Thursday, August 23, 2007


I just finished going through all of the blogs that are accessible from here, which had a bunch of teasers to ruminate over.

James Wyatt talks about the "rule" about an encounter using up party resources, and thus a party can only face so many encounters before they need to rest -- but what if the big encounter happens first? As a DM, this is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed, and they claim to have done so. Huzzah, but how?

He also talks about his work on the demons in the 4.0 Monster Manual, and while he doesn't give anything away about them, it caught my eye because the monster books are my favorite ones, so I'll be watching what he says closely.

Chris Perkins also mentions the Monster Manual, and how one of my favorites won't be there, because he has been promoted to god status. This makes my mind race about how they're going to handle the gods in 4e -- there's nothing like a statblock for a god to make a DM feel powerful, and a player feel puny. How long am I going to have to wait for that!

Stephen Schubert reveals himself as the math geek at Wizards, mentioning negative binomial distribution; as someone who has been picking apart the structure of the game from a programmer's point-of-view, it's nice to hear them come right out and state that there is something mathematical behind their decisions. Until we see some progression charts or combat rules, we'll have to wait and see where this comes into play.

The programmer in me really perked up at Mike Mearls' blog post, where he discussed "intended use" of game elements. Specifically,

If we also want to make it a playable character race, we'll design a separate racial write up for it. We won't try to shoehorn a monster stat block into becoming a PC stat block.

Considering the amount of work I've done for xmld20 in this area, tearing apart the monster entries into races and monster classes, this comes as mixed news: will I still be able to figure out this breakdown if they don't supply it? Will every monster be provided in a class-based way? Or am I stuck with what they give me? Their discussion of race levels fuels my hopes a bit, since they're thinking more ... mechanical, I guess you'd call it.

Didier Monin discussed D&D Insider, which I'm excited about, for the most part. The part I'm not interested in, as I've mentioned before, is the set of applications they're providing, and that's what he focused on. Sure, character generators might be nice, but as a third-party developer, I have these hope that they're not that good so I have something to work on. And even if Griff thinks there might be times where we'd want to use the Game Table, I think we'll just play DDO instead.

Two things by Rodney Thompson caught my eye: he discussed the idea of magic items as "immediate reward" (versus XP as a "delayed reward"), which is a good way of thinking of it. But then he states that you

...don't have to actually get a new magic item for the potential for reward to be there, and in many cases you'll feel as though you've been rewarded when someone else gets an item. In 4E, I think there is going to be a very interesting dynamic between magic items and players. I believe it was mentioned that some traditional things about magic items were going the way of the dodo...

I like the first part, but... what things are going the way of the dodo? As Griff mentioned in an earlier post, there's no more XP cost to crafting, but that doesn't seem to cover what Thompson is talking about here. Next to the monsters themselves, the magic items are my favorite bits to the game.

Thompson finished by dropping a bomb: 25th-level spells. This took a second reading for it to sink in. Is this just a high-end spell, using everything the wizard has, with metamagic and such? We're not talking about a 49th-level wizard I assume...

Finally, Logan Bonner got my jaw dropping when he stated

...[w]ell, that assumes that there will be monks, that they have ki strike, and that DR exists. Now, at least one of those is true...

Everybody loves a monk, don't they? You can't get rid of them, can you?? Not when we've been waiting patiently for them to appear in DDO all this time...

I hope that the Gleemax setup gets finished sooner rather than later, so following these blogs is a little easier. An RSS feed, perhaps, folks?

1 comment:

Griff said...

You're probably right in regards to Game Table. I was just trying to find that silver lining that might justify $10/mo. In the end, this gamer will keep his $10 and stick with DDO for my mid-week DnD fix.

That magic item bit from Rodney also caught my eye and got me to thinking. What is considered traditional when thinking of magic items?

Slots. Use per day. Various types of bonuses that may or may not stack. They way they are crafted.

Obviously with the loss of crafting feats and no more Craft skill the last one is going to be radically different.

I can't see them doing away with slots or use per day or always active.

I can easily see them refining the number of bonuses down to a much more manageable list. But, does that alone qualify as "a very interesting dynamic between magic items and players"?

As for the monk, Logan says right afterwards (and this could have been a clarifying edit on his part) "Now, at least one of those is true (you can probably figure out which)". So, I'd say that it's a safe bet that the monk is still a core class in 4e.

On the 25th level spells, I saw in the FAQ ( that spells are going to be tied to the character's level. In what way? I can only guess.