Monday, July 28, 2008

My stab at monster design

The Smothering Coastal Wizard.

I haven’t worked out the stats yet (not that the math is important), but it definitely has a very low Int.

The favored attack is a bludgeoning effect that leaves the target confused into buyng a Miniatures game with rpg elements layered on top.

The Smotherer then stifles as much creativity as it possibly can, starting with multiclassing and Prestige Classes. It then throws a myriad of bland boring feats at it’s hapless victiom. Further attacks leave the target stumbling into a blind alleyway where there’s no escape from vanilla classes with only two set builds that must be followed.

Want to play a gnome? Sorry says the Smotherer, but the Tiefling is core, try that. And next summer in the PHB2 you’ll be able to play our favorite race, the Drow. Fun!

Finally, with the targets lulled into a stupor of At-Will powers and close blasts and bursts the Smotherer brings out it’s finishing attack. A seriers of source books, each one as bland as the ones before. If the victim is lucky he or she can break free and move onto something where imagination and creativity still count.

Paint by numbers perhaps.


Alroon said...

Ummm...Beyond the "inspired" poetry of your post, I would be curious to see what sort of experience you've had so far with 4E to come up with such an angry-nerdy 3E fanboy of a "creative flaming" does not help you carry legitimate standing or constructive criticism across. I watched a 3.5 game last week-end, and after a few games of 4E in my group, I got reminded of how retardly and uselessly unbalanced and designed-by-patch that edition is...I was amazed to watch a group trying to find its way in such an uneven batch of material, with the DM trying to see how he could contain the absurd possibility of gameplays...

It seems to me that if you have a "beef" against the business model of the publishing cycle (because it seems to me that much of your complaints are about how they plan on spreading the content across publications), then you should say so, and leave the core design alone, since it is not the source of your concerns...

Briefly, I'm sorry for such an outburst, but I was surprised to see that seemingly random poke of angst...


Griff said...

My experience so far has been one of, to sum it up in one word, limitations.

The classes are all there, but there's very little that separates or distinguishes one fighter from another, or one rogue from another. There are a couple of "builds" that one could argue to be distinctive. I guess.

Some racial feats might distinguish. Powers can be chosen to form some kind of distinct theme. But even there everything in character creation feels very "here's your character, give him a name and off you go".

Yes, yes. That'll undoubtedly get better as their publishing cycle gets moving. And no, I have no "beef" against their yearly releases or their right to make a buck. I do however have a "beef" with their shoddiness and lack of basic editing. I have a "beef" with their sudden slashing of skill DCs. I have a "beef" with the module having a pit trap that doesn't follow the trap rules.

General shoddiness of the product aside, there are a few things I love about 4e. The encounter design is just about perfect. The flavor powers for monsters is a nice touch. The mechanics for diseas and poison are a vast improvement.

I suppose it's also not as "unbalanced" or "patched" as 3.5 but that's really subjective, and time might change that as well.

And for the record, I was aiming more for cheeky than angsty.

Oramis Duhnfor said...

Cheekiness or angst aside, I find the original post to be quite appropriate. So far I have seen people essentially fall into two distinct camps:

1) 3.0 & 3.5 enthusiasts who are upset that 4.0 is not 3.0/3.5
2) WotC supporters who feel some strange notion of loyalty to the company they are making rich.

Neither camp is in the wrong, which is why I fall somewhere between the two. Yes, I'll play both games.

Now, lets discuss said "beef"...specifically in regards to the business model/publishing cycle vs. core mechanic. I ask: Can you truly separate the two? My take: probably not. The facts of the matter are:

1) WotC is a business and a business needs to sell.
2) D&D Core Rules have changed in the past and will change again in the future.
3) These changes are a business strategy, aimed at creating a NEW product to sell to a market (Either pre-existing, and/or a previously untapped market).

Guess what!? WotC is a business! It is actually not a group of super nerds who are doing this for fun or the fans. Clearly, WotC is going after a new/younger market, in an effort to solidify their future sales. Sorry 3.0 enthusiasts (myself included), but you (as a market) are no longer a cash cow and have come to the end of your life-cycle. But don't fret, you can still play 3.5 and need not give any more of your hard earned loot to WotC.

At the end of the day, both 3.5 and 4.0 are games, and I am sure both will prove to be fun. For now, 3.5 will be this players preferred game, mainly due to its much more customizable player builds; no cookie cutter characters invited to my elf maiden parties.


Griff said...

You mean I'm not their key demographic? But... I'm a white male age 25 to 40. I've got more income than most any twelve to twenty four year old. Well, probably not as much of that income is "disposable" but still... I'm everyone's key demographic.