D&D Insider

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Here’s the thread to talk about the various tools that D&D Insider will offer, specifically the dungeon builder (map tool), the adventure builder, NPC generator, etc.
This sounds cool - I've been using Dundjinni on and off, but there is soooo much room for improvement in that program.

Please ensure that any software components support the Mac OS.
what is this "D&D Insider" that brings us such miracles?
I heard it is, in a lot of ways, the successor to Dragon & Dungeon. It will offer advice for DMs and Players, give us Articles worthy of reading and other cool stuff.

I'm optimistic about this... So long as I don't have to pay a ton of money for this!
Please ensure that any software components support the Mac OS.

Yes, Mac support is a must for me.
Here’s the thread to talk about the various tools that D&D Insider will offer, specifically the dungeon builder (map tool), the adventure builder, NPC generator, etc.

Does this mean "a tool for maps", or "we took the code out of MapTool and are now trying to sell it to you guys?"
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Please let the developers that the DM's tools have to be extremely flexible (see what DM's are doing with Open RPG for examples).

Also, I would like to be able to have adventures prepared for me in the software. I'd even pay for them seeing how not having to program everything myself would save me hours.
oops
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?
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?

Good question...
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?

It had better not; that kind of tactic is a massive barrier to entry. Since day one, the game has only required the Core set and no other pre-purchased material.
Please ensure that any software components support the Mac OS.

Agreed; I would love to play my favorite game with my favorite computer.

Also, mapper and NPC builder are pretty straight-forward... but adventure builder? This one has me stumped.
Yes, Mac support is a must for me.

Same here.
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?

David Noonan has stated the higest tech tools his playtest group uses is a 3 ring binder.
The WoTC "standard" stat blocks are all well and good, but after running my own games for decades I find them lacking in many ways - not the least of which is readability.

What I would love to see is a character generator with a user-definable output that can create stock NPCs, supporting NPCs, and major players with equal ease. Export functionality to HTML, Word, Excel, and even OneNote would be heavenly. This tool would ideally have the ability to "batch process" characters based on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to race, class (or multiclass), character level, wealth, alignment, and general purpose. Pre-designed "template" characters for common NPCs like merchants, blacksmiths, servants, nobles, etc would also be nice. Automatic name generation is a must.

In terms of adventure generation, I'd rather have a tool that makes it easier to track the process than one which actually generates adventures. Possible items for inclusion:
  • Something that gives a visual representation of various plot lines, major plot points of each plot line, and the intersection of different plots.
  • A library of easily-editable stock maps for everything from a campsite to a merchant caravel to castles to continents would be wonderful.
  • "Drag and drop" interfacing with the character generator. That is, the ability to create NPCs with the generator and easily place them into my adventure or campaign in a variety of ways.
  • A shop generator able to create lists of goods both normal and magical based on town size and shop type. The ability to tie this list to an edited map and applicable NPCs.
I'm curious as to whether or not D&D Insider (and the various tools) will be implemented fully online. It's about as good as you can get with platform-independent compatibility.
I want to see a CD come with the DM guide that has useful programs for dungeon building and NPC building. For instance the Random barrel generator that Wizards released a couple months ago.

The Dungeon tools would be great, and I have gone through too many crappy DM Dungeon tools that not only take a degree in computer science to use properly but also suck something aweful.
This sounds cool - I've been using Dundjinni on and off, but there is soooo much room for improvement in that program.

Please ensure that any software components support the Mac OS.

And not just OS 10.5, there are still users with OS 10.3 out there. I would really like to know what your using for the base with those programs. Flash, Java, C#, C++? Platform-independent compatibility is a priority for anything you do digitally, it should be your top priority.

Also will any of this be available for offline use for those of us don't play online but use digital enhanced game tables. The newer mini-projects and lower cost DPL systems that are starting to come to market it would be very nice for your tools to be available offline.
Miss-post. Too many tabs open in Firefox. Please ignore.
I just can't believe how much people still thinks that D&D will be a "must have" for playing. As it has a subscription there is NO WAY and WotC is not that stupid to force people to subscribe it. The Insider is just an optional feature for DMs/players where they can play online and/or using the tools to make gaming easier (in case if you believe that digital tools can help you with that).
so, bye-bye to creativity? Yeah, pretty much.
so, bye-bye to creativity? Yeah, pretty much.

I doubt it. Creativity was always one of the greatest thing about RPGs. You're not limited to anything. Your imagination is the limit.
We have a cartographer among our small group of French players, and I'm sure he's gonna want to try this new tool. All I hope is that it can build rapidly large and good-looking maps so that a DM doesn't loose too much time preparing any encounter. Besides, I hope it will be possible to change the resolution so that the maps can be adapted to any game support -especially online battlemaps softwares.
Concerns over the web stuff:

- Extra charges? Will there be any? If there are any fees on top of the cost of the books you can count me out.

- Compatabiliy & Speed. If the tools are all web based that should ensure compatibility but then they need to be refined WELL so that they work with decent speed. If they are not web only and require a program there sure as hell better be an OS X client.

- Exporting. Not everyone has (or wants) a laptop at their gaming table. The tools should include ways to print things such as maps and Monster/NPC tokens for use with them, to scale. And it goes without saying that character and npc sheets should be printable (actually, next point).

- Character Sheets. Please give us options to have these as we like. Some people LOVE huge 4,00 page character sheets, fine. But make sure we have an option to print characters so they fit on one sheet of paper front & back. Not only is it environmentally concious it makes sense. Also an option to export the sheets into a few formats (pdf, doc, html, plain txt, etc) would be nice also.
May concerns involve learning curve. One of the main barriers I have to other mapping programs is the steep learning curve. With the time I need to devote to my house, job, continuing education, parenting and being an attentive husband I simply don't have time to learn how to use Campaign Cartographer. If I have tools that I can learn by spending 20 minutes or so three times a week, then that is something I would consider either subscribing for or purchasing.
May concerns involve learning curve. One of the main barriers I have to other mapping programs is the steep learning curve. With the time I need to devote to my house, job, continuing education, parenting and being an attentive husband I simply don't have time to learn how to use Campaign Cartographer. If I have tools that I can learn by spending 20 minutes or so three times a week, then that is something I would consider either subscribing for or purchasing.

You are aware that a simple and easy mapping tool would be only that - simple and easy, used just to create rudimentary maps. If you need more advanced features the learning curve get steeper and/or longer. Just take for example MS Paint and Photoshop. One is simple and easy and the other is hard but allows you to do magic if you're willing to learn.
- Extra charges? Will there be any? If there are any fees on top of the cost of the books you can count me out.

Apparently, a subscription to D&D Insider gets you the digital Dragon and Dungeon magazines, as well as all of the "optional" online tools. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it is supposed to be less than the monthly subscription fee for an MMORPG. For a small additional fee, you can also get digital copies of your physical books.

It all sounds reasonable to me, but it hinges on the quality of the DI services.
I'm curious as to whether or not D&D Insider (and the various tools) will be implemented fully online. It's about as good as you can get with platform-independent compatibility.

True enough. Unfortunately there are serious issues with functionality, speed, and availability with fully-online applications (just ask Google, and consider the massive traffic issues Wizards.com is having right this moment). I'd rather see client-side application I can install on a desktop or notebook and take with me where ever I may roam. An online component for subscription-based updates wouldn't be difficult to do; nearly every software manufacturer has this in at least its flagship products.

There are enough cross-platform programming techniques and languages available to make both PC and Mac versions viable. If nothing else it could be browser-driven with a local back-end database.
For a small additional fee, you can also get digital copies of your physical books.

Based on the release video, I don't think that the digital books will cost an additional fee beyond the price of subscription and the price of the physical book. Each book will include a code that unlocks the digital version.
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?

At the GenCon presentation (you can find it on YouTube... uploaded by GamerZer0) they said that the books can be used on their own, and that D&D Insider will just add to it.

so, bye-bye to creativity? Yeah, pretty much.

Huh? How do you figure that?

There are enough cross-platform programming techniques and languages available to make both PC and Mac versions viable. If nothing else it could be browser-driven with a local back-end database.

That's what I'm hoping for.
Please ensure that any software components support the Mac OS.

Actually, I would prefer you make sure it does NOT support the Mac OS. It will cut down on your work load and the cost in man hours will not justify the small ammount of Mac users you'll get.

That being said, I have a feeling this is all going to be internet based so it's really more of a function of your browser then your 'puter and even Macs can run IE so you should be fine.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but it is supposed to be less than the monthly subscription fee for an MMORPG.

Nope, it's been announced. $9.95/month.
9.95 a month is an acceptable price to me, considering the features that I've seen in the videos that were posted.
This doesn't need to be a Mac vs. PC issue, As has already been pointed out, cross compatibility is not really an issue. If you write good PC code, you know this already. Please, Support MAC.

This will probably be great for the game and of course it will have some bugs, followed by fixes. It's the nature of software.

Muddyboots
Actually, I would prefer you make sure it does NOT support the Mac OS. It will cut down on your work load and the cost in man hours will not justify the small ammount of Mac users you'll get.

That being said, I have a feeling this is all going to be internet based so it's really more of a function of your browser then your 'puter and even Macs can run IE so you should be fine.

Well that's a bit of a "as long as it doesn't effect me" attitude. There are quite a fair dew of us mac users out here you know and why should our access to the full D&D experience be dependant on our choice of operating system (something 100% un-related to d&d).

Anyway, making it compatible for macs wouldn't take away from the development time of the game itself as they'll have a separate software team working on the digital stuff. It doesn't even have to be that hard to make it compatible from a design perspective, it depends if they thought of it in the first place or not.
What about Linux ? I hope I will be able to use at least the DM tools on my favorite operating system. After all, many tools can be created using web technologies. Examples of existing applications range from the simple dice roller to the tile-based map generation tool, which work with Firefox + Linux.

I also hope a digital version of the manuals will be released and will work on Linux. I think this could be a great improvement and help over having a paper version only. Digital version = fewer manuals to carry around and smaller rule lookup time.
Sounds good. I'll be happy to have everything I need in one place.
Why would I want to pay $9.95 a month for what is essentially a hopped-up version of "Fantasy Grounds"???
Why would I want to pay $9.95 a month for what is essentially a hopped-up version of "Fantasy Grounds"???

You probably don't. Stick with Fantasy Grounds. Wizards won't miss you. Personally I didn't like Fantasy Grounds and I'm going to give the D&D Insider a try.
Why would I want to pay $9.95 a month for what is essentially a hopped-up version of "Fantasy Grounds"???

because you get Dragon and Dungeon.
10 dollars a month is perfectly reasonable. that's 120 dollars a year, which is a bargain considering the features you get. Also, please watch the gen-con unveiling videos before automatically dismissing this as horrible.

Also, for those who do not want to spend 18 minutes to watch them, the mapping system is based on the dungeon tiles. (the greatest thing that has happened to D&D since 3.5)
Sorry... not buying this....

An online character generator? really?

This is just as I feared. A character generator slaved to the web page. This will be about as good as the CD that was in the original PHB 3.0.

Is a stand alone being made to be sold in stores or is this program a ransom to force us to "subscribe" to this ... what did you call it? D&D Insider.

Not a good beginning.
Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
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