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MrFrost
05-26-2009, 08:41 AM
After playing Dungeons & Dragons for a number of years I found that many of the 2E Monsters lost something along the way to 3E and even more in 4E to the point that they barely resemble what they had started as.

Take the Death Knight for instance, this guys had been used as major villians for quite some time. So much so that they send shivers down the spines of any player character whom hear of one in the area. This was perfect for any DM/GM to use as a major plot device or quest in their campaigns but I found over the years they had been dumbed down and degraded. Note that I do understand why few of the abilities had been changed but I feel something was lost in doing so and it is even worse with 4E.

As a 2E Monster a Death Knight was a force, with such abilities as Words of Power and their 20d Fireball aswell as a number of other nasty spells, it made any one quake with fear when they had faced one. Then with 3E a number of things had changed, the Death Knight lost their Words of Power and most of their spells, their Fireball replaced with Abyssal Blast (This was a cool change) over all they had taken quite a hit, still a force but not so much so as in 2E. Then we have 4E Death Knight...WTF? Really I dont even think of this monstrosity as one of my favorite baddies. I dont know what the hell is going through these guys heads but it feels that they are just tearing up everything they touch. I fear what 5E has to offer, its no wonder why people remain with 1E, 2E and 3E and just plane hate 4E.

The Terrasque had felt the same effects, dumbed down. Still nasty but not the crap my pants kind of nasty he had been. An dont get me started on a Beholder.

It feels as if a number of our favorite Monsters that had once striked fear in the hearts of any player are dumbed down, packaged and wrapped neatly for player consumption. I perfer the force that makes most players think twice about rather then a giant walking chunk of xp.

It may just be me feeling this way but the further we seem to go with WotC the more they take away. I'd like to hear what you have to say on this suject.

templeorder
05-26-2009, 10:17 AM
All i can say is 4e is my least favorite edition. I don't want to bash products, but i quit playing and won't go back with 3.5. 2e is still may favorite - its just a lot less like a video game than the last couple - i think the attempt was to get the online audience into DnD and the game reflects that... its lost its luster for me. It may ultimately hurt its current audience, but gain a larger one - thats marketing and products change and march one. PnPG reflects table top gaming most, and i think the new editions move away from the free form style that table top lends itself to and really emphasizes point based and feat selection - online/video game style mechanics. Thats just my opinion.

Maybe i'm just an old duffer too... thats totally possible, but there's new editions of old games i like, so its not just the fact that its new.

BrotherDog
05-27-2009, 03:45 AM
I have to agree many times over with both of you, except I prefer 3.Xe's mechanics, and freedom. Luckily there are plenty of ways in 3e to re-mod them back to what they were without breaking one's own back. But on the other hand Dragons are an exception to that rule, they got massively boosted in 3e, and with the elimination of saving throws in 4e, they must be unsurviable at all. Not real sure on that, but the 4e PH could be easily be printed on(well, I'll be generous for listing different names for attacks and, now meaningless damage types) 5 pages. Just as pointed out, it's badly slapped together videogame-style(I apologize to videogames for the insult) game mechanics. And don't even get me started on many of my favorite kinds of Celestials being raped down to mortal status in 4e. And with alignments, they left out the highest of good along with the most foul of the evil, but kept the more moderate ones. Someone at Hasbro/WotC has a serious cranial blockage of the rectum.

To second Mr.Frost on stuff being horribly lost in translation, one of my favorite races/creatures was the Mongrelman. Their origin in the Dragon Mag Ecology was bittersweet tragic beauty, whereas the 3e version is an extremely hackneyed, lazy copout. Instead of being the offspring of awakened, incarnated, shapeshifting constructs, that was created by a census obsessed cabal of LN Mages, they've all the same qualities from any 2 humanoid speceies crossbreeding. Just lazily slapped together mutts, so to speak. So sad. So much potential thrown away.

MrFrost
05-27-2009, 08:38 AM
i happy to see im not the only one feeling this way, i still play 3.5 because as you said there is much more freedom and manage to use some of the 2.5 stuff (monster wise) to keep the game and creatures where they should be.

Otakar
05-27-2009, 08:58 AM
After playing Dungeons & Dragons for a number of years I found that many of the 2E Monsters lost something along the way to 3E and even more in 4E to the point that they barely resemble what they had started as.
I skipped 3ed altogether so I can't comment on it but in comparison to 1st and 2ed you definitely have a point about some of the monsters. Still I'd have to disagree with you about the lower level monsters. Kobolds and Goblins are much more fun for me to run as a DM. The way they shift in and out of the attack path makes them much more challenging for the characters to fight. You don't need 20 of them either but if you really want your large numbers you can use the minions. I thought that particular tidbit was a nice addition. I used minions extensively in Mutants and Masterminds and felt it really adds flavor.

Zzarchov
05-27-2009, 10:36 PM
It's just a design shift.

0e,1e and 2e were all "failure oriented" (though 2e started to move away) where you failed a majority of the time.

3e was kinda of uncertain, and 4e in unabashedly "success oriented" .

"Failure oriented" means that without considerable luck , effort or ingenuity you failed. Even then, sooner or later you died or had an off die or a string of bad luck.

"Success oriented" means that unless you try or get a bizarre string of badluck (usually in conjunction with an off day) you can't lose.


Success orientation appeals to a larger audience than failure oriented (which only really appeals to borderline OCD types).

Its the difference between a game like halo (the single player) where you heal, recharge and respawn, and Ninja Gaiden.


Its a major design difference. Earlier the world was the badass and you can step up, now you are the badass and the world needs to step up.

Otakar
05-28-2009, 10:36 AM
It's just a design shift.

0e,1e and 2e were all "failure oriented" and 4e in unabashedly "success oriented" .

"Success oriented" means that unless you try or get a bizarre string of badluck (usually in conjunction with an off day) you can't lose.
Success orientation appeals to a larger audience than failure oriented.

Its a major design difference. Earlier the world was the badass and you can step up, now you are the badass and the world needs to step up.
Yes! That's the best explanation/discription of the differences. 4ed feels more like a fantasy novel to me where the characters are already heros and the game is all about them where in 1st and 2nd Ed staying alive was the biggest challenge.

dementedwombat
05-28-2009, 11:08 AM
It might just be that I'm a new player, but I don't like a system where the character you spent so much time crafting can be killed with one bad roll (don't pretend it can't happen). If I wanted a game like that I'd play Paranoia and at least have fun with it.

It seems like what you're complaining about is that it's harder to kill the players in 4e. It is still quite possible to kill the players in 4e if you really want to, but I think that if the GM is going into the game actively trying to kill the players then we have a problem.

MrFrost
05-28-2009, 11:27 AM
I do agree with that discription Zzarchov but I do have to say that there should be a happy medium between the two. A sweet spot, either or both lack this (aside from 3rd edition being that it is neither for or against the player). This is what I believe is the closest to what the game should be for them to only move in a direction where failure is almost completey take out. What fun is a game if there is no real danger?

Dark
05-28-2009, 12:01 PM
Agreed but sad fact is the evolution of D&D monsters into 4e monsters is like a mmo like DAoC when it first came out it kicked major backside. It was raw and it was dangerous. Then with the patches the moaners e-mails hit the tables of how unfair the game was of how unforgiving it could be so what did they do? They nerfed it patch after patch after patch until at last it was such a watered down version of what it once was everyone left and joined WoW and War and AoC.

To me the monsters made D&D and now with all these nerfs it isn't the same the feel the fear is gone as well as the rush of defeating the same kind in earlier editions. :(

Zzarchov
05-28-2009, 12:14 PM
It might just be that I'm a new player, but I don't like a system where the character you spent so much time crafting can be killed with one bad roll (don't pretend it can't happen). If I wanted a game like that I'd play Paranoia and at least have fun with it.

It seems like what you're complaining about is that it's harder to kill the players in 4e. It is still quite possible to kill the players in 4e if you really want to, but I think that if the GM is going into the game actively trying to kill the players then we have a problem.


Part of early games was that characters really didn't take alot of time to craft a new character (3 to 5 minutes, tops). The game was far more about problem solving, puzzles and exploration than fighting (Which ended very quickly). While one bad roll could spell you doom, the idea was to avoid rolling.

For example, there were no "Detect traps" or "Spot checks" or the like. If you went into a room you had to actually describe what you were searching and how.

If you were looking for a trap, you had to describe how. If you were going to disarm it, you had to describe how.

So rather than say "roll to detect traps, fail, die" it was that you as a player didn't roll dice. You probably probed everything ahead of you with the famed "10 foot pole" to set off traps, or sent peasant porters up front.

If you were unsure about a room you might poor water on the floor to see if it seeped into any pressure plates or pits, or burn coloured incense in your torch to see if any smoke rose into any cracks in the ceiling that went into a crushing plate.

Combats were avoided unless you absolutely had to risk it (XP came from treasure not from fighting).

Early D&D had a much more "Horror" mindset in that everything was terrifying and dangerous unless you outsmarted it (and thus avoided needing to make rolls).

Later D&D is a "Heroic" game where you hear something that goes bump in the night..and remind it you can bump back much harder.


Its a completely different game, like comparing Evil Dead to Army of Darkness in terms of Genre. Ones a serious horror film and the others an action comedy (regardless of how well they pull it off thats what they were going for in each case).

tesral
05-28-2009, 01:32 PM
These computer things. I understand they have ways of making you own documents.

The squeaky wheel gets the job. What you don't like change or ignore.

Dark
05-28-2009, 02:55 PM
Part of early games was that characters really didn't take alot of time to craft a new character (3 to 5 minutes, tops). The game was far more about problem solving, puzzles and exploration than fighting (Which ended very quickly). While one bad roll could spell you doom, the idea was to avoid rolling.

For example, there were no "Detect traps" or "Spot checks" or the like. If you went into a room you had to actually describe what you were searching and how.

If you were looking for a trap, you had to describe how. If you were going to disarm it, you had to describe how.

So rather than say "roll to detect traps, fail, die" it was that you as a player didn't roll dice. You probably probed everything ahead of you with the famed "10 foot pole" to set off traps, or sent peasant porters up front.

If you were unsure about a room you might poor water on the floor to see if it seeped into any pressure plates or pits, or burn coloured incense in your torch to see if any smoke rose into any cracks in the ceiling that went into a crushing plate.

Combats were avoided unless you absolutely had to risk it (XP came from treasure not from fighting).

Early D&D had a much more "Horror" mindset in that everything was terrifying and dangerous unless you outsmarted it (and thus avoided needing to make rolls).

Later D&D is a "Heroic" game where you hear something that goes bump in the night..and remind it you can bump back much harder.


Its a completely different game, like comparing Evil Dead to Army of Darkness in terms of Genre. Ones a serious horror film and the others an action comedy (regardless of how well they pull it off thats what they were going for in each case).

Brilliantly put I could not have said it better if I had tried.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-28-2009, 03:27 PM
Since this thread has turned into a general edition thread(old and new), let me throw in my two duckets, for i fear that's all its worth.

I'm old-school: i like death lurking around every corner and bad decision. I just came from KublaCon, and the only thing that really amazed me was how small and painless the consequences were for stupidly suicidal decisions. Yes, i realize that GM's tend to make things easier for Con games, but this was definitely not the case here.

Officially, i am glad so many like 4E. My concerns: I don't see younglings around the tables anymore at Conventions. My thoughts are: where is the new generation of players?

DnD is awesome, no question. Here's my concern: WOTC needs to be less like MMO's in game design, not more like them. Because in the end, if players have to choose between the two, why would they pick p&p dnd?

Now, i used to say that it was the camaraderie that was of the utmost importance to gaming, but now i'm considering changing that. Playing in a game where death almost never happens, isn't a game at all. I like risk for risk encourages clever play. Without risk, you get storytelling with dice--a great concept if thats what floats your boat. It just doesn't float mine.

Again, please note: This is not a slam at 4E, but rather a concern(which quite a few loyal dnd players share) to where future incarnations appear to be leading.

Sascha
05-28-2009, 04:35 PM
Officially, i am glad so many like 4E. My concerns: I don't see younglings around the tables anymore at Conventions. My thoughts are: where is the new generation of players?
Off doing other things, most likely; RPGs have a heck of a lot of more competition than they used to. There's a rather interesting discussion on mass-marketability (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=455111) of RPGs over at rpg.net, which touches on some of this.


DnD is awesome, no question. Here's my concern: WOTC needs to be less like MMO's in game design, not more like them. Because in the end, if players have to choose between the two, why would they pick p&p dnd?
Could you clarify this?

BrotherDog
05-29-2009, 03:40 AM
Could you clarify this?

I could if I knew what needed clarification.

It's true I can't stand 4e, but am sad to see the difficulty in finding games increased so exponentially. Too many here(Wyo) are still stuck in the "No this, no that" system of 2e. Adding another edition for the elitist richboys to push more people out makes all that much more frustrating.

MortonStromgal
05-29-2009, 11:06 AM
The 2E Monstorous Manual was the greatest of the Monster Manuals including 3rd party ones like Tomb of Horrors IMHO.



Officially, i am glad so many like 4E. My concerns: I don't see younglings around the tables anymore at Conventions. My thoughts are: where is the new generation of players?


So I'm at the Red Robin the other day enjoying the sun and the salt water air looking out over the water from the deck. Some high-schoolers sit down at a near bye table. All of them are World of Warcraft players. One of them is obviously trying to get them into D&D 4e while most of them say it was enjoyable the few games they had played one of them points out how much slower it is than WoW to kills stuff. You have to move minis around, roll dice, etc. This guy just wants to kill stuff. Most of them agree that WoW is better than D&D because D&D doesn't add anything they can't do in WoW. I agree that these guys don't understand the nature of an RPG but it brings a good example of whats wrong with someone new comming into it. If your playing WoW and someone in your guild mentions D&D and how great it is etc so you go out and buy the core books and give it a go the RP aspect is soo played down that it may seam that there is no point to playing this if you have WoW. And thats a real shame. YMMV

MrFrost
05-29-2009, 11:11 AM
When it comes down to it there is two schools of thought when it comes to these types of games. We got the Dungeon Crawlers whom only want to power level, collect stuff and move on to the next target. While on the other hand you have the role plaer whom enjoys acting out a role, taking part of a indepth story and killing something from time to time. It is either or, no in the middle. 4E is attepting to enter this gray area and are pushing out the role players while trying to convert some of the crawlers. Its a shame, there is plenty of those crawling games out there as both a video game or a stragy game. Not very many left like D&D... Hell D&D isn't even like D&D anymore.

Zzarchov
05-29-2009, 11:30 AM
I don't understand the "no this, no that" 2e style?

2e was basically just 1e with alot more optional rules (note, they are actually LISTED as optional rules and they state no one should use all of them) The majority of 2e rules are listed as optional.

tesral
05-29-2009, 11:53 AM
The "greatest" monster manual; was the first one. Not for any wonderful art (although some of it was good) or the terrific writeups (although some were good) It is the greatest Monster manual because it was the Monster Manual.

What? Well, back to 0e D&D. Looking up a single monster requires that you look in three places to get all the information. Few it any illustrations, even bad ones.

Now we have a large format hardcover book. All the critters that were in all the little books plus a lot more. All the information is right in one place, many have pictures. It was stunning in it's pure concept. It was an epiphany and a wonder. The light from gaming heaven came down and we were filled with the holy desire of play.

I'm sorry, everything else has been a redo and reissue since. There have been some good changes and some good art (and some really bad art). But it ias all been variations on the theme establised by that first Monster Manual. Without the first no other would have existed.

So the title for Greatest of the Monster Manuals goes to the AD&D Monster Manual with the cheesy art on the cover.

Otakar
05-29-2009, 02:58 PM
I concur with Tersal. MM1 was my first every D&D book. A friend turned me on to D&D. His older brother (14 or 15yrs) had many of the books that we borrowed when he could stand 5th graders bothering him. I took all my saved car-wash money and went down to Gambit Games and bought the Monster Manual. My friend and I no longer needed the older brother. We took turns DMing picked out monsters and killed them. Rules, shmules, we were in young gamer bliss. I don't have my original but I still own a copy.

Sascha
05-30-2009, 02:19 AM
I could if I knew what needed clarification.
In regards to the quoted bit, what design goals taken from MMOs are bad, and what should be done to rectify that. I think I understand the position, but it doesn't make much sense in my head, which could completely be my misreading intent in statements. Mainly I see it as a byproduct of the rewards structure, but again, I could be mistaken in the interpretation.

To bring it back to monster decay, the early rewards structure (most of the experience from treasure, not kills) meant that one could have monsters to be 'feared' and a party could still be successful if it completely avoids fighting said creature. Later rewards structures removed that opportunity, and had to redefine some of those monsters, or there would be little party left to reap the rewards. In other words, balancing the monster challenge to a hypothetical party had the side effect of neutering a previously-fearsome foe. When I started playing, experience and loot was solely from killing monsters, and that predates mainstream MMOs by at least 5 years.


When it comes down to it there is two schools of thought when it comes to these types of games. We got the Dungeon Crawlers whom only want to power level, collect stuff and move on to the next target. While on the other hand you have the role plaer whom enjoys acting out a role, taking part of a indepth story and killing something from time to time. It is either or, no in the middle. 4E is attepting to enter this gray area and are pushing out the role players while trying to convert some of the crawlers. Its a shame, there is plenty of those crawling games out there as both a video game or a stragy game. Not very many left like D&D... Hell D&D isn't even like D&D anymore.
This is a false dilemma. Two camps, certainly, but they're the extremes; the middle ground is mighty fertile. Other games, even (especially) MMOs, acknowledge ranges of play styles and offer rewards for them. There's no reason DnD can't have the same variance in rules usage for different modes of play, while still using the same core rules.

BrotherDog
05-30-2009, 04:12 AM
I don't understand the "no this, no that" 2e style?

2e was basically just 1e with alot more optional rules (note, they are actually LISTED as optional rules and they state no one should use all of them) The majority of 2e rules are listed as optional.

Both 1 & 2 had an extremely stupid, silly collection of "No this, no that!". The moronic level limits for non-humans, only humans could be many of classes, the all around lack of "freedom of choice" for too many things is to what I am reffering. Heck it was hard to even find a DM that would even allow much of what the official books okayed. They were the best available in their day(at least to me), but 3/3.5e cut out all the "No!" business. 4e seems to be hinting at bringing much of that back, but then again I'm paranoid.

MrFrost
05-30-2009, 08:36 AM
But I think there should be "No" for some things, you and I can do anything we want no matter what we do. An every body cant be every thing.

Has anyone every played oblivion? You know how you end up being forced into all the different types of classes all at once (like for basics if you wanted to be a mage in the end you ended up a mage/theif/fighter no matter what you did just because of a design flaw) this is the same way i felt about 4E and parts of 3E.

As for monster manuals go i am going to have to say i like the 3E one because i found it not only easier to use but i like the set up, then again as i said with the start of this post. I feel that many monsters had been cheated, and lost their wicked baddie status so that everybody can beat them.. lame.

We still need mind numbing monsters of yore where no matter the level of the party, chances are that half are going to die if they so decided to go to battle with these things! Amen.

Dark
05-30-2009, 09:25 AM
The only thing I found with using pictures in any of the D&D monster manuals was as soon as you put it up they 99% know what they are facing. To me that ruins the fun of the player's fear of the unknown that they are unsure if they are facing a 2 CR monster or a 18 CR.

Most games I run I rely on verbal descriptions to let the player's mind visualize what they see. But then again god forbid you make the players have to use their imagination I mean thats like soooooo 1e thinking and all that. :rolleyes:

Sascha
05-30-2009, 12:53 PM
Has anyone every played oblivion? You know how you end up being forced into all the different types of classes all at once (like for basics if you wanted to be a mage in the end you ended up a mage/theif/fighter no matter what you did just because of a design flaw) this is the same way i felt about 4E and parts of 3E.
That wasn't a design flaw; that was intent. The Elder Scrolls series has levels and classes as a rough gauge of challenge and a means of starting out, but the driving advancement force is the skill system. Don't want to cross into another class's skills? Don't practice them. The game isn't forcing you to do so ;)

In any case, a single-player game has different assumptions and concerns than a multiplayer game. World of Warcraft and Oblivion each approach classes in a vastly different manner, due to the natures of both games.


We still need mind numbing monsters of yore where no matter the level of the party, chances are that half are going to die if they so decided to go to battle with these things! Amen.
Other than tradition, why would this be a requirement?

korhal23
05-30-2009, 01:23 PM
The only thing I found with using pictures in any of the D&D monster manuals was as soon as you put it up they 99% know what they are facing. To me that ruins the fun of the player's fear of the unknown that they are unsure if they are facing a 2 CR monster or a 18 CR.

Most games I run I rely on verbal descriptions to let the player's mind visualize what they see. But then again god forbid you make the players have to use their imagination I mean thats like soooooo 1e thinking and all that. :rolleyes:

On Monsters:
You know how you fix that? Don't let your players have their Monster Manuals. Sure, they might know a bit about some or even most of the monsters, but you've reintroduced uncertainty. In your descriptions, don't call things by name until they've dungeoneering checked it (or nature or religion, depending on monster). Don't show the pictures to the group either until the same thing. I like the inclusion of the pictures because the group comes up to something, I look at its picture and describe it based on what I see in the picture.

On D&D being more heroic and monsters seemingly weakening:
The thing is, old school D&D players (I was one, I started with AD&D as a wee little tyke) talk down the direction 4E is moving. As Zzarchov said, though, things aren't SUPPOSED to be super scary anymore. Your character is an extraordinary hero, not just some dude to get totally punked by a spike trap anymore. Things that would've been suicide in older editions are, well... not suicide anymore.


On D&D's evolution:
D&D's one ultimate fail is that they try their hardest to encompass everyone. If they go too rules-lite, they'll lose the crunchier side of the fanbase. If they go too simulationist they lose the other side (smoother? creamier?) side of the fanbase. There have been sticklers for every edition of every game ever. There's still 1, 2, 3, 3.5 D&D players. There's still oWoD players. There's still players of 1st thru 4th Edition Warhammer (different type of game but the theory applies). Not everyone is going to like the new system. But my thing is that you should hope the best for and root for any system to do well, and frankly use whatever edition of whatever game you can interest someone in to play.

Example: I have a friend who, when I moved to town, swore up and down he'd never play an RPG. Ever. And he genuinely meant it. But then the cover of my Shadowrun book caught his eye and he read it, and liked it, and we finally got him to play. From there he's gotten into Shadowrun, nWoD, 4E... but he found his game in Star Wars.

So maybe you don't like 4E, or an older edition of D&D, or some other game. But something about it might speak to someone, and get the ball rolling. The worst thing you can do to someone who may have just had a spark of interest in gaming is to slam whatever was the thing that caught their interest. Encourage them to play, bite the bullet and play a system you don't care for as much... because for the most part, the more gamers in the world, the happier a place it is for us all. Naturally some games are just BAD. But if the game is playable, even if it isn't your cup of tea per se, use it if it brings more folks into the fold.

MrFrost
05-30-2009, 01:40 PM
tradition is an important part of any game, this goes for dungeons & dragons aswell. Besides the fact that it is important that the player still can feel fear when attempting to preform a skill or fighting a powerful beast.

A player should never feel as if they can do anything they wish because where is the danger or the mystery? Whats the point? Few of these monsters aided the DM in this, gave the players something worth fearing and hell if they had managed to defeat such a beast there is something to remember there something epic and heroic. When the game gets watered down to make everyone happy and takes from the danger its no longer what it was intended to be.

Listen i understand the concept, but stray too far from the originals and you have something else.

As for whats Korhal had to add i have to completely agree with him, you can always go back or forward for that matter. There is always someone still playing 1E or 3E for that matter. I guess if it brings new people in to enjoy role playing and the comradery of playing with your friends or making new ones it is all that matters. More or less this post was just testing the waters to see if there were others whom feel the same as i do, miss the "good ol' days" of role playing.

To sum this all up into a neat package, I fear that in the current direction they are going too much will be lost along the way. An those who begin playing these newer editions will never quite have the same effect as it had on some of us. Its the memories baby.

korhal23
05-30-2009, 02:37 PM
You know, Mr. Frost, to a degree I would agree with what you say, sometimes I miss the "good ol' days" as well. For this edition, WotC chose to focus on making the combat interesting and varied, and I'd say to a large degree they've succeeded. There's still tons of danger to be had too. Just look at how nasty some of the elite and solo traps are. Look at some of the crazy shenanigans monsters can do. A flood of minions is easy to carve through but they'll wear you down. The normal monsters, the elites... they can put quite a hurt on someone. And seriously, make a long dungeon with nowhere safe to hide and rest and no way to head back out the way you came, and you'll see the old school fear return. Healing surges will be burned, healers will run out of spells, and characters will die.

It's all about bending the system to your will as a GM. Sure, individually characters seem tougher than before because they are. But it's just a different feel for the same thing. It's been inspired by the feel of fantasy movies, video games, and books of late... but there's no saying a GM can't bring the old feel back under the new mechanics. You just have to wrap your head around players not being nearly as frail and adapt.

Deadone
05-30-2009, 05:54 PM
You know, Mr. Frost, to a degree I would agree with what you say, sometimes I miss the "good ol' days" as well. For this edition, WotC chose to focus on making the combat interesting and varied, and I'd say to a large degree they've succeeded. There's still tons of danger to be had too. Just look at how nasty some of the elite and solo traps are. Look at some of the crazy shenanigans monsters can do. A flood of minions is easy to carve through but they'll wear you down. The normal monsters, the elites... they can put quite a hurt on someone. And seriously, make a long dungeon with nowhere safe to hide and rest and no way to head back out the way you came, and you'll see the old school fear return. Healing surges will be burned, healers will run out of spells, and characters will die.

It's all about bending the system to your will as a GM. Sure, individually characters seem tougher than before because they are. But it's just a different feel for the same thing. It's been inspired by the feel of fantasy movies, video games, and books of late... but there's no saying a GM can't bring the old feel back under the new mechanics. You just have to wrap your head around players not being nearly as frail and adapt.

Translation nerf the rules that are suppose to be so much better? Why? 4e is perfection personified.

Sascha
05-30-2009, 05:55 PM
On D&D's evolution:
D&D's one ultimate fail is that they try their hardest to encompass everyone. If they go too rules-lite, they'll lose the crunchier side of the fanbase. If they go too simulationist they lose the other side (smoother? creamier?) side of the fanbase. There have been sticklers for every edition of every game ever. There's still 1, 2, 3, 3.5 D&D players. There's still oWoD players. There's still players of 1st thru 4th Edition Warhammer (different type of game but the theory applies). Not everyone is going to like the new system. But my thing is that you should hope the best for and root for any system to do well, and frankly use whatever edition of whatever game you can interest someone in to play.
Yes, but it's not necessarily an either-or situation. Even if they take a default mode of play (for instance, the current edition's), a decent-sized, well-written section in the core rules on how to mold the game to different styles (more old-school, in this case) would benefit almost all gamers. (The statement is actually made right below :P)


It's all about bending the system to your will as a GM. Sure, individually characters seem tougher than before because they are. But it's just a different feel for the same thing. It's been inspired by the feel of fantasy movies, video games, and books of late... but there's no saying a GM can't bring the old feel back under the new mechanics. You just have to wrap your head around players not being nearly as frail and adapt.
This. Just about any game can benefit from official support on modifying to suit a given style. Tricks and advice for doing such, written in clear language, should be standard in the core rules. "Want a classic, 'old-school' feel? Here's how to get it using these rules..." The mechanical work needn't be done right then, but it should give enough direction to run the game under the desired style.


To sum this all up into a neat package, I fear that in the current direction they are going too much will be lost along the way. An those who begin playing these newer editions will never quite have the same effect as it had on some of us. Its the memories baby.
That's sort of the point - there really won't be the same effect now as then. Even if the game never entered a new edition, the initial impact has already changed the landscape; a work won't have the same effect on a new generation that it had on preceding ones. Values dissonance happens with every medium: Star Wars is certainly not the same film today as it was in 1977 (not counting special editions), nor does Alice Cooper shock people anymore (or Marilyn Manson, for that matter).

Dark
05-30-2009, 07:05 PM
On Monsters:
You know how you fix that? Don't let your players have their Monster Manuals. Sure, they might know a bit about some or even most of the monsters, but you've reintroduced uncertainty. In your descriptions, don't call things by name until they've dungeoneering checked it (or nature or religion, depending on monster). Don't show the pictures to the group either until the same thing. I like the inclusion of the pictures because the group comes up to something, I look at its picture and describe it based on what I see in the picture.

On D&D being more heroic and monsters seemingly weakening:
The thing is, old school D&D players (I was one, I started with AD&D as a wee little tyke) talk down the direction 4E is moving. As Zzarchov said, though, things aren't SUPPOSED to be super scary anymore. Your character is an extraordinary hero, not just some dude to get totally punked by a spike trap anymore. Things that would've been suicide in older editions are, well... not suicide anymore.


Don't let your players have their Monster Manuals? I guess you have neve delt with hard core players like I have over the years. I seen players who could quote monster stats from 1e,2e,3e and even 3.5e. All they need is a photo to go with the monster and poof instant information. Which is why like I said most of the games I run I use verbal descriptions and adjust them so to keep my players off balanced.

Like I said I don't like 4e but that is just me many love it which is great for them. I was trying to discuss the Ye Olde Moster Manual and not which edition is better and why.

korhal23
05-31-2009, 12:19 AM
@Dark
Yes I've had some hard core players, and yes I am ONE of those hard core players. To counter them is even easier to do. Make stuff up. Change stuff. Use the MM as a spring board, not an encyclopedia of everything that could ever exist. And sure, the player may have knowledge of something. But the character doesn't necessarily. If they start exploiting OOC knowledge, punish them for it, or explain that what they are doing is harming the game. If you're running a delve, great, let them use OOC all they want because delves are supposed to be brutal and power gaming there isn't such a big deal. But in a legitimate campaign, get them to pump the brakes so to speak.

@Sascha
Some games do that. Spycraft, for instance, has a whole section devoted to it. Want to make a SUPER over the top game? Bam, enemies are weaker, players are stronger, add this take that out, tada. Want a super gritty realistic game? PCs are weakened, physics gets reigned in, and fights can mess you up something awful. Want a comedic type feel? Extra chances for fumbles, and unless your body is destroyed, players and important NPCs resurrect at the end of the scene (Revolving Door mode)... basically it's a list of hundreds of "Campaign Qualities" that you pick and choose to change the feel of the game. Aces and Eights has a "Modular" ruleset. Not only does the game specifically state you don't have to use all the rules based on how simulationist you want to be, it actively encourages the GM to pick and choose the parts he feels appropriate. Aftermath! is another one. Aftermath's default setting is "The Apocalypse." Go. Then it's up to the GM what kind, and how to play it.

Could more games use these kinds of things, especially one as prevalent as D&D? Sure. But I don't see most games taking that kind of time and effort. And that's a shame really. Not all games warrant that. But some really could benefit.

@Deadone
Please, enlighten me as to where I ever called 4E "Perfection Personified". Point number one, D&D is not a person. You meant manifested, or some such word. But that's a nitpick, so I'll let it slide. Point number two, however, gets no such free pass. I merely stated that the people that I play with, and myself, enjoy 4E and think that it is a good system. I'll say now I also believe that it generally improves upon the game mechanics of the last edition. That being said, I don't like everything, and so I change elements of the rules. That's not "nerfing the rules", whatever that means, it's using the game books how they're supposed to be used: As guides, and not as commandments from on high.

Xandros
05-31-2009, 06:07 PM
@Deadone
Please, enlighten me as to where I ever called 4E "Perfection Personified". Point number one, D&D is not a person. You meant manifested, or some such word. But that's a nitpick, so I'll let it slide. Point number two, however, gets no such free pass. I merely stated that the people that I play with, and myself, enjoy 4E and think that it is a good system. I'll say now I also believe that it generally improves upon the game mechanics of the last edition. That being said, I don't like everything, and so I change elements of the rules. That's not "nerfing the rules", whatever that means, it's using the game books how they're supposed to be used: As guides, and not as commandments from on high.
However I do recall, when 3E players said they would stick with 3E as they had house ruled and adjusted it to their liking, many 4E players stated that showed the 3E flaw. That the game shouldn't need to be adjusted and should be perfect right out of the box. I stated at the time that it wouldn't be long before people started adjusting the 4E rules to their liking.

tesral
05-31-2009, 08:52 PM
However I do recall, when 3E players said they would stick with 3E as they had house ruled and adjusted it to their liking, many 4E players stated that showed the 3E flaw. That the game shouldn't need to be adjusted and should be perfect right out of the box. I stated at the time that it wouldn't be long before people started adjusting the 4E rules to their liking.

Perfect out of the box....

Excuse me I I just laughed my beak off and I need to go get it.


I think an eyeball is missing too.

Perfect out of the box...SNERK!!!!

korhal23
05-31-2009, 09:24 PM
Ew god, really? I mean, really? You find me a game that doesn't need a single house rule and I'll show you a game penned by the gods themselves. I'll be honest, I do have less houserules for 4E than any other edition.... but none? Out of the box, I am more impressed with 4E than any other edition, but it's not even close to perfect.

Ultimately the goal when writing a successful RPG is that it's a game people WANT to take and make their own. But if the same things appealed to everyone, if there were to ever be a consensus that one game was perfect out of the box... well, there'd only be one game.

Zzarchov
06-03-2009, 11:42 AM
@dark

The differences in monster manual are directly related to the differences in design goals in editions.

Earlier monsters were scarier because the game was about being the punching bag, it was about fear.

The newer monsters are about being opponents, evenly matched, its about an epic grinding fight so they lose that aspect of fear.

Your discussion about the monster manual is directly related to the design goals of the editions.

agoraderek
06-04-2009, 11:05 AM
Success orientation appeals to a larger audience than failure oriented (which only really appeals to borderline OCD types).

First, thanks for the insult. I would respond the way I'd like, but this is a family friendly place.

Second, um, if you hadn't noticed (and you probably hadn't, considering your astute observation of old school players and their play style), D&D was at its peak of popularity when only "borderline OCD types" enjoyed it. Starting with 2nd ed, D&D has sold less and less. WotC could only DREAM of selling as many copies of either the 3rd or 4th edition PHB (for example) as the one authored by that OCD type Gygax did.

So, I don't know what your definition of "more popular" is, but there are far fewer gamers now in the "success" era of RPG games than there were in the "failure" era.

Oldgamer
06-04-2009, 11:59 AM
Frankly I find "failure oriented" to be a challenge instead of winning all the time, that gets boring. I have a video game I play occasionally that's several years old that I only play when killing time, Age of Empires: Conquerer's Expansion. I can beat it every time with whatever and however many adversaries, that is "success oriented" and it doesn't last long. I'll give you a list of people who are of the types who enjoy the challenge of beating something "failure oriented":

Navy SEAL's
Marine RECON
Army Rangers
Army Delta Force
Army Special Forces (broad stroke I know, inclusive of a few others on the list)
Air Force PJ's

This is just some of the American military's "failure oriented" people. This may be why "success oriented" are for the average person (thus more numerous like cannon fodder) and not those that strive to beat insurmountable odds.

Zzarchov
06-04-2009, 01:26 PM
First, thanks for the insult. I would respond the way I'd like, but this is a family friendly place.

Second, um, if you hadn't noticed (and you probably hadn't, considering your astute observation of old school players and their play style), D&D was at its peak of popularity when only "borderline OCD types" enjoyed it. Starting with 2nd ed, D&D has sold less and less. WotC could only DREAM of selling as many copies of either the 3rd or 4th edition PHB (for example) as the one authored by that OCD type Gygax did.

So, I don't know what your definition of "more popular" is, but there are far fewer gamers now in the "success" era of RPG games than there were in the "failure" era.


First off, its only an insult if you take it that way. I enjoy failure oriented games. I've also worked in Game Design (outside of this niche) and success oriented games are far more popular than failure oriented. You see more games like Halo (you can't lose, even if you die you pop back to life ten seconds prior) than Ninja Gaiden.

secondly D&D Sold well as a fad, and because it was well marketed (ever see a D&D commercial recently). D&D would have sold even more copies back then if it was success oriented.

Thats a fact. Most people can't work in sales for this reason, sales is a job of near constant failure and rejection with enough success to justify the effort.

TSR's D&D generated far less at its height than World of Warcraft does now. Don't compare OD&D to D&D4. Compare OD&D to World of Warcraft or any other MMORPG. Thats its real competitor.

Don't compare the sales of an Xbox 360 to an Xbox, you compare the sales of an Xbox 360 to a Wii.


And in closing, I happen to enjoy failure oriented gameplay of original D&D. That being said, I realise that makes me wierd. I don't have some belief I need the "cool kids" from highschool to think my way recreation is right so it doesn't bother me. But when you do commercial work on something you have to be able to seperate what you personally like and what people want to buy.

Sascha
06-04-2009, 03:31 PM
First off, its only an insult if you take it that way. I enjoy failure oriented games. I've also worked in Game Design (outside of this niche) and success oriented games are far more popular than failure oriented. You see more games like Halo (you can't lose, even if you die you pop back to life ten seconds prior) than Ninja Gaiden.
Sort of; multiplayer games and single-player games tend to have different goals in their gameplay. Respawn on death doesn't necessarily mean there's no losing, especially in matches like Capture the Flag and Unreal's Assault; all it means is you're not out of the game just because you die. (Of course, there are the King of the Hill matches, where that's exactly what it means, but that's the point.)


TSR's D&D generated far less at its height than World of Warcraft does now. Don't compare OD&D to D&D4. Compare OD&D to World of Warcraft or any other MMORPG. Thats its real competitor.
Again, sort of; the design goals of WoW don't map up to old-school DnD all that well (original-Vision Everquest has more parallels and even the same objections to design changes, but it's not officially still in existence, heh). They scratch, for the most part, different itches. Where they do overlap, there's a major advantage to a computer tracking the flow of rules; the major advantage of pen and paper RPGs - one that doesn't seem to be hyped up near enough - is the ability to break or ignore the established rules.

agoraderek
06-04-2009, 05:02 PM
First off, its only an insult if you take it that way. I enjoy failure oriented games. I've also worked in Game Design (outside of this niche) and success oriented games are far more popular than failure oriented. You see more games like Halo (you can't lose, even if you die you pop back to life ten seconds prior) than Ninja Gaiden.

secondly D&D Sold well as a fad, and because it was well marketed (ever see a D&D commercial recently). D&D would have sold even more copies back then if it was success oriented.

Thats a fact. Most people can't work in sales for this reason, sales is a job of near constant failure and rejection with enough success to justify the effort.

TSR's D&D generated far less at its height than World of Warcraft does now. Don't compare OD&D to D&D4. Compare OD&D to World of Warcraft or any other MMORPG. Thats its real competitor.

Don't compare the sales of an Xbox 360 to an Xbox, you compare the sales of an Xbox 360 to a Wii.


And in closing, I happen to enjoy failure oriented gameplay of original D&D. That being said, I realise that makes me wierd. I don't have some belief I need the "cool kids" from highschool to think my way recreation is right so it doesn't bother me. But when you do commercial work on something you have to be able to seperate what you personally like and what people want to buy.

You don't compare 1980 dollars to 2009 dollars either. Comparing OD&D to WoW is comparing an X-Box 360 to Pong, so, um, do you have a point?

And, I hate to break it to you, but saying a game style only appeals to someone with a mental disorder is insulting 10 times out of 10. No matter how you "meant" it.

Zzarchov
06-04-2009, 06:03 PM
You don't compare 1980 dollars to 2009 dollars either. Comparing OD&D to WoW is comparing an X-Box 360 to Pong, so, um, do you have a point?

And, I hate to break it to you, but saying a game style only appeals to someone with a mental disorder is insulting 10 times out of 10. No matter how you "meant" it.

Well Im sorry you personally feel that way. In 1980 dollars, D&D as an actual product was not really that big. Compare that to the amount of money a game like WoW generates (even with inflation into account) and its chump change.

D&D sold millions of copies, once. WoW has tens of millions of players, a good ten million of whom pay monthly fees.

None of this detracts from how you and you group enjoy your hobby. Other people don't need to agree with you, for you to have fun.