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D&D 5e Discussion

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  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    What the fuck is he even saying at ~11:00

    "In 4E, characters had powers so strongly defined that they are really shaping the narrative of the game."

    Someone explain to me why this is a bad thing

    Never let the players do what they want

    It's like

    The first rule of DMing

  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    My brain must have decided it was better to dump that quote than try to parse it. I don't see how 4th ed characters had any more narrative power than a 3.5 character. Hell, I'd say the 3.5 wizard had far, far far far mode narrative power than an entire 4th ed party.

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  • GrogGrog My sword is only steel in a useful shape.Registered User regular
    Had to stop watching when Mearls was saying fireball powers were going to be the most effective choice for wizards ("you can pick other powers but they're... eh").

  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    Never let the players do what they want

    It's like

    The first rule of DMing

    Is this sarcasm? I hope so...

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  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    I don't have time to watch that video this morning, so I'm picking a couple spots as a teaser. This is going to be a painful hour (for the lack of concrete information if nothing else) when I get to it.
    What the fuck is he even saying at ~11:00

    "In 4E, characters had powers so strongly defined that they are really shaping the narrative of the game."

    Someone explain to me why this is a bad thing

    Bad thing or not, it doesn't even make sense. Like Vanguard said, it's basically saying "PCs could shape the narrative of the game". Orbizards shape the narrative of the game. Glass cannon rogues shape the narrative of the game. Wizards with Time Stop shape the narrative of the game. Killing the BBEG with a crit shapes the narrative of the game. Rolling an 18/00 Str (ah, broken nostalgia) fighter shapes the narrative of the game. Characters taking actions shapes the narrative of the game.

    What the fuck.

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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    Characters SHOULD shape the narrative of the game.

    One of the issues with D&D in recent years has been the fact that the narrative has taken a backseat in favor of mechanics. I don't/didn't have issues with 4E, but all the focus was on combat and mechanics, and not enough on character creation and narrative.

    Fact: P&P will NEVER beat video games by competing on mechanics.

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  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Yes, I am kidding. Players should be the driving force behind the game. NPCs, Villains, and Monsters should react and make the appropriate responses based on their relation to the party, but this is a game about the players. Let them do what they want, but challenge them.

    I just finished a Pathfinder campaign that went from 1-12 in eight months. The math at the end of the game got to be way too much. In the last two sessions, we had to spend a solid hour figuring out bonuses from all the spells they buffed themselves with. Next campaign I'm making the following changes:

    -Players will roll three sets of stats using 3d6 and they are assigned organically with one swap allowed

    -Never using the fast experience table again. Will be going to slow to keep the game at lower levels longer

    -Never using the fast loot table again. Players had way too many oh sit buttons.

  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    Yes, I am kidding. Players should be the driving force behind the game. NPCs, Villains, and Monsters should react and make the appropriate responses based on their relation to the party, but this is a game about the players. Let them do what they want, but challenge them.

    Whew...never can be too sure when you're talking D&D, but I 100% agree with you.

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  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    ironzerg wrote: »
    Characters SHOULD shape the narrative of the game.

    One of the issues with D&D in recent years has been the fact that the narrative has taken a backseat in favor of mechanics. I don't/didn't have issues with 4E, but all the focus was on combat and mechanics, and not enough on character creation and narrative.

    Fact: P&P will NEVER beat video games by competing on mechanics.

    What I like about RPGs is the experience of collaborative storytelling. Some players and DMs sometimes forget the "collaborative" part, and everything else falls to pieces.

    Edit: Which is why I liked 4e more than 3.5, in that the mechanics were so well-defined I didn't need a PhD in Splat Books to be effective in combat.

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  • tzeentchlingtzeentchling Dr. Doctor Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    The only way that quote can be parsed to make sense to me is if he is saying that the powers of the characters themselves are shaping the narrative, in that something like "Chains of Carceri" had to summon actual chains each time, and that the players can't describe their attacks otherwise. Maybe similarly, people get caught up in the fact that they had very specific powers, and so instead of looking for something cool to do with them they simply used the powers as written. It's kind of a stupid point, but when you compare D&D powers to, say, stuff in Scion or Exalted I can see his point.

  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    But that just implies the problem is that players are shaping the narrative incorrectly, rather than shaping the narrative too much, which is what the panelists implied.

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  • tzeentchlingtzeentchling Dr. Doctor Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    Not quite. It implies the powers themselves are shaping/limiting the narrative that the players create.

  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Not quite. It implies the powers themselves are shaping/limiting the narrative that the players create.
    The way you phrased it made pretty clear a distinction between players letting the powers shape the narrative and players shaping the narrative themselves, which would put the burden of error on the player, not the powers.

    EDIT: But even looking at it your way, I'm still not seeing how how the players shape the narrative more than wizards running around with disintegrate and dominate person in 3.5.

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  • tzeentchlingtzeentchling Dr. Doctor Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Not quite. It implies the powers themselves are shaping/limiting the narrative that the players create.
    The way you phrased it made pretty clear a distinction between players letting the powers shape the narrative and players shaping the narrative themselves, which would put the burden of error on the player, not the powers.

    EDIT: But even looking at it your way, I'm still not seeing how how the players shape the narrative more than wizards running around with disintegrate and dominate person in 3.5.

    I'm not saying his quote is good or logical, just that it could be parsed in such a way to not be ridiculous on the surface/anti-player-agency.

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  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    I don't think that's the best way to parse it considering what we've seen so far.

  • WeedkillerWeedkiller Registered User regular
    I don't know if I can handle watching an hour long video of what may be a train wreck. Is it all that bad?

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Weedkiller wrote: »
    I don't know if I can handle watching an hour long video of what may be a train wreck. Is it all that bad?

    It's like anything else they've said. Lots of high hopes to reunite everyone's money, nothing is actually done, and a kiss is blown to wizards exploding everything.

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  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    It's not really a train wreck. It gives you an idea of how these two guys feel about the project, which is that they care about it. Unfortunately, it also gives you a good sense that they:

    a) Don't know exactly what to do, because
    b) Their design goals are both lofty and nebulous, leading to
    c) The feeling that 5E is a very long way off and may just be exactly the gibbering mound that many are predicting. It also might be cool. Who the hell knows? They sure don't.

  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    As someone in development, it definitely feels like they are marketing the part of the project that is so early that they think they can do everything. Its the pie in the sky time before you realize what the limitations are going to be on what you can even make and how much time you have to make it. Or a Peter Molyneux project at all parts of the process.

  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    Grog wrote: »
    Had to stop watching when Mearls was saying fireball powers were going to be the most effective choice for wizards ("you can pick other powers but they're... eh").

    And that got applause. Hoo-boy.

    The question at 44:00 about modularity and fragmentation is brilliant, and the answer is totally botched. Basically "oh, don't worry about it". Question at 51:00 basically being "how are you going to make money off less releases", answer of "D&D board games" is smart and realistic. Unfortunate for the dudes who want RPG though.
    Or a Peter Molyneux project at all parts of the process.

    Haha, nice.

    But yeah, this is still all unbearably vague.

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  • HenslerHensler Registered User regular
    I do think fireballs are pretty much THE iconic power for wizards, and hopefully that's all that Mearls meant by that.

  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    Hensler wrote: »
    I do think fireballs are pretty much THE iconic power for wizards, and hopefully that's all that Mearls meant by that.

    Or perhaps it was a metaphor for big damage powers, versus more subtle ones. I distinctly remember playing with a Wizard once, and he kept trying to do this cute tricks with his spells, that never worked...we were all cheering when he finally decided to just start throwing "fireballs" around.

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  • GrogGrog My sword is only steel in a useful shape.Registered User regular
    ironzerg wrote: »
    Hensler wrote: »
    I do think fireballs are pretty much THE iconic power for wizards, and hopefully that's all that Mearls meant by that.

    Or perhaps it was a metaphor for big damage powers, versus more subtle ones. I distinctly remember playing with a Wizard once, and he kept trying to do this cute tricks with his spells, that never worked...we were all cheering when he finally decided to just start throwing "fireballs" around.

    That is what he meant, but I was taking exception to Mearls wanting one kind of spell (the boomexplosionawesome ones) to be mechanically superior.

    Which is an approach that doesn't bode well for the design of other powers and classes.

  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    Grog wrote: »
    That is what he meant, but I was taking exception to Mearls wanting one kind of spell (the boomexplosionawesome ones) to be mechanically superior.

    Which is an approach that doesn't bode well for the design of other powers and classes.

    Oh shit. Just went back a re-read that quote, and I thought it was talking about a problem was that "fireball powers were the most effective ones", implying that was going to change for 5E, not become the default standard...

    Damn, I agree with you. I think the idea should be to make taking "non-boom" powers viable, not completely write them off...
    D:

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  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    Grog wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    Hensler wrote: »
    I do think fireballs are pretty much THE iconic power for wizards, and hopefully that's all that Mearls meant by that.

    Or perhaps it was a metaphor for big damage powers, versus more subtle ones. I distinctly remember playing with a Wizard once, and he kept trying to do this cute tricks with his spells, that never worked...we were all cheering when he finally decided to just start throwing "fireballs" around.

    That is what he meant, but I was taking exception to Mearls wanting one kind of spell (the boomexplosionawesome ones) to be mechanically superior.

    Which is an approach that doesn't bode well for the design of other powers and classes.

    Jeremy hinted at a similar sentiment, with his weird out-of-combat rant being focused on how he plays a blaster wizard, but every rare once in a while he wanted to be a guy who did charms and illusions and whatnot. Having those moments is perfectly valid (and part of the fun of class complexity!) but the way he phrased it, he made it sound like his preference was in-combat was still going to be "fireball, DUH" and the non-damage stuff was relegated to adventuring time. Really kind of weird.

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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    I'm sure everyone's wanted to play a Blaster Wizard at some point or another, and having the option to build your Controller as a Striker is definitely a good idea, but
    ironzerg wrote: »
    Grog wrote: »
    That is what he meant, but I was taking exception to Mearls wanting one kind of spell (the boomexplosionawesome ones) to be mechanically superior.

    Which is an approach that doesn't bode well for the design of other powers and classes.

    Oh shit. Just went back a re-read that quote, and I thought it was talking about a problem was that "fireball powers were the most effective ones", implying that was going to change for 5E, not become the default standard...

    Damn, I agree with you. I think the idea should be to make taking "non-boom" powers viable, not completely write them off...
    D:

    Wait, what? In 3E doing damage with a spell was almost always a terrible idea compared to some kind of buff/debuff or battlefield control. At third level every Fireball memorized was almost definitely better off being a Haste or a Slow.

    In 4E it's better, you can successfully build a Wizard to be an effective Striker, but there are a few good ways to do this and a ton of ways to play Controller, which many amazing encounter-changing powers at your disposal.

    The "non-boom" spells have not needed help being viable in any edition I've played, it is in fact the damage spells that often fell behind and needed extensive work from the player to make even vaguely workable.

    And really the Wizard you described in the earlier post... what. How did his "cute tricks" never work? I mean I'm assuming this was 3E? When he cast Sleep or Color Spray and forced every creature hit to outright save or die were you seriously wishing he had tossed out a Magic Missile instead to do less-than-crossbow damage?

  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    ironzerg wrote: »
    Grog wrote: »
    That is what he meant, but I was taking exception to Mearls wanting one kind of spell (the boomexplosionawesome ones) to be mechanically superior.

    Which is an approach that doesn't bode well for the design of other powers and classes.

    Oh shit. Just went back a re-read that quote, and I thought it was talking about a problem was that "fireball powers were the most effective ones", implying that was going to change for 5E, not become the default standard...

    Damn, I agree with you. I think the idea should be to make taking "non-boom" powers viable, not completely write them off...
    D:

    The problem, as Mearls later points out, is that the alternative to the "more dakka" is the "hey so this guy is going to just stand there and not do anything because I have magically convinced him that he's my friend now" spells, which utterly shut one monster down for the entirety of combat.

    Those kinds of powers are far, far harder to balance against, and even in 4th edition lead to Wizards being a hugely powerful class. When you could knock out an entire encounter and put them all to sleep, you've won. When you can take a guy and make him fight for your side, you've effectively neutralized one monster, at least for a portion of the fight. When you hit everything with a fireball, you've roughed up everything, and maybe really hurt a couple of monsters, but probably all the monsters are still standing and ready to fight. That's easier to balance out.

    Mearls' point was two-fold (the second point just doesn't become salient until later in the panel). When most people think wizard, they think fireball. So fireball is an iconic power, and should be a stand out power for wizards. The second point was that they were looking at making a lot of the shut-down powers work with a more out-of-combat application, so that wizards can be useful out of combat, and not completely broken in combat.

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  • hippofanthippofant Registered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    The problem, as Mearls later points out, is that the alternative to the "more dakka" is the "hey so this guy is going to just stand there and not do anything because I have magically convinced him that he's my friend now" spells, which utterly shut one monster down for the entirety of combat.

    Those kinds of powers are far, far harder to balance against, and even in 4th edition lead to Wizards being a hugely powerful class. When you could knock out an entire encounter and put them all to sleep, you've won. When you can take a guy and make him fight for your side, you've effectively neutralized one monster, at least for a portion of the fight. When you hit everything with a fireball, you've roughed up everything, and maybe really hurt a couple of monsters, but probably all the monsters are still standing and ready to fight. That's easier to balance out.

    Mearls' point was two-fold (the second point just doesn't become salient until later in the panel). When most people think wizard, they think fireball. So fireball is an iconic power, and should be a stand out power for wizards. The second point was that they were looking at making a lot of the shut-down powers work with a more out-of-combat application, so that wizards can be useful out of combat, and not completely broken in combat.

    But but... sorcerers! I don't understand why we have this conceptual refusal to just treat sorcerers as "blaster wizards", whereas wizards are "controller wizards". Blah blah blah iconic but shit, if that were a good enough reason to keep things, we'd still all be using black and yellow CRTs with trackballs. This is like the whole, "I want to play an offensive Fighter," thing, which is why we have Rangers, Barbarians, and Rogues - how many ways do you want to deal a shitton of damage with a weapon exactly?

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2012
    The most lethal Wizard I've ever played was an Illusionist. If you inflict a character with the Paralyzed condition, they are open to a Coup De Grace. Not many things can make a Fort save vs. DC 10 + Damage from the critical hit, and a shitload of Illusion spells can inflict Paralyze.

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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    Later Illusion and Enchantment run into issues when every damn creature has True Sight and/or is outright immune to Mind Affecting attacks, but yes there's a reason why Evocation was often considered the #1 pick for a forbidden school.

    Anyway at this point I should probably actually watch the video, but I don't understand the "make them useful outside of combat" thing at all. Wizards are typically always hugely more useful outside of combat than say, a Fighter, and again if we're talking 3E, while fireball only has one use, Polymorph had countless so uh...

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    I think what happened is that the guy built his wizard purely for combat and is then upset that his wizard is built purely for combat.

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  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    bss wrote: »
    Question at 51:00 basically being "how are you going to make money off less releases", answer of "D&D board games" is smart and realistic. Unfortunate for the dudes who want RPG though.

    Wasn't that brought up in response to someone mentioning how Wizards was flooding the market with too many 4th edition supplements? As in how do they stay in business without shoveling out shitton of low quality product.

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  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hulk-hands Porcupine Why?Registered User regular
    More likely he's upset because his Batman-Wizard didn't work in 4e. He no longer outclassed the rogue.

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  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    The fact that D&D has to make money is probably one of the biggest barriers to them being able to concentrate on just making a fantastic game. They have to make a game that's expandable.

    Of course, if this whole boardgame sideline is going to take some of the weight off then perhaps that will be less of an issue this time.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Unfortunately, RPGs do not seem to get along well with big businesses. There just isn't a big enough audience for designers to get breathing room, nor enough money for people to focus on building better designers. Man if we could just find a way for RPGs to come into their own the way video games have...

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  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hulk-hands Porcupine Why?Registered User regular
    My players and I were discussing that at our last game session. Hasbros wants D&D to be an industry, when it's really just enough to support a small business. The market is big enough to support a smaller company... like your Paizo's and your Wiz Kids', etc. RPGs are too niche to ever realistically reach that mystical $TEXAS size money. It's a nice dream but I don't think it will ever happen.

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  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    ironzerg wrote: »
    Fact: P&P will NEVER beat video games by competing on mechanics.

    "Beating" video games can't be the goal, unless you're looking to fail.
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Unfortunately, RPGs do not seem to get along well with big businesses. There just isn't a big enough audience for designers to get breathing room, nor enough money for people to focus on building better designers. Man if we could just find a way for RPGs to come into their own the way video games have...

    There's of course a lot of serendipity and timing and hype necessary, but two of the many things that I think are necessary for that to even have a chance of occurring:

    1) All digital. 100%. Like a Neverwinter Nights that is more modular and allows for more ad-hoc creation. A visual proxy (because playing pretend is a stigma) that fits into the tabletop experience. That and riding every modern success it can: iPads, Android phones, PCs, THE CLOUD!!11one, whatever. If people aren't talking about the medium that we operate on, we have no chance.
    2) The community needs to stop pretending that tabletop is this superior intellectual endeavor, and realize that for it to gain traction we need to stop being elitist dicks. That goes for the players, and it goes for the designers. Don't shit on people who want to play Gauntlet the Tabletop Game or Epic Story Hour With Players because you disagree with it, do borrow ideas from WoW or Twilight or whatever. Get out of the mindset that the game exists on its own strata of entertainment that cannot be sullied by the lesser/different folk.

    Unfortunately, for either of those to succeed, a bunch of current folks need to die off (and not take the industry with them) or just be outnumbered.

    You're right though, current state, business is the problem. I think the future of the game is going to be fan publishing. Absent the renaissance spoken of above it's the only thing that'll keep the game moving.
    Tox wrote: »
    The problem, as Mearls later points out, is that the alternative to the "more dakka" is the "hey so this guy is going to just stand there and not do anything because I have magically convinced him that he's my friend now" spells, which utterly shut one monster down for the entirety of combat.

    Someone should design a system where some of those effects take part of the action economy to sustain and the monsters have some way to periodically save against those effects. Perhaps some mechanics so that the really badass monsters could have a better chance of resisting, or just going "nah, I'm not that state anymore".
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I think what happened is that the guy built his wizard purely for combat and is then upset that his wizard is built purely for combat.

    If that's the case and the guy's parable was the edition's way of "fixing" it, then it sounds like wizards are the do-all again.
    bss wrote: »
    Question at 51:00 basically being "how are you going to make money off less releases", answer of "D&D board games" is smart and realistic. Unfortunate for the dudes who want RPG though.

    Wasn't that brought up in response to someone mentioning how Wizards was flooding the market with too many 4th edition supplements? As in how do they stay in business without shoveling out shitton of low quality product.

    That's part of the unspoken question, but the presented question was regarding WotC's choice to plainly release 5e stuff less frequently. The guy asking the question mentions that he perceived the 4e releases were scheduled out of "the need to make sales", but that doesn't speak to the quality of them and it's a good question even if every book is S-rank. The financial demands of Hasbro aren't just going to materialize out of thin air and happy thoughts of unification.

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  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    bss wrote: »
    1) All digital. 100%.

    SO much agreement. The whole PDF debacle really struck me as WotC missing the point - the books should be made available as a pdf, probably for cheaper than the print version, because once you do that you can save a shitload of money on printing costs and a shitload more because you don't have to get Barnes and Noble to stock the damn things anymore, plus you can get them on e-readers and so forth and actually make progress on modernizing tabletop games instead of sitting on the sidelines like grumpy old men while the fans find ways to do that FOR you.
    Tox wrote: »
    The problem, as Mearls later points out, is that the alternative to the "more dakka" is the "hey so this guy is going to just stand there and not do anything because I have magically convinced him that he's my friend now" spells, which utterly shut one monster down for the entirety of combat.

    Someone should design a system where some of those effects take part of the action economy to sustain and the monsters have some way to periodically save against those effects. Perhaps some mechanics so that the really badass monsters could have a better chance of resisting, or just going "nah, I'm not that state anymore".

    I got, like, two and a half sentences into a response here before I went "oh. Hah! I see what you did there"

    Abbalah on
  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    Some stuff about grids! Most of it is pretty innocuous, but there's a tangent worth mentioning.
    DM: “Around the corner of the room come four orcs! ‘Surface dwellers! Kill them! Cut them to mincemeat! Pound them to hamburger!’ they yell. The first two catch you by surprise and attack. [The DM rolls dice.] One misses. One rolls a 17 and hits you for 5 points of damage! The other two go around you and charge the wizard.”

    It's stuff like this that have the tactically minded so nervous. Some groups would go "hey, hey, HEY. Can we roll for initiative first or something? I was standing right in front of the wizard, how'd he get around me?" and such. If the theater of the mind aka gridless stuff goes down like that and totally eschews the other rules in the system, they have even more exceptions and divergent paths in the core. That's what I was rambling about a couple pages ago. If their gridless material doesn't still work the same during the grid, it'll be a bit like they're publishing two games to build everything off of.

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  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »
    bss wrote: »
    1) All digital. 100%.

    SO much agreement. The whole PDF debacle really struck me as WotC missing the point - the books should be made available as a pdf, probably for cheaper than the print version,

    PDFs are a good start, but I think for a real wide acceptance, part of the game needs to avoid "eew, reading". Like, I want to play the game on my hypothetical iPad, not read about it. The next Facebook app? It works like a PbP game. Those are the kinds of digital hooks I think are necessary. Games are everywhere right now, if tabletop's going to ride that tide, tabletop games need to work more like them.

    PDFs are a good idea though, no doubt. I love having Legend and CthulhuTech PDFs. If I were to publish an RPG, I wouldn't even bother with physical books. Put out good PDFs and sell them directly, prop up a store at Lulu or whatever, and call it a day.

    3DS: 2466-2307-8384 PSN: bssteph Steam: bsstephan Twitch: bsstephan
    Tabletop:13th Age (mm-mmm), D&D 4e
    Occasional words about games: my site
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