I was pinning pics on my Pinterest boards and came across this image above, from a D&D 4th Edition sourcebook. It looks awesome but it made me think of what my problem with D&D is.
I see that image on the cover of a book–I see similar images on many D&D book covers–and I think to myself, I wanna be that guy in the game. I wanna be the warrior wielding a flaming sword, attacking a displacer beast, as we both free-fall, in a no-holds-barred fight! Yeah!
The problem is, when we play, this doesn’t happen.
Now available via RPGnow, it’s the One Bad Egg’s One Eggcellent Bundle, collecting all the OBE products for the sale price of $34.95.
Bonus: The bundle now also includes Galileo Games’ Hard Boiled Empires: Solara, a complete application of the Hard Boiled Cultures product ready for your 4e game!
Power up your D&D game with One Bad Egg today.
I knew this was coming, though I wasn’t sure when. Well, it dropped today.
You can see the dedication on the preview available at the product page, which I have expanded here (click to enlarge):
So what’s the story?
Because Passover starts tomorrow night, I don’t really have the time these two news coming out of Wizards of the Coats last night deserve to be fully unpacked, and I especially don’t have time right now to record an episode of The Digital Front Podcast. That said, here are some quick thoughts.
WotC announced that they had sued eight people (in the US, Poland and Philippines) for piracy of their new D&D book, Player’s Handbook 2. Whatever outcome can come out of that, I actually find myself applauding WotC’s decision to file the lawsuits and make a statement and precedent. Piracy is a reality for any media these days, but it is nevertheless a crime, one that needs to be dealt with so that people will begin to associate that downloading a pirated book is the same as stealing it from Borders. If anyone in the Hobby Gaming Industry has the clout and resources to do this, it’s WotC, so I am quite intrigued how this will develop.
Of course, this announcement comes out at the same time as WotC decides to end all sales of their PDF products and to have them pulled from all stores, such as RPGnow.com (see image to the left), DriveThruRPG and Paizo.com. The reason? They cite piracy of their digital products as the reason for this drastic and quite sudden move. The internet is literally aflutter because of this (just check out Twitter and RPGBloggers.com for a sampling), and with good reason: it’s a poor idea.
I hate to point out the obvious, but eliminating PDFs from legitimate download sources only hurts the legitimate customers, the ones sending WotC quite a nice amount of cash on a monthly basis (considering WotC has consistently been one of the Top 3 vendors at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG), not the pirates. They already have copies floating around, and will continue to do so now that WotC has eliminated the legal sources. Add to that the fact that before PDFs were widely available, there were already scanned pirate copies of books running around, and the piracy argument looses steam really fast. This isn’t eldritch lore, folks; it’s business and marketing info that’s out there.
I write all this fully mindful of what happened with one of my previous mentions of WotC in my blog. I stand by it as well.
Of course, let’s not lose sight of this last quote in the news release:
WotC is apparently not ruling out digital delivery of its products using a different format or model. “We are exploring other options for digital distribution of our content,” the spokesperson said.
Considering how poorly the D&D Digital Initiative has been going (to wit: Gleemax cancelled, Character Builder delayed though now operational, Character Visualizer TBA, e-Tabletop Application TBA), bringing in the exclusive distribution of their own digital products makes a ton of business sense, though the way they are going about it is just dismal. It does continue their abysmal performance in the Public Relations arena during the D&D 4e era.
I look forward to more developments, and after Passover I’ll try to sit down and record with whatever info is available at the moment.
On Friday I got my box from Buy.com containing the D&D 4th Edition Core Books Set and I’ve bee reading through the Player’s Handbook over the weekend. Some of my preconceptions have been corrected, but I still reserve judgement for when I’ve read them all.
I have to say I really hate that lackluster (really, the completely unexistent) marketing campaign that went into 4e. I really wanted to like this game, honestly; I like D&D, and I wanted to be excited about the new edition and whatever improvements it brought. But Wizards didn’t sell me on it, and the bits and pieces being released over blog posts, forum posts, news and cryptic articles were just not enough, and in fact damaged the whole game in my mind.
What I’m seeing so far is a very tight game focused on tactical combat (yes, I know there are other parts to it, but at page 101, all I’m seeing are tons of combat powers). It even looks kind of exciting at parts. We’ll see once I get to skills and feats how the general focus fares.
Will this game be D&D for me? At this point, no, I don’t think so, but it can still be a cool game. I actually hope it is, for what I paid for it.
I can tell you that I have already seen a few things that I will definitely change/expand:
- Dragonborn will not be mammals. This was a stupid concesion, in my opinion. In my book and world, dragonborn are warm-blooded, egg laying reptiles. The females will be differentiated by a having a more lithe build than the males, and they will certainly not have breasts.
- Halflings receive a +2 History racial skill bonus. By default they get +2 Acrobatics and +2 Thievery, which matches the (1e-3e) pre-conceived notion of halflings as sneaky bastards, but then the background goes into how halflings are nomads and collect stories and how they are so awesome at being able to know bits of lore and legend about pretty much anything they encounter. So where’s the mechanical reinforcement for that? Shoddy design work. In my book and world, they get the skill bonus to History over Thievery.
- Warlocks will get more pact choices. I like the Fey, Infernal and Star pacts in the book, but I want more out of the box. I’m going to check if there are some fan-designed pacts I can add to my notes, and if not, I’ll design a couple more.
I already have an idea for a character, but I’ll post it once it’s done.
I’m super busy getting ready for my trip to Seattle, so I won’t be doing a long post about this. Short version: the GSL sucks and I don’t see Highmoon Media using it to produce D&D 4e-compatible products in the near future. The license is horribly restricting in what I can and cannot do, reference, or develop, but the dealbrakers are the clauses dealing with OGL conversions (6.1, 6.2), with beyond-termination limitation of my GSL-released products (6.1), and the draconian sections dealing with litigation and damages (10), especially the one where you waive your right to a jury trial for any legal proceeding dealing with the GSL (19).
There’s more stuff that annoys me about it (like the fact that the license seems to put a clamp on anything I develop for 4e/GSL to be used solely for that or not at all), but it will have to wait for me to break that down further.
Honestly, I feel they should just have closed the whole game. I know some folks with use this GSL to release products, but in general, it feels like a forced participation in the idea of Open Gaming, and only in the most bitter of ways.
Wizards of the Coast continues to become a company that I more and more do not want to support with my dollars.
I miss very much the Wizards of the Coast of the Peter Adkinson years, but that’s a different post.
Last week was one of those where I literally only got to sit at my computer for like 10 minutes, period. I had my mom and two nephews visiting here all week, which was great, but severely affected my comp time, in addition to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which meant two days of no electronics at all. So this all amounts to a crapload of backed-up emails, including a series of them from Amazon.com, telling me that the credit card I had given for my D&D 4e Gift Box pre-order was expired (Doh!) and that if I didn’t give a new one, my order would be cancelled. It was. So not only did I not get the box set on release day as is normal for Amazon.com pre-orders (due to stock issues), the great price I had locked in via the pre-order has also gone away, and while the regular price they offer is still a good one compared to regular retail, it bothers me having to give them that extra money. So I’ll be going with Buy.com, which has it at just two more dollars than I had thought I would pay at Amazon.com. I do have to wait for the restock from Wizards, so for now no 4e for me. Which is just fine, as I’ll be traveling this Friday so my thoughts are all about Seattle, not 4e.
Hey all. Just sending a quick hi from GTS in Las Vegas.
Yes, those are slot machines in the airport, right outside my gate…
What a weird place this is; so fake, so constructed, so artificial. Everything is AN EXPERIENCE!!! But it’s just a facade, and honestly, a very thin one, too. I’ll have more to say once I get back; right now I have to use the most of my time here for biz stuff (and I start my Day 2 account with a quick trip to Kinko’s to print business card, since I left mine in Miami – doh!).
The trade show is going good, and Pulp Gamer has been kicking ass in getting awesome podcasting coverage. Today I will be doing some interviews as well (hopefully). Fear the Boot’s Dan Repperger is here as well (schmoozing like a pro), as is Ed Healy from Dark Whisper (or as he is better known, the Kobold Quarterly Ad-Pimp Master), Fred Hicks from That’s How We Roll, The Butcher Block and Evil Hat, Chris Hanrahan from 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction, and Allan Sugarbaker from OgreCave Audio Report. A podcaster takeover could very well happen; watch the gaming news just in case.
WotC is being tight-lipped about the 4e GSL and its ramifications, Paizo is secretly dancing the fandango, Green Ronin is cursing WotC for out-staging their press release about the True20 open license, and the World of Warcraft pre-painted minis are OMG incredible.
More later. Have fun.
Though at the moment it is still too early to really know what our plans at Highmoon Media Productions will be once the D&D 4th Edition SRD is released, we can tell you a couple of things that have more or less been decided upon already.
Barring any unforseen circumstances, HMP will continue to support d20 SRD-based products via the OGL (and maybe a possible new d20 System License). We like d20–in fact, we like it a lot–and look forward to tinkering around with this new iteration of the d20 rules. Whether we will convert all our current products to 4e is what remains to be seen, however.
The Liber Sodalitas line will most likely see a conversion to the new rules, as will Targum Magazine and the Terra Mythica line. Bardic Lore is on hiatus at the moment, and it is unknown when that will end, if at all (4e or not). The DaVinci Labs line is going on hiatus at the moment, awaiting either news of a new Modern SRD release, or the release of the Modern 2.0 rules being developed by Charles Rice of RPG Objects, whichever comes first and/or rocks the most. We do, however, have a couple of d20 Modern-based products, and a new system-independent product line from Bret Boyd, coming soon.
The MonkeyGod adventures will, with almost complete certainty, not be converted to the new rules system; they simply would take too much work and time. So unless we have an overwhelming response to this announcement, these will remain as 3.0/3.5 adventures (we are, however, open to fan-made conversions, if there is enough interest), though we have no intention of taking them off the market.
The biggest announcement we have to make at this moment is that we have discussed the possibility of (and received agreeable feedback on) publishing a 4e version of From Stone to Steel, MonkeyGod’s encyclopedia of weapons and armors throughout the ages. Beyond the interest in doing an update to that fantastic book, nothing has been decided as we set about finding the layout files, rearranging some things, and preparing for when the rules are released and we can begin the process of conversion. We’ll look at printing and distribution a bit further down the line. If you want to see this project happen, please be sure to let us know via a comment on the blog post, the forums or by email/contact form.
As new plans are solidifed, we’ll let you all know what’s going on with HMP as 4e approaches.
Berin Kinsman, at UncleBear.com, has posted a Wish List of stuff he’d like to see on a possible (or rather, upcoming and innevitable) 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. I think his list is excellent and right on the money on the kind of changes I’d like to see to the game, too, and we’ve been commenting back and forth about it. Go take a look and add your thoughts as well. Even if WotC/Hasbro (see what Berin has to say about this) doesn’t use these suggestions, they might influence a better version of an OGL d20-derivative core system (and for the record, I think True20 comes pretty close already).