Legends and Lore - Preserving the Past

578 posts / 0 new
Last post
Legends and Lore
Preserving the Past

by Monte Cook

In my new role at Wizards of the Coast, I am compelled to look over the entire run of the game, not just the most recent products.

Talk about this column here.

The poll at the end of this one almost seams to be asking if it is even worth working on these columes the way they are. I hope everyone votes, and makes this the best turn out yet...that way everyone knows if we want looks back or forward.

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

I must be tired, but I really couldn't make much sense out the article.  I'll try to read it again in the morning.
Monte- I really like you as a game designer but I think maybe you were half-asleep when you wrote some of this article.

Leucrotta - Page 63 of the Monsters of Faerun book.

Peryton - Page 69 of the  Monsters of Faerun book.

These two monsters weren't left out of 3rd edition so you really only need to go back one edition to check them out.
I chose the first option in the poll but that is because it most accurately reflects my true opinion of "The history of the game is important because it shows us what we need to discard".

Namely, the elimination of certain sacred cows have improved the game greatly (IMO) and we need to keep that, not ressurect them for some retro/nostalgic feel.

I am especially opposed to "bad rules = good roleplaying" and removal of the tighter balance of 4th Ed. Basically, looking back at last weeks column, no I don't want a 4th level character to be able to have a +3 magic sword as a result of facing a level +4 challenge (or whatever would be 'appropriate') for him to recieve one.
"I also think there's value in being true to one's roots. History is important. If we don't know what the game was like 10, 20, or 30 years ago, we're refusing to learn from any of those years of design and play, and that's just short sighted. Plus, ignoring history is just going to cause us to trip over what we've already done."

For what it's worth, I like this statement. It shows that he knows that past editions had their pitfalls, and he's making a concious decision to look for them so as to not repeat them. What he considers pitfalls of prior editions, though, might be drastically different than what some of us consider pitfalls.
Monte- I really like you as a game designer but I think maybe you were half-asleep when you wrote some of this article.

Leucrotta - Page 63 of the Monsters of Faerun book.

Peryton - Page 69 of the  Monsters of Faerun book.

These two monsters weren't left out of 3rd edition so you really only need to go back one edition to check them out.



And yet at the same time, they kinda were.  Because they were tucked away in a FR product - despite never having been Realms specific creatures - & not front & center in the general MM1 or MM2.  Heck, they weren't even included in the ever less usefull MM volumes.  Personally I'd have gladly traded a page or two out of one of those volumes for a peryton....
So, if you weren't a FR buyer?  You'd skip right over these classic monsters & never realize it.

Monte- I really like you as a game designer but I think maybe you were half-asleep when you wrote some of this article.

Leucrotta - Page 63 of the Monsters of Faerun book.

Peryton - Page 69 of the  Monsters of Faerun book.

These two monsters weren't left out of 3rd edition so you really only need to go back one edition to check them out.



And yet at the same time, they kinda were.  Because they were tucked away in a FR product - despite never having been Realms specific creatures - & not front & center in the general MM1 or MM2.  Heck, they weren't even included in the ever less usefull MM volumes.  Personally I'd have gladly traded a page or two out of one of those volumes for a peryton....
So, if you weren't a FR buyer?  You'd skip right over these classic monsters & never realize it.




That is true but Monte should have known that.
I'm pretty sure the point was that they were left out of the original Monster Manual, to make way for new monsters.

And I believe this is the first article from Monte I can support 100%. Old monsters may look ridiculous and have strange abilities, but that shouldn't mean they should be shunned; just updated with new story and perhaps a less goofy physical appearance.

Some of my fondest 3e days reside when I would go through the Monster Manual, look at the description and various spell-like abilities, and try to imagine how the creature would act and what physical action the creature takes when using their SLAs. I figured gnomes rubbed their hands vigorously until they (and their eyes) glow slightly when using Prestidigitation, and Ghost Sound involved covering their mouth and pointing at the target.

...and I'm done rambling, sorry.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Can I point out I still don't want to see the return of monsters like Ear Mites?
Can I point out I still don't want to see the return of monsters like Ear Mites?



I agree.

I'm quite good with abandoning stupid monsters to the pits of oblivion (or Gamma World).  I certainly was not happy to see the return of the Rust Monster, one of the flagship stupid monsters of all time.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Can I point out I still don't want to see the return of monsters like Ear Mites?



I agree.

I'm quite good with abandoning stupid monsters to the pits of oblivion (or Gamma World).  I certainly was not happy to see the return of the Rust Monster, one of the flagship stupid monsters of all time.


I hate both of those and level drain idiocy too.

Gee you fought the monster and survived now you are less of a hero with have less heroic luck and the wizard gets to feel like he is brain damaged too.... hurray. 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I made a thread at Campaign Workshop on similar stuff - adaptation of old monsters, like Gibberlings...

It is not even a new school VS old school stuff - I'm sure some old timers can groan at the memories of some really idiotic creations....

Anyway, we can at least adapt stuff ourself - we just should try to share around good stuff. Let ideas go free.

(I oddly like Rust Monsters, even if those where just a way for gygaxian Dms to screw with players..) 
 

(I oddly like Rust Monsters, even if those where just a way for gygaxian Dms to screw with players..) 



You're forgiven
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

 

(I oddly like Rust Monsters, even if those where just a way for gygaxian Dms to screw with players..) 



You're forgiven

Albeit, they make sense.. oddly... 

It's magic + even in real life, you have (micro)organisms feeding on... many kind of stuff. Like metalic compounds. 

So, it make sense in a world like GH or FR or Eberron to have some life forms feeding on metal... Scratch that, DOUBLY on Dark Sun for you know what.

The look and way it act and 'fight' however.... 
Rust Monster?  Level Drain?  Sounds like you guys like one of the big problems with 4E.  It's gutted anything that actually posed a challenge to players and turned it into happy auto-win land of easy-mode no consequences.  You want to trip an Ooze, I can't say no to players, that would be bad-wrong-unfun, so YES, you can trip an ooze! Represent a stat with a negative, thats sad-unfriendly-unsmileyface, lets give everything positives only!  Not being able to heal himself made Mr. Barbarian into Mr. Angry!  Now EVERYONE can heal themselves!  Hurray!

It's no surprise so many people on this board had/has my little pony avatars.

@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie

Rust Monster?  Level Drain?  Sounds like you guys like one of the big problems with 4E.  It's gutted anything that actually posed a challenge to players and turned it into happy auto-win land of easy-mode no consequences.  You want to trip an Ooze, I can't say no to players, that would be bad-wrong-unfun, so YES, you can trip an ooze! Represent a stat with a negative, thats sad-unfriendly-unsmileyface, lets give everything positives only!  Not being able to heal himself made Mr. Barbarian into Mr. Angry!  Now EVERYONE can heal themselves!  Hurray!

It's no surprise so many people on this board had/has my little pony avatars.

N'importe quoi, mademoiselle...

This is farsical a fallacy.

There is a difference between challengers and GOTCHA NOOBZ!.

Gygaxian dming was built on the later. I remember it. Traps to screw you, save or die, etc.. Playing to screw the players.

NO, 4TH ED IS NOT AUTO WIN, OH NON MADEMOISELLE.
You can throw hordes of monsters at your ennemies by example, they can die. A demon. Etc.

And the Ponies point is snobby arrogant, mademoiselle. Cut that out. 
Rust Monster?  Level Drain?  Sounds like you guys like one of the big problems with 4E.  It's gutted anything that actually posed a challenge to players and turned it into happy auto-win land of easy-mode no consequences.  You want to trip an Ooze, I can't say no to players, that would be bad-wrong-unfun, so YES, you can trip an ooze! Represent a stat with a negative, thats sad-unfriendly-unsmileyface, lets give everything positives only!  Not being able to heal himself made Mr. Barbarian into Mr. Angry!  Now EVERYONE can heal themselves!  Hurray!

It's no surprise so many people on this board had/has my little pony avatars.



Hey, don't throw me into the group of people who don't like negative and bad effects actually being in the core rulebooks (instead of needing to be created by a DM when he wishes there to be bad consequences).  I happen to also miss times when a DM wasn't encouraged to never say no, I actually miss monsters having inbuilt level drain, or stuff that would destroy items.  They never ruined a game for me.

I just happen to have a pony avatar because I find it amusing..trust me I could do worse......I happen to have carebear icons floating around <.<
The history of D&D should definately be preserved. On formaldehyde. In a museum. So we can point and laugh and then move on to the modern world. It's nice to have the old editions to look at and analyse, but the key point is analyse. Don't just go "it was in D&D once, therefore it shall be in the new edition" D&D was full of failures and we should learn from them in any edition, including 4e.

Also it seems there are still DMs who have trouble realising that they're just players and are so high on power they don't even notice how incredibly powertrippy they're being by demanding the power to singlehandedly declare a character cripple for suggesting something the DM doesn't agree with.

But I guess some things never change
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
Now EVERYONE can heal themselves!  Hurray!


Healing surges are a limit on how much somebody can be healed... that effectively makes healing magic less potent and the game more challenging (and second wind is barely a drop in the bucket.)

Hurray for ignorance.. good thing it takes on such simplistic forms.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I like Mr. Gygax. I met him at Gen Con one year and I got a chance to ask him some questions. Over the years, he mellowed out quite a bit about some parts of gaming and for others he stayed with the idea that in a shared story there should be challenge.

Everytime I read an article like Monte's about how good things from past editions from D&D (and recoginizing that good varies widely for the D&D fan base) several posters show up bash Gygax, bash my DMing style, bash previous editions of D&D, fling around words like idiotic, powertrippy, and character cripple and generally try do drown out anyone whose opinions vary from their own.

I get it. A handful of longtime posters hate Gygax, hate pre 4E-D&D, and probably hate me (as a DM not a person, I hope). However, your loud rude voices do not carry the weight of everyone invested in D&D.

I like AD&D 1E, 2E, and D&D 3E and 3.5 as well as 4E at least up to Dark Sun. My previous edition D&D games didn't suck like yours did. I'm sorry you had a bad time years ago or in college or in high school when your DM was mean to you. But get over it. It was what, anywhere from three to twenty years ago? How about I remember having fun and you remember being beat up by the mean DM and we agree to disagree. Stop bashing a game that has been around decades and stop bashing one of its creators and stop bashing how I play. Critical criticism is fine. Saying how the game is played is idoitic or I'm powertrippy is insulting.

Would I like to hear more talk about Dave Arneson in these articles? Sure I would. Do I want some modern design in D&D? That depends. I want all random cards taken and chucked far away into D&D oblivion. That's right, random cards in D&D 4E are idiotic (to quote an earlier post), worse than level drain! Really!

Also, I don't need D&D boardgames (but you can keep them for those who like them). But the random cards have to go. So does requiring DDI to play. And errata every month (get it mostly right the first time and keep errate managable). And no .5 or Essentials for whatever comes next. And get skill challenges right in the DMG. And paragon and epic level monsters in the MM. And leave out classes that rely on two ability scores in the PHB. The list goes on for 4E of things that are broken and wrong and idiotic (there's that word again!) and need to be chucked out. Toss the bad rules and poor playtesting! Move forward into the modern world! Fix 4E and rescue kittens!

I wouldn't mind some small bit of narrative control being given to players (maybe through action points that players can use to tweak the ongoing story). But magic items need to go back into the GMs hand and players need to work with the GM on story building not tell him what to do or how mean he is for challenging them. We're adults (well young adults in some cases) so lets stop making rules to control each other and work together. If you can't work together, D&D is not for you. If you can't let go of past wrongs and find some decent people to play with, try a new group at the local hobby store or start one of your own. The local library might let you get set up.

You like 4E and I acknowledge your right to have fun. I like some of 4E and some is obviously broken (and in some cases mended or partially mended by errata). I don't need you to give me the right to have fun, whatever I play, but I do have the right to ask you not to make posts that include insults or whining. So please don't.

I like D&D and OGL and d20. All editions, all versions. Have bad wrong fun as long as everyone at the table is having it along with you.
These polls should have a third option of, "your two alternatives don't cover my viewpoint so I'm abstaining from voting" or just "abstain from voting".
Can I point out I still don't want to see the return of monsters like Ear Mites?



I agree.

I'm quite good with abandoning stupid monsters to the pits of oblivion (or Gamma World).  I certainly was not happy to see the return of the Rust Monster, one of the flagship stupid monsters of all time.



I dunno, the rust monster is more reasonable in 4th ed than any other edition.  Alt least provided that one has access to the enchant magic item ritual, or at least access to an NPC that has it.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]

I wouldn't mind some small bit of narrative control being given to players (maybe through action points that players can use to tweak the ongoing story). But magic items need to go back into the GMs hand and players need to work with the GM on story building not tell him what to do or how mean he is for challenging them. We're adults (well young adults in some cases) so lets stop making rules to control each other and work together. If you can't work together, D&D is not for you. If you can't let go of past wrongs and find some decent people to play with, try a new group at the local hobby store or start one of your own. The local library might let you get set up.



So basically... "everyone should work together, so lets give the DM all the power and let the players beg for some input on the story".

What exactly is the problem with "everyone should work together, so lets have the rules reflect that and give everyone equal input"?

I'm pretty sure the current rules are about everyone working together to make the game as much fun as possible. This unlike previous editions where one could very easily get the feeling that the DM ran the game and the players were just along for the ride if one would read the rulebook.
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
While I like the idea of making sure most "fluff" stuff can transfer from edition to edition, I think there needs to be a realization that some monsters are just plain dumb, as well as other things monte is talking about keeping/aknowledging (feats, spells, etc).

I guess my belief is, just becuase it WAS in the game, doesn't mean that it should get a free pass to be in the game again.  The Catoblepas is a good example: stupid in previous forms, and they did some work to make it "work" in 4e. 
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.
While I like the idea of making sure most "fluff" stuff can transfer from edition to edition, I think there needs to be a realization that some monsters are just plain dumb.



And possibly fueled by substances licit and illicit.

I mean really.  Brain Mole?  Flail Snail?  Enveloper?  Tell me these and more aren't classic mainfestaions of something smoked, drinked or snorted.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]

I wouldn't mind some small bit of narrative control being given to players (maybe through action points that players can use to tweak the ongoing story). But magic items need to go back into the GMs hand and players need to work with the GM on story building not tell him what to do or how mean he is for challenging them. We're adults (well young adults in some cases) so lets stop making rules to control each other and work together. If you can't work together, D&D is not for you. If you can't let go of past wrongs and find some decent people to play with, try a new group at the local hobby store or start one of your own. The local library might let you get set up.



So basically... "everyone should work together, so lets give the DM all the power and let the players beg for some input on the story".

What exactly is the problem with "everyone should work together, so lets have the rules reflect that and give everyone equal input"?

I'm pretty sure the current rules are about everyone working together to make the game as much fun as possible. This unlike previous editions where one could very easily get the feeling that the DM ran the game and the players were just along for the ride if one would read the rulebook.



Maybe he feels it was taken too far. Magic items are picked by the players with little to no input from the DM. Some love this aspect. It took the DM's control and handed it over to the players. Maybe what he's saying is that it should be 50/50 split, not just one side or the other having the lion's share of the say-so. And he never said anything about giving the DM "all the power" and making the players "beg for some input". That's being quite loose with what he actually said.

As far as "work" goes, the DM has a big job. Especially in home-brew settings, the DM has to create the campaign setting, create the adventures, insert the appropriate encounters, keep an engaging storyline going, and all that good stuff. Let's be honest...all the players really have to do is create a PC and play them. Yes, they can have tons of say-so in the way the storyline plays out (and should have plenty of say-so in that regard), but it isn't required. The players can passively go along with whatever the DM offers up if they so wish to. The above emphasis is mine, naturally. I think this is the true point of his statement. The game shifted from "mother-may-I" to "players-may-I". A common ground should be reached (and can be with 4E).

The "always say yes" mantra of 4E has disheartened a lot of DMs. Perhaps they question themselves on whether or not they were being a bad DM in the past by ever saying no, and now feel obligated to let the players run rough-shod over the campaign. Some of the players like to take full advantage of this, as well. The DM spends the majority of his time creating interesting places, interesting encounters, and interesting storylines in order to give his players a good experience. The players should respect the effort put into it, and not whine like little weenies any time the DM says no. Sometimes there are very valid reasons for saying it.

Now, don't take any of the above as my feelings on the matter of DM vs Players. I, personally, like what 4E has done with the rules and how much input everyone has. I'm just trying to see things his way and find out what it is he's driving for in his statements.
Maybe he feels it was taken too far.



Maybe, but his response is "give ALL items back to the DM", rather then "the DM should have more input" (he actually still has considerable input considering he still picks the items btw, players might feel they make the choice, but by the rules they don't)

As far as "work" goes, the DM has a big job. Especially in home-brew settings, the DM has to create the campaign setting, create the adventures, insert the appropriate encounters, keep an engaging storyline going, and all that good stuff.



This I consider to be the wrong approach for a DM. He should create the world, the story, the adventures, everything with the players, not on his own. It'll take a huge weight of his shoulders and ensure players are having fun. In my games I don't let players passively float along with the story unless they specifically ask for that, and if they do they shouldn't except a super inspired story considering they don't really care for it anyway.

I think that the game simply needs to take one step further and make all players equal. We've made a big step in that direction, we just need to head onwards. It's supposed to be a group effort; and I see no reason why the DM would need to put in much more work anyway.

A lot of people seem to think that DMs put in a lot of work, therefore they need to have all the power. That just doesn't sound right. Also I feel that lots of DMs, even in 4e, decide to spend hours designing worlds, stories, NPCs, items, etc on their own and then are bothered when the players decide that they want more input... and instead of embracing that and letting the players do the prep-work they go into "no-mode" where the players are forced to play his story against their will.

If your players are constantly moving off the rails, have strong ideas about the world and the story and invest a lot of time designing their character and his background, then why are you, as the DM, trying to stifle that so they can play your story? Rather then complaining that they're actually willing to invest time, why not invest less time yourself. Take a step back, stop spending hours upon hours detailing the world and let the players do it, so you can focus on the prep-work that you enjoy.

You'll also find your players are far more willing to go along with you if they agree with the common direction of the game and are far more invested if they actually designed parts of the world.

I realise it's hard for some DMs to let go of their "baby", as they consider their world, but it generally makes for better games when your players are going along with you because they're enjoying the ride rather then because it's the only way to get some play time.

The old argument of "I don't want to be DM because it takes too much time to prep a game" and "I spent a lot of time prepping this game so you better do as I say" should be left in old editions. You don't need to do a lot of prepwork to run a good session and there is no (and never has been) a reason why players shouldn't be allowed to help design the world and the story. They're supposed to be able to do so anyway.
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
> Magic items are picked by the players with little to no input from the DM.
>
> As far as "work" goes, the DM has a big job.

I can't help but note that putting magic items entirely in the players' hands (rather than the sort-of-sort-of-not that we have right now) would reduce the DM's workload. "Give it all back to the DM" (as was advocated in a previous article) would have the opposite effect.

I wouldn't mind some small bit of narrative control being given to players (maybe through action points that players can use to tweak the ongoing story). But magic items need to go back into the GMs hand and players need to work with the GM on story building not tell him what to do or how mean he is for challenging them. We're adults (well young adults in some cases) so lets stop making rules to control each other and work together. If you can't work together, D&D is not for you. If you can't let go of past wrongs and find some decent people to play with, try a new group at the local hobby store or start one of your own. The local library might let you get set up.



So basically... "everyone should work together, so lets give the DM all the power and let the players beg for some input on the story".

What exactly is the problem with "everyone should work together, so lets have the rules reflect that and give everyone equal input"?

I'm pretty sure the current rules are about everyone working together to make the game as much fun as possible. This unlike previous editions where one could very easily get the feeling that the DM ran the game and the players were just along for the ride if one would read the rulebook.



Maybe he feels it was taken too far. Magic items are picked by the players with little to no input from the DM. Some love this aspect. It took the DM's control and handed it over to the players. Maybe what he's saying is that it should be 50/50 split, not just one side or the other having the lion's share of the say-so. And he never said anything about giving the DM "all the power" and making the players "beg for some input". That's being quite loose with what he actually said.

As far as "work" goes, the DM has a big job. Especially in home-brew settings, the DM has to create the campaign setting, create the adventures, insert the appropriate encounters, keep an engaging storyline going, and all that good stuff. Let's be honest...all the players really have to do is create a PC and play them. Yes, they can have tons of say-so in the way the storyline plays out (and should have plenty of say-so in that regard), but it isn't required. The players can passively go along with whatever the DM offers up if they so wish to. The above emphasis is mine, naturally. I think this is the true point of his statement. The game shifted from "mother-may-I" to "players-may-I". A common ground should be reached (and can be with 4E).

The "always say yes" mantra of 4E has disheartened a lot of DMs. Perhaps they question themselves on whether or not they were being a bad DM in the past by ever saying no, and now feel obligated to let the players run rough-shod over the campaign. Some of the players like to take full advantage of this, as well. The DM spends the majority of his time creating interesting places, interesting encounters, and interesting storylines in order to give his players a good experience. The players should respect the effort put into it, and not whine like little weenies any time the DM says no. Sometimes there are very valid reasons for saying it.

Now, don't take any of the above as my feelings on the matter of DM vs Players. I, personally, like what 4E has done with the rules and how much input everyone has. I'm just trying to see things his way and find out what it is he's driving for in his statements.



I think a few important things should be pointed out:

First, the suggestion for wishlists is just that, a suggestion.  Many have taken it to mean that the players should comb the items looking for that one thing that will make their character "complete".  Instead, I often suggest the "surprise me" wishlist (to those who wish for a wishlist as DM), where the player lists two to three different weapons, armors, neck things, etc.  The DM then picks from the list of things the player would like, the player is surprised, the DM has some control over what drops out of the sky, etc.

Second, I'm not seeing player may I.  I saw that in reading the 3rd ed rules where everything was spelled out, but in 4th it feels more like the player asking and the DM either saying "yes and", or "no but".  I have never felt like I had to ask my players if I could do something.

Third, as I mentioned above, "yes and" or "no, but".  The first one was prominently featured in the first DMG.  The latter was featured in the second DMG, and I know some DMs skipped over that one.  I will say that, while I do not think everyone should get every book, DMG2 is invaluable. It has both ideas on how to allow shared storytelling and how to put the pressure on players attempting to seize too much control.  It suggests ways to reward out of combat roleplaying.  And at least on page 5, and a few times afterwards it mentions the ability to finally say no to players.  The no is a "no, but", as in, "No, but this might be possible".

Fourth, I was assuming you were trying to explain another poster's point of view. ;)  No worries.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
Just keep in mind that I said, "Now, don't take any of the above as my feelings on the matter of DM vs Players. I, personally, like what 4E has done with the rules and how much input everyone has. I'm just trying to see things his way and find out what it is he's driving for in his statements."

I don't really agree with his stance at all. I was just throwing stuff out to see if maybe he would help explain some of his statements.
Oh I know you were, it's just sort of a pre-emptive response. It's not really directed at you, just at people who think like that (and the other poster, if he comes back to the thread)

Lot of people seem to be stuck in a "The DM has a lot of work -> the DM needs to have more control -> The DM has even more work to do -> the DM needs even more control" spiral. To get out of it, you don't need to give the DM more control, you need to relinsquish it, and then you also suddenly have a lot less work to do, which means you won't feel like you're putting in all the work and not getting anything back.
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
I didn't answer the poll since although I agree that D&D should take fluff from earlier editions, it should still keep inventing better game mechanics. 4e was a huge leap forward in that respect, let's keep going that way.
Monte- I really like you as a game designer but I think maybe you were half-asleep when you wrote some of this article.

Leucrotta - Page 63 of the Monsters of Faerun book.

Peryton - Page 69 of the  Monsters of Faerun book.

These two monsters weren't left out of 3rd edition so you really only need to go back one edition to check them out.



And yet at the same time, they kinda were.  Because they were tucked away in a FR product - despite never having been Realms specific creatures - & not front & center in the general MM1 or MM2.  Heck, they weren't even included in the ever less usefull MM volumes.  Personally I'd have gladly traded a page or two out of one of those volumes for a peryton....
So, if you weren't a FR buyer?  You'd skip right over these classic monsters & never realize it.





The flip-side of that is that either you get the same monsters over and over on the MMs, or you just get an endless stream of MM volumes.

MMs are not supposed to be the only official source for monsters, they never were.

As an aside, for those sharing this view, the Peryton is back in 4th Ed in the Monster Vault 2: Threads from the Nentir Vale, which is as much a setting supplement as the aforementioned Monsters of Faerun.

A nice thing in 4th Ed is the Compendium, where all the monsters stats are gathered, no matter their origin (minus the fluff, but since there is a reference to the original work, one can get it from there).


That is true but Monte should have known that.



Exactly.

Mr. Cook should have made a more thorough research on this, a mistake that has been prevalent in all his articles to date, which is even more surprising given his position at WotC and the nature of the article series.
Monte- I really like you as a game designer but I think maybe you were half-asleep when you wrote some of this article.

Leucrotta - Page 63 of the Monsters of Faerun book.

Peryton - Page 69 of the  Monsters of Faerun book.

These two monsters weren't left out of 3rd edition so you really only need to go back one edition to check them out.



And yet at the same time, they kinda were.  Because they were tucked away in a FR product - despite never having been Realms specific creatures - & not front & center in the general MM1 or MM2.  Heck, they weren't even included in the ever less usefull MM volumes.  Personally I'd have gladly traded a page or two out of one of those volumes for a peryton....
So, if you weren't a FR buyer?  You'd skip right over these classic monsters & never realize it.





The flip-side of that is that either you get the same monsters over and over on the MMs, or you just get an endless stream of MM volumes.

MMs are not supposed to be the only official source for monsters, they never were.

As an aside, for those sharing this view, the Peryton is back in 4th Ed in the Monster Vault 2: Threads from the Nentir Vale, which is as much a setting supplement as the aforementioned Monsters of Faerun.

A nice thing in 4th Ed is the Compendium, where all the monsters stats are gathered, no matter their origin (minus the fluff, but since there is a reference to the original work, one can get it from there).


That is true but Monte should have known that.



Exactly.

Mr. Cook should have made a more thorough research on this, a mistake that has been prevalent in all his articles to date, which is even more surprising given his position at WotC and the nature of the article series.


Ok, you guys really need to let this thing go.  Here is the exact quote from his article (bolded for emphasis):
"Similarly, I remember working on 3rd edition and having to make tough monster choices. In the end, for example, we included many new creatures in the Monster Manual and left out some classics such as the peryton and the leucrotta."

Note that he does not say, "we included many new creatures in the EDITION OF D&D".  He is specificially talking about the Monster Manual here, the book which likely represents the only source of monsters for the majority of gamers (I'm guessing most groups only get the core 3 books).  Even groups that get more books would likely branch out to MM2 before getting the tiny, campaign setting specific book that actually ended up containing those monsters.
He is making a point regarding what gets included into the Monster Manual, the flagship monster book of any edition.
"Yes, but... " gaming is a DM tool that allows  DMs to get the players invested and says exploit their ideas because it can make your game better more collaborative the players then feel it when there home town is threatened because they had a say in its nature... .Honestly the "but.." part is about adding twists and turns to the results and is equally applicable to No... but... where its used to make the no more pallatable. There is supposed to be a process to work through you want a series of stages... sometimes its even a "yes and" where they get more even than what they were looking for... Heck magic items in the phb were ahem blandish and easy to upstage by a DM. We could have "yes, but and..." So when his flaming weapon lets him look out of a near by fire (but he is then sensible via an Arcana check) and gives him minor fire resistance and has a key word in Dragon and results in him fighting a series of duels because it is a national treasure of certain persistant group of  tribesman...shrug build your awesome out of it.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

These polls should have a third option of, "your two alternatives don't cover my viewpoint so I'm abstaining from voting" or just "abstain from voting".



Ah, but remember: these loaded poals and polarizing choices are entirely intentional because it forces people to choose sides, which tells WotC...something. Not really clear on that last bit there, but it's all part of the plan. Having a "How 'bout we try some nuance?" option doesn't serve the plan. 

Ok, you guys really need to let this thing go.  Here is the exact quote from his article (bolded for emphasis):
"Similarly, I remember working on 3rd edition and having to make tough monster choices. In the end, for example, we included many new creatures in the Monster Manual and left out some classics such as the peryton and the leucrotta."

Note that he does not say, "we included many new creatures in the EDITION OF D&D".  He is specificially talking about the Monster Manual here, the book which likely represents the only source of monsters for the majority of gamers (I'm guessing most groups only get the core 3 books).  Even groups that get more books would likely branch out to MM2 before getting the tiny, campaign setting specific book that actually ended up containing those monsters.
He is making a point regarding what gets included into the Monster Manual, the flagship monster book of any edition.



Sorry, but that does not fly either with the theme of the article ("Preserving the Past") nor what is said within.

From the article (bolded for emphasis):

"In that context, I was chatting with game designer Rob Schwalb at lunch the other day about D&D monsters. He made the excellent point that the monsters of the past need to be preserved for their own sake. We reminisced about a lot of old-school monsters that hadn't been updated to the latest edition—or the latest two editions. Or even three. That's going to happen, of course, but we agreed that it would be a terrible thing if we actually went so far as to say that a certain monster never existed."

"Even as we create new material for the latest product, we should be looking backward to see if there are lessons to be remembered or bits of the past to bring forward, because just about any monster is someone's favorite creature or figured into someone's favorite adventure, and that player or DM is going to want to keep using that thing he or she loved. Like the peryton or leucrotta in 3E."

That last phrase, in the context of the theme and what came before it, clearly states that, to Mr. Cooks knowledge, those creatures were not updated in 3rd, something that has been shown to be wrong; the use of older art instead of newer one from recent editions does not help to contradict this view.

As for your remark that many only get MM 1 & 2, that has nothing to do with the point of the article, which is updating monster entries to newer editions to preserve their existence.

The fact that, since those books have obvious limited space and short of repeating each and every monster throughout all MM editions, some will not get the spotlight that (i grant your point on that) an entry in the first couple MM gives, does not in itself remove the monster from edition existence.

Something funny is, Mr. Cook criticizes other authors for re-inventing the wheel and ignoring past iterations when creating new ones, but he himself is guilty of exactly the same in some of his current articles, namely the skill article and the "passive perception" incident.

While i agree with what i perceive as the core of most of Mr. Cooks articles, they also show sloppy research and confusing exposition, which, again, is surprising given Mr. Cooks position and these article series point of being.
These polls should have a third option of, "your two alternatives don't cover my viewpoint so I'm abstaining from voting" or just "abstain from voting".



Ah, but remember: these loaded poals and polarizing choices are entirely intentional because it forces people to choose sides, which tells WotC...something. Not really clear on that last bit there, but it's all part of the plan. Having a "How 'bout we try some nuance?" option doesn't serve the plan. 



When forced between 2 extremes, people go towards the less radical option, which is typically the 'older' way of doing things.
I think there's a lot of hand wringing and over extrapolating going on. Monte's point was simple "Old classic stuff is popular with a lot of players. They like to have access to it in a new edition. Sometimes it is hard to fit it all in, sometimes people invent new things instead of doing their homework. How much old stuff should we try to fit in vs new stuff?" The whole example of the Peryton is just an example. Sure, MUCH LATER ON, it was added to some obscure 3.5 source book. Likewise it wasn't added to 4e until another obscure source book. lol.

This is not some huge profound philosophy here he's espousing. He's just saying "hey, isn't classic stuff fun?" and if it is fun, maybe people will find updated versions of the game more palatable if we emphasize it more than we have. I don't know if that's true or not, and in general MOST of the classics DO get carried over in core books. MM1 has Gelatinous Cube, Orc, etc. At this point there are too many of them to all fit in any one core MM (and likewise for races, classes, items, etc). So they will have to make choices. Now personally I fondly remember READING about the Peryton, but you know what? I never used one in a game. In 30 years it has never appeared. I can think of a few obscure uses for it in certain settings (say as a quest monster in an Arthurian style KotRT setting). Thus it seems to me that often discarding or at least relegating to secondary sources some of these monsters and whatnot is the correct choice. Heck, 2e left out half-orcs, assassins, etc. from 1e. It isn't like that big a tragedy.

I just think that the WotC guys are smarting over all the poo flung at them by people who hate the game to change over 4e in general. Frankly I would just say to them that there's no way they're going to both make a new edition that is worth publishing AND avoid that. People flung poo at 3e as well, for the same reason, it wasn't 2e. Adding or not adding the Peryton to the MM1 isn't the critical factor. OTOH it is worth keeping stuff around if it works in a new edition and people like it. We're not going to lose beholders and G. Cubes anytime soon. They're iconic. I've rarely used a beholder in a game either though. Hard choices will still have to be made, and honestly I'm not sure what Monte hopes to learn from this article, besides what again is already known, people differ in their attachment to different game elements. No new game will please them all. So get on with it guys, and just do the best you can.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Learning from history is good.  But mishapping history and feeling indentured to it are not.  They are a very common risk with reflecting on history.

If you want everyone to learn from older editions, you convince Wizards/Hasbro to release those editions.  That way we get to see them as they actually were.  We get to learn from the mistakes they actually made.  Trying to preserve history by blindly repeating the past is not learning.

I should note, however, that
Plus, ignoring history is just going to cause us to trip over what we've already done. For example, rather than reinvent the wheel with some new item that changes one's appearance quickly and easily, a designer should just make use of the hat of disguise. Generate new material, to be sure, but don't create something new if there's already something like that in the game.

Is a pretty sound idea in itself.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.