Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

To Answer Zak's Question: "What will you give us if you're wrong?"

Well, nothing actually.  I figure the OSR is blessed enough by merely having me in their midst.  :)

I will, however, do something for WOTC.  Something pretty important to me and personally meaningful.

It would be very very easy for WOTC to make me wrong, because  I mostly just care about this whole thing for two reasons, and one far more than the other. 

The first reason I care is because  next year, in about 15 months,  I will be buying my nephews their first RPG for their birthdays.  One will turn 7, the other 8.  That's the perfect age to get them into gaming.  I've been investigating systems, and talked with my brother as to the best system to get them started on.  After evaluating all the clones, and all the original editions, we settled on Mentzer as the very best game to get young kids into D&D with.  Since  it's hard (not to mention expensive) to find a mint edition somewhere, no less 2, I figured I would just print and bind the pdf's in hardcover down at Kinko's or Staples.  They will each get a DMG and a PHB out of it.  My brother and I have been looking forward to this for years actually, sitting down with my brother and his son and our sister's son and playing a real game of DnD. (Not just the 10 minute sampler things we tried with them a couple times to gauge where they were at in terms of being able to play a meaningful game.)

If WOTC actually does the impossible and puts out the "Core D&D" or whatever they choose to call it, and it's even 90% as good as Mentzer, WITHOUT skills/feats/AOE's/powers/dailies/tactical grid shit/miniatures, then I will make it the first game my 2 nephews, and later my 4 other nephews and nieces, are introduced to.   That's about the biggest compliment I can give to WOTC, and the thing which has the most meaning to me as a player and an uncle to future gamers.  I'll make this new edition the one my nephews and nieces look back at 20 years later with fondness, as they pull out the well-worn dog-eared books and say "Yeah, this was my first edition of D&D.  I played it with my father and my uncle down in the basement on the pool table."

The second reason I am interested in the core edition is because once in a while I run games at cons.  If I'm wrong, and the core is as described above, 90% like Mentzer, etc., then I will run a core game at a con.  However, if they make the game in such a way as to cause all these problems, with players coming in with an expectation that they can play their 4e fey-dragonborne-wildling with 465 feats and other special abilities at first level, next to the rest of the group who are playing core characters, then forget about it.

Anyhow, that's what I'll do if I'm wrong.  It's simple to do, as I really only care about the core game, how close it is to Mentzer, and the expectations the system sets as to its players ability to create and play whatever character they want to play.  I just care about the former far more than the latter.  And honestly, in spite of my disgust with all things WOTC since 4e, I hope I am wrong.  I'd hate to see the game go out of print, for sentimental reasons mostly.

5e, Cook's Latest Column...How Can This Work?

Believe it or not, I really want 5e to work out and be the edition that unties them all.  Based on some of the comments I am seeing from on high, I don't think it will be what I am looking for or would play.  My understanding is that we could basically buy the the equivalent of the Mentzer red box, then buy a booklet that expands it with classes, one with skills, one with feats, one with powers, etc.  That way we AS DM's can build our own system.   The AS DM's is important.

In his latest column, Cook says:

"Now imagine that the game offered you modular, optional add-ons that allow you to create the character you want to play while letting the Dungeon Master create the game he or she wants to run. Like simple rules for your story-driven game? You're good to go. Like tactical combats and complex encounters? You can have that too. Like ultra-customized character creation? It's all there."

That's a problem for me.  As a DM, creating a game I want to run is very much dependent on rules.  I refuse to have skills, feats, powers, etc in my game.   If the players want tactical combats and complex encounters, they can go play with a DM who wants to run that sort of game.  Setting up an expectation in players minds that they can and should be able to make up whatever character they want, using whatever modules they want, and tough shit the DM will just have to adjust because the rules allow for it and it is simple to implement is a crock of shit.  It's designed solely to sell the maximum amount of modular expansions.    That's not a game I am going to play.

As for this:

"Second—and this sounds so crazy that you probably won't believe it right now—we're designing the game so that not every player has to choose from the same set of options. Again, imagine a game where one player has a simple character sheet that has just a few things noted on it, and the player next to him has all sorts of skills, feats, and special abilities. And yet they can still play the game together and everything remains relatively balanced. Your 1E-loving friend can play in your 3E-style game and not have to deal with all the options he or she doesn't want or need. Or vice versa."

Not going to happen.  I don't care if they think they can pull off such a system or not, nor do I care if they do.  The expectation among players that they can jump into my Basic game with powers and dailies is a complete turn off.

Maybe my point of view is a bit different, but I always thought it was the DM's role to pick system, setting and style of game, and the players either want to join said game or not. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Simple Solution to the 5e Conundrum

Instead of trying to figure out how they can possibly make a universal modular system that appeals to all players of all editions....

Why don't they just re-release all of the old editions?

Does that just make too much sense to ever be implemented?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hey Mike and Monte---Will 5e be OGL? GSL?

Think about it, they should know the answer by now.  Even if its not OGL, if they are making a backwards compatible edition, and if I make a module for it, I should be able to claim compatibility with 5e via OGL right?  Are they going to make all of it OGL?  Parts of it?  How about some of the 4e terms they purposefully created for the sole purpose of fucking up the OGL as relates to 4e?  If so are they thereby opening up 4e to the OGL retroactively if you use its weird-ass terminology? 

The answer to these questions really are an important indicator of where they are coming from with respect to their customers. 

That, and if they start selling the older edition PDF's again.