D&D Insider

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OK, I saw something in the first video that has me really excited about the DDI.

The physical books will have a code in them that unlocks content (database data) online. What does that mean?

We FINALLY will have a character generator that has access to books we purchase (in the char gen) without buying separate data sets or typing in a ton of info ourselves. Buy a book, use the stuff in the character generator.

This has sold me on the DDI. Can't wait.

Same here. I'm very excited about this feature and the whole idea is long overdue IMO. Kudos to the designers.

My opinions are just that, my opinions. They are educated opinions however, I've been gaming since 1978 starting with the first D&D Red Box. Each version has brought something new and different to the game and IMO D&D has evolved to a fantastic state with 5th edition! It has the best of everything I loved from the past editions.

is this thing going to be ready and available for testing prior to the release of the PHB?

i love how all these threads want us to discuss things we have absolutely no information about. they are all either hate posts, wish lists, or questions that arent answered.
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.

Same here, although I am happy to pay a 'maintenance fee' for regular updates and patches, etc. If this is what is meant, then fine, but if not...

The thing is, when running a roleplaying campaign I rely on the software tools I use - regardless of the system. For my current Planescape D&D3.5 game I have dozens of NPCs and PCs recorded using eTools, maybe a dozen or so Dundjinni maps and at least a hundred .png files of game objects that I use with BattlegroundsRPG (I run online as the players are both busy and spread out). The thought of building up that sort of 'game capital' investment and then having some corporate takeover, change in policy, subscription hike or database error result in the whole thing becoming suddenly unavailable gives me the heebie jeebies! If that's the deal I am in no way even tempted...
======= Balesir
is this thing going to be ready and available for testing prior to the release of the PHB?

i love how all these threads want us to discuss things we have absolutely no information about. they are all either hate posts, wish lists, or questions that arent answered.

I don't remember who it was, but one of the staff stated that they hope to have the character visualizer (at least) up and running pre-release so we can fiddle around with it. Check the FAQs for details, as I may be spouting nonsense again! :P
I don't remember who it was, but one of the staff stated that they hope to have the character visualizer (at least) up and running pre-release so we can fiddle around with it. Check the FAQs for details, as I may be spouting nonsense again! :P

I remember hearing that in one the GamerZer0's youtubevideos, I think it was one of the "Behind the Scenes" ones.
Just wanted to add my skepticism (probably misspelled that but its' late) to the whole idea of renting game functions. The character generator and visualizer are 2 things that I really like the idea of using (I enjoy playing with virtual creation things like this especially if they have more than the overmuscelled/overbreasted stereotypes so common in games, the sims 2 is a good example especially with custom content) and I love having the ability to just enter some basic information and get a pre-generated high level character done for me by a program so I can focus on the back story of why they got that way.

I'm currently an unemployed person who just finished uni and is desperately sending out job applications as my funds dwindle. I can scrape up enough to buy the core books PHB, MM, DMG given time but there is no way I'm paying for any online subscription. I don't do it for MMOG's, Magazines or anything else as I just don't have the funds to open up a continually draining subscription especially if on top of that I need to pay for the books and the unlocking of said books.

Now I understand WOTC spent alot of money developing these products and don't want to just give them away but would it be that unreasonable to release a "DnD Gaming Companion" or similar that would come with all the things you need to build and visualize a DnD character from the core books? Sure it wouldn't have the ability to update with new information whenever a new book was released but if all you have is the core books it would be a great addition. Especially since if it didn't update there'd be no reason not to have the software installed on someone's PC with an unlimited number of slots for the characters/towns/campaigns you create as they're saved on your PC not the WOTC ones.

Spending $120 a year on a subscription to DDI to use these things (since I'm not likely to have much interest in the other functions) represents about a tenth of my current savings and when the main benefit from said subscription would be updating to the new source books and access to the online gaming table there's little incentive to me to pay for these.

On the other hand saving up and spending 70-90 dollars on a core rulebooks program (character creator, visualizer and maybe a few other player/dm aimed functions like dice roller, treasure generator, inn/town generator.) would be something I would be happy to do. Its still a significant outlay of cash for me especially when adding in the books (at current local price's probably another couple of hundred) but its one I'd be willing to do because it would be mine, on my computer, internet access not withstanding. So for example on a long train ride I could open my laptop and play around with some character designs or work on my new campaign without problem or if I can only scrape a few minutes free to work on them I don't have to worry about the server being down for maintainence/large numbers of people accessing it.

As I said it wouldn't have the subscriptions option of adding new information automatically but it would still have the basic information and if you want something from a splatbook e.g. complete arcane ask a friend who has it to make you a character sheet with it in. Maybe if you have to do that often enough as new books come out or you see a lot of good information you can't access you'll pay for a subscription.

Going by the comments in this thread I think a fair number of other people would also be willing to pay a flat one time fee for certain functions that don't require continual updating and maintainence by wizards staff but are currently bundeled in with the generic DDI subscription that they aren't willing/able to afford. Remember just because the kids today have access to credit options that weren't available before it doesn't automatically mean they have larger disposable incomes.
I don't remember who it was, but one of the staff stated that they hope to have the character visualizer (at least) up and running pre-release so we can fiddle around with it. Check the FAQs for details, as I may be spouting nonsense again! :P

i didn't feel like watching the youtube videos anymore. i got on there and ended up watching so much other stuff i had to pry my butt from my chair.

they should have part ready for testing, is nothing other than the character modeller or table itself with pregen minis.

they don't need be importable prior to, but they best have it ready for when the subscription starts or people may not subscribe that have no opinions as to what it is like yet.
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.

Kimli-

Your not going to be able to share e-books or books in the generator/visualizer, period. Althought we want this (and it seems logical enough), it would be great to have the ability to share the e-book with 4-5 other accounts. However they have said that all books will be available for the generator that will tell you what book its in and the page, but not detailing it in any text. so if your playmate has the books, you can find what you want, then add it on the character in the generator without actually owning the book. seems pretty silly but that is the route they want to go. I think that you should be able to make a gaming group with a limited number of people in it and share e-books with subscription in that group. but alas, wiz wants everyone to buy the books. lets hope they realize this might actually hurt them in the long run.
I would just like to add in this thread that I am currently writing this from a Linux computer and have ordered a Macbook Pro last week, that will hopefully arrive shortly. I am therefore dissapointed by the DirectX only support, as it will mean that I will probably not be able to even try this out in the foresable future. fortunately not everyone has chosen this route: http://www.apple.com/games/articles/

As for the subscription model, I greatly preffered the e-Tools/PCGen payement model, where you purchase the basic program, and then each dataset separately. compared to WoW, where I do pay a monthly fee, I get most of the content additions and updates included in the monthly fee (patches), although I agree the comparison fails somewhat, as WoW also has expansions, which you do have to pay for separately (but only once).

I also am very reluctant to buy into online services where the supplier can pull the plug on a whim for whatever reason. Past examples include Microsoft PlayForSure, Google Video store, Planet Internet Music store. It's the reason I do not use iTunes. With PCGen I can still use everything I bought and add any update I need myself, even though WotC stopped support november 2006. WotC's history with Master Tools/e-Tools/CMP only makes me more reluctant.

I am not an early adopter, I played 2e ADnD until 3.5 arrived and will probably be playing 3.5 for a couple of years (4.5?). I don't need anything from WotC to be able to do so, I have almost all books for Core and FR (over 50), and bought PCGen datasets for nearly all of them (42). I have the full sources of PCGen and the datasets and am a proficient enough Java programmer to be able to keep it running, even if there was no community support. I am afraid that 4e DnDInsider will not offer me the same flexibility.

Maybe I am to oldschool already but to me D&D is a pencil and paper game, if I want to play an online game, I have other options.

As for the choice WotC made to develop this, I realy hope it will pay off for them, and doesn't become a huge money sink, that eventually will have an averse effect on their ability to produce their core content. I see it as a big gamble. Well, only the future will tell if Wizards of the Coast did their market research right.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

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.

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.
Kimli-

Your not going to be able to share e-books or books in the generator/visualizer, period. Althought we want this (and it seems logical enough), it would be great to have the ability to share the e-book with 4-5 other accounts. However they have said that all books will be available for the generator that will tell you what book its in and the page, but not detailing it in any text. so if your playmate has the books, you can find what you want, then add it on the character in the generator without actually owning the book. seems pretty silly but that is the route they want to go. I think that you should be able to make a gaming group with a limited number of people in it and share e-books with subscription in that group. but alas, wiz wants everyone to buy the books. lets hope they realize this might actually hurt them in the long run.

Just to clarify...

So, I'm the DM, and at least one of my players and I have DDI. He buys, say, the equivalent of Complete Adventurer and I don't (for the sake of argument say that only one class and a handful of feats appeals to me, and I find the "fluff" material not all that helpful in this case).
He buys the books, enters his code, gets his DB updated and makes his character with a class from that book.
For story purposes for that PC, as the DM I want to create an NPC of the same class with one of the feats from that book.
Are you saying that I'll be able to manually input that class and feat and have the rules incorporated as homebrew into my DB (thereby creating an accurate character)?

I do hope that this is the case. To be honest, I don't know if I would get as much out of it without this functionality. I guess making it fall under homebrew would make sense.

While our game group owns pretty much all of the 3.0 and 3.5 books between us, some of us only own the core books plus a few. I primarily only worry about core, the "compendium" style books, all the monster books (MMI-V, FF, plus all of the expanded monster books) and whatever game setting we're in (currently Eberron, so I have all those).
I generally rely on someone else to pick up the race, class, or other expansion books.
I think that I am looking forward to the new character creation rules. They seem pretty cool
The answer that was given was they all feats etc. from all published books will be available in the CC database for everyone to use. If you have the e-book, it will pull the details about the rules for the feat etc. into the character sheet for you. Otherwise the only thing in the sheet will be a reference to what book it came from. I think that this is more than reasonable, as that is pretty much how it works now. If anyone in the group has the book, anyone in the group can put it in their character and get the details from the person that has the book. The ability to pull the rule into the sheet is neat, but certainly not necessary. I think this is a great compromise, and actually farther than I would have gone with it. It is more flexibility than just being able to use the feat if someone in the group registers the book.
The answer that was given was they all feats etc. from all published books will be available in the CC database for everyone to use. If you have the e-book, it will pull the details about the rules for the feat etc. into the character sheet for you. Otherwise the only thing in the sheet will be a reference to what book it came from. I think that this is more than reasonable, as that is pretty much how it works now. If anyone in the group has the book, anyone in the group can put it in their character and get the details from the person that has the book. The ability to pull the rule into the sheet is neat, but certainly not necessary. I think this is a great compromise, and actually farther than I would have gone with it. It is more flexibility than just being able to use the feat if someone in the group registers the book.

How would that work with a character class? Somehow I don't see that as being all that viable.
If I make a character/NPC for a class for which I don't have the book, how am I going to represent basic things like his BAB, saves, or whatever, if it's just going to say "refer to p.xx in [bookname]"? I don't think that would be reasonable at all.

Wouldn't it be more feasible to just add in the ability to make an equivalent "homebrew" class, where the user can manually enter in the rules for the class as printed in the book? I don't think this is at all unreasonable, and to be honest it really should be expected. It's the same as creating a homebrew class from scratch and having the ability to include it in the character sheet/NPC/encounter generator.
I don't think you are getting it. The BAB and all the other stats get filled in automagically. It is just the explanation for feat X or Y that don't get put in the sheet.

Edit: This is my interpretation of the staff relpy,
a pc program with an easy interface
OK. I think it's cool you can make a custom character and have it be your game table miniature. Neat. I hope the character you make appears on your character sheet (likely I'm guessing).

What would be really cool though:
Make it so that if people want to, you can order your miniature. That would be - amazing.

Actually this would be possible (and I would LOVE it - please implement this!) if they allowed export of the 3D character mesh in a standard format. If it was in the .STL format (stereolithography), the mesh could be emailed to a rapid prototyping company to be 'printed' out in 3D. The model could then be hand painted. This is especially cool as you could get a medium and a large size version of your fig for when you are under the effect of an Enlarge Person spell. If its too hard to export in STL, a standard format would be ok as you could still perform a conversion (though this conversion is sometimes problematic).

I'm sure 3D modelers who use software such as 3D Studio Max would also love to get their hands on the mesh for further modification or to place in a setting.

-Larry P.
The bigest need I see in the character generator is the ability to store the final (current) character off line so that you have access when you need it. This allows for unlimited characters and no wories of losing everything if your subscription lapses. Admittedly I would greatly prefer to see the entire program as downloadable so that I wouldn't have to worry about my connect speed to make a character.
I don't think you are getting it. The BAB and all the other stats get filled in automagically. It is just the explanation for feat X or Y that don't get put in the sheet.

Edit: This is my interpretation of the staff relpy,

Ah, okay, thanks for clearing that up.

So hypothetically then, if you have a feat from a splatbook that you don't own that we'll say gives you +1 to AC, that +1 would be reflected on the character's AC breakdown and feat list, but that's it, right? (Or at least how it looks like it will work at this point...)

But on that same token, do we know if the functionality for adding homebrew races/classes/feats/etc will be present? (for some reason I could have sworn I read that it most likely will).
I'm sure 3D modelers who use software such as 3D Studio Max would also love to get their hands on the mesh for further modification or to place in a setting.

As one of those 3D modelling types, I dearly would like to know if the Character Creator and Virtual Table Top will support exporting AND importing of models. While I know many developers have their favorite 3D formats, I really hope that one or more easily available formats will be support. [Not all of us can plop down the hundreds or thousands of dollars needed for the lastest modelling programs.]

As for STL support, while a cool idea, most rapid prototyping is still pretty darn expensive. I'd like something that has good texture import and export capabilities along with texture coordinates. Converting to a geometry only format like DXF or STL is fairly easy to do from one of the newer format, IF solid geometry modelling is used (and that's a big if.)
--
TAZ
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).

3D printers are the low end of Rapid Prototyping. Companies that make their living off of it use high end machines. You merely email them a .stl mesh and they can provide a quote. The detail can be amazing. Check out this gallery:
http://www.3dproto.com/Rapid-Prototype-gallery.aspx The woman in the flowing dress figure is roughly the size of a mini and the detail is quite good. The Dragon is the size of a mini and is located here: http://www.3dproto.com/pages/dragon.htm Also check out the house and the bike (note the spokes).

As for durability, again the high end machines can make parts that can survive wind tunnel tests and are quite durable.

-Larry P.
As for STL support, while a cool idea, most rapid prototyping is still pretty darn expensive.

I looked around a bit for price, this company offers a single part with a volume of up to 3 Cubic inches for $149 http://www.alphaprototypes.com/Rapid-Prototyping-Stereolithography-Pricing-Costs.aspx

While $149 is still a bit pricey there are hundreds of firms that do this sort of work and I'm sure that lower prices can be found. In addition, the prices for this sort of thing are coming down fast. I wouldn't be surprised if the magical $50 price is available by the time D&DI is available.

BTW: Here is their quote on durability: How durable is ABS?
Unlike appearance rapid prototypes produced in weak materials, FDM printing provides parts built in ABS plastic have been used for functional and field tests - from wind tunnel testing to camera mounts on a M1A Bradley tank and a spray gun running at 60 psi. FDM parts strength depends on the geometry of the part but in general have about 80% of the strength of injection molded ABS.

ABS rapid prototype parts can be sanded, milled, drilled, tapped, painted and even plated with nickel, chrome or copper.

-Larry P.
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."
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.

I'm with you on this one.

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.

I feel your pain.

I am definitely not happy with there decision, and just hope that the mac development community can make up for it. But I don't think what I want will be able to happen as would like it.
What will happen if one purchases a used or secondhand book? Will the code for this book, ebook, and subsequent updates be available only to the original purchaser? I understand WotC's desire to sell as many books as possible and thus there is most likely a negative official opinion on the used-book trade, but it hardly seems fair for someone to sell their hard copy book, keep the online copy, and have someone else who paid for the book not get the additional online material. Has this been discussed at all in your secret meetings?
A couple of things I would really like to see implemented, one which sounds like it is, are as follows:

Output of Character Ability/Spellbooks with at least summarized spell effect rules/details. This was a feature available in some versions of PCGen (I've unfortunately not used it in a long, long time) which I thought was wonderfully handy.

Ability to organize equipment not just as equipped/carried or not but into containers. Say you have purchaed a backpack, make it easy to set the location of some of your equipment as carried in your backpack. Then you can easily remove the carried/equipped setting from the backpack and it quickly adjusts the weight of what you carry to not include the backpack or anything in it. I believe PCGen also at one time had this functionality which made it easy for people carrying heavy loads to organize their equipment into locations and the weight for each container and contents so they could drop the backpack and know how much weight was dropped off their load/encumberance.

Finally, the ability to output your character sheet in various formats. PDF, HTML, Text, printed to paper, etc.. Much of my gaming is done online and while I am hopeful for using the Game Table for this in a e-mail or forum game where people can not meet regularly that isn't feasable. And having an easy HTML format character sheet I can put up on some free webspace somewhere (Perhaps Gleemax even?) for myself and the DM to reference to is very handy.
One thing that concerns me with this generator - We have a few players in our group who still don't understand the rules. Why don't they understand them? because they always use some online character generator (or back when it first came out the 3.0 generator) They have no clue how to figure out anything if something changes on the fly (like losing a point or 3 of STR or even gaining ability points)

What I would like to see is some sort of "help tips" or even a mouse over feature that explains exactly where the bonuses and numbers come from and why. This may sound silly to some people but it would help new people to understand where the numbers come from, and it would help "lazy" folks a bit too. Maybe "lazy" isn't the right word but there are many folks out there who would just rather let the computer do things for them and never learn the rules behind it.
One thing that concerns me with this generator - We have a few players in our group who still don't understand the rules. Why don't they understand them? because they always use some online character generator (or back when it first came out the 3.0 generator) They have no clue how to figure out anything if something changes on the fly (like losing a point or 3 of STR or even gaining ability points)

What I would like to see is some sort of "help tips" or even a mouse over feature that explains exactly where the bonuses and numbers come from and why. This may sound silly to some people but it would help new people to understand where the numbers come from, and it would help "lazy" folks a bit too. Maybe "lazy" isn't the right word but there are many folks out there who would just rather let the computer do things for them and never learn the rules behind it.

Even worse than that will be how the CC allows you to create a character without owning that book. Given how some players try to get away with not knowing exactly how an ability or spell works now, the CC will be enabling the bad kind of munchkinism. (Though I suspect my first house rule will be that you must have access to the book to use your weird talent/spell).
Even worse than that will be how the CC allows you to create a character without owning that book. Given how some players try to get away with not knowing exactly how an ability or spell works now, the CC will be enabling the bad kind of munchkinism. (Though I suspect my first house rule will be that you must have access to the book to use your weird talent/spell).

I would have thought that would be a rule anyway. If the DM doesn't accept that you can use X spell (proving that X spell exists, for a start), then you shouldn't be allowed to use that spell. "Power Word: Splat" might be delightfully useful, but without proof that you didn't just make it up, it'll just be so much space taken up on the character sheet.

On the other hand, I've never dealt with a munchkin in person, so I have no practical idea how they behave when the crunch comes. ^_^
I would have thought that would be a rule anyway. If the DM doesn't accept that you can use X spell (proving that X spell exists, for a start), then you shouldn't be allowed to use that spell. "Power Word: Splat" might be delightfully useful, but without proof that you didn't just make it up, it'll just be so much space taken up on the character sheet.

On the other hand, I've never dealt with a munchkin in person, so I have no practical idea how they behave when the crunch comes. ^_^

Well, the basic rule should be that all material needs DM approval for use. I certainly wouldn't approve any material that wasn't possessed by me or the player.
Well, the basic rule should be that all material needs DM approval for use. I certainly wouldn't approve any material that wasn't possessed by me or the player.

Does a bit torrent pdf count as possess? Or one of the many web sites that have the abilities statted out?
But on that same token, do we know if the functionality for adding homebrew races/classes/feats/etc will be present? (for some reason I could have sworn I read that it most likely will).

This is what I am wanting to know, too, especially if it will let you calculate for a hybrid race such as a full elf that is half drow/half high elf, etc.
One of the Wizards already told us that we could disable rule enforcement and that this would be the way to go for home brewed rules.

But what does this mean for additional or changed stuff, like new classes or variant number of skill points or whatever?

Can I add a new class to the database (my own or some shared)?

Can I define new languages to be used in my campaign?

If so, can I 'publish' this stuff so that the other players in my campaign using their own DDI accounts can use it as well?

What about material from other publishers? As some kind of trademark license will be in force, I might want to use their ideas as well.

Don't get me wrong, I really love it that the CC will, e.g., offer the options from all published books, regardless whether has activated it or not. This is a really big service. This utility seems to be better than I would have hoped for. On the other hand, such welcome moves beg for even more wishes...

Huldvoll

Baron von Bomberg

Huldvoll

 

---Baron von Bomberg

 

Former DDI subscriber

Does a bit torrent pdf count as possess? Or one of the many web sites that have the abilities statted out?

At my table, only legally acquired sources would count. If it's a (valid) goof in the back of a comic book, or something the player created or found on a fan website but is balanced, then sure.

However, I wouldn't brag too much about how one got around paying WotC for their books on a WotC forum.
What will happen if one purchases a used or secondhand book? Will the code for this book, ebook, and subsequent updates be available only to the original purchaser? I understand WotC's desire to sell as many books as possible and thus there is most likely a negative official opinion on the used-book trade, but it hardly seems fair for someone to sell their hard copy book, keep the online copy, and have someone else who paid for the book not get the additional online material. Has this been discussed at all in your secret meetings?

This is a very good question. Wizards?
A perfectly good reason to not enable child-like proportions. I will make no further comment....

I don't know if someone all ready brought this point up, but I don't see how this is any worse than letting people beat up on innocent adults. Beating up an innocent person regardless of age is wrong, but I don't think enough reason to not let people create characters that look like children etc... Really your reasoning is not all that different than the one some people make to not allow violence in games at all.

Most people aren't going to carry over beating up someone in a D&D game over into real life anyhow, and if they do, then they all ready have serious issues obviously.

I hope the character visualizer allows for very diverse options, such as age ranges from child to elder, different heights weights and fat and muscle percentages. Having other options for certain races such as wings for aasimar and tiefling would be great too, but this is probably asking too much. Then again maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.
So I could have a "Free Hat" game where you have to prevent the toddles from clustering together and forming a mass of sticky flesheating infants?
I have to say I'm inclined to agree on the child option. Being able to create kids for NPC townspeople and the like could be useful for certain quests/background "Sniff, sniff those bad men tortured my mother to find out how to use the family treasure could you pwease get it back?" or "Mwahahahahaha fools its really I the demon lord abronigroth, I assumed a childs form to get past your guard." For PC's it would have to at least be able to go to the minimum starting age's e.g. 17 for a wizard.
I have expanded information now that I am back in the office

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.

I have not finished reading thorugh all the postings, but, wouldn't it be beneficial to have a system setup similar to Guildwars for slots. You start off with like 4 slots, as you buy the supplements, you gain an additional 2 with the option to purchase more slots. I payed $50usd for Factions (the Main GW game) and around $30/each for the other supplements to the game, I now have 8 slots (I currently only use 4) available, there are no monthly fees, the only thing I pay for are the expansions to get the updated game content. Also, there is an option to buy additional slots. Now this might irritate a number or DMs that have a lot of recurring NPCs, but that might just help, unless of course the file sizes are just humongous. Initially this may not be an issue, but would be as more resources are issed and put online.

So, with all this said, why not try to implement something along those lines.

Besides, what would stop a player from giving their UID/Password out to trusted members of the group to gain access? I realize that would ruin any surprises a DM was working on so a DM may not do that, but still ... also, why not as another member has mentioned have guest accounts. they can access the books but, they cannot access any content created by the main account holder. The main account holder can, of course, access any character created by the guests to prevent cheating and so forth.

As for the pricing ... I cannot say what is too much, I think it would mainly depend on how customizeable (sp?) and user-friendly it is.

Also, there has been mention of second-hand books. The ones you buy from E-bay or a used book store, if there is a code, how would that be rectified? As someone pointed out, it would not be fair that the person who threw out the book would be able to continue to reap the benefits of online content w/o the books.

Maybe there could be an option that if you don't want the physical books to purchased strictly online copies? I mean obviously NOT for the same price as a hard-covered book, but for a price. As someone else pointed out, once you have the book(s) in a digital format and sent to the printing press for production it's very easy to just publish them online. I don't know how much you are charged by the publisher for a HC book, but I sincerely doubt it's the $30usd-$40usd that we pay, even from your online store. I can understand some upscaled charge from a retailer because there is chain, if you will, between you the creator and the retailer (B&N, for example). But, when it comes directly from WoTC/Hasbro, I would like to see a somewhat reduced charge. But, that is me.

I have to say I am not too happy about the idea of having a fourth edition so soon after 3.5, but ... if the main component of fourth edition is similar (like 3.5 was to 3.0) then it might not be as bad I fear. But, if the rules are drastically different (like 3.0 was to 2.x), then I may have issues.

To end, I know I would appreciate it if there was way to do something similar to this for those that use 3.5, that way if those that do not wish to make the transition to 4.0 will still have a digital area to work within. I was very sad when support for e-tools was stopped, and it wasn't the best program, but it worked for what I needed it to do, and it may be possible that even back then Wotc/Hasbro knew about this change and that is the reason for that decision, I don't know.

Anyway, just had to add my $.02.
What I would like to see for a character creation program would be a sort "mini players guide" which would allow you to pick same skill, feats, items, etc. as if you we're making a character for a computer RPG but result would be ready to use and neatly filled character sheet.
Style for filling the editor would be a mimic from baldurs gate or even from old AD&D "gold box" RPG's.

This could include various additional features such as
  • Campaing setting -data tables for various settings such as eberron and FR (purchase with a coupon code behind the book maybe ?)
  • Adding graphics of your liking or changing between different styles for customizing your character sheet.
  • Spell lists of various levels for all base classes.
  • Ability to fully modify the data files by adding your own campaign rules , races, spells etc.
Also, there has been mention of second-hand books. The ones you buy from E-bay or a used book store, if there is a code, how would that be rectified? As someone pointed out, it would not be fair that the person who threw out the book would be able to continue to reap the benefits of online content w/o the books.

I agree with a lot of the ideas you presented in your post, especially the one about buying digital copies of a book for a (IMO greatly) reduced charge.

But about reaping the benefits of digital content after selling a book, I have to play devil's advocate here... So I ask, how it it not fair? I would posit that it's not fair to limit a seller of that book, and here's why I think that.

Say I subscribe to the DI, and then I buy a book, and then I spend the "small nominal fee" on getting a digital copy of that book. And now I go and sell the book on eBay. In essence I've paid WotC 3 times for the content in that book, one of which is a recurring cost that should I discontinue would eliminate all access to any purchased content. Why is it so unfair if I turned around and divested myself of the physical book in order to recover some of my investment and conserve space? I don't think it is at all. If anything, it would be unfair NOT to be able to do that.

If I paid for the book, it's mine to do with as I please. If I turn around and sell in on eBay to someone with the understanding that I've used the code and they accept that, and I'm obviously taking a loss on it, how is that a problem?

Sure, maybe it deprives WotC of a sale here and there, but if those people had no intention of buying it full price at retail to begin with, is it really a loss? At the same time, it's putting the game into the hands of more people, people that may want the physical books but can't or don't want to pay full price every time. Even those players will eventually purchase other material or game products at retail, or at the very least indirectly influence others who will (keeping the customer base steady/growing).

Thanks for hearing me out.
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