Monday, May 28, 2012

The Problem with Forums and D&D Next

So, I been reading and reading and reading the WotC forums. Posting in a general non-confrontational way, which is how I roll outside this blog. Here, though, I can spew that venom. Lance the boil before it explodes, so to speak.

I mentioned last time that I feel that the whole DDN (Dungeons & Dragons Next) is a big fuck you to 4heads (Why 4heads? Because your forehead is what you smack when you facepalm). The thing is that the forums are all a buzz with the same old tired arguements that will never been resolved. And here they are in no particular order;

1. Vancian Magic. Love it or hate it. Debate ad-nauseam. For those of you who aren't in the know, Vancian magic (pronounce Vance-e-anne) is based on the memorize/forget from Jack Vance's Dying Earth series.
2. Save or Die. Love it or hate it. Debate ad-nauseam. This is another throw back to old stuff. Succeed on a single roll or your character bites it. Lots of people don't like it. I personally find it a tiny bit more satisfying then insta-death. As with many things, its fine in moderation and used with discretion (like beer).
3. Linear Warriors vs. Quadratic Wizards. Dear god, if I hear another one of these fucking arguements, I swear, I'm going to kill someone. Warriors have a set progression, wizards get exponentially better as they go along. Fucking deal with it.
4. This is a Table Top RPG Not an MMO. Oh, for fucks sake!
5. DDN is a Step Backwards. Yup, it is. Old school and 3.X fans can agree on one thing, 4th ed ain't for them.

Guess what all you 4heads? You have been out voted. The people flocking to the OSR (Old School Revolution) and Pathfinder show that. WotC has no choice but to listen as their funds drain away. It doesn't matter that you are buying books or wasting money on your D&D Insider subscriptions, at the end of the day Hasbro sees all that money walking into the pockets of someone else. That's THEIR money that's being lost. It needs to come back. The fact that Pathfinder is neck and neck in sales with D&D 4 is showing that there is something drastically wrong.

That's the long and short of it, 4th lost.

See, there's the problem. I've said it before 4th Ed is a fine game, but it ain't my D&D, and from everything I can see, it ain't a lot of people's D&D. There are some significant problems with 4th, and they are the base of everything that is being fought over above. The whole thing is an edition war with carefully hidden and subtle agendas. Here's it broken down by how the editions do things.

1. Vancian Magic. Guess what edition completely abandoned Vancian Casting? That's right, 4th! Have people always had a problem with Vancian magic? Ayup. However, homebrewing it so that it worked differently was fairly common, but not a matter of real animosity. Mostly it was a 'that's cool' type of thing.
2. Save or Die. Guess what edition completely abandoned SoD? That's right 4th! That's one of the biggest problems OSR people had with 4th, is it was really hard to die. Even something as simple as a medusa's gaze was a series of saves (from what I understand). Old players were used to tons of character death. I can't imagine a Tomb of Horrors for 4th ed, it would be almost unplayable and everyone would survive.
3. Linear Warriors vs. Quadratic Wizards. Guess which edition had warriors getting powers that rivaled that of the wizard? That's right, 4th! Every other edition, warriors, fighters, fighting-men, whatever, had a very strict progression. To be honest, I can actually sympathize with this, except for the fact that they are all decrying the warrior as boring 'Move then smack, that's lame!'. Oh, boo-hoo, you lost a bunch of neato-keen abilities, which leads me to the next point.
4. This is a Table Top RPG Not an MMO. Here's the thing, there's a crapton of shit from MMOs in 4th ed. Neat powers for warriors, etc. The thing is that there is no other RPG that I can think of, that concentrates on 'battle field control', 'strikers, defenders, tanks', or 'party combat roles' as much as 4th ed. That is something that gets under the skin of people. The thing is that 4th ed plays more like a skirmish level board/war game or MMO then an RPG. Hell, I can think of plenty of wargames that do the same thing (only better), much like Maulifaux. Maulifaux is almost D&D 4th ed for wargamers. Like I said, it's a fine game, but not my favorite RPG.
5. DDN is a Step Backwards. Don't give me this bullshit. I'm sorry, but that ain't true. Guess what? 4th Ed wasn't a step forward, either. There hasn't been anything truly unique in RPGs since the mid-eighties. It might have codified stuff that was happening already. Seriously, isn't a werewolf's change nothing more then a 'once per month' power? The 4heads keep talking about a 'modern game for modern gamers' but guess what? RPGs are cyclic. Congrats, the whole idea of extremely codified and exact powers is on the way out. Wait twenty years, and they'll be back. Right now 'let's play pretend' is dominating. People right now want simple and quick. A single page character sheet, not a 4-5 magnum opus for a 1st level character.

At the end of the day, there's nothing wrong with 4th except it chased away people. Which means it chased away money from Hasbro. I have a feeling that the play test and the forum is more of a way to just lance the boil (like this blog!), find out what really angers people and gauge the reaction. The thoughts and opinions of the 4heads doesn't matter. They already lost. People vote with their wallets, and enough money has been going to other games, that Hasbro has to change. It's like the huge uproar with Barbie back in the 90's, enough people complained about the 'Math is hard' on a talking Barbie, it disappeared. 4th ed is the bad talking Barbie of RPGs. Hasbro has to change it.

Though, if you asked me, what I would think would be best, I would say to have all editions be available as Print on Demand. Change the names, and give all of them the Open Game License, and let the development take care of itself. Keep DDN as the primary, but let people get what they want. That ship may have sailed, though. There are too many free .pdfs out there (many of them supplied by WotC themself).

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fuck You WotC

Or rather, I should say FUCK YOU HASBRO.

I had a good day. Those are few and far between, if you know me, you know why. If you don't, I could care less. What made today a good day was I got my D&D Next playtest material. I am overjoyed. I like having a voice.

So if I'm happy about getting the playtest material, why am I giving the big middle finger to Hasbro? Well there's a couple reasons.

1. The download sucked. It was released yesterday, but because of the huge demand, I got 404 errors until this morning. Why the hell is that an issue? You do a massive open playtest, but make it almost impossible to get the material? That's just dumb. You should have realized what would happen.
2. There's no call out on how certain things work. I signed some sort of agreement, but anyone can join (it's an OPEN playtest), so I'm not sure what I can talk about and what I can't. However, I will say that there were numbers that you are supposed to use constantly, but no explanation of how they arrived at those numbers. I tried to give an audit to a character (just like I do to my PCs), and I couldn't figure out how they got to the numbers that they were giving. GRANTED that we do not have access to character creation at this time, but I want to know WHY I'm getting +7 to this roll!
3. The whole thing is actually a big fuck you. It's a big fuck you to those who liked fourth edition. It is pandering to those who liked earlier editions. Which I love. I couldn't fucking stand 4th ed, and couldn't wait for it to end. Fourth was a cash grab by Hasbro. The fact that they had to pull it and replace it just goes to show what people actually want. I'm sorry to those of you who love 4th, its a good game, but it ain't D&D.

So with any initial playtest, there are things that don't work. It's going to happen. I'm going to re-read what I can talk about and what I can't. Then I'll have more to rant about.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Fucking Hate Elves

I HATE ELVES. Lothorian, Drucii, Drow, Mirkwood, Last Homely House, Moon Elfs, Sun Elves, Silvanesti, Qualinesti, Kagonesti, Wood Elves, Dark Elves, Slave Workers of Santa Claus, and even the two most recognizable space elfs- Eldar and Vulcans. I can't stand the pointy eared Mary-Sues. Gimme a beard and an axe, then I'm a happy camper.

'Oooh, pretty and magic, and we're so perfect and immortal- YA!'. You know what else is pretty, perfect, and immortal? The vampires (HA!) of Twilight. Funk that jazz! Same thing. Same Mary Sue. Don't come out and tell me that I'm off the mark here, it's my damn opinion and I'm welcome to it.

That's the thing. I keep looking for decent elves, and boom, I'm hampered by the perfectness of them. The only Elves I ever enjoyed were Prachett's Diskworld Elves (who are much more like the traditional fey then any others) and Shadowrun (who are vaguely androgeneous and magic). Just those two, the rest feel like they are out of a teenagers dream journal. So pretty, and above all that trouble of the world, and having all that information of esoteric magic. You want to know what a Elf is? It's a pointy eared hipster. 'Oh, you're using bat gauno for fireballs? That's ok, I guess, but I really prefer the guano of the nocturnal barn owl. It's pretty specific, you probably haven't heard of doing that before, after all you're just learning.' Fuck elves, and their god damn hipster-twilightwannabe-better then you attitude.

You know why all these elves act like this? It's all Tolkien's fault. His elves at the time were unique. They were different, and like hobbits, they were something he came up with. Since then, every elf has been the same. Seriously, elf is short hand now-a-days. You don't have to do anything creative to create the character, its just; elf=archer, magically inclined, nature loving, pretty, immortal. Personality need not apply, its inherient in the system. I'm sure that someone somewhere will read this and go but what about so-and-so, that person is not such a cardboard cut out. Perhaps, perhaps. However, fuck that guy. He's still a pointy eared son of a bitch.

People wonder why I have such an intense hatred for elves. To be honest, I have no clue. No, I lie, I know exactly why. It's all due to the mortal version of immortality. They are flesh and blood, but EVERYTHING comes down to that immortality. It's all about the biology. They have perfect bodies, there is no cellular degeneration that happens. Once they hit their majority, boom, that's how they'll be for the rest of time. Everything is because of that perfect body. They are the ubermensch of Neitsche. The perfect body means beauty, it means no illness, it means longevity. Everything else is due to that perfect body. Excellent Martial Prowess with the bow, naturally if you live forever you learn well and you engage in warfare that makes it less likely for you to get hit back. Magical Knowledge, of course, after a little while even the most homebodied person will pick up a trick or two, and those who actually work at it will learn small esoteric truths that would escape others, simply because they have the time to devote to it. Enviromentalism, this one makes the most sense, seriously, if industrialization happened, a single elf would see the vast difference during his lifetime, and once that mistake was made a single time, they would work very hard at returning the despoiled area to the pristine beauty of the past since they can remember the golden sun of the previous times. Even the whole 'dying race' thing makes sense, put into prespective. With the extended lifespan of Elves, if they were to breed like humans then they would quickily fill the world with their numbers, because NONE OF THEM WOULD DIE, wars and other disasters keep them at such low numbers that they can't replenish themselves.

Speaking as a short, harry, asthmatic, ugly son of a bitch, Fuck Elves.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mission Statement

This is going to be my blog for angry stuff, both things that make me angry, and things to make you angry.  Probably more of the later. I want my other blogs to be a happier place. This is going to be foul, vulgar, and undoubtably not-politically correct. The point of this blog is to make people think. Things will be discussed that are not for the faint of heart. I'm not trying to do this like a fourteen year old trolling the internet (although there probably will be times I come across like that), I want to use anger as a focus for thought. Why do these things make us angry? I like to argue. I don't like to back down. I tend to take the contrary position just to keep arguing. I enjoy a good argument. Just in case you are wondering, an argument is not name calling and going over the same points over and over again. It's intelligent discussion, but with passion. It's debate, stripped down and made to dance on a pole for money.

There will be no sacred cows, except for those that we slaughter up for sacrifice on the Altar of Anger.