D&D Insider

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I also would love to see a 'home brew' option for character creation that lets people fully customize feats, skills, magic items, bonuses, etc, etc.

Can I hear an "Amen"! :D
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.

And my fears vanish...:D

Now, all I need is to be told that me and my son can play the same game on the same account from our computer.
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.

So your telling me that the options/extras that come in suppliements will be upgraded to any character generator (even without unlocking them as an e-book) but without any expanded text, but you can still use new feats/classes to make characters as supplements get released?
Why exactly is this feature "for rent" only instead of either offering it for free or selling it as a product in its own right?
I find that very interesting.

So you can create characters with options from books that you do not have, but you will not know what it actually does unless someone in your group has the book.

Very interesting indeed.
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?

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)?

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?

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).

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
I am a long and very contented user of E-Tools, as supported by Code Monkey Publishing and I was not at all happy when Code Monkey Publishing's license to refine, update and market E-Tools was terminated.

My friends and I will likely take a 'wait and see' approach to the New Order:
4th Edition, the new character creator and so on and so forth. While I might be able to cough up the money for a new Vista equipped PC with 3 GB or more, not everyone can do that.

And, in my most humble opinion, I still think that there is much in 3.5 edition that I have yet to explore and master.

Code Monkey Publishing gave superb service and support; I sincerely hope that Wizards of the Coast will be to match that service and support.
Dunno if it is mentioned, but I hope the visualizer will include the capability to create PCs of the more "obscure" variety, like planetouched, centaurs, half-ogres, etc.

And I "amen" Prelate's suggestion!
Dunno if it is mentioned, but I hope the visualizer will include the capability to create PCs of the more "obscure" variety, like planetouched, centaurs, half-ogres, etc.

IIRC, Tieflings will be core for 4e, so that implies plane-touched... I wish it implied planeSCAPE, but I will take what I can get. Planewalker.com will no doubt make up for the deficit if WotC don't...
It's been established that we'll have the "rules off" option, so we can apply house rules to characters during their creation. If so, that opens up the possibility of applying MM races or the like to characters via "rules off", even if those races haven't been made available through the Character Creator's built-in options.

Come to think of it, that's probably a big reason why the bare-bones traits of supplemental books' classes, races, and so on will be made available (sans fluff) through DDI, as new books are released: WotC knows that "book sharers" would just turn off the rules and punch in borrowed books' crunch, anyway.

This way, when new options pop up on their DDI accounts' Character Creators, people may be intrigued and go buy the corresponding books, rather than being annoyed that they have to enter shared-book mechanics on the sly, in "house rules" mode.
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.

So will we be able to save the characters on our own computer or are we forced to use these limiting slots you talk of?

Will we be able to use these tools offline?

Will they be sold in the stores as a stand alone application?
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!)
This way, when new options pop up on their DDI accounts' Character Creators, people may be intrigued and go buy the corresponding books, rather than being annoyed that they have to enter shared-book mechanics on the sly, in "house rules" mode.

That's what I'm thinking. If there's one thing under the sun people will pay for without hesitation or argument it's the convenience of not having to do fill-in-the-blank themselves. :P
IIRC, Tieflings will be core for 4e, so that implies plane-touched... I wish it implied planeSCAPE, but I will take what I can get. Planewalker.com will no doubt make up for the deficit if WotC don't...

Thank God!

I also hope Planescape gets its longdue moment in 4e. I never played it, but from what I read and heard, it sounded as much fun as a barrel full of bar-lguras ;)

**Pause for rotten vegetables**
Thank you. I can live with non-ebook owners still having the options, just not getting the "full write up". This will make my future wife happy as well I'm sure (since we wouldn't be able to afford buying 2 hardcopies to get 2 ebooks).

This will also not hose my gaming group, since I often pull stuff from random sources.

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.

Sorry if I'm derailing the thread, but I'm more concerned that the character creation software (along with the virtual tabletop in general) supposedly isn't Mac compatible. I was pretty pumped about all the D&D Insider news until that bit of information came to light. I had old friends who were excited about the software demo on YouTube - even though our old group is scattered all over the US now, we were looking forward to possibly getting things going again online.

Unfortunately, we're all Mac users, so this is apparently out of the question. (Correct me if I'm wrong, please.) My understanding is that WotC might make the virtual tabletop stuff available for Mac users if the demand is great enough. Please make this happen! I'd be very wary of subscribing to D&D Insider if such a large component of it was unusable for me, as would most of my Mac-using friends.
I'm a 3d artist, so I have quite a bit of interest in the character visualizer. I would like to see the ability to import 3d files into the visualizer, with some or all uploaded files being made available for download by other users. As a significant percentage of people studying (and possibly working in; I'm a student so I don't know) 3D also game, this would rapidly increase the amount of available content to far beyond what Wizards could afford to commission. Also, it would allow 3D artists to easily gain respect in the community, and potentially an income source from doing commissioned items or charecter builds.

I would also appreciate the ability to download the 3d files, both for reference when making new objects and to allow me to create scenes incorporating the characters in a scene quickly.



I've had the chance to play around with a 3d printer; I used it to print a mini-scale lightning rail. At least with current technology (this may be different in just a few years) 3d printers wouldn't make great minis. All but the most obsenely expensive don't give you a lot of details; at best the mini would look like some of the worst early DDM sculpts. More importantly, the output is very fragile; definitely not up to the rigors of gameplay, and a figure in a dynamic pose or with a long sword will break while being built. It would proably be better to print out a mold, then cast the mini in pewter, but that requires quite a bit of labor.

Currently, 3D prints run from about 50 dollars to many thousands of dollars (less if you have access to a school which owns a 3D printer).
Sharing Access Codes
I play D&D with my wife. We are not going to buy two copies of all your rule books, but I do expect us both to be able to make characters with them. Likewise, I know a father and son who play together, and two brothers in high school. In neither case should Dad have to buy multiple copies of the books.

This is very important, if you want families to play your game together (which I think you should). Also, not everyone in a given group will have every book; and we'll never live in a world where they do.

Please allow registered owners to share their codes (and revoke them) with a limited number of D&D Insider accounts (2-4 more than enough) to address these issues. It can be a control panel in the account information sections: Books Owned (and who you're sharing them with), plus notice of Books Shared With You.

I'm going to vote++ this - there is no freaking way I'm buying 2 copies of a book just so my wife and I can both use it - no place to store it, for one. I'd also like to be able to share with my gaming group, to be honest. there should be a limit, true, but 1:1 is just too restrictive.
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?

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.

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)?

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.

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?

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.

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).

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
I'm sure someone has already mentioned it, but the tool needs to allow the user to customize all aspects of creating a character.

I want to be able to add new races, classes, feats, skills, abilities, spells, domains, deities, monsters, weapons, magic items, templates, and so on and so on.

It also should allow the user to turn off certain features...ie. if you want to turn off the requirement for a character to meet prerequisites for a feat, class, etc...the user should be able to do that.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
On PC / Mac:

My gut response to this announcement can be summed up by this analogy:

"As part of our community effort, we're putting a big focus in getting out into the local communities across the country and raising grassroots support. As such, we'll be holding three local community conventions in New York this year."

"What about those of us who don't live in New York? That's hardly 'across the country'!"

"Well, New York is sorta local if you can afford the plane fare from Texas."
We are not giving this away, it is costing us a lot of money to develop.

Understood. But this is also a big turn-off for "the rest of us". "We've got all these great tools, and those of you who can't use them can help subsidise those who can".

WotC has marketed these tools as perhaps the coolest part of DnDInsider, and they are probably right. But this also backs them into a corner; if the "best" part is inaccessible, is the remainder worth paying full price for? I'd strongly urge you to consider a two-tier pricing system: one for "web only", and one for "the works".

Finally, make sure you to get into mindset of the average Mac user when thinking about (and commenting on) emulation. Mac native is appreciated, Java or a platform-neutral layer is tolerated, virtualisation through Parallels or Fusion is "at least I can run it", and Boot Camp is "well, it's cheaper than buying two computers ...". As a generalisation, Mac users are used to disappointment when it comes to gaming; it's the perception that they are being patronised that gets them riled. "We're sorry" is tolerable; "Hey, look, you can pick at the leftovers!" isn't.
Simple Question: Are there plans or is there currently an option for creation custom "game modes" or the like for character creation? Say if I'm running a Forgotten Realms game and want to turn off Eberron sources, can I make a filter that will do that automatically? Or will I have to do it manually each time?
We are not giving this away, it is costing us a lot of money to develop.

Understandable and nor should I think they should be free. But I would want to OWN the programs not rent them. So sell them to me as a software and then charge for those that want it, a server host fee that comes with dragon and dungeon ect.
Why exactly is this feature "for rent" only instead of either offering it for free or selling it as a product in its own right?

Probably because of the on going cost to maintain something like this.
I was wondering if we could get some clarification on what exactly will be available from the D&D Insider regarding the Character Creator.

Source of the queries

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...

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


My questions are:

Will the character creator be a fully automated character generator? You mention the creator will reference to specific rules on the e-books but will rules calculations be handled automatically?
If no, Will the character creator simply be a basic character sheet with page references?

Will the character sheet require rules verification from the user?
If yes, what sort of functionality is implied by “turning rules off” regarding the character creator? will I simply be able to say "dont use this book"?

I appreciate that some of these may be difficult to answer since the discussion on rules is very hush hush right now but if you could give us an example using 3.5 rules as a guide that would be just as useful.
Back to the Character Generator.

2 Things that MUST happen to make it worth anything.

1) It's got to keep pace with the releases. Same day.
2) It's got to print out everything needed to play on the sheet. No more looking up feats out of 7 books. That alone will greatly speed play and creation.

If you can do that, and the program can handle all aspects of the game, it will make the game 100% better in my eyes.

Also, I know it's pay to play, but you've got to be able to save made characters to your computer for faster access, or where internet isn't available.
For the online table, does anyone know if it will be capable of being used at the table. Make your maps and minis, keep a laptop behind the screen, put a monitor facing the players and run the game that way. That would really be great and solve line of sight/light source issues...
Probably because of the on going cost to maintain something like this.

Which would be covered by the additional ebook "patches". We're getting disgustingly used to the idea that its ok to flush away hundreds of dollars on things we dont actually own. Any other time, this program would have been sold for 50 bucks with cheap downloadable upgrades.

Lets see... I've been playing 3.0 since release. I'm not particularly keen on the idea of throwing away 500+ bucks for the next few years to have a character generator.
My first post! I'm so excited . . .

I'm really excited about the character generator and visualizer/image creator. I'm usually the designated artist in my group, and what frustrates me is when I spend hours on an illustration, then the character gets new armor, new weapons, or gets permanently polymorphed or something and my illustration is suddenly obsolete. Oh yeah, and there's that whole Player Character Death thing too. I also have created super-intricate FileMaker character sheets that auto-fill all the math, it'll be nice not to have to reinvent the wheel for 4th Edition. I'm just concerned whether or not all of this stuff will be fully supported by Mac platform. I know it's Internet-based, but I've run into plenty of things on the Internet that don't work because I'm on a Mac. Crossing my fingers . . . :D
My first post! I'm so excited . . .

I'm just concerned whether or not all of this stuff will be fully supported by Mac platform. I know it's Internet-based, but I've run into plenty of things on the Internet that don't work because I'm on a Mac. Crossing my fingers . . . :D

There's no Mac support, unless you count running Windows on an Intel-powered Mac as "Mac support". Check posts earlier in the thread.

I'm not happy, either.
Sigh.
In the gaming groups I've played in, hybrid races are allowed, such as a Drow/High Elf cross. Will the Character Creator allow for such a possibility to be created?

Curious Elvish minds want to know. :D
Well, it looks like I'll be buying the PHB and little else. Good thing I'm still awesome at FileMaker and hand-drawn illustrations. I am very disappointed, all of my enthusiasm for 4th Edition has pretty much completely evaporated.
Well, it looks like I'll be buying the PHB and little else. Good thing I'm still awesome at FileMaker and hand-drawn illustrations. I am very disappointed, all of my enthusiasm for 4th Edition has pretty much completely evaporated.

Um... weren't you going to have to build your own if 4e didn't include the Character Creator, etc.? It sounds like you're disappointed that you're not going to be able to buy something you would have found a way around anyway. Granted, your not being able to use it when everyone else can is stinky, but-- in spite of the amount of effort-- what you come up with will be better suited to your personal needs, I don't see where you'll be functionally loosing out.

We don't NEED the Character Creator to create characters. Most of the ones I've seen up 'til now were weird and confusing (especially when custom classes are involved), I'm probably better off doing it all by hand for myself anyway.
- If 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.

Didier,

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.
I am skeptical about this whole thing, to say the least.

Hopefully it will, in fact, support all released materials, quickly, if not as soon as a supplement is released. I don't like the idea of having to pay to play, but will consider it if it is not too expensive.

That said, I wonder how they will handle the fact that each person in a given group may not own all of the books, but as a group, they have many. My group, for example has many of the books. Each person gets the books they like, and the others have access to them for whatever they may need. I hope that each person doesn't need to buy each book in order to function as a group.
Um... weren't you going to have to build your own if 4e didn't include the Character Creator, etc.? It sounds like you're disappointed that you're not going to be able to buy something you would have found a way around anyway. Granted, your not being able to use it when everyone else can is stinky, but-- in spite of the amount of effort-- what you come up with will be better suited to your personal needs, I don't see where you'll be functionally loosing out.

We don't NEED the Character Creator to create characters. Most of the ones I've seen up 'til now were weird and confusing (especially when custom classes are involved), I'm probably better off doing it all by hand for myself anyway.

Umm . . . (am I the only one who finds statements that begin with this phrase to be rather condescending?) let me just say that I was really enthusiastic about all of the online stuff, the Character Creator, the Game Table, etc., when I heard about it watching the GenCon address. Without that, it's just new books with new rules. Kinda hard to get reeeeally excited about that.

We'll see, anything can happen I guess. It's just pretty sucky that as a Mac user I'm relegated to this position all the time. Just because I wasn't assimilated by Microsoft, I don't get access to the same 'recreational' content that others get, I guess because it's just too much trouble for them to bother for such a "small" segment of the market. It just gets really really really ridiculously OLD. I guess I'm just not worth WOTC's time and effort. Feels great.
Especially since the "Market Research" they did was probably generic PC/Mac marketshare including the mass corporate purchases that skew things in ways inappropriate for the purposes of the Creator and Game Table program.

I have a feeling that if they had done their Market Research specifically on the D&D clientele market, the numbers would have come out significantly different.

Then again, I'm a cynical freak.
Me: "You see a group of centaurs approaching at speed...." Druid: "What are they riding....?" Me: "Ummm, they're centaurs?" Druid: "Yes, but what are they riding?" Me: *twitch*
Especially since the "Market Research" they did was probably generic PC/Mac marketshare including the mass corporate purchases that skew things in ways inappropriate for the purposes of the Creator and Game Table program.

I have a feeling that if they had done their Market Research specifically on the D&D clientele market, the numbers would have come out significantly different.

Then again, I'm a cynical freak.

I don't have a mac. I have a PC. I use this linux box for everything that I don't need windows for though. I don't understand the whole macite thing. Having said that, I do know enough to know that this person undoubtedly speaks the truth.
Game table doesn't look all that heavy a program.

And Pentium 2's clog modern Landfills.

It's a distinct possibility, a Mac user will be able to use Game Table without having to buy anything at all.
I don't have a mac. I have a PC. I use this linux box for everything that I don't need windows for though. I don't understand the whole macite thing. Having said that, I do know enough to know that this person undoubtedly speaks the truth.

Meh, I'm betting that the server logs of the site give WotC a pretty good idea of what the market is like. (Though it'll skew to Windows from players surfing from their work machine, whereas players will use home machines to install the software.)