Cover of "Ed Greenwood Presents" radically different from 4e books

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Those of you who believe small details can hold great information might like to know that the cover of the new FR book "Ed Greenwood Presents: Elminster's Forgotten Realms" has a totally new cover format from the 4e books.

As far as I know, this is the first D&D product that has deviated from the standard D&D format since the release of "Keep on the Shadowfell" (which released before the 3 core 4e books).

What does this mean? I don't think we're seeing the format of 5e books, it's way too soon for that and the art director has already said they don't have those kind of details locked down yet. At a minimum it means that WotC wants to ensure that people browsing online or at stores know that this isn't a 4e book.

My personal opinion is that they're trying to put as much distance as possible between this book and the other 4e FR products most likely to draw those FR fans disappointed in the 4e realms. I like the 4e realms, I'm a huge 4e fan, but this really doesn't bother me. It's obvious that WotC has some books planned to cover the gap between the end of 4e and the start of 5e and it looks like this is the first book to be obviously in that camp (so far, the Menzoberranzan book has a 4e style cover, but I would not be surprised if that changed before release).

The book isn't a 4e book, why should it look like one? The Grand History didn't look like a 4e book either, or a 3.5 book. 
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
The book isn't a 4e book, why should it look like one? The Grand History didn't look like a 4e book either, or a 3.5 book. 



Exactly.
Matt James Freelance Game Designer Loremaster.org

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The book isn't a 4e book, why should it look like one? The Grand History didn't look like a 4e book either, or a 3.5 book. 



I agree with you. Why then does Menzoberranzan have a 4e cover? From what we've heard it's edition neutral. (again, I wouldn't be surprised if the cover changes)

The point of my initial post was simply to draw attention to the fact that the new Ed Greenwood book is the first book since the release of 4e with a non-4e cover. That is significant in that it marks a turning point in D&D products.
The book isn't a 4e book, why should it look like one? The Grand History didn't look like a 4e book either, or a 3.5 book. 



Exactly.



Yeah, I think in the speed of supporting WotC you missed the entire point of Style75's post. Edition neutral releases are a first with 4th. One follows 4th's current format, the other doesn't.

Bottom line- this book is a way for WotC to devalue, and denigrate,  Heinsoo's radical change (and move forward) with the Realms. An alternative to innovation and creative (albeit with a man who is just as creative and innovative- Ed himself) thinking with a more scared cow, 1980 mindset. 

Which in itself means this release is a furthering from 4th edition (the future) and a free falling towards D&D Next (the past). You will not see me nodding an Exactly here- nope. 
Now a requiem for those who dared to change and were cut down- Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, Bill Slavicsek, Stacey Longstreet, Dave Noonan, Stephen Schubert, Richard Baker, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Steve Winter, Scott Rouse, Kevin Smith and Sara Girard. Casualties of those who dared kill the many sacred cows that so richly deserved their death (ah, Krull, what a flic).

A toast to the end of outside the box thinking and to a dawn of dogma mixed with a dose of inquisition to root out all controversy.

A silent nod to a Batten- if this had not happened, a tragedy of a cowardly motive, D&D Insider would have launched with all its rich promises- perhaps saving us from the two current M's dedicated to breaking down the very foundations of 4th edition.
 
Edition Wars are here to stay- D&D Next will NOT end them.
Edition Wars are here to stay

Sure, since posts like your's ensure they stay

Edition Wars are here to stay

Sure, since posts like your's ensure they stay





I don't view Edition Wars as something negative- unless you are a corporation who wants all the money in one pot.

Edition Wars are actually healthy. They promote change, free thinking, innovative design and most importantly- a constant forward evolution of game design. Without edition wars this is not possible. I don't think you will understand this but by merely responding to my post- you too are contributing to the edition wars- and that is good.
Look at it this way- if Paizo had gone along with the GSL and 4th edition, then the 3.5 ruleset would not have been furthered in design. If Paizo fans had not hated 4th, drew a line and criticized it, then Paizo wouldn't have had the chance to grow a rule-set.

D&D Next is not furthering 4th edition- it's morphing elements of it into a hybrid 2nd/3rd edition ruleset. D&D Next is a reaction to the edition wars but it's going about it in the wrong way. Instead of forward thinking, it's focused on the past.

Now we will have 4th, Pathfinder & D&D Next. Instead of a two headed hydra- it is a three headed one.

D&D Next is a pseudo-religious-past focused reaction to the Edition Wars. A positive reaction to the edition wars would be focused on improving game play for the sake of game play and not a ruleset to please them all.

So, yes, a requiem to those who understood this and lost their jobs because of it deserve a standing applause.
D&D Next is a reaction to the edition wars but it's going about it in the wrong way. Instead of forward thinking, it's focused on the past.

Which is not a vice. Sometimes you try a new route, along the way discover that you went down the wrong path, go back and return on the right route
I agree with you. Why then does Menzoberranzan have a 4e cover? From what we've heard it's edition neutral. (again, I wouldn't be surprised if the cover changes)

The point of my initial post was simply to draw attention to the fact that the new Ed Greenwood book is the first book since the release of 4e with a non-4e cover. That is significant in that it marks a turning point in D&D products.



What constitutes a "4e cover" is a matter of opinion. It seems to me that they have, in fact, released a book during the life of 4e that had a "non-4e" cover. In fact, they released an entire line of them: Essentials. Furthermore, that line wasn't even consistent: the Red Box doesn't look anything like the rest of Essentials or 4e. 

Anomalies happen. The Grand History, as mentioned, wasn't branded like 3.5 (which it followed) or 4e (which it preceeded). Back in 2005, Races of Eberron didn't get an Eberron-style cover even though it was clearly intended to be part of that line. 



Yeah, I think in the speed of supporting WotC you missed the entire point of Style75's post. Edition neutral releases are a first with 4th. One follows 4th's current format, the other doesn't.

Bottom line- this book is a way for WotC to devalue, and denigrate,  Heinsoo's radical change (and move forward) with the Realms. An alternative to innovation and creative (albeit with a man who is just as creative and innovative- Ed himself) thinking with a more scared cow, 1980 mindset. 

Which in itself means this release is a furthering from 4th edition (the future) and a free falling towards D&D Next (the past). You will not see me nodding an Exactly here- nope. 

Friend, if you think I'm defending Wizards over anything, you're sorely mistaken. Forty-five censored posts and two temp-bans since January speaks to what I think of them. I'm so disgusted with their actions so far this year that I can't even enjoy 4e anymore; my running-since-2009 campaign has been on (probably permanent) hiatus for six months now, from the day I learned that Wizards was working on a new edition.

So what, exactly, is your point? 

If you look closely, you'll notice that Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms is not merely not branded as a 4e book; it isn't even branded as a D&D book. What it is, in fact, is part of the "Ed Greenwood Presents" line, which includes Downshadow, Blackstaff Tower, among others. 

Menzoberranzan (or however you spell it) IS branded as a D&D book, and therefore follows the look of the rest of that line, at least in the preview image, which could very well be a placeholder--I recall the cover format and art of several previous books changing from what Amazon originally thought they looked like. 

Now a requiem for those who dared to change and were cut down- Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, Bill Slavicsek, Stacey Longstreet, Dave Noonan, Stephen Schubert, Richard Baker, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Steve Winter, Scott Rouse, Kevin Smith and Sara Girard. Casualties of those who dared kill the many sacred cows that so richly deserved their death (ah, Krull, what a flic).

A toast to the end of outside the box thinking and to a dawn of dogma mixed with a dose of inquisition to root out all controversy.

A silent nod to a Batten- if this had not happened, a tragedy of a cowardly motive, D&D Insider would have launched with all its rich promises- perhaps saving us from the two current M's dedicated to breaking down the very foundations of 4th edition.
 
Edition Wars are here to stay- D&D Next will NOT end them.

Look at it this way- if Paizo had gone along with the GSL and 4th edition, then the 3.5 ruleset would not have been furthered in design. If Paizo fans had not hated 4th, drew a line and criticized it, then Paizo wouldn't have had the chance to grow a rule-set. D&D Next is not furthering 4th edition- it's morphing elements of it into a hybrid 2nd/3rd edition ruleset. D&D Next is a reaction to the edition wars but it's going about it in the wrong way. Instead of forward thinking, it's focused on the past. Now we will have 4th, Pathfinder & D&D Next. Instead of a two headed hydra- it is a three headed one. D&D Next is a pseudo-religious-past focused reaction to the Edition Wars. A positive reaction to the edition wars would be focused on improving game play for the sake of game play and not a ruleset to please them all. So, yes, a requiem to those who understood this and lost their jobs because of it deserve a standing applause.

So say we all.

D&D Next is a reaction to the edition wars but it's going about it in the wrong way. Instead of forward thinking, it's focused on the past.

Which is not a vice. Sometimes you try a new route, along the way discover that you went down the wrong path, go back and return on the right route

If that were the case here, I'd agree with you. But it's not. What Wizards is going isn't the old path for the sake of the better path, it's the old path for the sake of the old path. And nothing good has ever come of doing something simply because it's always been done. Popular is not the same as good, good is not the same as right. 

If Wizards is truly capable of designing a better game than 4e, then more power to them. But I do not believe the route they've chosen--or the figurehead they've chosen to lead them there--is the right one. I do not believe it will lead to a game that is better than 4e, and I most certainly do not believe that it will lead to a game that will make the 4e players switch to it, or the Pathfinder players, or anyone else. I think Hunterian is right; Wizards is not solving the edition war, they are exacerbating it, and what's worse is they're only really competing with themselves in some misguided belief that they can actually succeed their aims.

What Wizards fails to understand is that they are no longer literally or figuratively the only game in town. They cannot recapture an absolutely dominant and pervasive market share anymore--the industry and the world have changed too much and left that behind forever. The competition is too strong and too varied for there to ever be "one game to rule them all" again. Wizards is doomed to fail simply by refusing to understand why they won't succeed. 

The world does not need another edition of an all-comers, all-ways, all-times, all-places, all-types fantasy RPG. It has too many of them already! What it needs is for a company with the clout and R&D muscle that Wizards can bring to bear to focus in on designing a truly progressive fantasy RPG that fits into a specific expression of the genre that the industry doesn't have. That is how RPG producers are going to find success in the years going forward, and if Wizards doesn't secure their continued existence by doing so, someone else (my guess is it'll either be Privateer Press or Green Ronin) will, and Wizards will find themselves locked out of an industry that has moved on without them.

The saddest thing is, I think both Wizards and the industry comsumer base know what the right niche is for D&D. With roots in Chainmail, a long-running and fairly successful miniatures line and absoluely the best tactical combat system in the industry, what Wizards should be designing is a high-fantasy RPG with a focus and emphasis on in-depth wargame-like tactical gameplay (but all signs indicate that the aforementioned Privateer Press is poised to beat them to it very soon, so that'll be that). In order to do that, though, they must accept that D&D will never again be the only game in town, and will never be a hundred-million dollar brand like Magic. They would need to back off, ramp down, cut back, and accept that a $40 book per month with production costs high enough that every one must move ten-thousand-plus units per month is not a viable strategy in this age. 

But they won't do any of that, because the path they're following is meandering squarely through the late 1980s, when the world and the industry were very different places and their strategy could have actually worked.

As it stands, D&D as an RPG brand is doomed. I don't say that because people won't like it or because it won't sell--I'm sure it will. I say that because the conditions are not right for the game it live up to the expectations placed upon it. It doesn't matter how well the new edition sells--it can't sell well enough to succeed. The best case scenario in my mind is a few years of "mediocre" sales for the game before Hasbro pulls the plug and mothballs the property for the next twenty years.

And as much as I love D&D, maybe that's what needs to happen.
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
I hardly would say 4th edition was the wrong route. That's the whole issue with D&D Next- it's treating 4th as something bad that happened. Instead- it was the greatest 'route' D&D has taken.
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