D&D 4th Edition [and other..oh, who are we kidding. 4th Ed!]

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D&D 4th Edition [and other..oh, who are we kidding. 4th Ed!]

Postby FACM » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:13 pm UTC

The official site will be up around 6 PM EST tonight, but there are press releases floating around the net:

Today, Wizards of the Coast confirms that the new edition will launch in May 2008 with the release of the D&D Player's Handbook.

The 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons game includes elements familiar to current D&D players, including illustrated rulebooks and pre-painted plastic miniatures. Also releasing next year will be new web-based tools and online community forums through the brand-new Dungeons & Dragons Insider (D&D Insider) digital offering. D&D Insider lowers the barriers of entry for new players while simultaneously offering the depth of play that appeal to veteran players.

The 4th Edition rules emphasize faster game play, offer exciting new character options, and reduce the amount of "prep time" needed to run the game. D&D Insider includes a character creator that lets players design and equip their D&D characters, dungeon- and adventure-building tools for Dungeon Masters, online magazine content, and a digital game table that lets you play 24/7 on the internet — the perfect option for anyone who can't find time to get together.

"We've been gathering player feedback for eight years," said Bill Slavicsek, R&D Director of Roleplaying and Miniatures Games at Wizards of the Coast. "Fourth Edition streamlines parts of the D&D game that are too complex, while enhancing the overall play experience. At its heart, it's still a tabletop game experience. However, D&D Insider makes it easier for players to create characters, run their games, and interact with the rest of the D&D community."

Wizards of the Coast will release two 4th Edition preview books in December and January — Wizards Presents: Classes and Races and Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters. The full scope of 4th Edition books, miniatures, and adventures will be available in the spring and summer of 2008.


Personally, I'm a little more interested in the new Changeling from White Wolf, which is surprising since I didn't expect to be this intrigued by the book. WW is also releasing Monte Cook's World of Darkness, which is a d20 port of the WoD from what I can tell, and I am more than a little disappointed from what I've seen on their site.

SJ Games has released GURPS Martial Arts for Gen-Con. I'd be happier if SJG made GURPS their primary focus instead of their tertiary project. [Munchkin expansions are number 1, and I think Munchkin reprints are number 2]

So, what have you seen/heard/looking forward to/ready to rant against?

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Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:19 pm UTC

We all knew it was coming, but I had hoped they would do it a bit further down the road. 15 years from D&D to AD&D, 11 years from AD&D to 3rd edition, 3 years to 3.5, and 5 years to 4th? (I guess if one lumps 3.5 into 3rd, it's an 8 year gap)

The 4th Edition rules emphasize faster game play, offer exciting new character options, and reduce the amount of "prep time" needed to run the game.
This worries me more than it excites me. How much strategy will they sacrifice in the name of streamlining?

And what part of DM prepping can be made faster by changing the rules? I mean, maybe they'll have tools that make it faster to churn out NPCs, But every DM I know has their prep time dominated by story planning and such, not statting monsters and checking for mechanical balance.
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Postby ZeroSum » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:04 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:This worries me more than it excites me. How much strategy will they sacrifice in the name of streamlining?
+1. They'll probably finally just make it full circle back into a tactical wargame sim like Chainmail started out.

Then again, no need to leave D&D3.5 rules anyway. There's plenty of material for 20 years of gaming there.

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Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:40 pm UTC

ZeroSum wrote:Then again, no need to leave D&D3.5 rules anyway. There's plenty of material for 20 years of gaming there.
Several of the people in my group play in another game that still does AD&D (although I think it's primarily for nostalgia factor).

I'll buy the PHB, probably, just so I can give it a long, dedicated look. But it'll need to be great to convince me to switch.
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Postby Belial » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:14 am UTC

...are you fucking *serious*?

If they seriously updated to the bullshit they did in the new Star Wars d20 system, I'm driving to seattle and sticking my cock into some game developer's *eye*.
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Postby keozen » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:39 am UTC

Yes alas it is indeed here.

There is a new version of the minis game coming out around the same time too so expect minis to be worked into the rules or at least mentioned a lot more (some of the measurements in the new Star Wars d20 one for example are measured in squares on a minis map rather than feet). It's 2007/8 now, it's not a game, it's a product line.

What concerns me more is the BIG hinting at the online components that they are building behind it. I'm hoping that:

a) It doesn't distract too much from development of the game itself (if we EVER get such a thing as 4.5 ed because they didn't refine things enough to begin with I'll never buy another D&D book again).

b) The web stuff doesn't cost extra on top of the cost of the books. Seriously, if they gear 4th ed up for using this fancy set of web tools then pop a subscription charge in there I'll flip. And the scary thing is I can see them doing it.
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Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:37 pm UTC

Belial wrote:...are you fucking *serious*?

If they seriously updated to the bullshit they did in the new Star Wars d20 system, I'm driving to seattle and sticking my cock into some game developer's *eye*.


I hope they don't continue to treat D&D like a trading card game. Whoever came up with that idea ought to be raped by a fucking badger.
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Postby FACM » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:50 pm UTC

Belial wrote:...are you fucking *serious*?

If they seriously updated to the bullshit they did in the new Star Wars d20 system, I'm driving to seattle and sticking my cock into some game developer's *eye*.


Better check your oil and buy gas when it's cheap. from http://www.icv2.com/articles/home/11123.html

Concepts for 4th Edition gameplay were tested in the new Star Wars RPG, and the Book of 9 Swords.


I'm not as happy with the news floating around as I could be. I'm all for making combat faster, but requiring minis and online play doesn't seem to be helping that much. On the other hand, I don't mind melee characters getting more powerful late-game, and it would be nice to see making a character take longer. Putting more effort into a character seems to lead into knowing their personality a little more than rolling 24d6 and picking a class and gear. Opening up character customization options would also help purge the evil known as prestige classes, which I am all for.

Most likely, though, I'll be playing more GURPS, World of Darkness, or In Nomine instead of D&D 4e.
Last edited by FACM on Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:57 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Belial » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:53 pm UTC

Gah. WotC, why have you failed yourself so spectacularly?
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Postby clockworkmonk » Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:03 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Gah. WotC, why have you failed yourself so spectacularly?

we all know the answer.

Hasbro.
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Postby Belial » Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:56 pm UTC

Yeah.....siiiiiigh.
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Postby Vaniver » Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:37 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:I hope they don't continue to treat D&D like a trading card game. Whoever came up with that idea ought to be raped by a fucking badger.
As much as I hate to say it, how else are they going to keep WotC's D&D department open?
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Postby Belial » Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:52 pm UTC

And unlike Card Games where there are tournaments, you don't have to use or update to any books you don't like.

I'm just disappointed that all new supplements will be emerging in the retarded new system. I need to find a good way to translate everything back into 3.5 as necessary.
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Postby Xanthir » Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:09 pm UTC

I'm... confused. You guys *don't* like Saga and Bo9S?

That's some of the best shit WotC has ever put out.

Geez, that's like hating Iron Heroes or something.

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Postby Belial » Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Saga was awful. I need to go snatch up one of the old star wars corebooks before they all disappear.

I haven't looked at Bo9S yet.
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Postby FACM » Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:26 pm UTC

I was hoping for a more radical change. Something that made combat faster and characters more interesting without being a mockery of the process the way Prestige Classes have become. Not necessarily a departure from the Class/Race system to a point buy setup, but a more flexible class setup would be nice to see. It doesn't sound like it's going to happen, though.

I've briefly looked at Bo9S. The classes there are so overpowered compared to the rest of 3.5's martial classes that there's no reason not to play one of them, sans being a masochist. A friend own Saga, and he seems to like the new ideas presented. I haven't looked deeply at it, but I like the idea of having more starting HP. Makes those first couple levels nicer since you're much less likely to die from 2 bad die rolls at the beginning of your career.

EDIT: I should probably point out that if the BO9S classes were core classes in 4e, they wouldn't necessarily throw the rest of the game's balance off.
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Postby SecondTalon » Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:55 pm UTC

...

I can't hear Saga without thinking of what TSR put out in the mid-late90s.

Man, did that suck.


Also, of course they're putting out 4. I just got used to 3.5!
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Postby Belial » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:04 pm UTC

Hahah, oh god, Dragonlance 5th Age....great setting, but the system was soooo sketchy.
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Postby Xanthir » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:16 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Saga was awful. I need to go snatch up one of the old star wars corebooks before they all disappear.

I haven't looked at Bo9S yet.

Okay, then you won't like 4e. Saga was a revolution for us mechanical junkies, though. Its rules are cross-pollinating into nearly everyone's houserules.

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Postby lorenith » Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:30 am UTC

I don't fully see why they'd want to make the combat "faster" a lot of people going from 2.0-3.x already disliked the fact that the game became super mega easy to twerk characters for. (These were mostly people that focus on the role playing aspect).

It also just seems....way too soon...

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Postby Vaniver » Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:54 am UTC

It also just seems....way too soon...
It has been 5 years since 3.5, and 8 years since 3. The acceleration is about the same (it seems around a 3-4 year shorter gap each time), and thus the gap between editions is closing.

Now, in theory, each new edition is more robust than the previous edition, and should thus last longer. That's doesn't line up with the supply of them, though.
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Postby lorenith » Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

I dunno I never actually played 2.0 only 3.5, just going off what I know from people who had been playing 2.0. But I won't be switching anytime soon, assuming I ever get to play again. The three books I own (2 core books+dragonimicon) costed enough that I really don't want to replace them.

Course I probably won't have to worry about it too much unless they don't put out an SRD again. It probably isn't hard to convert stuff between rules.

I do wonder how some people that probably bought any books that were released in the past couple of months feel that their books will be considered outdated. Not everyone gets glee from the idea of home brewing, or converting stuff like me.

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Postby Belial » Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:35 pm UTC

I do wonder how some people that probably bought any books that were released in the past couple of months feel that their books will be considered outdated.


If the new edition were any good, I'd be thrilled. Yeah, I'd have to buy new corebooks, but they'd be *good* corebooks, and all my 3.0 and 3.5 supplements could be converted. (note: this was my attitude toward 3.5, back when I had a stack of 3.0 books)

Since the new edition is crap, I'm just neutral. I won't be buying the corebooks, and I can just convert the new supplements back into 3.5
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Postby Chase » Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:13 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Since the new edition is crap

Whatever happened to "wait and see?" Or do you have the world's only functioning time machine?
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Postby Belial » Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:34 pm UTC

I know not of the finished product, but I know what it's based off of.

It's safe to say that any recipe which calls for cow manure will taste of crap.
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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Sun Aug 19, 2007 4:07 pm UTC

The cost of a full set of 3.5 rulebooks, (including splashbooks) will probably cover 4e's production costs. I'm sticking with 3.5.
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Postby Nyarlathotep » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:07 pm UTC

On the bright side, perhaps the cost of 3.5 books will go down and I will be able to pick them up cheaply used come the end of 2008. excellent. Time to finally get my own copy of the core 3.5 books (instead of 3.0), the ExPH, and ToB: Bo9S
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Postby Xanthir » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:31 pm UTC

Really, from all I've heard, 4e seems to be mostly a combo of the concepts developed in Saga and Iron Heroes, mixed together with D&D's unique flavor.

Yah, everyone's feelings will vary, but like I said, I'm excited about this. IH is my favorite game in the entire world, and I've liked everything that Mike Mearls has written for WotC since.

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Postby Jericho » Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:01 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:And what part of DM prepping can be made faster by changing the rules? I mean, maybe they'll have tools that make it faster to churn out NPCs, But every DM I know has their prep time dominated by story planning and such, not statting monsters and checking for mechanical balance.


my issue in 3.x prep was always statting monsters and checking mechanical balance; not story line. (but then, I tend to GM modern/future setting games, where the decision tree is alot more open-ended than your typical dungeon crawl, so I'm used to having to improvise story and as such don't plan as meticulously as many friends do)

this is compounded by having to pick/roll treasure, that adding PC levels to something is anything but straightforward (as soon as it needs skills beyond spot/listen) and that as far as non-humaniod monsters go, there are so many corner case rules in their specific powers that you *need* to know to run them appropriate to their CR, that you'll spend as much or more time familiarizing yourself with the monsters' available abilities as you will plotting the encounter (the "dragon problem")

this doesn't even get into how much time it can take to build a reasonably optimized CR10 humanoid with pc classes (i.e. one that's meant to be an actual CR10 fight and not just a level 10 npc).

so yeah, if 4th ed makes
1) battle ready monsters with internally consistent ability rules. (so that I don't need to read up the specific corner cases of everything a monster can do) especially by simplifying casting templates.
2) straightforward templates (i.e. good templates are *not* based on hitdice)
3) straightforward and intuitive monster HD advancement (intuitive enough that it can be done 'on the fly' if necessary, which it currently isn't.)
4) PC class levels as templates. (i.e. not necessary to backfigure each level of advancement)

that'll save anyone a prep-style similar to mine several hours at least (either by reducing per session prep, or reducing the time spent pre-prepping this material for a game session.)

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Postby Vaniver » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:03 pm UTC

Jericho wrote:my issue in 3.x prep was always statting monsters and checking mechanical balance; not story line. (but then, I tend to GM modern/future setting games, where the decision tree is alot more open-ended than your typical dungeon crawl, so I'm used to having to improvise story and as such don't plan as meticulously as many friends do)
My friends and I are all wargamers, so we have good intuition when it comes to balancing things. There would be a monster with invented stats as frequently as something out of the book, and it's been a while since our last TPK. But, if you do it right, then yeah, it's more than a little tedious and involved.
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Postby zenten » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:17 pm UTC

The new Changeling game is nifty, although I haven't finished reading it yet.

As to the D&D thing, well, I consider every one of the corebooks to be crap, although the amount of editing in third ed is nice compared to most other gamelines. I really don't see why I would care any more about 4th ed than 3rd ed though.

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Postby Belial » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:19 pm UTC

How different is the new changeling from the old, if you were familiar with that line?
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Postby zenten » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:30 pm UTC

Belial wrote:How different is the new changeling from the old, if you were familiar with that line?


Very very much so. More different than the other three gamelines. There are some terms that stayed, but the game itself is completely different.

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Postby Belial » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:04 pm UTC

More different than the other three gamelines


Sad.
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Postby zenten » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:07 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
More different than the other three gamelines


Sad.


Huh?

Oh, and I liked Changeling the Dreaming as well. I just already have it, so I don't need another game that's sort of kind of almost like it but not really (like Requiem to Masquerade).

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Postby Belial » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:59 pm UTC

All the old lines were good. The fact that they were shivved in the night and replaced continues to sadden me. Thus, sad.
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Postby FACM » Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:25 am UTC

Belial wrote:All the old lines were good. The fact that they were shivved in the night and replaced continues to sadden me. Thus, sad.


While the old WoD was good in its own right, lets be completely honest: most of the games in it needed to die. They had a good run, but the settings were ready for a wipe.

Vampire had some pretty ridiculous rules in earlier editions, and they weren't entirely incompatible from newer editions. [Secrets of the Black Hand, 10th level disciplines, etc]. The editions even disagreed on how Malkavians, a core clan, acted [1,2: We're totally zany vampires with cool powers! Rev: We're totally tormented vampires with a situationally useful power.] And the metaplot didn't really leave a ton of events to happen short of Gehenna.

Werewolf always needed a story enhancement. They were sweet for cross-over games, where you needed some melee beeftanks for fights, but as a self-contained game, it sucked. [I'm 800 pounds of walking death, and I hate one big conglomerate corporation that's the physical embodiment of evil in this plane of existance. Oh, and vampires.]

Mages were alright, but the stereotypes were a little more out there than normal for White Wolf, and it started out with the same Us Good, Them Bad attitude Werewolf had. Some of the rules also really needed clarified. [Minor forces was always a point of contention between STs. I ran it as 'force encountered on a daily basis', as in campfire, 120 volts, or noonday sun. Another ST I knew declared it to be 'weaker' forces, like gravity, electricity, and kinetic energy. I'm sure there are other interpritations as well]

Crossover rules needed to be worked out as well. There were few set rules for crossovers, and they usually were specific cases [Blood Magic, abominations, etc]. The exception to this was the one almost everyone used, and it was only written in Kindred of the East:Demon Hunter X. It said "Whenever a demon hunter power says blood or chi is drained is used on a different supernatural, it drains whatever they use as power," because crossovers were hampered a bit if things didn't work this way.

Oh, and I wouldn't be too surprised if it was in part to help bury Wod:Gypsies. It may be ages old, a low-run print, nearly forgotten, and almost entirely pointless, but it's still possibly the worst WW book ever printed. Yes, worse than the Baali clanbook. Worse than Wod:Combat.

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Postby Belial » Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:44 pm UTC

Werewolf.... ....as a self-contained game, it sucked.


You were running under the wrong people, then. Werewolf was *great* for me, and was quite a bit more nuanced and varied than you're giving it credit for. I, also, pretty much disagree with everything else you just said (with the possible exception of Vampire, I never paid a lot of attention to that one.)

All of the new games, regardless, have been watered down and craptacular.

Except maybe Promethean, I didn't give that one much of a look.
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Postby FACM » Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:33 pm UTC

So, which book was worse than Gypsies?

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Postby Belial » Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:55 pm UTC

One bad book doesn't mean you have to murder an entire setting.

Nor is anyone required to play with that book.
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