D&D Insider FAQ, clairification question?

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The D&D Insider FAQ

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dndifaq

addresses this question...

If I purchase a subscription for a year, what content will I be able to access after my subscription expires?
After your subscription ends, you will no longer be able to access the subscription portion of the D&D Insider website. However, you will retain access to any PDFs of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines downloaded during your subscription. You will also retain access to any digital books, minis, and tiles you’ve purchased.

I would like to know more about digital books. It states in another section of the FAQ that D&DInsider includes everything including the magazines but the magazines can also be purchased separately. Will digital copies of the published books also be available? If so, in what format?

The reason I am asking is that I currently use the 3.5 SRD (downloaded to a keychain drive) to aid in prepping games especially as I can do it at work (while waiting on long "runs"), at home, or even while traveling (using my laptop) without having to tote books and without having to do a lot of typing (cut-paste is your friend).

Since I know that a 4th Ed SRD will not provide direct access to rules like the 3.5 SRD did, I am concerned that my ease of prepping will be degraded. I do not want to have to maintain online access nor an online subscription forever to maintain access to electronic rules. I am perfectly willing to pay a little extra per book I purchase to get the electronic copy that goes with it. But I do not want to "lease" the electronic copy.

Any further info in the FAQ to expand or clarify this would be appreciated.
Since I know that a 4th Ed SRD will not provide direct access to rules like the 3.5 SRD did, I am concerned that my ease of prepping will be degraded. I do not want to have to maintain online access nor an online subscription forever to maintain access to electronic rules. I am perfectly willing to pay a little extra per book I purchase to get the electronic copy that goes with it. But I do not want to "lease" the electronic copy.

Any further info in the FAQ to expand or clarify this would be appreciated.

I'm not quite sure I get what you're asking, since you say you know you won't get direct rules, access, but I'll try to answer what I think you're asking.

The old system of "buy a book, use a code, unlock a digital book" that was originally presented is gone (we're told the technology couldn't be implemented reliably, so it was scrapped).

Instead, all subscribers to DDI will have full access to the Rules Database - a search able index of all the assorted mechanics to the game.

However, if you're a fan of PDFs you *will* be able to purchase PDFs of the books. These aren't tied to your physical purchase in any way I've heard of, and I'm not even sure if they'd be tied to your DDI account anymore, however.

That would seem to indicate that buying a PDF will be at the raw cost of that PDF (no discounts applied for DDI/physical books).

I haven't seen anything on what that cost may be.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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I'm not quite sure I get what you're asking, since you say you know you won't get direct rules, access, but I'll try to answer what I think you're asking.

Sorry about being unclear.

The old system of "buy a book, use a code, unlock a digital book" that was originally presented is gone (we're told the technology couldn't be implemented reliably, so it was scrapped).

Instead, all subscribers to DDI will have full access to the Rules Database - a search able index of all the assorted mechanics to the game.

My concern was that the DDI Rules Database would be the only option for rules access as it would require online access. Online access limits me mostly to my at-home computer rather than my laptop or work computer.

However, if you're a fan of PDFs you *will* be able to purchase PDFs of the books. These aren't tied to your physical purchase in any way I've heard of, and I'm not even sure if they'd be tied to your DDI account anymore, however.

That would seem to indicate that buying a PDF will be at the raw cost of that PDF (no discounts applied for DDI/physical books).

I haven't seen anything on what that cost may be.

Do you have a link or links to where PDFs for the books has been confirmed?

The last part of what you said concerns me depending on the pricing scheme for PDFs of the books. I'm not going to pay full price for a PDF, especially having already purchased the printed books.
Do you have a link or links to where PDFs for the books has been confirmed?

Nothing confirming it, no, but there IS a quote from Scott Rouse that indicates that's the likely format:
http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?p=3850058#post3850058
It will likely be a PDF type document that lives on your HD so you can use offline.

Now, admittedly this is also from when they were planning on the inexpensive unlocks, but I don't see why changing that would change the delivery format. Anything's possible of course.

The last part of what you said concerns me depending on the pricing scheme for PDFs of the books. I'm not going to pay full price for a PDF, especially having already purchased the printed books.

Well, again, that's all just my personal speculation. I could be way off (or I could be dead on). Only time will really tell.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

So, this "rules database".. has every new book that comes out?

Hmm. That might actually be worth the 14.95 a month, to get access to every single new peice of content legally.

Alternatively, if the pdf books are cheap, that might be a decent alternative to getting some splat books that you wouldnt normally use a lot at the table.



Assuming that the "guest passes" for the table are reasonable, then DNDI might actually not be a rip-off.

(Except for v-minis of course)
So, this "rules database".. has every new book that comes out?

Hmm. That might actually be worth the 14.95 a month, to get access to every single new peice of content legally.

More accurately, you get access to all currently published content. So if I don't subscribe for the first year of D&DI, but decide to play a 4e game for a few months, I can pay for those months and have access to all of those resources. At least, that's what I presume based on the information we have so far.
More accurately, you get access to all currently published content. So if I don't subscribe for the first year of D&DI, but decide to play a 4e game for a few months, I can pay for those months and have access to all of those resources. At least, that's what I presume based on the information we have so far.

So, let's say in October 2009 a new book comes out, "Races of Potatoes". If i was subscribed during October 2009, I could read the entire Races of Potatoes book online as part of my subscription, create new characters and dungeons and campaigns set in the Potatoedeep, or even pay a cheap fee to download a PDF of Races of Potatoes, without having to buy the Races of Potatoes book?

Isn't that going to cut into book sales?
So, let's say in October 2009 a new book comes out, "Races of Potatoes". If i was subscribed during October 2009, I could read the entire Races of Potatoes book online as part of my subscription, create new characters and dungeons and campaigns set in the Potatoedeep, or even pay a cheap fee to download a PDF of Races of Potatoes, without having to buy the Races of Potatoes book?

Isn't that going to cut into book sales?

My information is only what I have gleaned from what little bit WotC has disclosed and is in no way official or final, but according to what little bit of information that I have, you would also gain access to content from all of the previously published books.

This does not necessarily mean that you would be reading a full copy of the book online rather than as a PDF. Just that you could go into the character sheet tool and lookup character options with full text descriptions. Full copies of PDFs will still need to be purchased.
That would make sense, I suppose... so in my example you could look up the stat bonuses of a Potatelf, the 3rd level spells of a Spudmancer, but not descriptions of the methods of transportation available to people living in the world of Fryrun?
That would make sense, I suppose... so in my example you could look up the stat bonuses of a Potatelf, the 3rd level spells of a Spudmancer, but not descriptions of the methods of transportation available to people living in the world of Fryrun?

Amaril's vision matches what I've been piecing together from WotC - and based on that vision, I'd say "yes".
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

That would make sense, I suppose... so in my example you could look up the stat bonuses of a Potatelf, the 3rd level spells of a Spudmancer, but not descriptions of the methods of transportation available to people living in the world of Fryrun?

That is my assumption, which is fine for me. The only things I'd be interested in buying in PDF format is stuff that is heavy with fluff, such as Eberron books. Then I could search through all PDFs for a certain keyword or phrase and find all instances in all books where that topic is mentioned. Adobe Reader provides the convenience of clicking the search result to see the exact location of that occurrence.
It would be nice if there were flat text versions of the 'fluff' also available.. just to make them easier to skim (since a PDF is page-by-page and reading stuff on a screen makes page-by-page kind of difficult)
It would be nice if there were flat text versions of the 'fluff' also available.. just to make them easier to skim (since a PDF is page-by-page and reading stuff on a screen makes page-by-page kind of difficult)

My personal desire would be to have a searchable online encyclopedia maintained by WotC that could consolidate all of the fluff text. Imagine Eberron for example. Every time a new supplement comes out and it expands upon the description and fluff about a particular topic (e.g. - Cyre/The Mournland), The entry for the mournland could be updated on the site. As of right now, we have several books that each describe the Mournland/Cyre with some information being repeated across all of them. If they were consolidated, you'd have a single resource that included everything.

This is actually what I am doing with my own 3.5 Eberron books now that 3.5 is at an end. I'm culling together all of the supplements into single entries that I am maintaining electronically.