Changes Coming to the Adventure Tools in September

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I use the MB mainly as a monster index. I filter the monsters based on
a) The source. I only use data from the books that I possess.
b) The keyword or the origin. The reason is that I want to design "theme" encounters (and not 2 treants, 2 demons, 5 serpents and a drow...)
c) The XP.

Till now, I had to find the monster, then write the name in Compendium, and then copy - paste the stats in my text editor, in order to have everything I need in a single file during the gameplay. I was more than happy when I saw that there is a direct link to the compendium... But, then I couldn't find the monsters I was searching for! I searched for Kobold Quickblade in the MV, and the result was 0. I noticed that the number of monsters in the MV was only 159 and that the Kobold had as it's only source Dungeon Magazine 182...

As it is right now, MB is useless to me, because I can't filter the monsters, based on the source... Please fix it! And please, allow us to choose from a number of sources, instead of only 1...


English is not my native language, so I ask for your patience...
I use the MB mainly as a monster index. I filter the monsters based on
a) The source. I only use data from the books that I possess.
b) The keyword or the origin. The reason is that I want to design "theme" encounters (and not 2 treants, 2 demons, 5 serpents and a drow...)
c) The XP.

Till now, I had to find the monster, then write the name in Compendium, and then copy - paste the stats in my text editor, in order to have everything I need in a single file during the gameplay. I was more than happy when I saw that there is a direct link to the compendium... But, then I couldn't find the monsters I was searching for! I searched for Kobold Quickblade in the MV, and the result was 0. I noticed that the number of monsters in the MV was only 159 and that the Kobold had as it's only source Dungeon Magazine 182...

As it is right now, MB is useless to me, because I can't filter the monsters, based on the source... Please fix it! And please, allow us to choose from a number of sources, instead of only 1...

FWIW, I started a feature request thread in the Monster Builder section.

Celebrate our differences.

I use the MB mainly as a monster index. I filter the monsters based on
a) The source. I only use data from the books that I possess.
b) The keyword or the origin. The reason is that I want to design "theme" encounters (and not 2 treants, 2 demons, 5 serpents and a drow...)
c) The XP.

Till now, I had to find the monster, then write the name in Compendium, and then copy - paste the stats in my text editor, in order to have everything I need in a single file during the gameplay. I was more than happy when I saw that there is a direct link to the compendium... But, then I couldn't find the monsters I was searching for! I searched for Kobold Quickblade in the MV, and the result was 0. I noticed that the number of monsters in the MV was only 159 and that the Kobold had as it's only source Dungeon Magazine 182...

As it is right now, MB is useless to me, because I can't filter the monsters, based on the source... Please fix it! And please, allow us to choose from a number of sources, instead of only 1...

FWIW, I started a feature request thread in the Monster Builder section.



Thanks Jharii!  Checking it out...

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Providing the RTF export and RTF To Clipboard functionality is a valid request, and should be a priority.  You can act like it was not an oversight all you like, but it was an oversight.  It is also an incredibly simple thing to implement.

It also stands to reason that more people know how to understand and manipulate RTF format than XML format, thus it is potentially more useful to the end user.  It is as viable an option, if not more, than XML, except for how it pertains to importing to the online MB and the VT.


Please show me where I said RTF export was NOT a valid request and it shouldn't be a priority or stop using straw man arguements.

As soon as you show me where I said that you said it was not a valid request or not a priority.
 
My response that "the RTF functionality is a valid request and should be a priority" does not in any way make any inference that you do not feel that way.  I merely presented it as a point and I attached no connotations to it.  The inference is of your own creation.


Then my apologies.  The correct assessment is that you claim that "it was an oversight" (implied meaning of "it" from context is not adding export to RTF) which is unprovable.  You further claim that my comments are based on said unprovable premise "You can act like it was not an oversight" which is most certainly false.  My premise is that they "chose" not to implement said feature for this version.

Since the XML export was a pre-existing feature I would have to amend my earlier choices:

A)  Release "fully functional" (put in quotes so as not to imply bug free) with no new export formats (just the current XML) OR
B)  Don't release.

I'll chose A. 
Then my apologies.

Accepted.

You further claim that my comments are based on said unprovable premise "You can act like it was not an oversight" which is most certainly false.  My premise is that they "chose" not to implement said feature for this version.

Based upon the apparent demand for RTF functionality, I would say that "choice" was a bad one.  It was almost as if they underestimated the need for it.

Celebrate our differences.

You further claim that my comments are based on said unprovable premise "You can act like it was not an oversight" which is most certainly false.  My premise is that they "chose" not to implement said feature for this version.

Based upon the apparent demand for RTF functionality, I would say that "choice" was a bad one.  It was almost as if they underestimated the need for it.


I'll go with that.  It wouldn't be so bad if the offline tool were able to do the conversion.  Then it would just be "inconvenience" which I'd live with till next month.
You further claim that my comments are based on said unprovable premise "You can act like it was not an oversight" which is most certainly false.  My premise is that they "chose" not to implement said feature for this version.

Based upon the apparent demand for RTF functionality, I would say that "choice" was a bad one.  It was almost as if they underestimated the need for it.


I'll go with that.  It wouldn't be so bad if the offline tool were able to do the conversion.  Then it would just be "inconvenience" which I'd live with till next month.

Oh, I definitely would love that. DrNick hinted at one earlier in the thread. 
 
4eTurnTracker does not yet support the XML import, only the RTF one, and it seems like it may be the best combat tracker to date (opinion, of course).

I will probably do some testing tonight with the various 3pp to see how they handle the OMB exports. 

Celebrate our differences.

You further claim that my comments are based on said unprovable premise "You can act like it was not an oversight" which is most certainly false.  My premise is that they "chose" not to implement said feature for this version.

Based upon the apparent demand for RTF functionality, I would say that "choice" was a bad one.  It was almost as if they underestimated the need for it.


I'll go with that.  It wouldn't be so bad if the offline tool were able to do the conversion.  Then it would just be "inconvenience" which I'd live with till next month.

Oh, I definitely would love that. DrNick hinted at one earlier in the thread. 
 
4eTurnTracker does not yet support the XML import, only the RTF one, and it seems like it may be the best combat tracker to date (opinion, of course).

I will probably do some testing tonight with the various 3pp to see how they handle the OMB exports. 


I written parsers before and it seems like with XML you wouldn't have to do localization crap like you would with RTF so I guess that's why I'm partial to importing XML instead.  I remember when the offline tool first came out and ppl were having issues parsing the RTF and it turned out to be localization issues.
You further claim that my comments are based on said unprovable premise "You can act like it was not an oversight" which is most certainly false.  My premise is that they "chose" not to implement said feature for this version.

Based upon the apparent demand for RTF functionality, I would say that "choice" was a bad one.  It was almost as if they underestimated the need for it.


I'll go with that.  It wouldn't be so bad if the offline tool were able to do the conversion.  Then it would just be "inconvenience" which I'd live with till next month.

Oh, I definitely would love that. DrNick hinted at one earlier in the thread. 
 
4eTurnTracker does not yet support the XML import, only the RTF one, and it seems like it may be the best combat tracker to date (opinion, of course).

I will probably do some testing tonight with the various 3pp to see how they handle the OMB exports. 



I'm partial to Dungeon Master's Battle Screen which imports .monster files, but I'm gonna have to check this new one out...it certainly looks pretty!!
Some interesting things in this thread. 
Math: as far as I can tell (bugs notwithstanding), it uses mm3 calculations and stat block.


Just wanted to clarify...  In no case does it use the MM3 math.  It neither uses the MM3 math when making a new monster, nor when up/down-leveling an existing monster.

This is the #1 issue that's not crash-related, IMO.  It's basically the whole point of using a monster builder - getting the math done for you rather than by hand.  The formatting is pretty much secondary.

-O
I'm actually a bit surprised that it is as big an issue for so many. For me it was a far bigger issue to see the editing capability and proper screens so we could quickly edit and modify. I can easily look up expected values and I tend to play with damage based on the encounter I'm designing, so it wasn't a big deal for me what era damage it used. I can see how you all feel, but it surprised me that it was so big a deal for so many.

As I wrote earlier, it is tricky to really nail down how the logic should work. I agree that we want the latest logic for new monsters (if I add a power to a level 20 brute, it should have the correct average damage as a suggestion). It becomes trickier when we talk about leveling a previously made monster upwards. Say you make a custom monster and you deliberately set a power to do low damage because you want it to stun. Now you change your mind and bump it down a level... if the program is too strict about using MM3 damage, it could end up placing the average damage (a huge increase beyond what you wanted). Or, take an MM2 creature that actually works ok as designed. Should the program change those values when you pull it up for editing?

I personally would like to see the program set average values for any new power, but use scaling math (based on the chart Chris Perkins posted) to just adjust for the difference in levels. If you deliberately set low damage and you go from level 13 to 20, the program would figure out what that damage difference (based on monster role) would be and applies it. For guidance (as kenjoon suggested), the program could just display the expected average so the user can see it and be aware of it.

But, the RTF export (in the right format for DDI and LFR authors) is a far bigger priority for me. For me the goal is RTF to get monsters into Microsoft Word or equivalent, and secondarily to have an XML output that third parties could use. Without an RTF export (or the ability to use the XML export to open the monster in the CB) I have issues as an Organized Play author. I don't want to get this close to being able to edit a monster for organized play and then have to repeat my work in the old MB. For a home DM this is likely not as big an issue, since you can screen print just about as quickly as you can adjust a copy-paste result from RTF.

My second priority would be traps/hazards and monster themes. I want to be able to consider traps as part of my options for encounter design and I want to be able to edit them. I absolutely want to take a trap and add a monster power to it and then rename the power to sound like a trap attack. I want to up and down-level a hazard. And, I really want to quickly search through monster themes and apply some to a monster I am customizing. Terrain is of some interest, but that would be better in an encounter builder than here. Also, while I have heard of some wanting templates, I really don't use them in my game (I use monster themes exclusively). Templates are thus a nice-to-have for me.

Monster damage is probably my third priority after the two above.

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Math: as far as I can tell (bugs notwithstanding), it uses mm3 calculations and stat block.


Just wanted to clarify...  In no case does it use the MM3 math.  It neither uses the MM3 math when making a new monster, nor when up/down-leveling an existing monster.

This is the #1 issue that's not crash-related, IMO.  It's basically the whole point of using a monster builder - getting the math done for you rather than by hand.  The formatting is pretty much secondary.

-O



I'm a big fan of this new and improved MB. The dev team did a lot of great work. But... the math issue is something that really has to be resolved for this product to live to its potential.

I find PaoloM's statement to be a point of concern. It implies a real disconnect between the game designers and the DDI development team if they think the numbers used are post-MM3 values. Hopefully this gets resolved soon.

I find PaoloM's statement to be a point of concern. It implies a real disconnect between the game designers and the DDI development team if they think the numbers used are post-MM3 values. Hopefully this gets resolved soon.



I thought that as well. PaoloM's statement makes it seem that outside of some mistakes, it uses the MM3 math. But lots of people are saying it doesn't.
I'm actually a bit surprised that it is as big an issue for so many. For me it was a far bigger issue to see the editing capability and proper screens so we could quickly edit and modify. I can easily look up expected values and I tend to play with damage based on the encounter I'm designing, so it wasn't a big deal for me what era damage it used. I can see how you all feel, but it surprised me that it was so big a deal for so many...



It's a matter of consistency more than anything else - the new rules are the new rules, and the policy from on high has been that the tools (whether offline or online) adhere to the most recent rules updates. So, aside from the fact that it will be quite a bit of hard work to update the monsters already extant, there's no good reason I can see for the Monster Builder not be using the official rules for monster design. 

That does mean that if there was a good MM2 monster, the tool should change it anyway, because functional or not, the monster is not in conformity with the official rules. It would be nice to have some real smarts embedded so that it tried to look at the delta for custom monsters and guess what you were trying to do, but otherwise (and especially for non-custom monsters), it should simply update the monster, and perhaps flag the updated values for your attention, or perhaps not (the CB and previous MB never did, as best I can recall). 

It seems like perhaps this ultimately stems from miscommunication between R&D and software development, which maybe will be corrected in the next update. But I think it's a surprising oversight given how long its taken to release a functional Monster Builder, and how long people have been hoping for an MM3 update sweep.

Which is not to say RTF export is minimal; but IMO the monster mechanics take precedence. 
My BIGGEST gripe about Adventure Tools is that it isn't.  It is AN Adventure Tool.  Monsters.  That's all I have.

I'd like RTF export.  I use Masterplan and D&D4e Combat Manager.  I'd prefer not to constantly use the old character builder, entering a monster I want from a new source, then exporting that way when I'm paying for DDI/Compendium.

As a secondary, I'd like to see a button that you can press on all pre-MM3 monsters that will automatically update the attack bonuses and damage.  That way, if I want to use a pre-MM3 the way it was originally written, awesome.  But if I want it to be updated, I make the decision. 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
My opinion on the MM3 math is to keep all monsters' numbers as they were originally published, but use the MM3 math if any monster is created or edited.  That's all I want.  No need to update all the older monsters because the user can do that if they want - but it should be made easy to do just by sliding the level slider up and down or something, and NOT modify the original copy of the older monster.  Or even better yet, click a button to convert your copy of the monster to the MM3 math.

Updating the numbers is still the biggest time sink for me using the MB, since I rarely make monsters from scratch but instead modify existing monsters.

So please, WoTC, don't update the old monsters, but DO set it up so that new monsters and edited monsters use the new math automatically.

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My opinion on the MM3 math is to keep all monsters' numbers as they were originally published, but use the MM3 math if any monster is created or edited.  That's all I want.  No need to update all the older monsters because the user can do that if they want - but it should be made easy to do just by sliding the level slider up and down or something, and NOT modify the original copy of the older monster.  Or even better yet, click a button to convert your copy of the monster to the MM3 math.

Updating the numbers is still the biggest time sink for me using the MB, since I rarely make monsters from scratch but instead modify existing monsters.

So please, WoTC, don't update the old monsters, but DO set it up so that new monsters and edited monsters use the new math automatically.


I'll disagree.  I want the MB to show the new MM3 math numbers, and maybe have a "reset" button that adjusts a given entry to MM3 standards, but I want to be the one in control.  I reject software that "automatically" makes decisions for me and I'm sure if you think about it you'll feel the same way.
I'll disagree.  I want the MB to show the new MM3 math numbers, and maybe have a "reset" button that adjusts a given entry to MM3 standards, but I want to be the one in control.  I reject software that "automatically" makes decisions for me and I'm sure if you think about it you'll feel the same way.



In fairness, you're not in control for the Character Builder (in the sense that, if a rule changes, the CB just changes it; you don't get an option). This is in fact the gist of my comment earlier - not automatically updating monsters to the new rules is inconsistent in terms of how rules updates propagate between the tools. Of course, it's been consistently inconsistent...but the point remains.

Which is not to say I don't understand or respect your preference - I would personally rather have it fix the math for me without my active involvement, but it's simply preference. 

I'll disagree.  I want the MB to show the new MM3 math numbers, and maybe have a "reset" button that adjusts a given entry to MM3 standards, but I want to be the one in control.  I reject software that "automatically" makes decisions for me and I'm sure if you think about it you'll feel the same way.



In fairness, you're not in control for the Character Builder (in the sense that, if a rule changes, the CB just changes it; you don't get an option). This is in fact the gist of my comment earlier - not automatically updating monsters to the new rules is inconsistent in terms of how rules updates propagate between the tools. Of course, it's been consistently inconsistent...but the point remains.

Which is not to say I don't understand or respect your preference - I would personally rather have it fix the math for me without my active involvement, but it's simply preference. 



While I understand the desire to "just fix it", there isn't going to be any "good" way to have hard and fast rules that will achieve the desired result consistantly.  There are too many scenarios where having it do that will be the opposite of helpful.
* Attacks with ongoing damage
* Attacks with daze/stun at-will
* Attacks with other status effects
The one thing the MB has been (mostly) consistant about is showing all printed monsters with their most up to date errata.  I don't want to edit a creature (with or without errata) and have the builder execute some voodoo magic code without telling me exactly what it did.  I'd say the old builders "reset" buttons are the best option since you get to see what the before and after are before you do anything with a single click to "commit".  For the kind of functionality you want, I'd prefer a button "Update all attacks to MM3 math" so that at least you have the choice (if the suggested "reset" buttons aren't fast enough for you).

I have to agree with Kenjoon. As a DM I have been adjusting to the MM3 and MV standard (as best I can) since it came out. There is fudge and wiggle that I would not trust to a script. A lot of the items that must be considered are not even values in the builder, but part of text strings.


Best just to have the most recent printed version available and new math available, ether displayed or calculated upon request.
That is a good point - reflecting on that, I think I would have to go to option 2: take one of the team aside (maybe the guy who does the articles on this), and say "Hire 2 interns. Their job, and yours, is to update all of the pre-MM3 monsters to MM3 stats. You've got (insert timeframe here). Godspeed."

I'm dead serious about the fact that I don't want to have to do anything to get appropriately updated monsters. I understand that automatic updating is sub-optimal*, though, and I recall the designers saying in the past that it's as much art as science. To that, I say, "get painting." 

Now, I highly doubt that will happen. It is my assumption that they will not make any changes to pre-MM3 monsters, except for the ones that show up in the occasional Monster Manual update articles. This is a purely academic discussion in that sense, and I'm not angry or anything about it. However, if nothing else, I think they should focus on getting the MM3 standard properly implemented for new (i.e., newly created) monsters soonest.



* I mean, I can think of ways to approach it that would be pretty successful, but it really depends on how finely granulated the monster data is.
I agree with Wizards that you want a guy like Logan Bonner, not two random interns, updating monsters. It isn't as easy as it looks. And, it isn't as if pre-MM3 monsters are useless. It can work very well to mix post and pre MM3 in an encounter. You just want to note the damage levels. For example, take MM1 monsters and put them in a room with terrain that damages only players until they best a skill challenge - perfect!

My point being that we don't need this done automatically for us. Leave the monsters as they are and just show us a clear reminder of the average damage expected for such a power (based on level, monster role, limited vs at-will). Maybe also have a single-click button that would "update monster damage to average values", though I would hesitate to do even that because not all DMs understand what this would do. "Sure, stun plus your bloody value in damage to everyone in the room... what's the problem? Ok, now these monsters get to go..."

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The use of the pre-MM3 math seems to have been the result of a failure to communicate, as Strother Martin would say. Calculations will be updated to the MM3 algorithm in the October update. 



Steve
 

If your only tool is a warhammer, every problem looks like a gnoll.

good stuff. do you think the masterwork armor bug fix will be in the same update?
The use of the pre-MM3 math seems to have been the result of a failure to communicate, as Strother Martin would say. Calculations will be updated to the MM3 algorithm in the October update. 


Happens!

Can you share with us how you will handle existing monsters or the user going into edit mode for an existing monster? We have some worries around scenarios:


  • Monster is paragon, but has encounter power that does low damage plus stun. MB should probably not update the power's damage.

  • Monster is pre-MM3, but works well and user wants to edit it (say, to change a power that pushes to have it instead pull) but not have damage be updated.

  • New Monster, user wants it to have lower or higher damage than usual.

  • Editing monster, user wants to change the damage but be able to reference expected average damage values.

  • What happens when I take a monster and raise or lower the level? Does the program use Chris Perkins' chart to figure out the delta, regardless of what this power is, and then apply the delta? Or, does it change the average each time you change the level? (The later is worse, since it would change a stun+low damage power in a way that would likely be undesirable). 

  • What happens if I raise/lower ability scores? The newer logic seems to be that this only affects skills and does not affect defenses. Current logic probably is changing all sorts of things (attacks, defenses, skills, etc.). Also, current logic probably bumps ability scores when you level a monster, further creating changes.


My personal feeling is that the math should be MM3 for anything new (any new power). For level changes, it should look at Chris Perkins' chart and apply the delta (regardless of what damage is done, increase or lower the static damage portion by the change in average damage on the chart). Ability scores should increase as you level, but only impact skills.

In addition, we have more than a few sources of "what is post MM3 damage". The best place to turn to is probably what is given to DDI adventure authors, which includes how defenses and damage scale. Chris Perkins' spreadsheet on average damage (which has average values for monster role and at-will vs encounter attacks) should be used for damage.

Summary: this is a complex one and someone with knowledge of the subject should be working closely with the Dev team. This is worth a smart WotC person's time, because it will be useful internally for DDI, organized play, etc.

The Playtesters would be glad to playtest this!

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All I want to know is when it will be up. I have been looking at the "Unholy Hourglass of Time Stop" for too long. Updates are good, please keep them coming that is what I am paying for. However please understand that there are DM's in need of access to this tool.

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Yes and thanks. Thought I had cleared everything first.
MY DM COMMITMENT To insure that those who participate in any game that I adjudicate are having fun, staying engaged, maintaining focus, contributing to the story and becoming legendary. "The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gary Gygax Thanks for that Gary, so now stop playing RAW games. Member of the Progressive Front of Grognardia Suicide Squad
I agree with Wizards that you want a guy like Logan Bonner, not two random interns, updating monsters. It isn't as easy as it looks. And, it isn't as if pre-MM3 monsters are useless. It can work very well to mix post and pre MM3 in an encounter. You just want to note the damage levels. For example, take MM1 monsters and put them in a room with terrain that damages only players until they best a skill challenge - perfect!



Although the explanation has been posted, I just want to say - I didn't mean "two random interns." I meant "Logan Bonner supervises and guides the projects, along with some help in the form of interns."

But anyway, the point being I may not need it done for me, but I want it done for me. That is vanishingly unlikely to happen, I know, but it's not about feasibility at this point. It's about my laziness.

masterwork armor?
masterwork armor?



Not in the monster builder, hopefully. 
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