certainly WotC never suggested such a thing (until 4e came out). Sure, there were problems, but was the marketplace clamoring for a replacement?

    Then, a couple of days ago, it dawned on me (yeah, I'm kinda slow).

    Online gaming. 4e is a collection of plug-and-play powers that are almost trivially easy to simulate with in a program. 3.5, in contrast, was notoriously hard to program -- there were too many abilities, feats, and powers that often interacted in complicated and inconsistent ways. But no longer.

    Fantasy roleplaying has two highly-profitable areas -- miniatures and computer gaming. Now, when DDI comes online (for a subscription price), WotC/Hasbro accesses both revenue sources.

    4e is not an attempt to fix D&D. 4e is an attempt to put D&D online.

    Does that mean the fans have been abandoned? Probably not -- they're just being dragged, kicking and screaming, by WotC in the never-ending quest for profit. Shamelessly exploiting fans is really not the same as abandoning them.


    Tatterdemalion wrote:


    Fantasy roleplaying has two highly-profitable areas -- miniatures and computer gaming. Now, when DDI comes online (for a subscription price), WotC/Hasbro accesses both revenue sources.

    4e is not an attempt to fix D&D. 4e is an attempt to put D&D online.

    Does that mean the fans have been abandoned? Probably not -- they're just being dragged, kicking and screaming, by WotC in the never-ending quest for profit. Shamelessly exploiting fans is really not the same as abandoning them.

    I agree with you but don't take it as far as you. I think they had one eye on the possibility that the game could make bucko bucks as a CRPG and they certainly new they wanted miniatures.

    Thus we were going to get a game with miniatures - for sure. Miniatures are just too valuable a revenue stream to give up. Any thought of reverting to a 2nd edition minitureless style for the game was right out. If you happen to like playing with miniatures this is not a bad thing as they needed to make using them as fun as possible or we'd be more inclined to downplay that aspect of the game and use tokens or something.

    I'm less sure with the computer CRPG angle. If they wanted that then making the rules increasingly complex actually pays dividends as the computer tracks all this stuff for you. The 3.5 rules are also more mechanically robust (so far anyway) then the 4E rules. As a DM if I'm a good rules lawyer I can answer almost any question on exactly how, mechanically, one does X or Y with 3.5. I've noticed our new DM having to make more rules calls in 4E while in 3.5 I just cite a page number to back up my call.

    In fact, For high level play, I might be more inclined to use a computer as an aid in 3.5 then in 4E because the computer would automatically track all the buff spells and adjust everything for me on the fly. It'd count them down and when they went poof me and all the other players would suddenly have our stats changed to reflect the loss of the spell. If some one casts a new one again all the adjustments are made instantly and the computer knows if it stacks or not.

    I think 4E will work for a CRPG and maybe there are less anomalies but I'm not sure that a computer makes playing 4E better then a computer makes playing 3.5. Another example of what makes computers good for 3.5 is character class generators. Very popular in the 3.5 era and I'm sure we'll see them in 4E too - but their not as useful in 4E as the mechanics of character creation are streamlined.

    So it seems to me that DDI actually would offer us less in 4Es design then what we would get if we had 3.75, which of course would change all the rules enough that you can't use code monkey or something but not enough that you'd not notice a huge increase of speed and utility by using a computer to deal with all the fiddly bits.


    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

    The 3.5 rules are also more mechanically robust (so far anyway) then the 4E rules. As a DM if I'm a good rules lawyer I can answer almost any question on exactly how, mechanically, one does X or Y with 3.5. I've noticed our new DM having to make more rules calls in 4E while in 3.5 I just cite a page number to back up my call.

    How much of this do you think is due to the 3.x ruleset being eight years old and the 4.x ruleset being a month and a half old? Maybe in eight years you will be able to cite page numbers from 4E to back up calls?

    Scarab Sages

    Pangur Bàn wrote:
    Jal Dorak wrote:
  • If the people who are happy with 4th Edition are not bothered by the changes to many things, were you unhappy with previous editions?

    By extension, if you were unhappy with previous editions, does that mean you actually didn't like playing D&D but like RPGs?

    And if this last point is true, why do you need a "new" version of D&D - there could have been something great already out there, like True20, Rolemaster, Heroes, etc).

    I would like to hear what a 4th Edition supporter thinks about those questions. It just seems that more people would be happy if 4th Edition was called "Pathfinder RPG" and Pathfinder was called "4th Edition D&D". Everyone gets what they want, and no-one gets upset.

  • These are actually loaded questions. The implication is that you're either pro or contra, that if you're pro one you must be contra the other, and that there's no middle ground.

    Not quite, I just wanted to see if anyone felt that way. If someone was unhappy with every previous version of D&D, I want to know why they stuck with it and are excited about 4th Edition. I never said you couldn't like both. If you were not unhappy with some editions (as you admit below) and are not bothered by the changes, then my question does not apply to you and hence you did not need to answer any further questions. It was more a thought-exercise.

    But, thanks for taking the time to reply.


    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
    I'm less sure with the computer CRPG angle. If they wanted that then making the rules increasingly complex actually pays dividends as the computer tracks all this stuff for you. The 3.5 rules are also more mechanically robust (so far anyway) then the 4E rules...

    I'm actually quite convinced.

    I was very familiar with PCGen and etools, and programming to build a 3.5 character could only be described as nightmarish -- there were way too many interlocking choices and too many different rules.

    4e makes it amazingly easy -- so much so that I think it was deliberate.

    As an addditional bonus, it's also easier for humans, as well. I dreaded having to make high-level NPCs in 3.5 (much as I love the system), while it's quite straightforward now.

    Excuse me -- I need to go find my tin-foil hat now :)


    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
    As I said before, I don't think its a random distribution. If your prone to seeing 4E in a favourable light then the ad is not insulting, if not then it is. Its all about the viewer's opinion on 4E and not the ad.

    That, at least in my case, is a false assumption.

    I knew nothing at all about 4e, aside from that it would exist, until I was directed to You Tube to see the video. If anything, I was excited to see a new edition, as 3e was one I simply did not find as enjoyable as 2e.

    I came away very very angry at the tone and content of that ad.

    WotC/Hasbro, in one sitting, turned me from curious about their new product to defensive about my time playing their previous ones, and befuddled as to why a supposedly professional company would ridicule their previous customers in such a manner.

    And it continued.

    It was not until later that I decided that the reason was that the WotC section of Hasbro has become so insulated from and has lost touch with their customer base to such an extent that making fun and belittling them was thought to be a **GOOD** thing.

    After purchasing the three new books and seeing the new system, my decision to not spend any more money with Hasbro was made much easier.

    I still, however, and not sold on 3e. Waiting to see what Paizo does with it.

    The Exchange

    Tatterdemalion wrote:

    I'm actually quite convinced.

    I was very familiar with PCGen and etools, and programming to build a 3.5 character could only be described as nightmarish -- there were way too many interlocking choices and too many different rules.

    4e makes it amazingly easy -- so much so that I think it was deliberate.

    As an addditional bonus, it's also easier for humans, as well. I dreaded having to make high-level NPCs in 3.5 (much as I love the system), while it's quite straightforward now.

    Excuse me -- I need to go find my tin-foil hat now :)

    Gone are the days of stat blocks like these:

    Green Knight: Mummy Paladin of Evil Level 9; CR11; Medium Undead; HD: 8d12 + 9d10; hp 165; Init: +2; Speed: 15 ft.; AC: 31 (+2 Dex, +11 natural, +7 banded mail, +1 Deflection), touch 13, flat-footed 29; BaB/Grp: +12/+19; Att: +19 melee (1d6+10 plus mummy rot/X2, Slam) or +21 melee (1D10 +8/ 17-20—X3, +1 biting bastard sword—Auto confirm crits); Full Att: +17 melee (1d6+10 plus mummy rot/X2, Slam) and +19/+14/+9 melee (1d10 +8/ 17-20—X3, +1 biting bastard sword—auto confirm crits); Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.; SA: Despair, mummy rot; SQ: Damage reduction 5/-, darkvision 60 ft., undead traits, vulnerability to fire, Slave to the Tomb; AL: LE; Saves: Fort +9, Ref +9, Will +15; Abilities: Str 25, Dex 15, Con Ø, Int 6, Wis 16, Cha 16
    Skills and Feats: Hide +7, Listen +6, Move Silently +7, Spot +6, Concentration +4, Knowledge (religion) +4; Great Fortitude, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword), Two Weapon Fighting, WF (Bastard Sword, Power Attack, Divine Might, Improved Critical
    Spell Effects: Corrupt Weapon (CL 9th) Resist Energy (fire) (CL 9th) (20 points)
    Evil Paladin Spells Known: (2/1, DC 13+Spell Level) 1st—Corrupt Weapon, Bane, 2nd—Resist Energy (fire)
    Possessions: +1 Banded Mail, +1 Biting Bastard Sword, Phylactery, Ring of Protection +1, Amulet of Natural Armor +1
    Despair (Su): At the mere sight of a mummy, the viewer must succeed on a DC 17 Will save or be paralyzed with fear for 1d4 rounds. Whether or not the save is successful, that creature cannot be affected again by the same mummy’s despair ability for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
    Slave to the Tomb (Su): The Mummy is bound to a specific place as its guardian. If reduced to zero hit points, it will disappear in a cloud of dust and reform at its sarcophagus at sunset.
    Mummy Rot (Su): Supernatural disease—slam, Fortitude DC 17, incubation period 1 minute; damage 1d6 Con and 1d6 Cha. The save DC is Charisma-based. Unlike normal diseases, mummy rot continues until the victim reaches Constitution 0 (and dies) or is cured as described below. Mummy rot is a powerful curse, not a natural disease. A character attempting to cast any conjuration (healing) spell on a creature afflicted with mummy rot must succeed on a DC 20 caster level check, or the spell has no effect on the afflicted character. To eliminate mummy rot, the curse must first be broken with break enchantment or remove curse (requiring a DC 20 caster level check for either spell), after which a caster level check is no longer necessary to cast healing spells on the victim, and the mummy rot can be magically cured as any normal disease. An afflicted creature who dies of mummy rot shrivels away into sand and dust that blow away into nothing at the first wind.
    Aura of Evil (Ex): The power of a Paladin of Evil aura of evil (see the detect evil spell) is equal to their Paladin of Evil level, just as with the aura of a cleric of an evil deity.
    Detect Good (Sp): At will, a Paladin of Evil can use detect good, as the spell.
    Smite Good (Su): Twice per day, a Paladin of Evil may attempt to smite good with one normal melee attack at +3 to hit and +9 damage. This ability is otherwise identical to the standard paladin’s ability to smite evil; including increased daily uses as the paladin of evil gains class levels.
    Deadly Touch (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, a Paladin of Evil can cause wounds with a successful touch attack. Each day she can deal a total number of hit points of damage equal to her paladin level x their Charisma bonus (18hp). An opponent subjected to this attack can make a Will save (DC 13) to halve the damage dealt. Alternatively, a Paladin of Evil can use any or all of this power to cure damage to undead creatures, just as an inflict wounds spell does. This power otherwise functions identically to the paladin’s lay on hands ability.
    Debilitating Aura (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a Paladin of Evil radiates a malign aura that causes enemies within 10 feet of her to take a -1 penalty to Armor Class. This ability otherwise functions identically to the paladin’s aura of courage class feature.
    Rebuke Undead (Su): A Paladin of Evil rebukes undead rather than turning undead. This ability functions four times a day as if the paladin of evil were 2nd level

    Now we have these:
    Dragonborn Death Knight Mummy Champion Level 11 Solo Soldier
    Medium natural humanoid XP 500
    Initiative +10 Senses Perception +6
    HP 348; Bloodied 174; see also dragonborn fury
    AC 29; Fortitude 30, Reflex 21, Will 28
    Speed 5
    Immune disease, poison
    Resist 10 necrotic at 11th level,
    Vulnerable 10 radiant
    Saving Throws +4
    Action Point 2
    m Bastard Sword (standard; at-will) &#10022; Weapon
    +16 vs. AC (+17 while bloodied); see also lone fighter; 1d10 + 5 damage.
    Soul Weapon &#10022; Necrotic, Weapon
    When attacking with its melee weapon, the death knight deals an additional 5 necrotic damage to its target.
    M Finishing Blow (standard; at-will) &#10022; Weapon
    Target must be bloodied; +16 vs. AC (+17 while bloodied); 2d10 + 5 damage, and the dragonborn gladiator’s allies gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls until the end of the dragonborn gladiator’s next turn.
    Regeneration 10. If the Dragonborn Death Knight Mummy takes fire damage, its regeneration doesn’t function on its next turn.
    Powers
    Despair (Fear) aura 5
    Enemies within the aura receive a –2 penalty to attack rolls against a Dragonborn Death Knight Mummy.
    m Rotting Slam (standard; at will) &#10022; Necrotic
    +16 vs. AC; 2d8 + 10 necrotic damage, and the target contracts mummy rot (see page 49). Mummy rot’s level is equal to the mummy champion’s level.
    C Dragon Breath (minor; encounter) &#10022; Fire
    Close blast 3; +13 vs. Reflex (+14 while bloodied); 1d6 + 4 fi re damage.
    Dragonborn Fury (only while bloodied)
    A Dragonborn Death Knight Mummy gains a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls.
    Gladiator’s Strike
    When the Dragonborn Death Knight Mummy hits an enemy with an opportunity attack, the target is knocked prone.
    Lone Fighter
    The Dragonborn Death Knight Mummy gains a +2 bonus to melee attack rolls when adjacent to only one enemy.
    Marshal Undead
    Aura 10; lower-level undead allies in the aura gain a +2 bonus to their attack rolls.
    C Unholy Flames (standard; recharge 5-6) &#10022; Fire, Necrotic
    Close burst 2; level +2 vs. Reflex; 6d8 + Constitution modifier necrotic and fire damage to living creatures; undead creatures within the burst (including the Dragonborn Death Knight Mummy) deal an extra 2d6 fire damage with melee attacks until the end of the Dragonborn Death Knight Mummy’s next turn.
    Alignment Evil Languages Common, Draconic
    Skills Athletics +15, History +7, Intimidate +15
    Str 21 (+10) Dex 15 (+7) Wis 12 (+6)
    Con 18 (+9) Int 10 (+5) Cha 16 (+8)
    Equipment scale armor, bastard sword

    The 3.5 stat block took me about an hour to do. Just cranked out this off the Dragonborn Gladiator adding two templates in 20 minutes. It is the first time I have stacked templates and leveled a critter too. This is the best part of 4.0.


    Logos wrote:

    2. The Horrific PR Campaign.

    If it was so bad why didn't they sell absolutly zip product? Comparing this to new coke is wrong because new coke tanked more or less immediately from what i know.

    Comparing this to other rpg advertising is also a bit of a misnomer, I have never seen a Rpg add for anything but wizzies on the tv, and for the most part never before on the youtube ( I can think of maybe one exception). Advertising is a tricky business, but as I can understand wanting to cut ties with the old edition, and myself genuinely having problems with the old edition, and watching rabid fan boys post genuinely unhelpful, flameful and generally badmannered crap on wizzies board I don't blame them for banning them either.

    You obviously don't understand marketing at all. Just because something is offensive to one person, doesn't mean it is to all. Bad PR won't IMMEDIATELY put a company under, they'll still make sales.

    And new coke is still sold in parts of the country, or was for years after it's debut. My aunt prefers it to old coke. But I digress.

    (following example is HIGHLY offensive. It is meant as an example and not to offend anyone in particular.)

    Let's say a popular fast food chain puts out a new commercial. In this commercial, they use swearing, vulgar hand motions, and one african-american is called a particularly insulting racial slur.

    Now, just because the ad has been released, doesn't mean everyone has seen it. Or that everyone's offended. The fast food chain will not IMMEDIATELY stop getting sales. The backlash will take time.

    In the case of WotC, it's not that they've sold games. It's how many? It's about how many would have bought the game and didn't because of PR? I know a lot of people who were excited about it. Hell, I was willing to see before that grapple video. So it had nothing to do with staying with 3.x or going to 4e. That was the end of the line for 4e, no matter what it had in it.


    I won't waste your time with flaming the Trolls or comments like"Science the roleplaying game sounds like fun."

    I found the original press releases to be abusive and abandonment.
    They came on with 'Finish your current games and start fresh with 4th edition' and they presented points of light as the only game in town which you could not alter in any way.
    Somebody, I think some more savy businessmen, pulled them on the carpet and talked some sense into them. The current 4th edition does not offend me.
    I reread the Spinx entry in the new Monster Manual and it seems to be a male Spinx. The female Spinx would be sent by one or more Gods as a curse. Her riddle power would be more powerful.A wrong answer would make you have to save versus several effects such as doom, hold person, and possibly enfeeblement. These temporary effects would give her a good chance to slay the person. A right answer would make the effects backfire on her. Note that neither party is required to slay. I would also add that Spinxes should have the ability once an encounter to answer any question as a riddle, even if they would not know the answer otherwise. You could have them breed true. I'm using this as an example.
    If anyone could point me to directions of how to use a Gnome as a player character in the new system, I would be grateful.

    Dark Archive

    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
    In essence when Anti-4E posters start posting that 4E is not D&D I think they usually mean its not 3.x D&D.

    No. You'd be incorrect in that idea. 4e pretty much breaks the traditions of D&D from the red box to 3.5, almost all of them. Fluff and others.

    jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


    Now I understand the position that many have that 3.5 was a great game.

    Still is a great game. There is no was at all.

    Dark Archive

    Logos wrote:


    1. The Death of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines.

    A business decision that they were well with in their rights to do, and probably even smart to do. It counts however because lets face it people are bad with change and it removed a source of marketing for them.

    The yankees could move to Boston, and/or the Red sox could move to Queens if either of them got a real sweatheart deal for a stadium and taxes. It be a business decision they are well within their rights to do. Heck it might save them a ton of money. The fans might hate it, because their bad with change....

    Just because you can make a business decision, doesnt make it the right one. Wotc? Made the wrong one, with nothing to back it at the time. The fact they needed to trot out other editors and such to help cool the flames shows it....


    Goth Guru wrote:


    If anyone could point me to directions of how to use a Gnome as a player character in the new system, I would be grateful.

    Back o the MM laddie.

    Liberty's Edge

    carmachu wrote:


    No. You'd be incorrect in that idea. 4e pretty much breaks the traditions of D&D from the red box to 3.5, almost all of them. Fluff and others.

    No. Not at all. I find revisionist history to be remarkably frustrating. It shows either willful ignorance or purposeful deception. Either check your history or fess up and admit that the traditions of D&D are not so easily defined as you would everyone believe.

    First off, D&D didn't have its genesis in the Red Box.

    Second, compare the fluff (what little there is at times) from the BECMI set, 1e, 2e, and 3e. I think you will find there isn't this unbroken line that you seem to imagine exists.

    Fluff changes. Heck, BECMI doesn't even have the same cosmology as 1e. The game doesn't even have gods, at least not as 1e defines them. 1e barely has the same cosmology as 2e, even though they share some qualities.

    I pretty much agree with Jeremy. When people make these claims that 4e isn't D&D they are thinking about 3e, perhaps 2e. If they weren't they wouldn't make such wild and fallacious claims to begin with.

    As for mechanics. If those didn't change your choice of classes would still be limited to Fighting Men, Magic-Users, and Clerics. The mechanics have changed deeply across editions. Once again, I find any claims to the contrary to be revisionist at the very least.

    Now, if you wanted to say that 4e isn't like your favorite edition of D&D, I'll give you that. But I find 4e has much more in common with earlier editions, despite the mechanics change, than 3e ever did. It especially feels like BECMI to me and that makes me happy.


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    alleynbard wrote:


    No. Not at all. I find revisionist history to be remarkably frustrating. It shows either willful ignorance or purposeful deception. Either check your history or fess up and admit that the traditions of D&D are not so easily defined as you would everyone believe.

    First off, D&D didn't have its genesis in the Red Box.

    Second, compare the fluff (what little there is at times) from the BECMI set, 1e, 2e, and 3e. I think you will find there isn't this unbroken line that you seem to imagine exists.

    Fluff changes. Heck, BECMI doesn't even have the same cosmology as 1e. The game doesn't even have gods, at least not as 1e defines them. 1e barely has the same cosmology as 2e, even though they share some qualities.

    I pretty much agree with Jeremy. When people make these claims that 4e isn't D&D they are thinking about 3e, perhaps 2e. If they weren't they wouldn't make such wild and fallacious claims to begin with.

    As for mechanics. If those didn't change your choice of classes would still be limited to Fighting Men, Magic-Users, and Clerics. The mechanics have changed deeply across editions. Once again, I find any claims to the contrary to be revisionist at the very least.

    Now, if you wanted to say that 4e isn't like your favorite edition of D&D, I'll give you that. But I find 4e has much more in common with earlier editions, despite the mechanics change, than 3e ever did. It especially feels like BECMI to me and that makes me happy.

    Actually, yes. It does, particularly in the monster manual. Dryads go from woodland charmers to woody ass-kickers. Storm giants go from being largely good to evil. Unicorns go from favoring maidens pure of heart to being unaligned fey. All of those are consistent from at least 1e through 3e - and the break appears only with 4e.

    Mechanics evolve across editions, so what? But when things, mechanics and traditions, make too many breaks, then you're not playing the same game. WotC should have done what TSR did when they produced AD&D compared to Basic - talked about it as a different game. Because it was.

    Scarab Sages

    Seldriss wrote:

    OK... Let's not fall again into the civil war of Pro4 and Anti4...

    I don't think WotC are abandonning their fans.
    Hey, as a matter of fact do WotC have actual fans ? This is a company, not a rockband or a movie star. D&D has fans. ....

    I'm a Paizo fan! I'm not a fan of Wizards...Yes you can have fans for a game.

    The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

    alleynbard wrote:

    I pretty much agree with Jeremy. When people make these claims that 4e isn't D&D they are thinking about 3e, perhaps 2e. If they weren't they wouldn't make such wild and fallacious claims to begin with.

    I've been playing since the blue box rules. I'm a credited playtester for 4E. I don't need to be told which edition I'm thinking about when I say 4E is a radical departure from what made D&D what it was. There's a continuity of feel dating back to the blue book rules - at least - that was pretty much tossed out with 4E.

    BTW, 1st - 2nd - 3rd all have pretty much the same planar structure. Planescape added a lot to that in 2nd (and I don't personally care for it), and a lot of names were changed in 2nd as well, but it's recognizably the same set of planes from 1st -> 3rd.

    Scarab Sages

    You know, as disinterested as I am in playing 4th Edition, my friend said something last week that touched on something.

    He has been a player since around 1992 (2nd Edition rerelease I believe). He stopped playing a year before 3rd Edition came out.

    I was in the store telling my FLGS owner how I wasn't planning on switching to 4th Edition. As we left, my friend turns to me and said:

    "You know, this is really karma for you getting us to convert to 3rd Edition."

    I was stunned for a minute, and all I could offer was the following:

    1) I never said 3rd Edition was the only game they should play, only that it was the only version of the game that we could buy at the time (this was before the era of pdfs). Plus, it had some additional rules (like skills and feats) that added to the game.

    2) There was nowhere near as much material support for 2nd Edition as there is for 3rd Edition, because of the OGL. When they stopped publishing 2nd Edition, that was pretty much the end. This is compounded by the rise of the internet as a communication tool (think OSRIC).

    3) I never said 2nd Edition sucked. I would play 2nd Edition (as it was the first system I learned) if more people had resources for it.

    4) I admit there are problems with 3rd Edition (which is why I am interested in PRPG), but I don't think 4th Edition is the way to solve them. I asked him if he would really rather have THAC0 over BAB, and he admitted it was a logical improvement to the same system.


    doppelganger wrote:


    How much of this do you think is due to the 3.x ruleset being eight years old and the 4.x ruleset being a month and a half old? Maybe in eight years you will be able to cite page numbers from 4E to back up calls?

    I believe the robustness of the 3.5 rules are a Monte Cookism. Thats not to say that we might not get the same robustness eventually in 4E but I feel it would take a change in the way the philosophical winds are blowing.

    By robustness I mean mechanics heavy. Most situations that are likely to come up in the game are resolved by rules. In a mechanics light environment less is covered by the rules and more falls to the DM to adjudicate.

    OD&D was a mechanics light system and was intentionally made to be that way. Gygax**, who did not agree with this philosophy, created Advanced Dungeons and Dragons to build more robustness into the system. The problem is that 1E is not a very well organized game and rules existed all over the place and used all sorts of different mechanics. Furthermore it was such a scattergun approach that you'd find all sorts of holes which the DM would have to adjudicate in any case.

    2nd Edition, while being mostly just a clean up of 1st was really a rules light approach again. They pulled back from a lot of the more obscure rules and, by the early '90s, the idea that we needed a lot of rules was not really in vogue. Those days it was all about plots and allowing the DM to take things wherever he wanted. The philosophy became even more entrenched when Vampire's Story Teller system exploded on the scene in '91.

    But, by the end of the decade TSR was gone and D&D was in a slump. Monte, it would seem was a big proponent of rules robustness (we see that in all of his products, not just 3.0) and 3.x is a very rules robust system, this time it was well organized and we finally had a version of D&D that was both rules robust and understandable. Memorize the books or get good at using the index and you can probably account for the vast majority of things that come up. We even get some extremes like every spell that counters some specific spell will be listed in the spells description (thats the ideal anyway - not always 100% true in practise). 3.x is rules robust from the very start. They did not really add much in the way of core rules in later Splat books, a little here and their but not much.

    However the winds of change are constant and having a rules robust system - even one well organized has benefits and drawbacks. Those that lead the game into 4E seem to favour a more rules light approach to gaming and their in good company with most of the rest of the RPG world seeming to head that way as well.

    So we might, eventually, get a rules robust system. It depends on what kind of philosophy underpins things like the PHB II and the DMG II, and who knows, a rules robust system might be at the root of 5th when it eventually comes out. However I think that philosophy of 4E is more of a rules light approach. Note though that I am taking what is in reality a continuum and dividing into two categories based on what I believe the dominant philosophical approach of the edition. 4E is a rules light approach compared to 3.x, but its not rules light compared to BECMI.

    ** Ironically Gygax would later have a paradigm shift in his philosophy, later in life he emphasized a rules light approach to the game as seen by his comments supporting C&C over 3.x.

    Scarab Sages

    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
    By robustness I mean mechanics heavy. Most situations that are likely to come up in the game are resolved by rules. In a mechanics light environment less is covered by the rules and more falls to the DM to adjudicate.

    Completely agree with your entire post. Focusing on the bit above, I noticed the same thing when playing and DMing my first game of 4th Edition. I wasn't put off by it, as I frequently go "off the cuff" for my DMing, even for entire adventures.

    It can make for very fun gaming, but not very immersive (in the sense that your actions don't feel very "realistic", you cannot predict the general outcome of some events).

    I know it has been said a million times, but it really feels like Basic D&D. Get together for a few hours and have some fun roleplaying. Even just calling it D&D and a more rules-heavy version "Advanced D&D" to avoid the negative connotation of "Basic"...

    The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

    Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


    2nd Edition, while being mostly just a clean up of 1st was really a rules light approach again. They pulled back from a lot of the more obscure rules and, by the early '90s, the idea that we needed a lot of rules was not really in vogue. Those days it was all about plots and allowing the DM to take things wherever he wanted. The philosophy became even more entrenched when Vampire's Story Teller system exploded on the scene in '91.

    Not sure I buy that, boss.

    2nd edition obscure rule rolecall...taking elements from the PH and DMG only
    Speed factors - check
    Casting times - check
    Weapons vs. armor class modifiers - check, but at least simplers
    Psionics - check
    Multiclassing - check
    Dualclassing - check
    Castle building - check
    Weapon proficiencies - check
    Strange ways of resolving grappling, overbearing and pummeling - check
    Reaction and leadership - check
    A different table for every ability score- check
    Secondary skills - check
    Fractional attack rates - check
    Nearly impossible to reconcile surprise rules - check
    Hirelings and henchmen - check, although 1st ed spent more time on this
    Morale - check
    Arcane method for calculating what xp a monster is worth - check

    All the obscure rules above were available within the first two years.

    Add to that some late 1st ed notions, like non-weapon proficiences and ability checks.

    You can throw kits, specialization, strange fighter abilities, spheres, schools on top of that, too, actually adding more complexity. Specialty priests were a whole new world of rules, one I did a lot of work with. 1st ed only barely touched on that with a few Greyhawk options.

    Although 2nd ed DID ditch ultravision...and sadly, it ditched the random dungeon table, random demon table, and uses for gems.

    But I don't think there's much traction on the idea that 2nd ed was a simplified game. I really didn't recall what a mess it was until I converted Rod of Seven Parts to 3rdE. But warts and all, it was a blast to play, and definitely had points to recommend it over 1st (and 1st had points over 2nd). My preference was hybrid 1st/2nd, however, the best of both worlds.

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