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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    All of this material was left out when 4th edition hit. And has in fact not yet been provided in many cases, given entire categories of monster being changed and replaced as part of the new edition's sweeping alterations to the existing Dungeons & Dragons material.
    That's simply not true. While that sort of material has been somewhat reduced, mainly for the most detailed 3.5 creatures, it's not nonexistant at all. As a rule of thumb, if the race had a "Society" section in the 3.5 MM, the 4e MM has noticably less information (but more than no information), but if they didn't then the two books are much closer, with 4e sometimes winning out. Compare the Harpy entries. In the 3.5 MM, it's primary concerned with what they look like, with a couple of notes of how they entrance people and sometimes become mercenaries. The 4e MM has that too, plus some information on mating habits and a mythological orgin story.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    The amount of information, and for that matter the amount of different and unique monsters that aren't 'upgraded version' or 'minion version' of the same monster, still strongly favours 3.5e, however. While some areas might have improved, and I'll grant you that the harpy is an example - I just never got that far after suffering through how much angels, archons and dragons had been butchered and screwed up - most of it is still a distinctive step down for several reasons.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    I'm not saying the 4e MM couldn't have used more fluff, which is something they fixed in later MMs, but was just disagreeing with your absolute statement that 4e got rid of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    The amount of information, and for that matter the amount of different and unique monsters that aren't 'upgraded version' or 'minion version' of the same monster, still strongly favours 3.5e, however.
    Which, if true, just means that 4e lets the DM have a greater variety of monsters of the same type without needing to put in additional work. Everything's a trade off.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    You seem to be under the assumption that Dungeons & Dragons exists to be a generic simulator that embodies various trends in fantasy literature. A blank canvas upon which the Dungeon Master can craft an entire world and set of concepts from scratch and customise various elements to their liking. And on some level, you'd be right, in that D&D - and especially the d20 system - is in fact meant to be customisable.

    But the canvas isn't as blank as you want it to be, and hasn't been for quite some time now. Basically, Dungeons & Dragons has a default setting, and has pretty much always had a default setting, in a trend that has carried on since at least the mid-to-late-1980s with various campaign sourcebooks and adventures that existed as part of several pre-made worlds. Which happened to include Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Mystara, the Forgotten Realms and various others along those lines. There were existing characters, existing monsters, existing situations and existing villains.
    Forgotten Realms is a setting. Eberron is a setting. Default D&D3.x? Not a setting.

    This is something we covered in the last thread. I'll post some of my thoughts from there in spoilers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatebreaker
    An example of the [disconnected fluff] was prestige classes that had some sort of associated organization. A fair number of those would describe something exciting -- an order of paladins, a guild of religious assassins, a guild of mercenaries, a wizard's academy -- and then not connect them to anything in particular. The Purple Dragon Knights in Complete Warrior are the Purple Dragon Knights of Cormyr in literally all but name, but the Cormyrian version fits into its world while the Complete Warrior version is noticeably lacking in details. Reading the PDK fluff is a surreal exercise, because the fluff tells you nothing about where they come from, who their friends are, who they fight, or anything. It's just this ephemeral group of knights from nowhere in particular who fight unspecified battles against undescribed foes for no particular goal. For any individual example that's okay, because it makes it nice and modular, but taken together it makes for a world suspiciously absent of nouns.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatebreaker
    The Purple Dragon Knights (Complete Warrior) opens with this:

    "The famous Purple Dragons are regarded across the land as exemplars of disciplined, skilled, loyal soldiers. Their reputation is deserved partly because of the heroic actions of their leaders, the Purple Dragon knights."
    - Complete Warrior, pg 70.
    Who are the Purple Dragons? Why are they famous? What is "the land" and who lives there? Who are they loyal to? What heroic actions did the Purple Dragon Knights do to earn their reputation?

    Who do they fight? Where are they based? How do they fight? Who founded them? What is their history? What are their goals? What is their chain of command? Are they a national army? Transnational knightly order? Mercenary company? Where do they get their supplies? How are they organized? What do they fight for? Gold? Artifacts? Justice? The culmination of secret prophecies known only to them?

    It goes on in much the same vein, lots of words to say very little, and mentions the "War Wizards, an elite brigade of fighting spellcasters allied with the Purple Dragons," but it never says who they are, either.

    Now, the real PDK are the Purple Dragon Knights of Cormyr, from the Forgotten Realms. They have a history, goals, and details aplenty. They fit into their world. But the Complete Warrior PDK? There's so much left unanswered. It's just weird. The fluff says nothing of value.

    Once you start piling up a bunch of prestige classes like this, you run into all these famous and powerful organizations that are never described as interacting, have no history, and aren't working towards anything. It's very surreal.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatebreaker
    The whole thing tried so hard to make fluff that was so noncommittal and modular that there wasn't any weight to it. You ended up with fluff that told you next to nothing and which wasn't represented in the mechanics anyway. It was very weird.


    The points is that D&D3.x didn't have a default setting; it had default assumptions. It's the difference between the Purple Dragon Knights of Cormyr from Forgotten Realms and the Purple Dragon Knights from Complete Warrior. One exists as an integrated element of a world. The other is an idea without a home.

    When I open up Exalted, or Eclipse Phase, or Shadowrun, or Dark Heresy & Co., or Legend of the Five Rings, I will find a setting. I will find organizations with goals and friends and enemies and places where they're strong and places where they're weak and places they want to go and things they want to do and things they have already done. I will find history -- some clear, some murky, some outright lies. I will find connections and relations. I will find stories and characters and plots and schemes and hooks. These are settings.

    The same is simply not true in 3.x D&D. You, as the DM, must make your own maps, your own kingdoms, your own history, and so on and so forth. The various Planes have all sorts of fluff, but the Material Plane is conspicuously missing a few details. It's a placeholder. You make your own.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with that. There's all sorts of freedoms associated with that. But at the same time, in a world where so many of the important facts are up for grabs, you don't really have a world at all, do you?

    Forgotten Realms? Dragonlance? Eberron? These are settings, yes, but none of them is the "default" setting. Each functions in different ways, and emphasizes different assumptions made by the nebulous "default" of D&D3.x. You buy a campaign setting to augment your PHB. You do this because the PHB and the DMG don't have a setting.

    Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with that. But in 3.x, what it creates is a series of default assumptions scattered across classes descriptions and monster entries which never quite connect with one another or actually follow through.

    To go back to the original point, for me that approach is far more immersion-shattering than 4e's decision to make monster stat blocks primarily related to combat. The Nentir Vale exists as a setting described in the PHB, the DMG, and all sorts of other books (including an entire book on the Nentir Vale!). If you're looking for fluff, there are books for that.

    I bought the Monster Manual(s) to know what these creatures are like in a fight. If I want them to do something else, I will make them do something else. That's the joy and the power of the DM.

    Put another way, D&D is a system designed to function across a diverse range of settings. Making the monsters able to adapt to those settings in accordance with Our Monsters Are Different is a positive step. It's a recognition of the reality of the system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    While the ecologies and fluff are something that Dungeon Masters can often ignore or even alter at their whim, not all of them do. In fact, many of them prefer to use the existing material because not only does that make a lot less work for them, it also happens to explain to them where this monster might fit into the existing campaign setting that they're making use of.

    All of this material was left out when 4th edition hit. And has in fact not yet been provided in many cases, given entire categories of monster being changed and replaced as part of the new edition's sweeping alterations to the existing Dungeons & Dragons material.
    Have you read the "Threats to the Nentir Vale" book? Because it's an entire book dedicated to the ecology and fluff of the default setting for the Points of Light world, and it ties in and expands on information provided from the PHB(s), the DMG(s), various adventure modules, and all sorts of other sources throughout 4e's run.

    The fluff is there. It's just in a different book than the monster combat stats book.
    Last edited by Fatebreaker; 2012-05-08 at 11:10 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by MukkTB View Post
    Also 3.5 characters were built different than monsters. Racial HD with arbitrary abilities, arbitrary BA progression, arbitrary level adjustment ect. Its totally fine to just make up numbers for monsters. Its not totally fine to just make up numbers for NPCs. If I'm facing a human ranger I want him to be built using the same rules I would use to build a human ranger. That's what is important to verisimilitude for me.
    I'm quite OK with opponents having abilities that I can't. A little fluff usually explains why, and I'm happy with that.

    What makes verisimilitude for me is that the opposing rangers act and feel like rangers. If I get rangers attacking me dressed as ninjas wielding katanas and sending their attack monkeys around for flanking, because that's some weird optimal build for the ranger class, that will raise my verisimilitude red flags. It might be legal, but it feels wrong. If I get an arbitrary opponent that fires arrows and fades away into the brush, harassing me as I go, then my opponents feel like they should regardless of what the stat-block says.

    The trick here is that the players don't interact with stat blocks, they interact with the NPC that the DM brings to life. Unless the party gets unfairly stomped by the encounter, they will accept the NPC at face value. In most instances, I've found that "good enough" works for NPCs.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Fatebreaker View Post
    <stuff>
    Actually, there is a generic underlying assumption in most of the 3.5e material as to what setting it takes place in. Given the deities, the reuse of various character names, and the default locations, 3.5e takes place in a version of Greyhawk with parts of the serial numbers filed off.

    Which makes it a lot more strongly established than most of Nentir Vale, in fact, since most of those deities and settings and character names actually have some proper meaning there. The Vault of the Drow, Temple of Elemental Evil, Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Against the Giants, Mordenkainen, Melf, Tenser, Boccob, Lolth, Bigby and various others all have their origins in Greyhawk material.

    That Complete Warrior, with the note that this book exists pretty much on its own in this category, had an obsession with providing elements that were more connected to existing campaign settings is immaterial. The fact remains that the vast majority of material for 4th edition is pretty much created for Greyhawk.

    <TV Tropery, Nentir Vale book>
    Now, I'm going to have to stop you there, because this all brings me back to my other, earlier point.

    The monsters were already different. What was so non-unique about a Solar or a Hound Archon? What needed to be so different about the elven race, splitting them into eladrin and elves? Why weren't the original ideas for the eladrin interesting enough to be kept as they were rather than retconned into nothingness?

    All of these aspects were, for the most part, unique to D&D. They did not actually need to be changed. And most of these problems could have been avoided had they simply introduced the different monsters as exactly that - different monsters. Not replacing the old ones. I mean, the ruleset isn't something I like very much, but when the material basically takes a gigantic dump on the previous settings that I was a huge fan of, this tends to irritate me.

    While Threats to the Nentir Vale might be very good and well-made, it doesn't escape the fact that it continues the completely and utterly irreversible changes from previous editions. The ideas in Nentir Vale are not the ideas that had persisted over thirty years prior.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by MukkTB View Post
    Also 3.5 characters were built different than monsters. Racial HD with arbitrary abilities, arbitrary BA progression, arbitrary level adjustment ect. Its totally fine to just make up numbers for monsters. Its not totally fine to just make up numbers for NPCs. If I'm facing a human ranger I want him to be built using the same rules I would use to build a human ranger. That's what is important to verisimilitude for me.
    Well let's consider this example. You want a ranger that acts like a PC built ranger. Now let's take it as a given that as a PC you're not going to look at his character sheet.

    The GM knows he's building a ranger, he wants the ranger specced for ranged damage. So he consults the expected numbers for a ranged damage dealer, grabs an attack bonus, base damage, AC, and HP from there. He then goes to the selection of Ranger abilities, and picks out 3 ranger abilities, and gives the Ranger level appropriate stealth, tracking, and perception checks.


    Now when you run into this Ranger, you have a guy who is good at hiding, tracking, and seeing things, can do damage from far away, and can use abilities you know are generally restricted to rangers, or at least abilities that you know rangers use.

    If his attack bonus or HP is a bit off, that could be chalked up to odd ability score alotments (since those were left blank), or feat selections (since those were also left blank). The only reason you might have to feel like this creature wasn't built like a PC is that he only has 3 powers, which you'll only notice if he sticks around for some time, after all he could just particularly favor using those abilities. I mean, I've seen Warblades who spam 1 or 2 attacks and refresh, rather than going through all of their abilities, and only break out a different trick in a niche situation. The characters doing this didn't break versilimitude, so I don't see why an NPC doing something of the sort would either.

    Now for a BBEG or some other rare but important NPC sure, stat up the NPC just like a PC. But 99% of the time you don't need that information even for a class leveled NPC.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    The GM knows he's building a ranger, he wants the ranger specced for ranged damage. So he consults the expected numbers for a ranged damage dealer, grabs an attack bonus, base damage, AC, and HP from there. He then goes to the selection of Ranger abilities, and picks out 3 ranger abilities, and gives the Ranger level appropriate stealth, tracking, and perception checks.
    Sure as long as the ranger actually preforms more or less like a player made ranger would. If he produces twice the damage a player could pull out, or has abilities that a player could never access I'd have a problem. The fact that the DM didn't painstakingly build ranger mook #3 isn't really a problem. Approximation will get the job done.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    What needed to be so different about the elven race, splitting them into eladrin and elves? Why weren't the original ideas for the eladrin interesting enough to be kept as they were rather than retconned into nothingness?
    Actually, I can somewhat agree with the changes to the elves: Finally giving them a separation from the mary sues you see everywhere was a much-needed breath of fresh air, and I went from completely despising elves in older editions to finding them vaguely tolerable.

    Still, the Eladrin thing was completely unnecessary, I agree.

    Anyway, I still think Fatebreaker's points hold: A setting is more than a list of names and deities. A setting consists of maps and history, something the core 3E books don't have. They refer to it, sure, but you don't actually get the greyhawk setting in the core books.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Which is the fault of Wizards of the Coast. And something which continues to irritate me about 4th edition as they basically just continued using many of those Greyhawk-based assumptions (such as deities, character names, etc.) and made a setting that had even less information. They really should have published a 3rd edition Greyhawk Campaign Setting. And, for that matter, they should have published 3rd edition books for Dark Sun and Planescape.

    As for the elves, I don't think you could really notice much of a change from 'Mary Sues' when you consider what they actually did there. Which was giving the high elves and grey elves this super-special feywild connection that granted them special powers even beyond learned magic, which is to say their innate teleporting power, which was added in as part of the utterly needless name-change to eladrin.

    And then they turned the baseline elves into the wood and wild elves.
    Last edited by Scots Dragon; 2012-05-08 at 02:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    I mostly disliked Dragonborn (Well I always hated the Dragonborn. Such a Generic Dragon race for people that wanted dragons) and Eladrin is BECAUSE THEY SHOVED THE RACE INTO EVERY SETTING THE PRINTED!

    ESPECIALLY DARK SUN. Why the setting thats ABOUT NOT having generic woodland elves? Why add the feywild when the story was ABOUT no escape from the plane? Why

    [Dark Sun Rant]
    Why replace the interesting setting of Ur Draxa (Who view themselves as the last bastion of culture when their actually all illiterate barbarians) with another zombie town! We already had an undead Dragon! No need for another undead based one!

    [/Dark Sun Rant]
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    A little condescending
    That pretty much sums up the Scowling Dragon experience.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    Which was giving the high elves and grey elves this super-special feywild connection that granted them special powers even beyond learned magic, which is to say their innate teleporting power, which was added in as part of the utterly needless name-change to eladrin.

    And then they turned the baseline elves into the wood and wild elves.
    I think of it as less a needless name change, and more a downgrading of 3.5 eladrin from mighty celestial to slightly more powerful elf.

    They even use the same names in various books- tulani, shiradi, ghaele, bralani, coure.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2012-05-08 at 02:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Question is: WHY!

    Outside of 4es general Idea of making all the monsters killable (If your monster was Good or neutral its evil now so its OK to kill), there was no reason to make eladrin elf like (Outside of making more stuff killable)
    Quote Originally Posted by Fawkes View Post
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    That pretty much sums up the Scowling Dragon experience.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Making it more playable from 1st level maybe.

    Given how like elves they were in looks and role- making them actual elf-creatures wasn't a huge jump.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    When I say "Elves", I mean, the race called "Elves." The Eladrin are just the old elves with a new skin of paint, yes, but that's a whole different can of worms. Personally? I just pretend the Eladrin were removed entirely. It's far better than facing the truth.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    And for hilarity's sake, they didn't actually do that. Within the Forgotten Realms, they actually retroactively changed many elven characters and places and situations so that they were now eladrin characters and places and situations. And, for complete and utter hilarity, no longer made any sense in most circumstances given that the separation between 'sun elf' and 'eladrin' was actually important to many recent novel series.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    In those book "eladrin" would probably become "archfey" - things vastly more powerful than eladrin, that can grant power to arcanists.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Huh. I thought this was a thread about 5e. Could someone point me to that discussion?

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    In those book "eladrin" would probably become "archfey" - things vastly more powerful than eladrin, that can grant power to arcanists.
    Except that the original eladrin were celestial outsiders only partially related to fey to begin with.

    Which, to bring this back into the topic at hand... will pose many, many problems for the 5th edition designers. They single-handedly succeeded at making two almost completely incompatible views of Dungeons & Dragons, and their job is to now attempt to reconcile that.
    Last edited by Scots Dragon; 2012-05-08 at 03:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Every edition's made changes- though some were more sweeping than others.

    The "tree" model for Forgotten Realms in 3.0 was a big jump away from the old Great Wheel which it, like Greyhawk, used before then.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Wow, people are really up in arms about 4E being different.


    Ok. We get it. No. We REALLY DO. 4th Edition should not be called Dungeons and Dragons because it's not the same as before. I get that you feel that way.

    And you can be upset that Eladrin aren't outsiders (well, kinda, from the Feywild) but Elves, now, and you can be upset that they messed with the setting and fluff that you thought you knew, but...

    Whatever.
    How is that important?
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    As stated, Dungeons and Dragons does NOT. I repeat, NOT! have a campaign setting. Didn't in 3.5, doesn't in 4th, probably wont in Next. (Hate that name...)

    Therefore, all this fluff, where Eladrin fit in, the ecology of the monsters, is only fluff, and mostly unusable. If you wanted to play DnD, you had to make things your own, which usually involved changing stuff. So, you did. But when Wizards changes things (Which, they can... It's their IP), you get mad over it, because it doesn't fit the way YOU saw the world?

    That's seems a little close-minded, maybe?

    So, you don't want 4E's Eladrin to be Elves. When you run a game, say "No." It's honestly that simple. I mean, in a 3.5 game, you're rattling off house rule after house rule, so is it so weird to rule fluff differently, too?

    You should ignore the fluff when regarding a games potential. Now, if they redid an ESTABLISHED setting and changed it (like they did with Dark Sun. For SHAME WotC), then yeah. Arm the Masses. But the little things? Printed in the generic High Fantasy rule book? Really?

    Seems a little petty to me.

    Tell me that the rules are poorly written, that the mechanics don't achieve what they meant to, that the crunch and the play isn't fine, you can say all these things to say that you don't like 4E, but when your disposition against game design comes down to how their fluff isn't your fluff? Well, then you've avoided a non-biased review, and I'll write you off as not liking something because you don't like something.


    TL;DR Fluff does not a game make, because no one can stop you from changing it.

    Which brings me to something I saw on the NEXT stuff (always trying to return to Next), I saw that someone was mad about the rogue being the best SkillMonkey. They claimed that if they wanted to make a brutal thug Rogue, who was as good at fighting as a fighter, that they shouldn't be punished by choosing Rogue...

    Are we really that narrowminded that we can't seperate the name of a class from the role that they play in a fake, made up society?

    If you want a thuggy badass rogue that can kick butt like a fighter, MAKE A FIGHTER. And when he shows up in game, you tell them that he's a brutal thug of a rogue, a cut-purse and a vandal. Its the same thing, but doesn't blur the line between the mechanics of individual classes, like this player seemed to have wanted.

    Now, if you wanted a master locksmith, a prized swordsmen, and acknowledge scholar all in one character, maybe you're playing the wrong game...

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    The main issue with it is conversion-ability (or whatever that word actually is). As someone recently mentioned, new editions are rarely released just between two campaigns for most parties, so people want to be able to continue their campaign using the new rules.

    Which with 4th Edition simply was not possible without significant retroactive changes to what exactly happen so far in the campaign. Not to speak of several classes and races being missing.
    I know converting from 2nd to 3rd edition was much smoother. You still had all your planes and most of your common creatures, and all your races, and all your classes, and all your spells. That's what got people annoyed when 4th Edition hit the market and what made many people stick with their old rules.

    5th Edition simply can't win on this particular issue, as it can only be made to be conversion-able to either 3rd or 4th Edition but not both. So they are doing what I consider the safe thing and don't attempt either and instead try something entirely new.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    5th Edition simply can't win on this particular issue, as it can only be made to be conversion-able to either 3rd or 4th Edition but not both. So they are doing what I consider the safe thing and don't attempt either and instead try something entirely new.
    I don't think that's safe.

    See, for me, there are exactly two outcomes.

    1. I can use my existing materials and campaign in 5e.
    2. I can't.

    Obviously, I prefer option 1. Making sure that EVERYONE has option 2 instead of just some people is....not beneficial.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Trying to straddle the divide as much as possible- allowing fighter-types to have exploits with a 4E flavour, allowing caster-types to wield magic that is close to 3.5 but a bit less broken- basically trying to get everything that was most liked in every edition- would that be a good goal for them to strive for?
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    I dunno... I like them seperating from the past... If I don't want to play 3.5 anymore, its because the mechanics are too bad to play anymore. Therefore, they HAVE to be different in Next, or else, why not play 3.5?

    Same with Fourth... If it's not radically different from 4th, then why play? Nadir (my campaign world) works perfectly fine in 4th. Should I change JUST because they made a new game? No, never.

    But when the new game comes out, I'll have lots of fun designing a new world based on its mechanics, even if it means I'll never use my old Nadir stuff ever again.

    It has to be very different, or why change at all?

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Trying to straddle the divide as much as possible- allowing fighter-types to have exploits with a 4E flavour, allowing caster-types to wield magic that is close to 3.5 but a bit less broken- basically trying to get everything that was most liked in every edition- would that be a good goal for them to strive for?
    I dunno, really.

    Me? I love 3.5. Dislike the hell out of 4e. I want 5e to be something I can port existing materials from 3.5 over to, but I don't want it to be a complete redo of 3.5(what would be the point of that?).

    I imagine that 4e people want something similar.

    Is it possible to make a future edition that accepts both 4e and 3.5 ports? Maybe. But it's one hell of a design challenge.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    Actually, there is a generic underlying assumption in most of the 3.5e material as to what setting it takes place in. Given the deities, the reuse of various character names, and the default locations, 3.5e takes place in a version of Greyhawk with parts of the serial numbers filed off.
    Right, and having "generic underlying assumptions" which tie to a setting which isn't included or described is basically a recipe for whatever fluff they provide to be, well, useless.

    Names mean nothing by themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    Which makes it a lot more strongly established than most of Nentir Vale, in fact, since most of those deities and settings and character names actually have some proper meaning there. The Vault of the Drow, Temple of Elemental Evil, Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Against the Giants, Mordenkainen, Melf, Tenser, Boccob, Lolth, Bigby and various others all have their origins in Greyhawk material.
    Wait -- are you seriously putting forward the idea that an undefined set of vague assumptions is somehow "more strongly established" than a clearly defined setting?

    If you come from the Greyhawk days, you may fill in the gaps. But when you say that some names "have some proper meaning" in Greyhawk, that presupposes that people know about Greyhawk, which is a bit of a problem, since 3.x was incredibly non-committal about what the Material Plane actually looked like or what its history was. Trying to be setting specific and setting neutral at the same time while not explaining the setting is not a "strongly established" setting. Proper meaning is provided by context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    That Complete Warrior, with the note that this book exists pretty much on its own in this category, had an obsession with providing elements that were more connected to existing campaign settings is immaterial. The fact remains that the vast majority of material for 4th edition is pretty much created for Greyhawk.
    *ahem*

    Black Flame Zealot. Hospitaler. Rainbow Servant. Seeker of the Misty Isle. Shining Blade of Heironeous. Warmage. Green Star Adept. Mage of the Arcane Order. Suel Arcanamage. Wayfarer Guide. Knight of the Chalice. Knight Protector. Master of the Unseen Hand. Thayan Knight.

    Just skimming through Complete Warrior, Divine, and Arcane, these are all prestige classes which involve some vague organization or plot element, similar to the Complete Warrior Purple Dragon Knights. If I bothered looking through the rest of my 3.x books, I could (and would) find more. Some of them are even base 1-20 classes. Duskblades, for example.

    Whether they're from Greyhawk or not isn't the point, and doesn't matter. What matters is that they're not archetypes, they're specific groups who exist without specific details. That kind of fluff may be nice and modular, but it also presupposes a world which may be very different than the one you designed. And since you had to design your own world, well... I'm sure you can see where this leads to problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    Now, I'm going to have to stop you there, because this all brings me back to my other, earlier point.

    The monsters were already different. What was so non-unique about a Solar or a Hound Archon? What needed to be so different about the elven race, splitting them into eladrin and elves? Why weren't the original ideas for the eladrin interesting enough to be kept as they were rather than retconned into nothingness?

    All of these aspects were, for the most part, unique to D&D. They did not actually need to be changed. And most of these problems could have been avoided had they simply introduced the different monsters as exactly that - different monsters. Not replacing the old ones. I mean, the ruleset isn't something I like very much, but when the material basically takes a gigantic dump on the previous settings that I was a huge fan of, this tends to irritate me.

    While Threats to the Nentir Vale might be very good and well-made, it doesn't escape the fact that it continues the completely and utterly irreversible changes from previous editions. The ideas in Nentir Vale are not the ideas that had persisted over thirty years prior.
    What? Nothing can ever change, ever? Nothing can ever be clarified? Nothing can ever be reimagined? No old ideas can ever be improved?

    Just because an idea is old doesn't mean it's good.

    As for whether things needed to be changed, well...

    There's a whole mess o' Your Mileage May Vary there. Me, I loved the switch from the celestial zoo to the angelic host. I love Eladrin, while elves from previous editions have only left me bored. And bear in mind, I play both High Elves and Dark Elves in Warhammer. And back when Warcraft was an RTS, I loved High/Blood Elves before they were cool. It took Eladrin to get me to like D&D elves, though.

    I mean, heck, even sticking with dragons, the Forgotten Realms dragons are different than their Monster Manual cousins. They periodically go crazy, for one! And Eberron... man, a dragon is the sky, dude. What's the challenge rating on the sky?

    Point is, games evolve over time. Stories evolve. And in a system like D&D, where the mechanics and the setting are two different things, that's okay. You can still play in Greyhawk. Nobody's forcing you to play in the Nentir Vale.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    Anyway, I still think Fatebreaker's points hold: A setting is more than a list of names and deities. A setting consists of maps and history, something the core 3E books don't have. They refer to it, sure, but you don't actually get the greyhawk setting in the core books.
    Correct. If you weren't already familiar with Greyhawk to begin with, you certainly weren't helped along by 3.x.

    My group never, ever, ever, ever, ever played in "Greyhawk." Heck, I think I was the only member of our group who knew that Greyhawk was even a thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    Which is the fault of Wizards of the Coast. And something which continues to irritate me about 4th edition as they basically just continued using many of those Greyhawk-based assumptions (such as deities, character names, etc.) and made a setting that had even less information. They really should have published a 3rd edition Greyhawk Campaign Setting. And, for that matter, they should have published 3rd edition books for Dark Sun and Planescape.
    Less information? Man, there's all sorts of fluff in those books. I'm really not sure why you keep insisting that the fluff isn't there when it is. It's just organized in a way you don't like it. But whether you like it or not, it's still there.

    Seriously, if you don't like the fluff, ignore it and make your own. And, happily enough, the combat-centric stat block style of 4e made it really easy to fluff your own monsters!

    --

    The point isn't whether 3.x or 4e is better than the other. The point is that:

    • There's a difference between a set of assumptions and an actual setting.

    • Fluff works best in a setting. In a game where you create your own world, fluff is what you make of it, so why bemoan something new and different for people who don't like what you do?

    • Having monster stats reflect combat prowess and leaving fluff up the DM is perfectly okay, especially in a non-setting-specific system. It's even better than okay when you have campaign-specific material to add fluff to the crunch.

    --

    Quote Originally Posted by DefKab View Post
    It has to be very different, or why change at all?
    I think that's going to be the big hurdle of 5e -- it's trying to appeal to everyone by being "their" game, but if it's too much like a game they already own, why would they buy a new one?

    I do hope they continue the fluff-neutral mechanics, and let folks fill in their own campaign settings. Also, more campaign setting books. Like, lots more of them. It's D&D's biggest strength, and I'm baffled that they don't make greater use of it.
    Last edited by Fatebreaker; 2012-05-08 at 06:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Didn't 3.0 print a Living Greyhawk Gazetteer at one point? I know they also did a Greyhawk Gazetteer that was just a basic outline of all the nations and regions because I got it secondhand.
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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Im really beginning to think that 5es "modularity" will be nothing more then inbuilt feats/ powers that become choosable under more difficult conditions.....Im not sure thats a bad thing but those changes are not worth a whole new edition. I could even do that in 3e!
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    That pretty much sums up the Scowling Dragon experience.

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    Default Re: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Thread #3

    Black Flame Zealot. Hospitaler. Rainbow Servant. Seeker of the Misty Isle. Shining Blade of Heironeous. Warmage. Green Star Adept. Mage of the Arcane Order. Suel Arcanamage. Wayfarer Guide. Knight of the Chalice. Knight Protector. Master of the Unseen Hand. Thayan Knight.
    Really? The Hospitaler, Rainbow Servant, Warmage, Green Star Adept, Mage of the Arcane Order, Wayfarer Guide, Knight of the Chalice, Knight Protector and Master of the Unseen Hand are basically all pretty much generic, with sample organisations attached in places. I mean, seriously. A hospitaler is as generic a term as templar, given that it has vaguely the same origins in an old religious chivalric organisation back in the Middle Ages. Are you going to call the paladin and ranger setting-specific now as well?

    So that leaves the Black Flame Zealot and the Thayan Knight as prestige classes connected to the Forgotten Realms. The rest? All Greyhawk, with the Seeker of the Misty Isle, Shining Blade of Heironeous and Suel Arcanamach all being connected to Greyhawk deities or to Greyhawk nations.


    Outside of that, no... there's nothing wrong with changes in theory. Except if they have this whole thing of contradicting what has come before to such a degree that it completely changes what many of the earlier fans liked about the setting. And yes, they made a lot of needless changes in the switchover from AD&D to 3e... but it's nowhere near the scale of change that was brought about during 4th edition.

    From 2e to 3e, the following was true;
    1. The monsters were still the same monsters
    2. The planes were still the same planes (even if there was that whole separation of cosmology thing that everyone basically just ignored)
    3. The alignments were still the same alignments.
    4. The deities were still the same deities
    5. The places were still the same places
    6. The backstory was still the same backstory
    7. The races were still the same races
    8. And the classes were still the same classes.


    Certainly, there were minor changes. And new introductions, such as the sorcerer and warlock, as well as most of the new psionic rules. But it still had much of the same aura in much of the same places, and the settings all still felt like they were the same settings that had been going on for years. The concepts were still the same at their heart, even if there were a few new bits and pieces added here, there and everywhere.

    All of this was changed in 4th edition.

    It's like going from a deep forest colour in OD&D, to varying shades of emerald in AD&D 1e and 2e, to viridian in 3e, to bright orange with purple polkadots in 4e. While gradual evolution is certainly to be expected, it feels very much like 4th edition skipped a few dozen steps in that chain.

    And ultimately this is going to be a make-or-break for 5e when it comes many fans like myself, who came from older editions.
    Last edited by Scots Dragon; 2012-05-08 at 07:26 PM.

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