There should be a link in the podcast pages to a email address or something where we can e-mail suggested topics of discussion. I like it when they address players more than promote new books.
Don't get me wrong, I think the book discussions are the best way of finding out how badly I need the next book.
This is a great idea, and I can only wish they'd post new episodes weekly
To the powers that be,
I love the podcast, just have one criticism: can we lose the "hot seat" portion of the broadcast. It's actually quite lame. Surely we can find something more interesting and useful to talk about.
Aw, I think the hot seat is kinda fun. Gives you a little bit of an insight into how the complexities of the rules work.
But does it really? I mean, how often are you going to bother with centaur riding paladins? Maybe it's just me but I've always found rule questions profoundly uninteresting.
Old Post Show
Definitely never going to bother with the centaurs bearing an attacking rider, that's true. What I did glean from that question, though, was the prospect of using two lancesin a charge, and how Mike tried to address it. As a DM, I'd never let that happen, but not because of the 'centaur allowing a rider' rule, but rather because it goes against the spirit of the rules. Since when can two creatures attack as one, coordinating those attacks to do more damage on the same initiative count?
I would probably allow one of them to use the "Aid Another" action, but not give them two charge attacks. Trying to coordinate two lances hitting the target at the exact same time, and presuming the target continues to stand straight after the first lance has hit it... that's a gamble. It goes against the grain of the D&D rules.
I WOULD, however, allow a player to attempt the same thing as a combat stunt in Iron Heroes. Coordinating something gutsy, risky, and weird like that is what I think Iron Heroes is all about. Also, since you're fighting standard D&D creatures without the use of magic or healing in Iron Heroes, you need all the help you can get.
So yeah, I just thought it was interesting to think about that. Not necessary--it will never come up in my game--but I thought it was an interesting topic. In the same way, I thought the results of the hypothetical situation of a polymorphed creature being swallowed were interesting. D&D 3.x has fixed things so that in general no rule/ability should allow a loophole to bypass the normal process of things. For example, in 2nd Ed, one of our PCs used to use Shrink spells on guards' helmets to crush their heads and kill them instantly with a low-level spell. Nothing in 2nd Ed explicitly says you can't do this (like it does in 3rd Ed).
So, the question of the polymorph/swallow was interesting for that same reason. My guess was that the creature would appear next to the creature that had swallowed it. That's the spirit of 3rd Ed. However, as DM, as long as it wasn't a PC, I would probably rule in favor of having the swallowed creature do the coolest thing story-wise, whether perishing in the creature's innards or bursting forth from its chest.
Anyway, that's why I found the speculation interesting. Those situations will probably never come up in my game, but I enjoy a little of the "meta-talk" of the rules sometimes.
Something just occured to me. How about interviewing some of the artists? I'd love to learn more about Wayne Reynolds and Kyle Hunter to name just two. I'm sure that they are more than just artists they are in all likelyhood, fans of the game as well.
Just a thought.
Dorkness Rising? Please.
I'd be fine with topics like this if this were a weekly podcast but to blow an entire episode on this is a waste of time. Time best devoted to other subjects.
Guys, I know that you eat, breathe and sleep D&D and are probably bored to tears of it by now. You want to talk about something else and this movie fits the bill and also is marginally related to D&D. It's fine if you want to devote 5 or 10 minutes to this but an entire podcast is a bit much. All the meta-game talk makes me want to put a bullet in my head. It's like beating a dead horse. For that type of talk just go listen to any of the other RPG podcasts out there.
Dorkness rising, although quaint and interesting in a footnote kind of way hardly makes for interesting material when you have 50+ books in your library you could be talking about. Hell, just grab one of the writers and ask him or her to discuss a recently released project. You've done it in the past. I know you can do it again.
How about having Keith Baker as a recurring guest. Have him give us a 5 minutes on Eberron. Same with Eric Boyd and the Realms.
Sorry to be so hard on you guys but I look forward to podcast and was unimpressed with the last episode.
I'm hoping for a killer podcast for the Magic Item Compendium. I was tired of the hotseat after the first one.
Ok, let's keep the posts polite. That includes attributing rude quotes to people who didn't make them. Better yet, keep the discussion on the topic of the thread, not other guests. Thank you.
yeah, i think the podcasts are taking a long time to come up.
i enjoy listening to them (ok, the last one wasn't great).
i hope the next one will be about dungeonscape, giving ideas about unique adventures and stuff.
what's keeping the new podcast so long.
it's been a month now, and april is waiting at the door :P.
at least let them give note for when the new one is expected.
or were mike and andy put down by the bad podcasts from last month.
It's out now! And it's a whopping good one. Thanks, David and Mike, for keeping me awake at work today.
yeah... it took a long time but it's finally here.
i must say, it was quite interesting. i'm not dissapointed.
next time... magic items. should be interesting.
I liked the podcast.
I think they brought up some good points in regards to the attitude towards dungeons (i.e. players & DMs who don't want to run them because they appear limiting, as opposed to wilderness/city/rpg adventures where the choices are endless).
I love what Jason Buhlman and Rich Burlew did with Dungeonscape. In that book, they detail ways to make a dungeon an environment that can be just as rich in role-playing and decision making as any other. WotC's new view on traps is also pretty cool, pointing out the problems traps pose in keeping a game session running.
David Noonan says he doesn't think anyone noticed that he didn't use any door traps in The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde. As DM, I did notice that, but my players don't seem to have caught on yet. They're 2/3 of the way through and they're still stopping, listening, checking, etc. It's funny-- the days that the rogue can't make it to the game session, the games move faster because the party doesn't have many ways to avoid traps. Thus, they kick in the door and take on the monsters. I think I'll be adjusting the trap procedure, making rolls for the rogue or giving little clues, while letting the player know that they don't have to formally declare it in the regular course of things. It's a step away from tradition, but man does it ever slow the game down. Encounter traps (in Dungeonscape) are awesome.
At any rate, the discussion was very enjoyable. I like dungeons nowadays, but after Slaughtergarde I'm going to take a break from them-- from BIG dungeons, anyway. As cool as they really can be, they're definitely not my preference. I DO like small dungeons, though. Small sites, ruins, caves, and the like can really fit well into an adventure that's included role-play, overland travel, a civilized area, etc.
I enjoyed this latest podcast as well. Thanks to Mike and David for taking time out of their busy day to put it together. The guests were also fun to listen to. I'm surprised and a little dissapointed they didn't tell us more about Dungeonscape. I buy a lot of WotC's D&D books and Dungeonscape is one I'm on the fence about. It would have been nice to get a little more detail on it.
I absolutely LOVE the Podcasts.
I'm a new DM, well relatively new, my campaign has been going on for 5 weeks or so. These Podcasts have helped me immensely; I can't really describe how helpful they have been. The Podcasts have broadened my D&D horizons with out actually spending hours and hours at the gaming table. I have learned so much... I know I'm sounding a bit like a broken record here but... I just enjoy them so much.
Anyways, I do have a complaint (or 2). First off these Podcasts are so fun, so fresh, so informative that 1 a month just doesn't satisfy. I need more. If that is too much to ask, and it probably is, I would love for the podcasts to be extended, form an hour (or so) to maybe an hour and a half. Squeezing an extra segment in would... It would make my month! :D
And finally, thank you for making these Podcasts.
As much as I enjoyed the recent podcast on dungeons, I think the shows are better when there are 2-3 segments instead of just 1. I think the latest podcast ended too abruptly.
Podcast: MAGIC ITEMS.
Again, a great discussion on magic items. Lots of great ideas are posited by the designers in this one, including an excellent discourse on how magic items in fiction (the One Ring, Stombringer) differ from the function/purpose of magic items in the game.
In fiction, a magic item is usually a part of the plot, so its effects may be mysterious or unpredictable. In D&D, magic items usually have a fixed purpose to help characters overcome obstacles.
Anyway, it was a cool talk. I liked it.
Yep, another good podcast.
As far as buying magical items go, I liked what... someone who I forget now, said about the process. "The character got a new sword and spent 100,000 gold throwing an enormous party for the entire city for a whole week." It was an interesting example of how to interpret the gold cost of things in a slightly-less literal manner.
Here's a magic item rules question: That rule about weapons and armour requiring at least a base +1 to get other special abilities. Is this a good rule? I'm not entirely so sure.
Also, no discussion of intelligent items?? Boooo.
Artifacts... man. Back in the day, I think everyone was too scared to use artifacts. They were always shrinking you 1" every time you used them, or changing your alignment to CE, or something similarly awful.
A bit of discussion on charged items versus permanent items might have been useful too.
Another rules question: All those magic item crafting feats -- Craft Ring, Craft Rod, etc etc -- are those really a good idea? Heck, the entire topic of PCs crafting magic items probably deserved a bit of discussion.
Mike, in the "About the Hosts" section, nice to see you managed to get yourself described as "well-endowed".
Can't wait for the next one!
One thing that did rub me the wrong way was the implication that magic items act as the PCs' rewards in-between levels, without which the PCs would have insufficient motivating goals. The designers seemed to frown on DMs who would not give magic items to the PCs.
I'm confused by this for two reasons:
1. Mike Mearls wrote Iron Heroes, a system that works because it removes magic items and replaces them with super cool stuff the characters can physically do.
2. Yes, most of us who play the game DO love fantasy fiction. We strive to tell stories that are cool and interesting. The closer a story is to a D&D session (where you can "hear the dice rolling in the prose," as it were), the less interesting it generally is to anyone who wasn't present for it.
At certain points in this thread, people have pointed out that D&D is a tool that you can use to tell whatever kind of story you like-- that you can role-play as much or as little as you care to, whether or not role-playing is built into the crunchy core mechanics of the game sytem itself, outside the Charisma/Diplomacy/Bluff scores.
Why then should we imply that magic items are necessary for PC motivation? Isn't a good story enough? Dramatic conflicts for characters? New allies and enemies? Can't developing story drive the PCs' actions and provide significant rewards that make the player feel like he/she has accomplished something?
It just seemed as though in the podcast the designers were implying that there were two choices: bore your PCs with long, obscure histories of your campaign world, or give them magic items. I'm sure that's not what they meant to say, but it certainly sounded like it.
Maybe the problem is that teaching strong storytelling techniques is beyond the scope of the game, or maybe it's assumed that most players aren't interested in that, and maybe both of those assumptions are correct. However... there are a lot of players/DMs out here for whom it is THE most important aspect of the game. Aren't there?
I like to think that a steady stream of magic item rewards is nice insurance against players who aren't crazy about the story. I'd like to think that I'm half-decent at the story end of DMing, but I also know that there are times when my skills aren't up to snuff - I'm tired, everyone is in the mood to socialize or just stomp monsters rather than think, and so on.
The way I see it, magic items/rewards are a net plus for motivating the players. I don't think they replace an interesting story, but they can add a flat increase to the players' fun regardless of what the DM is doing. If your narrative is awesome, mechanical rewards make it better. If it's blah, mechanical rewards still make it better.
Does that make sense?
I didn't think I'd be into this podcast when I saw the "Drow" theme pop up on my iPod, but on the contrary I was really surprised by it.
I suppose the most surprising thing was how Dave & Mike started off by identifying the two camps-- the ones who LOVE drow and the ones who HATE them-- and identifying (correctly, I think) how the hate seems to stem from Drizzt and the "stereotypical" good drow (which has been parodied so well in Order of the Stick).
I think the reason a lot of people love Drizzt/drow is because the idea of the misunderstood lone wolf (who happens to have extraordinary abilities) is a romantic and attractive notion to many gamers who may feel like outcasts themselves. The same archetype is attractive in many guises (Wolverine, Raistlin...).
I think people hate Drizzt/drow because fans of that character latch onto that idea and want to play a clone of him. It's hard being in a party with someone playing a "loner" type, especially when that PC wants to run around and do things on his own or keep information to himself because he's "role-playing." That kind of thing tends to annoy the other players.
At the gaming table, people are going to play what they like. I like Gaius Baltar and Colonel Tigh on Battlestar Galactica, so yes, I'd love to play a character that resembled one of them. My only hope for role-play is that players will use the template of their favorite character as inspiration for what they ultimately come up with, not steal whole cloth from often replicated characters like Drizzt. If they want to play a drow loner, that's cool-- I just want to see how their drow loner is different than all the other drow loners out there.
But hey, if an animated Drizzt movie came out, I'd buy it, and I pre-ordered my D&D Icons: Legend of Drizzt pack from Amazon several months ago, so regardless of my personal feelings on Drizzt, I'm spending money on him.
Good stuff, Mike & Dave.
Loved the new podcast, i'd say it was a strong one. But please please... BRING BACK THE HOTSEAT.
I enjoyed the podcast as always.
Thought about the fudging/anti-fudging discussion a bit, and I find I fall more on the Mearls side if I'm running homebrew and more on the Noonan side if I'm running a published adventure.
Mearls said that in interest of the game, he may occasionally fudge a little in the interest of the player's enjoyment.
Noonan said that he never fudges rolls anymore because now that he has established that trust with his players, they know that the dice are never loaded, and so the game is always fair.
> When I ran Noonan's Slaughtergarde module last winter, I did everything straight up and by the book. That was fine for Slaughtergarde, a module that was (I assume) tested for balance. However, in the course of my own homebrew games, sometimes I'm not quite certain whether an encounter is entirely balanced or not. In weird situations where I've made an encounter too difficult or too ambiguous, I'll happily make use of "circumstance modifiers." I'd say that if the players don't figure out a tough encounter I've created, 85% of the time it's my fault. They shouldn't have to suffer for that.
Keep in mind that magic items also make up for the things PC's cannot do.
Iron Heroes is a 'low-magic' setting. To be balanced against monsters, the PC's will either have to be 'more capable' then standard core classes, or they have to have magical items to make up the shortfall.
This is why you get things like the Vow Of Poverty. The whole point of the Vow is to not be reliant on magic items, but to do that, your character has to be tremendously, innately potent. In effect, all the effects of the Vow have to duplicate what you reasonably should be capable of as a character with magical items at that level.
Iron Heroes does the same sort of thing by changing how the game really works. Import IH PC's into a D@D world, and they break VERY quickly with the cumulative buffing ability.
So, in effect, magical items just represent 'incremental increases' in ability. In IH, they call them 'class effects'. In d20, it's called 'gold spent by level on Stuff.' One is just a little bit more flexible then the other.
Congrats on getting a direct link from the main DnD page now! Very well deserved.
Please update the RSS.
A streaming show is NOT a "podcast" because I cannot listen to it on my "ipod".
Yeah, it's not showing up in iTunes under the Podcasts yet....
There was something wrong with the feed and it wasnt showing the last two podcasts on itunes. It took a while but I got it working.
Listened to episode 14 and 13. 14 was as good as anyone could have done when they had been given direct orders not to be specific. As for 13, I found that there were a lot of interesting points. However, It'd have been nice if either Dave Noonan or Mike Mearls had expounded on their distaste for the bard, what they disliked mechanically or role-playing wise. I know there's a lot of speculation that bard won't make the 4E cut, some have even gone as far as to use direct quotes from podcast episode 13 to support their claims. So in the end, perhaps the topic will once again come up during conversation about 4th edition. All in all, I like the mailbag aspect of the podcast, it would be nice to focus mailbag entries, perhaps one week asking for entries only on a specific subject or hand-picking some questions about a focused topic.
Perhaps mailbags will have to cease for now, if the podcasts are going to be focused heavily on parsing out specific 4th edition info.
I'm interested, for some future podcasts, to hear more about some of the products that were 'testbed' concepts for things that eventually went into 4th edition. The official number that's been thrown around a lot is 2 years in production, and in the podcast he said they've been working on it in a less official way for a lot longer.
So I'm curious what classes or concepts were sort of explicitly thought of as "this is a test to see how it'll work", or what wasn't really that, but ended up becoming a first attempt at what has been since refined and added.
I think it's obvious that Tome of Battle was a first attempt at some concepts that will be showing up later -- if nothing else, Star Wars Saga Edition includes the maneuver system as its method of administering force powers, and it seems like a good and stable way to handle certain abilities. But some other books that came out during the design process -- the Magic of Incarnum, the Tome of Magic, even the Complete Arcane with the Warlockn class -- Were they considered (beyond their use in a game) as proofs-of-concept for elements that have (or have not) ended up in 4th edition?
Mike & Dave,
Thanks for the peek behind the curtain. I always enjoy what you guys have to say.
I was a pro stage actor in my twenties. The announcement of 4e at Gen Con was like one of those shows where the actors onstage are trying hard to deliver the laugh lines, but the audience just doesn't think the show is that funny. The actor punches the line, waits... awkward silence... and the actor moves on, now feeling anxious and nervous.
I don't know if that's how Chris Perkins felt up there, but that's what it looked like. It was no more comfortable for those of us in the audience. The main reason, I think, is that those of us who have been the biggest fans and supported the system the most are the ones who are the hardest hit. This is only one of my bookshelves:
Even at Amazon prices, that's about $25/book. There are about 40 books on this shelf. The math on that is not pretty. It's unreasonable to expect that there won't be quite a lot of frustration.
But now for the positives...
Mike and Dave, I feel that there has been constant improvement in the game, and your names have been on a lot of the best stuff. It's really hard to deny that. And though Mike never really talks about Iron Heroes, I think it's an excellent design and it's the thing that queued me in to the brilliance of Mearls as a designer.
Sure, we all grumbled about 3.5 coming out so quickly on the heels of 3.0, but again... I can't deny that there were some marked improvements in the mechanics of the game.
Listening to the podcast and reading some of the 4e articles, I do believe that 4e is a better system. I hear the grumblings about WotC being a company that needs to crank out materials to make new editions to sell more product, and while I'm sure that's true to an extent, I honestly believe that those materials are being crafted to the best possible level by designers who are passionate about the game and making the game the best game it can be. It may sound like I'm spouting the company line here, but I've been contemplating this for the last week and I truly feel that it is the case.
I have one big concern, and while I realize that Mike and Dave are really busy working on the game and putting out fires, I would really, really, really like to know the answer to this somewhat complex 4e question: "How customizable will 4e be?"
In other words, with the streamlining and the simplification, I get that the basic essence of D&D is going to be there; it's going to be really easy for anybody to quickly learn how to go into a dungeon, kill orcs, and have fun taking their treasure. That's the most basic level, and so far it looks as though the design is making that bare essence of the game very strong, very easy, very cool.
But say I want to play fantasy in the style of Elric or Conan? Or what if I want to run a low fantasy game in the style of Martin's "A Game of Thrones," rife with scheming lords, their (all too human) knights, and the gritty peasantry of the land?
How easy will 4e be for DMs to customize the system around their own fantasy preferences? Will D&D be a more universal fantasy system, or are we getting more into the nitty gritty of the specific essence of D&D with 4e?
Since the guys were discussing responses to the 4th Ed announcement, I'd like to add my take.
I'd been very interested in some of the stuff I'd seen from Star Wars Saga Edition (not least the skills), and had been wondering how to adapt and retrofit it into my game/s. On hearing of 4th Ed, my two responses were:
(1) That's about a year sooner than I expected
(2) Hey, now I don't need to worry about incompatibilities and oddities of integrating Saga; I can just wait 12 months (less with playtest and previews, perhaps) and it will be done for me.
I've enjoyed all of the podcasts. They have always offered a tremendous insight into D&D, and their enthusiasm is contagious.
My wife and I started listening earlier this year and went through all of them. They are always a treat, and we look forward to listening to them.
My own experience with magic items has been lowsy. When I had been a player, I almost never got them. I can recall getting only 2: a poisoned dagger when I was a berserker and an intelligent holy sword that dominated my paladin. I think this was due to that I wasn't a squeaky wheel, and many of the games were DM'd by my little brother. Most of the more vocal players received magic items, but these too were moments of randomized hell. I can certainly understand the other extreme where players always get exactly what they want when they want it and become spoiled. I would like to think there could be a happy middle ground. Now that I'm a DM, I have no problem handing out magic items that will make players happy. If they come across a magic item they can't use from a defeated NPC, it will hold value to somebody willing to buy it from them eventually. Without having them have to ask every passer-by until they're blue in the face from wasted rolelaying, I just pop in a store that makes the process centralized and fast. I think the alternative would be to have that apparatus of kwalish on the front lawn with a "free" sign.
I also like the hot seat and the mailbag. The only 4ed question I've had concerns psionics since I'm an avid psionics fan. It's all speculation for now, but should it become included I have confidence that it will also receive improvement. It's already come so far since 2ed.
Hey, just wanted to say that the podcast is great, both the D&D Podcast and Gamer Radio Zero's podcast really brighten up my day whenever there's a new one released.
Great podcast this week. The more I hear, the more I'm interested in playing 4e.
One of the things I love about the podcasts is listening to the rationale and thought process behind the process. I liked Mike's assessment of the community's reaction to 4e. I think it was spot on. Also liked Dave's comment about how 3e is not obsolete ("Why would I trash a book I lovingly helped to write and develop?").
I'm looking forward to trying out the social challenges. My group is a mixed bag. All of them enjoy their characters, but some of them are happier "acting" them, others are happier playing their characters in a more removed manner. It seems like the social challenges might help tie players together in this regard.
Regarding magic items and the D&D economy, Dave hit it on the head when he talked about how magic items are a reward system of D&D, a kind of contract between DM and player. I've always viewed it this way as well, though I've disallowed the purchase of magic items. That has always been one of the things that broke my willing suspension of disbelief in D&D. The purchase of magic items is such a thoroughly modern idea, I can't deal with it in D&D.
"Are you missing your attack roles? Tired of that old +4 sword that just doesn't cut it? Try the new Hack-Slasher 5000! With an extra +1 to hit and damage, you can kill monsters dead in fewer rounds than ever before! Operating at 3.6 ghz and speeds up to ISO 3200 with an adamantium alloy frame, custom black leather grip, and jewel-encrusted pommel, it's a steal for a mere 80k gp, this month on sale for 75k. Available at Kohls, J.C. Penny, Sears, and wherever fine Magic Items are sold. Stay ahead of the competition. Get yours today!"
We use the same sort of rewards system, but it's more a case of me (as DM) finding out what the players want and then making that available to them through their efforts. Instead of awarding equivalent gold, I'll try to give them equivalent rewards. I hope 4e has something like that; I foresee the weird D&D economy someday changing to a system that makes more sense and encourages DMs and players to work together for good rewards earned as the result of action, as opposed to shopping.
Getting treasure in gold pieces is like the DM giving you a gift card and saying "Okay, now go buy what you want." Definitely, gift cards are WAAAY better than socks. But a well thought out gift is better than a gift card. If the DM and players are communicating, the DM knows exactly what the players want (don't they ALWAYS discuss it after every session? "If I only had..."). Ah, anyway... Here's to hoping for an altered rewards system in the mechanics. Buying magic items has always been silly.
"Nice sword. Where did you get it?"
"This? Won it from a dragon."
"Wow. Cool. Really?"
"Yup. Yours is nice too. How did you come to win it?"
"Magic item store."
"Yeah. You know, it gets the job done."
"... Right. Well, good luck with that."
Just listened to the 4e Monster Manual podcast featuring James Wyatt. There's some really excellent work going into 4e, and the vague rumors are coming much more clearly into focus. Around Gen Con, I think there was a discrepancy regarding how D&D would play in 4e-- the rumor was that it was going to be like the miniatures game. This seemed to alarm a lot of folks. However, what I'm coming to understand now about 4e now is how it appears to borrow from DDM in all the ways that DDM is strong.
The DDM stat cards communicate a creature's special abilities in one or two lines of concise text, and THAT becomes what the miniature is about. I like how 4e is distilling monsters down to their core essentials, figuring out what they're about and putting that into action. If anything, 4e seems like it gives you more of just about everything that makes D&D cool and takes away the stuff that makes it obscure. I say Huzzah to that.
Good episode all around.
I couldn't distinguish the name of the monster(s) that was mentioned a couple times as being particularly scary -- "karrocknest" or something?
A lot of the comments were kind of DM-centric, which isn't a bad thing, but given that there's generally more players around than DMs, it would have been interesting to hear what some of the players think about the way the new monsters work.
I don't know if the Wizards folks read this thread, but I do want to comment on something I heard during this podcast.
I do *not* like the idea of spreading classic core monsters among multiple books. The example given was frost giants. In fact, the person saying this noted that Wizards intends to make multiple Player's Handbooks core. Are we going to see 4e classic classes spread over multiple publications?
To me, this seems like a fairly cynical way to get customers to shell out more money. I'm an grumpy old guy, but I have to say everything I see about 4e says "more expensive" and that's a dissuader. Maybe I'm grumpy, old and *cheap*.
I wholeheartedly agree with hal_bowman. The core rulebooks should remain the basic 3, PHB, DMG, and MM. I am all for expansions, especially additional MMs, but the first 3 should be the core rulebooks. You should not need to buy 10 different "core" books, especially when it comes to things like the PHB.
DON'T DO IT WOTC!!!!!
i am willing to accept some creatures that we think of as 3E core will not be in the first MM and will appear across other manuals.
this gives room for each MM to be a collection of classic and new monsters right from the get-go rather than the early monster manuals being front loaded with classic D&D monsters and the later Monster manuals suffering as a result, with a lot of variant classic monsters or just more monsters of classic types, particularly the three D's (dragons, devils and demons).
but then again what is considered "core" means nothing to me, i have always run games with very little book restrictions.
i defiantly like the idea of an exceptions approach to monster design. that each monsters abilities are exceptions to the rules rather than reflected by existing rules, because i definitely opens up the creative options for mosnters.
also the idea that a monster's encounter level is less critical. that a monster might be able to start its lifespan in a campaign as a high level power boss, and as the PCs increase in level slowly become a bodyguard, to guards, to fodder as they become weaker compared to the PCs, but still a viable encounter option.
RogerC has a good point about the SRD. I hadn't thought of that. If the 4e SRD is updated with all core book MM (and class, race) material then no problem, at least for me.
The podcast feed is not working on WinAmp.
I used to get it through iTunes, but I'm moving away from it--too bloated for my taste. WinAmp doesn't use my processor or memory when I don't have it running.
Anyway, I get all my other podcasts (even with video) with no problems, only the D&D podcast is not working. I'm using the URL: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/rsspodcast.xml
It probably is some iTunes specific thing you are using on the feed.
Please, please, can you look into it? I'm not going back to iTunes and I really want this podcast. I guess I could go to the website and listen to it there, but I rather have it with the others.
Well that takes me back.
I recall research several medieval works on the subject when I was working on the article. The Lesser Key of Solomon was particularly useful; that's where a lot of the visual descriptions came from. The Toronto reference library at Yonge & Bloor had a few shelves that would have fit in well in Giles's library. Remember that this was just a couple of years after Niven & Pournelle wrote Inferno, also an important inspiration, particularly where it implied that Hell wasn't static and that it changed over time.
I had written into TSR and asked why Asmodeus was in charge (it was the original Monster Manual, right?), and I was told that that's the way Gary Gygax wanted it. I had to figure out how to get from Dante's Inferno to the setting where Asmodeus was on top. The idea of demons plotting against each other for supremacy came to me and amused me, so I ran with it.
It happens that Ed Greenwood, who also was working in Toronto in the '80s and '90s, asked me a few questions about my research when he was working on Planescape.
Btw, "devils" are lawful evil, "demons" are chaotic evil. Devils dress better; demons smell worse. Hope that helps. Insofar as there is ambiguity, my sense is that sometimes devils would break rules and got banished to the Abyss, and sometimes demons who wanted to settle down and hold some territory would fudge their resumes and move over to the lawful side.
Working near Washington as I do now, I have no trouble visualizing a city where people are busy with their daily lives and jobs, and yet where everyone you'll meet is evil.
I'm pleased people still remember the article. Amusing podcast, btw.
--Alexander von Thorn
Today's podcast covered some examples of 4e changes to the Warlock and the Fighter, and gave listeners a good feel for how balance testing works in broad strokes.
I'm enjoying what I've heard thus far about Teleport. That spell has been a thorn in the DM's side for a while now. I've had the energy to complain about it lately, both here and here. I like the apparent tactical aspects of the spell as hinted at in 4e. It's the "avoid adventure" aspects of it that drive me buggy.
Logan Bonner had a cool example of how his (custom) gnome used Teleport to escape from the mouth of a purple worm. Steve Winter shared some great insight into his (formerly broken) fighter who dealt massive amounts of damage with his greataxe. Steve pointed out that the Skullsplitter mini he uses to represent his character is one of his favorite D&D Miniatures. I'd have to concur. Skirmish-wise, it was a terrible piece, but it truly is an excellent Conan-esque miniature.
There's a great funny bit about 18 minutes in, regarding the gnome's ability to speak with woodland mammals. Mearls wonders if he begins digging a hole, can he be classified as a burrowing mammal.
Mearls also states "I may not be smarter than a fifth grader, but I can kick one's *****."
Truly a siggable quote.
Perhaps the most surprising bit of the podcast was hearing that Jeff Grubb was kicked out of the party because he doesn't have 4e clearance. I still don't know if that's a joke!
Logan's 10th level gnome Dessen - does his name become Doedessen at level 12?
These podcasts have taken a turn towards unenjoyable. These guys are so saturated in playtesting and 4e rules, that the podcast is almost unlistenable. Take a step back and realize who your audience is. I'm not play testing 4e and I don't know what you are talking about.
They aren't going into 4e mechanics because they don't know what they are yet. That's why they're play testing. It sounds like they built up, scrapped, and rebuilt every class in the last few months.
I'm enjoying the podcasts because it's a great insight into how these game designers play D&D. They're chatting with friends, and sharing their thoughts on game design. This was one of my favourite episodes so far.
I'm happy to have the podcast and appreciate any insight on the development provided. But there has been somewhat of a downturn on the fun factor. Part of that feeling for me is that I want more!
I know Mike and Dave have busy schedules but as June slowly approaches couldn't they give us just a little more. I'd like to hear more about those things, mechanics, design, rules, that were hot topics on the table that we may or may not see in 4E. They don't have to reveal the outcome of any decisions, just share what's being/has been debated and what pros and cons are/were considered.
i.e. critical threats - stupid idea! - it took all the fun out of rolling a 20! Tell me they're gone in 4E. (I don't use them in my game but the DM for a game I'm a player in does - ugh!)
The same thing that happens to all successful adventurers --
They grew rich, built comfortable estates and strongholds, became pillars of their communities, grew old gracefully -- and were laughed at by children who had no idea who they were or what they'd done.
And the Cimmerian came, with a desperate leap and a humming slash of his sword. The beautiful head rolled from the top of the screen in a jet of dark blood and fell at his feet, and he gave back, fearing to touch it. Then his skin crawled for the screen shook and heaved with the convulsions of something behind. Conan had seen and heard men die by the scores, and never had he heard a human being make such sounds in the death-throes. There was a thrashing, floundering noise, as if a great cable were being lashed violently about.
Robert E. Howard, The God in the Bowl
Okay, so mine is the movie poster version where they get the details wrong, but the idea is there anyway.
Is anyone else having trouble downloading Ep 19 from iTunes? It keeps telling me that the WOTC URL given isn't a valid one....
Yes it appears something is wrong. Maybe someone at WotC will see this thread so they can pass it along.
I sent them an email earlier today, hopefully they'll get it fixed.
Anyone else having trouble with Episode 21? I can't download it or even play it off the website. When right clicking, and saving as, I get the message that the webpage is unavailable.
These always make the bus journey in the morning easier as well!
Not impressed. The DM already has too much to do behind the screen. It seems like there's going to be more added to his/her plate to keep track of, i.e. partial uses of this and daily uses of that. And with the LA +1 in general, looks like the powergaming is on. My group is passing on 4E.
Episode 21 was back to unusable .m4a format instead of universally acceptable mp3 format. I had to waste more time digging around to find a re-encoder that was able to accept the input before I was able to put it on my player and go walking.
I'm on the ConCom for VCon - the oldest Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Gaming convention in Western Canada which is held in Vancouver, Canada and we're looking for potential guests for this year's convention (Oct 3rd to 5th, 2008). Obviously with the release of 4th Edition it would be awesome to have guests from WotC at the con and since podcasting is also "trés sexy" getting either or both of you up would be excellent.
Ergo, I'm looking for contact information that is a little more direct than I can pass on to the people who are actually in charge of the whole guest coordination thing. If either of you are even vaguely interested you can send me details at jenni dot merrifield at jamm dot com
Thanks, in advance,
When I clicked on the discuss this article link on the D&D demo article it came here. I have one thought on that topic:
1. Oklahoma is OK but some how not OK enough to make the list. Texas doesn't need that many demos. Neither does LA. Send some to Oklahoma City or Edmond.
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