I don't know about that. Usually the first 3-5 pages will do. Or just look at the GM's first few posts so you have enough information to ask the GM for an informed summary. Think of it as a job interview--you go with questions about the company, even though you already know the answers from reading the website. Reading the "about us" page lets you ask the right questions.
"So, what happened with Grenshalk the Demolisher after Floggitus the rogue stabbed him with the dagger?" "Is the party still dealing with the Deamon Reach hordes?"
whether or not you get to play a game is based on how well you can make a character and extensive backgound, if you don't want to bother with making up a long backstory then you need to read through a game that is currently going on and find out if they need a replacement.
This is true here, as well, and probably most places where people play by post, to be honest. It's a natural consequence of having more players wanting to play than there are game slots available and of the state of DMing in general.
DMing a game takes easily several times the time and effort that playing in one does. Because of that, most DMs will only run one game at a time. games are also often intended to be long term affairs, with some running for months or years at a time. Because of all of those things, most DMs are understandably quite concerned about getting good players and characters in their games. Since there are more players than there are slots, the DM must decide which of the players/characters to accept into their game, so naturally they will try to pick the best ones. Many DMs are willing to "go easy" when judging a submission if the applicant is a new player, but it's almost never a free pass.
The character submission tends to be the focus of their scrutiny, especially if you're new, because that is the majority(if not the entirety) of what they have to go on to figure out how good of a player you'll be. It isn't even like a physical interview, where you can make a little small talk, read some body language and start to form an opinion of a person. All they've got to go on is a submission. A character sheet usually tells very little about the person behind it. They check that it's all rules-legal and go on to the rest of the character. That's your shot to prove to a DM, "Hey, I spent time on this and tried to make it good, because I am interested in your game, and you can expect me to be active and creative!"
(1) Most people around here, as best I can tell, play in both groups. I play in RA as well as here, though I only run games in the Haven (nothing against seTiny, but I like not having to rely on other people to set my forums up for me; just a minor quibble is all); others seem to only run in RA so as to get their own groups setup (though I imagine if asked shadow would do so himself). So whether you DM in one or the other is a matter of personal preference, and I've seen DMs of all flavors in both.
(2) When a game starts up, its entirely up to the DM to decide how they're doing it. Maybe its first come, first served. Maybe it's "best 5 or 6 of the applicants." I've done both, and have had about the same results either way: Some players you think are winners you end up having to replace anyway, so it might as well be nearly random. I do know that, in application games, I will not only look at what they've submitted for me, but what they've done elsewhere in the boards. I'll check their forum posts and see what I think of them or their styles, or ask their DMs (if they're friends) what they think of them. This doesn't always work against new players — I do give new players chances, all the time; it's just easier to know what to expect, sometimes. I've also done the Invitation game, and if you have enough players you know who are willing to play and who are comfortable with you and you with them; this is just as hit or miss, sadly. Sometimes I choose the players — either first come or invite — and then have them build the characters after the fact. Again, have had mixed results, so....
(3) That being said, if you're new, I highly recommend reading through the threads, checking out active games, and letting DMs you like know that you are willing to be a replacement. (In fact, if anyone willing to start a 3rd level character, almost definitely a Leader role, preferably Divine of some sort, and happens to check out one of my Champions of Nerath games, and is so interested, I am almost definitely getting another seat open very shortly....) Often a new player slot comes open unexpectedly or suddenly, so having a working list of people interested is nice to deal with; I know from my own experience I hate having dying slots or NPCs, so if I know I have someone interested and ready, I'm more likely to pull the plug before the coma patient spreads the infection to the rest of the game. It also helps the player to know what the rest of the group is like, so they can decide if they're willing to get into it or not, and how the DM handles things, stuff which a newly starting game won't be able to tell you.
• Ad Hominem— Attacking the person's circumstances, not addressing the argument. • Ad Hominem Abusive (Personal Attack)— Insulting the person, not addressing the argument. • Ad Hominem Tu Quoque— Saying the person's inconsistent, not addressing the argument. • Appeal to Authority/Belief/Common Practice/Consequence of a Belief/Emotion/Fear/Flattery/Novelty/Pity/Popularity/Ridicule/Spite/Tradition— Using emotion instead of Fact. • Bandwagon— Use of peer pressure. • Begging the Question— Assuming premises which haven't necessarily been agreed to. • Biased Sample— Using a sampling which may not properly represent the whole. • Burden of Proof— Shifting it to the wrong side. • Circumstantial Ad Hominem— Attacking the person's interests in supporting their argument. • Composition— Assuming that the whole has the same qualities as individual parts. • Confusing Cause & Effect— Assuming that one thing causes another because they appear in conjunction. • Division— Assuming that the individual parts have the same qualities as the whole. • False Dilemma— Assuming that only two options exist. • Gambler's Fallacy— Assuming the odds have changed because of past occurances • Genetic— Assuming a perceived defect in the origin of a claim is proof of a defect in the claim. • Guilt by Association— Attacking others who agree with the claim. • Hasty Generalization— Assuming a quality based on too small a sample size. • Ignoring the Common Cause— Assuming there is no outside cause of two connected things. • Middle Ground— Assuming the midpoint of two extremes must be correct. • Misleading Vividness— Assuming a colorful anecdote outweighs statistical evidence. • Poisoning the Well— Using unprovable claims about the person instead of addressing the argument. • Post Hoc— Assuming that something caused something else simply because it happened first. • Questionable Cause— Assuming that one thing causes another. • Red Herring— Using irrelevant evidence to divert a discussion. • Relativist Fallacy— Asserting that a claim may be true for some but not for the speaker. • Slippery Slope— Assuming the inevitability of one event based on another. • Special Pleading— Claiming exemption without justification. • Spotlight— Assuming individuals that get the most attention to be indicative of the whole. • Straw Man— Misrepresenting the opposing argument. • Two Wrongs Make a Right— Justifying something unethical/immoral as response or pre-emption to something else unethical/immoral.
Response to those who like to compare 4e to a Video GameShow
Also, I find that the "D&D 4e is like an MMO" argument is often a sign of someone who is deliberately being obtuse and/or is potentially ignorant of actual MMO play. As someone who only ended a 6-year World of Warcraft addiction a year ago, I can say that most of your bullet points actually don't match up to the truth of it.
In D&D 4e, you can choose a hybrid, you can choose to play one class as though it were another (people played Warlords as Bards frequently, when the edition first came out, and Rangers were refluffed to Monks), you can focus your class on its secondary role (a Warlock who is more controller than striker, for instance), you can multiclass, and you can create a particular concept (a mounted lancer, a charger, etc.) within the mechanics via feats, choice of powers, and choice of skills. You decide which set of stats you use--are you a Chaladin, Straladin, or Baladin?--and you have ultimate influence on how your character turns out in the end. Yes, powers require you to be using a particular weapon within your class's available selection, but the powers are not themselves tied to the gear. Powers tied to weapons or armor are typically powers that belong to the item, not to the character class that's most likely to use it.
Yes, there are only so many powers available, and these will be what you do in battle; this is all that the designers created. Yes, there is a time-frame in which they can be used; this has always been the case, even in the days of Vancian casting. Yes, there are suggested builds, but you can routinely ignore those if it pleases you; the only parts of a class you have to take are the class features, and even those have options at this point. But the only way that this can be considered at all conflatable with MMO character building/playing is if you are deliberately ignoring all of that.
In WoW, you choose a class and you're done. No multiclassing or hybridization, no way to mimic one class with careful building of a different one. There is a firm dividing line on what is a WoW class. No secondary roles or creative concepts, either; you're going to be what the class sets out to be, and that's it. You'll always have the same stat allocation as another of your class, because you get set numbers as you level up, and you've got at best four options--and that's only the Druid class--to build, and if you plan on running dungeons, particularly heroic level ones, or raiding, you'd better not even think of deviating from the single defined best build on the talent tree for what you want to do. It was only recently, with the complete tear-down and recreation of talent trees for Mists of Pandaria, that there was a concept of there being anything but the one best build that people who calculated such mechanical advantages (the folks on Elitist Jerks, for example), and the people who did things like achieve "World First" at various top-tier raids set precedent for.
Also, no class will ever not have a specific set of powers; all Priests in WoW have the same baseline, with deviation only based upon their talent tree specialization, where a D&D4e player could take whatever power in their class pleases them. Any Retribution Paladin will be the same as any other in terms of powers, because that is what a RetPally is. Any Assassination Rogue will always have the same powers as another, etc. All powers are always on specific cool-downs, but will always be there when they start a battle, where a 4e PC might enter an encounter with only At-Wills, or without their Daily powers due to what plot has done up until that point. Furthermore, no power that is not already specifically tied to an item will ever "require" you have that item, to my recollection. Classes get all their powers based on class; gear only gives bonuses to stats, possibly cuts down cast times for abilities or cooldowns, grants temporary extra bonuses to stats (the latter two most often on the raid tier equipment), and on rare occassions an extra power that may or may not be valuable, as some are only special effects instead of valuable abilities.
Most honest/open response on why DDN needs to be InclusiveShow
I've always felt it is in the best interests of D&D to be as inclusive across the playerbase as they can be and still have a game. I've never felt though that making a game that was inclusive within a group was very useful or even desirable. DM's and players can decide amongst themselves what options or restrictions they want for their games. I tend to lean to the DM to make most of those decisions but again that is a group specific thing.
Having said that. I get the distinct impression that there are a lot of players on these boards who come from groups that generally ruled against their own desires. It's almost like they are an oppressed minority from a gaming perspective. I also get the impression that they tend to advocate against things that if available their fellow group members might like and vote them down on.
Do a lot of you feel this way?
Just for clarification...here are some examples... 1. Alignment restrictions as an option. 2. Alignment Mechanics 3. Martial healing 4. Races being included or not.
I know my perspective is not that I often play at tables where my likes are not represented. Instead, my perspective comes from the many years I spent being a bad DM. I was a bad DM because my guidance came from the books, and the books gave bad advice. The books told me that alignment was a useful approach to roleplaying, so I went with it even though it felt kind of weird to me. Now I know that, at least in my style of running games, alignment destroys rp. I trusted the books to give good advice, and it messed up my game. Now I'm much more mature as a DM, so I know how to take advice with a grain of salt. And I still learn new stuff every session I run.
I don't want future DMs to go through my problems again. There's a big enough DM shortage as it is. DMing well is hard.
The biggest thing I had to unlearn in my process of becoming a good DM was the idea that the game is a simulation of a world. I understand many DMs prefer a more simulationist approach, although I am always skeptical simply because I would have said the same thing until I learned and grew as a DM. This doesn't mean their approach is completely invalid, but it still gives me a personal twinge when I see a regression back to 3e era sim style gaming.
I also have noticed many groups where one or two old-school players run a whole group's playstyle because the newer players aren't even aware there are other ways of doing things. The newer players tell me stories of things they hated in the session, and I end up explaining to them how those things they hate are very fixable, and in fact are fixed in the newer edition of the game their older players have told them is terrible.
In regard to things like martial healing, I don't think it's necessary for it to be in the game for the game to be fun. However, the attitude that says martial healing is terrible and shouldn't exist is an attitude that, to me, reveals a wrongheaded approach to the game. Therefore, my fight for it to be an option is to help legitimize the more narrative approach that I think is what most players want, but many don't know is possible, because they've never been exposed to it.