No seriously, WTF?
I get product extensions, I really do, obviously I get apoplectic over stupid ones like the release of the Dettol No-Touch Soap Dispenser. Do the morons in marketing not understand that the first thing you do after you touch a soap dispenser is wash your freaking hands?
Anyway, I digress, game affecting cards in D&D? For me these are symptomatic of the drift of 4th Ed D&D towards the Squad Level tactical game it reminds me of. I played encounters today and it was a fairly unimaginative scenario that I feel the writers could have done more with, but during this session we actually received the cards posted out to the organisers.
Reading the rules you now have a draw phase at the start of your turn and you can play your card accordingly during your turn, if anything is guaranteed to turn me cold it’s playing rules extensions and revisions during a game because you have a card for it, it’s ridiculous and it’s just NOT role playing.
What do they think they’re doing?
Of course this will mean that there are rares, uncommons and commons that people will simply have to own, which of course is good business for Hasbro, but playing cards to determine battle outcomes?
D&D as an RPG is dead to me, I’ll turn up and play with the guys at the Encounters sessions because it’s socialising, but I will not be spending any more money on 4th Ed, I will not be running any more games, I will not renew my ddi subscription, from here on in it’s Pathfinder all the way baby, well that’s when I’m not playing SLA Industries, or FATE or any one of a multitude of RPGs.
Oh yeah, while I’m here, did I mention there’s a new forum for SLA Industries?
Go there, check it out, it’s cool.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I love SLA Industries, it’s a freakin fantastic game, the world it runs in is devastatingly bleak and grey, there’s no hope, it’s totally commercialised and has no soul.
That’s what makes it so good.
Why am I saying this?
Nightfall games have just started a forum for the discussion of SLA Industries, as is only to be expected with Mr Allsop at the artistic helm, it looks bloody great.
The question I ask is, is it too little, too late?
Without a major rewrite of the system, a total update of the art and some serious effort to get releases out to the fans, SLA is as good as dead, sure it clings to life like an octogenarian on full life support, but without some serious regeneration it’s going nowhere.
The Nightfall games guys are great, and I wish them all the best and I am also a total fanboi who will buy whatever they release, but at some point you have to ask the question what do we need to do, and when you figure out the answer, you get on and do it.
The franchise has been dormant for so long it needs a major amount of work without which it is just spitting in the wind.
Nightfall Games I salute the attempt, make sure you follow through.
What is it? It’s something Postmortem are calling a “6-Pack Adventure” and to quote from the book itself;
“6-Pack Adventures are ‘pick-up and play’ adventures. They have pregenerated characters, battlemats, tokens, all that just need to be printed out or, in the case of the print version – have the cover taken off to use as the mat and the tokens cut out.”
How much does it cost? The download will cost you the princely sum of £1.75 the print copy will set you back £3.50
What system is it for? Pathfinder.
This public review of role playing products is a little new for me, we all like to read products and then declaim or evangelise wildly to our friends, but to actually go on record and state your thoughts in a public manner? That’s a totally different container of Pisceans. This brings me to the package of RPG goodness I have in front of me, it comes as an electronic download from RPGNow and there’s a print version out there too, available from LULU, I cannot review the actual print edition as it’s a little hard to get it to travel along the broadband link I have.
The story starts in an inn, but let me assure you now, even though there’s a ‘Mysterious Stranger’ in residence it is not that old hackneyed hook that awaits the valorous traveller, the characters are all taking refuge from the cold night in the inn and plan to move on in the morning. The shenanigans continue from there but I won’t go into further details to avoid spoilers.
I like it, it reads like something I might have put together and I think it could generate a reasonable amount of further adventures for a party who run through it. It’s playable with only the core rulebook knowledge of Pathfinder needed over and above the actual 6-Pack. There are a couple of areas that, knowing my players, I’d have to fill in but this will not present a problem to any but the newest of GMs.
No characters ready? No problem the ones at the back of the pack have enough characterisation to get your teeth into, my only complaint with these is I’d like to see the character art all done in the same style, it’s a personal preference more than a real dislike.
A good colour printer will provide the maps and tokens, if you need them.
This pack really does contain everything you need to play a shortish game of Pathfinder; I suspect my group would play through this in about 2 to 3 hours.
I’ve attached one of the pre-generated characters to this post, Torvel Darvassa - Level 3 Human Fighter (388), that should give you some idea of the characterisation in this module.
The overall rating I’m going to give it is 4.5 Buccaneers out of 5, losing 0.5 of a Buccaneer to my personal preference for a single art style in a module.
Wow it’s been a while since I got my writing groove on.
Why have I left 4E D&D to take what could in effect be construed as a retrograde step?
When 4E was released I was filled with enthusiasm, I bought all the books, no really, ALL the books. I loved it, it was clear concise, and meant you could kind of ignore the mechanics because they’d all been simplified, there was plenty of crunch and things were good. The simplification of the skills made sense to me, I could see it taking off, so much so I decided to run LFR.
This is when my perception started to drift downwards.
For a start, to sign up to GM public games for WoTC, free of charge mind, you had to know the secret ninja routes through their website, you had to be affiliated with a game store or speak to people in the know in Hasbro. Then there’s the fact that they have tried to shoehorn the RPG stuff into the MtG modules and it starts to get a bit dispiriting.
Alright, so I got past all that lot and started running modules, some groups were great and were prepared to roleplay it to the max, other groups (you know who you are) went in like a SWAT team and finally there was the last group, “Look we don’t have time to roleplay this, we need to kill everything and get the rewards.”
Yes I’m generalising, but that was the overall feeling I was getting, members of the final style of play would do things like demand the type of skill challenge, how many successes they needed and what skills they should be using. I don’t know about you but that really ground me down, I felt like I was an umpire in a Squad Level Tactical Game.
Finally, WoTC decided they were losing too much to piracy and decided to give a great big fuck you very much to all of us who were actually paying for their products, this came in the form of the online CB, the way they dealt with it and the way they announced it sent me into apoplexy, if a company is going to survive it has to look after the customers who pay and not screw them over because other asswipes don’t pay.
So that then, is why I will be stepping away from 4E, there are some really good groups out there and I am not knocking them, if they have fun then I applaud them and wish them to continue to do so. (/me looks at Whitt)
I have a lot of good memories of 3.5 D&D, I also feel the rules don’t point you at combat in the same manner and after my initial contact with http://www.paizo.com & http://paizo.com/pathfinderSociety I find I am enthused over the product. Reading the rulebooks and the released adventure products, the style and tone in which they are written calls out to me.
Let’s also not forget I have a huge amount of D&D 3.5 material at home left over from the last time I played this game.
I’m currently preparing to run the Adventure Path “Rise of the Runelords” for one of the groups I play in at the moment and the write-ups have just the right amount of fluff and crunch to make me very happy, Sandpoint is a living breathing location in my mind and I’m sure the guys will have a lot of fun, I’ll also run it for the other groups if they want and if we can finally arrange a regular meet time/place.
Am I sorry I went to 4E?
No way, you have to try everything once, I get why people like it, I get why it works for them, it just doesn’t work for me, to all you 4E dudes out there, keep on rocking, the industry needs your support.