Tag: Dungeons and Dragons

D&D 5th Edition: The Great Unifier?

by on Jan.16, 2012, under Articles, Entertainment, Gaming, Roleplaying Games

Wizards of the Coast, creators of the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons (3rd and 4th edition) have announced (via the New York Times and elsewhere) 5th edition D&D. They also announced, somewhat surprisingly, an extended public play testing, where in the general public will be able to attend events and publicly play test the game and provide feedback. This has caused all sorts of responses from naysayers, to the confused, to the cautiously hopeful. I fall into the latter.

Monte Cook, one of the more well-known roleplaying game designers and a prior designer on D&D 3rd edition and an announced designer for 5th edition, wrote up on article on his column on the D&D website.

Let me quote you some really interesting paragraphs:

“The goal here is to embrace all forms of the D&D experience and to not exclude anyone. Imagine a game where the core essence of D&D has been distilled down to a very simple but entirely playable-in-its-right game. Now imagine that the game offered you modular, optional add-ons that allow you to create the character you want to play while letting the Dungeon Master create the game he or she wants to run. Like simple rules for your story-driven game? You’re good to go. Like tactical combats and complex encounters? You can have that too. Like ultra-customized character creation? It’s all there.”

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

Those are some serious goals. I know because I’ve worked on helping to design games to meet goals like that before and it is difficult. If they can pull it off it’ll be an awesome game. There are a lot of complex problems with goals like this. Particularly in how to present the rules to make the game easy for entry-level players. Modular systems leads to complexity. Additionally this kind of system could lead to a scary route for marketing and sales. Will they sell entire game with sufficient rules to be able to play any edition or will some of the rules be handed out in a video game “DLC” like fashion, where we pay $2-$20 bucks for each rule module? I don’t doubt Wizards wants to create the game everybody wants to play but I also don’t doubt Hasbro, Wizard’s parent company, wants to make the serious dough.

So I’m still cautiously hopeful and I plan on attending the play test in order to help, and maybe practice my own game designs kills a bit more. If you’re interested in joining int he play tests as well there is a sign up link at the end of Monte Cook’s article.

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Video: Loading Ready Run: The Secret Life of Board Games

by on Nov.15, 2011, under Entertainment, Videos, Visual Media

Video Source

Hehe. Hilarity. This makes me want to pull out my D&D board game just to see if my figures will talk.

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Everything Else I Learned from D&D

by on Sep.26, 2011, under Articles, Books, Entertainment, Gaming, News, Roleplaying Games, Writing

Shelly Mazzanoble is an author. She is most well-known, by me, for her regular articles, Confessions of a Full-Time Wizard, on the Dungeons & Dragons website. She also wrote the book, Confessions of a Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the D&D game.
Shelly’s style of humor is self-deprecating and absurd in a combination that keeps one smiling, if not out right laughing. Mix in a healthy dose of humor and a keen capability of explaining the odd world of Dungeons and Dragons to even the most layman of reader, and her book will keep you reading.
Would be authors will find this excerpt particularly amusing:

Maybe other authors aren’t as involved in the publication of their books because they don’t spend eight hours a day with the people who create them. I’d walk past the desk of Matt, the art director, and see the book’s cover on his screen.

“Do you think my name should be bigger?” I asked.

“Sure,” he agreed. “Totally.”

When the galley was routed for approval, I saw my name was bigger. And misspelled.

“There’s no extra e in Shelly!” I yelled when I saw him working out with his trainer in the gym. “You know that!”

“Oops,” he smiled. “My bad.”

(Never mind the second galley routed with Michele and the third with Mouthy Mazzanoble. That’ll learn me. Not.)

My poor editor is one of my dearest friends. At least she was. Editing this beast nearly sent her into early labor. I’m terrified her son is going to grow up having a nervous twitch whenever I’m around.

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Music Video: Roll a D6

by on May.15, 2011, under Entertainment, Gaming, Music, Roleplaying Games, Videos, Visual Media

Not a big fan of the voice encoding but I suspect that is the style of the music video they are parodying. Otherwise it is well done for amateur video although I do have to ask, who lights candles and sets them on their books like that?

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Comic Links: Yuko Ota, Natasha Allegri

by on Mar.01, 2011, under Comic Links, Comics, Entertainment, Gaming, Roleplaying Games

Some comics I found on a few tumblr sites.

Yuko Ota: Fiend Folio

I like the hell cat and the snail flail.

Natasha Allegri: why my teeth are gonna rot out of my head

Aww. Pancake is amusing.

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My roleplaying games

by on Jan.06, 2011, under Articles, Gaming, Reviews, Roleplaying Games

I’ve been playing roleplaying games (RPGs) for more than half my life. Primarily tabletop roleplaying games, followed by online RPGs, and even snuck in a little live action roleplaying. I don’t categorize most video games which typically fall under the moniker roleplaying as roleplaying games.

For the uninitiated, roleplaying games are cooperative storytelling games. You play with them multiple people in an attempt to create some kind of story, usually by making up and then acting out some sort of character. The most popular RPG known in this day and age is Dungeons and Dragons, but there are many other games such as Vanished Lands, the World of Darkness games, Pathfinder, Exalted, Shadowrun, Eclipse Phase, CthulhuTech, and Dresden Files. Each of these games presents rules on how to play the game fairly and create certain types of stories.

I’ve been playing a lot of Dungeons and Dragons over the last year. Two of the latest edition (4th edition) and one of the prior edition (3.5). And while I still enjoy these games, I’ve been itching to try something new. One of the problems with roleplaying games is that it requires a significant time investment (anywhere from 8 hours a month to 3-4 hours a week) and that most standard types of RPGs require someone to play a Game Master (GM) position. The Game Master typically does a lot of the “work” necessary to help keep the game running and while it can be a fulfilling position, it requires even more of a time investment and there are less people willing to GM than to be a player, where you only have to worry about your own character, for the most part.

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Pathfinder Vs 4.0 D&D

by on May.13, 2010, under Articles, Roleplaying Games


So for those of you not keeping up with the latest gaming buzz. Dungeons & Dragons is coming out with a 4th edition. The source material they have released suggests that this 4.0 will be radically different from previous Dungeons & Dragons games including systems designed similar to an MMORPG with better balancing factors, a fully described setting with racial backgrounds, and no Open Gaming Licenses.

The OGL, if you are unfamiliar with that, was the brain child of several people to create a system which allows anyone to publish source material for Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 and 3.5. So independent companies, as long as they followed the rules stated in the OGL, could publish adventures and rule changes for D&D. This led to a lot of crap flooding the market. It also led to a few gems as well.

I can’t verify that Pathfinder is a gem, but its popularity certainly seems to suggest that the books that Paizo publishing has put out are not your average OGL trash. This is because Paizo publishing is actually producing its own core rule set called Pathfinder, which, incidentally, is more or less 3.5.5 D&D. So your wondering why Paizo might want to go up against the megacorp known as Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro by producing its own book that is a near copy of D&D 3.5? Well it comes down to two or three things.

1) Wizards of the Coast announced that independent companies may only produce source material for 4.0 D&D if they stop producing material for 3.5 and 3.0 completely. More specifically they are not allowed to produce material under the OGL, which 4.0 will not have. Since Paizo publishing’s entire line is 3.5 related products for the most part, this would kill their business while they made a transition.

2) Not all gamers are happy with what they have been hearing about 4.0. It actually sounds like considerably more grumbling than when 3.5 came out. Although I don’t remember the grumblings between 2.0 and 3.0 but I still know that there are people today who are playing 2.0 D&D, although no new books have been published for awhile. The re-release of D&D 1.0 under the name Hackmaster has been rather popular as well. Combined with the fact that Paizo wants to keep its books selling, it makes sense for Paizo to release a full set of rules for its other books, even if those rules are, for the most part, 3.5

3) And honestly, if your going to re-print the D&D manual because all the source material is going to dry up, why not make some improvements on it? Change and ingenuity are the spice of RPGs. But a good source grounding is needed, hence why Paizo has picked up Monte Cook, one of the disenfranchised writers of D&D 3.0 that WotC dropped like a ton of bricks before writing 3.5. I’ve seen some of Monte Cook’s exclusive books for D&D as well as his own gaming system and I was sadly unimpressed but as long as he is working on a team as a consultant, I’d say this is good news for Pathfinder.

So. In the coming months it will be D&D 4.0 vs Pathfinder. Will it be all out war or just a unsettling truce?

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D&D Essentials (First Impressions)

by on Oct.10, 2008, under Articles, Reviews, Roleplaying Games

So I’m finally reading through D&D Essentials. I’m currently in two 4th edition D&D games and one D&D 3.5 game. I have not played Pathfinder although I understand they’re introducing a Summoner class, so I may try and ask to play that in some pickup game sometime.

Anyway this is about D&D Essentials, the newest Dungeons and Dragons product to be released. To give you the product tag line, D&D Essentials is the series of products that game store owners should always keep on their shelves, regardless of what Wizards of the Coast releases. It follows the release of the D&D Red Box, which is an introductory set of D&D, ment for solo or small group play for completely new players, teaching them how to play D&D.

I admit when heard about Essentials, I was apprehensive. I thought perhaps it was a D&D 4.5 only two years after 4th edition released. That it was hear to replace 4th edition. WotC was decent at releasing information saying that no, this wasn’t going to be a 4.5. What they were not good at communicating, to me, was what position this product line fits in. And honestly after reading the books, I understand how hard it is to describe where these products fit. Personally I would place it between the Red Box and 4th edition core books. Except that there are certainly aspects of the Essentials line that “advanced” 4th edition players will want to try out. I’ll try and explain further in my impressions below.

This post is not going to be a full review but instead my initial impressions of the two primary products of the Essentials line currently released: D&D Essentials: Rules Compendium, and D&D Essentials: Heroes of the Fallen Lands.

First Impression
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