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30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of D&D

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the no-seriously-was-it-good? dept.

Role Playing (Games) 329

Aeonite (Michael Fiegel) writes "When I was in fourth grade, my teacher once made the class grade each other's papers. As she read off answers, I stared in horror at the paper I had been given from the girl next to me. Every answer was wrong. Every one. By the time I had ticked off the 30th incorrect answer, I was practically in tears. I felt responsible, somehow, for the problems on the page. It would not be her fault that she failed, but rather my own fault for calling attention to her flaws. I felt ashamed. I felt awful. That was twenty years ago. I've gotten over it. That said, I have purposely not read any other reviews of the new 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons coffee table book, so I have no idea if other 'students' will judge this book in the same way I am about to. Which is to say, with a critical eye and a sad, sad shake of my head." Read on for Fiegel's review.

The inside book jacket explains that "(t)his book is a celebration of that phenomenon (D&D, natch) and a tribute to the millions of players who brought the Dungeons & Dragons experience to life." When I think of tributes, I think of missing-man formations flying over stadiums, of 21-gun salutes, and Taps played on a lone bugle. As a tribute, this book is the equivalent of a handful of cellophane balloons released from the rooftop of a children's hospital just before noon on a Sunday, with Kool and the Gang playing on a cassette deck nearby.

OK, perhaps that's harsh. Or perhaps you really like Kool and the Gang. In either case, I'll do my best to lay out my case clearly, and in the end you can decide for yourself if you think my harshness is justified or not.

The Cover

I walked by this book at Barnes & Noble five times before I noticed it, even though it was laying flat on a table, its cover clearly visible to me. As covers go, it's really not designed to catch the eye. It's a book designed for rogues, or wraiths, muted gold images wrapped within a translucent sheet of white plastic, making the whole thing look like it's being viewed through a heavy mist, or perhaps a Wall of Fog spell. The title, if you read it off as you notice the elements on the page, is something like "Years A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons Of Adventure 30." The "30" in this case is represented by two 8-sided dice -- clever enough but very difficult to read. And why 8s? Why not 20s? Wouldn't that make more sense if we were trying to be clever? (Ed. It's been pointed out since I wrote this that it's actually a d8 and a d10, though my opinion stands.)

Front Matter

The book boasts on its cover that it features a Foreword by Vin Diesel. I guess this is high praise for the 16-year-old set who likes that movie where he drives around really fast, or maybe that one where he plays that criminal with the spooky eyes. I've got nothing against Vin Diesel, and I know he plays Dungeons & Dragons and all, but come on, folks. 30th Anniversary, and there's no place for Gary or Dave in your book? Throw 'em a bone. Hell, Steve Jackson could write a more appropriate Foreword.

For the young folk, "Gary" and "Dave" refer to Mr. Gygax and Mr. Arneson, respectively, two gentlemen who are peripherally involved in the role-playing industry. And yes, Gary Gygax does have a piece in the book -- but it was written in 1999. Somewhat tellingly, it includes the following statement by Mr. Gygax: "We were in a great hurry to get it done, and I was concerned about editing."

One wonders if the same could be said for this book.

At any rate, after Mr. Diesel's piece is an Introduction by the book's editor, Peter Archer, the brand manager for novels at Wizards of the Coast. His four-page intro is of particular interest for two reasons. First, it lays out the basic history of Dungeons and Dragons, from its roots to the release of Eberron. This history is important, because we're going to hear it retreaded and retold over and over and over again by different authors, and sometimes multiple times by the same author, on the pages that follow.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, his introduction is also some of the only text in the entire book which is grammatically correct, properly and cleanly laid out, and free of typos (at least insofar as I am aware). This book is positively awash in errors. If this were an OGL-released d20 product put on the market by a small publisher, said publisher would be lambasted for their sloppy work. I'm not about to pull any punches here because it's Wizards.

About the Graphic Design

Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

Listen, I'm not the world's foremost expert on layout and design. Heck, I consider myself a writer by trade, though I do layout at my day job. But it doesn't take an expert to take one look at this book and go "Yeagh."

"Yeagh," here, interpreted as a vomiting sound.

All the basic rules of design are broken for no apparent reason other than to give the book a "hip" or "cool" layout. Instead of being presented with the text at a normal 90 degree angle to the page, every single page has the text skewed to the right or the left, so you have to constantly wiggle the book back and forth, back and forth to read it clearly. And the page numbers are no help. They're little 10-sided dice in the margin on right-hand pages, difficult to read (I didn't even notice they were there until I was halfway through the book) and serving no purpose other than to look cute.

The skewing of the pages left and right, left and right, means that the text is forced to flow in unnatural ways across pages, leading to awkward widows and orphans (when single words or sentences are left abandoned at the top or bottom of columns) and horrible breaks between pages and even within sentences:

"And the best part is that as you defeat more
monsters and gather
more treasure your character's chances to fight
and survive improve."

Flowing text between pages is simple in today's desktop publishing applications. You set up text boxes on each page and then you just paste all your text into the first block. Magically, it flows through the entire document, filling the boxes. Then you just save the document and send it off to the printer. Well, you're not supposed to do that. But that's evidently what happened here. Just a wee tiny little itty bit of nudging could have made this book a billion times more readable. Consider:

"TSR tackled the task of translating the game" (next page) "into the French language."

Why not adjust the leading or spacing a fraction of an inch to bump this back so the entire sentence fits on the first page, avoiding the awkward break? It's easy, really. I do it every day.

"Every staple of fantasy/swords & sorcery fiction could" (next page) "find a comfortable home in the Known World."

This one is even more egregious. At the bottom of that first page, there's a full two inches of space. You could have fit an entire new paragraph there, much less eight words. Come on, guys.

All this comes to a head in the latter pages of the book, when numerous smaller sub-articles by the likes of Ed Stark and Ryan Dancey are interspersed with the main narrative in a confusing jumble, both the sub-article and the main article continuing on across two, three or more pages. This causes the reader to have to flip back and forth numerous times to try and follow the separate threads, with amusing consequences. I think at one point Peter Adkison interrupted himself.

Moving on, there's much to be said of the overall graphic design, and none of it is good. Artwork, lifted from 30 years of Dungeons & Dragons products, is sprinkled willy-nilly with little regard for the subject matter. Some dramatic pieces have their most interesting bits cropped off seemingly at random. Other pieces are just reversed out and pasted on black or dropped behind a red mask, presumably for a "dramatic effect" akin to passing around a bowl of spaghetti when your players discover a pit full of snakes. In a chapter on AD&D 2nd Edition, several 1st Edition AD&D books are pictured. In a chapter on the 2nd Edition Historical Sourcebooks, several cover images are used over and over again on successive pages. And so on.

Color schemes shift from page to page, with any notion of good contrast tossed out the window. Here we have black type on white, then black type on brown, then black type on brown with a gradient from light brown to dark brown, then white on red. Page 189 is one of my favorites. Heck, even the notion of simple reversed text is thrown to the wolves here: compare 208 to 211; same white on purple scheme, different degrees of brightness. No doubt some of the pages even feature black text on a black background, though not having elven blood in me I lack the Darkvision necessary to perceive this strange and cryptic Moon writing.

Even simple things like two-page splashes are handled poorly. Check out pages 196-197 (or rather, try and find them, since they're not numbered) and try and decipher the subtitle mashed into the gutter of the book.

About The Editing (or lack thereof)

I have no way of knowing exactly who's to blame here. As Editor, I could be quick to point a finger at Mr. Archer, but perhaps here "Editor" means that he pulled the material together and strung it out so it made sense, in which case he did a good job. Whoever was responsible for copyediting and layout, however, should have to do this book all over again from scratch, on their own time. Some of the mistakes made here are positively amateurish, others so obvious that it's incredible that they weren't caught before this went to press.

Some examples of typos, poorly-phrased sentences and other gaffes that absolutely should have been fixed by an editor, chosen randomly from about the book:

"My second greatest love however, next to acting was gaming."

"My own campaign world grew out of that original map that I took a half hour to draw. z" (sic)

"...we saw a merchant caravans crossing the desert..."

"I may remembering wrong..."

"1976 was a year of beginnings as the Ral Partha miniatures company appears on the scene."

"using your time in a ways that's entertaining but also enriching."

"Until TSR published that Gary Gygax's home campaign setting back in 1975..."

"We start in town and buy your stuff."

"poured over books" (referring to reading them, not dumping water on them)

"dire straights"

"silly to support two separately game lines"

"hen we released the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons..."

and the best, on page 253,

"Advance Dungeons & Dragons"

Lest you think me harsh, let me point out that these were all things I caught on my first read through the book. I'm not a professional copy editor by any stretch of the imagination, and I make mistakes all the time. But for a product which is made out to be this huge 30th Anniversary Celebration, you'd think someone would actually read through the thing one last time before it went out the door to try and fix stupid errors and clean up grammar. Sometimes Dungeons & Dragons is all caps, sometimes not. Sometimes Dungeon Master is capitalized, sometimes not. This is something a spell-checker could fix automatically had anyone taken fifteen seconds to run it.

Part of the problem (and no doubt, one of the arguments used to defend it) is the fact that a number of the typos and grammatical errors appear in one-page "celebrations" written by various people in the entertainment industry, some well known and others of more dubious fame. "We didn't make the errors," this mythical copy editor might say, "those people made the errors." To which I reply, any editor worth his salt knows that it's preferable to correct typos, fix punctuation and even slightly massage quotes to make them sound correct. No one wants to go down in print sounding like a goober, even if they typed the sentence out that way. They'd be happy you fixed it. We all would. Some of these little one-pagers read as if they were copied out of Outlook and pasted into InDesign without a second glance.

And speaking of stupid editing mistakes and one-pagers, take note of Nik Davidson's contribution on page 98. You'll be seeing it all over again on page 194. How this page got replicated, paragraph break error and all, is beyond me. It smacks of sloppiness, however, as does the whole book.

Which I will now discuss.

Chapter 1. The Adventure Begins

By Harold Johnson with Gary Gygax

As first chapters go, this is one of the worst. In fact, as all chapters ever written go, it's one of the worst, on countless levels.

To start with, the predominant color scheme in this chapter is red and black, which makes everything look as if the layout artist slit his wrists over his work in despair. Turning everything blood red does not make it more dramatic, guys. It makes it more muted and hard to see.

Then there are the stupid typographical errors. The introductory "adventure" is written across a two-page spread entirely in italics, for no other reason than to be in italics. Though the fact that it's difficult to read is certainly in its favor, as it's hardly stellar work, featuring numerous examples of the aforementioned bad spelling, run-on sentences, bad grammar and godawful writing:

"Two were warriors as could be seen by their swords, the dwarven one sported a long beard and held a heavy warhammer. The other two were something of an oddity-- the first wore long robes and carried a slender wand of white ash, his eyebrows were animated as he took in the scene. The other wore a loose fitting tunic and held a thin bladed dagger in one hand as his enigmatic grey eyes took in the setting."

Chris Prynoski's one page "celebration" (page 22) features more bad writing, including an obviously (and badly) contrived "example" of gameplay which introduces the words "fucked" and "piss" into the book for no apparent reason other than to be crass.

"What do you mean, 'What are you gonna do'? Don't I have to roll these fucked-up-looking dice or something? What am I supposed to do?"
"You can do anything."
...
"Okay. My guy pulls down his pants and pisses on the altar."
...
"I'm rolling to see what happens to you."
"Shouldn't I be rolling to see what happens to me?"
"I'm the Dungeon Master, dude."

Riiiiight. Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Prynoski is telling the story sans embellishment, as it actually happened. Even so, it should be up to an Editor to say "You know, this is the one single page in the book where we use profanity, so maybe I should EDIT the page to remove it, for consistency. Since I'm the Editor. And stuff."

Cardell Kerr's one pager, which faces Prynoski's, is fairly coherent, but there are little things that suggest -- like the rest of the book -- that these "celebrations" were all pasted together from emails with little or no editing:

"Wow . . . thinking about it, is almost embarrassing. I mean, kobolds would never ride dragons!"

Other such "celebrations" in this chapter include testaments from Stephen Colbert, Wil Wheaton, Sherman Alexie and Ben Kweller, whose enlightening thoughts include one of the best collections of unrelated sentences in the entire book:

"When I was young, I read a ton of the Dungeons & Dragons Choose Your Own Adventure books. Music's always been my one passion in life. I had piano lessons when I was growing up..."

This first chapter of the book also features sections entitled: "Where Did It Come From?", which reiterates the story of D&D's historical origins; "A Gathering of Gamers," which not only discusses GenCon's beginnings, but also reiterates the story of D&D's historical origins; and "The Birth of D&D," which reiterates the story of D&D's historical origins.

I only wish that they'd included a section that reiterated the story of D&D's historical origins. Alas.

Chapter 2. Worlds of Adventure

By Steve Winter with Peter Archer and Ed Stark

The second chapter of the book is a tour of the main campaign settings that have been featured in Dungeons & Dragons throughout the years. As a whole it's much better written and edited than the first chapter, with more factual and relevant information and less "golly-gee" gushing.

Things begin to turn around when Peter Archer discusses Dragonlance, though he does lead off his retelling of Krynn's development with an interesting bit of time travel, stating that "Tracey Hickman, a Mormon, had returned from his mission abroad in Indonesia in March 1980" and then later that "Laura Curtis had introduced Tracy to D&D in 1997 before he went abroad."

The portions written by Steve Winter are excellently done, this inconsistency leading me to believe that the majority of the book was self-edited by the respective authors, without a final pass-through at the end. Winter's piece on the Forgotten Realms is fascinating, containing anecdotes and information about the creation of the Realms that I was previously unaware of, and his sections on Mystara, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun and Planescape contain similar revelations.

In fact, my only real gripe with the bulk of this chapter are things I've mentioned previously: awful layout (including some truly bad design decisions in the Planescape section, inserting one-page "celebrations" in the middle of the main narrative in a confusing fashion), and the bad editing and inconsistent writing in those same one-pagers. Some of them (Dan Trethaway's, and Feargus Urquart's) are well-written and edited, while others are disjointed (Laurell K. Hamilton's) or somewhat self-serving and seemingly irrelevant (John Frank Rosenblum).

Chapter 3. AD&D 2nd Edition

By Steve Winter

I expected this section to be well-written and informative, as the author, Steve Winter, had demonstrated his ability to do both those things in the previous chapter. I was not disappointed. Here, Winter covers not only the origins of 2nd Edition, but the PHBR Reference Books, the Historical Sourcebooks and the infamous Black Box (aka 1070), which was one of the best-selling items ever (over 500,000 copies worldwide). Winter seems bittersweet writing about these products, recognizing their flaws and respective levels of popularity (or lack thereof). Though not laid out so clearly, this sense of melancholy is a good lead in to the next chapter.

Chapter 4. From TSR to Wizards of the Coast

By Peter Adkison with Ed Stark

This chapter talks about Adkison's view of the merger, from the point of view of Wizards of the Coast, interspersed with Ed Stark's view from TSR. It's an interesting way to present the information, and is informative and interesting. As mentioned earlier, the layout choice to intersperse and interweave these smaller sub-articles through the main narrative makes it somewhat difficult to read, but here it almost seems to benefit the section's two-headed approach.

Sub-sections of the narrative are entitled "How I Became a D&D Fan," "TSR Needed Help," "The Acquisition of TSR," "Wizards of the Coast" and "Building TSR to Last," all self-explanatory as to the sort of content they contain and all interesting. "How I Became" really gets across the wonder of discovery, and "Needed Help" explains in layman's terms how it was that TSR crashed and burned despite record sales. "Acquisition" includes information on Ryan Dancey and the million dollar fax, while "Wizards" and "Building" wrap up the narrative nicely, bringing fact and feeling together quite nicely.

As a whole, this is perhaps the best part of the entire book, though as it starts on page 200 of a 284 page book, it's not really enough to save the whole.

Chapter 5. Third Edition

By Peter Adkison

As one might expect, this chapter covers the origins of 3rd Edition, discussing some of the design decisions that went into its development and covering topics such as the Open Gaming License that modern gamers are probably more familiar with. Though informative, it's bound to be less interesting to most readers since, unlike previous material, it's neither truly historical (it discusses events of the past five years) nor really revelatory. The section also suffers horribly from the poor layout discussed earlier, with numerous sub-articles running alongside and in-between the main narrative. Overall, it's a confused mess, and a slight downturn from the previous chapter.

Chapter 6. Into The Future

By Ed Stark

Really more of an Epilogue than a Chapter in itself, this consists of more graphical content than actual information. Here, computer games, "mature" products like the Book of Vile Darkness and Hasbro's purchase of Wizards of the Coast are discussed in more detail, though not with as much "oomph" as other sections of the book. It all feels tacked on, a feeling exacerbated by the fact that on page 282, halfway through the section, suddenly none of the paragraphs are indented. And then there's this:

"But things remained quiet. There were a few shake-ups, but mostly outside the RPG R&D department. Hasbro didn't interfere with us, and we kept our heads down for them."

And we turn the page and...

Um.

That's the end of the book, folks. That's how it ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper. It's as if everyone just got tired of looking at it and stopped working on it. Appalling.

Credits

As far as I'm concerned, only three people need to be called out onto the carpet on this one:

First, the Editor, Peter Archer. Sorry Peter, but you get a C. I'll grant you that it's not like there's a typo on the front cover but there is, on average, one typo or other error on every page of this book. For every one perfect page there's one with two or three errors on it. The editing is at best inconsistent. The middle of the book is much better, but it's far from perfect, and the first chapter really ruins the mood early on. Since there's no copyeditor listed in the credits, I have to point the finger Archerwards. Maybe it wasn't your fault. But we gotta blame someone, and your name's listed first. But you're not alone.

Art Direction: Matt Adelsperger
Graphic Design: Matt Adelsperger & Brian Fraley
Typesetting: Matt Adelsperger & Brian Fraley

Together you guys get a D. This is really bad. Really. I can sort of comprehend how this was perceived as a cutting-edge art book with nifty crosswise and crooked layout, lots of colors and a slapdash, thrown-together look. I just think it looks sloppy. As an art book, maybe it's quite the achievement. As a celebration of the greatest RPG ever published, it sucks.

The Price

$49.95? Are you kidding me? For this? It's worth half that, and I expect it'll be half that in about two weeks when it winds up in the half-price bin. I'm not about to take my copy back (I can write it off on my taxes since I wrote this review, after all), but I'm not inclined to show it to my gaming friends.

Summary

This book does not make me want to celebrate Dungeons & Dragons. It makes me frustrated and sort of angry that this sloppy product was foisted off on us. So much more could have been done, and so much better. Even if no additional content were added, a cleaner layout with better use of graphics and a single pass through by a copyeditor could have caught most of the mistakes I mention above, and helped make it a delightful read. But alas, no. I see nothing stylish about being random and sloppy. If this were anything other than a Celebration of 30 years of D&D I might be more forgiving, but it isn't, and I'm not. We deserve better.

The middle of the book, especially the portions written by Mr. Winter and Mr. Adkison, are really interesting, fun and informative. But these highlights are dimmed by the broad shadow cast by much of the other material, including some of the more awful "gee whiz" one-pagers and the entirety of Chapter 1.

I'd recommend this book if you're a true fan, a completist, or if you have 50 bucks to spend. I would not recommend you buy this as a Christmas gift for someone else, because really they'll probably be disappointed, and you don't want that. Give them a $50 gift certificate for your FLGS instead. It'll be much more appreciated, and chances are the product they buy with that money will get them a much cleaner, much better edited product than this.

Let's hope the "50 Years of Adventure" book is a little better than this. Assuming we're still reading books in twenty years, of course.


You really could purchase 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews. To see your own review here, carefully read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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329 comments

I'm celebrating by... (4, Funny)

danielrm26 (567852) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945879)

...wasting my every waking moment on WoW...

Re:I'm celebrating by... (-1, Troll)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945950)

shaking my head at an reviewer with too much spare time and no social life....You need to get out more....

Re:I'm celebrating by... (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945999)

This has got to be the most nerdy story on /. ever.
From the pointless intro to the behemoth and ultimately irellevant summary.
wow..

Re:I'm celebrating by... (1)

poohsuntzu (753886) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945995)

Comparing WoW to the legendary DnD is like comparing ...

No, you just don't do it.

Re:I'm celebrating by... (1)

say__10 (768448) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946103)

It's not wasting time! I swear leveling my Warlock is much more important than sleep or food or hygene.

Gimp :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946362)

It will be, until your Warlock meets the pointy end of my Rogue's dagger...

Old School (4, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945892)

Ashamed, awful, sad shake of the head...

Interesting how one would be able to apply all of those same terms to the state of D&D itself ever since, well, second edition came out. Not that there weren't some good rule tweaks, but that's where this "You need 1000 rulebooks to play a basic game" mentality really emerged in earnest. I mean, c'mon, the illusionist's handbook? "You make people see things". The *bard's* handbook? "Nobody plays this class, nitwit."

You enter a 10x10 room. Two orcs are guarding a chest. They leap to their feet as you enter, one orc looks to the other and says "Looks like Dwarf for dinner again", and the other responds "how come we never get any pork up here?". Roll initiative.

Nice Bard's Tale ref.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10945951)

That was the dragons on what, Mangar 3 or 4? Nice.

Re:Old School (1)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945952)

Unlike WoD, which requires you to purchase 1 core book and at least 15 supplements to really understand what the core book is talking about. By the time you've figured it out, they release a totally new core book.

2nd Edition (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946056)

The thing that really bugged me about all the extra books in 2nd edition is that they took a large amount of the creativity of the game out by basically laying down rules for things that people would otherwise have to come up with on their own.

The thief's handbook was the worst one, ironically because it was the best one. They took a lot of the creative things that players had been doing and wrote it all up so all of the sudden all this neat stuff was standard equipment.

The first time I saw a character played at GenCon make some caltrops and later use them to slow down the guards chasing him, it was cool and inventive and praiseworthy. He told me later he'd been watching a ninja movie and almost leapt to his feet like Hey! I can use that! Two years later, every dufas was tossing them behind them wherever they went because they'd just read the book. Not inventive, not cool.

I've always taken the route that the less books the better. Improvisation is what makes paper and pencil RPG's worthwhile. Otherwise you might as well be playing Everquest.

Re:Old School (4, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946067)

Uh? My group played 3e D&D for the better part of a year with a player's handbook, a monster manual and a DM's guide. where exactly are you getting the idea all those little class supplements are required for play?

Re:Old School (1)

double-oh three (688874) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946209)

Seconded. While it's true that after a while you tend to want/need to pick up more books, it's nothing more than the natural progression towards specialization. But you definitly don't need any more than the 3 named by the parent to start out, and you could probably leave out the Monster Manual for a few sessions(AKA, until they get bored of killing kolbolds).

Re:Old School (2, Informative)

Xardion (215668) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946217)

Seems like they were more bitching about 2nd Edition AD&D, which was notorious for its brevity when it came to clarifying a complicated situation. And instead of release errata or an FAQ on an official website (yes, the web was still a 'new' thing back then, but honestly), they'd release a new book. And the whole 2nd edition revised books was just the last flailing cash grab of a tanking company.

Re:Old School (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946466)

You might want to check dates. The original 2e came out in 89. No web then.

Re:Old School (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946239)

For that matter the original little booklets still work for me. Just because they print 'em doesn't mean you have to buy and use 'em, unless, of course, you're hung up on being "official."

In which case I'm not sure that a game like D&D is for you in the first place. It's about creativity.

KFG

Re:Old School (1)

Dysan2k (126022) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946392)

Nah, just sounds to me like he needs the adventure modules to run a game. That's fine if you've never run before or are new to a d20 system (in which case a 3-part module should be more than sufficient.) Our GM just culminates some stuff from the books, adds his own twist and NPCs, then runs the game from that. Lord knows I have to print stuff off before the game for him lest he goes, pulls out the PDA, and runs from that.

Re:Old School (5, Funny)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946201)

The *bard's* handbook? "Nobody plays this class, nitwit."

I take offense to your blatant bias against all of us bards. I've played my half-elven bard, Illiariariniara, for 12 years now and I must say it is the most fulfilling part of my life!! And I read the bard's handbook constantly to improve my understanding of my bard. She is currently level 26 and I hope that within a year she'll reach level 27. She can play a mean lute, let me tell you, and will charm the stink off a kobold! haha! Once you really get into character you'll better understand why the 2nd edition is so much better and why bards are so deep. They are the master of no trades but the jack of all but they get in all the sticky situations with the tavern wenches... I'll never forget the first time my bard had sex. So before you go jumping on people about how bards suck, you should try it for awhile and see if you like it!

Re:Old School (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946338)

Egads. 12 years and level 26? What are you doing, playing once a year?

Re:Old School (2, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946413)

You sound so much like my old girlfriend. I still shudder at her memory. She once left her three year old kid home alone for the weekend because she had to go to a con. That was the last straw. The dad sued for custody and he won (in a state where dad's never get custody) by default because she was too busy playing DnD to show up to court. Is she still playing that LG vampire paladin after twenty five years? Probably.

Re:Old School (5, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946237)

The more different RPGs I played, the less I enjoyed long sets of rules. Some of the best games I played had extremely spare rules that simply laid out some basics of the world, and left the rest up to the GM. Yes, that requires a good GM, but then the heavily rule bound games just become mindless dice fests without a good GM. In the end I often played a very simplified game with only 2 rules:
  1. You don't question the GMs decisions
  2. You don't question the GMs decisions

And the GM simply had a fairly free flowing game tried to understand the skills and abilities of the characters and just worked out a percentage chance of success in his head, and asked people to roll on it for any given action.

In the end great RPGs are made by great story telling. Get in a good storyteller for the GM and rules are almost irrelevant. Get in a bad one and not matter how many rules you add you just have a boring dice game suitable only for pedants who like to say things like "But it says here on page 237 paragraph 4 of the Rogue Illusionists handbook..."

Jedidiah.

bards (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946266)

I take offense to that. Bards rock. I DM'd a PBeM (based on "Ancient Blood" from an old Dungeon mag) in the early 90's that lasted about two years, IIRC, with a party of 7 that contained 3 bards. (Actually started with 4 but one had to drop out fairly early and was replaced with a different PC.) None of the three was the most suited for an adventure of that type, but they added the most interesting elements to the group. I've found that bard players are often consciously choosing to throw themselves into role-play to a greater degree than others players. You usually don't find min-maxers playing bards.

Re:Old School (1)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946375)

I think you can make a general statement that any book published by a company documenting its own history is self-serving at best, corporate propaganda most likely, and a purile mastubatory exercise at worst.

RPG companies of the late 1970s in many ways parallel the dot-com industry in the 1990s. Start with a cool idea, driven by young enthusiastic individuals. More people get into the mix. It becomes a business. Business grows. Revenue becomes important. Nature of the beast changes until it becomes unrecognisable -- most likely this is mediocrity, but its also the result of a maturing enterprise.

Gygax is eaten by TSR, TSR is eaten by WOTC, WOTC is eaten by Hasbro. Arguably each step has resulted in a more watered down, inferior product.

On a side note, as for 2nd edition, I think it had the right idea with the original 3 core-rulebooks...but handbook and expansion-itis watered down the product completely. TSR fell into the 'consistent quarterly revenue' trap. As for 3e, I don't even recognise it.

Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (5, Funny)

datastalker (775227) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945894)

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher once made the class grade each other's papers. As she read off answers, I stared in horror at the paper I had been given from the girl next to me. Every answer was wrong. Every one. By the time I had ticked off the 30th incorrect answer, I was practically in tears. I felt responsible, somehow, for the problems on the page. It would not be her fault that she failed, but rather my own fault for calling attention to her flaws. I felt ashamed. I felt awful. That was twenty years ago. I've gotten over it.

I may not be a psychiatrist, or even play one on TV, but that sounds *way* too much like you haven't gotten over it. ;) Of course, with Slashdot as your only cahartic outlet, you may never get over it! ;)

Re:Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (0, Flamebait)

zecg (521666) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946002)

Well, he did say it was a girl - and that was probably the last time he met one of her kind. How is a man to get over it, by playing D&D and correcting typos in books on D&D?

Re:Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (1)

wramsdel (463149) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946090)

I don't think his mom'll let him have girls in the basement.

Re:Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (5, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946047)

On the other hand, he certainly established his credentials to review a D&D book. Meanwhile that girl probably grew up to be prom queen and then the ex-Mrs. Larry Ellison, and has zero recollection of some nerd sitting next to her and crying over her division quiz.

Re:Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946150)

Yeah, either that or she is cracked out in some abandoned house with the quiz and his picture stuck to the wall with a dagger and little calender filled with x's, while the number of days until she has her revenge lessens. Just a thought, but you're probably right.

Re:Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (1)

thebra (707939) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946130)

I remeber switching papers in math class and grading. We all had an understanding that if we missed an problem that we would fill it it correctly. Yeah, it's cheating....

Re:Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946437)

about your sig:

that's not a fix, it's a repetitive annoying procedure.

Re:Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946165)

this(the article) is a waste of Slashdot space

Re:Um... I don't think you've gotten over it... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946374)

Yeah, he needs help.

By the way... Look at how bad that book is! It sucks! It's all Aeonite's fault. Bastard!

Even made sense to a non-D&Der (5, Funny)

bubbaprog (783125) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945931)

D&D fans cannot be burdened with the time-wasting task of copy editing. There are twelve-sided dice to be thrown!

Re:Even made sense to a non-D&Der (5, Funny)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945976)

Make sure you know how to throw them right. [criticalmiss.com]

Re:Even made sense to a non-D&Der (2, Funny)

Bingo Foo (179380) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946033)

After reading your post, I immediately began to envision what a 12-sided die would look like.... Being a physicist, I concluded that a spin-1/2 cube would do the trick.

Re:Even made sense to a non-D&Der (5, Informative)

general_re (8883) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946054)

I immediately began to envision what a 12-sided die would look like....

Well, I ain't got no physics degree, but I do hate to see someone straining themselves so - try this [google.com] ...

Re:Even made sense to a non-D&Der (4, Funny)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946359)

Apprently that was how they performed the copy editing... or for that matter, the writing.
The writer casts "Poor puncuation".
Editor rolls vs. Spell.
Editor fails roll.

The Editor thinks the speeling is a-okay!

Holy Cow! (-1, Troll)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945942)

I knew DnD community was nuts, but to publish a 700 page review on /. is just insane!

I can just imagine the little girl laughing at you 10 years later when it came time for prom.

Laughable price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10945943)

Is anyone going to pay that outrageous price? wow. http://fromthemorning.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Hire Him! (4, Funny)

fembots (753724) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945947)

This Michael should be the chief editor of Slashdot with unlimited mod points, or maybe not?

Boohoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946442)

By the time I had ticked off the 30th incorrect answer, I was practically in tears.

What a sissy-boy

yester-years D&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10945960)

I am so fond of one harkening back to yester-years, in pleasant memories of their youth and playing D&D, in those formative years. When I read of this, it brings me to back to my youth, in which I used to beat the crap out of these D&D geeks and then go download some porn and warez off the BBS.

Review? (4, Interesting)

Godeke (32895) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945963)

I'm a bit confused the the focus of this review. From what I gather, this is an art book. Yet very little of the review discusses the art within. Typos, grammatical errors and orphan control are not what I usually rate my art books on (although layout is important and shouldn't be this shabby). I found the review 100% helpful in regards to the quality of layout and only 20% help in regards to contents, except when it was misspelled.

It is almost like this review needed to be edited by a third party editor...

Re:Review? (5, Insightful)

Aeonite (263338) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946127)

Fair enough. I wouldn't go so far as to call this wholly an art book. I'm not sure what it was intended to be, nor who the audience was.

However, looking at it as an art book, there really is little worth mentioning beyond what I say in the review. The overall design is a sloppy-looking, crooked affair, and the art (selected from 30 years of D&D products) is used so inappropriately as to diminish its artistic value, with colors shifted, heads cropped off, etc.

orc (-1, Offtopic)

vergil (153818) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945972)

and pie

Make the best of it. (1)

seanfuller (265807) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945979)

I am sadly shaking my head after reading your review. There are a lot of D&D products out there that run the gamut from excellent to poor. I apreciate the review and I will not be tempted to buy this book.

As an aside, I have to ask about the fourth grade experience. What did the girl look like? Couldn't you have marked a few right anyway to make her feel better?

Re:Make the best of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946157)

Knowing my daughter in grade four, she would not have the foresight to consider giving points when none were deserved. In grade four, they still do as they are told. (yes, there are exceptions)

Re:Make the best of it. (1)

Aeonite (263338) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946164)

About all I recall of her was that she had a harelip. And I think I did give her a few for free.

She still failed.

Uh oh... (3, Funny)

SweetZombieJesus (788843) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945981)

My THACO isn't low enough to read this article...

In honor of the 30 year anniversary... (4, Funny)

Savatte (111615) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945986)

I will roll my d30 and eat that many bags of cheez doodles tonight!

Re:In honor of the 30 year anniversary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946347)

And how is that different from every other evening?

Re:In honor of the 30 year anniversary... (1)

Savatte (111615) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946457)

normally it's a d20

Yeesh. (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945990)

Formatting issues are bad enough (and esily avoided - you get a standard template). Factual errors (like version numbers) are worse, since the book is supposed to be a work of fact, not a work of fiction.


No "celebration of D&D" is possible without mentioning games that existed alongside it - Tunnels and Trolls being probably the most obvious. Games don't exist in a vaccuum, and the push to evolve exists because alternatives exist.


I can't recall that many uses for a D10 in D&D/AD&D. Rolemaster, certainly. Rolemaster is 99.9% percentiles, which makes GMing much simpler. But D&D? Nah. That uses almost anything but!


Character advancement is through many mechanisms and it is entirely possible for a character to reach very high levels with never seeing a gold piece or a single monster. Rare, but possible. This book sounds horribly like the author is a weenie power-player who only does dungeon-bashes against hopelessly out-powered, out-classed foes with GMs who prefer to please their players with vast hordes of treasure than serious game-play or challanging problems.


I'll pit my 20th level hamster mage against his best characters, any day.

Re:Yeesh. (3, Informative)

drxenos (573895) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946053)

In 2nd edition (and some monsters in 1st) used a d10 for suprise. It was also used for some large weapons, and of course percentile (MR, thieves' skill checks, teleport errors, etc.).

Re:Yeesh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946315)

Dr Xenos is the geekest link! All hail Dr Xenos as a geek!

We are *not* worthy!

Re:Yeesh. (2, Funny)

drxenos (573895) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946431)

Why thank you! I'm always telling my daughter to "revel in your geekdom!" I LOVE being a geek.

Bastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946462)

Sword. Although it's more fun in GURPS where it makes a difference whether you use it 1 or 2 handed.

Elves don't have darkvision! (3, Funny)

dougnaka (631080) | more than 8 years ago | (#10945997)

They have infra-vision!

Re:Elves don't have darkvision! (2, Informative)

drxenos (573895) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946175)

With was renamed "darkvision" in version 3.x.

Re:Elves don't have darkvision! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946308)

Yes, but elves don't have darkvision in 3E. They have "low-light vision", which isn't as good as real darkvision. Dwarves have darkvision.

Re:Elves don't have darkvision! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946464)

I stand corrected!

Re:Elves don't have darkvision! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946356)

Dr Xenos is the geekest link! All hail Dr Xenos as a geek!

We are *not* worthy! We are most certainly *not* worthy.

(Sheesh)

infra/ultra (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946311)

Didn't 1st Ed have infra- and ultra-vision? I think 2nd Ed only had infra. Dunno about 3rd Ed, I've dropped out of the AD&D scene. In many of our 2nd Ed games we still used ultravision instead of infra for surface-dwellers, as we thought it made more sense.

It's a game, get over it. (2, Insightful)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946005)

The players made the game. All the books in the world cannot take the place of the imagination of the players.

I agree with the reviewer, a "tribute" without Gygax is absurd.

Bob-

if you really want to know history of d&d... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946007)

Read the Gary Gygax interview in the OD&DITIES fanzine (issues 10 and 11 i think??) anyway read the OD&DITIES fanzine anyway, it's quite good and has the oldschool atmosphere of D&D from the 70's/80's. Yeah it's a free download. I'm not going to link to the site so it doesn't get slashdotted. I'll let you look on google for it. ;)
Then if you can, get the Dragon Magazine CDROM archive. It has every one of the magazines from #1 to #250 on it in PDF. It's probably one of the best values out there for the money. Great Xmas gift too, btw. :)
Also, look around used bookstores, online stores, ebay, etc. for the 1981 edition of the Basic and Expert rules. These are the epitome of oldschool D&D, and unlike 1e AD&D, the Basic/Expert rules are quite easy to play. Each book is only 64 pages, and it's not all just rules there's also lots of examples and advice in there. In fact it's quite remarquable that the editors (Moldvay and Cook) managed to cram so much stuff in so little space, and yet still keep it fully understandable by 10-year olds.
Then look around for some of the old Basic edition modules. B1-B5, and X1 (Isle of Dread) are damned fine places to start. You don't really *need* the modules, but they do help set that oldschool tone.
Finally just make sure you got enough pretzels/chips/cheetos and Mountain Dew (or whatever ya enjoy) and grab your dice and graph paper.
That's how I'd celebrate 30 years of D&D. Relive it. Hell, you might even come to like it more than the newer games out there. It definetely has a style all to its own.

Layout nightmares (0, Offtopic)

adisakp (705706) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946009)

Does anyone remember early issues of Wired magazine. Hippest and Coolest magazine ever at the time -- awesome ads and graphics. It even had pretty good articles but the reason I stopped subscribing was the impossible to read text flow. I remember one article that had a flip out page and the text wrapped around the page on the back of the flipout and then back to the original page so you had to flip pages between lines of text... SERIOUSLY.

Vin Diesel? (4, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946012)

The book boasts on its cover that it features a Foreword by Vin Diesel.

Vin Diesel?!

VIN DIESEL!!!

*searches in his Bag of Holding for the first large, heavy weapon he can lay his hand on*

Re:Vin Diesel? (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946128)

> The book boasts on its cover that it features a Foreword by Vin Diesel.
> Vin Diesel?!
> VIN DIESEL!!!
> *searches in his Bag of Holding for the first large, heavy weapon he can lay his hand on*

There's no need to sully a perfectly innocent +5 Mace of Encluement on this. Just empty your bag of holding and send to the editor, along with this:

*hands smoothwombat a portable hole*

The editor will do what comes naturally to him, and we'll all be the better for it.

So I'm assuming the celebration is taking place... (4, Funny)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946021)

... in some parents' basement?

Re:So I'm assuming the celebration is taking place (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946419)

A parent's basement? What in the world are you talking about?

The first campaign I played in was at my school in the library. I still have most of those dice.

The last time I played DnD was in a well-lit living room. My wife sat next to me, and we played with the DM's wife and her brother. Our kids played nearby. (Not DnD - they're too young... for now.)

now that you've had your cathartic moment... (-1, Offtopic)

painehope (580569) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946030)

when's my fucking turn to share?

This type of book seems completely unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946078)

What information does this offer that you couldn't get for free off of the web with a few minutes spent searching on Google? Heck, just a few weeks ago, there was a nice series of articles referenced right here on Slashdot.

A.C.

Roll percentile dice for color scheme...

just for kicks (3, Funny)

ragnar (3268) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946080)

Not to pick on the reviewer or anything, but was anyone else beginning to hear the voice of Comic Book Guy (simpson's reference) in your head about mid-way? It actually got better at that point for me. ;)

Re:just for kicks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946183)

was anyone else beginning to hear the voice of Comic Book Guy (simpson's reference) in your head about mid-way?

No, but I am imagining your post in the voice of Prof. Frink. That is definitely helping me read your post.

Re:just for kicks (4, Funny)

fizban (58094) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946192)

Yes, I believe this review can easily be summed up as...

"Worst... Celebration... Ever..."

Re:just for kicks (1)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946230)

Whew, I am glad I was not the only one!

"Worst D&D book ever!"

Need it on PDF (1)

bigdady92 (635263) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946081)

only way to view some stuff like this as there is no way I'm paying $50 for a freaking Almanac of D&D.

And Vin Diesel can rot in hell for churning out the Chronicles of Riddick movie. I can't believe I wasted my 3hrs downloading that movie! I should charge for storage space!

Attention seeker.... (2, Informative)

M_Talon (135587) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946087)

You can find this same review, word for word, on a different site.
http://www.gamegrene.com/node/419/ [gamegrene.com]

That's pretty low. If you're going to trash something on multiple sites, at least don't just copy and paste the same thing.

Mod parent -1: Doesn't check facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946211)

Seriously. The guy's email address is aeon@... The reviewer's name is Aeon. Sure looks like the *same guy* to me.

Re:Mod parent -1: Doesn't check facts (0, Offtopic)

M_Talon (135587) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946460)

Of course it's the same guy. That's not the issue. The problem I have is the multiple submission of the exact same overblown rant.

The whole deal smacks of "Let's post my review on as many sites as I can. That way, the world can see how big my ---- is."

Re:Attention seeker.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946214)

It does mean, however, that we can copy and paste all the comments from there for free.

Re:Attention seeker.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946267)

Yeah, nothing should ever be syndicated on the web or cross-posted on more than one site. It's totally "low."

Re:Attention seeker.... (1)

bubbaprog (783125) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946414)

it's the same review because the aeon here is the same aeon as on gamegrene! Imagine that. Please mod parent down for busting on a good person's name.

Jesus (0, Flamebait)

cjpez (148000) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946094)

... that read like a fucking Pitchfork Media review. *gag*

*rolls twenty-sided dice* (1)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946110)

Damn, lost my wallet. I guess I have to pass on this one.

Maybe that's part of the "tribute"... (1)

Dinosaur Neil (86204) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946147)

It makes me frustrated and sort of angry that this sloppy product was foisted off on us.

Back at the dawn of time, my first exposure to D&D was the original pamphlet-style books, and boy were they sloppy. And the knock-offs were even worse; typos in the D&D books ended up replicated in things like the Arduin Grimoire (sp?) series. There's a Murphy's Rules strip that describes a "% in liar" typo (note spelling) that propogated from the original rules into one of the AG books. So maybe the bad publication values are actually a twisted sort of homage...

Re:Maybe that's part of the "tribute"... (3, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946212)



"Back at the dawn of time, my first exposure to D&D was the original pamphlet-style books, and boy were they sloppy."

The Chainmail rules and the first edition books did communicate one thing very well: This game is a work in progress, and YOU must continue its development.

It was aimed at people who had already grown bored with the rules for tabletop gaming with historical battles, and was supposed to help take people with an interest in a fantasy milieu to another level.

That means, Gygax provided us with a basic movement and combat system, a magic system that *intentionally* sucked ass, and the most general idea of a universe in which this particular gaming milieu might take place.

The rest was supposed to be picked up by your imagination. You were supposed to create combat tables, spell effects, character attributes, and adventure campaigns, and grow your own game from the seed of the ideas contained in the books.

Some people did so, and often had very good results. Those fortunate enough to live near Lake Geneva Wisconsin had the unique opportunity to witness how Gygax himself had interpreted these rules.

Others, particularly after the game became popular and the 2nd Ed. books came out, chose to stick to the rule books as if they were some kind of bible.
Which is reasonable I suppose.

The Rise and Fall of D&D (1)

hol (89786) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946155)

Not having read the book, but as someone who still plays the odd game of AD&D (22 years and counting) I found the state and layout of the second edition lamentable at best, and am not surprised that this review was so bad.

The decline, in my mind, started with the release of the Wilderness and Dungeoneers' books, and adding complexity that while making the game more realistic, really contributed little to the overall enjoyment of the game (and the binding on the books was awful - the pages fell out in the first year).

I guess the same could be said of AD&D as an extension of the original D&D game, but that would be splitting hairs.

The old DMG, all said, was a fine piece of work. It took a long time to digest and to understand, and probably even longer for a DM to come up with the set of rules he chose to apply for his players. The basic rules were simple, and you could add as much complexity as you wanted.

Just my 2 cents. Another nail in the coffin.

Re:The Rise and Fall of D&D (4, Insightful)

yaphadam097 (670358) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946357)

It seems like a lot of old school D&D players share this sentiment that the AD&D 2E ruined the game with all its extra rules and complexity. While I agree with those who say that it was unfortunate that you had to buy hundreds of dollars worth of books to keep up on all the optional rules, I also think that the optional rules gave a lot of opportunities to expand and enhance the game in your own direction. Sure, one could do that with imagination alone, but at a certain point you need rules to mitigate the conflicts between your imagination and mine.

I learned a lot from the optional rules and rulebooks. I learned how to tell a good optional rule from a bad one, and eventually how to write my own rules so that the game I was playing was unique to my group.

In hindsight it would have been nice to have had a forum like the internet back then so that we could explore and create expansions to the game without spending ALL of our allowances on the latest rulebook, but overall I am glad that I wasted my money on them versus some of the other stuff I probably would have wasted it on.

Vin Diesel :-) (1)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946156)

What's next? A critical appraisal of "Pokemon. Past, Present and Future" with a foreword by Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme? You are not afraid of the dark, are you? :-)

Consistent (1)

dirtmerchant (162306) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946187)

Should this really come as a suprise? Outside of the core books (and even they could stand a few hours of field-testing before the 3.6 release) the quality of work from Wizards is always sub-par from when examined from a design standpoint.

Maybe it's a joke. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946249)

Haven't seen the book, but if Steven Colbert is involved, I'd be suspicious that the whole project is an excercise in ironic humor.

Still have my original dice... (1)

fadethepolice (689344) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946275)

Went back to PA from CA this thanksgiving. I came here (CA) in a hurry for a new job, and couldn't pack everything. Needless to say, I have been pining overy my dice since I left. One of the first things I did when I got to PA was to find my dice bag and pack it. I may have to buy some white crayons to re-do the numbers though...

Playing since 1984, and still going strong.. contact me if you are in lake tahoe and need a dungeon master, I need Players!!! jamesjsheridan at hotmail.com

ROFLMAO (1)

thunderbee (92099) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946280)

Thanks, you made my evening.
Excellent review.
I saved $50 :)
No one will call that a slashvertisement I guess :)

I celebrate the D&D anniversary ... (5, Funny)

bani (467531) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946297)

... by listening to the classic dead alewives skit:

NARRATOR: "Your children, like it or not, are attracted in their weaker years to the occult. And a game like D&D fuels their imagination and makes them feel special while drawing them deeper and deeper into the bowels of El Diablo. This afternoon, the Dead Alewives' Watchtower invites you to sit in on an actual gaming session, and observe the previously unobservable as a hidden camera takes you into the inner sanctum of Dungeons & Dragons."

(Session begins)
Dungeon Master: "Galstaff, you have entered the door to the north. You are now standing by yourself in a dark room, the pungent stench of mildew emanates from the walls..."
Player 1: "Where are the cheetos?"
DM: "Next to you."
Player 2: "I cast a spell!"
P1: "Where is Mountain Dew?"
DM: "In the fridge, duh!"
P2: "I want to cast a spell!"
P1: "Can i get one?"
DM: "YES! You can have a Mountain Dew, just get it!"
P2: "I can cast any of these on the list, yes?"
DM: "Yes, any of the first level ones."
P1: "I'm going to get one, any one else want one? Hey, I'm not in the room, right?"
DM: "What room?"
P2: "I want to cast... Magic Missile!"
P1: "The room where he's casting all this stuff at!"
DM: "He hasn't casted one yet."
P2: "I am though, if you'd listen. I'm casting Magic Missile!"
DM: "Why do you want to cast magic missile? There is nothing to attack here..."
P2: "I'm attacking the darkness"
(laughter)
DM: "Fine, fine, you attack the darkness. There is an elf in front of you."
P2: "Whoa!"
Player 3: "That's me, right?"
DM: "He's wearing a brown tunic, and he has grey hair, and blue eyes..."
P3: "No I don't, I have grey eyes!"
DM: "Let me see that sheet..."
P3: "W... well, the sheet says I have blue eyes, but I decided I want grey eyes!"
DM: "Whatever... ok, look, you guys can talk to each other now."
P2: "Hello."
P3: "Hello."
P2: "I am Galstaff, sorcerer of light!"
P3: "Then how come you had to cast magic missile?"
(laughter)
DM: "You guys are being attacked!"
P1: "Do I see that happening?"
DM: "NO! You are outside, by the tavern!"
P1: "Cool, then I get drunk!"
DM: "There are seven ogres surrounding you."
P2: "How can they surround us? I had Mordenkainen's Magical Watchdog cast!"
DM: "No, you didn't."
P1: "I'm getting drunk, are there any girls there?"
P2: "I totally did! You asked me if I wanted any equipment along before this adventure, and I said no. But I needed material components for all my spells so I cast Mordenkainen's magical watchdog!"
DM: "But you never actually cast it!"
P1: "Hey, roll the dice and see if I'm getting drunk!"
DM (sighs) (rolls dice): "Yes, you are!"
P1: "Are there any girls there?"
DM: "YES!"
P2: "I did though! I completely said when you asked me!
DM: "No, you didn't! You didn't actually say you were casting any spells so now there are ogres, OK?"
P1: "Ogres! Man, I got an ogre slaying knife! It's got a +9 against ogres!"
DM: "But YOU ARE NOT THERE! You're getting drunk!"
P1: "Ok but, if there are any girls there, I want to be able to DO THEM !"

NARRATOR: "There you have it. A frightening look into America's most frightening pastime. Remember that it's not your children's fault that they've been drawn into a satanic cult of nightmare. It's their gym teacher's fault for making them feel like outcasts when they couldn't do a single pull up!"

Fark (1, Informative)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946368)

This same review was posted on Fark a couple weeks ago, but by someone else, so I'm going out on a limb here to suggest that this guy just plageriazed the review.

Now, as to whether the review is a good one? I'd guess so. Wizards has taken what used to be a great franchise, and have done nothing but turn it into the great money-milking machine +5.

I'm not saying I didn't like 3ED, I think it streamlined a lot of things and made it easier for new players. But every single book past that has been nothing but an excuse to cut down on content and quality while hiking the price at the same time. I was taken aback when I saw a very thin soft cover book cost about $26 when it used to be somewhere around $15.

I'm glad I have all my old books, because I have no plans on buying any new ones. Thank god for PDFs. And its such a shame what has happened to Gary Gygax through all of this since he is the one that deserves the lions share. I helped the way I could though, by going to the local gaming store where the Gygax family lives and where they have worked at various points and supporting them by buying pizza and product in exchange for some of the best D&D gaming sessions I've ever played in my entire life.

Thank god D&D has always been a game made by the players and not by the books.

Re:Fark (5, Funny)

Aeonite (263338) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946436)

"This same review was posted on Fark"

Yes.

"a couple weeks ago"

No.

"but by someone else"

No.

"so I'm going out on a limb here"

Yes.

"to suggest that this guy just plageriazed the review."

No.

Re:Fark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10946451)

Right now on Total Fark there is a link about it. This is the same review by the same guy. It's not plagiarized.

But thank you for always assuming the best in others.

Shameless Plug - Find your stats (OT) (2, Interesting)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946394)

Long ago, I had a link on my site to a server side quiz by Bruce Blanchard that you could fill out to find your D&D stats if you were unfortunate enough to personally be stuck inside a D&D game (based on Dave Harper's usenet post [google.com] ). When the link died, I rehosted it in Javascript and put it up at my site. If you're interested: Try it. Have fun. Be glad you don't fight trolls in real life.

cleverly reminiscent (3, Insightful)

PMuse (320639) | more than 8 years ago | (#10946470)

This book does not make me want to celebrate Dungeons & Dragons. It makes me frustrated and sort of angry that this sloppy product was foisted off on us. So much more could have been done, and so much better. ... We deserve better.

We could say the same thing about our beloved game, more's the pity. We've had 30 years of just-barely-good-enough and sub-par and unprofessional and get-it-out-the-door. It's almost as if the book is merely a cleverly accurate reflection of the quality of its subject matter. Almost.

So much more could have been done in our game, and so much better.
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