Sunday, February 26, 2012

The end of another game for me

   I am no longer DMing a D&D game as next week we will be going back to having the guy who normally DM's and starting a new campaign with characters at level 6. The basic problem with me is that I opened up the world so they could go out and create their own story and mostly everyone in the group would prefer a more structured story then that. I tried to give them hooks though not that well I guess. Maybe some other time. I hate to admit it but I knew this was coming when the one guy had to drop from the campaign. He was basically holding the game together by actually interacting with the world in a search for something to do sorta way.
   Anyway I am going to be a Soulbow which is a psionic ranged character that is a prestige class of the Soulknife. I don't quite know how I want to make it but I have thought about it before and basically I have to start at around 6 so I can actually be of use as before that I am just a melee guy trying to do ranged combat without a good weapon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Comparing D&D and Windows

I would like to preface this with the fact that most of my knowledge on both subjects is second hand at best so take it with a grain of salt. I believe what I am saying though for whatever thats worth.

   I'm not really up on any of the new buzz about D&D as I mostly look back for inspiration but I just realized a pattern in Windows versions and D&D versions. I was reading through Delta's blog again when I came to this article. Now the problem that came from the complete dropping of backwards comparability is not unique to D&D and if the post's title did not tip you off its Windows that did it and you probably guessed already it came in the form of Vista. Once you get down to it 4th edition D&D is quite similar to Vista in a couple of important ways which will let me predict what will happen to 4th edition and 5th edition which is to come.
   First of all the loss of backwards compatibility caused numerous problems for their respective systems. The easiest to see this with is Vista as a number of horrible bugs are the result of throwing away old code to try and make a clean slate. Basically they took hundreds of thousands of man-hours worth of debugging and threw it away. How many of you out there are still using XP because of the fiasco that was Vista? Windows 7 is a decent platform, hell even Vista has gotten better but that does not matter as with the fallout from Vista people realized that they did not have to auto update to the newest thing out there. Now lets look at 4th edition D&D and see what there is to see on this topic. Actually let me tell you why I won't play 4th edition. Its not D&D. Now I have played 4th edition and yes it is a fine game but it simply is not D&D. Like with computers it used to be that once a new version came out you updated and before 4th you could theoretically move your characters to the new version. 4th was a line in the sand and like how Vista made people realize it was fine to stay with an older version and even more so then computers there is no downside. Once again I will say that 4th edition as a game is fine but by being not D&D to anyone that played before it the line in the sand was drawn and people have realized they have a choice.
   Now the above is all fine and dandy but how does this let me see the future? Well first of all the second they can rush D&D 5th edition out the door people will try to sweep 4th edition under the rug and try to make people forget the troubles caused by it. Like Vista, 4th edition has made money and with a little ironing its a fine system to use and people will continue to use it just like people continue to use XP/3.whatever and just like how Windows 7 is doing 5th edition will be better. Now the thing is 5th edition or whatever they call will be better and may actually include suggestions from actual people like you or me but it won't like D&D was. It may have parts of it but in the end it will be 4th edition but more so. Just like Vista, 4th was trumpeted as a fresh start for a tired brand and just like Windows 7, 5th edition will be pushed out lower key and mostly to try to catch those they had alienated already.
   The biggest difference between what will happen with D&D and what has happened with Windows is that someone managed to make D&D's golden goose public property. People have gone back to Windows not because they fixed what they broke even though they mostly have but instead because they want a Windows experience with a computer and don't want to bother with Linux or Mac but they can't stay with XP because it is no longer supported and it wont be able to keep pace with newer requirements. Here is where D&D differs as 3rd edition is alive and well under the name of Pathfinder so people never have to go to a newer version. Also unlike computers technically all you need are the core rule books and it works just as well now as it did when they first came out even with modern wants and needs or in other words OD&D is still a fun game to play still while DOS is a relic. D&D as a brand won't die just yet but if they contuse down the route of continually pushing new versions they will find that less and less people will be buying the books because unlike computers the rules don't get outdated.
   Anyway in-case I was not clear enough a quick bullet point list of my predictions:
  • 4th will be swept under a rug as soon as possible
  • 5th will be 4th but "better"
  • Even though the above is true it wont capture people quite as much as 4th had
  • If they try to push out 6th edition within 5 or so years it will do worse then 4th or 5th
  • 5th will only have token bits included that are fan derived
  • I pray I am wrong but D&D as I know it is gone from the brand

Monday, February 13, 2012

I think my group is now tired of centipedes

   So yeah, centipedes. My group, they fought them. Anyway I now am out of my pre-made caves so I will actually have to prepare for next week. Besides a cave full of centipedes there was a lot of fun to.
   The session started slow with them not wanting to go to town so finally they decided to follow the river. This was nice as I could fill out some interesting features on the three tiles there. First night nothing much happened till near morning. One of the players decided that after their watch they would sleep in a tree and of course there was some jokes and such and someone offhandedly mentioned a squirrel attack. So of course I had carnivorousness squirrels attack the character in the tree because he slept on their nest. Only three and they where mostly speed bumps but it was exciting. The player in the tree was not woken by the person on watch shouting so the squirrels got a free attack on him. Then the rock goblin archer type with a freaky ricochet ability destroyed 2 of the squirrels. The player in the tree was awake so he tried to tumble out because he was a ninja or whatever. Rolled a natural 1 so the group decided he should be stunned for a turn and I picked up on this and said he was. Of course the last squirrel tumbled down onto the ninja perfectly and hits him again. The rock gobbo then critted it and did over 3 or 4 times its total health. I decided the two that where killed to start where shot through the skulls and the arrow was stuck in the tree so it was just a couple squirrels hanging on the tree. Next day of course the party decided they should cook them but I said just the skulls where left on the arrows and that even that had scratch marks like something squirrel had been gnawing on them. At the end after we finished they joked about vegetarian wolves so I joke of course there where some after all the squirrels needed mounts after all. Yeah I wasn't joking, I hope they go back there sometime. Not much else happened but the seconded night they found a cave to sleep in and it had a slightly hidden spot which had a gold piece worth of silver coins.
   On a slightly sad note for me as I liked him the new player will be leaving the group because of military service. Of course he did go into it by choice so its not a bad thing but he was fun to have in the group. Also he is the one that was on the side making deals with the goblin who originally guided them to their cave home. Because he is leaving I can say that he is getting paid on the side by said goblin for basically spying on the group and is getting extra money for useful information. The location of the cave with nothing much this time and  the location of the cave from the session before where the one scarred gobbo had his treasure where particularly good information so he got a good bit of money. Of course since he is leaving and I can't have him just vanishing his character will become a NPC employed by the goblin. Also I am having him level up for next session. No I am not doing this because he is leaving. I would have had him level up anyway because I was basically counting his spying and such as providing bonus XP. I tried to let the other people in the party do similar things but one stayed at the cave so could not, another was getting fitted for plate which is fine but then a second one went with him because he did not want to go to a bar and the final ones first action on getting to the bar was to get drunk, completely and entirely drunk all the way till night time so yeah the only person who was going along with their freedom is now leaving. I have no clue how I am going to get the party moving besides a nice set of rail road tracks onto some structured quest. I don't know why I expected any different a that is basically what the other campaigns where I was a player where. I will mourn the loss of a player who knew what to do when given freedom. Oh and as a final note the rock goblin in the party will become known in town as squirrel bane while the ninja is going to be squirrel bate, about 3 in 10 will recognize the squirrel bane while 1 in 10 will recognize the squirrel bate and if they are together if one is recognized the other will be too.