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Role Playing (Games)

D&D's Story Manager Answers Your Questions on Camera 112

Chris Perkins, story manager for the upcoming Fourth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, took some time out this past weekend at the D&D Experience event to talk back to us. He answered the concerns of five readers who had commented on their responses to our earlier questions from January. With a large amount of information about Fourth Edition now out in the open and the NDA for playtesters lowered, there's been a floodgate of new concerns over the latest change to this tabletop icon. You might also be interested in the other videos from Gamer Radio Zero filmed at the D&D Experience event, which covers everything from DMG design to D&D Insider pricing. Chris's responses can be seen in the YouTube videos included below. Thanks both to Mr. Perkins and Michael Lescault for making this interaction possible.
Mongoose Disciple asks "Is there any concern that you've eliminated the most tactically interesting/complex characters from the game?"

Anonymous Coward asks "halivar asked what influence computer games might have had on the design of 4th ed, but what about computer games that are going to use the D&D rule set having an influence on the design of 4th ed? None of the games based on 3/3.5ed appealed to me because of the over-complexity of the rules, I preferred the older titles such as Baldur's Gate that used 2nd ed. That's obviously a personal opinion, but I know it's not an uncommon one. So, were there any design choices made based on the fact that computer games will also use the system?"

skinfaxi asks "Does WotC think all players and DMs are male?"

BobMcD asks "I'm looking at the back of that specific Tiefling Wizard's sheet, and it seems to me that conversion is going right out the window. This 1st level character seems pretty beefy to me, in terms of sheer spell face-meltage. Does 'At-Will' really mean 'as much as you want, just so long as it is your turn'?"

bugnuts asks "How does the Open Gaming License affect WotC's view on computer programs? Does Wizards consider the actual rules, the type of map, the genre, the number of d20's, etc to be their IP?"

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D&D's Story Manager Answers Your Questions on Camera

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  • by Stanistani ( 808333 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @11:05AM (#22649492) Homepage Journal
    If Slashdot continues the drift towards video submissions, well, then I will probably get all my geek interaction from Youtube. Your choice, Taco. Will I dream?

    This is a text-based site for good, historical reasons. You want more videos? Put 'em in a link at the bottom as an option.

    >Honestly, if I want to see video, I'll fire up some porn.

    Best old-school comment ever. Sir, you win.
  • by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @11:08AM (#22649552)

    My original question above: "Is there any concern that you've eliminated the most tactically interesting/complex characters from the game?" Meaning, none of the classes we've seen to this point for 4E are on the strategy/forethought/complexity level of any of the "prepared" casters in 1-3E.

    The response, paraphrased: We realize that all of the characters in the new base game are middle of the road complexity-wise, none of them as complex as 3E wizard and none of them as simple as 3E fighter. Later material will introduce some more complex choices.

    Assuming this is true, I'm happy with this response and for the first time I'm actually hopeful about 4E. I know a ton of people (mostly current or former convention-circuit gamers) who strongly prefer the more complex characters (even when they're not necessarily more powerful), and I have hope that they won't be alienated from the game. When you're looking at playing the same character for literally thousands of hours of play, a character that isn't going to be doing the same 5 things in 99% of combats becomes a lot more appealing than it otherwise might.

    I'm sure I won't ever play again the way I did during my 'con' years, but I'm at least interested in giving the 4E rules a shot now.
  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @01:15PM (#22651604) Homepage Journal
    Ooh, the Technomancer Press website is actually responding today ... I'd better quote them while I can. From the Technomancer Press FAQ [1]:
    1. Are Technomancer Press books d20 System® compatible?

      First, we would like to stress that "Dungeons and Dragons" and "d20 System" are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, not us. Yes. All books by Technomancer Press are compatible with Dungeons and Dragons® and other d20 System® games. A couple of them are d20-only (The Player's Companion and ConQuests), but most of them can be used with virtually any system.

    2. Why don't Technomancer Press books have d20 System® logos on their covers?

      The short, quippy answer is "it is against the terms of the d20 System License to publish the d20 System® logo in black and white." Again, we'd like to start by making it clear that d20 System® is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, not us. To answer the question, if you read the text of the Open Gaming License (version 1.0a), it actually restricts companies from using certain terms in their books: You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark. This means that saying our books are compatible with Dungeons & Dragons (a registered trademark of Wizards of the Coast) is a violation of the Open Gaming License. Further, the system reference document for D&D 3.5 released by Wizards of the Coast states: The following items are designated Product Identity, as defined in Section 1(e) of the Open Game License Version 1.0a, and are subject to the conditions set forth in Section 7 of the OGL, and are not Open Content: Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master, Monster Manual... In addition, the d20 System® Guide, v5.0 states: You may refer to the Player's Handbook by title or as the PHB. You may refer to the Dungeon Master's Guide only as the DMG and the Monster Manual only as the MM. You may refer to the Psionics Handbook only by title. You may refer to the Epic Level Handbook by title or as the ELH. You may refer to the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game only by title. You must not cite page number references... Technomancer Press finds these requirements to be restrictive and more beneficial to Wizards of the Coast than any of the d20 System® licensees. We also find it to be hypocritical, considering that Wizards of the Coast's initial product line consisted of books intended to be used in other role-playing systems. Technomancer Press believes that the d20 System® is a clever way for Wizards of the Coast to maintain their market share by advertising on their competitors' covers. The funny thing is that initially we decided that we couldn't officially do the d20 System® because they require the logo to be printed in color, and our covers are printed in black and white! We learned all the other stuff later.

    3. So you guys think the open gaming movement is BS?

      Hell no! We applaud the open gaming movement, and invite everyone to create new material inspired by our content. We just aren't pleased with Wizards of the Coast's Open Gaming License. By agreeing to the OGL, you give up some rights in return for "receiving" others*. By not signing the OGL, we are not bound to WotC's restrictions. *We contend that the rights they are "granting" are rights we already have anyway, without needing their permission.
    [1] www.technomancer-press.com/index.php?mact=Glossary,cntnt01,show,0&cntnt01tid=9&cntnt01returnid=59
  • by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @01:38PM (#22651984)
    Maybe that complexity will not scale as characters rise in levels, but I see no reason to believe that is the case.

    At least as of the beta tests, it didn't really scale -- at least, not anywhere near as much as complexity did by level in 3E. A mid-level wizard would basically be doing the same 3-4 things in every combat whereas that wasn't very true in 3E.

    I didn't go to D&D Experience and haven't talked to anyone who did yet though, so no idea if it's any different based on feedback they received.
  • by Berkyjay ( 1225604 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:47PM (#22655716)

    That is such BS. This is the most obnoxious attempt to appeal to the WoW crowd and it sickens me. Wizards should prepare spells and if they run out then too bad, they should have planned better.

    I'm curious. Why do you feel that wizards should prepare spells and be limited to the number they can cast (per day)? Is it because you simply don't like the "WoW crowd" and don't want WotC to appeal to them or is there another reason?

    Yes, I don't like WoW. It's game system is designed to be simple so that our moms and girlfriends can play it and it doesn't belong in D&D. If they want to attract that crowd then they need to go back to the D&D/AD&D system. Make D&D the dumbed down WoW version of the PnP game and keep AD&D deep and complex. The Vancian spell casting system is a foundation of D&D and I can't stand to see them destroy it.
  • by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @07:09PM (#22656750)
    I'm going to guess that you aren't actually that familiar with the rules. There are two very important things to know about playing a good wizard:
    1) You don't have to prepare all of your spell slots at once. At the beginning of the day, just prepare a few good combat spells of various levels that you'd want to have if somebody got the drop on you, and leave the rest of your slots open. You can sit down for a few minutes at any time later that day and prepare spells in those slots.
    2) Find magic scrolls? You get Scribe Scroll at first level. Making scrolls is cheap. Use it. You should go ahead and make multiple scrolls of every utility spell you know -- especially the specialized ones, so that you never need to spend a slot preparing them -- and it's also a good idea to prepare scrolls of combat spells that don't rely heavily on caster level, so that you can use them in combat when you run out of prepared spells.

    Also, there are lots of spells that seem specialized until you actually put your mind to thinking of alternate uses for them. Just out of the level five spells you derided -- teleport, transmute rock to mud, telekinesis, overland flight, baleful polymorph, shadow evocation, persistent image, wall of force, prying eyes, summon monster 5, major creation... all of those spells are very powerful and can quickly disarm many different situations if used creatively. And none of them are direct damage spells (at least, that's not their intended use). Or were you just setting up a strawman argument that you didn't actually want anybody to disprove?

    I'm not saying that the wizard class is perfect, mind you -- I welcome the addition of at-will powers (perhaps like the reserve feats in some of the recent splat books) so that you wizards don't have to pull out a crossbow when they've run out of their daily spells. But I am saying that you don't know how to play a wizard correctly, and it's not the class' fault that you suck.
  • by Arterion ( 941661 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @09:02PM (#22658006)
    1) The book says you can do this, but NO WHERE does it actually detail the rules for it. Like how long it takes to prepare a single spell. I've tried before, to do the math on it taking "an hour" to prepare all your spells, and basing the numbers off that, but you end up with huge charts.

    2)It's REALLY stupid to make magic items. Even scrolls. They not only cost XP which only the wizard pays, even though they benefit the ENTIRE parte, but they also cost a CRAZY amount of gold for "magical materials". And that's never explained or defined anywhere, either.

    Sure, you can say it's all up to the DM, but that's always rule 0. Something that integral to the viability of a class should be clearly spelled out in the rules. And the Wizard is pretty much suck as much as the GP says, in my experience. Yes, I've thought about your suggestions, but they're just not very good ones, for the reasons I mentioned above.

    I won't even get into the issue of being able to lose your spellbook, and the concept of "learning" a spell, even though you need special feats to prepare it without the spellbook.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter