Compiled 4E FAQ

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I started the FAQ when the GenCon was going on and we all found out that 4th edition of Dungeon and Dragons was announced. Now in the short time I have been at this the amount of information that is given to us the community is massive. I started off with just one post containing all the info. And soon I found out that that was not enough.
Now a lot of you have been asking if I could re do it a bit clearer. And I decided to do this. Now this FAQ will be a 4 part post. The update part is the first post. I will put all the new post of one day in here. Now I live in Europe so ill put time tags on the post added and they will move downwards to their section’s. Part 2 and 3 will be the original quote based FAQ. This will contain the various information that is scattered around the 4e forum and the website. The 4th part will be a written bit later. But will be a straight forward F.A.Q. based on categories. Were I will just give the answer to the question based on the information of the information given by the WotC staff members in the forums

How to use this FAQ
The first 3 parts of this FAQ is a compiled list of all the answers the WotC staff have given in the various threads about 4th Edittion. I deliberately used the quote function so that you can jump right to that post and read what other forum users have said about that answer. This thread itself is not started by them. And I don't know if they keep an eye out for questions. You can ask your questions in the various topics.

The FAQ is split up in various topics from communication and community and of course the game itself how it works the various settings races etc. Then we go to D&D Insider a new system for us the players to use. And last but not least some community members pointed out that we got a lot information in blogs, podcasts etc. I will add these in the FAQ too.

Before posting anything
The answers below are excerpted from wider discussions. I try to make the questions so that they show the context of the discussion. But seeing my main language is Dutch I always suggest reading before doing anything.

Also WotC has put some info on their main DND page. They put up articles like:

Design & Development: Race, Classes, Party Role, Monster
Playtest Report: Castle Smoulderthorn part: 1, 2
And of course the column of the R&D Director of D&D called &

Also the presentation of 4e is something interesting to watch. It's in four parts::1, 2, 3 and 4

Thanks to Gamer_zero we also have these video's: 1, 2, 3.

Dont forget to lissen to Gamer Radio Zer0 somtimes they have info.. Especely these podcast: Podcast 10 with Paizo Publishing, A special interview with the D&D R&D crew.

A word of thanks
I want to thank the WotC staff members who took the time to reply to questions even when there at the Gencon. And for everyone helping me pointing out things

I forgotten or should edit to make it more clear.

I also want to thank ninjeff for helping with my spelling and grammar. And you guys for posting idea’s how I can improve the FAQ for you all to use.

Were is the rest of the FAQ
Well the oficial FAQ sticky is here. Howerver updating this is going slow becouse at this moment I can edit it directly. There for you can find direct updates here:
Newest Aditions
The Game
D&D Insider and the Rest

Newest Updates
Update info
Updated 23 Aug
Updated 26 Aug

[4E Community Communication]
Added 26 August 2007
When will the 3.5 Arguves be back for us?
Wotc_Mark;13530778 wrote:
It looks like the archives will return sometime tomorrow (friday) ... Of course it's 12:30am and I need to go home ... sleep... and come back to work ... then I can finish working on them.

Sorry for the delay, I want to make sure that when we bring it back online that you are able to navigate to all 3.5 archives and articles and it is taking longer than expected.

--MJ



Wotc_Mark;13535182 wrote:
The 3.5 site and it's archives have been restored. I am working to syncronize the Galleries in the 4E site with the 3.5 one until then all of the galleries are available through the 3.5 art & maps archive.

Sorry this took so long.

MJ

BTW, Mark, do you happen to know when the next "Class Chronicles" article will be published?
Wotc_Mark;13536356 wrote:
I believe there are 3 more Class Chronicles in the que... and one should be scheduled for this coming wednesday.

--MJ

[4E Organized Play]

[D&D, Gleemax, and You]

[4E FAQ Discussion Forum]
Will my account remember that I've paid for the PDF, or will I have to pay for it again?
WotC_DM;13508008 wrote:
Our servers will know that you own the E-version of the book, as it will be linked to your online account.

Will I be able as DM to disregard some rolls to make sure I dont do a Player Kill?
WotC_DM;13508053 wrote:
Yes, Dungeon Masters will have the ability to "fudge" die rolls. Our digital tools are designed to be very flexible so as to allow DM using them to run the game the way you want.

The Game
[4E Rules and Mechanics Discussion]
There were no updates today.

[4E Core Rulebooks]
There were no updates today.

[4E Class Discussion]
Added 26/08/2007 13.00 (GMT 2+)
can you confirm that the upcoming Dungeon gourmet class will feature a mix of psionic abilities added with a heaping helping of divine magic including a "per day" ability inspired by Magic The Gathering's "Wrath of God"? I also hear they are inspired by the "Death Leopard" faction from paranoia and flavor wise, deal somewhat with bards (mmmmm..... tasty bards).
WotC_Logan;13521485 wrote:
I can neither confirm nor deny these irrefutable facts.

[4E Race Discussion]
There were no updates today.

new[D&D 4E Magic Discussion]new
There were no updates today.

[4E - Iconic Character Feedback]
There were no updates today.

[D&D Miniatures]
There were no updates today.

[4E Eberron]
Added 26/08/2007 14.00 (GMT 2+)
[b]1) Will Psionic powers be availble in PH1?
2)Will all races of Ebberon be availble in Ph1?
3)Will al the Eberon be reprinted in 4e?
Chris Sims;13540164 wrote:
A few things:
1) First, even if psionic power isn't in PH1, that doesn't mean it won't be core. All the PHs will be "core," and psionics will be in a PH.

2)Some of the races being lamented here will be in the 4e MM1. As far as I know at this point, that means they'll be playable—they might not get as much fluff and special treatment as a PH race out of the gate, but they'll be playable. Also, DDi is going to be a good place to find sneak peaks and "beta" stuff to add to your game. Oh, and tieflings already exist in Eberron.

3)Keith's 99% certainty that there won't be a 4e Secrets of Sarlona (or other fluff-heavy book) is about how sure I am that we won't just recycle that stuff. Plans for the campaign settings aren't solidified, though.

As an aside, I know I really care about Eberron, and so does my design lead James Wyatt. We'll be careful with it, for sure.

Can I quote you on that? . . . MM1 will have 300 pages and 288 monsters; how is there room to present these races in the MM1 as PCs and not as monsters with such a page crunch?
Chris Sims;13540323 wrote:
MM1 will have 288 pages and over 300 monsters (well over by my count; it's what I'm working on now). We have page space allocated for racial info for some monsters. You'll have to wait and see how we packed the book full of so much goodness, but I can give you a hint: 4e is easier to run. And that doesn't mean monsters have all their cool stripped away—it just means they're easy to run.

What Mike said is still accurate. A gnome "monster" does some stuff like a PC/NPC might, but it's a monster built to be run by the DM, not character meant to be run by a player. On the flip, a gnome race is for PCs, and it would have just enough influence on the "monster" gnome for the players to know they're facing a gnome.

Can you answer a question then? Over on the Monster thread, people were worried that monsters will be difficult to advance, or that giving them class levels may be more difficult; you may not include things like HD. So, will 4e monsters still be capable of taking class levels or be advanced without too much work on the DM's part?
Chris Sims;13541145 wrote:
That depends on what's meant by "more difficult." It will certainly be different, and it will certainly require some learning for those used to 3e. One aspect of the question also assumes monsters need certain aspects they have in 3e to be functional or for someone to advance them. This sort of thinking isn't helpful, because it tries to speculate about a system using something the system is not (4e is not 3e).

If a monster is presented as a monster and a race, like say the goblin is in 3e (and probably will be in 4e), how hard is it to advance it with a character class if you want an NPC? Not very. Is it better if you have to do that sort of preparation work less often? As a busy career guy, a husband, a gamer, and more, I'd have to say that's valuable for me.

I have to apologize a little. It's hard to answer this question completely without getting into a lot of detail I unfortunately can't get into yet, and I know that sounds lame right now. But I don't think anyone needs to be worried. More info will be forthcoming in the form of previews and more interaction from R&D on these boards.

I also want to thank you for asking the questions. Please don't stop just because we can't spill everything now (some things are still changing). As things evolve, we'll be able to tell you more and more.

[4E Forgotten Realms]
There were no updates today.

[4E Other Campaign Settings]
There were no updates today.

[OGL/d20 License]
There were no updates today.

D&D Insider
[D&D Insider - Character Vault/Campaign Vault]
There were no updates today.

[D&D Insider — Dungeon Master’s Kit]
There were no updates today.

[D&D Insider - General]
[b]1) I perfectly understand the idea behind varying levels of access and content based on subscription level, but does this mean there simply won't be ANY free content at all - essentially forcing a subscription of SOME kind?
2) And even with the appropriate subscription, will the downloadable content (acrobat files, map images, etc) have DRM? Will I be able to share data with the players in the group I DM?
3) And, on the subject of downloadable content, I still am not satisfied on one of the original questions posted in this thread - is a web-accessible PC/PDA required at the gaming table to play 4e? I've seen a lot of acromonious churning, but have yet to read a simple yes/no answer to a simple yes/no question. And by that, I'm not refering to books purchased. After all, all that is really required is the three core books and you've got 4e - but admittedly at a basic, no-frills-added level.
4) Paying for online access to Dragon or Dungeon magazines is certainly understandable. After all, I had to pay to get them on paper, so that's ok with me. But presently, Paizo has enhancements and maps available for all to download. Will WotC force me to pay a subscription for those as well? And what about FAQ's, errata, and "web enhancements"?
THAT'S my concern.
WotC_DM;13545265 wrote:
1) No, there will still be content available without subscription. Things like the Dungeon articles or the Dragon's Articles will require the subscription though.
2) Stay tuned on dndinsider for more information on this in the coming months. This is not a question we can answer fully at that stage. We are aware of the needs of sharing material, but we also want to make sure we protect our Intellectual Properties appropriately.
2) No, anything related to D&D Insider is not required nor necessary to play 4th Edition at your gaming table.
4) Some answer have already been provided to this here. By the way Wizards has had art and maps available for download for free for years... Stay tuned on dndinsider to learn what will be the future of the web enhancements in the upcoming months.

[D&D Insider - D&D Game Table]
Won't the GAME Table make it to mutch RPG and take over way to mutch of the jobs of the DM?
WotC_DM;13534691 wrote:
Our goal with the game table is not to adjudicate game rules. There is a DM to that effect. The game table is simply a way for people to meet in a new space (online) when they can't physically get together in the same room.
We will take advantage of some of the aspects of the 3D engine (like for lighting for example), but we will not enforce any rules within the game table.

By the way, this also means that the game table is just a new online space allowing you to play Role Playing Games in the old fashioned pen-and-paper like way. Because it does not adjudicate rules, it is not specific to any particular role playing game system.

I have a few questions about the Game Table if anybody from WotC cares to answer them for me. How many licks does it take till you get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Would all my information be locked to my account or my computer? Meaning, if my computer dies, will I lose everything or will it be safely tucked away on your servers?

WotC_DM;13534906 wrote:
I can't answer that one, as I never went that far.. I do not like Tootsie Pops.. ;)

The things that you buy will be safely stored on our servers, and linked to your account. We already are doing this for Magic Online users: they buy cards (as digital objects) and we know what they have bought and make them available to them when they log in.

There is a difference between what the subscription entitles you to do, and "things" you buy online. For example, the E-Version of the book is not linked to your subscription payment. You pay a nominal fee if you so chose to get the E-version of the book, and you own that E-version. You will keep that access to the E-Version regardless of your subscription status.
Now, the entitlement to use the D&DI applications comes with the payment of a subscription fee. If you stop paying the subscription, you lose the entitlement to use them.

Both entitlement and ownership are stored on our servers and linked to your account.

For the rest of your questions, stay tuned on dndinsider, and be patient.

[D&D Insider - Dungeon and Dragon Magazines]
I do believe it's been said that the D&D Insider free preview will last through to the end of the year.
You have a point. Take note, Wizards! Let the people preview so they know what they'll be paying for later!

WotC_Thomasson;13526471 wrote:
Our free preview of D&D Insider editorial content will last through spring, 2008. Basically, once the Player's Handbook is headed to the shelves, we'll start charging. Our goal is also to substantially increase the amount of our online content at that point as well. That's not to say we don't have a lot of plans between now and May, because we do. But we'll be able to do even more once the new edition is out.

Over the next few months, we'll be trying a lot of new things--new columns, new features, and so on--and looking for feedback. So if there's something you like, let us know. Or if there's something you see that's missing and you want it back, let us know that too. In the latter case, rest assured that in the vast majority of cases, if it's missing, it's probably just on hiatus, not gone for good. In fact, I can't think of anything from the magazines that won't be back at some point.

Thanks!

EDIT: I have been informed that the hard date of April for charging for the subscription wasn't accurate. That's my bad. It will be in the spring, around then, but we're not set on a firm date for launch, other than that we're aiming to coincide with the release of the PH, if not earlier.

Chris Thomasson
Producer, D&D Insider
Wizards of the Coast

WotC_Thomasson;13526698 wrote:
As far as needing D&D Insider to play 4th Edition, I hope everyone finds it as indispensible as their Player's Handbooks. Heck, my job kind of depends on making it as appealing as we can to as many players as we can. But do you absolutely NEED it to play? No. This is still a table-top game. All the content we'll be producing is additional material meant to enhance your game, exactly like Dragon and Dungeon content was before. As with previous editions, you can still just buy your PH and play to your heart's content. Or heck, borrow one.

So to reiterate: D&D Insider, not required. But it's gonna be super cool. I really do hope everyone checks it out. I know I'm gonna start a game on the D&D Game Table as soon as I can with my friends in Saipan, L.A., Washington D.C., and locally. I haven't been able to game with these guys together in years, since we all scattered after college. But now I'll be able to get them together and play D&D again. Of course, adjusting for the Saipan time difference will be tricky...

Oh, and I saw a quote from someone that said we weren't paying our freelancers, but I haven't been able to find the original post. That's absurd. Of course we're paying our freelancers. Our per word rate is listed right in our writer's guidelines ($.06 for those keeping track at home). We've got articles by Robert Schwalb and Ari Marmell coming up in September, and James Jacobs, Nicolas Logue, Scott Gray, and Amber Scott, among others, in October. Each and every one of them was paid (on acceptance, I might add).

Thanks!

Chris Thomasson
Producer, D&D Insider
Wizards of the Coast

[D&D Insider - Character Creator]
Furthermore, it's also based on the idea that from what I've seen, it's looking like it will turn out that even if you own the book, if you unsubscribe from the DDDI you lose the digital copy of that book (that you paid extra for, separate from the subscription cost of the DDDI).
WotC_DM;13534528 wrote:
This is incorrect. The ownership of the E-Version is independent of your D&DI subscription. You will be able to own the E-Version and not be a D&DI subscriber, or be a D&DI subscriber without having to get the E-Version. If you own the E-Version and are a D&DI subscriber, then you get an extra benefit from owning the E-Version in the sense that, in the D&DI applications suite, you will get the details of the game elements relevant to the book(s) you own the E-version of. If you do not own the E-Version, you will simply see in these applications the names with reference to the published book where these elements have been published.

Other official sources
The Blogs
James Wyatt, D&D Lead Story Designer
James updated his Blog yesterday. Check it out here.
Rich Baker, D&D Senior Designer
There are no updates to be found at this moment. See the rest of the FAQ here.
Bill Slavicsekr
There are no updates to be found at this moment. See the rest of the FAQ here.
Podcast
There are no updates to be found at this moment. See the rest of the FAQ here.
The D&D Community
[4E Community Communication]
I've heard mumblings about playtester applications, but I'm not sure where to find out more. This being the communication forum, thought I'd ask where to find more info.
Hiya. I am just jumping in to try and answer a few questions before I head to the conference center for day 2 of GenCon.

RPGA members and anyone who signs up for D&D Insider (which is free for the next 9 months) will be eligible to sign up for a chance to become a playtester.

When I go to sign up for D&D Insider, I see the following message:
If you already have a forums account, then you already have an account and don't need to go through this registration process!
Does that mean that anyone who can post here is automatically signed up for D&D Insider? (There's no button that says "Skip through registration and sign me up!")

Yes, anyone who is signed up on the forums will be able to use that same sign on with D&DI.

As far as I understand it, the subscription is NOT required to play. it will just enhance your games with more info. If you never really went out and purchased to old Magazines you will not really be missing all that much. It is just to enhance your gameplay. Not an integral part of it.
Correct. As Bill put it in the announcement presentation, it's like buying a DVD special edition boxed set. The "movie" part of the DVD is D&D the game. The bonus part of the DVD, behind the scenes, out-takes, directory/actor commentary, is what D&D Insider provides. You don't need it to play D&D, but you may find some of what it offers to be of value in making it easier and more convenient.

Will errata be free?
Yes.

Will the game in essence change?
Hey,

The 4th Edition announcement was an exciting time and a big relief for us. At last we can start talking a little bit about what we have been working on for months, and for some of the R&D people for years even...

The dndinsider.com will be the main place to gather information about what is coming up, and with Gencon behind us more people at Wizards will have more time to read the forums and post answers, whenever possible.

Many questions in these first pages where about the erratas. As Gamer_zero said, the erratas will still be free. The Digital initiative (D&DI) is a part of the 4th Edition but is not required to play the game. Those that subscribe to D&DI will receive their erratas as applications patchs, and/or databases updates. But there will always be erratas in the same form that they have been provided for years, as downloadable PDF from the web, and this does not require any subscription.

With 4th Edition, this is not the way you play today that will change, you'll simply be able to access more tools and resources if you want to. And we want these tools to be as flexible as possible because we know everybody have their own way of gaming, and we want you to keep playing D&D the way you like it, i.e. your way, while offering more possibilities to play for people that may not have the chance to have a gaming group handy and close by all the time.

Is there any real intent to review, respond and interact with the community through these forums?

Yes, although we've all been busy with Gencon over the past couple of days. I just got back from the con a couple hours ago, and I know others won't be back into the office until Tuesday. Hopefully, we'll be able to start getting more questions answered.

If it turns out that we need to do something to better arrange the info from the replies, we can definitely explore that. I want to get more WotC folks posting replies before we explore organizational options.

What happened to the threads that were moved here from other places? Some good questions were asked on those threads and now they are gone. Not merged or moved, just gone.
Let me know if there is a topic you think needs to be discussed that isn't already covered by one of the existing threads and I'll work with the D&D team to get one up. Basically, each of the official threads we have has different people from the D&D team assigned to read and respond to them. I don't want to have duplicate threads that might go unread/responded to by staff.

Why do the D&D Community Forums pages absolutely refuse to refresh for me. Any other web-site I go to, the forum pages will refresh the info when I refresh my page. This site periodically does not. Yesterday I had to wait an hour, periodically trying to refresh. Page refreshes, but the infomation on it does not. I even shut down my computer, rebooted my internet connection, restarted my computer came back and still would not refresh.

Basically, with the growth of the forums, the return of search functionality, and just our overall attempt to improve performance, we added multiple databases. Unfortunately, there will sometimes be a delay of up to an hour for one DB to update another with certain information, specifically thread listing. This made me crazy when I was making on the 4E threads, since I needed to get the links to them for our web guys. They're looking on how to improve that.

Are the current set up of these forums providing you with the customer interaction you were looking for?
That's a good question to ask. Thanks for bringing it up.

I've actually been pretty blown away by how well the announcement has gone and how positive most of the community are. 4E is a solid game built on very solid principles that have been gathered by player feedback over the past 5+ years, so in a lot of ways, I think many are positive because they agree with the core goals of 4E.

With that said, I think the videos were a greater success then any of us had anticipated. I started doing Gamer Radio Zer0 with the idea that getting the designers and developers onto a podcast where everyone could hear them talk about stuff in their own words would convey a lot of the tone and passion that people miss in text.(and to be fair, there have been D&D and Magic the Gathering podcasts for years at WotC, so it's not like I invented fire) I had no idea how much more effective it would be to do it all in front of a camera. The credit here really goes to the D&D and other WotC staff who were eager and willing to sit in front of the camera and talk about their stuff. It's an easy sell when you're working with people who can't wait to explain to the community all the cool stuff they are working on.

With the forums, I've also been impressed with how much we've been able to prevent the total chaos we've had in the past, where no one could get any information at all. With such a huge announcement as the one we just made with 4E, my hat is off to the WizOs, the WotC Staff, and especially the community for helping to keep everything so constructive. I'm glad that I can go to the Future Releases forum and still read threads on 3.5 stuff if I happen to be someone in the "Meh, I'll wait and see" crowd over 4E. It means a lot to me that they are able to do that.

As far as the 4E forum here, and the amount of traffic, I agree that it's a bit overwhelming. I've been trying to read all of every thread here, and I'm not able to, which tells me that most community members aren't able to as well.

But the real goal here is to foster the developer/community feedback. While I can't read every post in every thread, each thread has 2-3 people from the D&D team assigned to read it. And those people only have to read *one* thread. So even if it does grow by four pages over night, it's still possible for them to keep up with the single thread they are responsible for. And that's extremely important to me as well. The community has a lot of great feedback everyplace, especially in the doomsday thread, and it's a huge opportunity for us to read through and see everyone's thoughts.

As far as feedback from the developers, the community is virally passing along everything that is being said. Thadir has a 4E FAQ on this sight, the community at EN World has one over there, as do many other sites. So whatever the developers say in a thread or in a blog or in an article, is getting out there for people to discuss.

So really, I think we've been having better two-way communication with the D&D team and with the community on the 4E release then I ever would have imagined a couple weeks ago. But I am sure there are lots of ways we can improve it even more, which is why I'm actively participating in threads like this one.

-Mike

One of us has misunderstood the suggestion and I'm pretty sure it's you. It sounds to me like they're planning on moving to a blog format, i.e. something similar to LiveJournal, instead of continuing to use the forums for this. If that's the case, the problem you're afraid of simply doesn't arise (if the blog software is even close to well-designed).
Yes, Jeff is correct here.

Actually, I think that the amount of positive feedback your getting is more due to the fact of two things (not to burst your bubble.)
1.) Both the news of the launch and the fact that we cannot make original threads on the topic of 4th ed. have convinced people who seriously dislike the change to shy away from posting alot or at all.
2.) The effort to herd "doomsaying" into one thread makes posting aggrovating for those who wish to have our concerns heard.

Well, if you look at the history of negative posts on our forums in the past, you'll find that the majority of the negative posts were made by a very small minority of the community. Those who are passionate and like to post negatively, very often start multiple new topics per week, most likely in an attempt to try and articulate the reason they're upset.

With the current set up, we're seeing a lot of new people posting and the most frequent posters don't have as much of a leg up on the less frequent posters because everyone is replying to the same threads.

So I guess you're partially right. And I suppose you could argue that the real community sentiment is hidden due to the lack of new posts, while I might argue that it's not being overshadowed for once, due to the lack of user started posts.

Either way, next week we plan to roll out the new forums where everyone will be able to start their own post. I'll probably make a new thread here to solicite ideas from all of you on what forums you think will work best for 4E.

[4E Organized Play]
There are no official WotC staff posts in this thread. I will keep an eye on it. But, as for now, there is no information I canprovide.

[D&D, Gleemax, and You]

What is Gleemax?
Some clarifications:

1) Gleemax is free. D&D Insider will (eventually) cost money. The character generator and gaming table that you're seeing in the 4E videos are part of what you get for being a D&D Insider subscriber.

2) Gleemax will include some tools that all RPG players can benefit from, whether they play D&D itself or other systems. There will be a place to talk about your character, a place to talk about your campaign, tools for helping players find each other, and even way to plan events / have the DM coordinate the campaign. We expect that these tools will be primarily used for D&D (and they will integrate nicely with all of the D&D Insider stuff as well), but they do not require any money and will not be tied exclusively to D&D.

3) Gleemax is not up and running yet. We have done nothing but make promises. I think of it more as announcing our intention to do something awesome and sharing that vision with you, but if I was you I would probably be skeptical too until we actually have something more than promises. We never planned to have anything more than a preview of the alpha version of the site by this point. You can see those screenshots inside the GenCon coverage (they are part of Friday's blog). The current plan is to start up a public alpha-test in September. It will have very bare-bones functionality at first, but we will update it regularly.

4) This means everyone can have their own personal page on Gleemax to blog etc etc starting next month. We debated internally a lot on how long before that we should announce things ... we couldn't exactly announce at GenCon (not with what we knew was coming) so we went with June and 2-3 months of merely having a promotional site up and running.

Any and all feedback welcome,
Randy

What will the cost of D&D Insider be, and what will the benefits be?

D&D Insider will cost more than a magazine subsciption but less than an MMO. The precise figure hasn't been announced (or decided). For this monthly fee you get:
- Online Dragon and Dungeon magazine content (3 updates per week which then get fodled together into monthly issues as well)
- DM Tools
- Character Generator with all the rules from all the books wired in plus the visual aspects from the video we posted
- D&D Game Table unlimited access for using the 'Net to connect players to play D&D

In addition, there will be ways to "pay as you go" and access these features without being a monthly subscriber, paying a small amount for one session at the game table for example.

In addition, all books will come with a code that you can type in to get an e-version of the book (searchable, readable on your laptop, etc). D&D Insider subscribers will also see all the content from that book unlocked in the various Insider databases once they type in that code as well.

There will still be some free web content on the D&D site.

As far as monthly subscriptions to Gleemax goes, there will be several subscriptions available that gain access to premium content just like the way D&D Insider works, but all the community support / social networking functionality will be free. Another example is a monthly subscription to gain access to play all the games in our Board Game Portal.

Randy

The Game
[4E Rules and Mechanics Discussion]

Hi everyone. I saw a few questions I can answer.

You won't need anything on D&D Insider to play the game with the books you buy. D&D Insider is all about cool additional stuff.

Now, if you want to play from Kuwait with your buddies from the US, the Game Table will be for you.

Roles aren't restrictive. They do make it easier for new players to comprehend what they're doing for the party. They do guide some aspects of a class's design. But it's not like an MMO. I quit playing WoW--I won't be quitting 4e.

What's with the 30 levels thing? Just they just make epic core, or did they extend the normal class advancement?

Epic is core! Epic levels in PH and epic critters in the MM.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone's asked ... but what about d20 Modern?

We're currently focused on making 4th Edition the best game we can, but we do look forward to updating d20 Modern, as well as exploring other genres.

D&D Insider will have news about d20 Modern in the months ahead.

[4E Core Rulebooks]


One thing I'm curious about: if the new wizard is supposed to be more akin to a psion, does that mean that the new wizard will have to specialize in a certain area of magic (much as the psions had to choose a certain discipline of speciality)?

I hope not. I liked the generalist wizard who could cover a broad array of magics; and I liked the option of specialization. However, I don't think I'd care for having no choice but specialization in spells.


Before this gets off to the races, lemme provide a little context to the playtest report. (I'm the DM at that table.) When we did this playtest, we had eight playable classes--none of them psion. To preserve our ongoing narrative, Bruce and I decided that the best stopgap available was to use the wizard mechanics, but continue to describe him as a psion.

Please, please, don't draw any wider conclusions about psions or wizards or how much alike they'll be. We did what we did for one simple reason: there was no 4e psion available. Don't confuse our stopgap measure with overall design intent.

--David Noonan, game designer, Wizards of the Coast
...who wishes he had time to respond to every thread.

[4E Class Discussion]
1)There has been mention that the Alignment system will be re-worked and it won't have any direct impact on the game rules. So... can we assume that the Paladin will no longer have to be LG?
2)Y'know what worries me is that I haven't heard any talk of roleplaying at all. And that's really the most important part of choosing a class (or pretty much anything else in D&D).
3)It kind of sounds like MMOification to me, which seems a bit ominous, but if handled intelligently it could be very nice. Plop down every class on the exam table and ask, "in combat, what is this guy FOR?"

1)It won't have any overarching impact, but it certainly might be meaningful for your character or that NPC. You can assume the paladin doesn't have to be LG?but that is an assumption on your part. Time will tell. :D

2)Ah, roleplaying (RP), that ever-popular but wildly divergent topic. I can tell you that some elements of 4e virtually require RP in one sense or another to make the game work smoothly. The DM has to communicate certain things just to be fair, and character powers are gonna provide RP opportunities too. Add in certain mechanical elements you’ll eventually get a preview of (hint: they don’t enforce roleplaying, but they certainly aid it), and the normal background and personality stuff a lot of players (such as me) already do. I personally think this edition has fantastic RP potential, and it’ll give those who don’t’ know how to do it some helpful guidelines.

3)I’m not an MMO guy. Sure, I’ve played a few, but they never moved me.

The role system is just shorthand for new and old players alike to instantly know what they’re supposed to do in combat. From that generalization, a player can more effectively pick a class that suits him or her. For example, if you know you like to move and deal tons of damage in precise ways, you know you want to choose among strikers. If you want to protect your friends; take a lot of punishment and keep on fighting; and punish, punish, punish the bad guys for trying to hurt them, you pick a defender. This system was hidden in 3.5, and way too easy to muddy. Each class builds on the role idea in a unique way, so role is not a pigeonhole.

Sorry if this has been brought up, but has anyone heard whether they're donig anything different with hitpoints? A d12 for the barbarian gives a better average than, say, the rogue's d6 HD, but it's possible for the barbarian to get lots of 1's or 2's. I'd like to see either a set amount per level, or something like the system with Iron Heroes where instead of d(4+X), where (4+X) adds up to some die-type, it uses d4+X. For example, instead of a d12 for the barbarian, it would use d4+8. Instead of d10 for the fighter, it would use d4+6. And so forth. This would keep some randomness, but ensures the martial classes have the edge right where they need it. (Since Mike Mearls put this into Iron Heroes, I'm hoping he suggests this for 4e.)

We are doing something different with hit points. It's not exactly what you described, but characters will be more likely to survive a single hit at low level.

I like to say the changes we've made make it so you won't go down in one hit at low level or high level.

Here here! From what I've heard, I don't think that the fighter will necessarily become like an anime character. I think the "power source" will just be maneuvers that he can perform, some of which can be quite powerful, while still being non-magical. At least, that's how I've interpretetd what I've heard, and that's how I desperately hope it turns out.

You hit the nail on the head.
That being said, at high levels, the fighter does push beyond the limits of human (or elf or dwarf) ability. Also, if someone wanted to make their fighter more magical-feeling, they could muck about with the flavor of the powers to make them less mundane.

I'm pretty intrigued by the idea of "semi-vancian" spellcasting. It's been implied that wizards will have a mix of at-will, per-encounter, and per-day abilities, and I'd be interested to see how that works out.

I'm going to take an educated guess that all spellcasters will be moving largely from per-day to per-encounter spells. Why? Because we've heard that just as wizards won't ever "run out" of nuke spells, clerics won't run out of healing. This seemingly removes the major resource limitation for non-spellcasters: as long as there's a cleric around to cast free heals between combats, they start every battle at full health. Wizards need to mostly per-encounter spells just to keep up.

I do hope that whatever they do with the Wizard class, they do have some core class like the Warlock that lets me toss some arcane power around without memorizing 1/3 of the PHB first.


All classes let you do a little of all three.

At-will powers are there so you never run out of options.
Per-encounter powers are there so you can always take it up a notch.
Per-day powers are there so you can really bring down the thunder when you need to.

Shouldn't you be designing... something? It was something important, I think. Can't remember what it was now.
On a more serious note, while I am of course grateful for any information you choose to release, the policy of being as cryptic as possible only leads to you spending more time clarifying things on the forums. Maybe a few sentences more would be helpful in these articles.

Frankly, I think there's an information gap that we'll have to work on getting rid of in the coming weeks and months. Anyone in R&D who read the article would simply assume that the encounter is on round 4 or 5 based on the math. That's not true for gamers. So, it's something we're aware of.

FWIW, it's something I also saw in 3e books. After working on, say, B09S for three months, it was easy for me to gloss over concepts or ideas that I assumed were obvious. That's not the case, and learning how to talk about the game in the correct context is something we'll need to focus on.

1)Thanks Logan, i really appreciate learnign that, good to have that cleared up at last. Any word on whether the rumor about 30 spell levels is true? If not, are we sticking to the original nine?
2)I think they missed a character role. I hope, i really hope their will be atleast one social class.

1) Power level corresponds to the character level at which you gain the power.

2)The rogue (for example) still has plenty of social focus. The thing is, we don't take away his combat ability because of it. By the same token, the cleric doesn't give up his attacks just because he can heal—it's part of his role.

[4E Race Discussion]
There are no official WotC staff posts in this thread. I will keep an eye on it. But, as for now, there is no information I canprovide.

[4E - Iconic Character Feedback]
There are no official WotC staff posts in this thread. I will keep an eye on it. But, as for now, there is no information I canprovide.

[D&D Miniatures]
There are no official WotC staff posts in this thread. I will keep an eye on it. But, as for now, there is no information I canprovide.

[4E Eberron]
Hey, folks--

I'm in my GenCon hotel lobby and don't have time to address every question here, but let me assure you that Eberron is in good hands. We certainly hope that Keith will continue doing freelance work for Eberron, and I'll be doing my best to keep an eye on every bit of Eberron material we produce to avoid straying too far in unwanted directions. Eberron is almost as much my baby as it is Keith's. He and I have had a lot of conversations about our visions for the world, and I'm confident we're on the same page and have similar dreams for the setting. And one of my goals is to get the RPG folks and our book editors working more closely together as well.

We don't have plans to make dramatic changes to Eberron with the new edition?don't look for a Time of Troubles-scale shakeup. As several folks have pointed out, it's still a young world and we like it right where it is, just out of the Last War. We won't be removing a race from the world or losing a dragonmark. The fact that something isn't in the first Player's Handbook doesn't mean it's out of the game! We can't include everything that exists in 3.5 with the first release of core rules, but we'll get to it sooner or later.

With no huge changes in the works, of course your 3.5 Eberron books will still be useful. Does Five Nations become suddenly invalid if you can't use the Knight Phantom prestige class as written any more? Of course not. Eberron is a richly-detailed setting, and those details aren't going away.

So fear not, keep playing, and keep checking back for more updates! (I'm assured our main site servers will be back up soon...)

Thanks for your interest in Eberron. It's very gratifying to know that something I've put so much work and care into is making your games better! I'm sure it will keep doing so for years to come.

Will Eberron lose a dragonmark with the new D&D System?

To make it abundantly clear: Eberron is _not_ going to be losing a dragonmark.

--David Noonan, game designer, Wizards of the Coast

1)An excellent point, and who knows, we may be able to sneak into the occasional Keith Baker run game.
2)Man, I don't even know why I even bother with this crap any more. WotC is killing the game. Killing what makes it fun. All they seem to want is short attention spanned MMO kiddies it seems. Disgusting.

And James Wyatt, and Dave Noonan, and maybe even games run by less famous D&D designers.

It's a little premature to assume because there isn't a Craft skill that there will be no support for such character story options. It's extremely premature to assume that means the game in being killed or aimed at "MMO kiddies." I don't play MMOs—I have, but I currently don't because I don't enjoy them, to be honest—and I'm more excited abut D&D now than I was when I unwrapped that red box under the Christmas tree in 1979(?).

The math in the 3e Craft skill worked, but it was really, really weird. Do we really need something like that for your character to be able to make items?

[4E Forgotten Realms]
There are no official WotC staff posts in this thread. I will keep an eye on it. But, as for now, there is no information I canprovide.

[4E Other Campaign Settings]
1) Some of the Iconics are fine as is, But I feel there needs to be like 3 iconics for each class, and a good mix races and sexes for those Iconics.
2) All new iconics! Include a pic in one of the preview books of the old iconics having a retirement party. Oooh: Do a Last Supper parody!
3) A. 2, here as well please. All new Iconic characters. If we can't convert our characters, neither should you
4) As for suggestions... How about an an aasimar or half-elf sorcerer, a tiefling priestess of Artemis, halfling fighter, and human rogue? It would help more if we knew what was in the PHB for classes and races. ;)
5) I imagine that race will play a significantly stronger role in choosing a class than it currently does, and I doubt that R&D is modeling their racial design choices off the 3.5e iconic characters (at least I hope they aren't ).
6) I say use existing popular D&D characters as iconic characters:

1. Wizard - Raistlin Majere or Elminster
2. Ranger - Drizz't Do'Urden
3. Fighter or Paladin - Sturm Brightblade or Caramon Majere
4. Rogue - Jarlaxle Baenre, Artemis Entreri, or Tasselhoff Burrfoot
5. Cleric - Goldmoon, Fzoul Chembryl
7) WoTC should hold a iconics contest after releasing the race and class info. The DnD community could vote on their favorite submissions, it may bring out some truly awesome icons.
8) Actually, in addition to Iconic Heroes in the PHB, perhaps we could have Iconic Villains in the DMG and Iconic Monsters in the MM (That would be a little harder and stranger than the other two, but it could be done.).

1) This is something I've suggested as well, particularly because we now have three tiers of play (1-10 heroic, 11-20 paragon, and 21-30 epic) and we could showcase a different race/build combo for each tier.

2) Maybe we could give them a farewell party article. (Or write up all of them getting gutted by Orcus. Nah. That's too mean.)

3) Hah! I like that line of reasoning. ;)

4) But we get much more creative answers if you don't know. :D

5) I'll just say none of the 3.5 iconics would have made a bad class choice had they been 4E characters. ("No bad choice" means, of course, that Mialee would have had better clothes in 4E as well.)

6) It's an interesting idea. We've tossed it around the office.

7) That's a great idea. I loves me some contests. Maybe we could have people submit their playtest characters, complete with backstory, to enter into iconic voting. If we do that, I think I've just volunteered myself.

8) The idea of iconic villains is pretty neat, but I think monsters will be filling that role, and most of them are already iconic just from their creature types. Also, we don't really need them to fill the "character for an example" role like class iconics do.

Also, we would not use the iconics as often in 4E. At times it seems like we can't ever show a wizard who isn't Mialee or rogue who isn't Lidda. This might be partially fixed if we had multiple iconics, but we don't want to overuse the same characters again. D&D is a game of myriad possibilities, and we want to show that. (Also, did it drive anybody else nuts that there are so many pictures of the heavy armor-wearing iconics in scale? You're 14th level, Regdar! Buy some damn full plate already.)

[OGL/d20 License]
MO, the SRD/OGL was the best thing to hapen to 3e/3.5e. I hope to the gods that we have another one.
They've asked me to inform you: Prayer = Answered.

Seriously. There will be an OGL. There will be an SRD. Unfortunately, I can't get into detail because we're still working on the dang thing.

I agree with Xyxox. An OGL or specialized 3rd party license will only HELP the hobby grow.
Please do NOT do away with an open license.

I am not through the thread yet so this may have been said already.

4e will support the OGL. There will be an updated SRD.

We are still discussing what to do with the D20 System Trademark License. My feeling (and what folks at Paizo and Goodman have told me at the show) is that in the current environment the d20 Trademark does not matter much to consumers. I am running a panel tonight at GenCon on the OGL/D20 System where I hope to get feedback from other publishers about what is working and not working with the licenses.

Will 4E use a version of OGL with a license fee for third party Publishers?
This is not accurate.

The OGL will not require a fee.

We have discussed a fee based license for the d20 system trademark but fees are not a guarantee of getting only quality publishers. Nothing as been decided yet and there are many options on the table including a hand selected group using the d20 STL or none and just having everyone use OGL. Our seminar at Gencon will help to shape our thoughts on this.

Soooooooo.... 4e is still going to be d20? Or some new system?
It will still be a d20 system

That's what d20 Logo is for. It breeds a superior product because the company has to conform to WotC enforced standards onto the product.

That doesn't mean every one should be forced to conform to WotCs idea of a good product. Consumers should be able to judge for themselves that d20 Logoed products are typically superior to OGL products. Thus we have alternatives and respect a better product because we can see two different options.

This is how I would like the d20 STL to work but I don't think it is the case right now. There is a vast range of products, from high to low quality, with the D20 STL.

The problem is we (wotc) don't want to be in the position of having to review and approve 3rd party content.

What are the chances of seeing a pre-release SRD, something we can all take a look at.
The main D&D site is already switching over to a new format, 4E is announced but its going to be months before we get any game rules related information?
Also it appears that these forums are asking for lots of insights and input from us, could we actually get the rules as they exists now so we might actually be able to give feedback before some of these things hit the printing press?
I know thats unheard of in the business world, but I think you (WOTC) would publish a much better product if you let us(the community) find flaws, loopholes and possible inconsistencies before you publish and have to immediately start writing eratta.

Got your PM

There will be limited public play testing roughly between Sept-Dec. We will be selecting RPGA members as well as members of the D&D Insider community (read anyone on the D&D Boards) for this.

Stay tuned to D&D Insider for info on the play test announcement.

Will there be a 4.5 just like there was a 3.5 in the 3.0 system?
There will be no 4.5. It is 4th Edition.

I would assume then that it's the d20 license that's changing to become a paid license. You can still produce d20-compatible products under the OGL, but in order to use the logo, you have to pay the fee and abide by Wizard's rules.
There may not be a D20 STL in 4e just the OGL

Nothing has been decided with respect to the d20 STL

As a third-party developer, how do I go about acquiring such clearance? Or is there already a limited "in list" that I'm not on and not going to get on?
No list has been established or determined. We will look at publishers who we think do quality work.

A few questions:
1)Are the 4E OGL and the 3.5 OGL going to be the same?
2)If not, are they going to be compatible? I'd assume that one or the other has to apply for the ability to update 3.X material to 4E material.
3)Echoing others, are there any plans for the 3.5 SRD to be expanded? It's understandably not necessarily in your best interest now, and even if it is, it is probably very low in priority, so it would go slowly, but I think some of the material would be good to have.
4)Do you have a plan yet regarding the expansion of the 4E SRD? If so, would it be about the same as the 3.X SRD, or more limited, or more open?

1)they will be different but I don't know how different (rules aside) until we write the thing.
2)We will not be attempting conversion from 3.X to 4e.
3)It will reference the PHB, MM (with certain monsters reserved), and DMG like in 3.x
4)In some ways it will be the same, but will also add things that are currently missing like stat block formats. Good questions, that is about all I have right now.

Will the 4.0 SRD be generally available, or will access to it be part of the 'digital initiative', requiring a D&D Insider subscription?
that would be like a fee and there is no fee with the OGL. The SRD will live on a free site

Maybe you should use GPL this time instead of OGL, and not require a license fee. The d20 license though I agree should require someone to pay a license fee.
We are using the OGL and no fees.

the D20 STL is still being worked on

Note that I didn't extract all of the WotC staff posts from this thread, because they were too specific to the question of "how can I publish my own material?". If you are interested in this question, I recommend reading the whole thread so that the posts have context.

ScottR, anything come out of the publisher's meeting concerning the OGL that hasn't been answered here? Also, any word on getting early access to the SRD or is that still TBD?
We had a great discussion and some good ideas were generated especially from Chris Pramas, Erik Mona, Joseph Goodman, and the folks from Adamant Entertainment.

We have a few thing to discuss and chew on here and "ll keep you posted. One outcome was we have likely abandoned the idea of a fee based d20 STL.

I realize this may not be the correct place to discuss the D20 Modern system and D20 Future, but I have to ask. Will D20 Modern and Future be updated to the 4th edition system as well? If so, will the MSRD be updated?

We will update d20 Modern in the future but for 2008 our focus will be on D&D. When we update D20 modern it should get a new SRD.

Maybe I missed this ... but are there any plans on the DDI supporting 3rd party products?
If a 4E player uses the DDI exclusively and buys any 4E products from anyone other than WotC, will it be of use to him?


Yes in a way. Third party publishers can register for community pages to promote their RPG product etcs. Also if a DM want to run a module using the D&D Game Table they can.

In terms of us loading a 3rd party designed monster, feat, spell, or magic item into our tools that is unlikely.

In answer to my own question above regarding psionics & the SRD, it is not currently known if psionics will or will not be included in the 4th Edition SRD.
Psionics are a part of 4e and they will eventually make it into the SRD, when it will happen is what we don't know right now.

1) Does this mean there won't be any way for a third-party publisher to release a Game Table version of "Tomb of Scott's Basement" for download and easy use?
2)Will there be any way for people to share their Game Table conversions (or creations) of monsters, feats, dungeon layouts, etc?

1) DMs will be able to run any module they want on the game table since there is no rules adjudication

2) Yes through the DMs personal campaign pages. In fact we really want and will encourage DMs to share their stuff with other DMs and players. I don't know specifics in terms of how it will work (likely as a data set) but the theory is that it will work like net decks, net warbands etc.

D&D Insider
[D&D Insider - Character Vault/Campaign Vault]
The character and campaign vaults' concept are that they will be an online repository of information dedicated to your character(s) and/or campaign(s).

As a player, you will be able to present your character to the world, possibly keeping a journal of your adventures (with tools like blogs for example), and allow others to see what your character is about. This is also where you can load your character(s)' file from the D&DI applications (character sheet and character builder mainly) so that others could use it in their own D&DI applications suite if they want to (and if you want them to access it)

As a DM, you will be able to showcase your campaign, keep track of what is going there, provide background information on such to selected group of friends (your gaming buddies certainly, but you will be free to open or restrict that as you see fit). You will get access to tools like wiki for example, and can also upload information taken from the D&DI applications suite (The dungeon builder and the encounter builder for example) for others to use (always with the ability to chose what you want others to see and get access to).

These are, in a nutshell, the concepts behind the Character and Campaign vaults. More information on all these will be released in the upcoming months through dndinsider.com, so stay tuned, be patient and keep playing!

To be entirely clear about the vaults, I did not say that all these functionalities will require to have a D&DI subscription.
Some of the functionalities, like the blog and the wiki for example, are tools that the gleemax infrastructure could provide to anyone having an account, even if they have not subscribed to D&DI.

We still are working to figure out some of the details of the interactions between the subscription based features and the features that are simply linked to having a Gleemax account.

My post was made to provide an overview of the functions that this specific forum highlights. This area is where there will be the most cross-over between D&DI and Gleemax and were all of the "powered by Gleemax" features will be the most visible.

[D&D Insider - Dungeon Master’s Kit]
Will D&D Insider be marketed as 'necessary' for the play and enjoyment of the game? Will it in fact be necessary, having within it's digital folds important rules referenced no where else?
No, all the D&D Insider benefits will not be necessary to play. They will add extra features and tools, for a cost that you can choose to pay independently of the published products.

one last thing that would be intresting is to allow the DM to edit communication between players on the voice chat. for example, to explain a room, the DM mutes all players and explains. when done, he unmutes players. another example would be to limit communication to players apart from each other.
We do plan to offer integrated functionalities from the VOIP to allow Dungeon Masters to manage their communications and channels with their players the way they want. More details on these features will be posted in the future, so stay tuned on dndinsider.com

[D&D Insider - General]

I see in the teaser video a laptop on the table, does this mean that I have to use a laptop during my game sessions?
For the record, I play 4e every Thursday night with my buddies. And the most complicated piece of tech at the table is a three-ring binder.

This doesn't mean I'm not excited to get some prep-time digital help when Insider is up and running. But the game I'm working on right now involves just as much sitting at the table, talking in funny voices, rolling dice, and moving little dudes around as it always did. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

--David Noonan, game designer, Wizards of the Coast.

are you at liberty to give more details on what is and isn't a part of 4th and its mechanics to quell the endless posibilities that people can imagine?

Mostly no, I shouldn't give mechanical details. Two reasons: First, the game ain't done yet. That's a pretty obvious reason. Second, it's unfair and misleading just to give you little, disconnected peeks. You'd just be touching part of the proverbial elephant. The nifty part of the D&D ruleset--or of pretty much any hobby game--is how the parts work in concert.

So my "no mechanical details" answer is just the answer for right now, tonight. We'll inundate you with information long before you face a purchasing decision or need to do anything special with your ongoing game. We'll talk until we're blue in the face. You'll get those questions answered. We just aren't going to do it tonight. And we should probably get the game completely done, too. That seems important.

One thing I can tell you, right now, tonight, is how the game is functioning at my Thursday night table. We're getting around the table faster than we did when this was a 3.5 game. We're hitting rules hitches at more or less the same rate as in 3.5--but this is playtesting, where the only alternative to finding problems is, well, not finding problems. I gotta believe those will fade away as we polish things up. And as the DM, the "information processing" load (bookkeeping, lookups, resource management) on me is way, way down. This does wonders for my ability to DM because I can focus more brainpower on making the encounter come to life.

My players--a mix of other game designers and friends from outside the game industry--are having a good time. (But the point is that we're friends, so the rules can't really take credit for that.) My players have some issues with the game still, and I'm madly taking playtest notes as we play.

So that's where we're at right now. If I were in your shoes, I'd sure want to know as much as possible, right away, proverbial elephants be damned. But May 2008 is a ways off. Just check in with us, volunteer to playtest, and eventually you'll see for yourself, long before the book is on the shelves.

--David Noonan, game designer, Wizards of the Coast.

IF you player 2E, 1E, OD&D, etc as a DM as well as 3.x then with relation to the ability to speed the game along during the game session, does this mean that you find yourself needing to prepare more for your game session sicne more can and probably is getting done in the overall plotline?

That is a damn good question, and it's one that I hadn't given much thought to. So lemme see...

I think my away-from-table preparation time is a little lower than in 3.5. While it's true that I have to have more encounters ready for each given session, the prep process itself tends to go faster. Well, the implementation of my fiendish DM plans goes faster, anyway. Sadly, 4e doesn't make me hatch sinister plots any faster. The creative, brainstormy stuff is pretty much the same.

But I'd hesitate to draw any grand conclusions from that, for a couple of reasons. First, my prep time is highly variable. I'm (perhaps unreasonably) confident in my ability to improvise with this group, so I can get away with minimal prep sometimes. On the other hand, it's a complicated, intrigue-laden campaign, so there are a lot of NPC balls to keep in the air.

Second, the fact that we're playtesting affects the prep-to-play ratio. I have a whole department sitting around me, cranking out new monsters, etc., for me to use. That lowers my personal prep time. And my players tend to engage in rules theory digressions between encounters. That hurts our "encounters per night" pace a bit.

So I'm going to go with my "a little less prep time for a significantly faster play pace" answer, but I'm not totally confident in that answer.

--David Noonan, game designer, Wizards of the Coast.

I have a couple of random thoughts/questions about the way D&D Insider will operate.
1. We've all heard about how the "D&D Game Table" handles VoIP. I was wondering however, if there was an option to use text as well or instead? I have a rather pronounced accent, which can cause trouble when I'm trying to be understood. I also know of a few deaf and/or mute D&D players who could also benefit from such an option being included.
2. Also, as we all know, when you purchase a 4E book you get an included code that allows you to pay a nominal fee to download an EBook version and add the included rules to the various DDI databases for use with the Character Creator, Dungeon Master’s Kit, etc. What if I'm only interested in the database update and don't want the download at the time (perhaps later or perhaps never)? Am I going to be forced to pay the same as a person who wants the full monty, or is it possible to get it at a lesser cost/free (after all, I'll already be paying a monthly fee for the DDI account and paid full price for the book, it seems a little much to have to pay an additional cost every time I want to add a few new feats or skill or classes from the book I just bought to the Character Creator produced by the same company).
3. Will there be a way to export a DDI created item so another DDI user can use it (like share a Game Table dungeon with another DM or pass your player an updated Character Sheet, for example)?

1) yes, text chat and VOIP will both be available in the game table. Our VOIP partner is Vivox, and the VOIP will be fully integrated in our game table application.

2)As ScottR mentioned in another thread, our plan is to allow you to build a character with the character sheet application using any of the published rules when you are a D&DI subscriber. Having the E-Book will unlock the details of the race, class, feats, skills, ... in electronic format. If you do not have the E-Book, you'll only see the name of the race, class, feats, skills, ... and will be informed of where the detailled information has been published.

3)I can't answer that question yet. Stay tuned on dndinsider.com to know more about the features that the D&DI applications will offer, and be patient .

1) Will users without DDI subscriptions be able to obtain digital versions?
2) Will the digital books be in a standard format and will standard programs be able to open them?

1)Yes

2) Stay tuned on dndinsider.com to learn more about these features. At that time, this is not a question we can answer.


We are very aware of all these aspects you describe. It is still too early for us to communicate more details in that area, though.

Piracy, regardless of the reasons behind it, is stealing somebody else's property. There are no arguments to validate this kind of action. We will take the proper steps to protect our intellectual properties, while making our applications as widely useful as possible to our customers based on the budget and timeframe we have.

[D&D Insider - D&D Game Table]

Do you have to have 4e to use D&D Insider's tools?

The D&D Insider applications will not be required to play 4th Edition D&D.

They are mainly tools to help connect people wanting to play D&D while not being in the same room, and they will help facilitate some aspects of the game.
For example, there will be a dungeon builder and an encounter builder applications. The dungeon builder will help create tactical maps for your games, while the encounter builder will help tie encounter information together and format those to be used in the game table. As it has been mentioned in the seminars at Gencon, 4th edition encounters are not necessarily combat encounters, but also social encounters and other type of challenges.

The Die Roller prototype shows dice rolled on the screen. There is a special link between the gamers and their dice and we all feel this link is fully a part of the D&D experience, which the D&DI applications simply brings up as if playing on your own table. But seeing dice rolling is a feature that can be turned off. Random numbers can be generated without having to see the dice rolling if you do not want to.

There are many different type of gamers out there, and we are designing the D&DI applications to be as flexible as we can make them. For example, the "slow" motion of the miniatures used in the movie was meant to clearly show what was going on, but the DM will be able to set the speed of this movement that fits his or her game style.

A few qwestions:
1)The listed specs are sufficient to run the award-winning game Oblivion. Is WotC promising to have graphics on par with Oblivion at release?
2)Is it true that you're repurposing the Neverwinter Nights 2 engine?
3)How much value are graphics on par with Oblivion in a virtual tabletop game?
4)What justification is there for requiring a machine capable of running nearly any full-fledged PC game available, for a character generator?
5)Since DI is so compute-intensive, will you be porting it to xbox 360 and ps3?
6)Few development studios have the knowledge in house to develop games which can utilize all that power. Which big-name development studio are you contracting with to develop this software?
7)What is your five-year maintenance lifecycle for this software? Will we be required to download frequent patches to keep it up to date?
8)Since the DI will be requiring such hefty systems, will you be redesigning the website so that it works better on larger screens?
9)Will there be any mode for working disconnected from the network?
10)Why aren't you considering Web 2.0 technologies like the rest of the internet?


To my knowledge recommended specs are not a statement of similarity with other products.
1) Oblivion is a computer game, D&DI applications are accessories to the D&D pen and paper game if that terminology makes it clearer. i.e. they are not necessary for playing D&D, and mainly enhance your ability to play D&D with gamers by providing an online game table to meet and play.
The game table and the character visualizer are both driven by our 3D engine. As you have seen in the prototypes, we plan to have some lighting and shader effects, and these recommended specs provide information for what system to have to get the most out of these. There is no comparisons with such products as Oblivion...

2)Where have you heard that? It would be nice to refer to your source...
In any case, Atari produces the Neverwinter Nights 2 application which is a full blown game with it's own engine. There is no repurposing and, for that matter, D&DI applications have no link with this game or engine.

Once again, D&DI applications are meant to expand abilities of D&D players to play the pen and paper game using internet as their kitchen table. The 3D engine we use is not the one Atari uses.

3)The movie prototype was designed to give our customers a view of where we are heading. I do not think the value you refer to is anything I can judge. In the end, the customers will decide of the value by themselves..


4)character generator? You are using a term we do not use: we have mentioned a character sheet application and a character builder application. The character builder allows you to build a representation of your character in 3D and create your miniature for the game table. This is the second part of the prototype movie, and we want this tool to be flexible and the textures, tints and lighting to help getting a character that looks great.

Note that I am not saying that there will not be any character randomized/automated generation. We are still working on those details, and I can't say more on that topic at that stage...

I also have not mentioned the minimum specifications. If you read carefully, the specifications provided are recommended specs, and not minimum specs, so they are not "required".

5)I do not see the point of your question.. Will a CAD program done for architects be ported to xbox 360 and ps3 because it is 3D intensive? I'm sure some are even more compute-intensive than D&DI...

6)Our partner for this code development is Radiant Machine. You can refer to our press releases (or theirs) to know more about them.

7)I can't talk yet about our lifecycle details at that stage, but we do plan to have patches download to keep our applications up to date...

8)I'm not directly involved in what's going on with the web, but I will pass the information. In any case, the requirements for D&DI applications are independant from the web usage.

9)We are still working on those details. Keep tuned with dndinsider.com to learn more in the coming weeks and months.

10)D&DI is part client applications and part web resources. The client applications will be rich windows clients, and not web based. Other aspects of D&DI will be web based. More information will filter out in the upcoming weeks and months at dndinsider.com.

There was a quote that said you would be able to turn off rules enforcement to allow for house rules, so I imagine they are going to be building in some of the basics at least. No real indication of how much or how little it will handle yet though.
The game table will not adjudicate game rules. This is similar to your existing game table in your living room/kitchen/family room/attic/basement... It is not the table that helps you adjudicate your own game rules, so like your normal games it will be up to the DM to share his or her house rules for his or her players, and enforce them using the voice interaction provided by the VOIP, the text chat window, and the DM's settings.

For example some DMs allow players to draw on the game map, others prefer to do that themselves. There is no "good" or "bad" approach to this, so the game table will allow the DMs out there to decide by themselves how things will be done in their game.

We will provide more details on these in the upcoming months. So stay tuned with dndinsider.com

[D&D Insider - Dungeon and Dragon Magazines]

Finally, the page is up. But I can't log into the Insider. When I fill the e-mail and start filling the password it switches e-mail to guest!

Because the volume of traffic to our site is quite high at the moment we have temporarily enabled a single "Guest" sign-in to help decrease the load on the servers. We will fully activate the login feature when the server load normalizes sometime this coming week.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

--MJ

[D&D Insider - Character Creator]

[b]Please tell me that it will have Support for all Supplements

Our plan is that when you buy a book it will have a unique code and with a very nominal fee you can unlock the e-book version. This will also auto-populate the data bases in the character creator so the system knows what books you own/play with.

I want the ability as a DM to say - I want a level 7 wizard, level 8 rogue... generate the details. And then be able to tweak them. This is so much faster than building a character level by level.

You'll be able to do this with rules turned on or if you want to go gonzo (house rules) have the rules turned off.

I am hoping that the new books will each come with a CD or online key that will enable purchasers to download the upgrades or add-ons to the original program.
it will be a key code that for a very nominal fee you can unlock your e-book and it will auto populate your databases.

Please explain to me how you (WotC) can justify charging a second fee to un-lock online use of a product you've just purchased?? Even if it's just $0.99, that's pretty bloody low, if you ask me.

1) it is a verification step that helps us deal with less than honest people who take the code and activate it.

2) there is cost, albeit small, with making the e-book and we either build that cost into the cover price and everyone pays whether they use it or not (sort of a tax on non-ebook users) or we do it this way where it is variable and let the user self select.

How will homebrew material work? will "homebrew" simply not be an option at the Insider's online tables? Or will DM's be able to write up a set of custom feats/classes/races in say a formatted text file and import them into the Character Creator for their players to use? Or from a spread sheet or xml or whatever format.

You'll be able to toggle off rules and make homebrew rules versions of your character.

You can print, save (multiple versions) etc

Will the Character Creator function of the Digital Initiative / DnD Insider be
solely for 4th edition, or will it also include 3.0 and / or 3.5 edition?

Just 4e. This system is being built from the ground up to be fully 4e compatible.

Two questions:
1) how large is "very nominal"? (not that I really expect an answer yet)
2) slightly off-topic, but will it auto populate databases other than for character creation? Databases that dm's might want for monsters, for example.


1) can't say right now but I guess about the cost of a coffee (what I can't say is if it drip or a Starbucks triple vente chocolate mocha.)

2) yes

1) From what I understand you will be able to save 10 PC's to the system. If I've used up all 10 "slots" can I delete one and create a new one?
2) Are the e-books going to be pdf's? If so can I save them to my computer?
3) Will I only have access to the e-books as a member of DDI?

1) I don't believe there are slot limitations
2)Our goals is that you will be able to use them offline
3)Our goal is that you don't need to be a subscriber but you will need to give us your info to activate

WotC_ScottR said you could "turn off the rules". So maybe you have to pay the small fee to have it automate it for you, or you could just manually do it in "rules off mode"?

It will be part of the functionality with "Rules legal" and "home rules" options

WotC_ScottR, a lot of gaming groups have one person buy a book, and then many players using the book. I understand that only one account (attached to the person who buys the book) will have access the online digital version of the book, but will there be a way for players to populate the database attached to their online accounts with rules from a book that they did not personally buy?

If not, are you saying the only way for a group of 5 people to use the options of one book with the DI database is for all 5 people to buy the hardcopy of the book?


yes.

Will all of the DI work on my Mac?

Maybe, depends on the Mac. See this blog entry here

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=908201

ok first of all for the love of tempus dont, DONT make this part subscription only!!! as a poor person this is probably the only function ill use with any regularity. Secandus make it accessible for all classes if i want to create a draconic, warforged psion let me!

We are not giving this away, it is costing us a lot of money to develop.

Any chance the Character Visualizer will be available before the new edition? It's pretty useful for the current edition as well...

our goal is to put it up early so people can play with it in the trial free preview period

1)OK so there is 'nominal fee.' How is this fee to be paid?
2)What happens if we don't pay the recurring fee? Is our stuff deleted if we miss a payment, or something big happens to us in real life and we can't keep up with informing Wizards about it?
3)I guess the big question is, if I just want to keep getting together with my friends and tabletop gaming, why do I need 4E? Mind you, the word in that question was need not what might I find interesting or useful from 4E, but what is needed as badly as the updates to 3E were needed?


1)We are looking at many forms of payment that will not require a credit card including paypal. More on this in the next few weeks.
2)Good question. I don't know right now but when I am back I am going to find out what we are doing with data on lapsed accounts. Stay Tuned.
3)There are other threads for this. The short answer is because 4e will be fun whether you play at a table or via D&DI

I'm hoping they offer a flexible pricing plan. Say $9.95 for a month by month basis, or $100 if you commit to a full year. Magazines (especially news magazines) and various websites follow similar models.

Final pricing is TBD still but our thought is those who make a longer commitment get a price break much like MMOs

Will your data bases recognize community property laws? In the great state of Texas my spouse and I own things jointly. What about our minor children? Or will only one of us be able to use the e-book version?

I have no idea. Does anything you have online accounts do this? MMOs? Email? PayPal?

Since we are assuming this will be a pay for product, I would love it if the character creator would have the option of printing full rules sources for the character's abilities, spells, feats, etc. Not just a page and book abbreviation, but the full text of that ability/feat/spell/etc

This is in fact a feature that we have already created for R&D play tests from the databases holding 4th Edition information.
The playtesters at WOTC can record their playtest characters and only print the relevant information based on their choices. It is too early today to promise that such feature will also make it to the character sheet application, but it will be seriously considered.

Keep in mind that getting access to the full rules sources in the character creator will be linked to your ownership of the physical book, and this also applies to any referencing the D&DI data system will provide.

I'm not sure what he means either by lumping in Macs with "lower end platforms". I'm sure my quad-core Mac Pro would run circles around the high end computers they're aiming it at.

There are at least two reasons why we chose the PC/DirectX route. The first one is related to Market research indicating that PC users are a much larger user base than Mac users, and the second is the fact that we already had in house a direct-X based 3D game engine, and there was no point reinventing something we already had available

I wanted to add something about my note regarding Mac dual boot systems. It was not my intention to disparage Mac machines when I mentioned them, just to indicate that we are looking into ways to allow owner of such machines (which are indeed often high end machines) to use our D&DI applications if we can make it possible. We are still figuring out the minimum specs, as well as the details of this possible usage.

1) From what I understand you will be able to save 10 PC's to the system. If I've used up all 10 "slots" can I delete one and create a new one?
2)If not, are you saying the only way for a group of 5 people to use the options of one book with the DI database is for all 5 people to buy the hardcopy of the book?

I have expanded information now that I am back in the office

1)There will be slot limitation as we can't provide infinite space. We are still figuring out how many slot there will be for each account as it will depend a variety of factors including average file size. We don't want to have a situation where the limited slots number hurt usability but how many that is is still TBD.

2)Yes. So to clarify this point each subscriber to D&DI will be able to build characters using all the options published in the released books.

Unless they have the e-book they will not be able to get the expanded text/details (use the browse or print form) without the e-book, but will have the information on where these options were published. The e-book gives a D&DI user extra functionalities above the base functions in the character creator.

1)I have a question in how errata will relate to the character creator and other Insider programs. From what I have gathered so far it sounds like the system will work similar to this (please correct me if I am wrong): I create a character, lets say a figher as an example, for now I'll use 3.x examples since we don't know any rules for 4e. So, I choose a feat for my fighter, lets say Power Attack. If I don't have the e-book unlocked and I want more info on how Power Attack works, it'll tell me what book and what page it is on, correct? If I do have the e-book, it'll link directly to that info in the e-book?
2)Ok.. lets say that a few months down the road a new book comes out and changes the rules to Power Attack. Will the insider tool tell me both books the info is in? Will it tell me which is the newest info? If I do have the e-book and own both books will it link directly to the most up to date info? will it give me a choice on which to link to (say if I don't like the updated version and choose to use the old version in my game)?
3)Ok, lets take a different route with this. Lets say that Power Attack is errataed online only. I know that there will be free downloads for updated errata, but how will insider react to this? If I don't own any e-books, will it tell me the most up to date info is in the errata and where to download it? Will there be an option for those of us with e-books to have them display the errata in the e-book itself, or at least maybe have a link to the errataed information?
4)I currently hate the way errata is done as you don't always know that something is errataed, or even if you do you have to look in 8 different places to find it. With all the online tools you're planning, I think it would be great to have our e-books auto populate or at least update with errata links. Sometimes I feel like current hard books are obsolete when half the time I'm using the errata pages to look up info (this is especially true with outdated books like the Epic book).

1)Yes, this sums up as an example what ScottR mentioned in his update. There are two caveats:
- It is unknown at the time if the information will be accessed directly from the E-book or from databases. We are looking at the best and most flexible option.
- I you do not have the E-book, we will not mention any page number as various edition print may shuffle page numbers around.. you'll get the reference of the book in which it has been printed, and you can refer to the index there to find the page number.

2)Yes, it should refer to all sources where the feat was published if you don't own any E- book and yes it should refer to the most recent one you have the E-book for to see the details.

3)It is our goal to have any errata published for a book to also update the E-book content appropriately. It is too early though to say if this function will be available for launch, as it will become relevant after launch in any case. But our goal is to streamline the errata process.

4)Yes, this is an issue we are aware of, and that D&DI should help us fix. This is no easy task though, and may not be available immediately after launch, but this is where we want to go...
All in all I'm very excited for 4e based on the little info we have so far, and insider seems like it'll be no brainer for me :D

Glad to hear :D

Is this a confirmation that the 4th edition books will be fully indexed again?
I have really missed the index. I hope it will be present in every printed
volume (as a requirement to be printed in fact). While we can always do a
search in an electronic text format, we are not so lucky with a hardbound book.

There are plans to get index in the books indeed. I would not call that a confirmation though, but an indication that we plan to do it if we can.

Other official sources
The Blogs
James Wyatt, D&D Lead Story Designer
There are no updates to be found at this moment. See the rest of the FAQ here.
Rich Baker, D&D Senior Designer
There are no updates to be found at this moment. See the rest of the FAQ here.
Bill Slavicsekr
There are no updates to be found at this moment. See the rest of the FAQ here.
Podcast
There are no updates to be found at this moment. See the rest of the FAQ here.
[reserved]
reserved
The first post ran out of characters for the FAQ to continue, so I am starting this one to allow multiple posts by the person maintaining the thread (Thadir) so they continue their compilations.

If you would like to discuss, debate, or suggest additions/changes to the FAQ, you can post here.