DND NEXT!! Thursday, Jan 19 2012 

5th edition is coming out and that makes everyone excited and nervous.  People tossing ideas like they think it’s going to impact what WOTC has.  I think it’s great to come up with all these ideas and maybe this will spawn some people to get together and make a new version or put in house rules to try out in their current game.  However, I do not think we will be getting to affect the foundation as much as everyone would like to hope.  I doubt we are going to create completely new mechanics like “bennies” or a spell point system.

This will be pretty much like what we had Warmachine/Hordes field test and the Pathfinder beta.  Hopefully without having to pay to do the beta like they did with Pathfinder?  And less whining from Warmachine people on the hordes play test.   As we saw in those we had the foundation and a lot of items already built we just needed to tweak items to get them just right.

WHAT DO WE KNOW?   What we know is that they have some kind of outline and enough for a sneak peak to be shown at DDXP.  And we may or may not get something out of that to let us know what to expect.  There is a friends and family beta test going in right now.  Several bloggers are in on it and maybe after a certain period of time they will be allowed to say their impressions.  We also know that there will be an OPEN test supposedly in the spring time.  That will give us our first look at what’s in store for us in DNDNEXT!

Wow let me say there are a ton of ideas and people out there with what they want to see.  And it is seriously mind-blowing to see so many people involved and that’s those who are in specific groups and not those who dodge forums.  So I can imagine all the feedback WOTC will get when this goes OPEN.  I do not envy them that task.

Things I want people to think about are this.  If you are playing any version of D&D or Pathfinder you are doing it right!  We all enjoy playing games and if your group is having fun with it then that’s that.  So to tell me my idea is dumb because I like a particular mechanic then you are not what we need in a play test.  Please do not waste WOTC’s time go back to your cave and play your game and let the rest of us try to make this the best edition for what we want. 

 I’ve seen several people go off about battle grids are horrible please do not have them, without giving a why.  Or 4e had no role-playing to it.  Really or is it because your DM sucked?  Yep, I just called out your groups DM, right there.  Role playing is what your group makes of it I am sure everyone has had good and poor experiences NO MATTER THE EDITION.  A poor group can sour anything.  So to blame an entire edition and say it had no role-playing in it makes you sound uninformed.  4E every class played the same?  What really?  So you are telling me that it’s okay for my cleric to get stuck in to monsters and pretend to tank?  Or for other simile that Cygnar plays exactly like Khador.  Once again you are uninformed and should keep your opinion to yourself.  The only way they are similar is that you mechanically roll dice to see if you’re successful but to succeed you will have to drastically do different things.

Another fallacy I hear is 4e combat takes too long without why it takes too long?  You know what combat took too long any WOD combat!  3E and 4e combat takes about the same amount of time of about 60-90 minutes for an average encounter.  Let’s take a look at the why’s combat is taking too long.  Now this will be my conjecture and from what I’ve seen in running my home game, running events, running/playing Encounters for 2 years, and from stories of those I know personally.

  1. People do NOT PAY ATTENTION.  People are too busy doing other things and when their turn comes up they waste time making a decision.  That’s your fault bad player not the game.
  2. People refuse to learn their characters.  Sorry, you’ve been playing the same guy and same abilities for 8 consecutive weeks it does not take 5 minutes to figure out which power to use.
  3. Out of turn actions.  This can disrupt play but usually only causes a hiccup by example 1 players who go “Whoa, I should of attack with X player cut of y”  Game master “Well you should but I called your name and you didn’t respond”  Once again a player not paying attention causes issues for everyone. 
  4. Rules.  Not having a tight rule set can lead to rules arguments.  I’ve had them in EVERY game I’ve played period.  Tight rule set for the DM helps prevent these arguments. 
  5. Options.  Having too many options can paralyze a player with analysis paralysis.  Yep, understand that in early levels as everyone gets use to things.  And also if something just happened that was really crushing and changed everything which is an exception not an every time occurrence.  But then this turns to point 2 LEARN YOUR CHARACTERS ABILITIES after a time.

In my next post I’ll go through some of the things I would like to see in DNDNEXT.

 

Back to basics? Monday, May 30 2011 

As I write this I am running my hot water in a locked bathroom to make a faux sauna. I am less than twelve hours from weighing in. Not for a fight or a wrestling match but for a weight loss contest at work. During the last twenty weeks I’ve lost twenty pounds and could stand to lose probably twenty more. I feel really good about my weight loss this period. All I did was add in daily exercise and making healthier choices with my food and beverage choices. As of last weigh in I had a 1.2 % advantage over my closest competition.

Why am I trying to cut weight like a fighter because of weigh ins? I guess it’s the competitive animal in me. I want to know that if I lose it’s because I got beat, not because I left any “weight” on the table so to speak. This attitude served me well while playing sports and all manner of competitive games.

This conversation was helped spawned by the 4e at will chat from Friday night.
What do I mean with back to basics? I recently started looking at Pathfinder and 3.x and remembered all the cool combat maneuvers we use to have. Now in 4e all we have is at wills and a melee basic attack mainly used for opportunity actions. Which we rarely see use of nowadays or at least in my campaign and various sessions of Encounters.  With the essentials release we see martial characters stripped of combat options now. All they can do is swing a sword with no cool additional effects. The encounter and daily powers represented a cool martial maneuver. Now I know wizards is going to say you can still sunder, disarms, trip as given by the discretion of the DM. Well how about you just give us rules for these options and make it simple for everyone

What if initially we did not get at-wills and were left with encounters, dailies, utilities. And not only melee basic attacks but the old combat manuevers much like pathfinder? I am sure every little mage fan boy just cried a little. Let everyone perform the maneuvers and such and if you want to have a better disarm take feats to allow such a thing. Or just leave the at wills as is and give actual possibility to manuevers for all.

I do understand the streamlined design of 4e and I do like it. Maybe giving back some complexity to the game will help with the audience you lost and are losing with the new direction. A little faith should be put into your customers in how smart they can be. There is no reason not to give out “advanced” options for us players who want it. Games use to have the simple rules and then added in advanced features to enhance it. No reason not to do the same thing here.

I have about five minutes left in this sauna so I will give a short review of The Hangover 2. The short answer is if you liked the first then you will like the second. And if you hated the first then ignore this because it’s more of the same. It will throw in your typical Thailand and Bangkok jokes so be prepared. Leave your brain at home and have a good time

Things to do Monday, Jan 31 2011 

I know most people do resolutions and such at the start of a year.  I’ve finally been able to sit down and think what I want/need to do this year.  Of course the wife and friends will always add and subtract from things we need to do.  I’m sure many of your lists will reflect mine or maybe you will have an idea for me or something will jog for you to try.

  1.  Write more
  2.  Run D&D 4e with my friends and keep it fun
  3.  Take my turn as DM of Essentials
  4.  Lose weight
  5.  Sell off miniatures and games not using
  6. Attend a gaming convention
  7. Read more

These are mainly simple goals but with the hustle and bustle of life sometimes we forget things we wanted to do and just lose sight.  One reason gym memberships swell in January and their use declines significantly by March.  I’ve already started writing more as I need to write if I ever want to finish the book I started writing.  Now I have no delusions that it will make me a best selling author but I just want to finish it.  Sort of like training for a marathon and running it. 

I will be running March of the Phantom Brigade at my local store for next season.  I know I DM at home but the other players who could run it have run the past two seasons.  Yes, I lose my chance to stretch out and play but its only fair to take my turn behind the screen.  Next season we might be able to get a new player behind the screen.

Talk about it (Encounters and other things) Thursday, Jan 20 2011 

The second session of the last week Encounter played out last night.  It went almost flawlessly with minimum damage to us and very quick.  We were in and out in under an hour with our party of a mage, a slayer, a hexblade, paladin, and my warpriest (change over from rogue to help out).  Honestly, our mage used their blasts effectively and the catapult finished the house.  This was a great for our table over the last few weeks where the paladin and slayer were refusing to get into melee and causing the team to have several problems.  I really like this last section of Keep of the Borderlands and may take some of the “encounters” and incorporate into my personal game.

Looking at some of the items from WOTC it looks like next seasons Encounters a player starts at level 1 no matter what week they come in.  I understand their thought on this but this could cause some problems with people seeing all these higher level folks and being forced into a level 1 guy.  I know they want to make it easier on new players but lets give them a little credit and the people around to help them figure it out.  I do like that experience will actually be tracked this season but I preferred the free level up.

In September they are also offering a “tournament” level Encounters programs for the hardcore.  I like this but think it might put off the casual player.  Of course its not for them and its okay but I can tell you how many times I’ve heard Friday Night Magic horror stories about over competitive players.  One thing that would be nice is if WOTC put these “hard core” encounters available to everyone so we can take a crack at it by our home players who might have to work on those Encounter days.  I just do not want to see people frustrated that they get steam rolled in the hard core adventure.

As far as on the pop culture scene it looks like we got our villain and actors for the next Batman movie.  I’m happy with Hathaway as Selina Kyle and know she will do fine.  I keep hearing to watch HAVOC for an excellent performance by her.  Now, I just finished Bronson that features Tom Hardy who will be playing Bane.  Bane is one of my favorite villains in the Dark Knights rogues gallery and I remember getting sucked back into the  comic world during the “BREAKING OF THE BAT”.  Now, Hardy can act but I just pictured someone bigger as Bane.  Brock Lesnar is about the right size or even Cain Velasquez would even fill the latin requirement.

For those who read this drop me an idea for some topics you would like to see and I’ll get on it.

User error Thursday, Sep 9 2010 

I think  with technology as it is today everyone has fallen prey to this. everything to remotes not working because dead batteries to screen savers not coming on because you turn your monitor off before they come on in power settings. We see this in gaming as well. Some of it just happens and some of it is blatant.

The idea is to always play perfectly and make no mistakes. If you can go back and say I made all the correct decisions with the information I had then you can not fault yourself for losing. Playing perfectly means you doing all the right things even those that hinder you when you play. For instance remembering to take damage when you cut for fury, tap a painland, retrieve an encounter power via a feat. No one is perfect and errors will occur but with two or more people there to police inadvertent actions can be caught.

I’ve seen the rising of “simple mistakes” in competitive play recently. Now I do not know if it’s the rise of new players or people trying to play the system. I have seen cases of both recently. The best defense for this is not to allow any take backs in competitive play, no exceptions. I watched a player try this ploy in a tournament recently. They “forgot” to place focus during convenient times. After watching this happen in two different rounds I got wise to the situation. In my game my opponent did not allocate focus on the third turn after being perfect for two turns. I said no after he started moving his second jack to allowing him to add focus. Lots of whining from my opponent about how unfair it was and it ruined his game.  The easy answer is do not ask or give takebacks.

Footbal season is starting today and I’m sure makes lots of guys happy and wives miserable.  I’m just glad its back!

Week of stuff Saturday, Aug 14 2010 

This has been a crazy week for me with work as well as my wife.  This morning things have slowed down enough for me to post and get my thoughts out.  The post will be one of those mixed bags of everything just kinda vomited up.  Sorry about the image there just did not know of a better way to describe it in this early morning.

I am glad for the age we live in so we can have live updates and quick responses.  I was very glad of all the Gen Con and Comic Con coverage I have received over the last few weeks through various blogs.  Its people showing you what is there almost immediately and we do not have to wait 2-3 months in magazine what exactly happened.  We have learned about the cool Odin’s throne room, infinity gauntlet, Lords of Madness, gator warlocks, etc.  This is a pretty nice day and age of course there can be too much information has everyone wants to be “FIRST!” but right now I feel the good far outweighs the bad. 

Scott Pilgrim was a fun ride that my wife and I both enjoyed.  The easiest way to describe it is a romantic comedy video game adventure.  So, it has something for everyone.  It was definitely a very fun romp through the universe of Scott Pilgrim. 

My own game has started Orcs of Stonefang Pass.  I have to say the monsters have been putting a hurt on my players.  The two part earthquake encounter was fun for everyone and was causing a little be of havoc.  I like different ways of doing fights as it adds a little something to the story.  Plus, I can use it later as well and twist it on my players.  This reminds me to make an update to my campaign page as well http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/darym-return-of-durac.  I just got my Dark Sun module to run the game day adventure at my store.  I hope I do alright I mainly said I would do it to give our DM’s from our Encounters program a break.  So, I’ll need to get acquainted with it shortly.

Hordes/Warmachine!!  The Skorne book came out and I really like it for the most part.  I do not see anything really over the top good in the theme forces but maybe we will see something in actual play.  And after going through my Legion cards I think I really can thank PP for nerfing both Skorne and Legion.  I did not expect it with the play test but it actually did happen.  Its a very sad day to see unfortunately that the knee jerk reaction went this far across the bar.  After having conversation with a few in house PP guys last year and hearing “Legion players do not know how to play and when MK II comes its going to be a rude awakening”.  Maybe but I think it went a bit far overall.  Balance is what I think everyone wanted and its just sort of sad to see the pendulum go a little too far.

Finally, football season is upon us and that also means fantasy football time.  I love fantasy football as it makes me more interested in all the games and helps me to appreciate more teams out there.  It also practices a little bit of strategy as well and I think the more different types of games you play it helps you all around.

Hardcore Controversy Sunday, Aug 8 2010 

We all hear the scuttlebutt on Lord Tyrant Watts getting the fastest caster kill during hard core.  Then we hear about him getting DQ’d and losing the title as well as being barred from playing the championship rounds.  The only facts I know of for sure is he was DQ’d during hard core and this what Watts had to say in his own words.

Can be found here http://privateerpressforums.com/showthread.php?32176-Hardcore-news. post 42 (kind of ironic)

Here is what happened. I had used makeda, popped my feat and was getting ready to charge with Karn. I moved her up and said I heal Karn for 1. As I said that a judge interupted me and said that he wanted to make sure I measured correctly because he thought it would be close. So he distracted me here. I go to move Karn and the judge asks for the tape and moves Karn in a manner that he thought to be correct. Karn then charges kills some things and fate walks to ELich. ELich player then moves, pops feat, and asks how much life is on Karn? I show him the card and he says that Karn doesn’t have any spirit. I look down and guess what? When I was distracted by the judge, I only declaired that I was healing and didn’t pull the fury away. I told my opponent I would remove the fury, but the judge DQed me and accused me of cheating.

In the end it really sucks, but unfortunatly it was all a huge misunderstaning in a high pressure situation.

Ahh, well.

Now I think we need to wait and find out what the official Privateer word is on this before jumping to conclusions.  I found this similar to the David Williams cheating situation back in circa 2002-3? where at Pro Tour event he was accused of marking his deck.  Everyone jumped to defend Mr. Williams because they did not want to believe their hero did anything wrong.  Personally having played with the man back before he was big time and having had him to my house for practice sessions I was on his side.  I think what we do now is wait for the facts.  I think we all are waiting baited breath to find out PP’s side and that judge.  The other thing I wonder is if after this will Watts end up selling his stuff and leave the scene, even if it was an honest mistake.  How many people are going to be looking at his game even tighter now? 

BIG PROPS to the Focus and Fury for bringing their A game to Gen Con. I am waiting to see if they held their own and won their own 5 Horseman tournament.

PMorghoul Tier list Tuesday, Jul 6 2010 

What are everyone’s thoughts on this?  I’m not completly sold but will have to look at it more in depth.

Two units of accurai are just odd to me.  From what I understand the accurai unit did not go down in base price or gain any buffs from the cards.  I do not think this is a fluff list eitheir.   Maybe there is an Accurai UA for 1 that makes them worth while or something.  If it only force one unit of accurai that would make worth swallowing.  Lets hold out hope for some better tiers for the other casters.

How to be better player part two Saturday, Jun 12 2010 

Or as I call it learn to accept responsibility for losing and learn from it.
Also one should check out Iron Agenda podcast 81 as well.

So you have read the basic rules and know them fairly well. You know your armies rules and learning the riles of your various opponents. Now time to learn the scenarios and learn from opponents.

Before entering any tournament or even playing a friendly game with a scenarios you need to understand the scenario. Always read it and if you have questions ask about them. If you do not understand and you lose I guarantee your going to feel cheated. Even though the ONLY person at fault was you.

I saw or heard of two different types of examples this weekend. In my first game against a Menoth player he thought you could only score on your own turns. So was upset when I won the game on his turn because he could did not move anyone to contest the point.

The second example was two players both misread the scenario. After turning in the results the judge and a player were talking and the judge found out what happened and turned the result into a draw. I think this is poor decision on the judge part as no one gained an advantage in the match. Both played under the same rules and the original result should have stood. Unless you can catch the error when it happens or there are shenanigans a judge should not make any sort of decision.

Now what should of happened in each of these circumstances was the players should of asked for clarification.  They should of made sure of what was going with their opponents ahead of time during the tournament.  This could of taken place durng set up or the reading of the scenairo.  It does not hurt anyone if you ask questions that you do not understand something.  Because if you get beat because you thought fleeing units counted as contesting and they do not.  Make sure about things and do not assume anything!  Check these out with your opponent and the judge so everyone is on the same page.

I guarentee that my Menoth opponent will remember that you can score points on the end of everyones turn next tournament!

Flowing thoughts Tuesday, Jun 8 2010 

Well tomorrow we have the release of the Cryx book and in a month the release of the mercenary book for Warmachine.  I am very excited to see what is in store for the Merc book.  I can hope for an epic Ashlynn and good storyline.  Then Gen Con will see the release of the Hordes Primal book.

The Ravagore for legion just went up.  It looks like an overblown stinger.  I just feel like Legion beasts are just unispired.  This is the faction lead by the most creative, smartest, and egotistical dragon.  Something just does not feel right these models.  I am getting the feeling that when they swapped the play style of Legion they got confused on what they want to do.  Skorne and legion feel like incomplete factions while Trolls and Circle seem to be aokay. 

The D&D game is going great so far.  They are about to reach the second floor of the Shadow Keep.    All the old school players have picked up fourth edition nicely.  The two newbies to our group are picking it up slowly.  Not sure what I can do to help them catch on faster.  We each help them with the powers and so forth.  But they do take a little extra time trying to figure out what to do.  Those who wish to follow along can check it out here.

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