Black plastic covers? Whoa...whoa...whoa..."mature" does not mean "D&D Gone Wild!" or "Elves Do it in the Dark! Vol. 3"
It just means "mature" as in MATURE; That is, mature people can handle some nudity or adult themes here and there, they can handle some graphic violence, and they can certainly handle themes of drug use. In other words, something the ESRB, might consider.
I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.
Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.
This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).
The Basic boxed set contains:
Quick Start Rules A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms. Player's Handbook (Softcover, 125 pages) Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level. Dungeon Master's Guide (Softcover, 125 pages) Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.
Monster Manual (Softcover, 100 pages) Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D.
Introductory Adventure (Keep on the Borderlands) An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.
Character Sheets Reference Sheets Set of Dice
A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:
Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.) Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.) Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)
These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.)
Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book) Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book) Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book) The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)
A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on DamageShow
A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points
In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...
What are hit points? The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.
So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then? It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.
But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target? Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.
Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact? Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.
If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent? Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.
Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack? It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.
What about poison and other types of non-combat damage? Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.
If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages? Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.
What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points? If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.
Why are monsters killed immediately and not players? Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.
What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage? If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).
Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded? See below.
Damage and Dying
Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.
Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly.
Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.
Unharmed: 1 hp or more Wounded: 0 hp or less Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level) Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)
Wounded When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.
Incapacitated Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).
If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.
If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.
Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.
Dead Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.
'Adult' subjects such as love, sex, rape, perversion, real moral dilemmas (as opposed to fantasy ones), slavery, suffering and deep psychological stuff have all been part of our D&D campaigns at points. It's up to each group to chose to play such a game.
Nothing is stopping anyone from playing a dark and gritty campaign with current rules.
While it would be interesting to see some materials in that vein I feel that it is quite remote from the 'standard setting'.
I agree with this completely. This can be done in the current rules. Most of this thematic stuff is for the DMs and the players.
Do you need rules to do this? No. The closest thing may be a morality system - but mostly it is up to the DM to give these situations rise.
Does the presented background include this? No, not specifically, but you write the background for your own world.
Are there alien gods? Deities who like nothing more than killing/enslaving/torturing innocents? Ummm. Yes... Heard of the creatures of the Far Realm?
So, should it be in the books, no - not when we can cater for those who don't want it in there.
really finding myself agreeing with Mecha and bahel
@ professor: um actually no... the WIKI article says is...
Paizo president Johnny Wilson issued a statement defending the magazine material. He drew comparisons between the growing Book of Vile Darkness controversy and that involving the video game Mortal Kombat. He also argued that "publishing a guide to the atrocities and perversions that put the VILE in EVIL" allows role-playing that is "truly heroic" in contrast, while citing real-world examples of horror and heroism, such as the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Vietnam War, and World War II. Nevertheless, he did offer a partial apology, remarking that the introductory content outside the sealed sections was "as offensive (or more so)" than what was within them.
so a 90% defense and 10% "partial" apology, only for what was written on the outside of the article. It seems the only thing getting worse here is your ability to fact check.
@ avric: its clear to everyone that Gygax sold his soul to the devil so that he could create the most successful tabletop RPG of all time...
Over the years and after the intellectual rights have changed hands over and over, also seeing Pathfinder's sudden success, I think now is the time that the devs have to step up to the plate and re-commit themselves to honoring the original agreement with the dark one.
All I'm asking for here is for Perkins and the other devs to find a crossroad, draw a circle in chalk, sign in blood a contract offering their souls for the guarenteed success of D&D Next, set it on fire, toss it into the center of the circle, then whip off their clothing and dance naked while yelling "come and get it! come and get it!" to the denezins of the netherworld.... and maybe killing a goat or something...
I mean really, these people already work for division of Hasbro, you seem to think that I'm asking for them to do something unusual for them, or trying to get more work out of them or something. sheesh...
all kidding aside.. I think Mecha is dead on when she says there needs to be sections in the core books outlining both how to play and run for an evil party, as well as some suggestions as to how a DM can get the vile in their villians, and their antagonistic societies, after all, true diabolical evil is part of the "living world" these people are creating.
Later we can hope for a BoVD (lol book of VD strikes me as funny) but seeing as how most players will be adults, I am hoping for more adult material right from the get-go and will only serve to increase sales.
btw.. pathfinder is rated as being 13 and up, but I am playing in rise of the runelords AP right now, and we are going through runeforge and each section of the dungeon is devoted to one of the 7 deadly sins.... what we found in "Lust" I'll just say... I dont think I'd repeat the book description to my 13 yr old nephue...
just because something isnt labled or marketed "only" to adults, does not mean there cant be more adult content.
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
I've never found any particular need for book support in order to make a game gritty/violent/ADULT SEX TIMES, even though puttin' sex times into the elf fighting game is basically the dictionary definition of a mature thing that mature people want to do, so obviously a mature mature individual like myself is all over that. There's approximately one useful bit of support they could give evil campaigns, and that's DM advice, because running evil campaigns has quite a few special challenges, both in terms of general party cohesion and in terms of managing discomfort. (Non-evil campaigns have discomfort management too, of course, but it rarely comes to a head the way it does in evil campaigns.) What rules do mature mature adult sex situations need, exactly, that aren't more generally covered by the system's very light interpersonal interaction mechanics? Ink drawings of succubus full frontal aren't a rule. They're a picture of boobs. A random roll table of synonyms for "viscera"? A list of fifty hardcore spooky things that could totally happen in a dungeon or something, and there's like chains and stuff, because chains are hardcore and mature?
D&D, I feel, has actually generally been fairly grim for a product marketed to people so young. (Age suggestions are typically a bit conservative, not permissive). This is especially true if your defintion of grimness involves a lot of reading between lines, rather than "the axe goes all the way into his skull and his brains GOOSH OUT THROUGH HIS EYES."
I've gamed... near, if not exactly with, enough fifteen-year-olds to know that people who want Game-of-Thrones-style sex 'n' violence generally tend to figure it out without needing grimness sugar-pasted onto every page. It's possible to put together an argument regarding appealing to a "mature" audience, but I'm guessing based on how the game's been put together recently that this is an Our Market Research Shows thing in the other direction.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer.
Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
@Lesp- well, I dont really know what rules or optional rules sex may need to have, maybe the chances of pregnancy/disease? Rules for what happens when some races breed with others? (dwaf gentics not creating half dwarves when mated with humans etc) I think a little of that could be necessary.
As to what rules "evil" needs... I think the BOVD had some good stuff in there about torture, etc. some was a bit over the top but I'd rather have it than not have it. and if you've got evil devil/demon and evil god worshipers, it might be good to descibe what some of their rituals, goals, and activities may be, after all this is a pretty standard BBEG territory for most campaigns.
and seeing as D&D next is totally trying to appeal to old grogs like me... some of this would be part of their targeted marketing strategy.
after all, I remember at age 14 or so, just after looking at the Deities and Demigods nude and gory pictues... that it and all AD&D books were rated for ages "9 and above" lol.
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
you have two choices, your villian can be the ever cheezy skeletor or jack the ripper...
Skeletor may be fun for the PC's to fight, and eventually defeat if nothing more than the corny dialog, but it will always be kind of a meh victory, because Skeletor is kind of a meh villian.
but Jack the ripper... more books have been written him than about jesus, he is iconic, he is the epitome of an evil psychotic rapist and killer of women. If you run this right, your players will come to HATE jack... not their characters... the players themselves, and when they finally bring the justice and end him. that emotion of victory and right being might will be much much more rewarding than if they faught just another hokey filled with ebil villian. This is why horror and revenge based movies have such a huge emotional draw, they are morality plays where you worry for the victems and cheer for the hero and they bring a sense of relief and rightness when jason or freddy meets their end.
I dont want games with skeletor, he bores me.
@mesterwart3 - had no idea what F.A.T.A.L was before I read it here, so looked it up and...
because I suggested I want my game more like a conan book, or because I want adult topics and themes like Game of Thrones, your suggesting that would make D&D more like an RPG where the only goal of the PC's is to rape or be raped? really?
you sir are ridiculous, and I forbid you from ever posting again.
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
Developping demonology with its specialists in a neutral way is enough for D&D.
Writing down what is obvious from the described profiles of evil D&D material is a waste of paper IMO. Because if some people do not find it obvious, it's useless to put their nose in it.
In short, D&D should just do what they do with half-humans. We all know what should be the life of most of them, but a lot of people prefer to think about half-races as perfect diplomats between their parents instead of outcast having to fight twice to have the same consideration.
I'm not saying that one way or the other is better, just that D&D should stay coherent and stop these poor "evil" supplements that are just guides to upgrade the violence level and bring more modern monotheism stereotypes than real exploration of ultimate evil.
Just an example of preconception, the Pandora's box myth. Modern conception : Pandora obeying her curiosity made a terrible mistake, and all the evil that escaped the pithos is the worst thing that could happen to humanity. Ancient conception : Pandora was the instrument of Zeus, and all the evil that escaped the pithos is the best thing that could happen to humanity, as adversity is what made the humanity able to evolve and gave it the potential to become better.
I think D&D should stop beeing ambitious on the philosophical side, being hindered with alignments as it is.
"They are making it clear that when modern design and common sense come into conflict with tradition, tradition wins." - thecasualoblivion "Vancian isn't broken, you just have to set your game to the wizard's clock!" - Oxybe "In many ways, making a new edition of D&D is alot like trying to sell a car to the Amish." - Dwarfslayer "Encounters are the heart of the AD&D game" - PHB AD&D 2nd edition. "you shouldn't even bother trying to become like me." - Gary Gygax (Elfcrusher confirmed)
"Feel free to claim I said anything you like. How's someone going to call you out on it? Are they going to be all like, 'I know all of the things that Gary said, and that's not one of them?'" - Gary Gygax
This entire discussion suffers from the idea that adding gore and porn somehow add depth to the game, or to anything for that matter.
Happily, the market has already spoken on this. I don't know how many products D&D publishers have actually had to publicly apologize for, but it's not many. There will be no torture porn rules for the new edition.
The primary demographic that needs to be captured to make D&D financially successful is males 14 to 21. Go back and look at the history of the hobby.
Is this good, or politically correct, or fair, or moral? No. It's just accurate. You need that audience, and the best way to get them is to appeal to the fact that this demographic prides itself on rebelliousnes. Load the books with things that make anyone outside that demographic purse their lips disprovingly, and those inside will love it.
Would it be awesome if the game could appeal equally to all genders and ages? Absolutely! I would LOVE that. But that kind of soft universality runs the risk of of not appealing to the "engine" that will drive sales.
So the question is, do you gamble on trying to make everyone happy, or do you target a narrower market you think you can domiinate?
Whichever way it falls, there is only one unquestionable truth; the descion will be based on market analysis and financial projections and not morality.