D&D Insider

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ok first of all for the love of tempus dont, DONT make this part subcription only!!! as a poor person this is probably the only function ill use with any regularity.


secandus make it accesable 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
nvm, answered above
OK so there is 'nominal fee.' How is this fee to be paid?

I can only assume that you are going after everyone who uses credit cards, I and many others refuse too (a number of gamers I know). Also aren't you cutting off kids? They should be a target demographic, and it is difficult for them to get credit.


I started playing D&D when I was twelve, I bought the books and wrote my own character sheets. Will I still be able to do this? At least accept mailed Money Orders.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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
Now that 4th is 'officially' announced, I am curious to know how open the 4th rules will be. The OGL (for 3/3.5) has allowed the game to grow beyond the offerings of the mother-company, thus creating a huge fan base and thousands of supporting products.

Will the 4th edition also be OGL?
As the Owner/Creator of a v3.5 product for years, my lively hood may depends on this... (I would hate to be put out of work because of 4th, as many would be if there is no OGL. This would spell disaster for many Jobs...)

RiTz21

go to the OGL thread
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.

This seems disingenuous if you're not going to offer the ebook by itself too, otherwise the hard-cover book is a "sort of tax" on the e-book users.

To me, the fact that the ebook isn't being offered by itself is a concession to keep the retail channel happy.
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?
I've been giving some thought as to what form the Character Generator will take, and what business model WotC would be trying to use - and I think they will be trying to emulate to enormous success of the online Magic: The Gathering system.

So I know this is really like reading tea leaves until they give us more information, but here is what I would expect:

- The client is a thick client with online connectivity. Based on the screen shots it looks suspiciously like the MtG platform.

- They will provide a unique code in each PHB to unlock the client, so at least someone at the table will have to own at least one PHB. When playing online each player will obviously have to have a copy.

- The character generator will work offline. This means you won't need to have an internet connection for updates to your character's stats.

- When you buy a supplement with player options, you will have a unique code in the book to go online through the client and download the same options.

- The codes will be locked to players once entered so two people can't share the same code.

- The online virtual table will obviously work only online and 'DM mode' be unlocked by the DMG, similarily the monsters will be unlocked by the MM.

- When you buy D&D minis, they will have a code to unlock them online for use in your adventures.

- You will get a basic dungeon tile set for free, others will be unlocked through codes.

- I'm speculating here - books will not have to be bought by everyone in the campaign, but that if you use something in a campaign from another player's book, it will become unavailable to you outside of the online virtual table. Much like DRM is handles permission revocation with music today. This means that the DM will not have to own all the books (if they don't do this, then there will be a lot of complaints - imagine if only your friend who bought complete champion could use those options when playing instead of all of you. Or worse, you gave your code to the DM for the book you bought so it could be used online, but he kicked you out of the group and took those options with him).

- I fully expect that you will be able to buy electronic-only versions of minis, tiles, etc. without the books for those players who end up playing only online. These will be fairly cheap, but still more than what the people who bought books will have to pay.

- The subscription will be to pay for access to the online virtual table where you join online campaigns. They'll also push a lot of 'free' content to subscribers at first to create buzz - expect lots of 'online exclusives'.

This model will allow WotC to do electronic delivery of massive amounts of content - far more than they would ever be able to do in printed format; and the unit price will be much smaller - imagine being able to buy individual classes or small focused monster packs (20+ different drow monster types anyone?).

BTW, I think this is a very, very good thing - Neverwinter Nights showed that there is a massive computer-literate fan base for D&D willing to make content. And being an online delivery system, they can always update the quality of the client as well as evolve the ruleset without every having to do another edition or publish errata. If the online revenue can get large enough, 4th edition could be the last edition they'll ever need, as it can constantly evolve and people can download 'variant packs' to their hearts content.

Anyone at WotC care to comment on how close I am?
Quick question

Who would put 50$ down to get a mini they themselves had made in Character Creator?

But I stopped playing Warhammer for that reason. ;)
Assuming it is 4th edition only, here is a FEATURE I would pay to have.
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. That makes it so I could bring my character to a sit down game, and the DM wouldnt need to have all the books, and I wouldnt need to bring 8 books with me because I cherry picked from them.

For that matter, I would love being able to subscribe to a "Complete _ClassName_" feature, so that if I want to play a warlock, I can reference all warlock rules into one single source... Yeah, that might be a pipe dream, but I can dream can't I?

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.
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

EDIT: 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.

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.
yes.

I'm sorry to bother, but the question was phrased in a way that I'm not entirely sure what the 'yes' is to. Is that:

A) "Yes, there will be a way for campaign groups using D&D insider to 'share' a book, or at least the character gen related parts of a book."

or

B) "Yes, each player in a campaign using D&D insider will have to purchase a separate copy of a book in order to gain any on-line utility out of it at all."


Also, will the access code be 'scratch off', or will books be sold shrink-wrapped?
yes.

So If I understaind this correctly all players of a D&D session using the D&D Insider tools have to have all the books. What if the DM has all the books (what in my case is a fact he collects them). And he gives your character an Item. This would cause me to have to buy the book if I want it in my character sheet trough the D&D Insider tools?
As far as the character visualiser is concerned, one thing I would like to be able to do is to move the various components (eyes, nose, eyebrows etc) around individually so that different faces can have different proportions as well as the bodies. It would also provide the ability to place scars, tattoos and the like wherever fits the character.
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My wife and I both game and share books between us. Will there be a method where-in I can add our single book to two accounts so that we can both use the book we jointly own? I'm not opposed to paying extra to add the book to a second account, I just don't want to be forced into buying two books when we only need one.

Will you be offering a discount for buying multiple accounts in a single household for two separate machines?
What if the party consists of a sahuagin, 2 merfolk, an aquatic gnome, a sea elf, and an awakened shark. My games rarely allow for the use of core races. I assume the character creator can be used in a manual mode.
Save-Vs-DM:

Your question has has been answered in the FAQ section. It was updated recently so go check it out. In releation to you question though, each person must individually own a copy of each book to get their own access. It doesn't mean though you can't share the access to let someone else look through your account while your there and just tell the other person not to look at these books at the moment so they don't ruin anything though.;)
I think the answer to the question of not including the character generator in DDI in the faqs is pretty jerky. The question was asking for you to not include it in the DDI subscription. The answer that it cost you a lot of money so you will not be giving it away is rude. He didn't ask for it to be free. How about including it in the cost of the cup of coffee. Maybe make it the cost of a double latte or something. Asking someone to pay $120 a year to use one feature is pretty steep. I never got the magazines. I didn't ask for a virtual game top. I have wanted a way to make character generation easier. I am willing to pay for that. I don't want to pay for the magazines and the game top just to get the character generator. I may very well subscribe to DDI fully, but I shouldn't have to. I am not asking for something I feel I am entitled to. I am willing to pay for it. What I am asking for is ala cart pricing for the one feature. I especially worry about some folks who scrape together enough money for the books as a stretch. $120 bucks a year can be a lot of money to some people.

Another thing that I worry about is the requirement to buy two books to use the features now. You really need to figure this one out. As a DM, I keep my players character sheets. If I am going to add house rules to the character generator, then my players can only generate their character on my account. That's fine, but now what if my players want to buy their own book, that I don't have? They will want to register it with their account in order to get the online content, but then they can't generate their character on the CG that is set up with my house rules unless I also buy the book. Now, you have really created a system where a book bought by one person in a group is no good to the rest of the group. If my group wants to use the new splat book, we all have to buy it. That's just wrong and needs to be fixed.
Another thing that I worry about is the requirement to buy two books to use the features now. You really need to figure this one out. As a DM, I keep my players character sheets. If I am going to add house rules to the character generator, then my players can only generate their character on my account. That's fine, but now what if my players want to buy their own book, that I don't have? They will want to register it with their account in order to get the online content, but then they can't generate their character on the CG that is set up with my house rules unless I also buy the book. Now, you have really created a system where a book bought by one person in a group is no good to the rest of the group. If my group wants to use the new splat book, we all have to buy it. That's just wrong and needs to be fixed.

Seconded. At least to some extent. A person should be able to share their character sheet with their DM (I really hope this process can happen automagically too) without the DM having to purchase whatever book the player has.
Malraux:

Was "automagically" intentional?

Because if not, it was the perfect typo for D&D online. Magical Transportation of information from one peron to another.:D
Malraux:

Was "automagically" intentional?

Because if not, it was the perfect typo for D&D online. Magical Transportation of information from one peron to another.:D

I expect all programs to work automagically. I certainly didn't invent the word. automagical
Thanks for the update Malraux. I did not realize it was an actual word. You learn something new every day.:D
Seconded. At least to some extent. A person should be able to share their character sheet with their DM (I really hope this process can happen automagically too) without the DM having to purchase whatever book the player has.

This is where I hope they have to concept of a gaming group - essentially a pool of books giving everyone within that group access to those books' features. This would work naturally inside the virtual gaming table; for P&P use I would think you would only get access to your gaming friends' books while online, going offline reduces you to what you've purchased yourself. This is of course fraught with opportunities to abuse it (groups of 100+ members) so I would think the group formation rule would have to be very strict (i.e. only one group per player, # players in group, etc.).

Another possibility would be to use DRM with a limited number of members allowed to be authorized for use (3-5?). The owning player would be able to grant/revoke use of the book options so they could take it with them if they leave the group.

The 'My Campaign' section would be a perfect holding spot for such a grouping. All players in the campaign pool their books.
Another possibility would be to use DRM with a limited number of members allowed to be authorized for use (3-5?). The owning player would be able to grant/revoke use of the book options so they could take it with them if they leave the group.

The 'My Campaign' section would be a perfect holding spot for such a grouping. All players in the campaign pool their books.

That is what I would have in mind. I hope someone is reading this...
Ideally, I'd like to be able to purchase a physical product, enter the product code on this D&D Insider website and have it unlock the features (such as weapon powers for fighters and abilities for races) so that I can begin creating NPCs or characters for my campaign.

For me, even if I was less than happy with the rules, this would be the biggest thing that would sway me to move to 4E.

Also, very good points are made above about sharing of characters. Programatically, I don't see why a character file couldn't be shared with someone even if they don't have access to the book. Whoever is viewing the character (that doesn't have the book unlocked) could just view the character in "locked" mode or something along those lines.
Also, very good points are made above about sharing of characters. Programatically, I don't see why a character file couldn't be shared with someone even if they don't have access to the book. Whoever is viewing the character (that doesn't have the book unlocked) could just view the character in "locked" mode or something along those lines.

That is ok to a point, but right now if I buy a book all my players can use it. This is fair use to my thinking. You should be able to share the info in the book among your playing group. I really think that this needs to be addressed one way or another. I guess the locked mode thing would work if you can move characters amongst accounts. If I one of my players uses an ability in a book that I have and they don't, then they should be able to, at least, move it over to my account and add the abilities. The could be restricted from changing abilities from books that they don't have in their own account, but they need to be able to use the stuff from my books somehow and vice-versa. Maybe only lock the parts of the character that use books not on the current account.
One idea to deal with the multiple people/one book issue is a group account. Not a different type of account but one in which the gaming group sets up to use a specific feature of the D&DI. The downside of this is that if you wish to have your own account, you wouldn't be able to load your books to it.

Here's an example:
1 DM, 4 players. Monthly cost of $2/person.

At launch everyone goes nuts and buys their own Phb (kind of a no brainer if you really want to play the game). The DM sets up a DDI account and loads his Phb code into it. If the DM wants to have a seperate account he should purchase a second set of core books for this to work. The DM will have access to the Dragon and Dungeon articles and (if possible) can bring these things into the game. Players will also have access to this material but should be cautioned that reading to much will have spoiler potential. Everyone can enjoy the benefits of the subscription that most apply to their role in the group. If the DM decides that he no longer wishes to run the game, someone else can step up to the plate (taking over the account with an alternate payment method) *this will work best if a paypal or prepaid CC is used since it wont be tied to a "personal" account*.

As material is released, the group decides what they would like to play with (complete X but not y). If a member or the collective (always wanted to use that :D ) buys the book and loads the code into the Group account, all players can now use it for the CharGen feature. This seems to be where most of the problems lay...i.e. "I don't want to pay $120/year for a character generator"...well how about $24 as part of a group (less than the cost of the PhB probably). If I can surmise anything from the fact that they're going to offer a character generator, it's that it'll be worth $2/month to fire it up, punch some buttons, and bam you can print out your spiffy new adventurer.

Would WotC like for us to all have individual accounts? I'm sure they would but let's face reality, some folks are never going to take advantage (maybe use would be a better term) $10 worth of stuff per month. Spread that cost out a bit (over a few people) and it becomes much easier to swallow (this goes for buying your source material as well...take up a collection for books that everyone agrees should be included...campaign setting for instance).
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As I was excited about this, someone quickly remove that by quoting this from the forum:

From the WotC forums - the 4th edition FAQ

Quote:

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.

This is just a feature (and perhaps the only one) that will be the one that will keep me from playing. If I have to force my players to buy every book that I intend to use in my campaign it is just not going to happen. Most books are only useful for the DM, such as Monster Manuals and I see no need for others than them, to buy such material. It is going to be way to expensive to play a weekly session.

So please tell me, that the above yes, is a "Yes, the players have to buy the fundamental book such as the players handbook, but not futher supplements such as Monster Manuals, Fighter, cleric etc. handbooks and so on".
I suspect that to use the character creator, WotC intends for you to own any of the books you need to create the character. IE you don't need to own the MM to have your character in a campaign where the MM is used. However, if you want to use a race out of the MM as your race, you need to own the MM.
Thanks for your answer. Should spent a lot more time going over this forum, but there is just too many posts and too little time.

That makes a lot more sense, but could still be quite expensive. E.G. (if this was the case with the books I use now) if I as a DM and play a homebrew campaign and like the feats in the Dragonlance Campagin book and the Regional feats from the forgotten realm setting, add in a couple of Prestige Classes from different handbooks each of those is still something the players would need. Perhaps not if they only decide to play the same class, with the same feats selection everytime, but we all know that is not realistic.

I read a bit more into this thread and I clearly support to have a common book pool around the table. Meaning that when you join a game session with a group of players each of them share the books they have in their account when it comes to create their characters and playing.

I find it fair that characters with feats, classes etc. from books that specific player don't owe get's "illegal" outside that online table and can not be brought into another groups online game session unless that group also have the relevant books (this should be the same for miniatures and what else we have).

That would make it no different than what we have now in the physical form.
Now that someone at Wizards has spent three days reading posts, I think that the Character Creator should address customizable spell lists . Put clickable links in it to the complete spell description. This will save a lot of non-virtual page flipping at the game table.

Stretching one step further, how about being able select your spells for the day and change them/track them as the game progresses.

One more step, make it so you can provide you DM with this info virtually.
Couldn't you just do all this yourself? One of you open up an account and deal with the others. It's like having roomates. Only one guy goes to the landlord and pays rent.


One idea to deal with the multiple people/one book issue is a group account. Not a different type of account but one in which the gaming group sets up to use a specific feature of the D&DI. The downside of this is that if you wish to have your own account, you wouldn't be able to load your books to it.

Here's an example:
1 DM, 4 players. Monthly cost of $2/person.

At launch everyone goes nuts and buys their own Phb (kind of a no brainer if you really want to play the game). The DM sets up a DDI account and loads his Phb code into it. If the DM wants to have a seperate account he should purchase a second set of core books for this to work. The DM will have access to the Dragon and Dungeon articles and (if possible) can bring these things into the game. Players will also have access to this material but should be cautioned that reading to much will have spoiler potential. Everyone can enjoy the benefits of the subscription that most apply to their role in the group. If the DM decides that he no longer wishes to run the game, someone else can step up to the plate (taking over the account with an alternate payment method) *this will work best if a paypal or prepaid CC is used since it wont be tied to a "personal" account*.

As material is released, the group decides what they would like to play with (complete X but not y). If a member or the collective (always wanted to use that :D ) buys the book and loads the code into the Group account, all players can now use it for the CharGen feature. This seems to be where most of the problems lay...i.e. "I don't want to pay $120/year for a character generator"...well how about $24 as part of a group (less than the cost of the PhB probably). If I can surmise anything from the fact that they're going to offer a character generator, it's that it'll be worth $2/month to fire it up, punch some buttons, and bam you can print out your spiffy new adventurer.

Would WotC like for us to all have individual accounts? I'm sure they would but let's face reality, some folks are never going to take advantage (maybe use would be a better term) $10 worth of stuff per month. Spread that cost out a bit (over a few people) and it becomes much easier to swallow (this goes for buying your source material as well...take up a collection for books that everyone agrees should be included...campaign setting for instance).

am i just crazy? i thought dnd was a PEN AND PAPER GAME. i have a group og 12 players and only two of us have more that the phb. nad no one is goint to pay a monthly fee for a game we can actually play for FREE, with out ever buying a book to begin with. i am still p!$$3d about no more paper dnd magazines i feal betrayed by the game i have loved since '88.
am i just crazy? i thought dnd was a PEN AND PAPER GAME. i have a group og 12 players and only two of us have more that the phb. nad no one is goint to pay a monthly fee for a game we can actually play for FREE, with out ever buying a book to begin with. i am still p!$$3d about no more paper dnd magazines i feal betrayed by the game i have loved since '88.

I don't know much, but I still think you can do that as it is now. I think the concern about multiple copies of each books is only relevant if you want to play the game online. No need for more accounts, if you are still just playing this game outside the screen.
I suspect that to use the character creator, WotC intends for you to own any of the books you need to create the character. IE you don't need to own the MM to have your character in a campaign where the MM is used. However, if you want to use a race out of the MM as your race, you need to own the MM.

That seems fair, actually. The same probably applies to classes and other stuff, unless the program allows you to enter custom data, which would be super awesome but seems unlikely to me, ATM.
Couldn't you just do all this yourself? One of you open up an account and deal with the others. It's like having roomates. Only one guy goes to the landlord and pays rent.

Absolutely. I was just thinking that the person running the game might want to have their own account seperate. This would go a long way to making your local DMs week/month/year if your group were to supply the fee and he were to supply the books.

I see a lot of complaining about why someone doesn't want to do this or that or why it's not feasible. Come up with a solution rather than complaining and you'll get farther faster. (No this is not an attack of fanboyism) There's always an alternate method. If you really can't/wont pay the fee for whatever reason, you will be playing the game just like you did last week/month/year.

Your game wont be broken because you chose not to participate in something that didn't exist last week/month/year.
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If people can't afford it on their own then just have the DM's account. Everyone else gives the DM $1 or $2 (to help offset the cost) a month and the DM can work with each player and create their character and print it off the week before hte game is played at home. Or something along those lines would work.
I’m not certain if the above posts are direct replies to my posts, but will still try to clarify what my concerns are.

I haven’t been part of D&D for a few years now, since the gaming group has been split over different continents. The news about having online tools to help bring back the game to the table, virtual or not, are very exciting.

So my questions and concerns are all related to playing online and only online. Whatever happens in the future, will not make me lose anything that I have now, but it is a matter of how much I will gain from these new features and whatever it is enough or not to return to the game.

As said, everything seem promising, except when it comes down to price. If it is possible to just make an account and share the bill when it comes to books, it is all fine (actually perfect), but if each and everyone have to go buy their own separate copy of every book I, as the DM, chose to use, it will be hard to get new players into the game (again, talking about online only). Imagine trying to talk a new buddy in to join up in one of the weekly games, but first he would have to buy Forgotten Realms campaign book (E.G. regional feats), the Dragonlance Campagin book (so he can use the races from there) and Fighters Handbook, so he also have the choice of new feats from that. So it would be “please come join in on the fun, but first you will have to spent about a $100. Hope you will like it”.

Of course the above is not relevant if we were just meeting around the kitchen table and he could scan my books, but if WotC want to move this into the virtual world and make it possible for us to play across oceans, I strongly suggest a shared book pool (man, in a few posts I have repeated myself a couple of times. Apologizes for that).
In response to Apollo's Will.

I believe that all aspects of the game are included in the character builder application. You do not have to own every book for that. What you need to own the book for is just for the digital COPY of the book itself. If you do not own the book, you cannot use it as reference, that is all. The core mechanics (i.e. feats) are included in character generation (i.e. feat description, talents, powers, etc.) but nothing else is. No write up for the prestige class, race or other rules. Just the titles and uses. This is just my speculation though of course. I hop that helps.

Final Thought. You can create any character, just not read any book.
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