Great article on the potential digital future for D&D Next

EN World has a must read article for anyone interested in the digital future of D&D Next.

While I'm pretty sure that WotC has no plans to cease printing game books, my money is on the fact that there will be a run of core book(s) with most or all of the modular content delivered through a digital subscription service. For those of us who depend heavily on DDI to run our 4e games, we're already there. Is this the future for D&D Next as well?

Paizo's digital subscription service seems quite popular so I could see WotC copying that model as well.

The free-to-play model intrigues me. I can see them letting people access an online CB and MB with levels 1 to 5 for free. Then if you want to take your game past level 5, time to pay the cash.

Do you think WotC will backtrack on their web only character builder? Will they release an offline CB for D&D Next?

Discuss!
Pre read post - I have been waiting for something like this! Yes!!! Now to read...
My two copper.
Ah, that was exactly what I expected to hear. I know some people are digi-phobic, but it's coming one way or another. So the best thing people can do is work with it, or get out of the way :P
My two copper.
This just makes me think of the virtual table we were promised throughout the lifetime of 4e.  I still think this is part of the failure of 4e, as it would have been REALLY nice to have a computer to track a lot of the combat elements, and speed up gameplay.  Alas,

hopefully when they launch 5e, they actually include some strong digital support that enhances the game. 
This just makes me think of the virtual table we were promised throughout the lifetime of 4e.  I still think this is part of the failure of 4e, as it would have been REALLY nice to have a computer to track a lot of the combat elements, and speed up gameplay.  Alas,

hopefully when they launch 5e, they actually include some strong digital support that enhances the game. 



They could also allow a limited amount of 3rd part development. That could really get the ball rolling.
My two copper.
I think the trick is to make sure there is a solid digital offering ready at launch. Or peferably even before to get people hyped up. I don't need a VT, but I do need a great CB, MB and compendium.

I think WotC has learned a lot from the 4e digital tools and the 5e tools will be a vast improvement. Silverlight will be history and I expect it to be completely iOS/Android based. The big question is online only or some sort of offline version?

I wonder if WotC will try to do it in house, contract out to an IT company,  or will they use their spending power to buy out something like HeroLabs or iplay4e who already have the tools and people in place.

I figure they've got less than a year to get this all together. With the core rules being released this summer (just in time for that new FR adventure module) they should have some kind of digital offering in place by then. I also figure they've been working on this for a while considering there's been no substantive update to the 4e tools in over a year.

Ideally they'd playtest the digital tools the same way they're playtesting the game system, but I don't see that happening.
Core rules won't be released this summer, I'm afraid. Best estimates are spring 2014 earliest :P The FR model will be some sort of hybrid thing leading into the new rules. They might have something simple out by then, but nothing physical.
My two copper.
Core rules won't be released this summer, I'm afraid. Best estimates are spring 2014 earliest :P The FR model will be some sort of hybrid thing leading into the new rules. They might have something simple out by then, but nothing physical.



You sure about that? I remember reading a tweet from around a month ago from a WotC person that the upcoming FR adventure would use the core D&D Next rules. Just before the Christmas break Mike Mearls said something like "the core rules are pretty much nailed down" (not an exact quote, but that's the way I remember it). I'm thinking this new module will be something kind of like the earliest 4e adventures that included a few sample characters and some very stripped down rules.

Regardless, it would be a good time to playtest whatever digital tools they are planning for D&D Next. Buy the module and you get a beta-test passcode. Something like that.
I would pay for a virtual table top subscription for electronic adventures, tokens and maps bundled together. Eveything else like PDFs or character generators, and the right to own them on purchase, will be the deciding factor if I will accept any future edition of D&D.
As we draw further and further into the "information age", it's only natural D&D needs to evolve with the digital world... despite my paranoia of a cyberpunk future.  All in all, pretty cool article.  Also, free-to-play is a nifty idea.

As for the virtual table and other things?  Everything kind of fell apart for a multitude of reasons (many beyond their control).  It's still a real shame.  I bet there's a lot more drama behind the scenes than most of us see.  Perhaps it's probably best left up to a third party to tackle this stuff.

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
My dream would be to have a touch screen table top platform which would provide music, videos, and pictures to support each adventure. Characters could be programmed into the platform and the touch screen would help run the adventure and simplify statistics.
The touch screen might cost $500 and professionally made adventures would cost $40 each. DMs could create their own adventures for free with software provided.  All rule books would be included in PDF format on the touchscreen.  There could even be shareware adventures or for sale adventures with ratings.
Some scoring mechanism might help compare players around the world. Some Skype like software might allow players in different cities or countries to play together if both owned the touch screen tabletop.  It could be like a larger iPad which was dedicated to roleplaying. A touch screen flat monitor which is lying face up.
My dream would be to have a touch screen table top platform which would provide music, videos, and pictures to support each adventure. Characters could be programmed into the platform and the touch screen would help run the adventure and simplify statistics.
The touch screen might cost $500 and professionally made adventures would cost $40 each. DMs could create their own adventures for free with software provided.  All rule books would be included in PDF format on the touchscreen.  There could even be shareware adventures or for sale adventures with ratings.
Some scoring mechanism might help compare players around the world. Some Skype like software might allow players in different cities or countries to play together if both owned the touch screen tabletop.  It could be like a larger iPad which was dedicated to roleplaying. A touch screen flat monitor which is lying face up.


Check out this project, www.youtube.com/watch?v=n94E3IeBquY
It's a tech demo for the Microsoft surface (the large, table sized one) D&D application. It's pretty neat.
My two copper.
I'd be happy with a 5e version of the 2e CDs that included all kinds of tools for the DM to use. But I'd prefer to buy it and install it locally rather than be on a subscription for an online-only package. Often I don't have an internet connection when I'm working on the next game session. Also, I need to be able to add my custom data and to modify rules for houseruling.

I think WotC should find the best virtual table and buy it rather than try to reinvent the wheel (again). The DDI VT fiasco was a big black eye for them, having promised it and then failed to deliver. If they want to be a player in the digitial world, they NEED to have a good working VT.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

The only thing I care about, in the end, is to have the ability to have my content in a physical medium. That means my data is something I can back up onto disk and I can print things as and when I choose.


If they want to sell that as a service, fine, but if they want me to rent their content with no rights of ownership to material I've paid for, they can all go to hell.


If I subscribe to a magazine, I have those rights. It's not unreasonable to expect htem here.

Hey all, I'm flattered anyone read my stupid column.  ;) 

I really think that, in the end, printing books and selling pdfs are just too easy, too democratized. The tools are the ticket -- and we're already seeing that play out.  

As far as the download/web service choice goes, it really only makes sense to have a web based service. Do you remember how hard it was to get the downloads of the updated character builder when they would launch? The servers would be crippled by the demand for downloads. Updating a web service -- and allowing access to it -- is far more efficient.  They also get a lot of great analytical data out of the bargain.  

I mean, can you imagine how interesting it would be to see which monsters are accessed most often? If they were to continue with the distributed install model, they would never have those sorts of data points to work with. 

And it means that you can interact with that content anywhere -- on your phone, on a friend's computer,  on a laptop in Best Buy waiting to get chased off by a guy in a blue shirt. And more and more, this is the interaction model people will expect. 

So, yeah, there's a risk of alienating peoploe like you, kadim. They'll need to be careful as they design their business plan around this.  But, I think it has some cool potential. 

-rg (Radiating Gnome on En World)

 
Hey all, I'm flattered anyone read my stupid column.  ;) 
 



It was a pretty neat column. Although I have one question for you gnome.

I comment and mentioned a marketplace like service, and a couple of people, including you, mentioned that it's easy for just anyone to make a PDF. My question is, aren't there restrictions to just publishing things under the d20 system? Especially for sale? Aren't the use of certain names, and other trademarked things, restricted?

Other than that, thanks for the article man! We need more people looking towards the future, rather than barracading themselves in the past
My two copper.


I comment and mentioned a marketplace like service, and a couple of people, including you, mentioned that it's easy for just anyone to make a PDF. My question is, aren't there restrictions to just publishing things under the d20 system? Especially for sale? Aren't the use of certain names, and other trademarked things, restricted?



There are absolutely things that are restricted, that you can't use.  The 3.5 License is a lot more open than the 4e on is, but you can create content for both and sell it so long as you follow the rules.

You're also required to include a page that includes the license, and there are logos you're supposed to include.  

In the end, if your content is your own work, and not too closely derived from some of their IP, you should be fine, but you'll want to give the license a read and make sure you're on the right track.

-rg 

Hey all, I'm flattered anyone read my stupid column.  ;)

I really think that, in the end, printing books and selling pdfs are just too easy, too democratized. The tools are the ticket -- and we're already seeing that play out.  


What this really means is companies have decided that instead of empowering their customers by providing them with property, they're deciding to keep us under their control by not allowing us to own the things we invest in. Instead, they retain control of every aspect of their product and we pay them for the pleasure of being told when, where, and how we use their product.

The problem isn't so much with the shift to a service, it's the reality that companies don't see their customers as people. I work damn hard for my money and I want to know that when I give it to someone, it's going to be bringing me something that's worth my hard work. There are some good companies out there that do offer services and take care of their customers, but WOTC's most recent track record hasn't left me with a lot of confidence. And people will say "oh no! That's just Hasbro, the evil bad guy!" but the fact of the matter is that WOTC is Hasbro, just like Blizzard is Activision and most brands in your kitchen are Proctor and Gamble. You can't escape the fact that we're dealing with unscrupulous companies that don't see us as people and that's what makes me unwilling to give ground on insisting that what's mine is mine.


As far as the download/web service choice goes, it really only makes sense to have a web based service. Do you remember how hard it was to get the downloads of the updated character builder when they would launch? The servers would be crippled by the demand for downloads. Updating a web service -- and allowing access to it -- is far more efficient.  They also get a lot of great analytical data out of the bargain.  

I think it depends on how you want to use the product. I'm not interested in errata and web updates. I see such things as an object of last resort: when I can't find it in the book and can't come up with my own solution, I go see if there was an update online. That means that trying to get the most recent version of a character builder that integrates updates in the way you describe is actually quite disruptive and unwelcome. It means that in any number of small ways, I am being told how to play and while I like having the framework of an RPG (the reason I buy books) it means I do not want to log on one day to find that all my character sheets have been modified to reflect some update - an update that may or may not be necessary because my group hasn't deemed it an issue or we've come up with our own solution.

Furthermore, the company's products become progressively less useful as I adapt the game because the gap between what's printed and what I'm actually doing gets wider as the years wear on and I develop my own campaign. I devise new races, classes, skills, feats, items and more to suit my own game.

 I mean, can you imagine how interesting it would be to see which monsters are accessed most often? If they were to continue with the distributed install model, they would never have those sorts of data points to work with. 

To be honest, I've had enough of being tracked. If WOTC wants data about what I do, I'm more than happy to tell them myself if they ask. I know it's a useless gesture to boycott every single thing that tracks you, but the more I can do to discourage it and opt out, the happier I am. And again, what if I'm using monsters they haven't written? What if my races are not present in the software? Are they going to allow me to input my own modifications to their data present, like modifying a profile? How will that interact with these live updates and tracking efforts? What happens if I build a set of things around a mechanic that is modified by errata to a place where my idea no longer functions, but I'm having a lot of fun with my creation and so is the rest of my group? Maybe they'll decide to create an opt out for updates to avoid these issues, but what if I want some but not all of the updates? What about server load then, if they have to track and store everybody's extensive preferences and retrieve them on demand?

A company should not place their customers in a situation where using the thing as intended puts them at odds with the product. A table top RPG is designed to be freely modified by the player base, and web based utilities such as you describe does not lend itself to enabling modifications of the kind often made in these games. I know it could be done, but it can't be done very easily and I doubt a company such as WOTC will be able to justify the expense of properly supporting it to the extent I'm accustomed. Perhaps the next generation of gamers will be happier to be told how to play, but I'm not.

And it means that you can interact with that content anywhere -- on your phone, on a friend's computer,  on a laptop in Best Buy waiting to get chased off by a guy in a blue shirt. And more and more, this is the interaction model people will expect.

So, yeah, there's a risk of alienating peoploe like you, kadim. They'll need to be careful as they design their business plan around this.  But, I think it has some cool potential. 




-rg (Radiating Gnome on En World)


I think remote access tools are important and there should be some capacity to remotely access things you buy, especially when the products are bought online as digital products. I should also say that I do consume digital services, but when it comes to things that I tend to want to modify a lot I avoid them because nobody's ever really managed to deliver a digital service that's allowed me to freely modify the product, save it, and access it later through their medium. D&D is something I've always got into the guts of and modified heavily and a D&D service that depends on everyone using the published rules with only superficial changes won't cut it.

I am demanding the capacity to have physical access to my data because that's how I use the product once I've purchased it, not because I object to digital services as a concept. Maybe they will prove me wrong and give me a web based engine that does all the things I want, but I doubt it.


Basically if DDI is the future, even a much more moddable and open DDI, then I'll have to give someone else my money. Really what companies should be doing is offering a variety of services that empower customers to consume the product in the way that best suits their needs instead of dictating to their customers how their product can be bought and used.

Digital tools help make preperation and presentation better, and I love the idea of digital books for easy reference using tablets or whatever, but in the end I have always found that as soon as you place "digital" in front of the players at a session it becomes a video game.  I have watched over the years various uses from digital table tops (over the interent) like Fantasy Grounds, I have seen people put up projectors (top down) for presentation, even the use of things like Dungeon Tiles... all of it is just too distracting to the primary and core concept of where role-playing lives, in the imagination.  As soon as you show someone a picture of what your describing, they stop imaging it and they start looking at the picture.  This is fine on occassion when their is something very specific you want to get across, but when the entire game is a visual presentation or when it becomes something you must interact with as a player.. it ruins it.

"Edition wars like all debates exist because people like debates"

Xguild -


Yeah that's true too. A bit like how people who read a book are predisposed to disliking a film 'cause the film contradicts what they imagined. It's difficult to reconcile.


My theory is that all this stuff will illustrate exactly where the computer cannot be used as a delivery system. We've seen some of it all ready but as we move into proper digital table tops and pure digital interfaces we'll get to see even more.


Books aren't going anywhere. Even if the company chooses not to publish them, someone will create one. Even if the company shuts that person's website down, the book will then be out there and once that happens, people will play D&D using the books 'cause it's the medium they prefer.


The choice, then, is simple: do they want those customers to pay them or not?

Core rules won't be released this summer, I'm afraid. Best estimates are spring 2014 earliest :P The FR model will be some sort of hybrid thing leading into the new rules. They might have something simple out by then, but nothing physical.



You sure about that? I remember reading a tweet from around a month ago from a WotC person that the upcoming FR adventure would use the core D&D Next rules.



Those adventures will be edition agnostic.  They won't be using 5e rules.  Mike said two year development cycle.  Haven't heard anything to the contrary. 

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
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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.


Books aren't going anywhere. Even if the company chooses not to publish them, someone will create one. Even if the company shuts that person's website down, the book will then be out there and once that happens, people will play D&D using the books 'cause it's the medium they prefer.




Hey, my whole thing was just a guess -- your guess is as good as mine. 

However, I don't agree -- I think that books are "going somewhere" -- they're changing.  The content isn't -- actually, I've seen several studies and reports that show that reading is up -- but the book as an object made of paper -- that is already starting to fade out. It's not going to be something that happens by Easter or anything, but IMO if you're a strategist for a company like WOTC/Hasbro, if you're not thinking about how these larger changes in technology and culture around us can be made to support your business rather than undermine it, then you're going to be out of work soon. 


I saw the story the other day from CES about a digital table that was being used to play Monopoly -- the game is still there, even if it's not still played on a cardboard board.  


The choice, then, is simple: do they want those customers to pay them or not?




I think you're right, but that the choice is bigger.  It's like a leather goods company at the time the model T is hitting the markey.  Do you keep making saddles for your loyal but dwindling old customer base, or do you retool your workshop to make leather seats for all those new cars?

I don't disagree with you about the VTT vs Imagination thing. I mean, I've been using projectors and other tech gadgets at the table for years (which is why I'm writing a column for EN World that focuses on Tech).  I think there are things that technology is great for at the table, and in preparing to sit down -- more than half of my players these days are using an iPad as their character sheet, for example, and I wouldn't want to make a D&D character without the character builder. Preparing for sessions is made MUCH easier with tools like the compendium, and I'm a huge fan of power2ool.com, which is a fan-created interface for creating your own monsters which also connects to the compendium. But, all of that said, I know that has changed the way we interact with the game, and one of the things I find myself trying to do these days -- after years of 4e's focus on polished, set-piece encounters -- is finding my way back to some of the imagination-driven, RP stuff.  

Where I differ from you is that I don't think this is a either/or choice.  I don't think -- and it has not been my experience at the table -- that having the tools to run polished, prepared encounters on a digital surface does not prevent our group for having the other sort of imagination-driven interaction when that's what is the most fun.  

I think I said in my piece (or in comments on EN world in the thread) that I think that what we've seen is that, so far with the tech stuff there are a lot of things that the technology can improve for us, but the actual act of playing is still really the social act of sitting around the table and playing with friends and cracking fart jokes.  Using an iPad app for a character sheet or for the game books doesn't impact that fun, but other solutions may. 

Anyway, like I said, it's all just me spitballing.  I could be completely wrong.  My wife keeps telling me I am about other stuff, why would I be more right about this?  ;)  

-j 
Hey, my whole thing was just a guess -- your guess is as good as mine. 

However, I don't agree -- I think that books are "going somewhere" -- they're changing.  The content isn't -- actually, I've seen several studies and reports that show that reading is up -- but the book as an object made of paper -- that is already starting to fade out. It's not going to be something that happens by Easter or anything, but IMO if you're a strategist for a company like WOTC/Hasbro, if you're not thinking about how these larger changes in technology and culture around us can be made to support your business rather than undermine it, then you're going to be out of work soon. 


I saw the story the other day from CES about a digital table that was being used to play Monopoly -- the game is still there, even if it's not still played on a cardboard board.  

Oh totally, the definition of the word "book" has expanded more in the past 30 years than it has in the entire history of books because we have more ways of delivering them to people. I think the important part of the definition of the word "book" here is that it is a piece of work in its own right. A book in this scenario is a piece of writing of a significant length that is self contained. Paper doesn't have to figure in, nor does a computer or ereader for that matter, but it has to stand on its own as a piece of writing. The problem with web utilities and games as a service is that they're not self contained and don't stand on their own and that's OK in the context of a service because it's meant to function as a service, not a book.

That's really my objection in this case. I don't want to rent my game, I want to own it. I want to walk away with something and not be dependent on the goodwill of the company when they decide to move on to a new product. I don't want that migration to a new product to result in my servers going dark, leaving me with nothing to show for my years-long investment in the hobby.


I agree that computers aren't going anywhere any more than books are, and we're constantly coming up with new ways to do stuff and businesses need to keep their eye on trend, but I think one of the things that we often see is a tendency to forget what worked so well with the old medium. The trick is to provide a variety of media to accomodate the fans, not to force the fans into using the medium the company feels is best.

Where I differ from you is that I don't think this is a either/or choice.  I don't think -- and it has not been my experience at the table -- that having the tools to run polished, prepared encounters on a digital surface does not prevent our group for having the other sort of imagination-driven interaction when that's what is the most fun.  

I think I said in my piece (or in comments on EN world in the thread) that I think that what we've seen is that, so far with the tech stuff there are a lot of things that the technology can improve for us, but the actual act of playing is still really the social act of sitting around the table and playing with friends and cracking fart jokes.  Using an iPad app for a character sheet or for the game books doesn't impact that fun, but other solutions may. 

Anyway, like I said, it's all just me spitballing.  I could be completely wrong.  My wife keeps telling me I am about other stuff, why would I be more right about this?  ;)  


-j


Well I admit I was being more than a little rhetorical and I think it's more complicated than an either/or situation as well, but the key to getting consumers to spend money on something in the digital world is to offer it in a way that the customers want and when they want it. Take things like Game of Thrones. Popular show, HBO only. Not very accessible online unless you've got a cable service or you steal it. Australia accounted for something around 10% of the piracy of the show because it was broadcast a week after it was aired in the US and in a lower quality. Many came forward and said that if it was broadcast at the same time as it was in America and in the same picture quality they would not have found a torrent and watched the broadcast instead.

D&D is no different in that WOTC needs to enable players to customise their game. They might be able to do that with DDI. They might offer me a service that allows me to store my own records and resources locally and pick and choose my updates and save my system mods. As you've pointed out, the community is all ready trying to fill that gap in a digital medium. I hope they succeed but the buck stops with my wallet. If they can't deliver that and they decide not to publish books in some form that I can use without their service then they won't get my money.


I know your piece didn't specifically address any of this, but I think the issues of ownership and property are really important and when I see companies moving away from selling me property and toward selling me a service, I see my rights as a consumer being eroded away because my rights in the context of a service exchange is nowhere near what my rights to property are. We need the freedom to decide. I'm pretty sure WOTC will give us that choice this time around but I'm not so sure they will in the future, which is why I'm taking a strong stance on the issue now.



I did really like your piece though. It's provoked this conversation which is totally awesome

I was going to pull some quotes, but found I'd be quoting just about everything kadim wrote. I'm with him on this -- I don't want to rent my content, I want to own it. I have books from 1st through 4th on my shelf, and since that shelf is in the room where we game, they're easy to refer to without having to power up a smart phone or tablet or laptop. If the power goes out at the table, we light candles and keep going.

I have the 2e Core Tools (and expansion) that I use every single week to plan out the next session. I have a lot of custom data in there that wouldn't exist if I used a DDI-type planning tool. Since people are allowed -- nay, encouraged -- to modify rules as they wish, content that can only be accessed by a company-owned portal completely closes that option, since I can't see any way we could upload our custom content (any update would overwrite our changes). If it's an install-locally product, there's no worry that modified rules, monsters, items, etc. will be deleted by the company.

Yes, ebooks are popular, but physical books are still selling satisfactorily. I anticipate paper existing alongside digital for quite some time, and I'm quite happy with that.

Great article! I love being given things to think about.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

EN World has a must read article for anyone interested in the digital future of D&D Next.

While I'm pretty sure that WotC has no plans to cease printing game books, my money is on the fact that there will be a run of core book(s) with most or all of the modular content delivered through a digital subscription service. For those of us who depend heavily on DDI to run our 4e games, we're already there. Is this the future for D&D Next as well?

Paizo's digital subscription service seems quite popular so I could see WotC copying that model as well.

The free-to-play model intrigues me. I can see them letting people access an online CB and MB with levels 1 to 5 for free. Then if you want to take your game past level 5, time to pay the cash.

Do you think WotC will backtrack on their web only character builder? Will they release an offline CB for D&D Next?

Discuss!



Actually they should allow the creation of core characters to the highest level with the other options greyed out with a little dollar sign on them and either allow entire books to be bought for $9.99 or whatever and each power, feat, magic item, or spell to be bought with $0.45 cents or whatever. Then they could draw people in using the real "free to play" method instead of the "fee to play" method that gets rejected time and time again in MMOs and other services. They could even use a server side code that is put into each book to allow the purchase of the book to unlock the content and tie it to their account online. There are literally no drawbacks to this, because if you get someone that opens the shrink wrap of the book and uses the code, then puts it back on the shelf, all the new purchaser has to do is email WotC a copy of their receipt and a picture of the code and the previous user of the code gets their account banned and loses access to everything...Smile
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1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
As we draw further and further into the "information age", it's only natural D&D needs to evolve with the digital world... despite my paranoia of a cyberpunk future.  All in all, pretty cool article.  Also, free-to-play is a nifty idea.

As for the virtual table and other things?  Everything kind of fell apart for a multitude of reasons (many beyond their control).  It's still a real shame.  I bet there's a lot more drama behind the scenes than most of us see.  Perhaps it's probably best left up to a third party to tackle this stuff.



Sorry, this excuse doesn't fly, they could have picked up the pieces and moved on to another developer at any time and still had their fancy 3D VTT only a year or two late instead of getting a very simple version at the last minute created by a third party in a few months. There is just no excuse for what they did from a business perspective. It was literally a failure of the management...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
My dream would be to have a touch screen table top platform which would provide music, videos, and pictures to support each adventure. Characters could be programmed into the platform and the touch screen would help run the adventure and simplify statistics.
The touch screen might cost $500 and professionally made adventures would cost $40 each. DMs could create their own adventures for free with software provided.  All rule books would be included in PDF format on the touchscreen.  There could even be shareware adventures or for sale adventures with ratings.
Some scoring mechanism might help compare players around the world. Some Skype like software might allow players in different cities or countries to play together if both owned the touch screen tabletop.  It could be like a larger iPad which was dedicated to roleplaying. A touch screen flat monitor which is lying face up.



You realize all of that can be accomplished now with modern tablets...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Hey all, I'm flattered anyone read my stupid column.  ;) 

I really think that, in the end, printing books and selling pdfs are just too easy, too democratized. The tools are the ticket -- and we're already seeing that play out.  

As far as the download/web service choice goes, it really only makes sense to have a web based service. Do you remember how hard it was to get the downloads of the updated character builder when they would launch? The servers would be crippled by the demand for downloads. Updating a web service -- and allowing access to it -- is far more efficient.  They also get a lot of great analytical data out of the bargain.  

I mean, can you imagine how interesting it would be to see which monsters are accessed most often? If they were to continue with the distributed install model, they would never have those sorts of data points to work with. 

And it means that you can interact with that content anywhere -- on your phone, on a friend's computer,  on a laptop in Best Buy waiting to get chased off by a guy in a blue shirt. And more and more, this is the interaction model people will expect. 

So, yeah, there's a risk of alienating peoploe like you, kadim. They'll need to be careful as they design their business plan around this.  But, I think it has some cool potential. 

-rg (Radiating Gnome on En World)

 



Actually using a custom bittorent app would alleviate any server problems...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
My dream would be to have a touch screen table top platform which would provide music, videos, and pictures to support each adventure. Characters could be programmed into the platform and the touch screen would help run the adventure and simplify statistics.
The touch screen might cost $500 and professionally made adventures would cost $40 each. DMs could create their own adventures for free with software provided.  All rule books would be included in PDF format on the touchscreen.  There could even be shareware adventures or for sale adventures with ratings.
Some scoring mechanism might help compare players around the world. Some Skype like software might allow players in different cities or countries to play together if both owned the touch screen tabletop.  It could be like a larger iPad which was dedicated to roleplaying. A touch screen flat monitor which is lying face up.



You realize all of that can be accomplished now with modern tablets...

That would in no way be big enough for most gaming groups. That's probably why kezzek specified "larger iPad". I'd want something about the size of 20 iPads.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

Check out some of the stuff being shown off at CES.  There's a thing that basically lets you use a wall as a touchscreen.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
As long as I have access to all the literature in hardcopy, I'm happy.
Hey, my whole thing was just a guess -- your guess is as good as mine. 

However, I don't agree -- I think that books are "going somewhere" -- they're changing.  The content isn't -- actually, I've seen several studies and reports that show that reading is up -- but the book as an object made of paper -- that is already starting to fade out. It's not going to be something that happens by Easter or anything, but IMO if you're a strategist for a company like WOTC/Hasbro, if you're not thinking about how these larger changes in technology and culture around us can be made to support your business rather than undermine it, then you're going to be out of work soon. 


I saw the story the other day from CES about a digital table that was being used to play Monopoly -- the game is still there, even if it's not still played on a cardboard board.  

Oh totally, the definition of the word "book" has expanded more in the past 30 years than it has in the entire history of books because we have more ways of delivering them to people. I think the important part of the definition of the word "book" here is that it is a piece of work in its own right. A book in this scenario is a piece of writing of a significant length that is self contained. Paper doesn't have to figure in, nor does a computer or ereader for that matter, but it has to stand on its own as a piece of writing. The problem with web utilities and games as a service is that they're not self contained and don't stand on their own and that's OK in the context of a service because it's meant to function as a service, not a book.

That's really my objection in this case. I don't want to rent my game, I want to own it. I want to walk away with something and not be dependent on the goodwill of the company when they decide to move on to a new product. I don't want that migration to a new product to result in my servers going dark, leaving me with nothing to show for my years-long investment in the hobby.


I agree that computers aren't going anywhere any more than books are, and we're constantly coming up with new ways to do stuff and businesses need to keep their eye on trend, but I think one of the things that we often see is a tendency to forget what worked so well with the old medium. The trick is to provide a variety of media to accomodate the fans, not to force the fans into using the medium the company feels is best.

Where I differ from you is that I don't think this is a either/or choice.  I don't think -- and it has not been my experience at the table -- that having the tools to run polished, prepared encounters on a digital surface does not prevent our group for having the other sort of imagination-driven interaction when that's what is the most fun.  

I think I said in my piece (or in comments on EN world in the thread) that I think that what we've seen is that, so far with the tech stuff there are a lot of things that the technology can improve for us, but the actual act of playing is still really the social act of sitting around the table and playing with friends and cracking fart jokes.  Using an iPad app for a character sheet or for the game books doesn't impact that fun, but other solutions may. 

Anyway, like I said, it's all just me spitballing.  I could be completely wrong.  My wife keeps telling me I am about other stuff, why would I be more right about this?  ;)  


-j


Well I admit I was being more than a little rhetorical and I think it's more complicated than an either/or situation as well, but the key to getting consumers to spend money on something in the digital world is to offer it in a way that the customers want and when they want it. Take things like Game of Thrones. Popular show, HBO only. Not very accessible online unless you've got a cable service or you steal it. Australia accounted for something around 10% of the piracy of the show because it was broadcast a week after it was aired in the US and in a lower quality. Many came forward and said that if it was broadcast at the same time as it was in America and in the same picture quality they would not have found a torrent and watched the broadcast instead.

D&D is no different in that WOTC needs to enable players to customise their game. They might be able to do that with DDI. They might offer me a service that allows me to store my own records and resources locally and pick and choose my updates and save my system mods. As you've pointed out, the community is all ready trying to fill that gap in a digital medium. I hope they succeed but the buck stops with my wallet. If they can't deliver that and they decide not to publish books in some form that I can use without their service then they won't get my money.


I know your piece didn't specifically address any of this, but I think the issues of ownership and property are really important and when I see companies moving away from selling me property and toward selling me a service, I see my rights as a consumer being eroded away because my rights in the context of a service exchange is nowhere near what my rights to property are. We need the freedom to decide. I'm pretty sure WOTC will give us that choice this time around but I'm not so sure they will in the future, which is why I'm taking a strong stance on the issue now.



I did really like your piece though. It's provoked this conversation which is totally awesome




Its more about familiarity. If you use computer products as second nature and are so familiar with how they work, less of your mind is occupied by them, and more is free to do role playing type stuff. I do this when I play online. Others may have had less experience and more of their minds are occupied by the technology or terminology (in the case of 4E) to be able to effectively role play. So when physical books are a novelty and collectors item, and children have only read of them on their tablets and e-readers or neural implants, they will have no problem role playing because the use of the technology will be second nature to them...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I was going to pull some quotes, but found I'd be quoting just about everything kadim wrote. I'm with him on this -- I don't want to rent my content, I want to own it. I have books from 1st through 4th on my shelf, and since that shelf is in the room where we game, they're easy to refer to without having to power up a smart phone or tablet or laptop. If the power goes out at the table, we light candles and keep going.

I have the 2e Core Tools (and expansion) that I use every single week to plan out the next session. I have a lot of custom data in there that wouldn't exist if I used a DDI-type planning tool. Since people are allowed -- nay, encouraged -- to modify rules as they wish, content that can only be accessed by a company-owned portal completely closes that option, since I can't see any way we could upload our custom content (any update would overwrite our changes). If it's an install-locally product, there's no worry that modified rules, monsters, items, etc. will be deleted by the company.

Yes, ebooks are popular, but physical books are still selling satisfactorily. I anticipate paper existing alongside digital for quite some time, and I'm quite happy with that.

Great article! I love being given things to think about.



Just because WotC, a company that bumbles nearly every electronic attempt, didn't do it doesn't mean it isn't possible. They could easily rent the server space to give each subscriber 1GB of data, its literally dirt cheap at this point. Then the WotC content couldn't be modified and is read only, but you can create a mutable copy that you can edit to your hearts content and store on the server. Really there is no reason this can't be done, some people just don't understand how technology works...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Just because WotC, a company that bumbles nearly every electronic attempt, didn't do it doesn't mean it isn't possible. They could easily rent the server space to give each subscriber 1GB of data, its literally dirt cheap at this point. Then the WotC content couldn't be modified and is read only, but you can create a mutable copy that you can edit to your hearts content and store on the server. Really there is no reason this can't be done, some people just don't understand how technology works...

I understand technology quite a bit. Which is why I'd want a local copy that I can work with when there isn't an internet to get to the server.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

The free-to-play RPG will happen. I would guess that the game would have printed books also, at least for the forseable future. I know a lot of players like to play from their smart phone or laptop, but I also know of groups who ban such things from the game because they are distractions.

It is going to require some radical changes to the way the online tools work and/or the way the game is played. One huge problem with the 4e character builder is the inflexibility. I gave up trying to create custom magic items for 4e because the players never wanted to use them because they can't be integrated into the character builder. If I was trying to create a really custom world, I would need a way to add new races, feats, powers, spells, magic items, and mundane gear. Plus the players need some way to pickup the right material for their character and campaign. This can't even be by DM or player because I might be running more then one campaign with different material and it is quite common for players to have characters in different DM's games. It is going to require a vastly more powerful tool then anything we have seen so far to actually support such a game.

What I think will happen over the short term is the market will get divied into the online supported RPGs and the old school pen and paper RPGs. The online games will have powerful online tools and be setup so you can play online over virtual table tops or play around a table with printed or online material. However, you will be limited to what the game maker provides and you will either pay a subscription or pay for bits of the game. There will be options to tweak and customize things, but only within carefully constrained channels. The pen and paper RPGs will focus on world building, because that is what they will have over the online games. More support for custom material, more guide lines for creating custom worlds/races/religions/feats and probably even help for creating custom rules.

If I had to guess for D&D Next, the online subscriptions will be maintained and online tools provided. The character builder will be the focus of this, and a character builder and compendium are likely the only tools released with the game. However, other tools will be added and eventually a real virtual table top. If WotC is smart, they will make the character builder available to everybody for free, with some limitations, such as only 1 or 2 characters, to help bring in the casual players who are not going to pay for an online subscription.

Its more about familiarity. If you use computer products as second nature and are so familiar with how they work, less of your mind is occupied by them, and more is free to do role playing type stuff. I do this when I play online. Others may have had less experience and more of their minds are occupied by the technology or terminology (in the case of 4E) to be able to effectively role play. So when physical books are a novelty and collectors item, and children have only read of them on their tablets and e-readers or neural implants, they will have no problem role playing because the use of the technology will be second nature to them...

you must have this post confused with something else, 'cause that one was about my rights to property in the digital age and what I expect as a consumer when I buy something, not how to integrate digital tools into my game. I actually use digital media in my game extensively. I play over skype almost exclusively, I use pdfs, my character sheets are .odt files. My planning is done using pdf research and SRD material (until I moved to 2e, then the SRD left the scene). Until recently I used a dice rolling script instead of actual dice, but I went back to dice after ohhh, 4 years without them because I decided I missed them. And it does feel cool to roll a die, but the script served me well and I have no objections to using one. I've used spreadsheets and HTML calculators to determine things like treasure, xp rewards, random encounters and all sorts.

So don't mistake me for some kind of technophobe. I want to own what I buy; I don't particularly mind if it's print or digital.

Just because WotC, a company that bumbles nearly every electronic attempt, didn't do it doesn't mean it isn't possible. They could easily rent the server space to give each subscriber 1GB of data, its literally dirt cheap at this point. Then the WotC content couldn't be modified and is read only, but you can create a mutable copy that you can edit to your hearts content and store on the server. Really there is no reason this can't be done, some people just don't understand how technology works...

I understand technology quite a bit. Which is why I'd want a local copy that I can work with when there isn't an internet to get to the server.



If you knew so much about technology you would know that is equally possible...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.

Its more about familiarity. If you use computer products as second nature and are so familiar with how they work, less of your mind is occupied by them, and more is free to do role playing type stuff. I do this when I play online. Others may have had less experience and more of their minds are occupied by the technology or terminology (in the case of 4E) to be able to effectively role play. So when physical books are a novelty and collectors item, and children have only read of them on their tablets and e-readers or neural implants, they will have no problem role playing because the use of the technology will be second nature to them...

you must have this post confused with something else, 'cause that one was about my rights to property in the digital age and what I expect as a consumer when I buy something, not how to integrate digital tools into my game. I actually use digital media in my game extensively. I play over skype almost exclusively, I use pdfs, my character sheets are .odt files. My planning is done using pdf research and SRD material (until I moved to 2e, then the SRD left the scene). Until recently I used a dice rolling script instead of actual dice, but I went back to dice after ohhh, 4 years without them because I decided I missed them. And it does feel cool to roll a die, but the script served me well and I have no objections to using one. I've used spreadsheets and HTML calculators to determine things like treasure, xp rewards, random encounters and all sorts.

So don't mistake me for some kind of technophobe. I want to own what I buy; I don't particularly mind if it's print or digital.




I agree completely...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
If you knew so much about technology you would know that is equally possible...

I didn't say it wasn't. I just prefer to have data not stored on someone else's server.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

Personally I don't think I'd pay for a service like an srd when other places offer it for free unless it would drastically change game play. I also think that it shouldn't just include everything as people might want 1-2 features but not other things. The other thing is if I'm not playing for months in a row I'm not going to want to want to continue paying. It just seems overly complicated in my opinion. I'm also a person who prefers books rather than always a digital copy. Hard drives go bad, internet may not always work, and sometimes its more problematic to look it up online/computer rather than with a book. Someone else also brought up a point of companies 'renting' us the material which is precisely why I do not own something like a Kindle or other e-reader. I want to own my books not rent them. WotC should give us all the options because people still like hard copies and some even prefer having both available. Some people enjoy going all digital and that's fine. 
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