Wednesday, 25 April 2012

It Doesn't Bode Well . . . . .

It's not looking good for D&D Next, Monte Cook has "jumped ship" for personal (and undisclosed) reasons - that he has "differences" with the Powers That Be over at Wizbro!

Last week I decided that I would leave my contract position with Wizards of the Coast. I am no longer working on Dungeons & Dragons, although I may provide occasional consultation in the future. My decision is one based on differences of opinion with the company. However, I want to take this time to stress that my differences were not with my fellow designers, Rob Schwalb and Bruce Cordell. I enjoyed every moment of working with them over the past year. I have faith that they'll create a fun game. I'm rooting for them.

Due to my non-disclosure agreement, as well as a desire to keep things on a professional level, I have no intention of going into further detail at this time. (Mostly, I just hate drama, and would rather talk about more interesting things.)

As for what I'll be turning to next, I hope you'll stay tuned. I plan on having an interesting announcement in that regard in the near future.

My faith in D&D Next is waning by the minute at the moment . . . . . . 

The Good Old Days

Do you miss the "Good Old Days" Like I do - not the crappy BBC Music-Hall Series, but the early Days of TSR when all sorts of wonderfully "quirky" Advertisements ran in the various Comics and Magazines of the day.

I can ASSURE you most kids aren't cool enough to wear Dungarees in a D&D Advert LoL!

I particularly like "The Adventure is Yours" Advert, in my opinion it's not in the slightest Geeky (especially compared to that last one)!

Just people sitting around having fun!

Gary Gygax even got his gorgeous daughter Heidi in on the act!

And if that didn't get teenage boys interested - nothing would! Likewise with this next Advert -

Cries of dismay from Boys all over the world that walking around with their newly purchased Monster Manual under their arms didn't attract girls - especially ones that look as good as that!

The next series of Adverts look like they were drawn by Jeff Dee (of Villains and Vigilantes Fame) I recently did a short piece about Jeff on my Pulp City Planet Blog.

I think you will agree that those Adverts are exciting and evocative of D&D - though I must admit, the frame where one of the characters is holding up D&D Manuals "irks" me a little, and still strikes me as odd to this day!

To most people such Advertisements are cheesy and corny - but I hope I am not the only one who finds the interesting - they fill me with warmth and nostalgia personally.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Keelhauling for Fun and Profit

I have a new Blog - ABOUT PIRATES!

Keelhauling for Fun and Profit

Why a Pirate Gaming Blog, well it's something I've wanted to do for a good while.

Even though "Keelhauling for Fun and Profit" will have a main focus (Freebooter's Fate) - I will also delving into other Pirate Miniatures and Games, Role Playing Games, Pirate Movies, Pirate Books, and Pirate Comics as well.

So - "Join up me 'arties, Yo Ho" . . . . 

Friday, 20 April 2012

D&D - In or Out?

Searching through the blogoshpere, I came across a short article about D&D Next at Tenkars Tavern "DnD Next is the RPG Equivalent of the Movie Dusk to Dawn"!

One phrase in particular stood out to me in the 20th of Aprils entry "D&D Next started out as One Game to Rule Them All, and has now turned into Bruce and Monte Bring Their House Rules to 3rd Edition"

By Gygax I hope not, if it is - "I'm Out" for a fact!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Restriction and House Rules in AD&D 1st Ed

A LOT of DM's add in House Rules to AD&D 1st Edition - and that's fair enough, we've all done it.

Whether its leaving out Weapon to-hit modifier tables, weapon speeds, or Class restrictions. The Tables and Weapon speeds can be cumbersome, unless your brain works in such a way that remembering them is a snap.

Weapon Speeds I only really bother with in Cases of Tied Initiative anyway, and though detailed I can't remember a time when I used the Weapon to-hit mod tables anyway.

Class restrictions are useful and important (if a game-world isn't human-centric, if its ruled by Demi-Humans I would put restrictions on Humans and Half-Breeds personally) and one of the best things in Unearthed Arcana is the expanded Race/Class/Level Tables - that would keep even the most ardent Demi-Human player happy for a long time). Plus with the use of Wishes, intervention by Deities, and other Cosmic Influences - you can elevate your non-Human PC's to the levels you want them to be without destroying World balance - people who want to play Demi-Humans without restrictions in my experience are power-gamers anyway, they want extra abilities without any penalties or effort on their part. To them I say table top rpg's aren't for you they should stick to playing PC/Console based RPG's where they can cheat easily and get the power rush they want/need.

Harsh - of course, I'm a tough DM. I roll ALL my Dice in front of my Players too - no fudging of Dice-Rolls for me, I let the Dice lie where the fates put them. For good or ill. As a DM I practiced total honesty with my players, and (without being egotistical) they loved and respected me for it.

When I ran A LOT of Games - not just once in a while, often three times a week - I had to turn people away from sessions. Once we had a decent number of players (I like 4-6 personally, you get a good solid group dynamic that way) that was it. I've ran for groups as big as a Dozen players, but you can't focus on story and character development in the same way - and the games become all action and no substance, and whilst fun are tiring and in the long term unsatisfying.

Linda (my partner) was great, she even played till we had Kids. Even after our Daughter was born, she would help out with Drinks and Biccies LoL - I remember one morning she came down, the curtains were closed and it was late Autumn, we hadn't even realized the time. Linda sweetly said good morning and fixed everyone Tea and Toast for breakfast!

Back to House Rules, the only other big House Rule I introduced were "Con Hits" - the first big part of it is the use of Constitution instead of the "-10" when you reach Zero Hit Points. It makes lower level Characters much more durable, although I have always given Max Hit-Points at first level personally.

When you reach Zero Hit Points all Damage is then applied to the Constitution of the Character. When accrued Damage takes you down to half your Constitution Score, your Character falls Unconscious (and is seriously in need of treatment). When your Character reaches Zero Con - sorry, he or she is Dead (and in need of a Priest LoL).

Lastly unless you REQUIRE a 20 to hit, a Natural 20 when rolling to hit means the Damage is applied directly to Con (rather than double damage or what have you) - this of course REALLY makes higher level characters less cocky.

What about Con for Monsters - easy. 9 plus number of Hit Dice. Of course Dragons are Monstrously tough, but then again they should be IMHO.

Con-Hit's do not work against Constructs either (no Con, sorry you just have to hack these buggers apart).

You cannot "Con-Hit" Creatures of twice your height or More - simply mechanics really - they are either too tall, their hide becomes too thick etc. This of course left a "gap" in the Magic Items table, which meant we could have Weapons that allowed Con-Hit's on Giants, Dragons, Demons etc, etc . . . .

That's the thing about AD&D 1st Edition, it was SO easy to add/change the things you needed too - more modern editions (of any game to be frank) are so tightly interconnected rules-wise its really very hard to make things work the way you want/need them too (fingers crossed for D&D Next LoL).

Monday, 9 April 2012

I think I know whats Wrong . . . .

I think I've figured out whats been wrong with more modern Edition of D&D. D&D was created and written by (pretty much) two people Arneson and Gygax. With Gary doing most of the writing and the pushing forward of the product.

When it came down to the Moldav Red Box set, the most popular version of BD&D was pretty much down to the efforts of one man.

Lets jump forward to 3rd/3.5 - with 3.X edition D&D - we have more Cooks (sorry Monte, no pun intended) - Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Even so, it's pretty much just a couple of men at its core.

4th (arrgh) Edition and D&D Next have a design TEAM - a Committee designing/planning things. For me (and a lot of people) D&D 4th was a disaster - to wishy washy (nice looking, but style emphasized at the expense of substance), no real peril for the players (a lot of Hit-Points at first level, Healing Surges etc), Players only have the illusion of Freedom (its Carrot and Donkey Roleplaying at its worst IMHO).

I ran a LOT of Games, even Did library visits - I really REALLY tried to like it. But at the end of the Day it's more product than passion - and that just turns me off.

A Great Game - of all kinds, Miniatures, RPG, Boardgame, or whatever - needs a strong hand at the helm, and needs to be the vision of one or two people. Doing things by endless committee never works (just look at the British and US Governments) - when will they ever learn.

D&D Next

Game Design by Committee is never very successful, I have a feeling I'm not going to like this at all . . . .