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Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, Latest News

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the eye-of-the-beholder dept.

Role Playing (Games) 350

Lord Aramil of Dreadwood writes "Blogger and Dragon magazine writer Jonathan Drain is tracking the latest developments on the new D&D edition. Highlights include: Thirty levels instead of twenty, no more XP costs for magic items creation, flexible talent trees replacing feats and prestige classes, a new racial bonuses system that obsoletes ECL, and an end to rubbish skills like Forgery and Use Rope. A quote from the blog: 'Unlike 3.5, all the changes this time around sound like they're definitely for the better... If nothing else, at least they have the opportunity to get rid of Mialee.'"

cancel ×

350 comments

Now that's what I call (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284249)

News for Nerds.

I wanna submit some new skills for consideration. (-1, Offtopic)

Flipao (903929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284279)

While "use rope" is certainly redundant, I feel "roll weed" does provide a nice short term buff to the party. And no downers!

-1 Karma Whore (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284485)

WTF does your reply have to do with the parent post? Mod this idiot -1 Offtopic for the karma whore attempt.
 

Re:I wanna submit some new skills for consideratio (-1, Troll)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284993)

Roll up some Hag's hair. It'll fuck you up betta than any bud you ever smoked and you get the experience for killing the hag and you get to loot that bitch's hut. Win... win... *long puff* win situation

Re:Now that's what I call (4, Informative)

davesag (140186) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285337)

I was into D&D in school, as were lots of us, but then in university I discovered RuneQuest, then the awesome Call of Cthulhu. Please someone turn that into an online MMORG. There there was Paranoia, Aftermath, that Toon one whose name escapes me for the moment, Villians and Vigilanties, Champions, Stormbringer, the one about being a muskateer. Then I found Steve Jackson games and still love a good game of Illuminati and Car Wars. My goodness I must be so damn old now! Ahh memories.

Re:Now that's what I call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20285459)

> News for Nerds.

Or, as the Klingons would say...

The real question is... (5, Funny)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284273)

Will it be a DX10/Vista only title?

(Said in jest, not out of ignorance)

Re:The real question is... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284317)

Will it be a DX10/Vista only title?



It's not a computer game. Google for it.

Re:The real question is... (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284353)

Read the second line of his post again.

Re:The real question is... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284495)

(Said in jest, not out of ignorance)

If you have to tell people in writing you're making a joke, it's often not a very funny one.

Re:The real question is... (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285427)

If you have to tell people in writing you're making a joke, it's often not a very funny one.

You must be new here...

Re:The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284585)

Nope, only DX10.1 hardware can play it (Vista SP1 and newer).

Re:The real question is... (5, Funny)

Jesterthe3rd (960830) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284841)

Breaking news: New dice required to play D&D4! The old ones don't comply to GHS 2.0.4 (Gaming Hardware Standard) and can't understand the new IDRTP (Improved Dice Result Transfer Protocol) needed to confirm critical hits on good looking waitresses. Read: They don't bear the required symbols and don't have the right number of sides ;)

Re:The real question is... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285405)

Will it be a DX10/Vista only title?

Nah, its incompatible with both. I tried but there weren't any cables in the box ;)

Re:The real question is... (4, Funny)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285593)

Actually, I believe they were planning on DX20...

Half-assed fixes (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284341)

Bring back Dark Sun and Planescape you sons of bitches and then your game won't suck anymore. Heck, they even watered down Forgotten Realms for the 3rd edition. Once they stop being pussies and stop whining about their RPGs being too hard they will get the hard core gamers to come back.

Re:Half-assed fixes (4, Funny)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284369)

Bring back Dark Sun and Planescape you sons of bitches and then your game won't suck anymore. Heck, they even watered down Forgotten Realms for the 3rd edition. Once they stop being pussies and stop whining about their RPGs being too hard they will get the hard core gamers to come back.
Does being "hard core" consist of calling people bitches and pussies?

Re:Half-assed fixes (2, Insightful)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284467)

While I don't and never will play D&D, I am going to agree with GP... You don't water down a game that will only be played by the hard core... You aren't going to get your average joe, or even your pretty god damn nerdy joe, to show up and hang out with a bunch of people who think they are vampires and roll dice as they stroll the game store looking for some XP.

I don't have any clue what I am talking about.

Re:Half-assed fixes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284561)

...hang out with a bunch of people who think they are vampires and roll dice as they stroll the game store looking for some XP

I don't have any clue what I am talking about.

Obviously.

Re:Half-assed fixes (4, Insightful)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284679)

When last I checked, nothing is stopping "hardcore" roleplayers using the older rules for there games.

Re:Half-assed fixes (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284895)

they will get the hard core gamers to come back.

Real hard core gamers make up their own game systems and game worlds.

Only slightly less hard core people rape, pillage, and convert their vast piles of source materials from a diverse set of game systems and versions thereof. The good ones can do most of it on the fly.

That's half the point of p&p rpgs and why their translations to the computer have been relatively weak and unsatisfying, at best capturing the numbers game of equipment design and basic combat.

Seriously if your problem with D&D is that a setting is 'missing' or 'wrong', the problem is you.

Re:Half-assed fixes (5, Informative)

Wellspring (111524) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285107)

Agreed.

I'm chuckling at people who think any change to simplify the system is a change for the worse. The Hackmaster crowd can always play Shadowrun if they want an evershifting catalog of contradictory rules and exceptions.

Obviously, the proof is in the pudding, but for now what I'm hearing about D&D 4.0 is very positive. There are lots of rules like grappling that bear no relation to the other game rules and which grind the game to a halt when you try to use them. There are skills like Use Rope which are clearly inferior to other uses of your skill points, like Spot or Use Magic Device. Other skills and abilities quickly become obsolete: e.g. Climb, Heal and Jump (both are replaced by spells). Gear, especially flat +stats items, has become the end-all and be-all of advancement. And the endless prep work and bookkeeping, especially for the GM, is a waste of time and detracts from the fun of the game.

Plus, a game needs a reboot from time to time. AD&D became bloated with endless supplements, kits and spells that eventually made play completely impenetrable. 3.5 is heading in the same direction. YOu can't stop that, but you can occassionally reboot, reproducing and refining the stuff that works and dumping or rewriting the stuff that doesn't.

None of this is specific to newbies, either. Hard-core players would love to have a simplier but still thematically and tactically rich game, because then you can have five fights a night instead of three. Or your GM can afford to make the same three fights much more interesting, unique and challenging. Or you can free up some time for, G-d forbid, actually RP your character.

There are tons of games out there with clunky rules if you want difficulty and tedium for its own sake. I'm cheering for D&D because while I love 3.5, I can see the game becoming much more fun.

Re:Half-assed fixes (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285017)

Dark Sun and Planescape

WTF are you talking about? D&D had everything we needed 1982.

-jcr

Re:Half-assed fixes (1)

theAtomicFireball (532233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285153)

Ah, finally a post that doesn't make me seem like the only old fart on the board. :)

Re:Half-assed fixes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20285203)

And Birthright dammit.
With a revamped system so the group play:
Tactical Level: PCs
Operational Level: Armies
Strategic Level: Nation/Domain

Always loved that about Birthright.

Re:Half-assed fixes (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285531)

Can't they be adapted with a few house rules? There are even v3.5 spelljammer rules ou there on the net.

Dungeons & Dragons... (5, Funny)

JosefAssad (1138611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284349)

Contributing to the prevention of teen pregnancy since 1974! (and not through any fault of the girls either)

Re:Dungeons & Dragons... (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285013)

While I realize you were trying to be funny (smartass?)... why is it not the fault of the girls? Has society actually reached so low that a girl cannot talk or hang out with people because they enjoy a game? ... that parents teach their kids that "nerdiness" is a bad thing? You realize that this notion is keeping the US in a union labor job rut, right? It's cool to work in a factory, but it's sooo uncool to be a scientist or a programmer? I don't know if you are in the US or another country, but keep thinking this and keep damning your kids to underpaid/overworked manual labor jobs.

Re:Dungeons & Dragons... (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285429)

Hard to have sex while you've locked yourself into some basement with your friends to play D&D...

In any game's history... (2, Interesting)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284371)

The first time you hear "got rid of useless feature X", that's a sure sign the game sold out to the mainstream.

To the true gamer, there is no such thing as "useless feature".

Re:In any game's history... (2, Informative)

Ryvar (122400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284583)

Speaking as a diehard gamer still smoldering over the entire 3.x debacle . . . No. All of these, especially the ECL garbage, were really good revisions.

Re:In any game's history... (1)

R-2-RO (766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285221)

lol

Re:In any game's history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20285283)

Hah get back to me when D&D is considered "mainstream"... Truly that will be the golden age.

Re:In any game's history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20285357)

You have reached Bathroom use level 4!

You have reached wiping your ass level 6!

No useless features...heh...I can think of a few that WOULD be useless.

Ok... (4, Funny)

feepness (543479) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284385)

None of the following makes any sense to me:

"Blogger and Dragon magazine writer Jonathan Drain is tracking the latest developments on the new D&D edition. Highlights include: Thirty levels instead of twenty, no more XP costs for magic items creation, flexible talent trees replacing feats and prestige classes, a new racial bonuses system that obsoletes ECL, and an end to rubbish skills like Forgery and Use Rope. A quote from the blog: 'Unlike 3.5, all the changes this time around sound like they're definitely for the better... If nothing else, at least they have the opportunity to get rid of Mialee.'

Unfortunately I don't know whether to feel old or cool.

Re:Ok... (4, Informative)

Ryvar (122400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284527)

I suppose somebody should explain it for the newbs who are passingly curious:

Thirty levels instead of twenty basically means there's more headroom for higher-level adventuring before normal players have to worry about abtruse and convoluted 'epic character' rulesets/feats/whatever that often feel very non-canon.

No more XP costs for magic items creation means that you no longer lose experience points (gained by running quests, killing monsters) whenever you create a magic item. This is a Really Good Thing(tm) because it would invariably mean that the one person in each group who got saddled with building a character capable of crafting specialized magic weapons for everyone got shafted good and hard when the time came to start whipping up custom +5 swords of Destroy All Life that cast Karsus Avatar three times a day (injoke, sorry).

Feats were basically very generalized character bonus property snapons that you would add (on average) every three levels. This could be anything from improving your character's skill at the short sword (Weapon Focus: Short Sword), to them gaining the general ability to to double the duration of beneficial spells (although doing so made them harder to cast). Prestige classes were basically specialized variants of the normal basic classes (or occupations, examples of classes would be fighter, mage, thief, etc.) that had special properties: examples include the "Frenzied Berserker" spinoff of the Barbarian, the "Assassin" spinoff of the Rogue, and so forth. Canon prestige classes were *in general* slightly weaker than the base classes they were derived from, but if used very very carefully in moderate proportions could be game-breakingly powerful (Fighter/Bard/Red Dragon Disciple/Frenzied Berserker players will know exactly what I am talking about). Both of those systems apparently got folded in to class-specific development trees, which is very similar to how (surprise!) World of Warcraft handles this basic concept.

Racial Bonus system shedding ECL: ECL stands for Effective Character Level. With so many different races/sub-races in D&D it was impossible to keep them all balanced, so certain 'uber' races like Aasimar, Tieflings, Drow, and Deep Gnomes were assigned Effective Character Levels. What this basically meant was that they got pushed back one to three levels on the experience tree so that at the point where a human character was level 5, a drow party member of theirs was likely to be 3. Given the degree to which levels are the beginning and end of a character in D&D (particularly spell-casting classes, double-particularly sorcerers) this could make things very un-fun, especially in the upper game where levels are few and far inbetween. Getting rid of this comes as a massive relief to me, as it's always struck me as the single least pleasant 3.x convention.

The final bit is just cleaning up some of the more ridiculous skills out there which nobody uses.

In general, all of this is *hugely* positive news for D&D fans. I hope to God clerics got toned back a bit as well, but that might be asking for too much.

--Ryv

Re:Ok... (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284591)

Thirty levels instead of twenty basically means there's more headroom for higher-level adventuring before normal players have to worry about abtruse and convoluted 'epic character' rulesets/feats/whatever that often feel very non-canon.

Overall good changes, I agree, and defining thirty levels is no negative, of course. I just want to point out that level caps are not actually a problem of a system; it's a matter of the gamemaster pacing their campaign story arc so that it can be finished without people hitting the cap.

Re:Ok... (2, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284947)

I just want to point out that level caps are not actually a problem of a system; it's a matter of the gamemaster pacing their campaign story arc so that it can be finished without people hitting the cap.

Buahahahahaah! Cry. Scream. Cry. Aieeee! I can't believe you just said that.
LOOK AT YOUR SIG: Trust the Computer. The Computer is your friend.

For those who don't get it, he's referring to a game system with a level 8 cap and "story arcs pacing" that keeps 6 or 7 levels of completely unused headroom clear of that cap. Of course he'd have no problem with gamemaster enforced campaign story arc pacing designed to keep people from hitting a system level cap LOL!

There's more than one way to prevent the problem of a character running into a game system level cap. One way is to eliminate the cap. Another way is to eliminate the character.

-

Re:Ok... (4, Funny)

Nephilium (684559) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285449)

You don't sound happy...

You are a happy citizen, aren't you?

Only commie mutant traitors are unhappy...

You're not a commie mutant traitor are you?

Neph-I-LIM

Re:Ok... (3, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284593)

I suppose somebody should explain it for the newbs who are passingly curious:...

I could be wrong on this, but the thing is I don't think the grand-parent poster was a newb. I think he's just lost track of all of the rule changes, and to be honest so have I.

It is now literally decades since I played my last game of D&D. Even then however, the rules were just so silly be basically ignored them when playing. The world then was split into D&D and AD&D, with AD&D just having a ludicrous numbers of tables and rules. D&D was the better bet even then, but you ended up buying the AD&D stuff and translating them on-the-fly to more simple D&D rules. And eventually....you just forgot about the rules and told a story, the way role-playing really ought to be. Dice rolls were used and character stats noted, but often I'd just ignore the dice-rolls and get on with the narrative (to the advantage of the players, not because I felt like being a git).

The paragraph being referred to does nothing to convince me that the rules have improved over the years. OK, so this iteration might be an improvement over the last iteration, but anyone who remembers the rules in a thinish paperback with the blue & white cover and a dragon on the front (errr....1980'ish? Slightly before?) will still probably think they've descended into stats-based hell and forgotten the idea of story.

It's up to the DM to fix that of course, but it doesn't sound like the rules are helping.

Cheers,
Ian

Except it's a game (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284905)

Dice rolls were used and character stats noted, but often I'd just ignore the dice-rolls and get on with the narrative (to the advantage of the players, not because I felt like being a git).
Not a story.

 

Re:Except it's a game (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285071)

Except:
...it's a job, not a career?
...it's a car, not a toy?
...it's a picture, not a piece of art?
...etc.

Different things are different to different people. If someone enjoys your "game" because it has a good storyteller doesn't make them wrong. It makes you shortsighted to the potential.

Re:Except it's a game (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285163)

Well, I hope you make it clear to your players that their actions are irrelevant and you are the one directing the play and not them.

 

Re:Except it's a game (1)

lekikui (1000144) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285271)

I didn't notice where anyone said anything like that. Seems to me that all that was being advocated was ignoring the rules for the purpose of telling a good story, and that doesn't only have to hold for the GM. This seems to be a good idea to me, but that might be because I play Wushu.

It's a role-playing game. Seems to me that the idea is to play a role, not to roll some dice. If the second gets in the way of the first, discard it.

Re:Except it's a game (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285345)

Players have to be able to influence the "story" or plot, change it totally if they are capable. They have to be able to fail or succeed at inconvenient (to the GM) times, through chance, statistics, stupidity or genius.

Otherwise they are simply actors in the GamesMaster's pre-written play, not players in a freeform game.

This is why I was never a big fan of D&D, it tended towards linear plots and story telling. RuneQuest was the reverse, supplying vast amounts of background and motivation for NPCs but rarely linear plots which have to be followed to tell a good story. That was the player's job.
 

Re:Except it's a game (2, Interesting)

arashi no garou (699761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285453)

And rule-hounds like you are why I and my core group of friends migrated from D&D to the Storyteller system (White Wolf games like Vampire: The Masquerade and such). We actually wanted to (gasp!) have fun instead of drowning in the mountains of rules. In Storyteller, the GM develops a basic story outline, often with much input from the players, and then starts the improv act. It's liberating, being that much in control of your character while still having a skeleton of a backstory to keep you within sensible bounds. The only dice rolls we ever did were for situations that couldn't be properly acted out, such as fights. When you wanted to mesmerize a victim, you acted it out instead of rolling (though the rules allowed for either), and if you did it well it worked; if you didn't, well that's "life" and you learned to be a better actor.

I guess it's all about whatever makes you happy, but not everyone who is into non-computerized roleplaying can have fun with a mind full of numbers and dice rolls.

Re:Ok... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285037)

And eventually....you just forgot about the rules and told a story, the way role-playing really ought to be.

Ugh. I'm glad I never played with a wannabe fantasy author for a DM. My friends and I made it up as we went along, with the players contributing as much if not more than the DM.

-jcr

Re:Ok... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285269)

I haven't played D&D for about a decade. I started playing with the Dungeons and Dragons boxed set my parents had (1977 edition, no D&D Vs AD&D divide; the original, and only the first boxed set, which only covered rules up to level 3). These rules were simple, and provided a good framework for some exciting rôle playing. After a little while, I tried to get the next set, and discovered that I had a choice between AD&D second edition, and D&D third (I think) edition. I assumed D&D was closer to what I knew, only to discover it had added some strange things and removed others (e.g. turning alignment into a one-dimensional thing). Eventually, we ended up playing some crazy hybrid of D&D and AD&D.

I liked the separation of race and character class in AD&D, but I never understood why D&D characters got to go up to level 36, while AD&D ones only got to go to 20. Fortunately, the D&D Rules Compendium had a section in the back for converting between D&D and AD&D rules, so we just picked the ones that seemed less silly.

Re:Ok... (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284603)

Ummmm, holy shit?

I mean, last time I played I had a fighter and my buddy had a mage and we were killing kobolds and goblins. Our Dungeon Master's Guide had a big poorly drawn demon on it with a hot chick in his hand.

Wow.

Re:Ok... (2, Funny)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284831)

The final bit is just cleaning up some of the more ridiculous skills out there which nobody uses.

I use the 'use rope' skill all the time, it's useful. You never know when you'll have to tie knots on a ship, tie up a bounty, climb out of a well, rappel down the side of a castle wall ... if you don't carry around 50 ft. of silk rope all the time, you're just asking for trouble.

Re:Ok... (2, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285113)

Hello, Samwise.

Had we known this craft pleases you, we could have taught you much.

Re:Ok... (1)

raynet (51803) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284847)

I don't know much about D&D, played it 15 years ago. Why would 'forgery' and 'use rope' be rubbish skills? Both skills in RealLife(tm) do require some proficiency to be used effectively.

Re:Ok... (1)

Mprx (82435) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284921)

D&D is a game that focuses on killing things and taking their treasure. By specializing in skills that don't help with this you'll end up much less powerful than your fellow party members, and very few people enjoy this. A better solution for "useless" skills is to hire a NPC to use them, and let the PCs concentrate on the killing and looting. If you want to play a game that does focus on non-combat abilities, then D&D is the wrong system for you.

Re:Ok... (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285053)

D&D is a game that focuses on killing things and taking their treasure.

D&D is what you make of it. Sounds like you didn't have a very good DM.

-jcr

Re:Ok... (3, Interesting)

Mprx (82435) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285093)

The vast majority of the rules are about killing and looting. Sure, you *can* play a different style, but why would you want to? The non-combat rules are poorly thought out and not at all detailed, you'd be much better off using one of the many systems actually designed for non-combat play. I however happen to enjoy the traditional dungeon crawl, and a great many other D&D players do too.

Re:Ok... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285095)

Agree.

Also, I can't help but notice, this whole debate sounds like the forums of an MMO during a patch. Someone liked something that the devs took out. They stress their concern over it's loss and other people come in and give their idea on how the game should be played. Of course, their idea makes more sense (to them) and they can't see why you would want said feature. Somehow everyone must be tones down or up to an equal level and no character will have skills or talents that exceed the effectiveness of another class. Everyone must be equal. There is no exception. We can't play favorites!

Values (4, Interesting)

Eevee (535658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285041)

It's more a matter of the value you can get out those skills. You might have an actual need for 'use rope' once every five sessions, while other skills such as 'spot' or 'diplomacy' would be used repeatedly during a session. So you have the choice of spending your limited number of points gaining ranks in a skill that might eventually be useful versus one you know will be used over and over.

The other side of this is that the people writing the adventures know that most players don't take those skills. So they don't add events that require the skills, or provide alternative ways of solving the problem. So it spirals down fast.

Re:Values (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285289)

Correct me if I'm wrong (I haven't played [A]D&D for a little over a decade), but isn't the DM allowed to award an XP bonus for use of skills? Wouldn't it be simpler to just recommend that they award a bigger bonus for less common skills? If you use a skill that everyone has, you don't get much experience from it, but if you use something more uncommon then you get more.

Thirty levels rather than twenty (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284931)

Thirty levels instead of twenty basically means there's more headroom for higher-level adventuring before normal players have to worry about abtruse and convoluted 'epic character' rulesets/feats/whatever that often feel very non-canon.
Is simply fiddling with a dumb rule. The very concept of levels is dumb.

 

Re:Thirty levels rather than twenty (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285119)

I disagreed with you on the fact that this is just a game, but this I'll agree with. ;) D&D isn't about levels and adding 10 more feels more like a slap in the face than anything. To me, D&D was about the skills and spells you selected. Now instead of that, the focus is on how fast you can get to the cap? So help me, if they add AA points and "Raid" rules, I'm seriously going to cry.

Re:Ok... (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284999)

I guess this means that all the other WoC D20 systems, such as the recently-released Star Wars "Saga" edition, are now obsolete. Star Wars RPG is loaded with "Feats" and "Prestige Classes".

Re:Ok... (1)

wolfing (1007041) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285211)

Thirty levels instead of twenty basically means there's more headroom for higher-level adventuring before normal players have to worry about abtruse and convoluted 'epic character' rulesets/feats/whatever that often feel very non-canon.
I don't have a problem with this. Although I never played a campaign where the characters reached level 20 in AD&D or D&D 3+. Normally the group would break up after a couple of years, enough to maybe get them to 12 or so. But I guess this is good for the munchkin campaigns and for computer games

No more XP costs for magic items creation means that you no longer lose experience points (gained by running quests, killing monsters) whenever you create a magic item. This is a Really Good Thing(tm) because it would invariably mean that the one person in each group who got saddled with building a character capable of crafting specialized magic weapons for everyone got shafted good and hard when the time a lot, and eventually made me quit. came to start whipping up custom +5 swords of Destroy All Life that cast Karsus Avatar three times a day (injoke, sorry).
The whole magic creation thing in 3rd edition I hated, and with the new changes I'll probably hate even more (or probably just the same). The thing is, I preferred magic items when they were cool mysterious things you found on your adventuring. But when I played 3rd ed. I noticed people were building their characters around magic items (knowing they would have them). To me that cheapened the experience

Feats were basically very generalized character bonus property snapons that you would add (on average) every three levels. This could be anything from improving your character's skill at the short sword (Weapon Focus: Short Sword), to them gaining the general ability to to double the duration of beneficial spells (although doing so made them harder to cast). Prestige classes were basically specialized variants of the normal basic classes (or occupations, examples of classes would be fighter, mage, thief, etc.) that had special properties: examples include the "Frenzied Berserker" spinoff of the Barbarian, the "Assassin" spinoff of the Rogue, and so forth. Canon prestige classes were *in general* slightly weaker than the base classes they were derived from, but if used very very carefully in moderate proportions could be game-breakingly powerful (Fighter/Bard/Red Dragon Disciple/Frenzied Berserker players will know exactly what I am talking about). Both of those systems apparently got folded in to class-specific development trees, which is very similar to how (surprise!) World of Warcraft handles this basic concept.
I'll need more details to give my opinion on this, but if it reduces the munchkinism of prestige classes I'm all for it. Although I think a simple 'only one prestige class allowed' would have been enough

Racial Bonus system shedding ECL: ECL stands for Effective Character Level. With so many different races/sub-races in D&D it was impossible to keep them all balanced, so certain 'uber' races like Aasimar, Tieflings, Drow, and Deep Gnomes were assigned Effective Character Levels. What this basically meant was that they got pushed back one to three levels on the experience tree so that at the point where a human character was level 5, a drow party member of theirs was likely to be 3. Given the degree to which levels are the beginning and end of a character in D&D (particularly spell-casting classes, double-particularly sorcerers) this could make things very un-fun, especially in the upper game where levels are few and far inbetween. Getting rid of this comes as a massive relief to me, as it's always struck me as the single least pleasant 3.x convention.
But we'll have to see how they balance the fact that an ogre has natural reach (i.e. he can pretty much attack twice) and is much stronger than a human, or that a vampire can naturally charm, 'lifetap' and fly for example.

Re:Ok... (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285329)

Can you explain why Use Rope or Forgery would ever be considered "useless" skills or why D&D players would never use them? I haven't played any long-term D&D game in forever, so it seems strange to me that there are abilities listed that players and GMs can't figure out how to use....

Is it just the video-game mentality that pervades D&D today?

Interesting (5, Insightful)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284439)

When I first saw the headline, I said to myself, "are they kidding?"

In this age of MMORPG's, where issues with game balance can be tweaked monthly, the game universe can be expanded just as often (if not on the fly), and campaigns can involve real-time cooperation among dozens of players, could there really be a thriving market for a pastime as "last-gen" as D&D?

Then it occurred to me, at least with D&D you're actually interacting with real, identifiable people. No griefing, no gold farming, no bots, no avatars with tearing polygons, no server lag to contend with.

Then I could see the market.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284481)

no server lag to contend with.

Obviously you have never tried to play D&D while drunk.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

NightRain (144349) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284551)

There is also the chance for genuine "role playing" which is something you don't see in most MMORPG's, even on their RP servers

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284721)

MMOs aren't really RPGs. How on earth are you supposed to roleplay killing the same raid bosses week after week? The only thing that changes in the game is that you may get better loot so you can move on to a new loot pinata.

Maybe someday there will be a commercial MMO that isn't based on a licensed world and isn't based on expensive to produce content.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

vonFinkelstien (687265) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284613)

Yes, by people who enjoy the social interaction of pen-and-paper RPGs. By people who enjoy a good story more that buying and selling virtual MMORPG items.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284693)

You know how some groups of friends get together regularly to have movie nights?

And some groups of friends get together every week to play poker?

Well, some groups of friends like to get together to chat, unwind, relax and have a good time playing face-to-face RPGs.

It really isn't any different than any other social gathering activity - and that's a different and complementary market to people who want to play MMORPGs.

Re:Interesting (5, Funny)

sgant (178166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284787)

Then it occurred to me, at least with D&D you're actually interacting with real, identifiable people. No griefing, no gold farming, no bots,

You've never played with my group of friends.

When we started out, it was cool...but gradually we introduced new people into our group and now all that's left when I play are a bunch of asian people who barely speak English who just want to stand in one spot in a dungeon I'm running and farm for gold. Some have even just resorted to sending a laptop with canned responses in their stead....so the last time I hosted a D&D group, it was me DMing and 5 laptops sitting around a table.

I think I'm going to give this up soon. But the laptops ARE pretty polite.

Re:Interesting (4, Insightful)

Wellspring (111524) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284915)

Tabletop still has a niche.

First, there's physical proximity. It's an excuse to sit down with a bunch of friends, pop open a beer and enjoy yourself. You can't quite match that in a MMORPG, even with Teamspeak.

Second, there's creativity. My experience in MMORPGs is that there's endless grinding of trash mobs, highly scripted raid encounters that you fight every week the same way, and PVP battles that are exciting but still pretty much scripted. A good DM designs all kinds of weird and interesting encounters, including conversational RP encounters.

Finally, there's the "greatest hero ever" effect. In a MMORPG, you can't ALL be the great hero of the world. Ultimately, everyone has to be roughly balanced with one another. Even the top-end raiders and PVPers on the server, while great and well geared, aren't going to change the game world any. And everyone else doesn't even have a name for themselves. In a pen-and-paper setting you and your friends really can do world-shaking events. You can down Illidan and he STAYS DEAD. (mostly)

OK so let me wrap it all together. In my weekly D&D game, I get together with friends who live up to an hour away in every direction. We meet up, grab some drinks, talk about how things are going face to face, and then get down to the game. One of us is a ruthless mercenary ranger, another is a minotaur who just completed his plot to be crowned Emperor of the Minotaur Empire, another is a warlock who is finally realizing his goal of revenge against the red dragons, and another is a mystic who attained godhood. We've been playing for five years, from level one to our current (epic) game. We now run two side games in the same world-- one game we play our own lowbie minions, and the other we are actually starting to play mid-level antagonists. When we do world-shaking things, the world actually shakes and stays shaken. Our actions have permanent consequences, our enemies and allies react to us (and try to pre-empt us), and we have to consider the economic, political, social and religious consequences of our actions.

None of this is possible, even remotely, in a MMORPG. I love WoW, I play avidly. I've got a 70 and am working on two more. I PvP avidly, and am in an end-game raiding guild. To some extent, WoW and D&D do scratch the same itch, but neither is a good substitute for the other.

Re:Interesting (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285167)

You lost my interest when you said beer, but you didn't include one of those large square sheet pizzas! I thought that was the whole point of overtaking a table in the comic store... pizza, beer (or soda) and BS'ing about rules and kill counts.

Re:Interesting (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285051)

Yes, I still play pen and paper games but over IRC. Sure we don't buy most the books (yay for torrents!) but we buy the core ones and any expansions we find useful.

Dammit (2, Insightful)

rkoot (557181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284647)

just as I was getting comfortable playing 3.5 !!
really, this D&D thing starts to smell like software with every now and then a shiny new release with fresh bugs and annoyances.
and then after a while, surprise surprise! bugfixes!
and then finally when you think things start to settle, tada, yet another 'upgrade' or whatever.
it starts to piss me off.

More levels... sigh (5, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284649)

I know that having more levels is the "in" thing to do.

Originally, in AD&D First Ed, you hit level 20, there was a high chance that your DM would suck up your char sheet because your character was so powerful that it was a god, and not a minor one.

The first MUDs were somewhat based around that, when you hit the topmost level, you became an immortal. The level limit for "ascension" ended up being between 20-30.

As time went on, this limit climbed to 40, 50, then on some MUDs, even was as high as level 100.

Around 1999, MMOs came into the picture. UO didn't use a level based system, but EQ did. To keep players going, and the game interesting for people at the level cap, the original level 50 limit was raised to 60, 65, 70, now 75, and in the next major expansion 80. EQ2 similar, except the game is structured by tiers, starting at 50, then 60, now 70, and will be 80 come the next expansion. WoW too. Next expansion, level 80.

There is something lost in this climb for levels, to the detriment of everything else. In WoW, level pretty much is the gauge of your character's abilities, so a character that is level 70, that has crappy equipment is more often asked for groups/raids than a level 65 with excellent stuff.

I used to DM, and have been since First Edition AD&D. In campaigns, levels were there, but they were mainly a gauge of progress, of what difficulty I needed to make encounters. Characters had a lot more ways to progress and gain in power. They could gain reputation by pushing back orc scout parties, learn spells (In First Ed., magic items were VERY rare, and a +1 sword would be something that would be a 3-4 session campaign, but worth obtaining.), and perhaps travel, guarding trade caravans (or waiting until the caravan was alone, then sacking the people on it.) As the party grew, they became impressed into a local ruler's service as a scout group for taking care of enemies and seeking relics, then the party eventually was able to start their own kingdom after a number of fights, and having to not just go head off places, but make sure the kingdom was in good order while they were gone.

I like levels at a low number. For a lot of intents and purposes, 20 is enough. Epic levels in third edition and up never really played a part, because at that level of character power, I'd have to move the party off of the usual medieval fantasy world into either different spheres (Spelljammer), or do like everyone and their brother does, and start plane hopping, which meant that it wasn't really my campaign world, but just using the Planescape sourcebooks pretty much verbatim.

Maybe I am an old timer, but I try to get player characters to grow "horizontally", and focus on getting reputation, gear, and status with their class guilds, rather than climb the numbers with regards to level. When getting status and doing missions, the XP comes in its due time.

Re:More levels... sigh (3, Interesting)

JonnyCalcutta (524825) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284725)

I've not got much to add, except to say that you pretty much summed up my opinions and experience. The only time I ever played D&D (not even the advanced version :)), was my very first game. After that I discovered all the other games out there - games that weren't stuck in some anachronistic wargaming time warp - and I never looked back. I read 3rd edition when it came out, because I worked in the industry and there was a lot of excitement over OGL, but still levels, and (A)D&D in particular, still feel quaintly old fashioned to me. Its good for characters to grow in terms of skills and experience, albeit slowly, but as you say, growth mostly happens in terms of the experiences, reputation - horizontally. Meeting old friends, revisiting old places or having a familiar base - to me that is growth as much as any gain in skills or THAC0.

This is the problem with current rules (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285433)

They do not favor much the "Roleplay" part in RPG. Just like their counter part of MMOG, a lot of player tend to fall in the calculator-rpg. See the post above with fighter-barb-red dragon disciple-frenzied berserker. As a master I tend to try to concentrate on the roleplay only (remmember "Amber", the RpG without dice ?). But usually you get a mix of all. Some who are there for the roleplay and some which are there for the munchkin. More than often, the munchkin in my campaign end up more or less the guardian of the roleplayer, which in turn by their relationship they build tend to be far more powerful due to their social connection, and tend to solve problem without using "raw" power as in strength. It is funny to see because most munchkin don't realize that even if they could wipe the roleplayer with 2 attacks, or fry them, or whatnot, they are de facto "weaker" in all sense than the one which build a social net in the roleplaying session. So that way everybody is satisfied.

Re:More levels... sigh (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284815)

In First Ed., magic items were VERY rare, and a +1 sword would be something that would be a 3-4 session campaign, but worth obtaining
I can understand your other points, but I fail to see how a rulebook determines the amount of magic in your own fantasy world.

Re:More levels... sigh (1)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285039)

About the rarity of magic items. This MUST have been a DM choice, because if you actually USED the treasure types in the MM and the tables in the DMG the results were incredibly Monty Haul-ish. (I made this mistake as a beginning DM in the mid-80s). And when it comes to DM choice, ANY edition can be magic-poor.

Re:More levels... sigh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20285183)

Except in this case, I think they're not tacking on extra levels to make godlike characters; instead, what was spread over twenty levels in 3.x is spread over thirty in 4. Meaning that the characters' skills are gained more gradually instead of in big lumps.

Re:More levels... sigh (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285595)

When the party starts hitting level 20ish, I'd shelve the characters and we'd all roll up new characters.

We'd occasionally take the high level characters off the shelves when I'd dream up some major event for the realm, then we'd play them out in battles which affected the political landscape. The high level party would never personally meet the low level party though.

Some of the best high level games I've played have been with nemesis-parties... groups of NPCs which are nearly as detailed as PCs and have a personal vendetta against the PC party. It's great seeing the PC's faces when they get to the end of a major quest and somebody beat them to it... PC's start raising armies to invade kingdoms ruled by the NPCs.... while their low level characters fight to dodge the draft :-)

I don't have time for D&D anymore, even if I did, it's hard to find good players who don't spend the whole night fighting against the DM.

WoW phenomenon? (0, Redundant)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284671)

Until this article, I would've been sure that D&D is dead. I wouldn't even give much on AD&D, with d20 stealing the show and all. But maybe that's just because for the past 5 or 6 years I've been concentrating more on smaller RPGs and found what I had been missing all the time with the "mainstream" stuff: Innovation, creativity and an honest desire to create a good game, above all.

I wonder how much of that's true for MMORPGs as well. I've never played WoW, but I've seen at least 20 MMORPGs and they are all more or less the same. Played one, played 'em all. Which, of course, explains why players concentrate on just a few really large ones - there's no compelling reason to go anywhere else, so you can stay where your friends are.

But in pen-and-paper RPGs, you can be more flexible, can't you?

Here are some of the games that I've enjoyed a lot, and where I would gladly exchange one evening of playing those for a full campaign of any (A)D&D, GURPS, Shadowrun, Vampire or any other mainstream game:

Amber - though you absolutely have to have read the books
Godlike - great setting, interesting and quick game mechanics
The Riddle of Steel - has its shortcomings, but for some reason it was a great experience
Fireborn - I'd kill for having a regular Fireborn group
Sorcerer - consensus opinion of many, not just me: One of the best indie RPGs out there

The problem, of course, is the same why WoW has millions of subscribers, and other (possibly better) games struggle: It's hard to find other players.

an end to "use rope"? (0)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284701)

how on earth will i pull my wagon of magic missiles now?! : P

Some useful links (4, Informative)

blixel (158224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284851)

Video 1 [youtube.com]
Video 2 [youtube.com]
Video 3 [youtube.com]
Video 4 [youtube.com]
Video 5 [youtube.com]

There are more ... check the Related Videos on the right side of any video you look at.

DDO Dungeons & Dragons Online (2, Interesting)

oddmake (715380) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284865)

No one talked about this subject yet.But I wonder whether Dungeons & Dragons Online [ddo.com] would be converted to 4th and how hard programmers and other stuff should work.Please enlighten me.

Whew? (4, Interesting)

slacknhash (1094977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284877)

While I'm still not sure if I'll drop a bunch of money on getting this new edition when it comes out I'm slightly more optimistic about this edition of the game. The designers seem to have a few good ideas in their heads; not least of which is getting rid of those bloody prestige classes. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen that feature abused!

Still, is it enough to get me to spend money? I dunno. And the sting of needing to update the material I've written hasn't quite worn off yet. It'd be nice, though, if they could cut down to one core rulebook, or failing that have a basic rulebook handling the first few levels -- sort of a digest version of the core rules

not worth the investment (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20284887)

As a player of D&D since third edition (maybe four or five years going, now), I have to say that my group of friends is not particularly interested in investing the time and money of purchasing/learning the new 4.0 source books, when they're finally released. We just don't have a need for them.

As of right now, most of our gaming sessions (which last between 4 and 6 hours) involve at most, a dozen die rolls that mean anything, and I'd say more often than not, a session ends without a single combat. I guess our campaigns have evolved into what could be considered drama. And to be honest, it's a much more enriching experience than a traditional hack & slash game that I so often see with newer/younger players.

This isn't to say we won't do a bit of research into the new system, but if all it does is revise the combat and levelling system, then we won't be adopting 4.0.

Re:not worth the investment (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285325)

As of right now, most of our gaming sessions (which last between 4 and 6 hours) involve at most, a dozen die rolls that mean anything, and I'd say more often than not, a session ends without a single combat
The first edition of the D&D rules I read made it clear that the XP bonus for defeating a monster was not contingent on killing the monster, and should be awarded if they use diplomacy (often with an extra rôle playing bonus) to achieve their objective. I often wondered how many DMs actually followed this advice.

Re:not worth the investment (2, Interesting)

ahsile (187881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285395)

Amen, sir. Our group of players is the same way. We made this call when 3rd Edition came out and we were all playing 2nd Edition. All of the other RPG groups I knew all jumped on the bandwagon and spent hundreds (thousands?) on the new 3e stuff. For us it didn't really matter. Our GMs are telling interactive stories, and the rules are only there to govern special situations. The only die-rolling we do most of the time is combat oriented, and even then we try to avoid it.

We've actually switched over to playing Warhammer FRP in the last few years. It's a different system, although much more realistic. Low wounds (hp), armour which protects at a believable level, and low magic. It all makes for a very brutal and highly deadly combat. Even more reason to try and avoid it and talk your way out of most situations.

Re:not worth the investment (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285535)

Every time a new version comes out, there are groups that stay on the old rules. I even know of people who will now start buying 3.5 because it's 'complete.'

One of the odd things I've noticed about gamers is that the longer they've been playing, the less rules they want or need.

Wow (1)

Qoroite (637807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20284973)

Suddenly, I feel very cool for not knowing or caring anything about this news.

Effect on other D20-based Systems? (1)

bomanbot (980297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285027)

It would be interesting to see the effect the new D&D Edition will have on other D20-based Games and third-party Sourcebooks.

According to TFA, the designers already took some clues from other D20 Games to incorporate into the new edition (the skill trees have been implemented into the new Star Wars D20, for example), but all changes into the D&D core books will in one way or another affect all the other D20 publications, especially (of course) alternative D&D settings and similar fantasy sourcebooks.

I am thinking primarily about things like the removal of prestige classes and the merging of core classes, because quite frankly, I was sick of all the more or less useful prestige classes seemingly appearing in every sourcebook, but their removal from the game means all those now obsolete classes must be converted or abandoned.

As there are so many D20-based books now, with a lot of them being supplements to the core D&D setting, the reaction to changes especially from other developers will be interesting to see.

Re:Effect on other D20-based Systems? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285547)

The way I hear it, the new Star Wars was the prototype for a lot of what's being done to D&D 4. A lot of the other games designers were worried about rumors that WotC would not be providing 4 under the OGL. Now they can sell all new D&D 4 versions of all the books.

Slashdot has lost its trolls (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20285035)

Bring back the BSD is dying trolls, the KDE vs GNOME flamewars and the apple and linux zealots back. What happened to page widening, tacosnotting, trollkore, gnaa and RobbIE. Slashdot is obsolete.

I'm thinking (5, Funny)

MoodyLoner (76734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285077)

my scout/assassin, Ropeman the Forger, is going to need a little work.

No Use Rope? (1)

upto0013 (1144677) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285097)

Why does everyone rag on Use Rope? It and Tumble are the only two skills I always max out. Rope Use + Whip = crazy-Indiana-Jones-style, min/max goldmine. /dork off

Subject (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285135)

In honor of 4 editions, the new rules are based on d4 gameplay, using the following results table (fig. 2b):

evens: success
odds: failure

Everything else translates well into the d4 system as well. For instance, percentage rolls are now 25d4 (yeah, like you used those bottom three percents). A Quasar Dragon's breath attack does (3.6x10^7)d4 damage to whichever planet it's aimed at. And so forth.

Re:Subject (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20285157)

"bottom three percents"

See what happens when you get your math degree from a cheap college?
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