Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Can't Believe I'm Rooting for WOTC to Quickly Crush Someone Legally...

I'm always ready to stir crap up and have a fight, especially on this topic, which I was arguing with Rob Repp from T$R in 1994 on USENET over. I'm also a lawyer, though not an IP lawyer. I have to say, to pick this fight in this way is stupid. If WOTC didn't go after this guy, it would set a bad precedent. They almost HAVE to. It seems to me to clearly violate the OGL.

Hopefully a C&D letter works. If it has to go to court, then the ripple effects of some idiot judge's opinion might be bad. You never know what a judge is going to say or do. Thankfully, I think WOTC's lawyers know this as well, so they will try to bury this guy fast and get it over with out of court, likely by attacking his means of distribution and payment, if the C&D letter doesn't work.

I can't believe I'm rooting for WOTC to quickly crush someone legally for a position of theirs for which I despise them.

But the potential collateral damage could be too great for the rest of the OSR publishers, whether through court decision, or due to some weird internal corporate dynamic, where we wake the sleeping dragon and it lashes out indiscriminately at everyone.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Red Box Counteroffensive: A Call to Arms! ...err...Dice!

My local DnD Meetup Group (which as far as I know mostly arranges 4e Encounters nights) is tentatively planning a Red Box release event for 4e Essentials.

I plan to be there with my Mentzer Red Box, ready to run Palace of the Silver Princess.

Check to see if there are any groups or FLGS's in your area doing the same thing, and lets make it a worldwide counteroffensive.

Are you with me!?!!?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Essentials and 4e, Based On What I'm Hearing From Gencon

I've been sort of following the developing news, but not being a 4e player, I may not be getting the impact of it all. Help me to clarify. From what I understand:

1. 4e comes out, and they say there will never be a 4.5 and 5e is a long way away.

2. Over the course of 2 years, there are well over 100 pages of changes to the core rules of 4e.

3. This makes the core PHB and DMG essentially useless if they haven't been updated with those changes, which in fact appears to be the case.

4. You get all those changes if you are a subscriber to DDI.

5. Essentials comes out and changes some of the underlying principles of 4e even further.

6. More rules changes are imminent to bring the core 4e game in line with Essentials in every way, perhaps on the scale with the "well over 100 pages of rules changes" that have been implemented already.

7. Essentials and the Essentials paradigm is the future of DnD.

8. They may reprint the 4e core books.

Two questions:

1. What's the point of reprinting core books that are so outdated and useless to running a game which has changed so much? Is it worth the effort to make the changes, when presumably the Rules Compendium will have all those changes worked into it?  Makes me doubt there will ever be reprintings.

2. How does WOTC define "New Edition"?

It seems that by the standards they are using, if we judge editions on a basis of "X amount of changes to the old edition constitutes a new edition", you know, the way most people judge edition changes, then it seems that there has never been an edition change to DnD since 1974.

They seem to give themselves the right to make an unlimited amount of changes within 4e, and as long as they slap the 4e label on it, its still 4e, by virtue of the label alone.

It reminds me of that Orwell thing "We've always been at war with Eastasia." The edition stays the same, no matter what the changes made. The past is made to fit the present and the future, regardless of inconsistencies. The inconsistencies are just changed to fit the needs of the present, which is to not look like a bunch of liars, in saying that there will never be a 4.5, and a 5.0 is far far far off in the future.

Does that pretty much sum it up?

At this point I just feel bad for the 4e players.  But I guess in order for WOTC to charged every month for DDI, they have to make it worth it.  I guess the "value add" is in the fact that DDI is the only way to stay up to date with an ever-changing ruleset, in which changes are part of the normal course of business, and I guess expected to continue forever.

I mean, how many people would subscribe to DDI if WOTC guaranteed (haha, i know, just go with it for a minute) that there would never be another core rule change, or another character/class/feat/ability/power/whatever which would be implemented?  Would articles for Dungeon and Dragon make it worth the subscription for most people, if those articles didn't include that sort of thing?

It seems that neverending change to the core of the game is a necessary part of their business model.

It's only a matter of time before people jump off that roller coaster.

The only reason I actually give a shit about all this, is that DnD is the intro drug to the hobby, like it or not.

If their marketing tactics are designed around short terms revenue goals. then they will likely lose gamers, as they stop playing after becoming more and more frustrated with the core rule changes and ever increasing need to stay on the roller coaster and keep up with the changes. That means less people are able to introduce others into the hobby.

As for the new gamer who gets into it by picking up the new red boxed set on the shelf: iIf, as soon as a person buys a boxed set with "all they need to run the game", and they discover that actually, they need to keep shelling out money every month just to keep up with rules changes, which effectively made their initially purchase useless, how pissed off are they gonna be? How likely is a new guy going to stick with such a game?

I see their actions growing the revenue streams short term, but hurting the hobby long term. Hence my anti-WOTC feelings.

I feel bad for the creative people at WOTC forced to work and design under such conditions. With this job market, what can you do. We all need to pay our bills. If the corporate suits tell you to do something, you have to do it, stupid as it is, regardless of your personal inclinations.

I feel bad for 4e players, forced to continually shell out more money every month not for quality stuff, but mostly to update what they bought 2 yrs ago.

The whole thing sucks.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Share with me the METAL!!!!!!!!

So, I'm running an AD&D game at the CT old school mini-con in October. To set the mood, I'm bringing music. I'm only playing METAL! that was popular from the OD&D through the AD&D 1st ed. years. Share with me your favorite music you listened to as a kid back in from those years while playing D&D, so I can create my playlist.

METAL! only! Because basically, if you played D&D while listening to Bananarama, well, you were a loser, and likely still are.

Please include Artist/Band and Song Title, rather than just saying "Everything from Sabbath, dude!"


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The LOTFP RPG Came in the Mail Today!

It looks really cool.  Well done, and I love the compact size.  That was a surprise--for some reason I expected it to be the same size as the Mentzer boxed set.  I guess every time I hear "boxed set" that's the model in my head.  It's going to be a busy weekend, between that and going through my latest acquisitions (see previous post).  :)  More on it after I read it...

I Looted YET ANOTHER!!! Massive Hoard of Old-School DnD Books!

I'm sure you remember this post from last year.  Well, I did it again!

This time instead of finding them randomly where they were left on consignment in a comic store, I found them on Craigslist.  I drove up to Mass. to pick them up tonight.  The seller was a great guy, and this represents the collection of both he and a friend who used to play D&D together.  The modules section below really filled in a lot of gaps in my own collection.  Plus, I got hold of a Moldvay Expert Boxed set, finally.

It was good to talk gaming with him, as we are the same age, and had a lot of experiences in common---though I have to say I never blew of school with my friends to play DnD all day.  :) 

One oddly disturbing thing is that he gave me all his dice, too.  I asked him if he was sure, as I saw some of the original red and blue boxed set dice in there.  I know how sentimental I am about my own first dice set.  He said yeah, he has no time to play anymore anyway.  Is it me, or is that sad?  I mean, you can give away your books and still play a pickup game somewhere.  But your Dice!  That's like a master carpenter giving away his tools.

Anyhow, I invited him to come down to the Old School Minicon in CT in October.  Hopefully he can make it.

Without further ado...the list!!!!!!

(I didn't name the modules, just put the number, because its like midnight here and I want to go to bed)

1st edition Hardcovers
DMG x 3
PHB x 3
Legends and Lore
Deities and Demigods
Fiend Folio
Unearthed Arcana x 2

2nd Edition Hardcovers
PHB x 2
DMG x 2
Legends and Lore
Tome of Magic
Forgotten Realms:  Adventures
Monstrous Compendium Looseleaf

2nd Edition Softcovers
Arms and Equipment Guide
Complete Handbooks:  Fighters, Thieves, Bards, Wizards, Priests, Dwarves

Dragon Magazines:  88, 90, 89, 93, 91, 95, 92, 83, 94

Dungeon Magazines:  54, 82, 49, 47, 44, 50, 78, 77

Moldvay Basic booklet
Moldvay Expert Booklet, in the blue box, with a 1981 flier/advertisement

3.0 Boxed Set Introduction game


Dragonlance:  DL1-DL7, DL9
UK7 x 2, UK4
X1 x 2, X2
L1, L2
B1 x 3, B2 x 2, B3
G1-2-3, D1-2, D3, Q1
C1 x 2, C2-C5
S1, S2, S3
I1, I2, I3, I3-I5 Desert of Desolation, I5, I7, I11, I12, I13
A2 x 2, A3, A4
WG4, WG9
T1 x 2
CM1, CM2
GA2, GA3
RQ1, RM2, Ravenloft:  Dark of the Moon

World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting Book and the Glossography

The Contract
Shadows of Evil
Evil Ruins


Hall of Heroes for Forgotten Realms
The Magister
Dwarves Deep
Dungeon Geomorphs Set 1-3
Silver Anniversary Against the Giants:  Liberation of Geoff
Dungeons and Dragons Monster and Treasure Assortment Sets 1-3, Levels 1-9
Books of Lairs 1 and 2
Treasure Maps:  for 2nd Edition
Terrible Trouble at Tragidore
Al Qadim A Dozen and One Adventures Boxed Set
The Armory:  Fantasy Roleplaying Character Sheets
D&D Character Sheets (1981)
1993 TSR Master Catalog Collector's Edition
AD&D DM Screen, old, x 2, DM Screen new, Players Screen
AD&D DM Adventure Log
2nd Ed. DM Screen
2nd Ed. Character Sheets x 2

Bigass Bag o' Dice

Not bad, huh?

Oh yeah, the price---

120 bucks!!!!!!